A Mother's Love [Rated T for safety]
"Maryanne Marowak was a beautiful, strong woman who deely cared about everything and everyone she came into contact with. Each and every day, we would see her beautiful, smiling face come into Bone Crusher General Hospital, and each and every day, she would mend our wounds and mend our broken souls. She was a strong woman who took care of each and every one of the citizens in Bone Crusher Village. There was nothing that our beloved Maryanne couldn't fix."
The man that stood at the podium made of broken bones once held by his predecessors paused to compose himself. His brown body was covered up by black robes that fell to his ankles. A small black cap sat in between the spikes on his skull-like head. Tears fell from his chocolate eyes, staining his face and the paper he read from. Minister Marowak's voice boomed through the chapel in Bone Crusher Village, and his booming voice could probably be heard even beyond the village gates. He wiped away his tears with the sleeve of his black robes and continued on; he had to continue on. In the back of his mind, not continuing on would be a disgrace to Maryanne Marowak's memory.
"It pains me to say that Maryanne Marowak has left behind two beautiful children, Charles and Caroline Cubone, and a loving husband, Marius Marowak. It is a shame that Maryanne will never get to see young Caroline grow up into a beautiful Marowak like her late mother or see young Charles start his training to become the best Marowak that Bone Crusher Village would ever see. We wish young Charles and Caroline luck in their studies, and we hope that they will live up to their mother's expectations for them. We also wish Marius good luck in his future endeavors. May Maryanne Marowak rest in peace."
Minister Marowak stepped away from his podium and nodded to the two Bellossom in the corner. The Bellossom on the left skipped off first, the bright green and yellow leaves that made up her skirt rustling with each step that she took. A small black hat sat in between the two red flowers on the top of her green head. In her hands was a basket woven out of grass from the outskirts of the village, and in this basket were red and pink roses, Maryanne Marowak's favorite flower. It was custom in Bone Crusher Village to bury the deceased Marowak with their favorite flower. Each of the Marowak and Cubone sitting on the left side of the church hall. The second Bellossom skipped off to the right side of the hall, the green leaves on her skirt dancing with each step she took.
As people took their flowers, they moved to lay them on Maryanne Marowak's lifeless body. Her brown eyes were closed, and her face was expressionless. Any marks that would have shown her murder were patched up by the Audino, Chansey, and Blissey working in Bone Crusher General Hospital, where Maryanne ultimately passed away. Her brown body simply laid lifelessly in the wooden coffin made by the hard-working Machamp and Conkeldurr in the village, and the bone she carried around with her had been placed in her hands, which were folded neatly on her beige stomach.
Just past the coffin were two Cubone, their cracked skull heads stained with the tears that fell from their black eyes. Their light beige and brown bodies were covered up by the same black robes that everyone else in the village was wearing today, and black hats sat on their heads. The Cubone closest to the coffin was wearing a necklace made of grass and red rose petals. As each visitor passed, they shook hands with Caroline Cubone, then Charles Cubone, and finally Marius Marowak before making their way out of the church and back to their homes to mourn with their families.
The events surrounding Maryanne Marowak's death were a mystery. She had been at Bone Crusher General Hospital, and her shift had just ended. At some point after she left the hospital, she had been attacked and murdered. Her lifeless body had been found in the village by one of the Conkeldurr going to his night shift job. A week later, today, her funeral was held in Bone Crusher Church.
Unfortunately, no one knew who killed Maryanne Marowak.
Everyone in the village loved Maryanne. The few that didn't always acted like they did, and none of them had any motive to kill her. Caroline, Charles, and Marius knew that. They were there when everyone who had some sort of dislike for Maryanne was interviewed. None of them had any motive for killing her.
No one worked today. It had been declared a day of mourning for Maryanne Marowak. So many people in the village loved her, and even the people that disliked her felt grief from her passing. The children were kept home from their training, and those in the village that worked had the day off. Except for a few children who hadn't been told the story of grieving Cubone when and if their mothers passed away while they were still Cubone, the village was quiet. The few children who still had their innocence were the only ones that brought life to the village today, and Charles Cubone had joined them until the sun set behind the grassy hills beyond their home.
"Charles," a voice called as the young Cubone walked into the house. Charles Cubone was only a few weeks old, and he was Maryanne and Marius' youngest child. They hadn't been expecting a second child, but the moment Maryanne laid eyes on her dearest Charles, she was in love. Marius couldn't say no to his wife.
"Dad, I'm fine," Charles said as he began to walk up the stone stairs to his bedroom.
"Charles, we need to talk," Marius said softly. Charles froze; he knew what this was about.
Once a Cubone was a few weeks old, their parents (or in some cases, just the father) would tell them the story of Marowak mothers and what happens when they die. It's tradition that every Cubone is told when they're a few weeks old in Bone Crusher Village. It's a story that every Cubone learns before their first day of school. It's a story that every Marowak knows by heart.
Charles took a seat in his favorite chair made of stones with grassy pillows. His father was seated on the stone couch opposite his son, and pillows made of pink rose petals helped make the couch more comfortable. Marius leaned forward, his brown eyes fixated on his son.
"I hate to do this now, so soon after your mother's death, but you're starting school next week, and Caroline's going back to school," Marius said softly. "You have to know the story before you go to school. It's a necessary evil, unfortunately, and I'm sorry."
"I know, dad. Can you just give me the short version so I can go to bed?" Charles replied. A weak smile appeared on the Marowak's face. If the situation hadn't been so serious and he hadn't been so upset from his wife's recent passing, he probably would have laughed.
"I'll see what I can do, kiddo," Marius replied. "Some of this you may already know from your fellow Cubone around the village, and you've seen a lot today. When someone dies, not necessarily a Marowak or even a family member, we mourn. If we've felt any sort of connection to the deceased person, we mourn. Every Pokemon mourns differently, Charles, but Cubone have similar mourning patterns. When a Cubone cries, and you've probably noticed this yourself, your skull vibrates. The sound it makes is a sound of mourning, and on the night of the full moon, it's worse. Humans fear the full moon because of the cries of a Cubone in mourning."
Marius paused, and he shifted his gaze to hole that had been carved in one of the stone walls that made up their home. One could see the moon through this window, and it was nearly full. The weak smile that was on his face faded away.
"The full moon is coming soon," Marius said, bringing his attention back to Charles. "You'll find yourself looking at the moon that night. You'll understand why as soon as you see it. Don't be scared when you see her, Charles. She's in a better, safer place now."
Charles tilted his head to the side. What did his father mean when he said not to be scared when he saw her? Who was this person that he would see on the night of the full moon? Young Charles opened his mouth to ask the questions that flooded his mind, but Marius stood up and stretched.
"I suggest you get some rest, though, kiddo. Monday's going to be a big day for you," Marius said. "Good night, Charles."
Sunday night rolled around much quicker than Charles would have liked it to. When the sun rose again, he would be joining his fellow Cubone at school for the first time. Normally, children looked forward to school, but Charles would bet the bone he always carried with him that none of them had just lost their mother. None of them had to spend the past week listening to the Growlithe Police interrogate fellow villagers. None of them had to listen to every other villager apologize over his mother's death. Apologizing wasn't going to bring Maryanne Marowak back. Nothing was going to bring her back.
Charles found himself looking at the full moon that illuminated the dark sky outside of his bedroom window. In the next room over, he could hear his sister's cries. They got louder and louder until she was wailing and shrieking. Charles wanted to move to see if Caroline was alright; her bloodcurdling shrieks were concerning him, but he found himself fixated in the spot he was in. He couldn't move. His gaze was fixated on the full moon outside. He couldn't even open his mouth to call her name.
And then he saw it. He saw her face in the moon.
But it couldn't be. She was gone. She had been killed.
Maryanne Marowak's face was on the moon. His mother's face was the moon, and the rest of her body was starting to materialize with it. Around her neck was the rose petal necklace that Caroline wore at the funeral. It couldn't be. Charles tried to move again, to go into his sister's room and find out what the deal was with the necklace, but he couldn't move. He couldn't do anything.
Until he started screaming. Until he started shrieking. Until the bloodcurdling cries began.
Charles Cubone couldn't really remember when he fell asleep, but he did. When he woke up on Monday morning, the morning of his first day of school, he had a headache. He could move, and he could make noise, but his head was killing him. The knock at the door made him groan, and he frowned when Caroline came in uninvited.
"Come on, get up, lazy bones. Your first day of school is today!" Caroline said as she jumped on the bed. Charles groaned again; he didn't want to get up and go to school. He wanted to lay in bed. "If you don't get downstairs in five minutes, dad's gonna be pretty mad!"
'Great. Now I really do have to get up!' Charles thought as he rolled out of bed.
"Yay, you're up!" Caroline cheered.
"Yeah, now get out. I'll be downstairs in like five minutes," Charles replied, waving his hand dismissively at his sister. Caroline got the message, and she quickly exited the room. Now that she was gone, Charles took a seat on his bed, gazing out of the window.
"What was it that I saw last night?" Charles quietly asked himself. The moon had been replaced by the bright sun, and the purples and dark blues of the night sky had been replaced by the oranges and reds of the morning sky. "What's happening to me?"
Charles shook his head. He didn't have time to think about this right now. He could deal with it later. He could talk to his dad about it later. Right now, he needed to grab his bone and get downstairs so that he and Caroline could walk to school together.
Caroline. Of course. Maybe Caroline would know what was going on in poor Charles' head.
The young Cubone skipped breakfast, and he found himself eagerly awaiting his sister outside. When she finally came outside, wiping the Miltank Milk mustache she earned from her bowl of PokeCereal, Charles was bouncing on his stubby brown legs.
"Someone's pretty excited," Caroline noted as they started walking towards the school, which was on the northern edge of the village.
"Well, I'm really just excited to talk to you, Caroline. We never get to see each other anymore. I think this past week was the most time I've ever spent with you," Charles replied. It was true though. Caroline had always been busy at school, and prior to their mother's murder, they barely saw each other outside of meal times.
"Is it about last night?" Caroline asked. Charles nodded, and Caroline managed a weak smile. "I saw her last night too, Charlie. It's just an illusion though. It's not real. Try not to think too much about it."
Try not to think too much about it? Charlie frowned at that response. How was he supposed to try not to think too much about seeing his mother's face in the moon? That was something easier said than done, but if Caroline could do it, then Charlie could too. Charles Cubone would have to try not to think too much about seeing his mother's face in the moon. Caroline saw it too, so it had to be normal. Charlie wasn't going crazy; he was just going through what every other Cubone in life had gone through.
Charlie took the last seat in the first row at school. The wooden desks had little name tags on them with each Cubone student's name scribbled on it in black ink, and it was arranged in alphabetical order. He was glad he got to sit in the back. He kind of didn't want to be here today. Today was the first day of Charlie's training to become a strong and powerful Marowak like his late mother and father before him.
Every Cubone starts this training when they're about a few weeks old, and it takes two years to complete on average. Some Cubone finish in a year or a year and a half, and some Cubone finish in three, sometimes four, years. It all depends on how well you do in school. Regardless, no Cubone can leave the program until they take the trip to Lavender Town. It is there that they take their test to see if they're ready to leave the program. If they pass, they come back to Bone Crusher Village and participate in the evolution ceremonies. If they fail, they stay in the program until the next year.
The classroom quickly started to fill up as more and more Cubone come into the room. Charlie didn't have much of an opportunity to take in his fellow classmates or even try and learn some of their names because as soon as the last Cubone came in and took a seat at their wooden desk, a Marowak walked into the room and slammed his bone on his stone desk.
"My name is Marlon Marowak, and I will be your instructor for at least the next year," the Marowak spoke once all eyes were on him. "Should you prove you have the ability to finish in a year, then so be it. If you must know, no student has ever completed the program in under a year with me."
Charlie gulped. No Cubone finished the program under a year with Marlon? He didn't even think he was going to finish in two years like he was supposed to. Now he was better off doubling his sentence. There was no way Charlie was going to finish in two years under Marlon's tutelage.
A few weeks into Charlie's schooling, progress reports came out. As Charlie and his sister walked home from school, they exchanged progress reports. As the big sister, Caroline was genuinely concerned for her baby brother's well being at school.
"Charlie, you're practically failing everything!" Caroline exclaimed as they rounded a corner and entered the village square.
"Yeah, well, I don't really ever want to be there either," Charlie mumbled, swapping progress reports with Caroline. The last thing he wanted was to be lectured on his progress report. He was already going to get enough of that from his father.
Caroline's grades were spectacular. Her teacher had written something about how she had improved since the last time progress reports were sent home. She was crediting it on her mother's death; Caroline even noted an improvement in her schooling after she'd returned.
Charlie, on the other hand, had been doing poorly ever since his first day. He never even wanted to be there, yet he was forced to be there. It was unfortunate. Charles would have rather spent his days at home learning something more practical or having fun. Instead, he was forced to spend his days at school, learning how to become a killing machine. At least, that was how he saw it.
"Dad's not gonna be happy about this," Caroline said, causing her brother to roll his eyes.
"Tell me something I don't know, Caroline," Charlie snapped. To Marius Marowak, failure was unacceptable. Charlie learned that when he overheard a conversation between his parents and Caroline. His parents never found out that he had been eavesdropping, but Caroline had caught him as he tried to scramble back to his room. She had been sworn to secrecy. If there was anything that Charlie believed his sister was good for, it was keeping things from their parents unless it involved something that could get them killed.
They arrived home before Caroline could respond. Marius was waiting at the door for the Cubone siblings, and as they walked in, they handed their father their progress reports. Caroline went upstairs once she entered the house, but Charlie didn't bother going too far. He simply plopped himself down in one of the stone armchairs with a sigh. There was no point in going too far when he was just going to get called back into the living room anyways.
"Is there a particular reason why you're failing all of your classes?" Marius asked as he took a seat on the stone couch. He placed both progress reports, which had been done on leaves.
"I don't know. I'm just not that good at stuff yet. I'm still trying to wrap my head around everything," Charlie replied with a shrug. The last thing his father needed to know was that he hated school. He hated being turned into a killing machine. Put that on top of the fact that he was failing all of his classes, and Charlie would be a dead Cubone.
"Well, start studying. I expect these grades to go up before your next progress report," Marius sternly replied. "If they don't, you can expect to see some disciplinary action."
"Yes, sir," Charlie said quietly. With a quiet sigh, Charlie stood up from the stone chair he sat in and made his way up the stairs and into his bedroom.