Re: Ghost Road Blues
Then I heard a ruckus comin’ from the distance. I left the forest ‘n’ floated over to join Tobias ‘bout a foot from my body, though I went a bit further than I intended a’fore comin’ to a stop. It would take time, gettin’ used to this new way o’ travelin’. I inched my way back ‘til I was next to the other Pokemon, starin’ at a large group that was rapidly approachin’ from the east. The group was comin’ through the grassy field at such a fast pace everyone must have been runnin’. Then a figure pulled ‘way from the others ‘n’ I saw it were Keichi, quickly followed by Kidia. Mocho ‘n’ Sorin I spotted a second later, ‘since they was flyin’ ‘bove the group ‘n’ I didn’t look up at first.
Seein’ my Trainer ‘n’ teammates made me feel sad ‘n’ nervous. Now that they was comin’, I was startin’ to wish I’d done as Tobias had said ‘n’ just left. But I knew the Spiritomb ‘n’ my own urges was right; I needed to do this. I needed to find closure. It was hard, though, watchin’ my friends rushin’ over ‘n’ knowin’ all they’d tried to do fer me was fer nothin’.
I hovered back so I was on the other side o’ my body as the large group finally arrived. Several men ‘n’ women wearin’ dark blue cloth-hide outfits ‘n’ matchin’ hats marched right into the forest, clearly to take the poachers into custody. The rest o’ the people crowded ‘round my body, shooin’ Keichi ‘n’ ‘is Pokemon outta the way. Tobias gave me a look a’fore floatin’ over to rejoin ‘em as I watched the white-clad humans kneelin’ ‘round my body. They was wearin’ hats too, white ones with red crosses on ‘em. I knew these people were assistants from the Pokemon Center in Eterna City, since they was wearin’ assistant outfits I’d see people at other Pokemon Centers wearin’. They looked at my body fer a moment, then one o’ ‘em pulled a glove from somewhere ‘n’ put it on. The man then gently prodded at my body, which didn’t yield like a live body does. ‘Stead, it stiffly shifted ‘round where it was layin’. The four people exchanged sad glances, shakin’ they heads slowly as the man pulled ‘is glove off. The group stood up while Keichi watched with scared eyes. Mocho ‘n’ the others didn’t look worried, though, but extremely upset. They were mutterin’ a’tween theyselves, ‘n’ it were clear that Tobias had told ‘em ‘bout my death. They crowded closer to Keichi when the guy who’d poked me walked over.
“I’m sorry, but your Riolu has expired,” he said, ‘is voice thick with emotion.
“Expired? He’s not milk or something!” Keichi snarled. Then the anger drained from ‘im as quick as it came. ‘Is eyes suddenly a’came very wet ‘n’ shiny as he said faintly, “He’s dead…?”
“I’m sorry,” the man said ‘gain, not holdin’ Keichi’s outburst ‘gainst ‘im. “He’s been deceased for a while. There was no way to get to him in time.”
“I should have brought him with me…” Keichi said, ‘is voice crackin’ horribly. “But I was so angry and scared that I didn’t think about it…” I felt my heart break at the sight o’ ‘is sorrow ‘n’ guilt. Sorin ‘n’ the others was sobbin’ by now, pressin’ ‘gainst Keichi ‘n’ each other as they sought comfort. I realized it were one thing to grieve with someone ‘n’ ‘nother thing entirely when they was grievin’ fer ya. When ya was sad with someone, ya could comfort each other. But when ya was the dead one, there were nothin’ ya could do but watch yer loved ones suffer outta yer reach. It was horrible.
“Moving him would have only caused more damage. You did the right thing by leaving him while you went for help,” the man was sayin’ now. Nobody paid no attention when the police came outta the forest, towin’ the handcuffed poachers. None o’ ‘em looked the slightest bit remorseful as they passed us by. “Sir, would you prefer if we bury him…?”
“No…no, we’ll do it. He was our friend,” Keichi answered, ‘is voice breakin’. I felt so miserable as I watched ‘im ‘n’ the others move over to my body. “In the forest…would it be okay…?”
“Sure,” the man said gently. Keichi bent down ‘n’ very carefully lifted my body into ‘is arms, not seemin’ to care that it were stiff ‘n’ cold. My head awkwardly thumped ‘gainst ‘is chest as he cradled my corpse, ‘n’ then he started to cry. I found myself wantin’ to bawl, but I were dead ‘n’ didn’t have tear ducts no longer. I whined mournfully ‘stead, my already-broken heart shatterin’ even further as Keichi softly stroked the fur a’tween my ears.
“He came from a forest,” the young human choked through ‘is tears. “I’m sure he’d be glad to go back.” He then turned ‘way from the Pokemon Center people, who looked at one ‘nother with more sad expressions. Then they watched Keichi carry my body into the forest. I could tell they was gonna wait fer ‘im, ‘n’ I found their concern ‘n’ compassion touchin’.
I floated ‘long after Keichi ‘n’ my former teammates, all o’ whom was talkin’ ‘bout how sad my death was. Even though I’d only been with ‘em all fer ‘bout a week, they mourned me like they’d known me fer years. I moved a bit faster to catch up with Tobias. He looked over at me ‘n’ smiled, lookin’ quite sad now ‘imself.
“I’ve told them you stayed around long enough to say good-bye,” he said in a soft voice. “I haven’t actually given them such a message, though. I thought it would be best to wait until you’d told me to do so.”
“Thanks,” I replied. It was weird, to be here with ‘em all yet to not really be with ‘em at all. It also felt strange ‘n’ unsettlin’, to have Sorin or Mocho look right at me ‘n’ not be able to see me. “I guess I’ll do it after I’m in the ground.” Tobias nodded with a heavy sigh a’fore turnin’ ‘way. Silence fell as we went several yards into the forest. When we reached a soft, loamy spot next to a fallen tree, Keichi knelt down ‘n’ gently put my body down, then started to dig at the soil with ‘is hands. Sorin helped by scoopin’ dirt on to ‘er scythes ‘n’ pilin’ it ‘way from the hole they was diggin’. Mocho sat down ‘n’ added ‘is claws to the task; Kidia used ‘er fangs to clear ‘way more dirt; Tobias, with no limbs or anythin’, could only act as the sentinel who stood watch.
I floated to the dead tree ‘n’ settled myself over it, since I couldn’t actually sit on stuff no more. Kinda hard to sit when ya ain’t got a body. I watched the others as I whimpered, my heart heavy. It only took a few moments fer the group to get a nice-sized hole dug, thanks to their combined efforts, ‘n’ then it was in to the ground with me. Keichi put my carcass in the grave with such caution that I felt like the body was some priceless, fragile artifact. I was moved deep, never knowin’ just how much the young human had cherished me. It was clear now, with the gentle way he was handling my body. Not that it would have mattered iffin he just kinda tossed me down: I was dead, after all. Ya weren’t gonna hear me complain. But ‘is respect was unexpected, ‘n’ it struck me that I would have been real happy with ‘im iffin I hadn’t died. Mama Kamada had told me that captured Pokemon get used to bein’ a human’s, but I knew that weren’t the truth. Some humans was bad, fer sure, ‘n’ they Pokemon was probably miserable. But in that moment, I knew that most Pokemon truly loved bein’ with they Trainers ‘n’ teammates. Pokemon who was owned by humans wasn’t slaves, but friends, loved ones who was valued as much as other humans. The proof was right there a’fore me, cryin’ fer my lost life as he started coverin’ my body with dirt.
Once I was buried, Keichi ‘n’ the others huddled together on my grave ‘n’ mourned. I wanted so badly to tell ‘em not to be sad, that everythin’ was gonna be fine ‘n’ that they should be get out there ’n’ live they lives. After all, iffin I could die so suddenly, anyone could. Ya really never did know when the day yer goin’ through would be yer last. I wanted ‘em to know that they shouldn’t grieve, ‘cause they needed all they time to live life to the very fullest. There weren’t no time fer cryin’.
It was time to move on, fer all o’ us.
I felt a strange calm settle over me, burnin’ ‘way my sadness. I rose from where I’d been floatin’ ‘n’ moved over to the others, driven by a sense of urgency. I knew I had to get goin’, but there was somethin’ to do here, first. When I reached Keichi, I reached out ‘n’ put a paw on ‘is chest, ‘n’ with all my focus I willed ‘im to see me, even iffin just fer a second. I felt a rush as somethin’ kinda flowed outta me, most likely some o’ that spiritual energy Tobias had mentioned. I dropped my paw when Keichi gasped, lookin’ up to see ‘im starin’ at me with wide eyes. I smiled peacefully ‘n’ nodded my head, then glanced ‘round. I was surprised to see the shock on the faces o’ my teammates, not havin’ realized I’d made myself visible to all o’ ‘em.
“Good-bye,” I said. Sorin ‘n’ the others teared up as they gave watery smiles, ‘n’ I waved at them each in turn a’fore facin’ Keichi ‘gain. Some part o’ me knew that even though he couldn’t understand my words, he still knew what I was sayin’. “Good-bye.”
“Good-bye…” the young human whispered, tears slidin’ down ‘is cheeks as he lifted a shakin’ hand. I reached out ‘n’ placed my paw ‘gainst it, though there was no pressure or sensation or anythin’. ‘Round me I heard the others repeatin’ Keichi’s farewell, ‘n’ I smiled once ‘gain as I floated up into the air. Then, without hesitatin’ any longer, I shot off into the night.
I flew ‘long fer a while, not really knowin’ where I was goin’. All I knew was that I was followin’ some sorta instinct, headin’ towards a destination I weren’t yet ‘ware of. I still felt a little sad after witnessin’ the raw pain o’ my friends, but I knew that I’d put they minds at rest ‘n’ that they would move on, stronger ‘cause of this night. They’d remember me ‘n’ I’d remember ‘em, ‘n’ in that way we could all heal ‘n’ face the future.
I stopped flyin’ to watch the sunrise. It was beautiful up here, as I’d flown up ‘bove the clouds at some point durin’ the night. As the sun rose, the clouds was lit up from a’neath. They glowed with brilliant amber light all ‘round me, while the sky turned a marvelous shade of deep purple. This slowly brightened until mornin’ fully chased ‘way the darkness o’ night.
It might surprise ya to learn that ghosts don’t sense nothin’ other than sight ‘n’ sound. Up here ‘mong the fluffy clouds, I couldn’t feel no breezes or the warmth o’ the sun. I couldn’t smell the crisp fresh air that comes with mornin’, ‘n’ when I opened my mouth to breathe in, I ain’t taste nothin’. Then ‘gain, when yer dead ya ain’t got no lungs to breathe with, so in a way it makes sense that ya wouldn’t be able to smell ‘n’ therefore taste. I don’t have no idea why ghosts can see ‘n’ hear when we ain’t go no brain to process the information…never mind. Bein’ a ghost in general don’t really make much sense, let ‘lone the individual mechanics!
After the sunrise, I realized I was bein’ dragged by some unknown current ‘way from where I was. I shrugged ‘n’ let myself go, followin’ the tug that had settled into me. I figured nothin’ bad could really happen to me now, what with my bein’ dead ‘n’ all. What harm were there in followin’ this strange force? It’s not like I could get killed ‘gain. Then I remembered Tobias’ words ‘bout how ghosts can just sorta fade outta existence ‘n’ felt a jolt o’ uncertainty. Maybe I weren’t as invulnerable as I’d first thought…
I halted in surprise ‘n’ looked ‘round fer the source o’ the voice. When I didn’t see nobody, I found myself starin’ right at the sun. No harm in it now, since I weren’t livin’. I don’t know why I felt compelled to look at that fiery orb so many millions of miles ‘way, but I instantly felt soothed as I peered up at it. Whatever had just spoken meant no harm, somethin’ told me. When I thought ‘bout it, it a’came clear that the voice had been sayin’ it were safe to follow the strange pull. With a final blink, I turned my face from the sun ‘n’ tore ‘cross the sky.
I went ‘n’ went, not needin’ to rest since I weren’t a physical bein no longer. I weren’t restricted by a body that needed to replenish its energy or rest from the strain o’ overworked muscles. The energy I had didn’t burn as quickly as the energy that powers a livin’ creature, ‘n’ it didn’t burn in the same way neither. It faded over time or with a tremendous effort, like makin’ myself visible to livin’ things. Otherwise, no simple tasks like flyin’ drained it any faster than just sittin’ in one place.
When the mountain rose a’fore me, I felt a thrill jump through my essence. It wasn’t a physical sensation, neither. It’s difficult to explain, really. Anyways, I knew right ‘way that this was home. The forest where my Tribe lived stretched ‘cross the mountainside ‘bout halfway up, a giant green scar on the gray-brown stone of the massive arm of rock. I felt uneasy as I came on the mountain, knowin’ that I was comin’ in over the spot where the battle with the poachers had happened. I had no idea what had a’come o’ Mama Kamada ‘n’ ‘er kits’ bodies, ‘n’ I honestly didn’t want to find out. I wasn’t ‘fraid of seein’ more dead bodies, since I myself was dead. When ya’ve seen yer own corpse, others don’t seem as much o’ a shock. However, there’s a difference a’tween a plain ol’ dead body ‘n’ one that’s been well on the path to decayin’. I didn’t want to see the grisly sight o’ four rottin’ carcasses. Not ‘cause o’ fear, but simple disgust. I’d once seen a monkey that had been smack-dab in the middle o' returnin’ to the dirt, ‘n’ it had been a hella nasty sight.
I flew higher ‘n’ refused to look down as I came to the mountain. Even iffin I did glance earthward I doubt I would have seen anythin’ ‘cause o’ how high up I was, but I weren’t takin’ chances. ‘Stead, I focused on the green wall that was the forest. I was bein’ drawn to it ‘n’ wondered exactly why this odd force was bringin’ me home. Did it have somethin’ to do with my purpose?
I entered the forest ‘bout twenty minutes later, not botherin’ to slow down fer the trees as I weaved ‘round ‘em. Not like it would hurt iffin I hit one from flyin’ so quick. My eyes instantly adjusted to the dim light ‘n’ all ‘round me, the familiar sounds o’ the forest presided. The screeches ‘n’ bellows ‘n’ calls from the monkeys ‘n’ birds that lived in the canopy, the whirrin’ ‘n’ buzzes ‘n’ chirps o’ hundreds o’ different insects. In the distance a jaguar roared, ‘n’ squirrels in tress chattered loudly as they leapt from branch to branch. The familiarity of it settled over me like a comfy blanket o’ warm moss.
Then I heard somethin’ else, somethin’ more sinister than even the huntin’ roar of a hungry forest cat. It was the sound of vicious battle, ‘n’ I heard it clearly from a long distance ‘way ‘cause the normal forest sounds was silenced long a’fore I reached the site. I realized with a sense o’ dread that I was comin’ to the deep forest, where the trees grow so close together they trunks almost touch. This was where my Tribe lived; somethin’ big was obviously going on, ‘n’ my family was in the middle o’ it!
I sped up, not botherin’ to dodge trees no more. I passed right through ‘em, as well as through several frightened animals seekin’ refuge in the trunks. Thanks to how fast I was goin’, it was only a few seconds a’fore I reached the battle. One second I was rippin’ through trees, the next I was starin’ down at what looked like total war. Dozens o’ forest Pokemon was facin’ off with members o’ my Tribe, though upon closer look it seemed like the attackers wasn’t tryin’ to hurt no one. Their blows were soft, like they was disciplinin’ my Tribe ‘stead o’ actually fightin’ ‘em.
“What’s goin’ on…?” I asked dazedly, watchin’ the strange scene a’neath me. Near a thick, scruffy green clump o’ undergrowth I spotted a Nincada ‘n’ a Buneary teamin’ up ‘gainst an older Tribemember, who I recognized as Dimo. The Nincada curled its li’l pale gray body into a ball ‘n’ rolled ‘way from a Mach Punch aimed at its head while the Buneary threw its small, furry one-foot-tall body at the larger Lucario it were fightin’. The rabbit’s upper body was covered in rich chestnut-colored fur, while its lower body -everythin’ below its waist- was a lovely cream hue. Cream tufts of fur tipped its long ears, which it slammed into Dimo’s chest. The appendages struck so hard the Lucario was sent staggerin’ back a few paces, lookin’ surprised by the strength o’ the Pound attack. When the Buneary landed a second later it vanished with a blur o’ brown ‘n’ cream, reappearin’ less than a second later as it bowled into the jackal. It were the fastest Quick Attack I’d ever seen!
“Why are you doing this?” Dimo snarled at the li’l Buneary, who gave a grim smile as the Nincada, havin’ been ignored fer the past few seconds, used its thick, gray-brown front legs to hurl a glob of gritty black-brown mud at Dimo’s head. The mud splattered ‘gainst the side o’ the big jackal’s head, makin’ ‘im bark loudly. The Tribemember whirled ‘round ‘n’ spotted the small cicada that had tossed the mud at ‘im, ‘is lips lifin’ in a growl. He moved forward stiffly, lookin’ like he was gettin’ ready a Bone Rush move. As he approached the Nincada, though, the small insect fluttered its small, lime-green wings ‘n’ narrowed its black eyes. A soft glow started to emanate from the bug’s forehead; a Mind Reader maneuver! The Nincada were readin’ Dimo’s brain to find out what he was gonna do. Just as the jackal dropped into a sudden crouch, the Nincada used its new knowledge to strike first. It scuttled forward quickly ‘n’ jumped on Dimo’s leg, reachin’ up to Scratch half-heartedly at the jackal’s cream-furred belly.
As the big Pokemon was distracted, the Buneary jumped back into action, literally. It leapt at its opponent ‘n’ cocked a leg back, then let loose a kick that was aimed at the Dimo’s head. The Jump Kick wasn’t too strong, though, since the attack didn’t seem to do much damage when it struck. The Buneary’s footpaw smacked the Lucario right a’tween the eyes; the blow simply made the Dimo shake ‘is head ‘n’ growl in irritation. He then lashed out ‘n’ knocked the Nincada on ‘is leg off with a Metal Claw attack. ‘Is thick, sharp black claws glowed with a bright metallic sheen as they struck the Nincada. Said Pokemon crashed to the ground with such force that a li’l pile o’ leaves flew up into the air. Then Dimo executed a sharp spin as one o’ ‘is legs snapped out; brilliant ginger flames exploded to life ‘round ‘is footpaw, which caught the Buneary in the temple ‘n’ sent the small rabbit flyin’. Its movement was halted by a tree a moment later ‘n’ the li’l Pokemon fell to the ground in a heap, lookin’ dazed from the collision.
At that moment I heard a Sceptile shout, “You’re outnumbered! Just accept it and back off!” At nearly the same time I heard a familiar voice howl, “Retreat! This is no good!” I whipped ‘round ‘n’ spotted Pa, glarin’ at the attackers as the Tribe rushed over to ‘im. Once they was all safely gathered ‘round ‘im, the jackal whirled ‘n’ ran off. I watched the Tribe flee, feelin’ a mix of relief ‘n’ worry. There were so few Tribemembers! I didn’t understand it, since I’d been sure the Tribe would flourish after I left ‘n’ took my cursed self ‘way. Iffin anythin’, the Tribe seemed worse off for my troubles. When I’d left, there’d been thirty-one members in the Tribe, most o’ ‘em Lucario. I hadn’t had time to count ‘em as they fled, but there’d only been ‘bout twelve or so Tribemembers just now, includin’ Pa. I hadn’t seen Momma or my li’l brother ‘mong ‘em, nor any Riolu. Maybe they’d already hidden deeper in the forest…?
Last edited by Dog of Hellsing; 06-03-2009 at 08:12 PM.