Stranded!: Part Three
Also by brookeppg
Rays of sunshine leaked onto the minuscule island where Amanda, Maddie, and Rivers slept. For the past night the threesome had huddled together in a leafy palm tree, steering clear from a pack of malevolent Niptors.
“Wake-y wake-y!” Amanda hollered, jumping out of their unpleasant sanctuary. The pack of wild Niptors had moved on sometime during the middle of the night, so they were free to get out of the tree. Madalleena opened her eyes a crack and gave a low moan that meant ‘Go away, you stinky neopet, and leave me alone’, before falling back asleep. Rivers stretched lazily then followed Amanda down a dilapidated path towards their abandoned shelter.
Swatting flies out of their face, the two examined the damage done by the petpets the night before. Strings of dangling moss clung helplessly to the bare rock, giving the area a musty smell. “If I get my paws on those pests...” Rivers muttered, massaging her pulsing temples. Amanda looked solemnly at Rivers and patted her shoulder, trying to calm her friend down.
“I’m starving,” Madalleena exclaimed, walking vertically down the palm tree that they had slept in, using only her claws. She was covered in bits and pieces of leaves, which she playfully shook off on the other two. Amanda nodded. Back at home, they would usually whine that they were starving, or that there was nothing to eat, when really, the pantry was full. Here, there was no pantry, no owners to make them a sandwich, and after two days with no food, they really were starving.
“Maybe we can find some fruit, or something?” the faerie Xweetok suggested, looking around at all of the trees. “I think that we should split up and each go in one direction. We can meet back here at dark.”
“Okay,” the pirate Blumaroo and faerie Kougra agreed, and then they all split up and went separate ways. Rivers headed towards a crystal colored brook surrounded by emerald-colored ferns and amber vines that clung to a rocky slope. Maddie went to explore a damp cave. Dotted inside it, numerous insects scattered and littered the floor, making it multicolored. Last but not least, Amanda scampered over to an abandoned waterfall filled with an array of Goldies.
“Food!!!!” cried Amanda, hopping into the shimmering water. Shoving her paws in it, she caught a Goldie by its fin and plopped it out of the water. Eyes twitching violently, she inspected it hungrily, deciding which end to take a nibble at. Saliva hung from the corners of her cracked and dry lips. Just when Amanda was about to engulf the petpet, Rivers and Maddie walked in.
“Amanda! What in the world are you doing?!” Maddie screeched. “We could hear you yelling “FOOD!” from a mile away!”
“Is it just me, or are you going insane?” cried Rivers, hurdling over to Amanda. “Why didn’t you catch me one too?”
Amanda’s eyes began twitching hysterically. “Yeah, about that... there’s just enough for me!” As fast as lightning, she devoured the Goldy whole. A smirk stole across her face, followed by a look of satisfaction.
“Hey!” Rivers wrapped her furry paws around Amanda’s scrawny neck. “Spit it out! Spit it out! Spit it out! We’re hungry too! I’m not going to let you steal MY food supply!”
“No, you mean MINE!” Madalleena joined the brawl, only to create an idiotic scrambled mess.
Amanda ended up in a head-lock by Rivers. The Blumaroo was sprawling on her knees, head craned toward the ground. After a couple of minutes, Rivers’ prize was finally awarded to her.
“Aha!” she sang, reaching for the Goldy Amanda had coughed up whole.
As soon as the Xweetok released her iron grip, the three neopets pounced at the food. They all growled and hissed ferociously, trying to push the other away and eat the Goldy at the same time. Little did they know that the small yellow petpet was flopping rapidly back towards the water. Maddie looked up right as the food leaped back into the water and disappeared into the watery depths.
“NO!” she shrieked, diving towards the stream of water and looking around, but, unfortunately, the creature was gone. Her eyes gleamed, and she whipped around and pointed an accusing finger at Amanda. “You! You were the one that did this! All you had to do was stay below deck on the ship, and we wouldn’t be in this mess!”
The pirate Blumaroo snarled. “Well, then why didn’t you stop me? Oh, right – you fainted! And you -” The girl turned to face Rivers, who was looking into the water for another Goldy. “I wouldn’t have run out of the room if you hadn’t opened the door and released InkHeart!”
“Well, so-rry! I was just trying to see who was at the door! I’m allowed to do that!” the faerie Xweetok yelled back, and then watched as the pirate Blumaroo turned abruptly and began storming towards the beach.
“And where are you going?” Maddie screeched after her.
“Home!” Amanda yelled over her shoulder, and then proceeded to walk straight into the water and begin swimming away. “I’m getting off of this stupid island, and away from the stupid people that I thought were my best friends!”
Maddie quickly realized what was happening and snapped back into reality. “Wait!” She opened her wings and took off after her friend. Amanda was already a few yards into the water, fighting against the waves. Seeing as she was flying, Maddie reached her friend rather quickly and grabbed her under the arms. Turning around, the faerie Kougra flew back to the shore, where Rivers had returned to her normal self and was waiting.
Madalleena placed her friend down on the sand and was about to yell at her for almost killing herself, but then she saw tears streaking down Amanda’s face.
“I just want to go home,” Amanda hiccupped, and the three pets all gathered into a small hug.
“I know,” Rivers murmured, burying her face in Maddie’s fur. “So do I.”
Tissues littered the ground in Savannah’s Neohome. It was time to inform Rivers, Maddie, and Amanda’s brothers and sisters that they would not be coming home. For the past couple of days, the owners had neglected to tell all of the fellow family members of the neopets’ disappearance. Then, Lauren, Savannah, and Brooke had a spark of hope. By now, that flame had been extinguished. They had been told by the Defenders that after three days with no food and water, they would be dead.
Sam, a green Peophin and Maddie’s closest sister, looked up at the three owners. They had been crying for days, but whenever one of their many pets had asked what was wrong, they would say that they would tell them eventually. A sigh escaped Sam’s lips as she curled up on the fluffy cloud floor with Alisa, a speckled Acara and another one of Savannah’s many pets. There was ten pets in all, along with Brooke’s six other pets and Lauren’s thirteen.
Heaven, Rivers’ older sister, looked around the living room at the three families. I wonder what’s wrong...? And why aren’t we waiting until Rivers and the other two are back home from their cruise if it is so important? The baby Xweetok pondered. She always wanted to know what was going on, so this wasn’t making her too happy.
Sitting on the couch beside the three owners were two Blumaroos, an island and a faerie. The two were the oldest in the three families, and had been told beforehand what had happened. Blankie, the faerie Blumaroo and Amanda’s mother, had tears streaking down her pastel blue cheeks. Beside her was Grampa, Amanda’s grandfather. He tried to hold back the tears that brimmed in his eyes, but some of them flowed out anyway. The island pet had considered not coming, but had decided to in order to comfort his daughter and friends.
Finally, Brooke, stood up and brushed a piece of brownish red hair behind her ear. She sniffed, and then opened her mouth to begin. “Guys... there is something that Savannah, Lauren, and I must tell you...” She paused to wipe away a few tears, and then continued. “Maddie, Rivers, and Amanda... well... something happened, and now they...” she started crying hysterically, and Grampa stood up to finish her sentence.
“The three of them aren’t coming home.”
The three reunited friends huddled around a blazing fire of embers. Stars twinkled in the endless sky of purple, shedding ghostly silhouettes in the shelter.
“It’s... s... s... so... c... cold,” Amanda complained, wrapping her hairless arms around her knees.
“Not really,” Rivers teased. “I have loads of toasty fur!” She began pacing around the diffusing fire, then stopped abruptly. She could barely discern the rope curled up under the dirt floor.
“Hey, when did you guys find a rope?” Rivers questioned, unearthing her find.
“What rope?” asked Maddie, peering over the Xweetok’s shoulder. In reply, Amanda brushed a bit of crusty sand off the mysterious rope. “Hey, what’s it doing here?”
“I don’t know,” Amanda shrugged, and then gasped. “Wait! If there is a rope, then there must be civilization, which means we aren’t on a deserted island!” The three girls all shrieked in excitement, until Rivers frowned.
“But wait, how will we find the people who made it?”
“Maybe like this.” The faerie Kougra motioned to Jerum, Rivers’ Turmac, who had grabbed the rope in his mouth and tried to play with it. One end of the rope was in his mouth, and the other half was attached to a wooden trap door. Everyone stopped talking and gazed down into the darkness.
“Here, let me make some light,” Madalleena held her paws out and summoned her light faerie ability, Magic Torch. Immediately, their dark shelter was filled with a bright light. The Kougra held her paws over the trap door, and Amanda peered in.
“There’s a ladder!” Amanda yelled. Sure enough, a rickety ladder made of bamboo reached down into the darkness. “Let’s go down there; it feels like there’s some warm air blowing out!” Before either of her friends could say anything, the pirate Blumaroo closed her eyes and leaped down stealthily into the hole, not even bothering to use the ladder.
With a shrug, the other two followed, along with the two petpets, and fell about three feet before they hit the warm ground.
And then they looked around and saw the most beautiful sight that any of them could imagine.
To be continued...