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Of Halloween Pranks and Younger Sisters

by violetneo4


"You're late!" exclaimed a purple Gelert, dressed as Hannah the Usul. She was leaning against the gate bordering the side of the graveyard. "Do you know how long I've been waiting? Marcus and Sean aren't here yet! I've been in this graveyard for like ten minutes! Do you know how SPOOKY it is, by yourself!?" She whacked John with her fake gem. "Hello, Rhys."

      "Hiya Juno!" chirped Rhys, a red Pteri. He was dressed as a wizard for Halloween. Rhys and his brother and sisters had only just arrived at the graveyard, where they were to meet John's friends. They had done some trick-or-treating on the way there.

      "Ouch! Hey, watch it with that! Sorry we're late Juno, my dear elder sister here took some time," said John, a yellow Zafara in a devil costume, earning himself another whack. This time it had been dealt by Tammy, a blue Ixi in a rock star costume, who had no gem but her hooves were a fine substitute. Tammy was the oldest.

      Avi, a green Kyrii and the youngest, giggled. She was dressed as a ballerina princess.

      "My owner didn't want me to go by myself," said Sean, running up to them. The blue Lupe was wearing a cowboy costume and carrying a toy whip. "Hey kid," he said to Rhys. Sean ruffled the feathers on his head. Juno threw her fake gem at his head (it bounced off his visor and back into her arms).

      "You're late!"

      "Hey, I gave my excuse!" protested Sean.

      "Arise, my creatures of the night," said a voice behind them. The pets all turned around to see a brown Mynci in a vampire costume.

      "Hey, Marcus," said John and Sean. Juno stalked up to him and banged her fake gem off his shin.

      "You're late!"

      "OW! I know, I had to find my fangs before I left. Now, my monsters of the dark-"

      "AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! MONSTERS!" Avi flicked her flashlight on and began waving it wildly around, screaming. Marcus fell off the grave and Tammy, Rhys, Juno and Sean covered their eyes. Avi gasped and hopped up to the slab of stone.

      "I'm sorry, Marcus!" she exclaimed, looking over the grave. "I didn't know how powerful it was!"

      "Aaaaaack." Marcus scowled up at Avi. "What the heck were you shining that in my eyes for?"

      "To scare away the monsters," whimpered Avi. Marcus clambered over the grave.

      "Avi," said John, "go shine your flashlight around to scare away the monsters for us. Tammy, go with her. I need to talk to these guys."

      Tammy gave him a scathing look before trotting to catch up to Avi, who was brandishing the light like a sword.

      "Okay, guys, listen up," said John, watching his sisters run from grave to grave. The group huddled around Rhys, who was sitting on the ground. "My baby sister being here changes things. We're gonna scare the wits out of Avi!"

      "It's an awesome idea, but Tammy'll try to stop us!" said Juno, jerking her head towards the Ixi.

      "I've got it all figured out," said John. "Here's the plan..."

Several minutes later...

      "Brilliant!" exclaimed Marcus.

      "Genius!" cried Sean.

      "Nice," said Juno.

      "That's so mean!" cried Rhys. "John, you know that Avi gets scared real easily! And we can't do that to Tammy!"

      John raised his eyebrows, lacking the muscle control to only lift one. "Well, I guess we can always take away your membership to the group..."

      "N-No! I was just saying... uh, um, are you sure it'll work?"

      "Trust me." He said no more, because of the Kyrii trotting towards them with a disheveled Ixi walking in her wake.

      "All the monsters are gone, Johnny!" exclaimed Avi, her flashlight on but turned away from the group. Tammy, walked right into the beam and fell over, hooves over eyes.

      "Good work Avi," he said. "Listen, you want to be a big kid, don't you?"

      Avi's eyes lit up.

      "I want that more than anything, even an Alkenore!" she exclaimed. John grinned evilly.

      "And you know that big kids are brave, don't you?"

      Avi nodded, her crown falling off.

      "Well then, you know you're a big kid at heart, right?"

      "Yes! Yes!" cried Avi, jumping up and down in excitement. Tammy watched with a raised eyebrow.

      "Then you won't be afraid to go into... the haunted house of Soup Alley!"

      Rhys, Marcus, Sean and Juno all gasped, right on cue.

      "No, no, John!" exclaimed Sean. He was an atrocious actor. "Not the haunted house of Soup Alley! Oh, woe is the poor Neopet who sets foot into the haunted house of Soup Alley! Why, if I-"

      John swiped a finger across his throat in the stop talking sign. Sean took the hint and shut up.

      "What's... why's it called the haunted house of Soup Alley?" asked Avi, biting at the bait.

      "Well you see..." John paused for effect. The rest of the group of pranksters huddled together, trying to look scared. "Years ago, a family of Kougras lived in that house. But one Halloween night, they went to a costume party... AND DIDN'T LEAVE OUT CANDY!"

      Another simultaneous gasp from Rhys, Marcus, Sean and Juno.

      "The Halloween demons didn't like that," said John, raising the pitch of his voice to an eerie croon. "They always fly around Halloween night, taking the best pieces of candy from each house. But when you don't have candy, the Halloween demons take their revenge... the ultimate price... DEATH."

      Avi screamed, drowning out yet another group gasp. Tammy stepped in.

      "That's nonsense-" But Tammy didn't get any further than that; John tackled her, knocking her to the ground, and covered her mouth. Rhys smothered a real gasp.

      "So after the Halloween demons took their revenge on the Kougra family," continued John, "they woke again. They became ghosts, seeking revenge on the Halloween demons. Of course, they can't leave the house... except on one night."

      "Halloween?" guessed Avi in a tiny voice.

      "Halloween," confirmed John. "They leave on Halloween night, looking for the demons. That gives you time to do what you must; pour all your candy out onto the floor of the basement and run."

      "Wh-who has to do it?" asked Avi, now trembling.

      "The youngest person in the graveyard on Halloween," said John. "You."

      Avi gulped. Tammy beat at her brother's arms with her hooves, to no avail.

      "Wh-wh-wh-why are you covering Tammy's mouth?" asked Avi. John, who hadn't anticipated this, thought for a moment.

      "Uh, because, um, the Halloween demons, uh... possessed her! Yeah, that's it - they possess the oldest person to make the youngest person do it." John nodded, pleased with himself.

      Avi looked at her bucket. "Well, wh-wh-what happens if I d-d-don't put the c-c-candy into the house?" she asked.

      John looked at her. "The Halloween demons seek their revenge once again - on the person who failed to leave the candy."

      Avi held up her bucket. "That's a lot of trouble over cavity-makers," she said, still scared. "I'll... I'll do it."

      At which Tammy kicked John in the shin. He doubled over and she wrenched herself free. "Avi, don't listen to-"

      "Get out of my sister, you demon!" screamed the terrified Avi, shining her flashlight in the Ixi's eyes. Tammy yelled in pain. Marcus seized his chance.

      "Apprehend the demon, my creatures of the night!" he called. He, John, Sean and Juno all tackled Tammy, Rhys hovering above uncertainly. Marcus and Sean held Tammy's arms behind her back. Her face turning bright red, she glared at everyone but Avi. Rhys seemed to shrink under Tammy's furious stare.

      "Come on, before we run out of trick-or-treating time!" exclaimed Rhys nervously. He led the way, a little uncertainly, to the haunted house of Soup Alley.

      The mansion loomed up above the seven pets. Clouds drifted across the moon, which was full. John put part two of their plan into action.

      "Okay, first you gotta go into the bathroom, to uh, to...." John looked helplessly at Juno, who instantly covered for him. How could he have forgotten to come up with a reason for her to go into the bathroom?

      "To make sure there are no ghosts in there," said Juno. "If there aren't ghosts in the bathroom, there aren't ghosts in the house."

      "Why's that?" asked Avi meekly. Juno and John exchanged glances.

      "Uh... because... there's always one ghost in the bathroom if there are any in the house," said Sean. "To make sure those old toilets and bath taps don't go berserk and overflow."

      "This is ridiculous!" exclaimed Tammy. Marcus covered her mouth

      The pets stepped onto the porch. Taking a deep breath, Avi pushed open the door. She stepped inside and tiptoed to the center of the parlor.

      A giant chandelier hung from the ceiling, covered in Spyder webs. A stray Spyder or two scuttled across the floor, making Avi press her paw to her mouth to stifle a scream. The couch cover was in ribbons. Two doors were in the room and a hall led out of it. There was a staircase going down and one going up.

      Avi went even further into the room, tiptoeing and trying not to whimper. The rest of the group followed her inside.

      "Bathroom, Avi," said John. Avi scurried to a door, which she assumed was the bathroom, and opened it. Old, moldy-looking bathroom furniture greeted Avi's eyes. Her face was screwed up; she was terrified. But she stepped into the bathroom. Juno tiptoed to the bathroom door, shut it and held onto the knob.

      "Guys? The door closed!" Avi pounded on it. "Guys!?"

      "Hurry up, find a closet," muttered Sean. John opened the second door.

      "Bingo! And what luck, there's a coil of rope in here! We won't need to use Sean's whip after all."

      "And what would that be for?" asked Tammy loudly. John flapped his paws at her to get her to be quiet as he lifted the rope out of the closet. Avi pounded on the bathroom door, whimpering in terror. She yanked on the knob.

      "Hurry it up, guys!" exclaimed Juno, pulling to keep Avi from opening the door.

      "I asked you what the rope was for!" said Tammy again.

      "It's all part of the plan, Tammy. Rhys, tear a piece off that old couch cover. Make sure it's big enough to cover Tammy's mouth..."

      A few minutes and several bruises later, a bound and gagged Tammy had been shut away in the closet. Juno let go of the door to the bathroom. Avi tumbled out.

      "No ghosts in there!" she said wildly, eyes positively rolling. "The door, the door closed!"

      "It must have gotten stuck," said Juno.

      "I want my Poogle plushie," whispered Avi. She hugged herself. Using her horns, Tammy banged on the closet door from the inside, making Avi jump.

      "Oh no! It's their monster in the closet!" exclaimed Sean. John gave Avi a push to the set of stairs going down.

      "Quick, go down and pour the candy out!" shouted John. "We'll be at the top of the stairs."

      "O-o-okay, Johnny," stammered Avi. She slowly made her way down the stairs.

      The pranksters tiptoed out of the mansion, Rhys silently hovering. Once out, they closed the door and pressed their ears against it.

      Avi was at the bottom of the stairs. She took three hesitant steps into the dark room and poured the candy from her bucket onto the floor. Grinning broadly though still terrified, Avi ran back up the stairs.

      "I did it, I- guys?"

      Avi walked into the center of the room. "J-Johnny? R-Rhys? J-Juno? Anyone?"

      Tammy banged on the closet again. Poor Avi had no idea is was her.

      "AAAAAAUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHH!" Avi ran to the front door and pounded on it. "Let me out, let me out!"

      On the other side of the door, Sean and Juno were holding the door closed as Avi pulled on it. John and Marcus were trying not to laugh and Rhys was trying to look like he thought it was funny.

      Inside the house, Avi gave up. Trembling, she sank to the floor and started to cry. At her sobs, John and Marcus ran to the path that led to the porch and burst out laughing. Juno and Sean joined them and soon the four were collapsed on top of each other, laughing hysterically.

      "I wish I could have seen her face when she realized we weren't there!" laughed John.

      "Great prank, John!" cackled Sean.

      "You've been stuffing her full of stories all night!" giggled Juno. "She was easy to scare!"

      Marcus couldn't even talk, using up all his air to laugh.

      Rhys felt horrible. His only little sibling was scared to death, his oldest sibling was tied up in a closet and his older brother was laughing about it. He didn't know what to do; the Pteri knew he would be excluded from John's group if he went into the house and comforted Avi, but he had wanted to be in John's group. He still did... he thought. Rhys had thought they were so cool, but was there anything cool about what they were doing now? Did he still want to be one of them? Was there even a difference between "cool" and "right"?

      This isn't funny, Rhys thought. This is just mean. Avi's scared to death and Tammy's probably feeling really bad that she can't help her. And John's laughing! Well, maybe Tammy can't help Avi right now, but I can.

      And with that, Rhys opened the front door and wrapped his wings protectively around his little sister. She held onto his wings and cried into his wizard's costume.

      "It's all right Avi, it's all right," he said, hugging her even tighter. "I'm here, everything's going to be okay."

      John suddenly appeared in the doorway, looking angry. "What are you doing, Rhys?"

      "What I should have done in the first place!" retorted Rhys, standing up but keeping his wings around Avi. "That was mean! You planned this whole thing, you tied up Tammy and shoved her in the closet, you made up that story about Halloween demons! You ruined Halloween for all of us John. I hope you're proud."

      "Y-Y-You did all that, Johnny?" sniffled Avi disbelievingly. John hung his head, looking taken aback at Rhys's outburst, and nodded. Rhys turned to Avi, who stood up, wiping away tears.

      "Come on, let's get Tammy out of that closet..."

Later that night...

      "John Edward Neo4." Violet, Avi's, John's, Tammy's and Rhys's owner, was pacing in front of the Neohome couch. John, Marcus, Sean and Juno were sitting on it. Tammy was sitting in an armchair, watching Violet do her stuff. The other armchair was occupied by Rhys, who was looking just as ashamed as John and his friends did. Avi was in Violet's arms, sipping a mug of Aisha hot chocolate.

      "I am very disappointed in you, young man. I should have gone with you. Your behavior tonight, from what Tammy, Avi and Rhys told me, was horrendous."

      Rhys spoke up in a small voice. "I helped them, Mommy."

      Violet's voice was still firm, but it gentled when she spoke to Rhys. "Honey, you did the right thing in the end. You came to your senses when your sister needed you most. However, you're also getting punished. Okay?"

      Rhys nodded sadly.

      "You have proved to me that I can't trust you when you're not with an adult, John Edward. I know you tried, Tammy," added Violet as Tammy opened her mouth, "but you're still not an adult. You're one of the most responsible kids I know of, but not an adult. John, you are grounded for two weeks. No playing with your friends. You will go to bed at seven-thirty. Rhys, you've got no playtime for two weeks and bedtime at seven thirty as well. Juno, Marcus and Sean, I have no right to ground you, but I will be contacting your owners." Violet, still carrying Avi, went into the kitchen to make the calls.

      Marcus's owner was the first to arrive. He was a redhead in his early teens, carrying a baby Kau. Marcus opened his mouth, but his owner interrupted, "You can explain it when we're home. Your aunt Susie's waiting outside." The redhead turned to Violet. "I'm sorry, Miss Neo4, I had no idea Marcus would cause this much trouble."

      "It's not your fault," said Violet. "And please, call me Violet."

      "Violet," said the redhead. "I'm Rupert. And I'm very sorry about Marcus." Waving downheartedly to John, Sean and Juno, Marcus followed his owner out of the house.

      The rest of the owners were about the same. They came in, grabbed their pet angrily, apoligized to Violet and stalked out.

      Violet sighed. "Tammy, you can continue trick-or-treating if you want to. Sonic and Jake are only about three blocks down."

      "Okay, Mom," said Tammy. She hugged Rhys, Avi and Violet, nodded coldly at John and flounced out.

      Rhys and John trudged into the bathroom to brush their teeth. At seven thirty, they went to bed without a fuss. After Avi's favorite show, Violet put Avi to bed. As she passed Rhys's room, she heard sniffling.

      "Rhys?" she said, knocking on the door. It creaked open to reveal Rhys sitting on his bed, crying softly. Violet hurried to his bed and sat next to him, turning on his bedside lamp. "What's wrong, honey?"

      "I w-was just th-thinking about wh-what besides Chompy to take with me t-to the p-pound," Rhys sniffled. Chompy was his most cherished plushie, a green Chomby.

      "Now why would we go to the pound?" asked Violet. "I've got four pets already."

      "I know you're g-going to abandon m-me, because I d-didn't st-top John from sc-caring Avi," he sobbed. Violet seized Rhys and pulled him onto her lap.

      "Why would you think I'd do that, sweetie?" she asked softly. "John arranged this so-called 'prank,' not you."

      "You wouldn't ever abandon J-John, because he always-s m-makes you l-laugh," said Rhys. "You w-wouldn't ever abandon T-Tammy because she's so smart and responsible. And you w-wouldn't ever abandon Avi b-because she's so c-cute. What do I do, Mommy?" he asked softly. "What do I do to make you love me?"

      Violet rocked back and forth, hugging Rhys to her. "Rhys, you mean so much to me. You're the only one who doesn't get bored when I volunteer at the pound or the Soup Kitchen. You actually help out. I tell you things I don't tell the others, because I know they'll laugh or won't understand. When I need someone to talk to, you're right here."

      "You really like me that much?" asked Rhys, wiping a tear away from his face. Violet smiled kindly.

      "I love you, Rhys. I would never abandon you. I'm disappointed in you for agreeing with John's scheme, and that's why you're punished. But I'll always love you honey, even when I'm mad at you."

      "Thanks, Mom," said Rhys, sniffing. "You made me feel a lot better."

      Violet smiled. "I've done my job as an owner, then." She stood up and tucked Rhys into his bed. The seventh grader bent down and kissed his forehead. "I love you, Rhys."

      "I love you too, Mom," Rhys said sleepily. Violet turned off the light and exited. The Pteri turned over, thinking. He would never do that again. Admission to a group was not worth making his family miserable. If that ever happened again, Rhys would stand up and speak. He loved his family... and they loved him.

      And with that, comforting thought filling his mind and warming his body, Rhys slipped into a dreamless sleep.

The End

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