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The Nobody


by _g_i_n_n_y_w_

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He was a nobody. He must've been a somebody once, but for as long as anyone could remember, he had been a nobody.

      He had been sitting on the street corner, playing his violin for so long, he had become part of the scenery; a landmark you simply accepted and were so used to seeing, you didn't really notice it anymore. If you did notice it, however, you would see that, although probably quite old, judging by how long he'd been there and the streaks of grey in his red fur, he seemed quite young. You wouldn't think so at first, but when you looked closely and saw how quickly his fingers flew across the finger board of the violin, and how swiftly the bow caressed the string, you'd be unable to imagine that an old Kacheek could move so nimbly.

      Other than that, no one really knew anything about him.

      And that of course, is where a Nobody's story ended, and a Somebody's began.

     ***

      It was like any other Saturday when I finally summoned up my courage and decided to find out more about that old Kacheek who spent his time playing the violin on the street corner. I was excruciatingly bored, and could thing of nothing better to do. Anyway, the notion of finding out more about him had been eating away at me for ages.

      It was a short walk from my Neohome to the street corner where he sat, and took me only a few minutes to reach it. I walked over to him and sat down, waiting for him to notice he had a visitor. When he failed to acknowledge me for several minutes, I tapped him on the shoulder.

      Immediately, he stopped playing and snapped around to look at me.

      "Whadd'you want?" His voice was surprisingly rough for someone who could make such nice music.

      "I'm Lily," I said, sticking out my paw for him to shake. He ignored it. "What's your name?"

      The old Kacheek tilted his head to the side, resting it in his paw and closing his eyes, as if trying to remember something. He didn't move for several moments, and I thought he'd fallen asleep. Standing up carefully, making sure not to wake him, I started to head home.

      "Atticus."

      His voice was quiet, but I jumped all the same.

      "That's my name," he continued. "Atticus." His voice was so soft, I could barely hear him, which was odd for me, as being an Aisha, I have four ears.

      "Oh," I said, sitting down again. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Atticus." He smiled slightly.

      "It's been a while since anyone called me that. So long that I'd almost forgotten my name."

      "Really?" I was confused. How could anyone forget their name? It was a completely new and shocking idea to me.

      "Yeah," Atticus said. "When I was younger, I was a pirate. And a mighty good one, at that." He must have seen me recoil, for he added, "Don't worry, I didn't steal anything. The band of pirates I belonged to returned stolen items. I suppose we wouldn't have really been pirates, then, but we liked to call ourselves so, anyway."

      "I've never heard of good pirates," I said, apprehensively.

      "Well, it was a long time ago, m'dear," he said. "Anyway, we were fairly notorious for tracking down the bad pirates and gettin' back what they stole. We had a good time with it, too. We were all friends on our ship, we called 'er "The Golden Pteri", 'cause she was so fast and graceful it was like flying. At nights we'd amuse each other with music, drama, and various games. That's where I leaned to play." Atticus paused and pointed at his violin. "We did what we did discreetly, the returnin' of stolen loot, I mean. We didn't exactly want everyone to find out what we were doin'."

      "How does this have anything to do with my question?" I pressed.

      "I'm gettin' there, don't rush me," Atticus said. "Now, where was I? Ah, yes. One day, we heard shouts outside. We figured it was nothin', but we were wrong. Someone on board had infiltrated us an' ratted us out to the Neopia Central authorities. Said we were stealin'. We were all captured and sent off to prison, where we remained for several years..."

      "How many years?" I asked, breathless.

      "Five and a half, or somethin' like that. The point is, we'd been there for a real long time. We knew we were innocent, and we knew we had to escape. One of my fellow shipmates, a cook, had been released early; the authorities figured he hadn't had much to do with it. So, the cook got a bunch of allies and somehow managed to smuggle a bunch of us out.

      "But our trials weren't over. We had to disappear, so we did. We couldn't be found, or we'd soon be prisoners again. We found ourselves nice little places where no one would know us, and no one would suspect anything. Unfortunately, that also meant we couldn't talk to each other anymore, just to be safe. I haven't seen any of my crew mates in a very long time." Atticus sighed, looking sad.

      "That's awful! Surely by now you can talk to them again."

      "I wish I could, but I don't know where they are."

      "Why'd you tell me all this?" I asked, curious.

      "'Cause I like you..." Atticus paused, trying to remember my name.

      "Lily," I prompted.

      "Yeah. I like you, Lily. And, you're the first person I've spoken to in a long while, and I need to tell my story to someone. You do believe me, don't you?"

      "Of course I do!" I exclaimed, horrified he thought I wouldn't.

      "Good. Say... You wouldn't want to come back tomorrow and here some more stories of my sailin' days, would you?" He sounded nervous, as if long conversations and company was something entirely new to him.

      "I'd love to!" I said, grinning.

      "Great," Atticus said, returning my smile and ruffling my pink fur.

     ***

      The next day, and the day after, and the day after that, I returned to the street corner to hear more of Atticus's stories. Each day, he'd have a new tale of adventure and danger, and each day he captivated my attention for much longer than anyone had ever managed. Each day, however, I grew increasingly sad.

      "How'd you like it if we tracked down some of your old ship mates?" I finally asked one day.

      "That'd be mighty fine," Atticus said. "But how would we find 'em?"

      "Well..." I began, slightly uncertain. "We could go to the library and see if there are any records of them. If we didn't find any, we could always go looking in places like this, and see if we could find them..."

      Atticus raised an eyebrow.

      "D'you think that'd work?"

      "Sure it would," I said, trying to sound optimistic. It must've worked because Atticus soon said:

      "I s'pose we could try."

          ***

      Luck was on our side, for several months later, Atticus and I had tracked down several former members of the Golden Pteri. They stuck around for a while, and told me more stories of their time on the ship. But soon, the group grew restless, and set off to find a new ship and a new crew. I never saw or heard of them again.

      I do know, however, that they found a new ship, and a new crew, for recently, there have been several reports of stolen goods being mysteriously returned. At last, the Nobody became a Somebody again.

The End

 
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