The World Outside
Ari the striped Acara pushed the on button again but nothing came on the screen. She shook the television but her show still did not appear. She looked at the clock on the wall knowing there was not much time left. The door to the neohome opened and her owner walked into the kitchen.
"MOM! The television isn't turning on! Can you please turn it on for me?" Ari yelled to the other room.
Ari's owner Sue placed the groceries down on the countertop. "I can do that after you help me put away the groceries!" Ari groaned and got up from her usual spot, which was less than a foot away from the television although Sue told her countless times to move back. In the kitchen there were at least ten bags of groceries sitting on the countertop.
"This is going to take forever! My most favorite show starts in a less than ten minutes" Ari whined.
"Well, then we better hurry up with these groceries," her owner responded firmly. Ari knew her pouting would not work, so she started emptying out the bags.
"Mom, I think you forget the cookies!" Ari responded going through all the bags searching for them. Her owner sighed and shook her head. She started heading towards the living room.
"I'll go check out what's wrong with the television while you finish up," she said, ignoring Ari's comment.
Ari grinned and quickly started putting away the rest of the groceries. When she was done she ran back into the living room where her owner was crouched in front of the busted television set.
"Did you fix it?" Ari asked anxiously, realizing there was only a minute left until her favorite show was on. Sue shook her head.
"I can maybe fix it by tomorrow. Why don't you go outside while I try to figure out what's wrong with it?" Sue suggested. Ari's eyes became wide with horror.
"But I can't miss my show! There's got to be something that you can do about it!" Ari replied, trying to hold back her frustration.
Sue pointed to the door. "Outside."
Ari groaned and stomped out the door, slammed it behind her, and plopped herself down on the front porch of her home. It was a sunny day in Neopia and the air was crisp. The leaves on the tree tops were just starting to change and there was just a slight chill in the breeze. Signs of autumn were everywhere and Ari took second to admire all the colors almost forgetting that her show was on. But when it came back to mind she frowned again and crossed her arms.
"Hello," said a tree stump next to her covered with pink flowers. Ari jumped up, surprised that the tree stump was talking to her. Not watching television must have been making her go crazy.
But the tree stump smiled and spoke again. "My name is Esther, what's yours?" Ari rubbed her eyes in disbelief, hoping the talking tree stump with flowers would disappear but it only got closer. She started to realize that it did look a lot like a Cybunny. Esther, as she called herself, giggled.
"Don't be afraid, I'm a woodland Cybunny!" she proclaimed. Ari was a bit confused, she had never heard of a woodland Neopet before and she had certainly never seen one on television. But there was one standing right in front of her now as plain as day. Ari suddenly blushed feeling shy. This was the first actual Neopet she had spoken too in forever. Normally, she would only talk to her owner and stay inside. That's where the television was.
"My name is Ari," she finally answered wondering what else to say.
"Well, it's very nice to meet you Ari! I didn't know there was a Neopet living near me!" Esther exclaimed excitedly.
"I don't go out that much," Ari said shyly. Or at all she thought, but didn't say out loud.
"So if you never go outside, what is it that you do you all day?" Esther asked.
"I mostly watch television. There are some really cool shows I like. But my television is broken and my owner made me go outside even though it means I have to miss my show!" Ari complained.
"I've never had a television before but I've heard about them. But doesn't it ever get rather dull sitting around all day just watching moving pictures?" she asked.
"I guess," Ari replied, not knowing what else to say.
"Would you like to go on my swing set with me? I live just next door and it's quite a lovely swing set!" Esther exclaimed.
She had never been on a swing set before, though she had seen one in an advertisement maybe once or twice. She felt very excited to try one out. "I'd love to try your swing set if you'd let me," she said with just a pinch of excitement in her voice.
"Excellent! I'll race you to it!" Esther said sprinting towards her yard. Ari tried to make a run for it too but she wasn't very fast, and certainly not nearly as quick as Esther was. Esther seemed to reach the swing set within a second. They climbed the swing set, beautifully decorated with flowers just as Esther was. Esther started going higher and higher on the swing, almost enough to flip upside down. Ari's swing wasn't even moving and she didn't understand why. She would have sworn they had worked automatically.
Esther slowed down. "You need to kick your legs forward and back like this," she modeled. Ari mirrored her and the swing started to push higher up. She was flying! Ari started to grin and laugh. This was the most fun she had ever had! Within a few seconds of swinging she forgot entirely that she was missing her favorite show.
After they were done swinging Esther pointed to a giant pile of leaves in the corner of her yard. "Have you ever jumped on a fresh pile of leaves before?" she asked.
Ari shook her head.
"I didn't think so," she replied and hopped forward right into the pile. This was peculiar to Ari but she mimicked the action and jumped onto the pile. This was a lot of fun too! They spent the rest of the afternoon raking the leaves back up and jumping on the pile over and over again.
When it started to get dark, Ari started to head home. "I'll see you tomorrow!" she called out to Esther.
"Definitely, see you then!" Esther replied, entering into her own neohome. Ari's smile did not fade when she entered her neohome, even when she remembered she had missed her show, and a couple of other shows she also liked watching.
"Did you have a good time outside today, Ari?" Sue asked when she saw Ari in the living room. Ari nodded excitedly and started telling her all about her new friend that she met outside and all the fun they had. She told her about the swings, and how she could swing on them really high all by herself. And she told her about the piles of leaves and the crunching sounds they made when she jumped on them. And she told her how she and Esther planned to hang out every day now and try games like tag and even hide and go seek!
"I'm glad you had such a great time outside, Ari. I'm sorry I wasn't able to fix the television in time for your show, though. I know you've never missed an episode and it meant a lot to you," Sue said.
Ari shrugged. "I guess it doesn't matter. I'm glad it broke because if it didn't I wouldn't have gotten to meet Esther. Playing outside is much more fun than just watching television all day anyway!"
When Ari left the room Sue checked to make sure she was gone. Then, she slyly plugged the television back in.