The Mystery of the Disappearing Socks
Hilbesh was a Speckled Uni, called Hilly by friends and family. She had a problem. It wasn't a life or death sort of problem, but a very puzzling problem that had her puzzler pretty tuckered out. Hilly heaved a sigh, stood up and looked over the socks laid out on the floor.
There were no matches.
Single socks simply spread out on the sunshine yellow floor. Socks of all colors, stripes, spots and polka dots. There was a yellow sock with purple dots and a purple sock with yellow dots, a bright rainbow striped and a dark rainbow stripe, but no match. The poor socks were simply alone, no twin to keep them company.
Hilly groaned and walked out of the room of her one-story neohome, needing a break from the depressing sight of all those matchless socks. She lived there with her mom, Linzie, and her three siblings, Mezvi the Lupe, Cappii the Koi and Mevile the Mynci. Mevile was the newest edition to the family, and was zapped invisible by the Lab Ray. He was enjoying that way too much.
She walked down the hall to Cappii's room. Knocking on the door she received the customary "Who is it?"
"It's Hilly, can I come in?" she asked.
"Come on in, little sis," Cappii replied.
Hilly opened the door and walked in. Cappii's room was basically a pool. He was a Koi, so he needed water to live in. The middle of the room was sunk about four feet down, tiled with brilliant blue marble. There was a walkway around the pool, where a TV, sofa and bookcase rested. Hilly plopped down next to the water's edge and Cappii swam over, resting his head on his fins.
"What's wrong, sister dear?" he asked.
"My socks keep disappearing," Hilly said.
To himself, Cappii wondered why a Uni would need to wear socks, but his sister had always been a little... odd. "Your socks?"
"Yes, my socks. There's no matches for any of them. Only the single sock. And I can't figure out where they are disappearing to."
Cappii raised an eyebrow at his little sister. "Well, I'm not taking them. I don't need socks. I don't even have feet!" He slapped his tail on the water. Droplets sprayed over them both, causing Hilly to giggle.
Then she sighed again. "Well, thanks for cheering me up Cappii, I'll go ask Mezvi if she's seen my socks."
Cappii nodded and went back into the water, waving his tail at his little sister.
Outside of Mezvi's picture ridden door, Hilly called for her sister. "Mezvi, can I talk to you?"
"I'm kind of in the middle of something right now, Hilly, what is it?" Mezvi asked, her voice was muffled through the thick wooden door.
"My socks keep disappearing."
"Yes, my socks!"
"I don't know what to tell you, sis, I don't wear socks. And I'm not gonna ask why you do. Go ask Mom."
If Hilly were younger, she would have stuck out her lower lip and sniffled. But she was a big girl now. She could handle her own problems. "Ok, thanks, Mezvi."
So Hilly trotted off to find her mother. Down the hall, into the kitchen, through the living room and into the study. Mom was there, sorting through neomail and working on something to do with the family's Neopoints.
The Uni came up behind her mother and rested her chin on her mom's shoulder. "Mom, my socks keep disappearing!"
Linzie gently pushed Hilly's head off her shoulder and spun around in her swivel chair. "Your socks, huh?"
"Yes, my socks! The matches are missing. There's only a single sock when there should be two!" Hilly said. By now, she was so sad about her missing socks she was nearly crying.
Linzie saw how distraught her Uni was, and gave Hilly a big hug, smoothing a lock of mint green hair out of the Uni's eyes. "Let's go look in your room, sweetheart."
Inside Hilly's room of green, white and yellow, there was the pile of mismatched socks in front of the bed. Both Linzie and Hilly searched high and low, inside the covers, under the bed, through the books on the bookcase, behind the bookcase, in the drawers of her desk, inside her pillow, EVERYWHERE! But not one sock was found. The only socks in the room were still the ones in front of the bed, and they were still mismatched.
Linzie put an arm around Hilly's shoulders. "I'm sorry, honey. Maybe they'll turn up soon. Go wash up, dinner is just about ready."
Hilly was silent through dinner, which was unusual. Cappii ate in his room; Mezvi gulped down her food and ran back to her room. She was always working on some project. Linzie often voiced how Mezvi would blow up their neohome piddling with whatever behind her closed door. Mevile was eating slowly, though all you could see was a fork scooping up food, floating upwards and disappearing. His voice sounded out.
"What's wrong, Hilbesh?" he asked.
Hilly sighed. She hated explaining, feeling silly about it. "The matches to my socks are gone."
The fork stilled and Hilly heard chortles coming from Mevile's direction. Hilly glared at her invisible brother, though it was pretty hard. Dimly she heard Linzie telling Mevile to hush and finish eating. The Uni pleaded her mother with her eyes, and Linzie nodded, jerking her head in the direction of the bedrooms.
Hilly fled the table.
Lying in her bed that night, all Hilbesh could think about was her socks, how they kept disappearing, where they went. It did no good. Her socks weren't coming back. Soon, she drifted off into a uneasy sleep.
There was a scratching coming from under the bed. Like tiny claws going through the things underneath. The sound came out from under the bed, on the floor, to the front of the bed. Hilly blinked blearily, slid out of bed and flipped the switch for the light. She screamed for her mother.
There was a Symol on Hilly's pile of mismatched socks! The Symol squeaked, grabbed a sock and raced under the bed. Hilly could hear the scrabbling of little feet on the boards under the carpet. Linzie rushed into the room, eyes still half-closed and blinking rapidly from the sudden change of dark to light.
"What?! What is it, Hilly?" Linzie asked.
"There's a Symol under my bed! It took my socks," Hilly replied. "It grabbed one and ran under my bed."
Linzie laughed. "Well, that explains the missing socks! A poor little Symol was using them, probably as bedding. Come on, let's move the bed and see where he is."
Amidst much grunting and pushing, Linzie said, "I thought we looked under the bed; I didn't see a Symol hole. And I wonder what this one is doing here. Shouldn't it be in Meridell?"
"I don't know." Hilly shrugged. "All I know is that thing is stealing my socks and is all alone. We have to find it!"
The bed was moved and sure enough, there was a hole in the wall that was partially covered by a book. One that had probably fallen between the bed and wall. Linzie got out her flashlight and peeked into the hole. The little Symol was huddled back there, looking into the light with big, scared eyes.
"Aww, he's scared! Come here, little Symol! I won't hurt you! Come on, come on!" Hilly coaxed.
With much pleading and coaxing and a little tidbit of cheese, the scared Symol came out of the hole and stared at Hilly. The Uni held the shaking Symol, nuzzling his ear, a grin as wide as Neopia on her face. "Oh Mom, can I keep him!? I really don't need to wear socks anyway."
Linzie agreed, and Socks the Symol slept at the foot of Hilly's bed, covered in colorful, mismatched socks.