The Draik in Black
"Trick or treat!"
"Oh my, what scary costumes you two are wearing!"
Vahn and Gina giggled a bit as the Elderly Ixi placed a few candies into their trick-or-treat bags. The Gelert siblings giving her a resounding "Thank you!" as the two of them headed back towards the road, ready to hit the next few houses for more candy.
Halloween was their favorite holiday.
"Looks like we're getting a really good amount of candy this year, huh, sis?" Vahn asked his little sister.
He was dressed like his favorite Defender of Neopia, Judge Hog. He took his mask off and pulled out a few sweets from his bag before eating them.
"Yep!" Gina said, reaching into her trick-or-treat bag.
She pulled out a few candies and a large wrapped caramel apple. She had managed to find an awkwardly-fitting Werelupe costume to go out as this year.
"Alright," Vahn said, putting his mask back on, "should we head left or right, now?"
"Hmmm..." Gina muttered, checking out each direction.
She looked towards her right, seeing several Neohomes with their lights on, several other trick-or-treaters coming and going from the various houses.
There was one group of about twenty that she saw leaving the front porch of a large Neohome. Gina could hear their laughter and excitement from where she was at.
She was about to suggest to her brother that they go in that direction, when something caught her eye. Standing just a few feet away from that large group of trick-or-treaters was a Draik. He was dressed entirely in black, except for some sort of white mask or hood that was completely hiding his face. Even without a face, Gina had a very uneasy feeling that this Draik was looking right at her.
"I say that way!" Vahn suddenly shouted out, his arm crossing right across her field of vision, catching Gina completely by surprise.
"Eeek!" she shrieked, jumping back a bit, catching herself on her own costume and falling down.
"Gina!" Vahn said, grabbing his sister's arm and helping her back to her feet. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah... sorry..." she said, rubbing her backside. "It... you just caught me by surprise, that's all."
"You're normally not that jumpy," Vahn said. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine..." Gina said, brushing some of the dirt off of her costume and picking up her trick-or-treat bag again. "It's just... I thought I saw someone strange."
"What do you mean?" Vahn asked.
"He was over there," Gina said, pointing to the large group of trick-or-treaters that she had been looking at just a few moments ago. "It was this Draik dressed entirely in black except for some sort of white mask that made it look like he didn't have a face. I got this feeling that he was looking right at me."
Vahn raised an eyebrow at the statement as he looked to where his sister was pointing. All he saw was a large group of trick-or-treaters having fun on a Halloween evening. He didn't see anyone that looked like the figure his sister had just described.
"Are you sure about that?" Vahn asked. "I don't see anyone who looks like that over there. And besides, you probably just saw someone's dad or something and your eyes met for a brief moment. Besides, someone is probably needed to supervise all those kids."
"I guess so..." Gina muttered, still feeling uneasy about the entire situation.
"Alright, so let's get some more candy!" Vahn declared.
Gina perked up a bit at that. "Sounds good, Vahn!" She said, before stopping for a moment. "Although, let's go that way instead," she said, pointing towards the left. "Honestly, I'd rather not take the chance of seeing that Draik again."
Vahn laughed a little. "Must be one scary costume if you don't want to see him again," he said, teasing his sister. "Alright, left it is!"
The two siblings then headed down the road towards the left, heading for the next house that had its lights on, signifying that someone was home and that candy was to be had. It didn't take long for Gina to forget all about the Draik in black that she had seen.
The next house that they came to had a large, chain-link fence to the side, keeping others from getting into the backyard of the house, but the lights to the porch were on, and the two of them could tell that someone was inside.
"This one looks good," Vahn said, looking at the house and then back towards his sister. "Ready?"
"Ready, Vahn!" Gina said, before the two of them started walking up towards the front of the house. At least, that was the plan, before Gina thought she saw something out of the corner of her eye. She turned to look and then screamed out in fright.
The sudden screaming of his sister caused Vahn to fall over. Gina was still screaming when he got to his feet.
"Gina!" Vahn shouted out. "What's wrong?"
"I saw him again!" Gina said, pointing towards the fence of the house. "The Draik in black! He was right there, behind that fence! Staring at me without a face!'
Vahn didn't say anything, instead running to where his sister was pointing. He stayed there for a few moments and looked around before he turned back to his sister.
"There's no one here!" he shouted back.
"I know he was there! I saw him there!" Gina protested. "The Draik in black!"
Vahn walked back to his sister after examining the fence and checking the backyard of the house one more time.
"Are you sure you're okay, Gina?" he asked. "Maybe I should take you home. You're starting to see things."
Gina sniffled a bit. "Maybe..." she said. "I guess. I don't like the idea that some Draik in black is watching me."
Vahn nodded. "Alright," he said. "Let me take you home."
Vahn took his younger sister by the hand and started to walk back to their home a few blocks away. Along the way, they continued to pass trick-or-treaters going from house to house.
"Huh, that's strange..." Vahn said. "I could have sworn there were more trick-or-treaters out here tonight. I guess we're not the only one's calling it an early Halloween."
"You don't have to stop trick-or-treating just because of me, Vahn," Gina said. "You can still go out later."
"Nah, it wouldn't be as much fun without you," Vahn said, lifting his mask up and shooting his sister a smile. "We'll just have to make sure we get twice as much candy next year!"
Gina gave her older brother a small smile and hugged his arm as they continued to walk home; heading past the large park that their home was nearby. It was a park that they had gone to many times over the year, a large forested area in the back. Except tonight, and with it being Halloween, the trees looked dark and sinister, like they had been taken out of the Haunted Woods themselves. Their branches were bare and crooked, looking like skeletal hands coming out of the ground, ready to grab an unsuspecting pet to their doom.
Gina did something that she would regret for the rest of her life. She made the mistake of looking into the park. Her eyes went wide, and once again, Gina screamed out in fear and grabbed her brother by the arm.
"It's him!" she shouted out, pointing into the park. "It's the Draik in black! Please, tell me you see him this time!"
Vahn turned quickly to see where his sister was pointing. Sure enough, Vahn saw him this time. Standing near the entrance to the forest in the park was a Draik dressed entirely in black, wearing some sort of mask that made it seem like he had no face. And he was looking directly at the two of them.
"I do," Vahn said, "And I'm going to go give him a piece of my mind! No one scares my little sister like that!"
"Vahn, wait!" Gina cried out, but her brother broke out of her grip and started running into the park, heading straight for the Draik in black.
"Vahn! Come back!" Gina shouted, chasing after her brother, but then she tripped over the feet of her costume once again.
"Ooph!" Gina gasped, almost falling face-first onto the ground. She was able to get her hands in the way preventing it from becoming a complete face-plant into the dirt. Gina was able to quickly get back onto her feet. She looked to see where her brother and the Draik in black should have been.
She didn't see either of them. Both the Draik in black and her brother Vahn were nowhere to be seen.
"Vahn? VAHN!" she shouted, running towards where they should have been. "Where are you?"
There was no response from her brother. It was almost like he had vanished entirely off of the face of Neopia.
"Vahn!" she shouted. "Come back!"
There was still no response. Slowly, Gina felt dread well up in the pit of her stomach. The only place that Vahn could have gone was deeper into the woods. She was silent for a moment as she looked into the forest. It seemed much larger and darker then she had ever remembered it, like it was leading to some horrible place where monsters and fears were born.
Gina slowly took a few deep breaths before running into the forest herself.
"Vahn!" she shouted, looking through the trees for any sign of her brother. "It's not worth it! Please! Come back, Vahn! Vahn!"
There was no reply coming from anywhere in the dark and spooky forest. Gina could feel her courage slipping as she continued to go deeper into the woods, trying her best to find her brother. There was no sign of him. It was like he had been taken by the woods, never to be found.
At least until Gina finally found a clue. It was Vahn's Judge Hog mask from his costume and his bag of Halloween candy. As soon as she saw it, Gina's eyes went wide and she ran to the pieces of his costume.
"Vahn! Vahn! Where are you?!?" she shouted in desperation, picking up the mask of her brother's costume.
She looked through the trees, trying to see if there was any other sign of her brother nearby.
Suddenly, Gina heard a branch snap behind her, as if it had been stepped on. "Oh thank goodness, Vahn, I was so..." she said as she turned around, but her voice suddenly died when she saw that it wasn't her brother that was behind her.
It was the Draik in black, looking directly at her.
"And then what happened?" Oscar said, the red Cybunny leaning forward, completely engrossed in the story.
"Gina and Vahn were never heard from again," Damien said, the Grarrl's teeth reflecting eerily in the light of the campfire.
"Oh, come on, Damien!" Gene said, the Xweetok completely bored from the story. "That story was terrible!"
"It's not a story!" Damien shot back to the Xweetok. "It really happened! And it wasn't just Gina and Vahn! Over thirty trick-or-treaters vanished that year without a trace! There was this one Korbat who said that they all claimed to have seen a Draik in black without a face before they all vanished!"
"Right," Gene said, rolling his eyes. "Lemme guess. He vanished too."
"That's how the story goes," Damien said. "They all claimed to have seen a Draik in black without a face, and then they later vanished!"
"Whatever, that was a terrible scary story. Mine was definitely better," Gene said, standing up. "Now come on! We got a lot of houses to get to if we want to get any candy. You coming, Oscar?"
The Cybunny perked up, the story had clearly scared him. "Yeah, we should still have enough time to do some trick-or-treating tonight."
"Alright," Damien said. "You two go on ahead, I still need to clean up the campsite and put out the fire."
Gene shrugged his shoulders. "Don't be too late. I want to get all the candy I can get tonight. Come on, Oscar."
The Xweetok and Cybunny got up from the campsite and started to head back to town. "You know," Oscar said, as the two of them were walking, "You didn't have to be so mean about it. I thought it was a scary story."
"Pfft," Gene said. "It wasn't that scary. Besides, you know my zombie story was scarier. I thought you were going to scream when Zombie Fyora popped out of the closet."
Oscar flinched a bit, remembering that part of Gene's story. "Still, even if you didn't like it, you didn't have to be a jerk about it. You should tell him you're sorry."
The Xweetok sighed. "Alright, maybe I was a bit of a jerk about it. Wait right here, I'll be right back."
Gene turned around and headed back to the campsite, the fire they had been sitting around still burning. "Hey, Damien!" Gene said, walking back into the clearing, "I'm sorry I acted like such a jerk about your story, it was..."
Gene came to a stop as he returned to the campsite.
Damien was nowhere to be seen.
And off in the distance, staring directly at him...
Was a Draik in black.