The Haunting of Zios
An unsettling creak can be heard during nightfall on a local family farm. It wakes up Jackson, a spotted Lupe and the owner of the farm. "What is that?" Jackson wonders and gets up to check. But first, he grabs the materials he needs. An out-of-shape flashlight and a brown-vintage coat. "Honey, where are you going at this time at night?" Asks half-asleep Martha, the Green Lupe. "I have been up all night, thanks to this noise," he replied. Martha sighed. "I think I know why this is happening."
"What?" Jackson grasps. Jackson took a pause and asks. "What do you mean?"
"This property... is not what you think it is." Martha tells him. "It's um... haunted by the old owner, and every year on September 29th, we are cursed by him in some way..." She grabs a book titled "Zios" and shows Jackson.
"What is this? How do you know all of this?" He asks. "Why have you been keeping this a secret the whole time, our family could be in danger!" Yells Jackson.
"I have no choice, Jackson," hysterically laughing, Martha's head turns a full 360 degrees. "You really thought I was the real Martha? It's me, Zios, and this year I am going to have lots of fun."
"What do you mean, who are you Zios? And where's Martha?" Jackson demands.
"You really think you can get the answer out of me that easily, huh?" Giggles Zios. "Well, I suppose I can explain why I am doing this. Decades ago, this house was my family-farm, that is, before your greedy family stole it away from mine!" Zios was clearly becoming angry.
"We bought this house though, we didn't steal anything," Jackson lamented. "What do you want? We can talk this out."
"NO! What's the fun in that?" Hisses Zios. With that, Zios disappears upstairs.
"WHAT IS HAPPENING! OH NO MY FAMILY!" Jackson panics. He grabs his flashlight and ran upstairs. "Zios? Where are you?" Jackson repeats over and over. "Zios, hello?"
"Right here," said Juliet, the daughter of Jackson and Martha, but... she was acting strange.
"I said Zios... not Juliet," Jackson responds.
"Oh, I know," hisses Juliet. "It's is me," Zios cackles. "How can you fall for it, twice in a row?"
"Just tell me where my family is, you can have this stupid farm if you want," Jackson was getting annoyed.
"You think I'll actually answer your question?" Zios smirked. "Listen here, you took my farm away, and it's too late to give it back. This will be my ultimate revenge, and you can't do anything about it!" Zios slams the door and locks it.
"What is he doing?" Jackson wonders. "Wait a minute... why do I smell smoke?" Jackson screamed as he noticed his corn-fields had been set ablaze. "He's insane!" Jackson grabbed his phone and dialled the police.
"Hello, is this the Police station? I need help, my whole family is being possessed by a demon named Zios!"
"Um, is this a prank call?" Replies the Chief of the Police. "If we get one more prank call, we are going to send the police over to your house, there is zero-tolerance, for prank calls."
"I AM NOT PRANKING YOU!" Yelps Jackson. The police hang up. "Where is my real family," Jackson whimpers. "It's hopeless, it's too late," Jackson didn't know what to do now, so he went outside to try to look for clues.
When Jackson went outside to investigate, he found shredded clothing leading to a mysterious path to somewhere. "I need to fix this fire first," Jackson told himself. He grabbed a nearby water-hose and washed the fire away, it was far too late though, there was nothing to recover. His entire corn-field was gone. Jackson had lost his family and now his crops. He followed the shredded clothing and discovered a piece of paper with a strange message"eno dlo eht gniyortsed era ew yhw si siht ,esuoh wen a yub ot gniog era ew uoy gniknarp si ylimaf ruoy," Jackson quickly figured out it was a backwards message! Holding it up to a mirror he reads, "your family is pranking you we are going to buy a new house, this is why we are destroying the old one." "What? This is a prank?" Jackson was so confused.
"Surprise!" Martha and Juliet shouted while jumping out of a nearby bush. "We hired a ghost Neopet to act like a demon, and it worked a little too well, sorry if you got scared," Martha explains, "We are moving to a new house! It has much more farming space."
"Martha... I was so worried, but how can I stay mad? I am excited!" Jackson said thrilled.
"Dad... I'm sorry if I scared you but it was fun pretending to be a super scary demon!" Juliet interjected
"Oh, and we even told the police station beforehand, just in case," Martha added.
"It's okay, guys, just ease up on the scare factor next time," Jackson chuckled.
A little while later, Martha, Jackson, and Juliet were sitting in the living room together. "Isn't it a wild coincidence that the Neopet buying our house is named Zios? He gave me a letter today but I didn't get a chance to read it," Martha opened the letter and gasped when she read it. "He's... he's real."
"Who's real?" Jackson query.
"Zios," Martha said in shock. "But no... we made him up! This can't be happening!" Martha cries. "The letter said he is going to haunt us at 11:40, that's in 10 minutes," worries Martha.
"Don't worry!" Jackson went to dial the police but heard a beeping noise soon as he picked up the phone. "The phone lines! They've been cut," Jackson turned to Martha but she was gone.
"Martha? Martha, where are you!" concerns Jackson.
"Daddy... I'm scared," Juliet put her hands on her mouth. "Dad, behind you."
Behind Jackson was a scary silhouette with sharp teeth.
"AHHHH!" Jackson shouted and grabbed Juliet. He ran as fast as he could and locked them inside Juliet's room.
Juliet was terrified holding her favourite plushie of a Kadoatie, and started to tear up before Jackson comforted her. "It's going to be okay, maybe it's just one of Mommy's pranks again." Jackson instructed Juliet to go in the closet. Should I jump out that window and get one of our neighbours to help? That might be risky though Jackson wondered. "Daddy, what are you planning to do?" Juliet asked on the verge of crying. "Don't cry! I promise you, it's going to be okay, I have an idea," Jackson said trying to calm Juliet down. Jackson noticed the sparkler gun he had bought Juliet for her birthday. He shot the sparkler gun outside the window in an attempt to alert the neighbours. Luckily, the neighbours noticed and called the police!
"How dare you!" Zios popped out of nowhere. "It is now September 30th, you are so lucky it just turned 12:00 PM and I didn't even notice! I will disappear soon, but watch out next year!" Zios yelled as he vanished.
"Did I just use that sparkler gun for nothing?" Jackson wondered out loud. "It doesn't matter anymore, we are safe now."
"Daddy, where's mommy?" Juliet cries.
"I'm right here!" Jackson opened the door and Martha rushed in to hug Juliet tight. "I don't even remember anything but the good thing is that we are all safe,"
The next morning the family eagerly prepared to move out. They packed their bags and moved to a larger, demon-free farm to live happily-ever-after.