Chapter 20: Devin's Dark House
“The question I have is this: if the happiness thing is spreading, then why were we the only ones back in that Denny’s that wasn’t affected?” Roderick asked, sucking on a juice box for breakfast. Ian hadn’t thought about that, but now it really concerned him.
“Do you think that-they’re just toying with us then?”
“I don’t know.”
Ian looked over Joey’s notes again, leaning against the outside of the car as Roderick took another look at the charred house.
“Ok. So I think our best bet for getting rid of this Imaginary Friend is going to be the first option, which means that we need to find Devin and try to talk some sense into him.” he told his younger brother.
“Really? You really think that’s the easiest?”
“Well, do you know how to open a portal to the spirit dimension?”
“... Good point.”
After some discussion on where they might find the boy, they decided to start with the most obvious-his house. Even though that seemed a little dangerous, it seemed like the best option.
They were slightly dismayed to find Brian’s empty van parked on the same street.
“What happens if Elizabeth shows up or something?” Roderick asked, feeling nervous as they walked up to Devin’s door.
“I guess… improvise? Remember what we read in the journal?”
This did not make Roderick feel any better.
The two brothers felt even more uneasy as they come up to the door only to find it ajar.
“Aw man-this is like-horror movie 101…” Roderick muttered, taking a step back. “I don’t want to go in there! I mean-last time I went into a creepy house…”
Ian turned around to give his brother a sympathetic look.
“Look man-I know you’re scared. You don’t have to go inside if you don’t want to, but I need to go in and find the others so we can fix this town.”
Roderick wrung his hands and then took a deep breath.
“I’m good. Let’s go in.”
Ian sighed, knowing that his brother was lying, but leading the way anyway into the dark house.
It was eerily silent, and still kind of smelled like chocolate chip cookies. Ian stepped on something and looked down to see that it was a lego. Where was Devin in all this? Why was it so quiet?
Suddenly, the two brothers stiffened as they heard what sounded like laughter from a little girl. The door slammed shut behind them, and Ian found himself grateful for the soft sunlight coming in through the windows. The two of them stood back to back, their hands clenched into fists.
“What now?” Roderick whispered. Ian didn’t know what to say.
“So who are you two?” the voice of a little girl asked. “Why are you here? And how do you know Josephine Washburn?”
Roderick and Ian exchanged glances, and silently agreed to try to get as much information out of this spirit as possible.
“First tell us where Devin is.” Ian demanded. The spirit simply laughed.
“Oh-he’s just having fun with your friends. Now answer my questions…”
The lights that were off now buzzed on and flickered above them. The tv in the living room flicked on and stayed on a channel that was only static.
“Our names are Roderick and Ian Vendeleer, and we met Joey in a town called Pinnacle Gulch.” Roderick said steadily, trying to keep his hands from shaking.
“Wait… Why does that town sound familiar…?”
The two brothers slowly looked over to the hallway to see a pink flame attached to the head of the small dark figure of a girl. The girl lifted her face to show her glowing eyes and wide smile.
“Oh I remember now… You two were responsible for the whole Kishnu incident-weren’t you? He’s told me all about you…”
Roderick felt his mouth go dry, and he felt himself beginning to falter. Suddenly, Ian lifted his phone to the spirit, a determined look on his face as a song started to play.
It’s the… eye of the tiger it’s the thrill of the fight!
The flames on the spirit started to die a little, and she shrank back for a moment, but then smiled again, covering her hands in pink flames.
“You know, Kishnu isn’t very happy with how you two wronged him…” the girl giggled. The tv in the living room they were standing in switched channels, and suddenly, a warped version of a song the two brothers hadn’t heard in several months.
It was Chopin’s waltz in A minor.
Ian dropped his phone in shock as the tv started blasting it, and Roderick felt like he couldn’t breathe for a moment. Ian turned as if to say something to his brother in a panic, when suddenly, a whip covered in pink flames wrapped around him and pulled him to the ground.
“RODERICK!!!” Ian screamed as he was dragged down the hall.
Roderick began to panic, the Chopin waltz playing in the background. He had no idea what to do-or how to handle this-. So he ran into the bathroom, locked the door behind him, and did the only thing he could think of.
He called Joey.
“Come on Joey-pick up-pick up-.”
“Hello. You have reached the phone of Joey Washburn. Leave a message please.”
Roderick wanted to cry as the doorknob started to jiggle.
“J-Joey-please-we-we need your help-.” Roderick started desperately. “I don’t know where the others are and-and Elizabeth-.”
He could still hear the waltz through the walls. Pink flames started to come out from under the door. Roderick felt a tear roll down his cheek.
“She-she burnt the house down-she-she took Ian-I don’t know where Brian is-.”
The entire door burst into flames.
“Joey-Joey please-please-.” he said helplessly, tears streaming down his face as the flame ate through the door. The door disintegrated in the fire, and there was Elizabeth, smiling at him. Behind him, was the blue form of Shahwa, and what looked to be the smiling faces of Devin’s parents standing with them behind the pink flames.
Roderick backed up in horror and tripped over the edge of the bathtub and tangled himself in the shower curtain. He ended up hitting his head hard on the porcelain. His vision became fuzzy, and he groaned, feeling the back of his head to feel that it was now wet and sticky with blood. Drunkenly, he tried to get up only to be restricted by the shower curtain.
His phone lay on the floor next to the toilet, no answer from the person he was trying to call. Elizabeth hovered over him.
“Joey…” he slurred.
Then he closed his eyes and lost consciousness...