The Best Gift
Amie and Klare held each others hands, whimpering slightly. Their former owner, Taera, looked down at them with a pained look on her tan face. Her ice blue eyes looked like they wanted to take back the decision, but part of them gloated in their victory.
"I'll come get you in a few years. You'll be fine." She smiled down at them. "Doctor Death will take good care of you." She smiled at the Techo. His return facial movement was a cold, toothless grin that appeared in young neopets night mares.
Amie looked into the depths of the pound. No. She couldn't return here. The place of nightmares.
She had been rescued by Taera, only to be thrown into its cold, chilling grips again.
Amie was a small, red Cybunny. She was tiny for her age, and thin. Afraid of everything, she had barely survived her month long stay at the pound before. Now she would be staying here for two years. And worse, tomorrow was New Years, and she and Klare had been looking forward to for weeks. Now they would be spending it in the pound, while Taera and their sibling Delani would be spending the next week in Faerieland on vacation.
Klare was a blue Xweetok. She was pretty, strong, and a battledome champion. The opposite of Amie, she would speak her mind anywhere. And that's what she did.
"So you really like Delani more, huh!" she screamed at Taera. When Taera didn't answer, she continued. "Gonna give her a nice vacation!"
Taera blinked. "I love you too," she said timidly.
"Yeah, like I'm gonna buy that. I could count on my fingers and toes how many times you blew us off for Delani!"
Taera was getting desperate. She tried to explain, but Klare kept on ranting.
"There was that time you sent me and Amie to Yooyu ball camp. When we got there, it was just an empty spot of grass. We got back an hour later to see Delani playing with a full collection of usukis."
"Amie saved up enough neopoints to buy a purple paintbrush. You took the paintbrush from her and used on Delani and turned her into a purple paintbrush. We forgave you, you said you thought it was Delani's. You promised to buy her a new paintbrush. That certainly never happened! You knew it was Amie's. Your a backstabbing, lying, bully!"
Taera found the strength to fight back. "You know what? Just for that, I'm never adopting you again. You can stay here and rot until you die!" She glared at her. "And I do love Delani more than you. You two are rude! You can stay here for all I care!"
Taera flipped her blonde hair and marched out of the room. The pink adoption Uni wandered in.
"Are you Klare and Amie?"
The Uni looked at them sympathetically. "Why are your names spelled wrong, dears?" Her kindly face made Amie pipe up.
"Our owner, Taera, her name is spelled wrong. So she spelled her neopets names wrong. Our old sister, Delani, had an I at the end instead of a y."
The Uni smiled. "Well, I'll call you Amy and Claire. You'll be registered under Amie and Klare, but who says I can't give you a nickname? You'll be in cage 433. That's the one for neopets who's owner are just leaving them there for a period of time."
"Um, our owner said she would never come to get us back." Claire looked sheepishly down at her brown feet.
"Don't worry about that! She still said on the form she would be picking you up in two years."
She waved the form in front off their faces.
Down the slick hallway they went, passing poor abandoned neopets. Looking around, Amy saw her old cage. Fear struck her heart. She shrunk back and whimpered. Claire turned back and nudged her. She smiled at the blue Moehog residing in it now. "That's her old cage," she muttered. The Moehog nodded and turned around, facing the stone wall that trapped him from leaving.
Finally, they reached cage 433. It was different than most cages. It was a room, and a bit nicer than most in the pound. It had four sets of bunk beds, a table,and a sink. However, they received the luxury of a small window letting two feet of light flood the room. The pink Uni opened the door, and the pair raced to the windows light, letting it bathe their faces.
Four pets peeked out from the corners. One, a purple Grundo, snorted. "Not an owner. Just two more pets." She glared at them, and sent a clear message. Don't mess with me.
The other three smiled. A muscular red Lupe walked to the front, just as the adoption Uni closed the door. "Hello." His voice was deep, and bounced around in their skulls. "I'm Jasper. Welcome to cage 433." He smiled.
A yellow Kacheek cocked her head showing large, black eyes.. "I'm Courtney. Nice to meet you!" She smiled.
The third, a red Xweetok, spoke. "Bram." He nodded, and kneaded the ground with his paw.
"That's Lynetta," said Jasper, motioning to the purple Grundo. "She's always like that. Her owner was supposed to come three years ago, but he never did. She's been here for six years."
Claire stepped forward. "I'm Claire, and this is my sister Amy. our owner abandoned us for our old sister, Delani."
"I'm so sorry!" said Courtney. She had the biggest eyes of any Kacheek Amy knew. "Same thing with J.J. Her owner came by a few months ago and got her. I just came two weeks ago." Courtney trembled, at tears spilled from her eyes.
Jasper looked at them with a pained expression. "I've been here for five years, and Bram has too. We're brothers." Bram nodded.
The window's light began to fade to looming darkness, and they settled into bunks made of cold, uncomfortable gray stone.. Lynetta and Courtney each had a bunk to themselves, and Bram and Jasper shared one. Amy called out softly. "Happy New Year." The pets rose from their beds. "What?" said Jasper. "It can't be."
Courtney spoke. "Yes, it is. I counted down the days. At midnight, it will be a new year. You guys have been in here so long you forgot."
Claire nodded. "It's nearly midnight. Let's stay up." The pets climbed from their beds, except for Lynetta, who stayed curled up.
Through the window, shouting could be heard. "10,9,8..." The pets joined in. "7,6,5,4,3,2,1!"
Cheers erupted. The pets laughed, knowing it was New Years, and all was well.
The five gathered on the floor. Jasper started talking. "Thank you." His eyes filled with tears. "Thank you."
"Will we be here forever?" Courtney asked. She looked at them hopefully. "I want to stay with you guys. I never thought I would have fun in the pound, but I just did. I want to stay with you!" A tear dripped down her yellow nose.
The older pets glanced at each other. Whoever said the next phrase remains unknown.
"Maybe. And if we are, I want you to know you four are my best new years gift."