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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 28th day of Sleeping, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 149 > Short Stories > Kougra On My Back

Kougra On My Back

by catlrw

It was cold, and winter. The air was crisp and at a deathly temperature in which anyone could see their breath in a white, cloudy mist. With a shiver, I bristled my fur and gritted my teeth, struggling to ignore the fact that I had a horrid, sharp pain in my left shoulder blade, as though I had been stabbed with a sharpened knife.

     Of course, I hadn't always been like that, wandering around, looking for the pound, or the Soup Kitchen, which ever came first. No, at one point, several weeks earlier, I had been in a warm home, complete with a warm fireplace and a caring owner.

     At least, I had thought he was caring, until one day we had gone to some shop just on the edge of Neopia Central. He was about to enter some oddball shop with a large sign that had colorful, big letters, reading, "We sell Petpets!" with several different petpets stuffed in the window, looking out at the passing Neopets and owner. He had told me to wait outside, that he would only be a moment. So I waited.

     What a fool I was. He never came back. And so, hungry and tired, I headed off, trying to find someplace that would take me in. I had survived by checking garbage cans for any remaining slice of food left. By now, you could see my bones I was so thin.

     I shivered again. Was it me, or was it getting colder? With a quick leap, I bounded onto a near by crate and looked into the window of someone's Neohome. On the wall opposite to me was a large thermometer that read quite clearly "40 degrees". It was getting colder. If the temperature continued to drop as it was, Neopia Central could be the new Terror Mountain. What I wouldn't have given to be on Mystery Island!

     I shook my whole body, in hopes to either clear out the icicles that had implanted themselves firmly into my fur, or to gain some small amount of heat from the quick motion. Both failed.

     With a sigh, I continued to wander the streets. At least I couldn't feel the pain in my shoulder anymore, as my whole body was numb. My tail was stiff, and I couldn't even muster up the strength to move it, let alone wag it to a near passerby in friendliness. I vainly attempted to curl my ears nearer to my eyes, trying to block out the dagger-like wind that was stinging my body.

     My eyes were tearing up from the wind, amongst weeks of feeling as though I was an outcast, a homeless… a poor, pathetic pet that had lost his owner because of his own stupidity.

     But then I realized that I was none of those things. That I was a survivor. I had come to this conclusion when I had past what looked like the last few pets of a Grarrl family that had turned on each other in desperation. Most pets, unless given to the pound, wouldn't have lasted as long as I had.

     Most people in Neopia didn't know (with the great exception of the Soup Faerie) that most pets weren't stuffed up in some home, or in the pound, but wandering the streets, struggling for any shred of hope they may be able to keep.

     I came across a group of kids playing in the streets, wrapped in warm clothing, their boots digging imprints into the white blanket of snow that had covered the area. Human kids. Not a real rare sight, as all owners were human, but most didn't go anywhere without their pets. I would have chuckled when two boys began to play "Mynci in the middle" with a girl's doll ("Give it back!") except I was pretty sure my face was frozen in place. No pun intended.

     With a sigh, I began to continue down my path. I stopped as I caught sight of an open window. Glancing in through the mist and snow, I saw a small family. A caring looking mother and a chuckling father looked on as their son tore open a gift. It was almost Christmas, after all. From inside the box, a yellow Zafara jumped out. The boy shouted with glee and tackled the creature, entwining his hands in the Zafara's fur, giggling fiercely.

     I looked on in envy and sadness, yearning to feel the warmth of a fire, the gentle touch of an owner, petting my head and offering praise. I felt tears well up in my eyes, and my legs trembled slightly.

     Then, out of nowhere, a head appeared in the window, and I found two large, emerald eyes staring into mine. A little girl stood at the window, holding onto the windowsill so she could see me. She had her mother's hair, a golden yellow that reminded me of sunflowers, and what looked like her father's eyes.

     Slowly, I nudged the window with my nose, ignoring the cold sensation is sent through me. The girl reached forward and placed her hand on the window, saying something along the lines of, "Puppy…" Her peach fingers left imprints on the window, and I wished I could feel them against my fur.

     Then, her mother came forward and lifted the little girl into her arms. I strained my hearing to hear what she was saying.

     "Come, now, Isabelle, its time for your present,"

     The girl protested furiously, reaching back towards the window shouting out, "Puppy! Puppy!"

     The Mother held tight and chuckled, rustling the girl's hair and taking her daughter's tiny hand in her own, "It's alright, sweetie. I'm sure he has an owner waiting for him somewhere,"

     The girl looked over her shoulder at me and whispered, barely loud enough for me to hear, "Bye, Puppy…"

     With a sigh, I began to head down a small, hidden alley. My ears dropped low as I kept my vision to the ground. Then, the distinct sound of snow crunching under someone's feet. I looked up quickly, and took a hidden spot behind a near empty garbage can. Looking over the top, I tried to see, and make sense of what was happening.

     A man stood, dressed in a black overcoat, black hat and scarf, black boots, and black gloves. In his hand he held a small, brown bundle, tied up with a piece of twine. Now, that wasn't suspicious, was it?

     My ears perked up immediately, and I began to growl, letting out the low tremble that came from my throat as I did so. The person quickly lifted up the lid of an old, beaten trashcan and dumped the bundle in. There was something about this person I didn't like, and my senses usually never failed me. This person was bad. Not the bad type, like they skip school, do graffiti on walls, and have the nickname troublemaker. No, this was a completely different type of bad, the type that really should be erased from Neopia.

     The person then turned on his heel and, glancing nervously over his shoulder, hurried off, as though nothing had happened.

     Quickly and quietly, I headed over to the trashcan. Slowly, I propped myself up and pushed off the lid, looking inside. It smelled of rotten fish, spoiled milk, and old fruit. I had to struggle not to gag. But I couldn't see the bundle. Already the few amount of patience I had managed to hold onto were running thin.

     I slowly pulled the trashcan down a bit more, trying to get a better look. Unfortunately, my perception of a little and a lot were very twisted, and both myself, and the trashcan went crashing down. Banana peels, cans, bags, and other miscellaneous items were spread out over the snow. I was back on my paws in an instant, growling on instinct.

     There, in front of me, was the bundle. I cautiously approached it, and nudged it with my nose. Bad idea.

     Something of a hand or paw reached out latched onto my nose, and I could feel sharp claws digging gashes into it. I let out a cry and flung whatever-it-was away. The bundle crashed into the trashcan that lay on the ground, and the string fell loose. I lowered my head to the ground, growling even harsher as I noticed a few droplets of red liquid stain the white snow below me.

     Slowly, the bag feel down, revealing what was in it. Soft, tan-ish fur covered a small, feline-like body. Big, amber eyes stared at me, and floppy, circular ears flopped over its (or her, as I found out later) head. "Meow…"

     I had to struggle not to let my eyes bug out. A Baby Kougra! Either someone was very stupid, or really wanted to get rid of it. I was thinking of reasons why someone would abandon such a rare pet when I felt something warm against my leg. I looked down.

     "Meow…" I had to struggle not to growl. I didn't like Kougras. Not even adorably cute ones. To me, they were like felines and I was a canine. Kougras and Lupes don't get along. But here she was, licking my leg as though it were an appetizer of a meal.

     I tried to detach myself from her. I really did. But she wouldn't let me go. And every time I looked down into her amber eyes, glowing up at me, I couldn't help forget how much I hated Kougras. With a sigh, I leaned down and pushed the baby onto my head. I straightened up, and she slid down my neck, feeling so warm atop my red, frozen fur. I could feel her purring.

     She got comfortable, curling up with her tail covering her eyes, and then drifted off into a gentle slumber.

     Slowly, I began to head out of the alley. Who knows, maybe with her, I can find a new home?

The End

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