Archive for October 11, 2009

Heart of Darkness

The rain comes down harsh and cold. It wakes me up, my tired eyes embracing the moisture as if it were a long-forgotten lover.
The scream comes again. Terrible, feminine, pained, far off.
My feet sink into the stinking swamp water. The thick, tar-like sludge fills my shoes and weighs my legs down, as though my feet were replaced by concrete blocks.
A rustling in the leaves above me. I stop and listen.
Hoot-hoot… Hoot-hoot…
An owl-like Pokémon is sitting right above me. I risk a look up. It looks around feverishly, like a sentry on guard.
I stay quiet, hidden.
I stick my hand into the cold, black mud of the swamp and drag the slime across my face. I need to get out of the tattered remains of the Mr Mime costume, but first…
I’m completely hidden from view by the undergrowth. I try to imitate the noise of the creature above me.
Hoot-hoot… Hoot-hoot…
I can hear it moving on the branch above, looking around to find its injured friend.
Hoot-hoot?
It takes off from the branch and flies low over the bushes.
Hoot-hoot?
It flies down lower, circling very nearly right above me.
Hoot-hoot?
I reach up and grab it firmly with both hands as it glides past me. I drag it into the bushes with me.
Hoot-hoot!
It starts screaming, loudly. I jam my fingers into its beak. It bites down. Hard.
Blood starts seeping through the stupid white gloves of the costume. I bite down on my lip to keep from screaming. With one hand in its beak and the other keeping it from flying away, I fall forwards, hoping to smash it on the floor.
Its wings flap everywhere, in my face, rustling leaves, making a huge noise. I can hear growling from deeper in the swamp.
We fall into the swamp water together, the disgusting water blinding us both. I manage to find my footing and stand up first, holding the little fucker under the muddy surface. Now it won’t let go of my fingers, trying as hard as it can to severe them completely.
I groan with the pain, desperately trying to keep as silent as possible. Over the thrashing water, I can hear bigger monsters approaching, trying to find the source of the noise.
The churning in the water subsides. The grip on my fingers relaxes. I lift my hand out of the water and take a look at the bite. It’s deep. The gore flows down my hand, soaking into the disgusting costume, mixing with the black water.
The owl lifts its head out of the water and screams into the night sky.
I grab it, both hands around its spindly little neck.
Snap.
It stops screaming.
I move, quickly. The approaching monsters are getting louder, closer, more angered by the noise.
I wade through the mud as fast as I can, finding another spot to hide in the undergrowth.
I wait a moment.
In the spot where I murdered the owl just seconds before, the hulking brown hide of a Kangaskhan appears, the baby sleeping inside its pouch. A Quagsire and a Skorupi accompany the beast, examining the remains of the dead creature. The Kangaskhan roars into the night sky. They move on, wanting blood.
I take a moment to collect myself and start removing the horrible costume of a Pokémon I killed and skinned an eternity ago in a police station cell. I rip some cloth away from it, a makeshift bandage for my hand. Christ, I hope my fingers don’t get infected in this water.
I remove all the costume I can get to. I leave the enormous shoes on in case I stand on anything in the water. Then I cover my torso in mud, making my skin as invisible as possible in the murkiness of the swamp.
I start moving again, slowly, making as little noise as I can.
I move towards where I think the centre is; where that terrible scream came from.
Up ahead I see a clearing. Movement in it. Shadows dart back and forth.
In the centre I see a few Pokémon gathered around and in the centre-
A human-
A woman-
Dawn!
She lies on the ground, not moving, barely breathing, a gash on her head.
The creatures are rooting through her bag, tearing it apart.
A Quagsire pulls away from the bag with a bark of triumph.
It holds aloft the Pokédex.
The creatures let out their harsh, braying laughs.
I pull a fallen branch away from a nearby tree, the severed end sharpened to a fine point.
They think they’ve won.
Not yet they haven’t.