Earthbound: A Hero Chosen (book 1)

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PSY 19: Apples & Oranges



“Hello?” I called as I knocked on the door as fast as I could.

No answer came, but I could hear that howling dog getting closer. I wasn’t up for another fight, especially with an armed and crazy police officer.

“Is anyone home?” I cried, pounding now.

Finally the door creaked open just a crack—it hadn’t been shut all the way. I quickly ducked inside the room and shut the door behind me. I found myself in a dark room, with a workbench in a far corner and a dim lamp shined onto the desk. A figure sat in the chair of the desk and leaned over; he was either asleep, or dead. But it didn’t look like he was moving at all, so he may have been dead.

I took a step forward and something small darted past my feet with a loud squeak. I pulled my foot back and watched the small rat scurry about and run into a large pile of junk in the center of the room.

“Who’s there!?” the guy at the desk cried, sitting up.

I cried out and nearly ran out the door, but I heard barking outside, which deterred that action.

“I-I’m Ness!” I cried, “Are you a zombie!?”

“Um… no?” the guy turned around in his chair and peered through me, flicking a light switch on the wall.

When the overhead light came on I saw just how much of a mess the room truly was. It was hideous. Trash was in every corner and a bookshelf to the side was filled with empty cans of baked beans.

The guy was overweight, but looked about my age—he really needed a diet though because his chair groaned in protest as he stood up.

“Place is… nice,” I muttered.

“Well, I have sort of neglected doing my housework,” the kid said and his voice trailed off.

“Quite an understatement,” I said as I picked up my foot and something was sticking to the bottom.

“I know it’s a bit of a pig sty, but anyway… I’m Apple Kid,” he said, and wiped a bit of crumbs off of his chin.

“I had hoped so,” I said, “Given this is his house and all.”

As he stood up a powerful odor wafted through the room. I grabbed my t-shirt and put it up over my nose.

“I haven’t taken a bath in quite a while,” he explained, “so I may be kind of stinky.”

“Yet another understatement,” I said with my muffled voice.

“By the way, I’m starving,” Apple Kid said, “Do you have something to eat?”

I stared at him with a raised eyebrow. It didn’t seem as if he actually NEEDED to be eating something else—or ever again for that matter.

He continued, “If you do, can I have some?”

“I don’t really have anything,” I said.

He looked legitimately disappointed.

“Well, go ahead and make yourself comfortable anyway,” he said, “You can flop down anywhere.”

I looked around at the mess and decided it wasn’t a good idea to flop down anywhere. The smell was really bad and I wanted to just leave, but I seriously needed his help! I needed something to take out a giant iron statue.

“I’ll get you something,” I said.

“Please do!” he said, “I’m so hungry and I need to work on some things.”

With that said and done, I walked to the door and listened. There was no sound of howling or barking so the coast was clear. I stepped out into the sun and looked around. No sign of any crazies—it was safe for the moment, so I rushed across town to Burglin Park. Several carts were selling food—bananas, eggs, and baked goods. I spotted a cart with a huge chocolate chip cookie and I walked over and bought it. The cookie cost seven bucks, but it was worth it if I could get Apple Kid’s help, and at least it wasn’t $200! Thinking of Orange Kid made my blood boil.

When I finally made it back to Apple Kid’s house I just walked in.

“Who’s there!?” Apple Kid shrieked from his desk and sat straight up again.

“It’s me again,” I said, “Ness.”

“Oh!” he said, spinning around on his chair, “What can you give me?”

“How about a cookie?” I asked, holding up the wrapped up gigantic chocolate chip cookie.

“Thanks,” he said as he took it from me and started taking huge bites, “You seem very nice. Uh, I wonder if...”

I did a deep sigh—Of course I couldn’t get away without having to pay the guy.

“Maybe you would like to invest some money in my inventions?” he asked.

And with that I was out the door again, to the ATM and withdrawing almost all of my remaining cash. When I got back to Apple Kid’s house, he was still licking his fingers clean of left over chocolate from the cookie.

“Yes, I’ll help,” I sighed.

“Yes! Yes! Yes!” he cried, pumping his fists, “Oh. Excuse me. I mean thank you!”

“Here!” I said, smacking $200 big ones down into his sweaty and greasy palm.

“Thank you,” he said, “I won’t let you down.”

Moments later he was at his junk pile pulling out pieces of who knows what and measuring them against each other.

“I could really use something to get rid of iron Pencil statues,” I said.

“Right, right!” Apple Kid quickly cut me off.

That cookie—or maybe the $200 had got him moving. Thank goodness. Guessing it would take awhile I went back to the door, but the rat was standing on his its hind legs and staring at me with its beady red eyes.

Jake A. Strife

Edited: 15.10.2019

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