Plushie Island: Part One
I’m an Eyrie. A yellow Eyrie, to be exact. I live in a place that they (whoever ‘they’ are) call the “Plushie Palace”, although it doesn’t seem like much of a palace to me. It’s more like... well, let’s just say, that’s where I live. I suppose I have no right saying it doesn’t look like a palace, since I’ve never seen a palace or castle before. My home is definitely not a bad place. In fact, it’s quite nice. There’s lots of others to play with, but they usually don’t stay long. Then new ones come in, but they end up leaving as well. I just can’t figure out where they all go.
At the Plushie Palace, we don’t have names. I’d never even heard of a “name” before, until Ginger came. She told me about names, because she had one. It took a long time for Ginger to convince me that such things called names existed, and a lot of explanation. It just didn’t make sense!
“I’ll probably be renamed soon,” she told me, frowning while she said it. She didn’t sound very happy about that. Ginger’s a pretty little rainbow Cybunny, but she calls herself a reject. I keep telling her she’s not, but she just ignores me and tells me I don’t know anything about it. And she’s right. I don’t.
Ginger told me about “friends”, too, and now we’re best. I think it sounds funny, but oh well. Ginger’s always right, that’s for sure. She knows much more about the world – which she calls Neopia (what an interesting ‘name’!) – than I do. I haven’t been outside of the Plushie Palace. Yet.
* * *
The Plushie Palace was closed. –That means nobody is in here except us. Every day, we get lots of gigantic creatures that come in and pluck us off the shelves. Those creatures even look kind of like us, but somehow different – in both size and looks. I’m surprised at how many colors they come in, too. Anyways, after they choose, they pay Amelia, our caretaker, and leave – taking us with them! I haven’t been ‘chosen’ yet, but Ginger says my day will come all too soon. Every time the Plushie Palace opens up, Ginger hops away and hides out of sight. She says she doesn’t want to be picked and taken away because she says likes it here. Sometimes I just can’t seem to understand her.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a plushie. A yellow Eyrie plushie, to be exact. I didn’t know this until Ginger came. She’s a second-hand plushie, which means she used to live in a home of some Neopet – that’s those giant creatures that sort of look like us. One day, someone came with a big box and dropped it off. I remember watching. Ginger said that the pet who brought in the box was making a “donation”. A donation is when you give something to someone else free. Ginger and lots of other plushies were in that box, but the others who came from Ginger’s old home were long gone by now. They were picked.
All day long, in the Plushie Palace, we sit there, on the shelf, not moving or blinking or anything. It’s very boring, but I’ve been doing it my whole life, so it’s not entirely too bad. Ginger always says, “Just wait until someone picks you. You’ll be doing that forever. You can never move, just in case someone sees you – not even if they’re playing with you.” Sometimes Ginger tells me horror stories about her old life. She even explained to me what playing means to a Neopet with a plushie. I think she does it so I’ll hide with her during the day. She doesn’t want me to leave, either – probably so she won’t be alone. But what if I want to see the world for myself?
Ever since Ginger came along and told us plushies about names, we’ve been trying to give ourselves them. We never realized how hard it was to refer to each other without them. We used to just say “Red Nimmo” or “Green Aisha” to each other. Some plushies still prefer to be called their color and species. They say they don’t want to get used to one name if they’re just going to be renamed by someone else, which to me sounds sensible. I don’t like being called Yellow Eyrie, but I don’t want a name, either. Most plushies just call me “Ginger’s friend.” As you may have guessed by now, Ginger is very popular among us.
* * *
Ginger was hiding, as usual. It was six minutes to closing time, but the Plushie Palace was already empty. Amelia, the yellow Cybunny with fluffy hair, was sweeping the floor and humming to herself.
One of my wings twitched. That’s one of my problems. I can move my plush wings beautifully, but they don’t fly. I once saw an Eyrie Neopet that looked just like me. I was by the window (in one of my favorite spots), and she flew down from the sky and walked into the shop next door. I was amazed at her ability to fly. Of course, after that, Ginger had to explain to me what flying was.
Red Nimmo (one of my close friends) cast me a warning glance when he saw my wing move. Amelia was awfully close to our shelf, but I couldn’t help it if my wing twitched. Besides, she wasn’t paying any attention to us. We were close to the window today, so I gazed out, hoping to see another flying Eyrie. The sky was a dark grey color, with big clouds looming over Neopia Central. There weren’t many Neopets out – probably because of the weather.
At last, Amelia finished sweeping and closed up the Plushie Palace, leaving. We were free to move! There were sighs of relief all around the shop, and plushies hopped off the shelves and began moving around. Ginger appeared beside me before I could even stretch my wings. I couldn’t help but wonder where she had been hiding, for her to show up so fast.
She gave her head a hard, wake-up shake, and her long, rainbow-colored ears flopped all over the place, nearly whacking my ear. Her glittery black eyes bore into mine, and after what seemed like a long silence, she asked, “Are you ready?”
I gave a quick, short nod, trembling all over. This was the day. The day we planned to escape. Our plan reminded me of a game Ginger had once told me about. It was called ToyBox Escape, but this wasn’t the time to be thinking about that. This was Plushie Escape, in real-life.
Ginger returned my nod, seeming to shake a little herself. “Gather the troops,” she instructed. “I’ll survey the area, to make sure it’s safe.” She sounded like a grown-up boss, giving instructions to her workers. We shook paws and went in two opposite directions. I scrambled down the shelf while she went up.
There was a medium-sized group waiting for me behind the counter. Since the shop was so big, and I was so small (with nonworking wings), it took me a few minutes to get to the meeting place.
Sixteen plushies of all colors and species sat around in a circle, talking in hushed, frightened whispers. This was the real deal. We were actually – finally – going to go. They all fell silent when I approached, eager to hear whatever I had to say.
“Okay,” I started, my voice trembling nearly as much as my body was. “We’re ready. Ginger is checking the area. She says the overcast weather is perfect, because it means there won’t be very many Neopets and humans out. It’ll be safer for us.”
A few of the plushies clutched paws and nodded. “When do we leave?” a green Wocky plushie asked boldly.
“As soon as possible,” I answered. “We just have to be patient and wait for Ginger to get here with the report.” I was trying to remember the Wocky’s name. I think it was Rena. Embarrassed, I had to ask her. Do know how awful it is asking someone, I’m sorry, but what was your name again? It’s terrible! I felt horrible afterwards, but Rena accepted my apology and told me not to worry about it, since she was new to the whole name thing as well.
Minutes ticked by, and Ginger still hadn’t arrived. The plushies were getting restless, murmuring to themselves and the others. I could hear their doubts, and started to wonder myself. Would this really work?
To try to help settle everyone’s minds, and use a little refresher for us all, I had everyone sit down in a circle. “Let’s go around and say our names – or what we liked to be called – so we all know each other. I’ll start, okay? I don’t have a name, so you can call me ‘Ginger’s friend’ or the name I thought up for myself: Willow.”
The plushies all immediately agreed to call me Willow. I smiled, pleased with myself for coming up with a nice name. Some even said it fit me perfectly! We went around the circle, and everybody said his or her name. Someone pointed out that if we weren’t going to be bought, we wouldn’t have to worry about being renamed. This was a huge relief to those without names.
A few, like Red Nimmo, chose to keep their color and species as a name. It just seemed to work out for them well. Most of the others gave themselves names, or had someone suggest one. It helped us all to relax and let go of the fright that had clung to us before like wet leaves.
At last, the rainbow Cybunny’s head popped around the corner of the huge counter, wearing a smile on her face.
To be continued...