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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 18th day of Sleeping, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 43 > Short Stories > Scared of your Shadow

Scared of your Shadow

by dragonmist82

Aidhru wasn't nervous.

She was just terribly, terribly alert.

It was Drak's fault anyway.

Telling her that story.

***

Drak had been baby-sitting her and Sesebia when the blackout had hit. Aidhru screamed loudly. She hated the dark - always had. Drak thought Aidhru was a baby, being the youngest in the family. But then, Drak was a typical eldest child. He believed that the sun shone out from the ground he stood on.

"Oh shut up Ade," he snapped. Sesebia grinned in the dark. Ade was a glowing Wocky - albeit a slightly fuzzy one. She still had a baby coat and so her glowing fur didn't offer much light in the dark. She had met fully-grown glowing Wocky's and they shone brighter than the sun. They looked lovely. Ade thought she looked like something that had stood too near a plug socket when they were younger.

"Tell us a story," Sesebia begged. She knew it annoyed Ade. Ses was like that - a typical brat.

"OK," Drak said, grinning evilly in the dark. "I'll tell you a good one."

"Not scary," Ade whimpered.

"Yes! Scary!" Ses demanded indignantly.

"I'll tell you the best one I know," Drak said. "I heard it off a friend of a friend," Ade gulped. "Ever heard of the Shadow Usul?"

"No," Ade stammered, feeling the fur on the back of her neck rise.

"Nor had Audil," Drak solemnly said.

"Ad... Ad... Audil?" Ade stammered.

"Audil," Drak repeated.

***

Audil was a cloud Kacheek. A very smart cloud Kacheek for he was always reading books. His owner painted him cloud because of it.

"Always have your head in a cloud," she's often say, laughing cheerfully.

But alas, Audil never paid attention in class. Perhaps he would still be in Neopia if he had. For he found it better to daydream than listen to the teacher. It was understandable, Mrs Fuzz droned on like a broken vacuum cleaner - but sometimes she had something important to say.

"I need to tell you something important class," she said. Everyone listened, except Audil, caught in a fantastic daydream about what he could be eating. "More people are going to the Neopets Monitors - attack on small pets. Everyone saying it's the work of the shadow Usul. I've been told to give you a few simple precautions on how to prevent such an attack."

The room was silent - people were holding their breath without realising it.

"The Shadow Usul only appears at night, and has mainly been spotted in and around Neopia Central. What her motives are we have no idea, but we suggest you keep your wits about you," she said gravely. "Make sure the whole room is illuminated. The shadow Usul can only move in the shadows. She cannot stand in the light."

"She?" a small Kau asked. "You mean it's a girl."

"Was a girl," Mrs Fuzz said in an unusually solemn voice. "No one knows quite how she became. Many believe she was a tragic accident in Doctor Sloth's experiment, others believe she was a shadow Usul gone bad."

"So to stop her, we just have to keep out lights on?" the Kau persisted. "Can't be much of a villain, scared of the light!" A few people laughed nervously.

"Many have fallen victim to her, Timothy. Don't laugh at the unknown," Mrs Fuzz said quietly. The whole room fell into an uneasy silence. After a few minutes, Mrs Fuzz broke it. Speaking brightly, she said,

"Right, OK Audil. If I have four Apples and I gave you one, how many Apples do I have left?"

***

Audil was tired that night. He finished his homework and Neomailed Timothy, asking him about Mrs Fuzz's talk, seeing how he didn't hear it. He would never read the reply...

"Night mum!" he yelled down the stairs. He didn't hear a reply. Perhaps she's asleep, he thought.

He climbed into bed and switched off the light. The room plunged into darkness. Shadows fell everywhere and the sound of trees swishing in the wind echoed around the room. Audil yawned loudly.

At first he couldn't hear it. Just the pitter-patter of small feet. He could only just make it out at first. But then he heard breathing. The long, raspy breath, as thought someone or something was drawing the air out of the room. Audil froze.

"Audil," a voice said. It sent shivers down Audil's spine. It was the kind of voice you heard in nightmares, the voice that was solely evil. He gulped.

"Mu... Mum?" he stammered quietly.

"Guess again Audil," the voice said. It was almost a singsong of evil.

"Timmy?" He guessed, knowing full well it wasn't.

"Tut tut Audil. I thought you were smarter than that," the voice said.

A long, cold draught blew through the room and a small beam of moonlight illuminated the shape of a Usul, before it moved swiftly into the shadows.

Audil's frightened yells could be heard throughout the house. But when his owner ran into his room, only the slight swinging of his curtains gave any sign of movement. The bed covers were pulled back and the window was open. But no one could be seen outside...

***

"And no one ever saw Audil again," Drak finished.

"Is... is that true?" Ade stammered.

Drak nodded solemnly. "Every bit," she said.

A bang on the door made them all jump. The turned around and stared guiltily at their owner, DM.

"What have you been up to?" She asked, laughing at their red faces.

"N... N... Nothing much," Ade stammered. She looked pale. Even Drak looked slightly unnerved.

The lights flickered slightly and flickered back on. Suddenly, the living room didn't look too frightening anymore. Smiling, all three trouped upstairs to bed. DM came into Ade's room to tuck her in.

Saying goodnight, DM went to turn the lights out.

"WAIT!" Ade called. DM turned round. "I think I'll sleep with the lights on tonight DM," Ade said, smiling nervously. DM shrugged and then smiled before walking out.

Just before Ade fell asleep, she could have sworn she heard a voice say

"You know Ade, sometimes fairy tales are true."

The End


Author's Note: This story isn't true. Any references to any other characters except Aidhru, Sesebia, Drakona14 or DM are purely coincidental. Feel free to Neomail me, I like Neomails, but go easy on the Neofriend stuff. I hope you enjoyed reading this.

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