It was a day like any other. Having made my rounds with my Aisha, Whisper, and having brought to our neohome a few thousand neopoints that day from games and such, I decided an outing to the toy shop was in order. Whisper agreed and jabbered on the whole way, her striped coat shining in the bright Neopia sun.
"And Mum! I want a keyring and a Kiko toy! 'Cos I dunno any Kikos and I've always wanted a Kiko friend!" Her grin was from ear to ear, well... ear, ear, to ear, ear.
I smiled and we walked on.
Life hadn't been easy, neopoint wise at least. I wasn't too good at the games and, frankly, my pet was a bit on the spoiled side. I just had to give her what she wanted. Starting with the striped paint brush, and then a lab map just in case she ever got bored and wanted to take that risk (we still have yet to use it), and the petpet laboratory map (I must admit, for her expensive tastes, this came in handy, with the exception of the few times her petpets turned to soot...). I never thought that spoiling her was such a bad thing, but there is nothing that a good toy can't fix. We played the stocks, but I've never been too great at investing. Still, we had enough to get by, and we always had such a strong bond.
We opened the door, and the bell dinged.
"Can I help you, darlings?" the Lupe at the counter said in a thick accent.
The store was a clutter of child delight, filled with anything and everything a pet could dream of having, and I'm sure my little Aisha dreamed of more than half of this clutter on a nightly basis.
Whisper had suddenly gone shy and a series of "uhms," and "uhhhhs" fell out of her mouth. I chuckled at my pet's shyness and spoke quietly to the Lupe, while Whisper had decided to look around.
"So how are you today?" I asked her.
"Ah, vell. You know I cannot complain. You know, ve got an interesting toy in stock today..." she said, almost musing.
"Interesting, eh? How so?"
"I cannot say, but... zer is something not quite right about it. I do not think we vill stock it again, though, I am not sure there are ozzer places that sell ziss toy. Who knows, though, depending on sales, I may be persuaded to ship more in..." she said with a mysterious grin.
I gave her a skeptical look. "Well, let's see it then."
Whisper had gone out of sight by now and was in the back looking at all the Kiko toys, while the Lupe brought out an odd looking string along toy.
"It... has not been selling vell, you see."
"What... is it?" Surely my face was showing some sort of strange amusement.
"Vell... zee tag... It says... Oh vat is that? Pool eloong 'Alloween Ona."
"What?" I looked at the tag and read it again. "Pull along Halloween Ona...?"
"Yes, excuse my accent. You know I am not from around 'ere."
I grimaced; this toy was less than impressive and very creepy. It was greying blue, and was on a platform, paws extended out front, and a chain to pull it. I had hoped the Lupe would put it back before Whisper saw it, but Whisper bounded up.
"Mum! What is that? It's soo cool! I want it! Can I please, please, please with CHERRIES AND APPLES AND SUGAR on top!!?" She squeezed my leg and looked up at me with those eyes I had fallen in love with since the day I created her, those eyes that made me give her everything.
"Are you sure? I mean... it's kind of..." My voice trailed off as I caught myself raising an eyebrow and looking at that thing on the counter.
"Kind of cute? Perfect? Wonderful? AMAZING?!!!"
I looked at the Lupe and she shrugged. I sighed, how could I say no. The word was beyond my reach.
"Oh... alright. Fine."
Whisper bounced at my feet.
The Lupe smiled, and I couldn't help feeling the chills. The toy seemed to be grinning at me... This of course wasn't her first strange toy. I remembered that headless von roo plushie. It had been inexpensive due to its... well, having no head, but she had to have it, and I was not one to dismiss a bargain. If she wanted to play with a broken toy or a scary toy, as long as she wouldn't get hurt, then it was fine by me.
Looking back, I realize I should have gone to the Usuki store. Something more normal would have sufficed; however, my pet's insistence on a keyring swayed me. A keyring... if only.
"It eez 2,583 neopoints," she said, quickly adding, "but I can give it to you for 2,300."
I looked at the Lupe, and back at my Aisha, and groaned, "That is so much more than I want to spend... but... How about that over there?" I said pointing at a keyring with a Kiko on it.
I rolled my eyes. "2,100."
"Sold." She grinned. "...Although, you might not want to turn your back on it."
Later that night, after Whisper and her petpet, Rags, the plushie miamouse, were fed, I decided to watch some movies, while in the other room Whisper played with Rags and her new toy (who she now fondly called Chobby- "Mum, he calls himself that!"). I flipped through the channels, with utter boredom worn on my face, and I had started to doze off when...
"MUM! MUM! MUM!" I could hear Rags sniffling in the background, and Whisper's cries were so urgent, I had become frightened and was now wide awake and running to her.
I entered her room.
The room was a horrible mess. "Whisper! What is this mess!"
"Mum... Chobby threw my kacheek plushie at Rags!"
"You want me to believe that a toy on a string did all of this mess?"
"Chobby did it!"
The words of the Lupe at the counter echoed in my head, what she had said before we left. I quickly shook it off.
"Clean up this mess, and then wash up and head to bed..."
"But MUMMM! Don't you believe me?!"
I flashed her the "don't disobey me, this is not a discussion topic" look, and she looked down in frustration.
Picking up Rags, I left the room.
"Aw, Rags." I smiled at her and wiped the tears from the petpet's face. "What did she do? Did she do this?"
Rags shook his head.
I raised an eyebrow. "So she's got you in on it too?"
I sighed and put Rags on the floor, letting him scamper off to Whisper's room.
By then the lights were out in Whisper's room. I surmised she had cleaned up by throwing her toys on the shelf. She was very messy like that, but I would make her clean it the right way tomorrow. I yawned, yes. Tomorrow. Whisper's door was opened a crack, so I poked my head in to see her curled up with Rags in a deep sleep. I smiled and closed the door, noting that she had placed Chobby away.
I was awakened in the middle of the night by yelling. There was a crashing about, and my first thought was, something along the lines of "kidnapper!"
My heart raced, and I ran to Whisper's room, where the noise was coming from, prepared to fight.
Flicking on the lights, I saw Whisper cowering on her bed. I relaxed, the only thing out of place was... well, everything, but I saw no one who wasn't supposed to be in there, except that toy, which was at the foot of her bed, with that look on its face.
"What is it?"
"Chobby! Mum! It's Chobby! He went crazy! He was all bitin' and scratchin'-"
I rolled my eyes. "Chobby is a toy," I explained, as I picked up some of the toys off the floor, but there were too many.
"Mum, may I sleep in your room tonight?"
I sighed. "Alright."
I took her paw, and she took Rags' paw, and we all headed to my room to get some sleep.
There was no more commotion that night, however, when I awoke, Chobby was at the foot of my bed. I thought nothing more of it than Whisper had played a joke on me... Still, it was strange.
Whisper cleaned her room, and there was little incident for about a week, and Chobby was not to be seen or heard from. Whisper had him tucked away somewhere, I didn't blame her, I didn't like that thing either.
Whisper was outside playing with her friend Steelios, a blue Shoyru, whose owner, Cris, has been a good friend of mine for quite some time.
"Cris, it makes no sense. I haven't been able to shake off that feeling that the toy is watching me!"
"Pixel, you're insane. It's a toy!"
"I know, that's what I've been telling her, but Whisper is convinced that thing is alive! You have to see this thing. It's the weirdest toy..."
"Alright, Pixel," he said, grinning, "When it moves, I'll protect you."
I shot him a nasty glance and lead him to Whisper's room. The door was shut.
Cris knocked on the door. "Hellooo, anyone hooome?" He laughed, clearly just messing, but I was slightly offended.
"Knock it off. When you see this thing, you'll understand."
"Yeah, I am sure I will," he said sarcastically with a huge grin on his face.
I tried the door. "It's... stuck."
"Let me get it," he said, trying his macho luck.
I could see him struggling. "OPEN ALREADY!" he yelled at the door.
"And I'm the crazy one. Hah! Yelling at doors..." I smiled. "I'll go get the key; it must be stuck or something."
We turned to walk away and the door creaked open. Without a word we both entered the room.
It was cold, a good ten degrees colder.
"You're creeping me out, Pixel. Stop it."
"I'm not doing this!"
"Pixel, it's really not funny..."
And that was when we saw it, the Halloween Ona. It had ransacked the room and was trying to get out the window. Its platform stuck in the window frame. That was too much. We fled the house and ran outside to our pets.
Though it hadn't taken us long to get outside, in the time it had taken us to get outside, the Halloween Ona had gotten through the window and was chasing our pets around. Whisper was screaming and Steelios was trying to fight off the snapping, biting, and scratching toy with a stick. In a moment of bravery, I jumped on the toy, attempting to crush it, my weight was only enough to hold it down, however.
It snapped and snarled and struggled from under me...
What a nasty toy! I thought to myself, and then I remembered the Lupe had said NOT to turn my back on it. So I did the opposite, crushing the toy as I rolled over.
The terror was no more, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
And so it was, that Whisper never asked for another toy again. The creepy toy was thrown out to sea, where it can stay. And me? I will always believe my little Aisha, even if she says crazy toys are chasing her.