"Brrr! It's nippy out there!" said Meggiemufin, as she closed
Her knee-length pine green hair whirled
around her for a moment before settling down. The wind howled outside as loud
as a wild Lupe. Through the window, the snow billowed by so fast that it looked
like a white blur.
"It's a blizzard out there!" Meggie added,
stomping the snow from her Wellington boots.
"We know, Mom. Cardboard walls aren't
exactly the best insulation," said Evilmufin sarcastically from his spot on
the chair. His barbed, purple Krawk tail swished from side to side as he read
his book. He didn't even look up as he spoke, but his wings folded in. Evil
was a Darigan Krawk, and proud of it.
"We has wallpapers toos..." said Sillymufin
in his childlike voice, as his forehead crinkled up in confusion. Of course,
this was a normal expression for the small purple Grundo.
It was Day 24 of the Month of Celebrating--
Christmas Eve. And at 88268 Winding Wood Drive in Neopia Central, the Mufin
family-- Kootmufin, Evilmufin, Sillymufin, and the human they thought of as
their mother, Meggiemufin-- were getting ready for a huge holiday dinner, like
a lot of other Neopian families were.
"Mum! Where does the centerpiece go?"
called out Kootmufin, the green Kyrii, as she carried a holly wreath and candycane-filled
basket to the table.
"In the center of the table, Koot dear,"
Meggie chirped, as she hung her cloak up on a hook in the coat room.
"Where else would a CENTERpiece go?" snickered
Evilmufin, flipping another page of his book.
"There! We're all set!" Koot proclaimed,
tossing her green paw up into the air with a triumphant flair.
"Here are the last Christmas cards before
Christmas!" Meggie said with a smile.
Silly immediately ran up to her and eyed
them eagerly. Meggie chuckled and handed them to him. The Grundo dashed to a
corner and tore open the envelopes. He couldn't read, but he loved looking at
the pictures on the front of the cards.
Meggiemufin had spent almost the whole
day in the kitchen, cooking the meal. Smiling proudly, she brought out the potato
wedges, bombaberry sauce, tigersquash pie, pumpkin pie, corn pyramids, and Neowaiian
bread rolls. Last of all, Meggiemufin brought in a plate of orange and splime
muffins, her specialty.
Her happy look vanished for a moment as
she sighed, "Uncle Stone said he was going to be late this year. He and the
others won't be here until after Christmas. So this year it's just the four
Meggiemufin enjoyed having her brother,
Stoneman3x, and his Lupe, Meerca, Draik and Krawk over to her Neohome on holidays.
Her own pets thought of his pets as their "cousins". Somehow it just didn't
seem like Christmas without them.
"Oh, whoopie," said Evil, rolling his
eyes and going back to his book.
Stonekrawk3x, a pirate Krawk, was the
only Neopet in Uncle Stone's bunch that Evilmufin really liked. And now he wasn't
coming. Evil scrunched down sulkily in the chair, blocking Meggie from view.
"Evil!" Meggiemufin said crisply, "Table.
Now. And get Silly."
"Fiiiiiine..." the Krawk replied, as if
stretching the word out could make time stop. He set down his book and crossed
"Just get Silly," said Meggiemufin, bringing
out a huge grackle-stuffed turkey.
Evil obeyed. He knew his Mom was usually
happy and pleasant, but she could be stern when she needed to be. Evil definitely
knew better than to mess with her when she had spent so much time making one
meal perfect. Especially when she was disappointed that her brother couldn't
be there to share their feast.
Silly and Evil came into the cozy kitchen
and sat down at the table, where Koot was already was. Meggiemufin cut into
the turkey, and gave everyone a piece. The great platters of food were passed
around the table. Everyone took a bit of everything, and then they waited for
the traditional "happy thought" that one of them would say aloud at mealtimes.
"It's your turn, Silly," Meggie said gently,
and flashed him an encouraging smile.
Evil rolled his eyes and sighed in exasperation,
but kept quiet.
The small Grundo thought for a moment
and finally said enthusiastically, "Happy for dis fwood!"
The Krawk usually would have snickered,
but his fork was already to his mouth by the time his brother had said "food".
"Good job Mum!" said Koot, with a mouthful
of potato wedge.
Silly nodded, gnawing on his corn. Even
Evil had to admit it was very good. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.
"Funny..." said Meggiemufin. "I wonder
who that is... maybe Uncle Stone could make it tonight after all."
She got up and walked eagerly to the door.
As she opened it, a blast of frigid air rushed into the foyer they called the
"coat room". A figure stood there, in the shadows of the snow-filled night.
Large, fluffy flakes swirled in a tornado about his face, so it was hard to
see his features. The long black coat he wore rippled in the cold wind. He was
a lot taller than Meggiemufin, so it could easily have been her brother. But
the moment he spoke it was obvious that he was not.
"I must use your fireplace for a few minutes.
It's colder than Jhudora's heart out there!" said the stranger in a gruff voice.
It sounded more like a demand than a request.
For a moment the green-haired girl stood
riveted to the spot, too surprised to speak or move. But the moment she saw
the tall, lank figure pull his cloak even tighter around himself, she came to
"Oh! Of course! You must be frozen!" gasped
The stranger brushed roughly past her
and halted in the center of the coat room. He scanned the small, bare room critically.
Then he strode briskly into the dining room without so much as a backwards glance
or a "thank you". By the time Meggiemufin entered the dining room, the visitor
was already standing in front of the fire. The three youngsters at the table
exchanged puzzled glances and stared at the unexpected guest. The room was deathly
quiet and everyone had stopped eating, even Evilmufin. Meggie glanced at them
and scrunched up her shoulders in a "I don't know who he is either" kind of
As the mysterious figure stood in front
of the fire, the snow covering him began to melt. A pool of water started to
form around his boot-clad feet. Instinctively, Meggiemufin stepped towards him
to take the black scarf from his shoulders. But the moment she did, icy green
fingers clamped over her hand. The stranger was obviously startled by her action.
He glared deeply into her eyes, his own eyes burning like the red coals in the
"Here, let me take that for you," Meggie
said gently, but with a hint of nervousness.
The stranger released his grip and Meggiemufin
unwrapped the scarf from his shoulders. He grudgingly removed his overcoat as
well, revealing the long black robes underneath. Glancing at the stare that
this human girl was giving him, he pulled his hood even farther down around
his face. Meggiemufin quickly carried the coat and scarf to the coat room. When
she returned, she looked at the stranger standing with his hands outstretched
over the fire. He was an imposing figure-- even taller than Evil-- And Evil
was a whole head taller than Meggie. She looked over at the table filled with
all the glorious foods she had prepared.
"You must be starved, too!" Meggie exclaimed,
stepping up to the stranger and looking up-- way up-- into his face. "I insist
you join us for dinner!" she added firmly, and placed her hand on his elbow.
The dark stranger cocked his head at her,
as if she had done something extremely brave. He stood rooted for a moment and
then allowed himself to be ushered to a chair at the table.
"Some food should warm you up!" Meggiemufin
said brightly, and put a Neowaiian bread roll onto his plate. "And here, try
some of this Bombaberry Sauce..."
It was then that Koot got a good look
at the stranger's hands. She wasn't purposely staring, but they were green.
Somehow that seemed very unusual for a human-like being. Her Mum may have had
green hair, but at least her hands weren't practically glowing like radioactive
"Eh... Evil..." she whispered, catching
her brother's eye and jerking her head towards their guest's hands.
"Those are nothing," Evil hissed back,
covering the side of his mouth with his claw so the stranger couldn't see what
he was saying. "You can't see from where you're sitting, but his whole face
is green! And he has an odd hair-do."
To be continued...