When the Ghosts Come Out: Part Three
After running through the complete darkness and pouring
rain for what seemed like forever, Princess had to stop to catch her breath. She
tried to call out to the other pets to wait for her, but she could hardly manage
to whisper. In only a moment she had regained the energy to run, but even just
one moment had been too long. As she heard a roar of thunder, a bolt of lightning
flashed in front of Princess. In that brief second that the lightning bolt illuminated
the woods, Princess found that Devil, Angel, and Red were nowhere in sight. She
didn't keep up with them and now she was lost.
Princess wasn't sure what to do. Maybe if she
kept running in the same direction, she would catch up to them. Yes, she decided.
That was the thing to do. But as she looked around her, she wasn't even sure
which direction she had been going in.
"Devil!? Angel!? Red?" She called out the names
of her cousins into the storm, hoping they would hear her. Her cries were returned
with silence. The only noises Princess could hear were that of the wind and
rain. She didn't know what to do.
Princess stood still for a moment, thinking.
She wondered if her cousins would notice that she wasn't with them. If so, would
they come back for her? Would they be able to find her? She vaguely remembered
once being told to stay where she was if she was ever lost. But would anyone
ever find her out here? Should she just pick a direction and run in it? At least
that way she would eventually get somewhere. Or would she? After all, these
woods were very big.
As these thoughts raced through Princess's mind,
she never realized that she wasn't alone. In fact, the thing that had been watching
her ever since nightfall saw that she was too wrapped up in her thoughts to
notice it, and began to slowly approach her.
Princess decided that she would start to run.
Any direction would be fine. So she ran. The thing that was behind her did not
expect this, so Princess had a head start, though she couldn't have known it.
However, Princess was not as fast as what was chasing her, and it soon caught
up to her.
Princess felt an eerie chill as something touched
her shoulder. She shook, and stopped running. Perhaps had just been the wind,
or a branch from a tree, but something told her it wasn't. She didn't want to
turn around, but she knew she had to. Slowly, she moved her head just enough
to see that someone or something was standing behind her. She backed away, trying
not to scream. Then there was a flash of lightning, brightening the scene enough
that Princess could recognize the figure. She was relieved to see the Halloween
Aisha in front of her- it was only Red.
"Oh, thank goodness it's you," Princess said,
"You see, I thought I was lost and I couldn't find you guys and I could have
sworn it was a ghost and… and…" Princess stopped to catch her breath. She had
been talking so quickly that it almost made her tired. Red looked around at
the trees that surrounded them.
"Well," he said, "You never know what you might
find… out here… at night…" His voice trailed off. Princess started to shiver.
Was it getting colder, or was it just her? She wanted them to get out of here
before they saw any ghosts.
"Can we… where are…" Princess found herself
unable to word her sentence correctly. She sighed, and began again. "Which way
is it to Alicia's neohome?"
Red pointed to the left. So she had been going
the wrong way. It was a good thing that he had found her, or she might never
have made it back. Princess wondered where Angel and Devil were.
Just then, the two fire Acaras came running
out of the bushes, making plenty of noise. Princess wouldn't have been sure
it was them if she hadn't heard their arguing voices.
"There you are, Princess!" Devil said, sounding
relieved. "We're so glad we found you."
"I told you she'd be here," Angel said. "If
you'd just listened to me we'd be home by now."
"I did listen to you," Devil said, "That's why
we found her."
"Then you should thank me."
"Then thank you, Angel." Devil turned to Princess.
"We'd better get going. We don't want to be out to late."
Princess smiled in agreement, and the pets were
on their way. Princess was careful to stay close to Devil, who was in front
of her. The last thing she wanted was to get lost again. The rain was still
pounding on the ground as heavily as ever, but Princess had been paying less
attention to it. She was concentrating on the sounds of her cousins stepping
on twigs and pushing away branches in front of her. If she kept track of the
sounds they made, she should be able to tell where they were. It hadn't worked
so well before, but Princess was confident that she would not get lost again.
Even so, she stayed very close to Devil. She wished someone would start talking.
"It's not far, now," Devil said.
"Oh good," said Princess. There was a pause.
To avoid being afraid, Princess wanted to keep talking. That would draw her
attention away from her fear. But it seemed like no one was going to say anything
more, so Princess just kept talking.
"Where are we, exactly?" she asked.
"Somewhere past the deserted fairground," Devil
said. "Not far."
"Oh," Princess replied. She found nothing more
to say, so she started to think about her stay at Aunt Alicia's house so far.
She hadn't been there for very long, but it felt like so much longer. In fact,
she had barely even gotten unpacked and taken a tour of the neohome when she
left to see the woods. She thought of Cloud and Daisy. It was too bad they hadn't
come with her to see the woods. But now she knew Alicia's other pets better,
which, Princess guessed, had the goal of this outing. She also had gotten to
see a great deal of the Haunted Woods. This place was amazing, but very creepy.
Princess didn't know how her cousins could stand living here.
Up ahead, Princess could see a faint light.
She guessed that it was coming from the neohomes. As she got closer, she knew
for sure that that was where it was coming from.
"Well," Devil said, "Here we are."
Princess could see the neohomes in front of
them. She recognized Alicia's immediately, for it was the largest one. The four
pets approached the neohome, and opened the door. As they walked in, Princess
heard footsteps on the stairs. She saw a rainbow Ixi and faerie Kacheek- Cloud
and Daisy had come running down to greet them.
"You're back!" Daisy said, flying up to them.
"We were wondering what was taking so long."
"Yeah," Cloud said. "It's almost ten at night,
and you don't want to be out there at night."
"I figured that out," Princess said, remembering
how scared she had been in the woods. She didn't want to go back out there at
all- even during the day. But everything was so nice in Alicia's neohome that,
if she hadn't known, Princess couldn't have guessed that it was in the Haunted
Woods. For the rest of her stay, Princess didn't want to leave the neohome.
"Well you better get some rest," Devil suggested.
"Tomorrow's going to be a big day."
"Wake up, Princess," Aunt Alicia said. Princess
groaned and sat up. She looked at the clock that sat beside her bed- it was
seven o'clock. She couldn't imagine why they were getting up this early. Princess
couldn't remember a time when she had to wake up earlier than this.
"Time for breakfast," Alicia said, closing the
door as she left the room. After a minute, Princess got out of bed and headed
downstairs, where Daisy, Cloud, Devil, Angel, and Red were all sitting at the
dinning room table.
"You slept in really late this morning," Daisy
commented as she stuck her fork into the plate of pancakes that sat in front
of her. Princess noticed that there was only one empty seat at the table, and
she sat down at it.
"We were up at five," Angel added.
"It's alright," Alicia said as she entered the
room, setting a plate of steaming pancakes in front of Princess. "She's not
used to getting up so early." Then, she looked at Princess. "Here we always
get up early. That way we won't have to stay up so late. No one wants to be
up when the ghosts come out."
Princess could understand this. The woods had
been so horrible at night that it could only be better in the morning. But she
still didn't see why anyone would want to live here when they could live somewhere
safer, like Neopia Central.
"Well," Alicia said to Princess. "Finish your
pancakes and start getting ready - today I'm taking you to meet all of my friends."
Princess smiled at her aunt. Things were going
very well now, but Princess couldn't have known how bad they would get…
To be continued...