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Evina waited patiently in his seat and watched as his father returned to the spaceship. The stress was clearly etched in the lines of Gyro's face. He climbed inside and started the engine without speaking.
"So," Evina said, "are we going now?"
"I think you and I need some cheering up first," Gyro suggested. "This could be one last chance to find a friend to come with us and a final memory to have of Toontown."
Evina wasn't sure if he understood what Gyro was talking about. Does he know that I saw the end of that conversation? The spaceship rose higher and higher into the sky, increasing to high speed and heading out to the ocean in the distance. "Where exactly are we going?"
"Have you already forgotten about your best friend? It's Harry!"
Evina's heart was flooded with a powerful rush of nostalgia. "What!? How could I forget?" He suddenly remembered what he had heard his father say earlier that morning, how Harry and Clara were now living on a tropical island. Looking back behind the ship, the world of Toontown was moving far away, and there was nothing but the beautiful, blue water below him.
Despite living the past few months in Duckburg, he still hadn't taken any time to visit the beach. It was one of those experiences he never got around to trying. But that was about to change. He was excited to see the ocean. He was excited to see Harry again. Of course, Harry would come with them. Nobody had talked about wanting to explore the tooniverse more than he.
For a few minutes, Evina sat back and watched the waves below. They looked so small from that height. At the speed they were flying, it wouldn't take long to reach any place on the planet. Then, on the horizon, something came into sight. It had to be Oldman Island. They circled around the small piece of land and descended, carefully resting on a beautiful, sandy beach.
Evina immediately hopped out, and his feet sank into the hot sand. It was surprising at first, but he got used to it. Footsteps were approaching him from behind. He turned around to see a red rabbit.
"Oh, hi guys!" Clara greeted them. She was wearing a straw hat and sunglasses. "We were wondering if you were ever going to show up. Harry is inside. He'll be so happy to see you."
The two of them followed her. Evina was a little nervous about talking to Harry, but the interesting atmosphere was more than enough to occupy his attention and keep him calm.
They came to a large, bamboo structure that looked like quite the exotic home. Once entering through the front door, Evina was hit with a breeze of mildly warm air and tropical fragrances. To his surprise, the inside was even more colorful than the outside world. Every surface was decorated with artifacts that were completely foreign to him.
Harry was found sitting in a reclining chair and snoring slightly. He was dressed similarly as his wife, wearing shorts with a shirt that had colorful, flowery patterns all over it. He was lying directly under the skylight in the ceiling. The sun provided almost all the light for the room, and Harry was at its center. Everything about him was much younger than Evina remembered. After being redrawn, he became refreshed again, and he hoped to stay that way for a while. It was going to take some time for Evina to get used to how he looked now.
Suddenly, Harry woke up. He rubbed his eyes and looked around. At the sight of the visitors, his eyes grew wide. "Evina!" They ran to each other and hugged. "I haven't seen you for months! How have you been doing?"
"I'm fine," Evina admitted, even though there were many worries on his mind. "Uh, I have something to talk to you about. Do you think I could speak to you... alone?"
Harry hadn't been expecting to hear something like this so soon. "Oh, uh, sure. Let's go in here." He walked into the adjacent room and sat down at a table. This looked like the dining room, and it was lit from a window in the back. A tropical forest was in the distance.
Evina sat opposite to him and anxiously looked into his friend's face. "I need to get this off my chest," he said. "We are going on another adventure today. Now, I don't know exactly how dangerous it will be, but we can't find a single toon to come with us. I know how much fun you had leading that last adventure, and I wondered if you wanted to come."
Harry's smile vanished, and Evina was filled with horror, just as he had feared. He already knew what the answer was.
"I'm sorry," Harry whispered, breaking eye contact.
"Let me quote you," Evina interrupted. "It would be my dream to explore other worlds in the tooniverse."
"Listen," Harry said. His voice was stern now. "Do you remember what happened at the end of our trip?"
Evina sat still and silent like before. He listened patiently, even though he hated every word of it.
"We went to face the cogs and... I died. To be perfectly honest, everyone died."
Evina closed his eyes and breathed heavily.
Harry continued. "Do you know why I aged? I was stressed, much too stressed. I wasn't supposed to let that happen to me. It does bad things to toons. As you have already seen, Scrooge's obsession with money isn't healthy for his appearance, either. You know what I mean, right?"
Evina opened his eyes but turned his head. He was too afraid to answer or look into Harry's eyes.
"We are sitting here today because of an unforeseen miracle. We wouldn't be here if it weren't for your... um–"
"My problem," Evina said in a nasty voice, "my curse."
"I know you all see me for who I am, a monster, just like my father!"
"No! What you've been given is special! I know you've probably been told this before, but please try to listen, just try to understand. Your change may not be curable, it's not something you wanted, and it's not something you chose to get at all. You didn't do a thing to deserve it, but it is important, nonetheless. Without it, we wouldn't be alive! And who knows what other use it could serve for toonkind?"
Evina tried his best to not let any tears fall.
"You have a blessing that none of us can claim, it's an entirely different perspective. Do you know just how valuable that is? Although you can't fully understand us, just like we might not understand you, this difference is vital to our world. If you think about the pros instead of the cons, you will feel better. That is the only way you will ever learn to accept this."
Evina stood up to leave the room. "Thanks for talking with me, Harry."
In the main room, Evina plopped down on a chair next to the one that Harry had used. He was feeling uneasy. What are we still doing here? He already said no. Coming here was all for nothing. How am I supposed to make my time here useful?
Then he spotted something on a nearby table, under the lamp. It was a pamphlet that explained the theme of their home. He opened to see pictures of happy-looking humans on a beach. It took him only a couple of minutes to read through it. Apparently, all these unique things were inspired by a place called Hawaii, a place that happened to be on Earth. That world sounded like such a bizarre place. He thought about their journey ahead, undoubtedly full of discoveries and terror. Knowing that it would just be he and his father, the terror would probably be more likely.
A phonograph was sitting next to the spot where the pamphlet had been, waiting to have its record played. Evina turned it on and set the needle to the beginning. He heard a form of music, very peaceful, quiet, slow, and calming. It was probably from Hawaii as well.
Evina didn't know where the others had gone to, but they returned moments later. Gyro sat down in another chair while Clara brought Evina a drink. The glass had a tiny, pink umbrella floating on top. He took a sip and tasted a tart mixture of many odd fruits. It was good though.
He leaned back and closed his eyes. He embraced the sunlight. The panic began to fade away, leaving a dull pain behind. Traveling alone with Gyro might not be that bad now that he thought more about it. At least they couldn't complain about the problem, because they each had it. They were together on the same level now, regardless of it they were perceived as above or below others. There would be fewer heads to feed and fewer silly toons running around. Maybe that would save them some trouble.
They were going to discover many things out there, but what he secretly hoped most of all was that he could discover who he was on the inside. He sought the true Evina. His identity was still so confusing, even after having his mind reopened. It seemed as though the thing had touched his life in many ways, even from the very beginning. Perhaps this uncertainty with himself was the reason why he felt the need to be validated. Real friends were hard to come by and seldom stayed. It was the pattern of his life. Still, he was genuinely going to miss Harry. The moment he landed on the island, he started feeling those familiar emotions, the ones he hadn't felt for months. It was nice for a change, but also so difficult to leave behind at a time like this.
Wanting to think alone some more, he got up and headed outside to the beach. Now he would have more time to examine the scenery. The island wasn't very large, but it was very tranquil. Coconut trees dotted the landscape. He sat down under one of the trees and watched the waves crash against the shore with a quiet whooshing noise. This was much more serene than the busy harbor at Donald's Dock. After a couple of minutes, the noises of the water blended together like a whisper. He could feel the wind. It felt cool and smelled salty. A seagull squawked somewhere in the distance.
On his side, he found a bunch of shells. He spent time chucking them one by one into the deep, blue waters, seeing how far they could go. But soon, he was interrupted by the sounds of footsteps in the sand. Gyro came to see him, and he was now wearing a strange wreath around his neck made of colorful flowers.
"Are you ready to go now, son?"
"Just a little bit longer," Evina said. He was finally beginning to accept going alone with his father now. His feelings of being a monster were pushed out of his mind, at least for the time being.
"I hope you don't hate me." It wasn't Gyro who spoke but Harry. Evina turned around again to see Harry standing there with a look of shame on his face.
"I could never hate you," Evina smiled. He jumped up and embraced his friend in one last hug. "I'll see you again soon," he assured him, but the statement sounded strange and insincere. He knew the adventure could take a lot longer than anticipated, and there was still the possibility that he might not return at all. He wondered if his mysterious change would increase their chance of survival.
"Have a great adventure!" Harry waved at them as they walked back to the ship. Evina looked back. He wanted to cherish this moment, but he struggled to fight back his many fears.
Evina only now noticed that Gyro was carrying a briefcase. It was probably given to him by Harry. He wondered what it was about but felt that now was not the time to ask that question.
Evina kicked the sand off his feet as he climbed inside. Then he headed to his seat to rest again. It was amusing to see that Gyro's little helper wearing its own little wreath out of tiny flower petals, hanging around its small, lightbulb head. As the doors shut, and they rose into the air, he looked down at the island, seeing the small figures below waving up at them. He savored the moment, and he felt so many different things. But most importantly, for just a moment, he felt happy.
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