Flo: Part One
A MOTHER AND a daughter were happily driving home in a car with a blue baby
Zafara cuddled in the girl's arms. Every now and again, he squeaked and wriggled
to see their surroundings out the window more clearly, which made her laugh
with delight. Finally, after months and months of waiting, she had her very
"You're all mine now," she whispered in one of
his long ears. "All mine. And your name is Florepa." Preparations had been made
at home for Florepa's comfort. A small bed had been built beside his new owner's
in her room, and some organic fruits and vegetables laid out for him. The tiny
Zafara squeaked with joy and scampered towards it where he began to eat with
gusto, under the pleased eyes of his owners. Blissful days passed after that.
Florepa lived in the lap of luxury. Every day he went to play in the garden
with his owner, discover new things about the world he now lived in. He was
intensely curious about his new environment, and often got into situations that
left his young owner in stitches. His playful antics made her laugh, and he
loved her company. It was nice to have a comforting hand stroke his head now
and again, not to mention she was fun to play with. They could spend hours romping
around the well-cut lawn. Her parents, too, were nice enough. Florepa found
that the mother often had a cookie free for him if she was working in the kitchen
and he happened to come in. Her father, if chanced upon, would give him a rough,
hard scratch behind the ears, which he enjoyed very much. All in all it was
a good life…for about a month. That was when the trouble started.
The girl stopped playing with him. She moved
his bed down into the kitchen instead of in her bedroom. In fact, she now took
no notice of him except for an occasional 'Hi, Florepa' when she happened to
see him. And as she began to neglect him, so did her parents. The reason? It
soon became rather obvious.
Several days after this unpleasant change occurred,
Florepa's owners went out one night and he was genuinely afraid that they might
leave him, especially after how they had been treating him lately. He was beginning
to shake in his basket when he heard their car come home.
Joyfully he flung himself at them as they came
through the door, and then froze in shock.
"Look, Florepa," called the girl happily. "I've
brought home a sister for you! Her name's Surari, isn't she a darling?"
In her arms nestled a tiny green creature, horse-like
with golden hooves and a flaming red mane. Only instead of a horse's hindquarters
it had a fishtail. It looked up at its new owner and whinnied. As Florepa watched
his owner coo over the tiny Peophin, he felt, with the intuition that all creatures
are born with but that humans soon learn to ignore and then become oblivious
to, that his life had changed forever and for the worse.
He had been right, he soon found.
Every day after that it was Surari, Surari, Surari,
all over the house. Everyone talked about her. How adorable she was, how she
liked to chew on her tail fins, how she touched a food item with her nose before
she ate it, every detail was described endlessly. They had no time for Florepa
anymore. In fact, his bed was soon moved from the kitchen to a dark corner of
the house that was used as a storeroom, while Surari had the bed upstairs in
pride of place by the mistress's. Plus, he was given barely any food, just some
scraps that Surari couldn't finish, for they often gave her more than she could
eat, he was hardly played with, and never talked to. He grew thinner and weaker,
his blue coat, once so glossy from grooming, lost its lustre and he longed for
the attention and love the girl had once given him, but which now was all spent
Gradually, he began not to stand the sight of
the Peophin, as she came prancing along on her golden hooves, and kept well
out of her way. Finally, the ball dropped.
The day came, when Florepa was lying curled up
in his basket, miserably, the door of his room opened. He looked up to see the
girl, and happily sprang towards her, thinking that perhaps she had come to
play with him again.
She gathered him into her arms. There was no
warmth in her touch, but Florepa was too happy about feeling that touch again
to notice. She carried him out and over to the car. Florepa noticed with satisfaction
that Surari was staying at home. Perhaps they would go on a drive together,
and it would be like old times, just the two of them.
It was in the car that Florepa began to notice
that something was terribly wrong. The girl didn't talk to him or pet him; she
just sat there staring out of the window, and fidgeting as if she would rather
have been somewhere else. Florepa's sixth sense told him something worse would
happen, and happen it did, quite shortly.
They drew up outside a tall, brick-built building,
and the mother, telling the girl to wait in the car, grasped Florepa gently
and lifted him out. Florepa struggled, fearfully, but her grip was firm and
she carried him up to the door and to a counter, where a red Uni with a kindly,
motherly face and a grizzled yellow Techo with a mop of grey hair on his head
were sitting. The mother walked up to the Techo.
"I'd like to abandon this Zafara."
Florepa hadn't been very long in the world, but
he was sensitive enough to sense that he was not going anywhere good. With a
final, desperate wriggle he broke free of the mother's grasp and dropped to
the floor, where he quickly picked himself up and dashed off.
Luckily for him, he was rather speedy on his
paws and as he ran he could hear them chasing him, which spurred him on. He
sped down an alley and stopped, breathless. The chase seemed to have been abandoned,
and he could no longer hear them.
Tears began to well in his eyes, tears of frustration
and heartbreak and anger. Why had he been taken from his owner like this? Why
didn't she love him anymore? Why had she been so willing to have him removed?
"That Peophin," he growled, to no one in particular.
"That Peophin. She stole my family, my owner.
It's all her fault." And the more he thought this, the more the heartbreak faded
and the anger grew, grew, in fact, to bitter hatred. He hated Surari. He hated
"Hey, what do ya think ya're doin' here, kid?"
Florepa looked up. Different species of Neopets
were appearing from behind garbage cans and from far off in the alley. A Zafara,
wearing an orange bandanna tied around his head that stood out against his green
fur, walked right up to him.
"Did ya hear, kid? This is our territory. What
are ya doin' in it?"
To be continued...