"Why?" Banny couldn't hide her obvious disappointment. She
had hoped that this would be her new home, her new family, her new life... She
was already beginning to like her siblings and new owner.
"Let me explain. I adopt pets, like you. Pets
that aren't exceedingly special. Not that you're not special, just at the stat's
point of view. Basic colours, weak pets, weird names… oh, I'm making a mess
of this aren't I? I should be an expert on this speech by now. I don't mean
to offend you at all by this…"
Banny could see that Heidi was flustered. "Yeah,
I think I understand. You train pets like… me, and change their species and
colours, then return them to the Pound so they get a better chance of being
adopted." She'd heard of this type of thing before, at the farm, but had never
really imagined it would happen to her.
"Yes," Heidi said happily, appreciative that
the 'weak pets' statement didn't offend Banny.
"I guess I'm okay with that," Banny said, nodding
slowly. After all, it was better than several other alternatives. And at least
she was out of the Pound, for a while anyway.
"Good." Heidi was obviously relieved. "I never
know how you guys will take the news. We had a Yurble last week that burst into
tears, but thankfully he settled down after a cup of weevil coffee. Well, I'll
show you your room. You can get settled, but remember it's not permanent. Oh,
and we're having lunch in an hour."
Banny absolutely loved her new room. It was furnished plainly; a welcome looking
Snorkle bed (made neatly), a checkered desk, and nova rug. A wooden drawer stood
open, with several clothes for both genders available. She sunk into the functional
grey chair at the desk and studied the photos that were on display on the eggshell-coloured
wall behind it.
There was a purple Koi, desert Kacheek, rainbow
Tuskaninny, ghost Scorchio, rainbow Shoyru, Christmas Jubjub, split Chia, and
the orange Eyrie that Banny had seen earlier at the Pound. There was a whole
wall to fill up with photos, and the Wocky wondered where hers would be displayed.
She heard pots and pans clattering from one of
the other rooms. "Lunch," Ixifun shrieked from the kitchen.
Humming, Banny entered the dining room and took
a seat at the large table. Having a strange pet in their house did not put off
her siblings; they had become used to it and barely glanced at her.
"What are we having?" she inquired, looking at
the chipped, empty plates.
"Invisible baguettes," Flueriel said in a low
voice, biting into air.
Eating invisible food was a strange experience
for Banny. She felt around for the piece of bread. It was warm and felt firm
and crusty, and she could smell the yeasty aroma. She bit into it, feeling slightly
silly. It was odd to taste something without there being anything to taste.
The crunchy bread was delicious - it tasted almost exactly like the Meridell
made loaves that she was used to.
"We're visiting the lab ray after lunch, if that's
okay," Heidi told Banny, wiping some invisible crumbs from her shirt.
"Sure," Banny said hesitantly. She knew it was
for her own good, to find an owner. And Heidi had told her she could back out
if she wanted.
Later that day, they approached the Secret Laboratory.
Banny felt as if Batterflies were flapping in her nervous stomach, but she kept
silent as the Scorchio in the white coat came into sight.
"Ah, velcome back Heidi." The Scorchio looked
Banny up and down. "Vat's zis? A new guineapig for me to zap?!" he questioned
in delight. Flueriel squeezed Banny's paw reassuringly, and the Wocky stepped
"Zis won't hurt a bit," he said absently, tinkering
with a machine that he was aiming at her. She closed her eyes tightly, hugging
herself and preparing for anything. She felt a slight tingle.
Banny opened her eye a tiny bit, not daring to
relax. "W-what happened?"
"You gained two strength points!" Heidi exclaimed.
"Feel any stronger?"
Banny couldn't deny that she felt no change.
So she shook her head. But as they were leaving, she could feel a slight difference.
That night, as she lay curled up on her Snorkle
bed, Banny stared at the dark ceiling. She knew her days at 224637 Market Street
were numbered, but she couldn't help feeling attached to the family already.
When they were walking home, Ixifun hadn't left a moment of silence. Her constant
stream of loud chatter instantly warmed her to the Wocky. And Flueriel, she
was the complete opposite. She barely uttered a word, but didn't seem shy at
all. She was perfectly happy in Banny's company, she just chose her words very
carefully and spoke them softly on the rare occasions that she opened her mouth.
And Regorey… well, she couldn't quite figure
Regorey out. From what she could tell, he'd had a very hard life before Heidi
had adopted him and Flueriel. He was very, very negative, and had a temper as
short as one of Flueriel's sentences. Banny had dared to call him Reg over the
dinner table, and he fixed his cold eyes on her. "Always Regorey. Never, ever
Reg or Reggey." But he wasn't all bad. She saw the way he looked at his sisters,
and at Slobber his red Slorg, with love in his shadowed eyes. Only, he glared
at Slobber with false contempt if somebody was watching.
Banny desperately didn't want to love this family.
But she didn't want to return to the Pound either. Maybe… maybe everything would
end up okay. Yes, Banny stared at the alien glow from the streetlight on her
ceiling, everything would be okay. Right now she needed some sleep. First thing
in the morning, after a hearty breakfast of course, Banny would venture off
to the Secret Laboratory and get zapped. So she closed her eyes and sung herself
The next day she gained a hit point. The day after, she lost it. Day after
day for a week, she braved the ray and her stats were slowly increasing. Still
there was no sign of a colour or species change though.
"Zis won't hurt a bit," the Scorchio reminded
her as he aimed the ray for the twelfth time.
Biting her lip, Banny inched forward to the red
X painted on the concrete floor
Something felt very different. "What…" she began
saying, then stopped abruptly. She, or rather "he" now, had been the victim
of the infamous species change.
"Oh dear," Heidi said, "well, you've got a decision
to make now."
"Umm," Banny said, in a voice much deeper than
s/he was unaccustomed to. "Could you maybe keep labbing me until I'm a girl
After two weeks, Banny opened his eyes and he
was a fire Wocky. It was the first colour change, and he felt very proud as
he admired the sultry-looking flames flickering up his strong black body.
"I love it," he exclaimed, viewing himself on
a reflective steel wall.
"Still want to wait until you're a girl? There's
a large chance that when you are again, you won't have the same paint job,"
Heidi reminded her-ah, him.
"Yes," Banny said hesitantly. He definitely did
not want to be a male forever, but then again, he didn't want to lose this lovely
Just as well. After a few days, Banny was a girl
again. And still with the stunning paintjob! She was happy, that was true, but
she couldn't forget that this was the end of her stay with Heidi.
Banny packed her things in silence. She had acquired a strange selection of
items since she had first walked into number 224637 Market Street. A ring from
the Snowager's cave, where Ixifun had accidentally woken him with an echoing
sneeze. A book from the Faerieland Bookshop, where the Librarian had initiated
a mysterious whispered conversation with Regorey. An empty clam from the Golden
Dubloon, where Flueriel kept looking over her shoulder hopefully as if she expected
to see somebody she knew. A packet of Sporkle leg jelly beans that Heidi had
given her. Banny tucked everything carefully into the new Hasee backpack that
Heidi had purchased for her an hour before.
Singing a song, she made her bed and fluffed
the pillows. For some odd reason, she wanted the room to look presentable for
the next pet project that would live there.
Flueriel had taken her to a Twisted Roses concert
a few days before, and the song was still fresh in her mind as she sung it.
Proudly, she thought that she could sing it even better than the lead singer.
Well… that's what Ixifun had told her anyway.
Sadly, Banny zipped her bag closed. This was
it. Possibly the last time she'd ever see this room, even though Heidi had told
her repeatedly that she could visit whenever she wanted. As she left the room,
she caught a glance of herself in the mirror and she smiled. She was certain
that she wouldn't have to stay over a minute in the Pound before somebody whisked
her away to a new life.
As she listened to the click of the bedroom door
as she shut it, her smile widened in realisation. This didn't have to be the
end of her story. It could be the beginning of a new chapter.
NOTE: Thank you for reading Banny’s story. By now, somebody’s adopted her.
Whoever you are, I hope you take care of her! And feel free to continue her
story if you like.