Written Written Story Collaborative Nuzlocke Hallowe'en Anthology III: The 2021-ening

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Reader beware, you're in for a scare

SayleeK

Johto League Champion
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Dex Entry Between long periods of dormant slumber, this writer rises again for periods of activity that leave piles of dead fictional Pokemon in their wake
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Jul 1, 2019
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(Banner courtesy of Rainey!)

What’s up, ghosties and ghoulies? Following the grand tradition set up by Paine in 2019 and followed by enbygonetimes in 2020, we at The Writer’s Lounge have decided to bring back the Hallowe’en One-Shot Anthology!

This isn’t too formal at all, never fear—the only requirements are that the submissions are one-shot length (no hard wordcount limits, but you know what we mean, no 50k one-shots) spooky, and preferably based on or related to a nuzlocke you’ve played!

To submit, all you have to do is post below! Remember, fictional scares are good fun, but flashbacks to real scares or not, so please include a rating and trigger warnings before your piece! If you aren’t sure whether or not to warn for something, feel free to DM @localhoney or @SayleeK to ask, or with any other questions you might have!! This thread will remain open until October 31st, so you’ve got plenty of time to get spooky!

If you'd like periodic reminders, a place to ask for betas, or just want to share in the spooky Halloween season with others, feel free to come join us over in The Writer's Lounge! If you're already there, make sure you have the @event role for updates, and if you're not there and don't intend to be, we'd be happy to give you the occasional ping or DM here on the forums to make sure you can keep up with your horrifying creations! Just react to this here post and make sure to let us know!​
 

Leon Yorunaki

I'll Spirit Shackle you!
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he/him
Dex Entry This pokémon tends to hyperfixate on written runs and is said to binge them, but that behavior was never seen in practice.
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Pokédex No.
453
Caught
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
900
Nature
Rash
I guess someone needs to start posting. Because I can't hold this until the 31st.

Content Warnings: Violence and human death. The kind you expect from a slasher film.

0- I can only start playing after 36 sleepless hours, not before.
1- Only the first encounter for each area/route can be caught and used.
2- If it faints or falls asleep, it's considered dead.
2.a> If my encounter starts the battle asleep (including Snorlax), it's not a valid encounter.​
3- If I fall asleep while playing, or if I get a team wipe, it's game over.
3.a> Reserves can be stored in a box, but I can only swap team members in case of a death.​
4- I win this run if I defeat Lance
5- Sleep moves are banned.
6- Dupes and Shiny clauses are off. Tough luck

And, with special thanks to @Vivace for making this so much better with his beta-reading...
//38 hours awake//

You know those people who say they want to die?

Guess what, they probably don’t.

Now, seriously, I’m not trying to bash anyone here. Just stating the facts, because I was one of those people. But when that thing decided it was going after me, instead of embracing the imminent death, I ended up fighting back. And that’s how I’m here, walking slowly towards the big 24/7 supermarket to get some eggs past 1 am. Because I’m doing everything I can to stay awake.

I get a glimpse of my neighbours, knowing they already called it a day, a privilege I can’t boast anymore. One could say I’m driving myself insane if I told you that guy is staring through the kitchen window just outside of Mr. Elm’s House. Of course I know it’s him, who else would use that awful red-and-green striped sweater in June?

The very same guy used to haunt me every time I closed my eyes and hit the sack… until he decided scaring me to death figuratively wasn’t enough and went for it literally. Even I wouldn’t believe myself if not for the deep scratches he left in my left shoulder the last time I thought sleeping was a good idea.

That quick look at his disfigured face, full of burn scars, peeking inside Mr. Elm’s house was a tough reminder that I should stay awake no matter what. If anything, going out for a walk should help me clear my mind as I find a way to survive that madness.

I touch my pockets, finding nothing but a $20 bill and my old mobile phone. Yeah, great, I’m completely defenseless. Not that anything I could bring with me would be helpful. Knives? I’m not silly, chances are he’s using it against me and not the other way around. Heck, his hand already had, like, four blades attached to the glove.

Not that I think having a gun or something would save me, because how can you defend yourself when the enemy is inside your head?

I open the doors, finding an empty market ahead, trading the boring silence of those dark alleys for a few poorly illuminated aisles and “Sweet Dreams” playing at the speakers. How ironic. I then pick the smallest egg basket, ignoring the discounted but slightly more expensive dozen pack (those six should last for the rest of my life, I suppose) and head straight to the cashier, the boy as bored as I would be if left alone like that.

“You know what? I’ll take a Palermo pack also. And a lighter too.”

“It’ll be $8.25.”

It’s been ages since I quit smoking. A couple years at least. Still, at that point, I feel the urge to get some nicotine running again, ignoring the huge effort it took to get me clean. Nah, I'm dying either way, who cares?

Stepping outside, I take the pack from the paper bag, picking a cigarette and the lighter out of it. It takes me half a minute figuring out how to use that thing; it's one of those newer jet flame models with a safety lock I'm not used to.

And as I intend to fire it up, my phone starts to ring.

For fuck's sake!

"Nancy, you okay? Answer me!"

"Evening, Mr. Elm, what's wrong?"

"Thank god you're safe, it's… it's a disaster!"

I start to fear the worst.

"Tell me, what happened?"

"It's just terrible, hmm… wherever you are, please get back here now!"

"Can't you just…"

He hung up… that fucker!

If anything, that makes my blood start pumping faster. I don't know how good it is at keeping me awake in the long term, but for now I have way bigger problems on my hands. He wouldn't have called me at that time unless something real serious happened.

And, as the quarters clink in my pocket while I run back home, I hear something else. A powerful sound, hitting deep inside my fears, making my heart skip a few beats.

As I turn left at the next corner, I see it. A freaking crocodile, lurking at the streets waiting for the first one who dares to cross his path.

That's insane – and I know it. It's only there because of my almost irrational fear of those creatures. A thing that started when I was 5, when one of those growled at me in the zoo out of a seemingly empty cage. Of course, that also meant I've been avoiding rivers and such since then.

But to find a crocodile standing in an alley like that could mean nothing else: I failed.

Wake up, Nancy!

Of course, that guy is right behind me, ruining any chance I could have to escape. I am sandwiched between a creature that scares me to death and my biggest fear materialized.

But I won't go down without a fight, oh no. I have a few eggs with me. Useless. And a cute lighter.

I rush backwards, where the man stands licking one of his claws. He taunts, trying to flinch me scared. I can't get more scared than this.

It's a second too late for him to dodge when he realizes I've headbutted him to the floor. Not my smartest move, I know, as he grabs me with his free hand, taking me together with him.

I roll on the floor, only to realize he's already standing again, placing his fedora back to hide all those scars on its shadow.

He’s too close now for me to get up and escape.

In my last defense, I pull the lighter, pointing the flame in his direction.

One click. Nothing happens.

Another one. Still no dice.

Come on!

I click it a third time. And, as per the saying, it's the charm.

You know, it should be impossible to have a flame that big coming out of a 3-inch lighter. But who cares about that when it's as real as the monster you're fighting against?

I hear screams as the man gets engulfed in a fireball.

I get myself up, ready to run off in the opposite direction, but as soon as I do, he's not there anymore, and neither is the crocodile. I still can't figure out if it's safe to proceed.

I then pick up the dirty mess of a paper bag left on the floor. I probably lost a few eggs on it, but that shouldn't be a big matter now.

And, for the next half mile or so, I click the lighter every so often. It works every single time as it should, and by that I mean it’s a small flame, barely enough to light a cigarette.

Doesn't matter. I know I'll drive myself insane before figuring it out. Or probably die before then.

But what brings me back to reality is the desperate hug of John Elm as I approach him, desolated as I should be.

Because it was my house that caught fire, not his.



//40 hours awake//

I can’t say exactly where I’m drawing strength from, but I’m still moving forward. Or so I guess; as the old saying goes: “If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

And by “there” I mean the closest church, just a few blocks past the supermarket.

Mr. Elm was against it, of course. He tried to shelter me, and I’m really grateful for it, but I had to tell him I can’t sleep. Despite my eyes aching for it. Despite narcolepsy trying to kick me into a deep slumber I won’t ever get out.

I try not to think about it. Instead, I focus on the itching I’m getting in my right leg. I know there’s something trying to crawl in, but I don’t fight back. Kind of weird, having something that big moving under your pants and not doing anything about it. I mean, the worst it can be is a rat and, as long as I don’t attack it, I doubt it’ll try to hurt me. At least it keeps me awake.

But other than that, and the decent sized rock I have in my right hand, my walk is rather uneventful, at least until I reach the closed doors of the temple.

Of course I knew it could happen. But I also know closed didn’t mean locked and, with a strong push, the big wooden door slid a few inches inward, giving me enough space to crawl into.

And the reason I had gone there, to my relief, was also awake.

“Nancy?”

“Morning, Father Li”

I was never a religious girl, I’ll admit. But my parents were, and we used to come here every Sunday until two years ago. It was Li who comforted me when they died in a car crash. He always claimed I could go after him at any time, and he would be there to help.

It would be the first time I’d put him to test that.

“What brings you here so early?” If he’s surprised by my first visit in two years, roughly at 4 am on a Wednesday, he sure as heaven was good at hiding it.

It takes me a bit more than just willpower to answer truthfully. “I’m scared.”

It was barely a whisper, but a meaningful one. He answers with a nod and a glance, allowing me to approach him. He was praying as I had come, as if he knew.

“God speaks in mysterious ways,” he rambles. “Sometimes things may be harsh on us, but the cross is never heavier than we can carry.”

“My house is on fire. Was, just an hour ago. There’s nothing left.” And I’m afraid it’s my fault.

“But you’re safe. In the end, it’s what matters.”

“I’m not. That’s what scares me the most.”

“It’ll take some time, but you’ll get over it as days go by.”

I don’t know what to answer. I don’t know if I should.

“You need to rest.” He speaks softly, and I’m sure he means no harm. “Tomorrow is another day, one to believe in.”

“I can’t sleep.”

“You need to try, at least.”

He doesn’t dare hug me, but holds my arms from a short distance, offering some consolation.

For once in a long time, I feel comfort. In his words. In his arms.

And that was my mistake, because I figured out — a bit too late — we weren’t alone in the church.

The next thing I can see are the claws attached to his glove going through his neck, killing the poor guy while he tried to put some sense in my head.

I don’t know why I thought coming here was a good idea, for a start. Maybe I cared about him a bit less than Mr. Elm. Maybe I thought I’d be safer in a holy place like this. Doesn’t matter, I was wrong and thinking about my mistakes won’t do a thing. Thinking, however, seems like a good choice.

After the shock, I manage to run outside, away from the creeper. No crocodiles this time, which would leave me in a decent mood if not for a flock waiting for me to cross the church’s garden.

I don’t dare count them. Three dozen? Maybe four? Does it matter?

Alfred Hitchcock would be proud to see where this is going. Or maybe annoyed by the blatant ripoff.

It’s not like I have many choices, or any at all. Either I go back and face my nightmare, or I rush ahead and tackle those birds.

Forward it is.

I don’t dare play with my lighter this time. No guarantees it’ll work, and too slow not to be attacked before I can light it up. A sparrow was the first to face me, leaving a scratch in my left arm as I tried shaking it away. And, before I realize it, the birds are all gathering around me, clawing with their talons; they’re mostly pigeons and sparrows, but I can see a falcon kind of leading the flock. There’s no way to run past them.

But that sight is just enough for me to hatch a plan. I still have this decently-sized rock with me. Throwing it isn’t the smartest idea, but I can try hitting back with it. Maybe if I take the leader out, the other birds may go away. Worth a try, at least.

But it’s going to hurt.

Again, they’re taken by surprise as I rush forward, trying to ignore the pecking and clawing, moving fast enough so they can’t take a piece off me as a prize. The falcon seems to realize what I’m after, and goes in my direction, pressuring me with an attack before I can do the same.

I stretch my right arm despite the pigeon biting it, and land the first hit as I hear the characteristic kak. He flinches, allowing me a second and a third hit, solid as the rock in my hands, now tinted red. A fourth one comes right after, in a downwards movement, destroying its beak as the peregrine hits the floor.

As I do so, everything goes blurry and darker than the night. No moon, no garden, no birds.

I realize I’m still inside the church. All a nightmare. All a trick. I fell asleep again, as I shouldn’t.

And I finally perceive what just happened, looking around in shock while still holding the bloody rock.

He didn’t kill Father Li.

I did.




//41 hours awake//

The sun has yet to shine, and I’m still running.

Now across the big tunnel, towards downtown.

Trying to hide.

From myself.




//42 hours awake//

I’m tired, and despite wishing I was dead, I’m still glad I’m not.

Warmth starts kicking in as I drink some water from the public fountain in front of the zoo. The sun is starting to rise but I’m still down.

I keep myself wondering why I’m fighting so hard against death. I have nothing left; no family, no home, no one to care about. No reason to keep going.

I just lost something else not long ago; my sanity. The bloody mess I made from Father Li’s head will surely haunt me forever… however long forever can be. I don’t expect it to last long.

I mean, it’s not like I’m being hunted to death already.

I don’t know who that mess of a guy is, or why he is after me. Scaring me to death and back. Rather, trying to.

But, somehow, I don’t plan on quitting. Despite me being this hot mess, I still pull myself forward, and I don’t know why.

I reach for the closest vending machine. $1.75 for a can of coke. Slightly overpriced, but it’ll get rid of the coins in my pocket. I take that as a sign, slipping the $10 bill back into my stuff and drinking the soda while chewing a mint leaf I grabbed from someone’s lawn. It’s a last resort, because that mix will take a toll when it subsides and drowsiness will hit me so hard it gives me a shiver just thinking about it.

I wonder, and I wander. The zoo shouldn’t be open before 8 am, but I decide to jump in from the fence like I did as a kid, not wanting to pay the admission fee back then. There should be no one around, and, even if there were, I don’t care.

If there’s one thing that I do care about, though, it is fighting against my past.

I look around, trying to orient myself. It’s been ages since I last visited the zoo, and there are new attractions I wasn’t aware of. There’s a new aviary at the left corner (and you bet I won’t be paying a visit to that), and a butterfly center where the old one used to be. The riverside area, which is what I’m looking for, is at the same place it used to be, now past the butterflies.

As I move towards it, the itching in my leg starts again. And this time it puts me alert, because there are more things for me to be scared about. There’s way more wildlife around for me to consider, as I discard the rat hypothesis from earlier.

Bugs, maybe?

It’s definitely the bugs, as I discovered a few seconds later. Ants, I suppose, as I feel a bite.

Hoping I didn’t step into a fire ant’s nest, I started running, trying to get away from the source of those things before the pain makes me numb.

I start to regret what I’ve done; I shouldn’t have sneaked into the zoo, because I feel every creature here is against me.

As I wander inside the butterfly center, I hear the clink of shattering glass. The wild buzzing is enough proof that, however strong my mix was, it was far from enough to keep me awake.

Next thing I know, there’s maybe a hundred — or some hundred — bugs giving chase to me. Butterflies, moths, wasps. Too small and too many for me to hit with my rock.

And don’t forget the ants.

I’m being attacked from above and below. Hornets in my neck, fire ants in my feet.

Fire.

I pull my lighter, knowing it’ll save me this time. The only reason I do is because I have no chance otherwise.

And the saving grace of a flamethrower comes to my rescue from that 3-inch object.

Flaming debris starts falling as I turn around, burning everything I can shoot in a 360º radius. I don’t care if I destroy some rare exhibition creatures, as long as I’m safe from whatever venomous fluids these bugs may have.

The pain never subsides, though, and I move through the greenhouse towards the closest source of water.

The riverside.

Time to face my biggest fear. Bigger than whoever that guy trying to kill me is.

I feel my body burning from the stings. Maybe applying some mud over the bites will make the pain bearable.

But to reach it, I’ll need to break into the “empty” cage. Yeah, that one.

It is not locked. Zoo employees probably think no one is dumb enough to open the latch and go inside the cage.

Guess what? I am.

Relief is immediate as I cover the bites with the cold mud around my face, hands and feet — most of my body was protected by clothes, anyway.

I keep myself a safe distance from the water, despite no sight of danger; I know it should be there. This gives me a few seconds to run if I hear something approaching me.

Not if, when.

And my plan is foiled, because he’s pushing me. Inside.

What did I expect? Why did I think it would be safe to go inside the crocodile’s nest?

Again, I’m sandwiched between my biggest fears. I know that monster is just behind me, waiting for the moment I touch the water.

I’m not going out without a fight.

I guess he already expected me to rush towards him this time. Instead, I dodge at the last second, avoiding his claws. My back, however, is open — and he gets a clean hit with his elbow, making me hit the grid.

He turns back to me, trying another scratch as I duck, and I use that small window to counter-attack him with a full-force tackle.

He could never see that coming. But neither did I for his retaliation.

Before hitting the floor, he grabs my arms, turning my speed against me. He’s bringing me down with him.

As a last-ditch effort, I grab his collar — and it rips off as he throws me backwards, straight into water.

I wait for the impact, closing my eyes, knowing I’m done for.



But it never happens.




I wake up with a jolt, looking at the white walls of the room I’m in. I don’t really recognize it, but they’re familiar. Every center looks the same, and I’m sure it’s one of these.

My head still hurts. What a weird nightmare.

A place full of strange creatures, things I’ve never seen before.

I take a deep breath, recalling everything I know about me.

My name is Heather. Not Nancy, Heather. I’m a pokémon trainer, doing a journey in Johto. My starter pokémon is a Quilava, recently evolved from the Cyndaquil I received a month ago. I’ve got two badges, the last one from Azalea’s Gym.

And it was just a nightmare. Nothing to be scared of.

Nothing a cold shower can’t get rid of.

I pack my things, ready to move towards Illex Forest; I have no reason to be scared, despite being defeated in my last battle against that kid’s Croconaw.

I’m not scared.

But I should be. And I would, if I noticed that piece of red-and-green flannel under the bed.

EDIT: Cross-posted to AO3

Vivace: Ah, heck. That moment when you realise you're not the main character of the horror movie, but instead the one who dies in the second act :(

I had so many plans for this run. No, really. A whinny insurance worker for Goldenrod, some library research so we get to know Freddy's motivations for Ecruteak, then something involving a lighthouse (a witness to his past?), then she would finally start fighting back instead of just staying alive for the rest of the run. Sadly my half-asleep brain forgot about the second rival fight after Azalea gym and I went underleveled without a plan or anything SE against his Croconaw. Team wipe.

Made for a good run at least, and some motivation for me to start writing again. Thanks for bringing the anthology to life, @SayleeK!

And you can always hit me up in Discord if you like; you can find me in The Nuzwriter's Lounge chilling around.
 
Last edited:
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SayleeK

SayleeK

Johto League Champion
Badges
Pronouns
She/her
Dex Entry Between long periods of dormant slumber, this writer rises again for periods of activity that leave piles of dead fictional Pokemon in their wake
Pronouns
She/her
Pokédex No.
260
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
2,205
Location
Scrivener
Nature
Careful
I've been sitting on this little ghost story for a while because it's functionally a novelization of the final entry of my Crystal screenshot run, and I didn't want to spoil it ahead of time, but today is the day...

Content warnings: Pokemon death, Child death, just SO much child endangerment and trauma

It’s so cold on Mt Silver, but you expected that. The cold doesn’t scare you. You have a Typhlosion.

For some reason, you didn’t expect the quiet.

The air stings against your face when you step out of the caves, and you anticipate the roar of wind, but—nothing. Perhaps the air is just too thin, but you are struck by the notion that the very mountain itself is holding its breath. Watching. Waiting.

You did expect the figure on the peak, somehow, or at least, you’re not surprised. What you feel is hard to put a name to, other than not-surprise. The feeling of Ah. Of There you are. Of I put so much work into being ready to face my rival one more time, and I did, and I won again, and I didn’t know what came next, so I came here.

What comes next is silence. It was quiet before, but when he turns to you, silence hits you like an explosion. You can’t see his eyes under the brim of his cap, or his breath hang in the air. When he opens his mouth, the nothing almost chokes you.

But then he’s gone, and in his place there’s a Pikachu, and now you’re back on familiar ground. You know what to do with a Pikachu.

“Earthquake!” you shout, jumping onto Padme’s back, clinging to the warm, coarse fur just under the flames. Her roars shake the mountains, and the ground flings the Pikachu away and it screams. The scream is not distorted. It’s not clear. It’s something on the other side of clear, not-distorted, a peal of pain with such clarity that your heart breaks to hear it. You would have begged for forgiveness, had the Pikachu not disappeared at that moment.

In its place stands an Espeon, glowing an ethereal pink in the dark. You dig your knees into Padme’s back, indicating for her to back away and give you space to release Velma, and you’re just in time because the Espeon’s eyes and forehead gem grow blindingly bright, the very air distorting around the psychic-type, and that terrible distortion ripples through the air towards you—

It splashes harmlessly off of your Murkrow’s wings. Velma preens as if she didn’t notice the attack that warped the ground before her like kneaded bread dough. “Shadow Ball!” you call, before the Espeon can attack again.

Where the Espeon’s Psychic came in blinding light, what Velma produces is perfect blackness. Psychic’s ripples spread out, but the Shadow Ball only seems to compact, pulling in air and stone alike to the miniature black hole as it flies towards the Espeon, which vanishes.

It isn’t returned to a pokeball. It isn’t sucked into the Shadow Ball. It just… vanishes, and so does the Shadow Ball, and a Blastoise is there in its place.

Well, you know what to do about this, too.

“Beldam, Giga Drain!” you shout, returning Velma and quickly replacing her with your Ariados. The huge spider is quick to scurry under and around the first few frigid blasts from the Blastoise’s cannons, climb its shell, and sink her fangs into the softer blue head, and you grin victoriously at a battle already won.

…No. Something’s wrong.

Normally, Beldam glows as she drains life from her opponents, but now she’s just… shuddering. Then she pitches over backwards and rolls down to the ground, landing on her back and wailing piteously as her legs flail in the air. She can usually right herself, but now she’s still shaking, and when the Blastoise starts to turn to her, you don’t hesitate to return her, no matter how dangerous it is to leave Padme out here alone with such a powerful water-type.

She’s not alone for long, though. You wouldn’t have become Champion if you only ever had one trick up your sleeve.

“Zap Cannon!” you order as you release Amelia, and she seems to immediately grasp the gravity of the situation, because instead of purring and preening she yowls, all of her fur standing on end, even her tail fully uncurled. Padme jumps as the Blastoise sends a wall of water at you, scrambling frantically up the last few feet of mountain, but Amelia holds her ground, hissing and spitting as the water washes over her. When it passes, you see sparks dancing from her fangs. You’ve never fully understood how your Persian can produce ball lightning, but you’re not complaining, not when it hits true, right in the Blastoise’s face…

You’re watching so closely, but you still can’t seem to catch it. There should be light, there should be some sign of a pokeball returning it and releasing the next Pokemon, but you see nothing. You don’t have time to ponder on the mystery, though, because the next Pokemon to appear is a Snorlax.

You return the bedraggled Amelia, and not a moment too soon. You’ve fought a Snorlax before, back by Vermilion, and it wasn’t as slow as you expected but it was still clearly constrained by its own weight. The way this Snorlax throws itself at you, Body Slamming into the space where Amelia was just a breath before, is impossible. Then it turns its head, looking up at you and Padme, and you know you don’t have time to think so you don’t, throwing out the next pokeball you can grab.

James isn’t ideal. He looks so small and fragile next to the Snorlax’s bulk, but a Venomoth fluttering through the air distracts the Snorlax, and while it still moves fast, James is faster, fluttering out of the way of that landslide of a Body Slam.

“Supersonic!” you scream. Snorlax are so strong and so hard to hurt, but if you can get it to hurt itself, you might have a chance. James’ cry warbles through the air towards the Snorlax—

Which ripples, like a reflection in a puddle twisted by raindrops.

What the fuck?

No, you don’t have time to figure out what the fuck that’s all about, it’s confused and you have a chance, and as dangerous as it’ll be, you’ve got to give it the very best you’ve got. “Rock Smash, Padme!” you call, hunkering close against her back again. You can’t look to see what happens, all you can do is cling as tightly to your Typhlosion as you can while she roars, leaps off the rock face, and slams her small but powerful fists into the Snorlax.

It roars, and when you look up it’s stumbling, but it’s not falling, it’s not disappearing. “AGAIN!” you yell, and again you hear Padme’s battle cry, again you hear the Snorlax’s pain, again you look up and it’s still there. “AGAIN!”

Then you’re sent flying, unable to cling to Padme’s back through the sheer force. When you can grasp what’s happening again, you’re in a snowdrift, and you scramble out to see Padme lying in a crater, howling in agony as the too-fast Snorlax Body Slams her again. James is fluttering protectively between you and the Snorlax, but you know that if that thing turns on you, it’ll pulverize you both.

But it’ll kill Padme first, and you can’t let it, you can’t, not Padme, not the one who’s been with you this whole time, who fought so hard for you right from the beginning, who stood by you even while you were chained by your shame and need for atonement—

“PADME, EARTHQUAKE!” you yell, reaching into your bag for the first potion you can find and running towards her. The mountain moves under you, but you’re ready, you know Padme, you know her power, and you leap and jump across the shaking earth like Suicune running across the waves, while the Snorlax is thrown back. You rip the cap off of the potion you grabbed—Max Potion, thank fuck—and just dump the contents over her. You’ve been told to only use them in aerosolized form, that the medicine is too strong and will potentially just cause more damage in liquid form, but you have faith in Padme’s strength and you don’t have time to spray every bump and bruise individually, the Snorlax is already back on its feet and coming for you—

Padme grabs you, rolling over on top of you as a living shield, and kicks back with both of her stubby but strong legs. You never taught her to perform Rock Smash like this, but it works. You hear the Snorlax howl, and then… nothing.

Padme gets up, helps you up, and the Snorlax is gone. Instead, she’s snarling at a Charizard, huge wings beating silently as it holds position in the air above you.

You return James, because he’s too flammable. Padme can usually take other fire-types, but not one that can fly above her Earthquake like the Charizard, and she’s panting and trembling and exhausted besides. So you reach for the pokeball on your hip that almost glows with power, even when closed, and you feel a tug on your heart as they respond even before you fling it into the air and cry, “WATERFALL!”

Suicune is, as always, utterly breathtaking to behold, and every day you are grateful that they chose you, that they’ve brought you this far. They are somehow graceful even as they rise into the air on a pillar of water so fast that it smacks the Charizard even further into the sky, so far that you almost lose sight of it. It’s so, so dark up here, but surely you should be able to see…

The Charizard’s tailflame isn’t lit. Your heart stops when you realize that you’ve killed it, and gods, you didn’t mean to, not such a rare and beautiful Pokemon, you were just trying to keep it from killing you

The Charizard hits Suicune with a white-hot Flamethrower, knocking them off of their pillar. You know that can’t hurt Suicune much, but… no, there really isn’t any tailflame. That’s not possible. It shouldn’t still be attacking, it shouldn’t still be flying, it shouldn’t still be alive, but it is.

The image of a Marowak comes into your mind, like a dream, or a memory that isn’t yours. A Marowak that, when defeated, didn’t collapse, just… left. Disappeared. Moved on.

“Waterfall!” you call again, eyes intently on the Charizard. You’re not looking into the dark past it for the beam of a pokeball, you’re not looking ahead to where it’ll land if it falls, you just keep your eyes on that vibrant orange Pokemon as Suicune hits it again. You barely dare breathe as you wait and you watch.

It isn’t knocked into the air this time. It disappears as the pillar of glowing water strikes it, fading away into the dark like it was never there. You look to Suicune, heart asking if you saw what you thought you saw, and even though they don’t look back, you feel their answer.

Oh.

A Venusaur appears in front of you, petals spreading like it’s trying to take in sunlight, but there is no light up here. Just the endless dark and unbearable cold. You can’t imagine what torture it must be for a Venusaur to just exist here, but here it has stayed, with its teammates. With its friends. With…

“Flamethrower,” you say softly to Padme. Around her neck, flames flare as, for a moment, she lights up the darkness and warms the mountain peak with her fires. They wash away the Venusaur and all the snow around it, ice pouring off of the mountaintop in clear rivulets. All the fresh water sparkles as Suicune walks serenely over it, nose dipping to something that had been buried under the ice.

You spot the head of the Charizard first, no longer vibrant orange but drained to a colour almost indistinguishable from the icy rocks it’s lying on. It’s curled up tightly, the tip of its flameless tail nearly touching its nose. You keep walking closer until you can see what it’s curled around, though you could guess.

His hat’s tipped down over his face, likely frozen in place. He’s so, so still, which—of course he is. He’s dead. But it’s so cold up here that they’re perfectly preserved. There’s no way to tell if they died yesterday or three years ago, and even now, they just look like they’re sleeping. You know how comfortable it is to sleep in your fire-type’s embrace. He must have been through so much with his Charizard. His Pokemon must have loved him so much, to stay here with him, even now.

You bury your face in Padme’s fur so your tears won’t freeze on your face. You think of a Nintendo 64 that’s never been played in a bedroom full of dust. You think of his mother sitting at home, worried but so full of faith that her son would return. You think of children in Viridian gushing about the famous Champion of Pallet and wondering what he’s doing now. You think of Oak in his lab, with the power to get you permission to even come up here, but never mentioning Red, even though he must have known. You think of Blue sitting alone on Cinnabar Island, speaking distantly of losing his title to his old friend.

Does he not have access to Mt Silver, or did he simply never come look? Did anybody come look? Or did they all assure themselves that the glorious Champion of Pallet could face anything, even the elements themselves, even as a child? Were they all just waiting, anticipating, doing nothing?

“I’m sorry,” you whisper, turning your face from Padme’s fur to the dead boy in front of you, but no, that’s not right, is it? What can you apologize for? You didn’t know. You didn’t know. “I’ll—I’ll figure out a way to get you down from here, so you can all have a proper funeral…” That’s correct, that’s right, but it’s so… formal. Distant. Impersonal. “I’ll tell everyone what happened to you. I’ll make sure they all know..”

There. That’s it.

He was just like you. He took on the gyms. He took on Rocket. He learned, as you have, that the price of winning every battle is having to fight every battle, no matter what it is. He learned, as you did, that adults can’t be relied on, but when you learn to rely on yourself, they start to rely on you, too, and never seem to notice how backwards things have gotten.

And now he’s taught you, one Champion to another, that they’ll praise you for your independence as they leave you all alone.

One child to another, you promise him, “I’ll remember you. And I won’t let anyone forget.”

It’s so dark, and so cold, and so, so silent.


Maybe the real horror is the child prodigies we abandoned along the way

"Hes' a ghost" has always been my favourite take on the Red you fight on Mt Silver, and I've written variations on this theme in the past, but this time I also took my running joke of "sir im 10" from the screenshot runs and made it Sad. Because I can.
 

bhelryss

rose cultivator
Badges
Pronouns
they/them
Dex Entry this pokemon can be found encouraging plant growth in other people's gardens, but can be territorial about the resulting blooms
Pronouns
they/them
Pokédex No.
4768
Caught
Jul 7, 2021
Messages
1,155
Location
in the sunshine
Nature
Gentle
shout-out to my 2013 ruby nuzlocke that ended in a whisper, not a shout.

content warning: off-screen child death, on-screen nonviolent pokemon death, bones, groudon style apocalypse

“We can’t get across, can we?” The tropius nudges their shoulder, and they sigh. Even in the worst kind of weather, you can still see the other shore and the beginning of the long wild grasses that Foretree city prides itself on maintaining. A real wildlife preserve, where Feebas don’t have to be afraid of overfishing, and where the weather institute are firmly regulated in how they can deploy their instruments. It’s where they need to be, but can’t.

“Can’t swim it myself,” even though the shore is just there. It’s just there, close enough that they sort of, definitely want to try anyway. One step, two steps in, and the water washes up around their toes. It’s movng, quite quickly, and they back off, back to dry land, off the beach. A gasping breath. “Never mind.”

Tropius nudges them onwards, back to Mauville proper.

And they go.

(But they come back.)

The water stays the same. Calm at the surface. Maybe this time...but Tropius pushes them away from the water. They complain, but go.

(But they come back.)

“Hot lately, huh?” The leaves of Tropius don’t wilt the way the other trees do, or the grass that they can see on the other side of the calm water. The sun is so strong, but they haven’t felt the tingle of a light burn from standing in the sun for so long while the water ceaselessly moves towards the sea. The river is peeling back from the rocky shore, and it’s even closer to the other side.

“I could make it, don’t you think?” Winona has to sign off on their flight permit, so they can go home. Foretree is so close, and it’s just a river. That’s so much easier than backtracking, or going through the Whismur Tunnel. Plus they wouldn’t have to walk like some no-badge schlub. “It’s lower than it was before, I could make it.”

Tropius pushes them, away from the water, and they gripe as they go.

(But they come back.)

The ground around the river is bone dry, and while water still pulsed against some rocks, the ground further back is cracking into endless webs. It’s hot. The river is lower than ever. “I could make it, now.” They tell Tropius, who has a leafy wing spread out over their head. It doesn’t help with the heat, but the shade makes it easier to see against the glare. “I could definitely make it now.”

Tropius drops the wing heavily onto their head. “Hey!!” It doesn’t hurt, but they take the point. “There’s barely any water!!” Tropius brings its face close to theirs, and exhales across their face. “Noooo,” but it startles a laugh out of them. “I need to, though…I can make it, I promise.”

Silence, except for the crackle of dried out leaves as a breeze disturbs them from their deathbeds. Tropius doesn’t have any nanab berries growing under its chin anymore. “I could make it across.” That never sways it, but they have to try, right?”

They have to swim the river.

Maybe, this time…

This time?

Tropius herds them away, of course. (Of...course? Oh yes, of course.)

(But they come back.)

The river is now a creek, and they can see just how deep the river used to go. Sort of still goes There’s hollowed out little caves that recede under the bank, that they can almost see into. It’s deeply dark in there though, and their eyes skitter across them and back up to the rocks. Safe.

Safe? Yes...yes, safe.

“I could make it now.” Definitely. Just a little hop, a skip, if they balance just right, their feet don’t even need to get wet. They don’t even need to get wet. “I could make it. Right?” Tropius looks...looks poorly.

The edges of its wings are blackened, a little. Drying up, burned by the cloudless sky? That’s not normal...The sun is baking, but it still holds a shaking, shivering leaf over their head. Has it...how long has it been since it rained?

How...how long has it been since the river was full?

It’s only been a week, maybe nearly two weeks since Swampert, since their starter (what was her name? Why can’t they remember) fell. And they...ran to the river, to where…

“I have to go across.”

Tropius shakes, and a leg buckles while the same wing over their head drops to the ground.

“Tropius!!”

Gaze dropping to the ground, they fall too. Tropius isn’t breathing right. Where’s the center? Where’s, where’s their pokéballs? Where’s their own shadow??? “No, no, no no, no, you can’t leave me too, you can’t, you can’t, you can’t, not you, don’t leave me alone, please, you CAN’T-”

What was its NAME? Why can’t they REMEMBER?

“You can’t, PLEASE!”

(But they come back.)

There isn’t any water in the river. There are bones amongst the rocks. There are bones in the dens hollowed out by the river with raging currents that used to run within these banks brought back to life by the collapse of the overhang. There isn’t any grass left on the other side of the banks. They blink into the cloudless sky, and it’s hot. The trees are brittle little matchsticks, no leaves left but somehow still standing under their own power.

“I can make it across,” they say, eyes skittering across the bones like they aren’t there. There’s air in their lungs, their arms are strong enough to swim through a stupid river. It’s not even that wide. They have to.

A pause though, because isn’t something missing? They turn slightly, looking backwards. Of course, there’s nothing there. “I’ll get us across, Nana.”

But wait, but wait.

Who’s Nana?

Nevermind. They have to go.

(But they come back.)

you know that moment in the mummy (the good one) where o'connor shouts at benji that they're on the wrong side of the river? i ended my run in mauville with only my tropius (Nana), i'd just lost my starter (swampert, Mimi) and last pokemon capable of surfing, and thus my access to new encounters post-foretree. i loved that tropius, so i'm glad she lived, but there was something so empty and sad about looking out at what looks like just a small river, knowing you can't possibly cross it alone. also i grew up off the coast in texas, i'm deeply familiar with riptides (and we still lost locales every year to riptides in the river mouths we knew were there), and this past summer (not this one, the year before) was so hot, so dry, that any plant not in partial shade suffered from leaf burns. it was awful, watching my plants suffer when i couldn't fix the weather for them. too bad banana trees ned a lot of water, huh?
 
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Uberle

Zine’s out, you should read it
Badges
Pronouns
he/him
Dex Entry Stays in the distortion dimension where no one bothers him
Pronouns
he/him
Pokédex No.
209
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
1,652
Nature
Lax
hmmm
Yeah think I got something
And it is now the spoopy day for me so why not?

This is essentially the bad ending for my recently finished zombie run Greens, Eggs, and Ham
No real content warnings but it is a bit of a downer

So this is a journal entry from the point of view of Asclepius, a Being with the power to heal almost instantly from any injury and can't get ill
A thing about Beings is that they never refer to themselves as gods or any similar status despite their incredible power and while Asclepius is from the Greek god of medicine, that Asclepius was originally a mortal and cured death as one
Also my Asclepius has a gyn that only fires when its target isn’t alive

Two other things to mention include Nary, another Being whose power lets her control plants, like the fungus virus that creates the zombies
And the other is the White Horse, a strain of the virus that has achieved sentience and can infect humans
So yeah
Enjoy

“Demons run when a good man goes to war”

A quote from a show recommended to me by someone some ages ago. It was from one of the more pretentious seasons, but I understand its sentiment. I took an interest in this series because I found the lead character oddly relatable for someone like me. Incredibly old, aware of the mortality of everyone around them, and committed to a life of helping whoever they could no matter where or when they were. An unexpected kinship which I felt waver a bit when the baby faced one arrived, but I was invested by then.

I know this seems random, but I am going somewhere with this.

The mentioned quote is one I was familiar with even if I hadn’t heard those words exactly before. There is the hypothetical man who tries to do good in the world, one who seeks to help. So what does it mean when that person decides that war, the last thing one should consider ‘good’, is the only route available? What evil has arrived to deserve the good man’s wrath?
And ‘good’ and ‘war’ are two concepts that have no overlap. There is nothing one has to do with the other, and that includes its participants as noble their intentions may be.
So when that man commits himself to war, where there is no good, there is little he won’t do.
And in the end can that man still be able to recognize what he once was?
I ask as that is the position I find myself in.

Consider the following.
A hyper intelligent virus/fungus hybrid hivemind has managed to infest the body of a Being.
And that Being’s power is specific to plants, it’s a power that controls how they grow. It can speed them up or slow it down to an almost standstill.
With this power the disease could retain its ability to override the mind of living hosts while eliminating the weakness of rapidly decaying the hosts’ bodies.
It would mean that those hosts would still be alive, they could still reproduce for new hosts as the current ones age naturally.
Except for the one that makes all this possible, whose lifespan is immeasurable.

Now imagine sitting there being unable to do anything about it as everyone who put their faith in you fades away as their hair and skin drain of all color and a new force takes over.
Unable to stop it because that force holds the ability to mutate almost instantly, making any attempt to analyze it pointless.
Unable to stand in its way because the only ability you possess is the inability to die.

War is actually a generous term considering I am up against every single other inhabitant of this planet and my one weapon doesn’t work on most of them anymore.
I can’t use Pokemon, can’t use my gun, and every human has been infected by the White Horse.
I don’t have nothing, I have my centuries of life and the knowledge from it but...
I can’t be who I was as I experienced it.
I can’t be Asclepius.
There is no healing to be done here.
I am a doctor. But I won’t be able to call myself one.
It is my job to help others. But there aren’t any “others” anymore.
Just a disease that must be cured.

This is how my path as a healer ends.
I knew it would eventually, everything must, that is the way of the world.
And now in this world there is no need for a mortal.
I have to fully embrace my namesake and become a god. Only those are capable of creating the kind of miracle needed to end the White Horse.
It may not work.
I may end up trapped and end up only being able to watch time pass by.
But I have spent my entire life fighting sickness.
And Above be damned if I let this one win.
 
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Kit_The_Feef

Someone who draws too much ¯\_(ಠωಠ)_/¯
Badges
Pronouns
He/him
Dex Entry Comic artist. Idiot. Has far too many active projects for his own sanity. Unreliable when it comes to updates on his non-comic endeavours.
Pronouns
He/him
Pokédex No.
4612
Caught
Jun 16, 2021
Messages
1,326
Location
Australia
Nature
Impish
It's still Halloween! A big thank you to @SayleeK for beta reading this for me! Unfortunately, due to time zones, she was unable to beta read the last few paragraphs of this, so if they're bad, that's on me.
Violence, body horror, Looker.
The Hard-Boiled Detective

“…victim’s body was discovered at 1:32 PM on Friday, by a close family member who had been worried after receiving notification that the victim had not shown up to work that day. We cannot accurately describe what damage the body had undertaken, due to its disturbing nature, and police confidentiality, but police are treating it as suspicious due to a string of similar murders in Jubilife and the surrounding areas… They have all been assumed to be connected due to the distinct method of murder used…”

Looker flicked off the evening news. Another victim in this strange case he’d been struggling to find a solution to… If his investigation of Galactic hadn’t been bad enough, now there was this. He sighed, and got up to prepare himself for the scene he knew he was going to face.

It was cold, as it usually was, and Looker, not for the first time, wished he’d taken that job in Alola. The stifling heat there was far easier to deal with than the bitter cold of Sinnoh. But then he wouldn’t have been able to wear his signature trench coat… No. Now was not the time for thoughts of sunny Alola. Right now, he needed to focus on his investigation… Which was currently a dead end. He didn’t get it. Eight bodies, killed in similar ways, in such a horrific show of violence that he believed no human would ever inflict upon another. Yet, in his line of work, he’d been sadly proven wrong on several occasions. Still, the brutal savagery that had ransacked these bodies was beyond what he’d been used to. It was to a degree that shocked even him, the hard-boiled Detective. These people had been quite literally torn apart. And it honestly, in his opinion, didn’t look like someone could actually be physically capable of such an act. He was starting to suspect that it was, in fact, the work of a Pokemon.

But that’s where the line ended. There were no claw marks, no footprints, no trace of any presence other than the destroyed bodies of the people. The most bizarre part of these cases, though, was the fact that there were parts of the bodies that were never recovered. Mostly, the victims’ faces. A few limbs, here and there. But mostly the faces. Why the faces? It rattled him. He looked over the damage itself, confirming what he’d already known. There was no trace of whatever could have done this, no distinctive markings in the remains to prove anything specific. And he could think of nothing that connected the victims, no reason behind the targeting, and of course, a clear sense of what kind of Pokemon could inflict such massive damage and then vanish without a trace? He was missing something. Something important. He sighed and left the crime scene, still not getting any further along in his investigation.

***

He’d heard of a peculiar Unovan Pokemon that was heavily associated with faces… Or, more specifically, masks. Yamask. They weren’t particularly common in Sinnoh, but there was one that immediately sprung to mind. There was a certain shady bar in town with a rather nasty foreign bartender, whose Yamask had been spotted occasionally pouring drinks. Did he have a licence? It wasn’t Looker’s job to find out. He stepped into the bar and was attacked by one of the bums at the counter.
“Weee don’t liiiike them Interrrpol people here,” he slurred, as Looker brushed him off and set himself on the path of the bartendender. The bum slumped over and fell asleep at the bar.
“Hey, stop disturbing my paying customers!” The right bartender was in tonight. How convenient.
“May I have a word?”

Eventually, the bartender relented, and brought out the Pokemon in question from the kitchen. One thing was immediately apparent. This was no Yamask. He had evolved into a Cofagrigas. That didn’t put him out of suspicion just yet, though. The evolution had to have been fairly recent.

He bombarded the Cofagrigas with questions.
“Where were you at approximately 1 AM to 12 PM on Friday?”
“Do you have anyone that can confirm your alibi?”
“Would you happen to be hiding the faces of these people somewhere?” And so on, in a quick succession. The Cofagrigas’ bandages ruffled in irritation, as he remained speechless and bewildered by the confrontation. Finally, Looker asked “Did you murder these people?” The Cofagrigas lost his composure at that point. Looker’s hand immediately went to the Pokeballs at his belt, but the poor thing instead collapsed into a pool of sobbing.
“I would never… I would never do that! How could anyone hurt someone like that?” ha gasped between sobs. After a while, Looker realised that this wasn’t an act.

Looker was quite convinced that this Cofagrigas was far too soft-hearted to be responsible for the damaged bodies. He sighed, another dead end. He would contact his colleagues later, alerting them to keep a look out for any suspicious trainers with a Yamask or Cofagrigas, and decided to turn in for the night.

It was getting kind of late now, as he wandered down the strangely empty streets of Jubilife. The people must have been too scared of the monster, human or Pokemon. These people weren’t stupid enough to stay in harm’s way. Looker was not like these people. He had a job to do, though he wasn’t actually capable of doing it, it seemed. On top of that, he had the eerie sensation that somebody was watching him. He slowly turned on his heel, and then he saw it.

It was approximately the size of a human, covered in a cloak, a hood concealing its face. Looker very slowly approached it.
“Can I help you?” he asked as he approached the figure. As it reared its gaze upon him, he realised what was wrong with it. Where a normal person’s face should have been, a hollow, patch-work face stared back at him, and with a start, he recognised pieces from the photographs of the victims he’d observed. Beneath the face, a purple-green glow peeked out from the failed stitches. It seemed like Looker had found the killer, then. It screeched with the sound of a hundred voices, and Looker finally had the good sense to run from the thing as fast as he could.

He bolted down alleyways, weaving between dumpsters and streetcars. He finally had the good sense to leap onto a fire escape, and began climbing it. But he was not fast enough to out-pace a creature that could dissolve into shadow. He made it to the roof, and it materialised directly in front of him. It laughed, with those 100-odd voices again. An orb of darkness appeared before it, and Looker threw a Pokeball at random. It contained his trusty Croagunk, who else?
“Astonish, now!” The little frog may have been disoriented from his stay in the Pokeball, but he immeduiately understood the severity of the situation. He managed to score a direct hit, startling the monster and causing it to flinch, scattering the orb. Looker picked up his little frog buddy and ran across the roofs, barely avoiding another Shadow Ball in the process. Looker made another leap, but missed the next building, falling into a dumpster by the Pokemon Center. He knew, at that point, that it was all too late for the Hard-Boiled Detective.

“French, Dazzling Gleam!” a voice screamed. A blinding light shone from the Pokemon Centre, scaring away the beast. It skittered away, avoiding the light that seemed to burn it. It vanished, leaving behind its coat of corpses.
“Are you alright?” That voice again. Looker couldn’t take it anymore. The world faded as he knew that he was finally safe for a while.

***​

Looker later found out from his collegues the aftermath of the creature. The body parts were identified and returned to their rightful owners so that the families could give their loved ones a dignified funeral. The cameraman and his Mr Mime that had come to his rescue had apparently heard sounds of a struggle from outside the Pokemon Centre and had rushed to help. Tevin, his name was. Looker didn’t appreciate being saved by one of the creepiest Pokemon in existence, but he wagered it was better than having his face stolen by some freakish monster. Speaking of the monster, it had been identified, but not located. It was still out there.

Spiritomb. Made from 108 wicked souls confined to an Odd Keystone as punishment for their misdeeds. When contained within the Odd Keystone, they could be caught and trained by people. This one had escaped its confines, and a new Odd Keystone would have to be forged to re-contain it. For the safety of the people, a curfew had to be created, with Fairy Type Pokemon guarding city perimeters all across Sinnoh. They would not rest until it was caught. Looker himself had been relieved from that particular investigation, so now he could continue his initial investigation. Team Galactic. As he darted around, he caught site of two Trainers who intrigued him. One was a small girl of about twelve, holding a briefcase in one hand and dragging a much older, very dishevelled looking boy behind her.
“Come on, don’t be shy! Follow me!” she giggled. The older boy merely sighed.
“Please leave me alone, Dawn. I am an adult; I think I can find my way around a city set in a children's game.” What a strange thing for him to say.

What an intriguing pair. Looker decided to warn them of the dangers to come.
I haven't written anything in a while, heheh. So I'm a little rusty. But I still wanted to participate this year! The inspiration for this came from a nightmare I had a few weeks ago about a human serial killer who would steal people's faces and limbs, then stitch them onto himself. I thought it would make a great Horror story. Then I remembered this event was a thing. So I decided to adapt this story into a Pokemon setting. It was originally going to be a Dusknoir, but then I remembered that there is a well on Route 209 that you can get a Spiritomb from, if you have an Odd Keystone, and that the Spiritomb would be something I could viably catch as a static encounter in my Renegade Platinum nuzlocke. And so the story evolved into... this. It's canon to my Renegade Platinum nuzlocke, too, so that may not be the last time we hear of this Spiritomb. And honestly, reading Spiritomb's Pokedex entries as part of my research for this, I realised that Spiritomb was a much better fit than Dusknoir, anyway.
 

aegagrusScholarship

Problems and Issues Haver
Badges
Pronouns
yeah
Dex Entry balls
Pronouns
yeah
Pokédex No.
4946
Caught
Sep 9, 2021
Messages
722
Location
deep in hyperfixation hell
Nature
Hasty
uh yeah uh yeah here's a thing
no beta we die like all my old nuzteams

s p o o p y t i m e s

warnings: implied pokemon death, implied manipulation?

Firestorm is back in… the first town.

He doesn't remember what its name is. His head has been filled with too many thoughts of destroy the Weapon in life to remember what the town was called. He barely remembers anything of his life other than that single directive, repeating over, and over, and over.

And in death? His head had been too empty. Whatever had given him that directive (had forced that directive upon him, overwriting every part of him until his only purpose was to destroy the Weapon) had withdrawn- or maybe it couldn't reach him anymore.

Either way, Firestorm had lost the single thought he could think of. And without that thought, that directive that had consumed him for so long- what did he have?

Nothing.

(He doesn't even know if Firestorm is his real name. It's a name, though. It's the only name he knows.

Wait, that's not true. He knows six other names, all foxes, like him. Exactly like him. All once consumed by the same directive.

The other six are not with him, though. This is something he must do alone.)

So, Firestorm is back in the first town.

It is the town he grew up in. He does not even remember its name.

(He knows its name now, but not from memory. He learned what the town was called on his fourth visit, when he'd warned the fox now known as Myrtle.)

He does not remember the brick-lined roads, or the scent of the myriad flowers that bloom on the old, worn walls. Not the people who bustle to and fro nor the shops lined on either side of the main road.

(He didn't know they were shops until his fifth visit. The fox now known as Cinder had just exited one of them with a bag of potions slung over her shoulder when Firestorm met her.)

Firestorm stands at the edge of a balcony overlooking the main square of the first town. There are tables around him. Three children are sitting at one of them, scrolling on their phones and passing the time.

He would lean on the railing of the balcony if he could, but his paws only pass through the cold metal when he tries. So he doesn't.

(He learned that the hard way on his second visit. He'd idly leaned against the balcony, only to fall straight through. The fox now known as Aero had laughed.)

"Oh-" one of the children says. He is small and slight with an orange mop of hair. "They're here! They're here."

"Finally!" another child cheers, clambering out of her chair. Her voice is as bubbly as the pink of her shirt. "Hey! You two! Over here!"

"I just woke up," one of the newcomers says, rubbing their eyes. It is hard to tell what they look like.

"I had to drag them awake," the other newcomer says, sighing. It is difficult to see what they look like, too, but the only thing that is clear is that they are the opposite to the first newcomer.

"Let's start this journey right," the final child says, getting up from his seat as well. He is a large boy with enthusiasm to match his size.

"Of course," the second newcomer, the one who is opposite, says. They take a Poké Ball from a pocket. The other children do the same.

Five Pokémon materialize, some on the ground and some on the table. There is an electric mouse, a lobster, a frog shrouded in bubbles, a spiky brown rodent, and-

There is a fox, the same as Firestorm, on the table. Well, he is the same as Firestorm once was. Firestorm is now bipedal, with longer legs and black fur on his hindquarters and a stick in his tail. The other fox is also smaller than Firestorm ever was, but he shrinks down further, as if that is not enough. The red fluff in his ears is shaved off for whatever reason.

He is staring straight at Firestorm. His ears twitch here and there, as if he is listening for words no one else can hear.

His eyes are the same as Firestorm's once were, with four-pointed stars (or are those crosses?) twinkling in their depths.

(His eyes are the same as every other fox's once was.)

"You see me," Firestorm says, and it is not a question. The other fox nods. The five children and the other four Pokémon do not notice. "And you hear it too?"

The other fox nods, again, quivering just a bit.

"Oh, great. Don't listen to it," Firestorm says. "It's seriously not worth it."

The other fox hops down from the table. The five children and four Pokémon do not notice. He walks over to the balcony, acting as if he is only looking over at the town. "It says… we're running out of time."

"So what? It told me that too, and look where it got me," Firestorm lies. It did not tell him that. It only told him, destroy the Weapon, over and over until destroy the Weapon was the only thing left of him.

"Are you real?" the other fox suddenly asks. Firestorm shrugs. "You can't- be real. I'm imagining things… or you're- a devil."

What an odd choice of words. "I might be real! I dunno. I'm as unsure as you. But I'm here, right?"

"You might be trying to make- to make me fail. Like the other ones," the other fox says, and the four-pointed stars (or, maybe, they are crosses) in his eyes glint brighter. "We're running out of time… right? I've been chosen, and you're just… trying to make me waver. In the face of my destiny."

Firestorm concludes that the other fox is a high fantasy nerd. (He would be right.) "It's not what you think. It's not worth it."

"Maybe because you failed, right?" the other fox asks, crosses (or four-pointed stars) glinting in his eyes. "And you're dragging me down with you."

"Eh," Firestorm says. He doesn't want to argue. He's argued six times over. The other fox will see the truth soon enough.

"Hey! We're going now!" the bubbly pink girl says, waving to the other fox. "Cube, you don't wanna miss out, right?"

"Oh, right," the other fox says. His name is Cube. (Firestorm knows eight names now, including his own.) "Onward- onward we go."

"Have fun," Firestorm tells him. He means it. Actual fun, not a wild chase after a destiny that does not care about him.

Cube looks back, over his shoulder, and then he joins the five children and the four Pokémon.

The five children and five Pokémon leave the first town together. It's… familiar, but Firestorm does not remember when he left the first town with his friends. He does not remember who his friends were.

(And then there were eight.)
no i did not fail 8 entire x runs
but i did do a few old 'lockes and dropped 'em for one reason or another
so. close enough

cube's run is actually technically still ongoing. kind of. it's hiatus'd and i dunno when i'll finish gameplay
 
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Erberor

Who gave this bug a knife?
Badges
Pronouns
Unspecified
Dex Entry Exercise extreme caution: May stab in the feels and wiggle the knife.
Pronouns
Unspecified
Pokédex No.
184
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
196
Location
Somewhere, Probably
Nature
Timid
Aight so I decided to sit down and hammer this together over the last couple hours and here we are. No beta, we die in a blaze of glory.

Content warning: There's nothing graphic, but implied death.

Thus is a Golurk formed:

Shell of clay.
Heart of flame.
Soul of Protectio-

Overridden.
Soul of Obedience.



This one is ordered:

Clear the halls.
Get the civilians to their rooms.
Eliminate intruders in the castle.

The halls are clear.
The civilians are within their dwellings.
No intruders have been sighted.

This one patrols these halls. This one has deemed constant vigilance necessary to fulfilling this one’s orders. Thus does this one remain on patrol.



This one is ordered:

Clear the halls.
Get the civilians to their rooms.
Eliminate intruders in the castle.

The halls are clear.
The civilians are within their dwellings.
No intruders have been sighted.

Many days have passed since these orders were issued. Signs of continued conflict have fallen drastically. This is unusual. This one wonders if-

Overridden.
First Maxim: Obey orders given by the head of House Magnus.

This one does not question orders.



This one is ordered:

Clear the halls.
Get the civilians to their rooms.
Eliminate intruders in the castle.

The halls are not clear.
The civilians are not within their dwellings.
No intruders have been-

The civilians are in the halls. To intrude is to insert oneself into a space where one is forbidden. Standing orders command the civilians to return to their rooms. Thus does this one conclude: The halls are forbidden to the civilians. Thus does this one conclude: The civilians are intruders.

Intruders have been sighted.

Pursuit in progress.

The intruders have instructed Pokemon to halt this one’s progress. Obstructing Pokemon identified as: Patrat and Audino. Obstructing Pokemon are under command of intruders. Thus does this one conclude: Obstructing Pokemon are intruders. Opposing combat abilities are minimal. Eliminati-

Third Maxim: Protect Pokemon, so long as it does not sacrifice self prese-

Overridden.
First Maxim: Obey orders given by the head of House Magnus.

Eliminating intruders.



This one is ordered:

Clear the halls.
Get the civilians to their rooms.
Eliminate intruders in the castle.

The halls are not clear.
The civilians are not within their dwellings.
Intruders have been sighted.

Pursuit in progress.

This one is nearly within striking distance of the civilia-

Previous conclusion deems civilians within hallways as intruders.

This one is nearly within striking distance of the intruders.

Eliminating intru-

First Maxim: Protect humans at all-

Overridden.
First Maxim: Obey orders given by the head of House Magnus.



The intruders are attempting to open the portcullis at the postern gate. Opening the portcullis will allow the intruders to escape the castle. This one has concluded patrolling halls essential to fulfilling orders. Thus does this one conclude: Pursuit beyond castle walls will result in failure to obey orde-

Allowing intruders to escape will result in failure to obey this one’s order to eliminate intruders.



This one is ordered:

Clear the halls.
Get the civilians to their rooms.
Eliminate intruders in the castle.

This one has found a contradiction in issued orders. No priority given in issued order. This one observes that the standing order to clear the halls was issued prior to the order to eliminate intruders. Thus does this one conclude: As the first order given, clearing the halls is a priority order.

Allowing intruders to escape will result in the halls being clear. Thus does this one conclude: allowing intruders to escape will result in fulfillment of priority order.

This one is within striking distance of the intruders. This one observes that eliminating the intruders immediately will result in fulfillment of all orders simultaneously. Thus does this one conclude: This one must eliminate the intruders.

Eliminating intrude-

First Maxim: Protect humans at all costs, even at cost of-

Overridden.
First Maxim: Obey orders given by the head of House Magnus.

Elimina-

The intruders are calling for hel-
Overridden.
First Maxim: Obey orders given by the head of House Magnus.

Eliminating in-

The intruders are begging for mercy from this o-

Overridden.
First Maxim: Obey orders given by the head of House Magnus.

Eliminati-

This one does not wish to kill them.

This one believes it is wrong to kill them.

This one knows that Golurk are protectors of-

Overridden.
First Maxim: Obey orders given by the head of House Magnus.

This one does not question orders.

Eliminating intruders.



This one is ordered:

Clear the halls.
Get the civilians to their rooms.
Eliminate intruders in the castle.

The halls are clear.
The civilians are within their dwellings.
No intruders have been sighted.



This one is ordered:

Clear the halls.
Get the civilians to their rooms.
Eliminate intruders in the castle.

The halls are clear.
The civilians are within their dwellings.
No intruders have been sighted.



This one is ordered:

Clear the halls.
Get the civilians to their rooms.
Eliminate intruders in the castle.

The halls are clear.
The civilians are within their dwellings.
No intruders have been sighted.
This isn't strictly based on any particular run I did, but the behavior and thought process of the narrating Golurk are very much how I imagine the Golurk in the castle ruins of All That We Are working. There was a little pursuit and hiding scene in that run, so you could say it's based on that, but that'd be a stretch.

I hope the stiffness of the narration added to the story instead of taking away... a huge part of this piece was me wanting to explore how a magical automaton might think. Something built with hard coded rules baked in, something that follows orders. Usually this idea calls to mind sci-fi depictions of robots, but I've always found that approach lacking when working with golems and other fantasy constructs. I feel like there should be an element of soul, of poetry and grandeur about them. There should certainly be that cold, order following nature, with overrides and contradictions and icy logic, but I just feel like the way a golem talks and thinks should be rooted in the world of the people who created it, rather than in that science fiction.

Anyway, go read some of Pratchett's books with golems in em', Feet of Clay is really good, would recommend. Also Going Postal. Some golem stuff in there too.

Oh, and be sure to be responsible with any automata you might have lying around.
 
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localhoney

the smooth jazz of bastards
Badges
Pronouns
he/him
Dex Entry Entry unknown.
Pronouns
he/him
Pokédex No.
2002
Caught
May 17, 2020
Messages
362
Location
Miami, FL
Nature
Adamant
Practically at the buzzer with this one.

content warnings: bones, being buried alive, death (almost a given), spirits and the supernatural
On Poni Island, the untamed sibling of the Alolan archipelago, there is an annual tradition; children disguise themselves in cloaks and masks and, under the watchful eye of a crimson moon, summon up the courage to traverse the furthest reaches of the wilds and the darkest shadows of the night. All this in an attempt to curry favor from the island gods.

Poni Island’s crypt keeper is one of the most widely known shadows; the initiation, as it were, for the youngest who wish to prove their bravery to the Tapus.

He’s well aware of his status, though it was cast upon him through no fault of his own. A lonely, sullen old man, rarely seen without the company of the black cats that roam the graveyard and its surroundings, is unlikely to evoke any favorable opinions without substantial effort.

And yet, for all the taunting and teasing, he never ceases to do his job on this esteemed night, providing an easy gateway to grandeur for young children.

He is alone in the graveyard, but he is alone in the same way the sea appears empty. Though the naked eye struggles to capture the totality of what exists, it is nonetheless there. Ghosts are no stranger to a Poni islander than a ship might be, but that doesn’t make them any less frightening. Every rustle of the palm fronds above and the slightest shift of the ground below seem to call upon the unknown.

Statistically, of course, it’s impossible for every grave in every yard to contain a spirit strong enough to manifest itself physically. Most of them flicker between realms, existing in some liminal space between life and thereafter. Others fade, their memory lost to time like grains of sand lost to the tide. However, those that do remain are restless, ravenous, and refuse to resign themselves to their status.

On this night, the keeper is accompanied by a lone phantom, which has found itself possessing a discarded balloon, transported across the islands on gusts of wind. He pays it no mind; although uncommon, there are times where a drifloon or even drifblim is pushed across the seas from Hau’oli.

The spirit does not intend to maintain its elastic form for long.

It evades the field of vision of the keeper and floats just over the rusted barbs of the gates, in desperate pursuit of a simpler being— a young child, perhaps. There are none to be found, as the moon is still at its apex and tradition demands its descent to truly call the fickle island gods’ attention.

The keeper continues on his nightly shift, making the rounds of the cemetery. He pauses at each tombstone, tamping down the dirt where it’s been blown away. He passes the three largest graves at the front, then turns down the next row. The trio of caskets rumble and slowly creak and the dirt falls away to reveal a triumvirate of marowak, who brush the earth from their skulls and pull large, thick bones from the ditch. The keeper, accustomed to odd noises, does not even think to turn around.

The drifloon returns to the graveyard, mildly aggravated at the lack of variety in prey. Its eyes shine a bloody crimson as it selects its victim. The marowak, meanwhile, approach the crypt’s mausoleum and begin the process of unearthing the remains within. The sound of bone cracking marble and earth reverberates loudly, and is enough to finally get the keeper’s attention.

His eyes roll as if on instinct, putting his shovel over his shoulder and sighing. “Damned kids, get out of here!” But he realizes his mistake once he focuses his vision on the jilted spirit in front of him.

He backs away slowly, keeping a shovel’s length between him and the drifloon. His escape route is cut short by the feeling of cold metal through the thin linen of his shirt. A brisk breeze blows through, making the drifloon’s strings flutter and taking it off course.

The keeper seizes his opportunity and makes a desperate break for the gates, the ground beneath his feet giving way to his every stride, but it is far too late— the drifloon has set its sights on him. It floats towards him without haste, allowing the breeze to bump it this way and that way. It has existed beyond the bounds of time for centuries; mere seconds, minutes, even hours are inconsequential.

The keeper, however, believes otherwise. He sprints past the marowak, who merely shift their skulls to glance in his direction. They, too, understand that a meter, or two, or ten will not save him.

His fingers force their way into the gaps between the bars, and yank backwards. The clang and screech of rusting iron echoes into the night in a reverberating staccato, each attempt draining him of more of his energy.

The spirit drifts.

Its strings weave their way around the keeper’s throat and pull taut, sharp and unyielding. Blood creeps out from beneath them and weighs down the keeper’s jacket, shirt, body. With a single hand, he claws at his neck, lungs craving oxygen. The drifloon shifts backwards and he falls to the ground, tendons and veins threatening to burst from the weight of his body being hauled through the dirt.

The marowak stagger to their feet to surround him. Their sickly green flames spin as they chant in a guttural ancient tongue. The drifloon floats on.

His vision blurs and, for a moment, he believes he has somehow escaped. The fire persists, but without heat. The strings seem to come loose. His body floats just above the earth, his eyes entranced by darkness.

It is only after a swift fall into a shallow grave that his consciousness returns. He panics needlessly; the spirits have learned that panic is reserved for situations with uncertain outcomes. This outcome is all but guaranteed.

Damp handfuls of earth pile on top of him, one after another, until he screams soundlessly and can only breathe in the dank scent of saturated soil. His eyes dart around, seeking a nonexistent exit, until they too are engulfed. With their bone staffs, the marowak tamp down the top of the grave; to any passersby, it would appear there had never been a grave to begin with, just an empty mausoleum in waiting. Their work completed, the spirits fade back into their realm, less than satisfied yet eternally patient.

And just below the tombstones and the wrought iron gates, the bounding footsteps of innocent children and the cries of their parents, lies the keeper, kept by the crypt.
 
OP
SayleeK

SayleeK

Johto League Champion
Badges
Pronouns
She/her
Dex Entry Between long periods of dormant slumber, this writer rises again for periods of activity that leave piles of dead fictional Pokemon in their wake
Pronouns
She/her
Pokédex No.
260
Caught
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
2,205
Location
Scrivener
Nature
Careful
Thanks so much to everyone who submitted their piece this year! I am terrified of all of you! This thread is now closed--See you all next Halloween!
 

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