Losing My Sister
This is a sequel to Flight to Freedom.
I walked up the stairs towards my sister Salnara’s room. I hated to wake her up, but she never woke up until at least nine A.M. She had to get going now, or Allison, our owner, would be angry. She was really nasty when she was angry.
Entering the green Uni’s room, I stood beside her bed. “C’mon, Salnara, get up!” I said. She raised her head, shaking her mane and looking around. "Come on, you'll be late if you don't," I added. "C'mon, get up!"
“No, Halnora,” she said. “I don’t want to fly today. Or run, for that matter.”
“Allison will be mad....” I said, attempting to yank her out of bed. She pointed her horn at me.
“I don’t care, I’m tired of racing around Neopia Central every day in those stupid Uni Races, and I feel like a Poogle.” I left her to her grumbling and headed downstairs.
Salnara really did hate racing other flying pets, but it was for her own good. She needed the training to help her be healthy. Sometimes I worried that she would run away. My worries turned out to be correct, but back then, I didn’t know what she was going to do. It still tears my heart to think of it.
Anyway, after about ten minutes, I called, “Salnara! Let’s go!” She clopped downstairs where we ate some breakfast and then trotted outside. Asaln, a brown Uni, was waiting with his rider: a yellow Gelert named Garnan. Garnan is Asaln’s cousin, so Salnara and I knew him. Being a Kyrii, I wasn’t as good of a rider as Garnan, but I was still okay.
I vaulted onto Salnara’s back, pulled out a stopwatch, and yelled, “Three, two, one, GO!!!!!”
Salnara leapt into the air like a Mynci swinging from the trees. Salnara flapped her wings and rose above the ground. Asaln was right behind us, literally on our heels. Salnara rocketed forwards, nearly unseating me.
And so we went around and around, until finally Salnara touched down at the finish three seconds ahead of Asaln. She reared up, prancing around. Asaln too was trotting around the yard. Garnan had hopped off Asaln and was chatting with me. I had jumped off of Salnara the moment she landed. Salnara and Asaln began talking together.
“She’s getting better,” said the yellow Gelert. I nodded.
“She really is, but she hates doing these races. It’s a shame; she’s so good at it...” I said. Garnan shrugged.
“Ahh, she’ll get used to it.” How wrong he was...
* * * * * * *
Over the next few weeks, a change came over Salnara. She trained harder than ever before. I didn’t know why she acted like this, but I actually liked it, this sudden enthusiasm of hers. If I’d have known why she did it...
Anyway, she began flying with weights strapped to her back. She said it was to get stronger. She really seemed to care about racing all of a sudden. Maybe Asaln had knocked some sense into her.
Another race day arrived. Allison was running around, making sure she had the right time, that Salnara had eaten a good breakfast, that sort of thing. She told Allison that she wanted to wear the weights during the race, and our owner agreed.
“Will it be a sky race?” Salnara asked over breakfast.
Allison nodded. “Yes, you need to have more of those.”
Salnara nodded, but I knew something was troubling her. I ignored it, since I thought it was just nerves. She always got them.
A green Eyrie was waiting in the front yard. On his back was a red Kacheek. I groaned.
The Kacheek, Eric, I didn’t mind. It was the Eyrie, Rondo, that really annoyed me. He was a pompous, self-absorbed jerk who cared for nobody but himself. He thought everyone else was below him, and he treated them like that. He now sneered at Salnara as we approached.
“Hi, losers,” he said. “Ready to be defeated?”
Usually, she would snap back at him, but this time she just smiled. “I don’t care if you beat me or not, Rondo. I care about something more than this race,” she said. What did she mean? I thought it was just to get him off of us, but later I knew. That wiped the smirk from his beak, and he turned, scowling, to face the front. I, meanwhile, ignored him as Eric cast us an apologetic look. "Jerk," I muttered.
Allison was standing nearby with a stopwatch in one hand and flag in another. “Three... two... one, GO!” she yelled, bringing the flag down and pushing the stopwatch button.
We rocketed up and forwards, letting Rondo pull ahead. If we let him keep in front, he’d think he was faster than us, and he’d keep going as fast as he could. Salnara would speed up just enough to keep him in sight. He’d look back, see her, and go faster. Eventually, he would tire himself out, and I’d take the lead. We always did this, and it worked every time.
This tactic worked quite well as we flew around and around. Salnara seemed stronger than she did against Asaln, even with the weights. Her wings seemed tougher than before.
We kept up a steady pace, letting Rondo shoot ahead. Salnara saw he was tiring, and we could see the finish line up ahead. It was time for us to pull ahead. My muscles tensed as Salnara plunged forward, nearly unseating me. I grabbed her mane to steady myself.
She pumped her wings, pushing herself faster. She called on all her speed and streaked towards the finish line. We were one, flying closer... closer... She plunged past the two posts that marked the finish line. She turned to me, tears welling up in her eyes.
“Salnara, what’s wrong?” I asked. This concerned me, because Salnara was never upset like this unless something was really wrong.
“Nothing,” she replied. “Halnora, I’m so sorry...” She reared up in midair and gave a huge buck. Twisting and turning, she wrenched me off of my back. I fell towards the ground, staring up at my sister.
How could she do this? What was happening? Had I offended her? I was hurtling down, down... and then I safely landed in Allison’s arms. I saw her wheel around, ignoring Allison’s yelling. She seemed really angry, and I was a little afraid.
“Salnara, get down here!” she called.
“No! I’m sick of racing! All you cared about was me winning! Well, I’ve had enough! I’m leaving; you can’t find me, not now, not ever!” she yelled at Allison, looking down at me. She was crying, something I had never seen her do before as she flew up into the sky, away from the life she’d known all her days. I knew she was sorry that she did this to me. In my heart, I told her that I’d be waiting for her to come back. I knew she heard me.
Although I knew I’d see her again, letting her go was the hardest thing I ever did. Tears streamed down my face as I sobbed. She might be physically gone, but she’ll be with me in my heart... always.