I Am Moehawk: Part Three
Morning sunlight filtered into the cell like a spotlight, illuminating a dozing Moey. He stirred in his sleep; his body awkwardly slumped over the grey, concrete floor. His ears twitched as the sound of bells ringing filled the air.
“Breakfast time, everybody up!” shrieked a familiar voice, followed by more bell ringing.
Moey rubbed his eyes and sat up confused. “W-where am I?” he demanded.
“What do you mean, where are you?” laughed the voice, which Moey now saw belonged to Dr. Death. “Breakfast is through there,” said Dr. Death, pointing towards the adjacent room and unlocking Moey’s cell. “Go immediately.”
Out of fear, Moey obeyed. The dining room was dingy, with a single window high up on the wall, and was furnished only by a chunky wooden table and half a dozen uncomfortable-looking chairs. In each chair sat a gaunt neopet, staring up at him.
He stared back at them, not knowing what to do. He’d never been to the Pound before.
“How is everybody this morning?” called a singsong voice from the kitchen. A chorus of grumbles answered it.
Soon, the owner of the voice emerged, revealing itself as belonging to the Soup Faerie, who entered carrying a bowl of piping hot gruel. It was received appreciatively by a hungry Acara. Bowl after bowl was brought out until every pet, except for Moey, had one.
“Oh, gosh, sorry! I didn’t realise we had a new one!” The Faerie rushed back into the kitchen and handed a seventh bowl of gruel to Moey. “You need a chair, don’t you?” She didn’t wait for him to answer before dragging another chair into the room. “There you go.”
“Thank you,” he said, really meaning it. He then took a spoon from the middle of the table and began to devour the gruel. It wasn’t the same as his Green Oat Cereal by a long shot, but it was still food, and he was famished.
“New kid, what’s your name?” growled a Gelert with deep-set eyes and a sullen expression.
“Moehawk,” he answered, trying to sound tough.
“What’re you in for?” piped an Acara.
“My owner ditched me for a pretty Krawk who plays guitar,” he explained mechanically.
The Acara patted him on the shoulder “Harsh.”
“Don’t pity me – I’m going to be a big star someday.” He was more intent on convincing himself than anyone else.
“Plenty of kids come in here thinking they’re gonna make it someday. Plenty of us are still here,” said an Ixi pointedly, rubbing her eyes.
“I’m different,” Moey tried to explain; “Allison Graal promised me a gig, if I can get a band together by this weekend.”
“Allison Graal.” A Chomby laughed. “She promised my band, Chomby and the Fungus Balls, a record deal. Now look where I am – owner threw me out because I wasn’t making him enough neopoints. It’s a cruel world out there.”
Moey sat alone in his cell, separated from all neighbouring neopets by concrete walls. As he peered out of the barred window, he began to sing a song that’d stuck with him since its release.
“She’s got eyes to look through windows
She’s got paws to knock on my door
If she’d only knock, then I could help her
But I’m not what she’s looking for.
“She’s looking for a neohouse that feels like home
But I can’t provide that
She’s looking for a place to be and not be alone
Don’t think I can give that
Well, she can look through my window...”
“...She can keep looking through my window,” added a female voice.
“Eliza?” he whispered-shouted, astonished.
“In the fur,” she replied, pressing her face up against the bars of the window.
“You didn’t think we’d just let them take you, did you?” said a voice that Moey recognised as Jewel’s.
Moey was no longer appreciative of Eliza’s visit. “What’s she doing here?”
“Look, I’m sorry you got put in here, and I know it’s partly my fault, but I want to help. Trust in us and we’ll get you out of here,” promised the Krawk. The Usul nodded in agreement.
Moey pulled a face. “Even if I wanted your help, you’ve no way of helping me.”
“That’s where you’re wrong.” Eliza smirked with the confidence Moey was so jealous of. “Move away from the window, we’re busting you out of here.”
Eliza struggled, forcing the cork off a bottle of Noxious Nectar and began to douse the iron bars with it.
“One of Jhudora’s potions!” proclaimed Moey distastefully, forgetting to keep his voice down.
“Well, what else could we have done?” sighed Eliza as the bars began to corrode.
“It’s not enough!” said a frustrated Jewel, thrashing her tail against the bars repeatedly.
There was a pounding on the wall from the next cell. “Oi, keep it down in there!” shouted the Gelert whom Moey had met at breakfast.
Hearing the commotion, the Soup Faerie appeared in the corridor. “Is everything alright?”
“Nothing. Nothing’s going on in here,” said Moey defensively. He glanced at the window to see that his friends were gone. “I’m just doing a bit of singing.”
The faerie raised her eyebrows with uncharacteristic scepticism and left.
“That was a close one,” whispered Jewel, revealing her presence outside the window.
“This is too dangerous,” said Moey, “you don’t have to do this for me.”
“Now isn’t the time to act all self-righteous!” Eliza winced before tossing a Brown Snowball at the half-dissolved bars. The snow slid through the bars easily, not helping.
Next, Jewel flung an Icy Eye Snowball. It hit the bars and bounced back at her like a Zurroball, knocking her in the leg.
As a last resort, the two hurtled a Fire Bomb towards the window. It began to burn at the bars.
“How will I get out if it’s on fire?!” screamed Moey. “I’m going to get cremated!”
Moey heard the heavy footsteps of Dr. Death and knew they had been caught. Then he looked back up at the window and realised that it was no longer on fire; instead it was covered with ashes and was slippery with Water Mote residue.
Hastily, Moey jumped up to the window and grabbed onto it with his hooves, trying very carefully not to slip. On the other side, Jewel and Eliza grabbed him and hoisted him out.
Then they ran.
Moey lay on the sofa of Eliza’s neohome. “The concert’s tomorrow night. I don’t have a band, I don’t have an owner and, on top of that, Dr. Death is after me. I don’t see how the situation could possibly be any worse.”
“That’s not true,” insisted Jewel. “You’ve got me... and you’ve got Eliza. Eliza can play piano.”
“Eliza can play ‘Mary Had a Little Babaa’,” he said frigidly.
The Usul furrowed her brow. “Don’t talk about me as if I’m not here. Besides, Jewel and I have been working on a song together.”
“You have?” asked Moey in disbelief.
“Don’t act so shocked.” She handed him a piece of paper. “Learn the song and meet us at the Concert Hall tomorrow night. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how good we sound.”
The nervousness that Moey felt, standing before the microphone, was more extreme than the nervousness he’d felt when he’d auditioned for Yes Boy Ice Cream or the nervousness he’d felt when he, himself, was holding auditions, or even the nervousness he’d felt as he was running away from the Pound; this was a new strain of nervousness entirely.
“H-hi everybody,” he said to the audience, unsure of how to introduce himself.
Luckily, he didn’t have to. Eliza spoke steadily into her microphone, “We’re Moehawk and this is a song you won’t have heard before.”
Instinctively, the band began to play their first song. They hadn’t practiced it properly before, but somehow it played as if they’d worked hard on it for months, as if they’d prepared for this. The crowd went wild.
Moey was shocked beyond belief at their enthusiasm. He began to sing the lyrics that Jewel and Eliza had written for him,
“I could be like the Battle Faerie
Fearless, strong, a little bit scary
I could be hungry as a Skeith
Pick the bones from between my teeth
I could be a nothing and become a something
I could be Moehawk
I could be Moe—”
Moey stopped mid-word and gasped. He’d seen something moving at the back of the auditorium.
Jewel and Eliza stopped playing and looked at him, “Why aren’t you singing, Moey?” they asked in unison.
Moey grabbed the microphone forcefully, gathering his wits; “I can see you, Dr. Death, out there in the audience, watching my every move. I know you’re waiting for the right moment to reveal me as being a stray. Well, I’ve said it myself now – I don’t have an owner and yesterday I escaped from the Pound.”
As Dr. Death walked forwards, the crowd parted to make way for him, “You foolish Moehog,” he cackled, “you’ve just told a roomful of people that you’re a fugitive.”
“Well, I’ll adopt him,” said a nearby Neopian. “I only have two other pets.”
“No, I’ll adopt him!” yelled another.
A tall, blonde girl pushed both of them aside. “You don’t deserve such a talented pet! I’ll adopt him!”
Soon, the entire audience was fighting over who would adopt the newly famous Moehog.
“It’s OK – after this Concert, I’ll have enough neopoints to buy my own neohome, paint myself red and start a new life with my band. I don’t want or need an owner. I am a free spirit.” Moey smiled brightly. “I am Moehawk.”