Chapter 8: Joey's Anger
Joey ended up leading them to the motel she was staying at, since she didn’t feel like sleeping in a van like Brian, and she didn’t feel comfortable sleeping in Jordyn’s house with paranormal stuff going on. When they got to her room, she immediately pulled up one of the maroon arm chairs and demanded that Roderick sit in it.
“Ok… So… are we doing an intervention or something?” he joked as Joey looked at him sternly, her arms folded. Brian cautiously sat down on the desk against the wall.
“You’re not going to like this Roderick. But you’re going to have to reject the spirit’s wish.”
“But-how do I do that?”
“I don’t think the spirit actually took your memories away. I think he just set up a block. So we’re going to need to go through the painful parts.”
Roderick shifted a bit uncomfortably in his seat.
“Uh… and what does that mean exactly?”
From the desk, Brian swallowed a bit, fidgeting with an ashtray as Joey took a deep breath.
“Roderick, first of all, you were taken by a spirit parasite named Kishnu who was controlling some ghost girls. We were exploring a house and you were talking to a little ghost girl named Carolyn.”
Roderick did not seem to notice as a tear ran down his cheek.
“I don’t remember that.”
“Yes you do.” Joey said authoritatively. “You also remember that Kishnu took over your body and started to feed on you as his host.”
Roderick pursed his lips together, gripping the arms of the chair tightly.
“I don’t remember that either.”
Joey started to feel something inside her that she hadn’t felt in a long time. She wasn’t even entirely sure why she was starting to feel this way, but she could feel herself getting a little hot as her hands clenched into fists. She attempted to take a deep breath.
She couldn’t get angry right now.
“Roderick, this isn’t going to work if you don’t accept it. If you keep pushing it away, then you are letting the genie win. You are accepting the wish. You need to reject it. Accept that these things actually happened to you.”
“No.” he suddenly said obstinately, gritting his teeth.
“Roderick-you have to!”
He suddenly went to stand up, but Joey pushed him back down.
“Uh… Joey-are you sure this is-?” Brian started a bit hesitantly.
“Yes Brian!! He can’t pretend it didn’t happen!” Joey said in an uncharacteristically raised voice. Brian shrank back, hiding behind the ashtray he had been messing with this whole time.
“Yes ma’am!” he squeaked. She turned back to Roderick, who for some reason looked a little scared.
“Joey-please-let’s-let’s just go get some pizza and-.”
“Please don’t make me remember Joey.”
Joey felt her anger lessen a little as tears started to fall down his face.
“I-I don’t exactly remember what happened, but-but I remember now how I felt when I did. It was awful. I don’t want to feel like that again.” At this, Joey sighed.
“But Roderick, how can you heal if you don’t hurt first?”
Roderick had no response to this.
“The spirit parasite almost made you kill your brother Ian, but you fought back.”
At this, Roderick gasped and covered his ears and closed his eyes.
“No!! That-that didn’t happen!”
“Yes it did Roderick! Listen to me!”
“It almost killed you Roderick!! But you beat it! Ian let it take him instead, and together you cast it out of this dimension!”
Roderick hunched over with a cry of pain, beginning to shake.
“Accept it Roderick! Accept it!”
Joey suddenly realized that she was yelling. She looked behind her to see that Brian had his feet up on the desk, hiding behind the lamp, his face white. She turned back to Roderick, who was now sobbing, his face in his hands.
“Oh my gosh… Roderick… I’m… I’m so sorry…” she said, stumbling back a bit.
The three of them sat in silence for a moment, the only sound that of Roderick’s quiet weeping. Joey sat down on the bed, feeling bitter with herself for losing her composure after so many years of keeping it.
“Roderick… I just… I want to help you get better. I-I know what it’s like to have something horrible happen to you. And-and no one was there to help me come to terms with that. But over the years I realized that trying to ignore it just makes things worse. You don’t have to be happy all the time. In fact-it’s ok if you want to feel something else for a while. You just-you need to…”
Roderick wiped some of his tears away, a frown still on his face. Some things were slowly starting to come back to him. He could now remember meeting Jordyn as the ghost girl appeared, and Karen disappearing underneath black goop, and even meeting Joey for the first time. He could remember getting pizza with all of them, and the snack run he had done with Brian when they had figured out the first clue with Chopin’s Waltz in A minor…
But there was still a block when it came to the spirit parasite itself.
He didn’t want to admit it, but he was afraid.
Afraid of how it would be when those memories came back.
Afraid of what he might see, or how he would be able to function.
Roderick looked up to see that Brian was now sitting backwards in the swivel chair in front of the desk. Awkwardly, he jerkily rolled over to him.
“I might not know what it was like to be… taken over by a spirit parasite, but I’m still your best friend. You don’t have to go through this alone. Once you remember… you-you don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to. And-if you need a distraction we can always play video games. Deal?”
Roderick took a deep breath.
He closed his eyes.
Deep down, he knew he shouldn’t forget.
He could feel the fear creeping up as he remembered the parasite’s blank white eyes…
The memory of not being able to breathe…
Of choking on that thick black goop…
Brian and Joey watched as he slowly opened his eyes, the frown remaining on his face.
“So… do… you…” Brian started hesitantly.
“Yes. I remember.” Roderick replied quietly.
There was an awkward silence.
“So… do you want to… play Mario or something? My super nintendo is in my van.”
“Not right now Brian… I actually… just want to sleep. I’m really tired.” he said softly, rubbing his eye with the palm of his hand.
“Well, I guess it is getting pretty late…” Joey commented, noticing that it was dark out by now. “Go get some rest. And-Roderick-I’m-I’m sorry again about before…”
“And… I know you don’t want to hear this dude, but don’t forget that when we leave, we need to pretend to be happy-you know-cause of the whole genie thing.”
Roderick sighed, and then braced himself to put on a happy face.