It was a quiet day in Neopia Central, and the air was kind of cool. The sky was stuffed with clouds, and to Kaoline, it felt as if it were about to rain at any second. She shivered as she stood out in the backyard and looked up. To her it looked stern and forbidding, like an old Lenny who yelled at the young neopets and waved his walking stick.
“Kao!” shouted a girl from inside the neohome. “Come inside. I don’t want you to get wet.”
The yellow Acara kept on looking up for a moment, and then shivered before she turned to go inside. She didn’t like to be wet, because it took forever to get her fur dry, and that was part of the reason why she didn’t like baths. She didn’t like how rough Rain was when she toweled her with a peophin towel. It felt like she’d been dumped in a mixer.
She wanted to live in the Lost Desert where it didn’t rain very often, but that wouldn’t happen while her owner was saving up neopoints. They lived in one of those default neohomes that were given to new owners until they decided to go and get one of their own. Some people never got one, but Rain was trying so that Kaoline would have a little more comfort. Plus, Rain liked everything that had to do with the desert.
Blinding light filled the air as the Acara shut the door, and moments later a thundering boom split the silence. The house suddenly filled with a shhhhhh sound as rain began to fall on the roof.
“Kao, are you okay?” Rain asked. Kaoline stood, shivering in the kitchen. She barely managed to put out a weak ‘yes’. Then a white bunch of paper leapt off of the stairs, fell to the floor, crumpling, and came up as a perfectly fine looking Ditsy.
“Good evening, Foldy!” she said, and picked up the paper creature. He nearly crumpled again in her paws, and she seriously considered renaming him. “Wanna go upstairs?”
“I’ll take that as a yes,” Kaoline said, giggling, and put him on top of her head. “Let’s go!”
They quickly made their way up the stairs, and up into her bedroom. The Acara smiled and giggled as she bounced on her bed and onto the soft blankets, watching her petpet fly up into the air for a moment and land on her pillow.
“So what are we going to do?” she asked him, rolling on her back and looking at the ditsy upside-down.
“That was random,” she said. “I know! Let’s play Hide and Seek! I’ll hide and you’ll come find me!”
She jumped off of the bed and zipped out of the room. Foldy just made a strange clicking noise.
Kaoline practically flew downstairs again and into the living room, where she scanned the area, searching for a good spot to hide. “Start counting!” she shouted.
Light blazed through the room again, and illuminated the house. For a moment she put her paws on her head. Then the rumble sounded again, and she lifted her head back up. A ghostly figure stood in the middle of the room.
Kaoline shrieked and ran out of the room as fast as she could. Terror filled her mind, and it sped up her step.
“Kaoline...” said the apparition, and the fact that it knew her name made her run even faster.
She ran over to Rain’s room and pounded on the door, shrieking for her owner to let her in. At the third pound, the door opened, and she shot inside, darting under the bed. But the room was dark, and Rain was nowhere to be found. Kaoline remembered the words of the Bori who’d shown them around the house when they were new here, and his words.
“Some of the ghosts find it funny to roam around these homes when it’s dark outside,” he’d said, waving his paw to show the new owner the neohome. “The most famous Neopian to live here was a rich Wocky by the name of Gloria, and every once and a while she comes around and takes some of the jewelry. But once a Gelert disappeared, and his name was Jeff. Nobody knew what happened to him.”
Kaoline shrieked at the memory, and quickly put her paw over her mouth. Then the lights in the house went out. A ghostly grey glow filled the hallway, and the next thing she saw, a see-through paw touched the door.
The Acara crawled under the bed to the other side, grabbed the window, and shoved it open. Then she jumped through it and out into the wind and rain. Lightning flashed again.
“Mommy!” she shouted.
A ghostly laugh filled the air as well as another, which kind of surprised Kaoline. She shivered, trying to rub some of the water out of her fur as more rain fell on her at the same time. She began to cry.
Kaoline slowly made her way around the house, and cautiously opened the door. When she entered the kitchen, she went over to the drawers and started searching through them for some candles. Then she dug one out and used a drop from a fire jug to light it. After that, sniffling and shivering, she went up to her room. Surely there she’d be safe.
Foldy hopped wildly around the room when she entered, and she made sure to stay away from him until her fur dried. Her mind was chock full of questions. Where was Rain? Who’d been the other voice? Was she really safe up here?
A chuckling sound made its way up the hall, and more tears began to slide down Kaoline’s cheek in despair. She was doomed. She may as well stay there and face her fate, like Jeff had. Had rain been kidnapped by Gloria too?
“Mommy!” the Acara shrieked in happiness and leapt out into the hall. She got a jolt of surprise when she saw the girl standing there next to the apparition, which wasn’t even an Aisha at all! A ghost Xweetok sat next to Rainy, her mouth grinning from ear to ear. More tears welled up in Kaoline’s eyes when she saw it.
“I’m sorry for scaring you, darling,” said Rainy, getting down on her knees and hugging the wet Acara. “This is Yaitheira, another pet I have. We were wondering how you’d react if she came over during a storm like this, and I guess we went a little too far. I’m sorry.”
“Can you forgive us?” the ghost Xweetok asked, coming forward and placing a cold paw on Kaoline’s shoulder. “We honestly didn’t mean any harm by it.”
The Acara sniffled, her pride mostly hurt.
“O... Okay,” she said. “I didn’t get hurt or anything.”
A howl spread throughout the house.
“Oops. The window...”
Yaitheira laughed, and moved her paw as she went to go and shut Rain’s window.
A hiss filled the air as a little flash of white zipped from the staircase. Then Yaitheira made a noise of surprise, and Kaoline laughed.