Now with 50% more useless text Circulation: 120,559,293 Issue: 234 | 7th day of Eating, Y8
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Plushie Eaters: Part One

by literalluau


Penelope ran into the house as fast as her baby Zafara legs would take her, eyes shut tight. With a loud thud, she ran into a hard, furry object. Opening her eyes, she looked up and saw a Faerie Ixi looming over her. It took her brain a few seconds to register that the Ixi was her sister, Pearl.

      "Watch where you're going!" Pearl cried, nearly falling over.

      "Sorry," said Penelope weakly.

      "What's all the fuss about, anyway?"

      "I... I saw... a Grarrl!" Penelope stuttered, close to tears.

      "Penelope, I've told you thousands of times. Grarrls are not any scarier than any of the rest of us." Pearl sounded exasperated.

      "I saw one eat a plushie the other day!" Penelope wailed, the tears finally coming as she remembered the swift motion the Grarrl's jaws had made as it ripped the plushie's head from it's fluffy body.

      Pearl kneeled down beside her younger sister. "So they have... unusual diets," she said, her voice more gentle than before. "That's no reason to be scared of them."

      Penelope buried her face in her hands.

      Shaking her head, Pearl hurried from the room. Penelope's birthday was Saturday and, this being Wednesday, she had arrangements to make.

      Walking to the window, Penelope timidly drew back the light blue curtains. Peeping through the glass, she could see the whole of Neopia walk by. Royal pets, gray pets, orange pets, Buzzes, Koi, Lupes, they all passed in front of her window. But if a Grarrl happened to pass, she would gasp and quickly pull the curtain back in front of the window. She just knew that if she ever got too close to a Grarrl, it would eat her, pacifier and all.

      "Ok, Times New Roman, it's time for your bath!" Penelope squealed, trying desperately to drag the Drackonack into the tub. He really was getting quite dirty and smelly. He had been so much easier to handle before he was zapped by the petpet lab ray. Penelope really did miss her little Oyster the Floud who was so easy to care for. And the worst thing about Drackonacks? They had teeth.

      "Penelope? Where are you?" Pearl called as she came in the house.

      "In the bathroom!" Penelope used her whole body to scream and, as she did so, Times New Roman broke free and ran into hallway, knocking over the petpet tub and Penelope as he went.

      Pearl came into the bathroom to see her sister sitting on the floor in a puddle of water, her fur soaked, shampoo bottle still in one hand. Seeing the mess, she righted the tub and handed her sister a towel.

      "Sometimes I wish he'd turn into a pile of soot," Penelope whined.

      "That's a terrible thing to wish on the poor petpet!" reprimanded Pearl.

      "But then I wouldn't have to bathe him." Penelope laughed suddenly at the thought of a wet pile of soot.

      "Would you go get the mail while I clean up this mess?"

      Penelope obliged, wrapping the towel around herself to keep her teeth from chattering. Evening was drawing near, cooling everything down to make way for night.

      The mail hadn't come yet, so Penelope sat down by the mailbox and waited for Henry, the friendly red Lupe who had delivered their mail every day since Penelope could remember.

      Imagine her surprise when, instead, a big red Grarrl came walking up the sidewalk! Penelope got up rapidly, forgetting her towel by the mailbox, and ran into the house, crying with fear at her close encounter with death. She collapsed on the couch and pulled a pillow over her face.

      At just that moment, Pearl came into the living room. "What's the matter now, Penelope?"

      "There's a big scary Grarrl with our mail!"

      Pearl sighed and stepped outside.

      Penelope could hear her holler "hello!" to the Grarrl. She couldn't make herself move from her spot on the couch. Plus, what could she do to save Pearl? She had never beaten anyone except for Punchbag Bob. All she could do was hope her sister wouldn't be eaten. Then again, those wings probably wouldn't taste very good and the Grarrl probably would know that. At least, that's what she convinced herself.

      She breathed a sigh of relief and took the pillow off her head when she heard Pearl come back in the house.

      "Poor Henry's got the Hoochie Coochies," Pearl explained. "Alex, your new Grarrl friend," she laughed, "is filling in for him until he's well."

      "I'm so glad you weren't eaten!" Penelope cried, running to hug her sister.

      "Penelope," Pearl said very seriously, holding her by her shoulders and looking straight into her eyes, "you need to get over this fear of Grarrls. Really, it's quite hurtful. They're just like the rest of us."

      "Oh, no, they're not. They eat plushies." Penelope's eye were wide with fear. She wasn't joking.


      "And Mr. Bank Skeith, would you care for another spot of tea?" Penelope held out her red plastic teapot to the green plushie. "Are you sure? You look absolutely parched. Well, alright then." She poured more tea into her cup. Looking around at her fluffy guests, she sighed, "You know, I'm beginning to think none of you like my tea. When we have parties, I always end up drinking it all."

      "Knock knock." Pearl leaned halfway into the room through the open door.

      "Come in, Pearl! We were just having a tea party. Miss Pink Poogle would be glad to share her seat."

      Pearl picked up Miss Pink Poogle and sat down in her chair, placing the plushie on her lap.

      "You can drink her tea," Penelope told Pearl. Then she leaned across the little table and whispered, "I don't think she likes it very much."

      Pearl took a sip of the tea from Miss Pink Poogle's cup. "You're not going to like this," Pearl warned Penelope, "but I've invited Alex for dinner tomorrow night. We struck up a conversation this evening and he's led a very interesting life. He was telling me about his adventures in the latest Lost Desert War. Plus, I think it would do you good to see how interesting and kind Grarrls can really be."

      "Pearl, how could you?" Penelope was ready to cry.

      "It will be fine, Penelope." Smiling, she got up, set Miss Pink Poogle back on the chair, and left the room.

      Penelope stared sadly at her plushies for a long time. She at least could try to defend herself; her plushies were helpless against a hungry Grarrl. She had to get them out of the house by the time Alex came to dinner.

      The next morning, Penelope waited at the window with a large box. It was the only day of the week that the mail came in the morning. She held her breath in anticipation, hoping the mail carrier would be her trusted friend, Henry, all cured from the Hoochie Coochies. She was not disappointed.

      "Henry! You're all better!" she cried joyfully, running out of the house as he walked up.

      "Well, hello, Miss Penelope! Yes, the Healing Springs Faerie was kind to me this morning. Do you have an important package for me to deliver?" He eyed the box Penelope was carrying. It was almost as big as she was.

      "Yes, sir."

      "Well, it's quite large, my dear. And taped quite well. What's in it?"

      Penelope hesitated. Should she tell the truth? She trusted Henry. After all, he never failed to get their mail to them. And if she told him it was something like paper or clothes, he might not be so careful when handling the box. "All my plushies," she finally admitted, looking down at the grass under her feet. "Please handle the box carefully," she added. "Mr. Bank Skeith gets motion sickness very easily."

      "Well! What's wrong with your plushies?" Henry asked, amused at the games of children.

      "Nothing. I'm just sending them where they'll be safe. To a friend on Roo Island." She leaned in closer to whisper. "I heard there aren't many Grarrls there."

      Henry, not understanding her seriousness, laughed. "Well, I suppose not. I'm sure they'll be very happy there, but I'm sure they'll miss you. I hope you'll let them come back to visit you sometimes."

      "Only once it's safe here, sir."

      Henry chuckled. "Well, have a nice day, Penelope! I've got mail to deliver. And I'll take extra care when delivering this one." He took her box from her, tucked it under one arm, and he was gone.

      Returning to her window in the living room, Penelope wrapped the sheer blue curtains around herself. Pearl hated it when she did that, but she needed a place to think. Penelope already missed her plushies very much. Then a horrible thought came to her. What if she got more plushies for her birthday? It was only two days away and she was counting that day. And, though her plushies were safe for the moment, she was still in danger, as was Pearl. And Pearl was no help, she was obviously oblivious to the danger they were in. She began to nibble on her nails, a common, but very bad, habit. She had a lot of work to do.

To be continued...

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