"Why on Neopia did I decide this was a good idea?"
I pushed through the thick woods, dodging branches and tree roots, trying not to get my fur caught in them.
"Sky, come out from your hiding spot! Mum wants us home, and she wants us home now!"
I called for my younger sister, looking around for where she might be.
She was a Baby Acara for Fyora's sake! How could an Acara with bright blue fur be invisible in a dark place?
"C'mon Sky, it's gonna get dark soon! You don't want all the creepy Neopets coming out to find you, do ya?"
My foot snagged on a tree root and I fell to the ground with a thud.
I let out a yelp and rubbed at a sore spot on my forehead. I sat for a few minutes with my eyes screwed shut, trying to block out the throbbing soreness.
"Silly tree... You just had to be in front of my head," I murmured to myself, before a soft, croaky voice spoke to me.
"Oh my, are you quite alright deary?"
I opened my eyes and found myself staring into the face of an Elderly Ogrin.
"I saw you fall. I had trouble finding you, though, due to your brown coat. At least you aren't a Woodland Acara, eh?"
I stood up and rubbed at my now-swollen ankle causing her eyes to widen.
"Oh my, you're hurt! Come along then, I'll take you to my house and fix you up."
I shook my head and managed a few words.
"No, I have to go and find my little sister... It'll be getting dark soon and-"
"Are you sure your sister isn't already home? Surely she knows the way! And you are in no condition to be wandering the woods! Not with that ankle!"
I wanted to tell her that she was mad and I would be fine, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought she was probably right about the situation. She seemed pretty wise, anyhow.
Sky probably was at home right now, playing with her Usuki dolls or something.
"Alright, I'll come."
The Ogrin nodded and I picked up a stick to use a crutch. It was terribly makeshift and dug into my arm, but it worked long enough for us to walk to her little cottage.
She opened the door for me and I sat down on an old dusty couch, coughing as the dust rose up.
"I'm sorry about the dust deary. It's been a while since I cleaned up the place. I used to have a young Korbat who came and did it for me, but he stopped coming all of a sudden. I don't know why... He was such a nice boy, too."
I shook my head and made a gesture to show that I didn't mind.
"No, it's fine. I understand."
She smiled at me and wandered off into the nearby kitchen, before returning with a jar of Lemon Sweeties and a long bandage. She placed the candy on a side table next to the couch I was on, causing the table to groan. She then gently began to wrap the bandage around my ankle, and I tried not to jump at her freezing cold touch.
She spoke as she wrapped and I focused on her croaky voice.
"What's your name, dear?"
"My name is Mite. It's an odd name, but it's because I was the smallest out of my family. Even my little sister, Sky, is almost taller than me."
She gave a laugh at that, before returning to speaking.
"Well then hello, Mite. My name is Eileen."
I raised an eyebrow.
"Sounds like a really old name..." I covered my mouth at what I said, "But that's cool I mean! Old names are nice and..."
She laughed again and smiled at me.
"It's quite alright. Old name for an old Neopet, no?"
I gave a chuckle at that, and unwrapped one of the Lemon Sweeties before popping the sour candy into my mouth.
She tied off the bandage and sat in a rocking chair that was placed in front of a dusty window. The chair rocked back and forth, but oddly enough, it did not groan under her weight. I pulled a face at the sourness of the treat in my mouth and she chuckled. She unlocked a small box from the window ledge and from within it, removed a small sewing kit. She attempted to thread a needle, shaking slightly as she squinted at the tiny hole. I decided to pass the time, by talking to her.
"So... Miss Eileen... You live alone here?"
She shook her head.
"I have lived in this house with my husband for a long time. My husband hasn't been home in sometime though. He left to go to war, so I usually spend my time waiting for him in this chair."
"Do you have any children?"
She nodded, smiled and gestured to a photo frame hung up on the wall.
The frame contained an old black and white photo, stained brown with age.
In the photo were two young Ogrins, a male and a female, the female holding a Baby Ogrin.
"That's my daughter Lucy, when she was but a child. Next to me is my husband, Jasper. Lucy is all grown up now... But she doesn't visit anymore. Nobody really does. It's quite lonely really."
I frowned, confused as to why her daughter wouldn't visit.
"Don't ask me why she doesn't visit me though, dear. I don't even know myself. It's rather confusing."
She continued to struggle to thread the needle in her hands and I scratched the back of my head awkwardly, wondering if I should offer to help or not.
A confusing though suddenly struck me and I frowned.
"You said your husband went away, right?"
"Yes, darling, he went away to fight in the war."
"What war did he go to fight in?"
She frowned and closed her eyes, as if she was trying to remember.
"I don't remember, deary... It was a big one, though; it involved all of the lands in Neopia."
I shook my head and frowned.
"Miss Eileen, there hasn't been a massive war like that in Neopia... Not for decades!"
She looked up at me from under her glasses, confused.
"That can't be... Jasper went to the war. I've been waiting for him to come back. I sit in this chair every day, and I wait. He'll come back, you know."
I swallowed thickly, shivering at the sudden coldness in the room.
"Miss Eileen... How long have you been waiting here for?"
She blinked and put down her sewing.
We sat in silence for a while, and suddenly the chair stopped rocking.
"I don't know, Mite."
Her old white fur turned a shade of grey-blue, and her eyes became sad and mournful. They turned red, and her fur began to let off and ominous glow.
I stood up and stammered.
"I... I have to go home. I hope your husband comes home soon."
She nodded, before speaking.
"Wait... Before you leave... Am I a ghost, Mite? Is that why nobody visits anymore? Am I a ghost?"
I hesitated before nodding.
"I believe so... I'm sorry Miss Eileen."
I limped out the door and ran as fast as I could.
I glanced over my shoulder and back at the window.
The rocking chair swung back and forth, bathed in a luminous, blue glow.