The day was drawing to a close. The Neopian Pharmacy had seen few customers that day and for Nurse Sini, that was good news. The shop usually bustled with excitement from opening until closing, Neopets flocking from all corners of the realm to fill prescriptions signed by Doctor Gelert. Sini had been able to fix the shelves without constant interruption; she ate her lunch of a Tigersquash sandwich and Fresh Lemint Juice in peace.
A Grarrl had stopped by to drop off some Magic Cookies and Grumble Be Gone Tablets. The Grarrl handed out his goodies, delivering boxes to both Nurse Sini and Kauvara, the pharmacy’s neighboring shop. The Kau always greeted Sini warmly and hurried back into her shop to test new potions, smoke billowing from the windows of her lab.
The only other visitor that day was a Poogle suffering from Neezles. Red spots covered her yellow skin, but she managed to smile and wait politely as Nurse Sini filled the prescription of “one Neezles jab – as soon as possible.”
Sini glanced at the clock that read five o’clock. The day would be over in fifteen minutes. The Blue Elephante grabbed her clipboard from the back of the door leading to the back exit of the shop. She read aloud Doctor Gelert’s new methods for treating severe NeoWarts.
As soon as Sini flipped the page, the shop door squeaked open. She peered over the clipboard. Past the immediate shelves of cures, Sini spotted an Ogrin approaching the front desk, his eyes filled with some apparent worry. The Ogrin’s ears hung lower than usual, and as he approached Sini, he cleared his throat.
“Ah, I know it’s late, but my pal is sick,” the Ogrin began, his mouth tilting to one side to gain a look of perplexity, his red hair flaming with the sun shouting through the windows behind him.
“And what can I help you with? Do you have a prescription?” Sini asked.
“Er, no – he kind of spontaneously fell sick.”
Sini blinked. “Well, the hospital deals with these illnesses very well, sir.”
The Ogrin nodded slowly, comprehending the words.
“Yes, but he requires attention. He won’t leave the house.”
“I surely do not make home visits. Doctor Gelert does and you may check up with him any time today or in the morning. The shop is closing now,” Sini said, desperately glancing at the clock.
“Oh, please, you have to help Norman!” the Ogrin shouted, attempting to block the entrance in the counter.
Sini stared at the Ogrin. The Elephante had never been faced with this situation. Usually, patients were willing to go to the hospital; it was only a short distance away in the Plaza. But the Ogrin’s eyes pleaded loudly with her. Sini grabbed a bag, threw various tools and ointments inside, threw on her gray coat, and headed out of the door with the Ogrin.
Leo, as the Ogrin called himself, led Sini into Rainbow Lane, a lane filled with simple houses almost identical in stature and decorations. They arrived at the home, its porch filled with unspotted flowers and chests. Leo pushed open the door and Sini placed her coat on a nearby chair in the nook. The house was silent, except for the creaking of furniture in the room above.
The Ogrin led the way up the wood staircase, the Elephante close behind. They finally stood before a door. Leo pushed it open and a Starry Kyrii sat in the corner, a perpetual frown on his face. The stars on his fur even seemed to frown as the sun from the oval window beamed on them.
The Kyrii glanced up at Sini, then Leo, then the floor.
“Norman, this is Nurse Sini. She came to help.”
“We should not have been walking through that garden. I knew there were Sp – Sp –“ Norman said, having trouble managing the last word, bending his head.
Sini looked at Leo as he mouthed the word “Spyders.”
Sini nodded, now realizing the situation. She had been prepared for this case of Spyder Bite. She had seen it once in a young Moehog playing too close to wild shrubs. When Spyders strike, they strike. The antidote was simple and she was almost sure she had brought the cure with her.
Doctor Gelert keeps the remedies in tubes, not the original bottles they came in. Even pills were transferred to plastic cases to maintain them. Sini remembered the potion as being a lilac color. She fumbled around the bag and stopped at a tube that resembled the color she remembered. She removed the cork and placed in back in the bag.
She handed the vile to Norman who glanced at it and nodded in silent approval. He smelt it and tipped his head back to chug it down.
There seemed to be almost an instant of immediate cure. Norman’s muscles physically relaxed as he leaned back in the hair and inhaled. He smiled at Nurse Sini and Leo. The sun grew a little brighter, but dimmed almost as soon as it shone. Leo looked concerned. Norman’s eyes were wide, his smile wider.
“Oh no,” Sini whispered, as Leo slowly backed out of the room.
Norman’s body began to convulse as he changed, not from sick to healthy, but from Starry to Mutant. His skin rippled, his claws grew, his eyes turned red. Hair grew from his back in seconds, his body bent over in a crouch, his ears grew.
Sini watched in silent awe at the transformation. The orders had been wrong, horribly wrong. She never tested them and Kauvara must have gotten the Spyder cure.
Norman glared down at Sini but didn’t he speak, his breathing heavy over Sini. Norman rotated his neck and tensed his shoulder muscles. She slowly backed away from the mutant Kyrii and fled down the stairs after Leo.
“What happened?” Leo half shouted, half cried at Sini.
“There must have been a mix up in potions in delivery. This can be fixed if Norman cooperates -“
“He’s a mutant now, for crying out loud! We’ve lost him!”
The boom of feet on the steps left Sini and Leo in shock as Norman padded down the staircase. He yawned, revealing his large, gleaming teeth, and smiled at the pair.
“Well, I thought you called in a doctor, Leo, not a magician,” Norman barked, flipping the hair from his eyes.
“I – I – I thought I did too; s-she’s just a nurse, though,” Leo said, fumbling for words as he stared at his transformed friend.
Norman threw a glance at Sini and flexed his hand. “I feel stronger,” he started. “But maybe not in the best of ways, but only time will tell.”
Norman hit the wall and sent a hole from the staircase through to the den of the home.
“I can fix this, sir, if only you would let me,” Sini pleaded, her nursing career on the line.
“No, I quite like it.”
Norman bored holes with his stare at the window above Leo’s head. “Get out, both of you. I need time to think.”
Leo quickly backed out of the house, Sini following close behind. Norman’s countenance didn’t give off worry but fear at his new form. The look in his eye followed the pair as they hurried down the lane.
Sini’s eyes fluttered open. No afternoon light shone through the windows of the shop. She quickly rose and looked at the clock. Six seventeen. But how in the world...?
She rushed over to where the bag would have been. It sat empty in its usual place. She hurried over to where the tubes were placed, their dust coating clearly showed their unused state. Sini pulled back and thought about it.
It had been a dream. An awful nightmare. Yes, that was it.
She laughed a little manically to herself and placed her elbows on the front desk. As she breathed a breath of relief, Sini peered down onto the counter and a red strand of fur lay on the counter.