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April 8th, 2010 (10:33 AM).
Oatmeal? Are you CRAZY?!
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: In the middle of nowhere.
After taking a full day wandering through some strange grass maze peppered with random trainers and then a series of piers with tons of fisherman, Belle and Derrick emerged between two cliffs to find themselves in Lavender Town.
Belle squinted up at Pokémon Tower. Tall and gray, it stretched into the sky above them, obviously the town’s landmark.
kay,” Derrick said, hurrying forward. “Let’s just get out of here.”
“Don’t be retarded,” Belle snapped. “We have to rest our Pokémon, and I’m tired too. Plus, it’s almost dark. Let’s find the PokéCenter.”
“No, please,” Derrick begged as she started forward and grabbed his wrist. “It’s so creepy here…”
They passed by a large house labeled the Pokémon Volunteer House and found the Pokémon Center. It seemed bright and cheery compared to Pokémon Tower. The glass door slid open automatically and they stepped in.
Only a few trainers occupied the Center, and they were all grouped around one round table, leaning in and speaking in hushed voices. Belle glanced over at them, straining nosily to hear their conversation. One of them gasped. “An HM?” she said. The others quickly shushed her.
“At the top of the tower,” said the boy across from her. “But there are tons of Ghost Pokémon up there…vicious ones.”
“How vicious?” asked another.
One of the trainers, who had been silent before, leaned forward. His face had been cast in shadow, but now, as he brought it into the light, they could all see that it was deadly pale. “
vicious,” he said, his whispery voice shaking.
Belle walked quickly to the counter, where Derrick was handing his Pokémon over to Nurse Joy. “Did you hear that?” she whispered excitedly.
“Extremely vicious ghosts? Yeah! I did!” Derrick pushed a bit of his blonde hair out of his eyes, which were wide with fear.
“No,” Belle said impatiently. “The HM at the top of the tower.”
“You’re not seriously thinking of going,” he said.
Extremely vicious ghosts
Belle shrugged. “Well, I’ll go, and you can wait here.”
“Please don’t go,” he begged as she handed her Poké Balls to Nurse Joy. “Please, please don’t.”
“I’m not going to pass up that HM,” Belle retorted. “I’m just
“Then…wait til tomorrow,” Derrick said. “It’s dark out.”
She blinked. He seemed extremely worried, that much she could tell. His forehead was creased and he was frowning. A bit of blonde bangs fuzzed over his gray eyes, and he pushed them out of his face as he looked at her.
“All right. I’ll wait until morning. You sure you don’t want to go, though?”
Later, all the other trainers had fallen asleep, but Belle and Derrick lay with their sleeping bags side-by-side in the dark.
“Why do you want to go?” Derrick asked her.
Belle shifted. “I want that HM.”
“What about the vicious ghosts?”
She shrugged noncommittally. Derrick saw her outline faintly, and he scoffed. “You’re so stubborn. All girls must be.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Koko was too.”
A strange silence fell upon them like rain; not heavy or awkward, but graceful and serene. It washed over them, drenching them.
Belle pulled her arms out of her sleeping bag and placed them by her sides. “I never told you how my dad died.”
Derrick said nothing. He didn’t even move; the only sounds were the light snores of a redheaded boy in another section of the lobby.
“He was a Pokémon Trainer. But he wasn’t one of those that just quit after a while, you know? He was dedicated. He started off here in Kanto, and then went off to the Pokémon League. He didn’t win, but he got to the semi-finals. And then he went to Johto.”
Out of the corner of her eye, she vaguely saw Derrick’s form shifting in his sleeping bag. After he settled down again, she continued. “He met my mom there…in Goldenrod City. She was passing through on her own Journey. She was originally from Ecruteak, and she was going back for a gym battle. Dad said he fell in love with Mom as soon as he saw her.”
“What’s your mom’s name?” Derrick asked her.
“Terra. Terra Caldwell…but back then, it was Terra Carson. Why?”
“Just…feels like it’s more real that way.”
Belle considered this for a moment. “Then, what’s your mom’s name?”
“Angelina Evans. But Dad called her Angel…his Angel.”
“And your dad’s name?”
“Joseph. Mom called him Joey. Your dad’s name?”
“Daniel. Mom didn’t have any nicknames for him.”
“Ah. Okay. Sorry to interrupt. Please go on.”
“So, they traveled together. They were both heading to Ecruteak, so they decided…why not? At the end of it, they were in love, and they got married and had me. Mom was done with her Journey, so they moved to Cherrygrove City
it’s not a city, I have no idea why it’s called that
to settle down.”
“But you said your dad was dedicated.”
“He was. He lived there for a few years…and then he told Mom that he wanted to go to Hoenn. So he did. He packed up all his Pokémon. He wanted us to go, but Mom said no. She said that it was no life for a child, but we’d be waiting for him to get back.”
“Did he come back?”
“Yes. From Hoenn, he did. And he brought some new Pokémon for me to play with. He stayed with us for a few more years, and then he decided to go to Sinnoh. And then, he said, he’d be done.”
“Yeah. After you beat all the gyms in all the regions, there’s not much else to do, is there?” Belle smiled ruefully up at the ceiling. “So he went. While he was away, Mom discovered she was pregnant.”
Belle blinked. “Excuse me?”
“Your little brother, Derek. He spells it D-E-R-E-K, right?”
“Oh. Yeah.” She vaguely remembered telling him such when they first met. “Well, anyway, not long after Derek was born, an Officer Jenny visited our house.” Suddenly, Belle’s voice cracked, and she closed her eyes, taking a few moments to compose herself. “She told us…that Dad had tried to stop Team Galactic from doing something.”
“Team Galactic?” Derrick said. “I hear they’re hooking up with Team Rocket now.”
“What does Team Rocket even
?” Belle asked.
“And then what? What do they do with them?”
Derrick was quiet for a moment. “No idea. But continue. Team Galactic.”
“Right. Well, Team Galactic actually
stuff. They’re always trying to make the world better with this perverse, twisted logic. And Dad got in the way of that. Apparently, they were torturing somebody, and Dad stepped in to take care of them. Well, in the real world, people don’t just fight with Pokémon.” Belle drew a deep, shaky breath. She could feel a lump rising in her throat, and her eyes began to burn. “They…killed him. No trace of his body was ever found.” Her voice was shaking, but it was beyond her control. She had never really gone into much detail about this, not even with Cassandra and Alyssa. It was hard. “He was coming home to see Derek. He never got to. And Derek never knew him.” She sniffed. “Derek has his eyes, you know,” she said as a few tears leaked out of her own. “They’re blue. When he looks at me, it’s like…Dad’s looking at me again.” Her voice didn’t sound as though it belonged to her. It was foreign; she had never talked and cried at the same time before.
Derrick moved in his sleeping bag, and a moment later, Belle felt his hand brush her arm. He gently pushed her hand to lay palm up, and he laced his fingers through hers and squeezed.
They fell asleep holding hands.
When Belle awoke, she was lying on her side, facing Derrick. He faced her as well; they were now holding hands with the opposite ones. How they had switched during the night, she had no idea. He was still asleep; his lips were slightly parted, and she could see his back rising and falling underneath his blanket. He looked so sweet with his eyes closed, his eyelashes gently curving against his cheek. His hair fell softly around his head. As she watched him sleep, she thought back to something she had put in an email to Alyssa.
He’s more like a pest than a potential boyfriend.
Belle’s gaze fell to their interlocked fingers. Well, what was he now?
She pulled her hand away from his and got up. She grabbed some clothes out of her bag and headed for the shower. Would this change things?
When Belle came back out, Derrick was sitting up in his sleeping bag, digging the heel of his hand into one eye. He looked up at her and smiled.
“Morning,” Belle replied as she came back to her sleeping bag and knelt on it. “I’m going to Pokémon Tower today.”
Derrick groaned and fell back on his pillow. “I’m scared for you.”
She paused and glanced over at him.
I’m scared for you.
“Please don’t go.”
“I’m going, and you can’t stop me. I’m leaving
.” She hooked her Poké Balls to her belt and stood.
Derrick sat up and caught her wrist gently; she looked down at him, at his worried expression, his tousled blonde hair, his gray eyes that still looked a little sleepy. “I’d feel better,” he said, “if you’d send Charmy out to walk with you.”
Belle raised her eyebrows. “You’d feel better?”
He nodded. “I’d be less worried.”
He nodded again.
With a sigh, Belle plucked Charmy’s Poké Ball off her belt and tossed it out in front of her. With a cry, it burst out of its Poké Ball, and then looked around, confused.
“There’s no battle. I just want you to walk with me.”
Charmy seemed happy about that. It took its place by her side, holding her hand with its claw like it did when it was a Charmander. Belle gave Derrick a little wave as she left the PokéCenter.
Pokémon Tower was an extremely short walk. It seemed to be busy today; Belle found this odd. She slipped in the front doors.
The lobby area was full of people, all dressed in black. “This seems a little morbid, Charmy,” she said quietly. The Pokémon responded with a soft noise of agreement.
And then she realized
everyone looked sad. Even the woman at the reception counter wore an expression of pain. Belle weaved her way through the crowd, catching snatches of conversation.
“So young…why did it have to…?”
“She must be devastated.”
“What happened to it?”
“Birth complications. Poor thing only lasted a few months.”
Belle finally found her way to the back of the room and stopped short. A small table was draped in a white cloth, and a small black box rested on top. The top of the box was open, and three people stood in front of it, gazing at its contents. The first was a woman, dressed in a black, floor-length dress. The second was a man, probably her husband, wearing a black suit. Between them was a small girl of about five. Her light brown hair was held back with purple barrettes, and she wore a little black dress trimmed with white lace. She didn’t appear to be looking at the box; her head was bowed, her eyes closed.
“Come on, dear,” the woman said gently, taking her daughter’s hand. “There’s nothing we can do to help him now.”
The girl nodded. When she turned, Belle caught sight of the little family’s faces; all of them looked incredibly sad, their eyes red and puffy. The little girl had tears running down her face, and she kept her eyes on her shiny black shoes as they walked away from the box.
Belle was now alone; she glanced around to see if anyone was watching this intruder, this girl wearing shorts and a dark green T-shirt, step up to the box and look in. Charmy came with her. They both stared into the box, and Belle’s eyes widened.
Inside was the body of a baby Pichu. It could have been sleeping, except that the multitude of people dressed in black milling around in the lobby suggested otherwise. A small picture in a wooden frame leaned against the box
it was a snapshot of the little girl Belle had just seen, happily cradling a very alive-looking Pichu.
This Pichu was dead.
All the snatches of conversation Belle had caught made sense now. This was a funeral…a funeral for a baby Pokémon. She backed away from the casket
now she realized what it was
and turned to go up the stairs, moving away from the sadness before it threatened to overtake her. Pokémon died? She had never thought about it. But it made sense
everything died, everything ended. But why this? Why a baby?
Belle came to the second floor and looked around. Tombstones stretched out before her, gleaming white. She reached for Charmy’s claw again, and he held her hand. She glanced down and saw the tears welling up in her Pokémon’s eyes. Pokémon Tower. This place was a tower, and each floor would have tombstones. Each tombstone represented a dead Pokémon, someone’s dead friend, someone’s Charmy…someone’s Pichu.
Belle felt the sobs coming before they broke out of her, ringing in the silence of the tower. Charmy stepped forward and wrapped its arms around her, pressing its face into her stomach, comforting her. She laid a hand on the back of its head and bowed her own.
When she had regained her composure, Belle progressed to the top of the tower to get the HM. No vicious ghosts plagued her; perhaps they only bothered people who didn’t understand. She moved slowly, touching all the tombstones that came within her reach and whispering sorrowfully to them. When she finally got back to the lobby, the Pichu funeral was long over; the casket and table were gone. She slipped out of the Tower and into the night air.
Had it really taken her that long? She walked back to the PokéCenter, Charmy delicately holding her hand. She drew a deep breath before she went in.
The trainers that had spoken of vicious ghosts had left, but a few new trainers sat at the same table, playing cards, blissfully unaware of the air of sorrow that ran thick through Pokémon Tower. Derrick sat with them; he turned and waved happily to her.
“Belle!” he said cheerily. She forced a smile and walked over. “Want to play cards?”
“No thanks,” she heard herself reply as if from far away. “I’m tired…I think I’ll just take a shower and get to bed early.”
“Did you get the HM?”
She nodded. “We’ll leave in the morning, if that’s okay.”
“Hallelujah!” Derrick said happily, slapping the table. “Away from here to Celadon!”
“Yeah,” Belle said, and she went over to gather her things for her shower.
That night, Belle laid in her sleeping bag and waited for Derrick to fall asleep beside her. There was no hand-holding that night. Instead, when he was asleep, she slid out of her bedroll fully dressed and packed everything up. She leaned down and pressed a gentle kiss to his cheek before turning and leaving the Center. She sent Charmy out to walk with her as she left Lavender Town behind, heading to Celadon City on her own.
There was no way she could burden him with anything she saw or felt in Lavender Tower.
Derrick and I aren’t traveling together anymore. I’m heading to Celadon City now. Erika’s gym is there. I’ll email you guys telling you how the battle turned out.
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