Jamie and Tink hadn't had the courage to make eye contact
with Zan all morning. The friends were sitting at a table in a coffee shop. The
juppie tea she was drinking wasn't as delightfully tangy as usual.
"So, Zan," Jamie warily started, "Do you want
to go to the Create-A-Pet Center today?"
"No" Zan whispered staring into her teacup.
"Well then, what about the pound?" she
continued, forcing a perk in her voice.
"No" she said.
"What do you mean, 'no'?!" Tink said. "No pound,
no Create-A-Pet Center, how else are you supposed to get a new Neopet?!" Jamie
glared at her friend and then looked back to Zan.
Zan looked to the side, remembering. Emmie,
Shoonie, Guyggle, Aki…and the scammer who brought her world tumbling down. "I'm
not getting a new Neopet" Both of her friends' eyes grew big.
"You're not getting a new Neopet?" Jamie said
Tink said, "Zan! You can't just give up because
of a scammer! Hundreds of Neopians have recovered from scammers! They've managed
to start over and have happy lives with their new Neopets!"
"I don't care." Zan continued, "I don't see
any reason to stay in Neopia without my pets. I'll still come and see you and
the guild, but no more pets, no more galleries, no more trips to Tyrannia. There's
Tink sighed and looked down to the table.
Jamie put her hand on Zan's. "Look, I can only
imagine what you're going through. I'll accept that you're not going to want
a Neopet right now. But maybe someday things will change."
Zan looked up, shaking her head, "I don't think
Suddenly, something blue flung across their
table, spilling all their drinks. A squad of NeoPolice came charging through
the café, running towards the blue streak. The blue thing smashed into a table,
and it turned out to be a Draik. Several pastries flew in all directions during
the crash. It held in its arms several pastries, obviously stolen. The Draik
dizzily tried to get up, it saw the squad and jumped up and ran for the exit.
It bumped into seemingly everything on its way. The Police quickly ran after
it and soon disappeared from sight. Everyone in the café continued to stare
with startled expressions for several minutes after they had left.
Jamie said, "Well, that was weird!"
Tink said, "Maybe we should go down to the NeoPolice
HQ and find out what that was all about. Besides, it's not like we have anything
else better to do."
"Not me, guys," Zan said as she got up from
the table. "I'm going home. See you later."
It was drizzling that morning. Zan folded her
arms and hunched over to stay warm as she walked from the café to her house.
A few cars drove past her on the street. Most of the shops were closed. She'd
almost passed a small alley when she heard a noise emanating from a small cardboard
box. She stopped and turned around to see what was making the noise. Inside,
the Draik thief from the café was surrounded by wrappers and a few remaining
pastries. He was hungrily chomping at a small cupcake with white frosting and
a red berry on top. It was only a moment until she noticed that he was awfully
skinny, and he was shivering with the cold. The Draik heard her and looked up
with fear in his eyes, the fear of humans, and of hunger. But Zan only smiled
at the cake thief, and she walked away. The Draik seemed surprised by this action
as he cocked his head for a moment and then continued his meal. Zan smiled for
a brief moment as she arrived at her street. The first real smile she'd had
since the loss of her pets…
That night as Zan was fixing dinner for herself,
she couldn't get the Draik out of her mind. She kept seeing his skinny little
body and hungry eyes. So she made up her mind. She brought out a basket and
started filling it with food.
About 20 minutes later, she arrived at the alley
the Draik had been in before. Thought the raining had stopped, the cardboard
box he had been on was sopping wet. At first Zan feared he was no longer there,
but then she saw a little blue tail sticking out into the cold. As she walked
closer, she saw that the Draik was huddled up in a corner, sound asleep. Zan
smiled and laid some food inside the box and put a blanket on him.
As she walked away, the sound of her footsteps
woke the Draik. He slowly opened his tired eyes and saw what the human stranger
had done for him. He looked out to the street she has walked down for several
minutes after she disappeared from sight. Then he went back to sleep, comforted
by the warmth of the blanket and the heart that put it there.
The next morning, Zan was still in her robe
with coffee in hand when Jamie and Tink came knocking on the door.
"Hi guys," she yawned. "What's up?"
"Well," Tink said, "We went to go see what was
happening with that Draik yesterday."
"Yeah." Jamie seemed sleepy. Zan guessed that
Tink had dragged her out of bed this morning. "His name is Tattsu and apparently
he was abandoned. His owner didn't even bother to take him to the pound. Tattsu's
been stealing stuff all over Neopia."
"You can't really blame him," Zan said, "He's
hungry and no one's feeding him!"
"That's true," Tink continued, " And the NeoPolice
agree with you. But they can't just let him go unpunished for stealing. He could
have gone to the pound, but he didn't. So you can see that their hands are tied."
Zan looked down to the coffee cup in her hands.
Poor Tattsu, she thought, I can understand why you didn't want to go to the
pound, but now you're in real trouble. I only wish there was something I could
do to help.
A few days later, Zan was walking down the street
to the Guild HQ when she turned a corner and saw 3 police cars on the other
side of the street. The ruckus had drawn quite a crowd, and Zan joined them.
There in the middle of 5 NeoCops, Tattsu was struggling to get free of his captors.
The sight stabbed at Zan's heart. The little thing was weak from hunger and
soon grew too tired to cause the authorities and trouble. They put him in the
back of one of their cars, and Tattsu saw Zan in the crowd. He made a silent
plea for help, and the car drove away. Zan was too distraught to follow. She
didn't know what to do.
She quickly walked back to her house and sat
on the sofa, wringing her hands. She turned on the TV to try to take her mind
of Tattsu. Besides, she thought, there's nothing I can do anyway. She kept flipping
through the channels, not seeing a thing on the screen before her. Then, without
thinking or knowing why, she brought out photo albums of her and her old Neopets.
She saw them all together, playing in rain or shine. She had pictures of the
days she brought every one of them home. Pictures of their first toys, Emmie's
first Battledome match, their trips to Tyrannia, and Faerieland. She even had
pictures of when they finally got their own NeoHome in Neopia Central. Then,
all of the sudden, there were no more pictures. Only blank pages. And she cried.
The next morning, Zan felt better. Better than
she had in a long time. She had made up her mind that she would go to the NeoPolice
HQ and demand that they put Tattsu up for adoption, and she wouldn't stand for
it if they put him in jail. She was in the middle of breakfast when there was
a knock on the door. It had the perk that Tink usually gave in her knocks, and
Zan yelled for her to let herself in. Tink leapt into the house followed by
a happy, if not sleepy, Jamie.
"Hey Zan!" Tink chirped.
"Hi guys," Zan said, trying to swallow a mouthful
"Zan, they caught that Draik who had been stealing
yesterday. You remember Tattsu, right?"
"I remember." Zan said.
"Anyway," Tink said, "the chief of police decided
that Tattsu couldn't be totally blamed for not going to the pound. So he's letting
Tattsu go up for adoption."
"Really?" Zan perked up.
"Yeah, but he'll have to do some community service,"
"I've got an idea," Tink said, "Why don't you
come with us tomorrow to see who adopts him, Zan?"
"That'd be fun!" Zan's happy attitude startled
her friends. Looks like you didn't need my help after all, Tattsu. Zan thought.
The next morning, Zan and her friends walked
to the pound, where Tattsu and his police escort would be to find Tattsu a home.
"Oh, look! There he is!" Tink pointed to the
little blue figure in the middle of a row of about 50 pets. He had a Kyrii guard
behind him. Tattsu looked awfully scared, but Zan knew that soon he'd have a
new home and a new owner who would take care of him. Just then, the Neopians
looking to adopt came in…
Four hours later, however, dozens of pets had
come and gone, but no one had given Tattsu a second look. The reason made Zan
furious. Nobody wanted a Neopet accompanied by the NeoPolice and a police record.
Just because Tattsu had gotten into a little trouble after being abandoned,
he wasn't wanted or trusted by anyone. It was only then that Tattsu saw Zan
in the sidelines. His eyes were once again dashed of all hope of ever having
a life. Zan saw in those eyes what she had been hiding from herself.
With determination Zan boldly stepped forward,
surprising not only her friends but Tattsu as well. She kneeled down in front
of him so they could see eye to eye.
"You just need a second chance, don't you?"
she said, understanding his sadness.
"So do I," She whispered. And so they started
a new life. Together.