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Whozawhatcha

i have too many projects
Pokédex No.
486
Caught
Jul 12, 2019
Messages
72
Nature
Lonely
Pokémon Type
Fire, Flying

A Black 2 Nuzlocke
Unwittingly a ghost/steel/psychic-locke by sheer circumstance
Loosely based on the Great Depression period
I make no promises
Newly edited for a MATURE disclaimer because the second chapter is getting gritty

Synopsis: Life sucks when you have the worst job in the pokemon universe. I'm just a gal trying to make ends meet, but because of shooting stars, I might get a few wishes for me. Or someone else will get a death wish on me. I'm not sure yet. All I know is I didn't ask for any of this extra complicated stuff and just want to take the train and land a better job.
So yeah, if y'all know me from my Silver Linings Y nuzlocke, I'll have you know, I'm not abandoning it. Just need something to spur my creativity since I've barely written in four months now and writer's block is being a bitch.

That said, this is a for-funsies nuzlocke that is an exercise in trying to love writing again. And hopefully a unique idea. I'm writing in the style I did when I was 16: straight passion, no plans, first person, and no editing, just a quick proof-read and posting that shit. This could go great, or terrible. I didn't know who my protagonist was until I wrote this. WAIT FUCK, SHE DOESN'T HAVE A NAME, HOLD ON A SECOND KIDS.

....
......

Okay there, I guess. Sounds good to me. Help me, I don't write 1st person. Anyways, it's been fun so far though, and that's exactly what I'm shooting for.


Oh. And, something something, brevity is the soul of wit, my chapters are gonna be short and readable cause accessibility is nice and this is supposed to be a shorter nuzlocke. If I don't get out of hand. Knowing me, I will get out of hand. (edit: i got WAY OUT OF HAND)
1) Catch the first pokemon in each route
2) Name each pokemon
3) If it dies, it's dead.
4) I gave myself the starter I wanted and randomized the hidden grottos/static pokemon. So there are a few surprises.
"Yo listen up, here's the story
About a little guy that lives in a blue world
And all day and all night and everything he sees is just blue
Like him, inside and outside"

I'm Blue __ Eiffel 65

This story begins with a bit of trivia: what do YOU think the worst job in the pokemon world is?

I can certainly think of a few. A garbage man? Garbage sucks, no matter what. How about a shit scooper? Maybe construction workers, pulling all nighters to repair gyms. That would suck, but at least construction workers get amenities and overtime to make up for it. Or a roadkill collector. That's a job everyone wants. I hope you don't have a pachirisu as a pet, because you're gonna be picking up their flat pancakes all the time.

But no. Certainly, all of these jobs suck. The worst job in the world?

Well. Pokemon battling is pretty barbaric, in my humble opinion. After all, someone's gotta clean up all your mauled, disemboweled pokemon when you muck it up at a gym battle.

The job in question is a cremator. A mortician. An undertaker, if you will. My name is Josephine Ebele, and I get to cremate dead pokemon bodies for shit pay.

I flip through my paperwork with a huff. Four more to the furnace today. Unfortunately, all these young trainers battling Cheren decided that even though they'd had their purrloins and lillipups for barely a few days that they were attached enough to request to keep the remains. And a special middle bird for the kid with an Onix who STILL managed to let it die. Because of you, kid, I have to fire up the big furnace, and I didn't need that pain in the ass to top off my day.

Yet, here I am. I punch the keys and pull the levers, and the giant metal cradle roars to life with an ear-splitting shriek. I wince and curse the old pipes under my breath as the coils below begin to heat. Even though it's been so long since the last time I turned on the furnace, it is still hot. The entire room is always sweltering like a melting vanillish on a hot summer's day. And me? I am that little vanillish, sweating bullets and gleaming like some smelly, sticky Greek god.

I turn on the small furnace again, and the metal stings my hand. Still hot from yesterday. Then, I reach for my fire proximity suit. I'm supposed to wear it before even operating the furnaces, but by the time I wrangle myself into this space suit, the smaller furnace will be ready to operate. I stick my legs into the thick fabric pants, tug them up, zip and button. I shove my feet into bloated boots, tie them tight and latch them to the pants. I reach for the coat, zip and button again, grab the belt and lash it around my waist. Then, I grab the hood with the massive neck shroud, shove it down on my head, and latch it to the shoulders. Last, I pull the gloves on.

I glare at myself in the reflection of the heating metal. I look like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz spawned a demon child with the Michelin Man.

But hey, that's what you get when you work full time minimum wage doing the job no one wants to do. A fat suit, the smell of death, and the world's dumbest pokemon partner.

Before anything, I tromp to the back where there are two mining carts, and I push one under a funnel. I tug the cap open and coal pours out into the metal with a sound like hail on a tin roof. I wait for the cart to fill, close the funnel, and grab my shovel. I push the cart to the massive furnace that is nearly the size of a small building. Opening the rear panel, the air blasts me like a heat wave, searing even through the fire proximity suit. I dig the shovel into the coal and throw it deep inside. The black coals whiten inside the furnace, and I begin the monotonous chore of filling this furnace. Cremating an onix is different from cremating flesh organisms. To melt an onix down, this furnace had to reach a scorching 1,200 degrees Celsius before I could pour the molten rock into the appropriate urn.

So I shovel coal into the furnace until that familiar twinge stabs my lower back and until the mining cart is empty. I go back for two more loads because this furnace is massive and the onix itself is an above average 29 feet, and young to boot. If that kid hadnt squandered such an exotic and powerful pokemon on a normal gym like an idiot, it might have grown into a beautiful Steelix. And record-smashing length, too.

Instead, with the furnace loaded up and gaining heat, I turn the knobs to add pressure and hold the heat in. Then, I open the door from the furnace room and step into a clinical white room. I double check the two purrloin and the lillipup inside, and make sure to have the funeral urns lined up for the order they would be cremated in. Lille Bobby wanted the blue waves for his lillipup, Abigail the pink flowers for her purrloin, and Timothy wanted the shiny gold one for his purrloin. Little tiny Tim with the tiny dead roadkill.

"All right, cart 'em in for me," I say to the pokemon standing ready. The Golett nods with so much vigor you could mistake it for enthusiasm. I narrow my eyes in my suit and point to each body so the thing can't mess it up. "Dog first, then neck-break," and I point to Abigail's purrloin, "then throat stitches," and I point to little tiny Tim's purrloin. Another pokemon fallen victim to Cheren's throat maneuvers. You'd think they'd outlaw such a thing, but hey, pokemon battling is VIOLENT, and things like that are to be EXPECTED. Bunch of blitzle shit. If the Plasmas had gotten their way, the League would have had to own up to the barbaric battling pits and actually be held accountable. Maybe even instate some rules and regulations to gym battles, but no. Not even legendary dragons could change people's minds.

For now, I open the adjacent door to a massive room that looks like a cross between a garage and a hospital room. This is the prep room for the large pokemon, like the onix, that had to be carted in by trucks. I treat them in here. I mash my fist to a red button, and the inner garage door opens up to the furnace room. I walk up to where the rock snake pokemon is coiled neatly on a wide trailer hitch.

It's a pity, really. I hover closer to the strange and magnificent pokemon and run my hand against the lifeless stone. It's rough, a sign of a young onix compared to the smoother touch of an old, weathered snake. Supposedly wild ones live out in Victory Road and Twist Mountain. I've never seen one before, and it's a shame that my first one has to be dead. But, that's always how it works. I don't know why I expect different.

I pass my fingers over the back of its head. Bite marks. Kids always underestimate Cheren's Work Up and Bite combination. Cheren is a whiz of battling, a man of sheer talent that nearly conquered the League on his first pass. Supposedly his record holds quite a few deaths, so it was no wonder he chooses to break kids before they go far in their journeys. I bet it would be easier to shatter their hopes early instead of letting them get in over their heads.

A heavy sigh blasts from me. I step back, trying to see the full extent of this gargantuan pokemon. How much did mama and daddy pay to get an onix shipped out to make sure their kid beat the first gym? I shake my head and move back to crank the truck engine. It's a pity, that's what it is. The onix could have lived perfectly fine alone, but it got dragged into this League mess, tossed on some kid who clearly didn't know jack shit about battling, and now it's dead.

A crash rattles from the furnace room and I swear under my breath. I stomp into the heated room, shouting, "Golem! What did I tell you?" The golett stops guiltily, the broken neck purrloin dangling by its tail from its fist. The lillipup has tumbled to the floor and both gurneys have somehow overturned. I point again at the insufferable golett saying, "Stop. Listen. What did I tell you?"

Golem ducks its head. It lifts the purrloin and then adds its other hand to its grip. "BOTH hands!" I shout at the dumb ghost. It flinches and nods. "Always, ALWAYS both hands, Golem! You have one job, all right? BOTH hands, my god . . ." I stomp back into the garage--waddle, more like, in this ridiculous heat suit--and I crank the truck engine harder, muttering, "Stupid, klutzy golett . . ." The last thing I need is people realizing that the pokemon my dad caught for me is Bambi on ice at all times and dumping their precious dead pokemon on the floor. Someone would sue for heresy or something.

The truck engine roars to life, and I climb in and drive the onix in adjacent to the big furnace. I check the temperature. 900 and climbing. By the time I finish with the little ones, we'll be ready to cremate the big one. I open the first chamber, and heat leaps out like a dog on a chain, snapping at my pillowed suit and leeching in through any exposed gaps. I take my shovel, slip it under the lillipup and shove the dog in like pizza in a brick oven. Pulling the shutter closed, I then open the second chamber.

Golem is still looking at his feet. Before I chuck the cats in too, I grin and poke one with the end of the shovel. "Hey, Golem. Must've been on his ninth life, yeah?" Golem looks up at me with so much offense shining in his eyes I almost snap at him again, but sharp laughter screeches above me. The magnemite running maintenance twirls its magnets at me. Thin streaks of electricity web out from the ends like streamers from a party popper. I nod and grin wider, and I point up at him. "See? Magnets appreciates my humor," and I shove the purrloin in the furnace.

Once all the little ones burn, I check the heat for the onix's tomb. We idle a few minutes while the furnace reaches peak levels of hot and then I let Golem wrangle the onix inside. As much as I dislike my dad, he at least had the right idea picking the ghost type out for me. The machoke that previously worked here died of old age. But a ghost? As long as Golem isn't battling, he'd live forever.

As Golem shoves the Onix in the blazing furnace, the tail drops and completely unrolls, and he tries to catch it, but the rest of the snake collapses awkwardly in and out of the chamber. Golem whines and shoves his hands up, both full of the rocky onix. I groan and rub my head. Thank god he isn't a battler. He wouldn't last five seconds if he couldn't manage anything else in life.

Finally though, Golem hauls the pokemon inside, and I shut the furnace. This job is too damn hot. Sweat pours down my body and no amount of deodorant can help me. I'm a sticky wet mess, and not in a good way. I disrobe from the heat proximity suit and leave the furnace room back into chilling air conditioner.

I scrub the mortuary and fill out paperwork in the meantime. After three hours, I come back to the dog and cats, open the furnace again, and use a long, hoe-like rod to smash the calcified bones down. They burn down even more, and then I turn off the furnace. I check the onix, stir up the melting rock, and leave it to the extreme heat.

Now comes the fun part. I scrape first the lillipup's remains out of the furnace and into a metal box. I carry the box aside and sift through the remains for any metal pieces despite really doubting that the lillipup had any metal in it. But hey, that's policy. The machine it goes into next doesn't like metal, and if for some reason a piece of metal gets in it and breaks it, I can't afford that.

There is no metal in the lillipup remains, like I expected. I collect the remains one more time, dump it all into a square machine. Dust clouds up and batters my dust mask. It doesn't smell like death, just dust. The extreme heat of cremation doesn't allow for decomposing parts.

I put a lid on the machine and turn it on. It whirs to life with an awful grinding noise, and I wonder how many people know that we put their loved pokemon bones into a blender. The bones have to be pulverized into fine dust to go into their little cremation pots. After the lillipup is nothing but dust, I pour the material into the blue urn for Bobby. Then I go back and blend the two purrloin and put them in their urns. Viola! Three perfectly cremated pokemon. Sometimes I like to horrify the teenage trainers with the gritty details. "Oh yeah, your Riolu's head was tough to crack in the fire, it had good, strong bones." They blanch as pale as the remains of their pokemon. Funny, really. Stupid and petty, but funny all the same.

I check the time. It's running near five o'clock now, and I've got places to be, but I have to wait on the onix to melt fully before I can put it in the cooler. The kids with the cats and dog could pick up the remains tomorrow, but the onix? It needs three days to cool in our little freezer. Sensible kids left 450 pounds of liquefied onix behind. Rich kids demanded liquidation, a fancy urn the size of a dresser, and a crane to put it in their front yard as garden art. Or something. I don't know what people do with a dresser-sized urn of onix, but it can't be sensible.

Instead, I stay late, pouring the liquefied onix into an urn with Golem's help, watching the molten rock fade from its golden glow within minutes. The heat-proof urn holds the high temperature rock, and I shut down the furnaces for the night. Golem and I rock the heavy urn up the loading slope and into the truck. I back the truck into the garage, and then we rock the urn into the cooler. I close up shop around seven and return Golem. I'm grimy with sweat and the dust of pokemon clinging to my skin, and I'd like to scrape every inch of my body with a rock to get it off, but I walk seven blocks down the road to the hospital. I throw a wave at the desk lady, Karen. She knows me. She knows my routine. I think a lot of the staff does. It's hard to miss a girl that looks like a construction worker, especially in a pair of pants. Nice girls wear skirts, they say. Lucky for me, I am not a nice girl.

I take the elevator and walk down the long halls to room 3B. I knock and don't wait for an answer. Pushing open the door and walking in, I slouch down on the only chair in the room and gaze at the white-washed wall instead of at the patient in the gurney. I slip my suspenders off my shoulders and let them dangle by my baggy pants.

"So how's the patient today?" I say in my best nurse's voice. I can't keep it up long. Bitter sarcasm colors my words. "Did they feed you from a tube today? Do you still pee in the bed? I bet you do. You know how I know? Because I'm still working that dead-end job to pay for YOUR hospital bills, and my oh MY does that money funnel down the drain faster than I can make it."

There's no answer. I shift and groan in my seat. My back aches. Curse that onix. At least no one else had a faulty battle today and killed a pokemon. I only had to deal with Cheren's unfortunate victims.

I glance at the bed. Her skin seems pale and washed out. Too much like the color of ash. I look away and knead my neck. "So uh. Hugh come by and see you today?" I wait the appropriate amount of time for a reaction before plowing ahead. "He's going on a pokemon journey. Idiot. I've tried to talk him out of it, honestly, but he thinks he can find his sister's purrloin. Mittens, the one with the little white paws, remember? I say purrloin are a dime a dozen, but I can't argue with presents from dead dads. If his sister's fixated on it cause dead daddy dearest gave it to her, who am I to judge?"

The machines beep a slow, mechanical heartbeat and it echoes in the cold room. I glance at the foot of the bed, seeing feet propped up under the covers. "You cold? Need more blankets? You usually have three, not two."

The air feels heavy. I despise this place. I work in a place where death has already had its way. It's cold and empty and cruel with the furnaces for company, but at least I don't FEEL it. Death. It weighs over this damn hospital like a dark shroud, and it seeps into this room in particular, leeching off the life in the bed, like slurping the last little bits of soda from the bottom of a cup.

I roll my eyes and pick at my nails when there's no answer. "Whatever," I mutter. "How about I tell you a story instead? You know this one. You'll be thrilled to hear it again. It's the story of how a girl's best friend in the whole world had to get star struck about pokemon battles, just like the girl's dad. Dad leaves to be a hot-shot trainer, but no, you, you decide to stay and become a referee. Then, bam! One day, a high powered pokemon's rock slide goes awry, the referee is caught in the cross hairs, and now you've been in a coma for two years! Story end."

I glare at her now. Pale and waxy and unmoving. She might as well already be dead. "Two years. I gave up everything to take care of you. Scholarships. Grad school. Life as I knew it, all the plans I'd laid, I put them all to rest because you had the chance to wake up. Because I LOVED you. I've paid for your fucking life support, dealt with a shit job, lived in a shit tin can apartment, seven day shifts, I stopped everything for you. And what do I get?" I wait for her to fill the answer. "That's right," I hiss. "Nothing."

She can't answer, of course. She probably won't ever answer again. Really, I don't know why I waste my time anymore other than it being a relentless habitual cycle. I stand and pull my suspenders over my shoulders again. I hover for a long moment, and I don't know why. I don't expect anything after all this time. I don't expect anything. But I still stand there until the pressure in my chest builds so much that I can hardly breathe before I wave an uncaring hand at her.

"Try not to kick it overnight, Mom."

My family is a family that loves pokemon battles. My mother adored it, my father left his own daughter on a journey to be the best, and my uncle is one of the best.

Me?

I'm just a gal trying to make ends meet and watching all the threads of my life fray away.
 
Last edited:
M

Minty Electronica

Guest
Wow, this protag needs a swift kick in the head. Like, hot dang, I get that she's been through a lot these past couple of years, but is that any way to talk to your dead comatose mother?

Nah, but forreal, this is a fun beginning. I admit the hospital scene felt a bit more like she was telling us what's going on than telling her mom, but honestly, that's probably the only point of crit regarding character- and worldbuilding. The rest of the chapter does an excellent job at setting the scene. Right away, we get a sense of the grim, grittiness of this world, not only because it's set in a crematorium but also because of the way battles are second-handedly described. I mean, not only do you have Cheren, who apparently has no qualms about straight-up killing children's pokémon by biting them through the neck, but you also have the kids, who are aware of what Cheren does and throws their beloved pokémon at him anyway. Granted, okay, we never really get to see the kids' reactions to these battles and deaths (and at least the careful urn choices indicate that they actually do care about their pokémon), but if that's how battles against the first gym leader go down, I get the feeling it's common knowledge that the rest of the league isn't that much of a walk in the park either.

(P.S. I loved the little details here. Like, the detailed description of how an onix is cremated—which is something I was wondering the second the onix made its "appearance"—as well as the comments the protag is making about bones and unceremoniously shoving ashes into tiny urns. It's easy to tell just how distasteful this job can be, yet it's a thing the protag's done so often that there's a kind of rhythm and pattern and elegance to it.)

And then there's the protag herself. Like I said earlier, hoo, she is gruff. But it's also nice to read about a protag who's kinda a dick to pretty much everyone, including her partner, and she kinda has a good reason for it too. I mean, giving up all her hopes and dreams just to shovel dead pokémon into a furnace ... I'd be pissed 24/7 too if that were me, ngl. But then there's that bit about how she treats Golem: not exactly abusive but more like an exasperated supervisor. It's just a dynamic I've never really seen in a run, so it'll be interesting to see how these two develop from here onwards, especially since I assume Golem's the starter and definitely because there's got to be something that gets this girl out of the crematorium.

Tl;dr, fascinating start with an interesting character! It should be fun to see her respond to a good kicking down the line. 8D
 

DistortionLocke

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
623
Caught
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
75
Location
U.S.
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Anxious, sweet-toothed writer who hides amongst the papers. Only attacks when provoked.
Honestly, I don’t think I could have phrased it better than JX did. It’s definitely refreshing to see a jaded protagonist, and one with not only a job other than Trainer, but a shitty one at that. Can’t wait to see where you’ll go with this!
 

BritishAirSnails

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
90
Caught
Jun 16, 2019
Messages
80
Location
I come from my house
Nature
Modest
Pokémon Type
Grass, Fairy
Pokédex Entry
Beware the BritishAirSnail. They come from the sky and leave their slime EVERYWHERE
Wow well this is a unique, creative spin on things. And our protag is right, that does have to be one of the worst jobs in the Pokemon world. Just damn. I've never really given much thought about what goes into cremation, but it does not sound pleasant. And ultra sweaty. Ew I'd want to change about ten times a day.

I feel bad for Golem. He's trying his hardest, poor thing. And as for the mom. That's rough. No wonder she's such a rough around the edges kind of person. That is a hard spot to be in. Dad doesn't even help pay for anything, huh? Bastard. But even with the venom she spits at her unconscious mother I still think she cares for her. I mean, she could have pulled the plug ages ago and just be done with it, but she still pays the hospital, still goes and visits, even notices she doesn't have the same amount of blankets. So even though she throws around the anger, she still loves her.

This was a really interesting start and I can't wait to see where you take it.

 
P

phoenixacezero

Guest
Professor Xion: If only she knew, what was going to happen. Now, let's see if she can not become another corpse in the grave...or ashes in an urn.
 
K

KfruntRfrunt

Guest
what is this awful alternate universe where crematorium workers get shit pay? not one i want to be a part of, that's for sure.

i do like seeing a character with some serious gallows humor. always refreshing.

i'll be keeping up with this.
 
A

AstroDeath

Guest
There we go. It's out now! Cool to see it in the flesh now, so to speak, instead of the previous conceptual stuff and snippets.

Josephine's easy to relate to (mind you, I don't burn dead bodies for a living.) Her complaints never feel over the top, and it's just a blue collar worker shooting the shit about how life on the daily sucks. In spite of the grim line of work and tone overall thus far, it's fun to see this seem so different from your bread and butter in SL. It's lowkey and while I don't quite know the direction, it seems it's going to follow her life and work as someone just getting by; definitely a far cry from the more 'larger than life' atmosphere in SL, which between the setting/tone/shorter chapters, it's a fun contrast.

The worldbuilding and how it's structured around Josephine letting us know everything, but in bits and pieces, is fun. We get a snapshot of the world through her opinions and point of view, whether or not how harsh the world is ends up being true or her at odds with everything. I've a feeling, especially seeing the Depression Era as a backdrop, things will end up fitting how she describes it more often than not; I imagine, as well, things will be just a tad rosier even through the hardship than she gives it credit.

I love how gritty everything is. Her explaining her job and how laborious it is, and how gross she feels after the clock's up, fits well with the backdrop. Knowing nothing about crematoriums/workers, much less pokemon versions, really makes the job stand out that much more, especially because I know you've done your due diligence to figure out how it is before putting the words to 'paper' here.

It should be fun to see how the rest of the cast fills out as her team grows. Even from his short appearance, Magnets seems a good shocker and I've already mentioned how much I enjoy Golem. Golem and Josephine's dynamic just absolutely gives me Rocket-Groot vibes (bears repeating!)

This is a fun beginning. I say it enough now it's pretty much a mantra, but no writing is bad writing. Keep at it. Also this.
 

vent

Conqueror of the Vermillion Gym
Pokédex No.
41
Caught
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
24
josey is a lovely protagonist! she's hardened but clearly has a soft spot for people and things (her mother and our little friend golem here). she's clearly desensitized to things but she hasn't entirely lost track of things like the morality of death and battling and so on; I loved that mention of the old plasma event from a couple of years prior particularly here and how she viewed it, since it and her mom added a really nice layer to her (I'll mention the blanket moment with her mother here as well).

you also very clearly did your research on cremation and whatnot heading into this, and your effort on that front really shows throughout this! it adds a nice layer to the story as a whole and you also used it very well to show off our new protagonist here. I'm looking forward to more!
 

d'angelo russell

tomorrow ain't promised to no-one
Writer
Team Omega
Pokédex No.
231
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
226
Location
ontario
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
he - him
Pokémon Type
Dark, Dragon
Pokédex Entry
it was banished for its violence. it silently gazes upon the old world from the distortion world
Man, was that a hook of a first part.

I'm super interested in this - because you do the jaded protagonist really well here. The internal monologue is enough to start off the worldbuilding process and yet doesn't overpower the whole thing, and it pairs in really well with the descriptions of the crematorium and whatnot. There's a nice balance between description and pedestrian detail (stuff like 'But hey, that's policy') and it stays engaging throughout. And her relationship with her Pokemon...it's definitely really familiar, and it's interesting to note that her irritation never turns into anger, it's more just exasperation that her Golett is kinda clumsy, and acceptance of the fact.

And this really does feel like a brutal world - of course, working in a crematorium would feel brutal to anyone, but then there are those descriptions of Cheren and the dreaded Work Up + Bite Combo. Also, the protagonist herself. It's clear that she sorta gave up her dreams because of her mother, and the encounter at the hospital is just...really human, as she shows that despite her bitterness she truly does care about her mother and is willing to put up with whatever in the hopes that she'll recover. Kinda similar to her relationship with Golem, tbh

Can't wait to see where this goes.
 

Whozawhatcha

i have too many projects
Pokédex No.
486
Caught
Jul 12, 2019
Messages
72
Nature
Lonely
Pokémon Type
Fire, Flying
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10
Holy SHIT this is a lot of replies. Ahhhhh~ ;-; you all are very kind.

JX Valentine: Hello! Josey is certainly....a trip at best. I'm glad the beginning was a great hook and showcased the universe nicely. (ahhh! figuring how how to cremate something other than flesh was certainly fun, though....i guess fun is a really bad adjective here.) Haha, I hadn't thought of Josey as an exasperated superior, but that's certainly an interesting observation! Glad to have hooked you!

DistortionLocke:  Hello! A new face~! Yeah, I had this thought the other night when I was playing a nuzlocke for fun, and I thought it was too unique an idea to pass up, so here we are!

British Air Snails:  Another new face! Hi! Oh yeah, I did quite a bit of cremation research for this one. And GOLEM IS A GOOD BOY. And yes, somewhere.....she probably still cares for her mama.

phenoixacezero:  Howdy! Glad to see I've got you hooked, and hopefully this next chapter keeps you there!

KfruntRfrunt:  KFRUNT! Hi!! Haha, yeah, Josey has it... well. Bad. But! The gallows humor can certainly help!

AstroDeath:  YEAH it's out now! This is definitely a ton different from SL so it's nice and refreshing, if difficult to write at times. And.... Magnet seems like a good SHOCKER?? o.o I SEE THAT. I SEE IT. (also this:  AHHHHHH!!!)

Vent:  Hi vent!! Josey is hella fun to write, bitchy like Ivanna but in a totally different, and far more justified way. Also, cremation is crazy, so it's fun to show it off here in a shocker intro chapter because I have a feeling most people really don't think about how it works.

Lord Ninjax:  Heyy, another new face! Hello! And, I'm glad to hear that everything's working out nice and well so far. Josey is so much fun to write. She really shines through with a distinct voice.
"There's a recking a coming
It burns beyond the grave
There's lead inside my belly
Cause my soul has lost its way

Oh Lazarus, how did your debts get paid?
Oh Lazarus, were you so afraid?"

Blood on my Name __ The Brothers Bright

I wake in a cold sweat.

Chills race down my skin and I kick off my covers, gasping for air and way too damn hot in my own apartment. My blood prickles with thousands of needles and I stumble across creaking wood to the bathroom. Golem stirs with a low whine in my room. The darkness presses around me. I flick the light on, vaguely aware I've had a nightmare and focus on controlling my sprinting heartbeat. I turn the faucet lever and cold water runs out, brackish if you look too closely at it. I splash my face, rub the back of my neck and lean my palms against the porcelain edge of the sink.

I stay quiet even though Golem worries his mechanical heart out, standing just outside the door like a good pokemon. I trained him not to come into my bathroom. The bathroom is my spot only. I glance over at him with a tired smirk. Already, the nightmare is fading. "Quit that," I tell him. "You're worse than my mother."

He gives a low whir of discontentment and walks back into my room. He comes back with my day clothes, dropping the suspenders as he comes. He proffers them to me, and I glance at the clock. Seven thirty. I might as well stay awake at this point, but I refuse to put on clothes yet. "Thanks, but not yet," I say to him. I brush by him and into the kitchen. I make two eggs, a piece of toast, and four cups of coffee for breakfast, saying, "Hey, Golem? Had the weirdest nightmare. I don't really remember it now, but it was something about dragons. And space. Space dragons and lots of fire. Really hot. I blame the furnaces."

Golem nods with attentive attention, laying my clothes out over one of the dining room chairs. He drops the suspenders again and one of my socks, which he makes two return trips for. After I make my breakfast, I sit my naked ass down on the other chair, eat my food and drink my coffee. God, sweet, sweet coffee. I am a machine that can't function without her coffee. The seat across from me remains unused. Golem doesn't sit. He's weird like that.

I'm cleaning the dishes when a knock sounds at my door. Scowling, I walk to the door--it has no peephole--and shout, "Who is it!" I don't get visitors.

"It's Hugh!"

Correction:  I get one visitor. I groan and pinch the bridge of my nose. "Shit. You're leaving today, aren't you?"

"Yup. Can I come in?"

"One second!"

So I put on my clothes and let Hugh inside. I sit back down at my tiny kitchen table and Hugh pats Golem's shoulder suspenders, the only solid part of him when he chooses. "Hey Golem. Not letting this one push you around too much, right?" Golem whirs and lifts a hand, scratching the back of his head sheepishly. Hugh grins and sits across from me in a pair of loose trousers, a button up with the sleeves rolled up, and a sweater vest on. I cock a brow.

"It's too warm for sweater vests."

"Maybe, but I'll appreciate it when I'm camping at night." I can't refute him there. I think it bothers me so much because he always looks so good. Sweet, smooth chocolate skin and the biggest smile that shines with pearly whites. Surprising he's never found himself a girl. Then again, Hugh will go places in life, and I doubt he'll find a girl worth his time in Aspertia City. I always find it amazing that he goes out with his hair fully natural and picked out as big as it could get. I could never. I'd get too many stares. I get too many stares as it is with my short dreads done up Rosie the Riveter style, all wrapped up in a head scarf.

Hugh shakes his head with a smile. "Come now, Josey, can't even act a LITTLE bit excited for me?"

I kick back in my chair and cross my arms. I scowl, just to let him know even more. "No. You know how I feel. If you go off on this adventure thing of yours and get a pokemon killed at Cheren's gym, I'M the one that's gotta clean it up. Got it? If you go off on this fool's errand, you have to promise me not to muck it up with Cheren."

He lifts his hands in submission. "I get it, Josey." He pulls out a pokeball. It's not made of an apricorn, it's a shiny red and white technological thing from Silph Co. "I got my starter though. You wanna see him? He's cute."

Hugh doesnt wait for me to answer, and I wish he had. The pokemon forms before I can tell him that I DON'T want to see it, because the underlying fear that I'll have to burn the thing gets into my head and eats away at my thoughts. He's picked an oshawott, a little blue otter with a seashell on it's chest. It IS cute. I hate that. I haven't had to burn an honest to god starter pokemon in a while. Kids always try to protect their starters the most, whether the classic, endangered starters provided by Professor Juniper or not. It's the kids who wipe against Cheren that lose their starters.

The oshawott is far more enticed by Golem than me, and I'm thankful when it squeaks and dashes around Golem's legs. Golem warbles with excitement, bending over and cher-chunk-ing like a pair of gears winding too fast. They like each other, and my heart squeezes with unease. If Hugh loses that adorable abomination, I'm not letting Golem anywhere near its dead body.

"Name's Poseidon," Hugh says. He rubs the back of his neck, saying, "I let Molly name him. She thought it'd be funny to name him Posey since he posed when she first saw him, but I managed to talk her up to Poseidon for the sake of his pride."

I immediately think of the urn with the merman with a trident. Shit, my brain can't let me enjoy anything in life. "He'll grow into it," I finally say, thinking about samurott and hoping Hugh would get that far. I don't like how Posey rhymes with Josey, but I don't tell Hugh that. Molly likes me. It was probably a subconscious decision on her part. Or unhappy circumstance.

"Yeah," Hugh says with a grin. He leans down, scratching the otter's chin. It purrs a high-pitched trill. "I get a feeling we'll go far. Molly wants me to catch her a minccino. I'm gonna tear apart this region to find one for her. First time she's wanted a pokemon since Mittens."

My stomach turns. A lot of Plasma-stolen pokemon don't turn back up by virtue of probably dying in the conflict. I doubt after two years that Hugh would ever find Mittens, but I'm not about to say it. He gets touchy about it. Sometimes I wonder if he's more attached to the cat than Molly is.

Hugh shifts. I sit up straighter, sensing his change of pace. "I uh . . ." He fiddles with his fingers. He looks up at me with hesitant brown eyes. "I'll probably go pretty far on this journey. I've studied a lot, and you know I worked out at Alder's summer school for the past year. I got a few good tips on battling, so I think I've got good chances. If uh . . . Well, if I get out to Lacunosa Town, I could--"

My blood chills and my jaw sets. "Hugh. Don't."

"Josey, I'm just saying, you ain't never listened to what the woman had to say--"

"I heard enough."

"I could at least find out what happened for you--"

"Hugh!" He's tense too. I see it in his clenching jaw and hands. I glare at him, trying to incinerate him on the spot. "I know what happened. The boogieman got him, all right?" When Hugh doesn't look convinced, I scoff and roll my eyes. I lean back and cross my arms, muttering, "Dad got cocky and went into the Giant Chasm and never came back out. That's how it works, Hugh. Supernatural monster or not, the statistics prove it. No one comes out of the Giant Chasm alive. Dad's no exception. It's almost been five years. I'm over it."

Hugh stares at me for a long moment. I know he doesn't really believe me, but that's because he and Molly have daddy issues. Their dad was a pokemon ranger. I know their dad went out looking for a lost trainer and lost his life bringing them back. Wild banette curse got him, but he saved some teenager in the end. Got a hero's funeral. And I know that's why Hugh can't let it go. It's why I want him to let it go. Cause if he goes looking for my lost dead dad, he'll just end up like his own dead dad. But can I get through his hard head? Of course not.

Finally, Hugh rubs his face and relents. He slouches down. "You don't even want me to make a pass out there to find out what that woman had to say? She seemed to have some sorta story about it all."

"I don't care." I shrug one shoulder. "At the end of the day, he's dead, and it doesn't matter how he went." I know how he went. A cocky bastard who left his wife and daughter for glory on the road of a pokemon trainer. And he died being a cocky bastard who thought he could cheat death in the Giant Chasm.

Poseidon purrs and trills at my feet, rubbing its head on my steel-toed boot and gnawing on it. I half think about kicking it since it's so tiny and it would go far, but even though I have the weird thought, I don't. I'm not a horrible person. Most of the time.

"Well," Hugh ventures, "how's everything with your ma? Need any help with--"

"I don't need help, Hugh," I cut him off before he can offer to give me any money. I'm not a sad charity case with a dead dad and half-dead mom. I don't want his, or anyone else's pity. He stops in uncomfortable silence, and I grind my jaw. I look down on his oshawott. God it's so cute. I really hope it doesn't die.

After a few moments, I finally venture a dark thought that's been on my mind. "I . . . I've been thinking about letting her go."

Hugh looks up quick. "Josey, no," he said, a warning in his voice. "She's your ma. You can't."

"But I could." The words sound so cold. Maybe they are. But . . . I don't care. I just can't care anymore, and I let him know. "She's been in a coma two years, Hugh. That's not normal. I've talked with the doctors. Comas aren't supposed to last more than a couple weeks. The swelling in her brain went down. She's recovered from the trauma. They reclassified her condition, you know? It's not a coma anymore. They call it," and I throw up air quotes, "a 'persistent vegetative state.' She's nothing but a vegetable anymore, Hugh. They said it themselves. If people are in a state like that for more than a few months, they usually don't wake up."

Hugh is silent. He doesn't offer anything to support me or contradict me, and I know it's because he holds on. He holds on so hard he still can't let go of dead daddy, and I know if his mother was ever in this condition, he would always keep her on the life support. He'd never give up on his mother. He's . . . stronger than me.

I glance at my bookshelf. It's chock full of history books and archeology texts from my college days, and there's a scrapbook of magazine articles on the latest finds and scientific breakthroughs regarding Relic Castle, the passages beneath it, and the Abyssal Ruins. My diploma sits on top. It's slipped flat, and I've never propped it back up. It's covered in dust.

I'm selfish. I fight it, but maybe one day I'll own it. For now, I mutter, "I don't know. It was just a thought."

Hugh holds his silence a moment longer. Eventually, he just asks, "Is there anything I can do, Josey?"

There's not. And I don't want him to. He's got a few personal tips from the former Champion. He’s intelligent, got just enough money to make his life work, and I know he's going to go places. Whether he takes the gym challenge far, or if he just makes it to a new city and finds his place. He's not going to be like me, stuck forever in a dead-end job and struggling to pay the bills. He'll have a life. I'll merely exist.

Instead, I just give him a wry, tired grin, saying, "Not much, but if I die one day, promise me you'll cremate me. It's my last chance to get a smoking hot body."

Hugh groans. "By god Josey, can you stop with your shit sense of humor?"

I laugh then, seeing his reaction, and say, "Oh come on, Hugh, you know I'm funny!"

"Only to--"

The phone rings and cuts off his comeback, which is a good thing because I'm really bad at battling his wits. My smile falls though as I approach the obnoxious land line.

Please don't be the hospital, please don't be the hospital.

I pick up the phone. "Hello?"

"Josephine Ebele? Mortician of Fairhill Funeral Home?"

I shift on my heels. "I might be. Who are you and how'd you get this number?"

"This is the Virbank Gym. Your funeral director Mark Edwards said we could reach you at this number. There has been an accident at the gym, and we have requested your presence to help clean up."

I cock my brow. I glance back at Hugh before turning back to the wall, asking, "What happened to your own undertakers? You don't need me. You expect me to hop on a bus and spend three hours on a commute over there?"

"Mr. Edwards said he would be more than happy to send you over to assist with the clean up." I roll my eyes hard with disgust. Of course that fucking Edwards wants to send me away. "Virbank's own morticians are currently understaffed and the League has requested the nearest pokemon mortician to come. That would be you."

Three hours. THREE HOURS of bus commute, three to and three back, and god knew paying for that bus fare is going to come straight out of my pocket because Edwards doesn't give overtime or amenities. "Come on, you can't be serious," I hedge again. "Let someone else clean it up! What happened anyways?"

"I'm afraid that information cannot be disclosed, Ms. Ebele. We expect you at eleven sharp. Thank you for your cooperation."

"Hey, I never said, I'd--!" The dial tone rings in my ears. You have to be kidding me! I slam the phone down and check the clock. Just past eight. I'm going to be late for their deadline because I'll have to catch the 8:30 bus and transfer to a different bus in Floccesy Town at 10 and hopefully make it there sometime after 11 or so.

"Shit." I yank my suspenders up and grab Golem's old apricorn ball and twist the top. "Return." It's not as fast as the zippy light of Silph's new pokeballs. The apricorn ball fades Golem and pulls him into the ball in about three seconds compared to the split second of Silph Co.'s shiny new balls. Hugh demonstrates this by returning Poseidon as I say, "I gotta run, Hugh. Gonna be late."

"Wait, what was that all about?" he asks while I dump the rest of my coffee in my portable mug. I snap the leaky cap on and wave a hand.

"Have no idea. Virbank Gym wants me out there to help clean up some mess of a battle. Corpses'll be cold by the time I get out there. The lady wouldn't tell me, so I guess it's bad."

I head out the door with my keys, and Hugh follows, shimmying out the door when I nearly shut it on his shoulders. "That bad, huh?" He grabs my shoulder when I make to move down the hall. "Hey! And where you making tracks to, hot mama? I didn't come all this way for you to skip out without a proper hug! You might not see me for months. I've got to get a proper goodbye. C'mere!"

Hugh smooshes me to his chest before I can react. My nose practically breaks it's so crushed to his sternum, but I roll my eyes and wrap my arms around him. Corny idiot. "You are straight off the cob, Hugh, you know that?"

He lets go and winks. "And I plan on keeping it that way, doll face. I'll be sending letters, so keep me up on the low down, all right, Josey? I known you for ten years now, just cause I'm going far away don't mean I'm letting you slip out of my life."

"Yeah, whatever," I say, but I'm grinning now despite the tight spot in my chest. God I'm going to miss him. I already feel that I'm going to feed on his letters like a ravenous dog. Without him? I ain't got no friends. "I gotta run, Hugh. Stay out of trouble. And keep your pokemon alive!"

I head down the hall, and he stays rooted, letting me go. He waves. "Sure thing, Josey! You stay out of trouble too, you hear?"

"I hear!" And with that, our goodbyes are kept short. Hugh steps out of my life, and I step even deeper into work.

*

The Virbank Gym is crawling with police when I get there. My stomach immediately drops.

I flash my I.D. and I'm allowed inside the gym, even with my shovel. But only into the lobby. I sit down with one other man wearing faded tweed slacks and a black button up, his sleeves rolled up for cleaning up the mess ahead. A throh sits on the ground next to him. He glances askew at me like he can't figure out whether to approach me like I'm a woman or a man.

"You're the Aspertia undertaker?"

I kick back and cross an ankle over my opposite knee. I take up more room than he does. "You're looking at her."

He looks me up and down again. I consider punching him. "They're warming up the big furnace back at our funeral home. Two blocks down," and he points, like I can see through the walls of this building. "Do you know what's going on here?"

I snort and slouch, annoyed that I have to wait and wait with an idiot like him. "Do it LOOK like I know what's going on?"

He mutters something snide about me, and I ignore him. The police mill about, doing police things. I don't see the gym leader. Someone in a black suit slips out of the main gym area and is on his phone even before he exists the gym.

This is . . . bad. Gym leader go rogue and slaughter some shit? Or the challenger? No, that can't be right. I was called before gyms open.

"All right you two." I look up when a squat officer approaches with a two clipboards. He hands them to us. "I need you two to read this and sign on the line before going inside. If you can't, we'll find someone else."

I give him the nastiest look of doubt that I can before I begin reading the very long disclaimer. A . . . My brows raise. A non-disclosure agreement? I read the papers. Don't speak of this, don't do that, dispose of all of the pokemon in the same furnace, hand over the ashes to the government . . . They're making it like nothing ever happened here.

Oh shit. This is the, sign here or you might mysteriously disappear agreement.

"What the hell happened here?"

The officer crosses his arms at me, and I remember what I'm holding the second I ask. "No questions."

I glance up at him. "Do I at least get overtime?"

No answer. I sigh. Whatever. I'm here now and clearly there's no way for me to weasel out of it. I sign a scribble for my name that vaguely looks like spinda markings and hand it back. The man's eyes comb slowly through the agreement. He sits hesitating for far longer than me. He probably has more sense. Or a better grasp of self-preservation.

But, he signs it too and the officer gestures. "Bring the truck around back." He points to me. "Load it all up. No questions. No comments. Quicker you get it done, quicker you get home. The sanitation crews will come after you, so don't worry about the blood. Just get all the bodies and get out."

My pulse picks up in my neck. I feel it hammering as I release Golem and tug on my work gloves. Both he and the throh follow me into main area.

I'm suddenly glad I didn't pack a lunch.

The stench of death and burned flesh hits my nose. Virbank City is a fire type gym. It's one of the reasons I refused to come out and work here despite a thirty cent pay raise. The hideous smell of burning flesh wasn't one I wanted in my nose all day.

But this?

No. This was far beyond any normal gym battle. This was a brawl. This was a slaughter.

There are more dead bodies than I've ever seen before. Magby, koffing, pansear and slugma. It's like every single gym trainer and the leader was in on this battle. I see the gym leader's ace, a magmar with it's stomach slit open and organs sliding out. A shiver runs up my spine. It's not just gym pokemon in here. There are liepard, watchog, krokorok, and scrafty. The latter two pokemon don't belong on this part of the gym route. The League set a route that winds from Aspertia up to Opelucid City, gyms from one to eight. Something otherwise happened here.

Blood spatters up the walls. It oozes from the pokemon in pools. Several pokemon have been dismembered. The throh next to me shakes. Golem whines. I swallow, tell myself, It could be worse, and watch the truck back right in front of the rear door to the arena.

"Let's get to it you two." My voice is raspy. I jerk my shoulder and head into the room. "Could be worse." I tell myself that, but I think of Hugh next, fresh on his journey this morning. The Virbank gym is in limbo. Until they fix this mess, his gym circuit could be put on hold. I'm relieved I signed the confidentiality agreement. I don't want to talk about this to anyone. I don't want to know what happened. I just want it gone.

I don't see any human bodies, but there are smeared pools of blood suspiciously lacking bodies.

We begin shoveling. Golem and the throh get the heavier pokemon, like the krokorok, liepards, scraftys, and the magmar. I shovel the lighter pokemon and begin with the koffing so the chances of our pokemon getting poisoned stays to a minimum. The first one I pick up is shredded and deflated like a balloon, and it oozes some sort of black fluid. One. Two. Three. I shovel the baby magby pokemon. One is missing its hand. I don't find it. Four. Five. They hit the metal floor of the truck with low bangs. The guy that's supposed to be helping me drops his shovel. A pansear hits the floor, and its head rolls away. He throws up. I go over and pick up the head, put it back on his shovel, and take it to the truck. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. I scrape the slugma off the floor. Its eyes have sank to either side of its shapeless body. Ten. My shovel is covered in blood. The ever-present ache in my back is stabbing again. I force the shovel under a watchog that is mauled with its arms and legs twisted and ripped in different directions. Eleven. I count how many pokemon Golem and the throh have brought in. Eight.

Nineteen. The death toll in here is nineteen. Not counting what bodies they moved. More than nineteen. But I only have nineteen bodies.

The guy is sick. He's leaning against the wall, trembling with his face in his shirt. He's trying not to look at it. He's trying not to smell it. I look back at the officer who seems satisfied that we found all the little dismembered body parts like fingers and arms, and he tells us, "There's an officer waiting for you at the funeral home. Burn them all. Collect the ashes and we'll take it from there. Then you'll be free to go home."

I nod. I can't feel anything but the throbbing pain in my spine and the rush of blood in my ears, pulse of blood in my hands. I return Golem and haul the guy by the elbow to the truck. I put him in the passenger seat. His throh follows. I shut the back doors on the carnage, step into the driver's seat and drive us to the funeral home. We pull up to the rear of the building where the officer waits and help guide me when I back in. The guy has to go to the bathroom to throw up again. His throh looks an ugly shade of purple. When I release Golem, he looks drained, like all his energy has been used up. I pat his shoulder and refuse to crack like the other guy.

We shovel and haul every body into the big furnace. I shut the door and let them burn. My body is crying out for rest, so I sit and stretch for a while, sweating and stomach churning. I don't each lunch.

When it's been five hours and I'm sure there's nothing left but calcified bones, I put the fire proximity suit on again and take a long metal rod. I beat against all the bones until my arms are numb and I can't lift the rod. I can't let the throh and Golem near this kind of heat without protection. I close the door, sit, and rest. Golem comes close and massages my muscles. When the numbness has worn off and the pain kicks in, I shoo Golem away and open the doors again. I crack the rest of the bones into small pieces. My arms, shoulders, and back are numb with exhaustion. I close the doors and let the furnace cool. I don't eat dinner.

The man helps me collect the ash and bones. We don't speak. We grind the bones in silence while the bone blenders scream and whir. The throh and Golem tote the portions of bones to us, and they tote the finely ground remains away. I see them loading a police van with the boxes. I'm covered in bone dust and sweat and completely numb to it all now. I don't care. They can take their grisly deeds and hide it all away. I don't care. I don't want to deal with it anymore.

The sun set a long time ago. By the time we're finished, it's past ten at night. The police leave. I leave. I let the Virbank undertaker clean up his facility by himself. I return Golem and trudge to the bus stop. I catch z's on the way home. I don't visit my mother tonight.

I unlock the door to my apartment at half past one in the morning. I want to collapse in bed, but I shower first. I scrub my body until even my brown skin glows red like hot metal and cycle through my bed routine. It's past two in the morning. I have to be up in a little over five hours.

It's not until I lay down and am alone with my thoughts that it all crashes down. I lay and shake and sweat in my bed, fighting the urge to hurl whatever is left in me.

I don't want to know what happened. I'm glad they took it all away because I don't want to remember it.

I . . .

I've never seen anything like it.

I catch at most two hours of sleep, off and on all night. Golem wakes me up for the next day. I sit with my coffee, and Golem whines, batting at the fridge. He wants me to eat. He wants me to eat so badly he breaks our rule and reaches into the fridge and gets the eggs to make me breakfast. He cracks five eggs and gets shells in the egg with each break. He drops two. On my last egg, he chooses to pick out the shells as best he can and turns on the stove top. He makes me burned eggs. I pick at them. I drink my coffee.

I put my clothes back on and go back to work.
Let's see. Yeah, I race-bent Hugh cause I thought it'd be fun because he has a fro. Tried not to let their dynamic slip into "romance" territory cause it's definitely not my intentions. A little bit of plot, a little bit of foreshadowing, some history, some quips, and a lot more death and cremation. I like this. I didn't know what I was doing with Hugh, but then he turned out very nice, and I'm glad. Anyways, hope y'all like this chapter as much as the first.
 

DistortionLocke

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
623
Caught
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
75
Location
U.S.
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Anxious, sweet-toothed writer who hides amongst the papers. Only attacks when provoked.
Damn. Just...damn. Wtf happened HERE?
 
S

SprungGeoduck

Guest
whozaaaaaaaa
why you gotta surprise me with more of your amazing writing
seriously, i can tell that you're really enjoying writing this! it's a completely different vibe from silver linings, and i like that! the first chapter set the tone fantastically, and the second... damn. what the heck's going on here? i love all the characters, and the writing style is so crisp and enjoyable to read. keep it up!
 
M

Minty Electronica

Guest
*whistles*

Well. I was about to say I felt sorry for Hugh because hot damn, do we get a good look at him. Just the whole thing about how he's stronger than Josey and how he wouldn't give up on his father—never mind the whole idea that his dad's death wasn't immediate but the slow but inevitable creep of a banette's curse.

And I was about to say I felt sorry for Josey, not only because of that whole dilemma about whether or not she should pull the plug on her mother but also because of that whole to-do about her dreams. (The part where you go into such fine detail about her bookshelf, ending with the diploma on its side, collecting dust, really made it, to be honest.)

But really, let's be real. The real scene-stealer here is the latter third of the chapter, with its utter visceral horror. The gore of the crime scene. The numbness of the cremation. The utter ridiculousness of the numbers and the almost deafening silence when it comes to answers. You did an amazing job at evoking a creeping sort of horror—the kind that crawls into you and just grows with each little detail that rolls on in.

But more importantly, hot damn, did the plot just take off running. Sort of. There's certainly a mystery afoot because of course we're all gonna wonder who just eviscerated a gym full of pokémon (along with, probably, its gym leader) and do it in the middle of a city without anyone noticing that the local landmark is getting its walls painted red. And of course, it'll be interesting to see how Josey gets dragged right on in to go all Scooby Doo on that murder mystery.

Poor girl. She's probably gonna not be eating breakfast for a while.
 
S

Sora the Blue man

Guest
This is the first like Story run I've read,and god dammit,its to good,I need more of this in my diet,I love the way its described and man,it gives me chills
 
P

phoenixacezero

Guest
Professor Xion: This wasn't a battle. This was a massacre.
 

BritishAirSnails

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
90
Caught
Jun 16, 2019
Messages
80
Location
I come from my house
Nature
Modest
Pokémon Type
Grass, Fairy
Pokédex Entry
Beware the BritishAirSnail. They come from the sky and leave their slime EVERYWHERE
Hooooly fuck. Well, we dove right into the action here, didn't we?

Before that, your Hugh is precious. I really like him and he's a nice foil to Josey's bitterness. Also Poseidon is adorable <3 Let's hope Josey isn't seeing him again relating to her job >.> But again, I loved Hugh and I can't wait to see how his role is going to unfold in all this.

Then down to the SERIOUS BUSINESS. Jesus Christ, what the fuck HAPPENED!? Oh god, I give Josey props doing all that and not just puking her guts out like the other guy. I would be in the blood soaked corner sobbing my eyes out. I am scared for Josey getting wrapped up with whoever did that. Just damn. But can I say I super love Golem for trying to take care of her and make her eggs? He is so precious. Clumsy and a bad cook, but I love him so much.

Fantastic chapter that will probably give me nightmares! Can't wait for more torture!
 

Whozawhatcha

i have too many projects
Pokédex No.
486
Caught
Jul 12, 2019
Messages
72
Nature
Lonely
Pokémon Type
Fire, Flying
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #17
DistortionLocke: I guess you'll just have to stay tuned to find out! ;)

SprungGeoduck: Heyy!! Haha, it was sorta a spur of the moment thing, but yeah, I'm really enjoying this one! It's definitely a refreshing pace.

JX Valentine: Honestly, I'm super glad Hugh leapt off the page the way he did and how intimate and friendly he and Josey are. He really adds some good dimension to the story and a nice foil against Josey. And ahhhhh, compliments! Hah, I'm glad you really enjoyed the second half of this chapter so much. The crime scene was, hm, fun isn't the right word for this, but it definitely came into its own while I was writing. Luckily for Josey, she knows how to keep her head down.

Sora the Blue man: Glad to have you aboard! Storylockes are definitely a different beast from comics or screenshot runs, but definitely fun all the same!

phenoixacezero: We'll just have to see what really happened here.... some other time!

British Air Snails: of course we dove straight in, why not just go balls to the walls on this Ahh, I really like Hugh too! ^-^ He's certainly a cutie, and he's such a joy to write. So is Golem. Golem is good and pure and deserves the world.
"I am a stone, unaffected
Rain hell down onto me
Flesh and bone, unaffected
Your fool I will not be"

I Am a Stone __ Demon Hunter

It takes the League three days to replace the old Virbank gym leader.

Roxie comes out of nowhere, an underground battling star with an electric band. Younger, fresher, and prettier than the previous leader. She’s a smash hit. People are so enamored they don’t ask about ol’ Harvey’s sudden disappearance and the flimsy story of retirement. Kids on their gym circuit scramble to rethink their strategy for the Virbank gym. Roxie uses poison types, and her Whirlipede is a crusher.

Hugh sends me a letter in two days, asking if everything is all right and what happened. I lie to him.

Still, it’s refreshing to hear of Hugh’s endeavors. Even with the constant suck of work on my life, my head finally turns to the sky instead of the sidewalk when I walk to and from work, hospital and home. I hope for a travel pidove everyday. If there’s one thing sweaty, sticky, humid hoenn had going for it, it was the idea of travel taillows spreading to other regions. It lets me cling to Hugh for just a bit longer before he really fades out of my life.

I try to forget what happened. I usually can until I go to bed and am left alone with my thoughts. My body still aches from that day, and because I don’t call in sick or take a day off, my body never fully recovers from the abuse I put it through.

And my days fall back into their regular routine. I head to Cheren’s gym, watch him maul the pokemon of kids and adults alike, collect their pokemon, and cremate them. I log my hours, punch out, walk to the hospital. I make small talk with my mom. She doesn’t answer. Some days are better than others. The day after the Virbank catastrophe, I can’t say anything. I just hold her hand and try to force her body to stay warm.

The hospital bills pile up. Luckily, I DO get a bonus check to keep my ass silent about the Virbank gym. It’s a week’s worth of wages. I take a dollar to buy soap, canned pork beans, flour, lard, and eggs to replace the ones Golem broke. The rest funnels right into the hospital bills and doesn’t even make a dent. I accepted a long time ago that I’d never pay off my mother’s hospital bills, but still. I do all the calculations on what I owe, and with my minimum wage? I’ll spend the next 200 years paying off the bills. All I can do is laugh and give some snide remarks to Golem who just whirs and hums with worry. He doesn’t like my negativity, but I can’t control it. Not anymore.

Against my better judgment, I look at tuition for Nimbasa University. I can’t afford it. I look at jobs out there. There’s a job opportunity at Elesa’s gym. I want to put in an application. I want to transfer. I stare the temptation in the face, think of my mother and my lack of money, and I don’t apply.

The second letter from Hugh comes about a week into his journey. It contains a sketch of his new pidove and sewaddle, Ace and Silky. Bastard. He’s too multi-talented. The bird seems extra poofy, and I wonder if it has the big pecks ability to compensate for that fluff. The travel dove has a new letter attached that’s addressed to Hugh, from his family. I find a scrap of paper and write him a brief congratulatory note and send the bird out. It heads east. He must be in Floccesy Town by now. I head west to work.

Golem drops more dead bodies at work. I drink more coffee than is healthy. Cheren continues to defeat his challengers without mercy, and the rather steady influx of dumb trainers with their patrats and purrloins at least keeps a check on their population size. Hugh takes his time around Floccesy Town, and while it annoys me that he takes so long, I’m also grateful. He’s not heading into his battle with Cheren recklessly.

Nearly another full week passes before we get another travel dove. It contains a single sketch of a cute, bipedal dog with the name “Romulus” written beneath it, and Hugh’s few words:  “Caught us a secret weapon. I’m headed home. I’ll see you all soon! Love, Hugh.”

My heart lifts a little. A riolu. They’re rare species classified as vulnerable. Not quite endangered. It’s still legal to catch them, though I hear it’s regulated. It’s been . . . six months? since someone brought a riolu into Cheren’s gym. They were a fool that took Cheren too lightly and let their riolu die, but it was the only casualty they had. A riolu could do almost all the heavy lifting for Hugh, especially if he managed to have it learn Force Palm.

Hugh is home late the next day. His mother and Molly cooked a welcome home dinner for him. I’m held up at the mortuary since a couple kids got in a scrap late in the day and I have to cremate their pokemon, but I still swing by. Golem likes Hugh’s pokemon, and they all play out back. They have homemade lasagna. I wolf down three plates because I’m starving on soup beans, dry biscuits and eggs. I haven’t had a homemade meal in years. His mother packs me a lunch for tomorrow, and I take one of their apples for breakfast. I slog through one more day while Hugh gets registered for his battle, and then . . . I’m standing where I always do, at the corner door of Cheren’s gym. The stands are always full because people are horrible creatures who like to watch pokemon death matches. Hugh is standing with a near practiced ease in the challenger spot, but I can see the taunt line of his jaw from here. He’s nervous. I don’t blame him. My stomach is churning from the sidelines, and I’m praying so hard to whatever deities are out there that he can do this.

He catches my eye. He flashes me a confident smile and tips his hat to me. I give him a thumbs up and find a thin smile in return. Golem waves and gives an excited shriek of support. My heart pangs with worry.

Please, PLEASE don’t let him lose a pokemon. PLEASE don’t let him lose anyone.

Hugh taps the circle on the Silph Co. pokeball, and he tosses it away from himself, saying, “Go! Poseidon!” The ball pops open with the vocal command, releases his starter in a zip of light and ricochets back to him. That’s one thing I’ll never get tired of. Watching the damn near supernatural way those Silph Co. pokeballs work. I bet they cost a fortune.

Cheren doesn’t even blink and says, “I’ll lead with Redeye,” his patrat, like he always does. My stomach cramps. I chew what’s left of my short nails and wonder why in gods name Hugh is leading with his starter. Classically, the starter is used as the anchor of the team, like in a relay race. You finish strong. I expected Hugh to use the Riolu first and tear through as many as possible before switching to the pidove, then his starter. The sewaddle? Too fragile to survive two hits from Cheren, and worthless yet.

A hand pats my hip. I look down and see Golem petting my hip like I would his head, and he whirs brightly, eyes winking with reassurance. I scowl and grumble and turn my attention to the battle.

The referee lifts his flags, red for the leader and yellow for the challenger, and calls out, “This battle will be a three on three! The challenger may switch out any of his pokemon during the match! The leader may not!” I roll my eyes, parroting the words under my breath with the ref, “When all pokemon on either side is unable to battle, the match will end! The challenger may reserve the right to forfeit at any time! Ready? Set? Battle, begin!”

He drops his flags. “Work Up!” Cheren calls immediately, and I’m amazed and horrified when Hugh says, “Poseidon, Focus Energy!”

He’s LETTING Cheren set up his Work Up combination? Is he mad? The patrat snarls across the field and glows bright, threatening red while Hugh’s oshawott holds its fist in its hand. It’s glowing slightly too, white, but centered inward instead of outward.

“Bite!”

“Water Gun!”

The rat hurtles forward to its prey, and Poseidon leaps backwards for space and opens it mouth, spraying a jet of water at its foe. The first one hits directly in the rat’s face, and it tumbles backwards in the dirt before flipping to its feet. It darts in close, dodging the next wide attacks, slips in close and sinks its teeth into Poseidon’s arm. The otter yowls at a pitch I despise and I flinch.

“Tackle!”

Poseidon lunges, slamming the attached patrat with all its might. The rat squeaks and lets go. “Get some room, Poseidon!” Hugh calls as Cheren snaps, “Bite again!”

They dart across the field, Poseidon zipping back and forth and trying to shake the disciplined rat. Redeye is too fast—they can’t lose him. Hugh’s brows cinch and he shouts, “Stop! Tackle!”

Poseidon lifts from all fours, planting its bottom feet and stopping short, and turns its momentum back at Redeye. I cringe when they collide again, the patrat’s teeth sinking in closer, into Poseidon’s shoulder and the oshawott releases a shriek. Poseidon rams the tiny rat into the ground again, the back of its head hitting the sleek gym floor. There’s blood now. I see it, spattered against the shiny ground and my knuckles tighten around my shovel.

Here it is.

“Tackle!”

Poseidon heaves up again. I stare in morbid fascination when the patrat keeps its teeth latched in the oshawott’s shoulder, and Poseidon rams the patrat’s head into the ground again, like a particularly murderous football player. The rat goes slack, and Poseidon pulls Redeye’s teeth from its shoulder.

Shit. SHIT. My stomach pitches uncomfortably. I hadn’t thought about HUGH killing a pokemon. There’s a new spatter of blood on the ground, from Poseidon’s shoulder and the patrat. The referee calls the round in Hugh’s favor, and I walk out with my shovel. I kneel down to check the patrat’s pulse.

It’s bleeding from the head, but I feel it, that tiny kick of life. I look up at Cheren. “Alive.”

He nods and returns his pokemon to its ball and hands it off to a gym worker. They disappear into the back to hand it to the working nurse, and I take my place back at the wall. Hugh is kneeling, spraying Poseidon with a potion. The otter squirms and mewls in complaint, but the medicine does its job, chilling the skin and making the bite holes contract smaller, numbing the pain. The translucent film covers Poseidon’s wounds and keeps it from bleeding.

Hugh catches my eye. He nods and finds another smile for me. Funny that. Him supporting me when I’m supposed to be supporting him. I try to return it. My face feels pinched.

“Chinook!” Cheren’s pidove takes the field next. I swallow and take a deep breath, trying to settle my nerves for the next bout. That’s how pokemon battles are:  short and violent. Only when pokemon are older and more trained do the battles extend more. It’s amazing that even tiny critters like this can be so damn vicious already. The back of my neck is tight and my throat feels swollen shut. I didn’t realize that knowing the person and their pokemon changes the game. I’m invested in Hugh and his pokemon. I can’t just numb myself to this battle like I do the others.

I feel sick when Hugh sends Poseidon out again. He’s practically playing with the otter’s life now. He should switch to his own pidove. Let Poseidon rest. But he doesn’t, and the referee drops his flags for the next round.

“Work Up!”

“Water Gun!”

Poseidon straight up blasts the bird from the sky. My eyes pop at the critical hit that sends the bird careening backwards and tumbling to the ground. It hits the floor with a smack, and I jump at the noise of bone on unforgiving ground. Cheren’s head snaps around to his bird, and it dawns on me why Hugh didn’t switch out:  Focus Energy. It came into play and bit Cheren in the ass. That’s why Hugh wanted to keep his distance with the patrat and switched to tackling when he couldn’t. An incredulous and relieved laugh bubbles up in my throat, and I barely swallow the noise. My boy came with a plan. And a good one. A hellish gamble that I hated, but weren’t all battles a gamble with life and death?

Cheren takes the moment to use his potion. Now they’ve both used their one sanctioned healing potion. Chinook flies back out.

“Water Gun!” Hugh calls, and Cheren bites out, “Quick Attack!”

The bird zips in like a miniature fighter jet, a mere blur to the eyes. My eyes are used to the speed, trained to see it after so many years watching the gym, and I see where the bird’s beak jabs into Poseidon’s bad shoulder, rips a fine spray of blood out of the oshawott. Poseidon shrieks and whirls at the force of the hit, and it hunches over its wounds. My heart strings play an anxious song. Cheren preys on weak spots. Hugh needed to return him before I had to scrape that little otter’s body off the floor.

“Quick Attack!”

“Now, Poseidon!”

The bird dive-bombs the bleeding otter again. My heart hits my throat when Poseidon unleashes a jet of water in the charging bird’s face, another fatal hit that shoots the bird out of the sky and on the ground. Its body thumps on the ground again, and I know my face is white with stress. The bird is lucky. It hasn’t broken any bones. It begins to get up, and I look at Cheren to see if he’ll forfeit this round to Hugh or keep going. His face is flushed, and I see the tension straining in his neck.

“Charge it, Poseidon!”

My head whips to Hugh. His brown eyes are hard as flint and narrowed to complete focus on the battle. He doesn’t see me, only the two pokemon on the battlefield, jaw taunt as a rope and a pulse in his brow. Poseidon closes the distance on four legs even with a limp, and the pidove is getting up. Cheren isn’t backing down. Bile fills in my throat.

This is how pokemon die.

“Tackle!” Hugh shouts. Chinook is chirping, struggling to get wind under its wings but its wings are too damp. Poseidon snarls and charges.

“Chinook! Return!”

Hugh starts. “Poseidon, stop!”

The otter skids on the ground. Chinook zips back into its pokeball, and I release a gasp of relief. It has been. So long. Since Cheren ever forfeited a round. I thought his pride would get the better of him, but he announces, “I forfeit this round to the challenger.”

The crowd is screaming in excitement and outrage. Their beloved gym leader is losing. And losing pretty badly. It’s been a long time since Cheren has lost a battle, much less without knocking out an opponent’s pokemon. I stare at Hugh again, who’s crouched and scratching his oshawott’s cheeks with both hands, a big grin on his face. I can’t hear his cooing above the din of the crowd, but he’s glowing with pride. Clearly, whatever his plan is hinged on Poseidon taking the brunt of these first two pokemon. The otter looks happy, but it’s weaving. It isn’t counted as defeated, but Hugh can’t send it out again. One bite from Cheren’s lillipup and it would bite it for sure.

Hugh looks up to me again. There are crinkles by his eyes he’s smiling so much. He gives me a big thumbs up. I return it, but my smile is even more pinched than before. It feels like a grimace. Clearly he thinks he’s got the battle in the bag, but I’m afraid. The first two pokemon are practically warm ups. It’s Cheren’s lillipup that sends so many to the morgue.

Cheren’s jaw works, like he’s considering saying something. He doesn’t.

“Brutus!”

And there it is. The tiniest, angriest little dog in the world that’s not afraid to go for the throat. Hugh returns Poseidon. “My next is Silky!” and he—

He.

Throws out his sewaddle.

He’s mad. I’m sure of it. A sewaddle was cute, but it’s a bug. It’s fragile. It won’t last in a battle like this. But Hugh is sitting back on his heels like he’s already got the battle in the bag, a big infuriating grin on his face. Cheren doesn’t like it. I see his fist clench.

The flags drop for the next round. “Work Up!” Cheren spits, and Brutus begins glowing that ugly red that I’ve associated with death.

“String Shot!”

Brutus lunges to avoid the spit of string, but it still lands on the dog’s back and side, sticking like a weight on its back and restricting its movement. “Work Up!” Cheren calls again. I want to shake Hugh. He’s LETTING Cheren set up those Work Ups and I know how quickly Cheren can tear through a team if you let him get too many. But Hugh’s wasting his time worrying about speed. That bug will have a hard time ever out-speeding the dog, and it’s not like the worm could even really do lasting damage.

“String Shot!”

Brutus is smothered in more webs. It catches around the dog’s legs and feet, and the dog barks and spits like mad, angry that it’s getting tangled up. “Bite!” Cheren shouts, and my heart drops from between my lungs.

“Bug Bite!”

The two pokemon charge and meet in the center. The dog snaps its jaws around the bug and there’s a high-pitched keen of a dying pokemon. Golem whirs at the sound and covers his eyes. I’m cold; all the blood is draining from me, but the sewaddle bites back, and it slowly dawns on me what Hugh is doing—the oran berry on the dog’s collar. It’s a sustaining health item allowed, and most kids don’t think about how to disarm him. Silky eats the berry while the dog shakes it like a toy, shredding its leaves, crunching into its body.

Hugh pulls out his apricorn ball again. “Silky! Return!” The bug disappears from the battlefield, and Hugh announces, “I yield this round to the gym leader,” and the crowd hoots and hollers. They’re confident Cheren has the upper hand again. He’s set up two Work Ups, and the bug barely hurt his dog. He could easily go for a third Work Up when Hugh’s next pokemon—

Oh.

A disbelieving smile hits my face. Oh my god, Hugh, you damned brilliant idiot.

There’s energy in Hugh’s movements now. He twists his next apricorn open, saying, “My last is Romulus!” and there shows up that blessed blue bipedal dog. A shadow flicks over Cheren’s face. His dog is chewing on the silky strings sticking its feet to the floor, restricting its speed.

Hugh is going to hit first. And he’s going to hit hard.

The referee drops his flags and calls for the battle to begin. Hugh grins. “Force Palm!”

“Tackle!”

The dog desperately tries to close the distance and I clap my hand over my mouth to resist a shout of glee. He managed to teach that little imp FORCE PALM! Romulus leaps the distance between them, paw lifted and shining, and it slaps down on the lillipup’s face. A blast of light explodes and the lillipup yips and crashes to the ground. It whines pitifully, but Cheren grinds out from between his teeth, “Tackle!” and I realize Hugh has this in the bag completely. He’s a fighting type—he’s made Cheren’s signature Bite not very effective for this battle. He’s slowed down its terrible speed. He took away its health sustainment. Cheren’s done for.

“Quick Attack!”

Hugh even pulls his last attack back from another Force Palm that spelled certain death for that gangly mutt. The riolu dashes across the field and knocks the pup flat on its back again before it can attempt to fight back. It whines and twitches on the ground. Cheren is mad red. There’s another lull in the battle and the crowd has gone quiet in shock of how easily Hugh dispatched Cheren’s star player.

Cheren pulls out his pokeball. “I forfeit this match to the challenger,” he says, and he returns Brutus to its ball. All eyes set on the referee who drops the red flag and raises the yellow, proclaiming, “Match, end! Cheren’s pokemon are unable to battle! The challenger, Hugh, is the winner!”

My heart explodes with relief and pride. “YES!” I shriek before I can stop myself. The crowd is echoing my shout and waving banners. Hugh dashes out onto the field, scooping Romulus up with loud laughter. Romulus is barking and Hugh puts the little dog up on his shoulder and gives a wave to the crowd. They scream harder. I’m pretty sure a few of the girls are swooning. I smile and shake my head. Fucking heart breaker, soak it up, why don’t you?

Cheren approaches him, and contrary to the complete anger I’d seen in his face earlier, Cheren squints at Hugh, and his cheeks tighten like he’s holding back a wry grin. He says something that makes Hugh smile sheepishly and scratch his head. Huh. Embarrassment, Hugh? Cheren pulls a case from his pocket, opens it, and offers it to Hugh. Hugh beams and picks it up.

Cheren turns to the stands and casts a hand to Hugh. The crowd obediently cheers louder for a new trainer on their way to properly take the League challenge. Someone darts from the stands. It’s Molly. Hugh opens up his arms to the eleven year old and she tackles him as hard as she can. He picks her up and swings her around like she weighs nothing.

Golem punches my side. His core glows hot with excitement, exuding warmth, and he throws several playful boxing punches and cher-chunks madly. I roll my eyes at his enthusiasm and push him. “Yeah, yeah,” I said and wave a lazy hand. “He did good, didn’t he?”

I look back up at Hugh. He’s looking at me. He grins. I know what he’s up to, and I give him a warning glare. He ignores it and comes running to me, and my shoulders cave back. “Hugh,” I warn him as he closes the distance, “Hugh, don’t you dare—!”

Only true friends ignore each other like this. I oomph! into his chest as he likewise crunches my ribcage and twirls me around like a doll. He sets me down and waggles his brows. “Well, Josey? Told you I had it in the bag. Went smooth as eggs in coffee, and I even kept my promise! Not a single down for the count!”

“No need to get the big head,” I say, but I can’t help but grin and roll my eyes. I shoo him away. “Look, my shift isn’t over and you’ve got a hurt pokemon. You get Posey there to a Center and head out with your girls. Celebrate or some shit, you deserve it.”

He laughs and says, “Okay, Josey. But I’ll be seeing you later, alright? Second you’re off, you make tracks to our place, right? I gotta share a beer with you or the party isn’t complete, hear?”

“I hear you,” I say, and I shove him off because Molly wants his attention and no doubt wants to see the badge. Hugh points at me again, making sure I know that I’m obligated to show up at his house before heading off with Molly and his mother. I wave to them all as they go, and it’s only when they exit the gym that I slump against the wall.

My eyes lift to the battlefield. A gym worker is cleaning the blood from the floor for the next battle on the hour. I should be more elated than this, but . . . All I can think is . . .

That was too close.

*

It’s after work. I’m out on time for once, and I check the time. I have time to visit my mother before I show up at Hugh’s place. At least for a quick visit. So even though I’m filthy with the dust of dead pokemon and sweat from the fire, I head out to the hospital again. I wave at Karen who sits at the desk, walk to room 3B and sit down with my mother. It’s so very quiet in the room.

I clear my throat and try to find my words. “So. Hugh had his gym battle today. He did good. Real good. Didn’t lose a single pokemon, thank god. I wasn’t prepared to . . . burn a friend’s pokemon. My only friend’s pokemon.” I let the words sit. I can’t really explain the sour, lead feeling in my stomach beyond that. I stretch my sore body and groan, slouching into the hospital seat.

“He did it with an oshawott, a riolu, and you won’t believe it, but a sewaddle. Crazy bastard. I didn’t think he had it in him.”

Mom doesn’t say anything, and it hurts. After all this time, I’m still angry she can’t respond. In the wake of Hugh’s grand win and his clear springboard into success, it rubs like sandpaper on flogged skin. I pick at my hangnails and glower at the floor.

Her body is there, but she feels farther away than ever. She doesn’t know anything that’s been going on in my life. She’s not support in my life anymore, she’s a drag. I hate taking care of her. I hate paying to keep her alive when she won’t wake up. I hate visiting this depressing hospital. I hate my life. I hate everything about it, and it’s so easy to hang all of my problems on my mother at this point.

I want to pretend she means nothing to me, because it would make things easier, but it’s not the truth. The truth burns in my skin. It wells inside me, sucking on my throat, heaving through my lungs and stinging my eyes. I bow my head in my hands, shuddering against the tears.

It’s not just a temptation to pull the plug on her.

I WANT to pull the plug. And I don’t want to look back.
So some numbers on Josey's debt because I got interested and did the math.

An inflation calculator says if the life support costs 3000 in our day, Josey would be racking up roughly 200 bucks a DAY on her mom's life support. And minimum wage back then was 25 cents an hour. Meaning she's getting about two bucks a day. $14 a week.

(This is why she only takes a dollar for groceries. If that threw you off. Depression Era dollars.)

So if she gets 2 dollars a day, she makes $730 a year. It takes 4 days for her to blow through a year’s wages on her mom’s life support.

$200 a day is 73,000 a year, which means Josey is at least 146,000 in debt for her mother’s hospital bills.

She’d have to work 200 years to pay off the bills. So yeah, holy shit, there you go, Josey is calculated 200 years in debt.


Sorry if the battle reads weird. Feels like it's been forever since I've tried to write a battle, notwithstanding one from the sidelines, so it was a challenging endeavor. Shoutout to my discord peeps for being supportive. Hugh is a good husbando and Golem a good son, and I hope y'all like this chapter as much as the last ones. A little less eventful, but I gotta set shit up yanno.
 
S

SprungGeoduck

Guest
God DAMN. That was a kickass battle. I've forgotten how good you are at them - both at showing the physical movements and such and at injecting so much emotion into the action. I love the world you have going on - the little details about Roxie make Josey's world feel so alive and real. And that last line... Whoza, my heart, let go of it, please. Keep it up!
 
S

Sora the Blue man

Guest
Hugh,man,I mean I've seen someone sweep Cheren using nothing but a Sewaddle in Nuzlocke form but I love this Hugh,and all his Pokemon
 

DistortionLocke

Conqueror of the Saffron Gym
Writer
Pokédex No.
623
Caught
Aug 3, 2019
Messages
75
Location
U.S.
Nature
Adamant
Pronouns
She/Her
Pokémon Type
Dark, Ghost
Pokédex Entry
Anxious, sweet-toothed writer who hides amongst the papers. Only attacks when provoked.
Imo the battle was really intense, and you get that sense of intensity thanks to Jo. She really understands what’s at stake, how it could’ve ended. For Hugh, this was a fun little battle. But for her...

And that last line, ouch.
 

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