I'll Never Forget
The Neopian Times is a good place to have fun reading the articles and stories resting inside, but it's also a place where evil ideas are set into the minds of perfectly good Neopians. The idea of a perfect family can be placed there, as well as the wish to have a heartwarming story to happen under their very roof, despite the fact that they already have a great family already.
Ideas such as the poor pound pet who comes into the nice pet will be put there, and the wish to have that happen entered into the mind of my owner, Serenity. I was the youngest of four pets, and out of all of us, only Jaimy had been painted. She was a pretty pink Acara, thanks to a random fountain faerie quest that Serenity had gotten one day while shopping for some food.
The rest of us were a normal color. My oldest brother Kyle was a blue Korbat, and my youngest brother Tai was a green Bori. I myself was a red Uni. We lived pretty happily and comfortably, even if we didn't have the most neopoints. I was able to get my weekly dose of small rasmelon smoothies and the latest issue of the NT. However, I usually read the series, and Serenity took the short stories, which were usually packed full of the heartwarming stories I now despise.
One day our happiness ended. I was sitting on the floor near the couch, delicately turning over the pages of the NT as I read all of the series, even the new ones. My mind was currently filled with the adventure of a green aisha as she rescued her friend from the clutches of Dr. Sloth. I snickered as I read how she slipped on some leftover pizza. This author knew how to make somebody laugh.
Serenity walked in the door, with the glint of a plan shining through her eyes. She looked exactly like she were about to do something shocking, and we pets were going to face the brunt of it.
Her eyes gazed down on me, and I suddenly realized that they weren't full of the kindness that they'd held this morning. My ears flattened and my heart began to race. What exactly was her plan?
"Lerina," she said. "Come with me."
I didn't know what she was thinking, but I was sure that it was no good at all. Slowly I picked myself up off of the floor, and cautiously made my way towards her, even if she wasn't a stranger. She ran her hand through my frosty pink mane as we walked outside.
"Where are we going?" I asked, hoping that the answer wasn't going to be something horrible.
"You'll see," was all she stated.
She led me down the gravel road, and onto the paved one that led to the heart of Neopia Central. A cold gust of wind blew on me and I shivered. She normally always told us where we were going whenever one of us went out on a small trip with her, like to the Lost Desert to pick up a petpet. I used to have a djuti, but he was really annoying and tended to bombard Tai whenever he got the chance to steal some of his fur. I remember cringing whenever I heard the Bori yelp from some other part of the house. We eventually sold him to a really annoying Bori who wouldn’t take the warnings we gave her.
I giggled as I remembered the memory, and earned a strange look from Serenity, who acted like I knew what she was about to do. That quenched my laughter awful fast.
I stopped when I saw where we were going. I stood there, frozen, and stared at Serenity until she stopped moving and looked back at me. We stood in front of a building that was painted a light brown and had dark brown tiles on its roof. Outside of it stood a bunch of flowers, a small brick wall on the left side, with a bunch of outdoor cages on the back that led to ones inside in case pets wanted a little fresh air. My breath caught in my throat as I stood outside the pound.
“Why are we here?” I asked, my owner trying to push me toward it.
“I want another pet,” she stated, finally managing to get me to move an involuntary step towards that awful place.
“I’m not good enough?” I asked.
“Of course you are,” said Serenity. “I just... want to have something amazing happen. I want to adopt a pet.”
“Why?” I asked. “You already have us!”
Serenity couldn’t answer. We stood there silently for a moment or two, and I thought about what she was going to do to me. She wanted to take me to the pound, that was for sure. Obviously she had never loved me as much as owners loved their pets in all of the stories. She didn’t want to keep me enough to not want another pet, especially a painted one if that was what she was after. I really hoped that Serenity loved me, but if she didn’t, I didn’t want to stay with her. I’d rather have my chances at finding somebody who would.
I cautiously took a step forward, and allowed Serenity to take me inside. She dumped the neopoints on the abandon desk, and quickly signed the forms. Throughout the whole thing, I kept on crying despite what I knew she felt, and sniffled as I was led into the cages.
As I was put into my cage, I saw her wandering around, looking at some pets. To my surprise, they were all the most sick looking and the most plain ones. My stomach clenched as she petted the head of a green Wocky with the jitters. She was twitching left and right and couldn’t stay in one place for long. I felt very sympathetic at the sight of her.
My ex-owner eventually left with the Wocky, and I had a feeling that she was going to and heal it. I wished the Wocky the best of luck, even if she had stolen my owner.
As soon as she left, however, I suddenly felt all alone. I’d probably never see my brothers or my sister ever again. A cloud of gloom settled over me. In the stall right next to me, a red Yurble gave me a look of curiosity. He had his paws gripping the metal bars, and had his face pressed against them. It made me feel as if I were a petpet in a Neopian Zoo, and it seriously annoyed me.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I asked, glancing at him.
“I think you’re taking this too hard,” he said. “I’m Zach, by the way.”
“Lerina,” I said shortly.
“Look,” he said. “If your owner put you here, she... or he... obviously didn’t want you.”
“Don’t you think I already figured that out?” I shot back.
“Sorry,” he said, and backed down. I lay down and rested my head on my hooves. Now what was I going to do? I had no owner, no likely chance of being adopted unless it was by one of those people who zap pets to look better, and I really didn’t want to risk being put back in as another species, or even... *shudder*... a guy. If a zapper owner wanted to adopt me, I would refuse, even if it meant staying in here longer.
Several owners walked through the pound today, as well as a bunch who’d just put a painted pet in the pound. I watched all of the painted pets get adopted without a second thought, and just lay there, peeking through the mane that had splayed in front of my eyes.
Zach just stood there, looking as if he were brimming with confidence. He had a bright gleam in his eye, and he’d caught the look of several owners that had walked through here.
“Cheer up,” he told me. “You’ll get adopted in no time.”
“Yeah right,” I said, turning my head away from my ‘friend’. He seemed to be a bundle of cheer, something I didn’t really want to deal with right now. However, he kept on bugging me for several minutes until somebody came up to him.
“Good morning!” the boy said, grabbing the bar with one hand. He looked about thirteen years old, and he had a foolish looking smile on his face. “I’m Space_bar5000. Would you like to be my pet?”
“Would I!” he said. The Yurble then glanced at me. “Are you going to be alright, Lerina?”
I snorted at the dirt a few inches from my nose. Why should I answer him? He was being adopted, and I would be all alone, even if he was the most annoying Yurble on Neopia. I looked down at my hooves.
Zach was adopted, and a few moments later, a depressed looking yellow Xweetok was placed in the cell he’d just occupied. Her sad antics were even worse than Zach’s had been, and I eventually sat right behind the bars, peering out of them in a hope to get out of here. She was probably going to be in here longer than he had been.
A girl with blond hair entered the pound, and I perked my ears up. She looked nicer than Serenity had, and the moment I saw her, I wanted her to be my owner. A thought nibbled at my heart saying that she was probably a zapper owner, but I kept on shoving it aside, wanting to prove otherwise.
She looked at me, and my heart leapt into my throat.
“Are you Lerina?” she asked. I nodded. She spoke again. “I’m Starbells_. A red Yurble told me outside that I’d find you in here, and I’d probably want to adopt you. My younger brother was in here earlier, and he’d just adopted him.”
“Will you?” I asked. She really was nicer than Serenity had been. Serenity had adopted Tai from the pound, and didn’t even bother to talk to him at all before she’d paid the neopoints to bring him home. I hoped that Starbells would say yes. I really did. Despite the fact that I loved my old family, I realized that even though I wasn’t going to be part of their home anymore, I’d still have their memories, and I knew how to get to the neohome from Neopia Central. I could go and chat with them any time I wanted to.
“Of course,” said the girl, and paid the neopoints that that led me into a brighter future.
The next time I saw Zach, it was a few weeks later, and I’d been painted. I was still getting used to looking at black hooves because I was now shadow. I hardly recognized him, too, because Starbells had helped him to paint him starry. We both looked and felt very happy, because neither of us had to put on acting shows for our owners.
Our siblings were playing around as we saw each other. Before I had my experience in the pound, I’d thought that all of the pets in there were whiny little pity-me creatures. Being in there had taught me otherwise, and I figured, had made me a better pet altogether. I now looked at the pound with greater respect.
“Thanks, Zach!” I said, hugging him tightly. “I’ll never forget what you did. Even if we get separated for some odd reason, I’ll love you like a brother!”