Getting To Know Ghosts
*Knock, knock, knock!*
Someone was knocking frantically on the door.
"Open up! Open up!"
Lantanasha was scared; her tail was between
her legs, her ears alert, her eyes popping, and her mind - not so much at ease.
"Hello? Please! Open up, please!" the voice
frantically said again.
Lantanasha was all alone, which made her even
more scared, and she looked through the window to see if there was some kind
of disturbance that the person could've fled from. There wasn't any in sight,
so she moved toward the door, its knob shaking. Lantanasha peered through the
little circular hole in the door to see who it was - a young, Grey Lupe.
"Please! Is anyone in there? Please help!" The
desperate Lupe tried once again, and was about to give up before Lantanasha
opened up the door, which blasted in snow and freezing cold air.
"Hello...?" Lantanasha half said, half asked.
"Hi, sorry for being so rude, but do you have
any parcels of food you could spare?" the Lupe asked.
"Um, let's see... why don't you come in, and
have a seat?" Lantanasha asked back gently.
"Oh, that would be wonderful!" the Lupe exclaimed.
"Come on, dear."
The Grey Lupe was towing a little, baby Lupe.
She smiled shyly, and ran behind her mother.
"Oh, she's gorgeous!" Lantanasha said.
"Lanta?" the Grey Lupe questioned. "Thank you."
"Lanta?" Lantanasha asked. "How ironic!"
"What's so funny about her name?" she asked
"Oh, nothing!" Lantanasha laughed. "It's just
that it's my name, too! Well, almost."
"Really?" the sweet, little voice of Lanta came.
"What's your name?"
"Sweetheart, don't be rude," her mother scolded.
"Oh, no, she's not being rude at all! My name's
Lantanasha, but my friends and family calls me 'Lanty'."
"That's pretty," Lanta complimented her.
"Oh, but your name's beautiful!" Lantanasha
"Okay, okay." Lanta's mother laughed. "My name
Lantanasha laughed again. "That's my brother's
name, almost; his name's Talantasha, but we call him 'Taly'!"
"How curious!" Tala said.
"Well, you can come into the living room, and
just sit down there, and I'll bring you out some things, okay?"
"Okay," mother and daughter said simultaneously.
"Do you like Neodrops?" Lanty asked Lanta.
"Um, I've never tried them," she said, embarrassed.
"It's okay, I'll bring some out for you," Lanty
said, reaching for a cabinet.
"Thank you," Lanta said politely.
"You are welcome!" Lanty said in return.
Lanta smiled. Their fur before had been a dull
whitish color, and they were shivering. But now, their grey and blue colors
returned, and they were sitting happily in front of the warm fire, their smiles
"Here we go!" Lanty said, serving up some tomato
soup. "Enjoy, and feel free to stay as long as you wish!"
"Really?" Lanta asked, already liking the idea.
"Lanta, we shouldn't bother them anymore than
we have already," her mother said in a hushed tone.
"Pardon me for budging in, but we have a spare,
warm room if you'd like to stay; it'll be no trouble at all! We'll provide you
meals," Lanty said, practically begging them to stay; it was like she met a
"Well," Tala began.
"Pleeease?" Lanta and Lanty begged at the same
time, Lanta's high-pitched voice rising above Lantanasha's.
"Okay, but only if Lanty's mother says it's
alright!" Tala gave in, laughing like a little girl.
"Oh, she will!" Lanty said, her big grin never
As the night slipped by, the three of them were
all snuggled together, warmth spreading throughout them.
In the morning, Babbette, Lanty's mother, slipped
in through the back door, quietly creeping in as not to disturb her.
As she rounded the corner, and almost screamed.
"Lantanasha! I want an explanation for this!"
Babbette screeched. "NOW!"
"Uh, we better go," Tala muttered.
"Yes, you should!" Babbette said.
"Ma, no! Tala, Lanta, stay, please; hold on,"
and she led her mother into the back room to negotiate.
"Mama, listen; they have no place to stay, they're
really nice, too! They were all cold, and I don't want Tala or her little baby,
Lanta, to freeze!" Lantanasha argued.
"Sweetie, where will they stay?" Babbette said,
thinking she outsmarted Lanty.
"In here!" Lanty almost screamed, pointing to
the huge, king-sized bed in the corner with the thick quilts on the end, neatly
folded into rectangles.
"Well." Her mother was dumbfounded. "Fine."
"Yes!" Lanty curled her paw into a fist, moving
it in up and down motions. "Alright!"
"Sh, now go tell them... when are your siblings
"Um, they said they'd be back tomorrow," Lanty
"Okay...." Babbette said, and briskly walked
into the kitchen.
Lanty ran out, her soft, padded paws barely
touching the surface. "You can stay!"
"Yay!" Lanta screeched.
"Oh, thank you!" Tala said to her mom, and then
"No problem," Babbette said, faking a smile.
"You'll be sleeping in the back room; there's
a HUGE king-sized bed with three quilts, just in case it gets really cold. And
then I'll bring you breakfast in bed, and then I'll show you around - give you
the grand tour!" Lanty said, her humongous smile never fading.
"Thank you so much!" Tala and Lanta rushed over
to Babbette and Lanty to give them a hug.
Babbette's eyes watered at the sight of the
too-skinny Lanta coming over shyly to give Babbette a hug. She picked Lanta
up gently, and gave her a small squeeze, afraid of breaking any bones. She didn't
let go for a couple of minutes, breathing in the fresh, yet somehow dirty, smell
of the Lupe's fur. Pulling back, she tried to hide the tears, and smiled, setting
the little blue Lupe down.
Wiping away a tear, she said, "You guys can
stay here as long as you need to; it's no trouble at all - really."
"Thank you," Tala said, her tears outlining
her already damp eyes. "Thank you very, very much."
Tala reached out for a hug, and Babbette picked
up her and Lanta's fragile bodies, and carried them into the back room, setting
them on the soft bed. She gently fluffed the pillows, and pulled two quilts
over them. She shut the windows, closed the curtains, kissed them each on the
forehead, and said softly, "Good night," and left.
"'Night...." Lanta whispered, slipping into
"Excuse me, ma'am," Tala said, tired.
"Yes?" Babbette sniffed.
"Could you please read us a bedtime story...
please?" Tala asked.
"Sure, how about... 'My First Faerie'?" Babbette
said, pulling out the blue book.
"Okay... what's a faerie?" Tala asked, sleepily.
"Well... it's like a human - me - with wings,"
Babbette tried to explain. "'Everything a young pet needs to know about their
first encounter with faeries'," Babbette read.
After she finished, both of them were sound
asleep, and Babbette quietly slipped out of the room, creaking the door shut,
and swiping the puff of smoke out of her face.
'Hmm, I think I'll....' Babbette was
"Mama, could you come here, please?" Lantanasha
Babbette made her way to her daughter's bedroom,
where Lantanasha lay, crying very hard.
"Mama, my head hurts - really bad!" Lantanasha
"Shhh, baby, shh...." Babbette soothed, "What
"I don't know!" Lantanasha cried out in pain.
Babbette started to cry again. Her precious
baby looked so stiff, and so pale; 'What am I supposed to do?' she thought
frantically. 'I know, I'll go downtown to the hospital, and see what she's
Babbette made her way to the hospital, crunching
through the old leaves that fell previously in autumn, the snow softening her
step. She knocked on the frozen door to see if it was open. She heard a muffled
Pushing open the door, she called out, "Hello?"
"Hello, dear," a green Gelert said, leaning
on the counter. "What may I do for you today?"
"Well, my baby, Lantanasha, has some kind of
disease, and her head hurts a lot, and she's all stiff and pale." Babbette explained.
"I was wondering what it was."
"Well," the Gelert said, pulling out a three-ringed
binder and flipping through it. "Let me check my records."
Babbette looked around the sullen place; there
was a small, Island Kougra, slightly shaking her head, bags under her eyes.
And there was a Spotted Gelert, looking scared, his eyes popping out of his
head. But what really caught her was a frail-looking Baby Lupe. Her ribs were
showing, and she was sitting next to a Grey Lupe, the skin and fur around her
"Excuse me," Babbette said, and wandered toward
"Hey - excuse me, are you Tala and Lanta?" she
asked, staring right at them.
"Excuse me?" she said, more clearly.
Again, no answer.
"Ma'am, is your name Tala?" she shouted.
Everyone turned toward her.
"What?" she said, looking sternly at the Baby
Once more, no answer.
"HELLO?" she screamed.
No answer. Babbette picked up her hand, but
someone held it tight. She turned around; it was a weary Grey Wocky.
"What are you doing?" he asked Babbette, looking
at her strangely.
"They won't answer me; they're my friends -
really, they are!" Babbette cried.
The Wocky's Grey fist clenched tighter. "Them?"
he said, pointing to the painting she was desperately trying to talk to a moment
"Uh." Babbette's cheeks turned red, and noticed
how dumb she had been.
"I remember them, too," the Wocky said, unclenching
his paw. "They were my friends."
"Why aren't they your friends anymore?" Babbette
"Don't you know?" A Maraquan Uni tried to move
toward her, but it was hard dragging her tail.
"Know what?" Babbette asked. "They live with
The Wocky and Uni looked at each other, shaking
"She did that to us, too," they both said. "They're
"What do you mean, 'they're not real'?" Babbette
asked, looking at them with a crazed expression. "Of course they're real! I
held them both!"
"It seems like you held them," the Uni said,
nodding her head, "but they are not real!"
"It's true," the Wocky agreed.
"What, about the painting?" a younger Split
"Yeah, Merty," the Wocky answered.
"I 'saw' them once - pretty freaky. They came
knocking on my door, looking for food one cold day - like this one, for instance."
Merty buzzed. "I let her in, and said she could stay as long as she needed to.
I know she's a ghost - you know how?"
"No," Babbette said, freaked out.
"After you give 'em food, look in the dish when
they're done with it. It'll be as full as it was when you set it in front of
them!" Merty said.
"And," the Wocky said, "when you lay them in
bed, the covers will lay flat against the bed."
"My sister was sick for days!" another bystander
- a golden Shoyru - said, joining in the conversation. "She called my mother
up, crying. She said her head hurt really bad - and she couldn't move, she just
lay there, helpless. My Mama got worried sick! She rushed down here, and asked
the nice, green Gelert over there, but she didn't have any information on it.
It's a ghost - it gets into your mind."
Babbette was most frightened by now. She ran
up to the counter, said to forget it, and threw a 'thank-you' over her shoulder
as she pushed out the door.
"We didn't tell her what she should do...."
the golden Shoyru said.
"She should know to kick Tala and her daughter
out," the Wocky said.
"Nah, she won't do that - first, she's gonna
check for all the signs," Merty challenged.
"I'll go after her," the Maraquan Uni said,
flipping her tail into a wheeler.
"I just hope they aren't brainwashed," the Island
"Me, too," the other Spotted Gelert said. "It's
scary! Did you ever look into their eyes? Nothing."
Babbette burst through the door, rubbing her
hands together to keep warmth in them.
"Lanty!" Babbette cried. She heard a groan.
"Baby, I'm coming!" She jogged up the stairs,
and opened her daughter's door. "Are you alright, sweetie?"
"Mmm...." Lanty mumbled, her mouth barely moving.
"It's okay, shhh," Babbette soothed. "They have
to leave, Lanty."
She quietly closed the door behind her, and
made her way to the back room.
When she got there, they had gone. And all that
was left was a little spotted scarf from Lanta.