Thickening

Posted: August 16, 2009 in Sunday Funday
Tags: , , , ,

Thickening

I am tired beyond sleep. Exhausted beyond repair. Broken beyond mending.
I am marching in line behind a Bonsly, a heavily-muscled Machoke at my back.
I am wearing a Mr Mime costume and wearing the face of a dead Mr Mime over my own face.
It is the dead of night and we are marching into Mount Coronet.
I am so scared I want to piss myself, but it I do they will know and they will kill me.
Perhaps one of them will wear my face when I am dead.
Inside Mount Coronet, the mountain is claustrophobic and the passages cramped.
We are heading down. I have no idea if this section is even marked on our maps.
We pass several huge boulders, the size of which only a Pokémon could move. They must have opened up some hidden tunnels.
We keep walking down, getting deeper and deeper by the second.
Eventually the path levels out. I wonder how far down we are.
We keep walking until the tiny tunnel ends and we are–
Inside a massive cavern, hollowed out the in the centre of the mountain. Waterfalls trickle and cleverly placed fire Pokémon – Infernapes, Flareons, Ponytas, Rapidashes, etc – keep the place illuminated for the sight before me:
Thousands – tens of thousands – of Pokémon fill the chamber floor, gathering before a ledge built into the rock about ten feet up on the very far side of the cavern. Overhead flap the multitude of wings of the flying creatures, Wingulls, Pelippers, Starlys, Staravias, Swablus, Altarias, Togetics, Togekisses, even the bobbing balloons of Drifloons and Drifblims as they all circle the cave. Massive monstrous heads of Onixes and Steelixes emerge from holes carved into the rock cavern. Zubats, Golbats, Crobats, Gligars and Gliscors hang from the ceiling.
The noise is thunderous. The squabbling sounds of Pokémon grunts, murmurs and the sounds of the own languages echo around the cavern.
I keep following the Bonsly in front of me. It seems to know where it’s going as our line marches into the enormous gathering of Pokémon stretched out before us.
We keep walking deep inside the crush. We finally stop in near the middle.
The Bonsly turns and looks at me excitedly, jabbering away in some strange language. All I can hear is it saying its own name repeatedly. I nod and grunt. It turns back to face the ledge with the rest of the Pokémon.
I turn back. The trickle of Pokémon entering the cavern is dying. We seem to be all here.
The sound of the huge boulders, miles above and away, reverberate around the cavern as they are pushed back into place.
We’re all shut in.
The noises die away, silence consuming their places.
The only sound I can hear is my breath rasping through the hole where Mr Mime’s mouth once was.
The glow of the lights seems to fade slightly.
A Monferno climbs the ledge and illuminates it with the flame on its tail. A cave entrance is barely visible in the rock behind the ledge.
The collective breaths of thousands of Pokémon are held.
They walk out of the cave, onto the ‘stage’; fifteen humans, hands bound behind them, bags on their heads, adults and children, lead and followed closely by Scythers and Scizors.
The humans are forced to their knees, facing out over the vastness of the crowd. Even at my great distance, I can see they are all shaking with fear and that most of them have pissed themselves.
One more creature emerges from the black tunnel:
A Psyduck.
As it walks on stage, a ripple surges through the crowd.
The Pokémon bow down on one knee before the Psyduck.
I join them, hoping I don’t go too fast or too slow.
The Psyduck points at one of the humans.
The Scizor standing behind it rips the bag off its head.
I recognise him! Professor Rowan! The man who gave me the Pokédex at the start of this whole affair!
My gasp is drowned out among the collective growling that begins to echo around the chamber as the Pokémon get a look at the man.
He blinks in the light, his face bruised, a bloody wound to his temple.
‘What the hell is going on?’ His voice echoes around the cave, the projection perfectly clear across the whole ensemble.
The Psyduck points to another human in the row. The Scyther whips the bag off and her black hair falls down past her terrifyingly pale cheeks. I recognise her as well – Sandy. She worked with Rowan in the lab, developing new ways to catalogue the Pokémon.
The Psyduck’s eyes glow bright blue, the same colour that illuminates from the assistant’s eyes.
Sandy’s mouth opens and a deep, slow-speaking, unnatural voice comes out of it.
‘Speak when you are spoken to, Professor. We have all night to answer each other’s questions.’
Rowan shoots horrified glances between Sandy and the Psyduck. ‘What is she saying? Are you making her say that?’
The Psyduck nods.
The Scyther steps in behind one of the other people in the row. It extends a single bladed arm across the front of him. It slashes sharply across his throat. The man collapses, thrashing, his hands bound behind him, his blood spilling across the ledge, spilling down into the Pokémon at the front, sending them into a frenzy. The crowd roars with delight and Rowan tries to move towards the man. The Scizor behind Rowan cracks him over the head with a pincer, stopping his struggle.
The man kicks weakly, his death inevitable. The Scyther picks him up and hurls his dying body out into the crowd. The Pokémon that grab him rip him to shreds, pulling every piece of flesh they can grab in all directions at once. I swallow back some bile.
As the man’s pieces vanish into the crowd, the noise dies down. Sandy begins speaking again.
‘I take it that you understand now the seriousness of this congregation, Professor?’
Rowan shakes with fear.
‘You can answer me now, Professor.’
‘I… I understand.’
‘Excellent. We have brought you and everyone else from Sandgem Town here because we have some rather pressing questions that I’m afraid only you can answer. Our questions concern the Pokédex, the device by which you humans attempt to corral and catalogue our kind. Are you paying attention?’
Rowan nods slowly.
A bead of sweat makes its way down the back of my neck. I pray the Machoke behind is too busy watching the stage to notice my terror. Sandy’s booming voice echoes around the chamber again.
‘We want to know how it works, Professor, and how we can acquire one of our own.’
There is a pause. It feels longer than eternity. I can almost hear Rowan trying to think his way out of the problem. Finally he finds his voice. ‘It works by cataloguing the individual Pokémon’s DNA and analysing specific wavelengths within it. That’s how it can create a complex list of all types of… of… you.’
‘And how do we get one of our own?’
Rowan shakes his head. The Scyther steps in behind another bagged human.
‘No, no! What I mean is, there are only three in the whole of Sinnoh. I developed them all myself and gave them to three young explorers. They have the only ones in the region.’
The Scyther steps back. The Psyduck seems to be deep in thought.
‘Is it possible for you to recalibrate the Pokédex?’
Rowan sounds unsteady. ‘How do you mean?’
‘Say you want to catalogue something other than Pokémon. Can you change it?’
Rowan bows his head. He seems to already know the answer. ‘What are you thinking of cataloguing?’
A harsh, braying laugh comes out of Sandy’s throat. ‘Surely you already know the answer to that, Professor! There are four hundred and sixty two Pokémon in the world and over six billion people! You tell me which is the species that requires cataloguing!’
The jeers and laughter of the Pokémon in the chamber echo like thunder.
The Psyduck motions for quiet before continuing. ‘If we bring you the Pokédexes, can you change them?’
Rowan nods, painfully slowly.
The Scizor steps forward, clutching sheets of paper carefully in its pincer. It brings them close to the flaming tail of the Monferno.
‘Study these faces and learn them!’ bellows the evil voice from within little Sandy. ‘These three hold the key to our salvation!’
Scizor holds up the paper and the burning flame shines through them, projecting the images onto the walls of the cavern. There, at least twenty feet high, is my face, staring back down at me. My breath catches in my throat as the growling and hissing of angry Pokémon fills the air.
‘This one is particularly difficult,’ intoned the voice. ‘We’ve been after him for some time. He’s sent many of your brothers and sisters to early graves.’ A nearby Piloswine bellows in rage.
The sheet changes to the next face. Grinning moronically back at the collective is the young face of my Rival. The Machoke behind me beats its chest and roars.
The final sheet is raised up to the light. The sweet smile of Dawn, my love interest, shines down from above. Bonsly thumps its feet against the floor.
‘My friends!’ The Psyduck roars above the din of the bellowing, braying, roaring beasts. ‘Tonight our long-awaited plan shall begin! Any humans that resist may be slain according to your own desires, but we must have the three Pokédexes and their owners brought here immediately!’
The roaring of the Pokémon becomes a slow, steady chant. A wave of aggression passes through the crowd. They are all insane with bloodlust.
‘BRING ME THE POKÉDEXES! SLAY ALL WHO STAND IN OUR WAY!’
The chant becomes a scream, a tribal war cry. I join in stamping my feet on the ground, yelling out against the din.
‘NOW GO, COMPLETE THIS GLORIOUS MISSION!’
With one final bellow, the Pokémon begin charging for the exit. I run with them. The only words in my head are, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.

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