Earthbound: A Hero Chosen (book 1)

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PSY 22: Village Blues




“Huh?” I mumbled as the man in the blue cultist robes came charging at me.

“Turn blue!” the man yelled and slashed the paintbrush through the air at me.

A blue splash of pain hit my shirt and without warning I just wanted to smile and let him assault me. It wasn’t his fault he was so rude, right? It was just the crazy cult. The crazy cult. The crazy cult!? I snapped out of whatever spell I had been under, and drew my slingshot.

“Hahaha!” he cried, “Happiness!”

The insane cultist slashed again and I dodged to the side. The married woman behind me was splashed with paint and at first she cried out.

“These were my brand new—“ but then it quickly turned to, “I’m so happy!”

 “Freak!” I snapped and fired a sling bullet.

The piece of ammunition flew true and hit the cultist in the eye.

“Yeow!” his shrill cry rocked the otherwise quiet and peaceful village.

“What’s going on?” The woman in the red jacket asked.

“You’re being tricked!” I told her and fired another shot, which hit the man in the head.

He fell backwards onto his behind and grabbed his head in pain.

“Happy Happy!” I heard someone say from around the side of the church-like building.

“More of them…” I muttered, and took off running straight across the village.

From the sides of buildings I heard more, “Happy Happy! Happy Happy!”

I spun around the side of a large tree and put my back to it. The ‘Happy’s were coming from everywhere.

When I glanced to the side I found a man in a green suit, staring around the tree as well. He was peeking and trying to hide it seemed. He looked at me and I nodded.

“Are you hiding from the Happy Happyists too?” I asked.

“I’m monitoring those who don’t pay at the food stand,” he said.

“Right,” I said, “Well if you see the blue guys, I went the other way!”

“Sure,” he said, “If they don’t pay.”

I cocked an eyebrow and sighed, “This guy was just as crazy it seemed.”

Peeking around the side of the tree I didn’t spot the Happyists, but I could still hear their chanting.

“Happy Happy!”

“Happy Happy!”

“Happy Happy!”

It was utterly creepy and causing chills to run up and down my arms—goosebumps popped up everywhere.

I snuck around the tree and glanced around again. By a house to the south of me I could see a few of the blue-hooded jerks walking around, looking for me. Across the way was a cliff side that helped form the valley village. A scruffy looking kid with raggedy clothes stood by the entrance to the cave. He was sniffing the air and peeking in.

“Everyone here is crazy,” I decided.

I snuck along the way and found a building with blue words painted onto the lighter blue wood paneling.

I looked at the sign and read it aloud, “All of our products are blessed. –Blue-Blue Drugstore.”

I heard a loud crack behind me, so I spun around aiming my slingshot. As I did the band snapped and smacked my hand. I cried out in shock, more so than pain.

A jumble of ‘Happy Happy’s came from nearby.

“Crap on a stick,” I hissed and opened the door to the store and popped inside.

The cool air washed over me immediately. I glanced around and inside the walls were a shade of light blue, but not the overwhelmingly dull blue of outside.

I ducked farther inside and hid behind some shelves. As I waited to make sure the coast was clear, I glanced at the sports section. And above all else a beautiful wooden baseball bat caught my eye. It was shaped perfectly and had black rings going down the sides. The words ‘Sandlot Bat’ were written on the side.

I picked it up off the rack and held it in my hands. It felt so much nicer to have a melee object in my hands again. That stupid little UFO had blasted my one to heck and back. I needed a new one, and I was sure I had found it. Until I looked at the price tag. It was $98. My jaw fell open as I pulled out my wallet. Any money I had left must have gotten washed out in the river, because it was so empty I expected moths to come out.

“At least I have this,” I said as I plucked out my ATM card.

I walked around to the back of the store and found the machine. I plugged in the card and clicked the prompts to check my balance, which was $440!

“Thank you Dad!” I cheered and pumped my fists.

I withdrew nearly all of it, leaving just enough for a quick emergency, and then walked to the front of the store and the counter.

An older man was handling the pharmacy side, while a younger guy with nerdy glasses ran the register. A man in blue overalls and a blue shirt was just checking out. He glanced at me and me at him, and I nodded my hardhat.

“Kids,” he muttered, and left the store.

At any other time I would have taken that as an insult—I hated being called a kid, but the last thing I wanted to do was draw attention to myself.

“Next,” the man happily called.

I went to the counter and placed the bat down.

“This wouldn’t happen to be on a ‘Happy Sale’ now would it?” I asked, with a hopeful smile.

“We may all be happy here, my friend, but even we need to make a living.” He smiled back, without a care in the world.

Jake A. Strife

Edited: 15.10.2019

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