This Story Does Not Exist
Bucklan sighed loudly as she looked at the ingredients that her fridge contained, which was absolutely none. It was apparent that someone had gone for a midnight snack last night, which had quickly turned into a midnight feast rather than just a small snack. She shook her head and closed up the refrigerator, wondering to herself about just what she was going to have for dinner now that there was no food left. "Guess that means that I'm going to have to go get someone to go shopping," she muttered to herself.
The jelly Bori wandered out of the kitchen and into the playroom of her house, where a baby Uni sat on the floor trying to play with some blocks that had been bought for her, but it was rather hard for a Uni like her to do so, for Unis didn't have hands. A mutant Hissi was seated in a rather comfortable looking couch as he looked through the recent issue of the neopian times, but as usual, Bucklan found that both heads were arguing over turning the page. Bickering was all she ever heard out of the two of them. On the very side of the room lay a tank full of water, containing a Maraquan Meerca swishing about with a content expression on her face, despite the fact that she had barely any room to swim.
"Any of you want to go shopping? We're out of food because one of you decided to have a midnight meal," she said with a hint of venom laced in her tone as she eyed the three other neopets, attempting to determine which one of them was the culprit of the crime.
"Wasn't me," the left head of the mutant Hissi called out as he attempted to flip the page, only to get his wing smacked away by the other head.
"It was him!" yelled the right head of the mutant Hissi. "I tried to stop him, but he dragged me out of bed and starting chomping down on all the food! Every single last bit of it."
The left head hissed. "Stop lying, you know it was you who ate all the food..."
"It was not!" he screeched.
Bucklan sighed and shook her head. "I don't care which one of you it was! What matters now is that we get some food so that we can actually have dinner tonight. Which of the three of you wants to go?"
The baby Uni looked up from her futile attempt of building a block tower. "Not me, I'm busy with this tower!" She pointed a hoof at the "tower" she had made, which resembled a scrambled mess rather than what it was intended to be.
"Tazi, you're too young anyways," the right head reminded the young Uni. "I think it would be best if I went—"
"—We are not going anywhere!" shouted the left head. "I'm tired, and there is no way that I'm going to get up and get some food! I'm full enough as it is!"
The right head sighed. "Nua, come on—"
"No, it's fine," Bucklan interjected. "Leceris can go. She hasn't picked up food in a while, and last time the two of you went, you came back with carts of things we didn't even need!" She glanced over to the tank in the corner of the room, where the Maraquan Meerca was happily swimming about. "Come on, Lece! It's your turn to go to the store."
Leceris frowned as she poked her head out of the water. "Bucklan, I don't know if you noticed this, but I'm a Maraquan Meerca. I can't walk on land, and therefore, I can't go to the store."
Bucklan had to admit, that did make sense. Clearly, Leceris would not be the one going to the store. Tazimira couldn't go to the store because she was too young to do so, and she didn't trust Latinua when it came to shopping. The two of them were always fighting about one thing or another. "Well then, who is going to go to the store?" she asked, confusion in her tone.
Everyone stared at the poor jelly Bori unblinkingly, which was oddly reminiscent of being stared at by a hundred meepits, she noted (but that's a story for another time).
"Bucklan," Leceris started slowly, "I don't know if you noticed this, but you're the only neopet here capable of going to the store right now."
Bucklan blinked a few times. Her, go the store? No way! "That's boring!" she shouted out. "I don't want to go to the store. I have... things to do. Yeah, I have to clean my Tapira and pet my room," she lied at once, wearing a grin on her face in hopes that it would be convincing. "I-I mean, I have to pet my Tapira and clean my room! Yeah, that's it! That's what I have to do."
Everyone blinked at her, and Leceris let out a sigh. "The neopoints are in a bag underneath the kitchen sink. Have fun, and don't forget to buy some Blumaroo steak, otherwise I don't think that Nua will forgive you." When Bucklan looked over at the mutant Hissi, Nua nodded his head in agreement. "I personally enjoy hot dogs, so don't forget to get some!"
Bucklan considered the idea of just turning around and walking away from the situation, but who was going to buy the food if she didn't? Well, someone had to at some point, but it wasn't like Tazimira or Leceris was actually capable of getting up and buying food, and she doubted that Lati or Nua would be able to actually get out of the door due to their... complicated circumstances. So, how in the world were they going to get food if she didn't go out and get some?
Bucklan sighed. "Fine, fine! I'll go get it!" she grumbled. "But this is my first time out, so I don't blame me if I get the wrong thing!'
"Don't worry, I will," Nua said with a sly grin.
With that, the jelly Bori turned around and grabbed the bag of neopoints with her mouth, plopping it right in her backpack, which she then slung over her shoulder and onto her back. Annoyed, she marched out of the door onto the beaches of Mystery Island, slamming the door behind her with a quick whap of her tail. With that, she set out on her journey, knowing in her mind that if she got the wrong food or not enough of it, everyone would be bothering her about it and she would probably be forced to go out and grab the food yet again.
She sighed. Where to go? She had heard the trading post was a great place to get anything, and it was right there in Mystery Island, too! She had never been there before, though, and wondered to herself just how things were around there. She had heard horrifying rumors about people offering junk on paintbrushes worth millions and rude sellers who would turn down offers even if they were good enough. She shook her head as an attempt to shake all those thoughts off. No, she had to get that food, otherwise...
Bucklan stomped off to the trading post. They were sure to have the food she needed there. She listed the food that she needed in her mind, including Blumaroo steak, hot dogs, baby food for Tazimira, and some fruit for herself. She had around ten thousand neopoints on hand with her, which she supposed was just enough for her to get all the things she needed. At least she would be able to get her hands on that so that no one would get mad at her...
The jelly Bori wandered around until she spotted the trading post building. She gulped as she prepared to enter, recalling all those terrifying stories of junk offers and harsh sellers... No, she had to be brave. It would only take her just a little bit.
She opened the door and strolled into the building, and when she did, she was instantly taken aback by how large it was. There were hundreds and hundreds of stands set up selling every single item that anyone could possibly imagine, and certainly more than Bucklan had ever seen in one place. There were fruits every color of the rainbow, gross food that had to be from the Haunted Woods that reeked of dung, and rare paintbrushes with owners standing behind them that looked ready to explode with fiery rage as countless neopets dumped bags of fifty neopoints and rotten shoes on the counter as an offer.
She gulped. Well, she supposed she wasn't selling anything, so she didn't have to be scared of the junk traders, anyways...
Strolling down the hall, Bucklan eyed every stand available, but she didn't see what she was looking for. Sure, there were tons of paintbrushes, but she wasn't here for paintbrushes! About a thousand stands passed by before she finally rested her eyes on a Blumaroo steak sitting next to a pile of colorful tropical fruit that was up for trade. She grinned wildly as she ran up to the stand, ready to dump about half her neopoints on counter stand.
The owner of the stand was a very bored-looking fire Xweetok, who blinked her eyes at the Bori before her, but said nothing. She sighed and tapped her paws rhythmically down on the wooden countertop, creating a melody that Bucklan vaguely recognized.
"Five thousand neopoints?" Bucklan offered.
The Xweetok said nothing at all and continued to looked completely bored, her eyes half-open and tired as if she had been there all day.
Bucklan frowned and then cleared her throat loudly in attempt to draw the Xweetok's attention. "Five thousand neopoints for all this?"
The Xweetok proceeded to yawn quite loudly right in the jelly Bori's face.
Annoyed, Bucklan narrowed her eyes. "I said, five thousand neopoints for all this?" she screamed out.
The Xweetok leaned back in her seat and proceeded to close her eyes, as if about to fall asleep right on the spot.
That was the last straw for Bucklan. In a flame of hot rage, she dumped five thousand neopoints down on the counter rather loudly, and then slammed a shoe she happened to have in her bag down on the counter. "All this for the stuff, or not? Answer me!" she shouted as loudly as her voice possibly could go, echoing across the large hall.
Finally, the Xweetok's eyes shot open and she sat straight up in her chair, her eyes filled with shock. Her vision trailed down to the neopoints and rotten shoe on the counter, and suddenly, a look of confusion made its way across her face. "Who put these neopoints and this shoe here?" she asked as she looked about the nearby area.
"I did!" shouted Bucklan.
The Xweetok continued to look around, completely dumbfounded. "Did someone just dump their stuff here and leave? Who here owns these neopoints and this shoe?" she called out to the whole post, allowing her booming voice to echo across the walls so that everyone could hear.
A look of annoyance plastered itself on the jelly Bori's face. "I said I did!" she shouted again, jumping up and down.
The Xweetok shrugged. "Guess the owner will come back for it eventually," she muttered to herself as she leaned back in her chair. She shut her eyes as she began to drift off into a peaceful slumber.
Bucklan had enough with this Xweetok. She took back her nepoints and shoe and stomped through the trading post again, muttering under her breath about how some neopets could be so rude. How did she not notice her? She was standing right there! What was she, an invisible neopet? Last time she checked, she was painted jelly, not invisible!
Her eye caught sight of another stand selling some baby food that she knew Tazimira would want, so she wandered over and slammed half of her neopoints down. "Five thousand neopoints for your food?"
The owner of the stand—a pirate Buzz who seemed to be very upset with his surroundings—looked down at the neopoints on the table. "Who put these neopoints here just now?" he asked as he looked around.
"I did!" screamed Bucklan.
The pirate Buzz looked right into Bucklan's eyes, but all he did was scratch the top of his head. "Guess someone forgot their neopoints here."
Blinded by her rage, the jelly Bori snatched her neopoints up again and found herself treading with heavy steps down the hall. She stopped a short time later when she found a hotdog stand and in a fit of anger, poured all of her nepoints onto the counter. "Ten thousand neopoints for your hot dogs?" she asked, trying to sound as polite as she could, but the tone ended up just sounding angered.
The Pteri running the stand blinked at the nepoints. "Hey, did anyone leave ten thousand neopoints here?" he called out.
That was it. Bucklan couldn't take it anymore. She snatched up her neopoints and stormed out of the trading post, rage hotter than a magma neopet's fur burning in her eyes. She was home in about five minutes, and when she got there, she threw her backpack to the side and allowed it to slam into the wall before stomping into the playroom. As usual, Tazimira was attempting to build something with rocks, Leceris was swimming about, and Lati and Nua were arguing over something or another.
"I did it! I went to the trading post, but no one seemed to notice me!" she shouted out.
Lati pulled his head away from the Neopian Times and blinked at the angered Bori. "Wait a moment, how did they not notice you?"
"I have no idea!" yelled Bucklan. "I dumped my neopoints on the table, asked if it was a good enough offer, and everyone just called out 'who put these neopoints here?' They even looked me right in the eye, and they still didn't see me!"
Leceris looked confused. "That's an odd situation. Have you asked Rorru? She knows a lot of things, even if her haikus don't always make sense. She should know why people can't see you."
That was a good idea. Bucklan nodded and put her backpack on her back again, then proceeding to fill it back up with the contents that had spilled out when she threw it against the wall. She then wandered out the door again, heading to Rorru's hut. She would occasionally pop in there just to hear a haiku, even if they never made any sense to her. Still, whatever they meant, they sounded poetic and very deep...
Bucklan reached Rorru's hut and practically tore the door down as she ran towards the Kougra, a frantic expression on her face. "Rorru, you're smart! Tell me why no one will notice me, even if they look me in the eye!"
Rorru blinked at Bucklan a few times.
"That, my dear Bori,
Is because of your color,
For you are jelly," she spoke with wisdom in her tone.
Bucklan blinked in confusion. "Yeah, I know. The lab ray zapped me jelly a few weeks ago. What, are jelly neopets the new invisible neopets?"
Rorru shook her head. "No, confused Bori,
Dear, it is because of this:
You do not exist," finished the Kougra.
Bucklan blinked with pure confusion. What was that supposed to mean? As usual, Rorru's haikus were failing to make any sense. "No, I exist. I'm standing right here!"
Rorru shook her head. "That is what you think,
But it is very simple,
Jellies don't exist," she informed Bucklan. "And that, dear Bori,"
Is why you appear as if,
None of this was making any sense at all to Bucklan... jelly pets didn't exist? So that meant that she didn't exist, either? But she clearly did exist! After all, Rorru could see her, and so could the neopets back at home! "Then why can you see me, and why can my family see me?"
Rorru sighed and shook her head. "That, I am afraid,
Is another mystery,
That I cannot say."
Bucklan sighed as well. "Well, thanks for the help," she muttered before she turned around and took off. All this was news to her. Apparently, she didn't exist? That was nonsense! She knew that she existed! But that would explain why everyone looked right through her... She shook her head. Was she really nonexistent?
She entered her house again, dropping her stuff off. She didn't know what to do now. She marched right over to Leceris's cage and looked down upon the Maraquan Meerca. "Oh, Leceris. You're always the smart one. I need your help."
Leceris looks confused. "Did Rorru not know the answer?"
"No, she knew it alright, but it's confusing. She told me that I don't actually exist because I'm a jelly pet, and jelly doesn't exist, and that's why everyone looks right through me. She doesn't know why I can speak to you guys, though, and to her as well..." she shook her head with that thought. "But I need your help, desperately! What do I do to get food if I don't exist? Where do I go?"
Leceris looked puzzled. "That's really confusing. I'm pretty sure that you exist, Bucklan..."
"I do exist!" protested Bucklan, "but I don't know! Apparently, I don't? So what do I do?"
Leceris looked up at the ceiling, pondering for a moment. If she weren't a Maraquan Meerca, perhaps she would have stroked her chin. "Hm... if you don't exist, then why don't you go to somewhere that doesn't exist? The two of them together should cancel out the fact that you don't exist and that that place doesn't exist, so you should be able to go there."
Bucklan was a little confused by that logic, but since Leceris was always the smart one of the family, why not? "All right! Where do I go?"
Leceris pondered that for a moment. "I suppose that since jellies apparently don't exist, and that's why you don't exist, then Jelly World shouldn't exist, either."
That logic made a bit more sense, but still, a world made out of jelly? That was impossible! For a moment, she seemed to understand why she didn't exist, but she quickly forgot. "Okay, but how would I get to Jelly World?"
Leceris shrugged in the way a Maraquan Meerca would shrug, if they could indeed shrug. "I suppose that by using the logic from before, you would go to the harbor and get on a jelly boat, which would also not exist."
Bucklan was a little confused as to how she was going to find a boat made of jelly at the harbor, which apparently didn't exist, when she had never seen a boat like that before in her life. "Well, I suppose that makes sense. I'll just go now and see if it works, but... I'm not going to count on it." She turned around and walked out the door, her backpack slung over her jelly back. With that, she opened up the door to her house and wandered outside, heading towards the harbor.
When she got there, she noticed that the usually empty ticket booth was occupied by a rather tired and bored jelly Kougra, who was leaning back in his seat, sighing. Confused, Bucklan wandered up to the jelly Kougra, staring at him. "Um... hello? Do you sell tickets to Jelly World, here?" She wondered if she was going to make herself look crazy in front of the Kougra, but when he slammed a ticket down in front of her, she realized that maybe Leceris's logic actually made sense. She paid the Kougra two thousand neopoints and then made her way to the dock, where she stood next to an upset jelly Grundo.
"You too, huh?" sighed the Grundo.
Bucklan could only nod.
Much to the jelly Bori's surprise, a ship made entirely of orange jelly arrived shortly, and she boarded it. It only took a few minutes for the ship to reach a land made entirely of jelly, apparently called Jelly World (if that place actually existed in the first place, which it didn't). She had never seen that island outside her window before, that was for sure. She got off the non-existent ship and onto the non-existent land, which was full of other jelly neopets, who were also apparently non-existent. She wondered for a moment if she was dreaming, because none of this could possibly exist.
She shrugged and wandered forwards, reaching a store titled "Jelly Foods," if such a place did indeed exist. Inside, there were all kinds of foods. Steak, hot dogs, fruits... except for the fact that they were all made of jelly. Bucklan figured that since it was the only thing that she could get, since she didn't exist, she should probably buy them. It wasn't like the others could get any food. She filled her cart to the top with jelly foods of all kinds, and then she paid and bought them with most of her remaining neopoints.
Once again returning to the harbor, Bucklan bought herself another ticket back home, and once again, the ship seemed to arrive so fast that Bucklan wondered if it even existed (which was silly, because the answer was obvious: it didn't). Just as quickly as she had arrived in Jelly World, she was back on Mystery Island, heading back to her house with her bag full of jelly foods in hand. She opened the door with much struggle, and then greeted everyone.
"Hello everyone, dinner is here!" she called out.
She sat the bag of jelly food down on the floor of the playroom, looking at everyone with a smile on her face. Leceris seemed pleased, Tazimira was staring at the bag, and both heads of the mutant Hissi were licking their lips. Bucklan emptied the bag, showing off all of the foods she had bought. There were a few jelly apples, a jelly steak, a jelly drink, and even a few jelly vegetables. "And there you have it! All the food that you could ever want."
However, the others just stared at the bag, blinking with confusion.
"Bucklan...?" Leceris started.
"Yes?" Bucklan replied.
"It seems that, since you are jelly and do not exist, and since Jelly World is jelly and does not exist, that this food you speak of... doesn't exist, either."
Bucklan blinked. "Huh?"
"There is no food," Lati put simply, pointing with his wing at the supposed pile of jelly food. "You... didn't buy anything."
Bucklan looked at the jelly food, confused. She had bought something, she was looking right at it, in fact! "There's something right here! Don't you see? This is a jelly apple..." She poked the jelly apple with one of her feet. "...and this here is a jelly steak, just like you wanted, Nua!"
Everyone stared at Bucklan unblinkingly, which again reminded her of the hundred meepits. She sighed and looked down at the non-existent food, shaking her head. "I guess this is just like how no one but you guys can see me, huh? Because I apparently don't exist."
Well then, what in Neopia were they going to have for dinner?
"I'll go shopping," sighed Nua, "come on, Lati. Let's get some real food..." And with that, the mutant Hissi slithered out of the door, a bag of neopoints in hand. Bucklan blinked as Tazimira went back to playing with her blocks and as Leceris continued swimming about as if nothing had ever happened. The jelly Bori, however, just stood there, blinking at the non-existent food on the ground and wondering what in Neopia had just happened to her.
She shook her head and sighed. She was just dreaming again. After all, nothing made of jelly could really exist... including her.