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Erew: The Seventh Abandoning


by jamice_muff_muff

--------

It was a normal Neopian day. Weak rays of sunlight cast thin, friendly shadows along the various shops and stalls that dotted the cobbled streets of Neopia Central. Excited shoppers swarmed about, peering into window displays and happily gossiping about the bargain they had come across at Plushie Palace. But not everyone in the Neopian Plaza was happy.

     Two figures drew nearer to the small, tan building which was set slightly away from the bustling main road. One was a tall, dark-haired boy who looked like he had seen better days. His eyes were extremely red from lack of sleep and he was covered in cuts, scrapes, and bruises. His hair was tousled and he looked like he had been up all night.

     Beside him was a bored-looking yellow Lupe who was swishing his tail casually in the early morning air. The Lupe looked faintly sick and also had small injuries but he seemed to be satisfied with something. He didn't seem to notice his owner's flickering eyes and walked up to the pound with a confident air.

     When the two reached the dusty, red door, the boy reached out his better hand (the other was completely covered with thick, white bandages) and turned the age-worn knob, pushing the door open with a deadened creak. The two stepped inside and were met with a musty smell that seemed to come to the pound building in its old age. Plugging his nose, the boy approached the Techo at the pine desk, who had been scribbling away at a paper so filthy it was now tinted gray with dust.

     "Ah, hello, Max," the Techo grumbled in a most unfriendly voice. "Here to abandon, I see."

     Max glanced quickly at his Lupe before saying, "Er... It's not that he's a bad Lupe..."

     Suddenly, the Techo's head snapped up from his work and he glowered at the boy. "That one?!" he burst out, peering over his desk at the Lupe, who was sitting quietly at his soon-to-be-former-master's heels. "You want to return THAT one?"

     Taken aback by this sudden explosion, Max backed off slightly. "Erm... Yes sir, I had... Well, I was planning on leaving him here. It goes back to what I said earlier..."

     "You've GOT to be joking!" Dr._Death screeched, pounding his fist on his desk and scattering his gray papers in every direction. "WELL, WHAT'S WRONG WITH HIM?!"

     As frightened as he was, Max refused to answer the question. Instead, his face paled and he stared at the Lupe, a flicker of fear in his eyes. Finally, he looked back up at the furious Techo before him and said in a robotic voice, "Here're the pound fees. I have to go. My luck to Erew that he finds a good home." He then tossed a handful of Neopoints on to the desk and fled the building without a backwards glance.

     Dr._Death put his head in his hands and didn't look up for several minutes. Erew waited patiently by his desk, his tail twitching from side to side. The Lupe was used to this behavior - it happened every time. For him, at least. He knew perfectly well that Dr._Death didn't want to put up with him anymore; he was just plain sick of seeing Erew turning up without any explanation at all. Though he pestered the Lupe to tell him why this was happening, Erew didn't seem to have a reason at all and if he did, he didn't plan on telling the irritable Techo any time soon.

     Dr._Death lifted his head and stared at Erew in disbelief and annoyance. "So how many times now?" he asked dryly, pulling out a rather thick bundle of papers from his desk drawer and setting it on top of his abandoned work.

      "I think it's the seventh, sir," Erew replied solemnly, staring directly into Dr._Death's eyes. Startled, the Techo blinked and looked away; there was something eerie about those yellowish eyes. He focused his attention back on Erew's whole, rather than his face.

      "So tell me..." Dr._Death began, standing up and walking over to Erew, who remained where he was and followed the doctor with his piercing stare. "Why did that boy bring you back?"

      "He found me to be... high-maintenance."

      Nonplussed, Dr._Death goggled at the Lupe. He had never seen such a quiet, respectful Lupe as Erew in his entire life! He'd seen a few people return snarling, biting, vicious Lupes before that they called 'high-maintenance'. He had agreed with them on that. But never a Lupe as calm and reserved as Erew had been called high-maintenance. Yet this same exact thing had happened six times before and here Erew was, standing before him like this was his very first time at the pound's abandon desk.

      "Erew, I have seen high-maintenance before," Dr._Death sighed, shaking his head sadly. "And you are not that type of Lupe. Last time, your owner had allergies. The time before that, they couldn't support you. Your excuses are becoming wilder. Now, I don't blame you for this, Erew, but there is certainly a reason for why you have been returned so many times."

      Erew remained silent. Dr._Death heaved another great sigh and stepped directly in front of Erew. Once again, the Lupe fixed him with a frightening stare. Suddenly, something happened that made the Techo jump back in fear, colliding sharply with his desk and tipping it over, scattering the floor with dusty papers. What had happened had only lasted for a split second but Dr._Death had seen it quite clearly and was positive it had even happened.

      As he had been staring into Erew's eyes, he was sure he'd seen them glow green. Blazing, angry green eyes that filled him with an overwhelming feeling of horror. But the next second they returned to their innocent, yellow look, now with pity and concern as the owner of them helped the Techo up from his fall.

      "Are you alright, sir?" Erew pulled Dr._Death to his feet and brushed him off. "Did I scare you?"

      The doctor's truthful answer would've been 'yes, why did your eyes turn green?' but he knew he couldn't say that. He didn't want Erew to know he had seen him. What if Erew was more aggressive than he seemed?

      "I-I'm fine..." Dr._Death breathed shakily, pulling his desk up again and retrieving some of the fallen papers. "Er... Come with me, I'll fill out your paperwork later. You will be ready for adoption tomorrow..."

******

      One week later, Erew stirred restlessly in his sleep. He had been at the pound for far too long. Perhaps this was his longest time here that he could remember. There hadn't been many humans in to adopt all week and Erew was getting tired of waiting. Oh sure, they all came. Some came to drag their screaming Gelerts in by the tail and leave them for others to adopt, some would come to adopt but were only looking for red, female Kougras, and still others would crowd around the abandon desk and wait for someone to abandon their painted pets, which was all they cared for and would lunge at any person who entered with a painted pet even if the owner wasn't planning on abandoning it (they received annoyed glances for this behavior). But once someone decent entered the pound, Erew would turn on his adorable, Lupe-ish charm and innocently try and persuade the person to adopt him. It wasn't that hard; he'd done it six times already.

      Suddenly, the sound of something large and old being scraped across a stone floor filled Erew's sharp ears and he sat bolt upright, listening intently. It was the sound of a door being opened and by the sound of the heavy scraping, it wasn't the entrance door. Someone was coming into the adoption section and by the sound of it, they weren't randomly skimming the pound for painted pets. If they had been, Erew was sure he'd hear something like, "BUt plz, kin i heve ur painted pets??!!!!!!!111 PLZ!!!11"

      Well that certainly wasn't what he was hearing. Instead, he heard a girl's voice that gently drifted down the long hallway and spoke the words, "I'm just looking for a nice pet to take home. My other three have been looking forward to having a new sibling."

      Erew quickly lapped his paw and brushed it over his left ear, causing the fur to stand up and look pound-worthy. Then, he bounded over to the front of his cage and peered out. Kelly, the pink Uni who ran the adoption center part-time, was leading an eager girl with auburn hair down the endless rows of cages, pointing out a few pets here and there which the girl would sometimes speak to.

      Erew put on his saddest possible face and plopped despairingly on to the cold, stone floor while keeping Kelly and the girl in his range of vision. He knew just how to handle her. As Kelly approached, Erew collapsed completely on to the ground, whimpering in what seemed to be extreme pain. Shocked, the girl rushed over to his cage and crouched down to see him better.

      "Oh my gosh! Are you okay, little guy?"

      Erew staggered back to his feet. "I'm just a little scraped... No big deal..." he said, wincing noticeably. "My owner abandoned me because he couldn't afford to cure me after the incident..."

      "Wha...?" Kelly started, so familiar with Erew that she knew perfectly well he had not been involved in any 'incident' which had supposedly landed him in the pound in the first place.

      But she was cut off by the girl, who lowered her eyes to Erew's and whispered, "What incident?"

      Erew stared back and the girl, like the others, blinked and looked away, slightly spooked but sympathetic to Erew's injured state. "Well... It wasn't really bad... But my owner found 150 Neopoints on the floor and he went a little wild."

      The girl looked confused at the idea of someone going wild over 150 Neopoints but she suddenly realized that Erew must've been poor and hid the confusion from her face. She nodded to the Lupe and he continued.

      "He spun the Wheel of Excitement and it landed on the Lava Ghoul. Well, you can expect what happened then." Erew adjusted his footing, making it look like he was in continuing pain and continued. "He sent me here so I could have a better life."

      The girl's mouth was hanging open and tears had started in her eyes. "That's so sad!" she exclaimed.

      "Er, Tina, we have some other great pets ready for adoption! Look, there's this sad, little Wocky over here!" Kelly tried desperately to get the girl's attention again but she was unsuccessful.

      "I want this one," Tina decided, pointing at Erew, who felt a feeling of satisfaction course through him.

      "But y-you can't! Y-you can't t-take that one! He's... He - you can't!" Kelly spluttered, waving her hooves around wildly.

      "And why not?" Tina asked in a falsely sweet voice, her eyes icy cold.

      "We, well, we can't seem to find him a good home..." Kelly muttered uselessly, knowing she made no sense whatsoever to anyone but herself and Erew.

      "I'll take him then!" Kelly's outburst had only encouraged the determined girl more to adopt Erew. Kelly glanced frantically around as though someone might materialize out of thin air to help her in her situation but when no one did, she grumbled and opened Erew's cage...

******

      "Hey Wendy, come play!" A pink Lenny waved her wing energetically at Wendy, a faerie Usul.

      "Coming!" Wendy called back, landing in the grass and running over to her friend. "Gosh, Tasha, I haven't seen you in weeks!"

      "It's almost time for Neoschool to start up again and I've been on vacation, enjoying the last weeks of summer," Tasha the Lenny replied, ruffling her feathers impressively. "And guess what? We're in the same class together!"

      "No way!" Wendy cried, jumping up and down excitedly. "I can't wait! And the good part of it is, my little brother is in a completely different school so he can't tag along!"

      "And what about your sister?" Tasha asked eagerly.

      "She's in our school but a different class," Wendy replied good-naturedly. "But she can still play with us at break."

      "What about your new brother?"

      "Who, Erew?"

      "Yeah, him."

      "Um..." Wendy bit her lip. "I don't really know much about him. He's really quiet and keeps to his room mostly. He'll come down to eat, but that's basically it. Mom says he's just shy and trying to get used to the family. But he's been here for nearly three weeks and he still hasn't done much."

      "Well, has he said anything to you? I hear some pets are just really, really shy," Tasha offered, trying to come to a logical conclusion.

      "But that's another thing..." Wendy continued, shrugging her shoulders. "He's only said a few things to me. He said it was nice to meet me and asked me how old I was and stuff but really not much else. He seemed pleased that we were the same age. But I still don't get him. He's just... weird."

******

      Erew paced his room impatiently, glancing out at the darkening sky every once and a while but seeing nothing that interested him. Annoyed, he let his eyes wander to his Techo clock and he observed the hands. It was only around 5:00 NST. He had seven hours left to wait. Heaving a heavy sigh, Erew grabbed a book off the shelf and flopped on to his bed, trying to distract himself until the right time...

******

      "Erew!" Tina's voice echoed through the hall leading to Erew's room and the Lupe sat up quickly, tossing his book aside. How long had he been reading? He glanced at the page number and gulped. Then, he looked back up at his clock and was shocked to see it was already 11:45 NST. Shouldn't Tina be in bed by now?

      Erew pushed his door open and smiled mystically as his owner scrambled up the carpeted staircase holding a lunar chart. She beamed when she saw him and ran over to hug him, ruffling the fur on his head affectionately and planting a wet kiss on his cheek.

      "Erew, your siblings and I are going outside to observe the night sky!" she exclaimed excitedly, waving her chart around enthusiastically. "Wendy's got a new telescope that she's been dying to use! You remember when she got that?"

      "Of course," Erew replied serenely.

      "Well do you want to join us?" Tina asked eagerly, her cheeks pink with joy. "It's a clear night. You can see the moon and all the stars tonight! It's a full moon, too! What are the odds?"

      Erew twitched. "I'd love to join you!"

      Tina beamed even more and raced down the stairs, beckoning for him to go with her. Erew followed with a little more spring in his step than usual. About five minutes later, all five members of the family were standing in the dewy grass, gazing through Wendy's brand-new telescope. At least most of the family was. Erew, however, sat by himself, squinting into the house via kitchen window and trying to make out the time.

     Now, it was 11:58 NST. Erew sighed and watched his siblings from afar. It was almost time. 11:59 NST. Erew could feel his heart thudding against his chest. Just one minute left to go. He moved to a seat closer to his family and sat in a ray of silver moonlight.

     "Erew, come take a look, it's fantastic!" Tina called over, pointing eagerly into the sky. "Look, I think I see a comet!"

     But Erew didn't answer. For at that moment, the clock hand twitched to the twelve. Twelve echoing chimes rang through the yard and Erew froze. Tina was watching him with her mouth open. Erew was starting to change.

     The silver moon, which was glistening brightly in the cool, night air, draped in cloaks of mist, was no longer the only source of pale moonlight. The moon was also reflected quite clearly in Erew's eyes, which were no longer a shade of sharp yellow but were now poison-green and bulging. Erew's claws thickened and grew, taking up a good part of his paws until they grew too, stopping at about the size of a large Kougra's paws. His ears stretched higher and higher until they became too heavy to hold and folded over. He grew taller and broader and his fur became thicker and mud-colored. His fangs extended and slid over his bottom lip. Erew threw back his head and howled. He was a Werelupe.

     Upon seeing her calm, quiet pet morph into a large, vicious Werelupe, Tina felt her breath catch in her chest. This must've been what Kelly was talking about. The reason Erew had been returned to the pound so many times. He was a Werelupe. And he was charging right at her!

     "RUN!" she roared, grabbing at the two younger pets and dragging them to the house with her. Wendy spread her wings and attempted to fly but before she had the chance, she felt two sets of claws wrap around her.

     "HELP!" she screamed as Erew pulled her back. "MOM! HELP!" Tina whipped her head around and gasped. Erew was on top of Wendy, his fangs only inches away from her arm. He bared his fangs and Wendy tried to kick him off. Unfortunately, Erew was much too big and the tiny Usul couldn't budge him.

     Tina raced over to Erew while the two pets in the house burst into tears, hugging each other. But by the time Tina reached Wendy, Erew had already scraped her arm with his fangs, which were dripping with dark blood. Wendy lay limply in the long grass, unable to believe what had happened. She groaned as Erew leapt off her, now chasing his new target - Tina.

     Tina felt strangled by the most unpleasant feelings. She was horrified by Erew but anxious about Wendy's arm and sad and scared for her two younger pets. She couldn't breathe and remained standing stock-still on the spot, paralyzed with fear. She had to move. No, she had to breathe! She was suffocating in her emotions.

     Tina cleared her mind and choked for air. Then, she turned and ran flat-foot against a full-size Werelupe, sprinting into the kitchen and locking the door behind her. She picked up Wendy's siblings, a Buzz and a Kacheek, and tossed them into the closet with orders to stay quiet. Then, she made sure Erew could see her through the window before she bolted towards the stairs.

     Erew crashed through the window and stopped. Everything was silent. He knew where Tina was, though, and he wasn't going to let her get away.

     Tina was nearly at the top of the stairs when Erew reached her. Using his incredible speed, he bounded up the entire flight of stairs and pounced on Tina. She struggled and flailed, trying to knock the enormous Lupe off her. She kicked Erew directly in the stomach and he let go, howling in pain (or was it just his Werelupe instinct?).

     Tina scrambled up the rest of the stairs and frantically scanned the hallway for somewhere safe. Instantly, her gaze met the bathroom and she tripped inside, slamming the door behind her. She could hear Erew on the other side, clawing at the door and howling. She didn't know how much longer she could hold the door shut and she closed her eyes in desperation...

******

     Dr._Death chewed on his pencil eraser and drummed his fingers against his desk, pondering. He had to fill out this paperwork soon or else the building company would interfere with the pound. A gentle breeze swirled around his neck, causing him to stare longingly out the open window. The sun was shining and the laughter of children could be heard. It was rather tempting but the Techo shook it off and continued his work. If there was one more distraction, he'd just have to throw up his hands and give up. At least for now.

     And that distraction came. It came in the form of two figures outside the front doors, a pet and a human. Dr._Death looked up when he heard the fast, urgent knock on his oak doors...

The End

 
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