Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 98,662,396 Issue: 167 | 19th day of Storing, Y6
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The Neopian Watcher: Part Four


by beau_lis

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Tired of wracking her brain for the answers to these never ending questions, Sage took a break, stretching as she stood up. It was close to supper time and she was famished. She thought of all that grand food she had seen earlier and decided to get something to eat. With Mr. Pickles disappearance, there would be no food served in the dining hall. She would just have to eat her supper in the kitchen. Her mouth watered with the idea of cutting herself a big piece from that glazed joint of ham. She could already taste the steaming baked potato with melting butter on top and the fresh baguette just pulled out of the oven. And the best part was that she didn't have to eat a single vegetable! She left the library and went into the dining hall, toward the kitchen doors. On her way, she knew she would pass a window in the dining hall.

      "Why do I keep looking out the window?" she asked herself in frustration.

      Pausing for a moment, she changed course and went over to the first floor window. Her heart started to race again, as she looked through the glass. She could feel the terror rise within her. There, through the sheets of rain, she saw…nothing. There was nothing there! She looked outside again to make sure. Nothing was there! Was it possible that she was letting her imagination run away with her? Was the storm playing tricks on her mind?

      Laughing to herself, she felt her fear subside away. It was nothing but my silly imagination! She finally felt calm for the first time that day.

      "This calls for a celebration!" Sage laughed.

      With a bounce in her step, she turned from the window and headed to the kitchen. She was in such good spirits that she started thinking of the food again. She never noticed the aroma from the food was missing. Upon entering the kitchen, Sage froze in mid stride. Something was very not right. Quickly scanning the kitchen, she could not believe her eyes. There had to be some mistake! She walked further into the kitchen to take a closer look. What she saw couldn't be happening! The pots that were once cooking vegetables on the stove were now clean and hanging on the pot rack. The oven was bare of the joint of ham as well. She looked over at the sink, which had no potatoes sitting in it. The salad ingredients left on the counter, were gone. All that sat in its place was the bowl. The entire kitchen had been cleaned!

      Overwhelming thoughts raced through Sage's mind. This is impossible! I know I saw the food being prepared earlier today! It was there! Does it mean Mr. Pickles is here? Did this mean everyone had an early supper? Does it…

      Sage stood rooted to that spot! She couldn't move, couldn't breathe! Shaking violently, she tried to catch her breath! The reality of what was happening struck, as if a pile of bricks were dropped on top of her! Her heart pounded, her blood ran cold, her eyes bulged as the terror within her escalated! She knew! All the rooms she had been in were tidy, including the kitchen! She hadn't seen anything at the window because…because…

      HE WAS INSIDE THE POUND WITH HER!

      This changed everything! As much as Sage did not want to be alone, she certainly did not like the idea of some hidden thing inside the pound with her. She had to be the one to find out who had been watching her from outside and who was lurking on the inside. Steeling herself, she went to the kitchen window and looked outside. Through the wind and the rain, she saw nothing. Yet, she knew she was being watched.

      She walked over to the refrigerator and looked inside. Sage was anything but hungry. She wasn't even sure she could swallow, much less hold her food. However, she had to eat something to keep her going. Sage found a bacon sandwich left over from breakfast. Leaning against the counter, she ate quickly so she could further explore the pound.

      Staff and pets just do not disappear into thin air, Sage reasoned with herself.

      She knew there were several perfectly logical explanations as to why everyone from the Neopian Pound had seemed to vanish. Of course, she'd have to think them up, but she didn't want to think about the one that included a watchful shadow who seemed to be able to track her every movement. Finishing her sandwich, she brushed the crumbs from herself and moved away from the counter. She gazed around the kitchen a final time, hoping to find some kind of clue. Obviously, someone or something had been in the kitchen while she had been searching for signs of the others.

      Finding herself out in the hallway, she tried to figure out how to find the others. Somehow, locating them seemed to be the key that would explain everything. Plus, she once again thought about her desire not to be alone anymore. There had to be more places to search. She had already looked in the kitchen, dining hall, library, recreation room and the staff offices. Maybe she'll try the upstairs sitting room and bedrooms next.

      BOOM!

      The rolling thunder sounded outside. It felt like the storm was getting worse. The lights began to flicker and then they died out. It was evening time by now, so she knew it was dark outside as well as inside, without the lights.

      "No No NO! This can NOT be happening!" Sage said in a small voice.

      Standing there for a moment to catch her bearings, she began towards the recreation room. She couldn't see anything around her, but she thought she could find the recreation room without too much trouble. She was hoping to find some candles in the room to offer a bit of light. It was harder than she thought trying to make her way. She had to wait for the lightning to illuminate the hallway. Finally reaching her destination, she went into the room and tried to use the lightning to help her find the candles. After a few minutes, she found some Halloween candles.

      These are better than nothing, she thought.

      On the next lightning strike, Sage was able to see enough to light the candle. She held the candle up so she could see more. The flame of the candle created an eerie glow on the walls. Oh how she wished Abigail was with her now! Grabbing a few more candles, she slowly made her way out into the hallway again. She still wanted to head upstairs to search more for her friends.

      Heading down the hallway, she stopped for a moment. She thought she heard something behind her. Yet when she held the candle up to look, there was nothing there. She continued her path to the staircase. Once again, Sage paused. She knew she heard something, but the noise stopped! It was as if someone else was walking behind her. This happened a few more times until the final time. She turned around, with the candle held high and saw it behind her! At the end of the hallway, she saw the shadow of someone; she knew had been watching her! Dropping the extra candles and holding tightly to the lit one, she broke out into a run! She had to make it to the staircase! The steps behind her were coming louder and faster! She tried her best to get to the staircase, but she wasn't going to make it there! That thing was gaining on her!

      In total panic, she veered off into the hallway entrance of the kitchen. Sage tried to think, tried to figure out where to go next. She couldn't think at all. Fear consumed her entire being! She could hear the shadow getting closer to the kitchen! She had to do something! She had to hide!

      The door to the kitchen was thrown open just as she closed the storage pantry door. She blew out her candle and sat very still. She looked around in the dark, feeling her way, trying to find something to hide her! At the back of the pantry, she discovered a pair of stacked boxes. This was perfect for her to hide behind! She quickly and quietly moved behind them! She was breathing heavy, trying to catch her breath! Sage knew she had to calm her nerves, but she sat there shaking and hoping she would not be found.

      She could hear him roaming around the kitchen. Was she imagining things or was he getting closer to the pantry door? Instinctively she sunk lower behind the boxes. It was not her imagination because she could hear him right outside the pantry door.

      He was coming into the pantry!

      Holding her breath, she tried to keep her scream inside her. The pantry door opened and Sage could make out the figure of someone standing at the head of the pantry! She let out a gasp, alerting him to her presence. He turned toward the boxes. Sage's entire body went rigid! She had been discovered! She watched as he came closer to where she was until he was in front of her! Standing there for a moment, the shadow looked down upon Sage. Sage gazed up, but couldn't see anything but the darkness looming over her. He bent forward, coming even closer to Sage! She struggled to back away, but the wall behind her, held her in place. She had no where to run, no where to go! She looked up at him as he reached his arms out for her. Sage let out a blood curdling scream of terror…

      Sage sat up in fright, knocking her book to the floor. Looking at her surroundings, she discovered herself sitting on the window bench of the bedroom. She let out a sigh of relief, realizing it had been only a dream. She reached down to pick up the book and placed it on her lap. She didn't feel much like reading right now and instead gazed out of her window.

      It was a blustery and cold autumn afternoon. The sky was filled with storms, thunder and lightning. All around the Neopian Pound, it was becoming darker, more sinister from the surrounding clouds…

The End

Author's Note: This story is a bit different from what I've written before. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks go out to Gen for suffering as my proof reader! Please feel free to offer comments.

 
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Other Episodes


» The Neopian Watcher: Part One
» The Neopian Watcher: Part Two
» The Neopian Watcher: Part Three



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