Chapter 5: Abandoned Memories
“A genie? Are you serious?!” Brian gawked as they looked through Joey’s journals.
“Well, that’s just what I call it.” Joey explained, flipping through some pages. It’s not like an actual genie. I just kind of come up with my own names for things since it’s not like there’s an actual person out there who’s named all the different spirits you can find. So I decided to call this type of spirit a “genie”. I guess if you want to be entirely accurate, it’s a wish granting spirit. Or genie spirit.”
“So… what does it do?” Roderick asked. “Grant wishes?”
“Kind of. It basically tries to find what your biggest desires or regrets are and change them. For the person who has their wish granted, it’s pretty great-for a time. For everyone else affected by it however…”
“Not so great?”
“Then wait a second…” Roderick said suspiciously, looking over at his college buddy Brian. “Did you still want to get back with Katie?!”
Brian’s face turned red.
“Well… uh… not… really… Ok maybe-but I know she’s bad news man! I would never get back with her!”
“And that’s what poofed the girl.” Joey told them, looking through her notes. “He rejected the wish.”
“So you think all of these… happy people were because of this genie thing?” Roderick questioned.
“I mean think about it-someone just wishes that everyone was happy. Doesn’t that sound like this town?”
“Kind of. But I doubt they really are happy…”
The three of them were silent for a moment as they leaned against Joey’s old clunker of a car that she had gotten for cheap-probably because it had been rotting in someone’s overgrown yard in Bishop for who knows how long.
“Do you think Ian and Jordyn really know what’s going on?” Roderick asked quietly. “Is it still them?”
“I don’t know Roderick…”
“So what do we do now?” Brian asked, changing the subject. With that, Joey brought out a little notepad and a pen.
“There are a few things we need to figure out now. First, we need to find the wish granter or genie. Second, we need to find patient zero-the one who wanted everyone to be happy in the first place. We need to find them and find out why they wanted this and get them to change their mind. Third, find out why this type of spirit is doing this. I’ve never fully been able to figure out by myself why they do this, but I know it’s not just to help people. Fourth, we need to figure out what the genie did to everyone so we can reverse it fully.”
The two men standing with her took a moment to think about this.
“How in the world are we going to do all that?” Brian blurted skeptically.
Roderick and Joey shrugged.
Roderick was sinking in cold black goop, reaching out for anyone to help him. He could feel himself coughing up the stuff, unable to breathe… He looked up to see the figure of his brother standing over him, his face covered in shadow.
“I-Ian… Please… h-help me…” Roderick gurgled, tears streaming down his face. Ian’s face came out of the shadows to reveal a large smile.
“Why aren’t you happy Roderick? Be happy.”
Roderick jolted awake, breaking out in a cold sweat.
After a moment of panicked, heavy breathing, he realized that he was just sleeping on the floor in Jordyn’s living room, listening to his brother snore softly from the couch. He had never really revealed to Ian that he had been having nightmares, but he knew his older brother wasn’t stupid. He was sure Ian knew.
Still feeling a little bit shaky, Roderick picked the covers off of himself and crept quietly into the kitchen, hoping a glass of water might help calm him down. With a sigh, he poured himself a drink and sat down at the table, wishing things were different. Wishing he could just get over the whole spirit parasite thing.
His hands were still shaking.
Angrily, he went to stand up, but his elbow knocked into the glass, sending it flying off the table. He quickly tried to grab it, but then suddenly froze.
The glass was now frozen in midair.
Roderick stared, and then slowly picked it out of the air and set it down on the table. As he did this, the colors of the kitchen suddenly faded away, and he was standing in a grayscale world, where the only thing that wasn’t monochromatic was himself.
He glanced around the room, feeling tense. He noticed that the clock on the wall had stopped. Had time itself stopped? Is that why his glass had suddenly frozen in midair?
“Roderick Vendeleer…” a deep voice echoed.
Roderick jumped, the hairs on the back of his neck standing up.
“W-Who’s there?” he demanded, his hands clenching into fists.
“You want so badly to forget… Don’t you?”
Roderick turned to see two bright glowing blue eyes peering at him from the shadows. His chest tightened as the form of a large man appeared out of the wall. He had black and glowing blue swirls all over him, and his large blue beard and long hair came off in wisps as if they were clouds attached to his head and face.
“My name is Shahwa.” the wispy man said, circling Roderick. Roderick drew in sharply, tensing up, and clenching his hands into fists. The spirit seemed to notice this.
“I am not here to cause you pain Roderick. I am here to help you.”
“Like you did with my brother?”
“He’s happy now.”
“Is he really?”
The spirit took a moment to stare at Roderick with those piercing, glowing blue eyes, cocking his head. Roderick clenched his teeth, trying to calm himself down and stop himself from shaking. His heartbeat was going at a million miles an hour, and he tried to slow down his breathing, which was getting shallower and shallower.
“You don’t realize how much that parasite affected you… do you?”
“I can take it all away you know.” the spirit offered. Roderick gave a bitter laugh.
“And why would you do that?”
“Does that really matter?”
Roderick twitched, trying to figure out what to do. Two parts within himself were battling with each other. It would be nice to be able to forget… and move on… But what would that do to him? What would the consequences be? Would they be worse? Would he be able to deal with those better?
He weighed his options, thinking, as the spirit waited patiently.
If he could just move on…
Maybe he would be able to better solve this mystery…
And the consequences would possibly be easier to deal with than what he was already having to go through.
“So… You can help me… forget?” he asked slowly. “What’s the catch to this going to be?”
“Do you really care about that?”
Roderick paused, staring at the spirit floating in front of him.
“Good. So shall we begin?”
Roderick took a moment to take a deep breath, unclenching his fists.
“Yes. Help me forget.”