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“How is it that they keep setting new traps and we always fall for ‘em?” Ash asked as he and Pikachu walked down a lonely path in a thick forest. Ash and Pikachu had fallen down a hole that Team Rocket had made not two hours ago. As always Team Rocket was after Pikachu and as always they failed miserably. Ash gripped his right arm tightly since after taking a nasty fall he had hurt his arm but it was nothing serious, his arm was only sore.
Pikachu walked beside Ash and also thought how it was possible for Team Rocket to always manage some way to fool them. Even after six years they figured they’d recognize Team Rocket in any disguise.
Setting their earlier misfortune aside Ash stopped in his tracks and reached for his backpack to take a closer look at the map. Ash looked at the map closely and then at the road ahead of them. Ash sighed heavily and said as he looked at the road ahead.
“Maybe Brock should have gone with us.”
“Pikachu.” Exclaimed Pikachu as it agreed with its trainer.
As the group of kids had been on the journey they had stopped at a Pokémon Center and as always Ash phoned Professor Oak but this time the conversation was not enlightening. Professor Oak informed Ash that his mother had gotten sick. Ash of course grew worried when hearing such news about his mother. He felt quite bad that he was so far away and his mother was home sick. She was not alone for Professor Oak and Tracy kept her company but Ash still could not bear the thought of him enjoying his journey while his mother lay in bed sick.
After several arguments with the professor Ash had decided to go back to Pallet Town and see that his mother would recover. Ash would gladly pause his traveling but he could not ask May to pause her own so the group could head back home with him. Ash had told the group to keep going without him and as soon as everything was fine again he would catch up with them. Brock, May and Max did not like the idea of Ash heading back by himself but he promised all would be fine and that they would meet up again.
Now two weeks later Ash was well on his way back to pick up right where he left. Everything was great, his mother had fully recovered and he was glad to have been there for her just as she had always been there for him when he would get sick. Ash smiled as he remembered when he was little and his mother would worry every time he coughed or sneezed.
His trip down memory lane had been disrupted by Pikachu as it tugged on his pants and pointed to a wooden sign. Ash looked at the sign and walked up to it. The sign was right between a fork on the road. The right side was clear and promised to be quite a walk while the left side was covered by tall trees and at a distance Ash could see what appeared to be a cabin.
He looked at the map and then at the roads. He admitted to himself that he was lost and had absolutely no clue as to which road to pick. Pikachu did not need to hear him say they were lost since it was notable from the expression on his face. The small Pokémon walked towards the left road and pointed out to it as it said, “Pika pi. Pi pi kachu. Pikachu pi.”
Ash understood Pikachu and the small mouse made a point. It had stated that they should take the left road and see if there was anyone in the cabin that could help them. Ash nodded and started for the left road. Pikachu climbed on Ash’s shoulder and both looked around as they walked down the road. It was certainly a very beautiful road, to the right were thousands of wild flowers in colors only thought up by wondrous artists, the trees somehow aligned perfectly next to each other and the light descending from the retiring sun poked through the branches of the leafless trees.
The entire sight was almost as if staring into the masterpiece of an artistic mastermind. After walking for several minutes Ash and Pikachu finally reached the cabin but their hopes had shattered when they laid their eyes on the cabin. The cabin was burned and by the looks of it a long time ago. Ash sighed as he looked into a broken window. Under that window was a boulder so Ash walked up to it and set his backpack down as he sat on the boulder.
“What else can go wrong?”
Just as he said that lightning split the sky and shook the Earth with its mighty roar and just after that rain began to fall rapidly. Ash who was dumbfounded by the reaction after his question just could not help but remain still and raise an eyebrow in utter awe. After seconds of an open jaw he said.
“There’s no way my luck can be this bad.”
Pikachu however was only enlightened by the events that followed after Ash asked such a taboo question. The small mouse fell off its trainer’s shoulder and rolled around on the road as it laughed gleefully. Ash looked at Pikachu wondering what was funny about the present situation. “So why are you laughing?”
“Pi chu, pikachu, ka, pika, pika pi, Pikachu!”
After hearing his Pokémon Ash smiled and saw the small mouse laughing at their unfortunate events. Ash looked up at the darkening sky and saw the weather would not improve quickly. He also knew it was not wise to travel at night so he got up and wiped some of the fallen rain from his cheek with his sleeve. He signaled Pikachu to follow him and both circled around the cabin to the front door. Ash pulled the doorknob and to their surprise it opened easily. Both of them walked in quickly and shut the door.
The cabin was bigger inside than they had thought it would be. They stood in the middle of what was the living room and to the far back were other rooms. There was a beaten old couch and a nasty looking rug in the living room. The entire place gave Ash a feeling of insecurity but the rain was getting worse and it got darker with each minute so they had to settle with the burned down cabin.
Ash set his backpack down and sighed deeply as he stared into the rooms, as far as he could tell there was no door to close the living room from the other rooms. He decided to play it safe and check the rest of the cabin just in case there was anyone or anything else inside.
“All right, I’m gonna check the rest of the cabin but I want you to stay here, all right Pikachu?”
“Pika…” The small Pikachu did not want Ash to walk around by himself in case there was any danger but it obeyed him and sat next to the backpack. Ash slowly walked into the next room and saw that it was the kitchen. There was an old pantry, a filthy sink and several rusty utensils thrown about on the floor. The wallpaper had been peeled in several spots and Ash noticed that at the other wall there was a picture.
Ash walked up to the picture and wiped away the grime with his hand. The picture was a painting of a beautiful little girl; she had smooth brown hair that apparently reached below her shoulder, soft easy eyes and a strange dress. The dress was what caught his attention; it was of a Victorian style indicating that the girl would now be very old or perhaps even dead.
Ash walked away from the painting and looked around the kitchen. He noticed yet another door next to the pantry. He walked in and saw it was a bedroom, there was an old bed and stained sheets. There was also a night stand; this room was practically empty so Ash decided not to pay much attention to it. As he looked at the sheets he was startled by a sudden rattling sound.
He spun around quickly and saw a closet that was shut. He looked at the wooden closet doors and began to breathe rapidly as he slowly backed up against the wall. The doors rattled wildly for some seconds but then stopped completely. Ash felt his heart skip a few beats and his breathing got shallow and rapid. He felt the desire to run away but his legs were frozen. Once again the doors rattled wildly and he tried to back up but the wall prevented him from moving anymore.
As the doors rattled there was a sudden muffled sound coming from behind the closet doors and that was it for Ash. He ran towards the door but before getting half way across the room the closet doors burst open and out ran a small Meowth. The Meowth ran across the room and leapt out one of the windows.
Ash exhaled deeply and walked back to the living room. Once there he saw Pikachu was on the window looking out into the woods. Now the sun had completely set but there was still a bit of light left so Ash thought it better to light a fire now before it was too late for any of them to see.
All over the floor there were pieces of wood so Ash and Pikachu gathered them and put them on a stack. After doing so Ash released Torkoal and asked it to light the wood on fire, Torkoal did so and after that Ash thought it’d be best if everyone got something to eat. Ash released all of his Pokémon and all sat down to get a bite to eat. With Brock absent Ash knew he had to stock up on some extra supply and he was right.
After eating, Ash let all of his Pokémon out and they all picked different spots to sleep in for the night. Ash however got his sleeping bag out and set it in the middle of the living room. After staring into the roof for a few minutes his eyes slowly began to close and he drifted off to sleep peacefully. After five hours of sleep Ash was then woken up by a sound at the front of the door which startled not only him but his Pokémon as well.
Ash got up and opened the front door and was shocked at what he saw. A young girl was sitting on the floor helplessly trying to block a Houndoom with her arm. The Houndoom was about to use Crunch on the girl but before it could Ash had ordered Pikachu to hit it with its best Thunderbolt attack. Pikachu leapt into the air and unleashed a powerful Thunderbolt as it shrieked out. “Pi…ka!”
The attack hit right on the target and with the falling rain it was more effective. The Houndoom hit the ground hard but it was not about to give up so easily. The dark Pokémon got back up and ran towards Pikachu at top speeds so Ash thought of a quick way to end the battle and called Corphish up.
“Corphish blast it with Water Gun and Pikachu as soon as the attack hits use Thunder!”
Both Pokémon complied and Corphish hit the Houndoom with a powerful Water Gun and as soon as the water came into contact with the Houndoom Pikachu let out a Thunder attack sure to put the Houndoom down. After the attacks subdued the Houndoom fell down and sat still for a few minutes.
Pikachu and Corphish kept their defenses high just in case the Houndoom would try anything funny but the Houndoom ran away. Ash ran over to the girl to see if she was all right.
“Hey, are you okay?” Ash said as he kneeled down next to the girl. He saw the girl had a few scrapes on her arm and it looked like she had been crying a lot. Finally the girl spoke up and said. “No…! I’ve been running around this forest for days and…and…I lost my little sister…” The girl began to cry hysterically and hugged Ash tightly looking for some sort of comfort.
Ash sympathized for the girl; he put himself in her place and thought about the horrors the girl had to endure. Not to mention loosing her little sister in a huge forest like the one they were in. Ash had no idea what to say since looking for a little girl in the woods at night would prove foolish so he tried his best and said as he put his hand on her shoulder.
“How about I help you look for your sister in the morning?”
“You would help me?”
“Sure. We’ll be glad to help.”
“Pikachu!” Pikachu said as it jumped up on Ash’s shoulder and Corphish also replied happily. The girl wiped her tears away and smiled sweetly as she looked right into Ash’s eyes. Ash felt sorry for the girl so he told her to go into the cabin so she wouldn’t have to get any wetter than she was.
Once inside the girl saw all of the Pokémon and felt a bit safer just in case any other Pokémon would attack her again. She stood in the corner and wiped away some of the dust and sat down holding her knees and lowered her head in between her knees as she looked at the Pokémon. Pikachu noticed she was afraid so it along with Torkoal and Swellow walked up to her to comfort her.
The girl extended her arm and petted Pikachu on the head and scratched it behind the ears. Pikachu of course was enlightened and the other Pokémon drew closer as their trust in her rose. Ash had only one sleeping bag but being how he was he thought it best to let the girl sleep in the sleeping bag and he would find somewhere else to sleep.
“So…I only have one sleeping bag but you can take it.”
“Oh, no. I couldn’t possibly do that. Where would you sleep?”
“Don’t worry about that. I’ll manage just fine.”
The girl looked at Pikachu and smiled as she said. “That battle Pikachu put up back there was amazing; seems he’s pretty powerful.”
“Pikachu!” Pikachu put one of its paws behind its back and blushed in embarrassment from the flattering comment the girl had made. The girl looked at Pikachu and said. “Wish I had one of my own.”
The girl remembered what Ash had said about the sleeping bag and seemed uncomfortable about taking his sleeping bag. She was already a burden by having him help her look for her sister and now she was taking his sleeping bag. She agreed and went to sleep quickly. Ash looked around and saw that the corner the girl had sat down on was a bit clean so he returned all of his Pokémon and sat down on that corner and went to sleep.
The night would prove to be long since an hour after they had gone to sleep there was a knock on the front door. Ash slowly opened his eyes and looked around, his memory was a bit fuzzy but as soon as he saw his sleeping bag he sat up straight and saw that it was empty. In his confusion he stood up quickly and looked around the cabin for the girl but she was nowhere to be found. He then remembered hearing a knock at the front door and quickly dashed through the cabin towards the door. He opened it but there was no one out there. He looked outside and couldn’t help but think that there was something strange going on. As he looked around he heard another sound but this time it came from within the cabin so he turned around but there was no one inside.
Pikachu had woken up from Ash’s footsteps and it got up and walked over to Ash but as Ash’s back was facing the door a tall figure came up from behind him and held him tightly with one arm and with another pressed a piece of clothe to his nose and mouth. Pikachu was going to use an attack on the figure but a voice behind it said.
“If I were you I wouldn’t do that.” The voice belonged to the very same girl they had saved earlier from the Houndoom. She leaned on the wall as she smiled wickedly and to Pikachu and Ash’s surprise the same Houndoom that had attacked her earlier stood next to her as she petted it.
“If you fire an electrical attack you’ll hit your trainer as well and if you look closely he’s getting wet from the rain.” Pikachu looked and saw that Ash was wet and the target which was the tall figure was holding him so if Pikachu hit the man it would also hit Ash. Pikachu looked at Ash in confusion and looked at the figure that was hiding his face so that they couldn’t see him. As Pikachu looked away the girl took a strange looking bag and covered Pikachu in it.
A startled Pikachu began to blast thundershock attacks but the bag prevented any of the attacks to leak from the bag. The girl tied the bag tightly and the tall figure that was holding Ash pressed the piece of cloth tighter and a strange liquid leaked into the piece of cloth. The liquid was chloroform and seconds later Ash passed out.
Ash opened his eyes slowly and saw the burned roof of the cabin. At the time his mind was completely blank and as he was going to open his mouth he gagged as he quickly sat up. The horrible taste was unbearable, it tasted as if someone had rubbed a handful of pennies in his mouth. Ash leaned forward and began to spit trying to get the nasty after taste of the chloroform out. Suddenly he opened his eyes widely and remembered the last few minutes before he passed out.
326 stolen lives, 326 broken hearts, 326 dreams shattered
Ash quickly darted across the living room and into the other rooms of the cabin in search of Pikachu. Ash searched every room twice and could not find Pikachu anywhere. His heart began to race and panic was overriding his entire system. The only thing he had in mind was to release his Pokémon and have them help him in his search. Ash figured the girl and the other person were still in the area but he had no idea how long he had been unconscious but he still had to give it a try. After all of his Pokémon were out he couldn’t help but drop to his knees and in tears asked them to help him look for Pikachu.
Grovyle and Swellow nodded and began to search high and low for the small Pokémon. Snorunt and Torkoal saw their trainer on his knees so they walked over to him and in despair he grabbed both Pokémon and hugged them tightly as he cried. Torkoal and Snorunt couldn’t help but cry as well for they too felt the pain Ash was going through. After four hours Ash and his Pokémon returned to the cabin but with no Pikachu, Ash felt devastated and above all heart broken. Not knowing if Pikachu was all right or if he would ever see his best friend again tore at his very core. Those questions were all he was thinking about. Ash turned and looked at the cabin and then at his Pokémon but couldn’t help but sit and begin to cry. His team of Pokémon was also very upset so they gathered around him and tried their best to comfort him.
As the minutes passed by Ash recalled back to when he first received Pikachu and when they first set out to begin their journey, Ash once again lived every minute they had passed by through out the years. As the memories lived once more Ash couldn’t help but cry silently. His despair was such that he spent the entire day in the cabin just thinking and when he wasn’t even thinking he was just sitting there wondering how Pikachu was doing.
Finally around in the afternoon Ash looked at his other Pokémon and realized that they might have gotten hungry and they looked pretty tired since from time to time they went out to search the area for any signs of the thieves or Pikachu. Ash decided to swallow his sorrow and tend to his other Pokémon since they had no fault in the events that had happened. He returned them all but Grovyle refused to return to its pokeball and it stood firmly beside its trainer as it gave its reasons for not returning to its pokeball.
“Grovyle, grov! Grovyle, grovyle!” The reptilian Pokémon stated kindly. It was very worried about its trainer and it knew just how upset Ash was. Ash gave Grovyle a bitter sweet smile and started to walk towards the next town. The walk to the next town was a very quiet one since Ash did not say a single word.
Once they reached the Pokémon Center Ash ran inside and as luck would have it the place was empty except for Nurse Joy and a very happy Blissey holding an injured Meowth. Ash’s plan for the moment was to leave his Pokémon at the center while he ran to the police and then he would pick them up once more after they’ve had they’re rest.
“Good evening.” Nurse Joy said as an ever so sweet smile appeared on her face. Blissey was not far behind; as soon as it saw Ash and Grovyle it smiled at them and greeted them happily. “Blissey, bliss!”
“Hi,” Ash said bitterly, he returned Grovyle to its pokeball and handed the rest to Nurse Joy. Nurse Joy saw Ash’s eyes and noticed how they were watery and red and she knew he had been crying and a lot by the intensity of the red color. As she took the pokeballs she looked at him seriously and with one hand lifted his face gently with her hand until they were looking at each other eye to eye.
“Are you all right?”
“I’m fine,” Ash barked back and ripped his face from her hand, “I’ll be back later. I’ll be at the police station.”
“The police?” Asked Nurse Joy as her eyes widened and looked at Blissey who was also just as dumbfounded by how Ash was acting. Ash nodded and headed out quickly to the police station.
White Falls was a very small town, it consisted of a wide dirt road with several stores and a hospital at the other end of the line of buildings and at the end of the line Ash could see the Police Station. He ran as fast as his legs could carry him over to the station. He burst through the front door and immediately saw an Officer Jenny leaning on the front desk looking through some papers.
“Where’s that darn thing? I know I put it here.” Officer Jenny muttered as she pushed aside several files and looked through a herd of papers. Finally Officer Jenny gave up her search and yelled out, “Redwood where is the file for Southerport?”
Officer Jenny stopped looking through the papers and looked behind her and saw Ash standing in the middle of the station with tears in his eyes. Officer Jenny dropped all the papers she had in her hands and without hesitation ran towards Ash to see what the problem was.
After briefly going over what happened Officer Jenny had Ash moved to one of the interrogation rooms where they could talk better and she could see what she could do for Ash. Officer Jenny asked Ash to sit comfortably while she ran to get her captain as the events that happened were all too serious in that town.
Ash sat on the chair looking into the reflection of the table. He saw his face perfectly well and thought whoever did the cleaning around there was completely paranoid. The table was spotless and when he set his index finger on it and then lifted it he could just make out part of his finger print. He exhaled deeply and tried his best to avoid thinking about the present situation.
As he stared into his reflection he could barely look into his own eyes. He was starting to feel very angry. Soon his frown had turned and his face was emotionless yet his eyes burned with a sensation he had not felt before or at the least not in such a level. Ash was thinking up ways to get back at the thieves but his train of thought was soon broken when Officer Jenny and a man walked in.
The man was in his mid 50s but he seemed pretty robust and quite capable of slapping around a few crooks and other people who would get in his face. He had gray, thinning hair, clear blue eyes and rosy cheeks. Both Officer Jenny and the man, who was obviously the captain, sat down. Ash saw a pitiful look in their faces that only lit him on fire. He immediately knew the first words to come out of their mouths would just enrage him. Fake sympathies, that was what Ash thought to himself as he saw them look at him with saddened looks on their faces yet their eyes seemed to say “it’s hopeless.”
Ash braced himself and tried his best to control his rage which he knew if he let it loose he would lose the police’s help. Officer Jenny had been grasping a file on her hands tightly as if the contents were something sacred. She carefully opened the file and gently slid it across the shiny table towards Ash. To his surprise it was only pages full of names. Page after page there were hundreds of names, Ash was puzzled as to why Officer Jenny would just simply hand him a file but before he could ask the captain spoke up.
“That right there is every trainer that has fallen victim to these two sons of *****es. You would make victim number 326.” Ash gasped loudly as he heard the number. His eyes then fell back on the file and looked at each name carefully and horrified. “326 stolen lives, 326 broken hearts, 326 dreams shattered.” Those words echoed through out Ash’s mind as he griped the pages in rage. Now more than ever he wished only the vilest of fates to befall on the thieves who were responsible for such heinous crimes.
“How could you let it escalate to such heights? How could let them get away with this?” Ash asked as he still griped the pages in his hands. He looked at Officer Jenny but she only lowered her gaze in utter shame so the captain spoke for her. “It’s not like we haven’t been doing something about it. All of the victims seem to be able to identify the female but the other one always seems to hide his face well as to avoid recognition. That’s what we have so far.”
Ash was not satisfied at all, that information was obtainable anywhere, he could read that off the news paper. He scoffed and looked away as he closed his eyes to avoid letting the tears flow out. The captain once again spoke up but with information that would prove both useful and frustrating.
“One thing we picked up is that the female perpetrator always changes her appearance. She’ll dye her hair any color, she’ll lose or gain some odd pounds, her wardrobe always changes styles, and her eyes always change as well thanks to contact lenses. We have her pictured up on a wall. There are now over twenty pictures of her up in the wall. Her latest look is soft brown hair, hazel nut eyes, very little make up and she was last seen in a pink sweater with baby blue jeans and white sneakers.”
The description seemed to awaken a sudden urge to pound his fist into the table in anger but Ash controlled himself and said bitterly, “Selling the story about her little lost sister and how she was attacked by a Houndoom. That’s the same little—” Ash froze since the word he had in mind was very rude and he thought it might offend someone. Officer Jenny looked at Ash and finally spoke.
“Ash, are you familiar with trafficking?”
“These perpetrators are in this business. Every Pokémon they steal they sell to the highest bidder or whoever pays the highest. They only go for strong Pokémon which they’ve seen in action themselves and once they have the Pokémon they want they rush out of town and sell the Pokémon. They never keep a Pokémon for more than 48 hours. What I’m trying to say is that…there might be the possibility that your Pikachu is gone for good.”
Ash could not believe what he was hearing, it was as if they were telling him to forget about his best friend and move on as if nothing happened. The rage was coming back and it was building up inside of him and he knew it would just burst out but he did little to try and control it. The captain shook his head and said, “For all we know that Pikachu could be in Minsk.”
Ash had heard enough, he sat up so quickly that the chair he was sitting in flipped back and hit the wall. Ash slammed both fists on the table rather violently as he yelled out, “Then why the hell aren’t you out there doing something about it? You know what? Don’t do squat! I’ll search for Pikachu myself!”
Ash stormed out of the police station and headed for the Pokémon Center to pick up his remaining Pokémon. Once he walked in through the door Nurse Joy went to pick up the tray containing Ash’s Pokémon. She set it gently on the counter and saw Ash did not look happy at all. Nurse Joy looked at Blissey and it looked at her sadly, Nurse Joy and Blissey knew something terrible had happened to Ash but he did not look like he was going to talk about it but she still gave it a try.
“Something terrible happened, didn’t it?”
“Don’t wanna talk about it.” Ash said as he picked up the Pokéballs from the tray. Nurse Joy felt his anger but at the same time she could feel his sadness and despair so she said sweetly, “Perhaps talking about it will make you feel better.”
“What part of ‘don’t wanna talk about it’ do you not understand?” Ash barked back bitterly at her. As he held Torkoal’s Pokéball he sighed deeply and said in a low tone of voice as he lowered his gaze, “I’m sorry…it’s just that…”
“Blissey and I were about to have a cup of ice tea. Let’s go over to the waiting room and we can talk, all right?”
Ash agreed and after Nurse Joy had given out the ice tea Ash explained from the very beginning what had happened. Nurse Joy was both in shock and angry at the thought of how people could be so cruel. What angered her most was that after Ash had helped the girl she betrayed him and stole something very dear to him. Nurse Joy had seen several of the kids that had their Pokémon stolen and she knew it was very wrong and somehow the police were no help at all. Some times she wondered if the police were on their side at all. Nurse Joy looked at Ash and saw so much sadness so she decided for once to step up and do something about all the things that were happening since the police were no help.
“I’ve been looking around and asking since the police don’t seem to have a clue about what they’re doing and I’ve come up with several names that just might be able to help you in your search for Pikachu.”
Ash’s face lit up, it wasn’t hope or happiness, it was strange really, it was as if he had woken up from a dream. He looked at Nurse Joy who got up and headed for the front desk and looked around. Finally she came back with a pen and some paper. As soon as she sat down she began to write down something, Ash out of curiosity leaned forward to see what it was that she so eagerly wrote down on that piece of paper.
“Here we go,” Nurse Joy said as she handed the piece of paper to Ash. “Those are the names and phone numbers of the kids who have been investigating their own robberies. The first one on that list managed to get his Mankey back and he’ll be more than happy to help you.”
Ash’s hopes were once again restored and now with this new information he was far more determined than he ever was in his entire life. He took the paper and held it tightly as to avoid it from being misplaced or even lost. He looked at Nurse Joy and calmly said as he got up from the chair, “Thanks Nurse Joy.”
Ash then headed out to find the first kid on the list. As he walked out the door Nurse Joy smiled sweetly and said, “Good luck.”
What is now and what it once was
“Old loves they die hard…old lies they die harder…” The sound of a ring tone interrupted Ash as he had been singing along with the CD. With one hand on the wheel and one searching for the car’s phone which he just threw somewhere after the last call and both eyes looking at the road and back on the car occasionally he continued to sing along as his free hand searched the car’s floor for the phone. After he found it he answered and a girl’s voice began to shout into the phone.
“Where the hell are you? You were supposed to have been here an hour ago!” The girl gasped loudly and then said in a dramatic tone, “You took the car again! And you’re driving through the beach.” Ash raised an eyebrow and looked to his left; the beach was certainly a very beautiful scene especially around sunset. He chuckled and finally spoke up.
“For your information I have permission to take the car whenever I feel like it…and…how the hell did you know I was taking the beach route?”
“Hey, we’ve been partners for a year now. I know a thing or two about you, honey!”
“Yeah, well, it’s creeping me out. Stop doing that. It’s like you stalk me or something.” The girl on the other line than began to laugh wildly as she said in between laughs, “Oh, don’t flatter yourself. Just get your ass over here this instant. I can’t handle all these newbies and idiots by myself!”
“Whatever…” Ash hung up and tossed the phone to the backseat. He had no intention of picking it up again or calling anyone for the remainder of the trip back to H.Q. Ash just sat back and enjoyed the ride.
For some reason the beach always seemed to calm him down. Every time he came back from a meeting in Liberty Gardens City he always took the beach route back to Stone River City where the newest H.Q. had been built. As he drove through the road he lowered the rooftop since the car was a convertible. The salty wind brushed his hair gently and the sound of waves crashing over the soft brown sand was far better than the music on the radio.
The beach was also one of the only places where he could mellow out and truly be at peace seeing as how for two years he had been going through more problems than he had ever anticipated. As soon as it all fell back into place Ash couldn’t help but revisit the past as he so often did. Ash did this in order to remember at the very least what he was and what he is now. Deep inside he knew what he did was wrong but he could not help it. Ever since Pikachu had been lost to the cons who stole his best friend it seemed like he had been at war with the entire world.
When Ash gave the dreaded news to Brock, May and Max they all felt his pain as they knew how close Ash and Pikachu were. His friends even tried to help look for Pikachu but after several months they slowly began to give up and Ash was not about to do so. Ash also took in consideration that May had her own journey to continue and Brock’s goal to become a great Breeder. He did not have the heart to ask them to put their own journeys on hold until they found Pikachu once more so he decided to look for Pikachu on his own.
He had left in the middle of the night but left them a note explaining that he had to find Pikachu no matter what. Over the months Ash had to blend in with unscrupulous characters, had to cheat and lie and not to mention socialize with what he knew of as scum. For an entire year Ash and another trainer he had met who was in the same situation he was in went undercover and walked amongst society’s dirt. The entire thing made Ash sick and it got worse since every time he believed he was getting closer to finding the people who stole Pikachu he got more and more involved with the likes of them.
A certain memory he so badly tried to erase was one that took place not too long ago back in a distant city he had traveled to on his quest to find Pikachu. Ash had a solid lead on the thieves but in order to get close he had to pretend he wanted to join a ring of con artists who were also bent on Pokémon trafficking. Like every band of thieves Ash had to prove himself in order to join. Unfortunately they had asked him to steal from a certain Pokémon trainer they had a grudge against.
Ash remembered the name perfectly well. The name was Mac Roves. A talented coordinator who also helped out the local police with the scum running loose in the city. No good deed ever came without a price, especially in that city. Ash was told that Mac had a very powerful Exploud in his house so his instructions were to steal the Exploud in order to gain their trust and gain entry into the ring.
Around midnight that same night Ash snuck into the property. This night proved all ready to be a long one since to his surprise he managed to look inside the house through a window located in the living room. There he saw Mac sitting down eating something and what appeared to be reading a book. Ash sighed heavily as he hid amongst the shadows of the tall bushes on the side of the house.
As he stood still he looked into the house and felt very strange. He was about to do what had been done to him a year ago. Under normal circumstances this would have made Ash sick enough to stop and quit while he was ahead but he did not. For an entire year he dwelled in a shell full of hate, anger, despair and depression. In his quest for finding his best friend he had changed in so many ways. Ash did not care about his own journey any longer, he had become less and less social and he cared very or not at all for anyone else.
Ash knew he had changed but he did not know just how much, unfortunately he was about to. Ash blocked whatever feelings he had pondering in his mind and slowly walked towards the house.
“Oh, goodness, 12:30 all ready? I should be off to bed.” Mac stood up and stretched his arms and legs as far as he could. He gently set the book on the coffee table and walked towards the back of the house. Mac walked past the kitchen and past a door leading to the basement. He opened a door at the back of the house and as soon as the doorknob and frame met once more a door right in front of the room Mac had just walked into opened.
Ash hid in the broom closet to avoid confrontation. He looked around since he had no idea where Mac had his Pokemon. Ash quietly snuck into the kitchen and once past it he walked into the living room. The living room was very simple. There was a fireplace facing the window which Ash looked through as he waited for the right moment to break in, there on top of the fireplace was a wooden box. For some odd reason Ash seemed drawn to it and before he knew it he was opening it and inside was a lone Pokeball.
On it was the word “Whisper”, Ash assumed it was the infamous Exploud he was after. Ash grabbed it and as he held it he looked at it and scoffed at the irony of its name given to it by its trainer.
Suddenly a deep voice said, “Who the hell are you and why are you in my house?” Ash quickly turned and came face to face with Mac. A sudden wave of fear and anxiety over came Ash and his mind suddenly shut down. He had been caught red-handed and doing something he knew was beyond painful for any Pokemon trainer. Ash stared at Mac with a mixture of emotions running up and down his spine. Ash had not prepared himself in case this situation would occur.
“I said, ‘What are you doing here?’” Mac asked in a rather angry tone. Mac knew why Ash was there since he saw the box open and Ash facing it but he preferred to frighten Ash first before calling the police. Mac was getting tired of playing games so he said, “Put that Pokeball down this instant!”
In his fear Ash did not reply and just stood there looking at Mac straight in the eyes. Ash knew it was over, his career as a Pokemon trainer was as of that moment breathing its last breath. Ash began to breathe heavily and kept staring at Mac with empty eyes.
Mac walked away towards the kitchen as he said, “That’s it, I’m calling the cops!”
At that very instant something deep within Ash snapped. A fragile string known as innocence had snapped in half; cut by a rusty knife known as rage. Rage for the fact that if the cops came he would surely not be able to ever find Pikachu and his life would be over as a Pokémon trainer.
Mac reached for the phone and as he was about to dial he felt a stinging blow to the back of his head. Mac hit the ground hard face first and before he could turn around another devastating blow was felt in his back. After a brief and painful moment Mac tried to get back up on his two feet but found it rather difficult to do so. Mac groaned painfully and dragged his body with his arms towards the phone he had dropped on the floor just a few feet in front of him.
As Mac crawled across the floor it felt like an eternity since he was afraid if he would receive another blow. Finally he got a tight gripe on the phone but before he could dial again Ash stomped on the man’s arm causing Mac to let go of the phone and groan loudly. Ash had in his hands a bloody fire poker with which he swung back and forth in a taunting way right in Mac’s face.
Mac could barely look up but he knew it was the same boy who he found in his living room trying to steal his most priced Pokémon. Ash looked down on the man in the coldest way anyone could. He took the bloody fire poker and with both hands raised it up high above his head like a golfer would to strike a golf ball across a green field of grass and into its destination. Seconds before Ash could swing the fire poker Mac was able to look up and saw Ash’s eyes. There was something in them that was not there before. A set of cold stone eyes deprived all of all sorts of human feelings yet it was replaced by energy, energy only found in that which drives a man mad and commits him to the darkest corner of the human mind. Ash swung the fire poker and stroke Mac on the side of his head.
That same night Ash had run back to the ring of thieves and cons that had set up the assault and handed them the Exploud they so badly coveted. The following morning Ash was devastated to learn that the perpetrators in question had moved on the night of the assault and he once again lost track of them. That was not the end of the line, several weeks later Ash learned that Mac, the man he had assaulted, had been in the hospital for several weeks but the doctors determined that he would never walk again nor would he have full use of his brain.
“Alice, please step into my office.” The voice of a woman spoke through the PA system. Alice was in the gym with several new Team Rocket members and was training with them so that they would not mess up as they often did. She rolled her eyes and groaned softly but to her surprise the same woman said, “Don’t roll your eyes at me young lady and get in here…now!”
Alice in her shock reacted and quickly ran towards Sandra’s office, the woman who paged her. Alice ran out of the gym and was once again outside in the parking lot. Alice groaned from the sunlight hitting her eyes so she reached into her pockets and got out a set of sunglasses and put them on. She began to walk towards the main building to have a talk with Sandra and see what she wanted.
The main building was not very grand but it was not that small either. Two tall buildings aligned next to each other with an identical structure stood before Alice. The buildings were made of a thick glass with a dark tinted and thin paper that made it possible for people inside of the building to look outside but those on the outside could not look inside.
Alice walked on and stood right in front of the electronic door. She stood perfectly still and waited. Several seconds later a thin neon red line shot out at her right eye and then it disappeared just as an electronic voice said, “Walker, Alice. Access granted. Please enter your identification code.”
A small thin keyboard slid out of the wall and Alice typed in several numbers. The keyboard slid back into the wall and the front door opened up. Alice walked inside of the building and headed towards Sandra’s office at the end of the main hallway. At the end of the main hallway there was a glass door with the words Sandra Roget in black, bold letters. Alice opened the door and walked inside.
The office seemed cozy enough. The desk was at the end of the room with a computer on the left side and a printer on the opposite side of the desk. Behind the desk there was a huge window overlooking a beautiful river that flowed through and was used a lot for Pokemon battles consisting of Water and Ice types. The walls were a soft beige color and the roof was white. There were no pictures on the wall nor were there any extra decorations in the office.
Alice sat down in front of the desk and from behind the computer screen popped out a woman with red hair twirled up high and tied with a blue ribbon to match her blue tank top. Sandra bent down without saying a word and seconds later put a couple of files right in the middle of her desk.
Alice backed away a bit and raised an eyebrow in question. Sandra looked away from the computer screen and crossed her hands on top of the desk and said, “So…how are we today Alice?”
“Pretty good I guess. Why did you call me here?”
Sandra sighed deeply and said as she fixed her glasses, “Just checking to see how you are with your partner. Seeing if you’re still alive.”
“We’ve been partners for a year and still people ask if I’m all right. What is that all about? I’ve never had this happen with other partners.”
“Yeah, well, take a look at this.” Sandra opened the first file on the desk and said as she handed the picture to Alice, “That right there was Ash’s first partner. Sally got on his case about his being too anti-social so he—well take a look for yourself.”
Alice looked at the picture and saw a young girl around her age in a hospital bed. Her face looked like a swollen plum. This girl obviously received a nasty beating. Alice could not believe Ash had done that. She knew he had a very short temper and was prone to blow up over any stupid little thing and she knew he had a history of extreme violence but she never knew it reached that level.
“What?” That was the only word that slipped through her lips as she looked at the picture. She was in shock and Sandra could tell but unfortunately for Alice that was only the beginning. Sandra handed her another file.
“We decided to partner him up with a guy seeing as how he cared not if who ever he attacked was male or female and we thought Robert would tough it out but…he didn’t.”
Alice opened the file up and saw several pictures of some serious stab wounds on Robert’s face, arms, legs, stomach and back. Alice closed the file abruptly and handed it back to Sandra who said. “300 stitches in total and this one--”
“Please! No more, I-I-I get the picture. Literally!” Alice put her hands over her eyes and thought about the pictures she saw. Never before had she ever feared Ash nor had she ever taken his short temper seriously but now she thanked the heavens she was somehow alive. Sandra thought for a minute that showing her the pictures might have been a mistake but she was only preventing another disaster.
“Alice? Are you all right?”
Alice remained quiet for several seconds but then said as she looked at Sandra in surprise, “You let them pair me up with a total psychopath! And why the hell have you put up with him after all of this?” After she said that Alice scolded herself since that was only meant to be an inner thought. Sandra immediately rose up and jumped at Ash’s defense since after all, Ash and her got along just fine.
“Ash is not a psychopath! He’s had some problems in the past and has been trying to work them out. Now I suggest you settle yourself and think before saying anything to him. Watch what you say and for the love of all that is sane do not piss him off. Is that understood? And as for your other question, the boss sees him as the best of the best and he is not about to let him go over a thing like this.”
“Yes, it’s just that…what if something like this happens to me?”
“It won’t. He’s in anger management and has made good progress. That’s why you’re here today. To make sure you are not in some ditch across I-95 festering in a murder scene.”
Alice kept quiet and thought carefully about her partnership with Ash. She even gave switching partners a thorough thought. Whatever her decision would be she would have to be careful as to not end up another victim of Ash’s rage.
Hours after speaking with Sandra Alice dove more and more into the thought of changing partners but part of her was afraid that Ash might find it offensive and try to hurt her. Alice had known Ash for a year and both of them seemed to get along just fine. Like any kind of relationship they had their bitter arguments as they had good times.
Alice stared into the river as she thought things through. The river had always been a hideout for her whenever she needed a time out from the real world. She sat on the grass looking into her own reflection created by the water. The soothing cool wind blowing her hair in all sorts of directions seemed to entertain her as well. Alice was deep into her train of thought when suddenly the water she starred at in a hypnotizing way burst into a wild dance of ripples.
“Why the heck are you out here?”
An all too familiar voice and one she had hoped to avoid for several more hours now. Ash sat down beside her and held a pebble in his hand and tossed it once more into the water creating more ripples. Alice remained quiet and avoided direct contact with her partner but then Ash said something that shocked her.
“So…Sandy showed you the pictures, huh? And now you’re freaking out.”
“Huh? How did you know?”
Ash scoffed and said, “Please, Sandy and I talk all the time. She tells me everything and I have a feeling you want to change partners, correct?”
I've read chapter one so far. It's not bad, but the writing seems to be pretty awkward.
Actually, why did Ash even need pikachu to tell him that? I think Ash ought to be smart enough to figure out cabin = help on his own. Why was there even a a fork in the road? Wouldn't be simpler if they just walked in a straight line to the cabin, without 3 paragraphs to justify their decision? Be sure to go through chapters with questions like these, and eliminate parts that don't advance the story at all. Boil down each chapter to the bare necessities, because in reality that's all we came to read.
Your sentences can be a bit monotonous, too. After a while it started to come off as robotic; try combining sentences, moving around the subjects and objects, creating some varied sentences that keep it alive.
One last thing: Don't post chapters so frequently! One a day is way too many, especially since nobody has replied to your story yet. Wait at least a couple days between chapters. You can use the extra time for more editing, at least.
Now, on the plus side, your language is good and descriptions are solid. I had an easy time creating an image of each scene in my head! Not to mention the end of the first chapter, which provided an interesting, exciting twist. Well done!
To your next point: This story is actually up to chapter six so I've been posting one each day until I get to the point where I'll start writing the rest of the chapters. I finish one chapter and post it, it's been something I've done before in the past in this forum. Whether anyone replies or not I post it either daily or weekly.
Believe me, I've got all day to look over and edit and re-edit. Been carefully monitoring each chapter as I post it, though I may miss a thing or two.
Thanks for the points though!
Black Ops at work
Alice was quiet since she didn’t know what to say, she wanted to change partners very badly but at the same time she did not want to. Of all the partners she had ever had Ash was by far the best even if he seemed a bit cold and distant from time to time. The silence let Ash know she wanted to change but he said nothing and fell back and to lie on the cool grass.
“I just want to know why you did those things.”
Ash sat up and looked at Alice rather curiously. Never had she asked a personal question and neither did he. Alice being a year long partner and the only to have lasted for so long without being severely injured had never before cared for his past and now she was asking a question that Ash preferred not to answer so he replied. “We’re partners, not brother and sister, not husband and wife, or boyfriend and girlfriend. I don’t need to tell you anything.”
A rather rude answer and not one Alice was expecting but compared to how Ash usually answered that reply was rather polite. He was right in a certain way. They were only partners and their relationship was of a professional type but Alice had grown curious as to why Ash was the way he was. She knew something had happened to him some two years ago or so but now his rage and anger towards the world got her attention.
“Please, I just want to know.” Alice was now on the verge of begging. Her concern was understandable. The last thing she wanted was to get on his bad side and end up like his previous partners. Ash sighed deeply in an irritated way but before Ash could say anything a younger Team Rocket member interrupted the two of them and said, “Quick, the boss wants to see the both of you in his office right away.”
Giovanni’s office had been placed on the second floor of the building next to the one where Sandra’s office was. Ash and Alice walked into Giovanni’s office. His office was the entire second floor and it was one big room complete with a bar to the left side of the room, a pool table on the opposite side of the bar and a huge table at the very end of the room mostly used for meetings.
Both Ash and Alice stood in front of the table and looked at Giovanni as he sat at the other end of it petting his precious Persian. Giovanni looked at them and said in that ever serious tone. “We have a small problem. There’s a leak here is this very city and it needs to be taken care of now. This is not the end of it though. It goes much deeper than that. This weekend some the Pokemon we had stolen were stolen by this person. She needs to be taken care of if you grasp my saying.”
Alice and Ash understood perfectly well. They looked at each other with a look of mischief. It was as if they never had the discussion they had a few minutes ago. Giovanni handed Ash a picture of the traitor and as he looked at it he couldn’t help but feel like this person was very familiar. There was something in her eyes that seemed to tell Ash that he had seen her before. Sure she was a Team Rocket member but Ash paid very little attention to anyone else.
Giovanni had said member summoned and she was already in Sandra’s office waiting to see why she had been called. The young lady was fairly tall; she had soft brown eyes and red curly hair and a very nervous look on her face. She had been waiting in Sandra’s office for an hour and a half and she was beginning to get irritable. This young lady had a few secrets, which of course, if found out her very life would be in danger.
The young woman reacted to her name and looked out into the hallway and saw a young boy standing there. He had soft brown eyes and raven black hair. He was wearing a black turtle neck shirt, he had on baggy black pants and some military boots but unlike other Team Rocket members he had on a black coat that reached the back of his knees and on his left arm a red arm band with a red distorted R.
Obviously this boy was in what other members called the Black Ops. It is a special elite team of Rocket members that specialized in situations concerning deeper Team Rocket affairs. Joanna seemed worried since these members usually meant trouble. She got up from her seat and walked over to the young boy. Her breathing was heavy and she felt the line between her hair and her forehead begin to sweat.
As she approached him she looked into his eyes and immediately knew who he was. “Ash? Can it really be Ash?” Joanna asked herself as she looked at the boy in front of her. Ash simply turned around and without saying a word he headed out of the building. Joanna of course followed him outside.
Once outside she saw a black BMW parked in front of the building and driving it was Alice, who was wearing the same outfit Ash was wearing. The only difference of course was that her boots were up to her knees and she was wearing a short black leather skirt. Joanna had no idea what was going on but she knew deep inside that she was in trouble. Ash opened the back door and looked at Joanna and nodded her to get inside. Joanna walked towards the car but before she could get in Ash grabbed her arms and tied them together with a pair of handcuffs. After doing so he blindfolded her and then tossed her into the backseat.
Some odd minutes later Joanna felt the car stop and heard a door open and close. Then the backdoor opened and she was dragged out of the backseat and fell right on what felt like a muddy spot on the ground. She groaned from the uncomfortable wetness of the mud not to mention the fall. Her not being able to see was certainly worrying her beyond believe. She was now breathing heavily and sweating. She was sure her life was in danger; it did not take a rocket scientist to figure the situation out.
Joanna felt a tight tug at her hands and realized the handcuffs were being removed. As soon as her hands were free she removed the blindfold and saw that she was in an alley of some sort. Joanna looked around and saw a wooden building next to one made of bricks. She turned around and saw a dead end and no way out, the brick wall was far too high for her to jump and cling to.
Suddenly a light yet very familiar sound distracted her. She turned around and saw Ash standing right in front of the black BMW as it blocked her only way out reloading an AK-47. Joanna gasped lightly as she laid her eyes on the weapon, she was now completely scared since she had absolutely nothing to protect herself with.
Joanna lost control over herself and ran towards the end of the hallway and tried to climb the wall but it was too tall. She looked back at Ash and decided that if she was going to go down she would have at least gone down fighting instead of running away.
Joanna ran as fast as her legs could take her and as soon as she was close to Ash she took a swing at Ash but he quickly shifted his face to the right avoiding Joanna’s fist. The corner of Ash’s mouth lifted in a wicked smile and chuckled lightly. Joanna’s attempt at fighting back amused him heavily so he decided to amuse himself further. Ash placed the AK-47 on the floor next to her and while still smiling he opened his arms in a challenging manner and said in a cocky way, “Come and get it!”
Joanna groaned at the condescending act before her. She was not sure of how to react, after all it two against one, even though Alice just sat on the hood of the car. Joanna looked at Ash and then back at Alice behind her. To her surprise Alice said while smiling, “Hey, don’t look at me. He’s the muscle; he’s the one you should be worried about.”
Joanna slowly turned to face Ash but before she could react Ash struck her causing Joanna to fall hard on her side. She groaned loudly as she cupped her jaw with one hand and with the other she pushed herself up. Joanna became highly irritated and lunged towards Ash and to his surprise she took him down but before she could punch him Ash used both hands to grab her by the neck and somehow managed to move his legs underneath her placing neatly on her belly. Before Joanna could react Ash flipped her over giving them a generous distance from each other.
Ash quickly scrambled to his feet as did Joanna. Ash looked at her and noticed she was smiling. He raised an eyebrow in curiosity and tilted his head to the side slightly. Joanna raised her arm and in her hand was the AK-47. She knew she was not exactly good at close quarter combat or at the very least landing a successful punch so when she lunged at Ash and landed on him she grabbed the weapon.
Of course what she didn’t know was that when Ash dropped the AK-47 he had separated the magazine from the rifle. Joanna had not noticed so she aimed the rifle at Ash and said in a cocky tone. “Looks like I’ve got the upper hand now.”
Ash laughed and walked towards Joanna slowly with his hands behind his back. Joanna tensed up and readied herself for anything Ash may have up his sleeve. Ash kept walking until he was mere inches from the rifle, with one hand behind his back and with the other he grabbed the tip of the rifle and put it to his forehead and smiled wickedly and said, “Go right ahead. I dare you…”
Joanna’s eyes widened with fear, she could not compute how someone voluntarily put a rifle to their own forehead unbeknownst to them if the person holding the rifle would actually pull the trigger. Without thinking Joanna closed her eyes and pulled the trigger but only heard a clicking sound, which sent a cold shiver up her spine.
Joanna opened her eyes slowly and saw Ash holding the magazine containing the bullets for the AK-47. As a last resort Joanna took the rifle and with the butt hit Ash as hard as she could. The impact was hard enough to turn his face sideways and break his lower lip. Alice saw this and gasped as she got up from the hood of the car and stood by in case things would go awry. Ash slowly rose up and looked at Joanna with an almost deranged look on his face. The small trickle of blood from the broken lip oozed out of the corner of Ash’s mouth; with the tip of his tongue he licked the blood and began to laugh.
“Oh, my God.” Expressed Joanna as she dropped the rifle. She turned to run away but Ash quickly grabbed her by her hair and pulled her back. Joanna screamed while grabbing Ash’s hands.
“Let go of me you lunatic! Let go!!” Joanna screamed at the top of her lungs hoping to grab anyone’s attention and hopefully get out of the situation in one piece. Ash then pulled her back and whispered in her ear, “Scream all you like, no one is going to hear you.” Joanna gasped loudly and pulled away from Ash with all her strength, unfortunately she tripped on the rifle and fell on the ground.
Joanna groaned slightly and kept still as the pain numbed but quickly got back up before Ash could do anything else. As she stood before him she noticed he had a serious look on his face and stared straight at her. His eyes burning silently in rage as he stared at Joanna who looked at him and then noticed something that scared the light out of her. In his hands Ash held a red curly wig which was used to cover Joanna’s green hair. Ash and Alice looked at her and in an almost growl Ash said, “Wha—Officer Jenny?!”