"Has anyone talked to Joey Graceffa recently?" Tyler wonders aloud, his nervous blue eyes staring straight into the camera. "I feel like he has been missing in action." His hands wave around in the air as he speaks. "And he's not returning my texts...he's not returning my calls...has anybody seen him?"
Andrea frowns, pauses Tyler's video, and takes a moment to search her memories for any contact with Joey in the past month. She comes up empty. Yeah, she tried to call him two weeks ago, on the one-year anniversary of his rescue from Arthur Whatshisname's weird torture house or whatever, but she only got his answering machine. At least Eva and Oli had the decency to return her "thinking of you" calls. Joey never did.
She shoots a text in Jesse's direction. You seen Joey lately?
No, comes the reply. It's been 4ever.
Typical Jesse. The guy's always so chill about everything. But despite his lack of concern, Andrea can't help but wonder why Joey's being such a recluse nowadays. Is he sick? Is he still haunted by his year-old PTSD? Or...what if...
Whatever the case, Tyler’s right. It's like Joey Graceffa has disappeared off the face of the earth.
Joey doesn't know where he is, or how he got here, or what he's wearing, or why his head feels like it's going to split in two any moment now. All he knows is that something isn't right.
He stands at the bottom of a beautiful staircase in a house he doesn't remember. For a moment, he's worried that he's been lured back into his old 1920s mansion, but the style is different. Victorian. There's an eerie sort of beauty to it, but now's not the time to appreciate the decor. He has to get out—to leave—he can't stay here—
The darkness attacks his chest, and he doubles over on the ground. All the memories he's spent the last year trying to repress crowd their way into the forefront of his mind.
Shane Dawson, poisoned. Andrea Brooks, gassed to death. Justine Ezarik, buried alive. GloZell Green, killed by a murder journal. Sierra Furtado, died during an exorcism. Matt Haag, poisoned. Timothy DeLaGhetto, shot himself. Lele Pons, electrocuted.
It's your fault. You invited them. They're dead because of you.
Joey screams. He claws at his face, trying to force the agony out of his body. Then, a plume of black smoke erupts from his mouth, and everything goes dark.
The evil that was once living within Joey Graceffa is now safely secured inside the Sorceress's staff. She stares down at his unconscious body and smiles. Foolish boy. Did he actually think that his problems were over just because of a silly little ritual? He should've known better.
Actually, she's glad he didn't know better, because now she has what she needs to bring the world under her iron rule.
She needs lives. At least nine, if not more, innocent lives from the modern day. So she takes the opportunity to sift through Joey's mind, looking for people to lure into her trap.
At first, she finds nothing but corpses. It takes about five minutes before she stumbles across images of living people: a Brit and a brunette, leaving Joey's previous house like soldiers fleeing a war zone. Oli and Eva. So they were the ones who escaped the night with Joey Graceffa. She hopes that they enjoyed their extra year of life, because once the fun starts, she'll make sure that they're the first to go.
But they're not enough. They've still got the stain of last year's experience on their souls. She needs nine people who have yet to be touched by evil's bony fingers.
She continues her search, and she stumbles across a boy with dark eyes and a captivating smile. She tries to access his name, but in a fit of unexpected strength, Joey's brain blocks her attempt. Not him, it seems to say. He's off-limits.
The Sorceress is not used to being defied, so she tries again. And again. Two hours go by before she finally gives up and leaves the boy untouched.
And then, at last, she finds fresh meat.
Tana. Tyler. Andrea. DeStorm. Lauren. Alex. Gabbie. Liza. Jesse.
The images accompanying these names are nothing but positive. A boy with blonde hair geeking out over his favorite band...a small, brown-skinned girl making strange faces at the camera...another girl attempting to balance her stuffed animals on her bemused boyfriend's shoulder...
So bright. So innocent. So happy.
That will change.