I am invisible. And I don’t mean that in the sense that I’m one of those shy, insignificant, or soft spoken pets. I mean exactly what I say: I am literally Invisible. I have that Fyora-forsaken Lab Ray to thank.
My name is Koda, and I used to be a perfectly content Christmas Kougra. I had a pretty good family; my owner wasn’t the most attentive, but she made sure we were fed and entertained. And my siblings were alright; other than the occasional squabble we got along just fine. It was a good life- simple, predictable, satisfying. Nothing like my life here.
Where is here? The Pound, of course. Where else would an unwanted, unloved, and unseen pet reside? It’s hard to connect with someone you can’t see. I’ve come to terms with it, though. I mean, if I were an owner in search of a new companion, I wouldn’t want me either.
I stopped there and held the page up to reread what I had written. I heard a squeal from the front of the cage.
“Would you cut that out already! The flying pencil is bad enough, but now a floating piece of paper? You’re scaring all the good owners away! If I wasn’t stuck in this nut cage, I would be spending my days in the lap of luxury! The Royal Neopian, Faerie Castle, maybe even the Presidential Palace would be my home!”
One of the few perks of being Invisible: I could roll my eyes and it wouldn’t provoke another outburst from Her Royal Highness, Isabella. At least, that’s what she insisted her name was, but I had seen her plaque: Izzy68579 was her actual name. No use telling that to the Royalgirl Usul though; she had turned the act of denial into an art. In addition to the perfect name, Isabella also thought that she had a chance of being adopted. Yeah right. A Royalgirl Usul without paint brush clothes was only slightly more desireable than an Invisible Kougra, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to her ramble on and on about her “pedigree status”.
“Izzy, no owners have passed by here in days. I think your reputation is safe,” I scoffed.
“How many times do I have to tell you? My name is Isabella!” she huffed, speaking directly to the tip of my left ear. She never could figure out where my face was. It was quite comical, actually.
“My apologies, lady Isabella,” I purred, the sarcasm strong enough to cut through the cage walls.
“That’s more like it.” Isabella thrust her nose in the air, sniffing disdainfully. Another thing about Isabella- she was clueless when it came to sarcasm. Or any form of humor, really.
I looked back down at my paper, chewing the end of my pencil despite the soft growl of disapproval from Izzy. I had been lucky enough to snatch it off Dr. Death the last time he had done his rounds. Add that to the small list of Invisible perks- you can’t see when a paw shoots between the cage bars to snatch something. That’s how I had also gotten my paper, and a couple extra morsels of food every now and again.
After a moment of thought, I touched the pencil to the paper again and continued my narrative:
How did I get here? Well, that’s a long story, but seeing as I won’t be going anywhere for the foreseeable future, I might as well tell it.
It all started when Max and I decided to go exploring. Max was my brother, a Halloween Lupe only just out of puppyhood- his fangs hadn’t even come in yet, last time I saw him. We were the closest out of all the siblings, and seeing as our owner didn’t spend a ton of time with us, we often wandered around together looking for things to do. On that fateful day, Max and I were discussing the Secret Lab. He didn’t think it was real, despite all the stories that float around about pets disappearing and then reappearing as a different color, or even sometimes a whole different species. I told him I could prove it was real, and so we set off in search of it.
We found it alright. It wasn’t all that difficult, really. We just looked for the line of anxious pets and owners clutching raggedy old pieces of parchment, and then slipped in with a group. The Mad Scientist led us through the facility, babbling on about the details of the Lab Ray’s mechanics. Max, practically still a puppy, got bored quickly. Next thing I knew, we were darting down a different corridor, separated from the group.
We must’ve unintentionally found a shortcut, because we soon found ourselves in a big room that contained none other than the Lab Ray. Max and I stared up at it, brought to a stop by awe. The stillness didn’t last long though; being young and careless, we quickly began to play Mad Scientist and Scared Pet, acting out the parts with childish exaggeration.
Max was on the pad under the Ray when it happened. I was doing my best evil cackle and running around by the controls when I slipped. I reached out to stop my fall, and accidentally pulled down a big red lever. I heard a loud whirring sound, and guessed correctly that it was the Ray warming up. I looked in horror to Max, who was paralyzed with fear under the massive thing.
Without thinking, I leapt over to Max and knocked him out of the way. Before I could move myself though, I was blinded by a flash of light, and it felt like a current of electricity ran straight through me. I blinked a couple times and swayed where I stood, trying to get my bearings. It took me a second for my surroundings to come into focus, and when they did I could see that Max had collapsed into tears.
“What’s wrong? What happened? Do I look that bad?" I asked him, afraid to look down at my own body, which must’ve changed dramatically to produce such a reaction. Max jumped.
“Koda? Is that you? Where are you?" he asked, looking around him wildly.
“I’m right here in front of you, Buzzer-brain! Have you gone blind?"
Max looked in the direction of my voice, confused and just as worried as ever. That’s when it hit me: I had been zapped Invisible. I glanced down to confirm, and almost fell over from the shock of not seeing my own body.
It all went downhill from there. Once I was finally able to calm Max down, we returned home to break the news to my owner. She took it surprisingly well, telling me that it didn’t matter to her what color I was. But that didn’t turn out to be entirely true. I don’t think she did it on purpose, but she started to forget about me. At first it was just a meal every now and then, but then it got to be more regular, and she’d forget to bring me toys or ask if I wanted to go to the Arcade or even call my name when we’d have family story time.
Even Max forgot about me sometimes. Even though it didn’t take me long to get used to not seeing my body, Max never could seem to come to terms with my invisibility. He’d flinch a little every time I’d talk, and I noticed that he wanted to spend less and less time with me. I became quite lonely, and eventually I just decided to take off on my own. It was already like I wasn’t there all the time, so it’s not like anyone would really miss me.
It wasn’t long before a group of snatchers from the Pound caught me. It turns out Invisible pets can cause quite a bit of damage when living on their own, as many resort to stealing as a means of easy survival. So the Pound regularly sends out teams with special heat-sensing goggles to keep the problem under control. Not knowing this, I was an easy target, and didn’t even realize what was happening until I was locked up here.
I paused in my writing again, not really sure how to continue. That was pretty much the end of my story, and yet it didn’t really feel complete. I guess I could write about some of my time in the Pound… I looked over at Izzy, who was now snoring quite loudly, and decided that the last thing I wanted to do was immortalize her in my writing.
Even though there were no windows in the Pound, my body signaled me that it was time for bed. I carefully tucked away my narrative and curled up in a comfortable ball, hoping that the morning would bring with it inspiration to finish my story.~*~
I woke up the next morning to voices echoing down the corridor. I immediately perked up; the only time voices were heard was when owners were browsing the cages, or a new pet was being abandoned. Despite the latter almost always being true, I like many others couldn’t help feeling hopeful for the former. While I knew that I myself wouldn’t be adopted, it would be a dream come true for someone to fall for Izzy’s act and get her out of my fur for good.
I didn’t bother moving from my spot in the back corner, but amused myself watching Izzy frantically try to fluff up her fur. The voices got louder, until finally a young boy stopped in front of our cage. I held my breath- could this really be it? Would I never have to put up with Izzy’s attitude again?
“This cage, Murph? Are you sure?” the boy asked, looking dubiously at the puffed-up Isabella. I deflated; there was no way this boy would relieve me of her.
“Yes, this is the cage,” came a small voice from somewhere out of sight from the cage. The boy sighed, and turned towards who I assumed to be Dr. Death.
“We’ll take that Usul then.”
Wait… did he say…?
“No, not the Usul!” the small voice cried out.
I sighed. So close, yet so far.
“The Kougra!” the small voice clarified.
The boy looked just as confused as I was. “Murph, there isn’t a Kougra in there. Only a Usul.”
“There is too a Kougra!” the voice insisted. I watched as if in a daze as a small Eventide Kyrii climbed up the side of the boy. He pointed straight at me, which didn’t make sense for two reasons: 1) I was Invisible. 2) The kid was blind.
Or at least, I assumed he was. He wore a white cloth wrapped around his eyes, and a cane dangled from his wrist. How in Neopia did he know I was there?
“He’s right there! I can hear him breathing; he rasps a bit like all Kougras. Can’t you see him?”
I couldn’t help being impressed. I had heard that blind pets had heightened senses, but to hear me breathing from that far away? And to recognize my breath as that of a Kougra? That was a superpower!
When the boy still didn’t understand, and Dr. Death did nothing to aid in his confusion (typical), I spoke up.
“He’s right; there is a Kougra in here. My name is Koda, and the reason you can’t see me is because I’m Invisible.”
The boy jumped, though the kid (What was his name? Murph?) seemed entirely unsurprised. He smiled in my direction, clearly pleased with himself for correctly identifying me.
“Oh, well then… I guess we’re taking Koda,” the boy told Dr. Death, still a bit shaken up.
The cage door clanked open, and it took me a second to process that it was open for me. I slowly made my way towards the door, shock and excitement and disbelief and anticipation weighing my body down. Just before I leaped out, I turned back to look at Izzy, who was fuming in the corner. I couldn’t help it; I stuck out my tongue at her. I knew she couldn’t see it, but still, it felt good.
“He’s out; you can shut the cage door now,” little Murph told Dr. Death, who was still peering into the cage and clearly trying to determine where I was. Dr. Death slammed the cage door shut, grumbling to himself about invisibility.
Now that I was free, I took my first good look at my new family. The boy looked to be about twelve, with a round face and kind eyes. Not bad, not bad at all. I spent a bit more time studying Murph, the little Kyrii with the crazy-good hearing.
He was young, that was for sure. Not only was he quite small, but he just had that aura of youth around him. His head fur stuck out at crazy angles, and his shirt was coming untucked. He wore a Brown Newsboy Hat that was much too big for him, and a large amulet hung from his neck. His cane hung from his wrist, though I had a feeling it was more for the sake of others than himself; with hearing like his, I had no doubt that kid could get around almost as easily as I could.
“Koda? Are you ready to go home?” the boy asked, looking in my general direction. I hesitated for a moment as a pang of anxiety shot through me— what if they forgot about me, just like my old family? What if they decided they’d made a mistake, and brought me right back here? Was I ready to attach myself to a new family, and risk getting hurt again?
But then I looked at Murph. He was bouncing on his heels, clearly excited to have a new brother. And the boy, though he didn’t know exactly where to look for me, didn’t seem to be too out-of-sorts. He had to be accustomed to caring for a pet with unique needs; I felt suddenly hopeful that he’d come to care for me as much as he clearly cared for Murph.
“Yes,” I finally said. “I’m ready to go home.”~*~
It’s been years now since Logan and Murph took me home. I never thought it possible, but the memory of the pound and the circumstances leading to my abandonment are little more than a bad dream. My new life is more than just okay now; it’s wonderful. Murph is the best brother any pet could ask for. He’s bright, fun, and kind, and best of all, he treats me just the same as any other pet. I never have to worry about him forgetting about me, or being freaked out because he can’t see me. He can’t see anyone, which makes me no different than any other pet to him. I never before appreciated what a wonderful feeling that is.
“As for Murph, I hardly notice that he’s blind. The kid could do incredible things with his other senses; in addition to the super-hearing, he can scent things from a mile away and know exactly what something is just from a single touch. I’m convinced he was blessed with superpowers or something. I told him that once, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone light up as much as he did. I got him a cape for his birthday that year, and boy, you should’ve seen how happy he was! Pretending we were the newest recruits for the Heroes of Neopia became our favorite game— still is, actually. We make quite the duo: the Kyrii who can’t see, and the Kougra who can’t be seen. You know, goofy as it sounds, it’s almost like we were made for each other, and—
“Hey Koda, you wanna play? It’s so nice outside— the Pteris are singing and the sun just tickles the skin!”
Murph was in the doorway, grinning directly at me. I smiled back at him, knowing he would sense the movement.
“Sure! Just give me a moment to finish this up and I’ll be right out.”
Murph nodded and ran off. I chuckled a little to myself, then looked back down at the paper. This was it: the end of my story. I had struggled with the ending before, because things didn’t feel finished yet. But now I knew it was time to finally end that chapter of my life, and begin the next. I read over the last paragraph, then grinned.
...and together, we’re unstoppable.
I carefully tucked away the completed story, then bounded out to help my brother save the world, just as he had saved mine.