Chet Flash wuz here Circulation: 195,714,467 Issue: 871 | 28th day of Relaxing, Y21
Home | Archives Articles | Editorial | Short Stories | Comics | New Series | Continued Series
 

The Pound Garden:Part Two


by carrieantonia

--------

     From the window, the garden had been pretty. From within, even in this overgrown state, it was simply amazing. Mariana had never experienced anything like it. A warm, gentle breeze carried the scent of roses and peonies. Tall grass ticked her toes. A family of Beekadoodles flitted around from branch to branch in the tall old tree, chirping cute melodies.

      “Awesome,” whispered Mariana.

      “Now go unlock the door, please!” cried Treus from the window behind her.

      Mariana quickly pulled away a wooden bolt that had been keeping the door locked from the outside. Treus came running into the garden, laughing exuberantly. He threw himself down in a patch of swaying flowers.

      “I can’t believe it!” Treus shouted. “For ages I’ve been looking at this garden, and you’re the first Neopet who could get into it!” Then he sat bolt upright and fixed his eyes on Mariana. “Want to play hide and go seek?”

      The two played in the garden until the sun began to set. Mariana had never felt so invigorated. She didn’t feel nearly so frail and disagreeable. She had never had a friend before. Soon it was time to slip back inside and head to the pound cafeteria for dinner.

      “I’m starving,” said Treus as the pair walked breathlessly down the hall. He had grass in his fur and green grass stains on his paws. “Say, we should go back there. Get some other Neopets and fix that place up.”

      “But how?” asked Mariana. “Doc would never let us.”

      “Then we’ll keep it a secret,” said Treus. “Just for us pound pets. Miserable old Doc can leave us alone. I’m tired of sitting inside just looking out the window!”

      Mariana was hesitant. She didn’t want to get in trouble. But she was tired of sitting around, looking out windows, too. This had been the most fun day of her life.

      “Alright,” she finally said with a nod and a smile. “I’m in.”

     -

      Over the next several weeks, Treus and Mariana spent every single day in the garden from sunrise to sunset. They cut the tall, unruly grass into a rich, luxurious lawn. They picked the weeds away and cleared the soil so that wild flowers would have plenty of room to grow tall. They cut any dead stems off the roses and peonies that grew on the tall, gnarled tree. They even trimmed the overgrown vines from the side of the brick building and let all the other Neopets see the sun-soaked garden from their bedroom windows.

      And it wasn’t just Treus and Mariana. As word spread among the pound pets, soon more and more came to play in the garden. Soon the walled paradise was filled with the sound of laughter, jokes and games. The Neopets in the pound were no longer a pale, miserable bunch who slept all day in their rooms. Now they all came to the cafeteria hungry and breathless from laughing and playing. Even the shyest pets read their books outside in the friendly Neopian sun.

      Mariana, in particular, was completely transformed. Nobody from the Virtupets space station would have recognized her anymore! Her purple skin was bright and saturated. Orange freckles were dashed across her smiling face. Most striking of all, she no longer radiated a cloud of negative energy. She had friends! She was happy!

      Things could have continued this way for a long time. But one day, something quite unexpected happened. For the first time in what seemed like ages, the pound had visitors.

     -

      Dr_Death was snoozing at his desk when he was awoken by the sound of voices outside the front door. He jolted awake just in time to straighten his lab coat as a dozen Neopian citizens came streaming into the pound lobby.

      “Hello, er, how can I help you all today?” asked Dr_Death. Although this had been his job for years, he still wasn’t used to entertaining visitors. It seemed like he got less and less of them each year.

      “We’re from a pound rescue guild,” said one of the Neopians. “We’re each here to adopt a pet. Can you show us around?”

      “Er, sure,” said the Techo. “Each pet has their own room here. I’ll take you around to visit them. Follow me.” He turned and led the group down the hallway to the right. Dr_Death approached the first door and gave it a sharp knock. There was no answer.

      “Hmm, that’s odd,” said the Doctor, and peeked into the room. “Looks like this pet isn’t in at the moment. Not to worry.” He walked a few more paces to the next door and gave it another knock. But there was still no answer.

      “Hmm,” said Dr_Death, his brow beginning to sweat. From door to door he led the group of guildmates down the hallway, but every room seemed to be empty!

      “Now where is everybody?” he muttered under his breath. They were nearing the end of the hall.

      “Wait,” cried one of the guild members. “Do you guys hear something?”

      “What?” said Dr_Death.

      “Listen,” said another person. “I hear something like laughing coming from one of these doors. Say, maybe the pets are out here--” and he reached for the double doors at the end of the hall.

      “No no, that doesn’t lead--” Dr_Death tried to stop the curious Neopian. But it was too late. With a swift push, the wooden doors swung open and sunlight streamed into the hall. The sound of joyous laughter was now loud and clear.

     -

      It took a few seconds for Doc’s eyes to adjust to the sudden bright light. As he blinked into the sun, he let out a gasp. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The garden was full of happy Neopets, running and playing among the flowers.

      “Tag, you’re it!” shouted a baby Gelert.

      “Not it, not it!” cried a green Mynci, swinging from the tall tree. In the corner, a royal boy Uni sat smiling, deeply engrossed in a large book.

      “Oh, here they all are,” said one of the guild members happily. “Mind if we have a look around and meet some of the Neopets?” she asked.

      “I… okay...” stammered Dr_Death. “But how did they all get out here?” he whispered to himself incredulously.

      Treus walked up beside Dr_Death and patted him on the arm.

      “Hey Doc,” said Treus.

      “How… how?”

      “I hope you’re not mad that we fixed this place up.”

      “Mad?” asked Dr_Death. “How could I be mad?”

      “Well,” Treus wrung his hands together. “Why did you have those doors locked up, Doc? I’m sorry that we went behind your back. But why wouldn’t you let us play outside?”

      Dr_Death let out a heavy sigh. “I used to keep the garden in top shape. When I was a much, much younger Techo. When I first opened the pound. I was so hopeful...”

      Mariana walked up to listen to Doc’s story. He continued, “I used to plant flowers every year. I wanted every Neopet at the pound to be happy. I wanted everyone to feel at home. But as years went by, it seemed so pointless. Seeing so many pets get abandoned by their owners. I started to lose energy. I lost hope. I decided that the garden was pointless, just like my work here at the pound is pointless, and I locked it up.”

      “But it’s not pointless, Doc,” said Mariana. “Look at how happy everyone is out here.”

      Doc looked around. Each of the guild members was smiling and playing with the group of Neopets. Even the Uni was sharing his book.

      “Maybe… you’re right. It’s not pointless, is it? It’s never pointless,” said Doc. With happy tears in his eyes, he gave Mariana and Treus a big, warm hug.

     -

      The guild members each left with a Neopet that day. Later in the evening, as dinner began in the cafeteria, Dr_Death stood at the front of the room.

      “Excuse me,” he declared loudly. “Excuse me, if I can have everyone’s attention, please.” The room fell silent. “I wanted to talk about what happened today. In fact, I wanted to apologize to you all. I’m sorry that I ever locked up the garden. I’m sorry that I kept it a secret from you all and let you stay cooped up in your rooms. I let my own sadness affect others around me. But no more. As of today, the pound garden is, and will always be, open!”

      The Neopets broke into cheers and applause. And the pound was transformed that day. If you visit now, you’ll see smiling faces. No longer are pounded Neopets miserable and lonely. Of course, they are always happy to be adopted, too. And Dr_Death is a changed Techo. He never again lost sight of what made him start the pound in the first place: helping and caring for Neopets who need it most. You can visit the Neopian Pound anytime, and take a look around the garden. Smell the roses, wild flowers and peonies. Dance in the dappled sunlight or sit under the shade of the great big tree. Never forget that anywhere can become a place of joy if you simply bloom where you are planted.

      The End.

 
Search the Neopian Times




Other Episodes


» The Pound Garden



Week 871 Related Links


Other Stories




Submit your stories, articles, and comics using the new submission form.