A New Life Through The Eyes Of Kanto: An Autobiography

Haunted: Dead Or Alive Part 1 of 3

“So Robin went to you after Lt. Surge sent him to challenge the other Gym Leader with the Thunder Badge?” Kiwi understood.

“Yeah! As I had said, Lt. Surge is really busy with his training and stuff. After he felt I had enough talent and skill, he gave me my own Gym that would operate as an alternative Gym rewarding the same Badge,” June spoke excitedly. “When his Gym got too busy with challengers, or he just wasn’t available to accept battles, he would send some of them away to Gringey City to challenge me! Lucky for my challengers since I haven’t won a single battle in my entire year as a Gym Leader. I was so unprepared. I think maybe Lt. Surge just wanted me out of his perfectly suave, though slightly balding, blonde hair.” June laughed.

Kiwi laughed with June for a second, but then her face turned dead serious. “Don’t you say that about yourself, June. You’re a great Trainer! You just need to believe in your Pokemon. They need your belief in order to know that they can keep going and fight harder!”“I did give them that!” June insisted. “I gave them my entire trust and love. But it was me. I failed as their Trainer. I wasn’t good enough. My battle with Gary was atrocious. He used a move… What was it again?” June looked behind her and stared directly at me.

“Toxic Spikes,” I mumbled.

“Yeah! Toxic Spikes. I had no idea how it worked and it really threw me for a loop.”

“Toxic Spikes...” Kiwi looked up into the night sky thoughtfully. “That Poisons any Pokemon who enters the battle. If used twice, and a Pokemon enters the field, it becomes severely Poisoned and the damage gets even worse the longer the battle lasts.”

“Really?” June gasped. “You see?” Her hands rose into the air and then slapped against the sides of her legs. “I’m no good. That’s why I had to quit. I never won. Ever. And my matches weren’t even very good at all. I am a failure as a Pokemon Trainer.”

Kiwi furrowed her eyebrows at June and opened her mouth to say something, but June kept on talking.

“But I love my Pokemon so much. I do want to improve and get closer with them. That’s why I’m here with Gary. After witnessing him battle and connect with his Pokemon, I see that he has something I want. I want that connection with my own Pokemon. And he is so knowledgeable, too. I want to know the things he knows. And more!”

“Pffft,” Kiwi responded. “Gary knows his stuff, I admit. But don’t put him on such a high pedestal. He ain’t all that.” Kiwi turned to me and stuck her tongue out.

I sneered in return.

Me, June, and Kiwi. We were walking to Saffron City. Our run we had initially began turned into walking as the trail continued to prove itself to be a long one. It was also dangerous running downhill like we were.

June had tripped, falling right on her knees, but she laughed it off and got right back up. She was walking with a bit of a hobble now, but seemed to be fine.

Kiwi and June spent the time blabbering on and on about stuff I really didn’t care too much about at first. Celebrities. Fashion. Music. Movies.

June had begun to talk about Robin and how Lt. Surge had sent him to battle her and Lt. Surge would battle Kiwi.

This had grabbed my attention. I was interested in what happened in June’s battle with Robin. I was hoping for details, but she merely said she had lost.

The trees that were lining our walk finally ended, and there was just the open, flat road before us. The dark night sky was lit up by stars and a beautifully large moon.

“Look!” June pointed at the sky, noticing the sight above us that was no longer blocked by so many trees.

There were an impossible number of stars that had taken over the sky, the moon seeming so close to us, our planet seemed in danger. I was sure I had never seen the moon appear this close to the Earth. It almost scared me in a way, and I laughed to myself silently. After a while, my gaze lowered down to my friends.Kiwi looked away to me and then to June, smiling.

June looked down to me, smiling just the same.

“Well, I guess we should continue on.” I walked past them, feeling uneasy with June’s eyes and smile trained on me.

“You know, June, you shouldn’t have run away from your duties as a Gym Leader,” Kiwi said sternly as she and June followed behind me. “You can’t show love and trust to your Pokemon unless you stick by them. You are strong! You just have to try harder to connect better with your Pokemon! Actually work alongside them. I’m glad I got to meet you and that we can travel together now, but you should’ve stayed at your Gym and focused on your Pokemon! By giving priority to traveling with Gary, I feel like you are neglecting your Pokemon. You should be finding your own way to raise your Pokemon better, not concerning yourself with how others raise theirs. It’s good to be inspired and take tips from others, but in the end, it’s all about you and your own decisions and how you and your Pokemon get along together. And you can only achieve that through time and experience.”

There was silence for a while as Kiwi’s words were dwelled on.

“You’re right, Kiwi,” June finally agreed. “But, I needed time… I couldn’t…” June stopped talking.

“What, June?” Kiwi asked.

“I just really needed to get away from that city,” June said with a hint of coldness in her voice. “After my battle with Gary, I really, really decided that it was time for me to stop being a Gym Leader. I didn’t feel fit. That battle just… changed me. I was affected by that match. So, while I respect and understand where you’re coming from, I really do know what I’m doing and I feel I made the right decision.”

“Okay,” Kiwi said quietly. “I’m sorry, June.”There was an awkward silence now.

I felt that June may have been thinking about our battle. And how it ended…

“Hey, look!” Kiwi suddenly burst out.

I had already seen it.

Only the bright moon was visible in the sky. The stars above us had mostly faded away to the technology of what stood before us.

The bright lights of Saffron City. Like Celadon, it was enormous! Lights shined brightly from every building. Signs flashed from the windows of various stores. There were three movie theaters on the same block, the titles of the latest movies released glowing from the top of the buildings. Supermarkets were the dimmest of the buildings, but didn’t stand unnoticed with their blinking sale signs competing for attention. Fast food restaurants stood next to high class restaurants.

People were running and laughing. Kids cried for their parents to buy them games from stores. Couples were on dates, holding hands, love in their eyes.

The business of this city competed with that of Celadon City!

“Hard to believe this city is smaller than Celadon, huh?” June asked.

“Yeah…” I agreed, taken in by everything I could see that this place had to offer.

Together, we blindly proceeded even deeper into this city one could easily get lost in in only a matter of seconds.

I could go for a bite!” Kiwi stopping to stare at a building.

It was a pizza shop!

I could’ve definitely gone for a pizza right then and there. “Okay!” I agreed earnestly. I ran past Kiwi and into the store.

Behind the counter stood a tall man in a stereotypical white apron and white chef’s hat. He was easily over six feet. He seemed to be staring straight ahead, but not at me.

Kiwi and June ran up to join me.

“Hi! Can we order some pizza?” I asked. “I’d like three slices!”

“I want four!” Kiwi insisted.

“Just one for me,” June said with a giggle.

The man, looming over us all, continued to stare ahead silently.

I felt confused for a moment and looked behind us to see what he was staring at. There was nothing but the glass front door there and I couldn’t see anything bizarre taking place outside through it.

“Hello...? Can you hear us?” Kiwi called out.

A few seconds later, the man finally looked down at us, and the three of us gasped. His eyes. They shot through me and I felt a cold chill.

I took a step back away from him without even knowing it.

Kiwi let out a cry, leaping back.

June covered her mouth and stumbled back a couple of feet.

The man smiled. “Hi, kids! I’ll have your pizza ready for you in just a moment. Take a seat!” He turned and began to fix a fresh pizza pie.

I couldn’t move.

The man looked normal, but his eyes told a different story. I had no idea what they were saying, but I felt uneasy seeing them.

Kiwi and June were both looking at each other in shock before turning to me.

I looked back to the man who continued to prepare our food.

He looked up and smiled at me before looking back down to continue preparing the food.

Me and my friends stared at each other for a moment, unsure of what to do.

Finally, I shrugged took a deep breath, trying to relax. “Let’s have a seat.” Then, in a lower voice, I said, “He is making our food. We can’t just leave. Even if…” I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to finish that sentence, but I knew that the two girls knew what I was saying, even if we didn’t exactly know what it was being said. We were all on the same page.

Kiwi and June nodded in agreement and we all walked over to a table.

Two guys were sitting at a table not far from us, talking loudly, eating their pizza.

“I traded my Ditto for a Lillipup!” one of the guys said excitedly. “You can’t get one of those out here! It’s pretty rare!”

“Lilli-what?” the other guy replied. “I‘ve never even heard of it!”

I hadn’t heard of that Pokemon either, but I knew what a Ditto was.

The three of us sat there for a while, listening to the excited Pokemon fans talk about this weird Pokemon.

“Ditto is really rare though!” the second guy said. “Are you sure you got a good trade?”“Of course, man!” the first guy said excitedly. “I don’t even think there are-”

“And here is your pizza!” The guy who made our food arrived suddenly, distracting me from what the two guys were talking about. He placed the pie between us and set a small stack of paper plates next to it.

“Thanks!” I said with a smile, which faded immediately when my eyes reached his. I looked back down to my food and grabbed a slice. After blowing on it repeatedly for a moment, I bit into it and felt the burning hot cheese ease into my mouth. Smiling, I opened my mouth and started breathing quick, heavy breaths to cool the hot food on my tongue. I hadn’t had pizza in so long!

June took a napkin and soaked the grease off of her pizza before blowing on it for a minute. Finally, she took a big bite and smiled in my direction. “Mmmmm!

Kiwi was finishing her first slice already. “It tastes so good!” Kiwi said loudly, causing the two guys from the other table to look at us and turn away, snickering. Kiwi turned back to look at them before facing me again. “Well, it is!” She snatched up another slice and bit into it.

June and I laughed next to each other and continued eating.

“Since we now have a new friend joining us today, I would like to pay for all of our food,” June said when we had finished eating.

“I will buy my own food,” I declined.

“I have money! I can purchase my stuff,” Kiwi said quickly.

“Nope,” June waved at Kiwi. “You are our newest member. You will not be making a purchase today. To commemorate this moment, this one is on me.” She closed her eyes and grinned, giving a conclusive nod.

She has a pretty smile... I thought to myself, my eyes on June’s face, which was lit up from her happiness. It was probably half a second before a disgusted look came over my face and I shook my head hard. “I’ll buy my own!” I said sternly, and tossed my money on the table.

June frowned at me. “Fine. That is the tip.” She tossed some money on the table. “This is for the food.”

I frowned back at her. “Whatever,” I mumbled, and stood up from the table.

Kiwi laughed. “You two are funny. I’m so glad we’re all here together.”

“How was the food?” the cook said from behind the counter.

“Was great!” I tried to answer, but the instant our eyes met, my voice decided not to work, and my words came out lower than I had intended. I cleared my throat, but his eyes... Inhaling, I managed to say, “Thanks a lot.” Quickly, I made my way to the exit.

Kiwi and June both thanked him and hurried out of the store with me.

I let out a sigh of relief once we were out of there. “Man, what was that?”

“I dunno,” June replied. “I won’t be sleeping well tonight, that’s for sure. That was so... OFF! Were those, like, contacts?!!”“For what?! Halloween?? Let’s just get away from here and get that off our minds,” Kiwi suggested.

Still a little shaken by the oddness that occurred in the pizzeria, we tried to take it easy by continuing our exploration of Saffron.

“Look! Silph Co.!” Kiwi suddenly yelled out.

Me and June stopped and turned to see what had Kiwi so excited.

An enormous building towered over us. It was far taller than any building I had seen in Celadon City.

“Oh, wow. I know this place,” I recalled. “I’ve been here before.”

“Yeah, I remember when you and your parents went to Saffron,” Kiwi remembered. “You were so excited. You got to tour the entire building!”“Wow. Silph Co.,” June said. “One of the biggest names in the manufacturing of Pokemon products used throughout many parts of the world!”

“I’d love to go in,” Kiwi spoke softly, wantingly.

“Yeah, but they’re about as well known for their quality Pokemon products as they are about their security.” I shook my head.“Yeah,” Kiwi nodded. “We can’t just get in like that.”

There was plenty more sightseeing to behold, but not a Pokemon Gym to be found.

I did spot something just as good, though. “Hey, you two, look!” I pointed.

“The Pokemon Center!” Kiwi squealed.

We all walked hurriedly and stepped inside.

The lobby only held a couple of people, both sitting far apart from each other in chairs, seemingly snoozing.

I placed my Poke Balls on the counter and smiled at Nurse Joy, who had her back turned to me. “Hello, Nurse Joy!” I smiled brightly, eager to see that gorgeous, flawless face smile back at me.

She turned around and gave me her smile.

My heart stopped. My mouth fell open in shock. I felt sick to my stomach. This was the first time I had ever seen a Nurse Joy and felt this way.

She looked just like any other Nurse Joy. Fair skinned. Bizarre, red hairstyle. Same nurse’s outfit. Everything was normal.

Except her eyes. They had a startling look to them. Similar to the look in the eyes of the guy who made our food at the pizza store...? Yes. The exact same... offness. Only with a blue hue to them. The blue eyes of all the Nurse Joys, but tainted somehow…

I heard June and Kiwi gasp behind me.

“Hello!” Nurse Joy greeted us.

Her eyes slowly closed for a second, and I felt like I was staring at my beautiful angel again. But once they opened, all warmth left my body.

“H-hi,” I stammered. “M-my P-Pokemon, please.” I pushed them closer to her and stepped back.

Nurse Joy took my Poke Balls from the table.

Kiwi stepped up slowly and placed her Poke Balls on the counter.

June stepped up to the counter next and sat several Poke Balls on it! She then stepped back, too.

“June, how many Pokemon do you own?!” I asked, surprised by the number of Poke Balls she had revealed, which was over six.

“Ten,” she replied, keeping her eyes on them.

Ten?” I asked, my voice louder than I would have hoped. “But, how? I can only carry six with me! And why have I never seen these Pokemon?”

Nurse Joy interrupted our discussion. “Don’t you worry. We’ll be sure to take care of all of your Pokemon.” Her eyes looked directly into mine and I felt an intensely sharp pain right in my heart, my body trembling suddenly as if a freezing wind just blew into the place, nausea swirling in my stomach.

I swallowed what was possibly vomit rising into my throat and grabbed my chest where my heart sat, staring at Nurse Joy with my eyes wide, and I nodded silently. Without a word, I quickly walked over to a seat and sat down.

June and Kiwi sat on either side of me, speechless.

I no longer cared about how many Pokemon June owned or what she had. Whatever else had been running through my mind previously was no longer an interest of mine. Those eyes were the only things I was thinking about. They replaced my brain, occupying my head and refused to leave.

Me.

June.

Kiwi.

We sat in the lobby quietly, our eyes away from each other, probably thinking about the same thing.

There was nothing to say for the rest of the night.

I had a rough night’s sleep. I don’t know what I was dreaming of, but I felt miserable when I woke up. Like I didn’t get any rest at all. Something was occurring in my dreams. Something was disturbing me. There was a presence. I didn’t remember anything at all. Or, maybe I did. There was darkness everywhere, but that’s it. Was that my dream? Or was that my sight when my eyes were closed, trying to get some sleep?

The next morning, the three of us had grabbed our Poke Balls from Nurse Joy, purposely trying not to look her in the eyes, even while asking her where the Saffron City Gym was located.

She didn’t seem to react to our behavior and told us it was outside of the city where more houses and trees were located.

With that information, we ran out of the Pokemon Center and followed Nurse Joy’s directions to the supposed location of the upcoming Gym.

My mind was stuck on the discomfort I was feeling from Saffron City, as well as my unsettling, though empty, dream.

The city was behind us and I could see the houses Nurse Joy had described to us. They looked strong, fresh, and healthy, and they all had beautiful, well kept gardens. Some kids were playing in some of the gardens and smiled as the three of us walked past.

We smiled back at the surreal, gentle scene.

A woman was watering flowers in her garden on this wonderful, sunny day, wearing a stylish sun hat.

I always liked the look of those hats but didn’t think I could pull the look off well.

The woman smiled so wide at us before looking back down to concentrate on her watering.

“This is a much less hectic and pretty part of Saffron City,” June commented.

“Yeah.” With a deep inhale, I started to feel a lot better than I had been in the Pokemon Center. “I feel a lot more comfortable out here than in that busy city. It’s more relaxing being away from all that back there.”

“And it’s a really nice day,” Kiwi added.

“I can’t wait for my battle against the Gym Leader!” I made a small, eager jump, feeling pumped now.

Soon enough, we saw the Gym building. It was all black. It wasn’t the tallest building either, and that became clearer as we got closer to it. The top of the building, which was curved at the top, was only several inches above my head. I almost didn’t notice it at first, but as I got closer and squinted my eyes, I saw an even darker coloring against the black middle of the building. It looked like a smile. An open mouthed smile with jagged lines within. Like a Halloween pumpkin.

Am I really seeing that? I wondered, not sure if my eyes were just being stupid on me as I continued to stare at the difficult to notice bizarre design hidden against the building.

“Do you think this is the Gym?” Kiwi asked nervously.

The building was definitely giving me the creeps, too, but I stepped closer to the front door. To my surprise, the words: SAFFRON CITY GYM appeared on the door in yellow letters before vanishing soon after.

“Whoa!” My head whipped sharply to Kiwi and June. “Did you two see that?”They had both been looking at the creepy building, not the door. At my cry, they looked down to me. “See what?” they asked at the same time.

“The door! It said ‘Saffron City Gym’ on it just now!”

They both looked at the door.

“Where?” Kiwi asked.

“You missed it!” My voice was rising. “The words appeared and then went away! But this is the building!”

They both looked at me like I was crazy.

“Are you feeling okay, Gary?” June asked.

“Gary’s cracking up,” Kiwi joked. “He must be so terrified of this Gym Leader already that he’s not even thinking straight and imagining things. Maybe you need to sit this Gym out if you’re that scared of the building!

I silently glared at Kiwi.

“Awww, is Gary afraid of Psychic Pokemon?” Kiwi teased.

“No way!” I shouted. “I LOVE Psychic types! They’re my favorite type! And I’m-!” I stopped as I remembered something. “My Pokemon! The Psychic type I caught on that creepy mountain! I forgot all about it in this creepy city!” I had meant to call Prof. Oak as soon as I arrived in Saffron City, but the awkward things that had occurred made me completely forget I had caught a new Pokemon. I just wanted my Badge and to get out of here.

“Oh, yeah! How could you forget that, Gary?” June questioned.

Kiwi had told June about what happened with me and her back on that mountain and how I had caught me a Pokemon neither of us knew, but assumed was Psychic like the other Pokemon we saw there.

“I told you, he’s afraid of Psychic type Pokemon,” Kiwi said, smirking.

“Did either of you remember it?” I challenged. “Did either of you have anything else on your minds besides getting out of there?”They both looked down in silence.

Kiwi looked up. “You’re right. That city was creepy. I totally forgot about just about everything but making sure my Pokemon got taken care of. You know, we didn’t even eat breakfast! Come on. Let’s go get our Badge and get out of here. We can find out what that Pokemon was that you caught after we cream this Gym Leader and have a big lunch!” Kiwi smiled.

“Let’s go get that Badge!” I smiled back. I knocked on the door. Or tried to.

The pitch black door swung open as soon as I raised my fist to knock.

I looked inside the building with my fist still in the air, stunned at the door opening so suddenly.

A long hallway loomed before us, the end of it impossible to see. The floor was silver and seemed to have a dull glow to it. The walls and ceiling were all black.

I turned to Kiwi and June.

They were looking down the hallway. The girls turned to me and then looked back inside.

I lowered my fist and swallowed a hard lump in my throat. I didn’t tell my friends, but this building was definitely freaking me out.

Kiwi and June had to feel the same way, even if they wouldn’t say so.

I took a step onto the floor. I took another. Nervousness made it hard to take a step, but I took the next one, Kiwi and June walking close behind me. How far does this go? I thought, struggling to see the end to this hallway as I took another step. I began to regret entering this building. Maybe you didn’t see any words on the door, I reasoned with myself. Maybe I really am losing it. I started to turn to tell Kiwi and June we were gonna find a different Gym when a bright light flashed in front of my eyes!

We all cried out in fright!

I was standing still, blinking repeatedly when the brightness finally faded. My friends and I uttered out in surprise and confusion as we found ourselves in a completely different room!

The walls in this large room were black as well, but the ceiling and floor were red. The ceiling went very high up. It was undoubtedly higher than the ceiling of the Gym when we entered!

I didn’t know how that was possible, but this ceiling was definitely not just a few inches over my head.

Kiwi and June were looking around as well, shocked at the new location we had somehow ended up in.

I didn’t see a way in or out of here.

That was, until the door opened. It was black, just like the walls. It stood on the opposite side of the room from where we were. When it opened, we all gasped and stared as someone entered.

My eyes nearly popped out of my head.

Despite how creepy this room was.

Despite how scary this entire building was!

Despite everything we had been through since journeying to and through Saffron City.

I couldn’t help but notice as the person entered.

I couldn’t help but notice as this woman entered.

This woman was HOT!!!

I felt my mouth drop open, and if I were a cartoon character, it would’ve slammed through the floor.

This lady had pitch black hair that ended just below her waist. She was wearing a tight, red tank top that showed the shape of the top half of her body and stopped just short enough to show off her clearly fit stomach. Her tight black jeans complemented the rest of her body noticeably. Her matching black heels clacked against the floor as she walked forward and stopped, sticking out her hip to her left.

The door slammed behind her, even though no one was there to close it.

But that didn’t concern me too much. This woman was making me go berserk in my head, to say the least.

She was far more beautiful than ANY Nurse Joy or Officer Jenny or ANYONE!!

Slap!

“Ow!” I cried out, grabbing my head as I turned around angrily.

June was glaring at me.

“What the hell-?” I started.

“Gary and Kiwi,” the woman said. “Which one of you wishes to challenge me first?”

I turned to this woman, stunned now by her words.

“Huh?” I heard Kiwi.

“How-?” I tried.

“I am Sabrina, the Saffron City Gym Leader,” Sabrina interrupted. “I know all about you three, so let’s skip the small talk. Now, which of you wishes to challenge me first?”

“She’s psychic,” June muttered. “Just like the Pokemon she raises.”

My heart was pounding through my chest in fear. Or maybe infatuation. The situation was terribly creepy, but I still found this person so attractive. Maybe even more so now knowing that she was psychic.

Her outfit was designed to accentuate her body and allure any man and cause her to be the envy of any woman. The skin on her face seemed so soft and smooth. It held such beauty, and also mystery. She was the perfect woman. The woman for me.

She was clearly older than I was, but I really felt a strong urge to offer my entire life to her. To be with her forever. I gazed her up and down several more times as she stared at me sternly with her… eyes. My heart froze. Sabrina was far away from me, but I could see her clearly enough to not only be infatuated with her, but to notice those eyes!

The same eyes the pizza guy had.

The same eyes Nurse Joy had.

My attraction to Sabrina still didn’t fade. A hot woman is a hot woman, and Sabrina was definitely the most attractive woman I had ever seen. I couldn’t tear my eyes off of her’s.

Her blue eyes seemed so stern, so focused on me. As if her eyes alone could tear through mine, dig straight through my skull and tear into my heart like a crazed, rabid dog, and then burst free from my chest.

I felt like I would have no objections to any of that as I got even more lost in those powerful eyes. I can’t let this distract me, I thought strongly. Hey. Maybe, if I can beat her, I will earn her respect and she may even want to marry me! I fantasized of such a fate for the two of us. Us getting married. The kiss at the altar.

Before my thoughts could go any further, I heard Kiwi yell behind me, “I’ll challenge you!” She walked past me and stopped, staring at Sabrina with a Poke Ball in her hand.

“Fine. You shall be first,” Sabrina accepted.

Kiwi turned to look at me and smiled. “Since you’re too chicken to go first, allow me!” she winked.

As Kiwi turned back to face Sabrina, something white made its way across the floor, stretching itself out.

It took me several seconds before I understood what was taking place.

Magically, all by itself, a white design was being drawn out along the floor, as if by invisible people!

Seconds later, it was obvious that the drawing was the outline of a battlefield. The white image drew out between both Trainers and around their feet.

Kiwi looked up at Sabrina with her mouth hanging open. A look which soon turned into determination.

“We’ll have a one-on-one Pokemon battle,” Sabrina stated softly, simply. “No time limit.”

Kiwi nodded. “Okay.”

One-on-one. No time limit, I thought myself. All of my Gym battles so far had been three-on-three battles. Is there no judge for this battle, either?

“I choose Haunter,” Sabrina said calmly.

There was a moment of silence in the room.

Everyone but Sabrina looked around.

Where is Haunter? I wondered.

Suddenly, from the pitch blackness of the walls, Haunter emerged. It carried a huge smile on its face and eagerness in its eyes as it stared at Kiwi.

Kiwi pulled out her Pokedex.

Haunter. The Gas Pokemon and the evolved form of Gastly. This Pokemon loves to pull jokes. Its sense of humor can have deadly results. Sometimes, these deaths are intentional and not accidental, but are still considered jokes by Haunter.

Kiwi’s fists balled and her face tightened as she struggled to remain strong. “I choose… Magneton!” Kiwi threw the Poke Ball and the floating metallic set of three magnets appeared in a flash.

It was my turn to pull out my Pokedex.

Magneton. The Magnet Pokemon and the evolved form of Magnemite. Getting too close to this Pokemon can result in getting an earache. Due to the changes in the sun’s magnetic field, Magneton tend to appear more often when sunspots flare up.

Kiwi had a bit of an advantage.

Haunter is Ghost and Poison, and Poison type moves did nothing to Steel types like Magneton, who was also an Electric type.

“Magneton, use Metal Sound!” Kiwi ordered.

Magneton’s magnetic tips started to glow white and began vibrating up and down rapidly.

“AAAAAAAHHH!!” I screamed out and covered my ears.

Magneton’s attack sounded worse than my Primeape using Screech! It was a metallic piercing noise that bore into my eardrums and sent shivers down my spine.

June was twitching with her hands over her ears, keeping her squinted eyes on the fight.

Kiwi had her ears covered as well, one eye closed as she struggled with the noise from her own Pokemon.

Haunter glared at Magneton, seemingly annoyed by the noise, but nothing else.

Sabrina had the same look on her face as her Haunter did.

I used my Pokedex to identify this new move to me.

Metal Sound. This attack causes the opponent’s Special Defense to be lowered.

The noise eventually ended and Kiwi said out, releasing her ears, “Thunderbolt!”

Magneton gathered energy at its magnetic tips again before sending a blast of electricity at the Ghost Pokemon.

Haunter was surrounded by the yellow blast of electrical current. When the attack ended, Haunter was smiling. It laughed loudly.

Sabrina immediately followed with her own laughter, mocking Magneton’s attack. “Are you finished?” Sabrina chuckled.

Haunter stopped laughing and suddenly looked surprisingly upset.

Usually, Haunter are known for their smiles. This Haunter had stopped smiling, and it looked dead serious.

I noticed Sabrina had stopped laughing as well and was looking equally as serious as her Haunter. “Night Shade,” Sabrina said coldly.

Haunter’s eyes turned pitch black and a beam fired at Magneton.

Magneton was hit and slammed into the floor, denting it severely and sliding along it, lifting up pieces of the floor as it slid across.

I had never seen this move before, but I knew about it.Kiwi pulled out her Pokedex to scan this attack.

Night Shade. This attack is as strong as the Pokemon using it.

Magneton shakily began to float back up into the air to continue trying to fight.

“Finish it,” Sabrina said coolly.

Haunter held its hands in front of its face and a dark ball of energy formed. It tossed it at Magneton.

Magneton was sent flying. It flew past Kiwi, me, and June, and crashed into the wall.

“NO!” Kiwi cried out, running to her Pokemon.

Magneton was wedged deep in the wall, unable to battle.

Kiwi had lost.

I watched as Kiwi talked to her Magneton, asking if it was okay, her voice quivering with emotion.

“Gary, you’re next,” Sabrina spoke seriously.

I turned quickly to face her. My eyes went to her Haunter, and then back to Sabrina.

“Same rules. Do you accept?” she asked.

I couldn’t run away. If I wanted to become a Pokemon Master, I couldn’t stop here. I couldn’t be afraid. Well, I couldn’t stop here, at least... “I accept!” I stepped up to my spot and glared at my belt. Who to choose…

“Haunter will be my Pokemon,” Sabrina stated.

She’s sticking with Haunter? I wondered. It has lowered Special Defense and it took a good Thunderbolt attack. If she’s really going to continue with it, I might just win this. “Go! Primeape!”

“Primeape?” June shouted as my Pokemon made his appearance.

I turned to June angrily. “I know what I’m doing, okay?” I snapped. I was nervous enough as it was. I didn’t need her judgement call making me feel even worse and more unsure.

She looked at me in surprise. “Okay…” she muttered, her voice shaking.

Kiwi was returning her Magneton to its Poke Ball. She wiped at her face and turned mournfully to see what was going on with my battle. Once she realized I was looking at her, her face toughened and she stood up. “You can do it, Gary! I warmed her up for you.” She smiled encouragingly. “Don’t turn your back on her. Get that Badge!”

“Right!” I turned to my opponent. “Alright! Primeape, Screech!” I covered my ears as Primeape let out his loud screeching to lower Haunter’s Defense stat.

As usual, the noise was irritating to everyone.

My ears were still ringing from Metal Sound, so this was just an assault for them.

“STOP THE NOOOOIISE!!” I heard June wail.

Haunter and Sabrina continued to share the annoyed expression on their faces that they had when taking Metal Sound.

After Screech ended, I commanded, “Assurance!”

Primeape leaped forward with his fist out, aiming to take out Haunter.

Haunter was hit hard and slammed into the floor. It slid for a moment and then floated back up in the air, smiling.

“Finish it,” Sabrina said.

“Wait!” I said feebly, completely surprised Haunter was still able to battle.

Haunter’s eyes and body started to glow purple.

Primeape was then outlined in a purple color as well.

Haunter raised one of its hands and Primeape began floating in the air, screaming and yelling his name in agony.

“He’s using Psychic attack on Primeape!” June called out.

Haunter’s hand flew out, and Primeape was flung backwards.

My Pokemon flew fast into my stomach, knocking out my wind, and we both slid fast across the floor as if it were made of ice.

I slammed into the wall and slumped over my Pokemon.

June ran to me. “Gary!” She kneeled down and put her hand on my shoulder. “Are you okay?”

“You both lose,” Sabrina declared.

I gasped repeatedly, trying to regain my breath. My hands gripped at the floor and I gazed upon my beaten Pokemon.

He wasn’t moving, but I knew he would be alright.

As I heaved in air as best as I could, I returned Primeape to his Poke Ball. I sat on the floor for a bit, recovering my snatched energy, before I finally stood up, still shaking weakly. That Haunter is incredible, I thought as my eyes met the Pokemon and his Trainer.

They both were staring at us without a sound. Their identical, serious stares were unnerving me.

“You win,” I managed. “We’d like to leave now.”

“Let us out!” June demanded.

“You all belong to me now,” Sabrina spoke.

The silence in the room after those words were spoken was eerie.

“Excuse me?” I finally choked out, still regathering myself.

“Your souls belong to me,” Sabrina replied. Her voice was noticeably different than it had just been. It had gone a little bit deeper. More darker.

“Oh, my gosh,” Kiwi whispered fearfully. She looked around for a place to run.

The three of us did.

It was too late.

Sabrina’s eyes glowed dark blue, attracting all of our attention to her. The Gym Leader’s hair started to lift and blew wildly behind her head as if a wind were blowing through the Gym, but there was no air flowing inside. She floated in the air and moved towards her Haunter, whose eyes were also glowing the same exact color of blue as he cackled lightly.

I tried to back up but I was already against the wall.

June grabbed my arm tight. “Gary, we have to get out of here,” June’s voice trembled.

Kiwi turned to the wall behind her and began feeling on it, trying to find a way out.

“You are the latest meals,” Sabrina said evilly, her voice now distorted and sharper, barely any sign of her original voice remaining. She floated above her Haunter.

Haunter was now floating steadily closer to us, his mouth wide in a silent smile. He appeared to be growing bigger, his eyes glowing an even deeper, darker blue.

Sabrina’s eyes were doing the same thing. “Your souls shall be devoured. You shall reside here forever!”

“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??!” I bellowed. My heart was beating so hard, I couldn’t breathe properly.

Haunter was moving slowly, his eyes now deeper and darker than the deepest depths of the oceans of the world.

“You are mine.” Sabrina floated stationary in the air, staring down at us all as Haunter got too close for comfort.

I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t think I could beat this Pokemon in another battle. The entire situation was way out of control and driving me crazy! I still didn’t understand what was happening! I just... I just wanted to go home! My eyes began to fill with tears. “PLEASE!” I pleaded desperately to Haunter and Sabrina.

“Go get him, Pidgeotto!” Kiwi raised her Poke Ball to toss it.

Haunter kept his attention on me and kept moving closer, completely ignoring Kiwi.

Sabrina, on the other hand, turned to Kiwi. 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, her eyes as wide as her gaping mouth. A long, hoarse intake of air was heard from my friend’s throat. She then went silent. A shriek that could’ve competed with Metal Sound and Screech at the same time emitted from her.

My eyes shot continuously back and forth between Haunter and Kiwi. Oh, no… I thought. Kiwi…? Pidgeotto. What... just... happened...? I jumped up and ran to Kiwi, desperate to go somewhere.

Haunter was within arm’s reach of me.

“Kiwi!” I shouted, grabbing her shoulders. “Come on! We have to find a way out of here!”Kiwi kept staring at her hand where her Pidgeotto’s Poke Ball had once been, screaming her high pitched scream.

Her Starter Pokemon. Her Pidgeotto.

I couldn’t believe what had happened. I tried to shake Kiwi and get her to focus for a minute. But I couldn’t move. Something was holding me in place. I was stuck and my body was aching, covered in a layer of burning, freezing sharp prickles, outlined in a dark blue lighting.

“HEY! I can’t move!” June shrieked.

Kiwi just continued to scream, stuck in her position, her body also outlined in a deep, dark blue color, looking at her hand. She hadn’t even taken a breath yet. Tears were flowing down her cheeks. Her face was turning hysterical. She was losing it completely. I knew Kiwi all of my life, but never had I seen her in this state.

I kept struggling to move as I suddenly was lifted into the air. “What’s going on??” I panicked. My body was turned around against my will, my hand still on Kiwi’s shoulder.

Haunter was directly in my face.

I screamed at the top of my lungs.

“No more running,” Sabrina said in her normal, soft, yet serious voice I had heard from her the first time we met. Her voice then went dark, contorted, louder, and evil again as she spoke, “It’s time to feed.”

Kiwi had finally inhaled loudly for a breath, and then proceeded to let out another long scream.

Haunter’s eyes now glowed a black shade. They started giving off black sparks. His tongue hung from his mouth, his smile wider than ever. The thick, long, pink tongue reached out for me and touched my cheek.

It instantly felt as if my very life was being drained from my body. I lost all will to fight. I immediately gave up.

Haunter’s tongue, dry, dead, yet wet and sticky at the exact same, indescribable time, slid up my cheek. I knew I was dead.

“Kadabra!”

I couldn’t look to where that noise came from. I wasn’t even fully sure of what it was. A bright flash appeared before my eyes and suddenly I felt like I was falling! I screamed before hitting the ground hard just a couple of seconds later, ending in an, “OW!”

Two others voices screamed somewhere near me before it ended with a pair of pained grunts.

The flash disappeared from my eyes only to be replaced by the sun! I looked around me and realized I was outside!

June was rubbing her butt from the fall we all just had, blinking repeatedly against the new light.

Kiwi was sitting up slowly, squinting under the sun and turning her head in confusion at the new scenery.

My heart was still kicking my chest like it was in need of more space. I opened my mouth to say something to Kiwi and June, but nothing came out. Swallowing, I turned to see where we were.

It was Saffron City. We were somewhere along the road between the actual city and the Gym, where the nice houses were at.

But no one was outside now. No kids. No one watering flowers.

I turned back to Kiwi and June.

June was already staring back at me.

Kiwi had lowered her head to the ground and seemed to be staring at her right hand that sat on the ground beneath her.

We all just sat quietly, not saying a word or moving.

Kiwi’s hand rose slowly, shaking hard. The hand that held Pidgeotto’s Poke Ball before it was disintegrated. She checked her belt. There were only five Poke Balls clipped to it. She grabbed them all and threw them before her.

Her Pokemon all appeared before her at once from their capsules.

Rhydon. Magneton. Torkoal. Gastly. Arbok.

There was no Pidgeotto.

Kiwi stared at her Pokemon for a few minutes before returning them to their Poke Balls. As soon as they were inside, her head slumped with her shoulders and she leaned over fast. Her head almost collided with the ground, but it stopped just short, and she began crying in a pained wail.

My eyes teared up immediately seeing my friend like this. The tears flowed down my cheeks seeing her in this helpless position. I couldn’t imagine the pain she was in.

She had just lost the first ever Pokemon she had ever obtained.

I remembered when Prof. Oak revealed what Pokemon Kiwi would be receiving after me, Robin and Aly had chosen our Starters, and the dismay on her face when she saw it. I recalled how Robin and I had laughed at it at first. Kiwi had taken to it when it was revealed it knew a special move, Heat Wave.

Pidgey had even evolved into a Pidgeotto at some point during its time traveling with Kiwi. But, now...

June raised her hands to her face and began to weep.

The three of us sat crying at differing volumes, Kiwi being the loudest as she gasped for air, a mix of screams and cries forcing their way out of her, June sobbing at a much lower tone, and me quietly allowing my cheeks to soak in my tears.

The three of us.

Me.

June.

And Kiwi.

And Kadabra.

Kadabra!

“Whoooooa!! What the hell?!” My breathing was cut short at the shock of seeing the Pokemon.

Kiwi stopped crying and looked up.

June looked up as well and gasped.

“Kadabra!” Kadabra stared back at me intently.

What did it want?

“I’ve had enough of this city! And Pokemon in general!” Kiwi screamed, her voice extremely shrill with emotion.

“Kiwi, come here,” June offered.

“NO!” Kiwi leapt to her feet. “I’m sick of this! I’m sick of everything!” She stomped on the ground repeatedly in a circle and began crying hysterically again, soon dropping down onto her knees.

I didn’t turn away to look at my friend. I kept my eyes on Kadabra.

It had saved our lives. It was Kadabra’s voice I had heard back in the Gym as Haunter was draining me of my life. Kadabra was the one to Teleport us to safety. But, why?

A flash of bright light suddenly appeared before my eyes. I don’t know how long it lasted, but when it finally ended, I understood everything.

I understood Sabrina.

I understood Haunter.

I understood Saffron City and the secrets lurking within it.

I understood Kadabra.

And I now understood what Kadabra wanted from me.

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