Earthbound: A Hero Chosen (book 1)

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PSY 20: The Road to Happy



Thanks to Apple Kid I was off on the Road to Happy Happy Village, and I, myself, couldn’t be happier. The I flipped the Pencil Eraser in my hand and put it back into my backpack. Armed only with a slingshot, and impromptu bullets, I walked north along the river.

It was an hour or so later, after walking up an incline, that I finally spotted the rope bridge I had been oh-so-waiting for. I ran up that last stretch, and suddenly realized how tired I was. I hadn’t slept well since my journey began, days prior. I sighed and leaned against a huge rock, and stared at the river below. A waterfall was pouring down over a small cliff. The area where I had decided to take a rest was serene and just listening to the water rushing past; I wanted to take a nap.

“Hey buddy!” a voice came out of nowhere and I screeched like a little girl.

I spun, slingshot aimed and ready to fire when I found a man standing before me—none other than Mr. Journalist himself, complete with his scruffy blonde beard—which was growing longer every time I saw him. But WHY was I seeing him way out here in the middle of nowhere.

“You scared the heck out of me!” I said, still trying to catch my breath, “What are you doing out here!?”

“Well I offer a service!” he said, “Pictures taken instantly!”

“Of course,” I rolled my eyes, and leaned back against the rock.

“You’re here to offer me another one?” I asked, “Are you stalking me?”

“Yes, and no, my good friend—“

“We’re not good friends…” I muttered.

“Oh come on!” he argued, “I’m a photographic genius if I do say so myself! Okay c’mon! Get ready!”

“Yeah, yeah,” I said, still reclining. I stuck out my fingers in a victory sign and smiled, “Fuzzy Pickles!”

He snapped the picture and took it out of his old Polaroid camera. He shook the photo until it showed up and then handed it to me.

I nodded, as I looked down at it.

“What a great photograph!” he said.

“Say,” I said, looking up at him, “Do you have any advice for making my way through the valley?”

“Why would I? I’m not an adventurer!” he said, turning to leave.

“Of course…” I mumbled and started for the bridge, but he stopped and looked back over his shoulder.

“I would watch out for the trees.”

Then with that he turned and walked off towards Twoson.

“Watch out for the trees?” I asked the empty space where he had been.

What could that possibly mean? All that I could figure, was that maybe a there was poison sumac or something around. Or was it poison oak that grew on trees? I couldn’t remember. I guess I should have paid more attention in science class.

I armed put the photo away in my back, with the others and proceeded to the rope bridge. I was long and looked flimsy, but I couldn’t let that scare me. I had gone through too much to get to it. So I grabbed the rope handles on each side, and took my first step. Right away, the old wood swayed beneath my feet, and I gripped the ropes even tighter. It’s not that I couldn’t swim—but I couldn’t swim well. If I fell into the water below, I was likely done for.

I took my next step, and the bridge swayed again. I panicked and hugged the rope, and the bridge nearly threw me off.

“Calm down!” I whispered to myself.

I slowly released my grip and balanced out, holding both sides once again. With each careful step, I made my way further across.

“Come on,” I whispered, “Just a bit further.”

Of course that was a lie—I had barely gone four steps, and still had a dozen or more to go.

“This isn’t fair,” I whined, “Someone should have to do this for me!”

Finally I grew tired of my own complaining and fear. I narrowed my eyes and targeted the ground on the other side. I was going to make a break for it. I took a deep breath and counted.

“On three… one… two… two and a half—three!” I cried, and ran forward.

The bridge rocked insanely under my feet, and I could barely keep balance at all. Finally I was within distance, so I leaped. As I kicked off, the bridge turned nearly on its side and I slipped. I flew through the airs, my arms and legs splayed out. But to my great luck, for once, I landed spread eagle on the grassy other side.

“I’m never… doing… that… again,” I said in between breaths.

When I was able to breath clearly again, I rolled onto my knees and stood back up. I looked back at the bridge with a scowl.

“I hate you and the tree you came from!” I spit.

Of course the bridge didn’t answer.

I turned and walked off into the valley. There were many highs and many lows as I went. Up and down, in between rocks, over boulders, and under the occasional tree. I spotted several more of those annoying tiny UFOs, but I never got within range of them. They caused me to lose my bat, and I wanted all the revenge I could get, but I needed to focus on rescuing Paula.

As I made my way, I truly began to wonder if I’d ever find the tiny little village of Happy Happy. Would it just be out in the open for me to see? If Giygas was behind Paula’s kidnapping, and surely she was—he would know for certain one of the other three heroes would be coming to save her. So surely, it had to be a trap.

Jake A. Strife

Edited: 15.10.2019

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