Revenge: Part Three
I shrugged my shoulders as I adjusted the lavender straps of my backpack, my feet carrying me outside. It’d stopped raining about a couple of hours previously, and the soft muddy ground had hardened up enough for me to walk on it without worrying about slipping and falling. However, the sky was still dark and brooding, threatening to begin another downpour any second. If it continued like this, they’d probably postpone the Yooyuball tryouts or try to hold them inside.
The tryouts were the big thing for our school. Almost everybody who was capable of playing tried out for the sport, even though only a select few managed to be chosen. It wasn’t rare for one of the players to drop out of the school team, either, because of the rigorous regimen the coaches dragged them through. According to our star player from last year—who’d also graduated—it was rather like the training he’d received when he’d gone to be a knight in the Meridellian army.
Me? I knew I was too soft to ever have a chance at becoming on the team, unless I devoted all of my time to exercising instead of reading and writing, something that I really loved. The closest that I’d ever get to playing, besides watching the sport, would be to write stories about the people who played it. Maybe if I worked at it, I could interview some of the pets who played it, but I don’t really like to write anything that doesn’t have to do with imagination.
“Oh, come on, you know you want to help us!” whined a familiar high pitched voice. I stopped right in my tracks and hid behind a nearby trashcan. Sometimes it was a really good thing that I was as short as I was, because the thing was at least a half of a foot taller than me.
“I’m sorry... Leah, is it?” said Q’tai’s voice. “I can’t. I want to head home early so that I can, um... do my homework, and I...”
“Tai, it’ll be fun,” said Jenny’s smoother, more beautiful voice. “We know you don’t like her, and whatever she’s done to you... it’ll definitely satisfy your thirst for revenge. Trust me. Your owner won’t even recognize her when we’re done.”
“And if she finds out I helped you?” he asked. “I don’t know if I want to find out...”
“But Taiiiii!” whined the three voices I’d learned to avoid. “Please?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ll give you my answer tomorrow. Can I... er, go now?”
“Fine,” said Alex. “Tell us by then. But trust me, you’ll love what we have planned.”
Q’tai made a sound, like he was about to say something, but stopped, as if he wasn’t sure. At first I thought he actually was going to speak, but then I could hear his footsteps resounding on the pavement as he walked away, and a slightly relieved feeling entered my body. The Trio made offended noises, as if he had delivered the worst insult possible to them.
“What a snoot!”
“He’s worse than Qasa! How that weak little puffball grew the backbone to leave us, I’ll never know.”
“Don’t worry about him,” said Alex. “According to the rumors floating around school, he’s going to be leaving in a little while anyway. Now let’s go to my house. There are some details that I want to work out.”
I shivered, my heart beating so hard that it felt as if it were lodged up in my throat. What were the Trio planning? I never knew that they’d go as far as they were apparently going to for vengeance against me. I didn’t think that I was that big of a thorn in their side, but apparently I was. What were they planning?
As soon as they sounded like they were far enough away—a.k.a. I couldn’t hear them anymore—I dashed off and made my way home. Maybe I could convince Q’tai somehow to not help them, to maybe even go out of his way to stop them. After all, I thought he was probably right in his earlier assumption. There was no way that Mom would keep him if he ended up doing something to us.
Q’tai was already in his room by the time I got back home, and after the night before I felt it would be bad protocol if I stumbled in on him again. Instead I grabbed some snacks, pulled out some of my homework, and went to the room where Qin played the piano. He always spent a little time on it after school to relax before doing any of his own assignments, so it was nice to have some music in the background while I tackled some algebraic equations, math that nobody should ever have to deal with.
There was a Kacheek without rhyme,
She couldn’t speak words for a time.
The swamp witch had cursed her,
So she wouldn’t hear her
Recite without reason or rhyme.
“Rhyme, rhyme... I can’t use that twice,” I muttered, tapping the table with the eraser of my pencil. “What’s a word that rhymes with rhyme and means rhyme but isn’t rhyme?”
“What?” asked Shei, lifting her head up from her textbook. “Naqasa, you’re confusing me. That makes no sense.”
“Sorry, I was talking to myself,” I said, and waved my paw at her.
“You know, I heard that’s a sign of insanity.”
“Like Mom thinks that a bad thing?” I teased, smiling. “I think that one of the groups she belongs to considers that a compliment.”
Shei stuck her tongue out at me, and I returned the favor. Music no longer flavored the air with its beautiful tones, but that didn’t mean that it hadn’t left any effect on us. We were all happy and comfortable, thanks to the last song that he had played, and now that I was on my last assignment, I was feeling really good. It was one that I was particularly enjoying, too. Unlike my owner, I had a real penchant for poetry, and according to my friends, I was really talented, too.
However, I wasn’t sure if their opinions counted. When I was looking a few days ago at a piece that I’d done a few years previously, I was horrified at the horrible pacing and rhythm, and my friends and family had told me that I’d been wonderful at it, then.
Would I have continued writing on it, though, had they told me the truth about what they thought of it?
I shrugged and continued my homework.
“So how was school for you?” Qin asked. “Did Q’tai do anything else?”
“Not really,” I said, shrugging. Other than dealing with the enemy, I thought.
“What happened?” asked Shei, and I looked at her in disbelief. However, I remembered that she’d run home before the whole incident had even occurred.
“She fell down right when we got to school, and he laughed,” answered Qin, narrowing his eyes. “He didn’t seem to be able to stop when the Trio started teasing her, though.”
Shei looked shocked, as if she hadn’t expected him to do something like that. After all, he hadn’t really been a troublemaker yesterday. The worst he’d done was forgetting to put his dinner plate in the sink for our owner to wash—she wasn’t about to make the new pet do the dishes.
“I think I’ll be rather glad when he’s finished here,” stated Qin.
“Do you think he’ll get better?” I asked.
“Laughing at you, down in the mud?” He shook his head in denial. “I don’t think so. It’d take a rather cruel person to keep going like that, especially when you’re being humiliated by somebody else.”
“Oh,” I said. There was no hope then, that he’d be nice enough to refuse the Trio.
“Dinner!” shouted a voice from the dining room, and I folded up my schoolwork and shoved it in the corner. There wasn’t much left to do, and I could finish it when I got done eating.
The Ogrin was coming down the stairs when I burst out of the room, and he looked as if he were deep in thought, gazing down at the ground with an intense frown on his face. He didn’t notice when the door shut, or even when I walked up next to him. What was he thinking about, that could have taken so much of his attention? Usually he’d be giving me his death glare by now.
“Hey, Q’tai,” said Shei, and he seemed to jump when he found that he wasn’t the only pet walking down the hall. “Were you alone up there?”
He shrugged. “I’m fine by myself.”
“Still, we should’ve invited you to come and do your homework with us,” she said. “We usually do it in the room with the piano.”
He nodded, but didn’t really give her a verbal, or definite, answer, and then he looked away, flinching when he found me there. However, it wasn’t a flinch that suggested that he was horrified that the object of his intense hatred was walking next to him. It was a flinch that made it look like he was afraid I was about to unleash some sort of horrible vengeance upon him.
“Hey, everybody,” said our owner when we found our way to the dining room. The food was already on the table, and I grinned as I saw that she had made spaghetti. Mom must’ve been running late, then. She usually made pasta only when she had forgotten the time and needed something quick to make us. “How was school today?”
“Awesome,” said Shei. “I got an A on our vocab test from last Friday.”
“The Yooyuball tryouts are tomorrow,” I said. “Brian and Renny are going to try out.”
“Are any of us going to try out?” asked Mom.
“Not me,” said Qin, shaking his head. “I’ve got a piano rehearsal coming up, and Miss Looteya handed me a particularly difficult piece.”
“But it sounds great, Qin. I didn’t hear anything wrong when you played it the last time.”
“There are several notes that I have to get the timing right, still.”
“It sounds wonderful,” Shei urged, shaking her head. “Back on the topic of Yooyuball, anyway. I might try out.”
“Think you’ll make it?” I asked, and she shrugged.
“I don’t know,” she said. “Some of those boys are really good, and if I get chosen I don’t want to be backup.”
“Do you think that maybe... I could try?” asked Q’tai, hesitating, much to my amazement. My new brother liked sports? The green Ogrin was staring at Mom plaintively, his eyes wide, and he looked very much like a young child, excited but unsure at the same time. He chewed on his lip anxiously, having completely shed any gloomy feelings he’d been harboring inside.
“I don’t know,” said Mom, frowning. Obviously this was the wrong thing to say. A mixture of anger and extreme disappointment displayed itself on the Ogrin’s face, and he stood up, the chair scraping loudly on the floor, and stomped away. Moments later the front door opened up, and then slammed shut, the house shuddering in complaint.
I rushed to the front door and opened it, but when I looked outside, nobody was to be found. The two things that greeted me were the stormy winds and rain, howling with a fury that weren’t only their own.
To be continued...