He wondered what had become of Brahm. Was he now nothing more than a skeleton in a jar, or had that sadist realized her mistake before doing him in? He hoped for the latter. He had wanted a diversion, not a sacrifice. No sense in thinking about that now though, he had better things to tend to, his mission being one, for example. Fresnel had told him the general direction of Alomomola, but neglected to say how long the journey to the coast would take, and how long he’d have to walk north along it after that. He hoped it wasn’t too long. He didn’t want Allegro to get worried, although she would probably approach Fresnel herself if she couldn’t find him after a while. She was a smart girl.
It was beginning to turn dark, and he wondered if he’d be able to find shelter before it became dangerous to continue walking alone. He had passed a ranch an hour or so ago, and decided it would be better to continue onwards rather than waste time by backtracking, if need be he would dig a small burrow to hide in for the night. For now, though, he would simply enjoy the twilight, which was really the best time of day, if it could even be classified as such. Some cultures regarded this time as a sacred time, where night and day blended together to create something else entirely, something otherworldly. That was just one culture, though. He remembered another culture that referred to this time as the Witching time, they viewed it as darkness taking over the light, winning the battle between good and evil temporarily.
All of that was certainly interesting, but he held no stock in it. Fun stories to tell kids, sure, but nothing to rely on. He remembered that Ninetales bothering him, asking him to tell some of his stories, but he had refused. Staccato wanted nothing to do with the Ninetales, and it was all he could do to tolerate the fox’s presence when they filled out their guild application papers. Oh.
Heading in Fresnel’s suggested direction would take Staccato directly towards Tao Woods, which was where they met Callahan the first time, His stomach sank. He didn’t want to risk running into that Pokemon alone, much less at night. Would he try to hunt Staccato down? He wanted to say no, but couldn’t be sure. It would be all too easy for Callahan to dispose of him and simply claim he’d never seen the Eevee after he and Allegro registered and left. The woods were full of danger, and it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for a small Pokemon like him to go missing in them.
As he continued walking, he noticed a very small Pokemon carting a wagon in the distance all by himself, heading directly towards the woods. Didn’t it know they were home to that Ninetales, or a host of other Pokemon that would be more than happy to call it dinner? As a Rescuer, he couldn’t just allow that fellow to march off to his doom. He picked up his pace and started to run as best he could, hoping to catch him before he disappeared beyond the treeline.
It took a while, and it was well into nighttime when he arrived, but luckily the little Pokemon had noticed Staccato approaching earlier and had stopped walking, electing to wait for him. He trotted up next to the Cubone and paused for a few moments to catch his breath.
“Hey there guy, you know these woods are dangerous, right? Want to travel together?”
The Cubone did not speak, instead walking over towards his wagon and pulling a small stack of cards from it. He rifled through them for a bit, then produced one and showed it to Staccato. What was written on it made him slightly ill.
“Going to Alomomola Bay. Need to pick up corpses. Want to help?”
Corpses? Was there any place in this region that was not beset by violence and death? What had become of this world? Here he was, too, heading directly towards Alomamola, where there was evidently a pile of corpses just casually waiting to be picked up. Anana better be paying very well for the delivery of this letter, that’s for sure.
“Ah, no, guy, I can’t help you with that. I’m on my own mission, sorry.”
The Cubone frowned and placed the card back on the pile, choosing to pick out another one.
“Sit in the wagon. Need more practice hauling bodies.”
Staccato felt a bit nervous at how the offer was phrased like a command, but his paw hurt, and he was pretty tired. He hopped into the wagon and the Cubone placed the cards back into it, picking up the handle as he did so. He began to pull the wagon in the direction of the forest.
The Cubone wasn’t going to find shelter? Why would he want to walk through this place at night?
“Hey, is there anywhere we can spend the night? I don’t think we should go through here right now.”
No response. The Pokemon simply continued on his path at the same speed. Staccato wondered if he was deaf.
“Can you, uh, can you hear me?”
He received a nod in reply. Well, at least he wasn’t deaf. Dumb, maybe? No, that was the rude term. What was the good one? He couldn’t remember it.
“You can’t talk, can you? That’s why you have the cards.”
A squeak this time. The Cubone seemed pleased that Staccato managed to make such an astute observation, as if it was supposedly an uncommon occurrence. Staccato didn’t doubt it was. The Cubone stopped the wagon and pulled out another card, scribbling on it with a piece of charcoal.
“I’m Chex. Nice to meet you. Can’t stop for the night. Need to get bodies in the morning. Alomamola is a long way away.”
Well, at least this Chex knew how to write. Still, though, Staccato couldn’t feel happy with the prospect of traveling through this place at night,
“It’d be safer if we walked around the woods near the coast, right? Why don’t we do that?”
More scribbles, more cards. “Scared? No Pokemon will harm us. If they do, I will carry your body to my boneyard.”
“Leave my wagon if you wish. I will continue without you.”
Staccato decided he would take his chances with Chex, he seemed to be confident about his ability to make it to Alomomola. Maybe he did this before? It would make sense, in a sad way. If he was a regular body disposal employee for Alomomola, what did that say about the city? Or Anana, for that matter? What kind of person was she, if she merely got rid of bodies instead of solving the issue that created them? He couldn’t trust her at all, not one bit. Chex resumed his journey and Staccato yawned, beginning to doze off.
The woods were very dark as they entered them, and he could see eyes looking at him from behind the trees, but Chex paid no attention to them. He could hear the cry of what he thought was a Pokemon meeting its demise at the hands (or teeth) of a predator in the distance, and suddenly felt very exposed. He was so tired though, too tired to even move. Somnolent, even. What an interesting word. He liked the sound of it. He was falling asleep despite his best efforts to remain conscious. As Staccato finally succumbed to the temptation of dreamland, he noticed Chex’s grin.
Your gorgeous style coupled with the way you write brings the story forth in a sinuous flow that is somewhat poetic and captivating. Really, really, really impressed with everything that I've seen and read so far.
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`anmari has been spreading her infectious positivity throughout our community for over 6 years. Throughout this time Ana has been at the core of all things devious, passionately developing an eclectic gallery, helping organise devmeets, participating in chat events and also recently completed dedicating her time as a Community Volunteer. We are absolutely delighted to bestow the Deviousness Award for May 2013 to `anmari, congratulations! Read More