Re: The Trials of an Ex-Pokémon Fan
Chapter One - Awakening
Point of View: Farren
Now, the morning felt like your average morning. Until you wake up in a bed that wasn't yours to begin with, anyway. It all started out with me waking up. When I wake up, I don't open my eyes, or at least I don't remember doing so. I toss and turn, perhaps look at the time once in a while so I make sure I'm not late to school. I will yawn a few times, pull the covers even just a millimeter closer to keep as warm as possible, rub the sand out of my eyes and just think with my eyes closed. Think about anything, anyone, any event or just replay memories in my mind. These are the times that I feel the most content and relaxed. Eventually I rub my face, turn over onto my back, and open my eyes. I'm in someone else's room.
Never mind the fact that the alarm clock was virtually the same as the one I had, on a nightstand similar in proportions and wood as mine, and the fact that the room was almost exactly the same in dimensions and furniture placement. But there were a few minute details - no, a few major details - that made me quite certain that this was not my room. Instead of my armoire being humongous practically immovable, ancient and wooden, it was smaller, chic and decorated with Poké Balls. Wait, what? Poké Balls? What was going on here?
Instead of my Kingdom Hearts and House, M.D. posters, there were posters featuring Pokémon I had never seen before. Instead being decorated with various different stones and minerals from around the world, it was covered in an array of Pokémon paraphernalia. My room was a Pokémon fan's dream come true. But not mine. Instead, this was an extremely outlandish nightmare that terrified me. This had to be a joke. The dresser was even covered with a ridiculous amount of Poké Dolls. I'm seventeen years old; I haven't owned a Poké Doll in almost a decade! Slowly, I got up out of bed to look around. The pale pink carpets were extremely soft; so soft that your feet would sink to the floor with every step.
And then I looked up to the mirror resting on top of the dresser, and almost screamed.
I was looking back at the reflection of another person. I could not see my own reflection. This was so incredibly weird and disorienting. A paradox. How can I look into the mirror and see someone other than me? This boy I was looking at had no facial hair, unlike me. Every other day I could wake up to five o' clock shadow, and it has been three days since I last shaved. This guy had poofy Dragonball Z like hair, which was impossible, since I preferred buzz cuts or at least a hairstyle that was drastically less that this one. And I do not recall ever wearing Pokémon-themed pajamas.
Suddenly, a feminine voice calls, "Farren! Hurry up and get out of bed! Genna already left! I thought you said last night that you wanted to beat your sister to Professor Juniper's! She called and said that Cheren's already there!"
What the hell?
"She just texted back and said that he picked Snivy! You still have a chance to get Oshawott! Your sister really wants Tepig!"
I didn't dare move. Not yet, not now, anyway. I couldn't make sense of anything right now. I don't have a sister. My name is Farren, but that's the only thing that sounds normal so far. Looking back to the mirror and then down at my body, I sighed. None of this sounded logical to any extent. What is an Oshawott? What is a Tepig, or Snivy? Pokémon? Are you serious? Surely that can't be...
Then there was a knock on he door.
My voice shook, but somehow I managed to speak. "Y-yes?"
The doorknob twisted. A woman a little taller than me and a little creature about two and a half feet in height appeared in a hallway on the opposite side of the threshold: her facial expression was at first extremely stern but it grew softer with each passing second.
"Aww, Farren! You're not getting cold feet are you? Everyone is anxious to go out on their Pokémon journey, but come on! You've got the chance to do extraordinary things, see extraordinary Pokémon! Don't let it go to waste!"
I looked at the creature as it entered the room, looking around and twirling gracefully, as if dancing. It was a blackish thing with a skinny black dress, its "hair" done up into two round pigtails, had a light purple face and blue eyes, and bows decorating its head and its dress. It seemed to sing and dance a little, saying "Gothorita" over and over again as if speaking.
The woman was captivated at this as she made the item she was carrying - a somewhat heavy-looking backpack with a Poké Ball design on it - more visible. "Aww. Gothorita is going to miss you so much. She's such a cute thing, isn't she? Now, just because you're a young man doesn't mean that you can't catch cute Pokémon, alright?"
Did I hear her correctly? Pokémon? This was a Pokémon? It had to have been some sort of extremely lifelike remote-control robot or something. Must have been! But it appeared to be just another carbon-based life form, just like me. This was beyond my comprehension. I really didn't know what to say. I couldn't say anything.
"Now, I prepared this for you," she said, stepping forward and handing me the bag as Gothorita danced out of the way. "It's got all of the amenities you'll possibly need. I even stuffed it with an extra 1,000 PokéDollars, but don't tell your sister! I know she has an extra two years on you, but that's an added two years of knowledge. She should be fine. But I even packed a few Berries, a few Potions... Honey what's wrong?"
This is when I noticed I was fidgeting a little bit and biting my nails as I usually did when I was nervous like this, or was trying really hard to space out, all to no avail. Suddenly stepping forward, she gently placed the back of her hand against my forehead, and then for some reason, her lips. I would have pulled back, but I didn't.
"Hmm," she mused puzzlingly, crossing her arms. "You don't have a fever. You're just standing there. Don't you want to be a Pokémon trainer, honey?" She was acting like she was my mom. In fact, for some odd reason, it felt like she was my mom. Even Gothorita tilted its head in confusion, mimicking my mom by crossing its flexible black stubby arms. This somehow reminded me of Ash Ketchum's mom and her Mr. Mime from that Pokémon show I used to watch every Saturday morning on Kids WB so long ago...
"I-I'm fine," I stuttered. "Really. I'll get dressed."
She looked at me with a raised eyebrow. "Alrighty then. I'll take your backpack downstairs. But if you don't want to be a Pokémon trainer this year, it's okay. You can wait, I suppose... but you have been begging me to go for several months. I had to pull all that time filling out that application for your Trainer's License. It's on the counter."
I nodded with a heavy sigh. "Thanks, Mom." It had hit just the right key, and she nodded back as she took my backpack and closed the door behind Gothorita as it followed her.
Now, what to do?
I did not know what to say, what to think, or how to feel. I started to ask myself all of the obvious questions: was this real, was this a dream? This couldn't just simply be a sick joke. I had to rule that out because of Gothorita. Her appearance totally took out the prank possibility. If it were a dream, however, I would be able to manipulate it at will, right? I learned in Advanced Placement Psychology last year that in lucid dreams - such as this one, if this was the case - I would be able to do whatever I want, in theory. Focusing as hard as I could, I closed my eyes and reimagined my surroundings. I did not want to think abut Pokémon, I wanted to be back in my old room, with my usual things. Anything by Pokémon. At this point, Dora the Explorer would be heaven in comparison.
I opened my eyes. No Swiper the Fox, no Yugi Moto, not even so much as the Geico Gecko. Nothing. I was in the same place, same time, same universe. I was stuck.
So, was this real?
Five minutes later, I had been scrounging through the drawers of the dresser covered with Poké Dolls. There was not much to it, as it just seemed like a small lightweight piece of furniture made out of particle board that I could easily move with a fraction of my strength. There weren't many clothes here, maybe enough for a week. Nonetheless, since it seemed rather warm, I found an interesting pair of black skinny jeans with a solid electric blue stripe going down the sides, as if from a Tron movie. I managed to find a shirt that so happened to be the same color blue and had a "Proctor, M.D." logo along its width. Two pairs of ankle socks and then a pair of high-top shoes that were also black and electric blue. Where did these clothes came from? Whoever picked them out had style. There was even - surprise, surprise - a zip-up lightweight jacket with the same color scheme only with a Poké Ball design and matching fingerless gloves.
My eyes met my reflection, and my temporary excitement came to a halt. This is not who I am. I do not know who this is, but it's not me. This is some eleven-year-old boy who's life I have taken over. I was going on nothing: no explanation, no proof, nothing. It just felt as if I were going with the flow. What other choice did I have, after all? Let's say this is your typical movie, or whatever. Main character switches bodies with some other guy, or takes the place of another guy, insert scenario here. What happens next? The main character just goes with it and moves on, hoping to figure things out. Well, it's not like I really have any other choice, but really, what next? I don't have to follow the same storyline, right? Surely there must be another way out of this mess.
I was running out of time. Let's rethink things. Okay, perhaps I need to think about this in terms of Pokémon. The games, the television show? Kid wakes up in the beginning, excited to be a Pokémon trainer for the first time ever. What next? He (or she) goes over to the regional professor, gets a starter Pokémon and a Poké Dex, and goes on an adventure, defeating a villainous criminal syndicate (or two villainous criminal syndicates, in respect to Generation III) along the way. That's how Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver, Crystal, Ruby and Sapphire worked, anyway. I don't know about FireRed, LeafGreen, Emerald or any of the other games that came afterward. That's when I quit Pokémon, which ironically makes all of this thinking that I don't have an option all the more illogical.
"Farren! Hurry up!"
"Almost done!" I called back. I sighed. Oh, one other thing I forgot, something I might regret not thinking about. A father? I had a father in the real world, but in the Pokémon games (again, discounting Generation III), the main character doesn't have a father. That would be a touchy subject I would have to avoid. Oh my God, so many things to think about. This made talking about anything a potential landmine. What to think, what to feel, what to say, what to do! What do I do? Every single action was a Hail Mary pass, every thing I said was a prayer hoping things would be alright. Remembering that my "mother" had taken my backpack, I knew I had nothing to gather. I looked around the room, exhaling heavily. Nothing left to do.
I walked out the door, and the rest of the house presented itself. It was very clean, very clear, starting with a hallway. As I walked through, I was surrounded in various collages of photos. I glanced briefly at all of them: pictures of a younger "me", a younger "mom". And a male figure, probably a younger "dad". Bingo. Oh wait, he's wearing a cowboy hat and is at least three times my size. Unbingo! I mean, there might've been some resemblance. I don't know. My eyes then come across a family portrait: "Mom", probably "Dad", "me" wearing "Dad's" cowboy hat, and a girl that looked a little older than me. Genna? This was my "sister"? The first thing I noticed was her extremely revealing short shorts that came up a couple inches further than halfway up her thigh and pockets that transcended the seams. Talk about a fashion disaster. Looking at some of the other pictures of her, she always was wearing a white and pink cap and kept her hair in a bumped-up version of a ponytail and two locks of hair coming down the sides of her face. She had extremely distinctive green eyes that seemed to pierce through the pictures as if she knew you were looking at her photo.
Snapping out of it, I decided not to dawdle any longer. Heading through the hallway, I led myself into a rather homey family room with a fireplace, modern, elegant furniture and a large widescreen television thinner than the width of my fingernail. The color scheme was rather monochromatic, most things in black, white or various shades of gray, with multiple accent colors. The family room led into the kitchen, where "Mom" had my things laid out. My backpack, which was fairly large, and a new black and electric blue hat with the tag still attached. It matched my jacket, Poké Ball design and all.
Appearing from behind, probably from the other room that was leading into the kitchen yet was mostly divided by a wall, "Mom" chimes, "Oh, I hope you love it. Now, as I said, all the necessities are packed. If you can, try and check into a Pokémon Center for the night and limit camping to an absolute minimum. I don't want you getting any kind of viruses or anything."
Camping? I hadn't anticipated that. Well, thank goodness I was a Boy Scout from kindergarten up until seventh grade. At least I have some kind of basic survival skill set.
"Mom, I'll be fine," I say, kind of embarrassed. I almost wanted to groan, as if I were actually leaving for some kind of summer camp. Only this was moreso long term. I wondered how leaving at the age of ten was really a valid option: what about rapists, or murders? Thieves? Was there any kind of worry here other than the possible Pokémon bug bites "Mom" was referring to? No such thing happened in the games or in the television show (partially due to already being heavily scrutinized by parents and for fear of a drop in ratings), but an argument from ignorance doesn't hold water.
As I grabbed my moderately heavy backpack with a little difficulty and removed the tag from the hat shortly before slipping it over my head, "Mom" held out a plastic card. I took and examined it. My Pokémon Trainer's license. Name, Farren. Gender, male. Age, eleven. Weight, height, all that stuff. Hometown, Nuvema Town. Home region, Unova.
"I also replaced your Cross-Transciever as a surprise," she continued, fishing something out a purse she had slung around her neck. "Same with Genna. I got you both the new éPhone 4S! Unlimited calling, unlimited texting, unlimited data!"
Oh you have got to be kidding me.
Before I knew it, something very similar to the iPhone 4S from my world appeared before me and was placed in my hand. Instead of an Apple symbol on the back, it had a Poké Ball, of course.
I tried to feign some appreciation so I didn't look totally dead. "Oh my gosh Mom! Thanks!" I tried to look happy, putting forth all of my acting skills despite drama never being my forte.
She giggled. "You're very welcome. Don't forget to call me once in a while. Once you get to Accumula Town, it's probably best you stop there for the night. Now, since you'll be a trainer, you don't have to cross the bridge going over Route 1 anymore. It'll be quicker, easier and much more fun if you go straight through. Maybe battle a few trainers, catch some Pokémon? But don't have too much fun now. Oh look at me! I'm rambling. I'm holding you back."
In an unnerving millisecond, she lost all control and pulled me in for a hug, pressing my head to her chest. She was squeezing me a little bit, which kind of mellowed me out a little. This woman was my mother. She acted like it, anyway. She was actually sobbing very hard all of a sudden, and I could hear an array of tears dive bombing, splashing on my hat and practically gagging her. In this embrace, I could feel a mother's warmth. Many things were complicated and mysterious, but the fact that she was indeed my mom was only just the former.
She released her grasp, placing her hands on my shoulders as she looked at me with reddened eyes, tearstained cheeks and a half-smile. "Go. I love you. Enjoy yourself!"
I nodded, stepping aside to grab my backpack, placing my Trainer's license in my back pocket. Looking at her one final time, I eventually found the front door, past the living room. With a brief moment's hesitation, I opened the door and stepped forward, despite all of the awkwardness, despite all of the mystery, despite being new to all of this.
My face was met with the brisk air of early spring, the green horizon of grassy plains and trees barely covered in green buds. Bird Pokémon were flying overhead, gathering little twigs to build nests, presumably after migrating north again in the wake of the season. It felt so fresh, so new. Intoxicated with new air, I had almost forgotten why I had stepped outside or the fact that absolutely none of this is making sense.
Now, where to Professor Juniper's laboratory? There I was, standing in front of my house, practically screwed. Ironically, nowhere to go. So, did the éPhone 4S come with Siri, the voice-recognition system that could take verbal commands? I pulled it out to try. I turned on the phone to preloaded software. On the touch screen was an array of apps. Holding the home button, I found that it wasn't called "Siri," instead it was called "Lapras Voice Control". Oh good, a first generation Pokémon I actually knew. That was convenient.
"Lapras, where is Professor Juniper's lab?"
A couple of clicks, and then a female voice saying, "Calculating location: displaying map of Nuvema Town."
Excellent, I thought. At least one thing was on my side. Words cannot explain how happy I am that smart phones exist in the Pokémon world. This'll keep me sane for now. It gave me a tangible reminder of my world. I really didn't know what to do, but the only thing I can do is move forward. I know I said I didn't like Pokémon anymore, but something was different now. Other than the fact that I'm actually experiencing it now... I don't know. Something was different.
And now, all I had to do was follow the directions. After all, there was one clear advantage of this world that mine didn't. I'm eleven again, there is no school, and therefore no college plans to deal with.
❒ SINGLE ❒ TAKEN ✔ LAPRAS RIDER
of Pokémon Elite 2000.
Last edited by Professor Geoffrey; 03-15-2012 at 04:06 AM.