Tales of an Unwanted Pet: Part One
Mitchie lay on her back staring up at the glaring white ceiling of her new room. About two hours ago, her previous owner, Jennifer, had left her to the care of Dr. Death at the Neopian Pound. She was led down a long white corridor to a plain little room among one hundred others just like it.
An attendant had dropped by to give Mitchie a name tag and white T-shirt which would be her new uniform. The name tag had the words, “Mitchie47neo – Yellow Blumaroo” carefully printed on it.
All around her were the muffled sounds of other unwanted pets. Her room was small, and the plain whiteness matched the rest of the Pound. In a corner was a tiny cot and there was a small window on one wall. Mitchie crept over to the window now and looked out upon Neopia Central. She wondered what Jennifer was doing at this very moment.
Her stomach was just beginning to growl when she heard Dr. Death’s unmistakably raspy voice coming from a speaker attached to the ceiling. “Hello, pets of the Neopian Pound, this is Dr. Death speaking!”
Dr. Death was making his daily announcement over the loudspeaker, “Dinner will be served in the main hall at 6:30 today. Don’t expect anything good enough to be served at Kelp – or even Hubert’s Hot Dogs...” He cackled evilly before his voice vanished altogether.
Mitchie sighed and made her way to the main hall on the third floor. She had to run down the stairs since she was on the fourteenth floor, which unfortunately happened to be the same floor as Dr. Death’s office. She passed by other neopets, some of them running by with an extremely starved look in their eyes. She hoped she would never get this crazy, but who knew? This was only her first meal at the pound...
* * *
“Hi, what’s your name?” asked a young Scorchio.
“It’s Mitchie47neo. But you can call me Mitchie,” said the yellow Blumaroo morosely. She looked down at the roast tentacle on her plate with disgust.
“Awww, don’t look so sad! It’s only your first day here! I promise you it will get better,” said the Scorchio. “My name is Ch1893kk. But everyone here just calls me Chuck.”
Mitchie smiled at her first friend in the Pound. After arriving at the main hall she had gotten in line with the rest of the Pound’s occupants for the meal of the day. Dr. Death was on a tight budget apparently and had only enough money to feed the pets once a day.
The acrid fumes from the tentacle were starting to make its way to Mitchie’s nose and she shoved her plate away in disgust. Chuck gave her a knowing look and gobbled down his tentacle in a few swift bites.
By now, most of the pets were lounging on the several long white tables fighting over scraps of tentacle. Mitchie wrinkled her nose in disgust. She hoped that roast tentacle wasn’t served every day.
“Hey, Mitchie,” said Chuck. “I want to introduce you to some of my friends.”
Mitchie turned to see that their table was quickly being filled with more neopets. Chuck was pointing to three pets that were sitting next to him: a starry Gelert, red Moehog, and yellow Kacheek.
“This is Ch3st4r,” he said, pointing to the Gelert. “We just call him Chester, though.”
“Nice to meet you, Chester,” said Mitchie politely.
“And, this is Daisee,” he said, pointing to the Moehog. “She’s been here for only one week.”
Mitchie gave a small smile to her new acquaintance. She wondered how long Chuck had been in the Pound. Finally, Chuck introduced the yellow Kacheek as KingHenri77, who she was to call King Henri.
The yellow Blumaroo sat and talked with her new friends for over an hour before Dr. Death called them all back to their rooms. She smiled to herself later as she lay on her cot, remembering King Henri’s story about how his owner planned to paint him royal to match his name.
Soon, she grew tired and she fell into a drifting sleep with dreams of freedom and of her old life. Jennifer had appeared at her window. She was calling to her softly, “Mitchie... come back... I made a mistake... please come back...”
Mitchie woke with a start and ran to her window, but there was no one there. The sky was black and endless. She almost preferred it to the blank white walls that confined her. Jennifer was nowhere to be seen. Mitchie sighed, realizing that it had all been a dream. She crawled back onto her cot and rolled over, a single tear sliding off the tip of her nose.
* * *
The next morning, Mitchie was woken by Dr. Death’s daily wake up call at 5:00. All the pets on the fourteenth floor were being sent to the yard outside to do morning exercises. Each morning all the pets in the Pound had to jog around the yard to stay fit. The fourteenth floor always went first. Mitchie filed after the other pets down the stairs and into the yard.
Again, Mitchie experienced the horrible feeling of confinement as she gazed upon the sharp barbed wire fences that were supposed to keep them in the yard. She obeyed as a stern-looking Usul issued instructions to them.
“Ten push-ups, NOW!” shouted the Usul. “You there, Quiggle! Those aren’t good enough. Give me ten more!”
Mitchie struggled through each push-up, her weak arms unused to it. By the time she had reached her eighth push-up, the Usul had ordered everyone to jog around the yard fifteen times. The yellow Blumaroo pushed herself up and dusted off her paws. She ran until her lungs screamed for air.
“That was weak!” screamed the Usul, whose name Mitchie had learned to be Olga. “I want to see more sweat tomorrow!”
“That was horrible!” panted Mitchie as she climbed up the steps back to the fourteenth floor.
“Actually it wasn’t too bad. Some days are even worse!” said a green Quiggle next to her.
Mitchie cringed. How could that get even worse? She figured that she would find out soon enough.
* * *
Later that morning, Mitchie was called into Dr. Death’s office for an impromptu meeting. She noticed a few other pets were in the office as well. A yellow Lenny was preening his feathers nervously in one corner of the room and a magnificent faerie Uni sat in another corner. Dr. Death was seated behind his desk, an evil grin plastered on his face.
“You were called here because you are new,” he addressed the pets. “I would like you to know how things work around here.” He leaned back in his chair and glared at them all. “This is a very structured society I have going here. If no one messes around, things will run smoothly. Is that clear?”
All of the neopets nodded in agreement. Mitchie clutched her paws together in fear. Dr. Death’s eyes were oddly blank and glassy. They gave her the creeps.
“Once you enter the Pound, your profiles are updated in my books. I know exactly who you are and where you come from. If you step one toe out of line, I will know and you will be sorry. If you have an adoption request from a potential owner, you will be summoned to my office. Otherwise, you must partake in the activities held here at the Pound.”
He paused to scan the room before dismissing them. Mitchie was filled with hopes of being adopted as she left his office. Maybe Jennifer would come back for her after all... She suddenly tripped over a piece of trash on the floor and collided into the faerie Uni who had been in Dr. Death’s office with her.
“Do you MIND?” snapped the Uni angrily. “Unlike you I have too keep up my beautiful appearance.”
Mitchie, who had been about to apologize, stopped in her tracks. “What do you mean ‘unlike me?’ You’re just a snobby little Uni that wouldn’t know manners from a tiki tack wind up toy!”
By this time, other pets had gathered around to see what all the yelling was about.
The faerie Uni sneered at Mitchie. “I meant that unlike you, I actually have a chance for being adopted.”
Mitchie opened her mouth to protest, but the Uni cut her off.
“My point is,” the Uni continued. “Why would anyone adopt a washed-out yellow Blumaroo when they could have a beautiful faerie Uni like me? I will probably be gone in a day, but you could be here forever!” With that last malicious remark, the Uni stalked off.
Mitchie couldn’t see clearly, for her eyes had filled with tears. She rushed to her room and buried her face in her pillow. No one wanted her – not even Jennifer who she had known all her life. The truth was the Uni was right. Why would anyone want her when they could have someone that was so much better?
To be continued...