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Tales from the Haunted Woods: The Ghost Meowclops


by kittylin

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Deep in the depths of The Haunted Woods, in the darkest fog and the dead of night, two little Neopets shivered as they walked, but they kept a steady pace. The larger of the two was Andrew, a blue Bruce with an unmistakable bunch of feather fluff on the top of his head and the goofiest bowtie you've ever seen, but he was very smart. His little sister, Mina, only reached the height of his shoulder. She was a pink baby Bruce with a little pink bow tieing off the tip of her headfeathers. Her eyes darted this way and that in vain. She couldn't see more than two feet in front of her. She wished now that she could be back in bed in her nice little cloud room with her faerie Slorg, Muffin, and all her nice squishy plushies and their friendly button eyes.

     Suddenly, there was a flutter of Batterfly wings overhead, and it was all too much. She grabbed at her big brother's hand.

     "Andrew, I'm scared!" she whispered.

     "Don't be a baby, Mina, you promised!" he scolded her lightly and then as if distracted, he looked up at the moon. They were late, and it was Andrew's turn. Their pace quickened.

     "Where is that Bruce?" muttered Gannon.

     Gannon was a shadow Kougra from Andrew's Math class. Though he was no bully, he certainly had an intimidating factor that rarely if ever required him to repeat his orders to any neopet. And Andrew was late. He leaned impatiently forward, resting his elbows on his knees. The other Neopets grumbled among themselves and poked at the campfire with long sticks. All except Sheila. She was incessantly cleaning her glasses and reassuring the other Neopets that she did in fact wash her hands before she made the Scab Cakes.

     Suddenly, there was a rustling in the bushes. All eyes quickly turned and froze on the spot. Sheila gasped.

     The rustling continued, a Whoot made it's call from a distance, no one dared move... and finally Andrew emerged. But as little Mina shyly made her way around her brother, the relieved voices were turned to moaning and boos.

     "Aw, c'mon, guys, mom made me bring 'er!" Andrew protested.

     "She'll ruin everything! How can we make it really scary with her around?" asked Danny, the Blumaroo.

     "She'll cry unless this one'll be about a Roy-al U-ni Prin-cess who chipped her hoofpaint!" taunted Angelee as she waved her paw daintily. The Featherhorn sisters were not amused.

     "I won't!" cried Mina, standing up as proud and tall as her little round, flippered body could. "I won't! I'm as brave as any of you! Just go ahead and see!" But little Mina's speech was already overpowered by quiet giggling and the chatter of the older Neopets until Gannon spoke.

     "Let's give her a shot," he said cooly, and with that, they all began to settle back onto their logs around the campfire in anticipation. Sheila shivered in the night air. Gannon looked over at Andrew before he could begin his tale, "-but it better be a good one, kid." And trying not to look nervous, Andrew nodded. He had been preparing this story for weeks. He leaned forward and lifted the flashlight out of the hollow of the head log. With the flick of the switch held under his chin, his features were horribly disfigured and dark. His eyes glowed like a ghost Meepit. He laughed evily. Mina swallowed hard.

     "This tale begins... on a night like this... in these very woods..." At that moment, the wind picked up slightly. "Old Mr. Tunnatin, a grey Lupe, was hobbling about his yard, searching for his petpet that had died five years earlier. You see, Old Mr. Tunnatin's memory was failing him, and every night he called to his dearly departed Meowclops, Sweets, for hours in the cold before he reluctantly gave up and came in to bed. He continued this way for many years, all alone in the far outskirts of Neopia Central. The neighbors eventually left the little old neighborhood abandoned and moved on to the high streets with their shops and restocking skillz."

     "Andy, what are skillz?"

     "Quiet, Mina!"

     "Well sor-ry!" Andrew continued,

     "The Haunted Woods grew with age and enveloped Mr. Tunnatin's tiny dwelling. All the while, he was unaware of the creeping danger closing steadily in, and that night when he called out to Sweets, his Meowclops, a tiny mew came from the black rose bushes, and a little black tail swished before the fuzzy creature leapt out and bounded happily in the door. Unphased, Old Mr. Tunnatin carried on. He hobbled back inside, and life went on for a time just as if Sweets had never left, because he couldn't remember Sweets ever leaving.

     The little Meowclops played with yarn as always while Mr. Tunnatin rocked in his chair and watched. Joy filled his heart because although his mind could not remember a time without her, the heart knew. Deep down inside, he knew and could not think on it.

     He daily brushed her soft black fur as he always did, and she slept up by his pillow at night like she always did, and for quite some time all was right with Neopia.

     And then one morning as he was reaching for his box of NeoCrunch Cereal, he tripped and little bits of Meowclops food went rolling across the kitchen floor. He had upturned her bowl, and anticipated that Sweets would hear it and come running, but she merely lifted her head and settled back down to her nap. Mr. Tunnatin was puzzled. As he looked down, he blinked and to his amazement, there were heaps upon heaps of Meowclops food all over her corner of the kitchen. It was everywhere! Had she not eaten all this time? How could that be? He wandered in to the living room, wide-eyed and pondering. He sat in his rocker by the fire and held his head in one paw. And as he was wrought with confusion, a little Psimouse scurried along a branch out his window in plain sight, and he decided that, Sweets had been catching food for herself. That's all there is to it. But deep in his heart, he could not shake the absence of her.

     As his memory was continually fading, he also continually poured food into her bowl each morning as he always had, and as his kitchen began to be ever so slightly flooded with Meowclops food, he shuffled through it and never thought on it again.

     The days come and go, and Sweets is in fact gone, but she still comes in every night to Old Mr. Tunnatin's NeoHome when he calls. Every now and then, when little Neopets like you and me come wandering into the Haunted Woods late at night, they might see a piece of the food rolling about at their feet, never to be eaten... by the ghost Meowclops!" Mina gasped. And Andrew continued, "And old Mr. Tunnatin might know deep down that she's a ghost, but it's no matter because after all these years....

     HE'S A GHOST TOO!!" Sheila shrieked and Danny, and Angelee, and the Featherhorn sisters all went running home as fast as they could, running, and giggling and screaming.

     Andrew sat back on the hallow head log and smiled as Gannon simply nodded with an approving smile, and little Mina was fast asleep on Sheila's abandoned picnic blanket.

The End

 
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