A Ditsy of Hope
R.I.P. Petpet of D00m
The sun bore down on the pair of Neopians as they stood on the deck of the ship, peering out across the ocean. One of them was a human, small and skinny with brown hair in a short pony tail and thick rimmed glasses on her nose, giving her an extremely book-wormish look. The other was a Xweetok, whose big yellow stripe seemed to be reflecting the light quite well, making the eyes of the fellow people on the ship squint.
“You ready for the lab ray, Qin?” asked the girl, looking down at him. He peered up at her silently with his big yellow eyes for a moment, and then looked back at the ocean. The girl sighed and resumed her sea-gazing as well. The Xweetok had never been an extremely talkative pet, preferring to be alone with his petpet, a pile of soot that constantly rested on his dresser. He’d become quite attached to it.
The ship bumped up against the dock, and the group made their way off, some of them dashing madly onto the secret island, and others just relaxing and enjoying the view. The girl and her Xweetok were one of those pairs just taking their time. Qin never seemed to mind the wait, and she always loved to hang around, squishing her toes in the sand, building sand castles, and if she brought a notebook with her, writing inspired stories to submit to the Neopian Times.
Today she hadn’t, so she just walked on, resting her pale hand—a result from being indoors 24/7—on the Xweetok’s head, running her fingers through his thick fur.
“What do you think’s going to happen today?” she mused out loud. “Species change? Color change? Or even... another gender change?”
Qin just kept quiet.
Soon the massive doors of the laboratory loomed in front of them, and it took the both of them to gather enough strength to open them. A large line of people stood there, some of them impatient, others frightened, and a few of them angry, standing there with expensive colors such as royal, faerie, and pirate.
Qin held on to a small backpack, and was loath to let it go when it came to be his turn underneath the ray. Inside was his petpet, and he hated to be separated from it. Reluctantly he let the girl hold the backpack, and was led on to a huge target by a crazy looking Scorchio. A few beeps and honking sounds later, there was a huge flash and a billow of smoke.
“Qin?” asked the girl, beginning to be frightened. “Qintari? Where are you?”
She was frightened. Had Qin disappeared? Only then a yellow paw stepped out of the smoke and into her vision. A spotted Xweetok was now gazing up at her curiously, wondering what the changes were to him now, since he’d obviously not bothered to look at himself.
“You’re spotted, Qin!” she said cheerfully. “No more lab visits for you!”
The Xweetok grinned broadly, and bounded forward to take the bag of soot from her.
“Next stop, the Petpet ray!”
They hustled on over to the spot next door, where there was only a small line of people and pets this time. A kookith, looking as crazed as the Scorchio, kept on coming out, rushing in meekinses, miamice, piles of soot and other things. It quickly took Qin’s petpet through the little door, and the next thing everybody knew, nothing was on the platform.
“Petpet of D00m?” asked Qin, finally speaking for the first time that day. “Where’s my petpet? Mommy, where’s my petpet?”
The girl hesitated to speak. She’d heard of this happening before, but she hadn’t remembered until now, and even if she had she would never have thought it would happen to Qin.
“I... I think he’s gone, Qintari,” she said. She swallowed. “I think he’s gone for good.”
Qin let out a sob of anguish and leaned forward to grab the girl’s leg, salty tears dripping into her jeans and soaking them. She was at odds with what to do. This had never happened to her before. She satisfied herself with leaning down and hugging him until the kookith came and shooed them away, much to the gratefulness of waiting people.
The ride back to their home in the Haunted Woods was a silent one, except for Qin’s crying. The girl could imagine what he felt, but she was no help to him, except as a substitute for a pillow which she was sure he would find when he got home.
What do I do? she wondered, as he broke into tears for the fifth time. Should I get him another petpet?
Sheijarun was a big help, holding out her arms and squeezing Qin tight. She had a petpet who’d undergone the lab treatment, even though hers hadn’t disappeared. Now it was a ghost meturf, wandering around the house and scaring the ghostkerchiefs out of everyone, especially the girl, who had a great fear of ghosts.
The girl wandered away, heading up to the attic, one of her main comfort spots. There was just something about the place that she’d always enjoyed. Maybe it was the furniture covered in sheets, or even the boxes of knick knacks she’d giggle over in a few years. Often this was the place where she found herself writing some of her better NT stories.
A soft thud hit the floor, and she looked in the direction of the window to see an old box that’d fallen over. The lid had opened, and now there were a couple of things running around on the floor. One was a ditsy with its big googly eyes swirling around, and the other was a liobits with ears jutting out into the air.
“Should I?” she wondered, holding out her hands towards the petpets who in return began to run towards her. She scooped them up into her arms.
They were quiet on her shoulders as she went back downstairs, the rest of the house now silent. Qin had probably stopped crying. Fear welled up in the pit of her stomach as she strode forward, and she nearly ran off when her hand reached for the doorknob to his bedroom.
The spotted Xweetok was lying on his bed, his eyes shut as he snored away, oblivious to her presence. The girl knelt on his bed, and hesitated for a moment before resting her hand on his shoulder.
He lifted up his head with a jerk and peered at her sleepily, blinking rapidly.
“I was sort of hoping that you’d take this darling petpet,” she said, and took down the liobits to show him.
Qin immediately shied away.
“I don’t want it!” he gasped, backing up and hiding underneath his blankets. “Take it away!”
She took it and quickly placed it on the floor. Before the Xweetok could do much more, the girl grabbed the ditsy and put it on the mattress. He hadn’t told her that he didn’t want any petpet, after all.
Qin stopped moving and paused as the ditsy let out a little squeak. Shyly, he lowered his head and moved towards the petpet until his nose nearly touched it. The ditsy reached forth one arm, and as it gently rested it on his nose, the Xweetok smiled. It wasn’t an extremely happy smile, but as he picked up the ditsy, the girl, Star, gained hope.
The gaping hole left in the absence of the Petpet of D00m wouldn’t be healed for quite some time, but she had a feeling that right now, it’d just gotten smaller.