The Disappearance of Mrs. Quinn
Lisula looked out of her bedroom window, at the dreary sky. A light rain had started that morning, and through the day had grown to a heavy shower, drenching every little thing that was brave enough to go out in that weather. The lamppost shone an eerie light over the window where Lisula was sitting.
Now, before I get carried away on this gruesome tale, I expect you’ll be wanting to know who Lisula is, and why someone should write a story about her...
Lisula lived alone with only her mother in a section of the Haunted Woods. You know, the part where Vira was seen haunting, and the spooks, zombies, and spirits of the dark lurked around corners of tombs, and jumped out to scare poor, helpless Neopians? Well, to continue, Lisula (or Lissie, as her close acquaintances call her) was a yellow Usul. She was a small Usul for her age, but a fierce one at that. She dressed in clothes bought from the Neovian store, Prigpants, & Swolthy, Tailors. Just between you and me, she read a quite too many thriller and detective books.
“Come away from the window, love,” her mother crooned from the rocking chair in which she sat.
“Mother,” Lisula said. “When can I go out and play?”
“When the rain lets up,” she replied.
Lisula resumed looking out the window at the grey sky. Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of something moving outside on the windowsill. She turned quickly, but when she looked again, it had vanished.
“Mother!” she cried. “I saw something moving on the sill!”
“Probably just a Meowclops, dear,” she replied.
Lisula turned back to the window. She noticed a light in the apartment across the street. The shade was pulled down, but Lisula could still see the figure of the elderly Aisha, Mrs. Quinn. Another figure appeared. A strange, dark figure. It seemed to be talking to Mrs. Quinn. Suddenly both figures vanished out of sight.
Lisula pulled the window open to try to get a better look, letting a draft of icy cold wind in. The small fire blew out along with the candles. The strange figure emerged from within the house. He was carrying a sack. What was in it? Lisula wondered. A detective instinct aroused in her, from all the books she read, and she knew that she must find out what the bag contained.
When her mother wasn’t looking, she crept out of the room, and down the stairs. Opening the front door, she felt a cold blast of icy wind come swirling in.
“Lissie! What in Balthazar’s name are you doing?” her mother said from the top of the stairs.
Lisula jumped. “I-- I was... just... going... t-- to...” she spluttered.
“I see,” her mother said. “Now, off to bed with you!”
There was no getting out of this one. Once her mother took that tone, there was no disagreeing with her.
Later that night, Lisula was lying in bed, puzzling over the strange scene saw had viewed.
“Let's see. Facts. I must lay all the evidence out. Just like in that detective novel I read last month.
“What was in the sack? Jewels? Gold? No... no. Mrs. Quinn wasn’t THAT rich.”
She sat for a while thinking over the possibilities of what could have been in the sack.
All of a sudden, she sat up straight.
“What if it was *gulp* Mrs. Quinn in the bag? I do recall seeing a slight movement in the bag, or was that just my imagination?”
Lisula pondered in this fashion until around 1 o’clock, then she dropped off into a fitful sleep. She was running. Running away from something... but what?
The next afternoon before teatime, Lisula went to call on her friend, Rouge. Rouge was a red Lupe, kind, very fearless, and rather gullible at times. Lisula ran up to Rouge, who was rearranging his Haunted Woods Stamp Collection.
“By color? Or by date of discontinuation? Oh! Hi, Lissie!”
“Hi, Rouge. Listen, I need some help!”
“Sure.” Rouge put aside his stamp album. “Whatcha need?”
“I believe Mrs. Quinn has gone missing!”
“What!?” Rouge exclaimed. “The lady across the street from you? How do you know? You have evidence?”
“Not exactly,” Lisula admitted. “Last night, I saw her disappear.”
And so Lisula recounted what she saw, and her theories to Rouge. When she finished, he said nothing. He just went back to arranging his stamp album.
“Well!? Are you going to help me? We’ve got to do something about this!”
“Lisse,” Rouge said, looking up from his stamps, “I think you’re biting off more Deviled Steak than you can chew! I don’t think Mrs. Quinn would just randomly go off.”
“Rouge! She didn’t 'just go off', SHE WAS KIDNAPPED!”
“Lisse! We can't just go off on some wild Mallard chase, after some old lady who has maybe disappeared! Be practical!”
“I am being practical! If you were kidnapped, wouldn’t you want me to go looking for you? Rouge? Are you listening?”
Rouge said nothing.
“Fine!” Lisula said. “I’ll go look for her myself. Some friend you are.” And she stomped off.
“Uh, Lissie. Wait. I’ll go.”
“You will?” Lisula exclaimed, turning to face him.
“Yes, Lisse. I will,” he said, sighing.
“Oh! Thank you, Rouge! You are terrific!” she said, then ran up and gave him a huge hug.
Now, Hunters’ Glade was a secret hideout which Rouge and Lisula had found a few years back, and in which they had held their secretive meetings, every Tuesday.
“Uurgh! Where is Rouge?” Lisula had been waiting for an hour and fifteen minutes.
By now she was getting really worried. From what had been a light day earlier that morning had turned into a misty, and overall gloomy night. It started to sprinkle. After a while, the rain started coming down a bit heavier, but not so that it should cause her to run for cover. Lisula had started pacing a while back, and by now, where the brown grass had been (you must remember that this WAS the Haunted Woods. They did not enjoy such things as green grass), there was now a thick line of paced-off-grass.
Finally, Rouge stepped out into the clearing.
“And you have been where?” Lisula asked expectantly.
“Uh... My mom wouldn’t let me come in the rain, so I had to wait ‘till she started her baking, and wouldn’t notice if I was gone.”
“Well, at least you are here. Not on time, though.”
“Lisula, we will have to do whatever we are going to do rather hurriedly. Mum will notice my absence, and anyways, the Pant Devil is on the loose, and I would like to keep my pants, thank-you-very-much!” Rouge said, clutching at his pants.
“Oh, come off it, Rouge! A little ghost is nothing to be a-feared about! Anyways, we have to get this thing figured out and done tonight!”
“Fine...” Rouge consented. “Where do we start?”
Lisula thought for a moment.
“Back to the scene of the crime!” she shouted, as she started to run from the glade.
Lisula and Rouge sped back to Mrs. Quinn’s house. Lisula halted so abruptly that Rouge almost hit her. A Mynci was walking up the front steps of the house.
“Rouge! Quick! Behind this bush,” Lisula exclaimed as she pulled Rouge behind a brown bush. (Please recall the grass. Yes. The bush too was brown... or dead.)
“What is it?”
“Shhh!” Lisula rasped. “That is the Mynci I saw before. The criminal always comes back to the scene of the crime!”
“Why?” Rouge asked.
“To remove evidence, of course!”
“Well, if that is evidence,” Rouge said, “he sure has a lot of it.”
The Mynci had come out of the house caring another sack.
“Uh, Lisse? Are you sure you saw this guy kidnapping the old what’s-her-name?” Rouge asked, as he averted his gaze from the Mynci, to Lisula.
“Yes! What? Do you think I was lying?” Lisula spluttered, shaking with anger and doubt.
When the Mynci had come back out, Lisula took action.
“Ok, Rouge. You go jump that guy, and I’ll rush in, and investigate the house.”
“Tackle him? Right,” Rouge answered.
“Ready? One... two... three!”
They both leaped out of the bushes! Rouge did a fabulous tackle, knocking the intruder to the ground, while Lisula dashed up the steps and onto the Mrs. Quinn’s front porch.
Lisula pushed the door open, and stepped over the threshold, into the drawing room, where a surprising sight met her eyes.
“Oh! Hello, my dear! You gave me quite a fright bursting in the room like that! In my day people would knock or ring first. What is the world coming to?”
Mrs. Quinn was sitting in a rocking chair, calmly knitting a sock.
“M-- Mrs. Quinn?” Lisula stuttered, flabbergasted.
“Yes, my dear? Aren’t you the little girl who lives across the street?”
Lisula slowly sank into a sofa, just as Rouge burst in, hauling the Mynci behind him. Rouge gave a start as he saw Mrs. Quinn.
“Lisul-- Whoa! What is she doing here?”
“My dear young Lupe,” Mrs. Quinn said, “I happen to live here. And another thing, why is everyone bursting in ? And why do you have Mr. Fillsmith by the tail? Get up, Mr. Fillsmith! Get up!”
The Mynci freed his tail from Rouge’s grasp, and stood up, shakily.
“Beggin’ yer pardon, miss, am I free to go now?” Mr. Fillsmith said. “It’ll tyke me a while to unload them objects.”
“Yes, Mr. Fillsmith, you may go. Thank you for all your help,” Mrs. Quinn answered.
Mr. Fillsmith nodded his head slightly, and gave Rouge a strange look, and hurried out the front door.
“Uh, Mrs. Quinn? Who was that man?” Rouge turned, and asked Mrs. Quinn.
“Why, he was only the man from Prigpants & Swolthy, Tailors. I had some old fashioned clothes, which I didn’t wear any longer, so I rang him up, and told him he could have them cheap!” Mrs. Quinn chuckled to herself, and went back to knitting her sock.
Lisula sank deeper into the cushions of the red velvet sofa.
On the way home, neither of them talked, until they came to Lisula’s house.
“Lisula. I’m sorry your detective-mystery-come-true didn’t work.”
“That’s ok, Rouge,” Lisula answered. “’Night.”
She walked up the path to her house, and went upstairs. The first thing that caught her eyes was a copy of The Great Slugawoo Mystery. Lisula walked up to it. She was deep in thought for some minutes, and grabbing all her mystery or detective novels, she flung them into the fireplace.
“Lisula, are you back already? Heaven sakes! What are you doing?” her mother said as she came into the room.
“Oh! Only enjoying a good book, and a roaring fire!”