The Puppetmaster

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We are camping amongst the trees, we are sitting around a camp fire. We are telling ghost stories, well the others are I'm just listening.

"Suddenly, they heard something down the hall in the dark. Oooh...it came into torchlight...and they knew the blade of Wing Fung was haunted." Sokka said

Sokka draws his sword stands up and points it toward the fire, yells dramatically.

"Ooh-aaah." Sokka yelled

Aang is lying down, Katara is hunched over in a sitting position and Toph sits casually, I am just staring, all four of us are unamused.

"I think I like 'the man with a sword for a hand' better." Aang said

"Water Tribe slumber parties must stink." Toph said

"Wouldn't know I was never invited." I said

"No, wait. I've got one. And this is a true Southern Water tribe story." Katara said

"Is this one of those 'a friend of my cousin knew some guy that this happened to' stories?" Sokka asked

"No, it happened to Momo." Katara said

"Oh, I know this story. You might actually like it Toph." I said

"One winter when Mom was a girl, a snowstorm buried the whole village for weeks. A month later, Mom noticed she hadn't seen her friend Nini since the storm. So Mom and some others went to check on Nini's family. When they got there, no one was home. Just a fire flicking in the fireplace. While the men went out to search, Momo stayed in the house. When she was alone, she heard a voice (in a scary voice) 'It's so cold and I can't warm!' Mom turned and saw Nini standing by the fire. She was blue like she was frozen. Mom ran outside for help, but when everyone came back, Nini was gone." Katara said

I look over to see Aang using Momo's ears to cover his face in fear. Sokka is hiding behind a gnarled tree stump.

"Where'd she go?" Sokka asked

"No one knows. Nini's house stands empty to this day, but sometimes, people see smoke coming up from the chimney, like little Nini is still trying to get warm." Katara said

Toph straightens up and places her hands on the ground.

"Wait! Guys, did you hear that?" Toph asked

Aang, Katara, Sokka, and I all clutch each other tightly, too stiff to move, with Toph standing alertly.

"I hear people under the mountain. And they're screaming." Toph said

Sokka, assuming Toph is joking, relaxes his grip.

"Pft. Nice try, Toph." Sokka said

"No, I'm serious. I hear something." Toph said

"You're probably just jumpy from the ghost stories..." Katara said

"It just...stopped." Toph said

"How can voices come from under a mountain?" I asked

Katara and Aang are still hugging. Sokka and I are no longer tensed up like the other two.

"All right, now I'm getting scared." Aang said

"Hello, children." a voice said

We all scream in terror upon hearing the woman's voice and we scramble on the ground. An elderly woman emerges from the shadows.

"Sorry for frightening you. My name is Hama. You children shouldn't be out in the forest by yourselves at night. I have an inn nearby. Why don't you come back there for some spiced tea and warm beds?" Hama asked

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