Calm Before the Storm
No meepits were harmed in the making of this story!
Raindrops were trickling down the window pane at the home of 111846 Chievely Canyon, Roo Island. A young male Royal Acara by the name of Xjordy sat on the window sill, nervously straightening the crown upon his head. His eyes were darting left and right, as though he was searching for something in dark wilderness outside.
"Scenette!" he suddenly called, sounding frightened. He jumped from the window sill as though an electric current had just shot through the veins in his body; he ran to the doorway, fur slightly static. Scenette appeared looking puzzled.
"Yes? Whatever's the matter?" she said soothingly, kneeling down and taking his paw into her hands.
"I saw something outside, Scenette! I swear I did. It was moving toward the trees just in front of our garden!" Xjordy's eyes were wide with fear, but Scenette just laughed.
"I think you need a nap, don't you? You were probably just seeing things; storms tend to have that effect on people."
Xjordy looked down at the floor, blushing, feeling slightly ashamed. Scenette smiled, picked him up and carried him upstairs, the lights occasionally flickering as the storm viciously pounded the ground outside. They were safe inside their Neohome... or at least, that's what they would have expected.
Pushing the wooden door to Xjordy’s room open, a raging wind was battering the window, the curtain flailing in and out of it, spraying the room so that much of the floor was covered in water. Scenette gasped, ran to the window and tried to shut it, struggling against the wind that seemed determined to wrench it free of her grip, as well as the Neohome’s. With an almighty pull and a bit of help from Xjordy, the catch on it slammed shut. The room felt cold and silent, very unlike the usual feeling. Scenette switched on Xjordy’s nightlight and led him over to his bed, where he sat down and pulled the duvet over himself. Scenette grabbed a storybook from the bookshelf and sat down beside him.
“Through the darkness, a mysterious figure bolted left and right through trees in the woodland... Donna cradled her Baby Doll, hoping someone would notice her and save her from the storm. She was in a barn; her owner had foolishly left her while searching for help. Now, she was trying to hide behind a bale of hay, but there was something outside... something that wasn’t perhaps normal and certainly wouldn’t offer her any help.” Scenette stopped abruptly; Xjordy had begun to quiver. There was a sudden thump from downstairs, as though the door had been opened and slammed shut. Xjordy gripped the edge of his duvet and pulled it up to his nose. Scenette scanned the room. She got up and walked over to the door.
“Scenette! What are you doing?” whispered Xjordy worriedly.
“Shh! I’m going to go downstairs and see what’s going on. I won’t be long.” Scenette turned the doorknob slowly and crept out onto the landing, closing the door behind her as quietly as she could. Xjordy did not want to be alone; he grabbed his Judge Hog plushie for comfort while waiting for Scenette to return.
Meanwhile, Scenette was making her way downstairs. There was a crackle from the kitchen and the power was cut off. Scenette’s first thought was, ‘Drat!’ and Xjordy began to whimper from inside his room. He was afraid of the dark. Scenette took a step forward, but missed a step on the staircase and tripped.
“Ouch! No! Ow!” She tried to grab hold of the banister, but she was falling too fast to get a good hold. She lay there motionless on the bottom of the staircase. Xjordy had heard her from in his room and did not want to be alone any longer. With his Judge Hog plushie under his right arm, and torchlight in his paw, he opened the door and then stepped out into the pitch black landing. Feeling around with his free paw, he carefully and quietly went downstairs. He saw Scenette’s body laid out on the bottom step; he poked her.
“Scenette?” he asked, poking her again. “Wake up, please!”
There was no reply. The darkness seemed to becoming ever darker.
Xjordy shivered. It was like somebody’s icy cold fingers were inching their way up his spinal cord; he closed his eyes and counted to ten. He’d wake up and this would just be a dream. He’d be safe inside his bed with his Judge Hog plushie, and Scenette would come in with breakfast, just like she always did.
There was a murmur from Scenette, but she wasn’t fully conscious yet. Xjordy’s ears pricked up and he poked her again. She opened her left eye; the torchlight was shining on her and she was not pleased.
“I must’ve fallen when I was coming down,” she whispered. “I’m sorry.” She rose from her mangled position on the bottom step, and stood upright. The power was still out, and there were eerie noises closing in on them.
“Why is the power out?” asked Xjordy, trying to make conversation, and Scenette shrugged.
“The storm may have cut off our power,” she said, disbelievingly. She knew that someone had to be in the house, and that was the reason there was no power. She didn’t want to scare Xjordy, though; he had been through enough tonight.
Scenette took Xjordy’s paw and, hand in hand, they crept around the corner of the staircase into the main hallway. A lightning bolt hit the ground outside and startled them, and a sudden rumble of thunder shook the house with anger. The painting that hung above the flowerpots in the entrance smashed on the floor, wood splintering everywhere and the painting ruined. Scenette raised an eyebrow and tried not to look too worried. Xjordy, however, was terrified and lost for words. He clutched his Judge Hog plushie as though someone was about to snatch it out of his grip. Xjordy handed his torchlight to Scenette and they started moving again, toward the kitchen now, where someone appeared to have entered not long ago. Just like in a horror story, the atmosphere was full of suspense. Scenette slowly outstretched her hand and put it on the door handle; both of their hearts were pounding now and there was no telling what could happen in the next few moments. It was the kind of scene that would leave you hanging on the edge of your seat.
Scenette screamed; the door had opened and she saw two eyes glaring at her from the other end of the kitchen. Xjordy threw his paws over his eyes and hid behind the door, Judge Hog plushie still under his arm. Scenette stood there, hardly daring to breathe anymore. The eyes blinked, and it moved silently out of the shadows and into the moonlight that shone through the kitchen window. It was all too much for Scenette! It was horrible; it was...
“Boochi?” Scenette was confused. Why was Boochi in her house?
“Where’s the Neopet?” Boochi demanded. There was anger in his eyes and he held his ray gun close to his chest.
“My Neopet? Why, he’s uh... he’s not here. He’s gone. He’s staying over at a fellow friend’s Neohome.” Scenette nodded and gritted her teeth; it was obvious that she was lying.
“I don’t believe you!” shouted Boochi, and pushed the door with such force that it hit Xjordy and he squeaked.
Realizing what danger he had put himself in, Xjordy clasped a paw to his mouth. It was over now; he was done for! Boochi grinned maliciously and pulled the door away from the wall. There was Xjordy, cowering against the doorframe. Scenette was still in the kitchen, eyes closed tightly, crossing her fingers that her Neopet would be alright.
“Xjordy, I’ve been watching you. I’ve been watching you for a very long time,” said Boochi to the Acara. Xjordy was confused. Why watch him, of all Neopets?
“Why have you been watching me? I’m just a normal Neopet! I haven’t done anything to you!” Xjordy clutched his Judge Hog plushie and hoped that someone would come. The situation reminded him of the story Scenette had been reading to him; Donna was just another ordinary Neopet, but she was targeted by evil, too... Scenette never finished the story, so there was no obvious solution to his dilemma.
“Enough talk, it’s time!” Boochi cried, and he put out his ray gun in front of him, his flipper on the trigger. Boochi was going to turn Xjordy into a Baby Neopet and ruin his glorious Royal look. Just as he was about to pull it, Scenette burst through the door. But it was too late; a flood of bright light was emitted from the ray gun and Xjordy pleaded, shouted and screamed.
He was instantly transformed. His crown was knocked off his head and it shattered into tiny pieces as it hit the ground; his body shrank to less than one tenth its original size so that his clothes covered him from head to toe; his Judge Hog plushie fell to the floor; he wasn’t big enough to even hold that, now. However, the door hit Boochi in the process, knocking him unconscious. Scenette stepped over him and picked up her Neopet. He burst out crying just like you’d expect a Baby Neopet to. Scenette bit her lip... whatever was she going to do now?!
Pulling the power switch down, the lights instantly came back on. The storm was clearing up now, and the wind had died down a little bit. Scenette called for the Defenders of Neopia; there was nothing else she could do with Boochi. He was out cold anyway, and he wouldn’t be waking up any time soon.
The Defenders knocked on the front door; Boochi had been a wanted suspect for many months now. They were only too happy to clasp handcuffs on the back of his flippers and take him away. One of the Defenders walked through the door and greeted both Scenette and Xjordy.
“He got you too, then?” he said with a sigh.
Scenette and Xjordy nodded.
“There’s not a lot we can do about the change; you’ll just have to buy a paint brush and repaint him,” he said to Scenette, shrugging. “I just wish we could do more for you.”
Scenette nodded again.
“What’s going to happen to Boochi now? How many Neopets has he hit before my dear Acara?” Scenette asked.
“It’s impossible to tell,” the Defender began. “We’re called to as many as fifty other incidents a day. Boochi is always long gone by the time we get there, though. You did us a huge favour by knocking him out first! Of course, now he’s gone, Neopets will be safe and need not worry about being turned into a Baby Neopet by some maniac bruce named Boochi.”
Xjordy looked up and giggled, Scenette managed a smile, and the Defender grinned.
“We’d better be off, need to question him and all.” The Defender sighed. He tipped his hat, said goodnight, and left. Scenette picked up her Baby Acara and took him to bed. It had been a long day and they were both tired. Scenette fell asleep next to Xjordy, the nightlight still on.
The next day...
The sun shone bright through the window of Xjordy’s bedroom and Scenette woke with a start. She looked over at the clock that was on the bedside table. It said 11:21AM. She got to her feet and proceeded to walk to the kitchen to make breakfast. Xjordy came down too and they ate together. Scenette picked up the new Neopian Times issue that was delivered to their house every day. She unfolded it while drinking her glass of orange juice and began reading the headline.
“What the... No! This can’t be right!” Scenette began to choke and splutter on the orange juice. She seemed really surprised, yet there was a tone of anxiety in her voice. Xjordy raised an eyebrow.
“What’s the matter?” he asked. Curious to know what the headline was, he jumped off his stool and leaned over the page she had in her hand. His mouth was wide open with shock. It was not what they had expected, not at all.
The headline read: “BOOCHI ESCAPES FROM MEEPIT ASYLUM: NEOPETS BEWARE!”