Enter the Snowflake's lair... Circulation: 155,374,082 Issue: 216 | 11th day of Storing, Y7
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Just Like Me


by rainbow_daydreamer

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"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.

     "TracyVinnyTylerIneedahealingpotiontogivetoJhudynow!!"

     "What?" asked Vinny, looking up. "Say that again, slowly."

     "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 to think.

     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 later.

     "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 tickets."

     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 rightful place.

     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 illusion.

     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. "Wh-who's there?"

     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 on?

     "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 an emergency."

     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 the air.

     *

     "I'm sorry, little one," frowned the ticket-seller at the entrance to the Concert Hall. "The M*YNCI concert ended half an hour ago."

     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.

     Sister.

     Knowing there was no way of returning, she simply continued to stare into the front room that had been stolen by the object of her wishes.

     A Moehog just like her.

The End

 
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