Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 97,025,825 Issue: 191 | 21st day of Hunting, Y7
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A Day of Infamy: Part One


by shadih_temporary

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All over Neopia, millions of pets talk of a magical machine… a machine so incredible, that it has the power to give birth to a Neopet at the simple push of a button. This particular machine is known none other than as the Create-A-Pet Machine, or the CAP.

      Legend has it that a mystical Light Faerie came down upon Neopia from the sky when she found that there weren't enough pets in Neopia. She felt that the pets currently in this world needed friends. So, she began to build a contraption that would literally create pets. The mystical faerie worked day and night on the machine. Ten years had gone past, but the faerie was finally done with her machine.

      With her last pinch of magic (which had worn out over the years of construction), the Faerie granted the machine the power to do just what it was called: create a pet. And at that moment, the Light Faerie fell to the ground, unable to flap her wings and fly ever again.

      Thanks to that Faerie's sacrifice, Neopia shall never be lonely again. Yet, some pets began to get thoughts of something horrible happening.

      The same question ran through the mind of many pets: "What if a Dark Faerie granted her powers to the machine?"

     ***

      "I've told you over and over again, Samantha!" snapped a rather aggravated human. "You're going to make a sister!"

      "But, Mom!" whined Samantha, a Yellow Aisha.

      "Hey now, I never said we couldn't go get a pet from the pound!" the human, Samantha's owner, Sal, exclaimed.

      "I don't want a sister from the pound!" Samantha yelled angrily at her owner. "The pets from the pound are all scraggly and raggedy and depressed and stuff! I'd rather use the CAP Machine! Or the Create-a-Pet Machine, whatever they're calling it nowadays! At least then, I can get a sister who is exactly how I want her to be!"

      "Samantha, the answer is NO," Sal crossed her arms. "You can't always get what you want,"

      "But-" Samantha began.

      "No 'but's!" Sal interrupted the Aisha. "Now, hurry up and get to school! You're going to be late!"

      That's when Samantha noticed the time on the clock, which was hanging on the wall behind Sal. It was 7:25 AM. School started in just 5 minutes! Samantha quickly lifted her heavy backpack off of the carpet. She dashed out the front door without even saying goodbye to her owner.

     ***

      "Man, Sam, that owner of yours is a real jerk-off!" exclaimed a Yellow Wocky named Darcy.

      "C'mon, Darcy," AJ, a Green Kyrii, spoke. "I'm sure Samantha's owner feels that there are more than enough suffering pets out there without homes, and that it would be best to take one of those pets into their household rather than introducing a new pet to Neopia."

      "Shut up," Darcy sneered.

      "Well, I guess you've got a point there, AJ," Samantha sighed and collapsed on the green grass before her.

      The trio of pets was in the field of grass right in front of the school. The bell dismissing students from school for the day had just rung about fifteen minutes ago. No kids were left on the school grounds, just teachers.

      Darcy placed her paws on her hips and shook her head at Samantha. "Tsk, tsk, tsk…" She let her jean purse slide off her left arm and into her paw. Darcy dug around in the purse with her other paw.

      She always carries that purse around, Samantha thought.

      Finally, Darcy removed her paw from the purse, a compact mirror within her grasp. She slid the purse back up her arm and started towards Samantha. She placed her right paw on the Aisha's shoulder, holding the mirror in front of her face.

      "What do you see?" Darcy asked Samantha.

      "Erm…" Samantha was rather confused. "My face?"

      Darcy chuckled. "I see loneliness. Depression. And to wash your face clean of these dirty diseases, all you need is company," Darcy snapped the compact mirror shut and drew it away from Samantha's face. "Sam, forget your owner! You need to march down to the CAP Machine at once and get yourself a sister!"

      Samantha stared at Darcy in disbelief. Most of the time, the snobby Wocky only cared for herself. Right now, it seemed as if she was caring for Samantha a little. Or, it could have been that Darcy just wanted Sal to get very angry with Samantha.

      "But, Darcy. Sal told her she couldn't," AJ always was the honest one.

      "AJ, for the last time: Shut up!" Darcy whirled around and glared at the Kyrii. AJ laughed nervously and took a step back.

      "Well, yeah," Samantha stood up. "My owner did tell me I couldn't use the machine,"

      "Who cares about Sal right now?!" Darcy waved her arms in the air.

      "Maybe Sam does?" AJ suggested.

      Darcy spun around once more and snarled in AJ's face. "Do you want me to eat you alive?!"

      "Darcy, lay off him," Samantha sighed. "I do want a sister… but I don't want to make my owner mad. That's not cool."

      "Sal's not cool to you! So, why should you be cool to her?!" Darcy protested.

      "You've got a point there," Samantha smiled.

      "Now, Sam-" AJ began.

      Darcy cut him off as she flung her jean purse forward and whacked him upside the head with it. AJ grunted and toppled face-first onto the grass. Darcy burst out laughing.

      Suddenly, a group of five pets on bicycles raced through the grass, tossing issues of the Neopian Times at any pets they could see.

      "Extra, extra!" cried a Grey Gelert on a red bicycle.

      She fished through a sack of newspapers hanging on her bike and removed two. The Gelert tossed the newspapers at Darcy and AJ, who hopped into the air and caught them.

      "Hey!" AJ called to the five pets on bicycles, waving his newspaper in the air. "The Neopian Times isn't supposed to be released until this Friday! It's only Tuesday!"

      But the pets had rode out of sight.

      "That was… weird," Darcy kind of laughed to herself.

      She cleared her throat and unfolded the newspaper, blowing a few strands of fur away that had fallen in her eyes. What AJ and Darcy then saw left them speechless.

      Printed in huge letters and bold font on the cover of the Neopian Times read: "CAP Machine Creates-a-Monster!" Darcy and AJ exchanged glances, and then began reading the article very quickly.

      The article talked of how just yesterday three pets entered the CAP building, hoping to create pets for themselves. Yet, when the pets had entered all the information for their new pet, they got something other than what they asked for. The article focused mainly on a young Bori who requested to create another Bori. The result was a freakishly skinny Bori with extremely pale blue fur and eyes that were completely black. One of the most noticeable features of the Bori was its mouth. Its jaw was able to drop twice as far as the average Bori, and razor-sharp teeth lined its mouth.

      Once the Bori adjusted to its surroundings, it responded with immediate violent activity. The Bori lunged at the particular Bori that had requested for it. The "zombie" Bori, so to speak, hopped onto the other Bori and breathed over its face. The healthy Bori was soon transformed into a zombie as well. Both zombified pets have been taken into custody, trapped behind iron bars. As of now, the CAP machine is off-limits.

      "Whoa," AJ could hardly speak. The thought of a zombified pet terrified him.

      "This is awful!" Darcy cried. "Sam, you have to read-"

      But Samantha was nowhere to be seen.

      "Sam?" Darcy gulped, looking around the field.

      "Where could she have gone?" AJ inquired.

      "Hmm…" Darcy continued to scan the area. "Oh, there!"

      The Yellow Wocky quickly pointed to AJ's right. AJ turned his head to see the faded image of Samantha darting through the bright green grass and heading right for the CAP building.

      "Oh no!" AJ gasped. "She's going to create her sister!"

      "But she doesn't know about the zombies!" Darcy hopped up and down.

      Darcy quickly folded up her newspaper and jammed it into her purse. She then bolted through the field of grass, AJ tagging right alongside her.

      "Sam! Sam!"

      "Samantha!"

      But Samantha couldn't hear her friends. They were too far behind. Samantha had already reached the CAP building and was jogging up the stone steps leading into the building. She pushed open the double doors and ran right into a yellow ribbon hanging all throughout the building. Samantha paid no attention to the ribbon, and jumped right over them, bolting right past two Chia Police in a small office to the left and down a long corridor leading towards the main room… where the CAP Machine was.

      She flew past posters of the Light Faerie who supposedly created the CAP Machine nailed to the wall. The Light Faerie looked so young… so beautiful… so full of magic. Each poster had a different quote printed at the bottom of it. Only three caught Samantha's eyes as she raced down the corridor:

      "I want to create a machine so magical that it has the power to create a pet!"

      "The highest tower in Faerieland is where I reside."

      "The Create-a-Pet Machine has been born! Alas… my magic has died…"

      It only took about two minutes for Darcy and AJ to reach the stone steps leading into the CAP building. The kicked the double doors open and ran right into the yellow ribbon just as Samantha had done. But this time, Darcy and AJ took the time to read what the ribbons had printed on them: "CHIA POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS".

      The two pets exchanged glances, and then hopped over the ribbons. They spotted Samantha reach the end of the corridor and enter the room where the CAP Machine was kept, letting the door shut behind her.

      "Samantha! No!" AJ cried.

      Darcy and AJ then attempted to run down the corridor after their friend, but the Chia Police suddenly stepped in front of them, angry looks pasted on their faces.

      "Where do you think you're going?" the first Chia said.

      "This building is off-limits to any citizens," the second Chia pointed out.

      "No!" Darcy cried. "You see, our friend just ran into this building to go create a pet and-"

      "No one is in here but us," the first Chia grunted.

      "We would have seen your friend if they came in here," the second crossed his arms.

      "Listen to me!" Darcy snapped. "You have to stop her! She's going to create a pet, and it's going to come out as a zombie!"

      "Look, I'm going to have to ask you two to leave the premises," the first Chia ordered.

      "SAMANTHA!" AJ suddenly cried at the top of his lungs, seeing as he could think of nothing more to do.

      In the CAP Machine room, Samantha turned her head to look at the door in which she had entered the room.

      "AJ?" she said, aloud.

      Samantha waited a moment, and then shrugged. She then turned to face the control panel that operated the machine. It was supposed to only be touched by professionals. But since there were no professionals around, Samantha figured she was the next best thing. She quickly and carefully selected all that she needed for her new sister: the name, species, colour, gender, etc.

      Back at the beginning of the corridor, Darcy and AJ fought desperately to get past the Chia Police. Finally, AJ managed to push one of the Chias to the side and dart down the corridor to the CAP Machine Room. Darcy tried to follow, but was held back by the Chias.

      "Go get her, AJ!" Darcy exclaimed.

      "One got away!" the first Chia yelled.

      "Thank you, Captain Obvious!" sneered the second Chia.

      AJ quickly kicked open the door leading into the CAP room to find Samantha with her finger right above the button that would began creating her sister.

      "Samantha, don't!" AJ yelled.

      But it was too late. Samantha did turn to look at AJ, but it was after her finger pressed down on the red button. AJ lunged forward and pushed her away from the control panel. She backed up against a cage covered in a dark green sheet. "Hey! What was that for?!"

      AJ stared nervously at the control panel. The buttons on the panel and on the actual machine began to flicker insanely. Without thinking, AJ began pushing random buttons and pulling random levers.

      "AJ, stop!" Samantha commanded.

      Suddenly, the cage behind her began to shake viciously. Samantha whirled around to face the cage, wondering what could have been inside. Very slowly, the Aisha reached her arm forward and grasped the dark green sheet covering the cage. She took a deep breath, swallowed, and flung the sheet off the cage.

      Both AJ and Samantha toppled backwards onto the cold, stone floor beneath them. Inside the cage was none other than one of the Bori zombies talked of in the newspaper article. The Bori opened its mouth unusually wide and snarled vigorously at the two pets. It stuck its arm through a hole in the cage and began swiping at the air.

      "What in the world is THAT?" Samantha grew sickly just looking at the Bori.

      "Samantha…" AJ whispered, shaking. "We have to get out of this place… now!"

      Samantha nodded, her eyes beginning to tear. She stood up, and so did AJ. Quickly, they stepped towards the door leading out of the room. Samantha placed her hand on the doorknob, but did not open it. For as soon as her hand grasped the doorknob, she heard a BEEP BEEP! sound, indicating that the CAP Machine was done creating its pet.

      Samantha cautiously turned her head to the right, until she could clearly see what was behind her. Samantha and AJ gasped as one, horrified at the sight. It was a Yellow Aisha. Yet, it had particularly pale fur and eyes as black as the night sky. The Aisha, whose ear stalks drooped, opened its mouth extremely wide and hissed in anger.

      The first Bori then ripped a hole in the cage with its bare hands. It stepped through the hole it had made, and a second Bori in a cage on the other side of the room in which Samantha had overlooked did the same. The three zombified pets stood together, hissing and snarling at AJ and Samantha.

      "We go now!" Samantha screamed.

      She flung the door open and bolted into the long corridor ahead, AJ right behind her. The two Chia police at the end of the corridor turned to look at the terrified AJ and Samantha.

      "Hey, miss, how did you get in here?" the first Chia officer said to Samantha.

      But she didn't have time to answer. All she could do was push the two Chias out of the way and bolt out of the building. AJ stopped before he exited the building and swiftly said, "Darcy! We have to get out of here!"

      Darcy, who was sitting in a folding chair beside the Chias quickly flung her purse up her arm and followed AJ without even asking what was going on. The mindless Aisha and Boris crawled down the corridor on all fours, as if they were wild beasts or something.

      The first Chia's jaw dropped when he noticed the pets. "What the?!"

      The Aisha hopped onto the first Chia's chest and stared him right in the eyes. It snarled loudly, and breathed all over his face. The Chia gasped, breathing in the Aisha's hot and steamy breath. As soon as the Chia did so, everything in his mouth turned black: his tongue, his teeth, everything.

      The second Chia gaped in horror as his companion toppled to the tiled floor, motionless.

      "P-Peter?" said the second Chia.

      He bent down slowly to grab his friend's arm, when suddenly, the first Chia's, Peter's, muscles tightened. His eyes, now pitch black, shot open, and his mouth opened wider than it had ever been able to before. Peter, who had grown extremely pale and developed razor-sharp teeth, shot up and lunged at the second Chia.

      "Nooo!" the second Chia's cries echoed throughout the building.

      By this time, Samantha and her friends had made it far away from the building. They stopped out of breath at a park filled with cheerful and giddy pets. Samantha collapsed on a bench.

      "Does anyone want to tell me what those things were?!" she questioned.

      Darcy reached into her purse and retrieved the Neopian Times delivered to her by the Grey Gelert. She tossed it in Samantha's lap and sat next to her.

      "Read it and weep," said Darcy.

      "Wow… I can't believe this!" Samantha exclaimed as she skimmed the article. "Zombies?"

      "Apparently so." AJ crossed his arms.

      "Why did it happen?" Samantha suddenly said, turning to look at Darcy and AJ.

      Darcy shrugged. "How the heck should I know?"

      "Well, it obviously didn't happen for no reason," Samantha stated. "The CAP Machine has been reliable for years. It's not just going to stare spitting out these-these zombies!!"

      "It could," Darcy swung her feet back and forth over the edge of the bench.

      "No, it couldn't," Samantha argued, hopping off the bench. "I want to find out why this is happening."

      AJ grew wide-eyed. "Samantha, that's crazy! We're only kids! We've gotta leave this kind of stuff to the adults!"

      "What are you, a baby?" Darcy said scornfully. "I think it sounds like fun! Plus, if we find out what is causing this infection, we can stop it! And if we stop it, we'll be famous: known worldwide!"

      Darcy's eyes twinkled as she thought of fame and fortune.

      "Maya, it's time to go!"

      The trio of friends directed their attention to a rather tall, Yellow Zafara with a thick book held carefully in her right hand. She was waving her free arm at something in the distance.

      Samantha followed the Zafara's eyes to find that she was looking towards a smaller, Blue Zafara in the back of the park. The smaller Zafara had its back to the tall Zafara.

      "Honey, it's time to go home!" the tall Zafara cried to the smaller one, Maya.

      Maya outstretched her arm to reveal a small Baby Zafara plushie. She squeezed the plushie extremely tight until it fell to pieces, sending stuffing flying everywhere.

      "Maya!" cried the tall Zafara. "Do you know how much Neopoints that plushie cost me?!"

      Suddenly, Maya spun her head around, snarling in rage. As soon as Samantha spotted the colds, black eyes and the razor-sharp teeth included with the Zafara's facial features, she whispered to herself.

      "She's infected,"

      Then, Maya catapulted off the ground and began crawling furiously towards the pets sitting on the bench.

      "Run!" AJ cried.

      Samantha, Darcy, and AJ took no time for hesitation. They hopped over the bench and began speeding out of the park… but only to be greeted by a huge mob of these so-called "zombies", all snarling and sorting.

      "Aah!" AJ cried out. "Other way!"

      "Way ahead of you!" Darcy called back to AJ.

      She and Samantha had already torn back into the park. The tall, yellow Zafara was screaming in horror as she flung her arm around. The Blue Zafara was clinging vigorously to the Yellow Zafara's arm, trying to get near her face.

      The six other pets who had previously been sitting on the long bench had stood up had stood up and tried to help the Yellow Zafara. Yet, as soon as they saw the large mob consisting of about fifty zombified pets, the pets screamed and cried in terror, darting out of the park.

      That's when Samantha and her friends found themselves to be circled by the zombies.

      "We're trapped!" Samantha exclaimed.

      "Thanks for pointing that out," Darcy rolled her eyes.

      The three pets each had their backs to one another, facing the circle of zombies around them. The horrific pets moaned and mumbled, simply staring at Samantha and the other two.

      "What do we do?" AJ eyed the zombies skeptically, his hands out in front of him and ready to pounce at the sign of any sudden movements.

      "Hmm… I've got an idea," Darcy whispered. "My mom took me to see this really cheesy play one time, and it was about Edna the Witch. You know, the old hag who lives in the Haunted Woods? You know… the girl who played Edna was way too pretty. Well, not as pretty of me, of course. But she could have at least not worn so much-"

      "The point?! Samantha snapped, not taking her eyes off the zombies, who were still standing around the trio and not showing any signs of violence.

      "Oh, right!" Darcy blushed. "Well, in the end, the main character, who's face terrified me, threw a bucket of water at Edna. And guess what?! She melted!"

      AJ blinked. Darcy reached her paw into the water fountain beside her. She cupped her paws together and took out a handful of the cold water.

      "Eat this!" she yelled, flinging her paws at the zombies.

      Tiny droplets of water splashed across the zombies' faces. Suddenly, they opened their mouths extremely wide and hissed with much fury. That's when all fifty of the zombies lunged forward at the trio.

To be continued…

 
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