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When the Weather is Grey: Part One

by puppy200010


Dark clouds crowded the skies, and raindrops splattered onto the ground.

      "Scri, make the rain go away!" whined a young Shadow Wocky, Nilika. Scri simply shrugged, unable to fulfill her younger sister's wish. "I hate the rain!" exclaimed the little Wocky again, restless. "I want to go outside and play!"

      This was the scene that Nili remembered as she stared out the window, where grey raindrops rhythmically fell onto the Neopian ground. How awful rain used to seem, thought Nilika nostalgically. It always cooped me up in the house and took away my freedom to go outside.

      She reluctantly turned her attention back to her algebra homework. Fits of obnoxious laughter came from the pets sitting several seats behind her. "Excuse me," started Nili, annoyed, "But don't you have any work to do?"

      The leader of the group shot her a look that clearly said, "Homework? In study hall? On a Friday?!" Nili rolled her eyes and turned back around in her seat. She kept trying to focus on her math, but the weather outside seemed to keep distracting her.

      How peaceful rain is... thought Nili, again neglecting her homework. The rain was so relaxing, and the steady drum of the drops on the pavement lured her to daydream.

      Before she knew it, the final bell had rung, and her algebra book was still open with half-finished homework in front of it. Outside, neopets frantically scrambled from the building, shielding themselves with magazines or books. Only a few had brought umbrellas. I should have brought one this morning, she thought, only half caring that her fur would be matted and her clothes would be soaked by the time she got home. The rain was having an interesting effect on her today. It was almost as if her life and the rest of Neopia were on different time scales. As the rest of the world rushed on with their lives, Nili slowly sauntered along, engrossed in her thoughts and released. Why can't all rain be like this? Why is today's rain different? Has rain always been like this, and I just never noticed?

      Nili soon found herself standing back in front of her house, soaked to the bone, but still feeling strangely pleasant. The rain was such a magical thing, seeming gloomy and grey, but still oddly pleasing at the same time. In fact, she was so infatuated by this property of the day's rain that she continued to watch it for hours, simply letting her mind wander.

      Eventually she got tired and went up to her room to go to bed. Nili slightly opened the small window next to her bed before laying down. The cool droplets of water were so refreshing, and when coupled with the soothing lullaby created by the weather's steady noise, she soon fell asleep.

      Nili's dreams were strange, of odd unfamiliar pets and never-ending chases. Chases? Of what? she would wonder the next day, curious of the meaning behind the previous night's dream.

      When she awoke the next morning, she didn't feel the cool splash of drizzle on her face. Oh, the rain must have stopped, she deduced, but the sound of rain on the roof and thunder was still apparent. The customary quiet shuffling around of her family members was also missing. Hmm, I wonder what time it is? wondered Nili groggily, feeling around for her alarm clock. Damp ground and leaves met her wandering paw. She jerked her paw back and opened her eyes, slowly and nervously, not knowing where she was or how she had gotten there.

      As she had been expecting (although also dreading), the blue-green walls of her cozy neohome were gone, replaced by a new, unfamiliar setting. Even though it was too dark to see well, Nili could make out some detail in by the light of a single lit candle in the far corner. The building appeared to be a hut, made from strong plant fibers of some sort. Directly opposite her bed on the hut's floor, Nili could spot an empty doorway. Outside, the weather closely resembled that of the kind Nili had walked home in the previous day. Several wet puddles covered the floor near the door. In the middle of one of the puddles was a wet raincoat and umbrella.

      Nili got up from the hard bed on the floor to investigate the rest of the room's furnishings. On the wall, above an unlit stone fireplace, was a portrait of a mid-age Tuskaninny. The Blue Tuskaninny seemed to hold a stare of aristocracy and knowledge. Even though she searched for a nameplate on the frame of the picture, she could not find one. Who could the Tuskaninny be? He must have been very rich or wise, from the way he looks in the picture. But when was the picture taken? Is this pet alive now, or is he simply an ancestor of a current family tree of relatives? She was full of confusion and wonder. Where had the raincoat and umbrella come from? Was the person who they belonged to going to come back? Were they friendly, or a threat? Would they even know where she had come from or who she was, since it seemed she had just appeared here?

      The rest of the walls were bare, and the only other furniture in the room was a single table, untouched by dust and with nothing on top of it.

      There was so much about the new surroundings and what was going on that Nili didn't know that she grabbed the umbrella and raincoat, put it on, and prepared to go outside and search for answers. The coat wasn't very effective at retaining warmth, since it was still wet from the last time it had been used, and she shivered.

      Just outside the hut's door was a short, muddy dirt pathway connected to a longer and wider dirt road. All the way along the road stood almost identical huts to the one which Nili stood in front of now. Every one of the huts was brown, constructed on what looked to be woven bamboo and had a round roof, covered by thick, strong leaves.

      She ran over to the closest one and peered inside, hoping to find someone who could explain where she was. However, when she looked in, there was no one home. It was even darker than her own hut had been, and no less empty. Okay, so no one's home there, thought Nili, moving on to glance inside the next hut. The next hut proved just as lifeless as the first one. And the next. Finally, she ran frantically between the huts, desperate to find someone who could point her in the way home. However, to her misfortune, each was just as empty as the one before it. Exhausted, Nili finally stopped running and stood in the middle of the road, attempting to clear her mind of the zillions of flying, chaotic thoughts to think rationally.

      Alright, so now that I've discovered that all these huts are deserted, now wha- Suddenly, a loud screech filled the air, abruptly interrupting Nili's thoughts. Soon, a body in the form of an ominous Red Pteri came tearing through the air out of nowhere, aimed straight at Nili!

      She screamed and dropped the umbrella, running off the road into the nearby woods that surrounded the seemingly deserted village. The tree branches snapped and scraped at her as she ran a deranged path through the heavy woods, hoping to lose the chasing Pteri. Once she had appeared to lose him, she slowed to a walking pace, now more frightened than she had been earlier upon the discovery of the village's emptiness. She had no idea where she was now! In the middle of some dark woods, her chances of finding someone to point her in the way home seemed quite slim. Despondent and soaked, she sat down of a log to ponder about what she could do in the almost hopeless predicament.

      After possibly fifteen minutes, she heard a twig snap in the nearby surrounding forest. It's nothing, she tried to convince herself. I'm sure it was only a stray petpet or a branch that fell and broke. Despite her nervousness, she almost convinced herself that nothing was there. At least, until she saw the dark leaves of nearby trees moving, being pushed out of the way by someone-or something.

      Nili opened her mouth to scream, but no sound came out. The form attempted to calm her.

      "Calm down, I'm not going to hurt you!"

      "Who are you?"

      "Do you remember that painting you saw in the hut?" When Nili nodded, he continued. "Well, that is me. Or rather, was me."

      "Was?!" How could a pet go from being one person to not being?

      "Yes... You see, I happen to be a ghost."

      "But-but..." Nili sputtered. "You're solid! You stepped on a twig and moved branches out of the way, just like an ordinary pet!"

      "I'm not exactly a ghost in true form. I'm like pets that are painted ghost- I look transparent, but I'm still a solid form."

      "Are you living or not?"

To be continued...

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