Just Like Me
"Emmy! Come and get your breakfast!" called a voice from
downstairs. Emmanise, a pretty little Brown Moehog, made her way down to the kitchen,
where her two brothers were already seated at the table. There were plates of
cereal and toast resting on the checkered tablecloth.
Emmanise sat down and helped herself to some
toast. Her older brother, Vinny, immediately began his morning teasing routine.
"Hey, Emmy, didn't you hear us call you for breakfast
the first time?" the Hissi mocked. "Probably had your snout in a book!"
"Emmy!" laughed her younger brother, Tyler, a
silly young Grarrl. "You going to be the teacher's Petpet again at school?"
Emmanise did her best to ignore them. Her owner,
Tracy, saw her problem and hurried over to the table. "Tyler, Vinny, where are
your schoolbags? Emmy here packed hers last night. You'll have to rush if you
don't want to be late."
When the two rowdy Neopets had gone, Tracy came
over to Emmy's side. "Are you OK? Those two are a nuisance sometimes."
"Am I really a teacher's Petpet?" asked the little
Moehog, looking up at her owner.
"No, dear," smiled Tracy, putting the spoon back
in the sugarbowl. "They just don't understand you. It's because you're different
from them, that's all it is."
Emmy pondered the words as she finished her breakfast
and got ready for school.
I hate those brothers of mine! Why, why did
Tracy have to create them? I'm not saying I'd want to be an only pet, but would
it have been so hard for her to come up with a sister for me, someone who was
just like me?
It was mid-afternoon. Vinny was building a model
hot-air balloon on the kitchen table. His brother, tired after a long day at
Neoschool, was eating a Brucicle from the freezer. Suddenly the peace was shattered
as Emmy clattered into the kitchen.
"What?" asked Vinny, looking up. "Say that again,
"It's Jhudora!" exclaimed the Moehog. "I went
to run an errand for her, and she wants a bottle of Super Strength Healing Potion!"
"OK, OK," sighed Tracy, reaching into the cupboard.
"I've got one here. Don't drop it, okay?"
But with the bottle in her mouth, Emmy was already
gone. Racing down the walk, she jumped onto the back of her best schoolfriend,
Lelly, a white Eyrie. Together, they flew back to the clouds of Faerieland.
For some reason, Emmy always felt a strange shiver
when she entered Jhudora's dark lair. She placed the bottle of healing potion
on the ground in front of her. "Jh-Jhudora? I have what you asked."
"Very good, little Neopian!" smirked the Faerie,
snatching the glass phial and secreting it in a pocket. "Now, let me find your
reward… a battle-potion, wasn't it?"
Emmy nodded and waited. Then, to her surprise,
she saw a look of annoyance cross the Dark Faerie's features. "Drat! Where is
that thing? I can't find it!" Jhudora snarled. The Moehog began to back away,
worried about the consequences of the Faerie's wrath. Unfortunately, she knocked
over one of the jars that stood by the door, and scrabbled in terror to try
and reunite the broken pieces.
"You don't have to give her a potion," put in
Lelly from behind her. "You could… oh, I dunno. Grant her a wish, or something?"
"Fine!" Jhudora dropped her spell-making paraphernalia
with a clatter. "Wish already!"
Emmy stood for a moment, wondering what to wish
for; the power of the Faerie's magic overwhelmed her with possibilities. Petpets?
Paintbrushes? Wings? An audience with Adam and Donna?
Jhudora showed signs of impatience. Emmy tried
What she really would like, at the moment, was
a petpet. But she could only imagine her brothers' scornful looks if she wasted
a wish on that… they had never understood her.
Wait! That was it!
"Jhudora?" Emmy faltered. "I wish I had… a sister
who was just like me."
For some reason, the Dark Faerie smirked.
"Granted," she said. "Go home."
Emmy entered the house with a smile on her face.
She could hardly wait to see her new sister. People can say what they like
about Jhudora, but it's none of it true. That Faerie has granted my dearest
wish! I wonder what species my sister will be?
But there was no sign of anything being different
in the Moehog's house. Tracy was cooking some noodles for dinner; Tyler and
Vinny were struggling with their homework.
Oh, well, maybe we aren't getting 'her' until
"Hi, Tracy!" breathed Emmy excitedly. "What're
we doing tonight?"
"Oh?" Tracy looked up from the stove. "I thought
we might go to the M*YNCI concert in Tyrannia. Would you like that, Emmy? You
could bring that little Eyrie friend of yours, I have enough money for five
On any normal day, Emmanise would have been delighted.
But today, she pushed the door back open and padded upstairs. "No, thanks,"
she called despondently. "I'm not coming."
The Moehog's exciting world had become dull and
colourless. She knew she would never be happy until her sister arrived! What
was Jhudora playing at? Life was never going to be as good as it could be, for
as long as Emmy was sisterless.
Tracy called up the stairs maybe five or six
times before giving up. Picking up her belongings, she went out with Tyler and
Vinny to the concert. "Emmy, I'll be home by ten. Okay?"
When her owner had gone, Emmy sat alone looking
out of the window. As night fell, accompanied by a drizzle of rain, the light
shining on the glass from indoors picked out the Moehog's reflection. Her unhappiness
still lay on her chest like a weight as she considered the hope that she'd had,
all that afternoon, of a sister just like her.
Perhaps I could go to the Create-a-Pet centre
and take in a newborn pet myself! The thought was inspired, but fleeting.
Tracy would never forgive her for doing something so reckless and life-changing.
No, it was best to stay home.
Sighing, Emmy went to pour herself a drink. Steam
rose from her mug as she sat down, once again, by the rain-scattered window,
gazing at her reflection against the evening darkness…
Something was wrong.
Emmy knew it before she even had a moment to
think. Something was unsettling her, sending a shiver through her very soul.
Getting to her feet, she looked around the room.
The doors were locked; the windows were bolted. No shadows lurked in the softly-lit
house. She checked Tyler's sleeping Devilpuss and her neatly-racked plushie
collection; all were in place, exactly as they should be. Tracy's second-best
jacket hung on its peg, Emmy's own schoolbooks lay stacked by the couch, Vinny's
schoolbag had been flung carelessly on the stairs. Not a thing was out of its
What had worried her? Shaking her head, Emmy
returned to her seat, making a mental note not to stay home any more on dark
nights. She sat down, with her blanket wrapped around her shoulders, with the
mug held in her hooves…
That was it!
She could see her reflection.
Except… that the Moehog in the window was not
holding the china mug that lay in front of Emmy.
Squealing in terror, Emmy hid under the couch.
Then, lying in the gloom, she tried to reassure herself. It was an optical
But when she returned to the window, she could
tell before she approached that what she now saw was no reflection.
A brown Moehog was standing on the other side
of the glass, smiling slightly. Emmy pushed open the window with trembling hooves.
The Moehog simply smiled and stepped in through
the open window, until she was standing in Emmy's living-room. "Good evening,"
was all she said.
"Who are you?" Emmy asked again. The girl sat
down in Emmy's armchair and began to flick through Emmy's school textbook, stretching
her rain-splashed body across the chair. Then, barely audible, she spoke a single
word. Emmy couldn't tell what it was, but she was panicking. What was going
"Tracy," whispered Emmy. She was sure now that
this Moehog was a burglar, and what was more, the pet had the audacity to enter
the house in front of Emmy's own snout. "Tracy!" Although she knew her owner
could not hear her, she went to the window, calling.
Inside the house, the Moehog had begun to make
tea, setting the kettle to boil. Emmy lost her patience. Jumping through the
window, she ran out into the rain and in the direction of the city.
At the first paved square she came to, an Eyrie
was standing. "Take me to Tyrannia," Emmy begged. "I have to get my owner. It's
The Eyrie looked up doubtfully. "There's going
to be a storm," he said. "But I suppose I could take you. Hop on my back and
we'll see if we can make it."
Hanging on tightly, the two of them rose into
"I'm sorry, little one," frowned the ticket-seller
at the entrance to the Concert Hall. "The M*YNCI concert ended half an hour
Emmy looked around, but her family was nowhere
to be seen. Running back to the Eyrie, she held out a few Neopoints. "I'm sorry.
Please take me home."
Stepping down from the kindly Neopet's back,
she ran through the streets of Neopia Central and towards the suburb where she
lived. She had to warn Tracy about the intruder, summon the police…
As she approached the house, Emmy saw that the
lights were on. She felt an enormous wave of relief: maybe the Moehog had seen
her family returning home and fled. She walked happily up the drive.
Through the still-open window, Emmy heard the
sound of laughter. Tracy's high, pretty giggle rang out over the boyish chuckles
of the other pets. Then she heard Tyler's voice: "And then the lead singer dived
right off the stage and into the middle of the crowd! Spiffy, what?"
"I'll say!" agreed a voice Emmy didn't
recognise. "I only wish I'd been there!"
Standing tip-hooved at the window, Emmy stared
into the house. There was Tracy, seated at the table, a M*YNCI baseball hat
perched on her head. There were her two brothers, laughing aloud, acting out
with gestures what had happened at the concert. And, sitting at the other end
of the table, was a brown Moehog.
The young pet was laughing along with the family,
stroking Ty's Devilpuss, sipping Neocola. She leant across the table. "You know
what?" she said? "I want a petpet of my own, Tracy!"
"Sure thing," Tracy replied, stroking the Moehog's
fringe. Emmanise saw the way the fringe fluffed at the edges, the look that
was strangely familiar. "We'll go tomorrow, huh, Emmy?"
Emmy stared in horror as the Moehog smiled. Now
she knew the truth of Jhudora's cruelty. Now she knew what the intruder's single
word had been.
Knowing there was no way of returning, she simply
continued to stare into the front room that had been stolen by the object of
A Moehog just like her.