Best Stay Away From The Red Eyes
The neohome stood empty, barren. Valrico felt all alone, and she was scared. Her mother, who had told her to call her "Socks", had just brought Valrico home not even an hour before, and had been entertained and introduced to her new siblings.
My, how much fun they had! Valrico, such a basic pet, was brought home curled in a blue blanket (to match her coloring) and she was placed in front of two other basic pets.
"Hello..." The tall green Lupe looked down on her. He was about a foot taller, and she felt intimidated.
"Hi," Valrico began, shyly, "I'm... I'm Valrico. Who... Who are you guys?" she finally managed to stutter out.
"I'm Huxham, and obviously the only boy here. You can call me Hux. This little blue ball of fur is Cherulu, but you can call her Cher. She doesn't talk much," Hux explained. The small blue Kacheek giggled and hugged the new Bori.
This all happened half an hour ago. Right after, Socks took Hux out to get some new supplies for Valrico. She left Cher to watch her, but of course, the bounding ball of fur was off playing their home edition of Dice-A-Roo in her room. Valrico now stood in the living room, all alone and all afraid.
She swore she heard something. A small growl, a pant, here and there. It sounded like a Lupe... Impossible. Socks took Hux to the store with her. So... What was she hearing?
From the minute she was created, she had heard tales of evil Lupe's roaming Neopian, from Balthazar, to the Werelupe King, to the Ghost Lupe. All of these creatures danced in her head as the lights began to dim and the sun set.
"AROOO!" That was a howl, for sure. Spooked, Valrico scuttled into the room with Cher. She slammed the door open. Cher jumped her height in the air, and turned to look at Valrico.
"IHEARDAHOWLANDI'MSCAREDANDI'MBYMYSELFOUTHTEREAND-" Valrico exclaimed, and then stopped. She was caught off guard by Cher's calm and collected expression. "What? You don't care we could have who knows from anywhere in Neopia in our house?"
"No. Chill. There's an explanation. Go have a slushie," Cher said. Valrico was surprised by how soothing her voice was. It surely matched the pretty little wings she wore, and it matched her personality. Taken aback, Valrico then shook her head and went back into the living room. She resumed her position on the couch, and started playing with her little Faerie Bori Plushie once again. It wasn't long before Socks and Hux came back, and she felt so much safer.
As soon as the sun set, Valrico heard another howl. This one sounded so much closer. Spooked, but not willing to talk to Cher or Socks, she sought out Hux.
"Huxham... Did you just howl?" she asked, innocently.
"Hmm. No. Did you finish setting up your room yet?" he avoided the question expertly. She was a little upset at him brushing her off, but she ignored her anger and asked another question.
"Well, then, what did just howl?" she pushed. Hux wasn't going to answer her, she knew, but it was still nice to try.
"I didn't hear it, so I don't know. Go get a slushie or something. They're really good." That was that. She sighed and walked back out of the room. She moved over to the kitchen to actually take the advice to get a slushie, and saw her mother sitting on the couch reading the Neopian Times. She took a Loveberry Slushie, and sat on the couch next to her mother.
"Is there anything in there about Balthazar running around here?" Valrico asked casually, taking a sip of her slushie.
"Nope. No Balthazar today. Why do you ask?" Socks put the paper down and turned to her new child. She knew exactly what was on Valrico's mind, but for the sake of the trick, she was silent.
"I kept hearing howling, barking, panting..."
"Are you sure it just wasn't Hux?" Socks tried really hard to keep a straight face. Dang, scaring the pets into the family was difficult.
"Hux wasn't home... I must be going crazy. Oh well..." Valrico trailed off. She stood up and put her slushie into the fridge to melt it a tad. She'd drink it in the morning. The sky let loose a huge boom, one it had been holding in all day, and it began pouring outside.
"I might as well go bring my poor plants inside. No sense in drowning them. Go get a hot tea or something, and I'll be in to say goodnight," Socks said, and walked through the back door. As soon as she was outside, she began laughing. She saw two red eyes from the bushes, and gave thumbs up in the general direction. It growled, and the eyes disappeared.
Meanwhile, Valrico was heating up a cup of Pumpkin Mocha. Out of everything she'd ever tasted, she loved this drink the best. It was perfect for any day. Only one thing came close, and that was Spiced Pumpkin Coffee, but they weren't the same. She just might have a thing for pumpkins.
The back door opened, and Socks came inside, soaked with rain. Cher appeared out of nowhere with a towel, and all three went down the hallway to the bedrooms. Cher gave Valrico the plushie she was playing with earlier, and disappeared into her bedroom. Socks tucked Valrico into her bed, and turned off the light.
Now, she was all alone. The mocha sat steaming on a nightstand beside her, and she took a sip as she sat up on her bed. She stared out the window. It sure rained a lot in the Haunted Woods. At least the sound was relaxing and the view from her window was perfect.
Well, perfect enough. Perfect until she saw something move. A wispy figure, barley even there. A sort of blue, maybe. The sky was light with lightning, and she saw the faint outline of the Brain Tree and the lights of the Haunted Carnival. Towards the bottom of her window, she saw red eyes.
She screamed and threw her mocha across the room. The soft plush of the pumpkin cup hit the rug soundlessly. A wispy paw tapped on the glass, and she bolted from her room. Cher met her in the living room, and prevented her from yelling.
The front door opened, and a ghostly Lupe strutted into the room. Valrico screamed again, but Hux stood behind her, blocking her path. Socks came into the room, laughing. The ghostly Lupe shook her fur out and took a seat on the couch.
"WHAT? WHAT IS THIS? WHY?" Valrico yelled. She felt woozy, sick, and scared, all mixed into one. She felt as if she could faint.
"So, you're telling me this, this GHOST is my sister?" Valrico exclaimed. It took a good amount of time for Socks to stop laughing and for Cher to coax Valrico out from under her bed.
"Yes. Her name is Nashaki, but we all call her Nash. Speaking of, can we call you Val? It seems like a better alternative name," Hux explained.
"STOP CHANGING THE SUBJECT!" Val yelled. She was mad at her family now. "Did you guys know about this little trick?"
"Yes, love. I'm sorry. It's our way of introducing the siblings into our family. Nash and I decided to do it to her brother, then to Cher, and now you. I hope you aren't too mad at us, dear," Socks explained.
"Heh, I'm not even the oldest, and I'm still the best one!" Nash chuckled, focusing on Val. Hux grumbled, clearly not pleased that he wasn't considered "special".
"Ok, now that this whole ordeal is over with, who wants ice cream?" Socks stood up and clapped her hands. Everyone's ears perked up, and Socks disappeared into the kitchen, with Cher following behind her.
"So, you're a ghost... What can you do?" Val asked, and then proceeded to pick up a plushie. She tossed it into the air twice, and then threw it at Nash.
"OW! Things don't just go through me! I may be in the bloodline of the Ghost Lupe, but that doesn't mean that I'm not even there!" Nash pouted. Socks reappeared with the smallest child, carrying chocolate waffle cones. Graciously, each child accepted the cone.
The pets sat in silence, licking the ice cream running down the cone. Val found her ice cream seemed to melt pretty fast, especially because she kept stealing glances at Nash. Eventually, she finished her ice cream and staring at Nash got old. Hux was the first one to stand up and go to bed, followed by Cher, and then Socks.
"I might as well go to bed. Are you going?" Val said as she stood up.
"Nope. I don't sleep. I do most of the chores around here while they sleep. I'm just glad I get paid for it," Nash replied. Val shrugged, and went back into her room.
Quietly, she closed the door. She was glad that she had finished her mocha before she threw it across the room, and she picked up the mug and placed it on her night table. She clicked off the lamp beside her and crawled into bed. The rain hadn't let up, so she stared out the window still. After a while, her eyes adjusted to the dim light, and she heard more rustling in the bushes. Looking down, she once again saw the red eyes.
"Nice try, Nash. I know it's you. Are you really trying to scare me again?" Val laughed, and sat up. The red eyes growled, and Val stopped laughing.
"Nashaki... Stop it. I know it's you. It IS you," Val continued, but she had stopped laughing. The eyes sat there, unblinking.
"NASHAKI! QUIT IT AND COME BACK INSIDE!" she yelled. Her bedroom door came crashing open and her light flicked on.
"Valrico! What's wrong with you? I'm right here!" Nash exclaimed, and Val looked at her. Nash saw her expression turn from surprise to horror, and they both turned to look out the window. They both stared into the window, and saw the greenish-brown fur surrounding the eyes.
Valrico and Nashaki were mesmerized, staring into the deep red eyes of the Werelupe King himself.