“GARY!! ALY!! KIWI!! ROBIN! WAAAAAIIIT!!!”
I turned to see Prof. Sketchit running towards me at rapid speed. “What’s going on, Prof. Sketchit?” I asked with concern.
Prof. Sketchit stopped before me with his hand reached out in a fist.
I opened my palm and from his hand dropped five Poke Balls!
“Prof. Oak… forgot… to give you these...” Prof. Sketchit gasped for air.
I gasped. “How could I forget??”
The most important thing a Pokemon Trainer needs. Their Poke Balls! How else can a Trainer capture and master a wild Pokemon?
“I guess Prof. Oak is getting on in his years and totally forgot. Sorry about that,” Prof. Sketchit laughed. “Where are the others?”
“They just left. In three different directions, too.” I pointed.
“Oh, darn it! This is terrible!” Prof. Sketchit exclaimed. “Well, no worries. Prof. Oak said he’d send a few flying Pokemon after you four if I couldn’t catch you and they would locate and deliver the Poke Balls themselves. I better go in that case so they get delivered before one of those three guys runs into a wild Pokemon!” In an instant, he was running away from me and back to the lab, dirt flying up behind him.
Nothing would be worse than running into a wild Pokemon and not having the Poke Balls to catch it, I thought to myself. Slipping my Poke Balls into my pocket, I walked forward a few steps and then stopped. My right hand grabbed at the right side of my waist and gripped the Poke Ball clipped to my belt. “Go, Charmander!”
Charmander came out of the extended Poke Ball in my hand.
I knelt down to it and smiled. “Hey, Charmander. My name is Gary, as you may recall.” I tried not to just constantly stare at it in the eyes, lowering my own or looking around us briefly as I spoke. “I want to become a Pokemon Master and capture every Pokemon there is. You’re my very first Pokemon. We can train hard together and grow stronger, and travel the world competing to win Badges, and fighting in Pokemon competitions. How does that sound to you?”
Charmander stared at me for a short moment before crossing its arms and turning its back to me.
“Hey. What did I do to you, anyway? Why the attitude?”
Charmander didn’t respond.
“Charmander, tell me what…” Pokemon can’t say anything but their names, I reminded myself. “…Er… Can’t you… just work with me? Give me a chance! Let’s work together, okay?”
Charmander said nothing.
Suddenly, something ran into the clearing. A Rattata!
Charmander and I stared at it as it stared back at us.
Rattata. The Mouse Pokemon. Once this Pokemon finds a location to find food, it will breed there continuously and be impossible to get rid of. This Pokemon can live virtually anywhere on land.
After my Pokedex was done stating that information, I closed it and took a step closer to Rattata. “My first Pokemon capture. Charmander! I…”
In a red flash, Charmander charged forward and tackled Rattata!
Rattata wasn’t ready for that and flew several feet before attempting to land.
I say attempting to land because before Rattata hit the ground, Charmander moved forward again and with a swift twist, smacked Rattata with its tail and sent it flying into a tree!
“Charmander, stop! That’s enough!” I yelled.
The Lizard Pokemon didn’t seem to hear me and charged forward again, its right claw high in the air, ready to strike.
Rattata freaked out and ran as fast as it could, vanishing through the tall grass.
Charmander placed its claws on its sides and stuck out its chest with pride over its win.
I stormed over to it. “What is wrong with you?” I frowned at it.
Charmander stared at me for a moment and then turned away and crossed its arms again.
“Charmander, I could’ve captured that Pokemon! You ruined the chance to make a new friend for our team!”
Charmander merely shook its head at me. It seemed to be disapproving of my choice in Rattata.
“Hey! I know what I’m doing. I’m the master here. I decide who is gonna be on the team and who isn’t, not you! Besides, we all have to start somewhere. Rattata and other Pokemon are great for me to begin to learn with, although I know a considerable amount already. Just trust me, okay?”
Charmander walked away from me!
“Where do you think you’re going?” I chased after it. “Hey! Come on, now! We can work this out, can’t we?” Charmander seemed to lead my way. I didn’t know what else to do but follow it. I felt completely helpless.
We both stopped as a tiny bit of the ground split and before I knew it, a Sandshrew had dug up in front of us!
“Wow! A Sandshrew!”
I whipped out the Pokedex, but as it began telling me the latest info on it, I heard absolutely nothing it said as Charmander let loose an enormous flame from its mouth at the unsuspecting Pokemon.
Sandshrew tried to run, but Charmander gave chase.
“Leave it alone, Charmander!” I pulled out its Poke Ball. “Return!”
Chamander dodged around the red beam and continued to chase Sandshrew until it dug its way to safety. It smiled as it took its prideful walk back to me.
I was furious at this point. “CHARMANDER, STOP IT!”
Charmander looked up at me calmly and stuck its tongue out at me.
I couldn’t believe this Pokemon’s utter rudeness! “What in the world is WRONG... Wait a minute.” I knelt down to Charmander’s level. “You just like to fight, don’t you? You are so strong and want to show off your power. You just love to battle! Is that it?”
Charmander just watched me.
“Charmander, we can work this out. But, please, work with me, too. I want to work with you so we can battle together. Every day. I can capture wild Pokemon and you can battle against each other and train. Then, we’ll travel to fight strong Trainers from all over the world! Please, Charmander? I want what you want for yourself, buddy.”
Charmander stared at me for a minute before walking away again.
What is wrong with me? I wondered, feeling hurt as my heart began to beat sharply. Why doesn’t Charmander like me? My eyes began to sting as water began to seep out from behind them.
A loud screech through the trees stopped Charmander and made us both look up.
A Mankey came swinging through the trees.
Charmander watched it for only a second before it gave chase.
I ran, too, swiftly. I couldn’t let Charmander chase away another catch of mine.
We ran after it together, me trying to return Charmander to its Poke Ball.
Charmander kept dodging my efforts to return it and spit flames at the Mankey.
Mankey was swinging away, oddly calm. Suddenly, it dropped from the trees and faced us.
Charmander sent a flame at it, but Mankey dodged to the side and charged at Charmander, hitting it with what looked like a Scratch attack.
Charmander stumbled back, growling angrily. It then spit more fire at Mankey, who dodged and sent its foot flying for Charmander’s legs. My Pokemon screamed out as it fell face first to the ground. Quick as lightning, it swept Mankey with its tail and Mankey hit the ground.
Mankey got up, jumping up and down and crying out angrily.
I decided I would try my Pokedex for some advice.
Mankey. The Pig Monkey Pokemon. These Pokemon can be friendly. However, once enraged, they can be amongst the most violent Pokemon known to man.
I knew about Mankey and their evolved form, Primeape, who are said to be even more dangerous. This Pokemon had to become mine. It was putting up a good fight against Charmander, too. It was definitely strong.
“Charmander, use Growl!” I commanded.
Charmander ignored me and went for a Scratch attack.
Mankey dodged and hit back continuously with Fury Swipes.
Charmander landed hard on the ground but bounced back up with a grunt and caught Mankey with an Ember.
It was then that I smelled the smoke and looked around. My eyes widened until it hurt as I inhaled in horror.
The trees around us were on fire!!
The trees, the grass; all were burning! Pokemon were scurrying away while Charmander and Mankey continued to fight!
“Stop, you two!” I begged.
The two continued attacking nonstop, Charmander getting in some attacks, Mankey going for some moves, neither side giving in.
I had to end this nonsense. As my hand with Charmander’s Poke Ball extended to try and return it again, my Pokemon looked back and attacked me with a stream of fire I barely avoided by dropping to the ground! The wave of heat from the flames above me were strong.
My Pokemon turned back to the fight and caught Mankey with an Ember attack as it tried to attack Charmander.
Climbing to my feet, I couldn’t help but wonder how Mankey, or any Pokemon in general, could take such attacks head on and keep going.
Charmander and Mankey were tired, but not giving in an inch. Charmander hit with another Scratch attack and Mankey slammed into a tree trunk.
The monkey now seemed stunned.
Charmander took the chance to attack with a strong Ember.
“That’s enough! Poke Ball, go!” I threw my Poke ball as hard as I could at Mankey. I had been practicing such throws since I was much younger, throwing toy Poke Balls at my Poke Dolls.
The flame Charmander hit Mankey with faded just before the Poke Ball hit next.
Mankey looked out of energy.
The Poke Ball opened and Mankey was pulled in by the red beam.
The Poke Ball landed in the grass, the button on the center of it glowing a sharp red, and it shook repeatedly.Again and again.
Time seemed to take forever...
The red color of the button faded away to white.
“YES! I caught a Mankey!” I cried happily, running forward and grabbing up the Poke Ball, smiling for only a second before furiously turning to Charmander. “You see what you’ve done?? The forest is on fire because of y-!”
I couldn’t finish my sentence because of a loud screeching noise from afar.
Me and Charmander looked up, but saw nothing. But not for long.
In seconds, we saw the Mankey. They swung in from the treetops from all angles, swinging even on some of the burning trees. And not one of them looked happy.
“Charmander, we have to run!”
Charmander didn’t respond. It was eyeing all of the Mankey bravely.
Does it seriously want to take on all of them? I thought in shock, looking at my chosen partner. There’s got to be like, fifty of them, at least! And maybe more were coming. But why? Because we ruined their home? Most likely. “Mankey, please, we’re sorry! I-!”
But, what do you say to something when you’ve burned its home down? And it’s still burning! I needed to go get help. The fire department. Something. But I wasn’t sure these Mankey were just gonna let me go and get that help. It was at this time I wished I had chosen Squirtle instead.
One Mankey dropped down in front of Charmander. “Mankey Mankey Mank!” Mankey said angrily.
“Char. Charmander Char Char!” Charmander responded.
Suddenly, every Mankey looked to me with increased rage.
“Huh…?” I said meekly.
Charmander then... calmly walked away! It walked right past the Mankey that had their deadly stares on me! Charmander looked back to me for a moment before turning away and disappearing into the trees!!
“HEY!” I tried to run after it, but the Mankey surrounded me.
They were on me in an instant, beating me continuously! Their claws, fists, and feet were pounding away at me relentlessly.
How any Pokemon could take such abuse in a battle was beyond me. I somehow found myself able to admire the strength the average Pokemon has to have to withstand this kind of a beating, and far, far, far worse in battle. So this is how I die? I asked myself. In a fire beaten to death by a gang of Mankey? I’m sorry, mom. I was a failure. Just like dad, I died on my journey. Just like my sister, I was no good at raising my own Pokemon. Hope suddenly filled my heart at the final, desperate thought of my new Mankey. Maybe it could help me! Maybe it could get them to stop! I reached in desperation for its Poke Ball. It wasn’t on my belt clip! Why? I never put it on there, I remembered. It was… in my hand!! Not anymore, though. My hands were empty. I looked around for it, knowing I must have dropped it when I was attacked. Tears were rolling down my face. If I didn’t find Mankey, I was a dead.
Then I saw it.
A Poke Ball sat on the ground, next to two Mankey. One was beating up the other Mankey. The Mankey getting attacked looked like it was already hurt and exhausted and wasn’t able to put up a fight.
Could it be…?
“NNOOOOOOOOOOOO!!” I bellowed.
That poor Mankey. It was my Mankey! But why was it getting beat up? Were the others angry I not only burnt their home, but also took away one of their friends?
That was my last thought…
So much pain.
I couldn’t see anything. I struggled to open my eyes, but it hurt. It hurt to try to move. It hurt to even do nothing. My whole existence was pain. Where was I?
I opened my eyes and screamed as my face burned. My eyes shut along with my mouth as screaming was also tearing my face apart, and I uttered in pain through gritted teeth and closed lips. Forcing my eyes open, groaning in agony, I looked around.
The sky was gray but still lit, and the ground was wet. It was raining. The fire was gone. It didn’t look like it had gotten the chance to destroy too much. There were several burned and bare trees and the grass was blackened far and wide, but this downpour of rain saved a far worse situation from occurring.
But, the Mankey. Where were they?
I rolled over slowly, trying to ease the hurt, crying out loudly. My clothes were soaked in a mixture of water and blood.
Then I saw Mankey. My Mankey!
Struggling to tolerate the pain gripping at every inch of my body, my teeth bared strongly together, I crawled over to the Pokemon, rain pouring down from above on us. “Mankey!”
It didn’t respond.
I had to do something. Anything possible.
Mankey needed help. Parts of its body were covered in blood and deep clawed marks, while its skin was visible from tufts of ripped out fur.
I wasn’t sure if it was even alive, but I couldn’t just leave it here. Struggling greatly, screaming hoarsely, it seemed to take forever before I managed to get to my feet. The pain in my legs was almost unbearable. But I had to. I bent over to lift Mankey, struggled some to lift it up, and began to walk. I had no idea where I was, but it didn’t matter anymore. We had to go. Somewhere. Anywhere. Back to Pallet Town. To the next city, Viridian City. Somewhere I could get help for my Mankey. I walked. Stumbled. Walked. No matter how many times I fell, no matter how much it hurt with each fall, I made sure Mankey was safe in my arms.
The hardest part of the trek was the hill I had to get down. A very long hill with fresh, live grass surrounded by healthy trees. The burnt forest was behind us now. I could hear the sound of water crashing continuously. A waterfall. When me and my mom and dad would go to the city, we’d stop and look at that waterfall. It was beautiful then. I even saw a terrifying Gyarados leap out of it once. I cried in fear back then.
But there was no stopping today. Just painful trudging. It occurred to me that if this was the waterfall, I must be on my way to Viridian City. There was a Pokemon Center there. This made me feel only barely any better, but I may have walked a bit faster knowing this. Maybe not. I was in a lot of pain.
After quite some time being lost in a blank state of not thinking anything at all, just mindlessly moving, I could see it.
The clearing up ahead. The city. Viridian City.
This time, I did run. It hurt even more, but I ran. Ran like I was being chased. But just before I fully left the woods, I saw it.
I stopped and turned to it.
It stared back at me.
It then turned away from me and walked off, disappearing into the woods in seconds.
I stared after it in disbelief. “FINE!! WHO NEEDS YOU THEN??!” I raged after it. I wanted to scream after it some more. Maybe chase it down and give it a good kick or two. But I had my Mankey to care for. Before leaving, I let it know, “And I hope your tail flame goes out!! You’re worthless!! Nothing to me!!” My eyes watered from a melting pot of different feelings. “I hate you, you traitor!! DIIIIIIIIIIIEEEE!!!” I ran again, even harder than before. The pain was still there, but I had to keep going. I was angry, but pumped, blinking tears from my eyes, demanding them to stop. I had run past a police booth before truly noticing it. Once I realized what it was, I stopped and headed back to it.
A woman stepped out from inside. An Officer Jenny! “Oh, my gosh! What happened here??” She wore a horrified look at the bloodied sight of me and Mankey.
“Please. Officer…” I was grateful I had found her. It was like starving for food when miles away from home and finally, you’re only two feet from the fridge. I collapsed, very painfully, to my knees, and screamed out.
She knelt down and grabbed me. I whined from the hurt her touch caused me as she helped me up and escorted me to her motorcycle, helping me into the sidecar. Without a word, she hopped in the motorcycle and we were driving at a furious speed.
It wasn’t long before the Pokemon Center came into view.
I felt like I was losing consciousness. But that was okay. We were gonna be okay. I looked down at Mankey, still in my arms.
Its eyes were closed. It didn’t seem to be breathing.
“Mankey…” I whispered. “You’re gonna be okay. We made it, buddy.”
I didn’t take my eyes from it.
Then, to my great surprise, one of Mankey’s eyes opened just a slit.
I gasped. “Mankey,” I could barely get myself to utter.
Mankey reached one of its paws for my cheek for just an instant, but it fell back lifelessly before reaching me.
“Mankey… No. We’re safe now. We’re okay. I promise you.”
We got closer to the Pokemon Center. It loomed before us. It was an incredible looking building, enormous in size.
My consciousness was going. But it was okay now. It had to be.
I didn’t need Charmander and I was gonna prove it. If it didn’t wanna be with me and just wanted me to die, then the same back to it.
But I won’t die, Charmander, I thought dizzily as we got even closer to the Pokemon Center. I won’t die. I’ll become the strongest Pokemon Trainer in the world. And I’ll capture every Pokemon in existence. And you’ll hear about me one day. See my picture in the paper or something as the greatest Pokemon Trainer of this day and age. No. Ever! Maybe you won’t. But I don’t care. You know why, Charmander?
Because you’re dead to me.
Just like you left me.
You left me for dead.
And you’re dead to me, too.