Ahlptraume - Neopia's Little Nightmare
Legends tell of a creature that stalks the nights of Neopia,
the Ahlptraume (the nightmare). There is no proof that it exists other than first
hand accounts of a handful of Neopians. Legend has it that this creature roams
the lands, bringing nightmares to all the people of the village it is in for that
night. Unable to stand light, it is gone by sunrise, always on the move. Though
details of the creature are scarce, people describe it as being a ghost of what
once an Uni. While others will contend that it's not a ghost, but more so a shadow...
a dark mirror image of an Uni; all in all, the identity of the Uni in question
remains a mystery, as does whether it exists or not. Now that you know a little
history on our story's star, I can tell you the story of the Ahlptraume and my
own encounter with him.
I had just lain down for the night. My belly
was full from the night's dinner, my mood jovial from the company. I turned
in for the night. Headed away from the garden, and up to my room in the manor.
My night was sure to be as delightful as my evening was. That, however, was
far from what came to pass. I drifted off to sleep without event.
I don't usually remember my dreams, which made
this one especially special. It started in my own home, just on the border of
the Brightvale kingdom and the Haunted Woods. I had awoken with a thirst so
strong that I was unable to go back to sleep. There was only one thing I could
do... head down to the kitchen and have something to drink. So, without haste,
I got out of bed. From the moment I pulled back my covers, there was sense of
dread that overtook me. A foreboding of sadness I couldn't explain. I headed
down the hall to the staircase after putting on my night coat, which is when
things started taking a turn for the worse. The shadows in the room I just came
out of started shifting. "I didn't leave a candle burning in there, did I?"
I rationalized with myself that I wouldn't have been foolish to leave a candle
burning while I slept, and that the shadows therefore must have been a figment
of my tired state. That didn't calm the sense of being watched that followed
me with each step I took down the hall, though.
I picked up the candle that was beside the staircase
and held it out in front of me as I descended each step carefully and slowly.
I felt something behind me... it was just a bit of movement and air, and then
my candle was out. I reached for the railing to finish my descent down the stairs.
I don't know if it was my thirst or the darkness and dread that filled the air
that caused me to hurry, but I was trying to be swift about it. I had a sense
of urgency to get to the kitchen, like it was a life or death situation. If
I didn't quench my thirst, something really bad was going to happen. I had to
prevent that by getting to the kitchen and getting some water, and I had to
do that quickly. I got to the last step of the staircase and nearly stumbled
over my own feet. I broke into a slow run and then I did stumble. I turned back
to see what it was, and something dark pulled back into the corner hidden in
the black shadows. I froze for just a moment, and stared into the corner. Then
the thirst was back, and I realized I was nearly at the kitchen. I was very
close to getting my drink, and then everything would be ok. Light was streaming
in the hall, from the moon outside. I walked past the area of light where I
tripped over the... whatever it was. The kitchen was just at the end of this
hall (along the wall with the window).
As I neared the kitchen, everything I was sensing
along with my thirst intensified. I knew something bad was about to happen based
on the feeling in the air, but my mind told me things would be worse yet if
I didn't go into that room. My thirst drove me. By then it was almost unbearable.
My mouth was dry, my breathing heavy. I broke into a sprint along the rest of
the hallway to the kitchen. I turned the corner at the end of the hall and fell
to my knees. There in the middle of the room, basked in moonlight, was a large
bowl full of water. I crawled to the middle of the floor, finally able to get
rid of this thirst and get back to bed. Finally able to make things right. I
picked up the bowl and as I put it to my lips, the thirst had gone. All that
was left was the feeling of unease left in the room. I had tried to get up and
run, but it was too late. The darkness was upon me. The shadows closing in.
I put my hands over my head, as I felt them grabbing at me. They were overtaking
me and there was nothing I could do about it. "The light," I remember thinking
to myself, "if only I could make the light go away... you can't have shadows
without a bit of light, right?" But I was consumed by them. I tried to scream,
but nothing came out; something was holding my mouth preventing me from vocalizing
my fear or thoughts. I was lying flat on my back in my kitchen... the things
were holding me down; they were on top of me, threatening to cover me in the
darkness. And then there was no more light. Only darkness, and fear, loneliness.
...I opened my eyes. I was covered in a cold
sweat, and was in the kitchen of my own house. Outside the window, silhouetted
by the black night sky, I could make out the shape of an Uni. But that's all
it seemed to be. It had no substance. It was only a shadow. It turned its ugly
head towards me, and it was then that I noticed its eyes... They were as red
as the glow of the Virtupets Space Station. I didn't have time to scream, I
just stood there staring at it. And in the time it took me to blink, he had
gone. Whether I was the only one to experience the beast's nightmares that night,
I don't know. It wasn't something others spoke of; I surely wasn't about to,
that much is for sure.
Some say that the Ahlptraume was once a shadow
Uni, living like you or me, left for walking the earth as some other being,
after being abandoned by its family in the Haunted Woods. Others just laugh
it off as a silly ghost story told to scare young Neopets. I know what I've
seen, but I'll leave the decision up to you on what you want to believe.
Search the Neopian Times
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Art by rookina