A wild Lupe howled in the distance, making a young Aisha jump.
Rain pelted his face, forcing him to travel slowly and carefully. The trees
were stripped of leaves, and no life was in sight.
Xaos Rayne was paralysed with fright as his keen ears picked
up the crunch of leaves. Then he realised he was making the sound with his own
paws. His heart thumped out of his chest, while he swished his blue tail back
and forth slowly.
Xaos had run away. The type of running where your picture was
posted on milk cartons or in the post office. Like the type where your parents
were so worried when that ten o'clock advertisement said "It's ten o'clock.
Do you know where your pets are," or those ones where they say "have you seen
Xaos was all alone. No one else but him in a big world. Should
I turn back? Xaos constantly asked himself. The answer was always No! You know
what they did to you!
Xaos had been in an mean family. He had been most uncomfortable
with that family. So one night, he packed some of his belongings, opened the
window, and escaped in the woods!
That was three days ago. Now he started to doubt his decision.
Battered by winds and rains, hunted by wild creatures, including his own Neopian
kind. He had nowhere to go but on forever. And the thought of knowing that you
could never stop running left Xaos feeling very distraught.
Xaos paused as he saw a thick gardenia with an opening small
enough to crawl through. The branches strangely curved in an arch to shelter
him from the rain. Gratefully, Xaos crawled inside, set down his backpack and
his pouch, and fell asleep.
The next morning dawned quickly, with bright sunshine pouring
through the canopy on to the muddy ground. Xaos slowly opened his eyes. Some
Kaus were grazing in a meadow not far. They were in a pasture next to a house.
That house was part of a village! Finally, civilised Neopians!
Stumbling to his feet, Xaos burst through the bushes and loped
towards a general store, glad to be able to get some food. Licking his chapped
lips, he pushed open the door. It jingled, and the shopkeeper looked up. He
was an elderly looking Kyrii, wearing a dirty white shirt with a pair of worn
blue trousers. His fur had started to grow from a dusty red to grey. Strict
eyes stared through thin glasses as Xaos cautiously took a few items from a
"I'd like to buy these, mister," Xaos managed to croak. He hadn't
used his voice in a while.
Meanwhile, the shopkeeper had jabbed a few numbers on a cash
register before holding out an open paw.
"That'll be twenty-one NP," he growled.
Xaos pulled out several coins from his pouch.
"Here you are, sir," he mumbled before taking the brown shopping
bag and running out of the store.
That shopkeeper had made Xaos so nervous. Clutching his only source
of food, he ran across a meadow and disappeared into the tree line.
Sitting down on a root of a tall oak at the edge of the forest,
Xaos pulled out a slice of bread and wolfed it down hungrily. He took some bottled
water and took a huge gulp before telling himself to conserve his food.
Picking up his pouch, he counted his coins. He only had one hundred
and three NP left, which he picked up from the ground when he was a small Aisha,
and from stealing from the basket of coins used to buy groceries for the family.
That would not get him much, but hopefully he could visit a town and find some
coins carelessly dropped on the ground.
But most of all, Xaos wished he could be a part of a nice family
who loved and cared for him.
The next morning dawned, with Xaos being awakened by voices.
"That is definitely the Aisha we've been looking for," a large
Skeith wearing a police uniform said.
"Yes," chirped his companion, a short Wocky also wearing a police
uniform. "His parents will be pleased. Is he awake?"
Xaos slowly began to creep out of his bush.
"Yes, I think so," the fat Skeith said. "He's trying to get away!"
Xaos leapt out of the bushes with his pack, bulging with his
possessions and his food, and his pouch. He made a mad beeline for the thickest
part of the woods.
"Stop!" he heard the Wocky shouting after him. "We're not going
to hurt you!"
Heart pounding, Xaos heard quick footsteps behind him. Crouching
lower and flattening his ears, he ran for his life and his future.
Officer Wollis was obviously the Wocky, because the voice was
of the Skeith, lumbering in the distance.
Wollis attempted a flying tackle, but Xaos saw it and quickly
evaded, now realising he was scurrying towards the fence to the Kau's pasture.
Gathering all his wit and strength, he leapt over the fence, then
landed on the other side. He kept on running. But Wollis wasn't giving up. He
also cleared the fence, and held up the chase.
Growing tired, Xaos made a last ditch effort to escape and ran
into the Kau's barn, hiding behind a pile of straw. Wollis followed, and glanced
around the large barn. Then, lashing out, he stretched his paw through the straw
and caught Xaos' black collar.
"Gotcha! Nice try, but you can't outwit the professionals!"
The Skeith came panting in, and collapsed on the floor.
"I'm too heavy to be chasing people, Wollis. We've gotta just
do simple things."
"Not if I have anything to say about it, Officer Cobis. I just
caught our runaway, here. Let's take him back to headquarters."
As Xaos entered the police headquarters, he had a feeling of coming
doom. And then he knew why. Around the corner, putting on fake smiles, was his
two foster parents.
Xaos fought the grip of his two captors, and freed himself. As
he darted down the passageway, he heard a "Not Again!" from Officer Cobis. He
ran through the corridors until he bumped into someone. He looked up, and realised
it was a green Techo with a black robe. A judge, no doubt.
Xaos began to squirm away, but then he realised the judge was
pointing towards an open door. So he went in, and the Techo closed it behind
"So tell me, young Aisha, why do you run? I am Judge Techinitsu."
"Well…" Xaos started, explaining the story of his life to him.
Telling him how his owners were terrible to him, and then why he had run away.
After hearing the story, Techinitsu turned to him.
"You are sure that they are mean to you for no reason?"
"Quite sure, Judge. I would swear on my life I'm telling the
truth, but I know it is not right to swear."
"All right. Then we appear to have a case."
So the hearing was held. Witnesses and people the family knew
gathered there. They told untold stories of how they heard yells from the house,
how Xaos was punished for things that were not bad and that all Aishas were
perfectly allowed to do. In the end, the judge made a statement.
"I find the defence, Mr. and Mrs. Rayne, guilty of pet abuse
and sentence them to eighteen months in prison. This hearing his over."
And with that, the gavel was pounded, and Mr. and Mrs. Rayne shot
cold glares at Xaos.
"And as for young Xaos," the judge said to him. "You can go live
with your aunt's family. I have seen kindness in them, and I am sure they will
take good care of you."
And the judge was right. Xaos' aunt was extremely kind, and loved
and cared for him like he was her own pet. They rarely had disagreements, and
most of all, it was home for Xaos Rayne.