It was a unilluminated and tumultuous night.
The residents at 63994, Neopia Avenue, Neopia
Central were bored. A small white Aisha named Yoko lay curled up on the hearth
rug in front of a roaring fire, and was taking it in turns to sigh deeply and
yawn. Gioacchino, a mutant Kacheek wearing a wooly Jubjub cap, was staring blankly
at the ceiling of the small brick house. Jon, a red Eyrie, was simply existing:
nothing more, nothing less.
Erika, the mother and owner of the three creatures
was sitting by the window, watching the snowflakes fall silently to the ground,
as if in a dream.
"Hey, Erika?" called Jon suddenly, causing everybody
to jump in surprise.
Erika shook her head free of daydreams. "Hmm?"
Jon ruffled his red feathers and sat up. "How's
that Lenny Conundrum coming along?"
Erika shrugged, and glanced at the pile of crumpled
notebook paper next to her. Eraser crumbs and broken pencils dotted the paper
monument. She looked at her progress in disdain. "Not so good," she admitted.
Jon strode over to the window where she was sitting.
He peered over her shoulder at her most recent attempts. "One-oh-oh-one-oh-oh-one-oh..."
he read outloud. He squinted his eyes and looked at the problem from a different
angle. "I don't get it," he said finally.
Erika shrugged her shoulders again. "It's a toughie...
too bad I don't know any binary, then it would be a breeze!"
Gioacchino sat up and stared at his mother. "Erm...
I think that Lenny Conundrum is... well, over. Wasn't the binary question back
sometime in the month of Hiding?"
The girl flipped over the paper on which the
problem was printed and scanned the date. "D'oh," she grumbled to herself, crumbling
up the paper and adding it to her pile.
"Ah'm still boooo-red."
Erika sat up. "I have an idea! Let's read a nice
Gioacchino looked at his mother with some interest.
He was a bit of a bookworm. "Go on," he said, stifling a yawn and pretending
to look uninterested.
The girl hopped out of her chair and went to
the bookcase. Off of the third shelf she pulled a dark green book, monumental
in size and mammoth in weight. "I bought it yesterday," she chirped. "It's the
unabridged version of the Neopedia! Full of stories and tales and articles-"
"We get the gist," interrupted Jon.
Erika gave the Eyrie a stern look. She set the
book on her lap and flipped it open to a random page. "A Halloween Tale,"
she read outloud.
"How fitting, considering the season!" Jon exclaimed.
Erika fixed him with another stern look, but
continued with the story, nonetheless. "'How much candy did you get from that
last house, Trent?' laughed Mirk, a Halloween Ixi."
"'I got the whole load!' Trent snickered.
'They weren't home, and just left a bowl of candy out on the porch with a note
asking kids to only take one! Haha... suckers!' he said, shoving a handful of
candy into his greedy Blumaroo mouth as his Von Roo cape fluttered behind him."
"How Snorkleish of them," Yoko said, clicking
her tongue in disdain.
Erika cleared her throat and continued reading.
"'Hey, look over there guys,' said Sakra, a Lenny, who'd dressed as a witch.
'Old Lady Doppel over there is giving out some really good stuff.'"
"Floss and toothbrushes, I'll bet," muttered
Gioacchino. "I fell for that classic prank last year."
"'She's half-blind, so I bet we could take a
whole handful and she wouldn't notice. Besides, even if she does, we can just
outrun her!' The malicious group of friends broke into laughter," read Erika.
"It was only slightly unethical, but in honor
of the season, the young pets had decided to toss aside their morals and good
judgment for one night," Gioacchino added.
Yoko clicked her tongue again. "It would serve
them right if Old Lady Doppel was actually an acclaimed sprinter."
"'Trick-or-Treat!' the young Neopets yelled,
plastering fake, innocent smiles across their faces as an old Krawk lady opened
the door of her Neohome," Erika read, flipping over a page in the process.
"Plaster of Fakus Innocentus Smilius! On sale
today at Osiris's Pottery Shop!" Yoko grinned.
"'My, what frightening costumes you all have!'
she said, sounding as if she had already uttered the phrase a hundred times
already that night," read Erika.
"But hey? Who's keeping count? It's Halloween!
Time to throw away morals and good judgment," Gioacchino sniggered.
Erika sighed at the young Kacheek's comment.
"Do you want me to keep reading this, or are you three going to keep interrupting
me?" she growled.
Jon, Gioacchino, and Yoko hung their heads, stared
at the carpet, and muttered inaudible apologies. Erika's eyes narrowed. "You've
made the right choice," she said, glaring at the three in turn. She continued
with the story, "Her eyes slowly wandered to the broken pumpkin that lay on
the walkway to her home."
"Ruddy hooligans, those whippersnappers get me
every year with their silly pumpkin-" Gioacchino said, miming Old Lady Doppel's
voice. He only stopped his imitation when he saw the look on his mother's face.
"The three pets ran up, each snatching a large
handful of candy from the Krawk's bowl and quickly stashing it in their bags.
The Krawk's eyes narrowed. 'My, aren't you hungry?' she said. 'You know what?
I just baked some fresh cookies... would you three like to come in and enjoy
some?'" Erika read.
Yoko giggled. "Oh, you're just this mysterious
old lady living in this gargantuan and scary-looking house on top of this deserted
hill at midnight. What could possibly go wrong?"
"The three friends looked at each other, then
shrugged. Everyone knew that they weren't supposed to enter a stranger's house.
But really, this was just some old grandmotherly looking Krawk..."
"Appearances can be deceiving," Jon smiled.
"Oh, come in children. What? What cookies? Oh,
go back to your rooms. Play with your toys and costumes. Forget about the cookies,"
" ...like she was going to do anything! "Just
make sure she takes a bite of the cookies first, to make sure they're safe,"
whispered Sakra to her friends," read Erika.
Jon chuckled, and ruffled up his red Eyrie feathers.
"What. A. Fool," he said.
"Sakra's a few Wheat Flakes short of a full box,
eh?" Gioacchino smiled wryly.
"They nodded in agreement, then entered Old Lady
Doppel's house. The door closed behind them with an ominous bang..."
"Splat! Zap! Ka-POW!"
Yoko looked at her brothers in disgust. "You
two will definitely not be winning an award for your use of onomonpias in the
future," she said.
"The Lenny was the first to go. Whatever they
had suspected, it wasn't this. No subtle tricks, just... Mirk and Trent were
off and running, screaming through the house, even as Sakra's green feathers
were still drifting down to the damp floorboards," read Erika in total repulsion,
trying to hold back her dinner.
"Yuck... Sakra a la Broche," Yoko giggled.
"Mirk stood shaking, cowering in the corner,
hooves covering his eyes, hoping it was all a bad dream," Erika said, flipping
over another page.
"Mirk glanced around the room in a panic, hoping
to see some singing trash cans to ease his fright. Unfortunately none were to
be seen, and the sudden realization hit him: this was reality," Jon said, laughing
"Oh, harsh reality, thou art so cruel," Gioacchino
said, laughing along with Jon.
"He heard the footsteps of Old Lady Doppel coming
towards him. 'So, you think you kids can go around misbehaving, do you? I suppose
you think it's 'cool'? I'll show you how DEAD WRONG you are!' she cackled,"
"Old Lady Doppel's not particularly nice, is
she?" Yoko pondered outloud.
"Do you suppose 'dead wrong' is foreshadowing?"
"The Ixi could only hope that it would be quick..."
Yoko grinned. "My Plaster of Fakus Innocentus
Smilius! Wow, that rush delivery service is really quick! They sure know the
meaning of haste."
"Trent pounded on the window in the bathroom,
but it was no use. The latch was rusted shut. He was trapped. He heard the sickly
sweet voice of the Krawk calling out for him. 'Oh, little Blumarooooo... where
did you go?'" read Erika.
"Trent is practicing how not to be seen," Jon
"The voice turned harsh. 'Where are you?! You
horrible little disgrace to society!'"
"Oh, come on Trent!" cried Jon. "You've done
your fair share for society! You've worked countless hours at the Faerieland
Employment Agency, you've helped Mrs. Owen clap erasers after school -- you
don't have to take these kinds of insults!"
"Trent collapsed, shaking violently in the corner
beside the toilet."
"He was a true hero," Jon murmured.
"All I'm going to say is that I'm not reading
his eulogy," Gioacchino said.
"That was in poor taste, Gioacchino," Yoko said,
shaking her head.
"'Ahh, there you are...'" read Erika, her hand
"Peek-a-boo, I see you!" cried Yoko.
"Some say it's just a legend that parents tell
their young pets, to make sure they behave on Halloween. There are others who
claim it really happened. Everyone agrees, though: You'd best be good on Halloween,
because you never know when Mrs. Doppelganger will open her door to you." Erika
finished, closing the Neopedia on her lap.
"Well?" she queried, looking at her three pets.
Jon was trembling in his seat. Gioacchino was twitching and jumping at any loud
noise. Yoko was making white Aishas look perfectly tan.
Erika smiled. "So, not bad for a story that you
three felt you could interrupt at any time? I mean, the moral seemed to scare
you three right out of your skins," she said.
The three nodded, still shaking.
Erika sighed. "Well, time for bed. It's nearly
midnight." She escorted the three shaking creatures to their respective rooms,
tucked them in their respective beds, gave them their respective comfort objects,
and turned off the lights.
"Oh, guys?" Erika called down the hallway.
Three pairs of eyes turned to the girl standing
illuminated in the hallway. Erika smiled maliciously.
"Ahhhh... there you are..." she said softly.
Neopia has yet to find a better Mrs. Doppelganger