Inside the Crate
“Hey, Lepp, come down here. I want to talk to you.”
Lyssa, a red Zafara, sat on the couch, staring out the window of her Neohome. Her brother, Lepp, bounded down the stairs and sat beside her, looking out the window, as well.
“What’s up?” the Darigan Zafara asked.
“It’s been raining for so long!” cried Lyssa. “I almost forget what the sky looks like!”
“Why don’t we take a vacation to somewhere tropical? You know, like the Lost Desert?”
Lyssa snapped her fingers. “Of course!” She frowned. “But do we have enough Neopoints?”
Lepp flew off the couch, landing on his feet. “Let’s go check the bank to see if we have enough.”
So the two Zafaras both got their umbrellas and made their way out to the bank.
When they got home, they were disappointed as ever.
“Only twenty-three Neopoints!” fumed Lepp. “Who could have guessed?!”
“I certainly wouldn’t have.” Lyssa sighed.
“Ah, well,” said Lepp, “it was worth a shot. I’m going up to my room so I can feed my Petpet.”
The Darigan Zafara turned, then left the room. Lyssa thought, I’m going to have to think of a plan.
So she did. For at least half an hour, Lyssa lay on the couch, hoping an idea would come to her. Then, when she thought all hope was lost, an idea came to her. I can go into the attic, and if I find stuff we don’t need, we can sell it to get Neopoints!
Lyssa took a candle from the kitchen, lit it, then ventured upstairs into the dark attic. When she entered, she sneezed, for the whole room was covered in dust. A Spyder scurried across one of the walls, causing Lyssa to turn around involuntarily. She decided to get going on her work.
As she rummaged around through the heaps of items, she found some old plushies, a notebook, a dubloon, and some bottles of sand. She had piled all the items up in one corner of the room, but she was going to need something to bring it downstairs with. Then her eyes fell upon something that was sure to help her.
An old wooden crate.
Lyssa approached the crate, then ran a paw along its rough edges. The crate was covered by a piece of heavy wood. She thought about opening it, but then stopped, wondering if it was full of something she was not supposed to see. So she did the most reasonable thing that she could think of.
“Lepp! Come here! Come look at this!”
In a few seconds Lepp came into the attic. He looked around for a moment, then walked over to Lyssa.
“Alright, I’m here. What is it you want me to see?”
“This.” Lyssa motioned to the crate. Lepp inspected it for a short while until his sister said, “What do you think is inside?”
“Oh, I don’t know; why don’t you open it?” he asked. Just as Lyssa motioned to move the wood covering the crate, Lepp exclaimed, “But what if...”
“What if what?” asked Lyssa, alarmed.
“What if there’s something in there... that is cursed?” The Zafara spread his wings menacingly.
“Cursed?” gulped Lyssa, her eyes wide as saucers.
“Yes, cursed. But, I’m not stopping you from opening it!” Lepp walked away, chuckling to himself.
Lyssa still stared at the crate, wondering. She left the attic, the thought of the crate still trapped in her memory. Well, at least I know our cousin is coming over tomorrow, thought Lyssa. Maybe he can have a look at it.
There was a knock at the door the next day.
“I’ll get it!” Lyssa heard Lepp say.
The Zafara was still in her bed, listening to the world around her. There is someone at the door, she thought, and Lepp is answering it... wait a moment! That someone is probably our cousin, Ralph!
She immediately hopped out of bed, then combed her fur as fast as she’d ever combed it before. She raced downstairs, tripping while doing so, and fell face-first in front of Ralph.
“I do say, isn’t it a little early to be crashing into the floor like that?” said Ralph.
Lyssa stood up and straightened herself. “Smooth entrance,” commented Lepp sarcastically.
Ralph didn’t seem to notice Lepp’s remark. “Are you alright, Lyssa?” the Royal Aisha asked.
“Yeah, I’m just fine,” said Lyssa.
Ralph removed his hat and wrung it out. “There is an unfortunate amount of rain out there,” he said, placing the hat back on his head.
“Yes, I know,” grumbled Lyssa, “and Lepp and I aren’t too happy about it. We want to go on vacation somewhere, but we don’t have the Neopoints to do so.”
“I see,” said Ralph, “and I couldn’t even take you back to Meridell with me because it would cost us.”
“So, I’ve been thinking, if I sell all the stuff that we don’t need, we can get enough Neopoints to go on vacation. So I went up into the attic to try to find stuff, and-”
Lepp cut her off. “So that’s what you’ve been doing up there!”
“AS I WAS SAYING, I found this wooden crate up there, and I don’t know what’s in it. Do you think you can come check it out with me?”
“Why, I’d be delighted to be of your accompaniment!” Ralph smiled.
Lyssa grabbed another candle from the kitchen and lit it. Together she and her cousin made their way up to the attic.
“It’s positively filthy in here!” cried Ralph once he was inside.
“No one’s been up her in over five years,” replied Lyssa.
The Zafara led the Aisha to the crate. He knelt down and surveyed it all over.
“Lyssa, come over here - there appears to be some kind of writing on the crate!” he called.
Lyssa bounded towards him. On the crate it read:
COLLECTED FROM Y1 TO Y3. USE IT WITH CARE.
“Year three?” Lyssa gaped.
“Why, that’s over... five years ago!” said Ralph.
“It also says, ‘use it with care’. I wonder what that means.”
“It may mean that it is filled with items that we are not allowed to touch, like firecrackers or something breakable.”
The two of them left the attic, trying to forget about it. For the rest of the day Lepp, Lyssa and Ralph played games, like cards and Kacheekers. Lyssa lost every round, only because she couldn’t help but think about what might be in the crate.
That night, after everyone else had gone to sleep, Lyssa snuck out of her room, carrying a lit candle. She tiptoed past Lepp in his room. She passed the spare room, where Ralph lay, asleep. She froze as the Aisha stirred for a moment, then relaxed once she realized it was a false alarm.
As she made her way up the stairs to the attic, she thought, I wonder what I’m going to find in the crate.
The reason why she was sneaking up the stairs into the attic without permission was that she was fed up. Curiosity had gotten the better of the Zafara, and she longed to find out what it was that she was supposed to use with care. Besides, it never said anything about her actually having to use the items.
Lyssa went over to the crate, shuddering in the eerie darkness. There it was. The crate, sitting by itself, forlorn in the darkness. Lyssa briefly thought that she should just turn around and go back to bed, but she decided against it. Even if Lepp was right and it was cursed, nothing was going to stop her now.
She hoped that whatever was in there wasn’t going to hurt her. It might be something to help her and her brother go on their long-awaited vacation. Lyssa set down the candle and pushed away the wood that was blocking the crate’s opening.
The crate was full of Neopoints.