Nellie bustled into the hospital room, pushing her loaded
trolley before her. She turned her face to the single window, the flimsy, thin
curtains drawn together with a small gap to let the light escape, at the far end
of the long, thin ward and sighed with pleasure as the first of the dawn sunlight
fell across the darkened room and onto her face. The light glinted off the tiny
bottles and jars on her trolley, and gleamed on the Nimmo's smooth cloud-coloured
fur, and a smile spread across her lips. She did so love the morning - it was
so fresh and new, a day unspoilt, new and exciting opportunities...
"NELLIE!" hissed the voice of Doctor Gelden,
the green Gelert's head appearing from around the door of his small office,
trying to keep his voice down so as not to wake the patients. Nellie nearly
rolled her eyes, but caught herself just in time - it wouldn't do to be ungrateful.
She was so lucky to have this job, keeping Neopets from all over the world healthy
and happy, when so many others were much worse off than herself. At least she
had her health - unlike those she had just been delayed from treating. Affecting
her usual cheery smile, she left her trolley where it stood and slipped into
her boss's office.
It was, as always, meticulously clean, with every
book in the large shelf in the corner in order of subject, every bit of paperwork
filed into neat rows on his desk, and every medicine bottle and jar lining the
small table carefully labelled. The doctor himself was perched on the seat behind
the desk, fiddling with the stethoscope around his neck and scrutinising a piece
of paper before him.
"You called for me, Doctor?" Nellie asked, straightening
her white coat and hoping that everything was in place properly. Doctor Gelden
hated it when something was messy - though, of course, she should be thankful
that it was she, and not some other, more deserving pet, that had managed to
get the job of a nurse.
"Yes, I did," replied the doctor in his stern
tones. His eyes scanned Nellie's uniform and narrowed in annoyance. "Nellie... your
hat... " The Nimmo's paws flew to the beret-like nurse's hat on her head - which
was now slipping slowly off - and moved it to a more satisfactory angle. Doctor
Gelden sat back, pleased. "There, now. I can't have my staff running around
looking like something that crawled out of Krawk Island, now, can we?"
"No, Doctor," agreed Nellie politely. There was
a pause, during which the Gelert consulted the paper in front of him again.
After a few seconds of silence, she could hear the patients begin to stir next
door. It was almost time for the morning round. "...Doctor, the patients..."
"What? Oh yes," Doctor Gelden almost looked sheepish.
"There are a few minor adjustments we need to make to the patients' treatments."
There was another silence, as Nellie tried to work out what he had said. Eventually
the Gelert realized she hadn't understood, and heaved a great sigh. "In... oth-er...
words..." he explained, speaking loudly and slowly as if talking to a rather
stupid child, "...the... pa-tients... need... dif-fer-ent... med-i-cine." Nellie
felt a stir of irritation, but she squashed the emotion hurriedly. Stop being
so ungrateful, she scolded herself silently. "I have the instructions right
here," continued the doctor, switching back to his normal brisk voice. "Make
sure you follow them to the letter."
He handed the piece of paper over to her. She
scanned it and suppressed a groan - it read things like, 'One gram of powdered
Flat-U-Less tablets mixed with two ounces of a Magic Cookie; must be warmed
to three and a half degrees above room temperature,' and 'A single Grumble Be
Gone tablet crushed into a jar of Magic Goop; must be kept inside a bucket of
cold water at all times up until three seconds of administration,' and 'Apply
Medicinal Soap to exactly one ear; the ear must then not be touched for up to
three hours - warning: the patient will undergo extreme itches in the aforementioned
"But Doctor..." she began. "The patients
are so grouchy in the mornings and these instructions are so strict..." From
the harsh stare of Doctor Gelden, she realized she was being unfair again. She
shut her mouth hurriedly, and bowed her head submissively. "Yes, Doctor, I will
follow them carefully."
"Good. Make sure you do." He was already sifting
through his papers, and for a moment he seemed to forget she was even there.
He looked up again, frowning. "Why are you still here?" he snapped accusingly,
and Nellie fled obediently.
Returning to the peaceful main room of the hospital,
she revelled in the quiet. There was not a sound save for the occasional coughing
of a sleeping patient or the rustles of a sheet as someone turned in their sleep.
She looked up once more at the window at the end of the room. More and more
light was falling through it, as the sun rose even higher. It was time, she
decided, to wake up the patients. There was a sinking feeling in her stomach
- they would be so angry, as always, at being woken up. Though she shouldn't
think badly of them. It wasn't their fault they were ill, after all. She shook
herself from her thoughts, took hold of her trolley, and wheeled it down the
aisle between the two long columns of beds, all with a sick Neopet slumbering
inside it. It took her a good three minutes to get to the end of the long room.
The pleasant jingling of the medicine bottles as they knocked against each other
continued to raise her good spirits. It was such a nice noise. She couldn't
resist doing a small twirl as she reached the window, and almost fell over.
Sheepishly, she righted herself. That's what I get for being silly when I
should be working, she rebuked herself, and returned to the task on hand.
With a flourish, she pulled the curtains apart, and smiled as bright sun poured
onto her face. Proper light came spilling onto the faces of her patients too,
and they woke with a start. There was the usual pause as they tried to work
out where they were and why the light was so bright... and then came the grumbles
and moans and angry cries.
"It's the crack of dawn-"
"Why did you wake me so early?"
"I need my rest, you know-"
Nellie let the mutterings wash over her. She
was well practised at keeping her anger suppressed - not that she should be
angry at all, of course, it wasn't her place to grumble. "It's a lovely morning,"
she said pleasantly. "And I've brought you all your medicine." Her voice was
drowned amongst the cacophony of the patients', but she didn't dwell upon it.
She seized her trolley once more and began the morning round.
The first patient she had to treat was an elderly
blue Chomby with a chronic case of Shaky Flakys, where the victim starts to
tremble uncontrollably, and the skin becomes dry and, predictably, flaky. In
this instance, the flaking was so bad that the Chomby's spikes had begun to
soften. Luckily, they had caught it in time, and he was now on a strong course
of Shaky Flaky Cream. Usually Nellie would have an easy time treating a patient
with Shaky Flakys, but unfortunately the Chomby in question was particularly
"Come on, child, hurry up with that cream," snapped
the Neopet as Nellie began to apply the cream to his spikes. "I feel like my
spikes are going to drop off at any moment." Nellie nodded agreeably. At that
moment, he chose to tremble particularly violently, and Nellie's paw slipped
- the cream went all over her arm. Doing her best not to grimace, she wiped
it off with a damp cloth, and told herself off for groaning when she got it
on her uniform - Doctor Gelden wouldn't be very happy about the mess.
Next on her list was a Wocky with Shock-A-Lots,
where electric sparks shoot out from the patient's fur. Again, this might not
have been too much trouble, but the Wocky was painted electric - the sparks
that emitted from her fur were increased in power tenfold. The poor patient
was in understandable discomfort. "Oooooh... " she groaned as Nellie approached
with her little trolley. "Quickly... quickly... " Nellie brought out the Ultra
Rubber Gloves that had to be worn to decrease the sparks, and tried to fit them
over the Wocky's chunky paws. Of course, the gloves were made for pets with
human-like hands, and it was terribly difficult to fit them over her paws. Each
time Nellie touched her fur, sparks shot through her body and made her eyes
water with pain. She tried not to squeal with each electric charge. The Wocky
was too busy sighing with relief when the gloves were finally on to thank Nellie
as she staggered, static making her fur stand on end, away to the next patient.
This time, Nellie padded up to the patient considerably
less cheerfully - which was understandable, considering that it was a large
mutant Jetsam with Chickaroo... the dreaded disease during which the victim
believes he or she is a chicken. This was an extremely developed form - the
poor Jetsam had rubbed his skin raw trying to peck at the ground for corn. It
had got so bad that she and the Doctor had had to pin him down to the bed to
stop him. Nellie couldn't help shuddering at the memory - she still had bruises
from where his many tentacles had flailed madly around in an attempt to search
for more corn, and it had taken almost two hours to get all eight of them secured
safely. The Doctor had only managed one tentacle, but quickly retired to his
office after it had hit him in the face. He could've helped a little bit more...
No, stop thinking so negatively. Trying
to think of nice things, she turned her mind to the matter at hand - trying
to force Herbal Scrambled Eggs into the Jetsam's mouth. Approaching the bed,
she suppressed a grimace as the fearsome yellow eyes turned blankly onto hers.
"Feeling any better?" she asked hopefully, but the Jetsam just opened his mouth
and attempted a squawk. What came out was a half-strangled croak. "Just a few
more weeks of Herbal Scrambled Eggs, then," she said, attempting brightness.
Edging closer, she picked up the dish containing
the scrambled eggs, and tentatively neared the massive jaws. The tentacles twitched
underneath their binds, and she gave another shudder as she carefully prised
open the massive jaws. She avoided looking at the sharp teeth, perfect for chomping
on the flexible, soft flesh of a Nimmo, and hurriedly poured the contents of
the dish into his mouth. Instantly, she leapt back...
...But, as usual, not quick enough. Choking on
the food, the Jetsam spat it back out, all over Nellie's uniform.
Several minutes later, a dishevelled and egg-spattered
Nellie trudged wearily away from the Jetsam's bed, and to the next one. She
tried not to look disgusted.
Next was the young starry Kyrii with NeoPhobia
- a terror of leaving the Neohome. The child was quivering under his sheets,
grasping a plushie. To his many visitors, he was an adorable little angel with
a penchant for plushies and sweets. To everyone else, he was a vicious little
brat who would make a good career out of acting. Though I shouldn't think
like that; children are the future, Nellie rebuked herself. "Zebbie?" she
cooed, trying to sound upbeat. "Do you want some breakfast? Its morning!"
The small lump where he was huddled under shook
from side to side. "Don't want to come out," grumbled the little Kyrii. His
bed was surrounded with plushies and Get Well Cards from his adoring family.
"But your owner said you loved bacon in the morning,"
"DON'T WANT TO COME OUT," thundered the child,
and for a moment forbidden annoyance flickered across her face.
"You've got to come out," she said, trying to
keep the strain out of her voice. "You have to wear your Step Out Shoes for
ten minutes a day."
"Those shoes are for GIRLS," Zebbie said plaintively.
Not for the first time, Nellie got the distinct impression he wasn't actually
ill at all, but she put these thoughts out of her head. It wouldn't do to be
suspicious of perfectly innocent children.
"No one will know," she pleaded - she never had
been good with kids.
"Don't WANT to."
"I'll give you a Raspberry Sweetie," Nellie finally
said in desperation, holding out the peace offering. The lump which was Zebbie
contemplated this offer for a moment, and then a starry paw emerged, grabbed
the sweetie, and withdrew. Slurping noises ensued. "...Zebbie, the Step Out
"Oh yeah." Two midnight-blue feet poked out of
the end of the bed. She struggled to control a sigh as she wrestled with the
shoes. She could've sworn she heard a scornful giggle. When finally the shoes
were on, the Kyrii's head appeared cautiously from the other end of the sheets.
"You have weird fur. Why is your fur all static? Why is there cream all over
your arms? And," here the child wrinkled his nose in disgust, "And why is there
egg all over your uniform?"
"Why indeed?" Nellie shot back, losing her temper,
and Zebbie hid beneath the sheets once more, giggling. Without thinking any
thoughts of retribution, she stalked off, jerking her trolley ahead.
Breathing heavily, anger flooding her mind, she
stomped over to her next patient, a rainbow Lupe suffering from Jitters - where
the victim is incapable of keeping still. Nellie didn't even bother to quieten
her groan as she saw that the patient was still not better.
The Lupe in question was bouncing around her
bed, executing little leaps and chattering away to the neighbouring patients
nineteen to the dozen.
"Will you shut that moron up?" barked a Lutari
from somewhere behind her. "I'm trying to sleep!"
She ignored the Lutari and approached the Lupe,
holding the medicine in her, the red bottle named the Potion of Containment.
"Hi!" chirped the Lupe breathlessly. "Are you
the nurse? Have you come to give me my medicine? Sorry, but I don't need any!
I feel GREAT! Better than ever, actually! I feel like I could run a marathon!
In fact, I might go and run one right now! I wonder if I could run in the Poogle
Race? Do you think they'd let a Lupe run? I bet they would if they saw-"
The relentlessly cheery voice was beginning to
grate on her frayed nerves.
"-my owner once said I was faster than a Kougra!
I said that what she was saying was like saying that a-"
A muscle in Nellie's jaw began to pulse.
"-but my friend laughed and then she couldn't
stop! And so I laughed too and then we both started giggling and then everyone
else started giggling and we all giggled so much that we-"
She began to twitch violently.
"-and then I gave her a couple of Neopoints and
she said to me that I was like the Soup Faerie! And so I told her-"
Nellie's voice rang through the ward. Silence
descended upon the hospital, as every pair of eyes turned in shock to the Nimmo,
who was rooted to the spot. Even the rainbow Lupe stopped talking. Fury flooded
through every part of her, and she felt like she was going to explode from anger.
"I put up with your MOANS, and your COMPLAINTS,
and your CONSTANT GRUMBLING, EVERY SINGLE DAY, and you never even have the DECENCY
to even THANK me! You don't even give me the slightest BIT of an APOLOGY when
you send ELECTRIC through me, spit EGGS on me, and just generally TRY my PATIENCE!"
The words dried up in her throat, and she stood,
chest heaving as she struggled for breath. She felt that she needed to finish
it with something else.
"I just want you to say thank you... " she ended
weakly, and held the Potion of Containment out to the Lupe, who took it without
a word and scurried into her bed meekly.
Stunned by the strength of her own passion, Nellie
began to walk back down the room, when suddenly someone tugged at her splattered
uniform. She whipped around, her anger flooding back once more. "What now?!"
A small baby Cybunny stood before her, a humble
look on her chubby features. She bore the signs of Neggitus, where the victim
suffers an allergic reaction to Neggs. "I just wanted to say... thank you,"
she said quietly, and then walked away.
Nellie was thrown. She wanted to call the Cybunny
back, to say she was welcome, but the words wouldn't come. All the anger drained
out of her, as if someone had pulled a plug out of her emotions.
"HELLO? I need my medicine over here-"
"I want some breakfast-"
"These sheets are itchy-"
The hospital erupted in noise again, but the
complaints didn't seem to bother her any more. As she slowly strolled back to
refill her trolley, Dr Gelden poked his head out of his office. He surveyed
her uniform in shock. "What have you done to yourself?" he asked in horror,
and then retreated to the safety of his office. Nellie bit her lip in anger,
but then she caught sight of the baby Cybunny, who was hopping back into her
bed. She winked, and Nellie smiled. Perhaps the morning round wasn't so bad