I groaned inwardly as my older sister's deafening shrieks broke the calm of my Sunday afternoon. There goes quietly reading a book. However much I wanted to ignore her and finish the chapter, I knew not to mess with Poison when she got angry. And so, reluctantly, I made my way out of my peaceful sanctuary, into the rest of the house.
I dodged a cobweb that covered Poison's doorframe to see her standing at her bedside table, looking faint. At the best of times, Poison looked frightening. It was one of side effects of being a Halloween Ixi. However when she was angry, as she was then, she looked completely terrifying. I tried not to gasp at the murderous look her face had contorted to.
"What did you do?! Seriously Maggot, what were you thinking?!" Her hoof was pointed at my crime- A small glass vase with a pink daisy standing upright in it.
"I thought it would add some color to your room." I knew my explanation would be futile. Poison kept her bedroom in varying shades of grey and black. Occasionally there was a red decoration, but pink! Pink was an unheard of color in Poison's dominion.
Poison looked almost confused. "Why do you want color? Honest to Jhudora, Maggot, sometimes I think you came from the pound. A little wimp like you CANNOT be related to me." She spat. I shrank back a little and groped for words.
"Eh, I'm sorry. I didn't know you were so opposed to... flowers," I muttered nervously.
"Haha, yeah right. Flowers are sooo happy. Why would I want them in my room? Aren't grey neopets supposed to be sad and depressed?" Poison gestured at me, and I shrugged my shoulders.
"I-I suppose that's the stereotype. But you will find that many pets don't retain any traits from what they're painted and remain very much the same as they were before, save appearance which is drastically altered as-"
Poison cut me off with a snarl. "Come in MY room again and I'm telling Bellatrix," she cried. She knew Bellatrix, our owner, liked her more. Of course Bella'd take Poison's side and I'd be grounded again. No books for two whole weeks!
"Finnnee." I tried not to let my disappointment show as I shuffled back to my own room, slamming the door shut behind me. Why did my whole family have to be so DARK? I suppose part of it came from living in the Haunted Woods, but even still... I looked around my own room, covered in rose pink wallpaper. Bright light shone in from the large windows. All I wanted was to show my family who I was and what I enjoyed!
Apparently, that was too much to ask.
Bellatrix was a lean girl, with pale skin, frizzy black hair, and brown eyes framed with dark circles. Maybe it was the way she chose to dress, in silky black dresses that reminded one vaguely of vampires, or maybe it was just something one picked up after living in the Haunted Woods for ten years... But quite frankly, she looked scary. Her youngest pet, a grey Acara named Maggot, was terrified to look at her. But that was an off one, that Maggot.
Her eldest, a ghost Wocky named Armand, took right after her. Even his younger sister Poison carried the family's evil intentions. But Maggot... What was Bellatrix going to do about Maggot?
Bellatrix smoothly dished out poisonous jelly to her three children. The sun was setting outside the bone framed windows, casting eerie shadows on all corners of the room.
Bellatrix slammed the dish of jelly down loudly and turned to leer down at that idiot Maggot.
"Excuse me, what did you call me?" Bellatrix snapped. Maggot shrank back in her chair.
"Um, I called you Bell. It was a shortening of your full name, Bellatrix..." Maggot muttered hysterically, praying she hadn't crossed the line.
"MY name is Bellatrix. Remember it. Honestly Maggot, what am I going to do with you? You make a point of being different from the rest of the family. You're an outcast." Bellatrix threw her arms into the air. Poison smirked.
"I'm sorry," Maggot said in a small voice. She poked her jelly with her fork, hoping the conversation would blow over. It didn't.
"Sorry isn't good enough! Tomorrow, I am taking you to the pound. You don't belong with us. Maybe, if I'm lucky, I can pick up a proper pet deserving of my family."
Bellatrix's words crashed around Maggot's ears. This couldn't be happening! No! She wouldn't let it! Horror stories learnt over her few years of pets starving to death in the pound came back to her.
"P-please... I..." Maggot cried.
"Quiet. Pack your things."
Brushing back a single tear, Maggot stood up and ran out of the room, while in the background, Poison choked back peals of laughter.
All of my essential belongings fit into one small suitcase. Trying not to cry, I packed my favorite two or three books, a few clothes, and a bouquet of small pink flowers. They had cheered up my dreary life in the Haunted Woods and I hoped they could do the same to the pound.
The pound! I shivered whenever I thought of that horrible place. The rumors about it were grim and the pets that came out rarely spoke about their experiences. It was as if what they had endured was too horrible to put words to.
I tried to put my mind to positive thoughts- I was a painted pet and those would be quickly snatched up. Most likely I wouldn’t have to spend too long in the pound- but what then? I would live somewhere new, with a whole new family! Would they like me? Why would they adopt me if they didn’t like me?!
Eventually, after a sleepless, tear-filled night, morning came. Clutching my suitcase I walked outside my front door for the last time. Armand waved to me from the kitchen where he was preparing a blumaroo steak. Poison just started cracking up when she saw my miserable face.
Bellatrix led me onto the ferry. I had never left the Haunted Woods, though I had read about many far off places. I watched the waves carry our boat far away from my home. I felt that as we were drifting away, I too was drifting away from my former life to a new and exciting world. Maybe I would have a place in this new world, or maybe it would be like my last.
There was no way of knowing. My old life was undoubtedly over. And a new chapter- dare I hope a better one- had started.
It was dark by the time we reached Neopia Central- better for my plan. While Bellatrix read old magazines below-deck, I had been scheming. I had realized, looking out at the vast blue waters, that I could no longer just drift along. I had to take control of my life. I had a way out.
“The pound is somewhere down this street...” Bellatrix muttered, reached for my arm to pull. But it was too late! I was already running faster and faster down the street away from her.
“MAGGGOOTTT!” she screeched after me, but I was far away. She would never catch up with me. I bolted faster, to an unknown destination.
Somewhere in this new world I would find my place.