This is how I imagined my own storyline with my pets - MajaLeone, Tamerick, and Dilllliey, of course!
“Maja!” Tamerick called frantically. “Forrest is eating my Yurble Tales!”
Oh no. Not again! Forrest always managed to chew up Tam’s books before he could open them. And this time it was the copy of Yurble Tales that Darth, my owner, had found for him.
I raced down the hall towards Tamerick’s room. “Forrest, no! Bad!” I started shouting before I even got there. I flung open the door, and there was my Pyon, staring at me with eyes as wide as the Turmaculus’ stomach, caught red-handed with a page labeled ‘41’ in his mouth.
“Forrest, you HAVE petpet food already,” I lectured back in my room. “I don’t see why Tam’s new books seem more delicious to you.”
Forrest hissed at me. I set him down of his petpet bed and left him to sulk. Later that drizzly afternoon I told Micky all about it. Micky is the most reliable one I can talk to. Forrest is reliable, sure, when he isn’t being punished for eating Tamerick’s new stories or homework.
By the way, Micky is a plushie. If you want to get specific, he’s a re-sewn Shoyru plushie. I remember when Darth got him for me. We were first starting out, and not with a lot of Neopoints. Darth went out to the Money Tree, and came back groaning. She had three rotten shoes, a piece of driftwood, a broken fishing pole, two different growths of kelp, a third of an omelette, a broken toy sailboat... I had watched in dismay as she brought them each out of her bag. I watched for the tenth item, most likely a serving of Maggot Stew. But no, it was ten billion times better – Darth had brought out Micky, the old plushie some heartless pet got tired of. And I loved him. Darth, of course, was glad to know there was at least one item in her sack worth keeping. I haven’t lost track of Micky since. He’s really special to me. But friends at Neoschool teased me about him at a sleepover once. So I’ve never told anybody else. Not even Tam knows. And he’s my own brother!
So I tell Micky about everything. I was just saying how Forrest should like a sand box so he doesn’t dig up Darth’s flower garden, when the door was knocked on. I called for them to enter. It was Darth.
“Oh? Hi, Darth!” I said, setting Micky on my nightstand. I don’t worry about her seeing him. “What’s new?”
“A lot, actually, MajaLeone,” she said seriously. She never calls me MajaLeone instead of Maja unless it’s serious.
“Ok, uh, fire away.” I moved into a cross-legged position.
“Well....” she began. “See, a while ago, just before I got you, I had another account, and another pet.” She barely paused to see my expression, and continued quickly on. “His name was Dilllliey, Dilly for short, but he wasn’t supposed to be on that account and so I made this one. But, see, I loved Dilly and couldn’t leave him, so when I say I’m going to the Food Store the second time each week, I really go see Dilly. And I don’t like lying to you and just as much like seeing him once a week, so I’ve decided it would be best to just transfer him here. I’m sorting out the papers and he’ll be here next week.”
I dropped my legs and let them dangle over the side of the bed. My palms sweated under my fur. My Xweetok tail twitched. I didn’t know to feel angry, shocked, hurt that Darth had been lying to me, or again, angry.
Darth looked uncomfortable too, and so she continued, “He’s about Tamerick’s age, so he’s older than you, and he’s a yellow Flotsam. But we’re going to use that Starry Paint Brush on him.”
Now I knew to feel angry. That Starry Paint Brush had been a gift from a close Neofriend. How could she use it on that Flotsam, and not me, when I had asked to be painted?
“Oh, Maja, please don’t be angry,” Darth said. “I was thinking that we could save up for a Striped Paint Brush for you. Starry... Maja, I can’t see you that way.”
I could! How had this happened? Five minutes ago life had been as good as a jug of fresh Phearade, and now it was upside-down! I knew what to feel, but not what to do.
Luckily, Forrest had heard the entire thing. And HE at least knew what he was doing. He hissed at Darth loudly and kept moving toward her until she was backed out of the room. I would, under normal circumstances, have never let him do that. But like I said, this was not under any normal conditions. I shut the door with Darth still standing in the hallway. Then I ran to my bed and cried, then cried and punched my pillow. Somebody knocked on the door again. Forrest hissed, sniffed the door, and backed away. He went back to sleep on his petpet bed, and I knew it must not be Darth at the door. So it was obviously Tamerick.
I got up and opened it. My brother seemed surprised when he saw my tear-stained face.
“What happened? Did Darth tell you?” Tam asked, concerned.
I sniffled in reply. “I don’t want him here.”
“Actually, Maj,” Tam said (Maj is what he calls me). “I looked up this Dilly guy, and he’s actually kind of cool. Did you know that--”
“No,” I said before he could finish. “And I don’t want to, either. You be on his side, fine, but I’m not. And I’m not on Darth’s side, either. She lied to us, Tamerick, don’t you see? She wasn’t going to the Food Shop each of those weeks. She was going to see Dilly!”
Tamerick’s face darkened. “She didn’t add that when she talked to me.”
He was holding a piece of paper. It had a picture of a yellow Flotsam labeled Dilllliey on it. He dropped it and walked back to his room repeating quietly, “Lying... she was lying all that time... lying to me...”
I closed my door again. This time I fell asleep before I could repeat it to Micky.
For days we waited, Tamerick and I, while Darth sorted everything out. She was gone all day every day. It rained all of those days.
Finally, on the rainiest day of them all, Darth went to pick up Dilly at the Pound’s transfer office. Forrest hates the rain, so he slept the entire time Darth was gone. I only had Micky to talk to, but, honestly, I was mad at everyone and everything, so I didn’t even want to talk to him. Tears came on; tears fell, like every day since Darth had announced Dilly’s transfer. Each day up in my room seemed so long that I thought if I saw my owner now, we’d actually have catching up to do. I was thinking about how it was the worst week of my entire life and was about to start talking to my plushie when I remembered Darth’s words, “....so when I say I’m going to the Food Store for the second time each week, I’m really going to see Dilly.” Or, “But we’re going to paint him with that Starry Paint Brush.” It was like poking the coals of my anger: the flame shot out of the cinders as everybody thought it had died down, and came back bigger and hotter than ever before. I clenched my fists and threw my pillow to the ground. I tore down my old Usuki poster.
Then I did something I had never done and never will again – I grabbed Micky and threw him to the wall.
He hit my billboard and it came down with a crash on top of him, knocking on its way down my soccer trophies. It all came down on top of Micky. I heard several cracks and ran over to the scene. My trophies were chipped; tacks and papers fell out of the billboard. But Micky was torn; his tail, many times re-sewn, had fallen apart. And one of his button eyes hung on its string. I cried. I flopped down on my bed without picking anything up, and sobbed. And again, like all the difficult nights before, I wept till I slept.
When I awoke at around 3:45 pm, it was pouring still. My billboard still lay on the ground, and the trophies remained as before, but my ripped plushie was gone. I was wondering how that could’ve happened when I heard voices in Tamerick’s room. A strange voice, and my brother’s, too. They were discussing books. The door opened down the hall and my brother went downstairs with whoever was here – probably Dilly.
Then I suddenly knew what’d happened to Micky: Darth must’ve come in, saw the mess, scooped up my poor plushie, and threw him away, not knowing what he was! And I’d slept through it all! I sprinted downstairs, ready to hunt through our trash can for Micky. I was so frantic that I bumped right into a sleek starry form and hit the ground with a crash and a moan.
“Oh my gosh!” the pet said. “I’m so sorry! Here, are you ok?”
I wiped away tears that had been lingering in my eyes but now spilled like waterfalls. I said nothing, and didn’t take the starry fin that the Flotsam held out to me. I jumped up, whimpering softly, and ran back upstairs. While Tamerick called for me to come back, and Darth came out from the kitchen holding a baguette to see what’d happened, Dilly remained ever silent. He watched me disappeared down the hall, and then turned to the trash can. I had been eyeing it – I’d seen Micky on the very top, if not under a Bitten Green Apple. And now Dilly saw it too.
I did not go down to dinner that night. Would you? Anyway, I stayed in my room all the next day, too, no matter how hungry I got; and there was a bottle of water in my soccer bag if I got thirsty. It rained all day for the millionth time until I thought our house would become part of Maraqua. But Dilly, that Flotsam that had interrupted my wonderful life, loved the rain. And since Dilly loved it, of course Tamerick had to love it too. It was afternoon before somebody knocked on my door. I heard whoever it was put something down, and then say in a very mild tone –
“MajaLeone? I won’t ask to come in. I know you don’t want me here, and I’m sorry. I never meant to ruin anything for you.”
That was all. And then nobody was at the door. I cracked it open twenty minutes later, and there was a big round package, an envelope, and a bag, neatly wrapped with tissue paper. I brought them in, closed the door again, and sat on my bed to open them.
The first package, the round one, was a big red Bouncy Ball. Darth must’ve told Dilly how Forrest and I loved to bop balls around. But no, there was a note attached; a sticky note. It said – ‘Nurano and I love to see how long we can head butt the ball back and forth before one of us drops it. Tamerick said you had a petpet. Do you like to play with yours, too?’
I guessed this ‘Nurano’ was whatever lived in that fish bowl Tamerick had been cleaning the night before, when I had bumped into Dilly.
The envelope was what I opened next. I read the message in neat handwriting –
I’m sorry for the short notice. Darth said she only gave you a week’s time to adjust to the idea of a new brother. I had no idea... D has been talking to me about my transfer for months now. I really hope we’ll get along. The night D told you and Tamerick about me, your brother sent me a Neomail, telling me all about your Pyon, Forrest. So I’ve gotten my Nuranna, Nurano, all excited about meeting him. Also, D has explained that you were looking forward to being painted Starry. I couldn’t believe that she took that away from you... but I promise to play a ton of games so I can get you a paintbrush, too.
Oh, and by the way, I found something that belongs to you, I believe. When I found it, D told me all about him... and he seems pretty special to you. I know if I ever lost Mikey, I would be panicking. So I raided the sewing closet.
By now I really wanted to see what was in the bag the envelope had been attached to. And what I pulled out made my cry for joy – it was Micky, all in one piece, with some new stitches and a new button eye to replace the loose one. A photo was stuck onto him with tape; an image of a young yellow Flotsam hugging a Faerie Techo Plushie with a whole lot of patches close to him. I finished reading the note:
Enjoy your re-re-sewn plushie. –Dilly, proud to be your brother
And now I can tell you... if you ever go into Dilly’s room, you won’t find a ton of toys – just that Faerie Techo Plushie, Mikey respectfully, sitting on his bed.