Stand behind yer sheriff Circulation: 135,120,757 Issue: 269 | 8th day of Celebrating, Y8
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A New Kind of Ghost Story


by firehazzard

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"What is going on down there?"

     Thumping footsteps pounded down the splintery stairs and a tired, harsh voice accompanied them.

     "I leave you for ten minutes. Ten minutes for a nap! And already you're making noise! Sheesh! Am I the only one who is mature and controlled in this household?"

     A purple Cybunny emerged. Her face had a frown stamped on it and deep, curving circles below her critical blue eyes. She glared upon the two Neopets cringing before her. One was a biscuit colored Kougra (who had very, large exceptionally round eyes) and the other was a peeved looking red Eyrie.

     The Cybunny let out a listless sigh and closed her eyes.

     "Oh, Chyde!" She opened one eye to look at the Kougra. "I sent you to go pick up dinner hours ago. I was getting worried! I thought, gee, Chip must either be lost, confused or she has completely gotten sidetracked. Now which one was it?"

     "Apparently," the Eyrie interrupted loudly and sarcastically, "she had a mishap along the way. Apparently, she met a ghost thief of some sort. Please! I for one do not believe her story. Neither should you, Barce. Chyde gets away with way too much around here."

     The Eyrie finished his short, pompous speech by sending a seething scowl to Chyde the Kougra and to Barce the purple Cybunny.

     "It's no lie! Jame doesn't believe me!" Chyde burst out. "I did! Let me explain please-"

     "She comes home, no money, no dinner and she'll get away with some silly story!" the Eyrie bellowed, his back arching.

     "Quit it!" Barce cried waving her arms and glaring fiercely at both of her siblings. "I'd like to hear Chyde's story and her excuse."

     "Ever since she was painted Biscuit I swear she's becoming crazier and crazier..." muttered Jame with a nonchalant roll of his eyes.

     "I can hear you, you know!" Chyde snapped.

     "Exactly my point," her brother began.

     "Let her speak!"

     Both Brace and Jame moved closer to their youngest sister. Even if both were a little cross with her they both were dying to hear this tale. Words were Chyde's talent. She wove them and exaggerated, she added excitement to them and gave them meaning. When she spoke everyone listened for they couldn't help it. She certainly had a gift with stories.

     "I did exactly as you told me, Barce, exactly. 'Fetch us something nice for supper, will you?' It was going to be a great meal, I'll tell you that. I'd taken the money you gave me and I haggled with at least seven shopkeepers for a fair price. The outcome was some hot Creamy Carrot Soup for Barce, a Pastrami Sandwich for me, a Lemon Sprinkle Doughnut for a certain sourpuss I know and even a Chocolate Cake. I really wanted to do a good job, really! I even made sure I had money left over. I was leaving the bakery when the first of many mishaps occurred.

     "I was attacked by... n00bs! A flock of them came at me right outside the bakery! I do recall some of the things they said (although I tried to block them all out); they included:

     "'Lyk itz a C000kie KOOGRA. YUM, I'M COMIN 4 U! OmGGEE!!'

     "Now, being a Biscuit Kougra I get this rather often but I will swear to this; my crunchy chocolate chip filled legs have never run faster. I flew down one street and whipped across the other. It was a miracle that my grocery bag held together. But by George, I kept running! Eventually I realized there were fewer fellow shoppers around me. Then I noticed the dirtier streets and the shabbier houses. The sky was turning gray and storm clouds drifted menacingly closer. And all I could think was, Barce is gonna flip when I get home... If I get home, that is-"

     "Drama Kougra," snorted Jame.

     "Shh!" Barce whispered, gazing upon her sister with interest. "Go on."

     "I knew then that I was not in any place of Neopia Central that I knew. I could feel a sudden coldness creeping up my spine and I started to panic." Chyde smiled softly. "I think I might've cried. No one else was around me, no one to ask for directions or help. I sat down on the cracked sidewalk and was about to cry when... when..."

     "When?!" Chyde's siblings urged.

     "I felt someone sit down beside me on the curb. Now there really was an icy chill down my back. I took a deep breath, but did not turn to see who it was. I could feel every inch of me quiver with fear. I counted my heartbeats as I slowly turned to see what it was... One... Two... Three...

     "And there he was-"

     "The ghost thief?" Jame nodded.

     "He had silvery gray fur and when the streetlamp's light hit it, it almost looked translucent. His eyes were a dull, faint red and he was smiling. He looked hollow. Empty.

     "'Are you the Ghost Lupe?' I asked politely, a surge of fear hitting me.

     "He laughed at this, a booming, bellowing laugh, that strangely did not echo off anything in the quiet night.

     "'No, no,' he chuckled. 'That fellow gets all the publicity. I am simply a ghost Lupe. I do not live in Mystery Island. But, yes I am a ghost...'

     "His red eyes darted to my bag.

     "'Out shopping? This late?'

     "'Well, yes. I'm really, very late getting home. I got lost. Unfortunately.'

     "'Don't ever be sorry for getting lost!' the Lupe said, sending me a mock horrified look. 'Getting lost is terrifically fun! I mean, getting lost is just the opening act for an adventure!'

     "He squinted at me and asked slowly:

     "'Are you on an adventure?'

     "'No,' I squeaked. "Not that... I know of...'

     "'Everyone's on an adventure. Always,' he muttered quietly. '...Do you have a name?'

     "'Chyde,' I answered."

     "You gave out your name to a stranger?!" Barce cried, pulling on one of her ears. "Have I taught you nothing?!"

     Her sister sighed and continued her story.

     "'Chyde? What a fascinating name!'

     "'And... yours?' I pondered aloud, not looking directly at him.

     "'I have no name,' he returned. 'But you can call me Hart. Not to be confused with heart, mind you.'

     "'Of course,' I agreed feebly, thinking dismally of how late it was. Barce will never let me out of the house again, I thought. It's so late! I really had to go. 'Are you going to rob me or what?'

     "He blinked, paused, and then started to laugh again. His jaws opened wide, revealing long, pearly fangs. From where I sat it looked like he was trying to take a bite out of the moon.

     "Then, abruptly, he turned his red eyes at me and was quite serious and grim. I felt my Biscuit colored arms wrap around myself and my grocery bag.

     "'Well.' He took a deep breath. 'I'll be frank with you. I take from the rich and give to the needy. Are you needy? No. I think not. You seem like you're from the kind of family that hasn't ever heard of the Soup Faerie and thinks that the Money Tree is a silly idea. I bet you have a great life.'

     "'No,' I said very quietly.

     "'No?' he chuckled. 'So how much did a Biscuit Paintbrush cost? Huh? 300,000 or so Neopoints? That's a lot.'

     "'It was a Fountain Faerie quest...' I snapped weakly."

     "I still don't understand why you were the one who got to be painted!" Jame interrupted with a scowl.

     "Anyway," Chyde continued with a hearty glare in his direction. "Hart's reaction to this was to remain completely silent. I could see him staring at the grocery bag hopefully.

     "'How do I know you're not just going to gorge on this yourself?' I asked with a frown. He gave me a exasperated look and with a rush of embarrassment I understood. He's a ghost, I thought. No eating for him

     "'Oh! Sorry! I forgot. I'm really sorry, Hart. What I meant to ask was who exactly do you give it to?'

     "'I know a family.' Hart's sullen face was transformed before my eyes. It was alight and happy. 'They're just kids. One brother living with his two sisters... They live in a nothing of a home and most days they are not even sure if today they are going to have even one meal. Times are hard for them, so I give what I find to them.'"

     "What he finds! Sure!" Jame laughed meanly. "You mean what he steals!"

     "You know, Jame, when he told me that, I immediately thought of you. One guy living with his two sisters who drive him up the wall... sounds kind of like us. We do have it pretty good. We have a roof over our heads, cozy beds to sleep in, a surplus of food, but most importantly we have each other. So right there on that street side curb, those thoughts went shooting through my head and I gave Hart the bag. He said thank you a countless number of times. He rambled on excitedly about the family he was going to visit.

     "'I'm sure they love cake!' he barked, happily. 'Thank you! Thank you! I have to leave now; they'll be so hungry!'

     "With a big smile and a leap he was off darting down the street, a silvery gleam moving along the shadowy streets, catching the moonlight and shining it back at me with his bright fur.

     "'Bye!' I called. 'See you!'"

      Chyde cleared her throat, a sign that she was finished. She stared meaningfully at her siblings who were sitting at her feet like two children, looking up upon her with round eyes. An awkward stillness filled the air.

     "I'm sorry it took me awhile to get back, I couldn't quite find my way. It's okay. I understand completely, Barce, if you don't want me to leave the house before Neopets turns 20. And I'm sorry, Jame; I knew you would've enjoyed that Lemon Sprinkle Doughnut, but I guess tonight I'll have to whip some old soup or something."

     Her siblings stood up. Jame beamed at Chyde shyly from behind a lock of red feathers. Barce looked like her blue eyes were watery and even though her paws were on her waist and her brow was furrowed she still looked the happiest anyone had seen her in along time.

     "Soup?" Barce asked her sister. "Why, soup sounds just fine."

The End

Hope you liked this. Comments, questions and criticism is CRAVED by the author. -Thank you

 
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