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Pet Name: Neomelodiey
You pull your scarf up against the frosty night air, wondering why you decided to show your friend that you weren't a scaredy Wocky. You can hardly see in front of you, around you, behind you; the darkness wraps around you as slickly as the nervous sweat clinging to your skin. You know you're approaching the Deserted Fairground; there is the smell of ghostmallow smores and pumpkin pie and something else, something smoky and sharp - you're seriously hoping it's not eyeballs and baked intesteen - sliding towards you on the cold, frosty breeze. As you walk beneath the massive branches of a twisted tree, you notice, framed by a sliver of moonlight, a bundled shape hanging underneath the branch, like a giant sleeping Korbat. The shape unfurls itself, screams "BOO!" and lands on its feet as gracefully as a tipsy Skeith. It is a Kacheek, wearing a huge pair of false wings that fold silently behind her.
"Did I scare you? Huh? Huh? Huh? Wasn't I frightening? You were all like '?' and I was like 'BOO' and you were like 'OH MY GOD' and then I was like 'MWAHAHAHA' and you were so- the look on your face-" She starts laughing. "I'm Melodie, but you can call me Mel. It's nice to meet ya." A huge grin spreads across her partially masked face.
You extend your hand in a greeting. She shakes it enthusiastically and proceeds to drag you along. "Come on, you've got to see my house. My haunted house."
After ten "I'm not really sure but my gut's tellin' me it's this way" missteps and a well-intentioned but misinformed old Tonu sorely lacking a sense of direction, half an hour later, you are climbing the ruined porch steps. The porch light bobs in the darkness, rhythmically flaring into a wreath of fire as if it were breathing, swelling and faltering to the beat of your heart - until you realize that it's a petpetpet, a slumbering Flankin. "That's Flame, the guardian of the house. He likes to sleep in the lantern," she says. "Sleep tight!" She pats the lantern affectionately.
The door suddenly creaks open, rusty hinges groaning under the weight. With a glint in her eye, she beckons you to step inside. You steel your nerves and quickly cross the rotting threshold.
The first thing you notice is the punch table, empty bowls knocked over and crumbs sprinkled everywhere on the juice-stained tablecloth.
"Sorry, what ya see here is the aftermath of the Christmas party." She smiles sheepishly and tidies up the plates. An angelpuss suddenly darts out from beneath a pile of blankets and starts taking away the plates. "And this is my Angelpuss Kit."
The Angelpuss waves a plushie paw and floats away, lugging a stack of plates behind her.
"If you'll just follow me to the hallway..."
An old light sputters in the gloom, illuminating the dusty, peeling walls. You walk carefully, taking care to avoid the gaping holes in the floor.
You duck underneath a swarm of paper Poppits dangling from the ceiling ("They're scary, honestly!" she insists) and sidestep a wandering Gremble ("He and his friends like to hang out here sometimes. It really adds to the atmosphere") and then fidget nervously with your collar as she argues with a Bat Boy. ("He insists on a raise, after last month's fiasco. Actors.")
She gestures to each room as you walk by. "That's the 'Room of Nightmares,' the 'Room of 1000 Faces,' the 'Scare Your Socks Off' room..." She pauses to fix a crooked sign that reads, "WIPE YOUR FEET AT THE DOOR."
"There haven't been that many people coming around since Halloween. All part and parcel of being a permanent resident of the Haunted Woods, I guess. People only want to be scared on one day, October 31st. 'Course there are those who like to visit for Christmas but that's about it. Ten months of slooooooooow business.
"Neofamilies are moving away all the time; maybe the spookiness gets to be too much for them. Neopets move into the Haunted Woods sometimes, though. I love meeting the new neighbors and making new acquaintances. And I like to find out what scares 'em." She winks and picks up a Spyder scuttling across the floor. It crawls across her paws and runs up her shoulder, clicking with dissatisfaction.
"Haunted Woods is a really nice community actually - don't believe all the stories you hear about neopets going mad and getting eaten by the Esophagor and stuff. Oh, you should try the Esophagor quests more often; he's been feeling hungrier than usual and getting grumpier all the time. Tell your friends! I promised him I'd say that."
She lifts the Spyder off her shoulder and lets it skitter away into the walls, calling after it, "Don't forget, we're having your favorite for dinner tonight - Grubburgers!" She glances at the cobwebbed face of a Von Roo clock and a flicker of realization flits across her face.
"I just remembered - I have some business at Edna's so I have to skedaddle, but you can stay as long as ya want. I recommend the 'Death Chamber' and the 'Hollows Eve' rooms if you're looking for a real fright." She grins as she pulls on a pair of mittens. "Take care now!" She waves and dashes out the door, her Angelpuss floating after her.
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