Night of Thade: Part One
It was 9:00 in the morning and I sleepily walked out of
the door of my Neohome to read the latest issue of the Neopian Times. A shocking
article met my eyes...
GHOSTS ATTACK TYRANNIA!
Tyrannians, keep your eyes peeled. It seems
that a spooky specter, appearing to be a Kacheek, is wandering around Tyrannia,
terrorizing all who come in its path. Sharon, the Shoyru, was startled by this
spirit while returning to her home a 9:00 last night, and had this to say:
"He... he appeared out of the bushes. His
hands were... were covering his face and he was all bandaged. I thought he was
hurt, and needed help, so I... invited him into my home. And I... I asked him,
'where are you from?' He uncovered his face and... he had this monstrously huge
eye! I was amazed by it, that blood red eye, and before I knew what was going
on, it was morning and... he was gone. I don't remember what happened, but before
I contacted the Neopian Times, I decided to mark down this strange event in
my diary. And... there was a message... in the diary. 'PHEL EM'."
Living in Tyrannia myself, I was a bit worried
about this ghost... or whatever. But I was more worried about Sharon. She was my
best friend, ever since I was a baby. Oh... I guess I should introduce myself.
My name is Garrett, and I am a green Kacheek.
I live in Tyrannia by myself. Well, there's Flopper, he's a poppit. But otherwise,
I like to be alone.
It's not that I'm a loner. I'm nice to people,
I have friends, and I'm not one of those scaredy-kadoaties who sits in their
Neohome ALL DAY. That would drive me crazy. It's just that for some reason,
I don't trust others. I feel as if maybe someone betrayed me, a long time ago.
But though I search my memory, I can never find any betrayals. Sharon is as
loyal as yellow Shoyrus get, and I don't feel as if I can trust even her.
No matter how uneasy I got around the other Neopets,
I decided to visit Sharon. When she opened the door, I was shocked.
She looked completely traumatized by the previous
night's incident. She had dark circles under her sky blue eyes, as if she hadn't
slept a bit, and her hands were shaking as she held a cup of hot Borovan in
her hands. She hadn't even dressed yet; she was still in her purple bathrobe.
But she brightened a bit upon seeing me.
"Oh, Garret. It's you. Please, come in," she
said. She showed me to my favorite chair, and I sat down. "You read the article,
huh." She managed a weak smile. "Yeah, that all happened."
"And you're sure you weren't having a weird reaction
to something you ate, or dreamed it all?" I was still a little skeptical. I
knew there were ghosts in Neopia, and I always feared meeting one. But the chances
of the mysterious specter appearing to someone I knew seemed pretty slim.
"Garret, how can you deny this?" Sharon showed
me her diary. In scratchy handwriting were the words, "PHEL EM." I reached for
the diary. Then, something happened that I'll never forget.
"Ouch!" I dropped the diary. My hands felt as
if they were burnt! I looked at my paws and sure enough, there were burn marks.
Sharon's hands flew to her mouth, and she rushed upstairs to get some bandages
without a word. I looked at the page and saw new words form.
Wrapping bandages around my hands, Sharon said,
"You know something funny? The ghost I met last night was a Kacheek, green,
with bandages around his hands. And now you're a green Kacheek with bandages
around your hands."
As she wrapped bandages around my hand, a hazy... was
it a memory?... appeared in my mind, of a similar incident.
I was sitting in front of a magnificent fireplace
in a large, comfy chair. A yellow Shoyru, a maid, was wrapping bandages around
my hands, which were burnt.
"You really should be more careful around fire,
sir. This is the fourth time I've had to wrap your hands."
"I know that!" I said, in a raspy voice. "I just
wasn't paying attention." The Shoyru smiled warmly at me.
"You're never paying attention to anything but
your puzzles, are you..."
"Garret!" Sharon yelled. I snapped out of memory
mode. "You looked lost in thought. What now?"
"I was just remembering the time when... wait...
that's funny..." I murmured, resting my head on my hand. "Sharon, did I ever
have a maid?"
Sharon looked bewildered. "N-no. Not that I remember."
"Um, what happened to the huge fireplace in my
"You never had a fireplace, you always said that
central heating was for you!" Sharon reminded me. I tried to think about this
strange memory, and something struck me.
"Sharon! Give me that book!" I commanded, in
a loud voice I had never heard myself use before. Sharon looked bewildered once
again, but handed me her diary. Once again I saw the words "PHEL EM" I looked
long and hard at the page. My eye started to twitch. A slow smile crept across
my face. I hadn't felt like this in a long time. In fact, I had never gotten
pumped up about a puzzle before. But for some reason, I was getting excited.
It was as if I had rediscovered some old favorite pastime. "It says... help me."
"What!?" Sharon asked, shocked. She looked over
the strange words in her diary and a look of realization crossed her face. "It...
it does! It seems to be an anagram for... help me! Garret, I think you are right..."
But I couldn't pay attention, for another strange memory engulfed my senses.
"I think you are right again, sir," a blue Uni
said, looking crestfallen. She had wanted me so much to not be able to solve
the puzzle. I sat in yet another magnificent chair behind a solid oak desk.
A grin formed on my face.
"It was all too easy," I said, in the same raspy
voice I had used earlier. "Your anagrams are among the more challenging ones
I have read, however... " I picked up the puzzle sheet with my bandaged hands,
and stood up to walk. I fell over, not used to the bandages around my feet.
The Uni giggled. I was enraged at her. How dare she giggle at me! "It is not
funny! Not funny at all to laugh at..."
"Garret!" Sharon interrupted my train of thought.
I popped out of my "memories" once again. "What are you thinking about?"
"I..." I started, then frowned. "I really don't
know. But I keep remembering stuff that never actually... never actually happened,"
I said, confused at what was happening to me.
"What? That's... that's! I've got to call Donna!"
Sharon's friend Donna was a beautiful blue Uni, and a firm believer in psychics
and the spiritual world. But, though she was kind and pretty, if just a bit
kooky, something always made me especially uneasy. Today, however, I brushed
that aside and was glad to see her. These thoughts were strange, and I needed
I explained my problem to Donna as soon as she
came over. Donna's eyes lit up and the biggest grin I had ever seen was on her
face. She started talking in her odd second-language, like she does every time
she gets excited.
"Oh, sweetness! You're receiving... you're getting,
like, thoughts from your past life! That is like so sweetness. Sweetness!" she
yelled, obviously excited about my case. "You must have had some sort of past
life as like, a puzzle solver or something. This is like, uber-eerieness, but
it's sweetness at the same time!"
Sharon looked frightened. She ran upstairs with
a panicked expression on her face. I followed her up the stairs with Donna galloping
behind me. We found Sharon in her library, with a copy of the Neopedia in her
small hands, flipping furiously through the pages.
"Where is that article...? AARGH! Hm...? No,
that's Magax... a-ha! Here it is! Eliv Thade!"
"Eliv Thade...? Who is that?" Somehow the name
seemed vaguely familiar to me, but I couldn't pinpoint exactly why.
Donna stepped in with her say. "Eliv Thade was
a Kacheek. Nobody knows much about him; he died ages ago. He was driven to insanity
by a long and lengthy puzzle that he could not solve. Some people say the puzzle
was just so simple that he was reading deeply into it. Others say that the puzzle
was pure gibberish. Only a few have ventured into his castle, and even fewer
have made it out... hey, it's a cool story, but nobody's proven it true!" Donna
laughed, as if she were a child telling a ghost story. Actually, the story had
scared the bejabbers out of me, but I wasn't going to tell that to Donna. I
turned to look at Sharon to see what she thought, but she looked like she was
lost in thought, and a bit angry too. Then she spoke something that still chills
me to the bone...
"My Eliv can solve any puzzle!"
"Sh-sharon? What are you...?" I stuttered, as
a tingly sensation wrapped my body. Donna was looking at me with an intense
look of wonder on her pretty face.
"It begins..." she breathed.
To be continued...