Earthbound: A Hero Chosen (book 1)

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PSY 18: A Genius?



I trudged back to town making sure that I was on the look out for any more tiny UFOs, or any big ones too for that matter. Of course, it was difficult to keep my mind off of how far Gigyas’ reach had grown, and how powerful he had become. To control minor animals, such as dogs, crows and snakes was one thing, but I had a feeling his—or its hand was deep into the cult in Happy Happy Village. And to kidnap Paula? Yes, it was more than mere coincidence, Giygas was behind this as well. He wanted to get rid of the chosen girl before she could join up with me and the others! What about my fellow chosen? Were they in danger as well? Had he really identified the two others for what they were? Every moment was of the essence.

It wasn’t too long before I found the mushroom grove and the cave entrance where I had protected the poor forager girl from the UFO. I entered the cave with caution, my slingshot at the ready. It was lamentable that I no longer had a bat to use—I was much better with a strong swing than an accurate shot.

Inside the cave, the green vines had made their way all over the walls, ceiling and floor. They had spread unnaturally fast, and I had no doubt if I touched any I would be in trouble. So I sucked in a deep breath, let it out and sprinted. Yes, I ran as fast as my legs could carry me through the cave. I burst through the mid-section, and out the other side back into the daylight. The sun was still shining, but it was becoming late. I had only a few more hours of daylight—I needed to make it to Happy Happy Village before sleeping again if I could.

Past the bus station and the pizza parlor I went, all the way down to South Street which ran out of town to the supposedly haunted tunnels. It was with luck I spotted a billboard of a giant orange, and of course the sign read, ‘Orange Kid’.

“Can’t get any more obvious than that, can you?” I asked the empty air.

I turned the corner and walked down the street until I found the small house with the billboard sticking up into the air. As I stopped on the front door step I wondered what in the heck I should ask of this kid?

‘Excuse me, buddy,’ I could ask, ‘Do you have anything to eradicate a giant iron pencil statue?’

‘Oh, sure!’ he would answer, ‘Just let me go get it from the back room. If you hear me talking to the police, don’t worry. They aren’t coming to throw you in the nutty-bin!’

I needed a better plan. With a sigh I found myself reaching up and knocking on the door. A few moments passed in silence, and I waited longer—finally after half a minute I knocked harder.

“What do you want!?” came the scream of a weasily sounding kid.

“Um,” I muttered, then spoke up, “I’m a fan of your wonderful inventions! I wanted to meet you and see them first hand!”

“A fan!?” he called back, “Why didn’t you say so?”

Stomping came from inside the house and then a moment later the door was flung open and inside stood a geek if I ever saw one. He was tall and wiry, wearing an orange sweater vest and thick glasses, with blonde hair parted evenly down the middle.

“You don’t LOOK like a fan of mine,” Orange Kid muttered, “And you’re a boy—not a hot babe at all.”

“You didn’t get that from my voice?” I asked, shaking my head.

“To be honest you sound quite feminine,” he nodded and scratched his chin looking me up and down.

I did my best to ignore the insult.

“So yeah, um…” I started.

“Greetings,” he said at length, “I’m Orange Kid, the inventor. Have you heard of me?”

“Yeah,” I said, “Word’s gotten around town.”

“I’m quite embarrassed about my reputation, honestly.” He told me.

“Don’t be too embarrassed,” I said, “So anyway, you invent things?”

“Yes,” he smiled wide, “I have a lot of inventions in development, but I’m running short on cash.”

He had better not ask me for money.

“I’m basically a happy-go-lucky person so I’m not worried,” Orange Kid said but then paused, “You know, I’m working on this machine the would really help you in Peaceful Rest Valley.”

“How do you know about me and the valley?” I asked, shocked.

His smile became a wide grin, “I hope it’s ready soon… what? You’re actually willing to help finance the project?”

And there it was—he asked me for money.

I sighed, “You’re invention will help me?”

“Yes, of course! For I am the great Orange Kid!”

I pulled out my wallet and flipped it open, looking up at him with an eyebrow cocked.

“Oh goody!” he cheered, “Would it be okay to get $200 to buy materials?”

Both my eyebrows rose up.

“Did you just say $200!?”

“Yes,” Orange Kid replied, “It’s a very noble sacrifice, I assure you.”

I might have told him no; I just might have! But no—he had to use the word sacrifice! My mind instantly warped to Paula. I had never met the girl; I had no idea what she even looked like, but it didn’t matter. I felt a stronger connection to her than almost anyone I had ever known in my life. I couldn’t let her die. So much was at stake, I needed to cough up the $200.

“I’ll be right back,” I muttered and left, heading back toward the department store and the nearest ATM.

Jake A. Strife

Edited: 15.10.2019

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