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Second to None


by lemonkitty13

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They say that the cover of midnight is a sort of haven for creatures like myself. The darkest, foulest, worst creatures that exist on this world.. the kind of monsters that invade the dreams of young Neopets and twist them into nightmares.

      I do not merely sink into the shadows; I am a shadow, as dark and as silent as such. I am not simply a monster, I am the last creature you would ever want to meet. I am second to none.

      I seem to have always been here, like a legend from the very dawn of time and evil. My own childhood is fuzzy within my memory. I am practically immortal in two aspects: I have lived a very, very long time, and I have gone down into legend forever.

      The Shadow Usul. More feared than the Pant Devil, less so than the Monoceraptor. More heartless than Sloth, more mysterious than Fyora. More infamous than any Usul, in all of Neopia's history; certainly more feared than any other Usul.

      Yes, I am the infamous thief herself. Even those who say they have seen me have, in fact, not; they saw, perhaps, my emotionless yellow eyes, like lanterns in the nighttime. They may have heard me return to the shadows, after taking whatever item it was that I relieved them of. But they did not see me. I, with a coat of fur as inky black as nothingness itself. If I had ever had an owner (and I shudder at the thought), you might have thought that they painted me with not merely a shadow paint brush, which is forbidden to paint a Usul with; but a brush with the essence of nothing itself, stolen from the night, so dark that if you were to ever see me, it would be because I was a shadow in the shadows, so black I was blacker than night.

      I might be invisible.

      ***

      The two desert Aishas stand alone in the darkness; lost in their own world, foolishly thinking they are by themselves.

      "Nash'a," the one on the right said. "Where did you get that coin? It is very nice."

      "This coin?" Nash'a replied. "My mother gave it to me, long ago. I was very young, but she trusted me with it, even then."

      "It must be priceless," the second one said.

      "It is," Nash'a replied. "And you carry it around? What if you were robbed?"

      "If I left it at home, or at a bank, that place may be robbed too," the Aisha explained. "If I carry it with me, I may be able to protect it. No one else knows I have it, Sasarsha, so don't go telling anyone, okay?"

      "I won't," Sasarsha said. "It would be a shame for it to be stolen."

      "That will never happen," Nash'a said.

      "Did you hear that?" the first Aisha asked, peering into the darkness.

      "Hear what?"

      "I heard something."

      "You're hearing things," Nash'a scoffed.

      "Yes, I did hear something. Put your coin away."

      "My coin…"

      "What is it?"

      "Where did it go?"

      "You don't have it?"

      "No…"

      "Did you drop it?"

      "No.. where is it? NO!"

     ***

     I have heard the wildest theories. Young Neopets think that I must disappear when daytime arrives, swallowed up by the light of the sun, to wait in the same place as the stars, biding my time until the sun sets once more. Some think I must be a product of night itself, born from shadows sent to torment those who so foolishly wander into the darkness alone.

     Tonight, I see a small Gelert. She is not so young that she might not work; more likely, however, she has a wealthy owner to look over her. Sure enough, I can tell in the dim moonlight that she is wearing a beautiful necklace.

     Some may find it hard to believe that I have a concept of beauty. I, the one unlike the rest of her kind, the one who lurks in the same darkness as other monsters and filth. As a young Usul, I was so different from the rest of my kind. Even the Usuls who say they are dark and sad and write sad poetry and wear dark clothing, they are so far away from the likes of myself that they might be a different species altogether. These Neopets will primp their fur and brush their tails until they gleam. Even if I followed the example of my kind and did this to myself, no one would know. They will call themselves beautiful. I call them all fools.

     And yet, I have an idea of beauty. In the kind of way that Sloth sees the shining jewel in the sky that is Neopia, and sees that it is beautiful. In the kind of way that The Three see a gifted leader and think to themselves, what a beautiful mind, I think we will corrupt it. I see beautiful things, objects.

     And I take them.

     The Gelert doesn't know what happened. She does know something is wrong; she feels for her necklace, discovers that it is not there. She looks around, not knowing what to do. She didn't even see me.

     If my life were a story, in some fantasy world where good always prevails over evil, and there is even light within the darkest creature, something would occur now. A vigilante of justice might appear, banishing me with a weapon of pure light and saving the day once more. Or perhaps I myself would be affected by the poor girl's cries, and remember a similar instance in my own youth, and I might feel sorry and give the thing back..

      ***

      I was little, very little, still twisted, still unusual but not as coordinated, being much smaller. Older Neopets would still fear me, but they wouldn't admit it to each other; who wants to say that they are afraid of a little kid?

     I had a toy, a very nice toy. It was a red Usul plushie. I don't remember why I liked it so much; it might have been my only toy. I don't remember where I got it, either. I might have stolen it from some other child. I don't remember.

     I dropped it in the dirt one day. A tall Scorchio had kicked me. He was only a few years older than me, but he was with his friends, and they were laughing; albeit, they were laughing in a very nervous way.

     One of them, a brown JubJub, took the plushie and held it above my head. He wasn't braver than the others, he was just stupid; taunting me, of all the children.

     I said something then. I don't say anything now, I don't speak to Neopets, and only to other creatures on special occasions. But I said something to them then.

      "Don't ever take my things."

     He screamed and dropped the plushie when I bit him, and his buddies left and never came near me again.

     No one ever comes near me now; I was left alone from that day on.

     ***

     Just as no one appeared to stop me then, no one has appeared to stop me, ever, save for a foolish few who soon learned why no one approaches me and how much it hurts when they do.

     This is not a fantasy world. No one appears to challenge me. I don't give the item back. I don't care. I only creep away, returning to my home that is the darkness, with the girl's cries sinking behind me, and I silently laugh.

 
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