Once Upon a Halloween Night
It was the Month of Collecting in Meridell, and many pets and their owners were bustling around. Harvesters were busy at work as winter was quickly approaching. But what was on most Neopians' minds was not the fact that winter was coming, but that the fact that Halloween was coming!
The changing leaves and bare trees added a spooky feeling to everyday life, which only seemed to make the excitement for the creepiest night in Neopia greater. The Neopians of Meridell (and all around Neopia for that matter) were setting up decorations, buying candy and costumes, and carving jack-o-lanterns. Everyone seemed to be in a great mood.
Well, almost everyone. While many wealthy Neopians were able to buy their pets expensive, intricate costumes, many had to settle with pathetic costumes made up of scraps of cloth and odd wearables. This was all too real to a speckled Buzz named Buzza, who always wore the same stupid "costume" each year.
"Come on, Kona!!" he pleaded to his owner. "Can't we BUY a costume like all the other pets? Don't we have over 400k?! Surely you can spare a couple thousand for a decent costume!"
Kona, who was a tall girl with short brown hair, didn't even look up from the jack-o-lantern she was carving with Buzza's younger sister, a glowing Pteri named Qipzo. "Buzza," she replied, still not looking up. "We go through this discussion every year. You beg and cry for a good costume, I say no, and then you throw an immature tantrum saying you hate me and you wish you had an owner who actually cared about you. I DO care about you, but I'm not wasting valuable money on a costume you're going to wear once and never touch again." Qipzo looked up from her jack-o-lantern and mockingly stuck her tongue out at him.
Buzza didn't say anything for a while. He just stood there, his mind racing for a good reason to try and persuade her, but Kona was able to find a better reason not to listen to him. Finally, he grunted and stormed off to his room.
Buzza threw open the door and slammed it behind him, then throwing himself onto his bed. His brother, Buzzy, a Christmas Buzz, who also happened to share a room with him, glanced from the book he was reading and said, "Something upsetting you, bro?"
Buzza lifted his head. "She didn't listen to me AGAIN," he whined. "It's the same thing every year! 'I'm not wasting money on a costume' this and 'No, you can't have a costume' that. IT'S NOT FAIR!" Buzza slammed his fist on his bed.
Buzzy rolled his eyes. "Why don't you use whatever money YOU have and buy a costume? If you don't have enough, you can just play a few games to earn some more money. It's not that hard."
"I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH, AND I'M TERRIBLE AT GAMES!!" Buzza shouted. "She's just cheap! Cheap and she doesn't care about me! I wish I had an owner who actually loves me!"
Buzzy once again rolled his eyes. "Every year..." he muttered.
That night at dinner, Buzza didn't say a word and glowered at Kona from across the table, not touching his deviled steak. Kona looked up at him a couple times and finally said, "Look, giving me a death glare isn't going to convince me to buy you a costume, mister. It's only proving how immature you are."
"I'm not immature!" he yelled. Everyone at the table looked at him.
"Uh, yeah, Buzza, ya kinda are," stated his brother Kana, a Tyrannian Kougra. "I mean, you do this every year. You should know by now that Kona sticks by her opinion and nothing will convince her."
"SHUT UP!" Buzza screamed as he jumped up and slammed his fists on the table. Everyone flinched at his sudden action. "I'm not immature, and you know what? I don't care about any of your opinions! I'm outta here!" Buzza withdrew his fists and stormed out of the room, all eyes on him.
He acted this way until Halloween night, where he just sat inside. He watched rich pets wearing flashy costumes pass by enjoying themselves as they stopped at door to door collecting candy. He sighed.
Buzzy came into the room, adorned in a cheap vampire costume in which was a black blanket tied around his neck and fangs made out of construction paper. He saw Buzza looking out the window and gave him a pathetic look. "You know," he said trying to cheer his brother up, "we have that 'Mysterious Cape with Cowl' still in the closet. You can throw that on and still come with us."
Buzza only sighed once more and continued to look out the window.
"Fine," Buzzy said with an annoyed look. "Don't come. Continue to sit here and waste a holiday feeling sorry for yourself." Just then, Kana and Qipzo came out, both wearing ridiculous, cheap costumes. Kana was a makeshift werewolf, who rolled around in mud (Kona was not happy seeing him do that and enter the house again) and ruffled up his fur. Qipzo was a peasant, wearing a potato sack and a cheap wig.
"Come on, guys, let's go," Buzzy instructed as the left the house, each giving Buzza a look from annoyance to pity. He watched them leave, letting out another sigh.
A while later, Buzza had seen a glimmer of light near the wooded area beside their house. Buzza turned his head to the direction and saw a cloaked figure holding a lantern standing on the edge of the woods. The figure then lifted his free hand and beckoned for him to come. Fear surged through Buzza's body, and every fiber of his being told him to turn away and go get Kona, who was handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. But for some reason, Buzza wanted to heed the stranger's call and go to him. For a while, Buzza contemplated what he should do. Finally, he got up and snuck out the back door and headed towards the lantern light.
As Buzza made his way to the figure, he began to have second thoughts and was prepared to turn back around. But the figure had seen him and spoke to him in a haunting voice. "Hello, Buzza."
Color drained from Buzza's face. "H-how did you know m-m-my name?" he stammered in a shaky voice.
"It's important for me to know the names of my clients," the figure responded, pulling his hoody down. The stranger was a mutant Acara, his eyes seeming to burn with some strange force.
Buzza was still a little hesitant and instantly regretting coming to see the stranger. "C-client?" he stammered.
"Yes," the Acara replied, his face revealing a crooked smile. "You see, I know that you wish to be in possession of a unique, awe-inspiring costume, am I not right?"
Buzza slowly nodded his head.
"Well, then today is your lucky day!" the Acara exclaimed. He then reached into the sleeve of his cloak and pulled out what appeared to be a paintbrush. Buzza's eyes widened as he recognized it as a Halloween Paintbrush.
"Here you are, my good man," the Acara said, handing it to him with and evil smile etched onto his face. "On the house."
"Wait a minute," Buzza said with an uneasy look. "I know what will happen if I use that paintbrush. I permanently change colour, and I will stay that way unless I repaint myself. I'm not using that! Thank you, but no thank you."
The smile still remained on the strange Acara's face. "Oh, not to worry my good man," he said. "THIS is a different type of paintbrush. You paint yourself with it, and you can wash the paint off with water when you're done with it. It's the perfect costume!" The Acara's smile grew larger on his face and more menacing.
Buzza seemed to be mesmerized by this "new paintbrush." He would have the look of a Halloween Buzz, but it could be easily washed off. It IS the perfect costume.
"DEAL!" Buzza shouted, a smile appearing on his face for the first time in a week.
The Acara's smile seemed to grow wicked, however, but Buzza didn't notice it. "Very well." He handed the paintbrush to Buzza. "Pleasure doing business with you."
Suddenly, a strong gust of wind came and snuffed out the lantern's light. Buzza closed his eyes to prevent dust from being thrown into his eyes. When he opened them, the Acara was gone. Buzza looked around, confused as to where the stranger could be, but eventually turned his attention to the brush. He smiled and hugged it. Then, not waiting a moment longer, he left towards the Rainbow Pool.
Buzza arrived at the Rainbow Pool a few moments later, unable to contain his excitement. Instantly, he dived into the magical spring and began to paint himself. A chill swept through him as the cold paint washed over his body, legs, tail, and hands. After he finished painting himself, he jumped out of the pool and turned back to see how he looked in its reflection. He stared in awe at what he saw.
His hands and feet were covered in brown fur and claws, and instead of a regular Buzz tail, he had a long, furry brown tail. The brown fur was also on his head as a mane and from the mass of fur sprouted two Lupe-like ears. He no longer was covered in white specks, but just pure-green scales. Buzza could see a smile grow on his reflection's face as it stared back at him with golden eyes, and he couldn't help but let out a victory howl.
Instead of spending Halloween trick-or-treating, Buzza had a different idea. Using his new terrifying looks, he would sneak up on rich pets trick-or-treating and scare them by letting out his horrifying howl. Terrified, the pets would scream and throw their hands in the air and take off running, leaving behind their candy and Buzza, who would be laughing his fuzzy head off. He kept at this until it was late in the night and all the trick-or-treaters had gone home.
Buzza decided he should go home as well after developing a stomach ache from eating a bunch of candy, and when there was nobody left to scare. He began to trek home when he caught a glance of his reflection in a small puddle. He was still a Halloween Buzz.
"Better clean this paint off," he told himself. "Kona would have a Kau if she saw me like this."
Buzza made his way over to a small creek outside of Meridell and dipped his clawed toes in. The sheer cold nipped his toes and he instantly pulled back shivering. I'm gonna have to clean this off one way or another, he thought. So, wanting to get it over with, Buzza cannonballed right into the frigid water. The force of the water stung his body like a thousand angry Buzzers, but he ignored it as he attempted to scrub water on his fur and scales.
Finally, Buzza emerged from the water, shaking ice-cold droplets off his body and feeling refreshed (with a hint of hypothermia). When he turned back to see if he had any spots left, he stood frozen from shock at what his reflection showed him.
Buzza's hands still bore claws and fur, as did his feet. No white specks showed, and he still had a mass of fur as a mane on his head along with the pointed ears. Why didn't this work? The Acara said that it washed off with water...
Feeling frantic, he dove once more in the teeth-chattering ice water and splashed around, going under multiple times to make sure every furry spot on his body was soaking wet. Buzza once again emerged from the water, his knees buckling from the wind blowing through the cold water that seemed to stick to him. Buzza then glanced at his hands. They were heavy from the soaking wet fur that still covered his arms. The sopping mane stuck to his neck, droplets frozen in every strand. His eyes widened with terror. He was permanently a Halloween Buzz.
A flood of thoughts and emotions enveloped Buzza to the point he felt like he would drown in them. Why is this happening? What do I do? The Acara said it would wash off with water, so why am I not normal? What will Kona do when she sees me like this?!
Oh no, Buzza froze, KONA...
No doubt about it, Kona would be bouncing off the walls if she saw him like that. She'll hate me and abandon me and leave me to fend for myself, Buzza thought grimly. And his siblings; how would they react?
Finally, a colour to match your personality, Buzzy would scorn.
Serves you right, you're a horrible brother, Kana would scoff.
Looks like an improvement to me, Qipzo would sneer.
Their voices floated around his head, haunting him about the future that would come if they saw him like this. Tears welled in his eyes as he gripped his furry head with his fuzzy claws, trying to think straight.
The world felt like it was closing in on him as multiple emotions raked him like claws. Fear, sorrow, angst, and even a hint of anger swirled around in his head making him dizzy. For the longest time, Buzza stood there by the creek, fur hanging from the weight of the cold water which was beginning to freeze in the chilly autumn air. Finally, he came up with his decision.
Buzza shook off the rest of the water from his fur and wings and ascended into the night sky, heading for home. On the way there, a war of thoughts raged on in his head as he wondered if this was such a good idea. There's no telling what the outcome would be, he told himself either trying to calm him down or make him feel even more worried.
Finally, Buzza looked down to see familiar surroundings until he finally saw his home. Buzza landed near the wooded area not wanting to be seen by either one of his siblings or his neighbors. He leaned against a tree and looked into one of the windows around his home. Inside, his three siblings sat in the living room, laughing and sorting the candy they got from that night. Kana's yellow coat was showing again (no doubt had to wash the mud off himself before he entered the house again), Buzza had taken off the cape and removed the paper fangs, and Qipzo had taken off the cheap wig and potato sack. Buzza wished he could take his costume off like his siblings, but he couldn't. Depression swept over him.
That was when he saw Kona enter the room. She was wearing a purple robe and slippers and was talking to the group. When she finished, the three looked disappointed. They started to collect their candy and trudged off towards their rooms, leaving Kona to linger in the living room alone.
They don't even know I'm gone! Buzza thought to himself. I bet they're happy without me there...
Buzza was about ready to turn and leave when he saw something that shocked him. Kona was still in the living room, and to his surprise, he saw a tear run down her cheek. Worry was etched into every crevice of her face has she looked longingly out a window. She was worried about him, since she hadn't seen him since the three left. She was truly scared and worried. For HIM.
Kona then turned and left the living room, heading for the bedrooms where his siblings were. Unable to keep it bottled up inside him, wanting to end this and go home, Buzza dashed out of the wooded area and flew into the house, throwing the door wide open and causing it to hit the wall with a CRASH!
Kona had rushed to where Buzza was and froze in her tracks. First, horror lay expressed on her face, but slowly it turned to recognition.
"Buzza?" she asked hesitantly.
Buzza slowly nodded his head. He expected her either run away screaming or look at him with disgust. Instead, her expression went from recognition, to shock, and surprisingly, a smile then stretched across her face. She ran toward Buzza and swooped him up in a hug, squeezing the surprised breath out of him.
Instead of them being that of sadness, fear, or anger, tears of happiness streamed down her face. "YES, YES, YES!!!" she expressed. "It is you!! Look at you!" She released him from her death hug and inspected him once more. Instantly, Buzza's siblings had raced from their rooms and they, too, stared at what was their brother. Kana moved in front of Kona and arched his back defensively, letting out a frightening growl. Buzza tentatively stepped back.
"Kana! Don't growl at your brother like that!!" Kona yelled. Instantly, Kana looked at her confusingly, then at Buzza, his eyes wide with shock. "Buzza?" he, too, asked. Buzza nodded his head once more.
"Holy Kau, dude," Qipzo exclaimed. "What happened to you?"
Buzza shifted his furry feet nervously. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you," he said.
"Try us," Buzzy said, folding his arms.
So, Buzza started weaving his story of how he met the strange Acara and the paintbrush he had given him. How he had gone around scaring little Neopians, and his attempt to wash the paint off. After that, Buzza had paused, then nervously included his fears of them being disgusted or terrified of his new form.
"I thought," Buzza said shyly, "that you would hate this and abandon me..."
Kona only giggled at this and mentioned with reassuring eyes, "Why would I do that? No matter what colour you are, I'll always love you, because you're my pet. Besides," she then lifted Buzza up in another hug, "a Halloween Buzz is one of my dreamies!!"
Buzza felt an invisible force suddenly lift off his shoulders when he heard her say that. "You mean it?" he asked nervously.
Kona looked at him with eyes filled with warmth and sincerity. "Of course."
That was when Buzza felt his brothers and sister join in on the hug, and happiness and love draped him like a warm blanket.
Maybe, he thought to himself, this isn't such a bad colour...