Enter the Snowflake's lair... Circulation: 81,826,882 Issue: 157 | 10th day of Gathering, Y6
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Cleaning the Closet

by _icypanther_


"You have got to be kidding me. You are kidding, right Icy?" asked Star nervously, her amber eyes darting nervously from the owner to the closed door. "Right?"

      "No, I'm not," Icy said with a smile, brown eyes dancing with merriment. "All three of you are going to clean up the hall closet while I'm gone. Besides, it's all of your stuff."

      "But that's not fair!" protested Sugar, the strawberry Moehog. "It's going to take us hours! We should be outside breathing in clean, fresh air and relaxing during the summer. Not cleaning a dusty, old closet!"

      "Ever heard of summer cleaning?"

      "No, only spring cleaning," retorted Star grumpily, her arms folded across her chest.

      "Well now you have," said Icy, scooping her brown hair back into a ponytail. "I want to see that closet absolutely clean when I get back from shopping, understand? And if it isn't…no dessert for two days."

      "We'll clean it! We'll clean it!" exclaimed Sugar, eyes widening in horror. Like it or not, the strawberry Moehog was addicted to sugar and sweets and the idea of not having them for two days was unthinkable.

      "Good. I'll be back by four," Icy said, grabbing her purse off of the small hall table. "Bye!" With a wave the young owner left the house, the door echoing with a resounding thud behind her.

      "Are we really going to clean it?" asked Searklarry, the youngest member of the family.

      "No!" cried Star.

      "Yes!" yelled Sugar, the two girls glaring daggers at each other. "We. Are. Cleaning. It," ground out the Moehog, eyes flashing. "We can't obey Icy, can we?"

      "Technically we could," said Searklarry. "And then just not get dessert."

      "I'm cleaning it," said Sugar, mouth in a determined line. "I for one want dessert and for Icy to respect me. You two can either help or not."

      "Fine! I'll do it!" snapped the starry Elephante, her trunk wrinkled in distaste. "Searklarry, are you with us?"

      "I guess so," the blue Tuskaninny said. "But who's going to open it?"

      Both sisters turned to look at their younger brother. "Oh no, I'm not doing it," Searklarry said, backing away from his sisters, paws up in a defensive position.

      "Fine, I'll do it," grumbled Sugar, stepping cautiously next to the ancient wooden door. Gently, her hoof turned the handle and the door creaked open.

      At first everything was all right, the years of accumulated junk just sitting there. But with a groan it started to crumble from the shape it had taken over the years. "AVALANCHE!" screamed Sugar turning tail and running.

      Unfortunately, outrunning the closet avalanche was harder then it looked. The wave of old toys, clothes, papers, and dust rained down on the trio, the roar deafening. A few seconds later the rumble stopped and now the only thing visible in the hall were the piles of junk.

      From the largest pile Sugar poked her head out, her green hair now a light shade of gray from all of the dust. "It's a good thing none of us are allergic to dust," she commented, clambering out of the pile and shaking herself free of dust.

      "How does Icy expect us to clean this?" snorted Star, appearing from under another pile of junk. Her trunk reached back into the mess and came out with Searklarry, the Tuskaninny's eyes wide with confusion.

      "What happened?" he mumbled, gazing blearily up at Star.

      "An avalanche," she said simply. "Where should we start?"

      "I think we should dust off the shelves," suggested Sugar, peering into the now empty closet. "Then we can go through the stuff on the floor. We can make a junk pile, a keep pile, and a pile to donate to the Money Tree."

      "I'll go get some dust rags," said Star, quickly leaving the cluttered hall for the more spacious kitchen where Icy kept cleaning supplies beneath the sink. "Here we go," she said, handing a rag to everyone in the group. "Just brush it onto the floor, we'll have to sweep anyway."

      The Neopets attacked the closet, clouds of dust billowing up everywhere. "I think," coughed Sugar, "we got it all." When the dust settled enough so that the siblings could see each other they surveyed the closet.

      Each pine wood shelf gleamed brightly, now free of dust. "I guess we start going through the items," said Star, sitting down on a clear spot on the floor. "Where should we put each pile?"

      "Let's put all of the junk in this box," said Sugar, producing a large brown box out of the pile. "We'll put all of the stuff for the Money Tree in this container," she said, holding out a plastic crate, "and the stuff we're keeping we'll just keep on the floor for now."

      "Eeewww, look at this!" exclaimed Searklarry. "I found my Grape Roll from a few months ago!" The object in the blue Tuskaninny's paw was anything but yummy looking. The grape jam was now a moldy green, gray dust clinging to the pastry.

      "I told you I didn't eat it!" jeered Sugar, prancing about the mess. With her craving for sweets, cookies and cakes often gone missing were trailed to the guilty Moehog.

      "But how did it get in the closet?" pondered Star.

      "What's it matter?" gasped Searklarry, a paw clamped down on his bright red nose. "It smells awful!"

      "So put it in the junk box," ordered Star. Searklarry nodded and gave his sister's a wide berth so they wouldn't have to smell the offending treat. Out of all three of Icy's Neopets, Searklarry was easily the most forgiving and respectful, a quality that either made his life good or got him dragged along in one of his sister's pranks.

      "Hey look!" exclaimed the Moehog, holding up a thin white box. "Chocolate!" Eagerly, she tore off the red ribbon that held the lid on and popped one of the dark candies into her mouth.

      She chewed contentedly for a several seconds before her face became on odd shade of green and Sugar ran down the cluttered hall for the bathroom. She appeared moments later and threw the box of chocolates in the garbage pile.

      "I think they were past their expiration date," she muttered, stomach still doing flip-flops.

      "How about no more sampling the food we find Sugar?" suggested Star. "I think your stomach would like that." Sugar nodded and started to dig through some of the things around her, tossing more old food and papers into the trash box.

      "Awww," cooed Searklarry, holding something to him. "Look what I found!" He held out a photo of a baby Star and Sugar, the Moehog pulling on the Elephante's tail, a large pacifier in Star's mouth. "You guys were so cute!"

      "Oh god, look at me!" squealed Sugar, grabbing the photo from her brother. "I was still red! And look how big my feet are!…Wow, I had that big of feet?" she wondered, passing the photo onto Star.

      "You always were a little devil," snickered Star, looking at the antics of the baby Moehog "Do you remember the time you switched my milk bottle to extra sour lemonade? My mouth looked like a Koi's for days!"

      "Wasn't it great?" laughed Sugar, a large grin on her face. "I wish you could have been there Searklarry."

      "Yeah," he said softly, not meeting either of their eyes.

      "Don't feel down Searklarry," comforted Star, placing a paw on his shoulder. "You've had your fair share of pranks with us to last you a lifetime now, haven't you?" He nodded and went back to cleaning, a slight smile on his face.

      Searklarry had been adopted from the pound by Icy when she'd gone looking for a younger brother for her girls. She said they'd needed someone who liked bugs and all sorts of boyish things. Odd thing was, Searklarry wasn't that fond of bugs or fighting. He was rather shy and quiet, never wanting to interrupt anyone.

      "Look at this!" gasped Sugar, holding out a small trophy. "I never knew Icy played Cheat before! And she said all of this stuff was ours…isn't this hers?"

      "That's mine!" cried Star, snatching the trophy from her sister. "It's one of my trophies from the Beauty Contest you baka! I thought I'd lost it," she murmured, tenderly rubbing the dust off of the shining metal. "Ah ha! It's first!"

      "Actually it's third," supplied Searklarry. "See? It has a three right there…and it looks more bronze then gold."

      "But…third?" she exclaimed. "Do I honestly look that bad? Maybe I should go on a diet! No more desserts for me! I'll start exercising more! I'll-"

      "Calm down Star," giggled Sugar. "It was one of your first contests…you probably didn't know how to behave properly yet. You look beautiful, you always have."

      "Thanks Sugar," said Star, a blush forming over her cheeks. "I do remember those first few contests though…I didn't know you had to stay on the platform and wait for the judges. I think I was eating a snack at the first contest and they completely missed me."

      Searklarry laughed softly. "You've never struck me as impatient Star. That's Sugar's job."

      "Well I stole it," the Elephante said with a smile, still cradling her trophy. "Besides, Sugar is the oldest…she's supposed to act more responsible. Now back to work everyone! We should make sure this closet is clean by the time Icy gets home."

      But cleaning out the hall closet turned out to be more of a game then an actual chore. And with fun and games the real job disappears.

      "Catch!" yelled Star, launching a Blue Aisha Keyring to Seaklarry. The Tuskaninny caught it and set it into the plastic crate, already full of toys and old clothing items to go the Money Tree for pets who really needed them.

      Sugar paraded across the ground with hats stuck on her front tusks, easily dunking the flying key chains. "Hey, Searklarry! Can you help me get these off?" she asked, pawing at the hats. "My hoofs won't grab them!"

      Searklarry pulled each article off of the Moehog's large teeth and placed them in the crate as well. "It's almost full," he called to Star. "So is the junk box. But the floor is clean and the closet is orderly for the first time in years. We're all done."

      But Star didn't seem to hear him, her eyes riveted on a small black box, the last item out, that sat on the floor. "What's wrong Star?" asked Sugar, noticing the whites of her sister's eyes.

      "Do you hear that?" she whispered, taking a nervous step backwards.


      "Oh my god," whimpered Sugar. "It's a bomb! We must have accidentally triggered it when we opened the closet."

      "What do we do?" wailed Searklarry. "We're too young to die!"

      "We should bring it up to the Police Office," said Sugar, her eyes never leaving the ticking box. "Someone there can disable it."

      "And how do you suggest we get it there?" asked Star icily, her amber eyes meeting Sugar's emerald. "Carry it?"

      "Precisely. We'll just have to hope it doesn't blow up while we move it." Searklarry's mouth fell open in shock and Star just continued to look at Sugar like she was the most insane Neopet she'd ever met.

      "At least we finished the closet," muttered Searklarry.

      "I'm going to go get a basket and some pillows," said Sugar. "We'll carry it like that so it won't get bumped." The strawberry Moehog took off down the hall for the linen closet in the bathroom. She came back moments later with several fluffy, white towels and a basket that used to hold shampoos on her tusk.

      Placing the basket on the floor with Searklarry's help, Sugar spread the towels inside, carefully making sure that each piece of wicker had padding on it. "How do you think we should transfer it into the basket?"

      "Tongs?" proposed Star. "We don't want to actually touch it…our body heat could set it off."

      "Tongs it is," announced Sugar. "Searklarry, could you go get a pair from the kitchen?" The blue Tuskaninny nodded and inched around the black box, mouth drawn in a thin line of tension.

      Once he was safely around it the youngest of the trio took off into the kitchen, the clinking of silverware reaching the girls' ears. Searklarry arrived back in the hall, a pair of bright red tongs clutched tightly in his paw.

      "Who's going to do it?" he asked, knowing none of them wanted to be blown up.

      "I will," said Sugar bravely. Taking the tongs from her brother she positioned them around the box and gently picked it up, her breath bated. Nothing happened. Lowering it slowly into the basket, Sugar breathed a sigh of relief when it was placed safely down, no loud explosion ripping through the house.

      "Are we supposed to carry it down the middle of the street and into town?" asked Searklarry. "What happens if it blows? A lot of Neopets will get hurt."

      "We have to get it to the police as soon as we can," stated Sugar. "We'll just have to hope for the best. I'll carry it on my tusks…it will get bumped around the least there. Star? Can you put the handle on for me?"

      Gingerly the starry Elephante picked up the basket handle and slid it onto her sister's tusk, fear etched in both of their faces. If it were to go off Sugar would die for sure. "Let's go," said Sugar anxiously. "I want to get this over with quickly."

      The trio trooped out of the Neohome, Star remembering to lock the door behind them even with the situation so desperate. They walked as fast as possible, Sugar having to take gliding steps to relieve the jolting on the basket.

      They walked past the Pharmacy and skirted around the Rainbow Pool, being as careful as they could to not go near anyone else in fear of endangering them. Going up the small cobblestone path the group arrived in front of the tall Police Station, the black brick imposing against the bright, green grass surrounding it.

      "Let's go in," said Searklarry, pushing the door open for the three of them.

      "Can I help you?" asked a rather pudgy yellow Grarrl sitting behind a desk at the entrance.

      "We found a bomb," said Star. "It's in this basket."

      "A bomb you say?" The officer immediately rose from his chair and walked over to the family. The dull ticking reached his ears and he whistled softly. "Hey! Bruno!"

      A blue Gelert poked his head out of a door towards the back of the station. "Yes Dobson? What is it?"

      "These kids brought in a bomb. Call the Chia Bomb Squad, would you? We'll take this out to the Grassy Plains and deactivate it there…don't want to blow the building sky high."

      "I'll call them now," Bruno said, ducking back into the office. "Get that bomb out of here now Dobson! Hurry up!" The yellow Grarrl pulled the basked off of Sugar's tusk and gestured for the three Neopets to follow him out of the building.

      "Where exactly did you find this bomb?" he asked, walking through the streets of Neopia towards the Grassy Plain.

      "Bomb!" cried out a passing faerie Acara.

      Other citizens of Neopia heard the cry and soon a small group had gathered around Icy's Neopets and Dobson.

      "Yes, and it may go off at any second," the yellow Grarrl said, shooting a glare at the crowd. "Please clear a path…we're trying to get to the Grassy Plains before it explodes. Please move!"

      Hurriedly the citizens moved out of the way but joined the procession towards the deactivation spot.

      A brown haired girl exited the Bank to see three very familiar looking Neopets. "What's going on?" she murmured.

      "Some Neopets found a bomb!" said an elderly Bruce next to her, fiddling with her purse strap nervously. "They've gone to deactivate it."

      "I see," Icy said, "then I'd best get going!" Taking off at a run to catch up with the crowd Icy couldn't help but wonder, 'Did my pets find a bomb? Where?'

      When she arrived at the hill a bunch of bright yellow Chias wearing black jackets with the words 'Chia Bomb Squad' printed on the back were gathered around a small box on the ground.

      One was reaching forward with a pair of pliers to open the box when it went off.


      In surprise, the Chia slammed the pliers down on top of the still intact black box, a shattering of glass heard as soon as he hit it, the ringing disappearing. With a confused look to his co-workers, the Chia opened the box with his gloved hands.

      Sitting inside was a now busted alarm clock, the face cracked and the bell lying limp on the ground. The crowd began to disperse and Icy moved closer to the officers to see what they were saying to her pets who had stayed behind.

      "Pulling a prank like this is uncalled for and dangerous," growled one of the Chias. "While we were gone a real bomb could have been placed somewhere."

      "But we thought it was real! Honest!" sobbed Searklarry, not liking at all to be yelled at.

      "In any case all three of you will be joining Officer Dobson at the Police Station to wait for your owner to pick you up." The three sibling exchanged guilty glances knowing they weren't even supposed to be out of the house.

      "Excuse me Officer," said Icy, stepping into the huddle. "I'm their owner and I'd like to sincerely apologize for my pets actions. If there is anything I can do to make it up to you…"

      "Don't worry about it Miss," said the Chia, "just keep more of an eye on your pets in the future." Icy nodded solemnly and beckoned for her three Neopets to follow her.

      "Are we in trouble?" asked Star softly, walking dejectedly beside Icy, her head hung in shame.

      "Is the closet clean?" Icy countered.

      "Yep," said Sugar brightly, not as upset by the incident as her brother and sister.

      "Some punishment will have to be given," Icy mused. "You did leave the house when you know you aren't supposed to and you caused a panic attack in the town."

      "Are you grounding us?" asked Star. "I guess I'll have to call Kirjava and cancel our plans for shopping tomorrow."

      "Oh no," laughed Icy. "The punishment is the same one I said earlier. No dessert for two days!"

      A dull thud sounded on the road and the group turned, Star snickering slightly.

      Sugar had fainted.

The End

Please Neomail me any feedback you might have! Arigatou!

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