Out of the Turmaculus' Jaws
I had longed for an owner I could trust ever since I was
born. An owner who would care for me, feed me and play with me. An owner that
I could love. Do not all Petpets wish for a Neopet to give them affection through
their life? I was certainly no different, and being the naïve and very young Puppyblew
that I was, I always became happy and excited when pets paid me attention.
I lived in the stone-paved streets of Meridell,
making my home in the marketplace square where the resident pets set up many
little shops and stands to sell their wares. I stayed near the food stalls most
of the time, poking my nose along the ground all day in an effort to catch a
scent of a fallen bit of bread or some such delicacy. I sustained myself fairly
well this way. But all the while I chewed on the food I'd picked up from the
street, I imagined being fed by a pet's loving hand, with meals set out before
me in a dish for my easy access.
I watched the pets going down the streets with
wide, bright eyes. They were fascinating to me, and so many of them looked friendly
and kind. Each pet that I saw, I imagined what life would be like if they owned
me. I pictured the Gelert girl sneaking me treats at dinnertime, the Kougra
boy running with me in spacious fields, the old Ogrin petting me as I fell asleep
in his lap. I saw myself curled up at the foot of the little Aisha's bed, or
following the Lupe around wherever he went. I always watched and waited for
one of those pets to bring me home and make my fanciful dreams a reality, but
none ever did. It didn't diminish my hope, though. I always trusted that one
day, some pet would pick me up and hug me and bring me home.
One day, as I was chewing on a scrap of potato
and watching the usual crowd of pets, and thinking of the wonderful life I'd
have with the little Elephante child who was standing outside of the toy stall,
a shadow fell over me. I looked up in surprise and found that a Kyrii was staring
straight at me, a businesslike expression on her world-worn face.
"Little Puppyblew, do you have an owner?" She
posed the question so straightforwardly, her expression never changing, as if
she expected a quick yes or no though she knew full well that I could not respond
in her language.
Yet the words she spoke were the ones that I
had been longing to hear all my life. I dreamed of hearing them from the children
just before they picked me up and showed me to their mothers, after which I
would go home and live with them happily ever after. The moment was here; I
would be going to a home. I stood up and wagged my tail, my bright eyes conveying
all the happiness and excitement I felt.
"It cannot have an owner; its coat is so rough,"
the Kyrii said to herself. To me she said decisively, "Come here."
I ran to her eagerly, and she scooped me up in
her paws. Overjoyed, I licked her face with happiness. My new owner seemed to
draw back from me a bit, as if put off by my displays of appreciation for her
kindness. Undaunted, I snuggled up in her paws, wagging my tail happily.
The Kyrii carried me across the marketplace.
I watched the other pets from my place in her arms, happy and contented. My
dream was coming true at last. I began to imagine what my future with this Kyrii
would hold. Young and innocent as I was, I believed that life from now on could
be nothing less than a faerie tale full of joy and love.
The Kyrii carried me up to a small shop building,
which was certain to be my new home. I wagged my tail in delight. Inside, the
shop was clean and orderly, with items of all kinds lining the shelves. The
Kyrii brought me behind the sales counter and set me in her lap. Taking a small
brush from a shelf, she began to smooth my worn fur. I smiled contentedly.
A mere few minutes had passed since the Kyrii
brought me to the building when the shop door opened. I looked up quickly to
see who was intruding on our home. A Chia and a Jubjub had just walked in unannounced.
The Chia seemed to be in a rush, and said in an annoyed tone to his companion,
"I told you this place wouldn't have Petpets. Let's try the shop across the
street, and hurry. The hour is almost up!"
The two turned to leave, a fact of which I was
glad, for I didn't much like the feeling I got from the Chia. Had I seen that
pet walking in the square an hour earlier, I would not have chosen him to participate
in my fantasies of having an owner. Of course, those fantasies were obsolete
now, as this Kyrii had adopted me.
The Kyrii stood up suddenly, and directed her
glance to the two pets who were about to go out through the door. "Excuse me,
but are you looking for a Petpet?" she asked.
The pets stopped. "Yes, I need a Petpet now,"
the Chia said in a hurried voice. "It must be inexpensive."
"You're in luck," the Kyrii said briskly. "This
lovely Puppyblew is a steal at 2,000 Neopoints. It's cheap because it's young.
Train it yourself, and be sure to stop by your Petpet doctor before you bring
him home; he hasn't been checked."
I stared at the Kyrii in shock and surprise.
She was offering to sell me? My lovely new owner wanted to give me away in exchange
for Neopoints? I whimpered, but the Kyrii ignored me.
The Chia seemed to be considering the shopkeeper's
offer, but his Jubjub friend said to him, "You can't use that Puppyblew for
it. Look how its eyes are shining bright, poor thing. It is so young and confused,
and to buy it for this would be cruel." The Jubjub looked at me pityingly, and
I stared mournfully back.
"How much time is left till the hour?" the Chia
The Jubjub checked his pocket watch. "It's nine
minutes to noon."
"I don't have time to be picky," the Chia said.
"You were planning on getting an Abominable Snowball."
"The Puppyblew is at a good price."
The Kyrii seemed to decide that now was the time
to tip the balance. "Buy it now, and I'll throw in a free can of Petpet food."
"I'll buy it," the Chia declared, dropping a
couple of coins on the counter. Whether the Kyrii's offer had caused his decision
or if he had simply arrived at it himself was uncertain, though his next words
indicated the latter: "But you keep the Petpet food; I won't need it."
Confused, I whined at the Kyrii for an explanation,
but again she ignored me. I remembered the businesslike expression she had when
I first saw her. For a moment I wondered if she ever cared about me, or if she
was only looking to get another item to sell.
The Chia took me into his stubby paws, and I
had a brief lapse back into my fancies. Still unwilling to believe that a pet
could have so kindly picked me up only to sell me off for money, I told myself
that the Kyrii probably was not able to care for me for one reason or another,
and had decided to sell me to a pet who could give me a loving home. That was
how I liked to imagine everyone, as faerie tale characters with not a speck
of greed in their hearts.
Before I knew it, I was imagining my perfect
life-to-be with this Chia. Ignoring the negative impression I received from
the Chia, I pictured him as a loving and kind owner who would pet me and care
for me. I pictured him as a whole different pet from what my Petpets' intuition
was telling me about his character.
"Come, hurry. How much time do we have left?"
the Chia asked.
"Seven minutes," the Jubjub dutifully replied.
The two rushed out of the shop, with me in the
Chia's arms. The speed at which they crossed my old living quarters, the marketplace,
was rather exciting. Soon, they were tramping across lush green fields, the
likes of which I had never ventured out of the city to see. The sight of all
the grass made me long to run in it. Perhaps my new owner would be good enough
to play with me in the fields someday.
My owner crossed a low hill with me in his arms,
and then stopped. My eyes widened with the surprise of what lay before us. A
giant yellow and purple creature lazed on the ground mere yards away. The humongous
Turmac's eyes were closed, but it seemed to be only in a light sleep.
"Okay, Puppyblew," the Chia said to me, setting
me on the ground and nudging me towards the oversized Petpet. "Go wake up the
I looked at him in surprise. Why did he want
me to wake up such a monster? What purpose could such an action have?
"Go on," the Chia said impatiently. "I've been
waiting all day for a chance, and when the hour is over you won't be able to
wake him up. Hurry!"
I whined. The Chia seemed frustrated. "Go on!
Scream! Hit him with a stick!"
Trembling under the harsh orders, I walked slowly
up to the Turmaculus. The creature seemed bigger with every step I took. He
looked like a kind enough Petpet, but I worried how he would react to a sudden
and rude awakening. The Chia was my owner now, and I felt a duty to obey him,
absurd and foolish as this command seemed.
Standing near the Turmaculus's head, I opened
my mouth and let out a loud yelp in an attempt to wake the creature. It worked
surprisingly well. His eyes popped open, as did his mouth. I quivered at the
sight of the huge jaw and big teeth. When the Turmaculus grabbed me and placed
me inside, however, I was petrified. His mouth closed behind me, teeth sealing
the gap, and I found myself sitting on his moist pink tongue.
My eyes were wide with fear, my head was spinning
with thoughts of how I'd been betrayed. My trust of these pets, my loyal obedience
had taken me to my end. My dreams never had a chance to play out in my life;
my childish fantasies were now giving way to the wet and tooth-filled reality
that surrounded me. Never in all my thoughts of spending my days curled up before
a fire had I imagined being trapped inside a giant Turmac's mouth. My fate was
clear to me.
Faintly, beyond the Turmaculus's lips, I heard
the buzz of the Chia's voice. I could barely make out what he was saying: "No
avatar!" He sounded disbelieving. "But he definitely ate that Petpet."
The Jubjub's voice replied, "Bad luck, I'm afraid.
Tomorrow we'll come back."
"And we'll come early, so we have time to find
an Abominable Snowball. I wish I hadn't paid extra for that Puppyblew."
Feeling very hurt and cold with fear, I stared
at the teeth above me and around me. I could hardly believe that the Chia had
brought me here and fed me to this monster. He wanted me to be eaten. At this
point, I didn't care if the teeth came crashing down on me at that moment. The
images I had long entertained of kind pets had been ruined by the conduct of
the Chia and Kyrii I'd been in the care of today. How childish I had been to
trust them so easily, to ignore all the warning signs and carry out the Chia's
cruel instructions. Now I was sitting in a giant Petpet's mouth, and probably
about to be brought to the stomach by means I didn't want to think about.
What was this? The Turmaculus's mouth was opening!
I seized my chance and darted forward, slipping a bit but managing to leap over
the row of teeth and make it out into the sunlight. The great jaws closed behind
me once again, but now I was on the other side, in the world I was used to.
I stood on the grass, scared from the close call and relieved to have escaped
without so much as a bite mark.
I was of a mind to run as fast as I could away
from there, but a deep, rumbling voice issued from the Turmaculus and caused
me to look back at the giant. His eyes were open, and he was looking at me intently.
"You're free," he growled kindly.
"Thank you," I squeaked, truly grateful.
"I'm glad to help. I'm tired of pets bringing
me their Petpets to eat," the Turmaculus growled. "I'm also tired of having
pets expect me to make their Petpet stronger or some silly thing. I like to
mess with their expectations a bit. They want me to strengthen their Petpet,
and I eat it. They want me to eat it, and I strengthen it, or in your case I
pretend to eat it." He let out a rumbling chuckle, and I smiled faintly, nervous
at the memory of being in the Turmaculus's mouth.
"I think you're lucky to be away from those pets,
young Puppyblew," he told me. "But I suppose you're going to go back and find
them and go home with them again?"
I shook my head.
The Turmaculus looked pleased. "That's good.
I'd have thought you weren't right in the head if you said you were going to
go back after what they did. Be a wild Petpet, and nobody can make you do as
they wish. See, that's what I am, and who in Neopia can get me to do what he
wants me to? I eat and sleep as I please."
I nodded, respectful of the old Turmaculus's
wisdom. Somewhere in my mind, I remembered all the lovely ideas I'd had about
life with an owner. They seemed unrealistic now.
"You can live on the plants out here," the Turmaculus
rumbled. "You can play all day in the beautiful green grass. You can have a
wonderful life out here. You don't need a pet for that."
I looked around at all the grass I'd been admiring
earlier. He was quite right, I realized. I'd missed so much in my days spent
living at the market, wishing for a pet to take me home. I could have been enjoying
myself out in these fields all that time I spent dreaming of having a loving
"There are some dangers out here, such as rival
Petpets, but a wild life is still a great one to live," the Turmaculus said.
He looked off into the distance for a while, and I stood silent, my mind working
fast to piece together all this information. After a few moments, he turned
his wise eyes on me and asked, "Well, will you be returning to the city now?"
I shook my head.
The Turmaculus smiled. "Fare well. Good afternoon."
With that, he flopped down and closed his eyes. Soon he was fast asleep, looking
as content and happy as I'd pictured myself if I were asleep before a fire with
a pet watching over me.
And so I became a wild Puppyblew. I roam the
fields of Meridell alone; the fresh plants satisfy my food needs, and the grasses
are my home. I do not dream of a perfect life anymore, though often I do wish
I had a family of pets to go home to. But having seen what pets can really be
like outside of my childish fancies, I've decided not to let another pet call
himself my owner, for now at least.
I will always be grateful to the Turmaculus for
helping me on that long-ago day early in my life. Sometimes I look at him snoozing
in the field and think how kind he was to release me from his jaws. Perhaps
one day I will find a truly loving owner, but for now I take the Turmaculus's
advice and run free.