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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 18th day of Swimming, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 54 > New Series > Flo: Part One

Flo: Part One

by shelleylow

A MOTHER AND a daughter were happily driving home in a car with a blue baby Zafara cuddled in the girl's arms. Every now and again, he squeaked and wriggled to see their surroundings out the window more clearly, which made her laugh with delight. Finally, after months and months of waiting, she had her very own pet.

     "You're all mine now," she whispered in one of his long ears. "All mine. And your name is Florepa." Preparations had been made at home for Florepa's comfort. A small bed had been built beside his new owner's in her room, and some organic fruits and vegetables laid out for him. The tiny Zafara squeaked with joy and scampered towards it where he began to eat with gusto, under the pleased eyes of his owners. Blissful days passed after that. Florepa lived in the lap of luxury. Every day he went to play in the garden with his owner, discover new things about the world he now lived in. He was intensely curious about his new environment, and often got into situations that left his young owner in stitches. His playful antics made her laugh, and he loved her company. It was nice to have a comforting hand stroke his head now and again, not to mention she was fun to play with. They could spend hours romping around the well-cut lawn. Her parents, too, were nice enough. Florepa found that the mother often had a cookie free for him if she was working in the kitchen and he happened to come in. Her father, if chanced upon, would give him a rough, hard scratch behind the ears, which he enjoyed very much. All in all it was a good life…for about a month. That was when the trouble started.

     The girl stopped playing with him. She moved his bed down into the kitchen instead of in her bedroom. In fact, she now took no notice of him except for an occasional 'Hi, Florepa' when she happened to see him. And as she began to neglect him, so did her parents. The reason? It soon became rather obvious.

     Several days after this unpleasant change occurred, Florepa's owners went out one night and he was genuinely afraid that they might leave him, especially after how they had been treating him lately. He was beginning to shake in his basket when he heard their car come home.

     Joyfully he flung himself at them as they came through the door, and then froze in shock.

     "Look, Florepa," called the girl happily. "I've brought home a sister for you! Her name's Surari, isn't she a darling?"

     In her arms nestled a tiny green creature, horse-like with golden hooves and a flaming red mane. Only instead of a horse's hindquarters it had a fishtail. It looked up at its new owner and whinnied. As Florepa watched his owner coo over the tiny Peophin, he felt, with the intuition that all creatures are born with but that humans soon learn to ignore and then become oblivious to, that his life had changed forever and for the worse.

     He had been right, he soon found.

     Every day after that it was Surari, Surari, Surari, all over the house. Everyone talked about her. How adorable she was, how she liked to chew on her tail fins, how she touched a food item with her nose before she ate it, every detail was described endlessly. They had no time for Florepa anymore. In fact, his bed was soon moved from the kitchen to a dark corner of the house that was used as a storeroom, while Surari had the bed upstairs in pride of place by the mistress's. Plus, he was given barely any food, just some scraps that Surari couldn't finish, for they often gave her more than she could eat, he was hardly played with, and never talked to. He grew thinner and weaker, his blue coat, once so glossy from grooming, lost its lustre and he longed for the attention and love the girl had once given him, but which now was all spent on Surari.

     Gradually, he began not to stand the sight of the Peophin, as she came prancing along on her golden hooves, and kept well out of her way. Finally, the ball dropped.

     The day came, when Florepa was lying curled up in his basket, miserably, the door of his room opened. He looked up to see the girl, and happily sprang towards her, thinking that perhaps she had come to play with him again.

     She gathered him into her arms. There was no warmth in her touch, but Florepa was too happy about feeling that touch again to notice. She carried him out and over to the car. Florepa noticed with satisfaction that Surari was staying at home. Perhaps they would go on a drive together, and it would be like old times, just the two of them.

     It was in the car that Florepa began to notice that something was terribly wrong. The girl didn't talk to him or pet him; she just sat there staring out of the window, and fidgeting as if she would rather have been somewhere else. Florepa's sixth sense told him something worse would happen, and happen it did, quite shortly.

     They drew up outside a tall, brick-built building, and the mother, telling the girl to wait in the car, grasped Florepa gently and lifted him out. Florepa struggled, fearfully, but her grip was firm and she carried him up to the door and to a counter, where a red Uni with a kindly, motherly face and a grizzled yellow Techo with a mop of grey hair on his head were sitting. The mother walked up to the Techo.

     "I'd like to abandon this Zafara."

     Florepa hadn't been very long in the world, but he was sensitive enough to sense that he was not going anywhere good. With a final, desperate wriggle he broke free of the mother's grasp and dropped to the floor, where he quickly picked himself up and dashed off.

     Luckily for him, he was rather speedy on his paws and as he ran he could hear them chasing him, which spurred him on. He sped down an alley and stopped, breathless. The chase seemed to have been abandoned, and he could no longer hear them.

     Tears began to well in his eyes, tears of frustration and heartbreak and anger. Why had he been taken from his owner like this? Why didn't she love him anymore? Why had she been so willing to have him removed?

     "That Peophin," he growled, to no one in particular.

     "That Peophin. She stole my family, my owner. It's all her fault." And the more he thought this, the more the heartbreak faded and the anger grew, grew, in fact, to bitter hatred. He hated Surari. He hated all Peophins.

     "Hey, what do ya think ya're doin' here, kid?"

     Florepa looked up. Different species of Neopets were appearing from behind garbage cans and from far off in the alley. A Zafara, wearing an orange bandanna tied around his head that stood out against his green fur, walked right up to him.

     "Did ya hear, kid? This is our territory. What are ya doin' in it?"

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Flo: Part Two

Flo: Part Three

Flo: Part Four

Flo: Part Five

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