Days of Remembering
The sky was overcast and grey. Dark, threatening storm clouds were brewing in the far distance. A thick grey haze was blanketing Neopia Central that made Hannon shiver. The cold was piercing even through the protection of his thick aquamarine pelt.
He pulled his jacket higher up to his neck and kept walking through the dense fog. His large, soft paws padded gently against the rough grey cobblestone street.
A small bronze bell jingled solemnly as Hannon opened the large glass door to the gift shop. The aromatic smell of burning candles and chocolates greeted him as he stepped inside the store. It was considerably warmer inside the shop than it was out on the hazy streets of Neopia Central.
A red Scorchio in a bright yellow shirt and a sparkling clean white apron was hunched over in the back corner of the store wrapping a small green present with the help of a purple Feloreena. He glanced quickly at Hannon and gave him a slight smile before returning to his work.
Hannon walked past rows of tacky knickknacks and numerous scented candles. He stopped at a glass counter of sorts. There were a few large bouquets of flowers lined up on the marble countertop. He pursed his lips at the over-the-top decorative flowers that were covered in glitter and plastic Carmarillers. The various plastic flowers were far too decorative for his tastes. He wanted something plain and simple, but still lovely.
His eyes halted on a small trio of dark crimson roses. They were bound together with a small red elastic band that was nearly the same color as the flowers. The thorns on the flowers were dull, as if they were very old, but the petals of the rose were still bright and crisp as if they had been freshly picked from the fields. Hannon delicately grabbed them from the counter and continued on.
His eyes scanned the shelves that lined the store and took up nearly every square inch of space. He turned to a shelf of decorated picture frames. There were large ones, small ones, and every size in between. Some were coated in sparkling glitter, which Hannon noted in disgust. Others were made of rusted up old metal and gears, and some were covered in fake glued on shells. All of them were much too flashy for the occasion, so Hannon dug through the rows of frames until he found a plain brown mahogany frame with a small, bright, red paper heart glued onto the top right-hand corner of the wood. He knew it was so much simpler than the rest of the frames, but it was less expensive, and it was all that he needed.
"Excuse me, sir?" Hannon walked over to the Scorchio holding his two items and a small bag of Neopoints. "I would like to buy these, please."
The Scorchio took the items and looked at the small price tags on the back. "Are you buying these for someone special? Maybe a special occasion? Because if it is, we have some more dazzling bouquets and frames if you would like."
Hannon handed his Neopoints over to the Scorchio as his Feloreena flew over. "No, this is fine. It's not too special an occasion; it's just something that I do every year on this day that's very close to my heart."
"Ah, I see." The Scorchio carefully handed Hannon's items back to him. "Well, have a safe evening."
"Thank you. You have a good evening as well," Hannon said. He turned and walked out of the nearly empty store.
The dusk had turned even more brisk, and the walk to the small grassy hill on the edge of Neopia Central was quite an unpleasant one. The chill was cutting through Hannon's worn jacket and all the way to seep through his bones.
The streets were just as empty as the gift shop had been, which meant that Hannon was all alone on his walk to the oak tree, just has he had been alone for most of his life. Shadows seemed to dance in the haze that had noticeably thickened, although no Neopets were guiding the shadows on their trip. It made the already creepy night filled with the threat of rain as creepy as a night in the wilds of the Haunted Woods.
The thick, unmowed grass was plush and welcoming on Hannon's feet after the roughness of the cobblestone. He walked up the slightly-sloping hill with a great sadness in his steps. The wind blew at him from the top of the hill, but he struggled on until he reached the very top.
A large oak tree covered in dark forest green leaves was perched right on the top of the hill in the very middle. Its leaves rustled softly in the wind that was starting to get faster.
Hannon kneeled beneath the tree and took the picture frame out of his back pocket. As he set it on the ground, he peered into the empty glass. It was such a boring sight, a plain blue Kyrii, but his entire life had been just as plain as his color and species. He was used to it.
But when Hannon slipped the picture into the frame; the picture was his prized possession and he had kept it in perfect condition for many years; he saw an entirely different face. It was the beautiful bubblegum-pink face of a pink Kyrii. She had a perfectly combed mane and silky chocolate brown hair that draped down her shoulders. She was wearing the most exquisite of dresses that would rival even that of a Royalgirl Kyrii. She was looking straight at the camera and her glistening icy blue eyes seemed to cut straight through Hannon's heart.
Rain began to splat on the grass around Hannon. It was a steady drip that was becoming increasingly faster. Icy hail as well as the now heavy rain began to pelt the ground of Neopia Central. Hannon barely seemed to notice, or if he did notice, he didn't really seem to care all that much. The canopy of oak tree leaves high above his head kept the rain out just as good as any man-made umbrella, and Hannon was thankful for it.
He settled the picture frame gently down at the base of the tree, leaning it against the rough brown bark. He sat back for a moment and beamed at the picture, and the Kyrii in it seemed to beam right back. Hannon felt as though he was floating, happiness bubbling up inside his chest.
Still the rain kept falling, falling.
Hannon took the red roses out of his pocket and stared at them, forcing his eyes to come away from the picture. And all at once, Hannon felt as though he was dropped. He was no longer soaring through the wispy clouds bathed in the orange and pink hues of the setting sun. He was plummeting through an eternal abyss, and nothing could stop his descent. He attempted to grab branches, trees, roots, anything that could save him from the fall, but every time he tried to reach his hand out, he pulled it back in for fear that it would do nothing. And eventually his heart hit rock bottom, and he crashed to the floor.
It was just how Hannon felt in real life. He wanted help, he wanted some closure, but every time he tried to tell the story to someone, every time that he asked, he stopped himself for fear that they would just ridicule and mock him and leave him felling lower than he had ever felt before. He was trapped.
Hannon reached out a shaky hand and gently placed the roses in front of the picture frame. The red brought out her eyes and made them sparkle with happiness, which Hannon hadn't remembered the picture to look like before.
And all at once, the rain stopped.
The clouds parted, revealing the sun shimmering over the horizon as it sank lower into the sky. Hannon's bland blue fur basked in the orange and pink light, but the heaviness from his heart couldn't be lifted by the astounding sight.
Forcing the words to come out of his mouth, Hannon turned to the picture once again. "I know this is nothing like the wild, wonderful celebrations full of dance, laughter, and many guests that we used to have, Evelyn, but I truly do hope that my small gesture of kindness is enough for you." He blinked his tears back and smiled at the Kyrii in the picture.
Hannon wasn't sure it was true, but at that moment, he felt something. It was as though Evelyn was still sitting right beside him, telling him wondrous fantasy stories of how great the rest of the world would be and giggling about how someday they were going to travel to the farthest corners of Neopia together. It was just like old times.
Hannon decided right then and there that that was enough closure for him. He was going to travel the world, just like it had always been Evelyn's dream. He would always be back on that particular day though, to place her picture and a bunch of roses under the canopy of the oak tree. It was his special tradition just for her, and he wouldn't stop it. Maybe next time he could bring back some exotic flowers from the jungles of Mystery Island. Evelyn would appreciate that, considering Mystery Island had always been her favorite place to talk about. She was enlightened with stories of the Tiki Tack Man and the Ghost Lupe, whom Hannon fought almost every day in the Battledome. He didn't have the nerve to tell her that.
Hannon looked skyward towards he shimmers of golden sunlight that were slowly fading away to black. "I'll travel the world for you," he whispered. And this time, he couldn't stop the flow of tears that cascaded down his cheeks and into the grass below. In a voice that was barely audible over the sounds of the rustling leaves and the gentle breeze, he whispered, "I'll miss you."
Author's note: Hi. This is, um... slightly more somber than my other stories, and doesn't include my Neopets at all. I decided I wanted to try something new, and I hope you like it. Also, I can proudly say this would be my tenth story in the Neopian Times. -Flames