The Vendeleer Brothers Book 2: Serenity Hill

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Chapter 12: Devin Vanderwood

It wasn’t really that hard to find Devin Vanderwood and his parents. Everyone in Serenity Hill were so eager to help, that they just told the group of investigators where the boy lived.

“So… what are we supposed to say?” Jordyn asked as they walked up to a normal looking brick house in a nice little neighborhood. “Can we talk to your son and ask him to send his spirit friend away? Or-hey Devin! I know that you’ve been pretty happy lately, but we’re here to rip all of that away! I don’t think that’s going to go over very well.”

They all stopped to smile when someone jogged past them.

As soon as the person was out of sight, Roderick frowned.

“I don’t know. This is probably going to be really-uh… Ian? What’s that on your head?” he asked. Everyone turned to Ian to find that there was a blue party hat on his head. Savagely, Ian knocked it off his head and stomped on it.

“What the freak is-.”

They all stopped when they heard deep laughter coming from up in a nearby tree. They looked up to see Shawah just chilling there, his blue wispy hair floating around in the leaves.

“So I see you found little Devin.” the genie smirked, lying across a tree branch with this arms behind his head. If he had had legs and feet, Ian would’ve imagined them crossed lazily. “I must say-I hadn’t seen that sign ritual before-it caught me by surprise.”

“Oh I’m going to wipe that smug look off your face somehow…” Jordyn growled, her hands closing into fists. “We’re on to you!” The genie snickered.

“Well good luck. I doubt little Devin will comply though.”

The group then stood there fuming as Shawah laughed and disappeared.

“I really hate him.” Ian said bluntly. Jordyn nodded.

“For once, I think we can agree on something.”

A little bit less gung ho than before, the five of them walked up to the door, and Roderick hesitantly knocked. After a moment, a little boy with dark hair opened the door.

“Hey! I remember you guys!” he exclaimed happily. “Do you need to talk to my Mom and Dad?”

“Well, uh… actually we’re here to talk to you.” Roderick said slowly. “Can we uh… come in?”

“Sure!”

With that, the little boy gestured for them to come in without another thought.

“Well good thing we’re not serial killers or anything…” Ian mumbled as they walked in.

The house smelled like chocolate chip cookies, and looked impeccably clean, except for a spot in the living room that was covered in legos.

“Oh we have guests!!” Devin’s mom exclaimed, coming in with a tray of cookies. “Have a seat! Does anyone want any milk?”

The group shuffled a bunch of no thank yous and then sat down in the living room awkwardly trying to figure out how to bring this up. Devin stuck a cookie in his mouth and then plopped back down into his legos.

“So what did you want to talk to me about?” he asked with his mouth full. The boy’s guests shifted uncomfortably.

“Um… So… you seem pretty happy huh?” Brian started. “Were things… always this happy?”

The boy’s smile faltered a bit, but he kept it on his face nonetheless.

“Yep. It’s always been this way.” the boy said obstinately.

“So… what do you like to do?” Brian asked.

As the boy started to ramble off on things he liked to do, Ian suddenly noticed something out of the corner of his eye. He could see the kitchen from where he was sitting, and on the fridge were several different drawings that looked like the kid had drawn them. Without saying anything, Ian got up and walked over to it.

“Did you draw these?” he asked, looking over the pictures.

“Yeah I did!” the boy said with a big grin.

Ian picked a drawing off of the fridge and held it up.

“They why was this one torn up and taped back together?” he asked. It looked to be a drawing of the boy and his parents.

“I just got mad one day.” the boy said slowly. Ian gave a small frown, which caused the boy to lose his smile completely.

“You guys aren’t like everyone else here are you?” he asked. “You don’t smile all the time.”

“Well, I was for a few days.” Ian told him, putting the picture back on the fridge. “It was awful. I may have been smiling on the outside, but I wasn’t very happy on the inside.”

With this new piece of news, the boy’s face fell.

“R-really?”

Ian nodded.

“Devin? Do you know someone named Shahwah?” Joey asked gently. “Did he grant you a wish?”

Devin turned and stared at her.

“He granted me a wish too.” Roderick added. “And at first it was great, but it turned out pretty bad in the end.”

The boy’s face darkened, his hands clenching into fists.

“Why are you telling me this?” he growled, the lights growing dimmer.

“Because you are the only one who can get this town back to normal. You may just want everyone to be happy, but you’re actually hurting them.” Jordyn tried to explain.

“I don’t WANT everything to go back to normal!!” Devin suddenly screamed, several lightbulbs popping. Devin’s parents suddenly came out of the other room to stand beside him, their eyes wide and their smiles unnatural. The lights started to go in and out, and there seemed to be some sort of darkness surrounding the little boy.

“You are making our son very upset.” the mother smiled, cocking her head.

“Don’t try to tear our family apart.” the father said. Ian backed out of the kitchen and back towards his comrades as they all started to realize that they were probably in some deep crap right about now.

“Get away from us!!” Devin yelled. The five of them suddenly heard a girlish laugh from somewhere, and then several dark figures appeared in the room.

“I think it’s time to go!!” Joey exclaimed, heading for the door. Anguished screams filled the air, causing them all to jump and run to the door.

As soon as they were all out the door, they were met with an extremely chilling sight.

All the neighbors were outside, standing their eeirly with their creepy smiles.

“Oh man. We are in some really deep crap now…” Brian said fearfully as they all tried to don smiles.

“Heh heh-look! We are happy! Nothing wrong here!” Roderick said half heartedly as they shuffled over to Brian’s van. The neighbors started to slowly walk towards them.

“You’re not going to take away our happiness are you?” a woman holding a dog asked.

The five of them fought the urge to run, and then finally got in the van and breathed a sigh of relief. They all jumped when they heard a deep bass laugh in the middle of the van with them.

“You’re in trouble now!” Shahwah snickered, hovering in the middle of them all. “Enjoy your party!”

Then he disappeared as they all were suddenly wearing the same blue party hats.

Ian, Jordyn, and Joey immediately went to tear there’s up again, when Brian desperately put his hand up.

“Wait! Keep your party hats!” he told them suddenly.

“Heck no!” Ian retorted, reaching up to take it off. Brian grabbed his wrist to stop him.

“Keep. Your. Party. Hat.” Brian said through his teeth, completely serious. “You can take it off, but just give them to me. I’ll explain back at the house.”

The others looked at him curiously and then slowly took off the genie’s party hats.

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