This is a fic about a lone traveler who runs into a very unfortunate circumstance. It's my nd or 3rd fic here, but it's been a while since I posted a Pokémon fic. I don't like that title, but I can't think of anything good right now. I want something more intriguing that will draw more interest, and I know I have the ability to do so, it's just getting my brain to work that's the problem.
Exhausted after a long day’s journey, a lone traveler wandered about, searching for a suitable place to rest for the night. Unfortunately, he was in an unpopulated location, with no major towns or cities less than fifty miles away and no secluded farm or ranch at which he could hope to obtain a bed for the night, or even a hayloft. He was completely isolated from any signs of human life, and, unlike most people who chose to travel as he did, he had no Pokémon to accompany him.
Some people brought the Pokémon along for protection, others to help ease the loneliness they would otherwise have to deal with, and some simply because they enjoyed raising Pokémon, but not this traveler.
From the time he was a young boy, he had dreamed of growing up and traveling the world on foot; he dreamed of traversing the mountains and the plains alone, enjoying their incredible beauty in solitude. At times he did feel lonely, and longed for the company of another, but he felt a Pokémon would not be able to give him the companionship he wished for in those times, and a fellow traveler would encroach on the quiet times of rumination overlooking a luscious valley, or at the bed of a cold, rushing river. When he considered it, he believed that the disadvantages outweighed the advantages, and thus he chose to travel alone.
Not wanting to have to carry around too much extra weight, the traveler had opted out of bringing a tent, sleeping bag, or any other type of shelter along with him. His supplies consisted of a little food (normally enough to last him three to four days, by which time he normally would have the opportunity to restock), two water bottles he kept filled as much as possible, a map, a compass, some matches, and a little bit of money. Sleeping under the stars had come to be something he enjoyed, although he was never opposed to an occasional night in a warm bed if someone would take him in.
Coming to what looked to be a suitable spot the spend the night, the traveler stopped and began gathering some dry leaves and short sticks together to start a fire with. In a few brief minutes, a warm flame was crackling and popping before the traveler. Soon, the sun set and nighttime settled in around the traveler and his dancing flames.
As the traveler rested his back against the sturdy trunk of a nearby oak tree and gazed into the flames as they leapt skywards, seemingly trying to reach the stars above, he began thinking of home. It had been nearly four years since his last visit, and that was where he was headed now. In less than two days’ time he would be back at the place he spent his childhood. As he envisioned his parents’ house and the small vegetable garden out back, drowsiness overtook him and he drifted into a pleasant dream.
The diverse aromas of Mom’s cooking wafted out to meet him as he walked down the road to his home. She was making roast beef, his absolute favorite, with mashed potatoes and–was it? Yes, it was! Great-Grandma’s special gravy to top them both! The recipe was as old as the hills, his mother often said to him when she was preparing it as he was growing up. She told him that it was not actually Great-Grandma’s recipe, and that it had been passed down in their family farther back than anyone could remember. Along with these, the scent of mixed vegetables, picked from the garden, no doubt, drifted into his nostrils. And finally, the sumptuous smell of his mother’s homemade apple pie reached him. His mouth watered as the smells began to saturate the air around him. He could nearly taste the food as he approached the front door of his parents’ one-story house.
As always, flowerbeds filled with daisies and violets lined the windowsills, and behind one of these windows, he could see an arrangement of beautiful flowers acting as a centerpiece for the dinner table, probably picked from the neighbor’s flower garden.
His parents and the neighbor had had this arrangement for years; his parents could come and pick flowers from the neighbor’s garden, and the neighbor could come and get a few vegetables from their garden. Both had agreed to only take what they needed to ensure that one garden was not depleted.
As the traveler continued to stand at the door of his home, he began visualizing the surprised looks both his mother and father would have when they answered the door. His mother would of course run and hug him with a smile on her face, and tears would probably begin to fall from her eyes soon after. His father would smile, and probably try to make a joke that would not come out very well.
Abruptly, the traveler became aware of a burning smell coming from within the house. Immediately he knew something was wrong, his mother had never burned any of her meals while he was growing up, she was much too careful, and he sincerely doubted she would be any less careful now, but even if she had burned something, it shouldn’t have smelled this strongly.
He began pounding on the door violently, but there was no answer. He tried to open the door, but it was locked. Hurriedly the traveler rushed around to the back door and tried to open it. Locked.
Now frantic, the traveler searched under the flowerpots around the backyard until he finally found the one under which the spare key was hidden. The key fit into the lock on the back door, but it would not turn no matter how hard he tried. Finally, the traveler ran back to the front door and tried the key in that lock. Click. The door unlocked and he flung it open, smashing it against the wall as he entered.
Searching anxiously for any sign of either his parents or the fire, the traveler made his way into the kitchen. At first glance, it didn’t appear to be anything more than a fire on the stove started because something was left on too long, but then he noticed his mother’s body being slowly dragged into the hallway on the other side of the kitchen by some unseen force. This puzzled and frightened him at first, but then he realized that it must be his father trying to pull her to safety. The traveler made across the kitchen, trying to avoid the growing flames and increasing levels of smoke, to go assist his parents in their escape. As he did this, the flames intensified, and it soon became very difficult to see due to the levels of smoke. He pulled his shirt up over his nose and mouth and continued to head towards his parents.
When he arrived in the hallway, his eyes were met with a gruesome sight. He saw his father’s body, blood-drenched and mauled almost beyond recognition, thrown unsympathetically against a wall and his mother’s tattered body being pulled into what appeared to be an immense mouth and slowly devoured. As the jagged teeth moved up and down in a sickening, rhythmic pulse, the upper half of his mother’s body was being torn apart. As he stood, petrified with terror, the maw began to consume his father, and when it finished him, it began moving on to the house itself.
As all of this was transpiring, the fire in the kitchen had continued to spread, and was now closing the gap between it and the traveler’s heels. When the traveler noticed this, he started to run forwards, away from the flame, but that would lead him straight into those bloodstained teeth. Realizing that if he did not make a move soon he would be burned to death, the traveler began to cautiously move away from the flames, closer to the gaping maw which had by now demolished a large portion of the hallway.
As both the flame and the mouth drew closer, everything else seemed to fade away until only he and the mouth remained, completely surrounded in a ring of dancing fire. The flames crackled with a ghastly, burning laughter as the mouth began slowly approaching the traveler, obviously seeking to devour him, and evidently knowing he was powerless to stop it. It continued inching closer to him, until he could feel its heated breath on his face. This was the end, and he knew it. The traveler shut his eyes tight and tried to prepare for what was coming. He had heard that right before someone died, their life flashed before their eyes, but he did not see anything. Fear had much too strong a hold on him to allow him that comfort.
Suddenly, the traveler awoke, now drenched with perspiration, to find himself leaning against the oak tree once again, the fire still dancing blithely in the darkness. He looked around fearfully for a moment, before realizing that he must have been dreaming. Hoping that he would be able to sleep peacefully for the rest of the night, the traveler closed his eyes once again, but found himself unable to sleep. There an unusual chill that seemed to be tugging at him, forcing him awake.
It struck the traveler as odd that it would grow cold like this; the past few nights had all been fairly warm, but he dismissed the fact, telling himself that it probably had a logical explanation and that he was no weatherman to try and figure it out. Then, considering the fact that maybe the fire had died down some since he started it, he proceeded to add some wood onto the fire.
At this point, the traveler became uneasily aware that the fire was not providing him with any warmth. No matter how close he got to it, his body felt as if it remained the same temperature. Desperate to convince himself he was just imagining things, he stuck one of his fingers directly into the flames, –there was pain, but no heat, creating an odd sensation that felt as if there were thousands of minute needles piercing his finger repeatedly. When he removed his finger from the fire to examine it, he could see that it was burned, but when he touched the burn, as before, all sensation of heat was missing from the pain.
With no warning, the feeling suddenly left, and the heat came back in full. The burst of pain was magnified by the sudden unexpectedness of it, causing the traveler to scream. Without the sensation of heat, he had done much more damage to his finger than he had intended to. At one point, the traveler thought he heard a faint chuckle in the distance, but there was nothing there, and so he dismissed it as his imagination. After a short while, the pain subsided somewhat, and the traveler forced himself to again try to sleep.
The traveler was nearly able to fall back into sleep, but just as his consciousness began to slip, he felt the heat waning from his body again. Ignoring it, he continued his attempts to sleep, but once more found himself unable to do so. As the night dragged on, the traveler felt something poking him in the back. Assuming it was nothing more than a knot or small twig protruding from the tree’s main trunk, he shifted positions. This provided relief for a moment, but the feeling quickly returned. The traveler continued shifting, and with him the poking sensation. Every time he would shift his body, the feeling would leave for an instant, only to return to take up its task again. This pattern repeated itself until finally the traveler moved away from the tree and turned to examine its trunk, hoping to find some explanation as to why he was continuously being bothered in this peculiar manner. Everything appeared normal; there were not any visible imperfections in the bark and, as far as the traveler could tell in the darkness, no distinguishable creatures that could have been giving him this sensation.
While he was busy scanning the tree, the feeling returned, only this time it was harder, and more deliberate. Turning to face the direction the feeling was coming from, the traveler was met with an empty sight. There was nothing at all behind him. The gaps between them lessening and their forcefulness increasing, the unnatural proddings went on uninterrupted.
Soon the traveler felt as if myriad unseen knives were stabbing him relentlessly in the back. Crying out in pain, the traveler began to run, trying for all he was worth to get away from that accursed tree, but the assault failed to relinquish. With every step, the pain intensified, with every cry, another blade was plunged into his flesh. Eventually, the pain became too much for his mortal body to bear, and he collapsed, now reduced to a sobbing heap, onto his knees.
With the pain and anguish, the cold began to worsen as well, and the traveler could feel nefarious eyes watching him, relishing his moment of terror. Confused and disoriented, the traveler’s senses began to fail him and hallucinations took over his vision. The bushes and rocks took the forms of deformed beasts, each longing to rend his flesh from his bone. Every tree seemed like a giant, with footsteps threatening to crush him at any moment. The clouds reached out with wispy tendrils, attempting to pull him in. A slight breeze, now a howling gale, whipped about the traveler, slicing into his sides in all the places the stabbings were missing. An eerie ball of light began to dance before his eyes; lost in its unearthly glow, the traveler was soon mesmerized and unable to look away. Desperately, he began to lash out at it, longing for it to disappear, but his arms were passing thorough it. Frantically, he continued his futile assailment of the flickering orb, bloodying his arms upon the rocks scattered around him in the process.
As the traveler’s ghostly torment persisted, a vague figure began to materialize before him, taking the place of the shimmering sphere. Its eyes, the epitome of pure fear, filled the traveler with even more panic and fright than before. What appeared to be the specter’s tongue reached out to him slowly, inching closer and closer to his face. As the icy tongue reached his face, the traveler’s body lost all control of what little movement he was still capable of and began to quake violently.
The apparition began to guffaw demonically at the traveler’s horrified screams. His pain reached its zenith just before the life began fading from his horrified eyes. A wide grin spread across the spirit’s formless face as the last tinges of life left its victim’s tormented body and it fell to the ground. This was all it knew. To torment and kill was joy, and it needed no more reason than that. Scarce a traveler had survived a night in this place since it had arrived, and it had every intention of keeping it that way until time’s end.