|Illustrations by evil__sakura|
Not too long ago, in the heart of Neopia Central lived
a small Gelert family, somewhere along Bracknell Road, one of the many different
families that lived in that area. The family was made up of a father, a mother,
two female Gelerts and one male Gelert, nothing highly unusual, but they were
an enjoyable bunch of Neopets all the same. The name of the only male Gelert
in this family, besides his father, was Brandon, and he was quite the oddball
of the family. Unlike everyone else that he lived with, Brandon was awfully
shy and often spent most of his time by himself. To top it off, his appearance
was not similar to the kind found on almost any Gelert in Neopia. His plume,
which was supposed to be long and whip-like, fell short from where it was connected
to his rump. Brandon's paws were quite large, and his limbs had a rather chubby
structure, which helped add to his abnormal appearance. Unlike his siblings,
Brandon owned a rugged, crimson color of fur.
Unfortunately, due to the different traits that
he had, Brandon kept himself away from all of the other Neopets around his age,
especially at school. It was normal for students to tease one another for looking
different, but Brandon always found himself the subject of disapproval. As the
days passed with this experience, Brandon made the judgement that all Neopets
were this way, and found himself better off alone.
Naturally, as parents, Brandon's mother and
father observed their child's slightly eerie behavior for quite some time. Brandon's
mother especially found herself worried -- she knew that her son was a bright
creature and it hurt her so to see that he had never had any relationship with
anyone outside of his house family. Brandon's father wasn't quite as worried
at this point, because he still loved his son whether he was similar to everyone
else or not. However, he wanted Brandon to be happy.
So his parents advised a plan.
Brandon continued on his way for a few weeks
at a time, rarely speaking anything to anyone, but enjoyed himself nonetheless.
Day in and day out, the Gelert would wake up, silently head to school, quickly
finished his work and head back home in time for dinner. His parents silently
watched over his shoulder until they thought it was time to put their plan into
One evening while Brandon, his sisters, and
his parents were silently gathered at their dining room table for that night's
meal, his father stood up from the table and headed outside into the garage.
Brandon's oldest sister Brittney let out an uncomfortable sigh towards her father's
unexcused departure. Her striped colored fur seemed to glisten underneath the
light of the chandelier on the ceiling as she inquired, "Where's dad going?"
Beth, Brandon's other sister, shrugged her shoulders.
His sisters usually agreed with each other, due to the small difference in their
age, and they rarely fought. However, Beth was recently painted the color Faerie
to make it easier to tell her and her older sister apart. "Mom, isn't he supposed
to excuse himself before leaving the table?"
Their mother nodded slowly. Brandon paid no
heed as to what was going on with his father, and simply poked at the remnants
of spaghetti on his white plate. Brandon's mother simply replied, "He should
be back in a moment. You two finish up your dinner, now."
The room quickly fell silent again as a few
more moments passed. The sun outside began to tiredly droop from overhead, and
slowly helped itself to the lower half of the sky. Finally, the Gelerts' father
entered the room. In his paws he clutched a brown cardboard box, which was tattered
and torn, not to mention damp and rather stinky. The father looked quite tired,
and dirt particles graced his black coat of fur. Finally, after catching his
breath, he turned to face Brandon who was fighting off sleep.
Stepping over to the table, the father placed
the box in front of his only son. Beth and Brittney frowned with envy both thinking
to themselves that their geeky brother always got gifts and they were
left behind to just clean their NeoHome.
"Well, go on and open it." Brandon's father
offered a nervous smile. "Your mother and I found this for you. We hope that
over time it will make you realize a few different things."
With a slight nod to show his gratitude towards
his father's caring gesture, Brandon slightly cringed before opening the flaps
of the cardboard box. Inside, he expected to be a few old issues of the Neopian
Times or even a few of Neopia's prominent books for him to read. At least, that's
what he wanted the most. Instead, as Brandon's hazel eyes looked into the box,
he saw something rather eccentric. Inside of the box lay an abnormal looking
Cobrall, with only two stripes, one green and one blue, with a short, chubby
tail that barely existed. Its eyes were a pale green color, and its pupils were
barely visible. The petpet could easily pass for a skinny Slorg.
His parents watched their son's expected reaction
as he took the Cobrall from the interior of the box. "Uh.. thanks, mom and dad."
Brandon choked sadly while grasping the odd creature within his grasp. "It's
great. I'll take good care of it."
"I'm sure you will." Brandon's mother reassured
with a kiss onto her son's cheek, although his sisters were busily laughing
away towards their brother's "gift". "You can go on to bed now. Since your sisters
have such a great sense of humor they'll help me clean the table."
Brandon forced back tears as he bounded up the
stairs with his new pet. A feeling of grief and embarrassment prodded at his
throat as he held back the salt water that longed to fall from his eyes. Letting
himself into his room, the red Gelert tossed his Cobrall onto the floor with
disgust. As the Cobrall slithered out of the door with fright, Brandon slammed
it behind his new pet.
The first day of owning a petpet was seemingly the worst. Brandon tiredly
managed to open his eyes early that morning, only to find his bedroom torn into
shreds. His stamp collection, his toys -- everything was scattered all over
the place, as if a tornado ran through his recently cleaned bedroom. The Gelert
faced his petpet with rage.
"Look at what you've done!!" Brandon cried with
disgust, as his Cobrall slithered contently to his feet. Why, he'd never done
anything to that dumb Cobrall for him to tear up his room! How did he get back
inside in the first place? The Gelert angrily kicked his wall. "What kind of
gift are you supposed to be, anyway? You're deformed enough as it is -- now
you can't even listen to your owner?"
The Cobrall intently looked towards his owner
as he stormed out of the room for another day at school, a slight feeling of
hurt and sorrow clouding his exterior.
School was just as bad as it usually was for
the timid Gelert. He was teased, and found himself overly awkward when it came
to speaking aloud for any kind of reason. Compared to home, school was such
a different dimension of Neopia that Brandon hated to experience, especially
without his parents at his side. "Big paw!" and "Fatty tail!" were a few of
the childish names he heard yelled his way that afternoon. Brandon often wondered
to himself: why can't they just like me for who I am? The canine found it very
hurtful to be prejudged, over and over again, day after day. These names often
left him at home, thinking angrily to himself about some of the bullies and
their actions that past day.
The afternoon managed slowly drag on, until
the Gelert was finally able to head home.
Upon stepping in the threshold of the doorway
to his bedroom, Brandon sighed with guilt, noticing that his pet still lay in
the exact positioning that he did that morning. Letting himself into the room,
Brandon saw what seemed to be a saddened expression upon the pet's face.
"Oh," Brandon managed to say, taking a seat
on the floor next to the Cobrall who sat as if a statue, motionless. "I'm sorry
I treated you so horribly this morning." Immediately Brandon felt guilty for
what he had done. He treated his petpet as badly as the others at school had
treated him, and for that he was truly sorry.
Silently, Brandon's pet forgave him, willing
for a new start.
Over time Brandon eventually let his Cobrall,
now deemed Pudgy, into his life. It took a while for him to look past his differences
and allow the petpet to become his best friend, but eventually he did, and he
was quite grateful for that. Every day before and after school the timid Gelert
would feed his pet and make sure he was cleansed, and changed the small sheets
to the bed that he'd put together for him in his spare time as well.
Soon everyone was used to seeing Brandon with
his Cobrall. They were virtually inseparable. His parents observed Brandon's
activities with his Cobrall for a few weeks, quite glad that their plan had
worked, and continued hoping that the best was to come for their son.
His parent's intentions were soon put into effect.
At home, one evening about a month later, Brandon sat with Pudgy contently sleeping
within his lap. The Gelert had learned to relax and show a side of him that
he had never knew even existed around his petpet, and he was overly thankful
for that. While thinking aloud to himself, Brandon realized that he had learned
He stroked Pudgy's scaly skin while realizing
aloud, "You know, Pudgy, I always thought that since I was teased at school,
that everyone was like that. But then my father brought you home. At first,
I remember that I was frightened of you because you looked different, and I
expected you to not be a very special petpet.
But know I've learned something. It's not what
counts on the outside; it's what counts on the inside. I'm really sorry for
thinking you would be a horrible pet just because you looked different than
the average Cobrall. Now, maybe the students at school can look at me differently,
Brandon smiled and then thought to himself some
more. Tomorrow, he'd start anew, with this knowledge on hand.