It had been twenty minutes since she had lost sight of Ed.
She had reasonably calmed down from her panic-induced hysteria at being caught in a storm. So, instead of being all scared and trying to hide under some wimpy looking tree, she was instead feeling depressed and moody. Not that she still wasn’t a bit fearful (understatement), but it had since taken a back seat in favor of brooding and sarcasm.
Or that was what Leah kept telling herself.
Though, it didn’t matter since she had to find a way to get out of the forest. Right now.
Like the people back in the city, the storm was all around her and no matter what she did, no matter where she tried to hide, she couldn’t get it to go away! It blinded her senses. She couldn’t see, she couldn’t hear (not that it would’ve helped anyways) and she couldn’t even run anymore, though that one was more her fault then the rain’s.
Leah cursed herself for not exercising more. Maybe if she did then maybe she could’ve kept up with Ed’s fast pace. It was really surprising, and a bit frightening too, how fast Ed was able to run. Leah tried to follow, really, she did, but she got tired and was forced to stop. It wasn’t the best excuse, especially since she was the one that wanted that wanted to leave so badly, but how could she know that she was going to get caught in up in a freaking storm?
She flinched and her heart raced as the thunder growled in the sky. A pit of terror had formed her chest and she desperately wanted to get rid of it. Oh, what she would do to get out of the weather? Pretty much anything at that point.
Hunched over, but with her whole body on alert, she was stupidly walking in a random direction. She had no clue where she was going, but didn’t care as long as it led her out of the jungle. If she was smart, she would’ve just stayed in the same place and would hope that Ed came back for her.
But no, she just couldn’t stay still, could she? Nope, she just had to be a moron.
The trees provided pretty much no protection whatsoever, from both the rain and the lightning; not that she logically needed protection from lightning, but still. It was lightning! What if it hit a tree or something?
Shivering, she stuck her hands in her pockets. If the rain, lightning and thunder weren’t bad enough, there was the wind. The stupid damn wind. Despite the storm, it actually wasn’t that cold unless you accounted for the strong winds. It was blowing and howling and attacking her whenever she wasn’t behind trees. It blew rain into her face and forced her to close her eyes and stop whenever a particular big gust came around.
With her eyes half-blind, she was surprised she hadn’t tripped or run into anything yet, but she didn’t think that would last long.
Where was the exit? There had to be one around somewhere! Although, she found that that hope was slowly dying. How long had she been walking? A long time probably and despite her tiredness, she had yet to get out of the dreadfully familiar scene of plants, plants and more plants. She needed a new plan. It looked like she wasn’t going to be getting out of the storm the way she wanted to, so she was going to have to go with Plan B (always capitalized in her head).
Most people would be surprised that she had a Plan B already, but the specific plan had been thought up a few years ago. Just in case That ever happened again. And look-it that: it had.
So, Plan B: she needed to find a shelter. No, not a tree or a plant. Those couldn’t be trusted. A cave of some sort would work, but she didn’t think there were any around. Actually, maybe there were some. She sure didn’t expect to find a cave Back There, after all.
Leah looked around her and tried to calm herself down. She had to find shelter or it would just get worse.
It always did.
“Well,” Leah spoke to herself, voice shaking as a disbelieving grin came onto her face. “I would’ve liked a cave, but I suppose a creepy house in the middle of nowhere will have to do.”
It was around ten minutes later and Leah had stumbled upon the jackpot.
A house, a mansion, stood before her, looking much older than her own house. It looked abandoned if the yard was any indication. The gardens in front were all dead and the decayed plants hadn’t even been cleaned up. Though, it was hard to see through the thick rain.
Briskly walking toward the double doors that stood on top of a mini wooden staircase, she crushed the dead plants under her boots. When she got to the top of the stairs and under the overhang, she sighed, but didn’t make a move to taking her hood off. Water dripped onto the damp wood and Leah looked at the door cautiously before shaking her head.
No, there was no point in knocking. She didn’t care if it wasn’t abandoned, she was getting out of the weather and that was that. Period.
She tried to open the door and was a bit surprised when it swung open easily. Hmm, suspicious. With one last look at the miserable weather, she casually entered the mansion. There were no lights inside and she couldn’t see any light switches on the walls, but the light from the open doorway vaguely illuminated the scene.
It was… grand. That was the best word to describe it. The front room that she had entered was bigger then her kitchen and living room put together. At the very front of the room, about six meters ahead of her, were two great staircases which curled their way to the floor above. There was also a slight chill in the room and it almost made Leah think that it might be colder inside the house than out.
Before closing the door, Leah knelt down and dug around in her bag for her flashlight. She found it and switched it on, the beam of light providing more comfort then the light from outdoors did. She was happy to note, that once she closed the door, the sound of the rain was abruptly cut off, though she could still hear it if she was really quiet. Which she wasn’t.
“Hello?” Leah hesitantly asked the mansion, feeling like a girl out of a horror movie. “Anyone there?”
“Okay then, I’ll just make myself at home.” Then she said quieter to herself as she looked around with narrowed eyes. “Yeah, I’ll do that…”
Leah wandered over to the staircase, a once majestic red carpet guiding her from the door to the stairs, as if welcoming her. As she walked, she couldn’t help but notice the five white columns on either side of her, extended to the ceiling and seemingly holding it up. They were probably once quite good looking, but now they were crumbling and worn from age.
The whole place was weird, she thought. An abandoned mansion in the middle of a forest would make a good tourist attraction, so why wasn’t anyone here? Not only that, but there was a feeling in the air, like a static charge. She couldn’t really describe it, but whatever it was, it just gave her the feeling that she was intruding on something… sacred.
Her footfalls paused as she stood before the stairs.
The terror which had been put on hiatus as she amused herself with the mysterious mansion suddenly started to rise. Suddenly, she started to wonder why a house like this was abandoned in the first place. Had something horrible happened? She felt her limbs freezing in place and her mind blanking out. All that was left was her and the instinct that something was inexplicitly wrong with the whole situation.
Then, as fast as it appeared, the fear left her and she let out a breath of air.
Nothing to fear, it was probably just that weird smell in the air that had been bugging her since she had come in. That- that burning smell. Her nose itched and she wished that it would go away already. The smell had proved that it was annoying, so could it just go bug someone else, now?
“Sorry, house,” Leah said and forced a smile to hide a bit of unease. “Unless you can make it rain in here, there’s no getting rid of me.”
With nothing else to do, she sat down on one of the lowest steps, her arm leaning against her knee and her hand supporting her head. Silence descended on the mansion as Leah just sat there and did nothing. She could hear the dulled out sound of the rain outside as it attacked the roof with a roar.
She assumed it wouldn’t rain for that much longer, but the longer she sat there in the quiet, the more that the hope withered and died. How long was she going to be stuck inside for anyways? Hours? If that was so, then Leah could pretty much sentence herself to hours of boredom. She didn’t really feel like exploring the house because she’d probably just get into trouble. Besides, with the house in the condition that it was in, she didn’t want to accidently fall through the floor or something like that.
Sighing, she took out Sand’s Pokeball from her pocket and held it up to her face. She refused to suffer alone (it had nothing to do with feeling a bit uneasy, not at all).
“Hey, Sands,” Leah said to the Pokeball. “There’s no battle, but if I let you out, you gotta behave and be a good little Pokemon. Okay?”
Taking to the Pokeball was meaningless since Sands couldn’t hear her; though it didn’t matter because it wouldn’t be able understand even if it actually did.
Leah released Sands onto the floor. Her eyes narrowed at the bright light and stayed like that until the spectacle was over. Sands looked up at her with a blank expression. It was obviously confused on why it had been called out when there was no battle.
“I’m bored,” Leah told it, answering its imaginary question. “You’re suffering with me.”
“Sands?” it said.
“Yeah, that’s your name,” she teased it. Uh oh, if she was bored enough to play games with a Pokemon, then she was in trouble.
Though, Sands didn’t seem like it wanted to continue their conversation either. It pawed the ground, claws scratching the carpet before it got up on its hind legs and stuck its nose into the air, sniffing.
“What are you smelling?”
The Pokemon didn’t bother replying, putting its nose to the ground and then looking up at Leah.
“What are you-?”
With fast steps, Sands leapt onto the stair that Leah was sitting on and started to climb. Leah twisted her body around to watch her Pokemon walk away from her and go up to the next level with its nose first.
Leah scowled. “Hey!” She quickly stood up and with flashlight in hand, she followed. The beam of light kept a firm spotlight on the Sandshrew, who completely ignored its trainer when she called out to it again and again. Though she wasn’t that happy at Sands’ disobedience, she didn’t try to stop it, instead hoping that the Pokemon will lead her out of boredom, but not into trouble. Huh, and she thought she wasn’t going to explore. So much for that plan.
Sands and Leah got to the next floor up and Leah shined her flashlight onto the hallway walls. They were torn up and old, but that wasn’t what caught her attention. No, the thing that caught her attention was the single handprint that had been smeared onto the wallpaper closest to the staircase. She went up closer and found that it was a dark, rusty brown and drips of it fell in a straight line to the floor. Or, once had. It was completely dried up and looked like it had been like that for a long time.
“Blood; ew,” she concluded with a grimace. “This has suddenly gotten a lot creepier.”
Leah turned from the wall and pointed her flashlight back at Sands-
-Or, where Sands was supposed to be.
The light hovered in that spot for a moment before starting to frantically move along ground, looking for the lost Pokemon.
“Sands?” Leah asked loudly. “Come here!”
When the Sandshrew didn’t come trotting to her, Leah cursed at Sands’ sudden abandonment. Not again! This was the reason that she hated relying on Sandshrew for anything other then a battle. It always seemed to abandon her when she needed it most! What if she needed protection or something? Argh!
Calm down, she told herself. There are only two directions Sands could have gone: up the hallway or down the hallway. Judging that Sands would have to slip past her to go down the hallway, she assumed that it had gone right. Leah peered up the hallway. No Pokemon could be seen, but there were three doors, two of them wide open, the other being closed.
She took a step forward and the floor creaked under her weight. Banishing the chills, she tried to walk casually down the hall, like nothing was remotely creepy about it.
“Oh, Sands…” she sung to herself. “Where are you…?”
Leah glanced into the first room, sweeping her flashlight around while doing so. Nope, nothing alive or spooky. Just a small room with a desk and an awesome looking high-back chair behind it. Putting her search for Sands on hiatus, she walked over (making sure that there definitely nothing alive (or un-alive) around her) and promptly sat down. The plush sagged under her and she bounced her head off the back of the plush chair.
“Liking the chair.” She nodded to herself and noticed a few papers on the desk. Old, crinkled ones, but most obviously paper. She helped herself and dragged one of them over to her eyes, but didn’t pick it up; it looked delicate.
It was legible and it seemed to be some sort of page out of a diary.
March 18th, 1954
Elizur is doing better now that the weather is warmer. He seems to enjoy sitting in the sun, but I must be careful not to leave him alone. This is the second time he has tried to wander into the bush. I dread to think what could have happened if Nidorina wasn’t watching him; he could’ve gotten lost. I’m going to have to keep him inside for a while, though I must make it clear to him that it isn’t a punishment. Kadabra has warned me that it is going to rain for the next few days and my dear psychic type has nary been wrong.
I do hope Elizur won’t take it too bad. He does hate staying inside and I feel rather guilty that he must. I know he misses Brazil and I have decided that I’ll be taking him there for the summer. He’ll enjoy that, I’m sure.
My colleague, Professor Dawson, will be joining me for the next few weeks and he is in great spirits. He’s wanted to meet Elizur ever since I mentioned him and I hope that they’ll get along well. Elizur is rather shy, but I’m sure that the professor will be able to win him over.
The page ended there and nothing else was written.
“Who’s Elizur?” Leah said to herself as she pushed the page away and dragged a different one towards her. She really shouldn’t be snooping in some dead guy’s belongings, but who was going to call her out for it? A ghost?
The page in front of her was shorter then the last.
April 5th, 1954
I am worried about Elizur. Ever since the professor left, he hasn’t been acting as cheery as he normally is. He took to Professor Dawson quite much and I don’t like seeing him so put out. I don’t know what to do, but it’s a sunny afternoon and I hope that Elizur will have some fun outside today. In fact, I may join him myself. I can’t remember the last time that I went outside just to enjoy the weather. I haven’t talked with Elizur often either and maybe we can talk things out.
“Wow,” Leah said. “Elizur this, Elizur that. Is he the guy’s son or something?”
She looked at the rest of the papers on the desk, but found the words were either too illegible, as if a bucket of water had been dropped on them. Leaning back in her chair, she pondered the mystery of the blurred notes. Now that she paid attention, she saw that the edges on one side of the pages were torn. They must have been torn out of a notebook, she thought. But why was that?
Leah looked over the notes again and picked one out that looked half-readable, though it was the shortest entry yet.
May 24th, 1954
….thing’s wrong…… Elizur. He’s gotten extremely volatile and I’m not sure what to do. He’s……………hit Kadabra. …..tried to reason………………won’t listen to me and now I’ve found…….always arguing. …………not the worst of it. ………. morning, I found blood…. his room…. confronted him………horrified…………..he cut …………….. A nasty slash. This has gone too far.
“Kid went insane then,” Leah concluded. She was about to try to read another page when she heard a small sound coming from the next room.
It was a thumping noise and it came vaguely from her right.
She grinned and promptly forgot about the mystery in front of her. She had found Sands! Reluctantly getting up from the awesome chair, she left the room, flashlight ahead of her.
“Here’s door number two,” she said as she poked her head in.
The room was in serve contrast from the room she just left. Where the study was boring and was your typical office, the room she was in was bursting with life. It was a bedroom, the bed being an obvious sign as it stood pressed against the wall. The sheets were a brilliant blue and covered with yellow patterns. Above the bed was a window, the curtains open and the light from outside cast a blue glow on the room.
Water was dripping down the window and she could hear the pitter patter of the rain on the roof. The room was surprisingly warm, she found, as she stepped forwards onto the expensive wood lining the floor.
Something caught her eye, so she walked up to the shelf on the wall and stared at the beautiful rocks that stood proudly on display. They all gleamed, some shined and some even glittered. It was quite a collection. She could even recognize some of the rocks by name, though it wasn’t that surprising. The gray stone, for instance, the one with green veins that spider-webbed across it was a Leaf Stone. Next to it was a blue stone, one that was a mix of blues and purples. That was a Water Stone. Most of the rocks were some type of elemental stone, but the rest were just your common variety garden rocks, or so she assumed.
Leah turned away from the rocks and looked down at the Pokemon who was lying beside her.
“What are you doing in here, Sands?” Leah asked. The Pokemon looked tired and its body was curled up around a stone that seemingly fell from the shelf. Sands’ paws were around the rock, but the trainer could still see the spiral of reds and oranges of the rock.
“Why do you have Fire Stone, Sands?”
Kneeling down, she put her hand on her Pokemon’s body and felt the heat it produced, but she also felt the faint shivering. Her hand ran along Sands’ body until she could feel the warmth that was admitting from the Fire Stone. Leah frowned. Now that she thought about it, it was quite a bit warmer in the room than the rest of the house. And as she very well knew, the one thing that Sandshrew hated equally to water, it was the cold.
“Are you cold? Is that it?”
Sands opened its eyes into slits, but closed them again, uninterested in its trainer.
She sighed. “Guess that’s a ‘yes’ then. Come on, Sands. You can’t lay here all day and I really don’t want to return you to your Pokeball.”
The word ‘Pokeball’ was something Sands recognized and it raised its head. Keeping its paws firmly on the stone, the Pokemon unleashed a pleading look that Leah had never seen Sands give her before. The look was vaguely human-ish and the fact that she could tell it was a pleading look made her uncomfortable.
She really hated it when Sands started to give her those types of expressions. It made her think back to those Pokemon Rights propaganda that had been spreading around recently. The idea that Pokemon were sentient beings and could think and feel like a human gave her the shivers. If it were true, it would bring a whole new side to slavery and what Pokemon battling was really about. Thank god it wasn’t, though. The only Pokemon that could be counted as sentient were psychic types, and even they had to be powerful to think like a human.
“Okay,” Leah said as she got to her feet. “Fine, fine. Lay there. It’s not like we need to explore.”
With another sigh, Leah sank onto the bed, feeling the stiff mattress deny her the ability to be comfortable. She once again let her head be held up by her hand as she just sat there and did nothing.
… It was funny. Something had been gnawing at her mind ever since she had entered the mansion and she felt it was a good enough time then ever to figure out what it was.
It wasn’t the torn and blurred pages, no matter how weird it seemed. People did odd things, nothing wrong about that. It also wasn’t the burning smell that had bugged her downstairs. She didn’t know how long smells like that were supposed to last, but she was sure nothing was on fire. Hmm. Whatever had been bugging her had been doing so ever since she had stepped in the haunted house.
The people, she supposed. She would have thought that an old mansion like the one she was in would be gotten rid of ages ago. Or at least bought by someone who liked weird, creepy houses. It just didn’t make sense. Where were all the people? Not only that, but where were all the Pokemon? Abandoned places were the perfect homes for wild Pokemon and in a storm like the one outside, the place should be crawling with Rattata.
Yes, that was the thing that had been bugging her. Where was everyone?
Shifting, she sat up straight and eyed the room. It was surprising that no had ever entered the mansion. The rocks on the shelves, the elemental ones, they could have been sold for money or used on Pokemon. There were probably lots of things that could have been sold, but they were just left behind to rot.
Leah got up and went over the shelves again. She stepped over the sleeping Sandshrew and got right up close. The stones were really pretty and they shone when her flashlight flashed over them. But it was then when she noticed something. A small thing, something that she had always overlooked, but with her flashlight, it made it obvious. She breathed out of her mouth again and watched the few specks of dust on the rocks to lift into the air. They danced, completely visible in the light.
The dust. Why was there so little dust?
“Sands,” Leah spoke softly as she shone her flashlight on the other stones. There was no dust on them and she could see the dust-free fingerprints on the shelf. It stood out horribly and she wondered how she could’ve missed it. There was no dust on the banister or the stairs when she came in either. Also, there was none on the desk or the paper in the study. She never found herself coughing over the fifty years worth of dust.
Then she remembered the thumping noise that had led her to Sands. Her Pokemon wasn’t clumsy and she knew that there was no way that it could have knocked the Fire Stone off the shelf by itself. The sound came vaguely from her right. Well, was it from straight from her right or down from her right?
“Sands,” she repeated as Sands cracked open an eye. There was an urgent tone in her voice and it couldn’t be ignored.
“You know what? I don’t think we’re alone in the house.”
Outside, the storm raged on.
A/N: Hey guys, I have a question, though it’s hard to explain. In a sentence, for something laying on the ground, would you use ‘laying’ or ‘lying’? It’s a question that’s been bugging me for a while and I suppose now’s a good time to get an answer.
Also, do you guys think there’s something wrong with the chapter? Like pacing issues or maybe illogical character actions…? I have to ask this because there’s something bugging me about the chapter, but I can’t tell what (except for the sucky conclusion).