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Autobiography of a Balloon

by scarletrhapsody


I'm a balloon in the shape of a Kiko. I was born just this morning, given life by the breath of a Gelert, who is the owner of a balloon shop off the main Neopia street. I look just like any of the other balloons in the shop, but perhaps by some strange Faerie magic which even I am unaware of, I am unlike them. For I have a mind of my own.

     It has been hours since my birth, and not one Neopet even bothered to stop by the shop to look at me. A balloon has a very limited lifespan, and by tonight I'll be gone, shrunk into a tiny ball of rubber. Which was why I was so anxious for someone to come along and gain ownership of me.

     You may not know this, but a balloon loves to be owned. We are objects of amusement for little baby pets, with the pure and simple purpose that is to provide hours of fun and entertainment. Baby pets love us for our sheer simplicity, for we are honest and uncomplicated. Like my appearance, I possess a very simple dream - that of being held in a Neopet's hand, travelling around Neopia, giving the pet some joy and satisfaction of his possession…

     I live to please, and it is my only wish for as long, or as short, as I live.

     At long last, a glimmer of hope came in the form of a young Lupe. He seemed mesmerised by us colourful and fanciful balloons of different shapes and sizes. One would think that he would surely pick up the Chia-shaped balloon after his careful deliberation, but no. Surprisingly, his large, innocent eyes caught sight of my Kiko pattern, and he seemed only interested in me, for no matter how long he considered the quality of each and every balloon there was, his eyes always travelled back to me.

     To my delight, he picked me up, and his owner paid for me.

     And so when they came, there were two, but as we left, we were three. The Lupe grasped the string, which I was tied to, with his strong paw, a smile sitting unpretentiously on his face as he literally skipped alongside his owner. It was pure joy just watching how blissful he was. I was just a balloon, yet he was content with me.

     But our comfortable company with each other was short-lived. All of a sudden, a Kacheek leapt out from one of the alleys and startled the poor Lupe so much so that he released his grip on my string. Oh no! I floated uncontrollably upward, out of reach of my new owner, farther and faster until he was just a little dot standing on the Neopian street. Before I was completely gone behind the clouds I caught sight of his owner bending over him, consoling him of his loss, perhaps. My mind was in a whirl - why must I fly away? Why was my relationship with my new owner so temporary?

     The clouds blocked my view from him forever. By this time, I had given up any hope of ever reuniting with him again. I felt like crying, but I told myself, "Don't be ridiculous. You're just a balloon. How can you ever muster a tear?"

     Before I had time to continue in my thoughts an Eyrie swooped past me and for some reason I was also dragged along with it. It was travelling at such high speed, everything around me seemed like a blur. Being pulled along by a speeding Eyrie was such a roller coaster ride, I completely forgot about my earlier sadness. After all, I was moving beyond my control, and I had to cling on to dear life!

     Wait. But what was I supposed to cling onto? …Then it struck me. My string had been somehow tangled with the Eyrie's feathers, although the Neopet did not seem to notice that he has a balloon following him around.

     Eventually, the Eyrie landed. Right in front of him was this odd building, dilapidated and worn from rain and shine, with its paint badly peeling. A poorly done signboard was nailed above the front door, and it said, "Pets of Feathers Flock Together".

     Just then, a blue Lenny burst out of the door, spread its wings wide as if to give the Eyrie an extra warm welcome…and abruptly stopped. He saw me.

     "Well, Dave, seems you've got a little friend there," The Lenny examined me with suspecting eyes. Carefully, he untangled my string from the Eyrie feathers, and showed me to his confused friend.

     "Why, I never realised I had this thing on my back! Where did it come from?" Dave asked rhetorically, scratching his head.

     "I don't know, but it looks cute." The Lenny seemed to be fascinated with me, as though he had never seen me before. "Let's bring it in with us."

     With that, the Lenny hop-skipped into the building, as childlike and innocent as the young Lupe. He looked excited to show off his newfound possession to his friends, and his rapture was extremely infectious. Somehow I couldn't help feeling glad about his joy that he's found in a simple balloon like me. My nature to please seemed to have taken over me yet again. It was a pleasure seeing how even an adult Neopet could be reduced to such endearing naivety just because he gained a little balloon.

     "Guys, look what I found on Dave!" The Lenny shrieked as he burst into the building. All around were Pteris, Lennies, Eyries, and some various feathered Petpets. All the other Neopets in the room gazed in muted awe as they wondered what I could be. Had they not seen a balloon in their lifetimes?

     Unexpectedly I received more attention than I had wanted. This was not what I desired, and not what I had expected. Indeed, it was more than I could ever expect in my short life. And it made me feel doubly uneasy.

     Who was to think that a balloon could come under such extreme scrutiny in its life? Hundreds of pairs of eyes stared fixedly on me, and each corresponding mouth or beak gaped in puzzlement as they stared.

     It was not just the attention that was traumatizing me, but Neopets and Petpets alike started shoving their sharp beaks and claws at me, endlessly poking at my rubbery surface, threatening to pop me, to extinguish my life…

     For the first time since I was given life, I longed to escape the clutches of whoever held me, to flee forever from all this attention. I wanted to run off, off and away and never to come back. I wanted to be truly free, free from this world of Neopia, to escape and never ever come back. The sadness of losing the Lupe and the irritation at having to endure such unruly behaviour flooded my mind. All of a sudden Neopia seemed not the best place for a little balloon like me.

     But what could I do? I was but a balloon, and I was most unfortunately at the mercy of the blue Lenny, who showed me no mercy when it comes to jabbing at me with his beak. It was a completely frightening experience.

     Just when I was at my wits' end and about to relent and surrender to their ruthlessness, a loud voice rang out, surprising every one of the Neopets and Petpets in the room.

     "Let me hold it!" Dave the Eyrie shouted, snatching me from his friend.

     "NO!" The Lenny snapped, groping to regain what he had come to consider as "his".

     "This thing rightfully belongs to me, you Lenny! I was the one who brought it here. I!"

     "Get off, this is mine!"

     The two Neopets turned a desire to possess into a fistfight, shoving, biting, and clawing each other till both had bruises all over himself. All the other Neopets and Petpets came forward to drag apart the two pets, in a pretty unsuccessful bid to make peace. Yet the involvement of the other pets turned it into a larger scale fight, injuring many more innocent parties.

     In the midst of all the chaos, someone let go of his grip on my string, and I floated quietly towards the ceiling, so quietly not a single soul noticed.

     Good, I thought. Finally, I was "free". But how could I leave this place?

     Before I could come up with a proper plan, a Beekadoodle saw me. My first thought was that everything was over for me, as she would certainly destroy me, in her attempt to resolve this fight. But she proclaimed at the top of her lungs instead, "Look! This thing has left our grip. It is a troublemaker, my dear friends, don't you see? It was the one who caused the fight - a fight, which we had never had since the day this club was created. It is a jinx, and it must be driven out of this place!"

     Everyone in the room was silent for a moment. It took them some time, but they finally agreed with the Beekadoodle, and demanded for my departure. Yes, yes, they were saying. It must leave, it must be driven out!

     With that, the Beekadoodle bit my string with her beak, and brought me out of the building, then promptly released her grip on me so that I flew away, into the blue sky.

     For once, there was an exhilarating feeling to it. It did not feel as frightening as when I was separated with the Lupe, but a certain peace descended upon me, as if reassuring me that all was fine now, and my ordeal with the "feathers club" was over, and all I ever could do while in Neopia was done now. I was satisfied.

     I was now truly free, and although I knew I could never please another Neopet again, as I looked at the setting sun in the far west, a peculiar form of joy still came upon me. It was the joy of freedom, or sweet liberty, which I was fortunate to taste of, even in my short lifespan.

     And I finally felt that my short life here was worthwhile, even as a simple little balloon.

The End

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