Rain poured down from a moonless and starless sky in Desert Land. Near a row of seven cacti was a humongous castle. It was the Koopasí fortress in Desert Land. Inside the castle, one of the Koopa Kids lay huddled and shivering on his luxurious bed. This Koopa was Morton Koopa, Jr (Big Mouth). Morton was not shivering because he was cold, but because he was scared. He was in his castle all by himself, for the first time ever. Bowser had ordered Morton to stay in the castle by himself all night, as part of the "growing up" process. Worst of all, Mortonís brother Ludwig had told him that Friday the thirteenth was the scariest day of the year. Morton was not usually afraid, but, well, Ludwig was the oldest.
As Morton lay shivering on his bed, he became aware of the soft ticking of the large grandfather clock. Back and forth went the pendulum, so gracefully, so perfect. Morton began to feel better. "At this rate, I will be allowed to leave the castle in no time!" Morton smiled. "And then the day will be over and Iíll be alive and Iíll be happy and Bowser will be proud of me and heíll say ĎMorton youíre the best, the most wonderful, the Kooptacular son!í"
The clock struck midnight, and Morton cheerfully counted the gongs it made. "One... two... three... four... five... six... seven... eight... nine... ten... eleven... twelve....... thirteen?! There is no such thing as thirteen oí clock and something is fishy here and how can that be Ďcause this is Desert Land and there are no fish and I hate fish anyway!"
The clock had rung thirteen times! Morton threw back his neck and looked at the time, and was relieved when the clock stated that it was only twelve oíclock. "Whew!" Morton chuckled to himself, "that was close. I was sure I was a goner when I heard that last gong because there is no thirteen oí clock except in scary stories and this is real life and I am safe and I wonít die and....."
Morton continued to talk to himself, but suddenly he stopped. Putting his hand to his ear, he tiptoed ever so quietly to the door, his bare toes feeling very sensitive to the rough red carpet. "Did I just hear something on the stairs?" Morton asked himself. "There shouldnít be Ďcause Iím the only one here and there is no one else and the stairs donít creak because the castle is new and so the stairs are not creaking and Iím hearing things except that I have perfect hearing and I know Ďcause Bowser says that I have perfect hearing!" He paused and listened. "No, it couldnít-"
The noise sounded again. It was the sound of something sneaking up the stairs. Mortonís green face turned peach (an unhealthy color for Koopas). He slowly backed away from the door. As he did so, he heard the wind howl. Morton ran to the window, relieved to be away from the door. He looked out into the dark, rainy night. Morton was surprised and confused. "Raining in Desert Land?! It never rains in Desert Land and I know cause there are never any rivers and that is why there are no fish and that is good Ďcause I hate fish but Wendy likes fish but she is stupid so I guess fish are bad and I have none."
Suddenly, Morton heard another howl, but this time, it came from inside the castle. The howl actually sounded as if it came from right down the hallway. "Ooooooooooooo!" howled the howl. Morton shrieked, "Itís a ghost! I hate ghosts Ďcause theyíre scary and spooky and eerie."
The howl stopped, and Morton began to calm down. He was almost back to normal, when he heard a scratch at the door. It was a slow deliberate scratch, but came repeatedly and sounded like claws. It sounded like a cat, but, "All of our cats are declawed!" Morton gasped. "Help!" he hollered.
Morton knew he was alone and that nobody would help him. Searching quickly, Morton located his magic wand on a table by his bed. Morton thrust out his hand and scooped it up. His legs wobbly, Morton slowly made his way to the door. His wet hand reached out and closed on the doorís handle. Shaking, his hand began to turn. The door clicked. Morton began to pulls towards him, ready to meet whatever was behind the door.
Suddenly, Morton heard a door at the end of the hall open and close. Morton released his grip on the doorís handle and put his magic wand in his pocket. His concerned frown twisted into a smile. "Iím not alone!" he laughed. "One of my Koopa siblings is here! Now I will be safe and life will be good and Bowser will be proud of me and I wonít have to think about fish."
Morton gleefully pulled the door the rest of the way open. He felt so light and happy that he practically flew down the hallway. Morton quickly reached the end of the hallway- and gasped.
The door, which Morton had heard open and close, was standing wide open. Soon, however, Morton brushed the spooky happening aside and credited the event to his hearing, despite the fact that he knew he had perfect hearing.
Morton smiled again and entered the room. Out of contentedness, Morton sniffed the air, which was surprisingly empty. There was no scent of cleaning detergent, no smell of food, and no stench of Ludwig. "Everything is normal," Morton breathed. "I didnít find a sibling, but at least nothing went wrong, and so Iíll still be able to live and that is good as long as there are no fish." There was a sudden crash at the sound of falling pots and pans in the kitchen. Morton shrieked again, then raced out of the room to investigate.
Morton ran indecisively through the hallway. Part of him wanted to run quickly so that he could discover that everything was fine, while the other part wanted to move as slowly as possible, in order to avoid the danger that was obviously in the kitchen. Morton hoped it wasnít a monster.
Morton entered the kitchen and discovered nothing but a mess of pots and pans. There was nobody in the room, and Morton felt a little better. Then he decided that he should get back to his nice, safe room.
As Morton walked down the long gray hallway, he gradually began to hear noises. By themselves, the noises were not spooky. They sounded like private chattering. Yet, there was no obvious explanation for the noises, and they kept becoming louder and louder. Morton began to sweat and ran the rest of the way back to his room.
Morton raced into his room and slammed the door. He was so nervous that he began to pant like a dog. "Calm yourself," Morton ordered, trying to catch his breath. He tasted the stale dryness in his mouth, and felt the soft yet not soothing bed on his legs. "Now," he gasped, "there must be some logical explanation for this. There are no such things as ghosts and monsters, so who do I know who would want to scare me?"
Morton thought for a minute, and asked, "Could it be Ludwig?"
Ludwig, the oldest of the Koopa Kids, liked to play practical jokes on his siblings. He was very smart, but his corrupt mind only allowed him to make corrupt inventions that usually were aimed at his siblings (Lemmy most often) and not Mario or Luigi. However, Ludwig was also very lazy and loved most of all to eat chocolate bars and to sleep. "No, Ludwigís too stupid," concluded Morton. "Could it be Roy?"
Roy Koopa was the third oldest Koopa Kid and usually allied with Ludwig. Roy was not really evil, however, and was just a follower, so it was unlikely that he would be involved unless Ludwig was also. "No, it couldnít be Roy," decided Morton. "Could it be Playful?"
Playful was the Royal Cat, and the king of all cats. He is a black and white cat, and has a long tail. Playful was an evil, spiteful cat who only liked to eat and sleep. He played a number of nasty tricks on the Koopas, and especially on Morton, whom he believed talked too much. However, Playful would not be smart enough to scare Morton like someone had.
"No, it couldnít be Playful, heís not smart enough," said Morton. "Could it be Mario and Luigi?"
While Mario and Luigi were the Koopas worst enemies, they would not be clever enough to try a fear attack. They always fight face to face.
"No, it couldnít be Mario and Luigi," Morton shook his head. "Who could it be?"
Morton shook his head again and turned on the television. Immediately, the screen was filled with static. "The TV is breaking up- like me and the world!" Morton gasped.
Then a piercing whine was emitted from the television. Morton screamed, "That sounds like my scream when I die!"
Morton looked around for the remote. Unable to find it, he closed his eyes and blinked, and the remote was in his hand. Morton was unable to press the OFF button. He threw the remote at the television out of desperation. The desperate act worked.
Morton shivered violently on his bed. He knew that a single disturbance would cause him to scream. He was extremely frightened.
"BOO!" screeched Iggy as he jumped through the closed window. "AAAHHHHHHH!" Morton screamed, louder than ever before.
Iggy laughed and tried to run out of the room, but was stopped when he hit the still locked room door. He fell to the floor.
Morton leaped off his bed, yanked his magic wand out of his pocket, and landed on two feet on the floor. Closing his eyes, he blinked and waved the magic wand, and Iggy was turned into a black cat.
"Hey!" complained Iggy. "You canít leave me like this!"
"I can and I will!" shouted Morton, breathing heavily. Then he relaxed a little. "First, tell me why you did this!"
Iggy smiled. "Iím usually a good Koopa, and I always let Ludwig and Roy do the mean things. I decided that I should do something bad so that Koopas would take me seriously."
"Well, letís start from the beginning," said Morton. "How did you make the rain?"
Iggy snickered. "I sat on top of the castle with a large bucket of water. Then I turned it over."
"How did you make that howl in the castle?" asked Morton.
Iggy guffawed. "I pulled my dogís tail. He did the rest."
"How did you make the footsteps and the scratching at the door?" asked Morton.
Iggy chuckled. "The footsteps were easy, they were just me. The scratching was also me. I used the claws in my hand. You have them too."
"How did you make the pots and pans fall?" asked Morton.
Iggy giggled. "I just knocked those over."
"How did you make the noises in the hallway?" Morton asked.
Iggy laughed. "That was a little harder. I used a tape recording of a conversation between me and Larry, and used a tape recorder to change the volume."
"How did you rig the TV?" Morton asked.
Iggy laughed and rolled around the floor. "I fixed your TV so that it would always tune in to my television station. Then I just programmed what you saw to be broadcast over the air."
Morton was thoughtful. It was obvious how Iggy had jumped through the window. Then he remembered something he had forgotten. "How did you make the clock strike thirteen times?" he asked.
Iggy laughed uncontrollably. "I used tools and made the clock chime one extra time each hour."
"How were you in so many places in so little time?" asked Morton.
Iggy laughed so hard he choked. After he caught his breath, he said, "I used magic to transport myself at a secondís notice. You have that magic too. In fact, you could have done all of these things!"
Morton sat down on his bed, glad that he had gotten an explanation for all of the spooky occurrences. Suddenly, he remembered one thing he had forgotten to ask. "How did you open and close a door, but left the door open when I got there?" Morton asked.
Iggy frowned. "I didnít do that."
"What?" asked Morton.
"I said I didnít do that," answered Iggy.
A ghoulish laugh was suddenly heard. It seemed to come from everywhere. Morton and Iggy stared at each other.
"Iím hungry," said Iggy. "Do you have any fish?"
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