Lost Memories: Part Three
Xireei, a young blue Tonu, stood in the middle of the wasteland just outside of Tyrannia, trying to decide which way to go next. She had heard from her foster mother, Lilean, that her real mother, Myrrta had gone off looking for her brother, Firreter, a few months ago, and hadn’t returned since. The young Tonu had taken it upon herself to find her mother and brother and bring them back.
“Xireei,” Lilean had said. “Myrrta had no idea where Firreter went, and Firreter didn’t want anything to do with us anyway! I can’t let you go off into the wild without a single clue where you’re headed!”
“But they’re my only real family in the pack!” Xireei had argued. “Wherever they are, they might need help!”
“Xireei, you're being ridiculous! What help could you possibly be, by yourself?”
But Xireei hadn’t taken her advice. Being young and headstrong, Xireei had snuck out of the camp in the dead of night, following her mother’s faint footprints. Now she was beginning to regret it.
She sighed, and then continued, unknowingly heading towards Neopia Central, where her mother’s footprints were leading her.
“Where am I now?” thought Firreter as he reached the city. “Is this where I’m supposed to be?” He shook his head, despairingly. “I can’t remember anything, even my name! Do I even have a name?” Sighing, he walked alone down the dark streets.
“I ought to find someplace to stay for the night.” Searching around a bit, he crawled into a soggy cardboard box in an alley. It was falling apart, and smelled of mold and mildew. The alley was dark and cold, and rain had begun to fall from the hazy sky.
Cold, tired, and hungry, he wrapped his tail around himself tightly, and drifted off to sleep.
The next morning, he awoke to a stream of Neopians bustling down the streets, and into shops. “Hmm?” he thought, stretching. “Who are they?”
Curiously, he went a little closer, and one human said, “Eww, a ghost! What’s he doing here? He should be in the pound!”
“The pound?” Firreter wondered. “What’s a pound? It doesn’t sound very nice...”
Ignoring the humans, Firreter began searching the alley for something to eat. All he found were a few garbage cans in the back, but they would have to do. Gagging with repulsion, he managed to choke down some moldy food, and lapped up some water from the gutters.
Suddenly, a female Tonu ran up to him, yelling, “Firreter! Firreter, I’m so glad you’re alive!” She embraced him.
“What did she call me?” he thought, then responded, “Ummm... who are you?”
She looked up at him, puzzled. “I’m your mother, Myrrta. You look different.”
“My... mother?” he asked. “You’re... my mother.”
“Yes, yes, I am. What happened to you? You’re a ghost now!” she questioned, backing up.
“I... don’t know!” he answered. “I can’t remember anything, not even my own name!”
“You’re name’s Firreter,” she told him. “You don’t remember anything?”
“Nothing. All I remember is waking up in the middle of a wasteland and coming here,” he replied, confused.
“Hmmm... I’d love to know what happened, but we have to get you out of here, before anything happens,” Myrrta informed him. “The city’s a dangerous place for wild neopets.”
“Come on,” she ordered, jumping out into the streets.
Hesitantly, he followed, staying right next to her.
As they continued down the road, Myrrta panted, “Look out for the humans; they love their own neopets, but have no pity for the wild ones. Just keep running, and don’t stop for anything.”
Suddenly, two people jumped out in front of them with a large net.
The human Firreter recognized from before yelled, “There it is! That ghost! Make sure he doesn’t get away! Anything with claws and teeth like that is dangerous!”
The other human, working for the pound, tried to throw the net at Firreter, but he dodged it just in time, and bolted down the street with his mother.
“Stop that monster!” the catcher yelled, chasing after them.
“There’s the end of the city!” Myrrta gasped, excitedly sprinting towards the large fence a few hundred feet ahead of them. “If we can make it over that fence, we’re safe!”
Glancing over his shoulder, Firreter saw the catcher close behind them.
“Come on...” he growled, approaching the fence. Springing over the last few feet, he leapt towards the fence, but got his paw caught in a stray piece of barbed wire, pulling him back to the ground.
As he watched his mother clear the fence, she called, “Firreter! Come on!”
Hard as he tugged, his paw only got more tangled in the wire, the rusty metal cutting into his foreleg.
Helplessly, he saw the catcher throw the net over him, pull his paw roughly from the fence, and throw him onto a cart to take him to the pound.
“No...” Myrrta whispered, nearly mad with grief. They had been so close! Why?
Gritting her teeth, she prepared to leapt back over the fence. She wasn’t giving up until she was back with Firreter!
In the pound, Firreter felt the catcher pull the net off of him, and tie a dirty, worn, rope around his neck. Without saying a word, an elderly, yellow Techo took the rope and led him back into a dark hallway. Fearing for his life, Firreter followed him to a large room filled with cages. He was led into the farthest cage, one in the very back, and locked in, without even having the rope taken off his throat.
“Is this a pound?” Firreter thought, miserably. “Why couldn’t I jump over the fence? Then I’d be back with my mother, or whoever she was.”
His cage was very small, only about five feet across, keeping him from being able to stretch out or move much at all. Sighing, he gazed out the steel bars of his cage door, seeing dozens of other, “ordinary” colored pets locked in the same types of cages, and was overcome with a wave of pity for the starving, haunted- looking neopets. He was unused to such emotions, before having only felt anger and hatred towards others.
“I wonder how long they’ve been here?” Firreter wondered. “They look horrible!”
Shifting around, he looked at the neopet in the cage next to him, separated by only a few rusty bars. A thin, tired, Gelert lay on the floor, gazing sullenly at the ground in front of him. His green fur was matted and tangled, and had faded from being in the dark for so long.
“How long have you been in here?” Firreter asked him, quietly.
“Four months,” the Gelert croaked, his voice hoarse from lack of water. “But I wasn’t born in the wild. For a while, I had a great owner, or so I thought. One day, for no reason at all, she took me her and left me, without saying another word.”
He shook his head sadly. “I still miss her, even after what she did to me. I don’t understand how anyone could put us in such a horrible place.”
“Does every wild pet get captured?” Firreter asked, remembering seeing a few other wild pets on his short journey into the city.
“Only the dangerous ones,” the Gelert responded. “Anything that doesn’t look like it can hurt someone can stay.”
Firreter nodded, slowly. “I can’t remember where I was born, but I remember having a mother, and living in the city. In fact, it was just yesterday, but today I was captured.”
The Gelert gave him a puzzled look. “You say you were born yesterday?”
“I don’t know,” Firreter said. “I only remember what happened since yesterday, nothing before.”
“Hmmm, strange,” the Gelert replied, edging away from him.
Suddenly, they heard a bell jingle, and someone walk in the door.
“A human!” the Gelert exclaimed. “It’s rare anyone comes in! Try to look your best, and don’t act sick or tired, or anything like that.”
“Because,” the Gelert informed him. “You want someone to adopt you and get you out of here!”
Firreter nodded, and sat up as straight as he could in the cramped cage.
Every neopet in the pound held its breath as the human, a young, tall, female, walked down the aisles, carefully examining each one.
“Oh look, a ghost,” she said softly, stopping at Firreter’s cage.
One of her other pets, a young glowing Zafara, peeked at Firreter from behind her. “He looks scary,” she piped up.
Firreter tried to hide his claws and fangs, as the Zafara watched him, eyes wide with curiosity.
“He’s just different,” her owner told her. “How would you like a new brother, Kai?”
“You mean him?” the young Zafara, named Kai, asked, warily. “I don’t know, Lori...”
Her owner, named Lori, took her to the front desk. “You just need to get to know him. I’m sure he’ll be great!”
Kai looked doubtful. “What’s his name?”
“It says he’s called Firreter.”
“Hmmm...” Kai wondered, thoughtfully.
Lori smiled. “Is it a yes?”
Sighing, the young Zafara answered, “I guess.”
Leading Dr. Death, the yellow Techo who ran the pound, to Firreter’s cage, Zafaracutie4 said, “That’s the one, the ghost right over there.”
“It’s your choice,” the Techo grunted, unlocking the cage. “That’ll be 569 neopoints.”
“It’s worth it,” the girl said, handing him the money and leading her two neopets out the door.
“Good luck!” Firreter heard the Gelert whisper sadly as he followed the girl up to the counter, eyeing them enviously. “Remember all of us when you’re warm and well-fed with a home and an owner...”
To be continued...