Zapped and Pounded
Drip, drip, drip….
I looked up at the ceiling. Water dripped from a newly formed crack onto the stone floor. Great. Another problem to make my life in here more miserable.
I looked around my cage. There was no way to tell if it was day or night, not in this dark, windowless space. The only furnishings the room held was a small cot and a sink in the corner. My food and water bowls were empty, not that they were very full to start with. Three stone walls surrounded me, my only connection to the outside world being through the rusty bars of the cage.
The pink Uni walked by my cage and stopped in front, giving me a sad smile.
“How’re you doing, One?”
I regarded her wearily. She was a kind soul with a gentle heart, but even so, there was only so much she could do, only so far her kindness could spread over those of us at the Pound. And there were so many of us.
“My ceiling is leaking.”
She peered up at the dank, dark ceiling. “Oh dear. I’ll see if I can find a bucket somewhere.”
“Thanks.” I settled back with a sneeze. “Still no luck with a cure?”
“Afraid not. I’m sorry One. The pharmacy only has so many Magic Cookies…”
I sighed. “It’s okay. I didn’t have high hopes.”
I never have high hopes for anything now.
There’s many others like me, plain coloured, an off-putting name, an unpopular species. Pets like us stay here for days, weeks, months on end.
Occasionally a pet will come in with an unusual colour, high stat points or they’re limited edition. These pets get snapped up so quickly, their cages don’t even have cots.
I had an owner, once before. He didn’t even keep me for a full day before he abandoned me. The only thing he ever did for me was feed me, once.
“Here. Drink this.” Was the first thing he said to me after I had been created.
I looked at it. It was a Skeith Juice Cocktail. “Why?”
“Because I need it for an avatar. Just drink it.”
I did as I was told and gulped it down. He abandoned me first thing in the morning.
I’ve been in the Pound ever since. It was my whole life, and I didn’t know anything else. What it was like to be loved by an owner, to have siblings and a NeoHome, to not be dying of hunger…the idea of such luxuries were foreign to me. These stone walls were all I knew.
My thoughts were interrupted by a loud squeaking sound.
I looked up in surprise. “What’s going on?”
“Time to clear out, One. You’re being adopted.”
The new owner was a stoic-looking young lady, her face expressionless as she signed the adoption papers. She didn’t say a word as she led me out of the pound.
She inspected me. “One_two_345. Blue Skeith, level 1. Basic stats. Follow me.”
Baffled, I trudged behind her obediently. However, we didn’t go to a NeoHome like I had expected. Instead, we took a long, winding route to an unfamiliar location. It was so long that I zoned out halfway.
I jolted to full attention and looked at my surroundings. We were on a secluded island.
She led me on another long, winding route until we reached an underwater lab, where a mad Scorchio Scientist greeted us.
“Another one for experimentation?” He grinned at me evily.
“Yes. Turn him into something good, please.” My owner replied nonchalantly. She had obviously been here many times before.
The Scientist grabbed me and pulled me into his lab, which was a mishmash of levels, buttons and discarded Achyfi cans. In the middle of the room sat a giant ray. I had a vague recollection about Death Rays
“What’s happening?” I saw the giant ray pointed at me. Immediately, I got a bad feeling in my gut.
“N…no…..” I whimpered as the ray warmed up. “Oh please no!” The ray fired.
A blinding light erupted in the room.
It was was excruciating.
It didn’t matter how many times I was zapped by the ray, or what changes I went through. Every morning at 6am, my ‘owner’ dragged me to the secluded island, and I was subjected to the Ray, a pawn of the Scorchio Scientist’s experimentations. No matter what changes I underwent, whether I changed species or colour or stat points or had no change at all, the unpleasantness of getting zapped never lessened.
It wasn’t even painful. The real torture was how unsettling it felt to undergo so many changes.
The species changes were the worst. Different pets had different personalities and temperaments. I could feel my personality and my entire being shift into something I had never been, that was completely foreign to me. This wasn’t a matter of adapting to a new body. When I changed species it was more like the being of a new pet was being forced on me.
This feeling happened with some colours as well. Once, I was a Green Lutari, but the Ray turned me Grey. I instantly felt my entire mood being weighed down, my thoughts and feelings taking a downturn. It was as if I was shrouded by a dark grey cloud.
The only good thing that had happened so far was that it had somehow cured my case of Sneezles along the way. Still, it wasn’t worth the feeling of getting zapped every day.
I went to the Lab every day for only about three weeks, but to me, it felt like much, much longer. When I asked my owner about why I had to do this every day, she just muttered something about a ‘final change’. I didn’t understand. I had changed so many times already. When would I reach the last one?
The next day, my fateful colour change came.
I was a Yellow Wocky. By now, the Lab routine had become commonplace, not that I liked it any more. As usual, I woke up, bleary-eyed, and was brought to the lab at 6am.
I was immediately struck by an icy feeling, chilling me down to my bones. Then I realised the iciness was coming from my bones.
After the smell of smoke subsided. My owner inspected me. “Ice. That’s a good colour. And you’re not a species that can run away this time.”
We left the lab, but instead of going home she steered me towards Neopia Central.
“Where are we going?”
“To the Pound.”
This time, she walked through the door marked ‘Abandon’. At the desk sat an evil looking Techo. Dr_Death.
“Here to abandon.”
Dr_Death looked, or rather, glared at me. “Ice pet. You sure you don’t want to keep him?”
My owner shook her head. “He’s not mine to keep.”
“Very well.” The Techo grabbed me by my scruff.
He led me behind and tossed me into a cage, not unlike the one I had previously been in. Except this time, the cage didn’t have a lock.
“No need to bother locking you this time.” He grunted. “They’ll be swarming you in seconds.”
He was right. Minutes later, potential owners were crowding in front of my cage just to get a look at me. One of them threatened to grab me straight out of my cage.
I was overwhelmed. Was this what all the zapping had been for?
And more importantly, was it worth it? Would I finally have the Pound pet dream of having a home, with a family that would love me?
“Looks like I’m going to find out.” I thought as I was brought out of the cage to a new owner. “Whatever the case, I’m never going to be a Pound pet again.”