Hour of the hound
Hour of the hound
I looked intensely at the Houndour in front of me. With his white teeth and curled lip it could easily frighten the life out of a child, but it didn’t affect me. Well, not much anyways. How the hell did I let it come this far? All I wanted was to start my day normally, not end up finding and fighting an alley Houndour.
Darn, not that Flamethrower attack again. Before meeting this little flaming pup, I would have asked what the point would be of firing a useless attack, but that was the previous me. I had seen the light thanks to this rascal, and I was repaying him my debt, trainer style.
I woke up this morning, realizing that I had two whole months to spend without having to think about stupid stuff like exams and essays. Summer holidays must be equal to hell for teachers, though there are some who don’t like to give silly assignments. My guess would be they were a major minority.
I kicked away my blanket, dragged my feet over the edge of my giant size bed, and walked to my bathroom. I slowly walked past my mirror, only to notice that my brown hair had a really weird out-of-bed look. Even a qualified hairdresser wouldn’t have dared to this to a model. After turning on the tap, I filled my hands with water, and splashed it in my face and hair. Ah... I needed that.
Slowly, I brushed my teeth, did my business, and went to my living room. I lived alone in this small student apartment, which was on college property. I was a third year student in the field of Pokemon genetics. Next fall, I would have my final year, and then I would need a specialization. Somehow, I disliked the idea of narrowing my interests. I was a good student, even though I wasn’t trying as hard as I should be.
Nevertheless, I had already planned my summer. Prime reason was the balance on my bank account. I had gotten a summer job at the research department of a renowned company in the city, where I would be doing all kind of manual labor. It wasn’t much, but it paid well in green bills.
I opened the fridge and examined its contents. After checking some dates, I came to the conclusion that I soon needed to throw away some milk packs. Now, where’s the freaking cereal at? Opening cupboard after cupboard, I finally found it somewhere in the back of a shelf. After pouring everything in a bowl along with some milk, I sat down in front of the TV.
Slowly chewing, I grabbed the remote control, and turned on the screen. I was almost immediately hit with the harsh reality of the outside world: a plane crash here, a ship wreck there, bomb threat in Goldenrod Dept. store. Hell, if it wasn’t for the existence of Pokemon, life would have been lost. I switched to another channel. Mmmm… Nothing much on this one either, except a really bad talk show. By the time I reached the tenth channel, I was out of milky cereal.
I got up, turned of my color TV set, and walked back to the kitchen. Well, might as well go do something today. Wanting to put back the pack of cereal, I noticed that it was empty. It’s time to throw away the rubbish, I thought, as I walked toward the garbage bin in the corner. Kicking open the lid with my foot, it revealed to me that it was already full of trash.
First task of the day: put the garbage outside.
I grabbed the waste bag, and walked out of the door with in on my way to town, after getting dressed. I now wore baggy blue jeans with a short sleeved T-shirt, which used to be dark green. Suddenly, my backpack fell of my right shoulder, so I hoisted it back up again, as I turned the corner to get to the trash container. The foul smell of decaying waste jumped into my nose. Boy, did I want to leave this place soon and breathe fresh, healthy air again.
My ears picked up a peculiar sound between the black plastic bags on the ground. Something was here already, and it didn’t sound human. An eerie growl made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, as I drew closer to the source of the noise. Human curiosity was really something else. Even if fear commanded you to go back, you always kept going forward, dying to know what was making you want to get the hell out of there. Evolution truly was something strange and incontrollable.
I jumped back when a cut sack fell before my feet. To my left, just behind the metal dumpster, a snout appeared. The black nose was surrounded by pastel colored flesh, while it sniffed the pillaged contents of the open plastic bag. The nose went up; as if it had sensed something it didn’t trust. I knew immediately that it had smelled my scent.
A deep, thundering growl echoed through the alley, as a small canine creature stepped out of the black shadows and faced me. The little black furred creature barked madly, showing his pointy white teeth, while threatening me to back off. Don’t know why, but I couldn’t, or better said, I wouldn’t shuffle backward like a coward. Standing my ground, I faced the dog with braveness so unlike me.
I looked in Houndour’s eyes right now, just like I had done back then. The small dog seemed worn out, but he kept pushing himself to go even further. He wasn’t really damaging Wartortle, but he was nonetheless quite resilient in his efforts.
“Use Hydro Pump,” I commanded Wartortle, who was standing before me. A confirming grumble was spoken, before he retreated into his shell. Quickly stepping out of the way, I watched how Wartortle launched himself at Houndour, spraying jets of water from every hole in his shell.
Houndour released a cloud of smog from his mouth, and tried hiding himself from his opponent’s sight. Even I, a bystander, lost sight of the small canine in the thick cloud of poisonous substance.
The continuous squirts of water coming out of the smog suddenly became more periodically, until they stopped completely. I didn’t know whether Houndour had been hit, or if Wartortle had missed his assigned target.
The small dog barked loudly, when he noticed that I wasn’t going to back down in fear. His black eyes began to grow bigger, and his bone covered body began to brace itself. My right hand reached, on its own accord, toward my belt, clipping off a Pokeball, and holding it tightly in a fist. Now, I got why I didn’t want to back off. The desire of capturing this creature called Houndour had overtaken and overrode my fear of it.
For one decisive moment I blinked, and precisely then Houndour took flight. He ran past me so fast that I only had time to catch a mere glimpse of his facial expression. He was challenging me with the mockery on his snout. It would take a frozen hell to make me turn the other way now. Houndour was going to be mine.
I turned around and made a full, clean 180, strapped my backpack tighter, and dashed away in hot pursuit of my objective.
All I could hear while running behind a black tail was the rhythmical sound of my own accelerated breathing, and the melodically reverberating footsteps of the dog running in front of me.
Darn, this wasn’t good. Even after calling a Hydro Pump, which consequently failed, Houndoom was standing as firm as before. He even got my Wartortle poisoned. The fire in me had finally found new fuel to burn.
Wartortle was probably burning from the inside, as poison rushed through his veins. His face might not show his troubled condition, but his body language spoke enough. I had to hurry up with capturing this pesky troublemaker.
I passed by a lot of pedestrians without noticing them or apologizing for bumping into them. All I could see and hear was Houndour. Everything else didn’t matter to me, even if it was early in the morning. I blindly crossed busy streets, ignored safety measures and even jumped down a small hill.
Spending enough time in the gym was certainly paying back the effort in full. I hadn’t felt more alive than now. This exciting chase was all that mattered, nothing less, and nothing more. Distant memories dropped into my mind. Vaguely remembering my hardly interesting conversations with full time trainers, I noticed that none of them ever mentioned a thing like this. The thrill alone was enough to feed on, while the idea of endangering life and limb frantically tried to slow me down. I was unstoppable in my pursuit of the little alley dog.
However, all of a sudden, the heavens and earth seemed to have flipped around. I had been running just a few yards behind my prey off a mildly steep hill, when he stopped dead in his tracks in the middle of a road. Looking around to see whether something was coming, I noticed a large truck approaching Houndour’s position with idiotic speed. Simple calculus proved that even if the truck driver noticed the little pup, he would certainly hit him, hitting the breaks or not.
Instinctively, I opened my backpack, pulled out my motorized skateboard, and jumped on it. I rushed down the hill at frightening speed. Tears ran over my reddened cheeks, only to be blown harshly away by the wind. Was I going to make it?
“Wartortle, use Water Gun,” I ordered, while throwing a filthy look Houndour’s way.
So far, I hadn’t been able to lay a finger on him, while, despite his type disadvantage, he was able to injure my Wartortle. This proved to me that things calculated and logically reasoned would be powerless in the practice.
I had always been a theoretic, wasting my hours in labs and study halls, while some of my classmates preferred to see everything happen outside these controlled areas. I was finally beginning to see the error of my old ways.
I kicked my skateboard in overdrive, hurrying and praying that I would arrive in time. A big bump separating the road and the hill almost made me fly of my board, safe for me barely keeping my feet on it. Breaking hard, I stopped and looked at the immobile dark colored fire hound. Somehow, it had gotten its paw stuck in a pothole, and couldn’t get it free anymore. I could hear the loud rumbling of the truck getting closer as the seconds passed. Pulling and yanking with all my might, I couldn’t even make Houndour’s paw budge an inch. This was hopeless. I couldn’t free him.
Wartortle began to fill its mouth with enough water to flood a small park. It concentrated the large amount of liquid into a powerful, controlled jet of damaging beam, which it shot at its prey.
Houndour had been caught by surprise, and was too late to dodge the attack fully, so it had no choice, but to take it head one. Flames scorched the edges of his lips, as it fired its Flamethrower at the Water Gun attack.
The steam produced by the two attacks combined was enough to engulf the entire field into shrouds of misty clouds. I was robbed of my vision once again, but this time I knew for sure that the attack had hit its target. There was simply no way to deny it.
I quickly tried to clip off a Pokeball with my sweaty palms, but it proved to be more of a hassle than I expected. Finally, I could grasp the small ball in my fist, and release the creature inside it. Preceded by a bright red light, my Heracross appeared to save the day. With no time to spare, I ordered Hera to perform his Brick Break attack on the road.
After Houndour was freed – not a moment too soon – I grabbed him by his middle and stepped on my skateboard, kicking the petal to the metal. My board jolted away with us on it, and Heracross flying behind us.
Obsessed by getting Houndour free, I overlooked the fact that the road ran halfway on a hill, so as soon as I got to the edge of the road, my board slipped. I fell head over heels, clutching the little puppy tightly in my arms, trying desperately to shield him from as much damage as I could.
At the bottom of the hill, after a lengthy and bumpy way down, I moaned loudly, before standing up. Houndour instantly jumped away from me, looking as if it had mixed feelings about what just had happened. Meanwhile, I patted the dust of my jeans and recalled back my Heracross.
It was then that Houndour made clear to me that he wanted a fair fight to test my abilities as a master. Apparently, he founded himself indebted to me.
I clipped another Pokeball off my belt, and put Heracross’ back on it. “Go, Wartortle!” I yelled, throwing the red and white orb in front of me. It popped open, and after the red light had faded, a turtle like creature appeared in front of me, battle ready.
A pain filled bark confirmed my thoughts on the matter. Houndour had been hit pretty well. However, the same was to say for my poisoned Wartortle. I had to finish this quickly, or else I could lose. Dammit, why don’t statistics stay what they are?
“Try a Hydro Pump again!” I shouted.
Wartortle retreated back into its shell once again, and charged at Houndour. The small hound was surprised when he saw the dashing shell come toward him. I was no authority on the field of Pokemon emotions, but I could have sworn that this little Houndour’s eyes portrayed some sort of an acknowledgment of defeat.
It was over before I could blink. Wartortle’s beams of water had smacked the little puppy senseless, and without knowing why, my heart was burdened to see it like this. With a saddened face, I threw an empty Pokeball at the fainted creature with no doubt in my mind that it wouldn’t fight against the result of this match.
The small ball clicked opened and absorbed the small dog. It wiggled a few times, before…
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Near a tree by a river, there's a hole in the ground.
Where an old man of Aran goes around and around