Interview with the Swamp Ghoul
Hi there! Miss April here with your next dose of hard hitting journalism based on the exotic lands of Neopia, this time our story brings us to the Haunted Woods. We all know it, we all love it, but are there creatures who could potentially harm you? We say yes. I'm writing about a creature known to many as the Swamp Ghoul. For those of you who don't know about him, the Swamp Ghoul is a hooded creature that may randomly show up wherever you are, even though he hails from the swampy marshes of the Haunted Forest. One day as I was walking through the Haunted Woods on my way to the market, I was approached by a dark, hooded figure. It was Him, the Swamp Ghoul.
He appeared by my side with no warning, his brown paws gnarled and claws sharp. A voice like claws on a blackboard hissed out from his wide, fanged maw, "You're never safe... not from the Swamp Ghoul!" He grabbed my paw and pulled me off the path into the forest. I fished around in my bag, I didn't keep much in it but there had to be something in there that I could use. I grabbed my pad of paper and chucked it at his face. It hit with a *SMACK.* The Swamp Ghoul was so surprised that he dropped my arm and I fell to the ground. Snatching the pad off of the front of his robe, I quickly scooted back and prepared to run, expecting him to grab me once more. What I wasn't expecting was him to speak.
"What.... was that?" He hissed, his glowing red eyes pierced into mine, commanding me to speak. He seemed confused as to what my rainbow neopets notebook was. Could he actually be interested in something other than causing harm to others?
"It's.. It's... paper. I'm a wri-writer." I gulped, trying to calm down. Did he know what a writer was? “I write articles-stories. For a paper that people read.” Instead of staring at his face I decide instead to point my eyes towards his feet. It was better, but not by much. His breathing was deep, and deafening. I was afraid of him, but I knew that I had to keep my cool unless I wanted to get hurt. I drew my eyes up to his hooded face and though he did not say a word it was like he projected a thought into my head. Write about him.
I began my interview slowly, easy questions. Something I would ask anyone and not just monsters that live in haunted swamps in a land that is perpetually halloween themed. "So... uh... Mr. Swamp Ghoul, how long have you been here in the Haunted Woods?"
"I have been here since time immemorial. Long before your Neopia was built." When he wasn’t hissing, his voice was deep, aged. It sounded as if he had lived a thousand years and had thrived during that time.
Okay, so really really old. I jotted down that he spoke in an old fashioned way, the way the people in Neovia spoke. At this point my curiosity of this feral creature overtook my fear, and looking at his claws and eyes I just had to wonder where he came from.
"Is there anything you'd like to let the people of Neopia know? Where you came from, how you became the Swamp Ghoul, any unfinished business you have? Just anything that you, you know, want to share." If I pushed him too hard, I wasn’t so much worried that he’d quit the interview as I was that I would become his lunch.
His eyes dimmed from a fiery red to a color closer to blood. I assumed that this meant I was no longer in danger of being robbed or harmed and began to calm down. "I came.... From the service of family... a long time ago. This was all swamp then... I was walking... the Esophagor... swallowed me.” The bright fire returned and his eyes literally began blazing with the flames. “I had a family! I watched them pass... It made me angry. I will take my anger out on others.... You write that... I will have my revenge... I will take it out on each and every one of you."
With every word he stalked towards me, my notepad scratching the dirt as I scrambled backwards to get away. Gone was any motivation he had not to harm me. Digging my paw into the ground I pushed myself up, turned and ran, losing my notebook in the process. I kept running until I was back on the path that I was taken from. The people surrounding me seemed oblivious to the mud on my dress and heavy breathing, had the Swamp Ghoul given up on following me? Eyes wild I scanned the crowd of people, not a single one of them thought anything was strange. At least it didn’t look like I had brought a bloodthirsty monster to a populated area. But I did lose my notebook...
Did I dare go back for it? What good is a great story if you didn't have your notes? I had to go back for it, but that didn't mean I had to be unprepared this time. Reaching around in my bag, I grabbed a spare shield. Hey, the inventory bag can hold a lot right? At least i could try to defend myself with it.
Tracing my path back into the woods, I held my shield aloft and kept my eyes peeled. Returning to the spot where I had dropped my notepad, i noticed something strange. There was a photo on the ground, it was a very old photo, depicting a grarrl family. A husband, wife, and baby boy in their arms.
"This must be what the Swamp Ghoul looked like before he died," I whispered to no one but myself, tucking the photo into my bag with the notebook.
Is the Swamp Ghoul bad? Undoubtedly. Does that have to mean that he has never had any redeeming qualities or been a good person? Not always, but I still wouldn’t invite him over for dinner.