For Old Time's Sake Part 1 Of 3
“Gary, what’s going on, man?” greeted Robin.
“Gary, oh my gosh, when did you get here? Finding out secret info on raising Pokemon before the rest of us? Huh? Huh?” accused Aly.
“Garyyyyyy!!” squealed Kiwi.
“Hey Kiwi, Aly, Robin!” I said as I moved towards them to hug Kiwi and Aly, then proceeded to squeeze the life out of Robin’s hand in a firm shake as he attempted the same to me.
Prof. Oak revealed the Pokemon, Charmander.
“Yes! Charmander!” I exclaimed, smiling.
“Pidgey, Heat Wave!” Prof. Oak instructed the peculiar Starter, Pidgey. “This little guy learned the move from someone I know over in the Unova region.”
Pidgey flew from Prof. Oak’s shoulder to Kiwi’s and nuzzled its head on her cheek.
“Awww! Que cute!” Kiwi petted it and took the Poke Ball from Prof. Oak.
A Mankey came swinging through the trees.
Charmander watched him and then gave chase, spitting flames after him.
I threw my Poke Ball as hard as I could at Mankey.
The Poke Ball opened and Mankey was pulled in by the red beam.
“YES! I caught a Mankey!” I cried happily.
A group of furious Mankey surrounded me. They were on me in an instant, beating me continuously. Their claws, fists, and feet were pounding away at me relentlessly.
“Pokemon are a hazard to the world,” a man said seriously to Nurse Joy. “Do you know how many Pokemon Trainers die a year on these dangerous journeys? And how many of them are just children?!”
Squirtle looked to me and smiled. She ran past my Charmeleon and right up to me, reaching up with her hands like she wanted to be picked up!
“Awww!” I couldn’t help it and I lifted her.
“Squirtle, hit that thing with Water Gun!” Robin demanded.
Squirtle waited for a moment before she sent out a very feeble Water Gun attack at Charmeleon.
Charmeleon just stood there as the water hit his stomach lightly.
“Squirtle, finish that thing with a Water Gun!”
Squirtle didn’t move.
“It looks like Squirtle and that Trainer over there with the Charmeleon have a closer bond than the Squirtle has with her owner,” a voice said from out of nowhere. “My name is June. I’m the Gym Leader of Gringey City. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” She smiled brightly and brushed her red hair out of her face and extended her hand to me.
“You are mine,” Sabrina said, floating stationary in the air, staring down at us all as Haunter got too close for comfort.
“Go get him, Pidgeotto!” Kiwi yelled as she raised her Poke Ball to toss it.
Sabrina’s eyes flashed white for an instant and the Poke Ball in Kiwi’s hand turned into a cloud of dust.
Kiwi stared in shock at her hand, and then a shrill shriek emitted from her throat.
Charizard’s eyes suddenly widened in shock and a horrible look came over its face. It pulled its head back far, ready to fire an attack.
One of the four men lifted his gun and aimed.
BANG! Charizard’s head exploded in blood.
Seadra popped out of her Poke Ball and began to evolve in a burst of light. The light faded after a moment and a Kingdra was now in view.
Drock’s words echoed in my head: “JUST KEEP HER!! PLEASE!! TAKE GOOD CARE OF HER!! I LOVE HER!! PLEASE!! I’M SO SORRY!!” She had run away in fear from the rampaging Charizard and left me to care for her Kingdra. Her very first Pokemon. And she had my Beedrill in a trade we didn’t finish.
My eyes began to tear up as I stared at Kingdra.
“You’ve been force fed a world where Pokemon are fun creatures for you to master and control and have fun with through battles and ultimately gain the fame and the glory,” Ray from Team Solace, spoke.
The helicopter roared fiercely above, dropping Pokemon which exploded with an incredible force, forcing me onto my back.
BBBBBLLLLLLLLLLLLTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!! was the sound that erupted from an attack aircraft that fired bullets around me.
Officer Jenny grabbed my shoulders and threw me to the ground, out of harm’s way.
“My name is Isaac,” Isaac spoke over the radio, “the leader of Team Solace. I, Isaac... am your new God. Team Solace, as a group, are what you shall consider your guardian angels. Those who have died or lost someone close to them due to these wretched… monsters! To the poor youth who are either missing or very well dead!”
“Pokemon are our friends!” Aly screamed angrily, stepping forward. “Pokemon aren’t evil! YOU’RE evil!”
“Aly, shut your freaking mouth you stupid idiot!” I begged, barking at her.
Aly turned to me, fire in her eyes. “You have to stand for what you believe in. You can’t just cower away! How can we win if we let people like this step all over us?” She stormed over to Isaac with balled fists.
“ALY, STOP!” I demanded frantically.
The sound from the gun seemed to slow down time.
Aly gasped loudly.
“ALY! NO!” I screamed, my hands on her shoulders.
“Gary,” she managed to choke out as her hand shot up and grabbed my arm hard. She began to shake even harder on the ground, coughing up blood. She went still, her mouth wide, her eyes open, rolled up inside of her head.
“Aly… Died…” I whispered.
Robin kneeled down next to me, staring at me, his face covered in tears.
“Solace?” Kiwi squeaked. “Killed her?”
“Kiwi was attacked by a Raikou not too long ago. She’s in the hospital right now,” Prof. Oak informed me. “She’ll live, for sure. But she’s still paralyzed. It’s not looking like she’ll be walking again.”
A collective, deafening roar rose up from the Pokemon in the field of the Indigo Stadium at the Pokemon League as they were electrified by large black boxes on their backs, enraging them and causing them to attack each other viciously and even fatally.
“For the disobedience of the Kanto region, and their lack of support in Team Solace’s cause, a just judgment and swift execution must be delivered,” Isaac declared from the open door of a helicopter hovering above the battle stadium. “The rage of I, GOD, in the flesh! Judgment shall be delivered through this here bomb’s explosion!! This one eruption will trigger a set of other bombs, which will set off further bombs, IN A CONTINUOUS CHAIN OF BOMBS ALL SPECIFICALLY PLANTED THROUGHOUT THE KANTO REGION, DESTROYING OVER TWO-THIRDS OF THE ENTIRE REGION!!!”
A Snorlax was behind me, standing up, looking up at the bomb as it headed for the ground, its mouth wide open in awe. The bomb dropped right into its mouth!
Isaac, shrieking, falling right behind the bomb, fell into Snorlax’s mouth as well!
I stared at Snorlax in shock, my eyes wide, my mouth wide in horror.
Snorlax looked back at me, Isaac’s body hanging out of its mouth, kicking and struggling to get his head free, screaming hysterically. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My entire body was trembling out of control. My heart was basically vibrating violently. My breathing was unpleasant, shaky, and forced. There was nothing but darkness in my sights despite it being some time in the later half of the morning. I had refused to open my eyes since much earlier, when I had awoken. Other than my quaking body, nervous breaths, and hurriedly beating heart, I hadn’t moved a muscle all day. Even from behind my eyelids and the closed blinds, I could see that the sun was out.
A Dodrio had sounded off early in the morning as always, and now, birds were chirping, but other than that, there wasn’t much else to hear. Pallet Town had always been a pretty quiet place, but not like it had been after what occurred about two years ago at the Indigo Stadium not far away from here.
The tragedy that occurred there was catastrophic and haunted me to this very day. Actually, the entirety of the Pokemon journey I had embarked on three years ago with my three closest friends was one that I relived on a daily basis. Both the good, and the bad of it.
During the year I had traveled as a Pokemon Trainer, I had grown a lot as a person and experienced perhaps far too much. I had earned the minimum required number of eight Badges to compete in the Pokemon League, captured a decent amount of Pokemon, at least, in my opinion, and made a lot of good friends.
During the year I had traveled as a Pokemon Trainer, I had suffered. I’d been attacked by wild Mankey almost as soon as my journey had begun on my way to Viridian City. One of my Pokemon, a Beedrill, was gone, probably forever, due to a trade mishap. I had encountered a terrorist group known as Team Solace, who were motivated to wipe out the entire species of Pokemon because they felt they were all a threat to mankind’s existence and stopped at nothing to try achieving their goal, including attempting to manipulate the public.
Worst of all, I’d lost one of my best friends due to Team Solace. Aly. She’d been shot dead trying to stand up to them during one of their evil plans they were unfolding. It was the most heart wrenching, painful thing I’d ever had to go through. I somehow forced myself to continue on my journey, like I knew she would have wanted me to, in her name. It was a nearly impossible feat, but with time, and the support of my Pokemon and my good friend, June, I had managed to rebuild my courage and strength and continued, eventually ending up competing in the Pokemon League, where I finished amongst the top eight.
It was during the final match of the Pokemon League that Team Solace reared their ugly head once more, interrupting the battle and unleashing their most evil plan, which involved causing pain throughout all the Pokemon in the stadium and making them unruly. They then dropped a bomb to try to set off other bombs to end up destroying most of the Kanto region, from a helicopter hovering above the stadium. The plan was foiled, and the leader, Isaac, was killed in the midst of it all.
“Team Solace has finally come to an end.” Those were the words Prof. Oak spoke to me when I had been recovering in the hospital following the final fight against Team Solace, and they repeated in my mind often, giving me peace of mind and comfort.
But nothing would erase the horror from my memory. The nightmares that haunted me every night had slowed down to a near stop for a little while now, and I was finally able to sleep easier for a change. But it was when I was awake that I now reflected on what happened back then. I’d been in the hospital for about a year, suffering from burns and injuries. It was a slow, painful recovery process, and even now I could feel sore points in specific parts of my body, but it was more than bearable.
I inhaled deeply and tried to relax. My heart gave a special, sharp twinge of pain as I thought of all my Pokemon. I hadn’t seen any of them since the attack at the Pokemon League. I missed them desperately. They were some of my best friends. The six who had been with me during the final day at the Pokemon League had been critically injured. The last I’d heard, three of them were back with Prof. Oak right now. The other three were still in a nearby Pokemon Center, still recovering. They’d be fine in a few more months was what Prof. Oak had told me.
Or at least, that’s what he had written to me. A Hoppip had been delivering notes to me from Prof. Oak since he, and no one else, for that matter, was allowed to visit me anymore, a rule put in place by my mom after I’d come home from the hospital. Hoppip would land on my windowsill and gently tap on my window, holding up a note. I’d read them, smile and nod, and the little creature would leap off of the windowsill and sail away in the wind. The notes helped me not feel so alone. Sometimes they were simple greetings and well wishes. Other times, they were updates about how my Pokemon were, or about Robin, Kiwi, and even June, who I was glad to know were all doing well and were back home.
According to Prof. Oak, Kiwi had been interviewed by a news crew about two years ago regarding an attack she had suffered from a Raikou, leaving her entire body paralyzed at the time. Now, she was in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down. It was unknown how long it would last, or if she’d ever recover. Her mom had been vehemently against her daughter being interviewed, but gave in once Kiwi insisted on it.
According to the professor, Robin’s house, and what used to be Aly’s house, both, had also been pestered by news reporters.
The reporters had shown up at Robin’s house the same day Robin got back home from the hospital. Robin’s parents refused to even answer the door, eventually calling the police when the reporters didn’t leave their front yard after a week.
The news crew that went to what was Aly’s house was chased away by just about everyone in Pallet Town in a rage that they would dare to bother the woman who had lost her daughter not long ago. This had happened while I was still in the hospital, although I had also been told that a few news reporters had originally started appearing around the house only a couple of days after Aly’s death, which was during the time I had still been on my journey, and they were warned by Prof. Oak himself to not come around anymore.
Prof. Oak also told me that a set of news reporters had tried to get a word from me, as well, but I hadn’t seen or heard from anyone, so it was clear that my mom had kept them away. Another note that Prof. Oak had sent to me filled me with a mix of anger and nausea. Following the Pokemon League attack, the news was filled with reports for a while involving how people felt about Team Solace’s goals and motives. While a high majority of people were glad that Team Solace was no longer active, a surprising number of people actually agreed with Team Solace’s goals and felt that they were acting from a good place in their hearts. The last poll taken showed that eighteen percent of people questioned were either completely on the side of Team Solace, or felt that they might have had some kind of good, moral reasoning in what they were doing. Most of the people siding with Team Solace were the kind of people Team Solace targeted to agree with them and give their message strength. The kind of people who would hear their message and be hit the hardest, emotionally. Parents. Especially parents whose kids were currently traveling as Pokemon Trainers. Parents who hadn’t heard from their kids in ages. Parents whose kids had died on their journey.
While I could understand that there was reason to be concerned about young children traveling alone to capture and battle with often times very dangerous creatures, the means Team Solace went through to prove that Pokemon were dangerous was unforgivable and outrageous. For anyone to side with them was unfathomable to me. I had seen the news while hospitalized and was already well aware of what Prof. Oak had told me in that note, but reading it again enraged me as if it was the first time I was hearing of it.
The lightweight Hoppip would sometimes get blown off of the windowsill before I could read the notes, or would never reach my window at all due to strong winds. I had no idea why Prof. Oak didn’t send a better Pokemon to deliver his messages.
There was no way for me to send Prof. Oak a message back or keep the messages he delivered to me. My window was nailed shut, and metal bars were on the outside of it. My mom had effectively made me a prisoner.
Me and my mom always had a rough relationship. We had always constantly fought, and usually, there was little I could do to avoid it. Anything could set her off, and almost always did. What made it worse was that she held a grudge for the longest time, even over the smallest things.
My mom was against Pokemon and didn’t want me to become a Pokemon Trainer in the first place. She tried to show some level of support for me at first, but as things got dangerous, as they always do for a Pokemon Trainer, she became more and more upset and demanded I come back home and stop my journey, which I of course refused to do. Our relationship suffered even more from this, but I always tried to keep in contact with her, and she even showed up at the Pokemon League to see me a couple of times.
Another reason for her disdain for Pokemon was due to the fact that her husband, my dad, had died. He left the family a couple of years before I left on my journey. He wanted to better his training and relationship with his Pokemon and come back one day as an accomplished and well recognized Pokemon Trainer in order make more money for the family, despite our life being just fine as it was, as far as I saw it. He ended up dead for reasons never explained to me.
My sister, Melissa, another puzzle piece in the reason why my mom hates Pokemon, left on her journey a year before I did, and hadn’t been doing well at all on her quest. She had last called the house about a month before I left to go on my journey. Nobody’s heard from her since. I had kept it in my heart for so long that she was still alive out there, somewhere. I didn’t run into her when I had been traveling like I was sure I would, and by the time I had been competing in the Pokemon League, I had no idea what to believe anymore. But I knew I’d find her. One way or another.
Team Solace had given my mom the perfect reason to never let me out of the house again, and following their final attack, my mom now had me in her grasp again, and I was prohibited from leaving or having company.
A few months ago, the doorbell rang, and I had opened the door to my room silently, crept down the stairs, and saw my mom speaking to Robin! My very best friend!
“Is he okay?” Robin had asked my mom, both of his arms wrapped in white bandages, held up by silver crutches. He looked terrible. He appeared completely exhausted and beaten, several bruises around his face, obviously still recovering from the attack from Team Solace, but there he was, standing at the front door to my house.
“He’s fine,” my mom spoke sharply. “Please leave.”
Robin turned and saw me, letting out a surprised gasp. “Wait!” Robin pleaded, but my mom slammed the door in his face.
She turned around and saw me. Raw fury flashed in her eyes, and I ran as fast as I could, back up the stairs to my room, but my mom gave chase. Before I could reach the door to my room, I heard the jingle of her belt, the crack as she stretched it between her hands, and I felt the sting of the metal buckle against the back of my neck, forcing me down hard. The beating was harsh, and I barely managed to get inside of my room, crying and begging helplessly. I slammed the door, holding my weight against it, breathing hard as she kicked at the door and screamed for me to open it. I refused to open the door and cried for her to leave me alone. After maybe ten minutes, she finally stopped her attack, and I heard her stomp back downstairs. I laid on the floor of my room, my body aching in pain all over, my arms wrapped around my knees, crying heavily with my eyes pressed painfully against my knees.
My mom didn’t leave the house. Ever. She had our groceries delivered from the store, just to make sure I didn’t sneak out while she was gone. She just stayed in the living room all day and all night, watching television, unless she was cooking or had to go to the bathroom. At night, she slept on the futon in front of the TV, never sleeping in her room. Sometimes the TV was still on, and other times it was turned off.
The house had a lot of creaky spots in the floorboards, and my mom’s obsession for me kept her sensitive to all noises. In other words, all attempts of me sneaking out and running away in the middle of the night, no matter how late it was, how slowly I moved, or how quietly I crept, ended in complete failure. At one point, an effort to escape resulted in me getting hit over the head with a frying pan as I ran in tears back to my room. I hadn’t tried to run away again since that beating.
Not too many days after that incident, I looked out the window one morning after hearing someone ring the doorbell, shortly followed by a loud slam of the door. My eyes watered when I saw that it was June, walking away, her head lowered sadly.
She looked up at my window and her eyes lit up when she saw me. She immediately smiled and waved to me, and I smiled and waved back, but there was little else we could do.
I could see the pain in her eyes, and it brought tears to my own eyes.
June had wiped at her eyes and glared at the front door. She looked back up to me and gave me a determined stare. With a nod, she quickly ran away.
It was that same night that I heard something in my room, and after slowly, cautiously, making my way to the light switch, a flash of light from the corner of my room grabbed my attention and I screamed at the sight of the enormous Electric spider Pokemon, Galvantula!
Its body was glowing, and it ran towards me immediately!
I shrieked like a hungry, newborn baby and ran away from it.
The spider crawled out the open door of my room.
My heart pounding in fear, looking after the large Bug, I swallowed hard, shivering in place. I then noticed from out the corner of my eye, a piece of paper that was drifting to the floor. I had meant to bend over to see it better, but my quivering legs caused me to drop to my knees, my body seemingly made of Jell-Oy. Picking up the note in my trembling hands, I silently read the words: You’ll know when to run. –June.
The light in my room came on suddenly in a startling flash.
I turned around sharply in fright and hid my hands behind my back. “Mom!” I exclaimed, squinting in the light.
She squinted at me in her blue jeans and white T-shirt, her bare feet on the carpeted floor in my room. “What’s wrong?” she snapped. “Why were you screaming?”
“I thought I saw a bug,” I thought up quickly. “I don’t know where it went.”
She sighed and just stared at me for a moment, and then looked around my room before eyeing me once more, suspiciously. “Go to bed,” she said angrily, and left my room, slamming the door behind her.
That had been three days ago.
I had no idea what June’s note had meant, and I hadn’t seen her or any of her Pokemon since. Galvantula is okay, I thought. All of our Pokemon had been in such terrible shape, but it seems her Galvantula is alright. Great… I hated June’s Galvantula, though I guess it was good that at least one of her Pokemon was in good health again.
A shrill scream ripped me from my thoughts, making my eyes pop wide open, and I sat up in my bed quickly. The noise was coming from downstairs. “Mom!” I leaped out of bed. For some reason, my legs didn’t carry me to the door to my mother’s shrieking. I stared at the door, paralyzed. What’s going on? I thought in a panic. Suddenly, it hit me. I removed my blue shorts I had on, ran in my white boxers and undershirt to the closet, and flung the door open. Several pairs of clothes, including jeans, shirts, a heavy black coat, a light black jacket, a black beanie hat, and my black backpack, were tossed to the ground behind me. Quickly, I scooped them all into the backpack, except for the jacket, and ran to my dresser drawer. Socks and underwear from the bottom drawer were immediately forced into the bag and I zipped the bag closed. I quickly pulled another pair of socks from the drawer and pulled them onto my feet.
My mom’s screams grew even louder and more desperate.
I hope I’m not making a mistake, I thought as my body trembled with excitement and fear, running back to the closet to grab a pair of dark blue jeans. After literally leaping into them and wrapping a belt around the waist, I struggled frantically into a black polo shirt.
As my feet were forced inside of a pair of dirty, black sneakers, my mom’s pleas for help got more desperate and loud.
She might really be in trouble! I realized. Maybe this isn’t what I thought! I grabbed my backpack and slung it over my shoulder, grabbed my black baseball cap with the Poke Ball design on the back from my bed, and, putting it on my head backwards, snatched up from the floor my black jacket with the embroidered design of my favorite Pokemon of all time, Mewtwo, on the right breast of it, as I ran out of my room, leaping down the stairs, reaching the bottom floor in two long leaps.
My mom was nowhere in the living room.
A loud banging noise surprised me, coming from the kitchen.
“MOM!” I screamed out, struggling to get my jacket on.
Her yells rang out again, coming from the kitchen, making me jump.
I ran there and gasped at the sight before me. “MOMMY!”
The upper half of my mom’s body was in the refrigerator, the door closed on her as she seemed to be struggling against it, calling out in terror!
The refrigerator was leaping up and down in the air, slamming heavily to the floor, two jagged, blue lines at its sides, reaching into the sky like arms, the normally white fridge now a deep red, two circular, white designs near the top, a large red spike on the very top of it. A strange design underneath the two circular shapes grabbed my attention. It almost looked like a smile…
“Rotom?!” I gasped.
The refrigerator leaped even more excitedly, slamming hard and noisily to the floor, and made a strange cry.
“Whoa! Rotom!” My body was shaking hard, a smile starting to spread over my face despite the fear flooding throughout my body.
Though my heart kicked strongly in my chest from the decision.
Though my mind screamed both against and for it.
Though I knew I had no idea what would happen in the following seconds if I made such a rash decision.
I ran out of the house as fast as I could.
I tore through the front yard’s smooth stone path, the air fresh and invigorating, the evening sky darkening as the sun was vanishing, and I made a sharp left. I ran past a few houses, including Kiwi’s, Aly’s mom’s, and finally Robin’s, before I made another left, and…
“Aaahh!!” My scream was combined with another person’s cry as I slammed into them and backed up a few feet.
Wearing a yellow shirt underneath a red, lightweight jacket, tight red jeans, and snow white sneakers, her large, black bag slung over her right shoulder, June’s face of surprise turned to joy as she leaped forward and wrapped me in a hug.
I hugged her back, more intent on catching her after she made such an awkward, stupid jump, than actually hugging her.
“Gary! You’re here!”
“June! What’s going on?” I exclaimed. “Is that your Rotom in my house attacking my mom?!”
June held my shoulders in her hands and pulled back, staring at me in shock. “It’s attacking her?”
“Well, it’s kind of eating her,” I replied calmly. “I mean, it took over the fridge and is holding her inside of it.”
June sighed with relief and then glared at me. “Gosh, Gary. It’s just holding her. She’ll be fine. You had me worried! You know Rotom hasn’t been the same since hanging around with your Porygon-Z.”I glared at her. “Not now, June!”
She nodded solemnly and grabbed my hand, pulling me into a run.
I didn’t resist. There was no other choice but to run at this point.
“Gary, I’m sorry I took so long to message you,” June breathed as she ran.
“Why the hell did you have to send Galvantula into my room in the middle of the freaking night for??!” I demanded, feeling an angry surge within me.
“Galvantula was the only one who could just sneak into your house,” June explained. “I mean, Rotom could have done it, too, but…” June paused. “I dunno. I guess I should have chosen Rotom, instead. Sorry. It’s been a couple of years, you know? I forgot you don’t like Bugs!”
“I have a damn phobia of the things!” I shouted.
“Sorry!” June yelled back. “Anyway, I had to think up a plan, and I told Rotom to cause some kind of distraction in the house since it can just take over things. I didn’t think it would do what you just told me it did, but it worked!”
“Well, thanks, but what’s the rest of the plan? I can’t possibly go back home, now!”
“We’re heading for the Johto region!”
“Johto? Why there?”
“It’s so close by! We can break away into there and then…”
“I didn’t get much further than that…” June admitted.
“WHAT? You get my mom attacked by one of your Pokemon, and we have no idea of what’s going to happen next other than the fact that we’re going to enter a region right next door?!”“I just wanted to get you out of there! I’m sorry! I saw you in your room, all alone and sad. Your mom said you weren’t allowed company. Ever! I felt like you needed help! I knew after deep thought that you’d be held there for a long time and not be allowed outside without her, if at all. The best idea I had was to run off to the Johto region together!”
“Okay, okay,” I said in a gentler tone. “We’ll head-” A loud roar from the right of me stopped my sentence and I screamed as I turned, seeing only a flash of red. I was tackled hard to the ground, still screaming in horror, trying to see my attacker. A wet, sticky feeling came over my face and I grunted in disgust. Struggling underneath the sickening feeling on my face, I reached up and pushed against it, looking right into the face of the thing above me. “CHARIZARD!!!!!” I uttered in disbelief.
An enormous dragon stood over me, its head in my face, its tongue repeatedly wiping the right side of my cheek, slobbering over me.
“CHARIZARD!!!!!!” I screamed out again, happily this time.
It was my Charizard! My very first Pokemon, once a Charmander so long ago, fully evolved during our travels together! This had to be my Pokemon!
I wrapped my arms around his neck tightly, tears filling my eyes and uncontrollably running down my cheeks, and he let out a deep purr in response, nuzzling his head against my face, his large tears dripping onto me.
“Rotom got a hold of him,” June smiled at us. “I told it to collect all of your Pokemon, but I guess it couldn’t find the others. This was all it got.”
I didn’t let go of Charizard and looked up at June, my smile fading. “Primeape? Weepinbell? I heard they were back from the Pokemon Center! They should’ve been there! And the other Pokemon who have been staying with Prof. Oak! They should be fine!”
“I know, Gary. But this was all Rotom came back with!” June said sadly. “I’m so sorry.”
With a loud cry, June’s Rotom, in its normal form, flew past her and stopped in midair, turning around to face us with a big grin.
“Rotom!” I called out to it.
“There you are!” June smiled. She turned back to me, worry on her face. “I’m so sorry, Gary. I told Rotom to check carefully. I sent it out early this morning, when I was sure all of the Pokemon would be outside, getting breakfast. Perhaps I should have waited a bit longer.” She turned to Rotom. “Are you sure you couldn’t find any of Gary’s other Pokemon? I know I had you on a rushed timeframe, but was Charizard all you found?”
Rotom had a serious look on its face as it nodded quickly.
June sighed and turned back to me. “I’m really sorry, Gary.”
“It’s fine,” I replied, rubbing Charizard’s head, still crying with joy from having gone so long without seeing him.
Charizard let out several grunts repeatedly, pushing hard against my face with his own, showing teary affection.
“Gary!” June suddenly grabbed my wrist and pulled me up to my feet. “If Rotom is here, we have to go!” She yanked hard and we were on the move again, Rotom leading the way, and soon after, Charizard taking flight, flying next to Rotom.
“June, what direction is Johto?” I asked, keeping my delighted eyes on Charizard.
June didn’t answer. She just stopped out of nowhere.
I ran past her and gasped as I was pulled back by her tight grasp on my wrist.
Charizard and Rotom stopped, Charizard landing heavily on the ground, Rotom freezing in midair.
I didn’t understand what was wrong at first, but then I saw him.
“Gary!” Prof. Oak called out to me from ahead of the four of us, glaring with disapproval.
“Prof. Oak!” I exclaimed.
Prof. Oak shook his head and continued to stare coldly at me. “Gary,” he said, taking a step towards us. He turned to June. “And Jill, as well. I am very surprised to see this. You both have managed to acquire Charizard from my lab and are trying to break away from here. I am very disappointed in you two. Gary, your mother’s request is that you stay here. She is still your guardian, so you have no permission to leave this place. I’m very sorry, Gary, but you cannot proceed any further.”
It was all over.
Galvantula scaring the crap out of me in my room.
Rotom retrieving my Charizard.
Rotom trapping my mom.
June’s eagerness to set me free.
All for nothing.
My shoulders slumped, my body trembling, my heart dropping to my stomach, fear filling my body as I thought of the fact that I’d be returning back home to my mom.
Prof. Oak took another step towards us.
A loud cry rang out and caused us all to look around in confusion. A mysterious figure leaped out from seemingly nowhere, its body covered in a bright spark of light. With another cry, what looked like lightning flew from its body and hit Prof Oak!
Prof. Oak screamed painfully and collapsed, twitching and groaning on the ground, his body sparking with electricity.
“PORYGON-Z!” My eyes were wide, my mouth stretched open to the limit in awe, staring up at my Pokemon.
Porygon-Z flew at me and circled my body.
June shrieked in pure terror and stumbled back at the sight of my Pokemon.
I smiled and tears overflowed at the sight of my good friend as I pulled it into a hug.
Porygon-Z shivered in my grasp and cried out with pleasure.
“Porygon-Z!! I can’t believe you’re here! What are you doing here?” I laughed.
“Prof. Oak!” June was staring down at the professor, fear on her face, her hands to her cheeks.
I looked down at the paralyzed professor, my heart beating sharply, wondering what would happen from here on out. There’s no looking back now, I realized immediately. I released Porygon-Z from my hold. “Porygon-Z, let’s go!”
It let out a cheerful cry, its head spinning rapidly.
I ran past it, Charizard, and Rotom, and grabbed June’s shoulders. “Come on!”
“B-b-b-but…” June stammered. She looked up at me shakily. “Prof. Oak! We can’t just leave him!”
“We don’t have a choice! I don’t wanna leave him, either, but we’re in huge trouble now! We have to go!”
“NO!” June closed her eyes and shook her head. “I will not leave the Professor like this!”
I shook June harshly. “June! We’ve gone through too much! We have to get going! We have to get far away from here! We’re like criminals now! We attacked the Professor!”
“NO! You’re Pokemon did!” June accused, turning to Porygon-Z.
I looked back to see Porygon-Z and Rotom spinning in circles, facing each other, looking into each other’s eyes eagerly.
“This is all your Pokemon’s fault!” June had fire in her eyes. “I told you your Pokemon is out of control! And I still can’t read that damn thing!”
I stared at her momentarily as my hands slid off of her, unsure of what to say.
June was able to understand the language of Pokemon and communicate with them, and yet she couldn’t understand my Porygon-Z. In fact, she was downright terrified of it. She also had been unable to read the Bug type Pokemon owned by the Viridian City Gym Leader, but eventually had managed to understand them and their feelings for their Trainer after I had defeated them. There remained no reason for why June couldn’t read those Bug Pokemon in the first place, nor a reason why she was unable to read Porygon-Z to this day.
“We’ll discuss this later,” I growled through gritted teeth. “For now, we’re in huge freaking trouble!”
Prof. Oak groaned and shivered on the ground, his body sparking as he struggled to get to his feet.
I stared at him for a couple of seconds and quickly returned to June. “June, we’re out of here! You’re welcome to join us!” I turned to Charizard. “Come on! Porygon-Z, you, too!” I regretted it immediately, but I sucked in a deep breath and ran past Prof. Oak.
Charizard roared and I heard him take flight, flapping his powerful wings.
Porygon-Z cried out and I heard it make a strange noise close by me, letting me know it was following.
I heard footsteps and June’s heavy, frantic breathing behind me, accompanied by Rotom’s yell, and I knew I had a couple of more companions with me.
The five of us ran past Prof. Oak’s mansion.
I made a turn away from Route 1, unsure of where I was leading the group. We were running through open plains, away from the houses of Pallet Town, alongside the trees surrounding Route 1.
June shrieked loudly and ran past me, Porygon-Z not far behind her, blatantly following her, scaring the life out of June, unintentionally.
I would have laughed if the situation weren’t so serious. “CUT IT OUT, PORYGON-Z!” I barked.
Porygon-Z continued to chase after June, ignoring me.
Rotom hovered above June easily, smiling.
I couldn’t hold it in any longer and smiled broadly at the sight, my body shaking with restrained laughter.
With a loud gasp, June stopped in her tracks.
Rotom froze in place.
Even Porygon-Z stopped chasing after June, tumbling in midair for a few seconds before stopping to stare at the sight before it.
Charizard let out a growl and hovered in the air, flapping his large wings.
Once I saw what everyone was looking at, I stopped running, too, my heart thumping in my throat.
Charizard landed heavily on the ground behind me.
“Gary,” was the harsh whisper that came from the throat of my lifelong friend.
“Kiwi?” I managed choke out, my eyes filling with confusing tears instantly.
Kiwi sat in an electric wheelchair, wearing blue shorts and a lighter blue T-shirt, her feet sitting in brown sandals. I hadn’t seen her in over two years, being locked up inside of my own house. Her black hair ended at her shoulders back then. Now, it was cut close to her head. She glared coldly at me, and only me, ignoring the others.
I had wanted to see her for so long, and yet, now that I was seeing her face to face, I had an unnerving feeling in my chest and stomach. For some reason, seeing one of my closest friends after so long, was terrifying.
“What do you think you’re doing, Gary?” she asked me seriously, her eyes stabbing into my eyes and chest like the sharpest, coldest of icicles.
My mouth dropped open to answer her, but nothing came from it.
“Charizard and Porygon-Z,” Kiwi noted coldly, not taking her eyes from me. “Going somewhere?”
I shook my head, though I was obviously lying. I felt like I had answered against my will.
She smirked, but the smile was the most sinister, suspicious smile I may have ever witnessed. It wasn’t a look I was used to seeing on Kiwi. It sent chills down my spine.
“Where are you headed, Gary?” she insisted in a shiver inducing tone.
I shook my head again, completely incapable of speaking at this point.
Kiwi’s eyebrows furrowed, her eyes narrowing tight.
My entire body was on ice.
“Unova sounds like your best bet,” Kiwi spoke up after a moment. Her tone had lightened noticeably, but it was still unfriendly. “Where else is better than to have a fresh start in a region as far away as there, in a place so much different than Kanto? Especially for someone trying to run away.”
I only swallowed.
Kiwi’s eyes squinted harder. “Your choice. I wish you good luck, though.” She pressed a button on the right arm of her wheelchair, making it move forward.
I kept my eyes on her, turning around as she wheeled around behind us and smoothly rolled away, her chair whirring.
June, Rotom, Charizard, and Porygon-Z looked after her.
Gritting my teeth, I glared at Charizard and walked over to him. He purred deeply as I pet his stomach. “You ready to fly?”
Charizard nodded and grunted before lowering himself to the ground for me.
I climbed onto his back. “Porygon-Z, we’re going for a ride!”
Porygon-Z looked over to me and let out a shrill shriek that I hadn’t heard it make in a long time. One that tore through my eardrums painfully. A shrill, relentless sound that made everyone helplessly scream.
I covered my ears and closed my eyes as I cried out, Charizard rocking underneath me as he roared. “SHUT UUUUUUUUUP!!!!!!!” I let out at the top of my lungs.
A moment later, the cry ended.
I opened my eyes and screamed in fright, surprised to see Porygon-Z right in front of my face, staring at me.
Charizard was shaking his head, his eyes closed.
June glared at Porygon-Z, a wary look in her eyes.
Rotom looked up at Porygon-Z with a smile.
“June, we’re out of here,” I told her sternly. “Are you coming or not? You put a lot of work into helping us get this far. Are you going to just throw it all away?”
June looked after where Kiwi had left, turning back to me with a fearful look in her watering eyes. She shook her head slowly. “Gary, we can’t-”
“Fine,” I cut her off, causing her to gasp a little. “I don’t have time for this, June. We’ve done too much and come too far. I’m not going back home. No matter what. I can’t! Goodbye, June.” My heart pounded as I pointed to the sky, not wanting to leave June behind, but I couldn’t force her to come with me if she didn’t want to go. “Let’s go, Charizard!”
Charizard roared and his wings extended. With a few tremendous flaps, he ascended and flew through the sky.
I swallowed hard and grasped Charizard’s back tightly as the wind blew against me. Pallet Town began to shrink right in front of my eyes, Porygon-Z spinning in circles right above my head, its body outlined in yellow. Something caught my eye and I turned to see what it was, immediately inhaling a sharp breath, but soon after, smiling.
June was flying in the air after me, determination on her face as she focused her eyes on me. Her body was outlined in a light green color.
Rotom was beneath her, floating after her, its eyes glowing light green.
June smiled as our eyes met, but didn’t speak.
“June!” I laughed lightly.
“We should make a right turn if we’re going to Johto!” June called up to me.
I shook my head hard. “No.”
I nodded. “You heard me.” I pointed forward and Charizard roared, flying with a strong burst of speed.
“Gary! Slow down! Where are we going?”
June’s feet lightly walked across the shiny floor behind mine, our reflections clear as if looking into a crystal clear lake under the sun.
Porygon-Z and Rotom let out gentle, cheerful calls as they circled above both of our heads.
Charizard walked behind June and I, sniffing the air, growling at other people’s Pokemon as they walked by us, causing me to scold him every so often.
“Are you sure about this, Gary?”
The building was enormous, with different corridors, escalators, stairs, people, stands, stores, and doors, everywhere! It was impossible to take note of everything in the airport. It was filled with everything that a traveler could possibly need and want, and then some.
“I think it’s our best option considering the circumstances. If you trust that I’ll pay you back as soon as I possibly can, and you’re willing to do it…”
June nodded. “If this is what you want.”
“I don’t know what I want anymore. You didn’t really tell me what to expect or think about, and now, we’re just going with the flow.”
June lowered her head. “I’m sorry,” she mumbled. “I was honestly just trying to help.”
I nodded and managed a smile. “Thanks.”
June looked up at me sorrowfully, but seeing my smile, she smiled for just a moment before it faded away only seconds later. “But, aren’t you worried that Kiwi might tell Prof. Oak or the police where we’re headed? Why would she tell us to go to Unova? Doesn’t that strike you as odd?”
“I considered that.” I looked away. “Even if she does, Unova is the one of the farthest places to go. It honestly is our best bet. And we never told her we were definitely going there. Besides, I don’t believe Kiwi would do that. She’s one of my best friends. She has nothing to gain by telling on us. It doesn’t make any sense.”
“She acted so strange...” June recounted. “She seemed so... cold. Why was she like that? That was really scary.” She stopped and grabbed my shoulder, stopping me. Our eyes met, and I could see how scared she was. The uncertainty; the distrust. “Gary, I don’t know if we should go there.”
“I understand. But, I trust Kiwi,” I said confidently. “She’s my friend, June. What she’s been through the past couple of years has changed her. We can’t judge her for that. I can only imagine how anyone would change after surviving an experience like what she went through, and then what happened after... To us.”
June closed her eyes and lowered her head, nodding as her lips pressed against each other hard, wrinkling them. She sniffled and let go of me to wipe at her eyes. “You’re right.” She met my gaze again. “I’m sorry.”
I gave her a reassuring nod, and we turned from each other and approached a counter with a brunette woman smiling at us warmly in a pure white suit. “Hello,” she greeted us, exposing her pearly whites as well. “Welcome to Round Crossways. Do you have tickets ready to this flight leaving shortly? The final passengers are urged to board immediately.”
June and I exchanged glances, and I nodded at the uncertain look on her face before turning back to the woman.
“N-” I began.
“No,” June said, bumping me gently with her hip, giving me a sly smile. “We’ll be catching the next flight to Unova, please. I’d like to pay for our tickets now.”
“Okay,” the woman nodded happily, typing on a computer in front of her. “I’ll just need some form of identification, please.”
June reached in her pocket and pulled out the Thunder Badge, handing it to the woman.
The lady took it and examined it before pulling out a long, white, lightly humming, electronic tube with a yellow, glowing top and waved it over the Badge. She put away the tube and typed for a moment on the keyboard before handing June her Badge back and turned to me expectantly.
“Oh!” I exclaimed, and fumbled around for my Pokedex. It wasn’t in my jeans. My heart began to beat hard. Oh, no, I thought in a panic, digging through my jacket pockets. I’m screwed. I’m so stupid. This is all June’s fault for not infor- “Aha!” I burst out happily as I checked the pocket inside of my jacket and gratefully pulled out the Pokedex, squeezing it tightly, and then handed it to the woman.
She placed it in a slot in the computer and typed for a bit before taking it out and handing it back to me with a wide grin. “So, how will you be paying for this?” she asked June sweetly.
“I’ll be using my…” June dug around in her pockets. The pretty smile on her face soon gave way to worry.
I began to feel a panic in my chest while watching June.
June pulled the pockets of her jeans inside out, and then did the same to the pockets of her jacket. She dropped her enormous bag to the ground and dug through it, tossing multiple items around her, including soaps, shampoos, clothes, Poke Balls, and many other items I didn’t recognize. With a sharp cry, she looked up at me and then turned to the woman behind the counter. “Um...”
She turned to me, fright written on her face. Her throat widened as she swallowed, and that made me swallow uncomfortably. June turned back to the lady.
The lady looked at us both, an uncertain look on her face.
Suddenly, a loud, familiar cry rang out, and the screen on the lady’s computer flashed brightly, blinding us!
I blinked against the bright lights flashing in my eyes.
When they had faded, the woman behind the counter was still rubbing her eyes, and June was blinking hard with wide eyes, looking around.
“Wow, what was that?” the lady murmured, looking down at her computer screen.
“Porygon-Z?” I asked quietly, trying to find it, reflecting on the sound I had heard before the flash.
Rotom stared at me with an eager smile.
Charizard was looking outside of an enormous set of windows that made up an entire wall, staring at the planes parked outside.
“OH!” the lady let out.
All of us looked at her, surprised by her outburst.
“Gary and June! You both already paid for your flight! Earlier this morning!” The pretty woman looked up at us brightly. “You don’t need to pay again. But you do need to board this plane, immediately!”
June and I exchanged stunned glances.
I turned to the woman.” Okay!” I started to walk past her, down the corridor behind her.
The woman leaped in front of me, smiling gently. “I’m sorry, but you’ll have to put the Charizard back into its Poke Ball. It’s far too large to be allowed walking around freely on the plane. The other one over there should be okay, but the Charizard is a bit too dangerous and large. I’m very sorry.”
I turned to Charizard.
Charizard let out a grunt, staring back at me.
I felt my belt, knowing there were no Poke Balls on it. “Wait!” I turned to the lady. “Just let me buy a Poke Ball! I don’t have one for him right now!”
The lady shook her head sadly. “There just isn’t enough time. You need to board the plane right this moment or you can wait for the next flight, but that will cost you extra money.”
I stared at the woman in disbelief. “But…”
“If you’re boarding, you will need to get on right this instant,” she said urgently. “Please!” She extended her arm towards the corridor.
I turned back to Charizard.
Charizard let out a mournful whine.
I ran to him and leaped at his throat, wrapping it in a hug. “Charizard…”
“Sir, if you don’t board right now, you won’t be able to get on this flight!” the lady insisted.
I looked Charizard in the eyes.
His eyes were coated in a layer of water.
“Hey!” I said strongly. “You head on back to Prof. Oak’s and take good care of him. And before you get any crazy ideas, it’s far too dangerous to follow the plane I’ll be in. And I don’t need you getting lost following the wrong plane or something. Once I’m in Unova, I’ll find a way to get you out to me, buddy. But I have to go.” My voice lowered to a whisper. “Porygon-Z is doing me a huge favor right now. I, you, we, can’t pass up this opportunity.”
“Excuse me, Mr.-!” the lady demanded impatiently.
I released Charizard, refusing to show tears. “Get home safely! I’m coming back for you!” I told him strongly, and I closed my eyes and ran away from Charizard, past the lady, and down the corridor. Charizard roared tremendously, painfully, behind me, but I refused to look back. I hadn’t felt a pain so bad in such a long time.
“Gary!” June ran after me.
I didn’t stop running, plowing down the hallway, away from one of my best friends in the entire world.
My head split. My ears popped. I grabbed my head in pain and groaned. As the plane ascended higher into the sky, shaking hard, experiencing some turbulence, which made me start to fearfully regret getting on this plane at all, I felt an agony I had only heard of from others describing their bad experiences on planes.
My mom was terrified to fly, but my dad hadn’t been. I was always eager to fly on a plane, but never got the chance to. Our trips together ended up being mostly throughout the Kanto region. Any distant trips through Kanto or to foreign locations were taken by bus, train, or car, as far as I remember.
My dad traveled by himself by plane to other places sometimes, without my mom’s approval, but he didn’t care. In fact, my dad’s last trip was on a plane. He arrived wherever he had been flying to safely, but, of course, he never came back.
And now, here I was, traveling with June, her Rotom in its Poke Ball, and her four other Pokemon in their Poke Balls. When I had been traveling with June through Kanto, she had ten Pokemon with her. When she had pulled out all of her belongings from her bag, looking for her credit card to pay for the flight, I had only spotted five Poke Balls, a sticker containing the first letter of whatever Pokemon was inside, on each one.
Were her other Pokemon not fully recovered, yet? Where were they right now? Did she leave them at a Pokemon Center while she planned to travel to another region with me? She still had Galvantula and Rotom, but did I know the other three Pokemon she has, or are they new?
Would Charizard make it back home to Pallet Town safely? I didn’t have a Poke Ball for him anymore. It had gotten smashed in the warfare cause by Team Solace at the Pokemon League. Was my Charizard now susceptible to being captured by another Pokemon Trainer now?
Porygon-Z just did me and June a huge favor. But where was it now?
So many worries.
So many fears.
So many questions.
All filling my mind as June and I looked out the window from our seats, the plane leaving the shrinking airport behind as it got higher in the sky.
On our way to the Unova region.