View Full Version : Learning to Heal the Hurt
This fic used to be up on this site but I decided to re write it and, well, here it is!
Oh, and you can post on this thread. I like it better that way.
Learning to Heal the Hurt
Introduction: Who would have ever thought that my life could flip upside-down so quickly and unexpectedly? I mean, come on, I, Talia O’Connel, was thirteen and feeling like I was at the prime of my life. I was an average kid living my average life in an average home and attending an average school. I had a mother but, unlike most kids, no father (he died only a month or two before I was born) or siblings. I had friends, after school activities, and homework to take up my time. Like a normal kid I had the regular everyday troubles with grades and school but nothing major ever came up, well, except for the time when Grandma died last summer. But it wasn’t huge for me ‘cause I barely knew her anyway; she had had Alzheimer’s for the last 20 years. But what was about to happen would change my relationships, priorities and my life.
Chapter 1: The Hurt
I was cold. The cold was creeping up on me as I starred numbly at the shell that had once been my mother. The cold started as a small, tiny spec in my heart, and spread. It filled my heart where great warmth used to be and replaced it with only coldness. The cold spread from there to my innards, to my neck and head, down to the very pit of my stomach and on, down to my legs. It wasn’t a physical cold but one of the heart. My mind began to change as I stared dumbly at the scene before me allowing the horrifying information sink in. Then, through that cold numbness I began to feel emotions: sadness, pain, and grief… rage. One lone thought entered my emotion filled mind: This couldn’t be happening.
From that thought a million little thoughts began to spring like water off a spinning fan, tumbling through my mind. What was I going to do? What was going to happen to me? Why was this happening to me? And most of all: Whose fault was this?
With that thought I felt my rage begin to grow, from that one little question it exploded until it was so vast I could hardly stop myself from screaming. There was only one explanation for this.
The murdering filthy creatures that didn’t deserve to live. The bloodthirsty killers. The hate-filled mother-stealing monsters that claimed to be peaceful and kind. I knew better than that. They were murderers through and through.
The rage was so thick now that I had to let it out someway, on something. I poped.
“No!” I screamed with all my might as my limbs were sent into a flurry of action. I burst out of my mother’s room, the room that had hosted the worst event of my life. I streaked out the front door, tearing at anything and everything in my path, pushing stuff wildly out of my way, not caring one bit where they landed. I slammed the hard oak front door of the house I had lived in for 13 years open, not even wincing as the metal handle tore a gash into the tan siding of the house. I was beyond caring about anything but the terrible rage that had fully taken control of my body.
“No!” I shrieked again, leaping wildly down the three front steps of the front porch. I landed the wrong way on my leg and collapsed onto the ground. My leg throbbed violently as I pulled myself up again but I didn’t care. The day was warm for early June, with only a slight breeze to cool it down. The sky was cloudless and blue, a beautiful day; I was oblivious to it all as I was lost too far into my own emotions.
I ran, slowing only to stoop and grab a small pebble into my hand. I launched the smooth object into the large cherry tree that stood at the edge of my parent’s property, startling the Taillow that I knew roosted in the tree into flight.
“Get out Taillow! Get out!” I screamed wildly at the birds. “Stupid creatures! You killed my mother!”
I collapsed in front of the tree, my knee painfully striking a piece of jagged stone strutting from the ground. Involuntary tears sprung to my eyes; with both the physical pain in my legs and the emotional pain weighing me down I began to bawl. My mother was gone. Lost to me forever. She wasn’t here to comfort me through my grief like she always had. She would never smile that wonderful smile of hers again. Never dance with me to the tune of our favorite songs. Never help me with my homework. Never hum a joyful tune to cheer me up. Never… Never… Never…
Who knows how long I lay there on the ground, crying unashamedly out in the middle of the lawn for anyone to see. I needed to get it all out; the tears I had been holding back for months came spilling forth.
I sat up and tried to wipe the stinging hot tears from my red puffy eyes but they wouldn’t stop. They just kept coming and coming and coming, an unstoppable flow. My vision was blurred and I couldn’t make heads or tails of anything. I had to stand up and move! My limbs wouldn’t obey my brain and I remained in the same position. I tried ordering my tears to stop but they wouldn’t. I just sat there, my shoulder length dark brown hair falling in front of my face, hiding the tears that wouldn’t cease to roll down my soaking face.
Then I felt something. It was small, a tiny, light weight on my thigh. I didn’t bother to look up and see was it was as I was wallowing to far into my brokenness and despair. I dismissed it as a stray leaf that had fallen from the tree above me. I let it stay there, focusing my whole self on my anger, feeding it and expanding it until it was so great that all it needed was one little kick and I would pop… again.
I squeezed my eyes tightly shut, hoping that if I just kept them closed long enough my mother would be alive again and I would find that this was all just a bad dream I was having.
Then I felt something. It was the same weight, but this time on my left thigh. I reached out my hand angrily, hoping to brush whatever it was off. My hand met fur. My red and puffy eyes snapped wide open and my head jerked around to stare at what I had found.
Immediately my eyes began to darken and the rage that had been building up inside me began to overflow. A pokemon was sitting next to me; its short brown and white paws resting on my thigh, its head cocked inquisitively to one side. The things small black eyes (I think it was a Zigzagoon but it didn’t really matter because it was still an idiot pokemon.) were staring at me questioningly.
I was immediately on my feet kicking at it and screaming like a wild person. “Leave! Go away! Leave me alone! I hate you!”
The tears were back, falling more earnestly and faster than before (if that was even possible!). I didn’t even look to see weather the thing had fled or not, I was off again. The tears in my eyes were blurring my vision completely so that I could only see the vague outlines of things as I tore through the streets.
I ran, not even slowing as I reached the street, causing a fiery red pickup to veer sharply to avoid hitting me as I darted out across the black pavement. I ran through the crowds of colorful people, dodging a mother and her three children (at least those children had a mother!) and then a man and his Mightyena. I sped through the streets ignoring the angry shouts of the people I knocked over or pushed away. I jerked out of the hands of a man who grabbed me screaming, “Leave me alone!”
Surprisingly, after that everyone did. I don’t know how long I ran but by the time I had reached Sandar Park (the largest park in Sandar City that stood right in the center of the reeking buildings) my breath was coming in very labored gasps and the only thing that was keeping me from collapsing was the rage and adrenalin coursing through my veins.
My run had done nothing to stop my tears or rage, if anything it had fueled them into something that was so forceful I couldn’t stop it. Finally, as I was reaching the center of Sandar Park, I had run all I could. I collapsed right onto the ground, the soothing smell of wet earth filling my nose, short green sprouts of grass tickling my face. There I lay, breathing hard, settling into pure exhaustion as I felt the adrenalin that had pushed me so cruelly forwards, left me. I didn’t care about anything right then, not one bloody little thing. My tired eyes slowly drooped shut and I fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.
My mother had gone out on a small expedition with one of her friends, excavating a small cave in Laveridge Town. It would be my first experience home alone for more than a day. My mom said I was ready for it since I was “very mature for a 13-year-old” as she put it.
Apparently, while in Laveridge, some small freak accident with the pokemon of the cave had happened there and my mom was quickly moved to the emergency room at the hospital of Laveridge Town. I had gotten a phone call later that night as I had lounged around on the couch watching TV sluggishly. Her condition had gotten worse and worse until she had to finally be moved to The Rustboro Hospital. Rustboro Hospital was the best hospital in all of Hoenn.
This had really freaked me out when I had heard this news so I had quickly packed my bags and taken the long train ride from Sandar, my hometown, to Rustboro. Apparently my mom had startled some pokemon so badly that it had let of a poison gas, a gas so deadly that after one breath it had knocked her out.
Once in Rustboro I had insisted on staying at the hospital, ignoring all of the famed places I could have seen and bragged about to my friends when I got home. The only thing I was concerned about was my mom. The only family I had left. After almost a week in the hospital, with me by her side almost every minute of it, she started slowly to recover. I had been almost ecstatic, when it had been declared that my mom was well enough to be let out of the hospital. The doctors said that she still needed a little rest but in a few days she should be fine.
They were wrong. Only a week after we returned home some pokemon had startled her so badly that she began coughing. She couldn’t stop. I had her in bed in an instant. The poison that the doctors had thought was all killed had awoken inside her body again. This time it took only hours. I was in the room, sitting up with her when her breathing became more and more labored, and she kept crying out in her sleep. She was like this for hours when finally I heard, in one horrible, terrible moment, the rasping of her breathing stopped and the room fell silent; a deadly silence that just stretched on and on and on. I then knew that my mom was gone. Forever.
“Talia? Talia?” That voice was very familiar, too familiar and it belonged to one of the people I least wanted to see right now.
“She’s asleep.” Another, definitely male voice chimed in frankly. I knew that voice well too.
“Duh. Any moron could see that. But what’s she doing here?” The first voice, a girl, asked.
“Dunno. She looks pretty disheveled.” Count on Deri to state the obvious and in terms almost nobody could understand.
“I wonder what happened to her?” The first voice, Reenie Amier, my best friend in the whole world, remarked absently. The two voices I had been hearing belonged to my two best friends, Reenie Amier and Deri Kemp. I had known these two almost all my life; we had gone through thick and thin together, but right now, as my memory came flooding back and the emotions began to take hold again, I wasn’t exactly sure weather I wanted them around or not.
Then one thought entered my mind. Pokemon. I had to get up and get going for I needed to get my revenge. Revenge was sweet and I felt a great craving for it to the very depths of my heart. From now on I wasn’t Talia O’Connel: Average teen, I was Talia O’Connel: Revenge Seeker. I could not let that murdering filth get away with their cruelty. They had to pay… I jerked savagely up into a sitting position, my eyes blazing with a burning ambition, one of revenge.
“Oh! Hey Talia!” Reenie’s cheerful voice greeted me, twisting my heart into a terrible knot of pain. She couldn’t be cheerful, not while my mother was dead. It wasn’t fair that others should be alive and happy when she was not. “What are you doing in the middle of The Park?”
I turned my face to her, taking in her light brown curls that were pulled back in a messy pigtail, her sparkling green eyes staring at me with mirth, her hands crammed into the pockets of her blue jean shorts, and glared.
“None of you business.” I answered coldly, still blinded by my cool rage. It was amazing how cold I felt, towards everything, even my best friends.
Reenie took a small, uncertain step back, looking shocked, as if I’d slapped her. Her hands came out of her pockets as a hurt expression came over her face. Reenie was sometimes just too damn easy to read.
“Tal?” Deri asked, scrutinizing my face with his dark brown eyes. “You all right?” He ran his hands through his short, jet-black hair, a questioning look in his eyes.
“No!” I snapped, feeling my anger starting to build. I couldn’t even be nice to my own friends; was I acting like a monster? No! I wasn’t a monster. Those murderous creatures were the monsters.
“Geeze Talia!” Reenie snapped back. She could be fiery when she wanted too and was usually the speaker in our group. She was also known for her very easy going nature though if something vexed her she could really get angry. “You don’t have to be so rude!”
I glared up at her, my blue eyes filled with anger and grief. “Well if other people wouldn’t be so rude to me!” I almost shouted at her. “Why can’t people just leave me alone!” I could feel angry tears begin to slip down my face. I had never cried this much in my life. I jumped up violently, shoving the unfortunate Deri out of my path and began to run. I was in a rage, ready to run and run and run and never stop. Deri recovered easily from my shove and gripped my arm, bringing me to a complete halt. Reenie quickly grabbed my other flailing arm, wincing as my arm caught her squarely across the cheek. I began to struggle frantically, wanting them to just let got so I could get my revenge.
“Let me go!” I screamed, causing people who were walking through the park to glance wearily in our direction.
“No!” Deri bellowed.
“Not until you tell us what’s wrong!” Reenie chimed in, struggling to keep my left arm firmly under control.
“Nothing’s wrong!” I shrieked at them, feeling my cheeks begin to flush with effort.
“We know you better than that!” Reenie said, giving a fierce tug on my arm. “What’s wrong!”
“My mother died you idiots! Now let me go!” Both of them recoiled in shock. Whatever it was they were expecting, that was not it. They just stared at me in complete shock.
“Oh… Talia.” I didn’t wait to hear any more of Reenie’s useless sympathy. I fled. Down the path of the park and out onto the road. Past the tall business buildings where many important people came to work, past small houses and schools. I ran past people of all different shape, color, and size. I ran, my shoed feet slapping loudly against the hard pavement, finally reaching the city limit, my lungs ready to burst from my ribs and my adrenalin pumping at full blast. There, a forest was straight ahead. I would go there and begin my journey for revenge.
I slowed to a stop in front of the dark forest, turning even darker with the setting sun. I could hear the buzz and call of the small pokemon of the forest. The greens of the trees looked beautiful amongst the browns. But I didn’t notice any of this as I plunged headlong into the rows upon rows of endless trees.
It didn’t matter to me that it was becoming night, and that I had nothing but the clothes on my back, nothing to survive on. The only thing that mattered was my revenge. Nothing else mattered. Nothing else at all. Nothing could stop me now. My journey for revenge had begun.
Learning to Heal the Hurt
Chapter 2: Fire Red
It was well past the midnight hour when I stumbled blindly over a group of large, strong vines hanging tauntingly from a nearby maple. I cursed, balancing myself crazily on one foot as I clumsily attempted to free my other foot. As soon as my foot was free, I set it down and began moving into the dark trees again. I promptly tripped over a fallen log thrown stubbornly in my path. I let forth a stream of violent curses (of which most my mother would certainly not approve of) glaring at the mucky damp floor of the forest, which was now about two inches away from my face. The deep earthy smell of the rotting leaves and undergrowth filled my nose along with the beautiful smell of damp earth. I pulled myself to my aching feet and proceeded to wipe the worse of the mud off my clothes and freezing cold hands before plowing on again into the darkness of the night.
If you’ve ever been out alone in the middle of the night, even if it’s in your own backyard, it’s usually a little freaky. I’m not the kind of person who scares easily but the darkness of the woods had gotten to my brain so much that I jumped at every little sound. I plowed on trying to ignore the stories that were flashing through my head about people who were caught in the forest at the…
I jumped and froze, my heart pounding so loudly in my ears that I could have sworn the people in Kanto, the farthest region from Hoenn, could hear it. I had heard a noise somewhere over in the trees off to my left.
It was nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just my imagination running away with me, I tried telling my terrorized mind over and over. I didn’t even believe myself. Just keep on moving, it was nothing. I forced my stiff leg to take a step forward, planting my foot firmly in the soft earth beneath me before picking the other one up and past the first. One leg. Then the other. One leg, then the other. One leg, then the other. One leg then the other…
This went on for sometime, keeping my mind firmly attentive to only what I was doing so that it didn’t stray to other things, other things that would leave me both immobilized and defenseless or emotion stricken and irrational. Finally, I was able to calm my nervous nerves (try saying that over ten times fast) and move easily without freezing up every time a twig snapped or a leaf fell.
I was stupid, I realized as I continued my never-ending trek through the forest. Leaving home like that with nothing but the clothes on my back. I mean, I was out here in the wilderness all alone in the dead of night, totally defenseless with not even a measly knife to protect me, not that a knife would have done me much good anyway. I had no food or water to survive on and I hadn’t eaten anything since yesterday morning. Worst of all I was tired and hungry, as my stomach now informed me, with the nights chill settling deep into my very bones.
But I was out here for a reason and that reason was cold hard revenge. Revenge for the cruel heartless deed of my mothers murder. I felt my eyes begin to darken with a red mist and my body grow colder than any chilling wind could make it as the rational part of my mind began to slip. I pushed my rage down into a deep corner of my mind to let it simmer and grow for later. Right now if I let my emotions take hold of me I would surely get hurt. There were wild creatures (I refused to call those murderous filth by any proper name!) out in the night, searching for easy defenseless prey, like myself, to wander straight in to their waiting hands.
What was that! This time it wasn’t a suspicious sound that stopped me dead in my tracks. I thought I had seen a bit of red flashing somewhere over in the corner of my eye. I stayed still, waiting for it to appear again so that I would know I hadn’t dreamed it up. There it was again! I whipped my head around dark brown hair flying out behind me, blue eyes searching.
And again! This time the bright red glint flashed somewhere under the forest bracken over to my left. I slowly turned my body and cautiously began to inch my way over towards the spot; you never knew if a wild creature was out there ready to jump you. I slowly reached the spot where I had seen the red flash and quickly dropped to my hands and knees. The forest floor was muddy and wet, quickly soaking through my rugged and torn jeans to dampen my half frozen knees. I dug my hands deep into the damp, cold, muddy mess of rotting leaves, soil and who knows what else (probably some creatures dung, with my luck), cursing and shivering in distaste as my fingers immediately went numb from the sudden shock of the cold that had surrounded them.
I began clearing the rotting muck away from the spot I had seen the flash of red, hoping to again catch a glimpse of it. To my relief it appeared again only a little off to my left. I immediately was off after it, quickly clearing away what I could of the forest nutrients. I very soon encountered the object of my pains as my groping hand came into contact with something hard. I closed my hand slowly around it noting its round, smooth texture as I did. I almost dropped it again as a strange, buzzing warmth filled me, beginning at the hand that held the small object, definitely a stone, and spreading onwards and through my body, sending feeling back into my fingers, arms and legs.
I yanked the stone up close to my face so I could examine it better in the darkness. It was a small, smooth, round stone that pulsed slightly with a strange rhythm, synchronizing with the beating of my heart. It was brilliant fire red in color and had a glassily smooth texture as if it had been in water for a very long time. As I stared at the stone it filled me with a strange sense of power, like nothing I had ever felt before. I stared at it a second or two longer before slipping it into my left pocket for safekeeping. This was a special stone; that I knew. I was definitely keeping it.
I trudged on through the forest for the next hour or so, never stopping to rest my forever aching bones or my eyes whose lids bean to droop every couple of minutes or so, because I knew that if I did I would fall asleep and wouldn’t have the strength to go on. I tried to ignore the constant gnawing of hunger pains in the pit of my stomach that were sent me every couple of minutes; just had to keep moving. I knew I couldn’t eat just any fruit that showed itself to me, it had a possibility of being poisonous, same with roots; I knew these were edible from books I had read about the ancient people of Kanto, Johto and Hoenn. I kept moving.
Some hours before dawn my exhausted body stumbled wearily into a small overgrown clearing only a few yards across. There I collapsed into a heap on the ground, too exhausted to go on. I didn’t even notice a branch poking me uncomfortably in the side; I was too tired. My eyelids began to droop and finally to shut as I was thrown deep into the dark, soothing pit of sleep.
A noise startled me into wakefulness. I jerked roughly up into a sitting position, wincing as the branch that had been poking into my side the whole time I lay asleep, yanked free. I surveyed the area around me. It was still dark, perhaps only an hour or so had passed since I’d fallen asleep. The wind was rustling softly through the leaves of the trees surrounding the clearing; sending cold shivers through my body as I stared out into the pitch darkness. The night was a clear one, the millions of stars shining softly and the waxing sliver of a moon casting barely enough light for me to see my hand if I stuck it in front of my face. But the wind wasn’t the sound I’d heard. I glanced quickly around me, my blue eyes searching, attempting to penetrate the almost pitch-blackness and failing miserably.
But wait. What was that? My eyes had detected a small movement that wasn’t just the natural swaying of trees in the wind, somewhere over to my right. I turned my head slowly in the direction I’d seen the movement coming from and looked, my eyes barely penetrating the darkness.
Then I saw it. I was a small po… creature… very teddy bear like with a faintly glowing outline of a crescent moon on its forehead. It appeared to be eating something…happily. I felt the rage I had built up earlier in the night begin to surface, filling my once calm mind with murderous and irrational thoughts and suggestions about what I could do. I could not let this thing be happy and eat wile I was wallowing in despair and staving!
I jumped suddenly to my feet, tottering momentarily as my over used leg muscles protested, but soon regaining my balance. I glared daggers into the small things back, thrusting my hand into my left pocket and feeling around for the stone I had picked up earlier in the night. I didn’t care if the stone was somehow special; all that mattered was my rage and hurting the creature just as badly as it had hurt me! I yelped in pain as my hand came into contact with the red stone, jarring my concentration on my rage momentarily. I yanked my hand from my pocket and quickly thrust my burned fingers into my mouth. The stone had been burning hot, just like my anger was. But what had caused the stone to turn so warm? Surely not the heat from my body! I wasn’t that warm!
Attempting to curse around my hand, I stooped down and grabbed the first thing that met my groping hand: a stone. The stone was lumpy, rough and disfigured, perfect for my aims. Using my right arm (not my strong arm. I’m a leftie and proud of it!) I launched the lump of rock at the creature, hoping desperately that it wouldn’t miss. Deri always said I had a killer arm, which probably came from pitching for my softball team six years in a row. My stone struck its mark, point blank, right on the thing’s chubby shoulder. The creature just sat there and blinked at me, looking thoroughly stunned, an apple halfway to its small pink mouth.
Then it began to wail, shattering the peaceful night silence like a gunshot. “Tedi! Tediursa! Tedi!” It shrieked in a high squeaky voice, tears beginning to form in its small black orbs.
I smirked and sauntered slowly over to it, holding myself high, and neatly plucked the green apple from its tiny paw. I winced as I bit into the apple; the baby creature’s wails were growing to a deafening crescendo.
“Shut up.” I said off handedly to it as I began to walk away, quite happy with the damage I’d done.
“Tediursa! Ursa! Tediursa!”
“What a baby.” I smirked as I chewed my latest bite of apple, my mouth and stomach enthusiastically welcoming the crunchy deliciousness. “Can’t even take getting tapped with a stone with out crying.” I turned away from it, a goofy smirk glued to my face, and began to saunter in the direction of the forest, enjoying myself for the first time in what seemed like months.
I froze. Something was wrong. The Tediursa’s cries had suddenly ceased. Uh-oh. A terrible guttural growling could be heard not far behind me. Whatever it was it didn’t sound friendly. I jerked myself quickly around to see what it was.
My eyes popped wide open and the half eaten apple dropped from my now badly trembling hand. I was terrorized, all the saliva in my mouth drying in an instant, for behind me stood a large, hulking monster no less than eight feet in height. I, at 5’2, only reached the top of the yellow ring that tattooed its large hairy chest and belly. It was glaring and growling at me, barring its sharp white teeth in a way I did not interpret as friendly. Behind this large bear stood the small Tediursa I had struck with the stone, a large swelling protruding from its small skull, grinning at me in triumph. I glanced back up at the bear. This had to be the Tediursa’s parent, a fully-grown Ursaring, and from the way it was looking at me I knew it wasn’t here for a polite conversation.
Terror had totally overtaken my body. I was defenseless. My left hand strayed into my pocket to touch the Fire Red stone, as I had now dubbed it. It was a biting cold, so freezing that it numbed my hand instantly at the touch.
I starred up at the angry bear, my eyes filled with fear. I could feel myself trembling, shaking uncontrollably at what faced me. I tried to will my legs to move but my body wouldn’t obey. My eyes locked with the Ursaring’s dark black eyes, burning with an immense fire of rage. I searched my mind desperately for anything I knew about Ursaring and their habits. They were very protective of their young and if I wasn’t confusing my Ursaring information with my Illumise information like I usually did (don’t ask) I was pretty sure that if anything hurt their young they would stop at nothing to get revenge. This was not good for me. Not at all.
Then it hit me. An idea not the bear! The Ursaring, as much as I disliked it, was like me. I was out for revenge on pokemon (that filthy name still sent shivers of pure rage up my spine) for murdering my mother; the bear wanted revenge on me for hurting its child. But there was still no way I could console this angry parent from attacking.
I felt a flare of freezing cold pain jump from the pocket that held the Fire Red stone, numbing my thigh instantly. I stared down at my pocket to find it encrusted in small ruby red ice crystals. Still wandering at the strange red stone I reached out a trembling finger to brush the ice. I yelped. The ice was burning cold, so cold that it felt hot. It didn’t melt at my touch either, like normal ice would.
That shock was enough to get me, and the bear, moving I turned and fled, running blindly away from the clearing into the dark of night. I heard a loud, angry roar shatter the silence behind me and the heavy pounding of large, padded paws on the soft earth. The bear was pursuing me. I was going to die.
I ran, sprinting past low hanging vines of all variations, thick, thin, green, brown; past fallen trees and branches bursting with fungus and small life. I ran past trees, large ancient oaks to young, healthy cedars. I ran past shrubs and bushes, large and small. I flung myself wildly into to the night, flying over ruts and dips in the land, over logs and bushes, anything that lay in my path. Still the bear pursued me, screaming its rage in long, low, terrifying growls and roars, a constant reminder of why I was running in the first place.
A few minutes passed in what seemed like hours to my terrorized mind. My breath began to come in short, ragged gasps, my head began to swim in dizziness with the lack of air. Still the bear was coming, roaring crazily.
The Fire Red stone in my pocket sent me constant flares of freezing cold pain, urging my already exhausted leg muscles into motion, forbidding them to stop. The only thing that gave me the strength to move at all was the pure cold terror that reigned in my mind. If the Ursaring caught up to me I would be…no! I didn’t want to think about it! I pushed on.
My left leg, the one that had been twisted savagely from my jump off the front porch and jabbed by a stone, was throbbing painfully, begging me to stop putting it through this dreadful agony. I winced and placed the pain at the back of my mind. If I concentrated on anything other than escaping I would surely be caught and… I was not going to allow myself to think about that!
A rowan tree threw itself in front of my tearing path. I threw myself quickly to the side and dodged around it, almost tripping on the log sprawled right next to it. To trip would have been the end.
I could hear the Ursaring behind me, plodding steadily towards me, its heavy clawed feet pounding loudly on the soft forest floor, crushing dead leaves and bark as it ran. I dared not look back. If I did I would probably trip and then it would be all over; Talia O’Connel would be no more. Who cared one tiny bit out Talia O’Connel anyway?
My heart was hammering madly in my chest and my lungs gasped desperately for air. Lactic acid was building up in my legs and arms, making every little movement complete agony. Even if I had been on the track team at school I had never ever been forced to run like this.
I swiftly ducked a low, thick branch that appeared right at eye level with me and then agilely leaped down a short half foot drop and continued on, mind racing horribly in fear. I heard a loud thwack! and then an angry growl from the bear followed by a sharp crack! of breaking wood. The Ursaring had run into the low branch I’d ducked, snapping it clean off. It would have struck me as funny had I been under normal circumstances but now I just thanked my lucky stars that I’d been given a chance to live.
I risked a glance behind me. Just as I thought the bear had struck the branch. It now stood, only a mere 5 yards behind me, tearing the branch to pieces, allowing me to put much needed distance between us.
All of a sudden I felt my left foot catch in something and then my both my feet were flying out from under me. I felt myself fly forward and then pain. It exploded in my head like a firecracker. My vision was blurred as yellow and white lights flashed before my unseeing eyes. My head had struck a tree. Then the headache hit. It was a roaring, agonizing pain that flooded my mind, knocking out all sense of time and space, sending me reeling into almost total blackness. But even through the pain I remembered why I was running and jerked my head, wincing at the sudden movement, around to stare at the direction the bear had been chasing me from.
Pure cold terror filled my mind, swamping even the pain of my run in with the tree trunk. The Ursaring was still coming, a new light of triumph lighting up in the depths of its fiery rage filled eyes. It knew I was down and wasn’t getting up. Now it was only five yards from me, so close that I could smell its awful scent, so close that I could see its unbearably sharp white teeth glinting in the scant moonlight. When the bear got through with me I would be nothing more than a corpse, barely recognizable from my goring.
I tried, in one last desperate attempt to stand up but then realized that my foot was hopelessly caught in a tangle of roots at the base of the old oak I had smashed against. All hope was lost.
I looked up at the bear. It was only 3 yards away and rapidly closing in.
One yard. I closed my eyes tightly, hoping that it would kill me quickly and that it wouldn’t be too painful.
All of a sudden I felt and intense heat begin to grow in my pocket and flare into a burning heat, a vast change from the freezing temperature it had held all through out the chase. I barely noticed it as I steeled myself for the pain that was going to come. I waited one second, then two. When nothing came I peeked, confused, from one eye.
What I saw caused my eyes to fly open in amazement. A fiery red barrier of light surrounded me, warming my chilled bones. On the outside of the barrier stood the Ursaring, snarling in fury as it threw itself again and again at the red light, which appeared to be… solid?
I glanced down at my pocket to find that it was glowing bright red, so bright that it left spots before my eyes when I looked away. Somehow the Fire Red stone had made this protective barrier, shielding me from what was certain death.
The Ursaring threw itself at the barrier for another full minute before growling one last time in rage and defeat before turning off to disappear into the forest. I just sat and stared, shaking violently from fear and exhaustion, watching the red light slowly fade away, soon exposing me to the outside world.
Finally the night began to catch up on me. I hadn’t slept in what seemed like days and with all the running I’d done it was a wonder I had been able to stay awake this long. I tugged at my foot for a few minutes, trying to get it unstuck and failing miserably. To exhausted to go on I shifted my position a few times, trying to arrange myself comfortably (its very hard to do on lumpy roots that poked you every which way you turned). Finally choosing a position I liked, my eyelids began to droop lower and lower and finally close all the way. I was immediately plunged into the comforting darkness of sleep.
It was burning hot. My skin felt like it was on fire. Steam was rising around me in wisps, like smoke. I could see that I was on a small ledge sticking far out over a large deep pit. Searing heat was radiating from it, and a bright red glow was cast from far below.
I started creeping carefully towards the pit trying to see what was making that red glow. I reached the edge of the ledge and peered cautiously over. I stared at it horrified at what I saw. The pit was full of red-hot lava. I backed quickly away from the edge until my back hit the steep rock cliff behind me. I looked up the large cliff. It was tall and sheer, no way that I could climb up it. I was trapped.
I looked frantically around me for a way out but there was none that I could see.
All of a sudden the ground beneath me started shaking, an earthquake. The end of the ledge started dropping away making the small space that I had even smaller. My mind was reeling with terror. Then I saw it.
It came out of the fire like an underwater mountain coming out of the sea. Hot lava was pouring off its back. It towered 10 times my height. It was red, the same color as the stone I now carried in my pocket. It looked like a mythical pokemon that had jumped out of the pages of one of my old storybooks. A dangerous glint was in its golden eye.
I stared at the great creature hoping it wouldn’t see me. Somewhere I had seen this mythical beast before, somewhere that I couldn’t recall.
Then it turned its dangerous eye towards me. I had been spotted. It started making a long slow move toward me, its large arms clawing. It hit my ledge, crumbling it into nothing.
I fell, fell towards the lava. I could feel its intense heat hitting my sweating body. My head was reeling. I was going to die! And as I fell one word flashed through my terrified mind. Groudon
Learning to Heal the Hurt
Chapter 3: Of Sticks, Stories and Healing
I jerked bolt upright, my clear blue eyes flying wide open. I was cold, my body and clothes soaked with sweat. The blankets that covered me were wet too. That dream! It was terrifying yet I had this feeling that it was somehow important. It was trying to tell me something. But what? I had never had a dream, a nightmare really, that seemed so vivid; so real. All my dreams were a series of pointless events that shifted and merged into each other throughout the night. They never ever made sense like that, never. What did it mean? And why the heck did I have blankets? The last thing I remembered was collapsing; with my foot caught in roots; into a deep sleep after escaping the angry parent Ursaring’s wrath. Unless I had missed something here I was pretty sure I hadn’t moved at all. But I had.
I glanced wearily around me, groaning as my sore muscles and bones protested. I was in the center a large clearing surrounded by the forest I had recently been traveling through. The clearing was filled with long wild grasses that swayed slowly in the soft, comfortable breeze, with artfully colored wild flowers dotting the landscape. Around these flowers many, many bug pokemon, such as Yanma, Beautifly, and Butterfry flitted joyously, showing off their beautiful colors, vainly, to the world. Rattata, Zigzagoon and Wurmple ran through the tall grasses, darting wildly to and fro. Various bird pokemon such as Pidgey, Spearrow, Taillow and occasionally their evolved forms called loudly to each other across the great expanse of field. The sky was a shining sapphire blue and it appeared to be early morning by the position of the sun shining brightly in the early morning sky. It was all very beautiful; except for the pokemon of course. I glanced down. I was rapped in twisted, sweat soaked sheets, lying on the ground under a tree that I was pretty sure I had never seen before.
“Hey! The One-Who-Sleeps-For-Two-Days-and-Nights had finally awoken!” A cheerful female voice greeted my ears. I knew that voice very well and I welcomed it.
“Reenie?” I asked in surprise as I jerked my head around to stare at my best friend. Reenie’s sparkling green eyes met mine as I looked at her, the glint of mischief that was always there as bright as ever. Her mouse brown hair was pulled back in a quick ponytail and fastened with a hair tie at the nape of her neck. Her dark green T-shirt and jean shorts rippled softly in the breeze.
“The one and only!” The 13-year old answered approaching me with a ready smile. Reenie always smiled.
“I’m here too!” Another voice piped up as the owner came to stand beside Reenie.
“Deri!” I exclaimed, even more surprised to see my shy, quiet other best friend than I was to see the out going Reenie. Deri smiled and brushed a lock of his jet-black hair behind one ear. Deri was definitely the brains of our trio, always able to figure things out that Reenie and I, with our more limited knowledge, couldn’t.
“Why are you guys here?” I asked incredulously.
“What happened to you?” Reenie asked, grinning.
I sighed. “It’s kinda a long story.” I said doubtfully, not exactly thrilled with the prospect of having to relate my whole tale to them and relive the pain I had felt.
“S’all right.” Deri intervened. “We were just about to have breakfast anyway. You can tell us then.”
“Oh, and don’t go back to sleep.” Reenie warned.
“Why?” I asked, confused. Reenie was the kind of person who had the strangest ideas that just about nobody would think of.
“You’ve had too much of it.” She grinned, a mischievous glint coming into her eyes.
“Too much of it…?” I mumbled, my half asleep mind stumbling to think. “Wait! How long was I asleep anyway?”
Reenie’s grin spread. “You are Rip Van Winkle. You slept for twenty years.”
“Twenty ye… Reenie!” I cried, eyes blazing. “You’re teasing me!” I accused, shaking my finger at her.
“Just ignore her.” Deri put in, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips, “You slept for two days but even that is a lot.”
“Two days!” I cried, my eyes flying wide open. “When did you guys find me anyway?” If my calculations were correct I might have slept for more than two days.
“The day after you left us.” Deri answered as Reenie burst forth in a fit of crazy giggles.
I sighed and shook my head. Two days. Two and a half days to be exact. That was a long time to sleep. I hadn’t even known I could sleep for that long! “I’ll get up.” I said, directing my statement at Deri as Reenie was still giggling madly.
“I’ll get you some breakfast too and…um.” He glanced at the giggling Reenie.
“Just try to get that giggling moron calmed down.” I said, a small smile escaping my lips.
Deri nodded and quickly turned to grab Reenie on the arm. He hauled the giggling girl up and began to retreat back to the campfire, lecturing my friend as he went.
I groaned and rubbed my aching head, wincing as my hand came into contact with an open gash on my forehead; dried blood flaked off at my touch. It was the out come of my run in with oak tree from…two days ago. My head hurt, feeling like a thousand drums were pounding unyieldingly in my head. I threw off the wet, freezing sheets and staggered to my feet, only to collapse again as my weight fell on my left leg. It buckled instantly, searing pain shooting through it, as I fell hard on my rump. I yelped and glared down at my leg. My left ankle had swollen to almost double its size and my knee was caked in dry blood. I grimaced. Man was it ugly and my gosh it hurt like hell!
I glanced around me for a stick or something to lean on, in hopes that I wouldn’t have to crawl over to Reenie and Deri looking like a helpless, sick dog! Luckily for me there was a long, pole like stick off to my left. It looked to be about four and a half feet in height and strong enough to hold me. I leaned forward and reached out a hand to grab it, wincing yet again as some of my weight fell on my left leg. My fingers were just short of my prize.
All of a sudden I felt tingling warmth, beginning at my pocket and spreading up to meet my hand. As soon as the warmth reached my hand it began to glow in a bright fire red light. The branch that my outstretched fingers were almost touching began to twitch and jerk. I stared in a shock and wonder as the branch flew up off the ground and straight into my outstretched hand. As soon as my hand held the branch firmly the red light engulfed the stick totally, almost blinding me with pure red brilliance. I blinked and looked away; the light was too bright to look at. As soon as I felt the warmth begin to die in my hand I opened my eyes and turned my face back to stare at the smooth wooden pole that I now held in my trembling hand.
The branch held little to no resemblance to what it had once been. It was now a tall, smooth pole of white, bark stripped wood; smooth with no knot holes or cracks running along its surface. It was capped with a large piece of white wood, about as large as my fist. I stared at it, trembling slightly. What was up here? Things had just gotten weirder and weirder since I had found the Fire Red stone only a few days ago. I shook my head, wet my parched lips with my even dryer tongue and stood up, leaning my weight on the stick.
I nearly dropped it again in shock. Things were just too weird. The stick was humming with power; flashes of red lightning flashed across its surface every couple of seconds. I just stared at it wide eyed.
“You coming or not, Talia?” Reenie called from over at the campfire, jerking me out of my gaping stare.
“I’m coming.” I called back shakily, keeping a wary eye on the stick. I hobbled over to the fire and sat myself down, wincing slightly as I did so, brooding over the strange sight I had just witnessed. Things were way, way too weird.
“You finally made it!” Reenie sighed, putting a large emphasis on the word “finally”. She stared intently at the flames of the campfire, seemingly fascinated by the red, yellow and orange flames that licked and burned around the wood, barely raising her head for a second as she spoke to me. She was apparently over her giggling fit.
“Nice stick.” Deri commented, stirring something (it looked to be some kind of stew with a deliciously good aroma wafting out of it) that hung in a pot over the fire, with a plastic ladle. “Where’d you get it? It wasn’t with you when we brought you here. It looks hand crafted.”
I sighed and glared crossly at the staff as it rested lightly at my side. “I found it over by the tree I slept under.” I said truthfully. “I, um, got it, well, ya know…”
“Tal!” Deri cried, cutting me off in mid sentence. His worried gaze rested on my left leg. “You absolutely cannot be running around on that!” Just like Deri; always the doctor. I suppose it came from being a doctor’s son.
“Well it kinda hurts.” I admitted, rubbing my leg and wincing as a sharp pain shot through it.
Deri sighed. “Reenie!”
“Yah?” The girl answered, her eyes still riveted on my hurt leg, wide with shock and pity.
“Get a bucket of water and boil it!” Deri ordered, reminding me of how thirsty I was which led me to thinking about how hungry I was.
“While you’re at it, get me something to drink!” I called after Reenie. Just as I was about to order Deri to get me some food he cut me off.
“You. Stay put. No walking on that leg you understand?” His tone was menacing as he pointed at me. When Deri spoke like that there was no crossing him.
“But…” I complained, straightening abruptly.
“No buts. We are going to fix that leg weather you like it or not.” Deri had a look of determination on his face. When Deri was determined to do something he did it. Nothing could stand in his path.
I had a vague memory of a cup of fresh water being lifted to me dry and parched lips and a cool, refreshing liquid running down my throat some time later. But I, even having just awoken from a two day sleep was tired, so tired it surprised me. Only a few moments after the cup was taken from my lips I collapsed into a heap, asleep before my head hit the ground.
* * * *
For the next three days our lives followed the same monotonous schedule, day in and day out. I would sometimes stay awake the whole day, staring off into space, thinking, always thinking, about how I had become stuck here in this place, my leg to battered for me to walk; all because of pokemon and their stupid, idiotic ways. Sometimes I’d keep jumping in and out of sleep for a whole day and night. Sometimes Reenie, Deri and I would talk for hours upon hours upon various subjects; but then sometimes we would just sit in silence for hours too. Somehow I always managed to skirt around my friends’ questions about what had happened to me between the time I had run from them to now. I didn’t ask them how they came to be here either for I was sure that that would eventually lead them to asking about my story which I wasn’t quite ready to tell. I think they had caught on that my rage the day my mother died came from the shock of her death. They had the brains to not ask about that. If they did I would definitely go off into a rage.
All the while my leg continued to heal under Deri’s attentive care. Deri said I’d always have a scar on my knee from where I’d struck the rock. My head wound was healing too, leaving tender, pink scar tissue where the once open wound had been. It had given me fierce headaches for the first day or so though.
For some strange reason the stick that had been created by something I totally didn’t understand had been at my side day and night. I had become strangely attached to it and the Fire Red stone, gripping it frequently to feel the soothing buzz of power fizz through my body. The Fire Red stone was useful to me too because whenever I was cold all I had to do was touch it and it would instantly send comforting waves of warmth through my body. What could I say to that? I really liked it!
Sometimes Reenie and Deri would retreat across the camp and sit, talking animatedly in harsh whispers glancing over at me frequently. I think they though I didn’t see them but I did. Our lives went on like this for three days; eat, talk, sleep; eat, talk, sleep; eat, talk sleep… But by the fourth day my leg was almost fully healed. I would be able to travel again and continue my long journey for revenge.
* * * *
I awoke, sometime early on the fourth day, to the soft pattering of a quiet rain splashing my face. The droplets of water rocketed down from the sky to strike my skin and break, trailing down my dirty flesh to leave wet trickles in their wake. I sat slowly up, shivering from the cold as a wave of freezing air washed over my very drenched self, and gazed sullenly around. It was still daytime, judging from the amount of light in the air, but a thick, gray layer of clouds covered the once clear blue sky. The field that had once been so full of life before was almost completely empty with only the wildflowers daring to show their faces and enthusiastically greet the rain.
Everything else was gone from the field, turned a dull gray with the absence of light. I was soaking wet, my dark hair turned almost black by the rain. My clothes were full and unbearably heavy with the wet liquid of which I almost never wanted to see again. The same liquid I had so desperately craved for only a few days previous.
The white bandage on my leg, Reenie and Deri had changed it daily to care for my knee and ankle, was full, turned a slight yellowish color from the water and dirt soaked into it. My leg did feel extremely improved from the last time I’d seen it though.
I was still seated by the campfire, or what had once been the campfire (the rain had totally doused it). My left hand automatically groped down to my side. I was rewarded when my hand struck wood and a faint thrum of power buzzed through my head. I had my stick. That was a good thing. I could also feel the unfamiliar weight of the Fire Red stone resting securely in my pocket. I hadn’t taken it out since I’d found it, evading the questions my friends would ask of it. I had my stick and my stone but where were my friends?
I glanced quickly around me. Reenie and Deri usually stayed near me, situating their living quarters around the campfire. I figured that since it was raining they had retreated to the safe, dry area beneath the large oak tree I had first woken under, inconsiderately leaving me out in the damp and cold. My hunch proved true as my searching eyes came to rest on the two figures huddled under the nearby tree.
I sighed; untangling my legs from the wet, heavy blankets I’d been rapped in and stood up, reaching back down to pull my stick up after me. Expecting to feel the slick, wet surface of damp wood, I turned to stare sharply at the stick when I didn’t. The wood was dry, as dry as it always had been, the small droplets of water seeming to slide right off, as if it had a waxen surface, leaving no mark behind them. This stick never ceased to surprise me.
Leaning heavily on my sick I turned towards the dry area under the tree where my friends stood waiting. The dry earth seemed very inviting to my very much water logged self.
“Oh, hey Tal. You’re up.” Reenie commented as I dragged my very wet body over to and under the canopy of the large oak tree, sheltering me from the pouring rain steadily pattering down into the dry earth now turned into thick, dark mud.
“So considerate of you to leave me out in the rain.” I remarked sarcastically, sighing as I slid down so I was seated firmly next to Reenie at the base of the oak.
“Sorry,” Deri shrugged, “The rain just came up so suddenly that we didn’t have time to drag you in with us.”
“Some friends you are.” I muttered darkly under my breath, glaring out into the rain.
My hair hung heavily, framing my face and clinging to my damp skin. It was very uncomfortable. The three of us sat in an almost comfortable silence.
“What happened that brought you all the way out here Tal?” Reenie’s soft question broke the silence that had just been stretching on and on and on and…
I glanced sharply over at her, a little suspicious. Suspicious of my own friends. I just couldn’t trust anybody anymore. Reenie sat beside me; hands limp at her sides, green eyes intent on the wet world outside. She looked innocent enough.
I don’t know what came over me then but in one urgent moment I began to tell them everything, from my mothers death to now, as we were sitting under the canopy of the large oak tree. I told them of my rage towards pokemon that had originated on the day of my mother’s death, the ursaring escapade, everything, only omitting the part about the Fire Red stone and my staff. I wasn’t quite sure why but I had this feeling that if anyone found out about these things I was doomed. It might have been the rain that made me talk, or the constant longing for sympathy that had been hidden deep inside me, only surfacing now, or maybe it was the anger and the hurt that had been bottled up inside me for days, I’ll never know. And, well, it kinda felt good to talk, letting all my feelings of anger, grief, hurt and fear flow out with every word I spoke. My friends listened intently the whole time, never interrupting me to ask questions. They knew just as well as I did that if I was interrupted I wouldn’t have the courage to go on.
When my tale was done silence reigned over my friends. I stared down as my hands, not daring to look up so see my friends’ reactions.
“I didn’t know…” Reenie’s soft voice broke the silence. “I’m sorry Talia. I should have been there for you.”
I glanced up sharply at her words, my own blue eyes meeting her light green ones for an instant, so full of sadness at that moment, devoid of the usual spark of mischief that was usually there. She would have been there for me? If she had tried I would have pushed her away. I had too, during the Sandar Park episode.
“Um… you want to hear our story?” Deri asked uncertainly, breaking the awkward silence that hung between us.
I nodded silently and turned to stare down at my hands again. Emotions were beginning to surface again, probably from the telling of my story. If one little subject of pokemon came up my rage would surface again. If anything that I thought shouldn’t have happened did I would pop.
“Well,” Deri began, propping his chin up in his hands, “after you left us, me and Reenie got to wandering about what you said; about you mother and all. So, um… we came to your house and saw your mom there by herself, just lying still and quiet as can be. I suggested to Reenie that we call the burial people to come take her body. Reenie conveniently mentioned that if we left her there her body there it would begin to stink and rot.”
I felt a flush creep up to my cheeks. I had been so worried about my mother and getting revenge and all that the thought of how to honor her body had totally slipped my mind. If I really had been worried about her I would have attended to that. It was too late now.
“So, I got my mom and she began to take care of your mother’s body. I asked my parents in the middle of this all if I could begin a pokemon journey.” I felt the embarrassed flush in my cheeks turn into a flush of rage at that filthy, hated word. “My mom’s mind was on other things so they agreed (Deri has been asking for years, well, since he was ten, if he could go on a pokemon journey, but each time the answer was a flat out no). Since I didn’t have a pokemon I told my parents that I would head for Littleroot and ask Professor Birch for a starter. Reenie decided to come along and after permission from her parents was granted we packed and set off only about a half a day after you left.”
“You’re out on a pokemon journey!” I burst out in an almost shout, feeling the calm part of my mind begin to slip. They couldn’t be! The traitors! They were traitors! Bloody stupid traitors! I had thought they were my friends! Okay, I’ll admit, I was starting to get a little out of hand. Deri might not have been going on a pokemon journey but that was not how I took it. If Deri even had the nerve to even think about becoming a trainer of those murderous animals he was a traitor. My enemy.
“Well no…but…” Deri stuttered, surprised by my sudden outburst.
I didn’t care. “Traitor! Pokemon lover! Murderer!” I screamed, feeling my rage begin to take a complete hold on me. “Idiot! I hate you!” My rationality was totally gone. All I could think about was that Deri actually liked the murderous species called pokemon. I guess I had known this all along but now that he was saying that he actually wanted to be a pokemon trainer… It was too much. My vision was beginning to become clouded by a red mist, one of pure rage, driving any calmness that was left in me totally out to let rage reign over my entire being.
“Talia! He was tryi…”
“Go away! Shut up!” I screamed, breaking off Reenie’s frantic attempts to calm me. I hastily jumped to my feet, the beginnings of tears forming in my clouded eyes to begin their long descent down my face.
“I hate you all! You stupid idiotic lovers of those…those murderous creatures who KILLED MY MOTHER!” I shrieked the last three words at the top of my lungs, grabbed up my stick, turned and fled in the direction of the forest. I didn’t care where I went as long as my feet would take me away from here. I was beyond caring about anything as pure ragged gripped my body in its burning grasp driving me cruelly forwards. I ran and ran and ran and ran. And I wasn’t stopping anytime soon. For anyone or anything.
Learning to Heal the Hurt
Chapter 4: Caught!
I ran, fleeing through the forest as fast as my bound leg would permit, never once stopping to check my direction. I didn’t care where I went, just as long as I got somewhere, away from here. I gripped my damp stick in my freezing hands and clutched it to my chest, hoping it would take the worst of the blows from the low hanging branches. The rain was coming down harder now, in sheets, turning the earth at my feet into slick mud. I slipped and slid my way across the forest, legs scraping across brambles and razor sharp grasses, cutting my legs in a dozen places.
I catapulted past a bush of low shrubbery, then over a rut in the muddy earth. My damp clothes stuck uncomfortably to my even damper skin like Velcro. My soaking shoes made a horrible squish squelching sound every time I placed them on the slick wet earth. My dark hair, which had lost its single hair tie eons ago, had not been combed in days, causing it to stick out crazily in all directions. I always did have a terrible time with cowlicks even when I combed my hair three times a day.
I ran on, the only thing I could think about was how those filthy things could have killed my mother. My friends’ “betrayal” had totally escaped my reeling mind.
I ran and ran and ran and ran, until I could run no more. Then, with burning lungs pleading desperately for oxygen, a horribly aching leg, and no will to continue on, I collapsed onto the soft wet earth, barely able to lay my whirling head down before the darkness claimed me.
* * * *
I was a wreck. A total and complete wreck. My dark hair was filled with dirt, burs and who knows what else! It stuck out in every direction too, giving me a savage appearance. My black shirt and jeans were covered in a thick layer of slime and half frozen mud; a horrible reeking stink emanated from the gross mass that was me. My shirt and jeans were torn in several different places from where they had caught on stray twigs during my wild fleeing. My exposed arms and legs ached terribly from the numerous cuts and scrapes also obtained during my enraged runs; many of them oozed blood onto my dirty flesh, staining it a dark, sickly red. Mud was encrusted over some of my cuts, adding more pain to my already aching skin.
It had only been a day since I had fled from Reenie and Deri and collapsed out in the woods; my rage had boiled down somewhat to the point that I could control it. I pushed the anger and pain away, deep inside me, to let it grow for when I really needed it.
After I had come around I had realized that I was cold, wet, hungry, tired and, above all, thoroughly miserable. It had stopped raining but even that wasn’t enough to lift my steadily dropping spirits. My stick (I really had to name it something!), which had proved to be more of a hindrance than help so far, was still as dry as it had always been, always staying in my sight and my filthy, freezing hands. I, personally, envied it; it didn’t have feelings. It couldn’t feel rage, hurt, pain, sadness or any of those things that weighed down on me now. And it was always dry, warm, and comfortable. That was something I wanted. It was kinda stupid to envy a stick.
I still had the Fire Red stone too, I just never bothered to take it out of my pocket and look at it. I did now though, transferring the amazingly light object of my envy to my right hand and plunging my left deep into my soaking wet pocket. When my hand met cool stone I yelped. The buzz of power that had run through my whole body, pulsing from the stone, was much more intense than the power the stick emanated. I gained control of myself and once more thrust my hand into my pocket. This time I was prepared (or as prepared as you can get from the shock of pure power coursing through your veins) for the wave of power when it came. I drew the stone out of my pocket, closing my hand firmly around it. Comforting waves of great warmth ran through my body as the thrum of the stone synchronized with the pulsing of my heart, sending feeling back into my numbed limbs and warming me up completely. It felt good to be warm again.
I opened my hand to reveal the stone and positioned my head at a slight tilt to peer down at it. It was the same stunning fire red in color, still appearing to burn with an inner flame, one that never went out. It made my head spin to stare at it. I smiled and looked away. It was the first time I had smiled in days and it kinda felt weird on my face, using muscles that had lain still for a while.
Turning, I pocketed the stone, full of a new hope and ambition to continue on. Using my stick as a walking staff I began to trek on through the forest with no idea where I was going. All I knew was that I was traveling for revenge.
I traveled for another two hours or so, ignoring the continual protests of my aching legs, my soiled clothing quickly drying in the rapidly heating day. The days had been unusually cool for early June but this day seemed to turn the tables. I estimated that it was about 85 degrees Fahrenheit out, quite a nice day. The sky was clear and blue, as it usually was during a Hoennian summer, and the sun shone brilliantly on everything from high overhead.
The forest was full of bright blues, browns, greens, purples, yellows, oranges and just about every color you could think of. The slight cooling breeze was whispering softly through the trees, ruffling my disheveled hair and clothing slightly.
In the instant that I stood, staring at all this beauty, I had the most peculiar yet surprisingly joyful feeling that I was the only person on earth, and all my troubles, pains, everything, were being whisked away by the passing breeze. And I was happy, so happy that a joyful peal of laughter erupted from my long dormant lips.
A Pidgey chirped.
My tranquil moment was broken and I began to remember, as I felt a spark of anger begin to ignite the flames that I had pushed so carefully away. I ignored the stirring anger within me and sighed regretfully. For one moment I had felt like I had only a few weeks before, so joyful and carefree. The mere reminder of those happy days that seemed to long ago and almost lost to me forever, made me feel as if I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders. I sighed again and shook my head. I continued glumly on.
The only thing that was actually marring the perfect beauty of the day was the evil Pokemon. The bloody devils called out from the trees, the fields, the bushes, the forest floor, all around me, almost seeming to deafen me as I tuned my ears in to their horrid cries. They even dared to show their faces in my presence but quickly hid again as they found a large stone fly dangerously close to their heads. Various bird pokemon screeched above me from the cover of the trees. Other land pokemon snarled and yowled from around and below me. It was all too much. Just too much.
I dropped my stick abruptly, clapped my hands over my greatly abused ears and screamed. I screamed long and loud, as loud as I could, my voice erupting into the racket created by the beasts. I screamed for what seemed like ages to my reeling mind. I closed my mouth, the harsh and sudden sound abruptly cut off. I slowly pried my hands from my ears and was greeted by total and almost complete silence, save for the slight breeze that rustled the trees.
It was then that I heard it. A faint roaring sound, alien to my ears so used to the natural sounds of the wild. What was it?
I stood stock still, just listening, hearing very faintly through the silence the strange rushing roar, until it was once again drowned out by the ugly sounds of the Pokemon, who had apparently gotten over their initial shock of my scream. Just as the sound faded away completely to my untrained ears, I realized what it was. It was a sound I hadn’t heard in days. It was the sound of cars, rushing along a paved road. A road meant cars, and cars meant people, and people meant cities, and cities meant civilization! It would be good to reach civilization, where I would be able to take a much-needed hot, soothing shower and fill my stomach and mouth with all it could hold. Then I realized that I had no money, none at all, not even one lone quarter that usually lurked somewhere in the hidden depths of my pants pockets. I would have to find a job, earn some money so I could then buy the stuff I would need to live off of. I knew, deep in my mind, that this was a very stupid and unrealistic plan, especially since I held a close resemblance to the devil himself with my disheveled clothing and hair.
I didn’t care though. All I wanted was food, water, and a good night sleep. All I wanted. All I wanted.
I couldn’t deny it any longer. I was starving, ready to eat anything, well, almost anything, that came my way. I was thirsty too, my mouth so dry I thought that if I tried to speak, nothing would come out.
I quickly stooped down, grabbed my stick and began to hurry in the direction I had heard the sound of cars coming from, peering intently through the trees to see if I could spot any signs at all of an on coming road. I traveled silently another couple of minutes, listening intently as the sound of the cars began to crescendo.
Finally I reached the edge of the forest, the trees cutting off abruptly to become a straight line of recently mowed lawn. This eventually receded into a row of course, dry gravel, which lined both sides of the black pavement that served as a road. Hidden by the thick forest shrubbery I stared out over the painfully straight road, my clear blue eyes scanning the area thoroughly, taking in the hard pavement with its vibrant yellow stripe running firmly down its middle. The road, probably some old rural country highway, stretched out as far as I could see to my right and left, following an amazingly straight and flat path with minute twists, turns, and hills. Out past this man-made specialty was a large expanse of field, stretching on and on for miles straight ahead of me, never seeming to end. Farmland. Houses and small buildings dotted the rolling hills with long, dry wild grasses that swayed gently in the soft breeze, ironically reminding me of my 7th grade science teacher who automatically began swaying as he taught. My classmates and I had always found this amusing, dubbing him, The Quaking Aspen. But that was all gone from me now, back in happier days. I would probably not start 8th grade like I had been planning too at the end of the summer because of my quest.
I shook my head to clear my mind of unwanted thoughts, quickly burst forth from the cover of the forest and threw myself into a determined trot in the direction I hoped would lead me to civilization. With the luck I’d had lately this road was probably just an illusion and would lead me absolutely nowhere. I sighed. Staying out in the wild for days on end did strange things to you.
I twitched my head. The harsh roar of a car engine could be heard, making its way steadily in my direction along the small highway. The sound started out as a quiet rush, it could almost be mistaken for a slight breeze, but soon crescendoing in to a rushing roar as it neared me. I cast a quick glance behind me. A tiny streak of blue could be distinguished from the vibrant blue of the sky, just topping the horizon. It was rapidly coming in my direction. I turned my head back to its original stance and continued walking, using my stick to help my aching legs move.
As the car topped the rise of the land behind me I realized something. A scary thought. I quickly launched myself at the large trees of the forest, barreling straight into a thorny patch of brambles, landing with a painful thump on my stick. I cursed as the thorny points nicked my skin, sending forth bursts of pain down my arms and the other exposed parts of my flesh. The stick had probably left a large bruise where my leg had crashed into it too. But I held still, mumbling something about stupid thorns that turned up where they weren’t supposed to be.
Peering cautiously out through the bracken, still mumbling indistinguishable threats, I watched as the car zoomed by, ignoring my hidden self completely. As soon as it had safely passed I quickly jumped up, muttering cruses on the thorn bush, and walked back out into the exposed area of the road. Thorns stuck horridly to my body making me feel remarkably like a giant pincushion.
What I had realized was that if anyone just driving their normal way along the highway and saw a disheveled 13-year-old girl just randomly walking along a rural highway, they would get inquisitive, stop and take me home. That was not something I particularly wanted.
I began to walk again; traveling in (I hoped) the same direction I had been going before that car showed up. I winced and began to yank the sharp thorns out of my body. It was painful but I was glad when they were all out.
I continued walking along, every now and again glancing warily around me just incase any cars decided to show up. Sure enough, maybe five minutes after the first car had passed I heard the faint roar of a car engine in the distance, slowly getting louder; this time in front of me.
This time I looked before I leaped into the safe cover of the forest, so that I was not going to land on anything pokey or pointy. I sat there grimly and watched as this time a silver mini-van passed my hiding spot and, like the other car, continued on. I sighed with relief and stood up, quickly scanning the road before I stepped back out onto the grass.
I continued on in this fashion, beginning to feel thoroughly exhausted after about forty minutes of traipsing in and out of the forest, dodging cars. I finally trudged into the cover of the woods and lay myself down on the ground, the beautiful smell of fresh earth wafting up to my expectant nostrils. It was about mid-day at this point, the brilliant yellow sun shining brightly down to filter through the thick canopy of trees that formed cooling shade over my head. Pokemon called in the forest around me but I ignored them, focusing on the beautiful sounds of the wind whispering through the trees. The rustling leaves sounded like peals of rich laughter ringing through the air. The trees were laughing, probably at something the wind had whispered to them. I smiled at this thought and stared up at the light green and brown colors dotting the forest canopy.
I sat there for who knows how long, just enjoying the beautiful summer day, letting the breeze gently caress my face and hair. I finally pulled my self back up to my aching feet and trudged out of the forest and onto the road. I had to continue on or else I might just stay there all day and never move again.
I trudged along the road, my senses dulled from the long rest period I had just had. I was tired too. I stifled a large yawn that threatened to crack my head in two, with my hand, stopping shortly as I did so before continuing on again.
Then, I stopped dead in my tracks, a wave of fear washing over me. I clenched my hands tighter around my stick, my knuckles whitening as I did. I couldn’t move, couldn’t do anything, my muscles wouldn’t react to what my brain was plainly screaming at them. Move! Run for your life! Go! I couldn’t. My muscles were locked firmly in place. I wanted desperately to move but I just couldn’t.
A silver car (don’t ask me what kind it was because I don’t know the first thing about cars) had come to a skidding halt right beside me. Somehow it had crept up on me as I walked. I hadn’t noticed its presence until it was a few feet from my face. I had either been to exhausted to hear it or my huge yawn had blocked out the sound of its approaching roar. Either way I was doomed.
“Hey! Kid! Are you lost?” A loud voice inquired as my frozen brain vaguely registered a car door slamming shut. The call somehow melted the ice that held my limbs in place. I bolted towards the forest, pulling my stick up away from the ground to prevent it from tripping me.
My numb mind barely perceived a shout of “stop!” as my legs carried me painstakingly slowly towards the forest. If I could just reach it I would be fine! If the forest covered me I could escape! I had to reach the trees! Just had too!
A large hand clamped down on my right shoulder, stilling me instantly. I immediately, as if it were a reflex, began to struggle, jerking my head around to glare savagely at my captor. It was young man in his early 20’s with sandy brown curls and light blue eyes, around the same color as mine, that seemed to bore right into me.
“Whoa! Kid! Calm down!” He cried, tightening his iron grip on my shoulder, his white skinned face, tanned by long hours in the sun, set in grim determination.
“No!” I screamed at him, dropping my stick from my left hand so I could bring it up to try and pry his fingers loose from my shoulder. “Go away and leave me alone!”
“Let me go!” I shrieked frantically.
My shriek carried over the sound of the breeze, startling those pokemon filth once more into silence. The man’s free hand came up to grip my flailing arm in his large callused one. I began to struggle harder, kicking him with my feet, trying desperately to make him let go. I had to make my escape and fast!
“All I want to know is what you’re doing out here alone! Sandar-Rustboro Highway is no place for a young girl to be wandering by herself.” The man said, shaking me slightly.
At least he’d been a bit of help. I now knew where I was, or, at least, had a vague idea where I was. I just hoped I was heading in the direction of Rustboro and not Sandar. If I were, then I would just end up back where I started. It would have been a whole waste of time and energy.
“Darren!” I heard another voice call from the other side of the car followed closely by a car door slamming. Someone else was coming to help this man, Darren, kidnap me. That’s what this was. A plight to kidnap me. What for? I don’t know!
Darren had finally gotten a secure hold on me, ceasing my desperate struggling. It was hopeless. I had lost. I just stood there and glanced over at the other figure coming towards us. It was a pretty, not quite beautiful, young women, probably around the age of my captor, Darren, her raven black curls fell neatly down her slender back, accenting her almost too slim figure (she might have been mostly arms and legs when she was younger) and startling silver eyes. Silver eyes? I had never, ever seen silver eyes before. My eyes locked with the women’s, captivating me and holding me in place, all my perceptions of reality gone, lost in her strange, yet completely calming gaze.
My captivated mind barely perceived Darren towing me slowly towards the car, me just going along as easily as if I were a child following its mother. The car door was opened and I was pushed in, not roughly. As soon as I was in, the door slammed and the women’s captivating gaze was broken. When I realized that I had somehow ended up in the car with the door closed I began to scowl.
The car was a small vehicle, furnished with tan leather seats and not the soft material that had covered the interior of my mother’s beige mini-van; it was a sign that they had money. The windows were clear and spotless, as if someone had gone over them with soap and water millions of times. I imagined the windows glittering with light like they did on the commercials. The whole car seemed to be spotless, as if recently vacuumed out.
I glanced over to my right and noticed for the first time that the car held one more occupant. It was a boy who seemed to be about my age, maybe a little older. His hair was the same raven black as the silver-eyed women’s except it was straight and cropped short around his ears. His skin was a slightly darker color than mine, a great contrast to the silver-eyed lady’s milky white complexion. I had a sudden sense of déjà vu as I looked at this boy. Where had I seen him before?
The car shifted slightly and two car doors slammed, one after the other, and Darren and the lady got in.
“So.” Said Darren, inserting the keys in the ignition slot and turning it. The car began to thrum and roar to life. “What’s your name?”
I figured he was speaking to me but I didn’t want to answer. “Talia O’Connel of Sandar City, Hoenn.” I mumbled, my words barely audible.
“Pardon?” He asked, as the car pulled out onto the highway.
I stared down as my feet, which had suddenly become very interesting. “Talia O’Connel.” I repeated, this time more loudly and clearly. I had decided not to tell them where I was from unless they asked. They might want to take me home then.
Why was I just letting complete strangers take me away like this? I should just open the door and begin screaming for help, which I knew I wouldn’t get.
“Nice to meet you Talia.” Darren answered. “I’m Darren Crawburn. Sorry for sneaking up on you like that but you really shouldn’t be sneaking around the highway.
“Were going to take you home.” The silver-eyed lady added, turning her beautiful face towards me, her startling silver eyes intent on mine. “I’m Julia Smith by the way.”
I just nodded dumbly and glared at the floor.
“Where do you live anyway?” Darren asked, blue eyes intent on the road before him. “We were heading to Rustboro City but we can take a detour to take you home.”
Rustboro City. I just couldn’t tell them where I lived because I did not want to go back there. Rustboro City. He had said that they were heading for Rustboro. “I live in Rustboro.” I lied, crossing my fingers behind my back, hoping desperately that they would believe me.
“Hey! What a coincidence! Since we’re going there we’ll just drop you off!” Darren grinned, looking at me through the review mirror. Great.
“Oh, the boy behind you is Drake, my cousin.” Julia added with a quick glance at the scowling boy next to me.
I froze. Drake. No. It couldn’t be. Not Drake Coller. There was no way. I turned to study the boy. He had the same black hair, the same black eyes and the same tannish skin. There was no mistaking it. This was Drake Coller. I knew this boy.
* * * *
“Hey Talia! Talia, I’m here!”
The 6-year-old me turned to acknowledge the black haired, black-eyed boy rapidly approaching me.
“Hi Drake!” I called happily, grinning widely at him. Drake Coller was new to my first grade class so I had invited him over to play. I though he was nice. We would play on the playground at school together at recess.
The day was chilly, even for late October, and I was dressed in my bright pink jacket and blue jeans (the jeans weren’t bright pink but you get the picture). Drake was wearing a black one. He had told me numerous times that black was his “most favoitest color in the whole world”. I didn’t understand this because I didn’t like black. It was just plain ugly to me.
“Watch’ya wanna do?” Drake asked me as I began to bound excitedly towards the house, skipping light heartedly up the flat drive, scattered with brightly colored fall leaves.
“Mom’s gonna take us too the playground today if we’re good!” I told him excitedly. When I was six, the playground was my absolute favorite place to go.
“Yeah!” Drake cried! “The playground!”
By now we had reached the front door to my house. I yanked it open and entered the brightly lit interior. It was much warmer inside than out side so we quickly shed our warm coats and shoes and ran in our stockinged feet into the warm kitchen. We were immediately greeted by the warm, delicious smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.
Drake took a large sniff. “Cookies!” He cried, grinning widely. We seemed to be doing a lot of grinning that day.
I glanced over at the counter next to the oven where my mom always puts the cookies out to cool. There they were, just sitting out there in the open for anyone to take. My mom always let me had a cookie right after she baked them when they were still warm and the chocolate just melted right in your mouth… Yum! I trotted across the kitchen and plucked one of the cookies off the metal cookie sheet. They were crisp and golden brown and wonderfully warm to the touch. I found my mouth beginning to water as I stared at the cookie.
“Come on Drake.” I said, turning to the boy who was still standing at the other end of the kitchen, his brows creased and his mouth turned down in a frown. “Have one!”
He crossed the kitchen and stared at them for a moment. “Well, I’m not…”
“Drake! They’re good!” I told him, biting into my cookie and letting the sweet taste of chocolate and cookie fill my mouth. “Here.” I held one out for him.
“I…well… I guess… I… um… dunno…” he stammered, a frown creasing his usually happy face. He was having trouble spitting his words out.
“They’re good.” I said temptingly, waving the cookie in front of his worried face.
“Well, okay.” He said reluctantly, taking the cookie. He stared at it for a few seconds; acting like it would jump out and bite him at any minute. Finally he steeled himself and bit in. A grin spread across his face as he chewed.
“They are good!” Drake cried, smiling at me.
“Yup. I told you you’d like them.”
* * * *
Learning to Heal the Hurt
Chapter 5: Memories
I stared out the window of the car, my eyes constantly moving as they took in the scenery that flew past. It had only been maybe ten minutes since I’d been picked up from the side of the road but already I was restless and fidgety. I knew these people weren’t kidnapping me. They were just taking me “home”. I still think that just picking a random girl up off the highway is a little outgoing, but I wasn’t complaining anymore. It was actually pretty good. I was on my way to Rustboro and much faster than my own two feet would’ve carried me, especially with my only partially healed leg aching away like there was no tomorrow.
I had barely been noticing the passing scenery or what was going on with the other three occupants of the car, as I had been lost deep in my own memories. The car was whizzing down the highway, passing forest (on the left) and vast fields of wild grasses or a farmer’s summer crop (on the right). The sky was still a shining crystal blue but menacing, dark clouds were starting to appear on the far eastern (at least I thought it was the eastern) horizon, a promising sign of rain. The clouds looked black enough to be storm clouds so I hoped we’d reach Rustboro before the storm reached us.
In the driver and passenger seats Darren, who was driving, eyes firmly riveted to the road, and Julia, who rode in the passenger seat, were talking animatedly about something. I didn’t pay much attention to it because they seemed to be having a conversation about car batteries and that totally did not interest me. Drake… was just sitting, glaring at his feet, and placing his eyes anywhere but my side of the car. I knew why though. I thought he might not recognize me but, as I now realized, he had heard my name so he knew who I was. He still seemed to be mad about… that.
I don’t know what came over me then but I had this sudden erg to apologize to him. Even if it had been seven years and all I probably still owed him at least an apology.
“Um… Drake?” I said timidly, my voice barely audible above Darren and Julia’s animated chatter. They were still talking about car batteries. I still don’t get how anyone could get so excited over car batteries. I hardly knew what a car battery was!
Drake’s dark head jerked around to fix his black eyes on me. “Shut up.” He growled, menacingly, his dark eyes flashing murder and hate. Man. It took a lot of anger to hold a grudge for seven years, especially because it had happened when we were only six.
I sighed. His words were awakening that fierce anger that was hidden away deep inside me. I struggled to keep it at bay. This would absolutely not be a good time to get angry.
“Why?” I asked sharply, sitting up straighter and glaring into his face. I could unleash at least a tiny bit of my anger. Couldn’t I?
“You know perfectly well why!” He snapped loudly, startling Darren and Julia into silence.
I turned away to glare out the window. If he was going to act like that then I would too. But I did know perfectly well what he was talking about.
* * * *
“Come on Drake!” I called over to my friend who was still busy getting out of the car. My mom had finally decided that we had had enough playing time at home and had then bundled both of us, Drake and I, into the car, making sure we wore the appropriate gear for the chilly day. Now, Drake and I were both covered from head to toe with winter gear: hats, mittens, coats, boots (she had decided that snow pants were a little too much for October so she left those out) etc. “Lets go play on the swings!”
The swings were just about my “most favoritest” things out of all the playground equipment. I just loved to have my mother push me, higher and higher until I almost felt like I was flying. Sometimes I would reach my hand up to see if I could touch the sky. It just seemed close enough to touch!
The wind was beginning to pick up by now, sending the freshly fallen autumn leaves scattering about, sometimes forming mini leaf cyclones which never ceased to amaze my 6-year-old mind.
“Alright.” Drake answered my question, disentangling himself from the car and trotting up to me. He sorta looked a little pale but being six at the time I took no notice of this and just continued on.
“Do you like to swing too?” I asked as we began to trot over the soft, crunchy woodchips spread out all over the surface of the playground, creating a safer place for children to land if they fell. We ran towards the swings.
Drake nodded wordlessly. By now we had reached the swings where a few other younger kids swung, giggling happily as their parents or older siblings pushed the swing back and forth, sending the rider higher and higher into the gray sky. I smiled happily and sat myself down on the black rubber strip that served as a seat and gripped the metal chains tightly in anticipation. Like I said before, I loved to swing.
“Come on Drake! Get on!” I called to my friend who still stood by the edge of the woodchips staring blankly at nothing and looking a little green.
“I don’t feel very good.” He groaned, clutching his stomach with both hands.
“You’ll get over it.” I said, sighing. I did not have any compassion for others, a trait that definitely didn’t come from my mother who was forever helping people out.
“Hey Mom!” I called to the women who sat over on a tan wooden bench that stood at the edge of the playground, shaded by a large ancient maple tree, reading a book. The women, my mother, turned her head. I looked a lot like my mom, and by a lot I mean a lot. I had mentioned to my mom once that I felt like a photocopy because I looked just like her, only younger. My mom had laughed at this idea and said that she was pretty sure I wasn’t a photocopy and that sometimes I had the strangest ideas. Me? Strange ideas?
“Kin you push me an’ Drake! Please!” I called. It wasn’t really a question it was an order. Six year olds are like that.
“Sure, Talia. Just a minute.” My mom called back. “Just let me finish my page.” My mom was a bookworm. She would spend all day reading in bed if she could but, of course, I wouldn’t let her. I liked reading to a certain extent but mostly I liked to be out doors, playing sports, or running around, or climbing a tree. I was an active kind of kid.
“I really don’t feel good.” Drake’s whine came from my left. I glanced over at him. He was leaning on the swing, looking quite pathetic, his eyes half closed and his usually dark face utterly pale under his tan. He didn’t look too good. “My stomach hurts, an’ my head hurts, an’ my leg hurts, an’ my arm hurts…” He went on for sometime until I was about ready to tell him to be quiet in a mean, six-year-old way.
“Drake!” My mom’s sharp voice broke the tension and Drake’s endless complaints. “You look terrible! Are you hurt?” I felt like shouting, “Hurt? Of course he’s hurt! You should have heard him carrying on about what hurt!” but I didn’t because I knew I would get in trouble if I did.
Drake nodded somberly, laying his head down on the swing seat right after he was done, as if it were too much of an effort to do that one tiny movement. I just stared at him.
I was the kind of person who didn’t believe someone was sick until they actually threw up. But he did sorta look a little pale and his eyes were closed as if he were exhausted…
“Come on Drake. Let me help you.” My mom said tenderly, moving around to Drake and helping him up. “Were going to get you home, alright?”
“But mom!” I whined pitifully, “I want to swing and play on the playground! Why do we have to leave?”
“Talia.” My moms voice was stern and commanding as she turned to fix her gaze on me, “Drake is sick and we need to get him home right now.”
“But…” I whined, my mouth turning down in a pout.
“Talia.” My mom said warningly. I shut up.
“Mrs. O’Connel, my head hurts and my leg hurts and my stomach hurts and my ankle hurts and my arms hurt and my…” I sighed and sulkily slid off the swing seat.
Drake made a gagging noise. I turned quickly to face him. He stood, doubled over, his face twisted in pain, and wretched. He wretched and gagged as my mom stood next to him, gripping his hand tightly. Then, Drake threw up, right there in the middle of the playground.
I stared at the revolting vomit that stained the ground. Okay, so maybe he was a little sick. So much for the cookies, I thought.
* * * *
The sloshing sound of water in a bottle jolted me out of my memories. I turned my blue eyes up to glance around for the sound. Drake was still being his old, ornery self, just glaring pitifully at nothing. I turned away from him. He was just acting like a big jerk! It was seven years ago for goodness sake!
We were still cruising our way along the highway, passing the same old scenery and occasionally a car or two. It wasn’t that interesting after you’d looked at it for a while.
Water. I had heard the angelic sound of water. All of a sudden I became much more conscious of my aching, dry throat. I turned to stare up at the front of the car. Sure enough, Julia had brought out a bottle of clear, beautiful water, and was swishing it around in a whirl pooling motion.
I licked my parched, cracked lips unconsciously and stared at the bottle, almost loosing myself in its whirling, tempting, delicious wetness… I was so thirsty! I needed water! Now. Come to think of it the last time I’d tasted the sweet, refreshing liquid was yesterday morning. If only I could just get that water I’d…
“I think someone’s thirsty.” Darren’s remark broke my concentrated train of thought. I turned my light blue eyes sharply towards the sandy haired young man at the wheel. His sea blue eyes were on my reflection in the rear view mirror. How did he know? He noticed too much.
Julia’s curly black head turned in my direction. She smiled at Darren. I felt her strange silver gaze come to rest on me as her mouth twitched up in a slight smile. “Why, I believe so.”
“You thirsty, Talia?” Darren asked, eyes still on my distorted reflection in the mirror.
“Yes!” I burst out, a little to quickly. Just give me water for goodness sake! Was all my liquid deprived mind could think.
“Here. You can have some if you want.” Julia said, handing the full water battle back towards me. My grubby hand, which I was now very self-conscious of in this all too clean car, shot out immediately and snatched it out of Julia’s white hand.
I barely remembered to mumble a short “Thanks” before the bottle was at my lips and the cool, sweet liquid was caressing down my dry, parched throat, quenching my great thirst. It was beautiful; the crystal clear life-giving water as it wet my lips and mouth, giving me a whole renewed strength. My only problem now was that I was hungry. I turned back to the window, gripping the precious water bottle protectively in my hands and stared out. The only thing I could do now was ignore my growing hunger as my thoughts drifted back to Drake.
* * * *
I didn’t see or hear of Drake Coller at all in the net following week after his visit to my house. He didn’t appear at school either for the next week, which I found particularly strange. I had to go back to playing with Reenie and Deri at recess instead of Drake like I had since I’d met him. For a first grader this was not major. Heck, I played with different kids all the time! What I thought was strange was that Drake didn’t show up at school, not even one note or message from his parents. It wasn’t until about a week after that day at the playground that I heard from Drake.
I was lounging around in the basement of my house, obsessed with the early Saturday morning cartoons. It was about half way through “Looney Tunes” (right at the part where Bugs bunny was giving Elmer Fudd the slip time and time again like he did in every episode) when I found my stomach growling and realized I hadn’t eaten any breakfast yet. I jumped up from the large, comfy sofa that inhabited the majority of the basement, leaving the TV on, raced up the basement steps and rushed into the kitchen, hoping to catch my mom free so she could make me eggs or something.
My mom was leaning on the island counter in the middle of the large, spacious kitchen with the phone pressed firmly to her ear. Her face held a strange grim expression; opposite to the happy, go-lucky grin she usually wore. I knew immediately that something was wrong.
“Mom?” I called to her, my face taking up a worried look.
“Talia, shhh! I’m on the phone!” My mom whispered to me, pulling the mouthpiece away from her face and immediately placing it back once she had finished speaking. I shut up.
“Oh, that’s terrible!” My mom exclaimed to the phone. “No…I’m pretty sure he didn’t…No…I have no idea how he could’ve…I’m very sorry to hear that… Yes…Yes…Of course…I’ll tell her right away…Thank you for calling Ann…I will…Okay. Goodbye.” My mom gravely placed the receiver down and hung up, then turned her blue eyes to me.
I stared at her. Something was wrong. Terribly wrong, and it had to do with that ominous phone call.
“Talia?” My mom asked, sighing heavily.
“Do you remember when Drake came over and how he got sick and had to go home early?” She asked seriously.
I nodded. Something had happened to Drake. Had he died?
“Well, apparently his allergies started acting up so that’s what made him sick.”
I nodded again.
“Well, he was just taken to the emergency room at the hospital yesterday because he went unconscious. He was in a critical condition for a few hours and the doctors were afraid he might not live. But he woke up so now he’s all right.”
I let out a relieved breath. At least he was okay. But allergies? What kind of allergy could cause a reaction like that?
“Apparently Drake is very allergic to…” my mom began to play with the phone cord. “…Chocolate.”
My heart almost stopped. Chocolate. It couldn’t be. Drake had eaten a chocolate chip cookie while at my house. I had made him eat it even though it had been apparent that he didn’t want too. I had almost killed Drake. I couldn’t deny it. It was my fault. I had almost killed Drake. My fault…
I turned and fled the room.
* * * *
“Looks like we’ve reached the ocean!” Darren’s cry broke through my thoughts, startling me back to reality.
I refocused my eyes on the passing land rushing steadily by the car window as we plowed firmly on. The scenery had definitely changed since I’d last taken a good look at it. Like Darren had said there was the sea. The water extended for miles upon mines from the shore, dark blue-green water receding into the lighter blue of the cloudless sky. The beautiful crystal waves crashed against the sandy shore, etching the ocean white sand with intricate patterns. The brilliant orange sun shone brightly down on the water, sunlight reflecting in beautiful colors off the water.
“We’ll soon be in Rustboro,” Julia said, eyes, like mine, on the ocean too.
I nodded. That was good. I would soon reach Rustboro and would figure out what I wanted to do. Then I realized it. I had absolutely no idea where I was going. No idea at all. I had just passed days in the wilderness with no apparent idea where I was going, with only the thought of sweet revenge to fill my mind and push me on.
And where should I go? I couldn’t just travel everywhere in Hoenn trying for my revenge. It wasn’t practical. I needed to find the most effective place to carry out my revenge. Once it was done I would be satisfied, maybe not with the idea of Pokemon still living, but I would be satisfied. I just couldn’t kill every single Pokemon there was. There were simply too many of them. But, I could of to Laveridge town and the cave where my mother had been poisoned… That was it. I would travel to Laveridge and get my revenge on the Pokemon of the cave. That was my plan. It was perfect…
* * * *
Drake still didn’t appear at school for a week after the phone call and it wasn’t until the following Monday that I actually saw Drake. It was a cool, sunny day with many clouds dotting the blue sky, it was warm though a harsh wind buffeted the city, stripping leaves off their branches and blowing them around crazily. I was playing in my front yard, having quite a hard time raking the leaves into a neat pile before the wind would pick them up off the ground and blow them away again. It annoyed the heck out of me but I kept diligently at it, determined to jump in a large pile of leaves by the end of the day.
I had just finished raking a small amount of leaves into a pile when I spotted a small, lone figure coming up the sidewalk. The figure was covered in head to toe with black winter gear, as if trying to shut out the harsh wind that harrowed everything. It only took me moments to figure out that the figure was a boy, a young boy, about my age. The only perceivable thing on him was his dark nose and his unbelievably black eyes. There was only one person I knew with pure black eyes. Drake Coller.
When I realized who this boy must be I began to get excited. I hadn’t seen Drake in almost two weeks! I wanted to ask him a billion questions, how he was feeling, why he was allergic to chocolate, how come he had never told me, what kind of food did the hospital feed him, etc. I immediately dropped my rake to the ground, it landed with a clatter as it struck the cold pavement of the driveway, and rushed to the end of the drive towards the sidewalk. My mom didn’t allow me to leave the yard without an adult present. I stood there and stared eagerly down the walkway towards Drake who was rapidly approaching me.
“Hey Drake!” I called to him once the boy was in range. “How ya doing?”
Drake lowered his head when he saw who was speaking to him, staring intently at the ground as if it had suddenly become very interesting. “Good.” He answered shortly, keeping his head lowered so all I could see was the black hood he wore on his head. “We’re moving.”
“Moving?” I asked, taken aback. “But you just moved here!” The truth was, I didn’t want Drake to move. He was my friend after all!
“Yup, moving.” He answered startling me with the coldness of his words, still not looking me in the eye. That was strange. “To Pacifidlog town.”
“Pacifidlog? Where’s that.” This was confusing. Why on earth would Drake move? He had just gotten here!
“The complete other side of Hoenn.”
“Why?” Why was he moving to the other side of Hoenn?
“Because there is no chocolate there!” He burst out, raising his dark head and glaring angrily at me. His black eyes blazed an intense fire. “You almost killed me!”
“I almost killed you?” I mumbled, my muddled brain barely able to take in this new information. I almost killed him? How? Then I remembered. The chocolate chip cookie. He remembered that. He knew why he got sick. And he blamed me. Now he was mad at me. But I thought he was my friend?
“Yes!” He screamed. “You almost killed me, stupid, with that cookie!” Then he turned and fled, away from me and back down the sidewalk the way he’d come.
At six, being called stupid was a major insult. “I didn’t know you were allergic to chocolate, stupid!” I yelled at his retreating form. He didn’t even turn and acknowledge my remark. He just ran.
That was the last time I ever saw Drake, or heard for him for that matter. But now, finally, seven years later, I met him by pure accident. It’s a small world is all I can say. A small world.
* * * *
Learning to Heal the Hurt
Chapter 6: Battle to Power
We were still driving, still moving, unstopping, down the Sandar-Rustboro Highway towards Rustboro City, one of the three largest cities in all Hoenn. The two other large cities were Lilycove City (a costal city) and Slateport City (a large shipping port). I had never been out of Sandar in my entire life excepting last summer when Mom and I traveled to far away Pallet Town, Kanto for my grandmother’s funeral. Pallet town is quite a small town, far smaller than Sandar. I had never been to a larger city than Sandar either so I was excited as well as a little nervous about being on my own in such a large city.
I would have to sleep out in the streets if I couldn’t find any place to stay. I had never done that before. The city streets, I had learned all my life, were dangerous, just like in Sandar, with thugs, thieves and gangs roaming at free will. If I became really desperate, the Pokemon Center offered free lodging for anyone who cared to stay (but that was only if I was really, really, really desperate).
“Talia?” Darren’s light voice broke through my thoughts. Damn him. I grunted. I did not want them asking questions. “May I ask you a question?” Damn, no. I shrugged, hiding my inside thoughts.
“Is that a yes or a no?” I grunted again. Let him figure it out for himself. “I’ll take that as a yes.” I shrugged again. “What were you doing on the side of the highway so far from Rustboro? Why would you leave you’re home? Rustboro’s a good city.”
“I was traveling,” I answered, eyes glued to the window. It wasn’t exactly a lie. More of a half-truth.
“Why?” Why, why why. What did it matter?
“I felt like it.” Why couldn’t I think of good answers! My mouth kept saying the first thing that came to my mind no matter the consequences! Stupid mouth.
“Rustboro’s a good place.” Darren repeated. He was stuck on that.
“Uh…I was…” I began, only to be interrupted, surprisingly, by Drake’s cold voice.
“She doesn’t live in Rustboro.”
I whipped my head quickly around, forehead thumping painfully against the unbelievably hard glass of the car window as I did. I glared icily at Drake, who was sitting as calm as could be, staring neutrally out the window, only his blazing eyes betraying any kind of emotion at all.
“I do live in Rustboro!” I hissed fiercely to him as a silent stab of fear drifted into my heart. I had forgotten that Drake knew where I lived. I had to make something believable up fast.
“No,” He replied calmly, “You live in Sandar.”
“Not anymore!” I shot back, beginning to feel the hot rage bubbling up inside me.
“You know as well as I do that your mom hates to move. She told me once.” Drake wore a smug expression on his face now, sending darts of rage coursing through my body so I had to struggle very hard not to pop. I glared daggers at his dark form. He wasn’t even looking at me!
Darren and Julia exchanged worried glances. “You two know each other?” Julia asked uncertainly.
“Yes.” Drake and I answered in perfect unison, quickly turning to glare at each other as we did. Drake’s black, black eyes glared murder and hate, seeming to bore right into me.
“Drake? Why do you say Talia lives in Sandar?” Darren asked seriously.
I glanced out the window, dreading the answer Drake would give them. I needed a good explanation, fast. I glanced at the sky and grimaced. The purple-black cloud was flying closer and closer towards us with every passing second. Small flashes of lightning bolts could be spotted, hurtling down from the heavens, striking and destroying anything in their deadly path. Amidst all this a steady, heavy rain was pouring itself out from the clouds. I shuddered. I hated thunderstorms. They were one of the very few things that terrified me.
“She does.” Drake answered Darren’s question simply. Good. A non-convincing answer.
“Idiot.” I murmured under my breath. The louder, “I lived in Sandar until last year, dolt.” I was making this right up on the spot.
“You’re mom doesn’t like to move,” Drake pointed out coldly, his voice like ice as his eyes displayed a burning fire of anger. And the most annoying thing was, he was correct.
“She died.” I said as calmly as I could, trying to keep from bursting out that Pokemon had done the deed and shut my mothers life off forever.
“Oh, Talia! I’m so sorry…” Julia started, her face softening.
“Last year.” Okay, so maybe this was a slight bluff but I needed it. “So I moved in with my Aunt who lives in Rustboro.” The story was good so far and they seemed to believe it.
At this news Drake fell silent. He seemed to believe my story too and was completely silenced by it. Good. That would shut him up for the remainder (I hoped) of the trip.
We sat in silence for another few minutes, Darren futilely trying to strike up a conversation a few times. The only one who ever answered him was Julia, but even then it was only a short answer with nothing to say once it was done.
Then, I had a sudden urge to apologize to Drake. Even if it wasn’t my fault exactly for almost killing him I still felt I owed him an apology for forcing him onto the cookie when I saw that he plainly didn’t want it.
“Drake… I…” I began timidly. Apologizing was not something I did often. I didn’t like it. For me it was a complete humiliation.
“Shut up!” He snapped gruffly, his black eyes glaring murderously in my direction.
“Why do you hold that against me?” I cried, my curiosity overtaking my sensibility. And he was acting like a complete jerk. Idiot as he was he still shouldn’t hold a grudge for seven years! A year or two I could understand but seven years? Drake must have not found something else to place a grudge against in his “wonderful, chocolate free” Pacifidlog town. He was just plain stupid. But, then again, was I being stupid? For holding this grudge against Pokemon? No! Of course not! My predicament was an entirely different matter!
“I…” He stammered uncertainly, black eyes flicking to the carpeted and inhumanly clean floor for the car. So. He had no real reason for hating me. Weak. All of a sudden he came back to his usual boldness, almost deafening me with his roar, “Because you almost killed me, dimwit!”
“Heck! I didn’t mean to!” I shot back, just as fiercely, “I was only six!”
“That’s still no excuse!” He roared, his face becoming flushed in rage. The veins in his neck were standing out as he clenched his teeth angrily. He was mad.
“Woah! Guys! Calm down!” Darren tried to sooth us. It was a futile attempt. Drake was too mad. I was on the very brink of my pit of rage, ready to dive in head first with one more nudge.
“That was a friggin’ seven years ago!” I shouted at him. I was shaking with anger, ready to smash him to pulp at any moment. The only thing that held me back was the very fine barrier of rationality that always seemed to be there, and the car seat belt.
“You still almost killed me!” He screamed, clenching his fists and straining against the seatbelt, which seemed to be holding him at bay, like me. His face was almost completely red, so red I thought he might pass out from lack of oxygen.
“You’re…you’re just acting like a little kid!” I shouted. He glared at me. I glared back. We were getting nowhere, fast.
“And you’re just saying that to make me mad!” Drake spat, his black eyes flashing furiously.
That was a remark that gave me the advantage. “Correct.” I smirked, grinning maliciously right into his ugly face. I folded my arms, taking on an air of superiority.
He just glared fiercer and gnashed his teeth at me like a wild animal. He had almost become one with the way he was acting.
Drake’s face twisted into a terrible knot of rage, his knuckles whitening as he clenched them in a tight fist. He was definitely mad. But so was I. I felt like I was being washed in a hot shower of my fearsome rage. My rage was against absolutely everything; Pokemon, though slightly dulled to my surprise, backed up by, well, everything, not just Drake. He just happened to be the unfortunate person I let it out on.
He got really quiet all of a sudden and just glared at me, his black eyes boring hatred at mine. I glared back, defiantly staring into his eyes, daring him to do something about our quarrel. Then, without warning, he lunged for me, his clawing arms extended. His eyes were filled with a mad rage, his mouth parted in an ugly snarl. I stared dumbly at his clawing arms. Whatever I had expected, this was not it. I raised my arms for self-defense, almost a little too late. His swiftly moving arms clashed with mine. I had never had to block a punch before and I must tell you, its painful; my arms almost went numb from the fierce contact.
Drake grabbed hold of me and started twisting my arms around. A piercing wave of pain shot through my abused limbs, startling a sharp cry out of my lips. I twisted around, desperately trying to wriggle out of his murdering grip and make him let go without endangering my arms anymore.
“Drake!” Julia yelled, aghast, her face a picture of disbelief. “Drake! Talia! Stop this right now!” She shouted.
I hardly heard her as I twisted in Drake’s powerful grip. Fighting was hard, harder than I had first thought it would be. Especially because I was strapped down to the seat. I lunged about, dodging this blow and that, managing to throw a punch in from time to time. Drake’s attack was fast and fierce. His rage towards me and his greater strength began to give him the upper hand and I began to be pushed down, more and more of his blows actually cracking against my unprotected flesh. I winced every time the pain erupted along my body as his blows landed faster and faster. I felt like one aching load of bruises.
Finally I shifted my knee, jamming it sharply up and hit him squarely in the stomach, forcing the breath out of his lungs. It came out with a whoosh, showering me directly in the face with his foul breath. He wasn’t the only one gagging for breath now. I recovered quickly, a stab of fear striking my heart. If Drake hadn’t been coughing and wheezing at the same time I was I would be dead, or, at least very hurt. Drake went on gasping for breath and loosened his grip.
I took this moment of distraction to pull my arm free and grab him around the head, locking him in a tight headlock. I yanked his head down under my arm and held it there. Drake started flailing wildly, swinging his arms this way and that. I held him firm. The muscles of my arms began to hurt; all that lactic acid building up inside them, as they stood tensed against Drake’s wild struggling.
All of a sudden Drake’s flailing arm caught me full in the face. My cheek burned, pain erupting along my jaw, startling a sharp cry from me. Slaps did hurt. A lot. I unthinkingly put a hand to my face, releasing Drake as I did so. Drake twisted skillfully away from me. Then he bunched his hand into a fist and let it fly. I didn’t see it coming so it hit me, straight in the face.
Pain exploded around my nose and mouth, strange sparks of color blossoming in front of my dazed eyes, blurring my vision. I began to panic. I was hurt, dazed, wounded, what ever you wanted to call it, and defenseless against Drake’s next attack. I had to gain control of myself or else I’d end up even more seriously wounded than I already was. Finally my vision cleared, only by the pure rage that was coursing through my veins. He had hurt me and he would pay.
It was then that I noticed the affect of that bruising punch. My nose was spilling a warm, stickly liquid out all over my face and onto Drake. My clothes were also getting blood on them. I pulled back and quickly wiped the excess blood from my face but it just kept coming and coming.
“Drake! Talia! I’m going to have to pull over to the side of the road if you don’t stop now!” Darren barked at us.
Neither of us listened. I couldn’t stop now, not without hurting Drake in return for what he had done to me! Drake pulled his fist back for another blow. This time I saw it coming and twisted out of the way. His fist scraped my back. I gritted my teeth and flung my body back towards the seat with all my strength, slamming Drake’s arm back into the semi-soft cushion. He hollered in pain and so did I. His arm was biting into my backbone, sending waves of aching pain through my back. I flung myself forwards again and twisted around fast, grabbing Drake’s arms and twisting them around each other. He was getting the same treatment he’d given me earlier.
He yelled at me, dark eyes blazing. My blue eyes glared back at him, filled with the same, anger, hate, and determination. His mouth was twisted in an angry scowl. Then he brought his mouth down on my arm, biting me hard. I cried out and twisted away from him, dropping his arms in a desperate attempt to ease the pain where his teeth had sunk into my flesh. Then, I had an idea, something that just hadn’t occurred to me before.
I reached my hand down, searching for the seatbelt buckle. My groping fingers made contact with the cold metal. Leaning forward I quickly pushed the buckle down, releasing the seat belt. At the same moment Drake shoved his knee up, smashing into my bloody face. I reeled back, my jaw exploding into pain. As I did so the seatbelt snapped up, whacking Drake full in the jaw with a gruesome crack.
I landed face down in the other seat and before I had anytime to recover, Drake launched himself at me despite his pain and the rapidly growing lump on his chin. I saw him coming at me, his eyes filled with an uncontrollable rage. He had undone his seatbelt too. My brain froze. All of a sudden rage like a wild fire built up in me, a rage so strong that I had to let it out on someone. I flipped myself over at lightning speed and raised my arms in the air. I locked my elbows, bracing myself for the great impact of his body weight when it came, crashing down on my limbs. I had to protect myself!
He came down, his ripping weight smashing into my upturned hands. I winced sharply at the pain that shot through them. I hadn’t expected that pain so I wasn’t ready for it at all. My arms felt as if they would loose hold of him any minute, collapsing and bringing Drake down on me any second. His weight was heavy but I couldn’t let him win.
Then I heard something crack. And that crack was the last thing I wanted to hear in the world. That crack sent me into a world of agonized pain and pure terror. My right arm buckled, landing Drake on top of me with a loud thud! I screamed, one piercing scream. Then I became silent from the pure pain that coursed through my veins, threatening to send me into a rolling darkness. My brain was a jumble of thoughts as I lay there on the seat, nothing entering my whirling mind. My arm was in a position that was unnatural for any human arm. My head was whirling and Drake was on top of me, pinning me to the seat.
Then, suddenly, I felt better. I felt well enough to jump up and run around. My head cleared and I could see clearly. Some pure, soothing warmth that ran through my veins chased out all those small aches and pains in my body. The pain in my broken arm (I was pretty sure it was broken) chased from my thoughts, as it became a dull ache, with the power that flowed through me.
Then came the joy. The pure, unexplainable joy that I was part of the greatest power in the universe. A steady rhythm was beating in my very soul, synchronizing with something I had once known in a far off time. But was it really that far off? Had I been here days? Months? Weeks? Years, even?
I felt elated, full of energy. My arm still seemed to be broken but I was energized, full to bursting with a great power that wasn’t my own. And I had the wonderful sensation that I was floating on air.
I inched my swollen eyes open a crack. So maybe my vision hadn’t cleared. All I could see before me was a great red mist. But that mist was soothing and comforting, and it was the same beautiful red as the Fire Red stone. It was the source of my joy, of the power I felt.
I began trembling, some unknown emotion taking hold of my body. This power! It was so great! And it was mine. It was all mine. I realized in that one moment, that if I wanted to I had the power to destroy. Anything. Tears sprung to my eyes. The power that was commanding me was so great, so powerful, it was so hard to hold!
All of a sudden, I began to hear things through my joy and power filled state. Words. Voices. Voices speaking. The red mist began to clear and the power filled emotion began to slip away.
Then I was back in reality again. At least I thought I was. A blinding red light filled the car, blocking my vision totally with its brilliance. The pain I had felt before was still there but duller now. I heard voices.
“Crap! Crap crap crap crap!” That was Darren. “Crap!” He screamed again. “I can’t see the road!”
“What is this? What’s this red light?” Julia was shrieking, adding to the rising din in the small car.
Drake was just screaming. Screaming uncomprehendingly. He sounded like he was in pain. I grinned. That was the red powers doing.
“What is this?” Julia shrieked again. I knew.
“Crap! Damn! Crap!” Darren again. “Brace yourselves guys! We’re going off the road!”
I lay still, breathing deeply and grinning. We were going off the road. Who cared? We were going to die. Who cared? My arm was broken. Who cared? Drake was screaming. Who cared?
My train of though went on and on and on like this. I didn’t care about anything. Nothing. Just the great presence I had felt flowing through my veins only a few minutes previous, the power that I knew came from the Fire Red stone. I was filled with it. It was in me to stay. I was its keeper until the day when the fire monster would come again and reclaim its power through me.
Wait! Where had that come from? I just seemed to know that without anyone telling me so. But the thought itself was scary.
All of a sudden the car jerked, throwing me roughly into the middle seat, my broken arm jerking along with me. Pain erupted in my arm, but not the great pain it would have been had I been alone, without the power. But still it hurt and a sharp cry erupted from my lips.
The car jerked again and I could see. The red light cleared away, sending all the pain back into my body that had been dulled considerably to the point where I could bear it. Now it was back with twice the force. I began screaming. Searing pain shot down my right arm, all the scrapes and bruises I had obtained during the fight with Drake, which now seemed to have happened days ago, began to scream in pure agonizing pain. My whole body shrieked out in agony.
The car jerked a third time but didn’t right itself again. I briefly heard Darren shouting, Julia screaming, and Drake had gone completely silent. He had passed out from pain. The front end of the car was positioned at a downward slant and I didn’t have a seat belt on.
Then my head was jerked savagely down as the small car hurtled off the road and into the ditch at the side of the highway. I didn’t have my seat belt on. All of a sudden I felt my body being hurled forward towards the dashboard. I was powerless to stop myself. Then everything seemed to turn into slow motion, as if I were somebody else, watching myself fly to my doom. I saw myself fly forward at a sickening pace. I saw the dashboard come closer and closer, the black knobs and buttons all blurring before my dazed eyes. Then, I heard more than felt my head cracking sickeningly against the dashboard. Then pain. My mind whirled and buzzed; a roaring headache was threatening to split my head in two. My mind began to shutdown. I was hurled, headlong, into a deep pit of whirling darkness.
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