The Ultimate Cheat
Peggy Poogle smiled at her children as she tucked them firmly in bed with their toys and petpets snuggled in next to them. Reuben closed his eyes and then opened them again just to look his mother squarely in the eyes. He said, “Make up a story, Mommy. About a Gelert this time... please.”
Peggy smiled down at the blue Poogle and stroked his face softly; she had intended to say no, but his face only begged as if he knew of her answer before she gave it. She sighed and glanced over to Izzy, whose eyes only reflected her brother’s.
Crossing her arms, she said, “Fine, but right after the story, you have to go to sleep, do you hear me?” Then she walked over to Izzy and patted her head before saying, “Alright then. Once upon a time...”
“No! Don’t use once upon a time, Mommy! You have to make it original. Please?” Izzy screamed before Peggy could go on. Peggy rolled her eyes and looked at Izzy with her hands on her hips. She sighed and laughed, “Okay then. How about this one, Miss ‘Be Original’? A long time ago before any of us were born, there was a Gelert named Randolph. Not Randolph the great or magnificent. He wasn’t painted any special colors either. Randolph was red; nothing more and nothing less. He was just, well, ordinary.
“Randolph spent most of his days playing games; his favorite game was cheat. This is where our story begins, my darlings. The real story. It was a sunny Saturday afternoon when Randolph decided to play cheat. Today... his eyes were set on playing the best of the best. Spectre. This would be the day that Randolph finally became someone important. He would become the Cheat champion. He had been waiting for this day for years.
“This was all on his mind as he came to the spot where the game is played, but as soon as he was there, it all crumbled. After all, there was a huge fuss going on about someone being missing. Not just anyone; Spectre was the one gone. When Randolph heard this, he panicked. How was he supposed to win against the great Spectre now? Closing his eyes, he turned to leave when he heard a small voice. It may have been his imagination, but he didn’t think so. So, he followed where he thought the voice was coming from.
“Coming to a mysterious building, Randolph stopped completely. It looked ominous and a shiver of fright went through his body. Every nerve told him to turn back. To just look elsewhere. Then he heard the agonizing screams and the evil laugh. Every muscle in his body ached as he heard the voice again. This time, it was commanding him to enter the building. His heart raced. He refused. This could not and would not happen.
“After all, he had heard the stories and seen the pets who had suffered the results. Beautiful faerie pets turned mutant. Sometimes, the results were good, but most of the time, they weren’t. Then again, sometimes nothing happened. Whatever would or could happen did not matter at the moment because as all of these thoughts raced through Randolph’s mind, he found himself walking toward the building. He tried to stop, but he couldn’t. It was as if the evil of this place had consumed him. There was that voice again. That small voice that told him he needed to go in the building.
“Finally, Randolph entered the building and his body stiffened as he saw the mad scientist and the mad scientist smiled back at him. He laughed, ‘Now, finally, I thought you would never come. I have been waiting to meet you for a long time. It was destiny. If you believe in that kind of thing.’ An evil chuckle left the mad scientist’s mouth as he walked over to Randolph and jerked the Gelert’s chin up to look at him. He frowned and forcefully turned Randolph’s head from one side to another to get a good look at him. As he did so, the frown was replaced by a wicked smile and he laughed, ‘Yes, I believe you will do just fine. If the lab ray likes you, of course. Come with me. You are second in line today. So just wait right here where you can watch.’
“Then, the mad scientist left Randolph where he had a perfect view of the lab ray and the poor pet that was going before him. When he saw the face, his eyes widened. Was that Spectre? It was and the Jetsam looked terrified as the lab ray directed itself on him. He begged and pleaded, but there was no mercy in the mad scientist that day. He laughed and that was when it happened. A bright flash of light hit Spectre and when it was gone, Randolph choked at what he was seeing. In the place of the red Jetsam was a female mutant Quiggle.
“With that sight, Randolph wanted to turn and he wanted to run. He watched as the pet who used to be Spectre began to cry and the mad scientist shoved her out of the way. He told her to leave then, that she had only brought the change upon herself. After she was gone, he smiled wickedly at Randolph and led him in front of the lab ray. It was then that Randolph went into hysterics. He begged, pleaded and cried, but the mad scientist would have none of it.
“He laughed, ‘It won’t hurt a bit... well, maybe just a bit.’ Then, the lab ray started and it hit Randolph squarely in the chest. As it did, Randolph felt a slight pain in his neck and head. He squirmed, but he was trapped in this transformation. There was no way out and definitely no escape. When it was all over, the mad scientist laughed hysterically and pushed a tall, black cracked mirror in front of Randolph. Staring back at him was not a Gelert, but a Jetsam. A Jetsam that looked identical to the one the mad scientist had just directed his lab ray towards. Randolph looked like Spectre.
“The mad scientist laughed and asked, ‘Do you have any ideas of what you could do in this form?’ Randolph only stared at his reflection as all of the ideas coursed through his mind. Then, there was one that sparked in his mind brighter than any other. He looked like Spectre and he had begun this day convinced he would be the new Cheat champion. A smile came to his face and he ran out of the building before the mad scientist could change his mind.
“As he came back to the group of frenzied pets, he found that everyone was turning to look at him. He smiled and everyone looked at him with relieved expressions. Then, the games began along with Randolph becoming Spectre. From that day forth, Randolph was the ultimate Cheat champion. Not just because of the game, but because no one ever suspected that their extraordinary Spectre used to be an ordinary red Gelert. The End.” As Peggy finished the story, she looked at her children with a small smile. They were both almost asleep, but Izzy had a curious look on her face.
Izzy mumbled, “Mommy, did that really happen? Would the mad scientist really choose a random pet to do that to?”
A sad smile came to Peggy’s face as she looked up at the ceiling. How would she answer her darling Izzy? Sighing, she whispered, “No, darling. That would never happen. At least to you.” Then, she left the room as the weight of the half-truth dragged her down. It would never happen to Izzy, but it had happened to Peggy. She would never forget her first or second encounter with the lab ray. The first had turned her into Spectre. Now, she was a happy Poogle mother.
If this is published, this is my first piece in the Neopian Times! ^^