Do You Remember?
They say MSP Poogles are just plushie Poogles, just slightly more sentient and malevolent. Slightly. How a plushie could even possibly be alive, I do not know. But they say that 1 in every 1000 plushie Poogles has a defect, something they tried to correct but could not correct and the factory – oh, the Factory. They say the Factory that made those Poogle plushies was haunted, and at night the ghosts of former workers angry at their wages and their owners and the treatment they got... oh, they were so very bitter and enraged. Those were the ghosts that would rise at night; the ghosts who would lurk around the corner and sulking in the alleyways, crying, moaning...
They said the forklifts would mysteriously move on their own; the boxes would fall over ten feet from the warehouse shelves; that sounds of begging and shrieking could be heard day and night when no one was there. There was a story of a small little Usul worker who was hurt because of the falling boxes. It had almost made it into the newspaper – almost. Every once in a while you would hear rumors of ghosts and ghouls that filled the Factory in the coffee shops and in the libraries, but it never made it into the news, because they shushed that up with a web of schemes and lies. Because the Factory was profitable. And they wanted it to stay that way.
Because who wants to buy toys for their little neopets if they knew the toys were made in a haunted factory?
(Not me, of course. No, not me.)
Oh, I'm sorry. My name is Sadie, and I'm a Kacheek. I grew up with one of those plushie Poogle toys, from that infamous Factory I was telling you about. As a child, I loved her. Really. She was a birthday gift from my parents, and when I opened that present it was like we were destined to be together. For the longest time, we were. Together, I mean. We played in the sandbox of my family's home; we went to the park, to Mystery Island to play in the sand, to Meridell to try the cheeses and to pet the Gallions. I have albums and albums of childhood pictures that have me and that little Poogle together, as happy as can be. Me with my wide toothy grin and her simple, unchanging smile.
(We had some really good times.)
But there were times I swore I saw out of the corner of my eye, her big plastic blue eyes would become sinister ruby red, and her jaws would open, big sharp teeth threatening to chomp... and then, when I looked back, she was normal again, quiet, happy, smiling.
And so I would convince myself that it never happened.
(But it did, didn't it? No, it could have never happened. Plushies can't be alive. That's simply not possible.)
Eventually, I grew up. Instead of my plushie friend, I made real friends, like Ursula the Uni and Maggy the Meerca and Tiffany the Wocky and we'd go out to the mall and the movies. Since big kids don't go to the park and play in sandboxes, you know. And eventually I moved out of the little home I shared with my parents and ventured off to find my own little place. I left my childhood possessions behind in the basement, packaged away in neat cardboard boxes. I don't even remember the day I tucked away my plushie Poogle. I don't remember feeling anything, or missing her.
After a particularly busy weekend in my shop (I sell various odds and ends, you should come by sometime!), my mother called. She and my father recently decided to sell their luxurious Neohome for a smaller home in a quaint Neopian suburb. She requested that I go clean out my childhood memorabilia from her basement, and I gladly obliged.
And that's where I find myself now, in the basement, covered in cobwebs and dust because I've been looking through things no Neopet has touched for decades, probably. It smelled like mildew and I think every time I took a step forward, a Spyder would crawl against my feet, making my spine chill. I felt I should try to find my old friend, but I didn't know where to start. Surely she was in some box down here...
(We had some good times, together, huh? Do you remember when we made the Biggest Sandcastle Ever, and even the Tiki Tack Man was impressed? We even got a photo with him!)
As I searched through the boxes, memories came flooding back to me. Those only made me dig through the cardboard boxes with increased vigour. I felt as if my Poogle was somewhere, so close... we won't be separated for much longer..!!! I ripped open box after box, but I only found old Usuki dolls and other plushies. They were nice, yes. But they were not the one I was really looking for. And then I found another memory.
(Do you remember when we climbed Terror Mountain together? Do you remember we drank hot chocolate with Tarla when we were snoweddd innn attt thhheee peakkkkk)
I dug through boxes of old clothing, old toys and old trading cards. I found my old Neodeck, with my most prized card, Sophie the Swamp Witch. It was in pristine condition; no bends, but just a bit dusty. As I held it up, I wondered how much it would get me if I were to sell it. I don't have any use for it now, in any case. Further inside the box, I found two binders filled with other cards. Did I really love to collect them that much?
(Do youuu rememberrr whenn wee trekkedd throughhh thhheee Losssttt Deseeerrrt toooo seee Colllttzannn'sss Shriiinnneee fooor thhhee firsttt timmeee? Ouurrr fiiirssst prriizzee waasss aaa gooolddennn duuubbloooonnn)
The recollections were becoming too much – the moaning voice was causing my head was becoming numb. I looked at my paws and found that they were shaking. I felt my vision blur, so I decided perhaps I'd come back another day to find my friend. It's not like the plushie could walk off, anyway. She'll be here when I get back. I clutched my binders of Collectable Cards and began to head back up the stairs.
(Doooo yooouuuu rememberrrr???)
The voice in my head came loud and unexpected. It was angry, sinister even. I was so shocked my hands reached for my head and the cards came out of the binder and spilled on the floor. As I reached down to pick up the cards, the door to get to the out of the basement slammed shut. The lights flickered off, then on again, and then they turned off. I heard the crunching of papers around me, and the crackling of teeth. It was as if the basement was becoming alive – and then boxes began to tumble down on me; one hit me on my back. Another hit my forehead, knocking me out temporarily. When I looked up, another menacing – no, malevolent! – thought thundered in my head.
(DO YOU REMEMBER??)
A knowing pair of ruby red eyes seemed to glow.