For All the Abandoned Hues:Part Two
Part II: Though Colors May Change
The week I was first abandoned, such a long time ago, was one of the last ones I remember clearly-the rest are blurred by repetition. I remember Dr_Death taking me to a new cage, bigger, with a plaque and a bed and some decorations. I remember making it my own and looking out of the window expectantly. Though Jennie had abandoned me and my soul had been crushed, I was still looking hopefully towards a better future and a good owner.
Right after the pound opened the early risers came to search. At first, I was expectant, but my excitement slowly died out as I watched owners with scornful gazes mutter, "Where are the painted pets?" I realized that these owners would be after my coat, not me. I willed myself from crying.
I silently watched as owners quickly browsed, getting closer to me every second. I flinched as an excited shout rang out and they ran over to me, reading my stats, arguing about who saw me first. I noticed with odd detachment a red Skeith a couple of cages over wince from the noise.
A kind-ish, middle-aged owner won the argument that day and brought me home. She had two other Neopets and said that she couldn't keep me, she needed to trade me, sorry, no, she couldn't keep me. Over and over and over again. I hadn't even asked her. Obviously, she felt guilty.
Straight to the boards we went. It was my first time, but not my last. I stayed close to my (temporary?) owner as she ran to and fro, shouting out names and, occasionally, numbers. I was all gibberish to me-until a young man strode over with a Christmas Kyrii. I tuned in to what he was saying.
"I offer Felicia3434 for Saphira_15."
"Her?!?! That's a blatant pennytrade!!!"
"What?" The young man said innocently...too innocently.
"You know what I mean. Saphira has a much better name, and she's painted a much more expensive color. Really-do you take me for a newbie?"
"Nooooo...I just thought...You can't get a Kyrii anymore, right? So technically, my Kyrii is worth more than your run-of-the-mill Uni with the whacky paint job." He smirked.
I gritted my teeth. I was special...wasn't I?
I ended up not going home with the sly 'pennytrader.’ My temporary owner traded me for a ghost Kougra instead. Now that was one creepy pet, glowing eye sockets and all. I felt so alienated, I never once spoke that whole day, but I doubt anyone even noticed.
The second person to throw me in the pound was the person she traded me to, the previous owner of the Ghost Kougra. That woman had three other Neopets and I was her fourth. She had a Starry Grarrl, a Red Jetsam, and a Baby Kougra. All were nasty to me. You would think that the Grarrl or the Jetsam would have been meanest. They were certainly the most violent. But it was the Kougra that had me pounded.
The baby's name was CuddlyCoochins50503, and, despite her name, she was anything but cuddly, except to her owner. Boy, that girl had it in for me. She would lie about me, mess up her room and say I did it, or paint on a bruise and say I hit her. She was, of course, great at playing people and had the cutest eyes. I don't blame the owner. I think she actually wanted to keep me, at first. She was just too naïve. I was doomed the second I set foot in that Neohome. I was gone within two weeks.
When I walked back in through that door I saw Meriselle flinch. I knew she'd thought I was adopted for good, into a loving family. I sighed and took my place in the long line.
I was a bright young Uni, once upon a time, and observant. I had thought about everything that went on in the pound, and every step the workers took, and thought it was all necessary. They were deathly afraid of a sickness catching hold of any pet in the Pound, because we were all together at night and most of the day, so any illness would spread quickly. Then, all of the pets would be sick, and where was the funding to buy twenty thousand pairs of Extra Thick Goggles for blurred vision? And who wanted to adopt a pet with an eighty-thousand-dollar cure? For that price, someone could buy a paintbrush.
They kept tight security and made sure no one left the place illegitimately. I know some of the other pets resented the isolation period, and the inescapable pixels, but I thought logically about everything and decided that, though it may not be 'fair' for pets to be in the pound, the system worked.
Anyway, at that point, I thought I would actually get a true owner, a sincere one, who had time for me and was equal and fair. Instead, I got a 'helper.’ I really don't know why she bothered, since I was already painted, but she did, and that was that.
I was riding with her in the car and daydreaming about a new home when I heard her say something about Rainbow Pool. I listened closer.
"Oh, sweetie, you're so lucky, I finally saved enough Neopoints and bought you a Skunk Paint Brush..."
I decided I was hard of hearing and passed it off as a slur of words, tuning her out and trying to think about what Petpet I would like, if she ever asked.
Well, it turned out I was wrong. She painted me Skunk, all right. My beautiful powder blue and pink striped fur was no more. Instead, I was a midnight black with a white mane and tail and a horrific...stripe...down my back (shudder). There was also this smell-I couldn't get rid of it, although I licked my fur off, sometimes literally. My last reminder of Jenny was gone. I was humiliated beyond belief and wouldn't look at my 'helper' as she took me to the Boards. Almost no one wanted me-who would take a pet that stank so bad she could clear out the Money Tree? My mood sank below untouchable. After a while the owner 'pennytraded,’ because, really, who wants a depressed skunk?
I remember when the pound closed for a year (yes, I know the real reason it closed. All of us Poundees know the secret. And no, we're not about to just hand it off to you clumsy, curious mischief-makers). I was still skunk, and in the pound (again) at that point. All of the pets went to foster care.
I was still quite young then, maybe three years old. I stayed wary for about a week. Then I opened myself up, gave my heart to my new owner and her family of three. I had such happy times-laughingly playing around with the rest of the family, tickling the little baby Meerca, killing time at Kauvara's Magic Shop with Kamino, her green Ogrin. Even now I miss his friendship. He kept me sane-in that large, hectic family, he would help me calm down and relax. He was the big brother I never had.
It was Kamino who saved up enough Neopoints to buy me a Red Uni Morphing Potion. Only he knew how much I hated my smelly fur, and only he cared enough to do something about it. Although it's strictly against coding for a Neopet to get Neopoints, buy items, or trade or auction things, Kamino still thought of a way to get the potion for me.
Every week or so, Tianna would buy a new toy for each pet. Usually, these toys were around 500 Neopoints. Tianna wasn't rich, but she wasn't a scrooge. anyway, Kamino came up with the idea that, if Tianna saved the money she would spend buying the two of us toys, she would have enough to buy a morphing potion. Tianna agreed to his plan and even put in a few extra Neopoints every so often. The other pets occasionally sacrificed as well. Such a loving family! We sat there when Kauvara restocked, even in the middle of the night, searching the dusty shelves for something just right. Kauvara even got to know us on a first-name basis. Eventually, after most of a year of waiting, saving, and searching, I was red.
It was interesting. Red automatically made me stand out. I felt brave and daring in red. I liked it, especially for my new life. With this wonderful family, I tasted freedom and love for the first time in a long while.
And at the end of that amazing, pleasant, marvelous year, I was one of the first to be pounded again. I honestly never knew something was wrong until we were there. Tianna just handed me to Dr_Death, threw 500 Neopoints on the desk and walked off. I still don't know why she gave me away. It may have been that I took up too much of her other pets' time, leaving not enough for her, but then why wouldn't she talk to me before resorting to such a solution? She never tried to fix the situation. I have never figured it out.
I closed down that day, started to age. My fur lost that gleam, my expression grew sour. I was completely, utterly depressed and nothing could bring up my spirits.
The pound had dramatically changed in one year. It was bigger, brighter, and more open. It was sanctioned into three sections, and it was fully staffed. The walls had been painted a bright yellow in the adoption waiting room, and the halls were no longer dark and drafty. The change was unbelievable. But I was so raw that I barely noticed.
You may have heard about, or been, one of those 'helpers' that I was talking about before. Usually, they only paint basic pets, but somehow I have been picked up by more than seven. That may well be a record.
When I was red, I was worthless. Not a great name, and no good paint color. Stats had never been my thing-I was a weakling. Nothing a prospective owner would want.
But a user began watching me. Every two days or so, she would come in to see if I was still there. I noticed her but didn't say anything. It was somewhat creepy, to watch her stare, though I knew why she was there. She was going to paint me. I didn't want her to--my beautiful red fur was all I had from Kamino. No matter-she adopted me anyway.
I was right. She brought me home for a couple of days, then held out three paint brushes. I could have chosen Christmas, or Striped again. Instead, I chose Cloud. It looked so pretty, and so like the blue I remembered. Really, I just wanted something homey and familiar.
Back into the Pound I went. Immediately, of course, I was adopted. It was interesting-I myself was the same, but when someone slapped a coat of paint on me, suddenly I was worth much more, no matter what I did.
I was adopted by an interested owner, for once. His name was Sam. He, among other things, collected cloud-themed objects. He wanted to name his gallery after me-Saphira's Cloudy Concoctions, he wanted to call it. Of course, I said yes--who wouldn't? Did I even have a choice? Does any Neopet ever have a choice? Anyway, he actually was a great owner. I was just so tired all of the time, and though I tried hard, I had a hard time holding a smile. He, after about a year, decided to stop collecting cloud-themed things and start collecting Darigan-themed things, since there were many more. Then he did something that surprised me, although it shouldn't have: he took me to the Boards and traded me away.
I don't know how he did it. He got an Unconverted Darigan Techo for me, a plain old Cloud Uni! I heard something like, "See you at the Knosbury underpass…" but it was very hush-hush and I couldn't really make out anything. Sam was someone I really liked, yet it was hard to connect with him. I hung my head watching him go, but more out of self-pity than sadness.
Another owner, another life, another part of my heart that withered away. I had really stopped caring, but even though I didn't grow emotionally attached to any of these owners, it still affected me. I think that when someone is rejected so many times on end, even by people she doesn't care about, she loses some of herself.
To be continued...