The Snow Pet Repairsman
Tommy’s mother feared the worst. She flitted from room to room in the chilly house, wiping her eyes with a damp handkerchief, and wailing things like: “My son will never see another sunrise!” and “Oh, if only we hadn’t given him those ice skates for Christmas!” and “Perhaps we should freeze him until the doctor arrives; it may be his only hope!”
The yellow Blumaroo collapsed into a chair by the fireplace, before leaping back up with a shriek upon seeing the flames. “Put it out!” she squealed, grabbing the hem of her bright, lemon yellow dress and hurrying into the other room. “Winton, put it out!”
A white Blumaroo, dressed in fine grey clothing, was sitting down in an armchair reading the Neopian Times. He didn’t even look up from the page, instead saying, “Lydia, please. The doctor will be here in a few minutes. I don’t think that Tommy will melt before then.”
“How do you know?” said Lydia, stomping a foot on the cold floorboards of the cottage. The room, like all the others in the house, was quite dark, lit only by candles and the orange glow from the other room. “The heat from that fireplace could be just enough to push him over the edge.”
Winton folded his newspaper and turned around to face his wife, pulling off his spectacles. “Tommy has lived in harmony with the fireplace for all the years of his life,” said the old white Blumaroo. “I don’t think it’s going to hurt him now.”
“That’s what you said about ice skating,” said Lydia in a low voice, walking across the brown rug in the center of the dim room. “And look what happened when we bought our little Tommy his own pair of ice skates. Five minutes on the rink and POW!”
Lydia had spread her arms far apart and clapped them together in a fierce gesture, like some sort of witch casting a vile spell in the midst of the chilly cottage. She then sat down in her rocking chair defiantly, smoothed out the folds of her vibrant yellow dress, and proceeded to knit a pair of mittens, clicking the two large needles together angrily.
Seeing that his wife had made her point, Winton put his eyeglasses back on and lifted the newspaper to his face. He had only read a few lines, however, before the two were disrupted by a resounding knock on the front door.
“He’s here!” gasped Lydia. The yellow Blumaroo threw her knitting aside and leapt out of the rocking chair as if it were on fire. Winton put away his newspaper and slowly stood up to follow.
As the white Blumaroo made his way through the room, he could hear Lydia open the door and ask, “Hello?” Her greeting was immediately followed by a swift slam! and an urgent shriek of, “Winton!”
“What is it now?” asked Winton, walking into the front hall to see Lydia with her back against the wooden door and her arms spread out as if she were protecting it. “Is the doctor here?”
“No,” breathed Lydia, shaking her head urgently. “I think it’s a prankster, one of the kids in town who probably heard about Tommy and is here to see if he can grab a piece of him to take home!”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” said Winton as the knocking began again. Winton gently pried Lydia off of the door and opened it.
A Shoyru stood calmly on the front steps. His skin was a vibrant green and he was dressed for the weather, wearing red pants, coat, and hat, all lined with white fur. Tiny speckles dotted the inner part of his wings, making them look as if they were covered in a fine layer of snow. His Christmassy appearance jumped out at Winton against the snowy white backdrop of Happy Valley, and the Blumaroo asked, “Who are you?”
The Shoyru’s wide eyes stared up at Winton—for he was quite small—and he gave a little nod. “I’m the Snow Pet Repairsman,” he said. For the first time, Winton noticed a small green bag that the Shoyru was carrying, which had a snow Kacheek sewn on one side.
“The Snow Pet Repairsman?” repeated Winton. “We called for a doctor.”
“Your son, Tommy, had a little accident,” said the Shoyru, letting himself into the cottage. Winton and Lydia stood by as he stomped his little black boots on the brown front hall rug. “You sent a neomail to your local hospital, and they contacted me. I’m the only one in the area certified for this sort of work.”
The Snow Pet Repairsman looked like he was about to remove his coat, but in the cold room he decided against it. Instead, he merely shifted his bag to his other hand and asked, “Which room is Tommy’s?”
“Wait just a minute,” said Lydia, as Winton closed the front door. The yellow Blumaroo had finally calmed herself down, but she appeared to be working up another fury as she questioned the tiny doctor. “Just who do you think you are? Snow Pet Repairsman... rubbish! What have you got in that bag?” She pointed accusingly at the dark green bag that the Shoyru was holding.
“This?” he asked, lifting it higher. The snow Kacheek grinned from the fabric with its stitched black smile. “It contains my working materials,” he said simply. The Shoyru walked out of the foyer and began exploring the back rooms of the cottage. “Rather cold in here,” he noted, pausing to warm his hands by the fireplace. “Although,” he continued as Winton and Lydia hurried to follow him, “I suppose it’s suiting for Tommy’s situation.”
“We’ve learned to live with it,” said Winton as the Shoyru opened the bathroom door and peered inside.
“We have taken every precaution,” said Lydia, lifting the hem of her lemon yellow dress as she tailed the Shoyru, “to make sure our little boy is brought up in the safest conditions possible. Fyora knows it hasn’t been easy,” she continued as the Shoyru opened another wrong door, this one leading into a closet, “what with all of the dangers out there for a snow pet. But never once has any harm come to him, until he,” she paused, pointing at Winton, “insisted that we let Tommy have a pair of ice skates for Christmas. Now, I knew that it was a bad idea, letting him play all by himself with those other rowdy pets, but the two of them thought it was just such a good thing...”
The Shoyru had finally found Tommy’s bedroom, and he pushed open the door and stepped inside. “Ho, ho, hello there!” he cried, interrupting Lydia’s tirade. “Looks like you’ve had quite the accident!”
Tommy the snow Blumaroo was lying in bed on top of the covers. The poor Neopet appeared for the most part like any other snow Blumaroo, except that both of his legs looked oddly flat, as if someone had taken the snow and squeezed it between the palms of their hands. He had been reading the comics section of the Neopian Times, propped up on two fluffy blue pillows, and he looked up with wide eyes when the Shoyru walked in. “Who are you?” he asked.
“I’m the Snow Pet Repairsman,” said the Shoyru with a wink. “It looks like you could use a little help.”
Winton hung in the doorway, and Lydia squeezed past him to rush to her son’s bedside. “Now don’t you hurt him!” she warned, grabbing Tommy’s cold hand.
“Come on, Ma,” said Tommy, pulling his hand away. “I want to see what he’s going to do.”
The Shoyru pulled up a chair and calmly opened his green bag. “What’s in there?” asked Tommy, trying to peer inside.
“Probably all of his rusty old tools, filthy clamps and needles and tubes that he’ll try to poke every which way,” muttered Lydia.
“Aw, Ma,” said Tommy, rolling his eyes.
“Lydia,” said Winton from the doorway. “Would you let the Neopet do his work?”
“Not until I see what he has in that bag,” said the yellow Blumaroo, when the Shoyru opened it wide.
“Snow,” he said as all three of the Blumaroos stared at the fluffy white substance that filled the green bag. The Shoyru winked at Tommy. “Taken straight from the peak of Terror Mountain.”
“Wow,” breathed Tommy, watching as the Shoyru scooped up a glittering handful. “I bet everyone at school will be so jealous!”
Lydia rolled her eyes, but said nothing as the Snow Pet Repairsman went to work. “Just relax,” said the Shoyru, patting the glob on Tommy’s left leg and smoothing it out.
“That tickles,” said Tommy, giggling. It was only a matter of minutes before the Shoyru had shaped both of Tommy’s legs, making them round and firm.
“Good as new,” said the Shoyru, closing his bag of snow. “You’re all set to head right back outside, my friend.”
“Gee, thanks!” said Tommy. He hopped out of bed and stretched his snowy legs. “This feels great!”
The Shoyru leaned forward to whisper in the young Blumaroo’s ear. “I made them a little longer,” he said with a large wink.
“Thanks so much, mister!” said Tommy, hopping up and down.
“Yes, thank you,” said Winton. “May I take you to the door?”
The four of them all filed out of Tommy’s bedroom. Lydia said nothing, but returned to her rocking chair and picked up her knitting. Tommy disappeared into another room as Winton and the Snow Pet Repairsman made their way into the foyer.
“I can’t thank you enough,” said the old white Blumaroo, giving a few Neopoints to the Shoyru.
“No problem, no problem at all,” said the jolly Neopet, dropping the coins into his bag along with the snow. “If you ever need me again, I’ll be happy to drop by.”
With that, the Shoyru opened the front door and walked down the snowy white steps. Winton watched him as he took flight, spreading his small green wings and flitting away into the lightly falling snow.
Just as the white Blumaroo was closing the door, Tommy hopped into the foyer holding his pair of ice skates. “Hey Pa?” asked the snow Blumaroo.
“Can I head over to the skating rink?”
Both of them cringed as a shriek of “NO!” sounded from the other room.
Winton smiled at Tommy. “Not today,” he said. The white Blumaroo leaned down and whispered into his son’s ear. “But maybe we can go tomorrow, just the two of us.” Tommy grinned, and Winton added: “As long as you watch where you’re going.”