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The Other Side of The Story


by chocolateisamust

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There's a different side to every story. Some sides are publicized more than others, made to look like the truth. That doesn't mean they are the truth. It just looks that way.

     Many stories have been written about the horrors of the Kadoatery. About how lonely Kadoaties are left there to suffer, fed whatever a sign specifies. About how those Kadoaties are home-sick and miserable, longing and sulky.

     But as I said, there's a different side to every story.

     And this is the other side to the story of the Kadoatery.

     My name is Hannie, and I'm the Kadoatie-keeper.

     --

     The morning was young and full of life. The sun shone golden throughout Neopia Central, lighting the land and giving off a feeling of fresh awakening. In the small but cozy building called the Kadoatery, it was strangely peaceful.

     Today was opening day.

     Straightening my button-up, maroon-colored shirt, I scanned the rows of empty Kadoatie cages, making sure each was perfect for when the first Kadoaties arrived. And all of the cages were in fact perfect; each separate cubicle contained a soft wool blanket, a ceramic bowl of fresh water, and two brand-new petpet toys. A homely, nice place to stay for the time when the Kadoaties' owners were away.

     After checking the cages, I turned towards the door leading into the Kadoatery, which had a 'closed' sign hung up on it. In three minutes time, that sign would be flipped around, and the newest Neopian building would be open for business.

     Feeling almost giddy with excitement, I sat impatiently down into the oversized armchair in my small office, which was off in a separated part of the structure. In front of me was my enormous wooden desk, complete with a gleaming golden name-plate. Hannie, Kadoatie-Keeper.

     Smiling at my official title, I arose eagerly to my paws and paced out of my office, sneaking a glance at outside the building. A few pets and owners and whatnot had gathered, wondering about this unfamiliar building, but besides them not much was happening. Not that I expected it to or anything.

     After all, it was only early morning and many families were still sound asleep in their beds.

     Peeking up at the stainless steel clock up high on the wall, I watched as the second hand ticked quickly closer to a.m. It was 6:59 and 19 seconds right now. 41 seconds and the Kadoatery would be open for business. 30 seconds… 20 seconds… 10 seconds… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

     Breathing heavily in exhilaration, I rushed over to the door and unlocked it clumsily. I then opened it wide out to the world and flipped the sign to 'open.'

     Instantly, a rather chubby boy with wild blonde hair stomped right up to me and demanded, "What is this place?"

     "The Kadoatery," I replied in a voice over-keen. "If you would like to leave a petpet Kadoatie here while on vacation, you may. People will feed the Kadoaties food items the Kadoaties want, and may get rewarded afterwards."

     The boy snorted disdainfully. "Pathetic," he murmured, shaking his head. And then he grabbed the paw of a small yellow Acara and the two of them trod quickly off.

     My heart sunk to the bottom of my stomach. All these years of hard work, all these years of thinking and rethinking how to make this work, and the first comment is pure criticism.

     And at that moment, I had second thoughts about ever opening the Kadoatery.

     It all went downhill from there.

     --

     By the second day, nobody had yet been by to drop off any Kadoaties. I spent from 7am to 11pm sitting in the oversized armchair in my office, either sulking or being angry or both.

     Occasionally, curious passer-bys would stop in. I would rush up to greet them, hope blooming in my heart, but when I found them simply looking around, muttering something about the stupidity of this place, and then leaving, I felt as if all the pressure of the ocean had been released upon me.

     I'd saunter dismally back into my office, flop down into the chair, and then sulk or be angry or both until the next curious passer-by stopped in for a few moments, or until it was 11pm, which was the time I closed the Kadoatery to take the long Eyrie-taxi ride back to my Terror Mountain home.

     And it went on like that, day after day, every day, for quite a while.

     But then, two weeks after opening, everything changed.

     But this change wasn't for the better. Oh no. It was much for the worse.

     --

     Exactly two weeks since opening and not one customer to speak of. It was just another morning for me to sit and sulk, for me to sit and be angry, for me to sit and be both.

     I arrived at the Kadoatery at precisely 6:59am, one minute before opening.

     I hadn't bothered to be early since the second day. After all, it wasn't as if there were hordes of people rushing to get into the door. In fact, most folk avoided the door.

     Pulling out the single brass key to the store from my linen handbag, I yawned. I then stuck the key into the lock, opened the door, closed the door, flipped the sign from closed to open, and then stalked back into my office and dropped instantly onto my oversized armchair.

     I certainly didn't expect to, after only a minute or so, hear the soft jangle of the bell over the door ring.

     Not very enthusiastic or cheery, I rose to my paws and shuffled into the main part of the building. Standing beside the rows of Kadoatie cages was a young girl wearing a leather coat and jeans. Her brown hair was tied in a ponytail, and she was scribbling down words on a notepad with an old, worn pencil.

     "M-may I help you?" I stammered unsurely.

     The girl casually glanced at me and said, "Hannie, right?"

     "Yes," I replied. I was now feeling dreadfully nervous.

     The girl stuck out her hand towards me, but I didn't take it. "I'm Ruth; I'm a journalist for the Neopian Times. I heard about the Kadoatery, and I'm interested in writing an article about it. You know, to publicize it a little."

     I smiled apprehensively. I never had trusted Neopian Times journalists in the past, but I supposed a little publicity couldn't do me any harm. "Go right ahead," I said, trying to sound as sure as I could. I shook her hand.

     "Is it alright if I asked you some questions?" Ruth asked, pulling her hand away.

     "Yeah, sure."

     Ruth began her questioning, and I began my answering, and at the end of about 15 minutes, she flipped the front page of her notebook shut and said, "Well, I think I have all I need for my article. Thank you very much for your time, Hannie."

     "Y-you're welcome," I stuttered.

     She gave me a warm smile, tucked her notebook under her arm, and then walked out of the building. She soon faded into the rest of the crowd of people passing by.

     Nobody came into the Kadoatery for the rest of the day.

     However, when I arrived at 6:59am the next morning, there was a crowd of citizens outside the building's doors.

     --

     At first I was in disbelief. A crowd of citizens. Outside my building. This couldn't be happening. But it was.

     Perhaps the article Ruth wrote for the Neopian Times had done something after all!

     Rushing eagerly to the front door, I fished my key quickly out of my linen handbag and stuck the key into the lock.

     "Form a single-file line to get in!" I then yelled excitedly.

     "In!?" gasped a blue Blumaroo from toward the front of the mob.

     "Yeah!" screamed a red-haired owner, holding a baby Usul in her arms. "Why would we want to go in!?"

     I stared at the horde of citizens in bewilderment. "Why are you here if you don't want to go in!?"

     "We're here to protest!" yelled a faerie Zafara.

     "Protest what!?" My eyes grew wide as dinner-plates, and my face was twisted into an expression not even I can explain.

     "You torture Kadoaties!" shrieked somebody in the back of the crowd.

     "I do not!" I yelped in defense.

     "Then explain this!"

     A fresh copy of the Neopian Times was smacked down into my paws.

     The front page screamed at me.

     The bold words taunted me.

     The article made my blood boil.

     Kadoatery = Torture?

      NEOPIA CENTRAL - Two weeks ago, a brand new building opened in the bazaar. It was called the Kadoatery, a frightening enough name for anybody. Certainly nobody in their right mind would leave their Kadoaties there, in the care of a deranged silver Zafara named Hannie.

     Of course, many irresponsible owners did.

     When those owners came to pick up their Kadoaties, they found them weak, miserable and starved. Although it may not have been wise on their part to leave their beloved Petpets in the care of such a maniacal pet, these Kadoaties did not deserve to suffer so!

     Yesterday, I made a brave visit to the Kadoatery, to speak with Hannie himself. When I first arrived in the building, I was greeted by an awful stench. It smelled as if the cages had never been cleaned, the Kadoaties bathing in their own sweat. However, I blocked the appalling odor from my nose, and I vowed to myself that I would not leave the Kadoatery until I had spoken with Hannie.

     After a few minutes of aloneness, a rather frazzled looking Hannie stormed into the room, glaring at me as if I had intruded his personal space. Perhaps I had, but this was a public building.

     I told Hannie that I wanted to ask him a few questions, but he replied to me that he would rather eat dung. He then laughed bitterly, and flicked a bread-crumb into a starved Kadoatie's cage. The poor Kadoatie gobbled up the bread-crumb hastily, and then looked at Hannie, pleading for more with its big eyes. Hannie refused to give the Kadoatie more food.

     I told Hannie that these questions would only take a few minutes of his time, and this time he pondered for a few moments, and then agreed to be interviewed.

     What I heard those 15 minutes may be the worst things I've ever heard my entire life.

     Hannie informed me that he never fed his Kadoaties anything more than bread-crumbs, that he never bathed them, never cleaned their cages, and never bothered to help them when they were hurt, sick, or simply upset.

     By the time the interview was finished, I quickly thanked Hannie and then rushed off to write this article. By tomorrow, this article shall appear in the Neopian Times. I, as a concerned Neopian, pet owner, and petpet owner, ask all readers who care to gather outside the Kadoatery at 6:50am sharp to protest Hannie's awful ways on the day of this article's publication (the Neopian Times is delivered to homes at 4:30am, so it will give you time to venture to the location).

     The Kadoatery is located at the bazaar, next to the Neolodge. I will not be able to make it because I am going to be preparing breakfast and such for my late-sleeping pets, but I hope all who are able to will gather.

     Thank you,

     Ruth

     As soon as my eyes read the last word, I felt sick inside. I screamed, dropped the newspaper, and then, with my paws partially over my face, ran far, far away from the protesting crowd.

     I felt as if my life had just shattered before my eyes.

     Perhaps it had.

     --

     They didn't know why I was running. I passed everybody in Neopia Central in a blur. Sometimes folks stopped to look at me, to look at the strange silver Zafara who was running away from Fyora-knew-what, but nobody took the care to stop me and to ask me what was wrong.

     I didn't expect them to.

     After what seemed like forever, my speed slowly decreased until I was completely halted. By then I was huffing and puffing, my throat and lungs stinging with the bitter cold morning air.

     Today didn't have a golden sun. In fact, the sky was slate-gray, silvery rain clouds spread across it.

     It wasn't a nice day in any sense at all.

     I thought there would never be a nice day again.

     My years of hard work ruined by a pathetic article. Nobody would dare drop off a Kadoatie to me after this. Not now, not ever. All because of an article.

     I thought about yesterday, about how friendly Ruth had seemed. How her blue eyes had been full of such interest and gentleness, soft and friendly. It was all a scam. She was fake. Her questions were fake. She didn't care what I said, as long as I talked. Maybe it made her feel better that I actually did talk, so then her article would at least have a quarter of an ounce of truth in it.

     I saw no truth in her article.

     Her article had shattered my dreams, just so she could get published in a newspaper.

     I had hoped that I could help Kadoaties when their owners were away, so that they wouldn't get hungry and cold and so they wouldn't feel completely alone.

     It was a stupid idea.

     Closing my eyes, I slid down to the ground, on my knees, in the middle of the pathway. I must've looked awfully strange. I was awfully strange. I sat there like that for what felt like forever, until I could sit there no longer. And when I could sit there no longer, I stood up, stiff as a stone, hailed an Eyrie-taxi, and took the long ride home.

     --

     The next morning I went back to the Kadoatery. The crowd was there no longer. A thing could be a hype one day, completely forgotten the next. I didn't expect anybody to drop off their Kadoaties. Why should they, after all?

     However, only about ten minutes after I plopped dejectedly down into my oversized armchair, the bell above the doorway leading into the building jangled and somebody called out, "Hannie?"

     The voice was all too familiar.

     Ruth.

     When I didn't reply, the voice called out again, "Hannie? Hannie are you there? I know you probably never want to see me again, but…"

     I couldn't take this. I leapt to my paws and stormed into the main room, where a rather tired and guilty looking Ruth stood.

     She had no notebook, no pencil.

     "What?" I snapped.

     "Hannie… I'm so sorry…"

     "Oh, save it," I growled.

     "I… I didn't mean to write the article. I read it back to myself today. It was awful. I said some things I shouldn't," Ruth said.

     "Some things?" I snorted, amused in a bad way.

     She choked back tears. "A lot of things. Look, I brought something for you…" She gestured softly towards a basket, which was sitting a few feet over.

     Inside it was a small Kadoatie, huddled up in a nervous ball.

     "Real funny," I snapped. "You wanna make me look like more of a jerk, huh, Ruth?"

     "No, I thought maybe since nobody will drop off their Kadoaties that I could drop off mine," she explained.

     I stared skeptically at her, annoyed.

     "His name is Vash," she continued uneasily. "He's my Wocky's pet. But my Wocky's labbed, and today he turned into a Grarrl, and I don't want him to eat him so…"

     "…so you won't me to care of him," I finished her thought.

     "Yeah."

     "Until your pet's a Grarrl no longer, right?"

     "Yeah."

     I stared at the frightened Kadoatie, my lips shut. I thought about it for a few moments before saying, "Fine. Just because what you did doesn't mean I want an innocent Kadoatie to suffer."

     Ruth let a relieved smile creep across her face. "Oh thank you, thank you so much, Hannie."

     "It wasn't for you," I said icily. I then strode over to the basket and scooped the scrawny Kadoatie into my arms.

     Her eyes watery, Ruth whispered, "Thank you." And then she left, just like that.

     Watching her fade away into the crowd, I softly carried the Kadoatie to the top left cage, placed him in it, closed the iron-barred door and locked it. I then walked over to my stash of signs, and placed one on the hook of the door.

     It read 'Blue Draik Egg.'

     However, knowing perhaps nobody would ever feed him that item, I pulled out a box of Kadoatie treats from the lidded bin I kept in the small space between the cages and the wall and handed him a few through the bars.

     Vash gobbled them up quickly and mewed.

     "Hello little fella," I whispered in a comforting voice.

     Vash mewed again, happily, and I smiled.

The End

 
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