...Safra recognized the voice. She grew timid at his finding her, as though being here was some mistake.
Patrick shook his head and chuckled. "You silly Uni, how can Priscilla be here?" he asked, his voice trembling slightly at the mention of her name.
"I... I should be asking you the same thing!" Safra replied, astonished. She took a step backward.
The Acara put a paw on Safra's shoulder. "You're feeling a little chilly. That could explain it. The weather must have gotten to you. Come on, you've been working so hard lately. I'm escorting you to the hospital right this minute. That perfectly explains how you've been babbling about ghosts and whatnot..." he said, beginning to mumble toward the end, as if he was trying to convince himself that Safra had fallen ill.
Safra snorted and took another step back. "How dare you brush aside the truth!" she exclaimed indignantly. "Joseph said this is where she'd be..." she trailed off, frantically searching among the shadowy bare trees for a sign of another Halloween Acara.
Sure enough, two eyes peeked out from behind a nearby tree, intrigued. The accompanying paw made a circular gesture, as though telling her, "Go on."
Safra continued. "Look at me." She gestured to herself. Already her mane was becoming more wispier than its thick, fluffy state of an hour ago. "Do you know what this means?"
Patrick frowned. "Yes. You had one of our balloons come too close to your mane."
"Stop it!" the Uni shrieked, not knowing where the added emphasis was coming from within her. "I'm not sick! I'm not unwell! If anything, you are..." She then hesitated.
Another twig had snapped.
Patrick heard it as well. "What was that?" he inquired, seemingly without fear.
Another skeleton Acara emerged from behind the tree. Patrick seemed unable to notice it.
The Acara whispered into the Uni's ear. "It's okay," she said. "I'm trapped here... until he believes, even a little bit."
Slowly, the Acara walked over to him. Safra seemed mesmerized by her grace.
"What was that?" Patrick reiterated, trepidation now in his tone.
"It's your sister, Patrick," Safra said soothingly.
The corporeal Acara became enraged. "You..." he trailed. "You take that back! She's not here, she doesn't exist! You haven't the right--"
Delicately, Priscilla touched his shoulder.
A wind blew by.
Patrick froze and his face went pale. "I... I have to go tend to the haunted house."
He ran off, out of the woods.
"Patrick, wait!" Safra called out, holding out a hoof in the direction of his retreating form. She turned to Priscilla. "That didn't go very well, did it?" Safra sighed. Her entire day to herself, which she had used to help him, had been wasted...
"Well," Priscilla said, shrugging, "I wouldn't say that." She patted Safra's mane, which by now was completely wispy and a pale shade of blue. "Give him time. That's all he needs. My little brother always had a tough time getting used to what he couldn’t see." She smiled sorrowfully.
Safra could accept this. After all, not many Neopians believed in her either, not unless--
Safra sprang up as if jolted by a Lightning Beam. "Joseph! Is he still in the attic?"
Priscilla gasped. "I do hope he’s left the attic by now! We've got to see!" Her ethereal body began to float, very slowly, toward the house. "
Safra rolled her eyes. "Let me," she persuaded, flapping her wings and catching the Acara from underneath. Priscilla sniffed. "I can float, you know."
Although there was no wind by which to carry the pair, Safra's wings were enough to speed the two along. Feeling an absence of the wind in her mane only made the Uni regret not flying more during her day of life, but there was no time for reminiscing.
Slipping through the walls of the attic, the pair looked around. "I don't see him anywhere, do you?" Safra shook her head no.
"I am telling you, that's a lie! I could be dreaming right now!" A shout could be heard from the direction of the corn maze. Safra and Priscilla exchanged glances. They didn't need to seek him further.
They ran to the window and gazed down upon the labyrinth. "The twins did a great job," Safra mused.
"What are you talking about, Patrick?" Ferguson inquired.
"It's a lie that my sister is a ghost! It's all a lie! It can't be real!"
Priscilla floated through the window while Safra raced down the stairs. They met at the conversation near the maze.
"Why not?" Conner rebutted.
"Yeah," Safra stated, "why not?"
"You again," Patrick started, his tension building as he pointed to the Uni. "You and your tricks in the forest."
Joseph appeared beside Priscilla and Safra. "I'm still confined to the yard," he told the Uni mediator, "but Patrick believes enough, now, to have me released from the attic." He smiled. "Keep going."
"I wish you never would have come down this road," the Acara continued. "We should have never involved you."
The twins gaped. "You don't mean that, do you?"
"Quiet!" he hissed at them before turning his attention back toward Safra.
Before he could speak, she cut him off. "Look -- as hard as it is to believe, Priscilla is right here, with us."
His eye twitched, and he paused. "No. No, it can't be," he replied, less angry and more doubtful. "It's impossible, I already told you."
"Tell him about the great times we had as kids -- about the forest."
"She told me to talk about the forest," Safra commented.
Patrick froze. "What about it?"
"We got lost, and he fell and broke his leg. I cared for him and told him not to worry."
"You got lost and broke your leg. She cared for you."
The corporeal Acara looked emotionless. "Yeah," he whispered. "So what?"
Priscilla continued. "I told him to remember this, and always look after our younger family members should something happen to us."
"She said... she told you to care for the family should something happen to her," the Uni stated. "Like she cared for you," Safra added.
"Then there was the night when I decided to go into the woods with my neighbor friend, Joseph. He was so worried."
"You were so worried about her going into the woods that night," Safra echoed.
Patrick was almost in tears. "Yes," he whispered. "She did anyway, though... and I never saw her again."
"I love you, Patrick."
"Your sister loves you, Patrick," Safra finished, smiling. "She... wants you to know that."
Priscilla smiled. Moving slowly toward her brother, she gave him a big hug.
A wind blew by.
"I love you too, Priscilla."
Patrick’s paw tentatively, then firmly, grasped her back, his face buried into her shoulder.
Safra turned away out of respect, smiling, but stopped when she saw Conner tapping his foot at her, an expression of mock annoyance on his face.
"It would have saved us a lot of time and effort had you mentioned that you were a ghost, too, you know," he teased.
Safra shrugged her wings. "You probably wouldn't believe it, anyway," she teased right back, tossing her ethereal mane.
A flurry of wingbeats echoed through the labyrinth. Safra looked up to see Joseph, beating his wings and blending in perfectly with the night sky. "Thank yoooou..." he called out as he climbed, savoring his first taste of freedom -- but not his last.
The siblings split apart, still grinning, still tearful. Ferguson looked uneasily at the two, but all of a sudden, his eye holes lit up. "Hey! We could use real ghosts in the haunted house! What do you say you two hide in the shadows and spring up when someone comes by?" Ferguson positively glowed with his idea.
Safra put a hoof to her chin. Scaring Neopets like she used to? Not a bad idea. Something was different about setting up her scare spot in a haunted house, though... she grinned, swishing her tail. "Let’s do it!"
The house of the four Halloween siblings quickly gained a reputation for being the most haunted house along Market Street -- with real ghosts! The haunters had a glorious time, and the hauntees as well, only their experiences differed somewhat.
As for Safra, she didn't mind waiting until next Halloween to be seen by everyone. Her new friends could talk with her, and she could respond without a problem. Sometimes, she even forgot about her incorporeal state.
After all, being seen by those she loved was all that really mattered.