In Grave Lettering (A Halloween Tribute)
Author's note: This story is inspired by the “Scary Abandoned Plushie” TCG card. Hopefully, this one will get in the NT just in time for Hallow’s Eve. C:
Happy Halloween to all of you!
...and beware of tea. *nods head*
Five Neopians Missing; DoN Suspects Foul Play
written by Sal D. Usul; Haunted Woods Reader, Issue 753
DESERTED FAIRGROUND, HAUNTED WOODS -- Five more Neopians are reported missing last night, raising the count to sixteen and causing an uproar in one of the towns near the Deserted Fairgrounds. The Defenders of Neopia (DoN) are still investigating this case, but so far no clues of these pets’ whereabouts are found, and their names are not to be disclosed until further notice.
“Apparently, they were last seen wandering about in their village, minding their own business,” commented a DoN member who prefers to remain unknown. “Then they would simply disappear.”
The DoN continues to investigate this case and advises the residents of the Haunted Woods to report any suspicious activity they see.
Phoebe tossed the Haunted Woods Reader aside, and sat by the porch. Beside her, the candle flickered, its flame growing dimmer and dimmer as each gust of wind whispered by.
Twenty-seven hours had passed since she last saw him, and each second was like a slap to her face.
”Get lost!” she yelled at him, turning to slam the door shut.
“I’m sorry!” Owen tried to apologize. “I didn’t mean to!”
The Acara glared at her brother, holding the broken pieces of the old porcelain cup, the only thing she had to remember her mother by. “I don’t want to see you again.” She threw the feathered cap at him.
She didn’t mean it, but fate was nearby to hear and grant her wish.
She had lost him, all for a silly thing as that.
“Phoebe?” a voice spoke kindly. She turned to see Quill standing by the pathway, holding a little book in her hands. “You can’t sleep either?”
The Blue Acara shook her head. “No.” Who in their right minds would, knowing that a terrible fate awaited them, lurking and waiting?
“Mind if I stay here?” the Pteri asked, and Phoebe nodded, moving aside to give space to her friend.
“This was Natalie’s favorite book,” Quill said quietly, holding it gently in her hands. “Mother and Father are worried...” she trailed off, looking in the dark immense forest beyond them.
Phoebe knew that Quill’s sister had also gone with the others; she was one of Owen’s friends, one of the five who disappeared into the mist.
“They’ll be back.” The Acara tried to sound as though she was certain. “Kyro and Lyrici and Mello and Natalie and Owen... they will be back.”
But her heart didn’t believe it.
The two held their vigil in silence, until the chime of the bells told them that it was a quarter to midnight.
“I have to go.” Quill stood up.
“I’ll go with you.” Though the Pteri’s home was only a few houses across the street, they couldn’t take any chances.
A dark cloud hung above them.
Neovian Citizen Apprehended for Dark Magic
written by Zaf O. Reely; Haunted Woods Reader, Issue 67
NEOVIA, HAUNTED WOODS -- A young sorceress was apprehended by the Defenders of Neopia (DoN) early this morning for making a deal with one of the Dark Faeries in the Haunted Woods Area.
“She was talking about some sort of Elixir of Youth!” an eyewitness to the event claimed. “It’s too good to be true, I believe, and you can’t trust those Dark Faeries!”
The sorceress’ identity shall remain confidential until further notice.
The Acara turned. She knew that voice anywhere! It continued to call -- he continued to call. She ran towards the voice, trying to find out where it was coming from.
“Owen!” she yelled. “Where are you?”
Then she saw him, a silhouette in the distance.
“Owen!” She stumbled in her hurry to get to him. Phoebe quickly jumped to her feet to continue running. “Owen! I’m sorr--” She stopped as she stared at the empty space before her.
He was gone.
Hissi Brings Home the Gold, Spells Disaster
written by Elleni Ruki; Haunted Woods Reader, Issue 18
NEOVIA, HAUNTED WOODS -- A Hissi by the name of Anabelle Summers proved to be the champion when she won the coveted gold trophy in the Haunted Woods Annual Spelling Bee Competition.
However, her victory over the others raised a lot of questions regarding whether or not Ms. Summers deserved to win it.
“She has magic,” said a classmate, a Plushie Cybunny by the name of Tiralee. “She may have used it to cheat!”
Ms. Summers denies of ever using up her magic to gain advantage over them.
An investigation is ongoing to seek the truth of it all.
“Owen...” Her voice died in a whisper. He was here; she saw him for crying out loud!
“Are you looking for something, my dear?” said someone behind her. An Elderly Hissi walked towards her.
“I’m looking for someone,” she replied. “He’s an Acara, like me. Has the same dark blue hair, the same blue eyes... and he has some sort of feathered cap with him. Always.”
The Hissi shook her head. “I haven’t seen anyone by that description. In fact, I haven’t seen anyone pass by here at all with all the disappearing things and whatnot!”
“He was one of those missing.”
“He was?” The Hissi wore an expression of pity. “Oh, you poor dear.”
“I guess I just imagined it,” Phoebe sighed, exasperated. “I better go. Thank you anyway.”
“At this hour?” The Hissi shook her head. “Oh no... terrible things have been happening.”
Phoebe shook her head. “I don’t mean to be a bother--”
“I don’t mind. I don’t get much visitors these days.”
“Well, if you insist, Miss...”
“Anabelle,” the Hissi replied. “Ms. Anabelle Summers. Would you like some tea?” She opened the door to the shabby-looking house.
Phoebe smiled. “If that’s all right.” Ms. Anabelle handed her a porcelain cup. She gladly took a sip of it, and she was instantly overwhelmed by the taste. She couldn’t quite place it. It was bitter and sweet, with a bit of spice here and there. “Thank you.”
“No problem, dear,” Ms. Anabelle said. “I’ll be in the next room. Stay here, and maybe take a look at my collection.” She gestured at the walls of the living room. Several plushies were lined up against the shelves, all with golden plaques underneath them.
“You collect these?”
”Yes,” Ms. Anabelle replied. “Take a look around if you wish.”
And Phoebe did.
She glanced at the labels and noticed that they were alphabetical, which seemed quite strange since there was nothing remotely alphabetical in their order. They were a mixture of Kacheeks, Usuls, Shoyrus, Draiks, and all the other species of Neopets out there.
And they stared so... eerily.
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L. M, N, O...
“That looks like--” She suddenly stopped, and noticed how one of the plushie Acaras looked familiar. She’d recognize that little feather cap anywhere. But that couldn’t be...
Phoebe stepped back, and glanced at the others.
And the plushies staring at her bore their faces, twisted in pain.
The young Acara slowly turned to the right and saw only an empty space, one letter engraved on the golden sign below it.
P for Phoebe.
She dropped the cup and hastened to the door, only to find the Elderly Hissi blocking her way, a sweet smile plastered on her face. “Is this a way to treat your host, my dear?”
“Get away from me!” Phoebe screamed, trying to dart her way past the insane Hissi before her, but something held her back, a great force of sorts that brought her on her knees.
“That’s not a good way to speak to your host either.” Ms. Anabelle laughed, her features looking younger and younger. “Another one for my collection, and another youth to grant me power. What’s the next letter after ‘P’, Phoebe?”
Q for Quill.
No... no! She won’t let it happen! The Acara fought to get up, only to find that her legs were numb and cold.
The Hissi grinned malevolently at her, her emerald eyes glowing with power. “You think of someone... someone named... Quill.” She patted the Acara on the head. “Thank you for the suggestion, my dear. Now off you go to the top of the shelf.”
Phoebe used up all the strength she could muster to try and ward her off, but darkness closed in and overtook her.
The last thing she heard was the sound of cackling in the distance.
31st October, 2008
“So much for Halloween,” Caylir sighed as she watched the rain fall aimlessly on the soggy ground. The wind howled at her, knocking itself back and forth at the sheet of glass separating the Korbat from the damp world outside.
“Tough luck,” Caedir said dryly. “A waste of neopoints too.” She grumbled about having to spend a fortune getting to this place in time for The Event of the year.
She was looking forward to trick-or-treating through the streets of the Haunted Woods and attending the concert at the Town Square, but all those plans were dashed by the sudden onslaught of rain.
“I wish the rain would stop,” Cay sighed yet again.
It only rained harder.
“Wonderful,” Caedir commented, sitting beside her sister. “You have a curse for making things worse.” The Peophin brushed aside a strand of her dark purple hair away from her crimson eyes, and picked up one of the Hallow Hotel pamphlets on the desk.
She browsed through it, only to find out that the supposed “Interesting things to do at The Hallow Hotel!” listed there were not interesting at all.
“Nope.” Caedir tossed the leaflet back at the table. Then she spotted something on top of it. “What’s this thing?” It looked rather ragged with only a bunch of stitches keeping from falling apart. Stuffing oozed out of it and its button for an eye stared out at her creepily.
“I got it yesterday at an auction.” The Korbat got up and hugged the old Acara plushie in an embrace. “The poor thing was all alone. Nobody came to bid on it.”
“I could see why.” Caedir grimaced as her sister shoved the thing into her hands. She dropped it in disgust. “I just washed my hands. Thanks.”
“And the young lady who auctioned it off was very glad to be rid of it. You could see it in those dark green eyes of hers.”
“Amazing. Any other fun fact?” Caedir rolled her eyes.
“Yup!” Cay jumped up, and the Peophin slapped herself mentally for even trying to use sarcasm around her obviously optimistic sister. “The lady told me that she had a name.” She gestured towards the plushie.
“And that would be?” She pretended to look quite interested.
Caylir smiled as she placed the Acara plushie on the table and gave it a pat on the head. “Her name is Phoebe. It’s a nice name, isn’t it?”