The Hard Life: Tales of a Lab Rat - Part Two
Months passed as Gary sat in his cage, waiting for his owner to come in. But they never came. His Ogrin buddy had been taken away a while ago by some eager new owner, and Gary knew that his pal would have a good life. If only he could have his old life back, before that wretched laboratory had come along...
But one bright September morning, everything seemed it would be changed. A rich looking Neopian came walking in to the building. Gary had seen this person before. They took out basic Neopets, and weeks later returned with some brand new pet to transfer to some new owner. Gary supposed it wasn’t considered abandoning if the pet was going right to a new owner. This Neopian was dressed in a black blazer, a tie, sunglasses, and some fancy black pants and shoes. Gary stared at this person, wondering who would be the next lucky one out of this place.
And as this Neopian advanced towards Gary, his heart began beating faster than it had in a long time. He tried not to get his hopes up, but it seemed so possible! He had been in this cage for so long, he had to go to a home soon! He had to! And that’s when this Neopian stopped to stare at Gary. He scrutinized every aspect of his body. This made Gary feel a bit uncomfortable, but figured it was better than being ignored. The man walked back to the front desk, talked to the Uni, and pointed at Gary. Now Gary was completely thrilled, and nothing could let him down!
The Uni came over, smiled at Gary, and said, “It’s your lucky day today, Gary!” After that, the cage was unlocked, the door was slid open, and for the first time in months Gary was taken out of that cage, and out of that building! Gary was walked back to his new home. The whole walk back, Gary stared at his owner, but the look was never returned. The man just stared forward, walking a fast pace.
Well, after somewhere near ten to fifteen minutes of walking, Gary and his new owner finally turned a corner to a very long driveway. With every crunching step Gary took, he wondered how big a house could be with a driveway this long. He didn’t need to wonder for long, however, because as they came around the last bend Gary could see what must’ve been a 4-story mansion towering over him. He couldn’t get inside of that building soon enough.
Eager to see what the interior was like, Gary vigorously opened the door, to find something that shocked him. There were tens of Neopets, walking around everywhere! There were Shoyrus and Skeiths, blue ones and red ones. Some Neopets had a very strange look to them, however, a look that Gary had never seen before. One Blumaroo almost seemed to be made of chocolate...
Before he had too much time to ponder this, Gary was nudged inside by his new owner. For the first time since they’d met, this man looked at Gary and smiled. He seemed to ponder something for a moment, then said: “Welcome to your new home, Gary! Your room is right up the stairs, and I’m sure that one of your new siblings can show you the way.” As he said this, that chocolatey Blumaroo came walking over, and told Gary to follow him. And Gary did follow, as he stared in awe at this Blumaroo’s mysterious looks.
Finally, after a fancy spiral staircase, some long corridors, and a few corners, the Blumaroo opened a door labeled “144”. Gary followed him inside, and gasped at his new room. It was amazing! The walls were painted as red as his scales were. There was a huge bed sitting in the far corner of the room. Before you could get to the bed, you had to pass several shelves FILLED with toys! Oh, how great this would be for Gary once he could get himself settled in.
But then, Gary remembered that Blumaroo, who was just standing there, waiting for something. Finally, Gary broke the silence.
“How do you look like that?” he said, not intending to sound rude.
The Blumaroo turned his gaze over to Gary, and replied: “The magical ray has done it to me, and countless other changes. You will be going to the ray soon too. Everybody here gets to go once every month.” At first Gary was trying to imagine this excellent, chocolate-coated ray gun. It had to be so much nicer than the one that had mutated him into a Grarrl! But then, the Blumaroo’s words penetrated Gary’s mind. Countless other changes. But does that mean...
Suddenly it all made sense. Every pet in this building would be brought at least once a month to this ray gun. When they were there, they would be zapped, and the man who had brought Gary home must hope for a change that made the pet look better. That explained all of the varied types of pets. But what happened next?
Gary looked up, and the Blumaroo was nowhere to be found. He must have left while Gary was thinking to himself. That was okay, though, because Gary had a lot to do here. He began rummaging through his first shelf of toys. Plushies, balls, keyrings, and puppets were just a few of the many toys sitting here, waiting to be played with! Before long, Gary had completely forgotten about his mystery, and was playing with these toys. He played for hours and hours, without even realizing it. Gary knew he had lost track of time when the same Blumaroo came knocking at his door again, announcing that it was time for dinner. Gary supposed that the toys could wait for him to eat.
He moved quickly down the hallway and down the stairs, following the scent of food. Grarrls DO have a very keen sense of smell, you know. With this sense of smell, Gary could smell soups, rolls, pasta, and so much more food. As he arrived to what he called the cafeteria of the mansion, he didn’t know where to start. There was SO MUCH food.
Tender rolls with moist butter freshly spread across them, with just a dash of salt. Thick pastas, all different kinds, cooked and steaming hot with fresh spaghetti sauce poured over them. Delicious desserts, such as fluffy ice cream sundaes with hot fudge dripping down the sides of the ice cream. Oh yeah, Gary would enjoy this place.
As he was eating, out of nowhere, those toys popped back into his head. But this time, they weren’t playing. They seemed depressed, as if they had been played with many times before. How could that be true, though? Gary thought to himself. He was a pet that this man had chosen, and once Gary got changed he would be here to stay. That was HIS room now.
After Gary finished his meal, he brought his plate up to a window in the wall. Behind this window sat many chefs and other staff, cleaning away at the used dishes. Must be a tough job, Gary thought. As he ran back up to his room, the other pets were still in the cafeteria chatting. At least, they appeared to be chatting. Because, what else could they do down there after they had finished eating?
For hours more, Gary played with those toys. He was slowly but surely becoming obsessed with those toys, which was both good and bad. It couldn’t be that bad, he figured, since there wasn’t much else to do to occupy himself with in this place. So, until it got dark outside and all the pets had to go to sleep, Gary sat talking to and moving his toys around. Right before he comforted himself inside of his huge mattress, Gary put all of these toys back into their baskets. As he slid the last one in, Gary could’ve sword a plushie had just twitched a little. Oh well, he must just be tired.
The next day was the same routine, and so were days to come. Gary became more imaginative, and he discovered a pencil and notepad. With this he would draw his toys, sketch them, and sometimes write stories with them in it. He found this to be an even more productive use of time, since he could improve his handwriting and artistic skills. For weeks, Gary sat doing this routine, and eventually became bored with it. There had to be something else to do. He decided that he would go out and see what all of the other pets did.
Just as Gary was walking out of his door to attempt being social with the others, he was snatched off of the ground again. His first reaction was to panic, due to his last experience with being swept away like this. However, he was smart enough to know that whoever was carrying him must be his owner, so Gary knew that it was best not to fight this man. Before he knew it, Gary was being led out of the house and into a path in the woods.
Gary wasn’t too nervous about this. If anything, he felt thrilled, to finally be taken somewhere away from the house. What an adventure this was to him! The trail was just so long, and so bumpy. This looked like it had been traveled many times before by other pets. There were some footprints stamped into the ground, and where there was foliage surrounding the path, the path itself was completely clear of any vegetation. Then, again, he remembered the Blumaroo saying that every pet goes to the ray once per month. This couldn’t be his day, could it? It had been a long time since he’d moved in....
Suddenly, that excitement turned to fear. What if he got turned into something worse than a Grarrl? Would he be abandoned again? What if he had to sit in that awful cage for another year? But, then again, what could possibly be worse than a Grarrl?
At this point in time, Gary knew there was nothing he could do about it. So, he just trudged along the path, following his owner, until the horrible castle was in sight again. Gary had to march up the steps and enter the place that ruined his life.
To be continued...