Tis The Season
Heather was a frustrated writer. She was shot down twelve times by the Neopian Times, each with saying they had to many good stories this week, or her story wasn't quite what they were looking for. She smiled bitterly down at three pages with messy scrawl. Why couldn't they just tell her the truth? She was an awful writer.
Her blue little alarm clock ticked ticked ticked in the empty house. It was a two, bedroom neohome , small and just big enough to hold all the books, comics, and furniture Heather owned. It was a rather lonely place, with visitors hardly coming to visit and friends to talk to in the tiny living room. Christmas was just around the corner, and she didn't expect anything good this year. She had no one to buy for anyways.
A crumpled handful of paper was shot into the basket. Tired and down trodden, the restless one headed to bed, eyes ladled with sleep. How could she get that elusive times avatar and prize? ~**~
A yellow Xweetok, clutching her thin, sky blue jacket, wandered through the thicket of woods. Her heart leaped and a strong pulse beat to the rhythm of her steps. She was escaping a cruel fate from the pound, her mom ( former owner ) had try to send her too. The winter wind and snow nipped and seeped into her boots, coat, and fur. Arrow was going to give up when she saw the ram shackled cottage appeared. Surprised, she hurried up the path and pounded at the door. Footsteps could be heard as the door finally opened with a loud bang. It was 4 am in the morning. Why was a mysterious little neopet at the bottom of her steps?
Heather saw the poor thing shiver violently and let out a sneeze. Sighing and rubbing at her eyes, she gestured for the small Xweetok to come in. Arrow gladly rushed past, trailing snow and muck through the living room. Aghast but too tired to really be mad, Heather turned on the tea kettle and preheated a hot meal for her guest. ~**~
Arrow was 10. She was scared and sad and lost. Why would anyone want to help a pound escapee? It had been a week and Christmas was two days away. Shivering, she pulled up the blue comforter and listened for the sound of soft footprints by her door. The brown haired, round faced young woman was good to her. Though a little eccentric and strange, she adores their silent communication, sometimes filled with scribbling on the new chalkboard she got from the woman. Arrow was mute, something her former mother, Ally didn't like. Hearing the promised footfalls of her possible new owner /mother, she sank comfortable in the bed. How long could this last? ~**~
The pen was heavy in her hands as she scribbled the letter to the pound. Heather was getting attached -to close to Arrow, a neopet she just couldn't afford. How could she cover the cost of food, warmth, love, school, and security when she herself was so broken? No, it had to be this way. Yet tears still stung at the corners of her eyes as she tried to get back to work on her Christmas story. ~**~
Heather received her most recent rejection letter. She wouldn't be getting into the Neopian times Christmas edition. Treats stung at her eyes as she through the envelope across the room. Why? Why wasn't she good enough? How hard did her efforts have to be in order for them to take her seriously? Sinking to her unmade bed, she let out a long, low sob.
A small paw was placed upon her shoulder. Whipping her head around, Heather almost choked on new oncoming tears. Arrow was there, looking just as crestfallen. Noting that, she rubbed her eyes and nose with her green sweater sleeve and held out her arms. But the little Xweetok was holding a different letter, one from the pound. Heather leaped up and tried to snatch it out of her hands, horror stricken. Arrow backed away, huge, choking sobs echoing down the corridor and outside as she ran. Heather, tears pouring from her eyes, lifted up the tossed letter. The pound was on their way to get Arrow. In her aching heart, she knew she had to make things right. Realizing she was still standing there, not after her neopet, she quickly threw on winter gear and headed out to brave the cold. ~**~
_Arrow _22223456 was her real name. Or so it said on her pound cage. They had snatched her before she could even make it out a turn in the open field before the woods to the run down cottage. Everywhere, pets howled and muffled cries rang loud in the lonely, sparsely decorated pound. Arrow buried her face in her paws, barley able to breath. She'd be stuck her forever. Ally was right. Who'd ever want or love her? ~**~
Heather hurried, her black boots a blur in the winter snow, her red scarf fluttering in the chilly wind. She shoved past throngs of neopets and humans, past all the shops, ignoring the cries and protests that came her way. Her whole body freezing, she had finally reached the doors of the pound. Shoving her way through the crowd gathering up by the front desk, she slammed a fist on the table, trying to catch her breath. She demanded, right here, right now as a bag of neopoints was handed to a confused pink Uni, Rosie, that Arrow be handed over. Doctor Death handed her the paper work, equally confused on why she wanted her back so badly. They opened the doors to the back where the pets where kept and everyone rushed in. ~**~
Arrow sat away from prying eyes. Her fur was matted and dirty, not bothering to get a shower before the festivities began. Her eyes remained shut, ears flattened. Though what was that noise? Those footsteps... They were.... Familiar.. Could it be..?
Arrow opened her eyes and glared at the out of breath traitor. She tried to squirm away when Doctor Death reached for her, but was too weak and tired to put up much of a fight. When handed to Heather, she tried to break free, but there was no way to squirm out of the vice like grip. She looked up and saw pretty, fawn brown eyes gazing adoringly at her. Like she was worth something, like she was a pet meant having. All the angry words and hurt Arrow wanted to display were dissolving. Hot tears coated both their faces as they hugged for a long time. ~**~
Maybe, the young woman thought as the little yellow Xweetok curled up by her side by the warm fire place, it wasn't going to be easy. Times would be rough and hard, money scarce, and bounties of yours and food hard to come by. But it was worth it. Three days had passed, and the new year was just two days away. No presents, decorations, or tree were to be found, but that wasn't the point. Two happy beings curled up tougher, thread board blanket capturing the warmth. Maybe it wasn't a perfect family situation, or the coziness of places to raise a young child. But Heather and Arrow couldn't be more happier. It had been a merry Christmas indeed. Heather had even sent in another story, at Arrow's request and urging. This was the tale of a prince who wasn't happy with life, but adventures would change all that. She didn't really pay any mind if she got in or not. ~**~
The letter came two weeks later. She had made it. Cheers echoed all across the room as she and Arrow embraced. It was going to be a happy year and many more to come.
~Merry Christmas ~