The Young Dr_Death: Part Four
“DREW! You might want to look at this!” Dr_Death cried, waving the poster under Drew’s nose. Dr_Death was so excited that that he had ripped the poster down from the wall and run home as fast as he could without buying a Snow Puff.
Drew took the poster and read it, furrowing her brow. “Well, this Kadoatie in the picture does look similar to the one you’re holding,” she said finally.
“I know it’s the same one,” Dr_Death said excitedly. “How many Kadoaties do you think are on this mountain?”
“Good point,” Drew said. She looked back at the poster. “1920 Summit Strip? Isn’t that-”
“YES! It’s our neighbor!” Dr_Death said breathlessly, cutting Drew off. Drew smiled- although Dr_Death hated to part with his petpet friends, he was more touched to see them reunited with their loving owners.
“I’ve never seen them- I’m not sure they’re even home,” Drew said with a frown. “In fact, I’m sure they’re not. Their lights are never on at night, except for maybe when they first moved in four weeks ago. How long has this poster been there?”
“I don’t know. What do you think- they, like, went on vacation and left this Kadoatie behind?” Dr_Death asked cautiously. Drew grimaced.
“I hadn’t thought of that. Maybe,” she said with a sigh. She placed the poster on the living room table and got up to go to the kitchen. “Well, we can leave a Neomail there this afternoon. I’m sure they have to come home some time.”
Over the several weeks, Dr_Death played with the Kadoatie. It seemed that no other petpets had been caught in the storm. Consequently, all of his attention was focused on the small, delicate petpet. He was amazed at how attached she had become to him- she hadn’t cried at night ever since he’d brought her home, as he’d assumed she would. In fact, the Kadoatie would simply purr and snuggled up to him in bed, sleeping silently until the next morning.
“Ahhh, what a refreshing morning. Oh, hello,” Dr_Death said with a chuckle as the Kadoatie leaped on him, licking his face.
The Kadoatie ate her meals with him, and would cry whenever he left the room. Dr_Death took sole responsibility for her care. He fed her, bathed her, played with her, and cradled her in his arms like a baby when she wanted attention (which was often). A few days later, Drew noticed Dr_Death singing a quiet lullaby to her.
“Um, what are you doing?” she asked quizzically.
“Just getting her to sleep- it’s her nap time,” Dr_Death said simply. Drew stared at him.
“You’re certainly getting attached, aren’t you?” she asked slyly. Dr_Death started.
“No, of course not,” he said a little defensively. He knew very well they couldn’t keep a petpet because they were too expensive and all of Dr_Death’s time would be given to taking care of other, injured ones.
“And besides, you know that that Kadoatie belongs to our neighbors,” Drew said, thumbing through a magazine. Dr_Death winced a little, though he didn’t let Drew see.
“Well, what kind of pet-owner goes away and leaves their petpet all alone?” he said, a little more harshly than he would have liked. Drew raised an eyebrow.
“You’re right,” she said, watching him hold the Kadoatie, “but still, we don’t own her.” Dr_Death sighed and turned away, a defeated look emerging on his face as he turned his back to Drew.
“You’re right, Drew.” Just then, there was a knock at the door.
“I’ll get it,” Drew said. She went to the door an opened it.
A young man dressed impeccably in a suit in tie was there. He had an arrogant look on his face. Next to him was an equally haughty-looking Royal Draik.
“Um... hi?” Drew asked, a little unsure of what to say. The young man simply stared down at her with hard eyes.
“I’ve heard you have my Kadoatie, Mipsy,” he sniffed. He held up a Neomail that Drew had left at the house several days ago.
“Oh, yes, yes, we do. Won’t you come in?” Drew said, stepping aside to let him in. The young man stared at her with an incredulous look on his face, then shrugged and stepped into the house. His Draik floated behind him with his nose in the air. Drew led him into the living room where Dr_Death held the Kadoatie in his arms
“Please, won’t you sit, sir?” The young man sat on the couch, his mouth a firm, hard line.
“So, I guess, you’re our new neighbors?” Drew asked. The young man jerked his head. The Draik hovered in midair above his shoulder.
“My name is Shaun Berkham, and this is Shadower,” he said, nodding his head to the Draik. The Draik sank a little, as if to bow.
“Well, my name is Drew Scott, and this is Dr_Death,” Drew said, waving her hand in Dr_Death’s direction. The Draik snorted, but Shaun’s expression didn’t change. It was annoying Dr_Death.
“I would’ve come sooner,” Shaun said politely, “but I was away on business in Neopia Central.”
“Wait, so you left your Kadoatie here while you went away on business?” Dr_Death cut in. Shaun turned to him.
“No. Mipsy got out before I left,” he said. “My trip precluded any attempts I could make to try and find her.” Dr_Death stared at him, biting his tongue. There was something wrong about this guy. So a trip was more important than a petpet? he asked him silently.
“What kind of business do you do?” Drew asked.
“Stocks,” Shaun said simply. “I’m sorry, but I cannot stay,” he said. “I have things I must do- I left before I could really settle in. Forgive me.” But Shaun didn’t really look like he wanted to be forgiven- on the contrary, he looked like he couldn’t wait to get out of such a house that was seemingly below his stature.
“Well, okay,” Drew said uncomfortably. She took the Kadoatie, who had been hiding in Dr_Death’s arms, and gave her to Shaun.
“Come, Mipsy,” Shaun said, taking her. She started to cry, and tried to get out. “What is this? Stop it!” he cried, as she scratched him. Dr_Death fought an impulse to ht Shaun, for some reason.
“Is everything okay?” Drew asked.
“She’s just so wily, I can never control her,” Shaun said with a forced chuckle, struggling to keep a hold on the little petpet while he walked to the door.
Dr_Death frowned. She never acted this way with me. She was a perfect angel, he thought.
“Well, goodbye,” Drew said, closing the door after Shaun and the Draik. Shaun nodded, still fighting to keep a hold of Mipsy. “That was... interesting,” she said to Dr_Death, returning to the living room.
“I didn’t like him,” Dr_Death said.
“Well, neither did I, to be honest,” Drew admitted reluctantly. “There’s just something....”
“Sinister about him?” Dr_Death volunteered. Drew frowned.
“Don’t use words like that. It’s not like he’s evil. We’re not talking about, say, Dr. Sloth, here,” Drew scolded gently.
“Still, we shouldn’t have given him Mipsy,” Dr_Death said bitterly. Drew raised her eyebrows.
“Dr_Death, that Kadoatie is his.”
“I know!” Dr_Death blurted out hotly. Drew stared. “I know, I’m sorry, it’s just... there’s something wrong. He’s so cold, and... I don’t know. What if,’ Dr_Death said, his mind going through its paces lightning fast. “What if she escaped him? She didn’t get lost, she ran away!”
“Now that’s nonsense,” Drew said sternly.
“No, wait! You saw how she was writhing against him! She never did that to me,” Dr_Death said triumphantly, but Drew shook her head. “What?”
“Well, I’d expect any petpet to feel safe with you,” Drew said more gently now, with a smile. “You have a gift others don’t have. It might just be that Shaun doesn’t have that gift. I’m sure he loves her.”
“That’s enough. Mipsy belongs with Shaun,” Drew said pointedly. Dr_Death opened his mouth, and then closed it. “You can visit her anytime you want, though,” she said softly.
“Yeah... what?!?” Dr_Death sputtered. Drew smiled. “Is that what you think this is about? That I want that Kadoatie for myself?”
“Well, you two definitely seem to have hit it off....”
“Well, you’re wrong!” Dr_Death screamed. Drew looked taken aback.
“Okay, okay, I’m wrong. Geez, don’t bite my head off,” she said, a little hurt. But Dr_Death just marched up to his room and slammed the door.
Dr_Death didn’t enjoy the New Year much. He had no friends on Terror Mountain to go sledding or play hide-and-seek with. When he wasn’t doing homework, he watched the other young pets from his school play in the snow miserably from his window.
“Deathy? Are you okay?” Drew asked uncertainly. She had never seen him so thoroughly downcast. He muttered an affirmative. “Well, why don’t you go outside into the snow? It’s a lovely day,” she added uncertainly. Dr_Death didn’t move from his position at the window. “Dr_Death, I want you to go outside,” Drew said, a little more sternly. He sighed, got up, and went outside reluctantly. Drew watched him sadly- in all this time, Shaun had not let Mipsy out to play. Of course, Dr_Death continuously denied anything Drew insinuated.
Dr_Death was wondering around his backyard, staring up at a tall oak tree. It was old, but sturdy and solemn. He smiled when he remembered the times he used to climb up there to sit by himself for hours and read in a little nook created by the branches. But now he was too big. He sighed, and sat down under the tree. His glance unconsciously turned towards Shaun’s house. Dr_Death was staring through a barbed wire fence that separated his humble property from the lavish dwelling of the Berkhams. He wondered how Mipsy was doing- he still didn’t like Shaun, or Shadower, for that matter. At school, Shadower acted just like the other jerk pets he knew towards him- except he thought he was above bullying. Everyone feared him, and yet wanted to be him because he was so wealthy, and in a snobbish way, suave. Everyone except Dr_Death.
“Well, speak of the devil,” he muttered to himself. Shadower had come out the back door of the Berkhams’ house. He seemed to have a new toy. He sat down in the snow and began to play with it. Dr_Death watched him with interest- he didn’t know why, really; after all, he really didn’t like him. Shadower, however, noticed Dr_Death watching him and looked up angrily.
“What do you want?” he spat. Dr_Death was taken aback at Shadower’s hostility. Then he regained his composure.
“Nothing,” he said coolly. “I’m just sitting here. What, is there a law against reclining in your own yard now?” Shadower didn’t say a word. “So, why aren’t you playing with Mipsy?”
“What?” Shadower asked, looking at him.
“I said, why aren’t you playing with Mipsy? Are you deaf or something?” Dr_Death asked nastily. He couldn’t figure out why he was being so mean for no apparent reason- after all, Shadower had never done anything to him, except maybe laugh at his name. But he couldn’t help himself.
“Psh, at least I’m not ugly,” Shadower said arrogantly. Dr_Death furrowed his eyebrows, but bit back a retort. After all, he wasn’t the kind of guy to pick fights.
“Well, where’s your petpet?” Dr_Death asked, trying to take the edge out of his voice.
“Why do you care?” Shadower asked indifferently. Dr_Death paused before answering.
“Well, b-b-because you’ve haven’t seen her for a while, and I thought you’d like to spend time with her after her ordeal,” Dr_Death stammered. Shadower continued to play with his toy and didn’t seem to notice Dr_Death’s hesitation.
“I don’t give a Gummy Rat’s rear about that thing. She’s not my petpet, she’s just a Gallery item,” Shadower said with a shrug. Dr_Death blinked.
“Gallery item?” Dr_Death asked, confused.
“Yeah, like one of those things where you put stuff you’ve collected?” Shadower said in a slow, patronizing voice.
“She’s part of a collection?!?!”
“Yes. Shaun likes to collect... expensive, rare items. She’s part of his Exotic Petpet collection,” Shadower said. Dr_Death just gaped.
“How... could you be so... cruel?” he asked, horrified.
“Cruel? Oh, come on. Kadoaties are just show petpets. They’re little whiny brats and ask for expensive food. The only way to get them to shut up is to shut them in a Safety Deposit Box or a Gallery. The only reason anyone gives a Fyora about them is that they’re rare. I, myself,” Shadower said, in an overly-dignified voice, “do not like petpets. They’re not intelligent at all. I prefer Shaun’s paintbrush collection more. It has,” he continued very in a strangely affectionate voice, “many expensive, rare, beautiful paintbrushes. Almost as beautiful as my own paint job,” he finished breathily.
Dr_Death just stared at him, trying to take in all he’d said. This was way too weird. Mipsy was an honest to goodness flesh and bone petpet, and all this guy cared about, obsessed over, loved, was paintbrushes?
“Of course, I wouldn’t expect someone of your stature to understand,” Shadower said, eying Dr_Death with a haughty look.
No, I don’t understand....
To be continued...