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Broken Dreams


by aikomizu92

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My family is poor. It's been poor for ages. I have six brothers and sisters. Two are girls, four are boys. My owner wanted lots and lots of neopets. She made multiple accounts, and then invited them all to live in our crowded one-story house. But, I remember one time when it wasn't that way. When it was just me, just me and Mom…

     I was a little Ixi then, young and harmless, newly born and bought. Mom would parade me around like a little marching band, showing me off to all her friends. She was a good mom; she always fed me till I was very full, and she would read me stories from the Neopian Times every night because she couldn't afford books yet. She was still raising money to buy and furnish our new house. She would comb my fur, brush my teeth, and settle me into her bed before crawling in herself. We would giggle ourselves to sleep, hugging each other closely.

     When Mom finally had enough money to make more rooms, she made one for me. Then she decided that she didn't want me to be lonely, so Koda entered the picture.

     Koda is my little brother. The second oldest in our family of seven. He's a Lupe, and was my best friend when we were little and everything was wonderful. I remember this game we used to play all the time.

     Koda would go crawl into a corner, his eyes shut tightly, and I would scamper off to hide somewhere. Then, when Mom said I was ready, Koda would shoot off and stick his little wet nose into the air, trying to sniff me out. Every once in a while I would make this little squeaky noise, and he would come closer to me. I would jump out then, and run around, but his quickly growing puppy legs would catch me every time. We would tumble around; play fighting on the shaggy carpet of our home. Everything was wonderful.

     Then Mom wanted more pets. She got two more in quick succession of each other. Matt and Tate. Matt is kind of grumpy. He's a Draik. Matt's really great and all, and I'm on his good side, so he doesn't get mad at me very often. He's third oldest in our family. Then there's Tate. She's a sweet and gentle Kougra, but can be a fireball. She's fourth born.

     When those two joined our family, I remember asking Mom something.

     It was kind of rainy out, and Tate was really scared since Mom just put her to bed with me. She was still very, very little. I muttered an excuse and got out of bed, I wasn't afraid of thunderstorms anymore. Kimmy rolled into my spot, the covers over her head. I exited the room, tugging on Mom's pant leg as I approached her.

     She turned. "What, sweetie?"

     I bit my lip, wondering how to put this. "Why… did you get so many more pets? Weren't you happy with just me?" Tears formed in my eyes as my feelings seeped out. "Do you not love me?"

     Mom bent down and hugged me. "I'll always love you, Isabella. I've told you before, I like big families." She got up, walked to her room and snapped the door shut behind her.

     And that was that.

     I remember lying up forever that night, with Kimmy tucked into my side. For the first time in my entire life, I didn't believe I could trust my own mother.

     For many, many weeks after that, we all tried to get comfortable in the crowded neohome. Mom constantly told me that she was saving up neopoints for a bigger house, but no improvements were ever made. And, because our house was so crowded, many of us spent the nights at our friends' houses. I hit the streets a lot back then. I stayed outside and sometimes slept under the clear Neopian sky. There were even the rare times I could see the eerie glow of Kreludor out in the distance.

     One day Mom came home with a big bag of neopoints. "I won the Wheel of Excitement Jackpot!!" I couldn't hide the huge grin that covered my face. And I couldn't stop my mind from imagining wonderful things. Ten thousand neopoints… My brain went crazy. We would be rolling in food. The best kind. The most expensive. We would have a really big house. A mansion. Like the kind that got into the Neopian Times. Us kids all crowded around the table as she upended the contents of the bag. Food rolled out, a few thousand neopoints, and…

     I dropped my grin. A baby Ixi looked up, shook its head, and yawned.

     I backed up. Suddenly, the world started spinning. My heart pounded so hard I was surprised my brothers and sister didn't mention anything. My stomach churned, and my black hooves stumbled against the carpet. But the little Ixi stayed on the table, unmoving, like a rock in the spinning mass of sky and earth.

     I remember turning, galloping towards my shared room, slamming the door behind me. I remember hearing Tate call my name, then scratching at the door. I remember curling up under the covers of my messy, unmade bed. I remember crying myself to sleep.

     The next day, I woke to my sister lightly shutting the door behind her. I looked at my clock. 11:46 a.m. I had slept in late. All of a sudden, I realized I hadn't eaten any dinner last night. My stomach grumbled to remind me of this. With a sigh, I swung my legs out of the bed and shuffled over to the door. When I entered the small, cramped kitchen, the rattling of silverware and bubbling talk quieted.

     I looked to my mother. In her lap, the little Ixi strained to reach the piece of bread my mother offered it. I shook my head in disgust, and moved to the basket of bakery goods my mother had purchased the previous day. I pulled out a Green Doughnut, took a bite and moved quickly from the room. I felt my family's eyes digging into my back as I walked out the door. And just before I heard the door snap shut behind me, the little Ixi's wail echoed through to ring in my ears.

     The food Mom bought soon disappeared, leaving only little crumbs in its wake. After that day, I was never truly full again.

     I constantly scavenged the streets for food, or even a few dropped neopoints. I hung around the Money Tree with the other crowd of beggars, disgusted that I had to be a part of them. Not a day went by that I didn't have a tussle with someone for the mangy 20 neopoints that someone was generous enough to donate.

     I finally realized that I wasn't a proud, blue Ixi anymore. I was a monster. I snarled and fought; I was not afraid to steal. I was ashamed. The only reason I ever went home was for a cold, dirty bed to sleep in.

     Just a few weeks ago, my mom had neopoints stolen by the Pant Devil. My family had to move into a smaller house. Brock, the newest edition to our family, is rambunctious, but the house isn't fit for him to live in. I've learned to adapt to him, but I still feel resentment towards him. He lives in a room with Mom.

     Koda, Matt, and Tate live in their own cramped room. I sleep on a grungy mat on the floor in the kitchen.

     Some days after that, my Mom came home, a pained look on her face. I saw a grocery bag in her arms, and then realized what Mom had done.

     I gasped, "Mom… you didn't…"

     She started crying. "I just couldn't say no, Izzy." She set the bag on the table, reached in and brought out a red Xweetok. The little bundle of fur, shook its head, sneezed, and grinned at me. "This is Eve." Then, to my dismay, she reached in the bag again. Another red Xweetok was pulled out. "And this is Adam." He moved over to his sister, batted her ear, then came to me and snuggled against my fur. I frowned.

     "Mom, you can't do this anymore! No matter how much you love them, you can't take any more!" I pushed the baby away, charged out of the house, and headed towards the Soup Kitchen. That was my only comfort.

     Now, I go to the Soup Kitchen once a day and bring home some soup for my family. One bowl for seven kids. It's hard. Everyday, I'm exhausted at the end of every day. And to my distress, my fur is turning gray. My eyes are turning red. I'm going gray, not because of a paintbrush, but because of my family.

     My life was ruined because my mom can't feed my family. So, I guess this is a warning to you, huh? Don't take more pets than you can handle. Don't let your heart be bigger than your head.

The End

 
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