The Jigsaw Puzzle
"The strangest jigsaw puzzle in the world."
That's what it said on the cover. Thyme looked
at it. It didn't seem all that strange. He blew off the rest of the dust that
had collected on the top of the box. Now that all the grime had been cleared
away Thyme could see the package better. There wasn't much to look at. The image
on the box had been scraped off so only the title was still visible.
The red Bori looked at the cover again.
"The strangest jigsaw puzzle in the world"
He shrugged. He had done lots of jigsaws in the
past and didn't see what was so different about this one. He slid his claws
under the cover of the box. Good. The tape was still there, that usually meant
that all the pieces were there too.
Thyme took the jigsaw to the front of the shop.
The red Lupe at the register sat waiting for a customer.
"I would like to buy this please."
The Lupe put on her eyeglasses and peered over
at the jigsaw. She frowned then took her spectacles off.
"You sure you found that in my shop Bori?"
Thyme nodded, "Yes Ma'm, over in the back."
The lupe shook her head, "I've never seen it
before," she insisted, "but if you say it was from my shop then it probably
was, you probably wouldn't want to pay me for someone else's things."
The Bori nodded. "I'll put it back if you don't
want to sell it to me." Thyme desperately hoped she wouldn't make him return
it, the puzzle was screaming at him to put it together.
The lupe smiled at him. "You're a nice young
Bori, I'll give it to you for only 10 Neopoints, no one else would want it anyway."
The Bori grinned; this was a much better deal
than he expected. Now he could go home and work on the puzzle in peace, his
owner was out for the weekend.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
The Lupe nodded solemnly, "Very good, now come
back after your done and tell me what it is."
The Bori walked out laughing and smiling. When
Thyme got home he immediately went into his room, the light green fern wallpaper
clashing horribly against his dark red fur. He made himself a sandwich and sat
down at the table. He sliced through the tape holding the lid down and started
to get to work.
He started with flipping all the pieces face
up on the table then separating them by color. The picture was slightly smudgy
but the colors were still in good condition. He stopped looking at an odd shaped
green tile. The green on the puzzle piece looked exactly like the color of his
Was his wallpaper really that old? After sorting
them by color then by insides and borders he started to assemble the pieces.
Thyme decided to do the green patterned pieces first, curious about its resemblance
to his own wall.
A half-hour had gone by before Thyme stopped.
The puzzle pieces seemed to be making up a room as far as he could tell. He
looked at the green tiles on the table then at his wall. Then repeated the motion.
The puzzle's wallpaper was the exact same as
his own. Now Thyme was really interested. How many pieces did the jigsaw have,
he wondered. He looked at the box.
"Number of pieces;" the box read, "Varies but
nearly always completes."
Thyme frowned. Maybe this was the strangest jigsaw
puzzle in the world. He looked back at the table where the unfinished jigsaw
lay. Did he really want to finish the puzzle? What would the picture show?
The Bori looked at the pictures in some of the
remaining pieces. This one showed a claw, a Grarrl's perhaps? Another
showed a large red ear, maybe an Usul's, he thought.
He sat down again. He really did want to finish
the puzzle. Thyme snickered at himself. What was he afraid of, it's only a puzzle.
Another hour went by before thyme rested from
his work. He was right it was definitely a room, slightly dark but nevertheless.
It showed a window and a table with two sets of claws hanging in-between its
legs, an unfinished bookshelf in the corner, I'll do that next, Thyme decided,
it also showed a light yellow rug, its color brightened by an unshown moonbeam.
He stopped searching for the black and blue striped pieces that made up the
bookrack and looked again at the rug.
He looked at the floor. Then at the puzzle again.
It was the same. The exact equivalent in every way, right down the dark stain
on its edge.
Thyme's eyes widened and he pushed himself away
from the large table. His heart started to pound harder, harder, harder! He
started to shake and his teeth chattered even though it was summer. He paced
through the house trying to find, something, anything to do but that strange
He couldn't. He stopped dead in his tracks. He
wanted to finish the puzzle. He wanted to find out what it showed. He couldn't
stand not knowing. Thyme took a deep breath and headed back up to his room.
It was dark. The shade was pulled down and the
lights were off. Thyme flicked the switch with his paw and waited. Nothing happened.
He giggled humorlessly, more in terror than on whim.
The Bori used his big claws to feel about in
the dark; he stumbled to the edge of the room and pulled up the shade that was
down. It snapped up, filling the room with light from the full moon. He sighed
and reassured himself.
It's only a puzzle, he thought, what
harm can it do?
Thyme steadied himself and returned to the table.
He decided to work from the window down, matching color to color, shape to shape.
Another hour went by, Thyme had forced himself the entire time not to look at
the puzzle, but to concentrate on finding the niche for every piece.
Thyme closed his eyes and massaged his neck with
one claw, it had gotten darker and was now getting harder to see the puzzle.
He looked at the jigsaw and gasped.
He was looking at himself.
The picture had become as sharp as the colors
it had first held and it hit Thyme like a knife. His eyes widened and he couldn't
breath. He raised a clenched fist to knock the puzzle apart when -
He suddenly realized; he was missing a piece.
He looked at the puzzle closely, trying to avoid gazing into the eyes of his
reflection. It was actually two pieces, right where the moon would be.
Could it really be that bad? He decided to look
for the final two parts.
The Bori rechecked the table, ran his paws along
the surface of the puzzle to check for lumps, and ducked down to look under
the table to no avail. Thyme laughed.
It was just a puzzle, a stupid unfinished puzzle
with two pieces missing. Thyme laughed again and picked up the box, reading.
"Number of pieces; Varies but nearly always completes."
Thyme smiled and was about to put the top down when he saw something.
The last two pieces. Thyme dropped the lid on
the table and scooped up the two remaining pieces. He looked at them but couldn't
tell what they depicted. He slowly slid one into its place in the window.
It was half a face. Ugly and contorted, it looked
like nothing he had ever seen before, a mix of two animals that had produced
a hybrid monster. His paw trembled putting the last piece in.
It wasn't real then, was it? he thought.
Of course it wasn't. That-that-that thing in the window couldn't be real. Thyme
looked at the picture again; every detail was in order, the exact expression
of his face, the whirls of the plush rug, even the titles of the books, but
then the face. Everything but it was there in the room; it must be just a cruel
resemblance to life, coming out of an imaginative artist's head.
He sighed, relieved and turned around. Then he
screamed. The face, it was there.