Starting Y14 Out... Right?
*KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK*
"WHAT, what is it?" I yell at the door groggily.
I groan and put my seaweed pillow over my head, attempting to block out the insufferable banging on my door. I know it has to be Soleira (my Maraquan Draik sister). She is the newest addition to the family, which explains her complete disregard to my sleeping hours. My other sister, Velare (a baby Draik), knows better than to disturb my beauty sleep.
"Hey, Aqua! Can I come in?" asks an excited voice on the other side of the door.
Sure enough, I identify the voice on the other side of the door to be Sol. After reluctantly rolling out of bed and stomping across the room, I wrench the door open to reveal my sister Sol who seem to barely be able contain her excitement. No, seriously, the Draik is bouncing on her tail, grinning from ear to ear.
I open and close my paws trying not to look to tense. Pets that are this happy in the morning obviously have some kind of problem. How else could they look like they have enough energy to run from Brightvale to Meridell and back at 8 a.m. NST?
"Yes, Sol, what is it?" I mumble through clenched teeth. "You DO know that its eight in the morning?"
"Oh, yeah, yeah, Velare told me that you were always cranky before ten in the morning...."
I glare. I'll show you cranky.
"...but I decided to come see if you were awake because I NEEDED to ask you about something!"
I'm most certainly NOT awake...
Even though I want nothing more than to crawl back into bed and sleep the morning away, Sol's enthusiasm and energy is unfortunately contagious.
"Ok, what is it?" I sigh.
Soleira squeals, grabs my paw, and yanks me down the stair case.
"So I woke up this morning and took Draco... [her Maraquan Gallion] ...out for a walk because he was scratching at my door. After I came back inside, I decided I was hungry and went to the kitchen for some breakfast. I went to the fridge to get some chocolate mike and saw THIS!"
We had reached the kitchen and Sol lets go of my paw so she can gesture toward the fridge.
"Isn't it brilliant!" she gushes.
I roll my eyes. There taped on the fridge is a large piece of paper that reads "YEAR 14's RESOLUTIONS". Laura tapes a list up every year and scribbles our names in columns across the top. We are supposed to come up with five things we want to change or work harder on throughout the coming year. I don't know why she bothers. She is the only one that actually goes by the list, and even then she only abides by it for a few months.
"Oh, that..." I say, boredom evident in my voice. "Laura tapes that list up every year to encourage us to work hard for the coming year. Don't worry, you don't have to think of anything; none of us actually abide by it."
"Oh, is that so?"
I cringe. Laura comes through the door with one eyebrow raised and hands on her hips. Laura is my owner and usually a very calm and easygoing person, but if we annoy her it can get nasty.
"Sorry, Laura," I mumble.
Laura's eyes soften and she smiles.
Phew, I told you she was easygoing!
"No worries, but this year we ARE going to abide by these resolutions," she states sternly.
"Oh, what a great idea!" Sol exclaims. "I just don't know what I will write, though; there are so many things I should try to change or start doing more often, for example..."
"Maybe you should add 'stop being obnoxious and annoying everyone' to the top of the list," I mumble.
As soon as the words leave my mouth, I mentally kick myself. See sometimes I think the filter that allows the flow of words from my brain to my mouth takes a holiday. I have this problem with saying the things I'm thinking even when it is not an intelligent choice.
Sol's eager smile disappears as quickly as raindrops hitting the hot sand in the Lost Desert. I glance at her face and see her eyes had starting to shine with unshed tears. She turns and darts up the stairs.
"Wait, Sol!" yells Laura.
Laura runs after her but not before shooting me a venomous glare.
Oh, Fyora, help me!
"Laura, you know I didn't mean it! I always say comments that I regret later! I'm so sorry, Sol!"
"Sorry isn't good enough this time, Aqua. I've had enough of your snide comments and rude remarks."
"But you hate it enough that you have to take me to the pound?!"
"Yes," Laura says nastily.
I feel a hand on my shoulder and look up to see Dr. Death looming over me. I shudder. He only laughs manically while beginning to drag me toward the back of the pound where I know the cells are contained. I start to frantically kick and yell.
"LET ME GO! Laura, please, you don't have to do this! I'll be nicer, I promise!"
Laura just stands there with her arms crossed over her chest, an uncharacteristic icy stare set on her usually jovial face. Behind me Dr. Death only continues to laugh, his hand as strong as iron on my shoulder as he drags me through the door to the bowels of the pound. He knows there is no escape.
As soon as we go through the door, I can feel the moisture of the dank air begin to penetrate my skin. I start shaking with both fright and chill. The cage room has a musty smell that leads me to believe if owners really understood where we would be forced to live, they might think twice about pounding us so often.
He sweeps me into the air with what seems to be almost no effort and I gasp in horror as I see the faces of many owners turn to stare at what new pet Dr. Death is bringing in. It takes them a moment of recollection before they are all crowding around Dr. Death, grabbing at my soft fur with their grimy hands. The noise is deafening because all of the owners seem to be talking at once. Above it all, though, I can hear Dr. Death still laughing manically, a horrible wheezing sound that hurts my ears.
"Good luck, little pet," he wheezes into my ear. "You'll need it."
"W-w-what do you mean?" I whimper.
"These owners are always here, looking for the best pound catch, and you happen to be the best they've seen in a while. You better be ready for the life of pet trading ahead of you."
"Just bring me back to Laura," I sob, covering my eyes with my paws.
I know what kind of life pet trading is. The constant shuffle back and forth between owners who harbor no love for you. An endless stream of owners gawking at you, sizing you up and then deciding if you are right for them or not. I would be a trophy. Nothing more than a prized possession that someone luckily acquires. Frankly I want no part of that life which leads to my uncharacteristic sobbing and begging. I never sink that low so you better believe I really want the safety of my home and love of my family back.
"Have fun, little one!" Dr. Death cackled before dropping me...
I scream as I hit the cold floor. My eyes are shut tight and I am shaking all over, but when the feeling of grabbing hands doesn't come, I peek through one eye to see... dust bunnies? Dust bunnies and toys? And there was that shoe that I lost... and that school project I finished weeks ago. This must mean... yes, I'm under my bed!
I roll out from under my bed and quickly regain my feet. Yes! The boom had been when I tumbled out of my bed and hit the ground.
"The pound was all a dream!" I whisper to myself happily.
It all starts coming back to me. Walking up the stairs towards my room ten minutes after Sol and Laura went up... tiptoeing by Sol's room... hearing her sobs and Laura's soothing tones. Flinging myself down on my bed and burying my head into my favorite seaweed pillow. I must have drifted off to sleep some time ago.
I shake my head. I really messed up this time. I glance at the clock and notice that it says 10 am NST. So I'd slept for another two hours. You know it's going to be a bad day when everyone already hates you this early in the morning...
I creep out of my room and strain my ears to listen for Soleira and Laura. I don't hear anything, so I dash across the hallway and softly knock on Velare's door.
"Velare?" I whisper.
The door swings open to reveal my sister, her forehead wrinkled in what I know must be confusion. I usually don't knock and I never whisper. Maybe I should whisper more often; it might keep me out of trouble.
"You really did it this time," Velare says bluntly.
"I know!" I whine, walking into her room and flopping facedown on her bed among her plushie collection.
Velare plops down in her desk chair and pulls her paws up to rest her head on her knees.
"I know you would usually never consider it, but you need to apologize. Sol is new to this family. She's only been here for a couple of months, so you can't expect her to understand your biting sarcasm and cheeky comments," Velare says, smirking.
I stick my tongue out at her. "I'm going to apologize, don't worry. I feel awful for what I said to Sol and now she probably hates me!"
"Sol couldn't hate anyone."
"Oh, shush, Aqua!" Velare says, rolling her eyes.
"Do you think Laura will want to pound me?" I ask, my voice cracking towards the end.
Velare gasps. "Don't be silly, Aqua! Yes, maybe you made some less than respectful comments, but Laura loves you. We all do! You were her first pet. You mean more to her than anything," she says soothingly while patting my paw.
I smile. "Thanks, Velare. I know what to do."
I'm enjoying a large banana split smoothie at the kitchen table when the door opens and Sol and Laura enter. Sol smiles slightly at me before walking towards the fridge.
Geez, she is so nice. I would never forgive myself that quickly.
Laura just walks through the room, opening her eyes slightly at me with a 'you better apologize now' look. She begins shifting through the neomail when a gasp from Sol stops her.
"Aqua?" Sol asks tentatively.
I know what she is looking at. After leaving Velare's room I walked to the kitchen to add some things to the Resolution List. Under my name the list now reads:
- If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all.
- Keep the sarcastic comments down to a minimum.
- Start looking at the world with a glass half full outlook.
- Don't be rude.
- If something is said that is obviously wrong, don't ignore it, APOLOGIZE!
I smile hesitantly. "I thought it was time that I took new year resolutions more seriously."
I stand and clear my throat. "Sol, I'm very sorry about what I said this morning. I know it was an unnecessary and rude comment and I just hope you can maybe forgive-- oof!"
Soleira hugs me tightly, nearly knocking the wind out of me.
"Apology accepted, Aqua! I just want to be friends after all!" Sol says happily.
I glance over at Laura to find her beaming at me, her hands clasped in front of her face. My arms slowly rise to wrap around Sol.
"Me too, Sol. Me too."