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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 14th day of Eating, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 114 > Short Stories > The Stroke of Midnight

The Stroke of Midnight

by furbyfun

"Oh, how I love Meerca Pie!" screamed Elluryt, a checkered Gelert wearing a detective costume. The other Neopets, Niasma, Sirelin and Fraxie, all jumped, Fraxie in particular. It was Halloween night, and they were telling spooky stories after their trick-or-treating.

     "Elly, you're scaring your brother!" reprimanded Niasma, a starry Zafara dressed as a witch. As the oldest, she seemed to have taken the role of 'parent'.

     "Sorry! Fraxie, can you hang on for just a few more minutes? I need to finish the story."

     Fraxie, the youngest and a gold Meerca dressed as Count Von Roo, nodded. "I wasn't scared," he said, even though it appeared that he was about to wet himself.

     "Oh, you were so! You're such a fraidy-Aisha!" teased Sirelin, a shadow Shoyru in a vampire costume and the second oldest.

     "Was not!"

     "Were so!"

     "Boys! Break it up!" shouted the starry Zafara. "Who was or wasn't scared doesn't matter. Can we just let Elluryt finish her story?"

     "And so, the giant lumbered off, patting his stomach," concluded the checkered Gelert.

     The shadow Shoyru shuddered. "Creepy, El. You're quite the storyteller."

     "Thanks," said Elluryt. She pulled a piece of candy from her bulging bag of treats, which she'd gained through the night's trick-or-treating, and popped it into her mouth.

     Sirelin got up. "You know what, El? You're good at telling scary stories, but what about real life? I bet you couldn't spend midnight in the mansion on Haunted Hill."

     "I bet I could! It would be you running away scared if you tried to do that," bragged the checkered Gelert.

     "Well, prove it! I dare you to go into the mansion and stay there until at least midnight!"

     "Easy as pie. I could stay there all night if I wanted to." Elluryt's eyes shone with confidence. "But I insist that you three walk me there, and I get Sirelin's candy if I win."

     "Fine. I'll even let you bet my treats, but only if I can have yours if -- I mean when you lose."

     "Sure. Let's go!"

     "Elluryt! It's 11:40 PM! We shouldn't be out this late!" objected Niasma, but Sirelin and Fraxie simply grabbed the arm of the starry Zafara's witch costume and dragged her from the house.

     "Oh, come on, Nas. It's only a five-minute walk to the mansion," protested the shadow Shoyru, "and we're going whether you like it or not."

     Niasma sighed, and reluctantly agreed. "Fine, but you'll wish you hadn't gone when a ghost beats you senseless!"

     "Ghosts don't exist, Nas. Besides, even if they did, they couldn't beat you senseless."

     "Sirelin's right. Ghosts don't exist -- which is why I'll be eating his candy tonight!" laughed the checkered Gelert as they left the house.

     "Oh, you will not! You won't last two minutes in there!"

     "A-are you sure you want to go in there?" stammered Fraxie. "You know the story of the Haunted Hill Mansion? Seven years ago, some rich Aisha named Adain Roxfield owned it. He always came home five minutes before midnight, and on Halloween, BOOM! The Aisha vanished at midnight. Are you still sure you want to go in?"

     "Of course I'm sure! If I wasn't sure, why would I agree to this at all?" questioned Elluryt. She removed a few treats from her bag, planning to eat them inside the manor, and stuck them into the pockets of her detective costume's trenchcoat.

     "El, no hiding it in your pockets! That's not fair, it leaves less for me," complained Sirelin. The others all laughed, rather rudely. Despite this, though, the shadow Shoyru wasn't fazed. He just shot them a glare, and they ceased their snickers.

     "As if. You're not getting one bite of it. Anyway, I better get inside that mansion before midnight if I want to win this bet," said the checkered Gelert coolly as she munched on a snack-size chocolate bar.

     "Elluryt," warned the starry Zafara crossly, "there is a ghost in there. As soon as you go in, he will do something horrible to you, and you'll wish you'd listened to me."

     Without answering, Elluryt marched up to the creepy-looking mansion's gate and began to climb over, warily avoiding the black iron spikes.

     Once she was past that obstacle, getting inside was no problem at all. The Gelert simply strode up to the immense double doors and jammed a candy bar into the lock's large keyhole, which she twisted forcefully.

     Elluryt doubted whether it would work, but amazingly, the lock opened and she was able to merely open the doors and stroll right in. The twin doors slammed shut behind her, sending an ominous sound of colliding wood through the air of the night.

     The checkered Gelert looked at the lobby, full of cobwebs and dust. Apparently nobody had been there since that Aisha Fraxie told her about disappeared. She shrugged, and headed to the dark hallway at the end of the room. Perhaps she would find a room with better furniture than the moth-eaten sofa in the foyer.

     After a bit of rummaging around in the dark, and occasionally tripping over things left on the floor, Elluryt found a relatively well-kept room. It was sparsely furnished, containing only a chair, table, and copy of an old issue of The Neopian Times on top of the aforementioned table, and only had one window to let in light from the full moon.

     Still, it would be fine for her purposes, which were simply to find a place to sit down that wasn't covered in dust or holes. The checkered Gelert sat down in the stiff wooden chair, propped her feet up on the creaking timber of the table, and began to read without interest the Neopian Times Issue 3 as she waited for it to be midnight.

     Suddenly, the clock struck twelve. A bell tolled, twelve times, and it seemed almost as if the house was alive. Boards creaked, and a noise sounding almost like faraway footsteps could be heard over the rustling of the old newspaper's pages. A ghost Aisha was awakened, and began to prowl the mansion.

     "I sense an intruder," he growled softly as the specter came closer and closer to the small room where Elluryt was seated.

     The checkered Gelert shivered as the stepping sound grew closer. She looked out into the hallway, and nobody was there. She returned to the room with great apprehension.

     Out of the wall came the original owner of the house, Adain Roxfield. Elluryt nearly jumped out of her skin as the Aisha snapped The Neopian Times issue shut and bellowed, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOUSE? OUT! OUT!"

     "W-well, Mr. R-Roxfield, we-"

     "I don't want to hear it! Get out of my house!" The ghost gave chase to the terrified Gelert, running through the nearest hallway until she came to the door. She pushed with all her might on the handle, and at last it opened, if just a crack. Elluryt rammed her entire checkered form into it, and ran down to the gate as the doors opened enough to squeeze through.

     The checkered Gelert kicked the gate repeatedly, and after a few unsuccessful tries decided to climb over instead. Carefully avoiding the spikes, she clambered up and over. The ghost of an Aisha flew after her, and Elluryt ran at top speed towards the shape of her siblings at the bottom of the hill.

     Sirelin, Niasma and Fraxie watched in disbelief as their sister was chased towards them by the ghost of Adain Roxfield.

     "Is that who I think it is?" asked Fraxie, dumbstruck, as he leaned back on his golden Meerca tail to get a better look.

     "Well, the Gelert scared out of her wits is obviously Elluryt, so the ghost Aisha must be Mr. Roxfield," replied Sirelin, squinting with large shadow Shoyru eyes at the pair of them.

     "I told her she shouldn't go in there," commented Niasma, a smirk on her starry Zafara face. She would have said more, but at that moment a checkered Gelert barreled into her, knocking both of them over.

     "AND STAY OUT, YOU HOOLIGANS!" bellowed the Aisha as he retreated to his manor.

     Sirelin and Fraxie helped their sisters to their feet, and as soon as Elluryt had dusted herself off she turned to the shadow Shoyru and said, "You lose! Hand over the candy."

     "El, you got chased out! It shouldn't count!" complained the Shoyru as he hid the bag of candy behind his back.

     "Well, I stayed until midnight! That's what the deal was," protested the Gelert.

     "You were chased out!"

     "I stayed until midnight!"

     "Chased out! Chased out by a ghost!"

     "Spent midnight in a creepy mansion!"

     "Chased out!"

     "Stayed until midnight!"

     "Chased out!"

     "Hold it!" shouted Niasma. "Can't you two just call it a draw? You can each keep your candy."

     The two Neopets looked at each other, and then at their bulging bags of sweets. "Yeah, I guess so," said Elluryt.

     "Fine," agreed Sirelin reluctantly, as he looked at his sister's treats.

     "Good thing for you Niasma called it off," added the checkered Gelert as they walked back to the NeoHome, "or your candy would have been mine."

     "As if! Yours would have been mine!"

     "BREAK IT UP!" shouted their older sister. "Can't you two stop arguing for one moment? Honestly!"

     The Shoyru and the Gelert looked at each other. "No," the siblings answered in unison.

The End

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