Can You Remember?: Part Three
That night, Saeleah's dreams filled her brain with strange, hauntingly familiar images. She tossed and turned all night, flashbacks constantly hitting her, yet only quickly enough for her to catch a glimpse.
She's standing in the middle of the Endless Plains. The sky is grey and a rolling fog is surrounding her. Flashes of images play in the fog, but they become distorted as it moves, and she can hardly see them. She tries to reach out for them, but every time she reaches out her hoof, the images only distort more. Sounds she thinks she knows fill her ears, yet she can't hear them because they're all warped together into one strange taunting melody.
She sees a messy bedroom filled with supernova themed furniture and walls made of silver. Clothes litter the floor, and makeup and fur products line the dresser. It's so familiar yet it couldn't possibly be hers- her room is neat and organized and she doesn't have nearly that many clothes.
A Water Paint Brush dances before her eyes, even though she's sure she's never seen a real one in person, yet it looks as though she could grab it if she tried. The brush changes color and morphs into a Royal Paint Brush and she still doesn't understand why.
The brush vanishes completely and more visions fly across her eyes. They make her dizzy and she squeezes her eyes closed to shut them out, but she can still see them. Before her stands a young royal girl Acara, who stares up at her with eyes that seem to both admire and fear her, and she wants to comfort the child, but she fades away into the fog and suddenly her ears are filled with the sound of her own voice shouting insults at others, but she's not speaking.
Suddenly Saeleah's eyes fluttered open and she let out a gasp of fear and shock as she jumped, and had to grab onto the bed frame to avoid falling out of bed. Her heart was racing and beads of sweat had formed on her forehead. Taking a deep breath, Saeleah lay back down and wiped the sweat from her face, her arm trembling.
She managed to fall back asleep, but it was far from peaceful.
The next morning, Saeleah was exhausted. She had to drag herself out of bed for neoschool, and was yelled at by her teachers for laying her head down on her desk several times. Throughout the day she tried to not think about her nightmares, but the more she attempted to ignore the memories tugging at her brain, the more she found herself hit by flashbacks that she didn't enjoy.
She was envisioned with a human girl, with liquid brown eyes that should be kind and inviting, but currently appeared stressed and weary with defeat. She saw the angry, betrayed eyes of the white Hissi boring into her, and the concerned, caring face of an electric Gnorbu whose name she just could not place. She heard a voice that sounded so much like her own, yet different in the way that it was slipping snide comments and conceited remarks back and forth, and Saeleah wondered if they were truly words she had once spoken.
By the end of the day, Saeleah's eyes were drooped and baggy. The flashbacks were becoming more clear and vivid. She was starting to see real glimpses of who she was, who she used to be. It couldn't really have been her- could it? Had she really been such an awful person before her mind was wiped of her average thoughts and beliefs?
If the Uni she saw in her visions of the past had really been herself once, why was she so different now? Why had the erasing of her memory also changed her personality? There was only one way to find out, Saeleah decided. She had to start searching for her family again.
When Saeleah arrived home after school, she immediately told Caite everything.
"I keep getting these flashbacks of my life before the accident, and I don't know very much about my old life, but I do know that something drastic has changed. Somehow, I'm not the same person I was before the accident. I know I must've been pretty awful, and I think I hurt some people, but the only way to find it all out is to travel to my old home. The familiar surroundings will hopefully jog my memory, and it'll all come back. I've already recalled so much just from running into my old sister," Saeleah explained to her owner.
Caite thought for a moment before responding.
"I suppose that would work. And if you really feel that this is the way to get closure with your past, then I'll support you. I just hope that if what you said is true, that you don't revert back to the terrible person you think you were before. I don't want to lose you, Saeleah," she replied.
"I know, and I understand. I guess I can't guarantee that I won't become the old Saeleah, but I'll try my best not to, I promise," she said.
Suddenly, as Saeleah turned to go to her room, she felt a strange feeling tug at her heart. The last time she had made a promise, she had failed to keep it. She just couldn't remember what it had been.
* * *
Saeleah left for Neopia Central the following morning. She didn't pack anything, and left immediately after breakfast.
Saeleah flew by herself, but ensured that she stopped and rested at least once every hour. She wasn't sure why, as it held her up quite a bit, yet something in the back of her mind constantly nagged her to ensure she didn't push herself beyond her physical limits.
Saeleah arrived in Neopia Central by midday. While she ate lunch at Hubert's Hot Dogs, she pondered how she was going to track her old owner's address. Afterwards, as she was exiting the building, Saeleah realized just how familiar Neopia Central was to her. Without really thinking, she found herself making her way towards the neighborhoods, and down Wishing Well Drive.
She finally stopped at a three-story mansion made purely of gold and silver. The mansion, although familiar, still astonished Saeleah. It was huge, and beautiful. Some kind of intuition told her that this was the place where she'd used to live. As she approached the golden doors, she wondered why she would have ever run away from a home like this in the first place.
Saeleah knocked on the door. It was only a few seconds before the door was answered by a short human girl with messy brown hair and dull eyes. As the human looked down at the island Uni at her door, something in her eyes changed momentarily, and suddenly Saeleah stumbled back as the human leapt onto the Uni in a tight embrace.
"Oh, Saeleah, you've finally come home! I've missed you so much, we all have! I'm so sorry I yelled at you, thank goodness you're okay!" the girl cried.
Before Saeleah could reply, she was suddenly hit with another wave of flashbacks as it all came flooding back to her.
Everything, she remembered it all. She remembered her life, her family, her personality. She remembered leaving Janelle for a 'better' owner, all because she couldn't afford to buy a Water Paint Brush. She remembered struggling to fly to Faerieland by herself in the middle of the night with her packed food and clothes, and she remembered collapsing in the air and falling into the forest on the outskirts of Brightvale.
When Janelle broke away, Saeleah could see her eyes were filled with tears, yet they were still shimmering with happiness, and it almost wanted to make Saeleah cry too.
"Come on in, you can tell me everything," Janelle said, ushering Saeleah into the neohome and closing the door.
Saeleah followed Janelle into the living room where they sat down on a couch and Saeleah began her story.
Saeleah explained everything to Janelle. She told her about losing her memory, meeting Caite and Leyla, and her joining their family. Janelle listened intently, her eyes wide in shock and disbelief. When Saeleah was finished, nearly twenty minutes had passed and her throat had become dry from speaking so much.
"Wow," Janelle replied. "I never imagined anything like that happening to you. I had truly thought you'd found the home you were looking for, and didn't care about me anymore," Janelle said.
"I'm so sorry, Janelle. I never wanted to hurt you, even when I left. I guess I thought you didn't love me as much as my siblings," Saeleah explained.
"Oh Sae, you know that's not true!" Janelle exclaimed.
Saeleah smiled as she recalled her old nickname.
"I know that now. In a way, I think it's a good thing that all this happened. The experience changed me for the better," Saeleah said.
"I think you were always good deep down, Sae. I spoiled you so much when you were little that you grew into becoming selfish and conceited. When your memory was wiped, your mind worked the way it was before you had learned to act like a spoiled Uni," Janelle said.
"I guess you're right; I never thought about that," Saeleah replied.
They were both silent for a moment.
"What are you doing to do now? I know you love your new family, but we all really miss you here. Even Kalira does, believe it or not. We all want you back home," Janelle said.
Saeleah sighed, staring out the window.
"I really don't know. I don't want to leave Caite and Leyla, but I technically belong here. What can I do? Do I really have to choose?" Saeleah asked, looking at Janelle.
"I'm afraid so, you can't have two owners. But whatever you choose to do, I'll support you. If you want to stay with Caite, then you're welcome to. As long as you keep in touch," Janelle added with a small smile, and Saeleah laughed.
* * *
"Caite, I'm home!" Saeleah announced that evening as she walked through the front door.
Caite got up from her desk and went to greet Saeleah, along with Leyla.
"What happened?" Caite asked.
"I found them, my old family. Seeing Janelle brought back my entire memory, my entire life just came back to me all at once. I told her everything that happened. She wanted me to go back home with them, but I told her that I met an amazing family that I really fit in with, and wanted to stay here." Saeleah explained.
"But why didn't you want to stay with them?" Caite asked, confused.
"I did, but they don't need me as much as Leyla does, and this way Janelle can keep the Draik she'd adopted to fill my place," Saeleah said with a shrug.
"So you're going to stay my big sister?" Leyla asked happily.
"Of course I am!" Saeleah said, enveloping the plushie Kacheek in a hug. "I'm going to stay here forever."