Revisited: Part One
Jenny poked her head through the massive, black iron
bars of the high, intimidating fence that surrounded the property and stared silently,
her jaw hanging open slightly. From the front of the house, it appeared to be
nice and kept up well; well pruned bushes, vibrant flowers, and neatly cut grass
filled the front yard of the enormous house. The backyard, however...
The backyard came as a total surprise to the
young blue Ixi. She had been expecting more beautiful landscaping matching that
of the front yard, but this was definitely not it. Where there was any grass
at all, it was dead and brown and existed in small, scattered clumps. Much of
the barren yard contained bald spots of bone dry dirt that looked like it had
never been fit for growing anything. Below her was a row of hedges. Or, at least,
what remained of what might have been hedges at one point. All that existed
there now were dead, wooden skeletons of branches.
Jenny's purpose for climbing the tall brick
fence that obscured the view of this house's yard wasn't specifically to catch
a glimpse of the backyard, although she had occasionally pondered what it would
look like. Her plan, however, had been to catch a glimpse of the house's occupants.
The house was gargantuan, and the landscaping was marvelous and looked expensive.
But what did the pets that lived inside it look like? Undoubtedly they were
rich - a house that size ensured it, and from time to time when biking past
the house, Jenny could spot a gardener in the yard doing the weekly upkeep.
Her purpose did not go unfulfilled. In the
corner of the brown yard, she spotted an old mutant Blumaroo reading a yellowed
issue of the Neopian Times, which looked like it was about ready to crumble
into dust at any moment. Next to him was an equally old and hideous mutant Kougra.
While Jenny silently noticed that they did seem to match the backyard well,
she was having a hard time realizing that these were the real occupants
of this house. No! her mind screamed, shocked at what her eyes were
"Get down from there!" screeched a green
Chia in a maid's uniform, whacking Jenny swiftly on the leg with today's rolled
up Neopian Times. "I oughta... I oughta... !"
Jenny was motionless for a second, staring
back at her wide-eyed, then leaped down from the fence and got on her bike and
pedaled away as fast as her legs would take her.
"Don't ever tell what you saw here, and don't
ever come back!" the Chia yelled back at her.
Now pedaling away, Jenny glanced back over
her shoulder for a final glimpse, and the outraged look on the maid's face was
enough to make her pedal even faster than she had ever thought was possible...
... But it wasn't enough to make Jenny keep
her mouth closed about what she had seen. The news spread like wildfire once
Jenny told her friends, and within a week, a large and quite obvious "for sale"
sign went up in the corner of the property's front yard. After all of the gossip
had circled, however, no one wanted to live in such a house. So, the house's
occupants had moved, leaving the house empty and deserted, and those pets were
never heard about again. The house soon reflected its neglect, and all of the
flowers in the front yard, along with the grass that had previously been so
perfect, began to die, making the house look like a great candidate for the
local "haunted house." Pets would dare each other to enter it, and eventually,
its windows were all boarded up and its gates closed...
Jenny the Ixi, now a teenager, looked up from
the full sink of dishes that she was washing and sighed. Lately, she had been
thinking about that house a lot, and she was finally starting to regret some
of her actions. Why hadn't she kept her mouth shut? For all she knew, the pets
living in that house could have been the nicest on the planet, and yet, her
cruel little self had come along and ruined their lives here, making them pack
up and leave their wonderful house to go who-knew-where...
Stop that! she scolded herself. You're
doing it again! Stop feeling so guilty! You're making yourself feel miserable!
While she was standing there, scolding herself,
her sister snuck into the room silently and greeted Jenny with a loud, "hi!"
Jenny hadn't known that she was standing there, and she dropped the plate she
had been scrubbing and jumped.
"Oh, hi!" she said, panting slightly out of
surprise of her sister's greeting.
"Hey, I might have found a job for you."
"Really?" Jenny had been trying to get a job
for weeks, but she had so far been unsuccessful. Every time she went down to
the Employment Agency in Faerieland, the result had always been the same. They
told her that they didn't have any jobs that she could do at the moment, and
she should try coming back another time. "What is this job?" she asked, hoping
it wasn't something like walking rich pets' Warfs and Puppyblews around Neopia
"It's a cleaning job in some big house over
a few streets. There was a sign in the front yard that gave details of the job,
and I thought of you, so I copied them down onto a piece of paper. It said that
all applicants for the job are just supposed to show up at this house on Thursday
night, and the owners of the house will choose someone then," her sister replied,
handing her a scrap of paper with an address and the job information scribbled
Jenny took and read it, then nodded. "I think
Address in hand, Jenny turned onto the street
listed on the paper. As she walked down the street, she couldn't help but feel
like she was having a strange case of déjà vu. The houses that lined both sides
of the road looked familiar, but for some reason, she couldn't place them. That
is, not until she stopped in front of the house which owned the address for
which she had been looking. The black iron gates, still high and forbidding,
were now locked with a brass padlock hanging on heavy chains.
"Get down from there! Don't ever tell what
you saw here, and don't ever come back!" The quote flashed through Jenny's
mind now, not lingering long, but staying long enough to remind her of the incident.
"Noooo," breathed Jenny under her breath, looking quickly to her left and right
and taking several hasty steps backward, intending to run away from the horrible
house and never return.
Her plans, however, were interrupted when a
kind and warm sounding voice from behind her greeted her with a friendly hello.
Just my luck, Jenny thought, not speaking
"You must be here for the cleaning job, right?
Come," the voice said, coming closer.
Jenny took a cautious peak over her right shoulder
and was greeted by the sight of... nothing. "What on... where are y-?" she started.
The voice sighed, then interrupted her. "I'm
invisible. You wouldn't believe how many pets have a hard time grasping the
fact that I can exist as a pet without existing visually." To Jenny's right,
a set of brass keys on a ring were now floating in midair. "Now go," he said
as the keys entered the padlock and turned, unlocking the gates.
The encounter with the invisible pet had caused
Jenny to momentarily forget about her plans to flee the scene, and she moved
mechanically through the gates onto a neat path of stones which led, winding
though the grass, up to the house. Jenny reached the front stoop and lifted
a single hoof toward the ominous brass knocker hanging on the door, but the
door was already swinging open. Jenny looked down, and there, on the other side
of the door, was a pet she could only assume was the butler.
"Hello," greeted the Scorchio, who had a very
bizarre appearance. His larger left eye twitched a few times as Jenny took him
in. For a Scorchio, he wasn't very tall; he barely was half Jenny's size, and
the wings on his back were so small that there was no possible way that they
could be fully functional. The scales on his body were a peculiar pale, greyish
green color, making it seem that he hadn't gone out in the sun for ages. And,
judging by the behavior of the Scorchio, Jenny wouldn't be surprised if he hadn't
gone outside for that long. The butler reached out one pale claw. Jenny drew
her own hoof back, grimacing. He grabbed her hoof anyway and led Jenny, now
with a disgusted look on her face, into the house.
The foyer of the house was fairly dim; the only
light in the room came from two grand chandeliers lit with candles, which hung
from the ceiling. Jenny looked around anxiously as she and the butler walked
through the long room. With each step she took, her hooves clicked on the wooden
tiles, which all had an ornate red design on them. The sound echoed off the
high ceiling of the room, causing a creepy effect.
"Now," the Scorchio said in a creaky voice,
"would you like to meet the owners of the house? They're in the dining hall."
"The... owners?" Jenny gulped.
To be continued...