Enter the Snowflake's lair... Circulation: 164,193,660 Issue: 179 | 25th day of Awakening, Y7
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The Case of the Derelict Jelly Neohome


by kushbi

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A warm breeze gushed past an Aisha standing in the middle of a sandy path on Mystery Island. She clutched a small pink box adorned with red ribbons tightly, daring the wind to blow it away. Of course, it did not. For neither anyone, nor anything, would risk the slightest chance of provoking the ire of Ez the Aisha.

     But right now, Ez was lost and that alone made the island offensive to her.

     Just who in the name of Mumbo Pango planned the housing here?

     A drop of sweat trickled down her shiny brow as she contemplated lodging a complaint with Ryshu, who was extremely gifted in taking anyone down. But first things first: Ez had a birthday party to attend in fifteen minutes and at the rate she was going, wandering from street to street staring at Neohomes of all shapes and sizes, she was going to be later than late.

      Ez racked her brains as she tried to recall the address her friend had given her. Was it 100234 or 102340 Coconut Road? She was probably on the wrong side of the neighborhood. But Ionana the Chia had told her that his home was superbly visible - "It pops out like a sore thumb!" How difficult could looking for a sore thumb be?

     Apparently not so now, thought Ez as she hurried up to a home that had caught her eye. It was made entirely from jelly, which was not uncommon. However, the walls were faded and lacked the iridescent pink glow of most jelly homes. Some of the jelly had drooped over the front as if someone with turbo breath had intentionally blown on it. Sandwiched between two posh mansions build entirely from Transparishield, this certainly stuck out like a sore thumb. A piece of tattered cardboard hanging from one window read:

100234 Coconut Road

The Aisha pranced into the almost-bare estate as her ears pricked with excitement. A party! And she was on time, a rare occurrence indeed. In spite of her brimming anticipation, she managed to remember her manners and knocked, albeit a wee bit loudly, on the door.

     "Ionana! It's meeeeeee!!"

     Silence.

     "Hey, it's Ez!"

     Silence.

     Ez frowned to herself and gave the door one huge thump.

     It collapsed.

     Oh great, she sighed. Trust the Chia to use a hollow wooden plank as a door.

     Due to her curious nature and ambiguous upbringing, Ez decided to welcome herself into the derelict jelly Neohome, not once entertaining the possibility that someone else on Mystery Island, other than her friend, owned a home that stuck out like a sore thumb. A wave of dust swarmed her as she stepped into the drooping house. She coughed.

     My, Ionana sure has questionable housekeeping capabilities, she thought, conveniently forgetting that she had never lifted a paw to clean her own room back home.

     Ez noticed that there was an entrance leading on to somewhere on her right and craned her neck to peer in from the hallway. The room was filled with shelves, cabinets and there were plates on a table in the middle of…

     The kitchen!

     The Aisha was momentarily basking in pride for deducing the type of room she was looking into, when a disturbing noise shook the house.

     Bump bump bump!

     It seemed to come from directly above her and would not have been one bit disturbing if it had not made the jelly walls vibrate in very visible waves that shook down the kitchen. Ez rolled her eyes. Ionana was probably having a ball of a time upstairs playing some childish game. What could you expect of a Chia named Ionana?

     She placed her gift on the table and turned her attention to a grey lump sitting next to it. It was as tall as a Feepit and reeked of Turmac dung. At that moment, an audacious unknown substance tickled her nose and she sneezed. The sheer force of gushing droplets blew the thick layer of dust a foot away, revealing an uncovered item beneath the former grey lump. Ez flit an ear in surprise as she examined the unveiled delicacy. It was undoubtedly a cake because it was dome-shaped and covered with cliché white cream. One clue might have told her what sort of cake it was - there were the words 'Hapie Berdae' printed on it in brown goo.

     Needless to say, Ez had guessed it before she spotted the words. Once again, she basked in the glory of figuring out something before it became apparent.

     Boom! Boom! Boom!

     This time the noise was more insistent and Ez was worried for a moment that her friend was about to bump his house down with his incessant playing. Excuses could be made for birthdays but this was too much. Besides, she did not think that Ionana was the type to buy insurance for his abode. As a result, she decided to do the right thing and headed up the staircase to tell her friend to Stop It Already.

     The stairs creaked as she made her way up, inspiring deep displeasure within the Aisha who was secretly guilty of consuming too many Chocolate Chia Treats. By the time she reached the top of the staircase, Ez decided to lecture Ionana on the detriments of friendly influence and tell him to get a flight of sturdier steps.

     On the second level of the edible home, Ez noticed an eerie glow in the stale air, which made her ears stand stiffly. From the top of the staircase, she could make out an outline of a door at the end of the passageway.

     Ionana's home is stranger than a Roast Tentacle, thought the Aisha, as she trotted towards what she thought was her friend's room and did the usual thing.

     Ez put her ears to the door.

     A horrible, high-pitched wail greeted her. It was worse than the cry of a Grundo at the hands of Dr. Sloth and made the Aisha pull back her ears in haste. A wave of panic momentarily swept through her, as she considered the possibility of her friend being in trouble. Hurt while bumping around on a jelly floor? Not likely. She chucked away any unpleasant thoughts and felt that whatever the situation was, it paid to remember her manners.

     Hence she knocked.

     In fact, it did not matter if she had knocked politely or kicked the door down with her Mystery Island Training School skills. All that would have greeted her was a continuous spooky wail, which was getting increasingly on her nerves as the Techo Clock ticked. Ez's famously thin patience was now non-existent. Ionana was going to get it birthday or no.

     "Io…"

     "Waaaaaaaah."

     The two vibrant sounds racing from opposite directions collided at the door, which shivered violently at the culmination of Neopet noises before deciding to retire prematurely.

     It collapsed.

     Ez blinked and surprisingly ignored the second piece of ruined cheap wood. She stared, entranced, at the scene right before her.

     A grey-blue Chia with red eyes pranced around the room, trying to tear its meager tuff of hair out with its puny hands. A ghastly glow illuminated from its shapeless body, which stood out immensely in the cobweb-ridden room. When it spotted the gaping Aisha, it looked undecided for a second, then raised itself on its toes and stretched its arms out with a menacing hiss.

     "Ionana?" Ez spluttered. This was certainly a change of events. One does not expect to be greeted with a malevolent hiss when one knocks on the door of a friend's room. However, another surprise captured the attention of Ez because it was particularly glaring to any unpainted pet, which the Aisha was.

     "Who painted you Ghost?" she demanded.

     The Chia flopped onto the jelly floor, wriggling its fatigued toes.

     "I'm not even scary any more!" it whined. "I've tried my best. I really have! Who are you, anyway?"

     Ez frowned. Did the Ghost Paint Brush have a sweeping effect on a pet's memory as well? Still…it could just be Ionana.

     "Stop being silly, Ionana. I'm Ez!"

     There was nothing except confusion in those red eyes.

     "Ez the Aisha!"

     "I can see that," the Chia said, "Contrary to what you might be thinking."

     The Aisha's jaw dropped. Remembering her manners yet again, she hastily closed it and pursed her lips in annoyance. This Ghost Chia was most definitely NOT Ionana because her timid friend would never speak to her in that…that…rude fashion.

     "Look, you've been calling me Ionana all this while. Would I even settle for a name like that? Over my smelly socks. Just who is this joke of a Chia?"

     Ez felt a blazing heat rush right up to her ears.

     "And just who are you, throwing around insults like Edna?" she replied lividly.

     "I am Yobari the Ghostlie Chia Apparitionne of the Grande Haunted Jellie Home," the Chia proclaimed and saw the moment ripe to launch into its history. "Long before it was fashionable to have a Neohome, I had one of the rare jelly houses in Mystery Island. Everyone would gape at the delicious architecture of my abode when they passed by and I had many friends. We would play together in my garden because their owners saw no reason to build a home for them."

     "Wait," said the Aisha, "those days were years ago!"

     The Chia rolled its crimson eyes and continued, "As I was saying, I used to have many visitors and friends. But as time went by, more jelly houses were built and my magnificent home became as plain as a ptolymelon. Gradually, my so-called friends went off to play in their own homes and never bothered to invite me. On the last day of my existence as a pet, none came to celebrate my birthday…"

     "Your…your last day of existence?"

     Suddenly, the Chia's red eyes seemed to emit a deep malevolent glow and Ez instantly lost interest in its life story. She began to back away from the room and mentally pictured the shortest route out of the Grande Haunted Jellie Home. The Chia, however, sensed that it was losing its only audience in a long time and hovered towards the Aisha.

     Ez ran as fast as her legs could carry her.

     Unfortunately, the Ghostlie Chia Apparitionne could fly. In a few moments, the Aisha was backed up against a dusty jelly wall with the annoyed Chia just inches away from her face.

     "Who said that you could leave?"

     Ez gulped. An unpleasant wave of fear passed through her even as she felt indignant that a house-proud Chia had beaten her personal best racing speed. But it soon vanished as she recalled the pompous title the Chia had given itself. Ah, insecurity was oozing out of it.

     "I'm late," she managed to squeak while avoiding its crimson gaze, "for a birthday party. Besides, I wouldn't have stepped into your honorable home if I knew who…what…who you were. Are."

     "A birthday party?" the Chia raised an eyebrow in interest.

     Ez saw her chance, "Yes, a huge birthday party. You can come along; we'll have a great time! If you let me leave, I can lead you there."

     Great! More happy gullible victims for me. They will never know what hit them! I will make all of them pay for having fun while I've been neglected. Mwahaha, thought the villainous Chia, caked with cliché, as it nodded vigorously.

     Thus, Ez sauntered out of the haunted jelly home with a ghost in tow. At a street junction, she looked back for a moment and marveled at the splendid sight of two Transparishield mansions. She sighed as she remembered that she had left Ionana's present on the kitchen table in the dusty jelly home. But her head was held high as she made her way to 102340 Coconut Road, for she was secretly smirking about the unexpected gift she had for Ionana's three brothers.

     They were Ghost Lupes.

     Ionana would certainly understand, wouldn't she?

The End :-)

 
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