The Desert Peophin sat up abruptly, sweat running heavily down her brown face, leaving a trail that looked almost like that of a tear’s on her cheeks. Her heart pounding, she tried to remember where she was, as she could quickly tell that she was no longer drowning in a bottomless river. She was in bed. Oh. That explained a lot; she had only been dreaming. She sighed, and whimpered once at the horrible memory of the river. “’Sal right, Hatshepsut,” came the murmured voice from the cot next to the still terrified Peophin’s. Hatshepsut smiled upon realizing that her owner was still asleep, and cared about her so much, she comforted her even when unconscious.
These dreams had been coming a lot lately, and Hatshepsut had no idea why. Correction, she thought to herself. I have a very good idea, but I refuse to admit that I ever thought it.
When Hatshepsut was only a month old, her old owner had decided, after much crying and apologizing, that she didn’t have enough neopoints to keep Hatshepsut and all her siblings alive. Hatshepsut had volunteered, because she knew how hard it was for her owner, to be put in the pound.
It was a horrible few months that she spent there. She didn’t remember much, but one thing stood out in her hazy memory in vivid colors and loud sound; the loneliness. She had been so terribly lonely in the pound. In a way, she was glad that she had volunteered so that her loved siblings hadn’t had to go through the loneliness, but on the other hand, she shivered whenever she remembered it, and wished that she had never gone to the pound.
When Lily picked her up from that horrible place, Hatshepsut had fallen gratefully into her new owner’s outstretched arms. She had loved and admired Lily for a long time, and still loved her, but her admiration had begun to fall away as she began to think of Lily as a friend and not a goddess. Lily had soon after that brought her to live with her in the Lost Desert. Hatshepsut loved it there; the warm sand under her hooves, the warm sun on her back, and the constant presence of Lily. Then Lily decided that Hatshepsut should be painted desert. You may not think this a melancholy thing, but it was for Hatshepsut; her old owner had named her Hatshepsut in the hopes of one day painting her desert, and Lily had completed this dream.
When Hatshepsut looked over at the cot with the mangled and tangled sheets and the sandy colored hair hanging from the side, she sighed again. Lily was a very nice owner; she cared for Hatshepsut and almost pampered her. Also, she didn’t get any other neopets so that she and Hatshepsut could have more time together. And she was the one who had saved her from the pound... where her old owner had abandoned her. But still. Hatshepsut found herself thinking more and more often about her old owner, and how she had been so kind as well.
The Lost Desert was great, and Hatshepsut really did love it there, but sometimes she wished for the cool waters of Maraqua, the sandy beaches of Mystery Island, and the cold snow of Terror Mountain where her old owner had often brought her. Now, all that Hatshepsut knew was the hot temperatures of the Lost Desert, and could barely remember these other wonders. She missed them greatly.
Come on! Hatshepsut argued with herself stubbornly as she lay in the cot, staring at the white ceiling of the cloth tent, whipping in the strong winds that often came at night in the Lost Desert. You don’t even remember your old owner’s name. Yes, you do feel an overwhelming sensation of love and care, but... You have to get over her. You have a new life now, so count your blessings, because look around you, Hatshepsut; you live in luxury! You may miss your old siblings and the comforting feeling of having so many little neopets running around you all day but... do you even remember their species, let alone THEIR names? No, Hatshepsut, you don’t. That’s your old life, your old owner, your old siblings. Stop thinking about them and go to sleep.
But she couldn’t, no matter how hard she tried. With an airy, exasperated sigh, Hatshepsut pushed herself up from out of the soft cot and walked quietly to the tent flap, or door. When she opened it, a warm blast of air nearly knocked her backwards, and she halted to catch her breath and regain her strength. And to make sure she hadn’t woken her owner.
“Hatshepsut? Wha’ happened? Wha’ goin’ on?” Oh no. She was awake! Hatshepsut whipped herself around to look at Lily. Nope, she thought, with a little smile; Lily was a deep sleeper, and even a Snowager blast wouldn’t wake her when she was sleeping. So Hatshepsut turned back to the flap, opening it wider and emerging into the hot night temperatures of the Lost Desert.
Looking up at the black-as-velvet sky, Hatshepsut was almost lifted off her hooves with wonder; what a sky! There were so many stars, and some of them were shooting stars as well. They looked like little pieces of the moon falling from the sky. The moon was also magnificent. It sat in the middle of everything, milky white and majestic, lighting a path to the river.
The river! That was just where Hatshepsut had wanted to go. She needed badly to feel the cool touch of water on her skin, now as brown as the trunk of a tree and sore as well. She needed to feel the touch of the river because, stated simply, she was a water creature. And so she proceeded happily, with a smile on her brown face, to the river that flowed through the Lost Desert like a blue ribbon.
Lily had ordered Hatshepsut not to go in the river, or anywhere near it for that matter, because she didn’t know how to swim. Not Hatshepsut, of course, as she was a Peophin, but Lily. And what Lily couldn’t do (in Lily’s opinion) Hatshepsut couldn’t, either. So the eager Peophin managed to contain her excitement as she approached the river, and did so quietly.
Splashing through the water was a joy and a relief. She needed this! Why hadn’t she done it earlier? Because Lily didn’t want me to, and Lily knows best. Oh well, she thought now, as she whipped her tail up and down, making the sand on the riverbank nearly as wet as she was herself. This was the best sensation!
“Little Neopet? I believe that your owner wouldn’t appreciate it if you splashed around like that in the night. She does know you’re here, though, right?”
Freezing with terror, Hatshepsut slowly lifted her brown head plated with gold and gazed up at the hooded figure standing on the riverbank.
The figure was hooded, but the hood and her skirt were white. And it was natural that she wore a hood, as the Lost Desert sand storms were famous throughout Neopia. She wasn’t really menacing, and Hatshepsut began to unfreeze.
“What’s the matter, Kougra got your tongue?” the figure asked, playfully. She stepped into the moonlight, and Hatshepsut could see her clearly. She had a tan face, scarred with laugh lines and smiling, a set of amber eyes and red hair. Somehow, Hatshepsut remembered her.
That was when a Shoyru stepped out from under the girl’s skirt and looked at her questioningly. “Who is that, Amber? Why is she in the river?” And with that name and the Shoyru’s appearance, memories came rushing back to Hatshepsut like the river she loved.
“Amber...?” she asked, timidly. The girl looked at her surprised, and then a look of dawning came onto her face as well.
“Hatshepsut...?” she whispered, tears coming into her large almond shaped eyes. “You’re... you’re desert now. I suppose... suppose that you have a better life now and won’t want me. I just need to say that I am so sorry for ever abandoning you,” Amber looked at Hatshepsut, and a sad little smile came onto her face. “You must have a nice owner and a wonderful time with her. Come now, Sabine, let’s go.”
“NO!” Hatshepsut cried out at Amber’s retreating back when she regained her voice, which had been lost during Amber’s short speech. “Please! I still need you, Amber! Please!”
Amber turned around slowly, just when a breeze swept up and grabbed her skirt. It took her tears as well, and they landed on Hatshepsut’s cheeks when the breeze reached her. She smiled weakly. Hatshepsut ran up to Amber as fast as she could, now crying as well. They hugged and hugged and lost each other in happiness.
“Amber? What’s going on?” the timid little shoyru asked. Hatshepsut and Amber swept him up in their hug as well.
“Sabine, this is your sister Hatshepsut. She went... to the pound for you, and now she’s back.”
If this gets in, it will be my first published short story. I hope you liked it, and please send feedback!