The night was brisk, yet inviting, with a full moon radiating
upon the entire land of Neopia Central. It was the 31st of Collecting, better
known as Halloween, a day that countless pets had anticipated for weeks. The streets
were chock-full of trick-or-treaters, all eager to fill their bags to the rim
with candy. It was difficult not to smile and feel cheerful as laughter continuously
filled the air.
Leyla, a white Cybunny, and her best friend,
Isabel, raced elatedly down Main Street. Laughter escaped their lips as they
swung their bags, which both carried a great amount of candy.
"Oh gosh, don't you just love Halloween?" Leyla
exclaimed, dancing around in joy. "It's just so... I can't even describe it!"
Isabel, a cloud Ixi, did a dance of her own as
a sign of agreement. "Definitely! And look at our bags. Have you ever seen so
much candy in your entire life?"
"Pft, heck no. We only got a quarter of this
last year and we're only half-way done. Owners are obviously feeling pretty
generous this year," Leyla observed, munching on a chocolate at the same time.
"Come on, let's not waste any more time," Isabel
said quickly. "That hyper group of pets is passing us and you know how much
candy they like to take."
Leyla nodded and the pair ran past the group
of 'attention-seeking' pets, who were carelessly picking their noses and laughing
hysterically at this astounding feat. It was obvious that they were on the path
to a very bright social life.
"What houses haven't we visited yet?" questioned
Leyla, staring at the different homes that were all brightly lit and lavishly
"Hmmmm, that one over there!" said Isabel, pointing
out a large mansion that had a line trailing down the road and disappearing
past their sigh.
As the two walked over to the immense line, Leyla
asked curiously, "What's the deal with this house?"
A purple Poogle who had overheard them replied,
"The owner of that house is like the richest owner in a six-mile radius! He
gives out candy by the boxes!"
"By the boxes?" Isabel whispered with
utter delight. "Leyla, we've got to get in that line right now!"
Leyla turned back towards the house, which already
looked miniscule from where they were standing. "Are you sure about this? I
don't to waste all our time at just one house."
"Oh, Leyla, trust me!" Isabel exclaimed as she
patted her friend's shoulder rather vigorously. "It'll totally be worth it."
Isabel should have thought more carefully before
she made promises like that to her friend. Twenty minutes had passed by and
it seemed like they had barely made any progress in the line. Leyla was beginning
to grow impatient, and she detected that her friend was as well. Not wanting
to take any more of this, Leyla finally spoke up.
"Isabel, let's just go. We've already got enough
candy," she said with a sigh, peering down at her overloaded bag of sweets.
Isabel shook her head in frustration. "We can't,
Leyla, it's too much candy to leave behind! Besides, this is our last house!"
"Isabel, we alre-"
"Please, Leyla, I beg you!" Isabel interrupted,
falling to her knees and staring at her Cybunny friend with pleading eyes.
Leyla was getting desperate. She knew there was
at least a good hour left before they would actually manage to get any candy,
and by then it would already be late and her owner would start to get worried.
There just has to be another house we haven't
visited, she thought to herself desperately. I'm sure of it!
With sweat trickling down her forehead, she gazed
at the long lines of houses that ran down the busy street. She observed each
house carefully, drawing an imaginary checkmark beside each one that she had
visited. As she surveyed the striking stucco house painted in dark mahogany
red, she noticed with surprise that she had completely skipped the house to
its left. For some odd reason, it was completely surrounded in darkness and
there wasn't a single decoration to be found. No wonder she hadn't even seen
it at first; it looked almost invisible. Even though the house appeared entirely
uninviting, Leyla knew she didn't have a choice.
"What about that house over there?" she exclaimed
with noticeably fake enthusiasm. "It looks so... welcoming! Plus, there aren't
Isabel swiveled her head towards the house for
a moment and then slowly turned back to face Leyla. "You have got to
be kidding me."
"Oh, come on, we mustn't be so picky!" Leyla
remarked, stepping out of the line and quickly grabbing on to Isabel's arm.
"Let's be respectful and say hi to the kind soul living in that house."
"Leyla, are you sure that the chocolate you ate
earlier wasn't spiked with Cuckoo-Juice?" Isabel said in a shrill tone. "I mean,
look at that house! It's obviously inhabited by some old crazy psycho. That
would most likely explain why no one seems to be anywhere near thirty feet of
"Yeah, but look at the other houses. Pretty quiet,
don't you think? Everyone's at that huge mansion over there," Leyla smartly
Isabel sighed, realizing she had lost this battle.
She turned back at the mansion one last time, dreaming of all the candy she
could have gotten if she had waited just a bit longer. Okay, a lot longer
"I wonder who lives in here," Leyla softly questioned,
approaching the sinister house with a bit of caution.
"Obviously some nutso!" Isabel exclaimed irritably.
"Well, it's time to find out," said Leyla, taking
in a deep breath and running up the steps. She pressed the doorbell, leaving
an imprint on the thick layer of dust. It didn't seem like there was any tune
playing inside the house, so she pressed the doorbell once more.
Isabel was beginning to get worried. "Okay, the
pet living in that house obviously doesn't want to be disturbed, so I think
But before she could finish, the door unbolted
itself and slowly opened with a piercing creak. It revealed a long hallway,
drowned in gloomy shadows.
"T-t-trick-or-t-treat!" Leyla stuttered, her
body frozen in fear.
A gust of wind suddenly encircled the friends,
forcing them with a huge amount of strength towards the door. "What's happening?!"
Isabel shrieked, desperately trying to catch sight of her friend as a huge flying
pile of leaves blinded her.
"AAAAAH! HELP ME!" Leyla screeched, feeling her
feet being dragged against the hardwood flooring of the house.
Isabel flew in seconds later and the door abruptly
closed behind them with a loud bang. The two were left sitting on the grimy
floor, panting and frantically gazing around their dark surroundings.
Leyla whimpered, tears gathering in her eyes.
"I-Isabel?" she whispered, desperately hoping her friend would answer.
Thankfully, she did. "I'm here, Leyla," the Ixi
murmured. "Oh my gosh, where are we?"
A hushed voice spoke from behind them. "You're
in my house is where you are!"
An old light bulb that hung above the two friends
suddenly turned on, weakly illuminating the area.
Leyla scrambled around to spot the source of
the voice and rapidly made out the hazy shape of a ghost Elephante standing
five feet from her.
"My goodness, it's been twenty-two years," the
Elephante whispered, his eyes wide with astonishment. The bizarre pet looked
terribly unkempt. He was dressed in a battered, brown robe, and his fur was
matted with dirt and sweat.
"Please, mister, just let us go and we'll never
tell anyone about this!" Isabel cried, backing up into a corner.
The Elephante shook his head, muttering to himself.
"Incredible, I tell you."
Leyla had a feeling that this pet didn't mean
them any harm. In fact, he looked more stunned then they did about this whole
ordeal. So, she decided that she would try to get her friend and herself out
of this idiotic situation.
"Hi, my name's Leyla," she said nervously, awkwardly
sticking out her hand.
He peered up, examining her face with bewilderment.
"Hello. Leyla is a lovely name." He kept his hand to himself, however.
Leyla stood silent for a moment, desperately
thinking of something to say. Finally, she added, "How's it going?"
"Fine," he replied, his body remaining motionless.
Isabel slowly stood up from the corner, tiptoeing
towards the door. "Leyla!" she hissed. "We have to get out of here now!"
Leyla swiftly turned her head back and mouthed
'NO' with a cold glare. Isabel returned the glare but stopped anyways.
"Would you two like some hot cocoa?" the Elephante
unexpectedly asked, motioning them towards the kitchen.
Leyla was taken aback by this kind request, but
nevertheless, she nodded. "We would love some. Isn't that right, Isabel?"
The Ixi nodded sweetly. As the Elephante turned
towards the kitchen with a bit of excitement in his step, Isabel blew her tongue
at Leyla and hissed, "Next year, you can forget about trick-or-treating with
As Isabel stomped away, Leyla began fuming with
anger. Urgh, does she have to be so rude?! What a stuck-up brat!
She shuffled towards the kitchen as well, which
was illuminated by another light bulb dangling above the plastic kitchen table.
"I hope you two don't mind that I don't have
any candies to hand out this year," the Elephante said fretfully, taking out
a can of powered cocoa from a cupboard. "Unless you'd like some twelve-year-old
Milk Chocolate Aishas, of course"
"We're fine, Mr..." Isabel trailed off, arching
For a moment, it seemed like the Elephante didn't
know how to respond. Finally, he answered with, "Just call me Mister."
"Alrighty then..." muttered Isabel, secretly
displaying an expression of disbelief.
As Mister continued to make some cocoa for them,
Leyla walked around the living room, examining the numerous dusty portraits
that hung on the walls. They were oddly all pictures of young, cheerful pets,
with bags of candies in their hands. Her interest piqued, Leyla stepped more
closely towards a portrait with a yellow Kacheek grinning from ear to ear.
What she witnessed at that moment was horribly
disturbing. The Kacheek's eye twitched with movement and its face was suddenly
filled with fear. She stared with horror as it mouthed the words 'HELP ME',
before suddenly returning to its cheery grin.
Leyla could feel the hairs on her neck stand
with fear. "Isabel!" she cried, running towards the kitchen.
Before she could reach her friend, she ran right
into Mister, causing her to fall on her back. He loomed over her, with a steaming
mug of hot chocolate in his hands.
"Drink, precious Ixi," he whispered with a smile.
Not knowing what else to do, Leyla gulped down
the hot chocolate that the Elephante poured down her throat. She felt a bizarre
tingling feeling run through her arms and legs, and soon, her eyes forced themselves
to close into a deep slumber.
Why is everything so... dusty?
A sudden ring from the doorbell made Leyla alert.
She tried to widen her eyes, but they refused. In fact, her entire body felt...
Leyla could sense a horrible feeling of panic
invade her mind. She desperately tried to move her arms, but they wouldn't give
in. The only thing she could see was the shadowy living room that she had just
been in a minute ago.
She could also see the door, which at that very
moment swung open. Seconds later, three pets were on the floor, and the door
Her eyes moved frenetically, trying to distinguish
who these pets were. She prayed that they would be able to aid her. She tried
once more to let out a yell of help, but her body wouldn't allow it.
Without warning, Mister appeared at the top of
the stairway. The Elephante gradually descended the creaky stairs and welcomed
the three pets. The discussion was muffled and Leyla strained her ears to hear
what they were saying, but to her avail, not a single word could be perceived.
A few minutes later, the group of young pets
and Mister moved over to the kitchen, where he opened his cupboard and took
out that same can of powered coca that he had used to make the hot chocolate
for her and Isabel.
Isabel! Leyla suddenly thought with panic.
Oh gosh, I hope she's all right!
All of a sudden, a gold Chia walked over to her.
He eyed her with a peculiar expression and continued to stare for at least a
minute. She desperately attempted to mouth the words 'HELP ME', just like that
Kacheek had, but her muscles remained firmly in place.
At long last, the Chia broke his gaze away from
her. He turned his heads towards the kitchen, and asked a question that made
Leyla want to scream at the top of her lungs.
"Wow, Mister, did you paint this portrait? It
looks amazingly real!"