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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 19th day of Collecting, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 36 > Short Stories > Encounter with the Shadow Usul

Encounter with the Shadow Usul

by arachneafemella

One night, my Neopets and I were enjoying a nice evening in our NeoHome, eating bacon belly busters and reading stories about The Lost Desert. Annebel Lee, my youngest, looked up and nervously shook my shoulder.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"Something on the ceiling is moving, mommy," she said in a small voice.

I knew that Annebel Lee was easily frightened, and also that there had been quite a few flies buzzing around, so I held her in my lap and we continued reading and eating. After a little while, Frosty Little Fellow began to look scared.

"Something's weird. It's like... like someone is watching us," he said.

"Or maybe something." Madeline said spookily, "Maybe something is creeping around and ready to eat you up, Frosty!"

"Be nice to your brother, Madeline," I scolded.

Then I heard it. A very small scratching... directly above me. I looked up and saw a black blur jump across the ceiling and dart into the Storage Room. Annebel Lee and Frosty Little Fellow stayed on the Sofa, while Madeline and Little Weena came with me. Although Madeline and Little Weena were most definitely my little sweethearts, they were also my little tough girls. We walked slowly into the room. I heard the scratching and saw a shiny, gleaming streak of black on the corner of the wall. I thought it might be a wandering ghost, out to get into our Neopoints or our item closet. I flipped on the light and was about to read the intruder the whole nine yards of breaking and entering, when I froze in shock. Sitting before me was a dark black Usul, with gleaming eyes. It was so black, it was like looking out at the sky on the New Moon. I was shocked and amazed... It was the Shadow Usul! I expected the small, strange creature to dart away into the night, but it stayed there. It wasn't scared stiff; it was just calmly sitting there. Then it began speaking to Little Weena.

"Ah, Little Weena"

You may think it had a rasping voice or a scary voice, but it wasn't. It was light, like the wind. Like a shadow.

"H-how did you know my n-name?" she replied, in awe and also a little frightened.

"Ah, my Usul sister, Little Weena," she said affectionately. She then turned toward Madeline and myself. "Who are these? A dinosaur and a... human?"

Little Weena jumped into my arms and hugged my neck. She wasn't such a tough girl now.

"This is my mommy, Arachnea. This is my sister, Madeline."

"Your mommy? Your sister? Ha! Look at your mother, for instance. She has no fur, no tail. She is human. You are Usul. How is she your mother? And your sister! She is a dinosaur!" Shadow Usul said scornfully.

"They're my family! I don't care what they look like, or even what they are!" Little Weena said.

Shadow Usul seemed to glide over to her and gently take her from me.

"Why are you here? What do you want with Little Weena?" I asked.

"I have been watching Little Weena for a while now. She is the right one."

"What are you talking about?"

"Little Weena here... is just like I was."

I was astounded. My darling Weena... like the Shadow Usul?

"I was once a normal Usul. I lived in a NeoHome similar to this one, with my owner, and his other Neopets. There was his Blumaroo, his Kiko, and myself," she began her tale as she settled herself around Little Weena. "The three of us were content. I admit it... I even loved my owner. He was nice to us, buying us toys and food, taking us around Neopia. I thought he loved us. I guess I was wrong. We were walking past the Pound on our way to the Smoothie Shop when it happened. He looked in and saw them... two of them. It was a cloud Poogle and a Halloween Kougra. He saw them and knew that he wanted them. He adopted the Kougra, but he could only have four pets. He looked us over and decided to throw me in, taking the Poogle in my place. I looked through the bars as they all walked away...

"A few days later, I was joined by the Blumaroo and Kiko. It was a sad reunion. He had dumped them for a tomato Chia and Faerie Grundo. Can you believe it? A stupid little Chia and Grundo!"

I was glad that Annebel Lee and Frosty were hiding in the living room. I didn't know what she would do to see a Poogle and a Chia after what had happened to her.

"We decided that day that our owner had to pay. He had been like a father! And then he tossed us out the second he saw a painted pet. It was shameful. That's why I am alone."

"What about your owner? Your two friends? And why are you... like you are?" Madeline asked.

"Well, we took care of our owner, all right. First, we broke out of the pound. Then we escaped to the Haunted Woods, where outcasts were welcome, and even accepted. One day, our former owner was coming through the Pumpkin Patch. As he approached the edge of the woods, we began to chase him. We chased him deep into the woods. The dumb human got so lost, we've never heard from him again. His pets went back to the pound, but some slacker came and adopted them within an hour. The three of us forked paths here. You see, my friend, the Kiko, had a love affair with sweets... he works at the Chocolate Factory these days. The Blumaroo went to live on Krawk Island, I believe. I, however, loved the Haunted Woods. I stayed there, and the longer I stayed roaming the nights, the more mysterious I became. My appearance began to reflect as such."

"What about Little Weena? What do you want with her?" I asked a bit sympathetically. I felt badly for the poor creature before me.

"I have seen her eyes round with wonder at the Brain Tree and the Witch's Cave! She enjoys the Haunted Woods! Her 'family' seems perfect, and you treat her so well! But I see a great downfall. You are like me, Little Weena. You enjoy the woods, you live in harmony...you may be destined to my heartless fate. Come with me! Together, we can rule the night! I have come here tonight, Arachnea... for her."

Little Weena looked thoughtfully at her for a while. After what seemed forever, she replied, "Shadow Usul, I am sorry your daddy was mean to you and your brothers, but I love my family! I like the woods, sure... but sometimes it gives me the creeps! I'm sorry you're so lonely, but I want to stay here."

Shadow Usul sighed, disappointed, then slipped through the window and back into the night. The next day, there was a small package at our door. It was addressed to Little Weena. I opened it to find a Shadowed Paintbrush. I smiled slightly. Most Neopians are scared of her. I just hope someday she finds a good home.

The End

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