The Return: Part One
Authors Note: I purposely used names of Neopets that don’t exist right now. If someone creates Neopets with any of my characters’ names in the while I’m writing this, then I did not intend for them to have any relations to my fictional characters. If you think the names are cool and want to use them, then by all means, go ahead. ^^
My owner had left a long time ago. She had said it was just a little break, a hiatus, but of course it wasn’t. After she left, I kept visiting her User Lookup. I used to stare at it for hours, hoping that the “Last Spotted” section would switch to “Under one day ago.” But it just kept getting farther and farther away until, finally, it became “A long, long time ago.” After that, I just stopped checking. I had long accepted my role as head of the family anyways, but it was still sad to see that our owner, Jen, was never coming back.
But I had more important things to do. I had a house full of Neopets to feed, games to play, omelettes to visit. You see, after Jen left, my family moved on. We understood that sometimes you need a break from things and that maybe Jen just needed one from us. But we trusted her to come back. At least I pretended that they understood and I pretended that I didn’t care. What a lie. I had told myself that she had been my owner for nine years and we had a bond together, one that would bring her back to us eventually. It was naïve for me to think so, but for a while, I still had hope.
My family, on the other hand, was crushed. I tried to think that they were perfectly happy, but of course that wasn’t true. They tried to fake like it didn’t matter and they pulled it off for a few months. But one day I walked into my sister’s room and saw her crying, clutching a picture of Jen to her chest. After seeing that, I was forced to have one of those annoying heart-to-hearts with all of my family members. After lots of crying, they managed to accept her absence. That was when they truly started to depend on me.
When she left, she left us pretty well off. We had over a million Neopoints in the bank and my brother and I were expensive, rare colors. We had both entered the family through trading, but that was so long ago that neither of us remembered our original owners. In any case, I am a UC Faerie Draik and my brother Zypheryn, a UC Plushie Draik. When Jen left, my sister, Destorma the Uni, and my other brother, Shazka the Eyrie, were both Basic colors.
However, within a few months, maybe half a year, we were down to almost no money. My family had thought that the money would never run out, that we would always be rich, so we spent it frivolously. That was the first life lesson that we had ever learned. And so, after Shaz got his Darigan Paint Brush and Storm got her Lost Desert Paint Brush, we were pretty much broke.
It’s funny, the looks you get when you’re a UC Neopet with a family of expensively painted pets waiting in line for some food at the Soup Kitchen. Yeah, it’s hilarious, all right. We eventually got back on our feet, with at least 200,000 Neopoints in the bank. But I still go for all my daily freebies and play games until I pass out to make sure that my family can live comfortably. It’s hard, but life goes on and we’re not starving, so what more could I ask for?
Oh, right, nowadays I’m the mother of the family. It’s always Kishmaya this, Kishamaya that, without hardly a break. That might be another reason that Jen left. Because being a mother is one of the hardest things in the world.
“Kish?” came a voice from behind me.
Yup, never a break in this family.
I looked up from my journal that contained all of this month’s expenditures to find Zypher staring at me.
“We’re out of food.”
I groaned. Yeah, we used to have at least 200,000 Neopoints in the bank, had around 500,000 actually, but we had a course of bad luck. First, Storm came down with Ugga Ugga, then I saw a cookie on the ground and dropped some money, and finally Zypher lost the rest through a series of unlucky scratches on Lost Desert scratch cards.
“And whose fault is that?” I asked him, still angry about his reckless gambling.
“Storm’s,” he answered firmly.
I rolled my eyes.
“I guess it’s time to go play some games.”
“It sure is,” he said and got out of the way so that I could go to the Games Room.
“Oh, no,” I drawled out, “I’m not going out. You are.”
“Yeah, you heard me. You lost around 200,000 Neopoints through your stupid scratch cards, so now you’re going to go out and win that money back. You’re not allowed back in this house until you make at least 100K.”
“What??” he shrieked.
“Go on now. Buh-bye.”
I shoved him out the door and slammed it in his face. I peered through the peephole and saw him standing outside in the snow, an angry, rebellious look in his eye. He glared at the door for a minute, then stalked off towards the game room.
“Atta boy,” I chuckled.
**Three Hours Later**
“I hate you,” Zypher muttered, brushing snow off of his shoulder.
“Yeah, yeah,” I responded. “I’ll be back in an hour. Don’t do anything stupid.”
He made a face at me and I walked out the door. As soon as I hit the cold air outside, I felt bad for sending him out alone.
“Whose idea was it not to make clothes for unconverted pets??” I muttered angrily and wrapped my wings around my body to keep warm.
I went straight for the Shop Wizard and, many omelettes and jellies later, I went back home. As I was nearing the front door, I thought I saw a shadow lurking near the front door. I did a double take but it was gone.
I walked up the stairs, through the front door, and into my wonderful, heated home.
“I’m back!” I called.
I set the food down on the kitchen counter and waited as my family walked downstairs. Storm eyed the covered food happily and then grimaced as I revealed the omelettes and jellies.
“Don’t be a brat. It’s either these or nothing,” I told her snidely.
“Mmmm, jelly!” she said, perking up instantly.
I chuckled and put the food on the table. Shaz dug in, without manners like always, and Zypher smacked his head.
“You’re not a pig, Shaz. Eat like a civilized person.”
A snarl came over Shaz’s face but he stopped his crazy eating. Storm picked the bacon out of her omelette with disgust on her face. It was her new mission to become a vegetarian. Zypher was eyeing Shaz warningly, making sure he didn’t go crazy again.
I smiled. As weird as my family was, I loved them. I had heard of families that fell apart when their owners went on hiatus and I was proud of mine for sticking together. Sure, there were days that we were all sick of each other, but we pulled through. We proved that Neopets didn’t always need owners to survive. And sometimes, the owners actually had to leave for the Neopets to grow and mature.
As I was having this epiphany, I heard a knock on the door. I got up cautiously and approached it. It was a rule in the house that my siblings tell me when their friends were coming over and, as far as I knew, there were no plans.
I grabbed an umbrella and raised it threateningly. With it hoisted over my head, I opened the door. I heard a familiar squeal before I was tackled, fell down, hit my head, and passed out.
“Kishmaya, honey, are you awake?” asked a voice.
I clenched my eyes shut tightly, not wanting to register the truth, before opening them slowly. My vision was hazy at first, but soon everyone came into focus. I saw Shaz and Zypher lingering in the background, Storm looking at me, concern on her face, and... no, no, no. I shut my eyes again, not wanting to look at her face.
“Kish? Kish, are you okay?” asked Storm’s worried voice.
I groaned mentally. Storm was still young, compared to us, and any unnecessary worry about me on her part would be unfair. So I opened my eyes again.
“Yeah, Storm, I’m fine,” I muttered, trying to be reassuring.
I felt arms wrap around me in a tight embrace, but I tried to shrug them off. They weren’t what I wanted. I hadn’t been hugged by those arms in years, and I wasn’t about to start now. She refused to let go.
“Oh, Kish, I’m so glad you’re okay. Oh, my poor baby.”
“Get off me, Jen,” I said coldly while shoving her away.
“Don’t talk to me like that,” my former owner scolded.
“I’ll talk to you however I want, thanks. It’s your fault I passed out in the first place.”
A guilty look came over her face but she said nothing.
“You were lingering around the house before too, weren’t you?” I accused.
She gave a reluctant nod and I responded, “Why didn’t you come in right away, instead of hovering around the house like a criminal? In fact,” I continued, not letting her answer, “why did you wait three years to come back?”
“Oh, baby,” she cried, throwing her arms around my neck and starting to sob, “I wanted to! But I waited a while because I was worried that you’d be mad! That you’d feel abandoned or something.”
“Well, we didn’t feel that way at all. We were living perfectly fine without you, and we’ll live perfectly fine once you leave again.” That was a lie, but she wouldn’t know that. In fact, I spent a greater part of three months comforting Storm and Shaz and helping them get over her absence.
“I won’t! I promise I’ll never leave you guys again. You’re my family.”
I scoffed, untwined her arms from around my neck, and looked into her eyes. They were wet with tears and I almost wrapped my arms around her and told her it was okay, that it would be fine, that we could just go back to how we were before she left. But one crucial detail was missing, one that would have to fall into place before I accepted her return.
And so I heaved myself off the couch and walked straight up to my room, not looking back once. As soon as I hit the confines of my room, the tears started falling. I collapsed onto my bed.
To be continued...