The Vendeleer Brothers Book 2: Serenity Hill

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Chapter 7: The Sketchbook

“Now remember-if you don’t want to be affected by what the genie has done, you have to pretend to be happy all of the time.” Joey cautioned as the three of them ventured down main street with large smiles.

“No problem for me!” Roderick exclaimed, a twinkle in his eye. Joey and Brian exchanged subtle glances.

“This is getting weird… Even for me…” Brian mumbled.

“What are you talking about? All of this stuff was weird to you in the first place.” Joey scoffed.

“Oh yeah…”

The three of them smiled and waved as the milkman drove by.

“Do they still have milkmen anymore?” Roderick wondered out loud.

“I don’t know… But I think we are going to really need to get some things that help us with happiness…” Joey said, sounding a little worried as a woman across the street kept staring at them with her creepy smile and wide eyes.

Joey did her best to give her a smile back, and then turned to see something that made her genuinely smile.

“A bookstore. Perfect.” she said pleasantly in her standard dreamy voice. “That’ll do the trick.” Brian groaned.

“Ugh… Not reading… Reading’s for nerds…”

“You are a nerd Brian.” Roderick laughed.

“But not a reading nerd…”

The three of them walked into the bookstore.

The thing they noticed right away was the man at the counter. He seemed to be a rather frail looking person with thin glasses and a balding head. Timidly, the man gave them what seemed to be a strained smile.

“Hello-and welcome to second hand books! May I help you with anything?” he asked in a shaky voice.

The three newcomers stood there for a second, staring at him. The man’s smile slowly disappeared.

“You… you aren’t like the others… are you?” he asked.

“Like the creepy smiling people? Nope.” Roderick replied. The man gave a sigh of relief, rubbing the muscles in his face.

“Thank goodness… My face gets so sore from trying to smile all day…”

“No kidding.”

The man stared at them with his large owl-like eyes for a moment.

“So then who are you?”

“We’re here to investigate what’s going on in this town.” Joey told him steadily.

“Do you know what’s happening?”

“We think we have some idea.”

The man straightened his amethyst bolo tie and smoothed out the wrinkles on his blue plaid shirt.

“Well it’s nice to talk to someone normal for a change…” he told them in his slow timid voice. “My name is Everett Simpkin. I own this book store.”

“Nice to meet you Everett! I’m Roderick, This is Brian, and this is Joey.”

The man nodded in response.

“I’m very pleased to make your acquaintance.” he said with a rather small smile.

“So Everett, how long has this been going on?” Joey asked, getting straight down to business. The man frowned.

“A couple of months… I think. I’m not really much of a people person, so I didn’t really notice it at first… But I usually have my regular customers that come in, and then suddenly stopped coming. Instead, I was suddenly faced with people I know hate to read. For instance-Sally-the woman who is running the library right now, was the martial arts teacher here in town. And Don-I haven’t seen him in ages. He was a regular here. I heard he’s a coach now or something? That’s not like him at all.”

The three newcomers took a moment to take in this new information.

“Hmmm. Well it sounds to me that people have suddenly been put into the stereotypical roles society sometimes tries to put them in. That would explain why Jordyn suddenly wants to be a school teacher.” Joey thought out loud.

“Yeah and-.” Brian started.

They suddenly stopped talking as someone came into the store wearing one of the creepy smiles. Immediately, Everett donned a smile himself.

“We’ll take a moment to look around.” Roderick said quickly. With that, the three of them separated into the store.

It seemed to be an older store-one that had the lovely musty smell that books carried. Joey ran her fingers along some of the spines, looking for anything that interested her. To her excitement, she found a bargain bin and started to rummage through it. After tossing aside some of the crummy paperback romance novels she loathed, she found something extremely interesting. It looked like an old sketchbook, the edges worn and torn, the leathery cover splattered with some dark liquid. Joey hoped the liquid was coffee, but had a feeling it was something else.

Slowly, she started to flip through it to find that it was full of diagrams and writing. Some of it was in languages she did not even recognize, and the diagrams were completely foreign to her. However, there were still parts written in english, and she suddenly stopped when she saw something she recognized.

A diagram of a certain ritual.

A certain ritual that a spirit parasite named Kishnu had tried to complete back in Pinnacle Gulch.

She had seen this diagram before, but a little bit different in a book that she had buried a long time ago. However, on this page, there was a warning and an explanation. It was then she also realized that the diagram was a bit different than she remembered.

The parasite ritual will tear open a hole if allowed to be completed.

Never let this happen.

Use this counter ritual in emergencies.

Note: If we ever get out, first place I’m going is McDonalds. I miss their fries.

Joey flipped through a couple more of the pages, intrigued.

“What ya got there Joey?”

Joey jumped and whirled around to find Roderick standing there, looking over her shoulder curiously.

“Oh. It’s you. I just found this weird journal or sketchbook or something. It has a counter ritual to the thing Kishnu was trying to do back in Pinnacle Gulch. I didn’t even know a counter ritual existed!”

Roderick seemed to freeze for a moment, his smile turning to a frown.

“R-ritual?”

Joey looked at him long and hard for a moment.

“Do you remember the ritual Roderick?” she asked softly.

Roderick twitched, and then straightened up, closing his eyes.

“N-nope! Still don’t remember everything!” he said, planting a smile on his face and turning away from her.

However, his eyes were still closed, so he ended up bumping into the bookshelf in front of him.

“Hmmm…” Joey hummed disapprovingly as Brian ran up to them.

“Guys! I guess this bookstore wasn’t a bust after all!! I just found the ultimate Pokedex guide for generations 1-4!!” he yelled excitedly.

“Woah! That’s awesome!” Roderick replied, almost as if the whole exchange a second ago hadn’t even happened. Joey stood up, still holding onto the sketchbook.

“Well, I think I’m going to get this. It might come in handy for later.” she told them, holding it up. “Oh! And this as well. You can never say no to a Ray Bradbury book. Oh! And there’s a collection of short stories here by Flannery O’Connor…”

The next few minutes were spent rather impatiently by Roderick and Brian as Joey ended up picking a few more books before they could finally check out and leave, promising to come back and give Everett updates on how their investigations were going.

“Ok. So what now?” Roderick asked, turning to Joey. Joey glanced at him.

“I’m sorry Roderick, but I don’t think you are really going to be much use to us if you can’t remember anything from Pinnacle Gulch. But luckily for us, I think I might have figured out how to fix that…”

Roderick and Brian looked at each other and shrugged.

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