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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 20th day of Swimming, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 95 > Short Stories > You Don't Know What You've Got 'Till It's Gone

You Don't Know What You've Got 'Till It's Gone

by drhull

Grien was waiting at the door of his NeoHome for Owner. Owner, a kindly human, had promised that she would come home with an electric blue paint brush for him today. The Grarrl looked at his skin. He was Checkered, a horrid look for a vicious, ferocious creature. This was due to a little incident with the Lab Ray. Grien sighed. Owner was good to him, and to his sister, Libby, a baby Jetsam. Their NeoHome was filled with fine furniture. Here was a robo Acara, there a tiger couch, a tiger bed. In the bathroom was a cloud toilet, a cloud sink, a rug of the same type. In Libby's room, a bubble playpen and an orange Kougra print sofa for Owner to cuddle her Neopet on; in Grien's, curvy book shelves brimming with enjoyable books, and on his fungus ball print desk were pet spotlight and book award trophies, along with many others.

     The Grarrl's thoughts returned to Owner. It grew late, 7 pm NST to be precise. Grien had already put Libby to sleep in her playpen, covering her with her prized blanket. Tapping his foot impatiently, he gazed down the tree-covered path of Safari Lane. Looking up, he saw a dull colored Lenny swooping over the trees, apparently looking for someone. When he noticed Grien, he plunged from the skies towards the ground.

     "Neomessage for Grien the checkered Grarrl, from Owner!" the Lenny squawked accurately. Grien winced. He hated the term "Checkered". Patterned, he thought to himself. I hate being patterned!

     He glanced somewhat thoroughly at the bird. He wore a blue uniform, with a lapel near his heart that read Neomessage Deliverers. This Lenny was a plain color, yellow. Not to mention he was ugly. Grien searched for the right word. He decided on mutated.

     The Neopet in uniform cleared his throat with irritation. Taking the message, Grien carefully opened it.

My dearest Grien,

     I have sad news. I promised you an electric blue paint brush by the end of today, yet you shall not receive it. Today I made a difficult decision.

     I have decided to leave the world of Neopia. Greater challenges await me in another world, another time.

     Today is my last night in Neopia. I love little of it anymore, all those things I used to love--games, feeding and playing with you and Libby, exploring-are no longer worth it. There are no challenges, no enjoyment, only boredom. They are but silly aspects of a foolish life I once lived.

     So tonight, by the time the sun disappears over the horizon, I will be gone. And so will you and Libby. Everything I worked for, my NeoHome, my shop, all of my Neopoints, shall vanish. Every single petty little thing in Neopia that was once mine will be gone.

     I'm unhappy it had to be this cruel way. But I must escape this trivial, petty life of mine. I say I built it for myself, yet it was nothing. Naught.

     I am sorry I failed you. Do not hope that I shall return, for I shall not. More awaits me in another place, unlike this. I am leaving, breaking these bonds of childhood that held me down for so many years. I love you, yet I must leave.

Signed,

Owner

     "Sir?" the Lenny squawked. "A reply?"

     Grien shook his head miserably, tears pouring down his cheeks. He took the message, and went to seek refuge in his room.

***

Flames crackled. The living room of Owner's NeoHome was warm, as the letter Grien received burned over the fire. Libby sat it Grien's lap, weeping uncontrollably. Even though she was young, Libby understood perfectly what was going on. Owner had thoughtlessly abandoned them.

     "What are we gonna do, big brother?" Libby inquired, but even her adorable baby lisp couldn't bring even the slightest of grins to her brother's face.

     The Grarrl shook his head sorrowfully. He didn't want Libby here for this, but once she had heard him crying, she instantly became worried. There was no sleep for anyone when Libby was worried.

     "Lib, we can't do anything!" he responded, a vaguely angry edge to his voice. Now he bellowed furiously, "That's right! We can't do anything, Libby! Nothing! Our gentle, affectionate, owner deserted us! And you know what she's gonna do?!"

     By now, as you can imagine, the poor, frightened Baby Jetsam was cowering in fear on the end of the Kauvara Sofa, trying to hide herself from her brother's livid wrath with a silky blue pillow.

     Finally, Grien got a hand on himself. Even though half of Owner's knickknacks were broken into pieces. He practically collapsed on the comfy couch, and scooted over to lay his head on Libby.

     The girl-Jetsam was still quavering a tiny bit, but she let her elder sibling lay his head on her. Then, miraculously, Lib giggled. Grien let out a broad smile. Laying his hand on Libby's tailfin, he said, "I'm sorry Lib. I'm your big brother, and nothing-and don't forget this, now-will ever change that special, unique relationship and bond that we have. Now, since we are bro and sis, do you really, truly want me to tell you the truth? You probably don't wanna know," he sighed. "I sure wish I didn't."

     Libby took a deep breath, obviously bracing herself, and nodded. Placing his sister on his lap, he whispered gradually in her ear, "Did anyone ever tell you about the 'Land of Delete'?"

     Unscrewing her fearless little face, she wailed desperately, "Nooooo!"

     Shaking his big Checkered head unhappily, he continued, "I shouldn't have told you. I should've tried and protected you, like a real big brother would," Choking back his own tears, Grien continued. "But I wanted you to know the truth. I didn't want you to go through your last hours, unknowing, blind, as Owner would have let you. You don't deserve that. No one does, no matter how young or old. But Libby, remember, we will always be brother and sister, no matter what. No matter where we go, no matter what we do, we'll always have that brother-sister bond."

     "In a little while Owner will go to the Central Neopian Database, the CND, and request that we, her NeoHome, her Neopoints, everything related to her Neopian life, will disappear completely from Neopia. And we will be mere figments of the imagination, as though we never existed. I'm sorry."

***

     Years later, a mature, tall teenager strode down the paths of Mystery Island, throwing a glance here and there. Unlike most others who came to Neopia for a first time, this one didn't stand out as much.

     Yet this was not the girl, Yolanda's, first time in the land of Neopia, nonetheless Mystery Isle. Years ago, she had lived here, with two pets. As she tramped down Safari Lane, something made her stop dead in her tracks.

     The place where her old house had been was gone. Kneeling down on the grass where a place she had adored once had stood, she searched for a trace that something had previously lived here. After a few minutes searching, she unearthed a blue pacifier. Staring in horror at it, she began to moan and sob.

     "What have I done?" she cried. A voice in her head said, you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone.

The End


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