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Old January 9th, 2011 (10:08 AM). Edited November 6th, 2011 by Cutlerine.
Cutlerine Cutlerine is offline
Gone. May or may not return.
    Join Date: Mar 2010
    Location: The Misspelled Cyrpt
    Age: 23
    Nature: Impish
    Posts: 1,030
    The third story I've posted. If you've read either of my other two, you won't find this familiar; it's much lighter than either of them.

    It's something vaguely like the story of the Hoenn-based games - but only vaguely. I took them as my starting point and let myself go crazy after that. It includes most of the major story events, as well as some minor ones that I thought deserved to be highlighted as epic/mind-bogglingly strange, but the reason for those events happening is pretty different. You know, in the same way that the reason Ophelia went insane is different from the way Hannibal Lecter went insane.


    Moving on... Ratings? Let's see. Perhaps PG-15, because it's come to my attention that this story has got a lot more violence in it than I originally anticipated. There's also swearing (though only in Nadsat) and slight innuendo, but mainly it's the violence. If you don't want a detailed description of a dragon's head blown out, then don't read this.

    Anyway, after those long digressions, here we go:

    Chapter One: Introducing Robin Goodfellow

    The city at night. In the west, the chimneys of the industrial district cut across the eye of the moon; in the east, the townhouses of the rich gaze smugly down from their lofty perch on the Pelenine Hill. Most are asleep in bed, but a few people wander the streets, loudly and drunkenly proclaiming their worth. Two lovers laugh; a car alarm sounds. Another night in Rustboro.

    Through the night came a blurring orange comet, blitzing through the streets like a bullet, trailing blue lightning in its wake. It tore down a residential road, setting a horde of tame Poochyena barking wildly, and hurtled into a park, scattering the Zigzagoon that had come out to feed. It zoomed across ponds, whizzed past factories, flew by Pokémarts.

    After it came the thing.

    You couldn’t see it in the night; it cloaked itself in darkness, each streetlight dying as it passed. Huge, heavy paws thudded rhythmically on the asphalt from somewhere within the shadow, and deep, low breaths whispered through the air. When it passed the Poochyena, they stopped barking and retreated into their kennels, whining with fear.

    It was gaining on its quarry, and both of them knew it.

    The orange blur came to a huge car park and blasted through a car, leaving it undamaged but turning the headlights and radio on. It passed out of the other side and pulled up sharply to avoid another; behind it, the sound was abruptly silenced as the thing that chased it crashed onto the bonnet, snapping at the retreating orange light.

    The hunt continued over the tops of a row of cars, the fugitive flitting silently and the pursuer pounding craters in the steel roofs with each bounding step. They dropped to the ground, reaching the end of the car park; the blur halted, looking for an escape route, and for an instant you could see it possessed a small, anxious face – and then it bolted, hurtling towards the building with the blank façade that stood nearby, blotting out the moon with its great dark bulk and throwing puddles of light out through the windows.

    The thing let out a yarring growl, realising its quarry would be out of its reach once inside, and redoubled its efforts; the orange blur squealed in dismay as a set of great, yellowed teeth snapped shut just inches behind it. It spun around and launched a shower of sparks at the darkness behind it, and a surprised yelp told it they had connected; however, it knew that the thing would not be stopped for long, and immediately turned to flee again.

    As the chase drew closer, the gloom seemed to part a little and the building became visible: a huge block of concrete, studded with windows both illuminated and dark. There was a sign by this door – but the orange blur zoomed past too fast to read it, melting through the plate glass and into the brightly-lit lobby as if it weren’t there at all.

    The thing had more direct methods: it ran straight into the door at full pelt, shattering it instantly and setting off a hundred different alarms. The lights instantly died, and someone screamed; this building was still full of people, and the thing was not a presence calculated to reassure.

    Voices shouted as the lights died, and the clatter of feet on stairs sounded throughout the building, but neither hunter nor hunted were listening: the chase was all their world, and there was no room for anything else. Through a corridor, up the stairs... here the orange blur met a confused man in a white coat, carrying a torch, and rushed him with a high-pitched scream. The man dropped his torch and ducked, and the orange blur sped past him, trailing sparks.

    The doctor looked up, and saw a blot of utter darkness approaching him; it was darker than the surrounding gloom, and it seemed to suck in the light of his torch until it went out. He heard thumping footsteps, a low growl—

    —and then whatever it was, was gone, passing over his head in a single prodigious leap in pursuit of the light.

    The orange blur saw a door and sensed safety beyond; it passed through it like a ghost, and immediately dived towards a large object on the other side of the room. Oddly-shaped as it was, there was no way to tell what it might be, but the blur didn’t care: it just wanted a hiding place.

    The door exploded and the thing burst in, somehow leaching away the moonlight that shone in through the windows, plunging the room into pitch darkness. It growled, looking around wildly for its prey.

    Which was nowhere to be seen. Silence settled like a coat of dust over the room, and the thing began to pace around slowly, searching.

    From its hiding place, the orange light couldn’t see anything; it had to rely purely on its hearing, and all it could hear was footsteps, steadily coming closer and closer.




    If it had been able to breathe, it would have held its breath; as it was, it screwed up its luminous eyes tightly and hoped against hope that the thing wouldn’t find it here...



    A small snarl; something pressed against the dust sheet on the machine. The orange light knew that it was now invisible, but still, if that thing heard or smelled it...

    “What the hell is that?” someone said in an old, gravelly voice that had seen years of cigarettes. The thing pulled away from the machine and growled loudly; its footsteps bounded away and the gravelly voice cried out.

    Then all was silent, save for the sound of footsteps and shouting on the stairs outside. The orange light gave a silent sigh of relief. It had escaped.

    In the streets below, the thing crept away stealthily, sliding into the night like a professional thief. Exposure could not be tolerated; the orange thing had won tonight, and the thing had to return now.

    But it would be back.



    “Mmm?” I appeared to be floating just above a pink rainforest, but since it was a dream I wasn’t particularly bothered. Even less of a concern was the huge, warty clock that was talking to me.

    “I am your body clock,” it said, opening wide its bulbous lips and letting out a stream of bats.


    “All the body parts are having a party,” it said, and sort of melted away into thin air.

    “Come back!” I called, but I didn’t really care. Like I said, it was just a dream.

    “By the way,” it whispered invisibly into my ear, “it’s quarter past eight.”

    The rainforest disappeared, abruptly replaced by my bedroom ceiling. I thrashed wildly, trying to turn around, and eventually got myself into position to look at the clock on my bedside table.

    It was blank; the batteries must have died in the night. In such situations, I find that the only thing to do is to check your watch, which I did, and presently exploded out of bed as if there had been a lit firework under the sheets.

    “Quarter past eight!”

    An ecstasy of fumbling ensued, ripping drawers from the chest, trying to find clothes through a fog of half-dispelled sleep. If my watch was right – and there was no reason to believe it wasn’t – I had about fifteen minutes to get ready and get to school. This might sound reasonable to some of you, but if your school is half an hour away by bike, you, like me, will appreciate the difficulty.

    I suddenly stopped my frantic dressing, aware that something was wrong; after a few seconds, I realised that I couldn’t put my shirt on over my tie and that I really needed to wake up properly. To this end, I half stumbled, half flung myself into the bathroom and, after missing once and hitting the tap, immersed my head in a sinkful of cold water. This had the sort of effect on me that I usually only get when you poke me forcefully in the eye, and I leaped back up, instantly wide-awake.

    “Damn it!” I muttered as I finished dressing myself, this time in the correct order. “Why’d you go to work early today of all days, Mum?”

    It was horribly unfair, I reflected during my journey down the stairs, that the day my alarm clock had failed to go off owing to battery death had coincided with the one day each week my mother had to leave early for work, leaving me with no way of waking myself up in time; it was probably down to the alignment of the planets, or something equally unchangeable and nastily capricious.

    I looked at my watch, and the blinking digital figures looked back:


    Six minutes?” I cried in dismay, searching for house keys. “It took me six minutes to get dressed?”

    I found the keys, went outside and did something to the door that may or may not have locked it; I hoped it did because there was no time to check. I dashed into the garage, looking for my bike, and stopped dead.

    I’d forgotten about the Vespa.

    It stood there next to the bikes, a presence of infinitely more grace and beauty – and speed. I hesitated for a moment. I didn’t have a licence yet – in fact, I wasn’t actually that good at driving it. No, it was better to go by bike.

    But the Vespa’s faster, whispered a little voice in the back of my head.

    “That’s true,” I said aloud. “And after all, it isn’t that far...”

    I looked at my watch and saw I’d wasted another two minutes. That decided it: the only vehicles in my possession I was capable of operating (however badly) were the bike and the Vespa, and if I took the Vespa I might just get to school on time for once.

    Thus avoiding the detention that had been hanging over my head like the sword of Damocles all week.

    I leaped on, started it up, drove far too fast out of the garage and smashed into Mrs. Braithwaite’s car in her drive across the road. I had a brief glimpse of the sky as I flew over the handlebars, and then I fell down onto steel and onwards into a whirling black pit of oblivion.

    Which did, in fact, seem oddly familiar, probably on account of that business that occurred last year.


    The orange light was asleep when it happened.

    Actually, he wasn’t just an orange light; just like Kester Ruby, he had a name, though what that might be was unknown to anyone but him. But the important thing remained: he was asleep when it happened.

    If he had been awake, perhaps he would have seen it coming: voices, low and urgent, were all around him.

    “Get him in—”

    “—where’s the electrode jelly—”

    “—hurry, we need to know—”

    “—I’m trying, but the damn thing won’t start—”

    How was the orange light meant to know that what he had taken residence in, what he had temporarily possessed to escape the thing that had chased him in the dark, was actually a sophisticated piece of medical equipment, and one that would be in use that very day? Invented by Devon’s top medical research pair, the Phelps-Laurence Occipital Tampering Device was nothing short of a marvel of engineering. Based on a study of the power contained in an Abra’s brain, it scanned automatically for defects in thought activity that indicated damage to the brain.

    Today, however, it was doing something decidedly different, something it had never before done and was never intended to do.

    It started up with a low buzz, and that was when the orange light became aware that something was up. In the bowels of the P-L.O.T. Device, one of his large, electric-blue eyes snapped open.

    “Adjust it,” someone said, “it’s too high...”

    Both eyes flew open, and widened. The orange light gave a small squeal of dismay, and then the circuits all around him burst into life, electricity coursing through the veins of the Device at unimaginable speeds. Bowled away, the orange light found himself flying through wires, burning down cables faster even than he had been fleeing last night. He zoomed up, down, left and right like the hapless passenger of an insane rollercoaster ride; a thin, inaudible scream whistled from his mouth.

    Then, all at once, the track ended, and he was flying through the air, whizzing out of an electrode and slamming straight into something thick and meaty with enough force to knock him out.


    The P-L.O.T. Device whined loudly and gave off a shower of sparks; its operator recoiled in shock and motioned desperately for someone to get the patient out of it. Hurriedly, a couple of nurses tugged at the gurney, pulling it free from the Device’s clamps with a rough crunch of breaking plastic.

    “Shut it off!” cried someone, and the operator jabbed a button experimentally; the Device told him in no uncertain terms what it thought of this idea by letting that button, and the others around it, fall from its flank like shed scales.

    “What about the patient?” someone else said; rapidly, he was whisked away, and the operator was left to stare blankly at the machine that had suddenly gone so horribly, terribly wrong. With an air of one who knows he is flogging a dead horse, he pulled a small lever, and watched in surprise as the central section of the Device fell off with a flash and a whimper. The lights dimmed, and the whine ceased; the operator found himself alone in a dark room, staring at the husk of what had once been Central Rustboro Hospital’s most prized machine.

    Meanwhile, doctors were hurriedly checking over the patient in the nearest available room. His name was, according to his ID card, Kester Ruby, seventeen years old, occupation student, resident of 18 Guerama Road. There was a phone number, but they’d already tried calling and no one seemed to be home.

    Other than being unable to contact his parents, there were no other problems. It seemed that whatever had happened with the P-L.O.T. Device, it hadn’t affected him; it even, one doctor was heard to remark sourly, seemed to have been a waste to use the Device, since his head was, remarkably, intact, with no sign of brain damage at all.

    Of course, they did not know about the orange light; certainly, they were aware that something had broken into the hospital last night, but so what? There were still patients to treat, after all, still diseases in people’s blood, still bones broken in their limbs.

    Unfortunately for the patient, however, the orange light was of vital importance; in fact, it was going to be the biggest thing in his life for quite some time to come.


    I opened my eyes and blinked groggily; I tried to sit up but someone pushed me back down.

    “Where am I?” I murmured.

    Odd. I wanted to know the same thing, I thought.

    “You’re in hospital,” someone told me. “You had an accident.”

    The Vespa. I remembered now. I had crashed it...

    I want a better explanation than that, I thought.

    “Don’t get up just yet,” the someone said. “You’ve hit your head.”

    Suddenly, the world popped into focus. I was speaking to a doctor who was standing next to the bed I was lying on. At least, I thought it was a bed. And I thought it was a doctor – though I couldn’t see him.

    “Am I OK?”

    I hope so. Corpses are revolting.

    “You should be. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with you.”

    “Wait,” I said, sitting up, ignoring the hand on my shoulder. “Since when do I think with an English accent?”

    “What?” The doctor looked puzzled; he had a long nose and chin, and the whole effect was to make him look like the man in the moon’s idiot cousin.

    You’re not the one doing the thinking, meatface.

    “Who said that?” I glanced around, but the room was empty save for the doctor and I. Table, bed, counter – but nothing living.

    Looking too far, said the voice. It spoke with the kind of impeccable English accent that I had always assumed only belonged to either the greatest spies or the greatest supervillains.

    “Who are you talking to?” The doctor now looked like he suspected I might have brain damage after all.

    “No one,” I replied, realising he couldn’t hear it. I could do without people thinking I was crazy. “Just... thought I heard something.”

    Look, meatface, are you going to acknowledge me or not?

    I did my best to ignore it and tried to listen to the doctor.

    “ are?”

    “Sorry? I wasn’t listening.”

    “Can you just confirm who you are?” The doctor had a notebook out, and a pencil. “Your ID card says you’re—”

    “Kester Ruby,” I told him. “Seventeen.”

    Kester. I’ve not heard that one before. Is it a contraction of something?

    “OK, that’s good.” He made a note. “We tried to call your parents—”

    “Oh – my mum’s at work. For Devon.”

    Devon? Next to Cornwall? I went to Cornwall, once. It rained.

    “Your father?”

    “Don’t have one.”

    I suffer that particular problem, too. He just faded away one day, into thin air. That’s how we go, you know.

    “Oh. Er, OK.” The doctor made another note. “Right. Do you have a work number for your mother?”

    I gave it to him, and he said he’d be back in a minute. The door clicked behind him as he left.

    “All right,” I hissed, as soon as he was gone, “who’s there?”

    Since you’re asking, said the Englishman, my name is Robin Goodfellow, though you may call me Puck, and I am currently stuck in your big, meaty head.


    Let me spell this out for you, said Robin Goodfellow – Puck – with a little sigh. I was in that damn machine they used to see if you had any brain damage, and it beamed me into your horrible, meaty body. Now, I am stuck here. He paused. Did you get that all right?

    “What?” I said again. This didn’t make any sense; how could anyone be beamed into my head? Who was this person? Where were they?

    I can read your thoughts, Puck told me. I’m in here with you. I actually find it kind of disturbing; you’re all full of meat. A shiver ran down my spine. Oops. Sorry, that was my shudder, not yours.


    Will you stop that, please? You aren’t endearing yourself to me. Seeing as it looks like I might be here for a while, I would appreciate it if you stopped saying that.


    The doctor came back in.

    “Your mother’s going to be here soon. She didn’t sound very happy.”

    “Oh, sh—” I bit off the curse halfway through and changed it into something else: “Oh, she is not going to be happy.”

    “I don’t think any parent would be,” the doctor said.

    “No, you don’t understand,” I told him. “I crashed the Vespa...” I put my head in my hands, found it hurt and took it out again. “Damn it.”

    Not knowing what to say, the doctor took the opportunity to slide out of the room, silently, as if he was on castors.

    I swore softly to myself. “This is bad, bad, bad.”

    Is it? What happened? Faintly, as if from far away, I heard the sound of paper rustling. Oh dear. That looked painful.

    “What are you doing?” I asked, temporarily distracted.

    Looking at what happened, Puck said, and it isn’t pretty. Your memory of it is of fairly low quality, but still... Another shudder went down my spine. Oh, sorry. That one was mine again.

    “Who the hell are you and how are you in my head?” I hissed angrily; it had suddenly clicked, just like that. This guy, whoever he was, was actually inside me. He was thinking to me.

    Oh, you get it now, do you? Puck asked, sounding amused. OK, here’s how it goes: Rotom goes to sleep—

    “What’s a Rotom?”

    You don’t know? Wait a minute, let me get a picture for you.

    An image of an orange globe of energy, a couple of jagged points sticking out of it on the top and bottom, flashed before my eyes. This orb had huge, electric blue eyes, and a mouth twisted into a grin that managed to be cynical and mischievous at once. Little flickers of blue lightning kept jumping off it like rats abandoning a sinking ship.

    “H-how did you do that?” A thought occurred to me. “This is brain damage, isn’t it? From hitting my head on the car. I’m going crazy, right?”

    Puck sighed.

    No. Regrettably, you are very much sane and I really am in your head. Believe me, I don’t like this any more than you do. Are you prepared to listen to the story of how I got here now?

    “O-OK.” This might clarify things, I supposed. If the story was believable, I might not be crazy at all.

    Rotom are poltergeist Pokémon, Puck said. We have the ability to possess electrical equipment and do what we want with it; we’re sort of electronic ghosts.

    “You’re a Ghost-type, then?” Now that made sense. Ghost-types could get in your head, after all.

    Yes. Electric/Ghost, a unique combination. Puck sounded a trifle smug there. But that’s not the point. What I’m trying to say is that I possessed the brain-scanning machine they have here. After that, it’s guesswork – but I think they tried to scan your brain to see if you had brain damage, and I, er, got zapped in here.

    “I see.” I’d never heard of Rotom, and I wasn’t entirely sure this wasn’t just a trick played on me by my evidently broken mind – but if Rotom did exist, then I guessed this scenario was somewhat plausible. “Would you mind getting out and leaving me alone?” I asked politely.

    I’d be happy to.

    There was a pause.

    “Are you going to?”

    No, Puck sighed. I can’t. Rotom aren’t like other Ghosts; we’re not psychic or anything. I tried to leave you like I’d leave a machine, but I got stuck on those nasty tendon-things. Eeurgh. Flesh is so creepy.

    “Having a Pokémon made of electricity in me is creepy,” I retorted, then stopped. Was I really arguing with a Pokémon claiming to live in my head? No, this wasn’t real; I had to be crazy.

    You’re not crazy! Puck cried. If you think you are, we’re not going to get anywhere in this relationship!

    “There is no relationship! Get out of my head!”

    I leaped up and started swatting ineffectually at my cranium; it was at this moment, while I was jumping around as if I was suffering from a nasty attack of St. Vitus’s Dance, that the doctor and my mother walked in.

    “What are you doing?” she demanded, looking startled.

    “Um... just... stretching!” I said, spreading my arms wide and making stretching, yawning sort of noises. “Ah, that’s better.” I sat down hurriedly on the bed and looked innocent.

    “Right,” she said, then snapped into relieved mother mode, hugging me and loudly proclaiming how fantastic it was that I was still alive, and that I had escaped serious injury, and that everything was all right; as soon as she touched me, though, Puck started shrieking.

    Aaah! What’s she doing? Is she attacking us? Aah, she’s all warm and fleshy! Get her off, get her off!

    “Shut up!” I hissed, as quietly as I could, but Mum heard me and gave me an odd look.


    Get her off, get her off! I think we’re being smothered!

    I gritted my teeth and tried to ignore the screaming in my head.

    “Nothing,” I told Mum. “I didn’t say anything.”

    “Oh,” she said, and let go of me, standing up and turning to the doctor. “Can he come home?”

    “Well, I can’t force him to stay—”

    “So he can?”

    The doctor looked a little uncomfortable. “Well, yes, but I would advise—”

    “Right,” Mum snapped. “I’m taking you home now, so I can punish you.”

    “What? I almost died! How is this fair?”

    “If you’re well enough to leave hospital, you’re well enough to be punished,” she said sagely. “What the hell were you doing, driving the Vespa?”

    “I was late,” I muttered mutinously, but acquiesced. I’d had enough of the hospital too, to be honest.

    The drive home was tense; Puck seemed to have calmed down and didn’t say anything, to my relief, but I was aware that I was probably going to pay dearly for ruining the Vespa. I tried not to think about what the collision with the car had done to it.

    “You’re not going to use that machine again,” she said flatly. “You’re not going to take the test, either.”

    That doesn’t seem too bad, piped up Puck. I mean, it’s not like you were any good at driving that thing anyway.

    Silently, I willed him to shut up, but he was right: I had had enough of the Vespa for a while. The last thing I wanted was another head injury. Although, I mused, if I had gone insane because of that, then maybe another one would knock Puck out of my head and some sense back into me.

    You’re not insane. I’m really here.

    “Also,” Mum added, “you’re grounded.”

    That was to be expected, too. I wasn’t planning to go anywhere just yet, anyway; my head ached and I felt like sleeping for about a year.

    “Also, you’re paying for the repair work on the Vespa.”

    I winced.

    “Is it trashed?”

    “Yes,” she answered shortly.


    I bit my lip and tried not to imagine what it must look like.

    We pulled up outside the house, and Mum practically threw me out of the car.

    “Go inside and stay there,” she said. “I’m going back to work. I’ll call the school when I get there.”

    “You’re not concerned for me at all, are you?”

    She looked at me askance.

    “Why should I? The doctor said you were fine.”

    With that, she wound down the window and drove off. I sighed, and pushed open the door. It hadn’t been locked after all, which was a good thing since I seemed to have lost the keys. I plodded upstairs and pushed open the door to my room, to wander morosely into the mess within. My head ached, and I felt like sleeping.

    Puck, however, had other ideas.

    , he said, what’re we doing now?

    “I’m going to sleep,” I told him, flopping onto my bed. “This has been a really, really bad day.” I looked at my watch. It was only twenty past ten. “And it’s not even lunchtime.”

    It’s too early to sleep, Puck said. Besides, I don’t think I can bear to sleep in here. It’s all so sticky and messy. All these neurons!

    “At least I have neurons,” I retorted. “You’re a Ghost Pokémon, right? Made of gas?”

    Plasma, actually.


    I don’t want a body, anyway. It’s unnatural. All this flesh and blood – so delicate! Imagine if you got shot, there’d be blood everywhere. It would be a nightmare to clean up.

    “That would be the least of my problems. Now, leave me alone! I want to sleep!”

    But I don’t. And if we’re going to share this body, you’ll have to listen to—

    “‘Share’? We’re not sharing anything. This is my body. Can you please just shut up, if you can’t leave!” I took a deep, calming breath. “OK, I’ve got to stop talking to myself. There’s no such person as Puck.”

    Yes, there is. Look, if you don’t believe me, just go and look up ‘Rotom’. There’s bound to be lots of information online.

    “You can’t be real. Pokémon can’t talk.”

    Are you even listening to me? Just look it up!

    “But you can’t talk,” I said triumphantly. “You’re a figment of my imagination!”

    Oh, Arceus preserve me, groaned Puck. You’re right, I can’t talk. But I’m in your head. I’m not talking – you’re listening to my thoughts. He sighed. Just look it up, meatface.

    “Stop calling me that.”

    I’ll stop disparaging this disgusting body of yours when you believe I’m real.

    “Fine, I’ll look you up.”

    Since I was grounded, I shouldn’t have been using the computer – but this was a matter of my sanity. I felt it was justified: after all, if I found out Rotom was a real thing, then I’d be sane.

    And Puck’s story would be true. Because I hadn’t known that Rotom existed until he’d told me – and I couldn’t have invented a weird story about a Rotom stuck in my head unless I already knew what it was. Either there was no such thing, or all of this was real.

    So you can understand why I was nervous as I typed ‘Rotom’ into Google. Whether I was insane, or I really did have a Rotom called Robin Goodfellow in my head, I had a pretty serious problem.

    “Oh my God,” I said, staring at the screen.

    A spiky orange ball covered in lightning grinned back at me, next to a young man holding a Poké Ball. According to Wikipedia, this Trainer, Lincoln Marshwood, had been the one to discover Rotom’s existence, nearly 20 years ago.

    What did I tell you?

    “I have a Pokémon in my head.” I think I must have been in shock, because I just remember reading down the page blankly, not taking in anything at all. “Oh my God, there’s a Pokémon in my head.”

    That’s right. Puck paused. Hey. You’re not in shock, are you?

    “Oh my God, there’s a Pokémon in my head.”

    You are, eh? Well, I don’t know much about how these meat-brains work, but I think I can sort that out...

    Blinding pain erupted behind my eyelids and stars burst in front of them. I’m fairly certain I passed out for a moment or two, because the next thing I remember is opening my eyes to find my head was resting on the keyboard, drooling on the spacebar.

    “Wha...?” I lifted my head slowly, and suddenly remembered how I’d ended up like this. “Puck?”

    You called?

    “Did – did you just knock me out?”

    I think so. You fell over, anyway.

    “Pl – please don’t do that again.”

    Duly noted. So, now you’ve accepted me as a real being and part of your life, what’s next on the agenda?

    “Nothing,” I said, getting up. “I want to go to sleep. Even more after that.”

    I turned off the computer and went back upstairs, ignoring Puck’s protests. I wasn’t in shock any more, not properly – but I still felt as if the whole world had suddenly leaped on my head that morning, shovelling far more than anyone could cope with into my life. Tuning Puck out, I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.

    For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click here.