The Young Dr_Death: Part Five
Dr_Death looked out the window, watching. The lights at the Berkhams’ went out for the night. He sighed, and sat back down on the couch. Unable to sleep due to an excess of sugar earlier that day, Dr_Death now sat on a couch near the window in the living room sipping a warm cup of milk.
Ever since his discussion with Shadower, he’d been in an even worse mood. Never, in his whole entire life, had he ever come into contact with people like the Berkhams. They just... puzzled him. And angered him.
Every owner and pet-owner he’d met through his caring for petpets had been different. They’d been worried, frantic, even, when their petpet went missing. Shaun had gone on a business trip without even trying to look for her. Dr_Death couldn’t fathom what had been going through his mind.
And then the reunions had always been... more joyful, much more happy than this one. After all, the petpets were a part of the family.... But Shaun and Shadower didn’t seem to feel this way. They treated Mipsy as nothing more than a commodity, a representation of their unbelievable wealth. Much like Shadower’s paint job, or Shaun’s collections, Mipsy was a status symbol, showing all of Neopia their social standing.
Dr_Death bit his lip, and was surprised to taste hot, salty tears on his face. He hadn’t realized he’d been crying. He looked around the dark living room, where he’d been, spying, for the most part, on the Berkham residence for the last half hour. Outside, the moon shone over Terror Mountain, giving everything a whitish glow from the newly fallen snow.
He stared back out the window into the night. His mind started to wander, as it usually did when he stayed up late, unable to sleep. He thought about many things: Mipsy, the Berkhams, Happy Valley, the meaning of life....
Suddenly, he saw something move out of the corner of his eye. He turned in that direction, but didn’t see anything. He sighed.
“Must be imagining things,” Dr_Death told himself. He went back to staring out the window. Then, again, out of the corner of his eye, he saw something move.
“What is that?” he whispered fearfully. He looked behind him, as if trying to find something reassuring in the darkness, but there was nothing there; he turned back to the window and saw, to his dismay, a long, dark shadow moving across the back lawn.
“What is that?” he asked himself again. The shadow moved silently, but quickly across the white lawn. Dr_Death wanted to go outside and take a closer look- but at the same time, he wanted to remain indoors, where it was safe. To compromise, he got up on his knees and pressed his nose against the window. The shadow seemed to be coming towards him, becoming longer as it moved. He could see a small, agile figure from its base. Dr_Death momentarily thought of the Shadow Usul, from the ghost stories Drew had told him sometimes at Halloween.
The shadow got closer, and Dr_Death breathed out deeply in anticipation and fear of what was coming.
Mew? Dr_Death thought skeptically. He wasn’t sure he’d heard correctly. Perhaps it was just the wind, or maybe his mind playing tricks on him. Shadows don’t mew.
“Mew?” it came again. Dr_Death could hardly breathe. He could now see a faint pink figure in the place of the small dark one.
“Mipsy?” he whispered. “Mipsy?” he said again, incredulous. What in the blazes was she doing outside in the cold?
Dr_Death got up from the couch and ran to the back door. Throwing it open, he ran out into the backyard. Mipsy mewed at him in welcome, and leaped up at his legs as he stopped before here.
“What are you doing out here?” he asked, panting from his run. The Kadoatie just mewed up at him. Dr_Death picked her up and took her inside.
In the kitchen, he set her down, and while she ran around the kitchen table, Dr_Death got a saucer out of one of the dark colored cabinets. He got some milk out of the refrigerator and placed it in the saucer.
“Here,” he said quietly, stopping Mipsy from her rampant running gently with his foot. He leaned down and gave her the saucer of milk, which she took appreciatively. She looked like she hadn’t been fed in days- in fact, she lapped up the milk in ten seconds flat. Then she looked up at Dr_Death and mewed, placing her forelegs on his lap.
“You want more?” he asked, chuckling. “All right.” Dr_Death took the saucer and placed it on the counter to fill it with more milk.
The Berkhams must not have been giving her much attention- after all, she was a Gallery item. It seemed that she was only given enough care to sustain her. He shook his head in disgust. But he couldn’t keep her- not only did they not have enough resources, but Shaun might even charge him with stealing Mipsy back. There was only one thing to do, as much as he didn’t like it.
“Come on, I’m going to take you back,” he said heavily, picking the little Kadoatie up. Her arms flailed in the air- she thought they were playing. Dr_Death walked outside and put her through the hole in the fence where she’d gotten into his yard. Mipsy tried to wiggle back through the hole, but Dr_Death pushed her back.
“Come on, stay,” he said desperately. But Mipsy tried to push back playfully. Dr_Death sighed wearily. Then his glance fell upon a rock near them. He reached over, straining to get it.
“A little more... yes!” he said triumphantly, grasping the rock in his hand. It was, to his grim satisfaction, large enough to cover the hole. He took it and carefully positioned it over the whole. Mipsy mewed confusedly.
Dr_Death stood up and looked down sadly at Mipsy. She stared up at him with her bright eyes.
“I’m so sorry,” he whispered, fighting back tears. The little petpet put her front paws up on the barbed wire fence and mewed. “I’m so sorry, Mipsy.” Dr_Death turned away quickly, allowing the tears to fall down his face, but he didn’t let them infiltrate his voice. “Goodbye, friend,” he said in a whisper, and marched away, without looking back.
“M-mew?” Mipsy mewed. She looked at him and waited for him to come back, even as he closed the door. She thought he might be bringing her more food, and that he would be returning shortly... She stood up on her hind legs waiting for Dr_Death to come back, looking expectantly at his house. Seconds turned into minutes, and minutes into hours, and still he didn’t return.
What was that? Mipsy jerked her head to see something move in the Scott yard. She cocked her head a bit, and mewed in welcome- perhaps he had finally returned. But it was nothing- perhaps a bit of snow that fell from a branch.
Mipsy stared back at the house, tilted back her head, and began to screech longingly. She whined and cried, not the fake tears of a spoiled Kadoatie, but real ones- those of an abandoned soul. The noise was soul-wrenching: pure fear, sadness, confusion and anger all in one.
Mipsy didn’t even hear anything around her. So she was horrifically surprised when a rough hand picked her up.
“What in the blazes do you think you’re doing, waking me up like that?” Shaun yelled, slapping the Kadoatie across the face, who instantly fell silent except for a few whimpers. “How’d you get out, anyway? Well, it doesn’t matter, because this will not happen again,” he snarled. He started back to his house, but Mipsy began to fight him, trying to get out of his arms.
“Argh!” Shaun cried out in pain as she clawed him across the face. He stopped and took her in both hands, shaking her violently. “That’s it! You’re not going back to the Gallery; you’re going back into the SBD where I will never have to deal with you! EVER AGAIN!” He said, his face twisted with fury, which made him look quite demented. He threw her to the ground. “Get up!” he screamed furiously, but Mipsy just lay there. “I said, GET UP!” And Shaun made a well-aimed at a heap of snow next to her. A soft thump, and she screeched again, but got up reluctantly. Shaun began to kick more snow at her, forcing her back into the house. “Move faster; it’s freezing out here!”
All this Dr_Death watched from the window. He had watched the Kadoatie stay at the fence, hardly moving, for hours, crying. He’d fought every urge to go back outside and grab her, taking her inside for warmth. And he’d watched in horror the spectacle that had just occurred, gripping his hand on the windowsill until his knuckles turned white. He was too stunned to move, and yet wanted to do something, anything: move away from the window to protect himself from seeing anymore- or to go outside and fight Shaun. He had never wanted to hurt somebody this badly, ever: even the bullies at school were not worth it.
But all he could do, all his appalled body would let him do was stare, incessantly, at his ruthless neighbor, until he had finally gone into his house. After all, it wasn’t Mipsy’s house, according to Shaun.
Dr_Death watched the house for another twenty-five minutes after, then he sank onto the couch, his mouth still opened wide with disbelief. Then he screamed in the most desperate voice he ever had had.
To be continued...