Re: Ghost Road Blues
When she reached the Jolteon, Sorin lifted ‘er scythes, which was still crossed, ‘bove ‘er head. Then she jerked ‘em down ‘n’ ‘part. A glitterin’ trail o’ light was left in the wake o’ ‘er scythes, leavin’ a ghostly X in the air as ‘er bladed arms smashed into the Jolteon’s face. The canine yowled in pain, squeezin’ its black eyes shut ‘n’ rapidly backin’ ‘way from the source o’ its hurt. It moved too quickly, however, ‘n’ tripped itself up. The Pokemon fell to the ground with a pathetic whimper.
“Damn it!” the Pokemon’s human raged. “You idiot weakling, worthless lump of garbage! Get up and fight, curse you!”
“Hey, don’t talk to your Pokemon like that!” Keichi angrily hollered, ‘n’ I felt angry as well. The Jolteon wasn’t weak at all, not from what I’d seen! Even Sorin seemed upset, hissin’ at the man aggressively. The human ignored ‘em both, though, whirlin’ on ‘is friends.
“You idiots, stop standing around like this is just some afternoon battle! Send out your other Pokemon!” he snapped at ‘em, ‘n’ within seconds several other Pokemon had materialized onto the battlefield. I gaped as I looked at ‘em, unable to believe that these dishonorable humans was gonna pit an entire mob on a single weakened Pokemon. Most o’ ‘em was Pokemon I’d never seen, like a massive blue Pokemon what looked like a large serpent. It had a giant, gapin’ maw full o’ sharp fangs; it looked like it could swallow a person whole. There was one that looked like a three-tailed bull with a tawny coat ‘n’ wicked horns growin’ from its small skull. There were a few I could name, ‘cause their kind lived in the forest: That five-foot-tall, emerald-scaled lizard with the large tail was a Sceptile. They was known to be vicious things, usin’ the sharp leaves growin’ from they wrists to slash at prey.
I counted the number o’ Pokemon ‘n’ came up with eleven. They all bristled with hostility ‘n’ they Auras was filled with corruption. They glared menacin’ly at Sorin ‘n’ Keichi, both o’ whom looked dumbfounded by this sudden development. Then Sorin hissed loudly, soundin’ more like an angry Seviper than anythin’ else. ‘Er rage infected Keichi, whose face darkened in a fierce glower.
“You cowards!” he yelled fiercely. Sorin nodded sharply in agreement. “You can’t fight us fairly?”
“Screw fairness!” one o’ the other humans mocked. “Kill them all, except for the Riolu!” he ordered the mass o’ Pokemon, who gave deafenin’ cries as they surged forward. Keichi was reachin’ into a hole in the cloth-hide coverin’ ‘is lower body, but everyone was shocked when Mama Kamada suddenly reared to ‘er feet ‘n’ let out a savage roar. ‘Er flame mane flared out several feet, becomin’ solid black as she glared hatefully at the group o’ Pokemon bearin’ down on Sorin.
“You took my babies!” she howled, grief ‘n’ fury in ‘er voice. She must have finally noticed the corpses o’ the Quilava. “You killed my babies! You heartless bastards killed my babies!” ‘Er sorrow ‘n’ wrath was so forceful that all the chargin’ Pokemon halted. Seemin’ly mindless o’ the fact that she was severely outnumbered, Mama Kamada threw ‘erself at the group, bellowin’ ‘n’ cryin’ harshly.
“No!” Keichi yelped, as did Sorin. I was surprised to hear ‘er speak; she hadn’t spoken fer so long I’d assumed she was mute. Mama Kamada completely disregarded ‘em both as she spewed out a huge, black Flamethrower. I’d never seen ‘er mane or ‘er fire attacks go black a’fore, ‘n’ though I didn’t know what it meant, I know it were nothin’ good. The Flamethrower caught several o’ the Pokemon, but the ones that weren’t hit by the attack came back to they senses. With loud cries promisin’ violence, they descended upon the injured she-Typhlosion. She was lost beneath a wall o’ churnin’ bodies, but ‘bove all the din I could hear ‘er screams as she was set on.
“Mama!” I cried piteously, strugglin’ to my paws. My side was still numb, but I could just feel the first returnin’ fingers o’ feelin’. A faint tingle raced down my side, tellin’ me it wouldn’t be too long a’fore the numbness faded. I didn’t care ‘bout that, though. I only cared ‘bout helpin’ Mama Kamada…
Another scream, this one long ‘n’ wet. It was punctuated by a sort o’ throaty gurgle a’fore abruptly endin’. Instinctively I knew what that sudden silence meant, but I couldn’t bring myself to believe it. It had to have been one o’ the human’s Pokemon. I couldn’t see through the press o’ large bodies, so I could almost make myself sure that it had been one o’ ‘em that had just died. But even as I tried denyin’ it, a sinister voice in my head was whisperin’ that the scream had been Mama Kamada’s voice, raised in agony durin’ the last seconds o’ ‘er life.
“Mama!” I cried ‘gain, staggerin’ towards the crowd o’ Pokemon. One o’ ‘em must have heard me ‘cause it shifted its bulk to turn ‘n’ face me. It was the huge blue serpent, ‘n’ as it moved back I got a clear view o’ a mangled body lyin’ twisted on the ground. I froze, seein’ the lovely yellow-cream fur stained with thick crimson blood. Mama Kamada was on ‘er back, ‘er limbs flung at impossible angles, ‘er head twisted so much that ‘er face was pressed into the ground. Broken neck, some part o’ me said, ‘n’ ‘er belly torn open.
I screamed, so horrified by the sight o’ Mama Kamada’s broken corpse that I ain’t feel the li’l ball smack me in the side. I a’came ‘ware o’ a strange tinglin’ sensation as my vision suddenly went red. Then there was a sensation o’ bein’ sucked towards some powerful force, ‘n’ that were the last thing I knew a’fore I fell in to a dead faint.
“Knockin’ on Death’s door
Ain’t payin’ no friendly visit
I’m here ‘cause Death called
‘N’ told me it were time to come.”
-Jerma, “Ghost Road Blues”
After that night, I was sure that I really was cursed. How else was it that Kamada ‘n’ ‘er kits would end up dead? It seemed I were a plague ‘o misfortune not only fer my Tribe, but fer any who tried to take me in.
I’d been captured by Keichi in the chaos that Kamada’s death sparked. After snaggin’ me he’d fled from the scene, ridin’ ‘way on the back o’ ‘is Dragonite. Once we’d gotten far enough from that awful location, he’d let me back outta the Ball he’d caught me in. I were still out cold, though, havin’ passed out from exhaustion ‘n’ terror. When I finally came ‘round, ya can understand that I was mighty upset.
In the days that followed, I found myself growin’ distant. I ain’t mean to make Keichi or ‘is other Pokemon feel bad, but I just couldn’t bring myself to make an effort to bond with ‘em. After gettin’ so close to Kamada ‘n’ ‘er young ‘n’ then losin’ ‘em, I realized I couldn’t stand the thought o’ goin’ through that sorta pain ‘gain.
Then somethin’ happened ‘bout a week later that took care o’ that problem. It were in the middle o’ the night ‘n’ we was all gettin’ ready to bed down fer the night. We was campin’ outside o’ the Eterna Forest; we was gonna trek through the lush area the next day. But as we was settlin’ down, there came several loud bangs. I instantly recognized the sounds ‘n’ felt myself get struck dumb with paralyzin’ fear.
Chaos erupted as the five poachers quickly rushed forward ‘n’ surrounded us. They weren’t aimin’ at none of us, just shootin’ they guns -as I’d learned those sticks was called- to scare us. Keichi started givin’ orders, but a shot a’tween ‘is feet made him fall quiet.
The poachers, as ya can imagine, was real pissed with Keichi fer catchin’ me ‘n’ then runnin’ off with me. They knocked ‘im ‘round a bit, stabbin’ at us with those guns when me ‘n’ the rest o’ Keichi’s Pokemon tried to help. Then one o’ ‘em said he was gonna take all of us from Keichi, as payment fer the kid’s interference at the mountain. Keichi weren’t havin’ none o’ it, though, ‘n’ launched ‘imself at the man.
What happened next put into motion the last part o’ my story. The big human got angry at Keichi fer refusin’ to give us over ‘n’ lifted ‘is gun. I could sense the tense fury in the man’s Aura ‘n’ knew immediately that this next shot o’ ‘is weren’t gonna be a simple warnin’. He intended to hurt my Trainer, ‘n’ even though I hadn’t bonded well with the young human, he were still my friend ‘n’ the one what saved me a week ago.
I didn’t think, I just acted. Howlin’, I leapt into the air a’tween the man ‘n’ Keichi. I only meant to startle ‘im a li’l, make ‘im ferget ‘bout shootin’ Keichi. ‘Stead, the man whipped ‘is gun ‘round to aim at me, ‘n’ with a snarl he snapped that I weren’t worth the effort no more. The next thing I knew, the gun went off ‘n’ a heavy impact threw me to the ground. There was blazin’ agony in my chest that were so thick I couldn’t breathe -though actually I couldn’t breathe ‘cause the gun’s bullet had shredded one o’ my lungs ‘n’ I were drownin’ in my own blood-. I heard horrified screams, then angry shrieks. By the time more gunfire sounded out, my senses had stopped workin’ ‘n’ everythin’ seemed to fade into dark silence.
When my last breath left my body, I were nothin’ more than a heap o’ numb, coolin’ flesh. Contrary to what ya might think, I didn’t spring right back into existence as a ghost. The process o’ my spirit detachin’ from my body took some time, ‘bout an hour or so. When I did “come to”, nothin’ could have prepared me fer how things was gonna be.
“Down, down, down I go
Down that lonely ol’ road…”
-Jerma, “Ghost Road Blues”
My eyes snapped open ‘n’ I stared up into the night sky. High ‘bove me, hundreds o’ bright white stars twinkled down at me. The moon was the barest sliver of crescent silver, hangin’ up there in the heavens.
‘A nightmare,’ I thought as I instantly remembered ‘bout the poachers ‘n’ bein’ shot. After all, how would those terrible humans have managed to find us? It was silly, ridiculous even, ‘n’ I gave a silent sigh o’ relief. Then I sat up, ‘cause I suddenly had the urge to just move fer some reason. ‘Cept, I didn’t sit up, really. Nope, when I tried to move, I found myself shootin’ up in the air. It was like I’d been fired from the cannons o’ a Blastoise!
I yelped in shock ’n’ fear as I flew up into the sky, flailin’ my arms ‘n’ legs ‘round crazily. After several seconds I stopped ascendin’ ‘n’ eventually flipped myself over from all my strugglin’. When I spotted my body lyin’ ‘bout thirty feet a’neath me, my thrashin’ stopped instantly. Now I simply gaped down at the motionless black form sprawled on the ground.
“I must still be dreamin’,” I said out loud, shakin’ my head slowly. “I gotta still be sleepin’…ain’t no way this can be happenin’…”
“But it is happening,” said Tobias, who suddenly peeled ‘imself from the shadow o’ a tree near my body. The Spiritomb glanced up at me with a curious expression, somethin’ a’tween sadness ‘n’ amusement. “My friend, you’re deceased.”
“No way…” I mumbled, still shakin’ my head from side to side with a slow, insistent rhythm. “This is one hella bad dream.”
“Unfortunately, this is the waking world. It also happens to be the living world, which you are no longer technically part of. I suppose you must have a purpose, some important task you never got to accomplish while alive. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here.”
“What…?” I started, but at that moment I knew Tobias were tellin’ the truth. I was dead, floatin’ thirty feet ‘bove my corpse like I was some sort o’ Ghost Pokemon like my Spiritomb friend. Well, I guess in a way I was a ghost Pokemon. With the acceptance o’ that truth came a rush o’ pure fear ‘n’ uncertainty. “Oh sweet Lord, I’m dead! I’m freakin’ dead! I’m…I’m a damned ghost!” My voice was pitched high, but I didn’t notice. I was too busy havin’ my nervous breakdown. “That’s my body down there ‘n’ I ain’t in it no more! What’s goin’ on? Why am I like this? Why’s this happenin’ to me?!”
“I did just say you must have an important task you never got the chance to carry out while you were still alive,” Tobias answered in a good-natured voice. “A being doesn’t become a ghost if they don’t have that so-called “unfinished business” to attend to.”
“Exactly. You have a purpose you need to discover. There’s a reason you’re anchored to this world, and until you realize and fulfill it, you’ll remain in the plane of the living until the spiritual energy keeping you, ah, around…is exhausted. Then you’ll simply cease to be. It doesn’t sound at all like a pleasant way to go.”
“I thought people weren’t supposed to be able to see ghosts?” I asked, a slightly insane laugh bubblin’ from me. “How come ya can see me?”
“I am a Ghost, albeit in a different manner than you are. I’m a different species of specter, you could say, but still a member of the ghostly race. That’s why I can see you.”
“Where’s Keichi ‘n’ the others?” Not that it mattered, but suddenly I was burnin’ with the desire to know where they was, ‘cause they weren’t with us.
“After you were shot, Keichi flew into a rage and ordered us to attack. We were rather upset that you’d been hurt, so we were eager to exact retribution on the poachers. I daresay we might have killed one or two of them. After the tussle, Keichi had Nidia tie them to a tree using her silk.” Nidia was Keichi’s Ariados, which were a maroon-colored spider with four yellow-‘n’-purple banded legs ‘n’ a white spike on ‘er head. She looked menacin’ with ‘er huge, venomous white fangs ‘n’ the fact that she was ‘bout three ‘n’ a half feet tall, but she was actually quite sweet. “Then he took their PokeBalls and had Mocho carry him to Eterna City. He’s going to alert the authorities and try to get help for you, though I’m sad to say he’s going to be returning too late. It’s been about an hour now; I assume he’ll be getting back shortly.” Mocho was Keichi’s Dragonite, which were a seven-foot tall Dragon with pale orange scales ‘n’ ridiculously small wings -a Dragonite’s wingspan was only 'bout three or so feet-..Mocho, like all ‘is kind, was a real fast flier, despite ‘is tiny wings. It was no wonder Keichi had ridden him to Eterna City.
“So…what do I do now?”
“I suppose you should get going. I don’t know how much time you have before your spiritual energy runs dry, and trust me when I say you don’t want to find out by loitering around.” Tobias floated up until he was level with me, smiling gently. “I should warn you that you might not be struck with the full implications of your death until later, after you’ve had time to adjust. Dying isn’t exactly something you get over in a few minutes.”
“D’ya think I got time to…” I didn’t finish my sentence, wavin’ at my body as I swallowed. It were harder to say it than I thought it would be. “To, uh…see myself off?”
“I have no personal experience in this matter, but I’ve heard experiencing one’s own funeral is not the most relaxing thing for the mind. Are you sure you want to see how Keichi and the others will react?”
“Ya can tell ‘em good-bye fer me a’fore I go, at least,” I persisted, suddenly feelin’ desperate ‘n’ rather heavy-hearted.
“Keichi is a good Trainer, but he cannot understand my words or those of the others,” Tobias reminded me gently. “His grief will not be eased as ours will.”
“I can’t just leave,” I mumbled. “Even iffin he can’t hear me or understand ya, at least I can make sure I get a chance to say bye to ‘im.” I looked ‘way from Tobias, down at the husk that used to be me. I couldn’t quite understand the urge to hang ‘round ‘til I had a chance to bid Keichi ‘n’ the others farewell, or to at least watch as someone else did it fer me. I couldn’t just turn my back ‘n’ leave it like this.
“Yes. You need the closure,” Tobias remarked softly. I nodded, seein’ as that was the point exactly. I just hadn’t known how to put it. All I knew was I had to wait ‘til I saw my other friends one last time. Anyways, I was dead; what could be more upsettin’ than that?
We loafed around as we waited fer Keichi ‘n’ the others to return. I went into the forest ‘n’ found the poachers, surprised to find that I weren’t angry at ‘em fer my bein’ dead. Ya’d think I’d be furious ‘n’ wanna make ‘em suffer like I knew I sooner or later would, but I felt nothin’ more than pity. These humans had been driven by greed to do horrible things, ‘n’ one day they’d have to answer fer all the cruelty they’d loosed on the world. They deserved what they got, fer sure, but I couldn’t help but wonder why they couldn’t have been strong enough to rise ‘bove they greed ‘n’ be good people. I couldn’t help but feel sorry fer ‘em, ‘cause they lives could have been so much better.
Last edited by Dog of Hellsing; 06-03-2009 at 08:55 PM.