Halloween's Moon: Toshu's Dark Secret
Halloween-- a favorite holiday for Neopians everywhere. The houses along the street were lined with jack-o-lanterns, the trees covered in cobwebs. Eager young pets ran up and down the sidewalks, treat bags rustling. The sun had just begun to set, which marked the beginning of Trick-or-Treating.
Suyun struggled to put on her Judge Hog costume. No matter how hard the young Shoyru tried, she couldn't get her tail and wings to fit comfortably through the holes in the suit.
"I knew I should have gone as Fyora..." she mumbled under her breath. With a vigorous SNAP, Suyun had managed to get into the costume. She turned to face her reflection in the mirror. Twisting and turning, she examined herself from head to toe making sure there were no loose ends. Suyun began posing, flashing her cutest looks at herself and sighing with each pose.
"Ah, yes, perfect," she said, smiling. "I'll certainly get tons of sweet candy with this cute face!" Suyun's rosy pink cheeks stood out completely from underneath the mask of the costume. Suyun knew there were two key costume types that got a lot of candy: cute and scary. Though not exactly terrifying standing a little over a foot tall dressed as one of Neopia's greatest heroes, Suyun hoped to milk candy out of the cute angle of her costume choice.
"Tonight, I shall defend Neopia... in honor of candy!" Suyun exclaimed striking her most heroic pose. Glancing quickly out of the window, she saw the sun had already almost sunk beneath the hillside.
"Oh no!" She cried. "We're gonna be late! I gotta find Toshu!" Suyun raced down the stairs and into the living room. Toshu was sitting on the couch staring out of the window at the setting sun. Suyun climbed onto the sofa and yanked at his arm.
"Come on, we're missing getting all the good stuff, Toshu!" she said, tugging harder. "Get your costume on and let's go!" Toshu didn't budge; He seemed rather distant, not taking his eyes off of the sun. Suyun let go of Toshu's arm and sat down beside him.
"What's wrong, Tosh?" Suyun asked patting him on the back. Toshu turned towards Suyun and let out a big sigh.
"Suyun, this Halloween is going to be one not too easily forgotten," he said, pointing to the calendar on the wall. The date (October 31st) was circled in red marker with the words 'FULL MOON' written inside it. Suyun looked at Toshu, obviously confused.
"There's a full moon tonight, so what?" she said. "Full moons on Halloween just add that extra bit of spookiness and you don't even have to use a flashlight because the moon's so bright." Toshu opened his mouth like he meant to say something but quickly clamped it shut.
Not saying a word, he leaped down from the sofa and started towards the door. Suyun followed, pressing herself against the door to prevent him from leaving.
"No way you're leaving without some kind of costume!" Suyun warned, grabbing Toshu's arm again. She pulled him into a side room with a large wooden chest sitting in the middle of the floor. Suyun opened the chest and began rifling inside with what appeared to be various costume pieces. Toshu's traditional costume persona, Toshu Bubblegum, featured him dressed in an adorable tuxedo complete with a top hat. He lived up to his name by the massive amounts of bubblegum he got, which was his favorite treat. Toshu peered inside the chest as Suyun pushed his Bubblegum tuxedo and top hat aside.
"I know you usually go as Candy Tux Guy, but this year we are gonna maximize our candy quota. As you know, there are two types of costumes that get tons of candy, cute and scary. This year, I'll be going as cute while you'll be scary!" Suyun pulled out a strange-looking suit, facepaint kit, and dusty mop wig. Toshu had never seen that costume set before. He assumed it was purchased sometime between this and last Halloween.
"This Zomutt costume is sure to scare the daylights out of people!" she said, smiling. "Now, let's just slip this on..." Suyun helped Toshu step into the costume, making sure his tail and paws fit snuggly. Suyun quickly pushed him down onto a stool and began hastily applying the facepaint.
"I'm no artist, but this should look okay for tonight," she said, painting a large black nose across Toshu's face. He winced a few times while Suyun did the final touchups. To top off the outfit she threw the messy mop wig on top of his head.
"There, perfect!" She exclaimed stepping back to admire her work. Toshu looked just like a tiny Zomutt, still cute but a little on the scary side. Toshu groaned and turned to face the window again. The sun had vanished and the moon could be seen rising over the horizon.
"Suyun, the sun's gone down, perhaps we should—"
But Suyun grabbed his arm again and rushed him towards the door. Whether he truly wanted to or not, Toshu was going trick-or-treating.
A thick patch of clouds had completely blocked out the moon, leaving nothing but the dim lights of houses to light the way. Suyun led the way down the sidewalk, her empty goodie bag shaking in the shallow breeze. They stopped in front of a promising house and slowly approached the front porch. Stretching, Suyun pushed the doorbell and stood back.
"Once the door opens, I'll flash some cute looks while you act scary. They're sure to notice we each are rocking the prime costume picks and shower us with extra candy!" Suyun giggled. The door opened and in the doorway stood a massive Green Skeith. He was brandishing a half-full candy bowl and had chocolate smeared all over his face.
"What do you two want!?" he asked sharply. Suyun nudged Toshu with her elbow and began flashing cute poses at the Skeith, batting her eyes and puffing up her cheeks to show the rosy color. The Skeith growled lowly and pulled the candy bowl close to his chest. Suyun had stopped posing and now was staring at the Skeith, expecting a treat from the bowl.
Without warning, the Skeith erupted with laughter.
"HAHAHAHAHAHA! What's this? A tiny Judge Shoyru and What-cha-ma-call-it Aisha? What were you kids thinking? You should have gone as Fyora, or Sloth, or the Tombola Guy or something. To expect a treat for this is ridiculous!" he said between laughs. Tears were becoming evident in Suyun's eyes. She tried to hide it but soon they were streaming down her face. The Skeith turned to Toshu, hoping to get a laugh out of his reaction to his insults. But Toshu had a rather angry look on his face. A low rumble rose from the base of his throat and he growled as loud as he could, baring his teeth. The sound was absolutely terrifying; The Skeith dropped the candy bowl, screamed, and tumbled back into his house while Suyun stood there shocked and speechless.
"AHHHH! AHHHHHHHHH! Okay, okay, keep the candy! Just keep that little monster away from me!" The Skeith shouted and slammed the door shut. Suyun quickly dumped the contents of the bowl into her bag, but kept one eye on her brother. Toshu stumbled backwards, shaking his head and groaning. Suyun raised her arm to place it on his shoulder, but pulled it back when he snapped at it and growled. She noticed his eyes were glowing red. Toshu fell down on all fours and snarled at Suyun, snapping his jaws together. Suyun slowly backed into the porch shaking with fright. Toshu started slowly toward her with a hungry look in his eyes.
At the last minute he snapped back to himself and looked at Suyun curled up against the porch post. Gasping, he stood up and ran off down the street. He was moving at such an unbelievable speed, Suyun could barely keep up. He was heading to the far dark hills at the other end of town, the town Petpet Cemetery.
Suyun sat down on the steps to gather her thoughts. Toshu had been acting very strangely all day and the way he growled at her was not like his usual self at all. One thing was for certain, she had to figure out what was going on. Suyun jumped up and took off at full speed towards the cemetery.
An eerie fog started to gather as she reached the location. Stopping just shy of the large iron gate, Suyun found a tattered-looking pile of clothing on the ground; Toshu's costume. A quick shadow caught her eye, Toshu was rushing deep into the field. She gulped loudly and fastened the belt around her waist. She was going in.
Suyun followed Toshu deep into the cemetery, dodging in and out of rows of tombstones. Suyun tripped on a misplaced stone and tumbled to the ground. As she tried to pick herself back up, she fell down and winced in pain. The fall had terribly sprained her ankle. Now stuck in a slow limp, Suyun toddled after her brother, who had stopped dead in the middle of the clearing.
"Hey!" Suyun called, but Toshu ignored her, gazing longfully up in the sky. Suyun hobbled over to Toshu and put her hand on his shoulder. "I was afraid you'd gotten hurt," she said. "This place is super creepy, let's get out of here! Come on!" But when Suyun turned around, Toshu was still standing where he was, still staring into the night sky. The dark clouds began to pull away, revealing the shining moon. Toshu lurched for a second and turned to face his trembling sister. A deep growling sound came from Toshu that chilled Suyun to the bone.
"Run..." Toshu growled. Suddenly they were bathed in a silvery light. The full moon hovered high in the sky. Suyun watched in horror as her brother's eyes turned bright red and his body began shaking violently. "GO!" he roared in a distorted voice. Suyun leaped backwards and hobbled behind a tombstone, fear evident in her eyes.
A horrible growling sound made her heart pound. Toshu had fallen over and was rolling on the ground snarling and growling, his body pulsing like he'd drank a transmogrification potion. Toshu raised his trembling hand up to his face. His delicate fingers lengthened and began to curl inwards. Claws could been seen shooting out from his trim fingernails . Rolling over to his knees, Toshu clutched his chest and began tearing at his fur, which was becoming matted and grey. A shrill howl of pain escaped Toshu's throat as his teeth lengthened into sharp fangs and protruded from his mouth. A distorted roar caused Suyun to nearly stumble back and trip on another rock. She ducked her head down and covered her ears, unable to bare the horrid sound. But as she lifted her hands from her ears she heard nothing but an eerie silence. She rose from the ground and wobbled out into the clearing looking around for Toshu.
"T-t-toshu?" Suyun called out in a trembling voice. She had just passed a line of trees when Toshu burst out from behind them, growling and snarling, and shoved her to the ground. Suyun gazed into the Toshu's face as he pinned her down. His glowing red eyes glared out at her from his horrific face which was covered in matted grey fur. Suyun struggled and kicked but she couldn't get from underneath him.
"Get off!" she screamed. "Toshu, get off of me!" Eyes blazing, Toshu pushed all his weight down. Snarling, he opened his mouth wide to reveal two gleaming rows of fangs. Suyun's eyes bugged out of her head and she began wildly thrashing but to no avail.
"Toshu, GET OFF!"
Toshu raised his face towards the moon and uttered a chilling howl. Suyun saw a window of opportunity and, beating her wings furiously, wedged out from under Toshu enough to swiftly kick him in the chest. Toshu let out a yelp of pain and fell back. Suyun hastily rose to her feet and tried to run, but her ankle was still too sore. Frantic, she began hopping and skipping as fast as she could. Toshu shook his head and snarled angrily. He tore off after Suyun, running on all fours, fangs flashing in the dim moonlight.
Suyun looked over her shoulder and could see Toshu bounding after her. There was no use in trying to outrun him with her ankle in this condition. The only solution was for Suyun to get airborne. Flapping her minuscule wings, Suyun leaped in the air. She hovered for only a few seconds before dropping back down. Bouncing into the air, Suyun kicked off as hard as she could each try, but to no avail. Her last attempt sent her careening into the iron gate at the far end of the cemetery. Toshu stopped just inches away and slowly crept in, growling lowly. Suyun looked up into the sky, then at Toshu. A quick thought raced through her head. She reared her head back and yelled as loud as she could.
Toshu stopped and cocked his head sideways. Suyun scanned the sky for signs of the little Cirrus. Toshu sat back on his haunches and studied Suyun, almost as if her cry had jolted his memory. There was a faint sputtering sound. Lakitu zipped from behind a low cloud.
The Cirrus swooped down and hovered just between Suyun and Toshu. Suyun made a quick move and grabbed Lakitu's edge. Toshu rose to his feet and glared at the pair. Without warning, he lunged at them, fangs bared. Lakitu let out a shrill chirp and took off high into the sky out of reach. Toshu ran in circles and made leaps into the air trying to catch them. Suyun peered over Lakitu at her distraught brother. Toshu rose on two feet, threw his head back, and howled again. Suyun placed her hand on her chest and breathed a sigh of relief. She looked down just in time to see Toshu running away. Fleeing on all fours through the tall grass, bounding over the hillside. A faint howl trailed off in the distance and there was silence again. Lakitu began slowly puffing towards home with Suyun, now clutching her ankle, struggling to regain her breath.
The next morning, Suyun paced the kitchen floor stopping occasionally to stare at her splinted ankle. A shuffling sound caught her attention. Toshu wobbled into the room, his hair messy and frayed. There were dark bags under his eyes as if he hadn't slept in days. Yawning, he climbed up to the table and began picking at breakfast. Suyun climbed up after and stared at him with pitiful eyes. She didn't dare ask if he remembered what happened last night but she just had to know.
"Toshu..." Suyun said in a quiet voice. "I don't know if you remember, but last night we were at the cemetery. I was curious as to why you were acting so strangely this Halloween, and then you... you turned into a furry monster." Hearing this, Toshu let out a big sigh.
"Suyun," he said clearing his throat, "Guess my secret's out, heh-heh. What you saw last night was a horrible curse at work. Every full moon on Halloween, I'm cursed to change into that scary beast you saw. It's why I spend those Halloweens in the cemetery so I don't hurt anyone." Toshu looked down at Suyun's ankle splint. "I didn't hurt you did I?"
"No, no, I tripped on a stone," Suyun said, laughing. "I was acting like such a klutz trying to follow you I tripped over my own two feet." Toshu responded with a happy laugh.
"Y'know, Su, most pets don't understand my condition. Others tried to confine me to their homes. All is well, then the moon comes out, I transform, and attack them. But I am glad you aren't too badly shocked about this. I'm hoping you might aid me come the next Halloween full moon. I might not be able to fight the change, but I can at least be made safe."
"Of course, Tosh!" Suyun exclaimed. "Curse or not, we are and always will be a sibling team!" The two met in a midair high-five and ended with a warm hug.