Mel screamed out as the Techo walked into the hallway.
The ground was cement, low dipped and unkept. Some type of algae sprouted
in the places where water from the incomplete ceiling. Most terrible,
the east and west wall had ten cages in a row, and three more cages piled
on top of that. On the far wall another twenty cages were stacked on and
another on top of each other. Mel struggled. The Techo drew a key from
the ring around his wrist and unlocked an empty cage and threw Mel inside.
She pulled herself to the back and felt water tingle on her feet. She
had stepped in her water dish. She pulled away to see that There was a
piece of omelette in a food dish and there was a ripped Fuzzle to play
Mel pulled at the tuft of hair atop her head and her
eyes began to water. She looked around and walked to the front of her
cage and shyly pushed her nose out.
“Hello,” said the red Grundo from across. “You’re new.
I’m Jahusifpahts292, and I’ve been here for three months. Would you mind
passing me the omelette? It’s left over from the last person, you’ll get
another one tomorrow...”
“I’m hungry,” said Mel steely, grinding her teeth. She
turned to see the door shut with a loud Bang!
“Has anybody been hurt while they were here?” Mel inquired.
“Only if they were here for more than six months. After
six months and one day the pound picks up the pet and walks to the end
of the hallway and pulls open a door that there. They don’t come back,"
quipped a mutant Chia.
“That’s terrible!” Mel screamed. “How long have you been
“Six months one day tomorrow, but it’ll be a relief.
I haven’t eaten in a day and my Fuzzle disintegrated in my hands two months
ago.” The mutant Chia rubbed his hands together to warm himself. “It’s
dreary here in the pound.”
Mel didn’t remember falling asleep, but she must have
because she awoke refreshed, her face still pressed against the metal
chain links. The mutant Chia was pressed against the bars. A young girl
walked in. She looked around quickly and then saw the Chia. She unlocked
its cage and pulled it out.
“Chachacha! I can’t believe it’s you!” Down the hall,
all the pets were pressed against the cage, watching the girl hug the
“I went on that around the world trip last year, it was
for seven months, I put you into Astro-Villa
for 28 days. I guess when they pulled you out Dr_Death
“Yes,” Chachacha replied. “I have my money pouch, you
can buy me out.” The Chia handed the girl 90 NP and she pulled him out
the way Mel came in. Mel looked longingly after, desperately wanting the
moment for herself.
“HEATHER! MOM!” Mel cried out. Her eyes were clouded
over with tears. “Heather, what did I do to deserve this!”
“Mel, what a pretty name,” said a voice. A boy, about
sixteen, was pointing straight at her. Mel cleared her eyes and stood,
trying to look attractive.
“Let’s get him, John,” the Kyrii’s ears pricked at the
sound of her brother’s name. A girl, sixteen, was holding the boy’s hand.
“Okay, Marina," said the boy, who Mel realised was John.
The girl unlocked Mel’s cage and pulled her out. With precise accuracy,
Marina threw Mel into the air and caught her in her arms. Despite the
longing in her heart, Mel giggled. John put Mel in a wicker basket and
put a gauzy blanket over top to shade Mel’s vision. Mel pushed aside a
corner of the gauze and looked outside, to see the cages retreating from
her vision. The doors at the end of the hall swung open and Mel saw the
Retro Wallpaper she remembered.
John brought her into a guild, the Kyrii Guild of Neopia.
Marina put Mel onto a bed in a large room filled with beds and began to
dress Mel in denim overalls and a sunhat. Mel gratefully pulled the clothes
on, and walked in a slow circle to model. John tucked a suitcase under
a different bed and pulled out a bag. He gave Mel an organic apple which
she devoured. A sense of belonging filled Mel for the first time in a
Every night, Mel slept in the bed in between Marina and
John. She learned that she was their first pet, their only pet, and it
made her feel special, the way she had wanted to feel with Heather. Every
night, before sleep claimed her, Mel thought back to Heather and thought
of one reason why she was better off with John and Marina. But still,
every night, Mel realised that Heather was her true mother, and she never
called Marina “Mom”. Marina was Marina, but Heather had been “Mother”,
and for some reason this made Mel uneasy. She loved John, she loved Marina,
but she missed Heather, she longed for Heather’s touch, and it caused
her so much longing grief that Marina grew worried.
“What’s wrong, Mel?” asked Heather, but Mel couldn’t
bring herself to reply.
To be continued...