Chapter 30: Brothers
“The rituaaal caaan beginnnn now…” the parasite said, standing up and standing in front of the residents of Pinnacle Gulch. He put his hands in an odd gesture, and the wind started to pick up through the canyon. The fires throughout the crowd started to burn brighter, and the wind blew harder and harder as all the ghost girls surrounding the crowd started to scream simultaneously.
“What’s happening?!” Brian yelled over the wind.
“Kishnu is going to devour the souls of everyone here!” Joey yelled back in dismay. “And with a crowd this big, it’ll tear a hole into the spirit dimension-which is where things like the spirit parasites are from!”
“What do we do?!” Jordyn asked, standing up despite the pain in her shoulder.
“I don’t know!”
Roderick slowly stood up, his mind racing.
What in the world had Ian meant by bringing up the whole Gillikan case?
At one point a few months ago, they had gotten really mad at each other. Roderick had almost gotten them killed again, and Ian had stopped trusting him. They had ended up in a fist fight. They had worked through it, but it had been a bit of a rough patch.
Did… did Ian want him to fight.
Roderick’s hand closed into a fist.
If you want to fight, so be it.
Roderick stepped forward as the wind picked up even more.
“Hey Kishnu!!” he yelled.
Kishnu turned around and with an angry yell, Roderick brought forth all of his strength and punched his brother square in the face.
He wasn’t expecting what happened next.
A blast of wind seemed to erupt from the punch, spreading through the canyon and blowing out all the fires. The spirit parasite staggered back in surprise. Roderick stood there, his mouth agape.
“Ok. I know my punch isn’t normally that strong.”
“Roderick! You’re his weapon!!” she yelled.
“Earlier, we were theorizing that if you had something that you associated with strong enough happy memories, you could use it to fight the parasite’s power! And he’s using you! He must be thinking of those memories associated with you!”
“Well dang. That’s pretty clever.” Jordyn said gruffly.
Roderick turned back to the spirit parasite, who was glaring at him now. Roderick also started to think about those happy memories associated with his brother.
“Oh no you don’t!” Bill Cottam exclaimed, pulling out his gun. He jumped as someone shot it out of his hands. Jordyn smirked, pointing the gun at him.
“And this isn’t even my dominant hand.” she smiled, her right arm still hanging limp by her side. The Mayor glared at her.
Roderick threw in another punch, another blast going through the canyon.
Their first mystery as kids.
Ian laughing hysterically as Roderick ripped his pants on a double date.
Ian sacrificing a job and a girlfriend to come help him.
Ian always being there.
Especially when Roderick needed him most…
The last punch seemed to hold the greatest power of all, and suddenly, the dark form of Kishnu was forced out of his older brother, spiraling through the air. Ian stepped back, blinking his eyes back to normal, coughing a little bit of the black goop out of his system.
“Welcome back bro.” Roderick smiled, giving him a pat on the back. Ian smiled back.
“Glad you got the message.”
“Yep. Ready to banish this spirit parasite?”
The two brothers stepped towards the parasite as they cornered it against the canyon wall.
“Wait-no!” Kishnu exclaimed, completely enraged. A blast of wind erupted from the spirit, pushing the two brothers back. The two of them suddenly felt a rush or bad memories come to them.
A torrent of all the times they had fought with each other about petty little things and bigger things swam in front of their eyes. All their mistakes-like that time Roderick ended up kissing Ian’s girlfriend back in high school-or when Ian had lied to Roderick about the time of an exam to get back at him for something. Roderick started to feel a little lost.
“Fight it Roderick! We have to fight back against the negative memories with stronger ones!” Ian yelled over the wind. Roderick nodded, and once again, the two of them put up their hands and tried to channel that energy towards the spirit.
Those things were in the past. Even though they had been hurtful, they had gotten through it. They had moved forward. Time and time again.
After all, they were brothers.
They were family.
Behind Kishnu, a portal started to appear.
“No! No!! Noooo!!” Kishnu screeched as it started to suck him in.
Ian and Roderick thought about family, and then pushed the parasite with another strong blast.
“NOOOOO!” Kishnu screamed, wisping away into nothing, banished back into the spirit dimension where he belonged.
As soon as the parasite was gone, the two brothers put their hands on their knees, feeling exhausted.
“Ok. I think I’m going to sleep for a week… That was an extremely unpleasant experience...” Ian groaned, putting a hand on his back and wincing.
“He wasn’t even latched onto you for that long. I’ve been like that for a few days.”
“Which reminds me-you owe me a new laptop.”
“You’re joking right?”
“Does it look like I’m joking?”
The two of them turned to see that the ghost girls were suddenly there, backing the Mayor up against the still open portal.
No black goop.
Just them, and their murderer.
“Just like Roderick and his brother you guys.” the oldest of them commanded. “Let’s send this parasite where he really belongs-with his partner.”
“But wait-I’m not a spirit-you can’t-.”
The girls didn’t let him finish, pushed him screaming into the spirit dimension after Kishnu. Then with that, the portal swirled in on itself and vanished.
“Harsh.” Jordyn commented.
The ghost girls turned to Roderick and Ian.
“Thank you.” Carolyn said, giving them a small smile. “We’ll finally be able to move on thanks to you.”
“I’d say it was nothing, but that definitely was not nothing.” Ian winced, gingerly putting a hand to his sore face. “But you are welcome.”
“Are you all going to say goodbye before you go?” Roderick asked.
The girls smiled, and jumped into the air and into the crowd. Ian, Roderick, Brian, Joey, and Jordyn watched from the ledge as the ghost girls went to officially say goodbye to their families.
Up near the front, they watched as the Sheriff knelt down in front of his dead daughter, a sad smile on his face. They also noticed that the goopy zombies had also come back to normal and were rejoining with the crowd, much to the elation of friends and family.
“Well, I think the people in this town are finally going to get the peace they need.” Joey said softly.
The others silently nodded in agreement.