The Hard Life: Tales of a Lab Rat - Part Three
Expecting to see that Scorchio again, Gary was shocked to find that this laboratory ray wasn’t in the basement; it was on the ground floor. Though he supposed that made sense, because if every map led to the same castle, then nobody would bother buying any more. They’d just take directions from their friends. But who could’ve built all of these identical buildings? Unless it was magic.
Well, Gary had to stand on another white box that looked just like the last one he had stood in. Gary was tense as he waited for this shock to hit him. But what he was not expecting was for it to come so quickly. Then again, when you’ve been using the ray for so long, you must know how to operate it quickly.
Again, Gary felt as though his bones were ripping through his skin. He felt the scales falling off. He almost jumped in excitement, but the force of the ray was pressing him down. How exciting this was for him, though! No longer did Gary have to be a Grarrl! Maybe he’d be an Acara again, or what if...
But then, it was all over. Gary felt different. As he looked down at himself, he realized quickly what he’d become. A Blumaroo! A brand new blue Blumaroo! Gary was so excited, and couldn’t wait to walk around a little. His owner did not look so excited, however. He just looked at Gary for a second, pondered this new look, shook his head and led Gary home. It may not have been the outcome Gary had hoped for, but it sure was better than being abandoned again.
So, as the Chocolate Blumaroo had promised, once a month Gary was taken to that lab ray to be transformed over and over. He never did see that Blumaroo again. Sometimes there was no physical change, either. Gary felt a bit stronger after some zaps, and weaker after others. It seemed as though nothing good enough could ever come until something nobody had expected came.
As Gary was taking the walk that he had become so accustomed to down to the ray, he felt excited. His instinct told him this was it; today would be the day. At this point, Gary had undergone many changes, and was currently a Starry Buzz. Though many people would expect Buzzes to fly around, it was much less exhausting to walk.
Well, Gary walked into that building as he had done many times before, and stood on that square. But right before the lever was pulled, Gary was positive that this zap would be THE zap. And that it was. As he felt his wings fall off, and his feet begin to grow, he knew this had to be great. He suddenly felt very, very hot. As if somebody had set him on fire. And that form, he recognized the feeling. A Blumaroo. Wait a second. Fire. Blumaroo. Had he become a Fire Blumaroo?
Sure enough, he had! Gary bounced up and down with joy, and this time he knew that his owner was also excited about this change. As he led Gary home, he kept congratulating Gary and himself, for some reason. Gary had heard about Fire Blumaroos, and how they gave something called an “Avatar”. Gary had no idea what an avatar was, being a Neopet, but he knew that there were many owners who collected them, which means there had to be many owners who wanted Gary now! Good thing that his owner had adopted him when he was a Grarrl; otherwise he may have been somebody else’s Blumaroo.
As Gary arrived home, he marched right back up to his room, noticing the looks of awe he received as he walked past the others. Some even clapped for him. For the first time in over a year, Gary felt as though he was accepted by his family, and finally somebody cared for him. He knew that from now on, he would have a great life.
Later that night, Gary had a mysterious dream. He was having a normal dream, but then he was surrounded by darkness. A small light shone from the sky, and something was marching across the darkness. He couldn’t see it, but it was loud and clear. This made Gary feel very scared, and he had no idea what was going on. Then, through the dim lighting of the room, he saw them. There were a good three or four of them, all in a small group. They looked straight at Gary, then the first one spoke.
“Gary. We have come to warn you of something.” It was one of his plushies, the one who he thought winked at him! And he was with three other plushies. But this was all just a dream, wasn’t it? Gary couldn’t take this too seriously...
“Gary, you must know this,” the plushie continued. “Tomorrow morning, the owner will come into your room. He will give you a baby fireball as a petpet, and you will have it for yourself. However, thirty days after this transaction has taken place, he will put you up for adoption, as he has done with countless previous Neopets who have played with us.” The other three nodded in agreement, and appeared to be mourning to themselves over the past pets. “There is nothing that you can do about this. You must be prepared!”
And with that, the plushies dissolved into the air. Gary woke up suddenly, and sat up straight. This couldn’t happen, could it? But it was just a dream, he remembered. Neopets have strange dreams all the time. And with this thought, Gary uncomfortably forced himself back to sleep for the rest of the night.
The next morning, he was awakened by a sharp knock at the door. Gary immediately sat straight up, ready for whoever was going to come in. The door creaked open, and his owner stepped through, carrying something in his hand.
It was a Baby Fireball.
Gary gasped, and put his paws over his mouth. Maybe the plushies from the dream were right, he thought to himself. Maybe I’m not crazy. However, they had advised him that there was nothing to be done about the situation, so he took the petpet as his own. Could this be the beginning of the end of his stay in this house? Gary sure hoped not.
Thirty days passed slowly for Gary, but not slow enough. If he was to be kicked out of this house forever, he wanted his stay to last as long as it could. But before he knew it, the thirtieth day had come. His time was over.
Gary sat patiently in his bed, awaiting his owner to come in and whisk him away again. He took one last toy out of the bin, and carelessly tossed it around in his paws. He was going through mixed emotions right now. Sadness, for he was leaving the toys, the house, the pets, all behind. Excitement because he may be going to a good house now with owners who will keep him forever. Anger at his past owner who abandoned him, and now he’d have to experience that again.
Sure enough, at noon, he heard the footsteps coming down the hallway. He knew what was coming before it occurred. The door opened, and his owner came in, looking happy as ever. He told Gary to take any toy that he wanted from the basket and follow him. Gary chose the one that spoke to him in his dream.
Walking down the hallway and out the door of that house had never been so depressing to Gary. Maybe one day he’d return here, but chances are he never would. Gary took one last look at the house, and then it was gone.
As his owner led him down a path, this one smoother and straighter than the path to the ray, he kept trying to explain what was happening to Gary. He put it in a positive way, saying that yes, he was going back to the pound, but he wouldn’t be put in a cage this time. He would be given to a brand new owner, and one who would care for him. Gary hoped that he was right.
Well, they arrived at that pound again, the same one that had caged Gary up for months as a Grarrl. Gary sat down on a bench in the lobby while his owner went to speak with that same Pink Uni. This time, they both smiled at Gary, and Gary was led into a different room this time. It was a room full of owners and pets, and some owners without pets. A sign on the door read “Pound Trading Center”. This explained what would go on inside the room.
Once inside, Gary’s owner began shouting “Fire Blumaroo up for trade,” adding to the noise of the room. Many owners came over to him, but he kept turning them down. Gary saw distraught-looking pets following their owners around. There were all different colors and species of pets being offered to the owner for him. Finally, an owner with a Pink Shoyru walked over to Gary’s owner, and offered the Shoyru for Gary. Another owner with a Darigan Tonu did the same.
Gary’s owner seemed to be interested in both pet. Gary could tell that whichever he chose, he would probably go to a good home. The Shoyru was looking at him kind of funny, and Gary didn’t know why. That Tonu did look menacing, though, and Gary wasn’t sure if he wanted to walk over near it. Gary then began to walk towards that Shoyru, who was still looking at him funny. Looking at the Shoyru’s owner, something suddenly clicked with Gary.
It was his old owner. The one who abandoned him. The one who caused him all of his pain.
Seeing Gary walk over towards them, they got a happy gleam in their eyes. Gary then spoke to them, and asked a simple question.
“Remember me? I was your Acara, Gary. The one that you abandoned.” When they heard this, they stopped and stared at Gary. Then, they seemed to have a flashback of Gary’s transformation. Seeing him no longer a Grarrl was excellent to them. They told Gary that they would accept him now. As if that was supposed to make him happier? That made him angrier at them. He said,
“I will never forgive you for what you’ve done. I could forgive you if you yelled at me. I could forgive you if you took away my toys. But I could never, ever forgive you for the emotional scar that you left me with.” And with that short and sweet speech, Gary walked over to the Tonu, muttered a good luck to him, and sat next to his future owner. Both pet owners looked thrilled about the transfer, and Gary’s old owner ran away, never to be seen again.