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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 27th day of Awakening, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 23 > Short Stories > The Light in the Haunted Woods

The Light in the Haunted Woods

by tropic222

The cold, dark night grew heavy all around the four siblings as they wandered hopelessly lost through the Haunted Woods. They'd been searching frantically for their way back home for hours now. The chilly wind howled as it cut through their fur like ice. Setrah32, a purple Eyrie and the oldest of the siblings, lead his three younger sisters cautiously through the eerie woods. Knowing how frightened they were by now, he tried hard to make his way through the cold, winter woods to a safe and warm place for the night. It would be impossible to find their way home tonight in the darkness of this spooky place.

Turning to see how his sisters were doing, he saw Shady128, the oldest of his sisters, wrapping her blue scarf around their newest sibling, Sapphire_128. Poor little Sapphire, she was freezing out here in this blistering cold. She was a brave little blue Usul, though. She trudged on bravely along with the rest of the siblings. As for KaraKougra32, the pretty green Kougra who was just a bit younger than her big sister, Shady; she was not faring well at all. After all, she was from the hot jungles of Mystery Island. The cold, damp weather was getting the better of her. Shady wrapped her beautiful, pink faerie Uni wings around Kara to try and warm her.

"I'm cold, and I'm hungry," Sapphire said halfheartedly.

Shady looked at Setrah and cried out over the howling wind, "We have to get them inside somewhere. They'll freeze out here." Setrah nodded and turned his attention to the dark woods ahead. They were just nearing the edge of the thick trees when Shady screamed with fright.

Setrah turned quickly, "What? What is it?" He demanded as he tried to calm Shady.

"I… I don't know. I felt something on the back of my neck… like someone touched me," Shady exclaimed shakily.

"Look!" Sapphire exclaimed as she pointed at the tall, creepy trees. "The trees! They have…they have eyes! Red eyes!" Sapphire turned to KaraKougra and buried her face in her sister's fur, as Kara tried to comfort her.

"Setrah, what's going on here?" Shady whispered fearfully.

"I'm not sure," Setrah answered hastily, "but we need to get out of here now." Leaning close to Shady, he whispered, "Try to stay calm and don't frighten the little ones." Shady nodded as she calmly instructed Kara and Sapphire to follow Setrah.

The wind still howled and nipped at their noses as they made their way through the dark woods. Just when they thought they'd never survive the night, they saw it…a small light at the edge of the woods.

"Look!" Kara cried. "There's a light!" Kara started to run toward the light, but Setrah stopped her.

"No! Wait! We don't know where that light's coming from. We must be careful in these woods. They're not safe." Setrah walked over to Kara and hugged her. "Come on, we'll check it out."

Walking cautiously toward the light, they could soon see that it was coming from a dark, gloomy cave. They walked slowly toward the eerie cave, but Setrah motioned for his sisters to wait until he could check it out. He walked inside the cave and found a big, black kettle smoldering over an open fire. Looking all around the cave, he saw only some soft, warm hay in the corner of the damp cave. He smelled the aroma coming from the kettle, and his stomach began to rumble. Setrah quickly ran out of the cave and motioned for his siblings to come in.

Shady and the two younger sisters walked warily into the cave, but Setrah assured them that it seemed to be safe. He led them over to the large kettle where it was warm.

Detecting the mouthwatering smell, Sapphire ran over to the kettle and exclaimed happily, "Food!" Turning to Setrah, she asked hastily, "Can we have some, Setrah? Please, oh please!" she begged.

Setrah looked at Shady. "This must be someone's home. What will they say if we help ourselves to their food?"

Shady answered quietly, "I know, Setrah, but they're cold and starving." Shady looked down, thinking to herself, then she looked up just as quickly. "I know! We can tell them that our owner, Tropic222, will gladly repay them. You know how much she loves us, and she wouldn't want us to go hungry."

"You're right!" Setrah exclaimed happily. "Okay, let's find them something to eat out of."

Setrah and Shady looked around the cave and found bowls and spoons. He and Shady fixed the little ones a bowl of the hot soup first, then they sat down to eat some as well. After they had all eaten, they curled up in the corner together on the soft, warm hay and slept peacefully.

They weren't sure just how long they'd been asleep, but they awoke to a loud crash at the entrance of the cave. Jumping up, they saw a dark figure in a long, black dress with a broom in her hand. Setrah knew instantly whose cave they were in, and he feared for their lives.

"Edna the Witch!" he exclaimed with fear.

"And who are you?" she growled in an old woman's voice.

"We're so sorry to intrude in your home. We were cold and hungry, and our owner will gladly repay your kindness and hospitality." Shady pleaded in a soft voice.

The old witch threw back her head and cackled eerily. Looking back at the siblings, she asked angrily, "So… you think it'll be that easy, eh?"

Setrah and Shady exclaimed frightened glances, as Kara and Sapphire cuddled together. "What…what do you mean?" Setrah asked fearfully. Setrah was a brave, strong Eyrie, but when it came to Edna the Witch, he knew he was no match for her and her magic.

"I mean you get me some items for my brew, and I'll think about letting you out of here!" she boomed heatedly.

Shaking, Shady asked warily, "What…what kind of… items do you need?"

The old witch put her long, crooked finger to her chin and thought. "Well…I've been wanting to fix my special brew…" she stopped, shook her head, then thought some more, then finally said excitedly, "yes, yes! That's it! My special brew it is…I need items for my Cackling Spell of Magic Wishing!" The evil witch eyed them carefully. "I'll need a Magic Wand, a Roo Island Crystal, a Yo-yo, and a Blue Mirror…and I need them tonight!" Her laughter was filled with evil as she saw the looks on their faces.

Setrah looked at his sisters, and they looked back fearfully. They could never find all of those items, especially not in this weather. Then to their surprise, Sapphire reached into her fur and pulled out a Yo-yo. "I was saving this to give to Tropic222 for her birthday, but I know she'll understand," Sapphire said sadly as she handed the Yo-yo to Setrah.

Seeing the hurt in her pretty, blue eyes, Setrah smiled warmly at her. "That's very sweet of you, Sapphire, but we could never come up with all of these items that Edna the Witch needs tonight…"

Setrah was interrupted by a small noise, and he turned to look at KaraKougra. "Here," she whispered. "I ran across this tonight when we were leaving Faerieland. I knew we all had a big present for Tropic's birthday together, but I'd hoped to give this to her myself. Sapphire's right. I know she'll understand. She loves us too much, and she wouldn't want anything to happen to us." Kara handed Setrah a Magic Wand and stepped back to hug Sapphire.

Before he could say a word, Shady laid a Blue Mirror in front of Setrah. "I bought it earlier in the Grooming Parlour. I, too, had hoped to give it to Tropic for her birthday. She's always doing such special things for us, I wanted to do something special for her for a change."

Tears filled Setrah's eyes, as Shady said softly, "Setrah, give her the last item. I know you have it. It's the reason we made this treacherous trip through these Haunted Woods tonight. We should never have cut through here on our way back from Terror Mountain. We can always try to give Tropic a better birthday present next year. Kara's right, she loves us too much."

Astonished at the items he held in front of him, Setrah couldn't believe his eyes. He walked over to the old witch and laid the three items in front of her.

Amazed that these pets could produce such costly and rare items in such a short time, Edna was startled, but then she realized something and she began to cackle loudly. "You pets thought you were so clever, and it was a very good try, but you are still one item short. You…"

The old witch stopped short and gasped, as Setrah reached underneath his wing and pulled out a beautiful, shiny object and laid it in front of Edna the Witch with the other items.

"The Roo Island Crystal!" Edna shouted, "…but how?"

Sadly, Setrah answered the old witch with his head hung low, "We traveled all this way tonight just to get this for our owner's birthday."

With that, the old witch cackled, gathered up the items, and threw them into her steaming, black kettle.

Walking sadly toward the cave entrance, the siblings were frightened when Edna the Witch shouted, "Wait!" They turned suddenly and were astounded to see the old witch holding a beautiful Faerie Snow Globe in her wrinkled, old hands. "Thought you deserved a little something for getting me my items so quickly," she said gruffly.

"Oh thank you! Thank you!" they exclaimed cheerfully, as they accepted the gift from the witch. "Okay! Okay! That's enough! Off you go now! And don't ever come back here to these woods if you know what's good for you!" Edna the Witch scolded, as she pushed the siblings out of the door; but standing outside, they could hear the old witch cackling, and it didn't sound evil at all this time.

Dawn broke on the spooky, old woods; but the funny thing was… now that it was daylight, these old woods didn't seem quite so spooky anymore, and the siblings found their way home with no problem. And… they had a beautiful gift for Tropic's birthday after all.

The End

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