The Middle Ground
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January 26th, 2012 (3:07 PM).
Researcher of Orange Lore
Chapter 28 - Reverberations (Part 2)
I couldn’t describe what I was feeling; anxiety, fear, hope, confusion – all bowled into one.
Not knowing what to make of it, I consulted the only other person who could help me; Slowking. After releasing him from his pokeball he looked up at me questioningly, before sitting on the grass and folding his arms, simply saying; “Out with it.”
’Ghost.’ ‘Follow.’ ‘Voice.’ ‘Help.’ ‘Me.’ ‘Silph.’ ‘Adam.’
– That’s what that voice was calling out. It’s Adam, right? It’s got to be!”
Slowking scratched the shell upon his head as he contemplated the situation. “I’ve heard those very words before when I held the Voice back from you in Saffron City. However, I do not believe the message was sent by your brother.”
“-Really, why not?”
“Think about it.” Slowking said, rising to his feet. “Why would he refer to himself in the third person? It just doesn’t make sense.”
“Couldn’t he want me to know that it was him sending the message?” I asked as Slowing bent down to take a sip of the indoor stream.
“Telepathy isn’t like sending a letter.” Slowking replied bluntly. “There’s no addressee, no postmark – It’s a gamble at the best of times that it’ll even get through to someone... But that isn’t to say that the person who did send it is not somehow involved with him which probably means-“
I didn't really care about the fact that he could be in danger or whatever, he was definitely alive – I just knew it.
“So is that all we have to do, just follow the Voice and we’ll find Adam?”
“That seems to be the case but that in itself presents an issue. It would seem that the closer in proximity that we get to the origin of the Voice, the more it begins to take over you. We need to find a way so that you can stay in your conscious state long enough so that we can locate the precise place where it originates so we can put a stop to it.”
All of a sudden I was hit by a brainwave. “What if… we shared the Voice? Is that possible?”
“How do you mean?”
I scrambled to my feet and began to pace back and forth. “As in remember when you were able to completely take the Voice from my head and into yours at the hospital? Could we maybe split it and have half each? That way neither of us takes the full brunt of it and can stay conscious.”
“That may just work!”
“Tehe.” I giggled in satisfaction. “I have a brain somewhere in here!”
All of a sudden we could hear the sound of Erika calling out my name echoing down the halls. Annoyed at the mere sound of her voice I sighed and thanked Slowking, withdrawing him into his pokeball and headed for the corridor where Erika appeared in front of me, blocking my way.
“I thought I’d find you here” Erika smiled. “I guess I know you too well.” She chuckled half-heartedly.
“You don’t know me that well anymore.” I snapped, tired, irritable and not in the mood to act all pally-pally with her like she was.
“April, wait!” Erika cried from behind me.
I stopped dead in my tracks. Suddenly memories flashed through my head, memories of all the years the two of us had known each other. The days we spent playing, laughing and the nights they stayed up talking when Adam wasn’t around. Then there was that night…
It was an evening almost exactly like this one, the sky was clear; empty except for a sprinkling of stars and a crescent moon dangling in the night as if it were hung up by a piece of invisible thread.
The heating was busted in the research dorms so everyone was wrapped up in their thermals and knitwear. Well, I say 'everyone', but it was only Erika and me - the researchers were off on some study or another. She'd come to visit about a week before and had spent more time with me than Adam, which, although we got on so well, seemed odd.
We were both sat on the cushioned ledge of a large bay window where Erika was sat comfortably behind me, braiding my hair.
"I'm just thinking... maybe you shouldn't go." Erika proposed.
"...What do you mean?" I asked, confused at Erika's sudden change of heart.
"Well the Professor could always use the help here couldn't she?"
"She has other assistants, I'm just not sure that I
"But if you're having doubts then maybe that's a sign?"
"A sign of what?"
Erika sighed. "A sign that you're just not cut out for it."
"Hey, I could take care of myself." I replied, laughing the comment off.
"Except for when a wild pokemon comes out of nowhere, what then?"
"I don't know..."
"You'll call to Adam for help but what if he's not nearby?
won't be able to do anything."
"Well... he's the pokemon trainer, not me." I said, pulling away and turning to face her. "Why are you being like this?"
"I'm not being like anything,” she said so blasé. “I'm just saying - you'll be a danger to yourself and to him. Besides, you'll only slow him down."
"Hey, that's not fair! I can keep up."
"Really? I've seen when you two trek up the mountain together on your little research trips, he's always waiting for you to catch up. Face it April, you'll just be a burden, a useless burden. It'll be better for everyone if you just stay here."
"Stop it Erika!" I yelled, welling up with tears.
"I'm only telling you the truth. Besides, don't you think that it's better that you hear it from me now than from him when you're halfway across the region on your own?"
"You're wrong, Adam would never say something like that."
"Not now maybe, he'd keep it all in his head. But if you keep going like this, believe me - one day he'll snap and it'll sound a hundred percent worse coming from him."
“Now that we’re alone, let me help.” She said walking up to me and taking my hand. “Why didn’t you tell me anything that you’d been through? You know I could’ve helped you.”
“What, help like you did last time?” I said sarcastically, pulling my hand away. “It’s because of you that me and Adam stopped travelling together, It’s because of you that he’s where he is now.”
“That’s not-“ Erika began before I cut her off, not even being close to finishing what I had to say.
“-You made me feel like I had something to prove, that I wasn’t good enough to do what Adam was doing. That’s why I tried to show him that I could cope on my own when I told him to meet me ahead at Cerulean City when we first went to Pewter. Then oh, guess what – I got hurt, exactly like you said I would and we ended up going separate ways.”
“April I didn’t know what else-“
“-But the only thing I want to know is why you said all of that? We were friends and you just turned on me like that – why?” I asked, finally putting forward the question that I’d spent so long looking for an answer to.
“…I was trying to protect you.”
“The world. I thought that if you stayed working for the Professor then you’d be safe, and that was the only way I could see to do it. I didn’t want to see you get hurt but now I know that was the worst thing I could’ve done...”
Erika bowed her head to compose herself, she never wanted to be seen crying but I didn’t know how to respond. The answer seemed so simple, almost too simple. For some reason I was expecting a much different answer, maybe the fact that she wanted Adam for herself - one that I could really hate her for but she was trying to protect me. Could I really be mad at her for that?
“Just let me help you. With whatever you’re going to do – let me do something – please.” Erika pleaded, looking up and taking my hand again.
For some reason I felt sorry for her, the one emotion I didn’t think I would feel in this situation, and for some reason I couldn’t not think of a reason to forgive her. After all, having a Gym Leader on my side is never a bad option to have!
“Fine, you can help. I have a feeling we’re going to need it – C’mon.” I smiled taking her hand and leading her down the corridor to share what I’d learnt with her and the others.
Catch 'em, catch 'em, gotta catch 'em all; gotta catch 'em all - Pokemon!
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