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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 19th day of Hiding, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 46 > New Series > Needed: Part One

Needed: Part One

by tdyans

Dantam trotted confidently down Neopia Avenue, his Gelert ears and tail curling happily and his well-groomed, shadow-coloured coat glistening in the sunlight. A bag full of candy hung from his mouth. His owner had given him some Neopoints and allowed him to make a trip to the candy store without her for the afternoon. The studded collar around his neck with the inscription that said, "To Dantam, Love Madison," was, in Dantam's mind, an assurance that nothing could happen to him, that even if he was alone and without his owner for a time, he was safe, protected, and he would be back in her arms soon.

Just thinking of Maddy brought a smile to Dantam's muzzle. He'd been with her for as long as he could remember. He didn't have many of what he might have considered real friends in their wealthy Neopian neighbourhood. But with her, he was certain that she loved him, and that made up for any lack of real friendship. She always made sure that he did not want for anything that his heart could possibly desire.

Dantam was pulled out of his thoughts by the sight of a grungy yellow paw reached out toward him. He looked over to see a scruffy Kacheek standing in the entrance to an alleyway. Behind the Kacheek, Dantam noticed several other figures hovering quietly in the shadows, but he averted his eyes without bothering to make out their distinct shapes.

"Excuse me sir," the Kacheek said, "But do you have any food to spare?" He looked pointedly at Dantam's large bag of candy, but Dantam just wrinkled his nose at him. He'd seen these homeless pets several times before and it always bothered him. There was just something not right in Dantam's mind about pets without owners, and they stuck out painfully amidst the crowds of painted, happy pets in Neopia Central.

"I've got this toy sail boat to trade for it," the Kacheek added, holding up the pitiful object. Dantam turned and began to walk away without a word to the Kacheek. He didn't notice the empty banana peel lying on the sidewalk, but as he stepped on it with his hind foot, it was kicked up into the air and hit the Kacheek square in the face. At the sound of the splat, Dantam spun around again to see what had happened. The Kacheek was pulling the peel off of his face with gritted teeth.

Meanwhile, all around Dantam, laughter began to echo through the air. The other Neopets who had been walking by were pointing excitedly at the Kacheek and their laughter elevated from little chuckles to uproarious guffaws. A couple of them clapped Dantam on the back. Dantam hadn't done it on purpose, of course, but he continued to allow them to think that he had and joined in their merriment at the Kacheek's expense. The Kacheek, fists balled and cheeks turning scarlet, looked as though he was about to charge at the crowd, but just then a red, striped paw reached out and pulled him back into the shadows. With the object of their amusement gone, the laughter slowly died down and the other Neopets dispersed. Dantam left also, taking one last look back at the dark alley.

Without the others to goad him on, Dantam felt a small pang of guilt as he ran back over the earlier events on his way home. But he shook his head and reminded himself that if those pets were homeless, it must be their own fault. He couldn't see any reason for pets not to have owners, unless there was something wrong with them. He rounded the corner into his neighbourhood, and his bag of candy fell to the ground as his mouth gaped in shock. A huge van was parked outside of their NeoHome and a team of tough-looking Neopets were methodically carrying their furniture into it.

Dantam ran up to the house and through the open front door and shouted out in a panicked voice, "Madison, what's going on?! Why are they taking all our stuff?" A few of the workers in the living room looked up from their lifting at his outburst, but his owner was not there. Dantam wandered on through the living room and into the kitchen, and then he spotted her. Madison sat at the kitchen table, her eyes shining with tears that she was obviously struggling not to shed as she stared off into the distance. Dantam walked slowly up to her and rested his muzzle on her thigh. "What's the matter Maddy?" he asked quietly.

She looked down at him as though she hadn't noticed him until that moment. "Oh Dantam, I wanted to get this over with before you got home. I didn't want you to see this." As she spoke, her voice cracked and a tear slipped down her cheek.

"What's wrong Maddy? I can help you make it better," Dantam insisted naively, and Madison smiled down at him and stroked his head lovingly.

"Dantam, I'm giving all of my things away because... because I have to leave Neopia."

"What?!" Dantam asked, pulling his head up from where it rested to look into her eyes. "You're only leaving for a few days. You'll put me in the Neolodge, and then you'll come back, won't you Maddy?"

Maddy shook her head and more tears coursed down her face. "No Dantam, I'm-- I'm sick... and, I won't ever be able to come back and see you again." Dantam just continued to stare up at her with his mouth hanging open in shock. This couldn't be true. Maddy loved him; she would never leave him. This was just a bad dream.

Then Madison reached out toward the latch on his collar and Dantam backed away, shaking his head at her. "No--no Maddy, you can't leave me! I need you." Madison stretched her arms toward him again, but he stood his ground. She dropped her arms to her sides helplessly. "I have to Dantam. I'm sorry. You'll find someone else to need."

"No," Dantam repeated, but he felt the reality that he saw in her eyes settling over him, and his own eyes clouded with tears. They spilled over as Madison reached her arms out again, and this time he allowed her to pull him into her lap and hug him tightly. "I love you, Maddy," he sobbed quietly.

"I know Dantam," she whispered as he fell asleep in her arms, rivulets of tears still running down his face. "I love you too."

But when Dantam awoke from his fitful sleep the next morning, he found himself not in her arms but on the bare ground where his house had once stood. His NeoHome was gone, all of his things were gone, and the collar was gone from around his neck. He was all alone.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Needed: Part Two

Needed: Part Three

Needed: Part Four

Needed: Part Five

Needed: Part Six

Needed: Part Seven

Needed: Part Eight

Needed: Part Nine

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