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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 24th day of Running, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 88 > New Series > The Ghost of Cotton Island: Part One

The Ghost of Cotton Island: Part One

by too_kule

"I've got to hand it to you Mickey, you sure did pick a neat place for our vacation," Lydia the cloud Chomby said as the large boat they were on pulled up the harbour of Cotton Island.

     "Yeah. The brochure promised a great time," replied Mickey the skunk Moehog. "By the way, have you seen Toby?" Suddenly, a buzzing sound could be heard from behind them. The two friends spun around and saw their friend Toby the orange Buzz wobbling in the hair while being propelled by his four paper-thin wings.

     "How you doing Toby?" asked Lydia as she fought back the giggles. It was quite a sight to see, Toby fighting to remain airborne while swaying back and forth.

     "Not good," Toby replied in a nasal voice. "Still haven't completely recovered from that...that...you know..." Toby let his trail off. His orange skin which had a tinge of green from his seasickness was being replaced with a scarlet colour. He was embarrassed. But nobody could blame him. He had gotten seasick from the boat ride over to Cotton Island and when he went over to the boat's side to... er... disgorge, a wave hit the side of the boat knocking the Buzz into the water.

     "Are your wings dry yet?" Mickey inquired as he stifled the giggles with his hoof.

     "No... that's why I can't fly properly, rem... em... A-CHOO!" Toby sneezed, knocking him out of the air and onto the deck of the ship. Suddenly, the boat pulled up to the harbour of Cotton Island while Lydia and Mickey fell to the ground laughing. Eventually, they all got their bags and headed off the boat.

     "Come on guys, let's drop our stuff off at the hotel and then go sight-seeing!" Mickey cried excitedly as he ran off to their hotel.

     They ran to the Cotton Island Neolodge where they had their reservation. They looked around at the extremely spiffy looking Royal Neopian. They checked in and went up to their rooms to drop off their luggage. On the back way down, the clerk at the counter spoke.

     "Enjoy Cotton Island, while you still can," said the Chia forlornly. The four friends their eyebrows and exchanged confused expressions before leaving.

     "I wonder what that Chia meant by enjoying the island while we still can," pondered Lydia aloud. "He looked quite sad."

     "Who cares? Come on, the island awaits!" Mickey exclaimed.

***

The three friends strolled casually down the seaside parkway of Cotton Island with the clerk's statement completely out of their mind. They passed stands of vendors trying to sell their cheesy wares. Different souvenirs were attempted to be sold as the Chomby, Moehog and Buzz explored more of the island. Lydia and Toby crowded around Mickey who had the brochure which he read aloud.

     "Cotton Island, a small island to the south of Meridell, got its name from its number one industry, Cotton Producing. The hundreds of Babaa that roam the planes get sheered by farmers and then the fleece is shipped to the Cotton Warehouse. Cotton Island is responsible for producing 96% of all of Neopia's cotton."

     "Woah, that's pretty neat! Say, do you think the warehouse has tours?" Lydia asked.

     "Yeah, they do! There are two daily tours... and they're free!" Mickey exclaimed.

     "I guess we can go," Toby said as they all ran to find the warehouse.

     They found the warehouse in no time at all. The three friends ran to it and looked up. It towered above anything in the island, besides a small cliff in the west. A large crowd was gathered around the warehouse. They seemed to be yelling something.

     "Please, please, calm down! There's not much I can do! The warehouse will be closed until this problem can be worked out," addressed a compassionate looking Elephante from atop a large crate. The crowd grumbled and shuffled off. Mickey, Lydia and Toby approached the crestfallen Elephante.

     "We just got here... what's the matter?" Toby asked as the Elephante as she sat down on the box with her head rested on her elbows.

     "You're tourists, aren't you?" she asked.

     "Er... yes, how'd you know?" questioned Lydia.

     "If you were islanders, you'd have been here sooner," she grumbled. The Elephante looked up at the three startled friends and smiled compassionately. "My apologies for my behaviour, it's just been a rough couple of days. You see, I'm the owner of the Cotton Warehouse. The workers here have complained about about a ghost or something silly like that haunting the warehouse. I've brought experts on that subject with me to check out the factory, but I've never seen anything of the sort."

     "But why was the crowd so angry?" Mickey asked.

     "I think I know. The warehouse is the focal point of the island. It put Cotton Island on the map," Lydia interjected.

     "Well sort of... you see, the Cotton Warehouse is the focal point of the island, therefore it attracts tourists like you. They come and spend Neopoints all over the island. Without the warehouse, the tourists will eventually stop coming and the island will go bankrupt."

     "Is there anything we can do?" asked Toby.

     "Unless you can banish a ghost I don't even think exists, there isn't much that can be done. It's been going on for six days," the Elephante answered softly. Tears started flowing down her yellow face. Suddenly, a Jetsam with a smug expression approached the four pets.

     "Dearest Sarah, I'm ever so sorry about what happened to your warehouse. Remember, you'll always have a job in my factory," the Jetsam said with an oily voice that sounded far too fake.

     "Hello there Zern. Thanks for you offer," Sarah replied putting a totally insincere smile on her Elephante face to match the Jetsam's smirk. Zern nodded and strolled away with an added skip in his step.

     "Who's he?" Mickey asked.

     "That was Zern. He runs the warehouse for the second highest export of Cotton Island, paper. I hate him so much," Sarah grumbled.

     "Really? He seems nice," Toby said.

     "He's always trying to close the Cotton Warehouse. Now that the warehouse isn't operating anymore, Zern's warehouse will become Cotton Island's number one industry. Well, enough about that. I'd better be going," Sarah said gloomily.

     Lydia, Toby and Mickey watched as the forlorn Elephante walked away from the warehouse.

     "That's really sad... Anyway, what do you want to do first? I heard this place is great for wind surfin--"

     "Mickey, how can you even think about wind surfing at a time like this? We have to help out Sarah," Lydia exclaimed.

     "Do we have to?" Toby asked.

     "Yes! First, we start with the beginning of the problem: the workers. We're going to locate the workers of the warehouse and get some details," Lydia answered. She started walking off. Toby and Mickey shrugged and ran after their friend.

     "Sarah! Just out of interest, where are those workers who worked at the warehouse?" Lydia asked as she jogged up to the Elephante.

     "Most of them got new jobs selling merchandise at the harbour. Why?" Sarah asked.

     "Just out of interest!" Lydia lied with a smile. Sarah walked off as Mickey and Toby ran up. Lydia just nodded and pointed to the harbour. Mickey and Toby followed Lydia to the harbour, where they could possibly solve this mystery.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

The Ghost of Cotton Island: Part Two

The Ghost of Cotton Island: Part Three

Week 88 Related Links

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