Chapter 23: Three Truths
Joey stood in front of the high school gymnasium by herself, feeling a bit nervous.
She could do this.
So with a deep breath, she opened the door and into the dark gym.
A little light shone through some windows up above the bleachers, but not much.
However, there was some light coming from the pink flames of Elizabeth. Devin was sitting in a circle of candles illuminated by the same pink flame, his parents standing up behind him with their large smiles. Dark figures of people filled the gymnasium, watching the people in the middle. Underneath a familiar ritual symbol on the wall, was Elizabeth, with five people being held up by pink flaming whips that for some reason weren’t burning their victims.
It was her friends.
And they were all donning those creepy smiles.
“Ah. So you actually came…” Elizabeth sneered, putting her hands on her hips and cocking her head.
“Elizabeth-don’t tell me you actually told her where we were?” Shahwa asked, appearing beside the Imaginary Friend.
“We can take her!” the small spirit retorted, her pink flames getting hotter. Shahwa raised a brow and glanced over to Joey a bit warily.
“I’ll tell you what Shahwah. I’ll make a deal with you.” Joey said calmly despite her fast beating heart. “If you reverse what you did to Serenity Hill and leave the town, I won’t cast you back into the spirit dimension.”
At this, Elizabeth started to laugh shrilly.
“Really? As if he’d actually go for that! Right Shahwah?”
The genie said nothing, and instead stared at Joey.
“Deal.” he said, and then he dissipated in a puff of smoke.
Elizabeth screamed in response as the whole place shook. One by one, the dark figures in the gym disappeared. Devin’s parents fell to the ground as well as the five investigators being held up by Elizabeth’s whips. Thunder immediately rumbled, and rain started to pound on the tin roof. After all, the weather had also been forced to smile.
“SHAHWAH!! YOU COWARD!!!” the spirit screamed.
“Wha-what is going on?” Devin’s father asked, sitting up and looking confused. Joey glanced over to the others on the floor.
“My face hurts…” Brian groaned.
Elizabeth screamed again, shattering the windows and blowing out the candles that had been lit. Everyone covered the ears and cowered.
Except for Joey.
“J-Joey! You came back!” Roderick exclaimed in relief.
Joey looked over at them solemnly and then turned to the Imaginary Friend.
“You told me to come Elizabeth. So here I am. Are you ready to go back home?”
“Are-are you prepared to-to die?” the spirit said pitifully, backing up a little bit. Joey started to walk towards her.
“Those people over there are my only friends. Except for Cameron. I don’t really care for him. That’s one truth.”
Elizabeth screamed in rage and lifted her hands, bringing the broken glass up into the air. Joey reached into her pocket and threw sand into the spirit’s face, causing the glass to fall back down as Elizabeth hissed. Her flames started to hiss.
“Second truth: I sometimes hate myself. I almost killed myself when I was fifteen.”
With that, she threw more sand into the spirit’s face as she came even closer, backing her up against the wall. Elizabeth put her arms up in defense, her flame faltering, hissing in anger.
“What is she doing?” Jordyn whispered. Ian stared at Joey in awe.
“She’s going to cast Elizabeth out of this dimension. Using the truth method that’s written in her journal.”
Elizabeth weakly tried to pick up a flaming whip as defense, but Joey dodged it.
“I will not go back!!” the spirit said desperately, flicking her whip. Joey grabbed it.
“Truth number three:” Joey said darkly, looming over the spirit. “I was responsible for the deaths of twelve people.”
Elizabeth’s fiery hair blew out and she huddled there fearfully.
“Please don’t send me back-please-.”
Joey pulled out a knife and stabbed it into the wall where the diagram had been drawn in what was probably ash. Then she stepped back as the knife was swallowed by the wall. Elizabeth screamed as she started to be sucked in after the knife, the trails of her dress going in first. The spirit clawed at the floor, trying to stay in this world.
“JOSEPHIIIIIINE!!!!” she screamed as she was sucked into the spirit dimension. After this was done, the diagram on the wall burst into pink flames and burned away, leaving just a few smudges.
The whole gymnasium was now completely silent.
“Are you guys ok?” Joey finally asked without looking over to the people picking themselves off the floor. Despite winning the day, she still felt a little terrified. She had told three truths that she had never told anyone before, and she was worried that now her only friends were going to abandon her because of this.
“Y-yeah…” Brian stuttered, brushing himself off. “That was pretty freaking sweet-not going to lie.”
“Yeah-.” Roderick agreed. “Did you see how she grabbed that whip? That was insane!!”
“That was pretty cool.” Ian smiled.
“Are you guys missing the fact that she just said she basically killed twelve people?!” Cameron almost shouted. “She’s obviously crazy!!”
“Yeah, and she just saved our butts.” Jordyn told him, aggravated.
“What’s the difference?”
“Well the difference is we actually like her and we don’t like you.” she said bluntly.
Joey finally looked up at all of them. Brian and Roderick were still talking animatedly about everything that had just happened, Ian was observing everything curiously, and Jordyn was now arguing with Cameron. Then, she turned her attention to Devin.
Devin was with his parents, who for the first time, had grave looks on their faces. He was talking to them and crying, and then she watched as the two of them gave him a hug. It was at that point that she knew that he would be alright-even if he didn’t get everything he wanted.
“Hey uh-Joey?” Ian asked, shifting his glasses and coming up to talk to her. “Um. Thanks. I’d say I can consider you a friend now.”
At that, he awkwardly stuck out his hand. Joey gave him a small smile and shook it.
As they were shaking hands, Cameron stormed off and Roderick, Brian and Jordyn came up to her as well.
“You used to have an Imaginary Friend-didn’t you?” Ian asked. Joey sighed.
“Ok. You don’t have to say anything else about it if you don’t want to.” Roderick told her with a kind smile.
“Yeah. We’re just glad to have you back.” Jordyn said, giving her genuine smile, which was rare for her.
“Can we go get pizza now?” Brian asked.