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The Gallery of Evil


by sockmonk

--------

1st, Month of Collecting

I have started work on a new project. The idea behind it is to make a complete guide to all the evil denizens of Neopia currently known, from the most frighteningly famous like Frank Sloth to those that hide in darkness and secrecy, such as the Shadow Usul. The idea is to make a reference for all the young Neopians out there, a sort of warning about what dangers may be possibly lurking in the dank underbelly and forgotten corners of our cheerful home world.

     I started to realize once I scoured the library's archives how much of a large undertaking this was. Most information out there on these individuals - these creatures, really, most of them not like anything truly Neopian - is shrouded in myth or secrecy, making it hard to separate the genuine sources from the mere speculative. Most accounts are fairly undetailed, as well, telling of someone getting an item stolen or having their health mysteriously depleted by some strange entity but of little else. This makes it difficult to know what to keep in and what to discard in my accounts. I spend all my days now sitting shakily by candle light and reading, reading, always reading, usually things that are mind numbingly useless or outdated. Not that I mind, of course. This is what a scholar does, after all, it's only an extension of my occupation and passion.

     Still, though, it is all a bit much to consume at once. I try to take breaks in between my work for leisure, but even when I do so I find myself thinking of it. Likely just the obsession that comes with having a new project, I'd imagine. I had the same effect when I was helping to work on the Neopedia. Still, though, there is a certain quality to this job unlike any other, something that I can't quite explain...

     -

     7th, Month of Collecting

     It has been over a week that I've been working on this book. I've gotten very little sleep since I began, and I believe reading about evil beings without reprieve has taken a toll on my psyche. I usually find myself to be quite unshakeable, but lately I've been feeling incredibly anxious, jumping at every little creak or disturbance. Even the smallest, most ordinary things frighten me now, like the sound of a Weewoo's soft coo as it perches on my sill, or the sound of a tree branch scraping against a window. Even as I write this, I find myself glancing behind my shoulder, imagining the Ghost Lupe or Vira to be grinning up at me malevolently.

     Perhaps I should try to sleep again. I know it won't be any use considering my agitated state lately, but even if I could just shut my eyes for one moment...

     -

     9th, Month of Collecting

     I feel much better today than I did the other day. I've still gotten very little sleep, sure, but I feel invigorated and rejuvenated in a way I didn't before. I feel bursting with energy and enthusiasm. I've transcended the needs of ordinary Neopians like sleep, food, drink. All there is to care about is just the work.

     I stopped simply researching and started writing the book today, starting with the most well known of them all - Frank Sloth. In a fit of fancy I sketched him the way I had seen him and all the others in my dreams, despite not being an artist by trade. I just drew and drew furiously, taking energy from some unknown, almost magical force within me.

     Even the drawing has a certain presence, just as Dr. Sloth himself would have (or at least I imagine so, I thankfully have never encountered him). It makes him look huge, ominous, imposing, almost statuesque in his stoicism. Even now I feel pulled towards the image, as if he's calling for me to join him and his mutant army, but I know that's probably the lack of sleep talking.

     Regardless, I like the idea of illustrating the book. I imagine some young Neopet finding it at the library and jumping with fright, then sharing it with their friends in attempt to scare them all. The idea makes me smile, even if the work itself is taxing.

     Maybe I'll get some sleep tonight.

     -

     15th, Month of Collecting

     Today I had the same feeling of unspent, boundless energy, and used it to create an entire section of the book for the Ghost Lupe in about an hour's time. Unlike Dr. Sloth, I gave his image full colour, although I'm thinking now maybe this wasn't the best decision. I can't stay on the page long, because his red eyes seem like they know something. Like they're watching me. I can feel him in the shadows as I lay in my bed, as I work on the book, as I go out. Just those two pale red eyes, constantly observing, unblinking, the only colour in his ghostly face...

     -

     18th, Month of Collecting

     A colleague of mine has recently expressed concern for my health. I had to laugh at him. Not only am I healthy, I've never felt better. My work is phenomenal, better than it's ever been before, and my productivity is through the roof. I do nothing but work, in fact. I scarcely even eat. I've gotten past the need for all of that. All that matters is the book.

     He said it isn't normal to spend all this time inside, to obsess over such dark things, to work constantly. He said I should take some time for myself. Ha! I am taking time for myself. All I could ever need is the book. It's coming to life in a way, becoming a presence all its own. I almost feel as if I should capitalize Book when I say it, as if comparing it to ink and paper is an insult. No, it's more than a book. It's a catalogue. A showcase.

     A Gallery.

     Yes, that's it. A Gallery. Like a wonderful museum that's been sketched into pages. And it's becoming a beautiful one, at that. I've created so many amazing entries. I can already tell this will be a guidebook for all of Neopia, but I still have so much more work to do. They are watching. Waiting.

      -

     20th, Month of Collecting

     My lack of sleep is beginning to catch up to me. My latest entries in the Gallery have been a mockery to it; fevered, half-done sketches. My hands are shaky, and I can't draw properly. I find myself dozing off as I work.

     Out of the corner of my eyes, I see the Ghost Lupe; watching me, waiting for me.

     -

     24th, Month of Collecting

     He's everywhere now. I'm no longer just seeing the Ghost Lupe out of the corner of my eyes, but everywhere I look.

     I can't tell if it's a mere imagining or if the Ghost Lupe is really in my home, but he's watching me. I can tell what he wants me to do, to work even harder, to work until I collapse from exhaustion and until my fingers go numb. I must do it. I have no choice.

     -

     26th, Month of Collecting

     My colleague came over again today. He claimed he couldn't see the Ghost Lupe. I started screaming at him, he's there, he's there, he's there. The Ghost Lupe is trying to make it seem like I'm going mad, but I'm not. I know I'm not. I know he's there. I know he's always been there since I started this blasted project. He was probably the one who influenced it, in fact. He's always been there and always will be there, omnipresent, constant.

     My colleague claims I need sleep, but I know that if I sleep, he'll get to me. I can't sleep. I must never sleep again.

     -

     5th, Month of Storing

     I haven't written in over a week, because the Ghost Lupe demands I constantly work on the Gallery. I believe it's almost done. I haven't done anything else for weeks, not since the Ghost Lupe started monitoring me. I've lost weight and haven't slept properly in weeks, but the Gallery is all that matters.

     I've done so much work recently that it's astonishing. The Ghost Lupe guides me every step of the way. Still his page is the best I've done yet, no doubt from his influence. Sure, some others I filled in with coloured pencils like Vira or Hubrid Nox, but none are in as great of detail as the Ghost Lupe. He's above all the rest of them, a superior figure, a king among Neopians.

     Even now his page seems to pull me to it...

     -

     12th, Month of Storing

     I finished the last page of the Gallery a few days ago; Xandra, the twisted sorceress. I sent it off on the Ghost Lupe's instructions to Neopia Central - or at least, I felt those were his instructions. He never says anything, just watches from the shadows.

     It's strange to have the Gallery gone, however. It feels like my entire life is meaningless now. It consumed everything, and even now that it's gone I can't stop thinking about it. Everything feels strangely empty as I walk through my home. I can no longer feel its presence like I could before, and I find myself mourning it the same way I would if a beloved Petpet were lost.

     What was the purpose of all this? I've created a guide of all the evil in Neopia, certainly, but at what cost? I keep thinking of the Gallery and how its now in a library somewhere, and I wonder if it has the same power over others as it has over me. It pains me to think of someone else going through the same mental torture that I have over such a thing. I wish I had never sent it away, or never created such a wretched thing in the first place.

     I keep crying uncontrollably, and still the Ghost Lupe watches me with those sickly, pale red eyes.

The End

 
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