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Zur’s Zombie Roomate:Part Two


by skittleskit09

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     "He doesn’t fit!”

      “Push harder!”

      “Grruuuuuuuuhhhhhhh.”

      In order to avoid having their new, undead friend come in contact with their elder siblings, Bejimin and Zur came up with the “brilliant” idea to push him into the house through Zur’s window (which was almost too small for Zur to fit through, let alone a zombie Aisha that was three times his height).

      “Aren’t Darigans supposed to be super strong or something?”

      “Where’d you hear that!? Besides, I thought you were the battledome pet!”

      “Ex is the battledome pet! I’m still level one!”

      “Well, that explains a lo—”

      As if on cue, the zombie slipped through the window and fell inside, causing Zur and Bejimin to fall inside, as well, and almost land on him. The bag of food that Bejimin had gotten from the Crumpetmonger almost spilled out all over the ground, in the process. Zur stuck his tongue out, barely able to pick himself up off of the ground. “Told you he’d fit.”

      Bejimin hopped up and ran to the door, placing her ear against it to listen for movement. “I don’t hear anything. Canna probably went to sleep and Ex is probably still in the bath. We’re safe for now.” She hurried back over to Zur, who was pushing the zombie into a sitting position and giving him the ice cream. He snatched it out of Zur’s hoof and sloppily inhaled it before the Gnorbu could bat an eye.

      “I wonder if he can talk, or at least understand us,” Bejimin purred as she looked him in the face. He just kind of stared through her, as though in a trance. Zur’s face lit up. “He must be able to! He’s still as Neopian as we are! He’s just… a zombie.” He wagged his tail. “He must be Neovian, so he probably has some great stories! What if he was there during the Tale of Woe? That would be something!” he yipped. Bejimin cocked her head a little and crawled closer to him. “Only one way to find out, I guess.”

      She waved her claw in front of the zombie’s face, causing him to jump a bit. “Excuse me, Mr. Zombie? Can you understand us?” she asked quietly and flicked her tail a bit, as though anticipating an answer. The zombie stared at her and swayed his head around. The siblings’ hearts jumped a bit as he opened his mouth. They hoped for an answer. They hoped that he could somehow answer them in their language, but, all seemed lost when he just let out a dreary “Uuuuhhhhhhhhhhhrrgg.”

      “Dang it. I guess he can’t.” Bejimin stood back up, but Zur stayed on the ground. “Maybe he did answer! Maybe he just can’t speak well!” He hopped directly in front of the zombie. “Do you have a name? Are you from Neovia? Do you know the Tale of Woe? Were you there?”

      “Zur, goodness, calm down.” Bejimin pulled Zur back a bit. “Even if he does understand, he can’t answer! It does no good to ask those questions!”

      Bejimin opened her mouth to continue, only to be interrupted by another groan from the zombie. But, somehow, it didn’t sound much like a groan. It sounded more like:

      “Naaaaammeee… Naaaaaaaaaaammmme… Viiiirraaaaaaaaaag…Kiiiiigggyoooooooo…”

      Zur lept for joy. “Virag Kigyo! I knew it! You CAN talk!” He grabbed the zombie’s hand and shook it almost hard enough to break his arm back off. “Nice to meet you, Virag! I’m Zur!” he yelled happily before Bejimin reminded him to keep his voice down.

      The Darigan Kacheek bent back down to him. “Are you a Neovian?” she asked. The zombie, Virag, swayed his head a bit before nodding and reaching into his coat to pull out a small artifact which, after a little investigation, seemed to be a dirty spool of thread and a rusty needle. “You were a tailor in Neovia?” Bejimin asked. Zur butted in again, still excited that this zombie really was a Neovian. “Did you work with Prigpants and Swolty; the tailors in Neovia, today?” He wagged his tail even harder in anticipation.

      Virag seemed to jump at those names, then his blank, lopsided eyes narrowed with a look of almost hatred. He clenched the needle and thread tightly in his claw, then reached into his coat again. This time, he pulled out a little picture. It was a professional photo of the Lenny and Mynci that Zur spoke of. They were smiling in the picture, and standing on both sides of a rather handsome Green Aisha that was dressed a lot like Virag. “Theeeeeeeyyyyy… Theeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyy… Wooooooorkkkkk…ed… frrr… meeeeeeeeeeeeeee…”

      “Oh, you were their boss!” Bejimin exclaimed with a curious twitch to her nose. Virag tensed his muscles and nodded, but the more that Bejimin and Zur prodded him about those two, the more silent and tense he became. Something had clearly happened to him in his life, involving those tailors, and he didn’t want to talk about it with a Darigan and a Mutant that he had JUST met.

      Bejimin poked the Aisha. “What else is in that jacke of yours?” she asked curiously. Zur grew excited, again. “Any relics from your life? Anything cool?” he yipped.

      Virag raised an eyebrow at him, then slowly put down the picture and spool and reached back into his jacket. When he pulled his paw back out, it was filled with buttons, spools, and pins, almost too many to fit. A few knicknacks came out, too. And, as he dropped the items on the floor, another picture fell out, this was small and folded up. Zur reached out to look at the little photo, but Virag snatched it from his grasp and clutched it to his chest with a horrified facial expression. “Nooooooo, noooooo. Miiiiiiiiiine!” he spat. This was clearly a picture that was precious to him, so they left it alone, like the subject of Prigpants and Swolty.

      Suddenly, while Virag was shoving everything back into his jacket, the three of them heard a door open and close. Zur froze in his spot. “Ex is out of the bath, Bejimin!” he whispered through his clenched, crooked teeth. They all went silent, and Ex’s footsteps could be heard walking towards Zur’s room.

      “Hide him! Quick!” Bejimin grabbed Virag’s shirt and pulled him up while Zur opened the closet and slammed it shut, after he was shoved inside. Just as the door closed, the Elderly Ogrin opened the bedroom door. She looked at them for a moment and hesitated before saying anything. “I didn’t hear you two come in,” she grunted calmly, squeezing some water out of her Ogrin Mohawk. “Oh well. I guess I wasn’t listening. Did you get the food?”

      Zur’s stomach ached. He was so focused on Virag that he forgot to buy food from the Halloween Bruce. Luckily, Bejimin had. She shot up to Ex and handed her the bag of bakery items with an innocent smile on her lips. “H-Here ya go, Ex! H-Hope it’s enough!” There was a shake to her voice and Zur couldn’t help but cover his face in shame. Bejimin was the worst at hiding things, and she only sounded guiltier when she tried to act innocent.

      Ex noticed this and raised an eyebrow. “Why are you acting so… odd?” she asked, letting her nostrils flare. Bejimin raised her hands in a surrendering pose. “I-I’m not acting odd! You’re acting odd! THERE’S NOTHING IN THE CLOSET!” she screeched. Ex pursed her lips. “I… didn’t ask… but…”

      “Gggggggggggggrruuuuuuuhhhrrrrrrrrr.”

      Everyone went silent.

      With a snort, Ex marched up to the closet, shoving past her siblings that tried to block her, and opened it. At the sight of Virag, she jumped back and covered her mouth to stifle a scream. “WHAT IS THAT!?” Zur shot in between her and Virag. “He’s harmless, I swear! He needed a home, so we brought him here! Please let him stay! We’ll keep him out of your way!”

      Ex snarled a bit. “NO! No zombies in the Neohome! No! I refuse!” She stomped out of the room, returning with a large broom in her hand. “Alright, out! Get out!” She swung it at Virag, causing him to duck and fall over.

      “No, stop!” Zur and Bejimin clung to Ex’s legs, making her unable to move. Ex hissed to herself and tightened her hold on the broom. “Don’t talk me out of it! I’m not going to sit around and keep a Neopet-eating zombie in the house!” Bejimin shook her head. “He doesn’t eat Neopets! If he did, he would have eaten us, already! He’s nice, and he’s as much of a Neopet as we are!” she pleaded. Zur nodded in agreement. “Yeah! He just needs a family!”

      Ex propped the broom up next to her like a staff and finally managed to shake the two off of her legs. Her eyes narrowed with slight irritation. “Bejimin, Zurnorl, listen to me. Zombies are mindless, heartless, empty shells that are only focused on eating pets and walking around.” She pointed at Virag, who was staring at her from the ground. “THAT is a zombie. THAT is a mindless, heartless, empty shell that is only focused on eating pets and walking around.” Zur quickly spoke up. “He isn’t brainless! He can talk! His name is Virag Kigyo and he was a tailor from Neovia! He told us that! I swear!” He clung to her leg again. “The Bruce at the Spooky Foods cart said that he always walks around like he’s looking for somewhere to go. We just want to give him somewhere to go!”

      Another moan sounded off behind them, and the three of them cast their eyes on Virag. He had stood back up and was staring at them with his big, blank eyes. He seemed to have an almost-pleading look on his face that was instantly interpreted as “I want to stay.”

      The Elderly Ogrin sighed and dropped her mop. “Alright, before we make hasty decisions, let’s get one thing straight.” She grabbed the front of Bejimin’s Altador hoodie and Zur’s necklace and pulled them towards her so that she was right in her face.“If he causes ANY problems… if I even SEE him during my dinner party, tomorrow, he is going right back to the Haunted Woods and you two will be grounded beyond repair, understand.”

      With a hard swallow, Bejimin and Zur slowly nodded and Ex released her grip. She slowly massaged her temples with a deep sigh. “Canna is going to go insane, when he finds out,” she mumbled under her breath and walked out. “I might just get back in the bath.” Without another look at any of them, she slammed the door shut and let the room fall silent.

      Immediately after Ex had left, Bejimin and Zur shouted for joy at the top of their lungs. “We did it! You get to stay!” The Kacheek squealed and hugged Virag as tightly as she could. Zur joined in, as well, and they grew happier when Virag slowly patted each on the head as a silent “Good job.”

      “So, where is he going to stay?” Bejimin asked as they escaped the embrace. Zur twitched his ears. “Well, since he’s already in here, I suppose he could stay in my room for tonight.” He spun, dancing around the zombie’s feet. Bejimin giggled as he did this. “Alright, then. You two get a good night’s sleep, alright? I’m going to my own room.” She shoved her claws in her pockets and yawned. “Goodnight, Zur. Goodnight, Virag,” she purred and made her way to the door.

      When the door had opened and closed, it was just the two of them. Zur hopped over to his bed and stuck his nose under it, pulling out a small sleeping bag. “You can sleep in my bed, Virag. I’ll sleep in the sleeping bag.” He unrolled the sleeping bag and hopped on it a few times to get it comfortable before looking at the Zombie Aisha and noticing that he wasn’t being listened to.

      Virag was seated in front of the window that they had just climbed into, staring out into the rain with unmoving eyes and a focused expression. Zur cocked his head a bit. “Virag? You okay?” he asked and scurried over to his size. The Aisha didn’t acknowledge him, but a minimal groan rose from his throat. Zur tapped his hooves and waved them in front of his face to get his attention, but Virag didn’t move a muscle. “Maybe you aren’t tired,” he sighed and drooped his ears. “Do zombies get tired? I don’t know.”

      Zur let out a hearty yawn. “Well, if you do get tired, my bed is open. I’m tired, so I’m going to bed.” Lowering to the ground, he leapt up and shot into his sleeping bag, face first. Then he spun around in a circle, yawned one more time, and plopped down.

      “Goodnight, Virag!”

      There was a moment of hesitation.

      “Uuuuuuuuuhhhhhrrr.”

      ***

      The Lost Desert fell into morning, but it was still a bit dark. Not nearly as dark as it was, during the night, but it was still dark. The rain was close to flooding over the sand in the desert, as it had rained all night. Zur usually woke up as soon as the sunlight hit his eyelids, however this morning was different. Something was blocking whatever light there actually was from falling on him and was casting a looming shadow over him.

      When Zur did open his eyes and look at the clock on his wall, he was shocked at how late it was. “W-What the… how is it still dark?” he wondered, gazing at the window and detecting where the shadow was coming from.

      It was Virag. He had not even moved an inch from where he was, last night. He was still just seated in front of the window, looking out it with an unblinking stare.

      Zur stretched his legs and yawned rather loudly. With his eyes half closed, he trudged up to the zombie. “Hey, Virag. Did you sit here, all night?” he bleated, blinking the crust out of his enlarged eyes. He was met with no acknowledgement other than a groan, like last night. Zur nervously bit his lip. “You okay?” he asked and poked Virag’s arm.

      Virag looked at the Gnorbu and shut his eyes tightly, experiencing the consequences of not blinking for hours. “Looooooooooost… Deeeeeeesssseeerrrrttt…” He pointed out the window excitedly. “Nnnnnnneeeeeeeevvvveeeeeeeeeeeeerrrr… beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennn!”

      “Really? You’ve never been to the Lost Desert?” Zur asked and shook to relieve his fatigue. Virag bobbed his head around and shook his head. “Waaaaanted… toooo… goooooooooooooo… Nnnnnnneeeeeeeevvvveeeeeeeeeeeeerrrr… beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennn!” Zur couldn’t hold in a laugh. “It’s a very interesting place! We have the whole day ahead of us, so I’ll show you around!” he said. Virag smiled wider than ever and pressed his rotten face against the window. “Ggrrrraaaahhhhhhh!”

      There was a knock at the door, and Ex entered without even waiting for Zur to let her in. “Get up, Zur! It’s half-past noon!” she boomed loudly. A soon as she entered, an immediate cringe came to her face at the sight of Virag. Clearly she had thought that it was all a dream; that there wasn’t a horrific zombie in her house. But there was, and it was setting in.

      Ex shook to relieve some tension and did her best to ignore the zombie Aisha. “Alright, Zur. My dinner party is in a few hours, and the house is a wreck! You need to come help us make sure everything is perfect.” She put her hand on her left temple like she was getting a headache. “Also, keep your friend in here and out of Canna’s sight. I just don’t want to deal with a tantrum from him, right now. I already have too much on my mind.” Ex mumbled and exited Zur’s room with a slam to the door.

      Zur quickly hopped up. “You stay here, Virag. You can entertain yourself with whatever is in here,” the Mutant Gnorbu said as he bolted out the door.

      Now, Virag was alone.

      He turned around and sat up straighter when he realized this, as he had not been paying attention to anything except for the rainy outside world. “Uuuurg? Uuhhhhhhhhrrrr.” He slowly got to his feet and gazed around, recording the details of Zur’s room since he had been sidetracked from his staring.

      It was a small room but it was nice, nonetheless. He had quite a few buckets of toys surrounding his bed and a complete lack of books that Virag was not surprised to find. He had pictures of family and friends along his wall, as well as drawings that he had created himself. Having a lack of hands, Zur’s drawings were a bit less than satisfactory, but pretty impressive for a creature with hooves. Finally, Virag noticed a little Petpet bed in the corner of the room that housed a sleeping Cougi with a bowl next to it labeled “Mambo”.

      “Urrrrrraaaaaaa.” He slowly knelt down to all fours and crawled towards the Cougi, careful not to startle it. “Hhhhhhheeeelllllllllooooo…” he mumbled and hesitated before gently patting it on the head.

      As soon as Virag made contact, the Cougi woke up and shot under the bed at the sight of a ferocious zombie looming over him. It squealed in terror and shook in its spot, all the while Virag watched him and drooped all of his ears sadly. He loved Petpets, and now that he was dead, his appearance was more than terrifying to a tiny creature like a Cougi. He slowly got back to his feet. “Sssssorrrrryyy…” he groaned and backed up, stopping only when something fell out of his jacket.

      He slowly looked down and cocked his head, trying to see what it was. It was the folded picture that fell out of his pocket, before; the one that he refused to let Zur see.

      Virag slowly bent down and seated himself on the ground in front of the photo. He slowly reached down and picked it up, then cradled it in his hands like it was something precious because, to him, it was. “Rrrrrrrrraaaahhhhhhh,” he breathed and opened the folded photo to look upon the image. It held the same handsome Green Aisha from the previous photo, however, this time he was surrounded by a different group of Neopets. Standing in front of him and another Neopet were two small children, a little Yellow Wocky girl and an even littler Maraquan Acara boy. Both were dressed in the same style of Neovian attire that Virag was wearing and excitably holding onto the Green Aisha’s arms. The Neopet next to the Aisha, however, had a much more calming and gentle, clearly the mother of the children. She was a beautiful Grey Jetsam dressed in a blue dress with a short head of brown hair on top of her head, surrounding her head fin. In her arms were two Petpets; a Grey Spyder that was more snuggled up to the Jetsam and the Green Aisha’s own Petpet: a Vaeolus with a collar marked “Fiyero”.

      Without noticing, Virag ended up scooting himself in the corner and wrapping his tail around his legs. He clutched the photo like his life depended on it. He looked at the children.

      “Aaaaaannnnnnniiiiieeee… Mmmmmooooooorrdddaaakkkiiiiii…”

      He looked at the Petpets.

      “Fffffiiiyyeeeeeeeeeerroooooooo… Mmmmmoooommmaaaa…”

      He looked at the Jetsam.

      “Zzzzzzzeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennnnn…”

      A tear fell onto the picture itself, but he wiped it away before the image was ruined.

      “Ffffffffffffaaaaammmmiiillllyyyyy… Mmmmmmmyyyy ffffaaaammmmiiiilllyyyy…”

      The Aisha immediately started crying. However, his fit of tears was interrupted by the sound of Zur’s door opening. Zur had finished cleaning and had been instructed by his Elderly sister to retire back to his room and keep an eye on Virag. He hopped inside and kicked the door shut. “Hey, Virag! Did you find a way to pass the… time?” He paused when he saw the tears on the Aisha’s grey, rotten cheeks. “Hey, are you okay?” the Gnorbu asked and slowly walked up to him with drooped ears.

      Virag sniffled and tried to dry his eyes. “Uuuuuuuurrraaaahhhrrgg…” he mumbled under his breath with a shaky voice. Zur sat down in front of him, peering in his face despite the zombie’s efforts to keep his puffy eyes hidden. “Virag? What’s the matter?”

      With another moan, Virag hugged his legs tightly and, rather reluctantly, held the image out to the Mutant in front of him. Zur stared wondrously at the picture, fitting together the puzzle pieces faster than Virag expected him to. “Is that your family?” he asked quietly. Virag slowly nodded and sniffled. Zur took another moment to look back down at the photo. “Do they know that you’re… you know… ‘back’?”

      Virag clutched his legs tighter and shook his head. “Hhhhhhhhavvveennn’ttt… ssssseeeeeeen tthhhhheeeeemmmm… ssssssiiiinnnncceeeee IIII wwwwaaasss… aaaaaalllliiiivvvvvveeeee…” he grunted and tensed his body as much as he could. Zur lowered his head a bit while Virag brought the picture back to look at it for himself again. “Geez, I’m sorry, Virag. Maybe you’ll be able to find them, one day.” He wagged his balding tail to lighten the mood and brighten Virag’s spirits, and the dreary zombie actually managed to crack a smile.

     

      “He doesn’t fit!”

      “Push harder!”

      “Grruuuuuuuuhhhhhhh.”

      In order to avoid having their new, undead friend come in contact with their elder siblings, Bejimin and Zur came up with the “brilliant” idea to push him into the house through Zur’s window (which was almost too small for Zur to fit through, let alone a zombie Aisha that was three times his height).

      “Aren’t Darigans supposed to be super strong or something?”

      “Where’d you hear that!? Besides, I thought you were the battledome pet!”

      “Ex is the battledome pet! I’m still level one!”

      “Well, that explains a lo—”

      As if on cue, the zombie slipped through the window and fell inside, causing Zur and Bejimin to fall inside, as well, and almost land on him. The bag of food that Bejimin had gotten from the Crumpetmonger almost spilled out all over the ground, in the process. Zur stuck his tongue out, barely able to pick himself up off of the ground. “Told you he’d fit.”

      Bejimin hopped up and ran to the door, placing her ear against it to listen for movement. “I don’t hear anything. Canna probably went to sleep and Ex is probably still in the bath. We’re safe for now.” She hurried back over to Zur, who was pushing the zombie into a sitting position and giving him the ice cream. He snatched it out of Zur’s hoof and sloppily inhaled it before the Gnorbu could bat an eye.

      “I wonder if he can talk, or at least understand us,” Bejimin purred as she looked him in the face. He just kind of stared through her, as though in a trance. Zur’s face lit up. “He must be able to! He’s still as Neopian as we are! He’s just… a zombie.” He wagged his tail. “He must be Neovian, so he probably has some great stories! What if he was there during the Tale of Woe? That would be something!” he yipped. Bejimin cocked her head a little and crawled closer to him. “Only one way to find out, I guess.”

      She waved her claw in front of the zombie’s face, causing him to jump a bit. “Excuse me, Mr. Zombie? Can you understand us?” she asked quietly and flicked her tail a bit, as though anticipating an answer. The zombie stared at her and swayed his head around. The siblings’ hearts jumped a bit as he opened his mouth. They hoped for an answer. They hoped that he could somehow answer them in their language, but, all seemed lost when he just let out a dreary “Uuuuhhhhhhhhhhhrrgg.”

      “Dang it. I guess he can’t.” Bejimin stood back up, but Zur stayed on the ground. “Maybe he did answer! Maybe he just can’t speak well!” He hopped directly in front of the zombie. “Do you have a name? Are you from Neovia? Do you know the Tale of Woe? Were you there?”

      “Zur, goodness, calm down.” Bejimin pulled Zur back a bit. “Even if he does understand, he can’t answer! It does no good to ask those questions!”

      Bejimin opened her mouth to continue, only to be interrupted by another groan from the zombie. But, somehow, it didn’t sound much like a groan. It sounded more like:

      “Naaaaammeee… Naaaaaaaaaaammmme… Viiiirraaaaaaaaaag…Kiiiiigggyoooooooo…”

      Zur lept for joy. “Virag Kigyo! I knew it! You CAN talk!” He grabbed the zombie’s hand and shook it almost hard enough to break his arm back off. “Nice to meet you, Virag! I’m Zur!” he yelled happily before Bejimin reminded him to keep his voice down.

      The Darigan Kacheek bent back down to him. “Are you a Neovian?” she asked. The zombie, Virag, swayed his head a bit before nodding and reaching into his coat to pull out a small artifact which, after a little investigation, seemed to be a dirty spool of thread and a rusty needle. “You were a tailor in Neovia?” Bejimin asked. Zur butted in again, still excited that this zombie really was a Neovian. “Did you work with Prigpants and Swolty; the tailors in Neovia, today?” He wagged his tail even harder in anticipation.

      Virag seemed to jump at those names, then his blank, lopsided eyes narrowed with a look of almost hatred. He clenched the needle and thread tightly in his claw, then reached into his coat again. This time, he pulled out a little picture. It was a professional photo of the Lenny and Mynci that Zur spoke of. They were smiling in the picture, and standing on both sides of a rather handsome Green Aisha that was dressed a lot like Virag. “Theeeeeeeyyyyy… Theeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyy… Wooooooorkkkkk…ed… frrr… meeeeeeeeeeeeeee…”

      “Oh, you were their boss!” Bejimin exclaimed with a curious twitch to her nose. Virag tensed his muscles and nodded, but the more that Bejimin and Zur prodded him about those two, the more silent and tense he became. Something had clearly happened to him in his life, involving those tailors, and he didn’t want to talk about it with a Darigan and a Mutant that he had JUST met.

      Bejimin poked the Aisha. “What else is in that jacke of yours?” she asked curiously. Zur grew excited, again. “Any relics from your life? Anything cool?” he yipped.

      Virag raised an eyebrow at him, then slowly put down the picture and spool and reached back into his jacket. When he pulled his paw back out, it was filled with buttons, spools, and pins, almost too many to fit. A few knicknacks came out, too. And, as he dropped the items on the floor, another picture fell out, this was small and folded up. Zur reached out to look at the little photo, but Virag snatched it from his grasp and clutched it to his chest with a horrified facial expression. “Nooooooo, noooooo. Miiiiiiiiiine!” he spat. This was clearly a picture that was precious to him, so they left it alone, like the subject of Prigpants and Swolty.

      Suddenly, while Virag was shoving everything back into his jacket, the three of them heard a door open and close. Zur froze in his spot. “Ex is out of the bath, Bejimin!” he whispered through his clenched, crooked teeth. They all went silent, and Ex’s footsteps could be heard walking towards Zur’s room.

      “Hide him! Quick!” Bejimin grabbed Virag’s shirt and pulled him up while Zur opened the closet and slammed it shut, after he was shoved inside. Just as the door closed, the Elderly Ogrin opened the bedroom door. She looked at them for a moment and hesitated before saying anything. “I didn’t hear you two come in,” she grunted calmly, squeezing some water out of her Ogrin Mohawk. “Oh well. I guess I wasn’t listening. Did you get the food?”

      Zur’s stomach ached. He was so focused on Virag that he forgot to buy food from the Halloween Bruce. Luckily, Bejimin had. She shot up to Ex and handed her the bag of bakery items with an innocent smile on her lips. “H-Here ya go, Ex! H-Hope it’s enough!” There was a shake to her voice and Zur couldn’t help but cover his face in shame. Bejimin was the worst at hiding things, and she only sounded guiltier when she tried to act innocent.

      Ex noticed this and raised an eyebrow. “Why are you acting so… odd?” she asked, letting her nostrils flare. Bejimin raised her hands in a surrendering pose. “I-I’m not acting odd! You’re acting odd! THERE’S NOTHING IN THE CLOSET!” she screeched. Ex pursed her lips. “I… didn’t ask… but…”

      “Gggggggggggggrruuuuuuuhhhrrrrrrrrr.”

      Everyone went silent.

      With a snort, Ex marched up to the closet, shoving past her siblings that tried to block her, and opened it. At the sight of Virag, she jumped back and covered her mouth to stifle a scream. “WHAT IS THAT!?” Zur shot in between her and Virag. “He’s harmless, I swear! He needed a home, so we brought him here! Please let him stay! We’ll keep him out of your way!”

      Ex snarled a bit. “NO! No zombies in the Neohome! No! I refuse!” She stomped out of the room, returning with a large broom in her hand. “Alright, out! Get out!” She swung it at Virag, causing him to duck and fall over.

      “No, stop!” Zur and Bejimin clung to Ex’s legs, making her unable to move. Ex hissed to herself and tightened her hold on the broom. “Don’t talk me out of it! I’m not going to sit around and keep a Neopet-eating zombie in the house!” Bejimin shook her head. “He doesn’t eat Neopets! If he did, he would have eaten us, already! He’s nice, and he’s as much of a Neopet as we are!” she pleaded. Zur nodded in agreement. “Yeah! He just needs a family!”

      Ex propped the broom up next to her like a staff and finally managed to shake the two off of her legs. Her eyes narrowed with slight irritation. “Bejimin, Zurnorl, listen to me. Zombies are mindless, heartless, empty shells that are only focused on eating pets and walking around.” She pointed at Virag, who was staring at her from the ground. “THAT is a zombie. THAT is a mindless, heartless, empty shell that is only focused on eating pets and walking around.” Zur quickly spoke up. “He isn’t brainless! He can talk! His name is Virag Kigyo and he was a tailor from Neovia! He told us that! I swear!” He clung to her leg again. “The Bruce at the Spooky Foods cart said that he always walks around like he’s looking for somewhere to go. We just want to give him somewhere to go!”

      Another moan sounded off behind them, and the three of them cast their eyes on Virag. He had stood back up and was staring at them with his big, blank eyes. He seemed to have an almost-pleading look on his face that was instantly interpreted as “I want to stay.”

      The Elderly Ogrin sighed and dropped her mop. “Alright, before we make hasty decisions, let’s get one thing straight.” She grabbed the front of Bejimin’s Altador hoodie and Zur’s necklace and pulled them towards her so that she was right in her face.“If he causes ANY problems… if I even SEE him during my dinner party, tomorrow, he is going right back to the Haunted Woods and you two will be grounded beyond repair, understand.”

      With a hard swallow, Bejimin and Zur slowly nodded and Ex released her grip. She slowly massaged her temples with a deep sigh. “Canna is going to go insane, when he finds out,” she mumbled under her breath and walked out. “I might just get back in the bath.” Without another look at any of them, she slammed the door shut and let the room fall silent.

      Immediately after Ex had left, Bejimin and Zur shouted for joy at the top of their lungs. “We did it! You get to stay!” The Kacheek squealed and hugged Virag as tightly as she could. Zur joined in, as well, and they grew happier when Virag slowly patted each on the head as a silent “Good job.”

      “So, where is he going to stay?” Bejimin asked as they escaped the embrace. Zur twitched his ears. “Well, since he’s already in here, I suppose he could stay in my room for tonight.” He spun, dancing around the zombie’s feet. Bejimin giggled as he did this. “Alright, then. You two get a good night’s sleep, alright? I’m going to my own room.” She shoved her claws in her pockets and yawned. “Goodnight, Zur. Goodnight, Virag,” she purred and made her way to the door.

      When the door had opened and closed, it was just the two of them. Zur hopped over to his bed and stuck his nose under it, pulling out a small sleeping bag. “You can sleep in my bed, Virag. I’ll sleep in the sleeping bag.” He unrolled the sleeping bag and hopped on it a few times to get it comfortable before looking at the Zombie Aisha and noticing that he wasn’t being listened to.

      Virag was seated in front of the window that they had just climbed into, staring out into the rain with unmoving eyes and a focused expression. Zur cocked his head a bit. “Virag? You okay?” he asked and scurried over to his size. The Aisha didn’t acknowledge him, but a minimal groan rose from his throat. Zur tapped his hooves and waved them in front of his face to get his attention, but Virag didn’t move a muscle. “Maybe you aren’t tired,” he sighed and drooped his ears. “Do zombies get tired? I don’t know.”

      Zur let out a hearty yawn. “Well, if you do get tired, my bed is open. I’m tired, so I’m going to bed.” Lowering to the ground, he leapt up and shot into his sleeping bag, face first. Then he spun around in a circle, yawned one more time, and plopped down.

      “Goodnight, Virag!”

      There was a moment of hesitation.

      “Uuuuuuuuuhhhhhrrr.”

      ***

      The Lost Desert fell into morning, but it was still a bit dark. Not nearly as dark as it was, during the night, but it was still dark. The rain was close to flooding over the sand in the desert, as it had rained all night. Zur usually woke up as soon as the sunlight hit his eyelids, however this morning was different. Something was blocking whatever light there actually was from falling on him and was casting a looming shadow over him.

      When Zur did open his eyes and look at the clock on his wall, he was shocked at how late it was. “W-What the… how is it still dark?” he wondered, gazing at the window and detecting where the shadow was coming from.

      It was Virag. He had not even moved an inch from where he was, last night. He was still just seated in front of the window, looking out it with an unblinking stare.

      Zur stretched his legs and yawned rather loudly. With his eyes half closed, he trudged up to the zombie. “Hey, Virag. Did you sit here, all night?” he bleated, blinking the crust out of his enlarged eyes. He was met with no acknowledgement other than a groan, like last night. Zur nervously bit his lip. “You okay?” he asked and poked Virag’s arm.

      Virag looked at the Gnorbu and shut his eyes tightly, experiencing the consequences of not blinking for hours. “Looooooooooost… Deeeeeeesssseeerrrrttt…” He pointed out the window excitedly. “Nnnnnnneeeeeeeevvvveeeeeeeeeeeeerrrr… beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennn!”

      “Really? You’ve never been to the Lost Desert?” Zur asked and shook to relieve his fatigue. Virag bobbed his head around and shook his head. “Waaaaanted… toooo… goooooooooooooo… Nnnnnnneeeeeeeevvvveeeeeeeeeeeeerrrr… beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennn!” Zur couldn’t hold in a laugh. “It’s a very interesting place! We have the whole day ahead of us, so I’ll show you around!” he said. Virag smiled wider than ever and pressed his rotten face against the window. “Ggrrrraaaahhhhhhh!”

      There was a knock at the door, and Ex entered without even waiting for Zur to let her in. “Get up, Zur! It’s half-past noon!” she boomed loudly. A soon as she entered, an immediate cringe came to her face at the sight of Virag. Clearly she had thought that it was all a dream; that there wasn’t a horrific zombie in her house. But there was, and it was setting in.

      Ex shook to relieve some tension and did her best to ignore the zombie Aisha. “Alright, Zur. My dinner party is in a few hours, and the house is a wreck! You need to come help us make sure everything is perfect.” She put her hand on her left temple like she was getting a headache. “Also, keep your friend in here and out of Canna’s sight. I just don’t want to deal with a tantrum from him, right now. I already have too much on my mind.” Ex mumbled and exited Zur’s room with a slam to the door.

      Zur quickly hopped up. “You stay here, Virag. You can entertain yourself with whatever is in here,” the Mutant Gnorbu said as he bolted out the door.

      Now, Virag was alone.

      He turned around and sat up straighter when he realized this, as he had not been paying attention to anything except for the rainy outside world. “Uuuurg? Uuhhhhhhhhrrrr.” He slowly got to his feet and gazed around, recording the details of Zur’s room since he had been sidetracked from his staring.

      It was a small room but it was nice, nonetheless. He had quite a few buckets of toys surrounding his bed and a complete lack of books that Virag was not surprised to find. He had pictures of family and friends along his wall, as well as drawings that he had created himself. Having a lack of hands, Zur’s drawings were a bit less than satisfactory, but pretty impressive for a creature with hooves. Finally, Virag noticed a little Petpet bed in the corner of the room that housed a sleeping Cougi with a bowl next to it labeled “Mambo”.

      “Urrrrrraaaaaaa.” He slowly knelt down to all fours and crawled towards the Cougi, careful not to startle it. “Hhhhhhheeeelllllllllooooo…” he mumbled and hesitated before gently patting it on the head.

      As soon as Virag made contact, the Cougi woke up and shot under the bed at the sight of a ferocious zombie looming over him. It squealed in terror and shook in its spot, all the while Virag watched him and drooped all of his ears sadly. He loved Petpets, and now that he was dead, his appearance was more than terrifying to a tiny creature like a Cougi. He slowly got back to his feet. “Sssssorrrrryyy…” he groaned and backed up, stopping only when something fell out of his jacket.

      He slowly looked down and cocked his head, trying to see what it was. It was the folded picture that fell out of his pocket, before; the one that he refused to let Zur see.

      Virag slowly bent down and seated himself on the ground in front of the photo. He slowly reached down and picked it up, then cradled it in his hands like it was something precious because, to him, it was. “Rrrrrrrrraaaahhhhhhh,” he breathed and opened the folded photo to look upon the image. It held the same handsome Green Aisha from the previous photo, however, this time he was surrounded by a different group of Neopets. Standing in front of him and another Neopet were two small children, a little Yellow Wocky girl and an even littler Maraquan Acara boy. Both were dressed in the same style of Neovian attire that Virag was wearing and excitably holding onto the Green Aisha’s arms. The Neopet next to the Aisha, however, had a much more calming and gentle, clearly the mother of the children. She was a beautiful Grey Jetsam dressed in a blue dress with a short head of brown hair on top of her head, surrounding her head fin. In her arms were two Petpets; a Grey Spyder that was more snuggled up to the Jetsam and the Green Aisha’s own Petpet: a Vaeolus with a collar marked “Fiyero”.

      Without noticing, Virag ended up scooting himself in the corner and wrapping his tail around his legs. He clutched the photo like his life depended on it. He looked at the children.

      “Aaaaaannnnnnniiiiieeee… Mmmmmooooooorrdddaaakkkiiiiii…”

      He looked at the Petpets.

      “Fffffiiiyyeeeeeeeeeerroooooooo… Mmmmmoooommmaaaa…”

      He looked at the Jetsam.

      “Zzzzzzzeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennnnn…”

      A tear fell onto the picture itself, but he wiped it away before the image was ruined.

      “Ffffffffffffaaaaammmmiiillllyyyyy… Mmmmmmmyyyy ffffaaaammmmiiiilllyyyy…”

      The Aisha immediately started crying. However, his fit of tears was interrupted by the sound of Zur’s door opening. Zur had finished cleaning and had been instructed by his Elderly sister to retire back to his room and keep an eye on Virag. He hopped inside and kicked the door shut. “Hey, Virag! Did you find a way to pass the… time?” He paused when he saw the tears on the Aisha’s grey, rotten cheeks. “Hey, are you okay?” the Gnorbu asked and slowly walked up to him with drooped ears.

      Virag sniffled and tried to dry his eyes. “Uuuuuuuurrraaaahhhrrgg…” he mumbled under his breath with a shaky voice. Zur sat down in front of him, peering in his face despite the zombie’s efforts to keep his puffy eyes hidden. “Virag? What’s the matter?”

      With another moan, Virag hugged his legs tightly and, rather reluctantly, held the image out to the Mutant in front of him. Zur stared wondrously at the picture, fitting together the puzzle pieces faster than Virag expected him to. “Is that your family?” he asked quietly. Virag slowly nodded and sniffled. Zur took another moment to look back down at the photo. “Do they know that you’re… you know… ‘back’?”

      Virag clutched his legs tighter and shook his head. “Hhhhhhhhavvveennn’ttt… ssssseeeeeeen tthhhhheeeeemmmm… ssssssiiiinnnncceeeee IIII wwwwaaasss… aaaaaalllliiiivvvvvveeeee…” he grunted and tensed his body as much as he could. Zur lowered his head a bit while Virag brought the picture back to look at it for himself again. “Geez, I’m sorry, Virag. Maybe you’ll be able to find them, one day.” He wagged his balding tail to lighten the mood and brighten Virag’s spirits, and the dreary zombie actually managed to crack a smile.

     

      “He doesn’t fit!”

      “Push harder!”

      “Grruuuuuuuuhhhhhhh.”

      In order to avoid having their new, undead friend come in contact with their elder siblings, Bejimin and Zur came up with the “brilliant” idea to push him into the house through Zur’s window (which was almost too small for Zur to fit through, let alone a zombie Aisha that was three times his height).

      “Aren’t Darigans supposed to be super strong or something?”

      “Where’d you hear that!? Besides, I thought you were the battledome pet!”

      “Ex is the battledome pet! I’m still level one!”

      “Well, that explains a lo—”

      As if on cue, the zombie slipped through the window and fell inside, causing Zur and Bejimin to fall inside, as well, and almost land on him. The bag of food that Bejimin had gotten from the Crumpetmonger almost spilled out all over the ground, in the process. Zur stuck his tongue out, barely able to pick himself up off of the ground. “Told you he’d fit.”

      Bejimin hopped up and ran to the door, placing her ear against it to listen for movement. “I don’t hear anything. Canna probably went to sleep and Ex is probably still in the bath. We’re safe for now.” She hurried back over to Zur, who was pushing the zombie into a sitting position and giving him the ice cream. He snatched it out of Zur’s hoof and sloppily inhaled it before the Gnorbu could bat an eye.

      “I wonder if he can talk, or at least understand us,” Bejimin purred as she looked him in the face. He just kind of stared through her, as though in a trance. Zur’s face lit up. “He must be able to! He’s still as Neopian as we are! He’s just… a zombie.” He wagged his tail. “He must be Neovian, so he probably has some great stories! What if he was there during the Tale of Woe? That would be something!” he yipped. Bejimin cocked her head a little and crawled closer to him. “Only one way to find out, I guess.”

      She waved her claw in front of the zombie’s face, causing him to jump a bit. “Excuse me, Mr. Zombie? Can you understand us?” she asked quietly and flicked her tail a bit, as though anticipating an answer. The zombie stared at her and swayed his head around. The siblings’ hearts jumped a bit as he opened his mouth. They hoped for an answer. They hoped that he could somehow answer them in their language, but, all seemed lost when he just let out a dreary “Uuuuhhhhhhhhhhhrrgg.”

      “Dang it. I guess he can’t.” Bejimin stood back up, but Zur stayed on the ground. “Maybe he did answer! Maybe he just can’t speak well!” He hopped directly in front of the zombie. “Do you have a name? Are you from Neovia? Do you know the Tale of Woe? Were you there?”

      “Zur, goodness, calm down.” Bejimin pulled Zur back a bit. “Even if he does understand, he can’t answer! It does no good to ask those questions!”

      Bejimin opened her mouth to continue, only to be interrupted by another groan from the zombie. But, somehow, it didn’t sound much like a groan. It sounded more like:

      “Naaaaammeee… Naaaaaaaaaaammmme… Viiiirraaaaaaaaaag…Kiiiiigggyoooooooo…”

      Zur lept for joy. “Virag Kigyo! I knew it! You CAN talk!” He grabbed the zombie’s hand and shook it almost hard enough to break his arm back off. “Nice to meet you, Virag! I’m Zur!” he yelled happily before Bejimin reminded him to keep his voice down.

      The Darigan Kacheek bent back down to him. “Are you a Neovian?” she asked. The zombie, Virag, swayed his head a bit before nodding and reaching into his coat to pull out a small artifact which, after a little investigation, seemed to be a dirty spool of thread and a rusty needle. “You were a tailor in Neovia?” Bejimin asked. Zur butted in again, still excited that this zombie really was a Neovian. “Did you work with Prigpants and Swolty; the tailors in Neovia, today?” He wagged his tail even harder in anticipation.

      Virag seemed to jump at those names, then his blank, lopsided eyes narrowed with a look of almost hatred. He clenched the needle and thread tightly in his claw, then reached into his coat again. This time, he pulled out a little picture. It was a professional photo of the Lenny and Mynci that Zur spoke of. They were smiling in the picture, and standing on both sides of a rather handsome Green Aisha that was dressed a lot like Virag. “Theeeeeeeyyyyy… Theeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyy… Wooooooorkkkkk…ed… frrr… meeeeeeeeeeeeeee…”

      “Oh, you were their boss!” Bejimin exclaimed with a curious twitch to her nose. Virag tensed his muscles and nodded, but the more that Bejimin and Zur prodded him about those two, the more silent and tense he became. Something had clearly happened to him in his life, involving those tailors, and he didn’t want to talk about it with a Darigan and a Mutant that he had JUST met.

      Bejimin poked the Aisha. “What else is in that jacke of yours?” she asked curiously. Zur grew excited, again. “Any relics from your life? Anything cool?” he yipped.

      Virag raised an eyebrow at him, then slowly put down the picture and spool and reached back into his jacket. When he pulled his paw back out, it was filled with buttons, spools, and pins, almost too many to fit. A few knicknacks came out, too. And, as he dropped the items on the floor, another picture fell out, this was small and folded up. Zur reached out to look at the little photo, but Virag snatched it from his grasp and clutched it to his chest with a horrified facial expression. “Nooooooo, noooooo. Miiiiiiiiiine!” he spat. This was clearly a picture that was precious to him, so they left it alone, like the subject of Prigpants and Swolty.

      Suddenly, while Virag was shoving everything back into his jacket, the three of them heard a door open and close. Zur froze in his spot. “Ex is out of the bath, Bejimin!” he whispered through his clenched, crooked teeth. They all went silent, and Ex’s footsteps could be heard walking towards Zur’s room.

      “Hide him! Quick!” Bejimin grabbed Virag’s shirt and pulled him up while Zur opened the closet and slammed it shut, after he was shoved inside. Just as the door closed, the Elderly Ogrin opened the bedroom door. She looked at them for a moment and hesitated before saying anything. “I didn’t hear you two come in,” she grunted calmly, squeezing some water out of her Ogrin Mohawk. “Oh well. I guess I wasn’t listening. Did you get the food?”

      Zur’s stomach ached. He was so focused on Virag that he forgot to buy food from the Halloween Bruce. Luckily, Bejimin had. She shot up to Ex and handed her the bag of bakery items with an innocent smile on her lips. “H-Here ya go, Ex! H-Hope it’s enough!” There was a shake to her voice and Zur couldn’t help but cover his face in shame. Bejimin was the worst at hiding things, and she only sounded guiltier when she tried to act innocent.

      Ex noticed this and raised an eyebrow. “Why are you acting so… odd?” she asked, letting her nostrils flare. Bejimin raised her hands in a surrendering pose. “I-I’m not acting odd! You’re acting odd! THERE’S NOTHING IN THE CLOSET!” she screeched. Ex pursed her lips. “I… didn’t ask… but…”

      “Gggggggggggggrruuuuuuuhhhrrrrrrrrr.”

      Everyone went silent.

      With a snort, Ex marched up to the closet, shoving past her siblings that tried to block her, and opened it. At the sight of Virag, she jumped back and covered her mouth to stifle a scream. “WHAT IS THAT!?” Zur shot in between her and Virag. “He’s harmless, I swear! He needed a home, so we brought him here! Please let him stay! We’ll keep him out of your way!”

      Ex snarled a bit. “NO! No zombies in the Neohome! No! I refuse!” She stomped out of the room, returning with a large broom in her hand. “Alright, out! Get out!” She swung it at Virag, causing him to duck and fall over.

      “No, stop!” Zur and Bejimin clung to Ex’s legs, making her unable to move. Ex hissed to herself and tightened her hold on the broom. “Don’t talk me out of it! I’m not going to sit around and keep a Neopet-eating zombie in the house!” Bejimin shook her head. “He doesn’t eat Neopets! If he did, he would have eaten us, already! He’s nice, and he’s as much of a Neopet as we are!” she pleaded. Zur nodded in agreement. “Yeah! He just needs a family!”

      Ex propped the broom up next to her like a staff and finally managed to shake the two off of her legs. Her eyes narrowed with slight irritation. “Bejimin, Zurnorl, listen to me. Zombies are mindless, heartless, empty shells that are only focused on eating pets and walking around.” She pointed at Virag, who was staring at her from the ground. “THAT is a zombie. THAT is a mindless, heartless, empty shell that is only focused on eating pets and walking around.” Zur quickly spoke up. “He isn’t brainless! He can talk! His name is Virag Kigyo and he was a tailor from Neovia! He told us that! I swear!” He clung to her leg again. “The Bruce at the Spooky Foods cart said that he always walks around like he’s looking for somewhere to go. We just want to give him somewhere to go!”

      Another moan sounded off behind them, and the three of them cast their eyes on Virag. He had stood back up and was staring at them with his big, blank eyes. He seemed to have an almost-pleading look on his face that was instantly interpreted as “I want to stay.”

      The Elderly Ogrin sighed and dropped her mop. “Alright, before we make hasty decisions, let’s get one thing straight.” She grabbed the front of Bejimin’s Altador hoodie and Zur’s necklace and pulled them towards her so that she was right in her face.“If he causes ANY problems… if I even SEE him during my dinner party, tomorrow, he is going right back to the Haunted Woods and you two will be grounded beyond repair, understand.”

      With a hard swallow, Bejimin and Zur slowly nodded and Ex released her grip. She slowly massaged her temples with a deep sigh. “Canna is going to go insane, when he finds out,” she mumbled under her breath and walked out. “I might just get back in the bath.” Without another look at any of them, she slammed the door shut and let the room fall silent.

      Immediately after Ex had left, Bejimin and Zur shouted for joy at the top of their lungs. “We did it! You get to stay!” The Kacheek squealed and hugged Virag as tightly as she could. Zur joined in, as well, and they grew happier when Virag slowly patted each on the head as a silent “Good job.”

      “So, where is he going to stay?” Bejimin asked as they escaped the embrace. Zur twitched his ears. “Well, since he’s already in here, I suppose he could stay in my room for tonight.” He spun, dancing around the zombie’s feet. Bejimin giggled as he did this. “Alright, then. You two get a good night’s sleep, alright? I’m going to my own room.” She shoved her claws in her pockets and yawned. “Goodnight, Zur. Goodnight, Virag,” she purred and made her way to the door.

      When the door had opened and closed, it was just the two of them. Zur hopped over to his bed and stuck his nose under it, pulling out a small sleeping bag. “You can sleep in my bed, Virag. I’ll sleep in the sleeping bag.” He unrolled the sleeping bag and hopped on it a few times to get it comfortable before looking at the Zombie Aisha and noticing that he wasn’t being listened to.

      Virag was seated in front of the window that they had just climbed into, staring out into the rain with unmoving eyes and a focused expression. Zur cocked his head a bit. “Virag? You okay?” he asked and scurried over to his size. The Aisha didn’t acknowledge him, but a minimal groan rose from his throat. Zur tapped his hooves and waved them in front of his face to get his attention, but Virag didn’t move a muscle. “Maybe you aren’t tired,” he sighed and drooped his ears. “Do zombies get tired? I don’t know.”

      Zur let out a hearty yawn. “Well, if you do get tired, my bed is open. I’m tired, so I’m going to bed.” Lowering to the ground, he leapt up and shot into his sleeping bag, face first. Then he spun around in a circle, yawned one more time, and plopped down.

      “Goodnight, Virag!”

      There was a moment of hesitation.

      “Uuuuuuuuuhhhhhrrr.”

      ***

      The Lost Desert fell into morning, but it was still a bit dark. Not nearly as dark as it was, during the night, but it was still dark. The rain was close to flooding over the sand in the desert, as it had rained all night. Zur usually woke up as soon as the sunlight hit his eyelids, however this morning was different. Something was blocking whatever light there actually was from falling on him and was casting a looming shadow over him.

      When Zur did open his eyes and look at the clock on his wall, he was shocked at how late it was. “W-What the… how is it still dark?” he wondered, gazing at the window and detecting where the shadow was coming from.

      It was Virag. He had not even moved an inch from where he was, last night. He was still just seated in front of the window, looking out it with an unblinking stare.

      Zur stretched his legs and yawned rather loudly. With his eyes half closed, he trudged up to the zombie. “Hey, Virag. Did you sit here, all night?” he bleated, blinking the crust out of his enlarged eyes. He was met with no acknowledgement other than a groan, like last night. Zur nervously bit his lip. “You okay?” he asked and poked Virag’s arm.

      Virag looked at the Gnorbu and shut his eyes tightly, experiencing the consequences of not blinking for hours. “Looooooooooost… Deeeeeeesssseeerrrrttt…” He pointed out the window excitedly. “Nnnnnnneeeeeeeevvvveeeeeeeeeeeeerrrr… beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennn!”

      “Really? You’ve never been to the Lost Desert?” Zur asked and shook to relieve his fatigue. Virag bobbed his head around and shook his head. “Waaaaanted… toooo… goooooooooooooo… Nnnnnnneeeeeeeevvvveeeeeeeeeeeeerrrr… beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennn!” Zur couldn’t hold in a laugh. “It’s a very interesting place! We have the whole day ahead of us, so I’ll show you around!” he said. Virag smiled wider than ever and pressed his rotten face against the window. “Ggrrrraaaahhhhhhh!”

      There was a knock at the door, and Ex entered without even waiting for Zur to let her in. “Get up, Zur! It’s half-past noon!” she boomed loudly. A soon as she entered, an immediate cringe came to her face at the sight of Virag. Clearly she had thought that it was all a dream; that there wasn’t a horrific zombie in her house. But there was, and it was setting in.

      Ex shook to relieve some tension and did her best to ignore the zombie Aisha. “Alright, Zur. My dinner party is in a few hours, and the house is a wreck! You need to come help us make sure everything is perfect.” She put her hand on her left temple like she was getting a headache. “Also, keep your friend in here and out of Canna’s sight. I just don’t want to deal with a tantrum from him, right now. I already have too much on my mind.” Ex mumbled and exited Zur’s room with a slam to the door.

      Zur quickly hopped up. “You stay here, Virag. You can entertain yourself with whatever is in here,” the Mutant Gnorbu said as he bolted out the door.

      Now, Virag was alone.

      He turned around and sat up straighter when he realized this, as he had not been paying attention to anything except for the rainy outside world. “Uuuurg? Uuhhhhhhhhrrrr.” He slowly got to his feet and gazed around, recording the details of Zur’s room since he had been sidetracked from his staring.

      It was a small room but it was nice, nonetheless. He had quite a few buckets of toys surrounding his bed and a complete lack of books that Virag was not surprised to find. He had pictures of family and friends along his wall, as well as drawings that he had created himself. Having a lack of hands, Zur’s drawings were a bit less than satisfactory, but pretty impressive for a creature with hooves. Finally, Virag noticed a little Petpet bed in the corner of the room that housed a sleeping Cougi with a bowl next to it labeled “Mambo”.

      “Urrrrrraaaaaaa.” He slowly knelt down to all fours and crawled towards the Cougi, careful not to startle it. “Hhhhhhheeeelllllllllooooo…” he mumbled and hesitated before gently patting it on the head.

      As soon as Virag made contact, the Cougi woke up and shot under the bed at the sight of a ferocious zombie looming over him. It squealed in terror and shook in its spot, all the while Virag watched him and drooped all of his ears sadly. He loved Petpets, and now that he was dead, his appearance was more than terrifying to a tiny creature like a Cougi. He slowly got back to his feet. “Sssssorrrrryyy…” he groaned and backed up, stopping only when something fell out of his jacket.

      He slowly looked down and cocked his head, trying to see what it was. It was the folded picture that fell out of his pocket, before; the one that he refused to let Zur see.

      Virag slowly bent down and seated himself on the ground in front of the photo. He slowly reached down and picked it up, then cradled it in his hands like it was something precious because, to him, it was. “Rrrrrrrrraaaahhhhhhh,” he breathed and opened the folded photo to look upon the image. It held the same handsome Green Aisha from the previous photo, however, this time he was surrounded by a different group of Neopets. Standing in front of him and another Neopet were two small children, a little Yellow Wocky girl and an even littler Maraquan Acara boy. Both were dressed in the same style of Neovian attire that Virag was wearing and excitably holding onto the Green Aisha’s arms. The Neopet next to the Aisha, however, had a much more calming and gentle, clearly the mother of the children. She was a beautiful Grey Jetsam dressed in a blue dress with a short head of brown hair on top of her head, surrounding her head fin. In her arms were two Petpets; a Grey Spyder that was more snuggled up to the Jetsam and the Green Aisha’s own Petpet: a Vaeolus with a collar marked “Fiyero”.

      Without noticing, Virag ended up scooting himself in the corner and wrapping his tail around his legs. He clutched the photo like his life depended on it. He looked at the children.

      “Aaaaaannnnnnniiiiieeee… Mmmmmooooooorrdddaaakkkiiiiii…”

      He looked at the Petpets.

      “Fffffiiiyyeeeeeeeeeerroooooooo… Mmmmmoooommmaaaa…”

      He looked at the Jetsam.

      “Zzzzzzzeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennnnn…”

      A tear fell onto the picture itself, but he wiped it away before the image was ruined.

      “Ffffffffffffaaaaammmmiiillllyyyyy… Mmmmmmmyyyy ffffaaaammmmiiiilllyyyy…”

      The Aisha immediately started crying. However, his fit of tears was interrupted by the sound of Zur’s door opening. Zur had finished cleaning and had been instructed by his Elderly sister to retire back to his room and keep an eye on Virag. He hopped inside and kicked the door shut. “Hey, Virag! Did you find a way to pass the… time?” He paused when he saw the tears on the Aisha’s grey, rotten cheeks. “Hey, are you okay?” the Gnorbu asked and slowly walked up to him with drooped ears.

      Virag sniffled and tried to dry his eyes. “Uuuuuuuurrraaaahhhrrgg…” he mumbled under his breath with a shaky voice. Zur sat down in front of him, peering in his face despite the zombie’s efforts to keep his puffy eyes hidden. “Virag? What’s the matter?”

      With another moan, Virag hugged his legs tightly and, rather reluctantly, held the image out to the Mutant in front of him. Zur stared wondrously at the picture, fitting together the puzzle pieces faster than Virag expected him to. “Is that your family?” he asked quietly. Virag slowly nodded and sniffled. Zur took another moment to look back down at the photo. “Do they know that you’re… you know… ‘back’?”

      Virag clutched his legs tighter and shook his head. “Hhhhhhhhavvveennn’ttt… ssssseeeeeeen tthhhhheeeeemmmm… ssssssiiiinnnncceeeee IIII wwwwaaasss… aaaaaalllliiiivvvvvveeeee…” he grunted and tensed his body as much as he could. Zur lowered his head a bit while Virag brought the picture back to look at it for himself again. “Geez, I’m sorry, Virag. Maybe you’ll be able to find them, one day.” He wagged his balding tail to lighten the mood and brighten Virag’s spirits, and the dreary zombie actually managed to crack a smile.

     

To be continued…

 
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