Four Thirteens1: The Haunted Cottage - Part One
Population: About 400,000.
Average Life Expectancy: 75 to 200 years old.
Government: Monarchy. Island ruled by King Roo and advisors.
Home of nearly all Blumaroos, thrill-seeking Neopians, the Roo Island Yooyuball team, and other Neopets including your narrator: me.
"Who is me?" you ask. Well, first of all, let me correct your grammar, as you should say: "Who am I?" if you are asking about yourself, or "Who are you?" if you are asking about me. It's more likely that you're asking about me, that is if you DID ask "Who am I?" you are confused of who you are, like one of those tricked out philosophers from way back when, thinking also of rather uncomfortable and somewhat awkward questions, one example: "Do we really exist?".
Confused? Yeah... I kinda figured.
But, whatever your question is, let me answer.
You are the reader, one of the first readers of this series called "Four Thirteens". Congratulations.
And I, like I said above, am your narrator.
I should be more specific, now should I?
Well, my name is Marine Khia, a thirteen-year-old Biscuit Zafara who obviously lives in Roo Island with my friend Margo the Christmas Kacheek.
I lived in Roo Island for as long as I could go back. And I've known Margo just as long, maybe even longer. It's a charming place to live. It's always sunny, the water's always at the perfect temperature so you can dive into it at any time of the year and be satisfied, and the islanders are as happy and jolly as they can be.
Yeah, sounds fine and dandy now doesn't it?
Well, yeah, I guess it is. But if you lived there long as I have, you'd go insane too.
For the longest time I had the same routine:
8:00 AM NST: Wake up.
8:10-8:30 AM NST: Take shower.
8:35 AM NST: Get dressed.
9:00-9:30 AM NST: Have bowl of cereal with toast and Gooseberry Jam.
9:30 AM NST: Head out for school.
And the schedule just drawled on just like that. Sounds fun, doesn't it?
Yeah, didn't think so.
But I love to tell you that my schedule isn't like this anymore.
So how did this happen? What filled the void in my desperate soul that so craved diversity in my life? Well, it all started a couple of months ago on a warm and sunny Saturday...
I turned on the coffee maker in the kitchen as Margo was sitting on a bar stool at our kitchen counter while reading the latest edition of the Teen Pet magazine, which was a magazine filled with pictures of beautiful models and articles on how you can look as pretty as them.
"Wow! Hey, Marine," Margo exclaimed as she held up a picture of a gorgeous Acara in a kimono drinking tea. "Did you know that if you drank Oolong Tea every day, it moisturizes your skin and makes you look younger? We gotta start drinking Oolong Tea! Or at least I do! Your skin is already clear."
"Are you kidding, Margo? I'm a Biscuit Zafara. I have craters! Literally! See?" I pointed out my biscuit-like skin to her.
"Who cares? I need healthy skin! And while I'm at it..." The Christmas Kacheek flipped through the magazine frantically. "I should find out how to lose ten pounds in three months!"
"What the heck do you need to lose ten pounds for?!"
"I need to fit into my skinny jeans! I can barely fit into them!"
"That's because they're skinny jeans, Margo! They're naturally hard to get in! Besides, you're skinnier then the average Kacheek anyway."
"Yeah, SKINNY jeans! Even though I am skinny, I need to get skinnier!"
I sighed. "You're fine the way you are, Margo. Just forget about it for now and drink your coffee." I handed her a mug full of light, milky coffee topped with caramel and two dollops of whipped cream, the way we both liked it.
I guess while we're here, I should tell you more about both Margo and myself.
Margo is also a thirteen-year-old Neopet who is obsessed with beauty and fashion... maybe sometimes too obsessed, like what you read above. She's very pretty; however it's very hard to convince her, and even harder to convince her that she's fine the way she is and doesn't need to change anything. She has a heart of gold, but if you ask me and even she agrees, she has a head to match.
As for me, I'm very tomboyish, but I hate sports. I'm more of a gamer. It shocks a lot of guys, and sometimes I get excluded or made fun of because of it. It was another reason why I was tired of living in Roo Island, yet I guess you find people like that everywhere, whether you like it or not. It's just how you deal with it, that's how it affects you.
It was something that some guru once said:
"There is light and dark. It is the same with all things: Win and lose, happy and sad, good and evil. They have all collided for generation after generation, and it is also to this day, that this war continues. It will continue throughout all eternity, until the sun goes out and the world stands still. So it will not cease, but it may be handled peacefully with wisdom and virtue until the day of that all halts may come."
Who exactly made that quote? Well, until some crazy smart guy claims it, I did!
In conclusion, I'm not a hater. Because it was like an actual quote I read somewhere in the Neopian Times:
"Haters gonna hate!"
So anyway, Margo and I were drinking some warm coffee, talking about our plans for the day. It was a regular morning, warm and comfortable, like usual.
I sat down with Margo at the kitchen counter and looked out the window, where a small old cottage stood.
No one lived in the cottage, and no one lived there for over twenty years.
Rumor had it that an old married couple once lived there. They were elderly and kind-hearted pets, caring for all of the abandoned Kadoaties in Roo Island and took them into their home, calling them their own.
They had something ridiculous, like, forty Kadoaties. And the weirder part was that they were able to take care of all of them and remember all of their names. Yeah, they were perfectly fine the way they were; everyone was happy. Until one night, the couple forgot to feed their Petpets, (don't ask me how). So therefore, while they were sleeping, the Kads ate both of them and they both died and turned to evil ghosts who seek vengeance and bring it out on all Neopians everywhere! BOOOO!!! Scary!!!
Eh, yeah. Terrifying. I don't really believe in that sort of thing, but I wouldn't even think of moving into that place if I never had to pay a single Neopoint for it, and I'm the one who has to pay the bills.
What? It's creepy!
I would stare out at the cottage in curiosity every day, just to see if someone or something would pop out of the "haunted" cottage or if someone would actually move in and buy the cottage, as it has been for sale ever since this said incident above took place.
And of course, nothing would happen. It was always creepy, always dark, and always old-looking. Nothing would go in or out, and no one would ever think of it.
"Why do you stare at that stupid cottage all the time? You know nothing's gonna happen!" Margo said as she was flipping through her magazine and circling outfits in it that she liked with a red marker.
"I dunno, I just---wait a minute," From the corner of the window, I saw what looked like a portable Safety Deposit Box being pushed closer and closer to the cottage. I also noticed that the "For Sale" sign that was in the front yard for so many years was finally gone. "What's going on?"
"Why don't you go check?" the Christmas Kacheek suggested, not looking up from her magazine.
"You know what? I will! And you're coming with me!"
Margo looked out the window, where the SDB was slowly getting closer and closer towards the cottage.
"Okay. I'll deal with this later." Margo put away the magazine and followed me out.
The two of us walked outside and walked over to the cottage, where we saw two Neopets push the large SDB over to the entrance of the house.
"Keep pushing, Miko! We're almost there!" said one of them, an Orange Kougra, to the other Neopet.
"You just HAD to pack every little thing we ever owned, now did you Ronny?" remarked the other Neopet, a Green Kyrii, with a huff and wheeze to the Orange Kougra.
"Well, pardon me for being sentimental! Besides, all I packed was our furniture, our personal belongings, our food, and our Neopoints!"
"Yeah, everything we ever owned!"
"I... okay. Maybe I did pack a lot. Anyway, I think we got it."
The two of them stopped in front of the house and high fived each other due to their accomplishment.
Both Margo and I walked over to them to see what they were doing.
"Hello!" I greeted them.
The two pets whirled around towards Margo and me.
"Oh, our new neighbors! Hi!" the Orange Kougra remarked as he quickly formed a smile.
"Are you really moving in here? No one lived in that cottage in years!" Margo gasped in shock.
"Yeah. We are. What's more to know?" said the Green Kyrii in a matter-of-fact tone.
"Pardon my friend here, he let the books get way too far into his brain." The Orange Kougra giggled.
The Green Kyrii glared at him scornfully.
"Oh, right! Allow me to introduce myself." The Orange Kougra brushed himself off and began his introduction.
"I'm Ronny Moonstar." He then looked over at the Green Kyrii and nudged him. "And Senor Serioso over here is actually named Miko Bingo."
"Charmed," Miko said to us. It was then that Miko looked over at Ronny and crossed his arms. "And Ronny, if you want to really call me "Mr. Serious" in Spanish, it's 'Señor Serio'. Not 'Senor Serioso'."
"Yes, yes. Of course," Ronny more focused on both Margo and myself, brushing away the quick Spanish lesson from his friend. "Now, who may you two be?"
"Well, I'm Marine, and this is Margo," I stated as Margo waved.
Ronny took my paw and bent down to it.
"Then enchanter, senoreyeta," he greeted sweetly as he bent down to me and went back up.
"And you just WONDER why TNT turned down your application for an international translator." Miko sighed to Ronny.
"I didn't think I got a fair shot!" Ronny shot back.
"Where do you guys come from?" Margo asked the pair of Neopets.
(Who are our age, by the way. It explains the title "Four Thirteens".)
"We're from Shenkuu, almost halfway around Neopia," Miko answered.
"We moved because we decided to switch things up. We, at least I, didn't want to do the same thing every day for the rest of my life. Shenkuu was nice, but I think Roo Island will be a lot more exciting."
"So," Margo said to Miko. "You need any help with unpacking your stuff?"
Miko shrugged and crossed his arms again.
"Sure. Let's go."
And so both Margo and Miko went over to the SDB, grabbed a box or two from it, and walked into the cottage.
"So... Shenkuu, huh?" I asked, trying to get a conversation started.
"Yep. Like I said, it was nice, but nothing to go crazy over. Not that much that was interesting about it."
"I doubt that. I've always wanted to go there."
"If you did, I wouldn't give my hopes up."
And we talked some more as I was helping him sort through his Safety Deposit Box. I learned more about him, and he learned more about me. It was great and peaceful, until we heard an ear-piercing scream that echoed from the house.
To be continued...