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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 22nd day of Gathering, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 109 > Short Stories > Spooky Stories Transcribed— Story Two: Eternity Lasts Forever

Spooky Stories Transcribed— Story Two: Eternity Lasts Forever

by wolfofthewoods

“P-p-please, Gladys! I’m asking you for a small raise, nothing more! Just a few measly Neopoints, I swear!”

     Gladys, a mutant Blumaroo, abruptly stopped walking and turned to face the pleading Lenny. She looked down on him through square-framed glasses and sniffed irritably.

      “Terry, you know very well that librarians are not paid a boundless sum, and have known that from the moment you applied for the job. I’m sorry, but you’ll have to find another way to earn Neopoints.”

      She turned and continued a brisk stride towards the sci-fi section of Neopia Central’s library. Terry whimpered and clasped and unclasped his crimson wing tips. He followed her footsteps, making funny yelping noising and wringing his wings.

      “It’s Owner’s three year anniversary of coming to Neopia next week, and my third birthday. We always have a huge affair on milestones, with cakes, friends, and, and…” his beak quivered, “and presents.”

 

      The mutant Blumaroo sighed and looked back at him again. “I apologize, Terry, but I cannot give you a raise. I can, however, advance your paycheck for next week. That’s one thousand two hundred Neopoints. You could always buy your Owner a Haunted scratchcard.”

      Terry’s eyes brightened and the traces of a smile curved his beak. “Yes, yes, splendid idea, Gladys… Simply splendid.”

***

Terry’s confidence had suffered terribly during the journey between Neopia Central and the Deserted Fairground. He had been so frightened he’s dropped the map given to him by a very happy-go-lucky travel agent Quiggle, who had jovially told him that the Haunted Woods was just an “overrated walk in the park.” Unfortunately, Terry’s hopes of green foliage and tame wild Cybunnies were dashed to pieces while looking down on the looming darkness from atop the back of an Eyrie-cab.

      While striding tentatively along a forest-enveloped path towards the “village” of the Haunted Woods, and feeling the cold star of bloodthirsty WereLupes prickling his neck, Terry deciphered that this was quite a different experience from walking his Pet Warf Murry around the Market Place.

      “False advertising…” muttered Terry. “A stroll in the park, my foot!” he stamped a taloned foot on the forest floor to accentuate this statement.

      So now he walked though the not-so-Deserted Fairground, jumping at every howl or moan, scrambling through the decay towards Sidney’s Scratchcard stand.

      As he neared, Terry could see the silhouette of the misshapen Nimmo against the wooden hut. The Lenny shuddered and miserably plodded towards Sidney, who flashed him a maniacal grin and clasped his bony fingers.

      “Ah,” he mumbled delightedly, “a vissssitor hasss arrived.” He propelled his bent legs up to Terry. “Welcome to my haunted Sssscratchcardsss ssstand,” he hissed. “I am Sssidney.”

      “Right,” replied Terry shakily. “I… I want to buy a present for my Owner.” Sidney nodded eagerly.

      “That’ssss niccce.”

      Terry dug in his light, brown jacket pocket, and retrieved his Neopoints. “Could I buy a Scratchcard?”

      “I don’t know. Can you?” Terry’s beak twitched; this wasn’t his favourite place to have word games.

      “Right. Sorry. May I have a Scratchcard?”

      “Sure,” said Sidney with a toothy smirk. “If you can get it.”

      “What?” asked Terry, a puzzled frown playing about his beak. “Get it? What do you--” Sidney brought a finger to his lips and ushered Terry behind the shack and down a narrow dirt path. “Where are we--” The Nimmo just shook his head and kept walking.

      Terry glanced upwards at the bulbous, exuberantly bright orange top of the Brain Tree. It pulsed rhythmically, and a deep, hollow sound emanated from it in long beats. The tree itself was not yet visible, as the thick brush let through no light or view of whatever may have been on the other side. Terry shuddered and shoved this thought from his mind.

      After what seemed an eternity, Sidney pulled back a large branch. Terry was momentarily shocked, as the Nimmo looked as if he wouldn’t be able to lift a third of that weight. Then he was stunned for a slightly longer time, as he stared numbly at the menacing trunk of the Brain Tree it — or is it “him?”—self.

      Sidney sighed despairingly as he pulled Terry through the gap in the trees. He let the branch whip back with a loud snap! and gazed at the uppermost branches of the Brain Tree.

      “Do you know why I brought you here, Lenny?” he asked, the insane glint in his eyes dulled and melancholy. Terry shook his head. “You ssssee there?” He pointed to where he’d been staring. The crimson Lenny disinclined his head and wrinkled his brow. “My preciousss ssscratchcardssss blew away in the wind. They landed,” he shook his head sadly, “up there.” Terry saw a flicker of gold reflecting the moonlight as the tree bubbled and rolled.

      “Oh. That’s a pity. Well, I’d better be going now.” He flipped around and made to step through the bushes, but a long, sinewy arm barred his way.

      “No, no. I couldn’t let you do that.”

***

Terry swallowed hard, his knees wobbling precariously.

      “And why do I have to do this?” he sputtered, voice a fair bit higher than usual. He glanced down at Sidney, eyes wide with fear.

      “Becausssse I ssssaid sssssso,” responded Sidney, looking casually down at his gritty nails. “Now hurry up. The ssscratchcardsss aren’t going to resssscue themsssselvesss!” Terry whimpered.

      He continued to ever so slowly grope his way up the tree. A low, hollow voice shivered its way up the trunk.

      “WHOOOO DAAAAARES TO CLIMB THE MIGHTY BRAAAAIN TREE?!” The monotonous sound made the trunk shudder violently, and the words echoed back threateningly.

      “J-just a Lenny trying to-to help…” stammered Terry, digging his talons into the side of the tree for dear life. The Brain Tree grunted.

      “AND YOU DAAAARE TO HURT ME WITH YOUR MEASLY NEOPIAN CLAWS?! HOW DARE YOU??” A long branch creaked towards Terry and entwined itself around his stick-thin legs. It drew him up in front of the bloodthirsty crimson eyes. “You made a bad choice, little one, trying to get to the top of the most intelligent tree in Neopia.” The gaping black hole opened by a slight bit more, and suddenly, Terry was engulfed in darkness. “An eternity you’ll spend as my prisoner, foolish Pet!” boomed the walls.

      Terry stared into the blinding negritude. He heard a high-pitched cackle from outside the depths of the Brain Tree: “Ssssstupid Neopet!”

***

I let slip a squeal as the book was slammed shut. Father patted my head, and Brother whimpered.

      “Don’t worry,” Father assured us, “nothing like that will ever happen to you, as long as you never venture into the Haunted Woods with your guard down… Unless…” he shook his head. “Not tonight. Come now, time for bed.”

      And for the second night in a row, Brother and I plodded up the winding staircase to collapse into our beds — checking under them first, of course — and spent a very uneventful night staring at the ceiling.

The End… Unless…

Week 109 Related Links

Lifestyles of the Affluent and Illustrious: Princess Fernypoo
“What or who inspired you to become a serious Cheat! player?”

by wolfofthewoods



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