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Lost in the Haunted Woods


by lindortruffle

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Stranded. Lost. Alone.

     Laylana couldn't figure out where she was. She remembered a ship... a storm... lots of water... but nothing else. She saw a forest that was so dark it looked as if the sun never shone in the trees. Laylana noticed the many Spyder webs clinging to the branches. Laylana remembered something about a wood like this, but it hurt to try and see through the mist clouding her mind. A band of ghost Meepits scurried away into the dark trees as Laylana stood and brushed off her red fur.

     Laylana decided to go deeper into the strange forest and have a look around. Maybe someone in there could help her!

     If she could find someone. It didn't exactly look like the sort of place you could find help waiting with open arms.

     Eyes peered out from the shadows at Laylana from all directions as she moved deeper into the forest. The scarce rays of light that managed to pierce the canopy of branches overhead became thinner and thinner. The wind tugged eerily at the branches of trees and ghost petpets scurried away as Laylana continued to walk into the woods. A bush covered in tiny berries began shrieking as she drew near, and Laylana gasped when the shape of a Faellie dropped down from one of the trees in front of her.

     "Oh... uh... Hi, there little guy, what are you doing out here all a-"

     "REAKKKK!" Laylana was cut off mid-sentence as the shriek emitted from the Faellie.

     "Gah!" the Kacheek stumbled backwards in shock as the mutant Faellie stepped into a pencil-thin ray of light and dashed off. The Faellie's shriek echoed around the trees, and the undergrowth rustled as more eyes appeared in the shadows to watch Laylana.

     Laylana shuddered. She had never been anywhere in her memory (which was oddly little) like this. The eyes around her grew in number as the forest got darker, and ghost petpets were darting everywhere. What bothered Laylana most about the forest was the voices, whispering, constantly whispering unidentifiable words in her ear; no matter how hard she tried to block them out, they would not stop.

     Suddenly, it all stopped. The eyes disappeared, and the petpets vanished.

     Even the voices stopped.

      Laylana was blinded by a light as she stepped out from behind a very prickly bush, even though it was no more than the light of a lantern. Laylana rushed towards the ramshackle cottage and began frantically pounding on the door with both fists and shouting at the top of her lungs.

     "Hello? Hello, is anyone in there? Please help me! I'm lost!" the Kacheek shouted. After several more minutes of shouting and fist-banging, the door creaked open an inch.

     Two narrow red eyes gleamed out at Laylana from the crack. "Who daresssss to knock on my doooorrrr?" hissed a voice from within the cottage.

     "Please help me," Laylana whimpered. "I'm lost."

     The door swung open wider. Laylana could make out the tall figure of a Blumaroo standing in the doorway. His pale orange fur stood out from the blackness, and it looked as if he was wearing... a cape? "Of coursssse, child. I vill help you," said the Blumaroo. "But of course, I vill need sssomethinggg in reetuurrnnnn..."

     Laylana turned out her pockets and quickly collected the Neopoints that dropped onto the ground. "249... 250... 251... I only have two-hundred-fifty-one Neopoints." Laylana held the pile out for the Blumaroo to take. "Is it enough?"

     A quiet hissing sound, almost like laughter, emitted form the Blumaroo. "I do not vant your money, child. Vhat I vant is your BLOOD! BWHAHAHAHAHA!"

     "Aaaah!" Laylana screamed and dropped her Neopoints as she turned and ran, trying to escape the 'whoosh' of the Blumaroo's cloak behind her.

     Laylana ran back through the forest, pushing aside branches and stumbling over rocks, trying to see trough the mist of ghost Neopets (real ghosts!) gathering at her feet. "Run," they whispered. "Run!"

     Laylana gasped as she tripped over a tree root and scrambled to get back up again, but it was too late. The Blumaroo was on top of her, his insane laughter echoing around the trees.

     "No pet escapes from Count Von Roo," he hissed in Laylana's ear. "No one."

     Laylana closed her eyes and braced herself to feel the fangs of the Blumaroo sink into her neck, to feel all the blood pulled from her veins, to feel the icy cold grip of death, and yet not death, but it never came.

     Out of nowhere a Meowclops appeared, leaping unto Von Roo's chest and attaching his claws. Roo screamed and Laylana felt a strong pair of hands pull her up from the ground and a voice in her ear whisper, "Hurry! Run!"

     Laylana did not need to be told twice. She shot off into the forest, running so fast she would have made a Poogle Racer look slow. She heard Von Roo's screams far behind her, and another pair of feet thudding on the ground behind her. Laylana dared not look back, afraid of who her pursuer might be.

     Laylana ran until she could run no more. She slowed and collapsed unto the ground in the middle of a clearing, sucking in lungfulls of air. It was several minutes until Laylana realized that someone else was sitting beside her.

     Laylana turned to see an Ixi crouching on the ground. An Ixi, yes, but most definitely the strangest Ixi Laylana had ever seen. This Ixi was wearing a witch's hat, for one thing, and her fur was the oddest shade of green Laylana had ever laid eyes on. The Ixi turned to her and smiled.

     "Well, that was a close one," the Ixi said. "I've never met a pet crazy enough to go up and ask Count Von Roo for help! You're either completely fearless, or incredibly stupid."

     Laylana opened her mouth to defend herself, until she saw that the Ixi was grinning, and she grinned back when she realized that this Ixi just really wanted to help (unlike that Blumaroo!).

     "Thanks for the save back there," Laylana said. "I thought I was a goner!"

     The Ixi nodded. "You should thank Poboy, my Meowclops. He's the one who heard Von Roo. If he hadn't attacked Roo himself, I probably would never have known you were there! Oh, and I'm Sophie the Swamp Witch, by the way!"

     "I'm Laylana and I'm from... uhhh..."

     "Can't remember? You probably hit you head or something. I bet you wouldn't have gone up to Von Roo otherwise!" said Sophie with a grin.

     Laylana squinched up her eyes and tried to remember. A ship... a storm... water...

     Then all at once, it was there. The flood of memory came so suddenly that Laylana gasped. She told Sophie everything.

     "I had just won a Cruise on Scratch Card Kiosk and we had only been at sea for a few days when this storm hit us. The ship split in half like a Split Paintbrush. I fell overboard into the water. I guess I hit my head on a piece of driftwood or something, 'cause suddenly everything went black. Next thing I know I'm staring straight at the Haunted Woods." Laylana finished, "My owner won't be expecting me home for another week, but now I'm lost and I was kinda hoping that maybe you could help me get home?" Laylana looked pleadingly at Sophie.

     Sophie sat quiet for a moment, stroking Poboy (who had magically caught up to them). Then she turned to Laylana and smiled.

     "Well," she said, "let's get you home then!"

     Laylana grinned. Even in the darkness of the Haunted Woods, things were looking bright.

The End

 
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