For some reason, I am set in the mindset that Wednesday is a crappy day to release this. So, instead, we'll be updating this every Tuesday 'til I run out of my (now nine) buffer chapters.
Chapter Two was my second favorite chapter to write. Hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did.
The next morning, Beth was the first one to awaken. Not exactly a surprised: while the other two people in her family could be nervous, she was the most susceptible to the issue, and the fact that she was going to be leaving home for the first time today sort of implanted a deep, dark sense of foreboding over the otherwise -- as she saw out her window -- pleasant day. She performed her typical routine for what she knew would be the last time for a long stretch, getting her shower in, getting on a new outfit- today’s case being made for comfort and practical usage, when it was usually only comfort; jeans for their sturdiness and a blank white shirt- then heading down and grabbing a bowl of cereal. She did so all with that tiny sphere, with a red top and a white bottom, that silver release button in the center, in her pocket, contemplating whether to let her starter Pokemon rest inside her Pokeball a little while longer or let her out to do something. She had not done the latter yet, feeling just an inkling of nervousness that prevented her from doing as she so deeply wished to.
So, she finished off her pattern. It was six forty something-or-other, she figured, as the last time she checked the clock it was six thirty. She needed something to do. She thought and thought, then thought some more, thinking until the word thought got tired of entering her mind; then she thought of a plan. She would pull “a Sierra” and go out for a walk, but unlike her, she would leave a note. So she went to grab a pen, then ripped off a sheet of paper out of one of her old notebooks she had used in the academy. She scribbled down the note with swift precision, then pulled the Pokeball out of her pocket and walked out the door.
It was still in the stages of getting to light, the sun sneakily rising into the horizon, providing the world with teasing glimpses of light, not quite at the stage where it would provide its full possible power for that day. A steady, creeping feeling was thrown over her like a blanket, covering her and causing her to shiver- she remembered something her mother had once told her. A simple thing, advice for eating her vegetables so she could get dessert. She smiled at the memory.
“But momma, they’re so... yucky! Blech!” the girl of six years age said to the face looming over her shoulder, pushing the green and orange and yellow parts of her dinner toward the farther edge of the plate. “I don’ wanna!”
“Beth, you’re going to have to if you wanna get dessert. We’re having your favorite tonight, too,” her mother said. She pointed toward the brownies on the kitchen counter. Their scent taunted Beth’s nose, creeping into her nostrils and screaming to her, ‘You can’t have me, you can’t have me, nah nah nah nah boo-boo!’, “Brownies.”
“I love brownies, but broccoli and carrots and corn- okay, the corn’s not too bad I guess, but the other two? I can’t. I’ll diiiie...”
“Momma says you won’t, so you won’t, Beth. Come on! You can do it- listen. Whenever there’s something I don’t want to do, but I have to anyway, I just hurry up and get it done. No time for regret means no time is left for you not to do it.”
“But momma...” Beth continued to protest.
“Come on! Just dig your face in, then omnomnomnommmm. Then you get brownies- here.” Her mother walked over to the stove, where the mixture of vegetables that had been cooked still existed in slight amounts on the pot. She grabbed a small spoonful, just about equal to how much Beth had left, and put it on a plate. She sat down at the table next to Beth, and put her face close to the table.
“C’mon. We’ll do it together. One...two... three... GO!”
Beth, with slight encouragement from knowing she wouldn’t be the only one to suffer, dug her face into her plate and went wild. Her tongue lashed out and pulled in anything that she could manage, swallowing what she immediately could, chewing then swallowing what she couldn't. When she came up, her face was a mesh of remnants of the spices and slight addition of sauce to that dinner’s meat, vegetables and ketchup. Seeing the smile on her mother’s face at this, she looked into a mirror that hung on a nearby wall. Then she bust out laughing, her mother joinig her. The duo got weird looks from the other three people at the table, but Beth was sure of it- they couldn’t have been happier at that moment.
Beth was shaken out of her daydream by a sudden breeze. Simple, really. She realized that tears were rolling down her cheeks, quickly sniffling and wiping the tears away from her eyes with the back of her hand that wasn’t occupied.
“...Don’t allow yourself time for regret,” she whispered, and pressed her thumb down hard on the release button of the Pokeball. It felt odd expanding in her hand, forcing her palm to stretch open and making her tighten her grip in order to keep a full hold on the ball. It opened up, sending forth a burst of white light, which then connected to the ground and materialized into an odd-looking form. She had two legs, Beth could tell, and a shell just above her curled-in tail. Her eyes were wide and yellowish green, shining with innocent excitement. Her stubbled arms reached up toward Beth, opening, as if asking for a hug.
Beth kneeled down, unable to continue her forced blockage of tears. Her starter Pokemon, Squirtle, would then run forward and yelp out in excitement. From this yelp, her mouth was wide open, and she connected with Beth, licking her cheek.
Beth giggled, gently batting the Squirtle away. “...Shelly. That’s what I’m g-gonna call you, girl. Shelly.”
“Squir! Squirtle, squhhh!” Shelly agreed excitedly. Beth could tell that this was a baby Pokemon, probably very recently hatched. So she would be a mother figure to Shelly, which was fine with her. She reached out and pinched the cheek of the little creature, smiling. “Do you like me, Shelly?”
“Squirtle! Irrtle!” The easiness of that cry confirmed it for her. Beth was already in love with this little girl, and nodded slowly.
Sierra Scott went to sleep late the previous night, and woke up several times during the night. All of this was caused by a continuous string of nightmares; the first time she woke up, she broke it off, but when she fell back asleep, it continued where it had been left off, taunting her mind.
The smells of burning hair, burning flesh and burning memories filled the air. Sierra saw it all, smelled it with the most feverish senses, her heart pounding in her throat. She sat tied on the living room floor of their old home in Azalea Town, struggling furiously against the bonds that crushed into her torso, the ties around her wrists to prevent her from moving those. She could barely breathe, with the smells and the gag in her mouth. She couldn’t remember who had done this to her.
“Sierra, help! ****, kid help me!!”
She looked up to see rotting flesh, peeling off the bone to reveal bloody red muscle beneath. Maggots rested in one, empty eye socket, while the one living eyeball was quite literally a ball of fire. Suddenly, Sierra realized that it was hot in the area. She squirmed, sweat rolling out of every pore in her body. The figure that had just screamed at her leaned in close, placing its cold, dead fingers on her shoulders.
“I died, and now it’s your turn,” the corpse said, “so, my dear darling daughter, are you ready to join me?”
It hit her. “Momma?!”
The dead, rotting corpse of her mother burst into flames, and Sierra screamed and screamed, dream-world lungs giving her infinite amounts of air to just scream and cry, hoping that somehow, some way, things would just go back to the way they once were.
“Sierra, honey, wake up- wake up, Sierra... come on...”
“You’re having nightmares. Wake up.”
Sierra Scott awoke with a start. Her hair was matted to her face by a thick sweat, as if the heat she vaguely remembered n her dreams was still there, taunting her. She was shaking ever-so-slightly, and realized that, opposite the previous opinion nthe heat, she was actually shivering from the cold temperature of her body. She looked at the person beside her, who’s loving, carig eyes focused n her. She fell into his arms and, takig comfort in his loving embrace, began to cry, the tears just flowing out; she was unable to stop them, no matter how hard she tried. Her father patted her n the back gently, shhhh’ing her, planting a kiss on her head. “It’s okay, baby...daddy’s here...”
“...Oh daddy. Do... do you think momma would be proud of us?” she asked.
“She would be insane with pride,” her father said, trying to reassure her. “In fact, I know she’s looking down from Heaven right at this moment, giving you her blessings.”
“...I miss her, daddy. So much,” Sierra whispered.
“...Me too, honey. I miss her every second of every day of every week.”
So, Sierra got up with an intense groginess covering her being, her legs having to struggle to work, fight in order to follow the commands of their master and owner. Her hands were the same way, fatigue making it take effort to do the simple tasks like turning on the faucet and pressing down that little button thing to turn on the showerhead. She had a feeling this was going to be a difficult day, but she was going to get through it, even if it killed her- which, her mind told her, it probably would.
Beth decided she would let Shelly walk outside of her Pokeball, which proved to be an... interesting choice. Shelly was much more energetic than Beth had possibly thought she could be, the type to bounce off of walls, pinging from point to point with an admirable sense of gusto. “Come on, Shelly, we need to get back home.”
Shelly didn’t respond, and Beth got a bit worried by that. She turned on her heels, looking around the area- she saw no signs of Shelly. Only a couple of trees, and a public trashcan. She had wandered into one of the more quiet sections of Pallet Town, which didn’t have many, if any, homes in it. “Shellyyy?”
“There you are!” Beth heard a voice, but saw no source. “Where are you?”
“Squirtle squir. Irrr...tle,” Shelly moaned. “Squh! Squirt!”
Suddenly, the trashcan began to rumble, before falling over. Old beer cans, food wrappers and a little bit of wrapping paper (the first two made a little more sense than the last, to Beth), followed by the figure of Shelly dragging herself out.
Beth burst out laughing. The poor girl must have fallen in. “Oh... oh, poor Shelly! Ahaha... oh... uhm... here.” Beth walked over to the slightly dazed Squirtle and knelt down in front of her, picking her up by the shell and drawing her into her arms. “I’ll carry you home.”
Matthew Joyson wondered if he made the right decision by staying behind a night. Maybe he should have gone on, joined the rest of the crowd in their expeditions to the nearest town. Or perhaps it was better that he had decided to wait for the crowds to clear, so his travel could be pretty easy. Plus, with this, he got to leave around the same time as Sierra. And Beth of course, but Sierra was the one out of the two he really... liked.
He got up out of bed, performing his typical morning duties. Making his bed, going in for a shower, getting a new set of clothes on- which, today, consisted of a plain white t-shirt and a pair of khaki pants, sturdy and reliable. Those were the types of clothing he would need out on the road, because he would probably not change out of this outfit until he reached Viridian City- eating his breakfast, and making sure his stuff was packed. He did the last... well, last, but he realized at that time that Blair’s- Blair was the name he had decided on for his Charmander- Pokeball was missing. His heart froze.
He turned around and headed to the kitchen, finding his mother in there, just as she was before he left a few moments ago. “Hey, uhm... Mom?”
His mother turned around toward him, using one gloved hand to brush some of the pink hair out of her eyes. “How can I help ya?”
“I... seem to have misplaced Blair’s Pokeball. Have you seen it by some chance?”
“Blair?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh! That adorable little guy. I threw him into the healing machine for a little extra rest before the real journey begins. I forgot to tell you!”
His mother was speaking of the healing device of Pallet Roadside Hospital, the family business of his mother’s. She was a Joyson, typically known across the world as “Nurse Joys”, healers who worked in Pokemon Centers like Pallet Roadside.
“Oh. Alright. Thanks, mom.”
“Sure, no problem,” she said, before going back to washing dishes. Pallet Roadside was not only a hospital, but served as a home for the Joyson family, which really only consisted of Matt himself and his mother. His father had, apparently, long-since died. Heart Attack, right around the time that Matilda Joyson, his mother, was pregnant with Matt. He was rather going to miss this place.
He walked up to his mother, who was a grand bit shorter than him, kissing her on the forehead. “Okay, mom. I’m gonna go grab Blair and then I’m gonna go. I’ll call you from Viridian. Looking forward to seeing Aunt Tessie, and I’ll give her your regards.”
“Please do. And if you forget to call me, I’ll make sure Chanchan comes over and beats your butt into the ground like a stake.” She was speaking of the family Chansey, Chanchan. Chansey were rotund, oval-shaped pink Pokemon with eggs in a pouch on their stomach, and were renowned for their healing ability.
Matt laughed, then nodded. He broke away from her, murmuring, “Love you.” before dashing to where his backpack was. He picked it up, slinging it onto his shoulders, then walked to where the healing machine was. He pulled out Blair’s Pokeball, before dashing out the door, letting it fall shut behind him. He ran. He didn’t really know how long he ran, but he knew he did it for a while due to the fatigue in his legs and the burning of his lungs, and he didn’t regret it. He wanted to get out of Pallet Town, before he allowed his true emotions to get the better of him. As much as he hated it, Matthew Joyson was a momma’s boy. He leaned up against a tree and decided to rest there. He wasn’t even out of Pallet Town yet, but he supposed it was far enough.
“Almost there,” Beth whispered. She was speaking to no one in particular, not even the turtle resting lazily in her arms. She related her experience to a sort of sugar-rush; she had gone around with so much energy, that she crashed totally. She was now asleep in Beth’s arms, and though Beth found it absolutely adorable, watching her little chest rise and fall with breathe, the sound of her snoring ringing through her ears... she wished Shelly would wake up. Her arms were starting to hurt.
She decided it was best to go ahead and return her, so she knelt down, setting the sleeping turtle down onto the ground. “Okay, Shelly. Time for...”
Suddenly, the Squirtle woke up. She stood, yawning loudly, then examining her surroundings with tired eyes. Then, with simplistic trodding, she moved toward the north and toward the trees.
“Hey!” Shelly seemed to be ignoring her cries, continuing to walk toward the trees. “Shelly, c’mon, stop, please?” She continued to go, and slipped out of sight.
Beth waited. She waited and waited and waited, then waited some more, then after that she did some more waiting. “...Shelly?”
Silence. No response whatsoever, and Beth’s hopes were deteriorating quickly. She thrust her despair to the side and went toward the bushes, willing to brave them to find her baby-
“Huh?! What?! What’s going on?! Shelly!” Beth leaped backwards, having to plant her feet firmly to prevent stumbling right down onto her butt. She saw things in a blur of motion, her mind incapable of deciphering the sudden burst of events. Shelly, she realized; Shelly was running from something. They were small, tan but very very fierce.
“Shelly...” she whispered. “I think... uhm... we should probably...”
She turned on her feet, but not before grabbing Shelly in her arms, hugging the Squirtle close to her chest. “RUNNNN!!!”
She vaguely recognized them now, as the two monkey-like creatures scurried after them. They were Pokemon with temperament problems, tan-furred monkeys called Mankey. When angered- which they pretty obviously were- they were said to not stop pursuing their prey until they were in as much pain as the Mankey could inflict, or the Mankey was rendered unconscious.
They ran as fast as Beth’s legs could take them, swerving through various obstacles, trying to take the slightly more difficult paths in order to make the Mankey have a more difficult pursuit, her lungs burning with each sharp inhale, it feeling like her feet were not on the ground, but gliding over it: yet, they still managed to keep up a steady chase. Beth was close to their destination, Sierra’s little spot, her “pet-tree”, and like she expected, Sierra was there. So was their father, him carrying a backpack while one was slung on Sierra’s back.
“Oh, Beth!” her father said. “I take it you found the note?”
“No time for discuss! Sierra- please tell me you have your Pokemon--”
The Mankey both cried out in anger, swinging their limbs wildly toward Beth’s back. Beth fell forward quite on purpose to avoid the attack, letting go of Shelly and falling flat on her face. She pushed herself up to her feet, nodding toward Sierra, who by now had her Bulbasaur’s ball in her hand, thumb down on the release switch. In a flash of white light, the green dinosaur with a bulb on its back appeared in front of them, sitting on its hind legs.
“Venus. No time for laziness. Please,” Sierra asked.
The two Mankey didn’t allow much time for conversation. Seeing the Pokemon who had originally angered them in sight, they turned their attention toward her.
“Shelly!” Beth exclaimed. “I... I guess it’s time to battle!”
“Venus!” Sierra followed. “Tackle one of the Mankey!”
“Shelly! Do the same thing! Try and hit the one that Venus gets, but... you know, dodge the other one as long as you can!”
Beth had a good strategy in mind, that would hopefully work, combining their strengths on to one Mankey at a time. Two attacks were better than one, after all.
Venus seemed to recognize the fury of these little monkeys, so she didn’t screw around. She got up to her feet and ran toward one of the Mankey, allowing it to collide with her; but, she pushed back with just as much force, if not more. The attack sent the Mankey skidding back onto the ground, dazed a good bit.
“Go! Don’t give it time to recover, Shelly!”
Shelly began to run in the downed Mankey’s direction, but found herself a bit busy. The other Mankey of the group leaped onto her back and began a steady assault on the head. Panicked, Shelly drew her body into her shell, arms, legs and head all disappearing and causing the shell to fall to the ground. The sudden collision, though, surprised the raging fighting-type, sending it skidding down to the ground. But it recovered quickly, sticking its hand through the small opening in Shelly’s shell, trying its hardest to scratch at her through the opening. Beth couldn’t tell exactly what happened, but she figured Shelly must have done something; the Mankey drew its hand out and shook it, acting like it was on fire or something. In its anger, it kicked at Shelly’s shell, sending it twirling across the ground and hitting Venus right in the backside. Venus leaped, yelping out in surprise, and was sent directly in the path of another oncoming attack from the previously-dazed, but now-recovered, Mankey. Shelly continued moving until she hit a tree, and neither Shelly or Venus moved. The Mankey seemed to think their job wasn’t over yet: and Beth (as well as Sierra, she saw out of her peripherals) watched in horror as the two Mankey went to town. One was beating furiously on Shelly’s shell, pounding with rough fists like a macabre bongo player, while the other scratched at Venus’s exposed belly, drawing blood and tearing skin. But suddenly, as if out of nowhere, the two Pokemon revealed their little plan.
Shelly leaped up to her feet and popped out from beneath the protective cover of her shell, while Venus moved (while not as quick) up to her feet and let her bulb open up.
Inside the bag that Chris Scott was holding, as well as the backpack on Sierra Scott’s back, simultaneous buzzing noises occurred. The father of the two girls, absorbed into the battle, almost didn’t notice. He quickly opened up the bag to reveal the source of the buzzing- Beth’s Pokedex. Sierra’s was doing the same.
Both spoke in mechanical voices at the same time.
“Through experience...” they said.
“...learned Vine Whip!”
Shelly’s mouth opened and fired forth a concentrated stream of water, bubbles floating out and popping against the Mankey’s skin. The pressurized blast as well as the explosive power of the bubbles combined, sending the Mankey in front of Shelly a bit backward. This was perfect timing, as when Venus’s bulb opened, she had shot forth two vines- one ensnared the arm of the Mankey in front of her, while the other ensnared the foot of the water-drenched Mankey. She lifted them up into the air, slamming them against each other, then slamming them into the ground. Her vines then retracted into her bulb, and she fell, sweat visibly leaking out of her pores, her breath so heavy it was audible. The same occurrence happened with Shelly, and a grin crossed Beth’s lips. She returned Shelly, nodding and giving her praise for a job well done. Sierra did the same for Venus.
“...Phew. Intense. Are they...?” their father asked.
“No. They’re just unconscious. That isn’t enough to kill a Mankey, I don’t think...” Sierra said.
“Good,” Beth commented. “They’re angry little creatures, but they don’t deserve to die...”
“Right,” their father said, “but let’s get out of here before-”
“...before they get up?” Sierra asked.
Beth turned on her heels once again, looking at the Mankey that were getting up off the ground with wide, awestruck eyes.
Sierra went into hyperactive mode, swinging her backpack off her back. “Dad, toss a Pokeball to Beth.” She said this while digging through her backpack, pulling out one of the Pokeballs that they had been given as supplies for their trip.
Beth turned to her father, who had also found one by this point, tossing it to her. She scrambled to catch it, managing barely, then looked to Sierra for some form of guidance, seeing as this WAS her plan after all.
“Beth, we can either catch them or get a faceful of fury.”
Beth nodded. “Oh, okay. Got’cha!”
Beth pressed the silver button in the center of the ball with her thumb, feeling it expand in her hand. The empty Pokeball tried to open to release its nonexistent contents, bt iut trealized it was empty. Beth made sure it wouldn’t have to be for long. She tossed it after a moment of aiming, and watched as the ball hit the Mankey next to the one she targeted; crappy aim, but at least she hit a Mankey. It bonked the pig monkey Pokemon on the head with a firm ‘thud’, floating into the air and opening. It released a beam of bright red light, which sucked the Mankey into itself, then slid back into the ball, where it hit the ground. The ball began to furiously quiver, but after a few moments of struggle,the ball stopped moving. Mankey was hers, and with a quick glance toward Sierra, she noticed that hers had been caught as well. She walked over to the Pokeball on the ground and picked it up, holding it over her head. “MANKEY... GET!”
Both her father and Sierra stared at her for a few moments, before they burst out laughing.
“Ahh, cut down on the TV, Beth,” Sierra giggled.
Beth’s face went hot and red, blood rushing up beneath her skin.
The note their father had spoken of was a small slip of paper they had left at home, letting Beth know that they decided that they were going to leave early. Beth, of course, questioned why- but her question was ignored, and that rarely happened in this family, so she didn’t press the issue any further. She now had her backpack on, the “trainer’s belt” her father had bought her with Shelly’s and Mankey’s Pokeballs both equipped to it alongside her Pokedex in one of the bigger notches.
She was feeling small pings of nervousness at this prospect. It was an odd feeling, having to leave home like this. It was an odd feeling to realize that she even thought of it as home. She found that idea perplexing, but she shrugged it off. She supposed she wasn’t nobody’s papa, but her life up to this point could be described as a rolling stone; where she laid her hat was her home. And tonight, she would be laying that theoretical hat down onto the grass of Route One, her head down alongside with it. They finally reached the edge of Pallet Town’s borders just as she finished off that little thought, and the trio stopped.
Sierra Scott felt her heart pounding in her chest. It was so stupid, really. She felt herself overflow with an unexpectedly high amount of stupidity, so much so that her body shook with it, a constant burden on her shoulders that she wasn’t sure she could bear.
“So, this is it, huh?” Beth asked.
Sierra nodded. “One step further, and we’re out of this joint. Looking forward to it, Beth?”
“I’m kinda gonna miss Pallet...” she admitted.
“I’m not. I can’t wait to get out of here,” Sierra said, but felt like this was an awful lie slipping through cracks in her teeth. “I guess I might miss you, slightly.” She spoke this second sentence while gesturing toward the father of herself and Beth.
“Love you too, honey,” he said. A sly smile was on his lips, which gave way to a simpler, happier grin in just seconds. A contented sigh slipped past his guard. “Well, I know for sure I’m going to miss you two. Call often. Remember two things...”
He walked up to Beth, gave her a quick hug and a kiss on the forehead. He kneeled down to match her height, which was just a couple of inches beneath his own. “You can come visit Pallet any time you feel the need. Home is still home to the both of you.”
He walked over to Sierra, but did not show her the same affection. She knew why: because he thought she didn’t want it. So, with a moment of letting her tough facade down, she extended her hand to him. He grabbed it, shaking it firmly. “...and remember that no matter what happens, I- and I’m sure your mother and brother both agree from Heaven-...am proud of you.”
Sierra and Beth turned to each other then nodded in understanding.
“See you, daddy,” Beth said.
“Bye,” Sierra murmured, and the two sisters nodded once again in confirmation, before beginning a steady power-walk out onto the grasses of Route One with their heads held high, their hearts full with firey devotion yet burning with fear of the unknown, and their cheeks wet with tears.