The Apathy of Life
When I first glanced over and caught a glimpse of her fur I thought it was silver, and it instantly took me back to that night in the park. But as my head whipped around and I saw her in full I realized her fur was not silver...But grey. A grey Kougra. Her fur-while a depressing shade- shined and her eyes were rimmed by a little less red than most grey pets. As I squinted with the effort of getting a closer look I noticed that her eyes themselves were not sad like almost all grey pets. They were scared.
I looked away right as her gaze glanced over to me. She didn't notice my look of surprise to my relief. She was too caught up in meeting the entire family at once, much to her displeasure. Everyone was babbling greetings. Asking how she was, where she came from, how they were excited to have her in the family. And Rellexia talked over all the others, feeling the need to name every single pet under her roof.
Grumbling I pushed my chair away from the kitchen table and started towards the door.
“And that one there is Col- Ninja? Where are you going?” Rellexia asked worried.
“Out.” I said and pushed the door open.
I headed out to Neopian Central Park, where I used to skateboard, and walked around in endless circles for hours. There was something about the little Kougra that triggered my memories and it bothered me. A lot.
So I kept walking while trying to put my thoughts back to where they should be. The sun had long gone down, so I stuffed my hands in my pockets and buried my face in my scarf as I walked on. I had to go back to the house eventually...Preferably before sun up when I knew Rellexia would be snooping into my room to make sure that I got home fine.
I looked down at my watch, it was almost midnight. Time to head back. I walked back along the park's path, making sure to keep my head down as I came out into the Central. Night time was dangerous.
Sighing, I got up to the porch of our neohome. It wasn't the largest around, far from it for it could barely fit the entire family. But Rellexia decorated it pretty nicely. Not that I really pay that much attention.
I unlocked the door with my key and wiped my feet on the ugly welcome rug. When I looked up I almost screamed. The grey Kougra stood in the hallway in front of me, looking equally shocked if not completely petrified.
“What are you doing?” I hissed.
“I-i was j-just...”
I sighed. Apparently I'd terrified the girl so much she couldn't even speak. While she searched for the right words I closed the door behind me and hung my coat up.
“I was looking for the bathroom...” She finally said.
“It's up the stairs then to the right at the end of the hallway.” I said while starting to head towards my room. The Kougra didn't move.
“What's your name?” She asked so softly I almost didn't hear. She could barely talk earlier and now she’s asking questions? What a bother.
“Coldninja, but they shorten it and just call me Ninja”
“Oh.” Was all she said in response.
I took that as my chance to leave, and walked past her towards my room down the hall. I heard her footsteps as she walked away towards the bathroom.
I glanced back at her before disappearing into my room.
A few days passed where I rarely spoke to my family. I had made a habit of staying within my room, leaving only if I wanted to go for a walk. I'd been walking a lot the past week. The other day I had forgotten my key to get back in and ended up having to shove my way through the cluttered garage to get into the house. I'd banged my foot hard against a box and, cursing, looked down to see a box of all my old skateboards. I had thought Rellexia would have tossed them out ages ago.
I picked up the newest one. I had gotten it for my birthday the year I'd become a ghost. It was still brand new, I'd never used it.
Now I held it under my arm as I sneaked down the hallway, being sure to avoid every creaky board. It was around eleven at night and the moon was full and shining. Everyone was sleeping.
I got to the park and found the spot I often practiced at when I was still alive. Sighing, I ran my hands over the new board. I'd never been on it, and I was out of practice.
Dropping the board I got on, balancing much easier than what I had expected given I hadn't been on a skateboard in well over a year, and pushed off. Trees whizzed by and, after I didn't wipe out, I started going through some of the basic tricks I'd mastered not many years ago. I felt my confidence rise as, stunt by stunt I succeeded, and didn't end up eating a face full of dirt as I'd originally imagined. Maybe I hadn't skated in years, but I was still good.
Then I got a little too confident and tried sliding down a stair railing. It didn't work out as I'd hoped. I skidded and the board fell from under me, leaving me to tumble the rest of the way down.
I spat out blood from where I had bitten my lip and sat up. I'd hit the ground on my side and skidded the pavement about a foot. Luckily my clothes turned out to be rather durable, I only had two medium sized scrapes on the side of my right arm and leg.
“Are you okay?”
I froze, alarmed. I hadn't seen anybody out besides me. As slowly as I could make myself I turned and looked around.
It was the grey Kougra.
“Are you okay?” She asked again while walking up, concern in her eyes.
“Yeah.” I replied, not looking at her as she sat down next to me. I wiped the blood off of my lip again with my jacket sleeve.
“Here.” she said, pulling out a handkerchief. Before I could stop her she had already pulled my dirty sleeve up and tied it around the scrape.
“Hey!” I snapped. She looked up startled as I started to get up. “I don't need your help.” She looked puzzled as she got up, following me.
“Doesn’t it hurt?”
I snorted and kept walking back towards the house, trying not to wince as my pants rubbed against the scrape on my leg. She walked next to me in silence, rarely looking up from the ground.
“I'm Ghosti by the way.” She said, almost a whisper. I glanced at her briefly before turning my gaze back to the path ahead of us. Her name was Ghosti and I was a ghost Aisha. Hilarious.
“Well Ghosti, don't waste your time trying to help out okay? I know how to deal with scrapes just fine, better probably than you can.” She stayed silent. “And what are you doing out here anyway? You're not following me around are you?”
“I couldn't sleep.” She said quietly, not looking up.
After some time walking in silence she spoke up again.
“Have...Have you ever lived with a different family?”
I shot her a weird look. What was this girl babbling about? Wasting her energy to ponder questions whose answers didn't even matter to her. How irritating.
“No. I was created by Rellexia.”
She hesitated a few minutes before replying, and when she did it was even quieter.
“Do you...” She paused as her voice cracked. “Do you think Rellexia will get rid of me?”
I stopped to stare at her. Where had this come from suddenly? The longer she walked with me the weirder and weirder she got. But when she glanced up briefly I saw that her eyes were glazed with tears. She was honestly scared.
I sighed. People never came to me for advice or comforting, they were all smart enough not to. But this girl Ghosti was obviously just different.
Just like the silver Kougra I used to know.
“No. Once Rellexia takes in a pet she never rehomes them. You're stuck with us so you better get used to it.”
She blinked. And then did something I'd never seen her do in the week she’d been with us. She smiled, making her tears spill down over her cheeks.
“Thank you...” She sniffled as she wiped the tears off. After that she didn't speak the whole way home.
Thank you for what? I hadn't done anything. Even after we got home and parted ways to our rooms I kept thinking about it, much to my annoyance. I lost hours of sleep just staring up and the ceiling.
She reminded me a lot of Lillie, not just that they were both Kougras or that grey was close to silver but in their unwavering selflessness. She wasn’t Lillie though, Lillie wasn’t here anymore but Ghosti was. Cracking a small smile I finally began drifting off into sleep as I wondered exactly how I’d managed to cheer somebody up that day. I wondered if I could do it again.