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Sweet Story, Sweet Dreams


by melina719

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The fall of night was just beginning to reveal its breathtaking glory. Hints of faint stars were gradually appearing in the sky, which was turning deep navy as each vibrant hue of the sunset withdrew from it. Seconds later the moon tossed down her silky veil, and every Neohome was painted with a blinding shade of silver. Indeed nighttime was said to be the most relaxing time of the day. Unfortunately, in my chaotic home, this was not the case, for my four energetic pets scampered restlessly around our house, not even stopping to heed the warning swimming within the depths of my eyes.

    I shouted, "Cara! Wilson! Lilac! Rasha! Please, children, settle down!" But my desperate cry was evidently triumphed over by the much louder one of the Neopets. As they ran up and down the hallways, playfully wagging their tails, baring their teeth and casting ridiculous faces to one another, they left a trail of scattered debris behind them. I knew there had to be some way to get them into bed, to get them to settle down and to brush their candy-coated teeth. But how?

    Finally, over the resounding hubbub, with all the strength of my voice, I inquired very loudly, "WHO WANTS TO HEAR A BEDTIME STORY?!?!"

     Withdrawing from their mess-making game, they stared at me, eyes wide with anticipation. With those very expressions etched in their faces, I could definitely tell my plan was a successful one. For in a flurry of gleeful voices, the words were uttered, "I do! I do!"

    "Very well then," I muttered to them, nodding my head in satisfaction. I gestured them toward their bedroom, and with that they ran, panting in excitement.

    I then said thoughtfully, "Get your pajamas on and your bunny slippers and brush your teeth and--"'

    But my voice abruptly trailed off as soon as my eyes met the sight I never thought they would meet; my pets were ready, if not quite eager, for bed. Cara, my pink Acara, held her Usuki doll comfortably; Wilson, my skunk Lupe, proudly displayed his pearly white teeth and fresh breath; Lilac, my purple Kougra, shuffled her Cybunny slippers vivaciously; and Rasha, the oldest and a faerie Wocky, had a grammar book clutched in her delicate paws as she mewed softly. Satisfied, I giggled and removed the book from Rasha's arms.

    "Oh Rasha, it was very kind of you to get a book," I praised, patting the Wocky on her head. "But I don't think grammar is the best thing for us tonight. You know?"

    "Oh," she murmured mournfully. Her small cranium tumbled to the ground, only to imitate the graceful poise of a wilted rose. I knew how much she loved grammar and how much she would give anything for a nice peaceful time devoted to the wonderful art (when she wasn't goofing off with her siblings, of course). However, I also knew that the only thing that would keep my pets at a settled state was a suspenseful story, and a lesson of grammar just was not going to quench their thirst for an adventure.

    "Don't worry," I finally consoled her, sympathy filling my eyes. "I will be your partner in grammar tomorrow!"

    Seeing her lips curl into a bright smile, I patted the faerie pet's head once again and ambled toward a towering bookshelf where our books resided. Hastily, I plunged a single arm forth, only to remove a large and dusty book several seconds later. I swept a hand across it to free it of all excess soot and then took a seat on Rasha's bed.

    "What're you gonna read?" Cara questioned, catching her Usuki doll in a stronger embrace. I smirked jocosely and flipped to the first page of the book, where a blur of text was written.

    "We are going to read a very interesting story tonight," I said. "It is about a diligent little Bori named Jerome, who lived on Terror Mountain. He spent most of his time working for Tarla, just so he could afford to buy himself a Snowbunny, his dream pet. He was very poor, and... well... I don't want to spoil the story."

    My pets looked at me as though they were chiding me to continue, and I submitted to their request...

     ***

Jerome sleepily rubbed his eyes and hoisted himself out of bed. Seeing he had to eat breakfast and get to work within the next forty minutes, he hurriedly pulled his woolly sweater over his head, grabbed a blueberry Chia pop, and staggered out the door.

    Jerome truly hated work; helping Tarla stuff dull gravel into bags and arranging bouquets in perfect order was not exactly what he called an exciting job. But since he had wanted a snowbunny for the longest time, not being capable of purchasing one for himself, he felt compelled to continue the job. He was very poor and just stayed well-fed because of his small paycheck he received from Tarla.

    His bulky figure shouldering past the coat of falling snow, the blue Bori grumbled. He knew by the harsh winds gnawing at his fur and the melancholy gray of the sky that work that day was going to be a great drudgery....

     ***

    "Mommy, what does drudgery mean?" Wilson asked, pawing at his quilt playfully. And apparently, our story was interrupted here.

    I was opening my mouth to answer his question, but Rasha stole the words from my mouth, "A drudgery is something that is not a fun thing to do."

    "Very good!" I praised her.

    The faerie Wocky's eyelashes fluttered, and her rotund cheeks obtained a layer of crimson flush. "It was nothing," she said proudly.

    I chuckled under my breath. "Good job! Now let's continue. Where was I? Oh, here we are..."

     ***

Jerome arrived at Tarla's place, only to find the red Ixi digging her dainty hooves into the snow impatiently. Her eyes flashed sternly as she lunged forward to scold Jerome.

    "You are late," she barked, her stare so piercing that Jerome could hardly bear to look her straight in the eye. "We are very busy today, and I have some firs over there that need feeding, gravel to measure, bouquets to arrange, and bags to pack. "

    "I'm sorry," Jerome apologized, "I-I woke up late."

    Tarla sighed under her breath. "Well, it's all right, Jerome. Just please make sure you are here earlier next time. You know, ever since I started putting one-hundred dubloon coins in these bags, we have been getting busier than usual, and--"

    "It's all right," Jerome whispered, heading toward his work bench. "I'm on my job."

    Smiling, Tarla left the Bori to his work and found her place behind her cash register.

    Hours eclipsed minutes, and Tarla's shop was becoming busier and busier. Jerome diligently packed the bags, tying up every flower with its proper bouquet and measuring the bags of gravel to make sure each contained the correct amount. He fed the firs until they were bloated, and polished every dubloon until he could clearly see his reflection on its surface, as if it were a mirror instead of a dubloon coin.

    Thinking little of his meager paycheck, Jerome worked and worked and worked until Tarla came to tell him he could have his lunch break. Eagerly, he grabbed his lunchbox and headed outside. Finding his seat on a wooden bench, he slurped up his lemon Chia pop ravenously. Little did he know, however, that he was being watched...

     ***

    "Watched?! By who?" Lilac mused, shuffling her Cybunny slippers enthusiastically.

    "By whom," Rasha corrected, "And wait! The story is still being told!"

    "What does ravenously mean?" Cara interjected questionably.

    "It means 'hungrily'," Rasha replied, silently rolling her eyes at her sister's ignorance. "Mother, can you please go on with the story?"

    I giggled out loud, nodded, and then continued with the story....

     ***

Jerome's eyes were soon rolling in excitement. He could not believe what he saw; a still snowbunny was staring at him, eyes as black as Dr. Sloth's cloak and his flawless pelt tone of white merging into that of the snow. He seemed to twitch his nose nervously, and his ears drooped, leaving slender shadows to stain the snowy ground.

    Reluctantly, Jerome beckoned the timid creature, and to the blue pet's delight, he came!

    "There, there," Jerome said soothingly, picking him up higher and boring into the petpet's hypnotic eyes. "I will never hurt you!"

    He petted his fur and whispered into his long ears, hearing not a crunch of Tarla's hooves through the snow, for she was approaching.

    "Jerome," she said. Startled by the sudden voice, Jerome turned to find Tarla gazing at him fairly soberly. He could tell that Tarla saw his new pet; it was no doubt.

    "Jerome, I just came to tell you that your lunch was up. But... WHY IN THE NAME FYORA ARE YOU HOLDING THAT THING?!?! YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE WORKING, NOT PETTING YOUR PLUSHIE!"

    "He is not a plushie," Jerome protested. "This is um... Luthar, my new snowbunny."

    "Your what?" Tarla blinked in surprise, staring at the helpless petpet in astonishment.

    "My new petpet. You know, my dream petpet! Oh, and by the way, since I finally received what I have been working for, I quit."

    "But--"

    "Oh, Tarla! I knew you would be happy for me! I worked all this time, and a snowbunny just happened to hop my way! Well, good by Tarla! See ya later!"

    But--but!"

    But it was too late; Jerome was already bounding toward his home, clutching his new snowbunny in his arms.

     ***

    Time was surely passing now. Weeks were eclipsed by months. Months by years. The relationship between Jerome and Luthar was growing stronger and stronger, as did time.

    However, the same was not for Tarla. Because Jerome quit his job, even Tarla's most frequent customers were no longer present at her shop. Business was very scarce, and her shop was reaching great peril. She needed Jerome.

    Seeing the futility of Tarla and her shop, Jerome wept. He wept not only because the renowned seller of mystery items was on the verge of losing her job, but he also wept because he knew it was his own fault. Glancing down at his confused snowbunny through blurry windows of tears, Jerome sighed. He knew what he had to do.

    "Luthar," he began, his throat quivering. "You and I have been the best of friends for the last few months, but I am sorry I must say... goodbye!"

    As if he had understood Jerome's sob-distorted words, Luthar's eyes were overflowing with tears, and his ears drooped helplessly.

    Unwillingly, Jerome lifted the grieving snowbunny from the cold ground and walked outside, gesturing the petpet away from where he was standing.

    "Luthar, go!" he demanded. "Go! Go! Go!"

    Sadly, the snowbunny hopped off and was soon nothing more than a speck to Jerome's eyes.

    "Goodbye, Luthar! Goodbye!"

    Jerome was sobbing now, cascades of tears disappearing into the snow.

     ***

    "M-mommy, t-this isn't the end of the story i-is it?" Lilac inquired, her cobalt eyes reflecting a glance of concern.

    "No, dear," I whispered, "It is not. Listen..."

     ***

     "Tarla? Tarla?" Jerome cried as he flew through the doors of Tarla's shop. To his dismay, Jerome saw everything was extremely cluttered. Papers were flying aimlessly in the light breeze, gravel lay on the floor in askew lines, and varieties of colorful flowers were wilted.

    "What do you want?" Tarla snarled. Her red fur was gnarled by the salty tears that had tumbled down her cheeks. "Don't you want to spend the rest of your life with your beloved Luthar?!"

    Jerome took a deep breath, wisps of frost circling before him to the rhythm of Tarla's sobs.

     "Look, Tarla," he continued to speak, biting his lip for the right words, "I am sorry. Really sorry! I was selfish. Very selfish! I let--I let--"

    Jerome was choked by the powerful arm of the gulp, in which his tears were presented.

    "You let what, Jerome?" Tarla ventured, drying her fur.

    "I let Luthar go this morning. Tarla, I guess what I am trying to say is--clear my work bench! I am back to work!"

    A smile arched from dimple to dimple of the Ixi's cheeks, as she caught Jerome within her warm embrace.

    "Thank you!" she whispered into his ear.

    "Anytime," Jerome said, smiling as well. "Well, Luthar is gone now, but I have you so that's okay--"

    "Or IS he?" Tarla smirked and reached into the shadowy depths of one of her bags.

    "Luthar!" Jerome exclaimed, nudging the snowbunny affectionately. "Thank you SO much, Tarla! But how?!"

    Tarla giggled. "Oh, I just found him in the snow this morning; he just came to me. I was going to stop by your place later, but since you came, there is no need for that!"

    Jerome's pupils dilated, and he slid a single paw across Tarla's shoulder.

    "After I ditched you? After I--"

    "Hush," Tarla commanded softly. "I am just happy you two reunited. But thank you so much, Jerome!"

    Jerome's eyes emitted a soft gaze at Luthar and then up and Tarla. "Thank you, too, Tarla!"

     ***

    "The end!" I proclaimed, my eyes frantically sweeping the room, only to see my four pets with eyes weighed down with drowsiness.

    "T-that was a beautiful story, Mother!" Rasha said before her mouth erupted with a yawn.

    "Yes, very beautiful," Lilac, Wilson, and Cara said in agreement. And soon, a chorus of yawns reverberated through the entire room.

    "I say we can learn a very important lesson from this story," I told my pets. But they did not hear me; for their own voices toppled over my own. Fortunately, however, their voices did not utter unruly screams; they uttered peaceful snores.

     Seeing all four of my pets at their slumber, I giggled. After that memorable time, we had story time every night before bed, and I never heard a single ear-shattering shriek from one of my pets again.

The End

 
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