Masks are so 2016!! 31 Minutos FTW!!!
Did I mention I love this chapter already?
Great chapter, as always!The coffee shop buzzes with early morning energy, as if caffeine was injected straight into the atmosphere.
Brendan sends out his last Pokemon—a Wailmer named Ralph with an infectious, dopey smile—and I begin to perspire. Mira is out of commission, Ginger is moments away from joining her, and Roe doesn’t stand a chance against a Water-type. That leaves Sage, who just yesterday couldn’t even fly.
“Be careful, okay?” I ask Brendan uneasily, motioning for Sage to join the fight. “She was injured up until this morning.”
Ralph emits a spray of agreeable mist, and Brendan winks at me. “No need to worry.”
I would die for MiraMira frantically waves a makeshift flag she wove out of various weeds and flowers while playing in the grass, thrilled that her teammate has emerged victorious.
BRENDAN NORafael and Maurice part to let Brendan squeeze through them. A briefcase positively brimming with papers and charts swings from his arm as he runs over to us. “I’ve got everything I need,” he states proudly, as he plops down on the grass with a thud. “The Voltorb in this area are great subjects! The way they reproduce is fascinating.”
Wally turns Cheri Berry-red. “That’s what you’re researching?”
“I always knew you were a perv,” I tease, easing myself down onto the ground next to him. Mira immediately jumps into my lap, while Ginger prances around in my peripheral pretending she’s above a good snuggle session.
Brendan waves both of our comments away with a casual hand and digs several sandwiches out of his bag with the other. “It’s really not explicit at all. You see, they find a Ditto and emit this sort of discharge and then they start to tremble and—”
“Brendan!” Wally and I shout in unison, scaring a flock of Taillow out of a nearby tree. I instinctively clamp my hands over Mira’s ears to shield her from being scarred for life. Brendan simply giggles at the both of us and chomps down on his sandwich.
BRENDAN NO“Well as your rival, I shall shatter your confidence!” Brendan proclaims, thrusting a triumphant fist close to his chest.
...and there it is.What happens next makes my vision go black. Sage’s attack fails to slow Ralph’s incoming body, and he smacks into her with the full force of his weight. A nauseating crunch resonates above everything else, followed by a gasp for air that cuts off abruptly. As Ralph rolls across the battlefield, I catch a glimpse of Sage flattened against his rotund body, having been unable to take flight and free herself. I drop to my knees, clutching my chest as if my own life depended on it. Everything goes dark.
A cacophony of sounds litter the air that I am so desperately trying to breathe in. Mira’s shrill sobs pierce my ears, followed by Wally’s shocked gasps and footsteps pounding on the grass as he runs towards me. Something across from me falls to the ground with a thud, and I hear Brendan shouting my name interspersed between apologies. He chokes on every syllable, his lungs failing him.
Everything is dark. Everything is black. My thoughts are fuzzy, and I can’t feel my hands. My heart aches with a sobering grief that makes my whole frame shake. Wally’s arms envelop me from the side, and he digs his fingers into the fabric of my sweater. It’s not a hug; his grip holds me steady as though I might sink into the earth, as if I might perish before his very eyes. I can’t see. Everything is black. Sage. It’s Sage.
I really like this bit and how it shows everyone else's reactions! Wally doing his best to help Lilian and her Pokemon, Brendan being so torn up about it because he blames himself (I'm glad Lilian doesn't blame him, at least), and the Pokemon all contributing to give Sage a sendoff. Seeing Ginger so sassless and subdued really adds to the sadness of it all.“If we’re going to do this, we need to do it now,” Wally informs me with a softness I didn’t know he was capable of. When I lift my weary eyes to regard him, I don’t recognize the man standing next to me. He possesses a sort of quiet strength that I can only assume comes with age and experience. I almost find it comforting. Almost.
Brendan agrees with a slow, silent nod. His eyes are bloodshot and puffy, and he clutches a wad of crumpled tissues in his hand. I can’t find the words to tell him it wasn’t his fault. Even if I could, I’m not sure he’d listen.
With a shaky sigh, I turn to face Ginger. “You know what to do.”
For the first time since I’ve known her, Ginger obeys me without sass or rebellion. With a heartbreaking hesitancy, she plods away from the group until she reaches Sage’s body wrapped in every spare blanket we could find. Wildflowers picked by Roe and Mira are scattered around her in a crooked heart-shaped formation that Wally helped them with. Sage’s Pokeball rests next to her body, shrunken and void of the life that once inhabited it.
All it takes is a few small embers to ignite the edge of a blanket, and soon, it all begins to burn. A thin pillar of smoke extends towards the sky as angry flames consume Sage’s body and the flowers around her. I gag at the smell of burning flesh wafting through the air, struggling to not vomit from the morbidity of it all.
Once ash is all that remains, Roe approaches the fire and unleashes a Bulldoze that swiftly quashes the flames. Fat tears roll down her cheeks as she retreats, and I grit my teeth hard enough to hurt. I can’t cry; if I start, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop.
And this part! I love this little interaction between them. Of course they're friends! And it's good to see Lilian start to heal.I roll my eyes at the inquiry, avoiding his bewildered gaze. “Why would you even care? It’s not like we’re friends or anything.”
You could hear a pin drop in the brutal silence that overtakes the room. I instantly regret my words and my palms grow sweaty as I consider what to say to smooth it all over. Once I gather the courage to look up, I’m caught by surprise. Rather than looking sullen or pissed, Wally is smirking at me.
“At this point, do you really not think we’re friends?” he asks with more than a hint of amusement in his voice.
I blink at him, utterly baffled. He bursts out laughing at the look on my face, and I can’t help but follow suit once the ridiculousness of my statement dawns on me. This is the first time I’ve so much as cracked a smile since Sage died. I can’t lie; it feels pretty damn good to not be so sullen. I’m not over what happened by any means, but it’s a step in the right direction. Sage wouldn’t want me to be sad.