Ok, so this is my fic . . . based on black and white (sorta). I'm not really sure what to say. Maybe i'll just post it and see what happens
*The rating's PG13, but it's only for if I want to try something different. I'll see . . .
*I'm sorry that there's sucha long interval between chapters, I'm trying to work on that
Chapter 1 - Duress
I glanced, for what seemed like the hundredth time, at the scratched face of my watch. Any minute now, I was anticipating the polished white laboratory to magically appear when I looked back up. I’d been walking for what seemed like a lifetime along the familiar footpath of my street, my home, the haven that held my memories. Maybe it was just the fact that I was leaving it all behind.
Of course, I didn’t want to. Professor Juniper – whom my parents adored, no matter how far she intruded into their son’s life – had been inviting us to her lab for the last few months to “Take an interest in Pokémon.” She had been softening up my parents so that she could finally convince them that I needed to become a Pokémon trainer, and I needed to go on a journey. And it had worked. Never mind the strong dislike I showed on the topic every time we escaped from the professor’s company – which lately, seemed to be few and far between.
“It’ll be fun,” echoed my mother’s soft, calming voice. “You’ll learn some valuable life skills. You’ll develop as a person.” Why did she have to be right?
“You need to toughen up. Do something. Stop sitting around doing nothing.” I realised I wouldn’t miss my dad’s raspy voice, reminiscent of a chain smoker. He did have a point though.
It won’t be so bad. I can handle this. Lying to myself didn’t seem to work. I was doomed, and I knew it. But I was going to follow through with this. Everyone in town knew that I was supposed to be leaving today to become a trainer. Why did my mother, as loving and caring and proud of me as she was, have to have the biggest mouth in town? I weighed the consequences of going on this journey with the shame of staying here – having to admit to everyone I couldn’t do it, that I couldn’t make a journey that everyone else had started four years ago. I definitely didn’t want that. So staying another day wasn’t an option.
All the same, I tried to find a distraction to keep me from turning back. I looked at the ancient trees, worn and withered after hundreds of winters. They were struggling against the wind, like a drunk about to topple over. They were no distraction. I stared at the windmills, racing along with the wind. It was impossible to define the blades, they were revolving so swiftly.
I stared at the houses for a moment, trying to remember them. I looked at the quaint house with the wooden balcony. The two story apartment building with the wide glass windows. The fancy house that seemed out of place alongside its nonchalant neighbours. This was unusual behaviour for me – I’d walked down this road hundreds of times, and only now was I taking a real interest in anything.
“Blair!” I squinted into the distance, surprised. At first I saw a blurred figure heading towards me, something green bobbing upon its head. As she came into perspective, I realised who it was. Bianca – and her odd beret – manoeuvred the footpath carefully, but despite her cautiousness, she was caught off guard by a slight rise in the terrain, hidden beneath a cloak of leaves. She flew forward onto someone’s garden, missing a tree by just inches. Bianca . . . she was so . . . accident prone.
“Are you alright?” I asked, hurrying over. This could be my opportunity to skip the lab. Surely, no one would blame me for helping out an injured friend?
“Yep, I think so.” She stood up. Her once white dress was now a light brown colour, dirtied with soil. She persistently brushed herself off. The soil was less noticeable on her red-orange vest, but she was thorough. She finished very quickly – this was something that she had a lot of practice with. Her eyes darted towards her soiled beret, which she then picked up her and dusted off with just as much enthusiasm.
“How was the lab?” Maybe she would have some good news for me – injured professor, run out of Pokémon, a terrible accident . . .
“Great! Professor Juniper seems excited to see you.” Was there really no hope? Things seemed to be against me today.
“What do you do on your visits?” Her lip twitched ever so slightly, like she was restraining a smile. Everyone knew that the professor had an interest in me, but Bianca had a wild imagination. She believed there was something more going on than an innocent visit to the lab. Sometimes she disgusted me.
“Nothing, Bianca.” I answered gruffly. “You ask every time, and I tell you every time, nothing.”
“Sure it is,” she teased. “Anyway, you should hurry to the lab. The professor must be missing you.”
“Get over it.”
“You’re awfully defensive today.” She was smiling now. “Actually, I don’t have time for this. I’m meant to be hurrying home.”
Good. She was finally leaving.
“Well, bye. Have fun.”
“Don’t fall over again,” I remarked.
“Don’t worry, I won’t.” If only that was possible. “Now run along to see your professor.” She hurried off, her yellow shoes tapping lightly along the sidewalk.
I decided not to reply. Better to be rid of her.
I continued walking, my thick red shoes crunching the fallen leaves. I thought for a moment. If the leaves were falling now, in September, that meant there were only . . . three months until winter. If I set out on my journey now, I would most likely be travelling throughout the coldest season. Maybe I would choose a Tepig for my starter Pokémon. A fire type would be able to keep me warm.
Although . . . I could see myself with a Snivy. I’d read somewhere that most grass type Pokémon could learn a move that cleared the sky, making it sunny – always a good thing. And a powerful grass type move that was stronger in the sun.
But Oshawott, well, it didn’t have any redeeming qualities like the others. Then again, if winter was going to keep its reputation of being the coldest, wettest month of the year, it was going to rain a lot. Didn’t water type moves become stronger in the rain?
I thought it over for longer. If I made my decision now, then I should be able to spend minimal time at the lab. The less time I spent there, the better. All I had to do was pick a Pokémon. Then I could leave. Easy. So . . . I’d pick Snivy. I wouldn’t spend any more time than necessary at that awful lab. I’d get my Snivy, and leave.
I could see the lab now. The menacing red roof was the first thing that caught my attention. I shifted my gaze towards the bone white exterior, and the pale yellow windowsills that were always abundant with potted plants. I walked up the mild incline to the door, which was opened by a smug Professor Juniper. Was she spying on me through the windows, using the plants for cover?
“Blair! How nice to see you!” she chirped, placing one hand against the doorframe, while the other was in the tight pocket of her green skirt. “Come this way!” I got a feeling that she was actually excited for my suffering.
Her dull white lab coat swayed behind her as she led me silently through the narrow hallway. She opened the door on the right, as opposed to the usual left, into a room I’d never seen before.
It was brightly lit by four flat, circular lights, each positioned in a square formation around the perfectly square ceiling. The light made the three metallic Poké Balls placed neatly on the blue rectangular table to the far side of the room look especially shiny. That was good. She was ready. That meant less time that I had to spend here.
She trotted over to the table, reaching for two of the half red, half white Poké Balls. She handed them to me. I was taken by surprise. She read my reaction quickly, and smirked. “You’ll need the practice.” She couldn’t help herself. At any chance she got she took a shot at pointing out how unskilful and lazy I was. Apparently, going on a journey was going to change that.
“Thanks,” I said, not bothering to hide the disdain in my voice. “Let’s just get this over with.
I threw the tennis ball sized Poké Balls into the air, aiming for the table. However, being right-handed, I couldn’t help but send the Poke Ball from my left hand into the leg of the table. The Poké Ball from my right hand made it safely to the table, but not without threatening to roll over the right edge. The other bounced off the leg onto the floor. Both Poké Balls burst opened contemporaneously in a flash of white light.
The Pokémon that was fortune enough to land on the table was a pale faced with a baby blue torso. It wobbled slightly on its dark blue feet, adjusting to the two foot jump between it and the ground. “Wott, oshawott,” it cheered, holding its shell in its outstretched arm. Its dark orange oval nose twitched slightly as it smiled, revealing two tiny fangs.
The second Pokémon, now on the grey linoleum floor, was looking at me with its big brown eyes in dismay. Its tiny, cream coloured legs flexed ever so slightly, and it sprung onto the table. It positioned itself in the center, using the foliage on the end of its tail to cover Oshawott’s face. It placed its small green hands on its waist, where the cream of its belly faded into the green of its back. “Snivy,” it sneered, poking its long pink tongue at Oshawott.
Before I realised what was happening, a third Poké Ball was spinning towards the left side of the table. Obviously the professor didn’t want to risk it going from my hand into something expensive. It landed with perfect precision beside Snivy and burst open.
The Tepig that emerged from the ball was standing on all four of its chubby, orange legs, facing away from us. It looked as if it was wearing a coal black diaper. As it turned to face us, the dull red orb on the end of its coiled tail wobbled slightly. It wore a surprised expression on its face. Then it exhaled through its snout – the same dull red as its tail – and lowered its black, rabbit like ears shyly. “Tep,” it cried out timidly.
“So, I’ll leave you here to make you decision then.” Before I could object, Professor Juniper had left me alone with the three Pokémon.
Great. Even more time spent at this lab.
I walked a few steps closer to the table. Snivy was now brushing Oshawott’s face with the large, three pronged leaf on the end of its green tail. Its smirk made me think that it enjoyed the misery on Oshawott’s face. I picked up Snivy’s Poké Ball from the floor. Without a second though, I pointed the small white circle around the center of the ball in Snivy’s direction. I shook the ball once. A jagged streak of light shot out from the Poké Ball towards Snivy, like red cellophane. It then engulfed Snivy’s figure and retreated back into the ball. It made a slight click.
I walked away from the table, towards the professor’s desk, still holding Snivy’s Poke Ball. I definitely didn’t want that Snivy – not the one with the attitude. I placed the Poké Ball neatly on a stack of folders, careful not to knock anything over. It would be funny . . . but the professor would make me pay for it later.
Then something caught my eye.
On one of the many sheets scattered across the desk was a name – Cheren McLennan. I skimmed through the sheet. “Cheren McLennan . . . aged fourteen . . . starter Pokémon – Tepig, received September 6th 2010 . . .”
I walked away from the desk. Cheren, my annoyingly intelligent neighbour had only started his journey two days ago. More importantly, he’d picked a Tepig for his starter Pokémon. No doubt when I crossed his path he would challenge me to a battle. That would be just like him, trying to assert how superior he was. But I knew what Pokémon he’d chosen. So why not make it easier to beat him?
I walked back to the table where Oshawott and Tepig were standing, facing away from each other. I picked up Tepig’s Poke Ball from in front of it. “Sorry,” I whispered, stroking it on the soft patch of yellow above its snout.
“Tep-pig,” it muttered. Trying not to look at its disappointed expression, I returned it to its Poké Ball. I walked over and placed it on the professor’s desk, adjacent to Snivy’s ball.
I walked back to the table where Oshawott was now sitting down, it’s pale yellow shell now placed firmly on its belly. I placed my hand on its Poké Ball. “Well, Oshawott, I guess I’m picking you for my starter Pokémon.”
“Wott wott oshawott wott!” It cried ecstatically. It then stood up and jumped carefully to the floor. It grabbed my loose black pants and tried to drag me to the door, to no avail. However, I got the message. It wanted to leave. That made two of us.
“Good idea. Let’s get out of here.” I turned for the door, only to find a smiling professor in my way.
“So, you picked Oshawott, the sea otter Pokémon. Good choice.” She leaned down and patted Oshawott between its navy, triangular ears. “Has Blair been nice to you Oshawott?”
“Oshawott wott.” It nodded its head, smiling.
“That’s good then.” She straightened up and faced me. “Before you leave, there’s still more to do. I haven’t given you a Pokédex yet. You’ll need it if you’re going to become a trainer.”
I noticed she held a small white bag with a Poké Ball insignia on it. She walked over to the table and emptied the contents. There was a black device with a red scroll wheel shaped like a Poké Ball.
“That’s your Pokédex. Of course, you’ll need Poké Balls too.” She pulled out a black silky sack with five round shapes in it. She placed it in my hand.
I quickly pulled the wide black strap of my shoulder bag over my head, narrowly missing sending my cap to the floor. I placed it on the table. Eager to leave the lab, I opened the main pocket and shoved the sack inside, rearranging the contents to make room. Then I made a grab for my Pokédex; however, the professor’s hand beat me there.
“We’re not done here,” she reminded me, “we’ve still got more to do. This way please.”
“Fine,” I sighed.
We exited the room. Professor Juniper led us down the hall, to another unfamiliar door. A golden plaque stated it to be Professor Prue Juniper’s Study. This door was locked. She fished for a moment through the large pockets of her lab coat. She pulled out a single, jagged key and inserted it into the lock. She turned it to the right. There was a click. She returned the key to her pocket then turned the handle.
The first thing that caught my eye was a large glossy machine with a large, dark screen. We walked over to it. I caught my reflection in the screen. As usual, my messy brown hair protruded from beneath my cap, which was not its usual Poke Ball colour, but instead, a depressing grey in the darkened reflection. I caught a glimpse of the professor’s reflection before she pressed a flat green button and turned on the computer.
The screen flickered to like with a crackle of static. The professor typed a password into the keyboard when prompted, and the screen turned blue before it read Unova Pokémon Trainer Register. The professor inserted my Pokédex into a rectangular opening between the screen and the keyboard. She waited for a moment. The white button on the inside of the scroll wheel, which was still visible, suddenly flashed green like a traffic light. The professor then began typing.
I tried to make decipher the jumble of letters that appeared on screen. I managed to catch “Blair Duffy” and “Nuvema Town” – but I lost track of the rest of it. It seemed familiar. After a moment, I realised that this must be just like the helpful stack of papers in the other room.
The professor jabbed a button and the screen changed to “loading.”
I surveyed the room, waiting. There was a wooden desk pushed to the left of the room, accompanied by a spinning chair and a stack of folders. Placed along the back wall was a bookcase that stretched all the way along until it met the sleek computer which we were waiting for. The other side of the room had a red leather couch that dominated the right wall. A low wooden table sat parallel to the large couch.
Looking at the luxurious couch made me realise just how tired I was. I could just imagine sprawling out on the sofa, with the heels of my aching feet placed on the edge of the table. That was just what I needed. After a few minutes off my feet, I would probably forget all about this journey – how hard it was going to be, how long it was going to be, how lonely it was going to be. I could put those worries to sleep for a few moments . . .
“All finished, Blair,” said Professor Juniper with a smile of accomplishment. “You can leave now.”
In my brief daydream, I had lost track of what was happening. The professor was now facing me. She was holding my Pokédex out towards me with her right hand. In her left was a sheet of paper. It must’ve be a printout of everything she was typing that would end up strewn across her desk like many others.
I quickly grabbed my Pokédex from her hand, shoving it into the spacious pocket of my pants. It was slightly warm from being inside the machine.
“Thanks,” I replied. My voice was surprisingly cheerful. I suddenly felt a traitorous smile spreading across my face. Why was I smiling? I’d been dreading this moment for years. I was about to set off on a journey to train Pokémon, and I was smiling! But I wasn’t happy . . . was I? No, I was sure of it. I didn’t want this. It was probably just the fact that I was leaving this terrible lab.
“You’re very welcome, Blair. Be sure to take care of Oshawott.” She smiled at us both. “Goodbye and good luck.” She waved us off.
I walked towards the door. Oshawott cut ahead of me, leading the way with its arms hanging lazily by its side. I let it lead me through the corridor to the exit of the building. As we moved outside, it stepped behind me, using me as a shield from the harsh wind. We walked for a moment in silence, until I realised that I had absolutely no idea where to go.
Maybe I could go home to show my parents my Oshawott. They’d at least know that I made it to the lab. But could I risk it? I’d said my goodbyes earlier this morning. I’d had all my sad thoughts. I’d tried to come to terms with what was happening – unsuccessfully. But if I went back, I probably wouldn’t be able to leave again. It would be another temptation to stay in Numeva Town for the rest of my life.
I decided to head towards Route One. That seemed like a good place to start; Accumula Town was at the other end of Route One. From there, I would head towards Striaton City, which held the closest Pokémon Gym. Part of being a trainer was battling, and gyms were the perfect practice.
“Stupid, stupid Pokédex,” I muttered to myself. Every step I took reminded me of the dreaded device in my right pocket. I was sure nothing had changed, but somehow it felt heaver, more like a brick than a Pokédex. It was a constant reminder of this journey.
I’d been walking for nearly an hour like this – wandering aimlessly; hoping to find Route One, but at the same time, trying to find somewhere familiar. I was hopelessly lost. Oshawott had gotten sick of this meaningless wandering after the first ten minutes, and I returned it to its Poké Ball. However, I had to continue with this pointless exercise. It would probably help if I was looking at where I was going.
I finally decided to pay attention. According to the blue street sign with the yellow corner, I was walking down Falcon Street.
Wait. Didn’t Bianca live on Falcon Street?
I searched for a clue. The pitch black 19 that stood out on the chipped white letterbox confirmed my suspicions. I walked across the neglected, pothole abundant road to Bianca’s red brick home.
I heard two voices inside. They sounded like they were arguing. One was Bianca’s high pitched chatter, the other – Bianca’s father I assumed – was loud and stressed. I walked curiously up the asphalt driveway to the brass knobbed door. I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I rang the red buttoned doorbell. Nothing happened. I read the square of paper taped under the button. Something red was written in Bianca’s messy scrawl. I managed to make out Please press hard. (Doesn’t always work) . I tried again, this time holding my finger down for a moment. A strange beeping noise rang out, odd for a doorbell. Had I accidently set off the burglar alarm?
However, the door was soon opened by a fuming Bianca. Her eyebrows were creased in frustration, and her usually pale face was tomato red. “Oh, Blair, it’s you,” she squealed, embarrassed, trying to avoid my gaze.
“What’s going on?” I asked quickly. I’d never seen Bianca behave like this before.
“Nothing!” She answered quickly. I knew enough about Bianca to know that nothing was something bad. “I just . . . forgot something. I’m going now.”
“Tell me wha–“
“Nothing,” she snapped out. “Leave me alone.” She ran down her asphalt driveway out onto the street. I thought about following her, but when I caught her – or when she fell over, whichever came first – what would I say?
“BIANCA STOCKS, COME BACK HERE!” The shout came from behind me. I turned around to see Bianca’s balding father looking down at me, all six feet four inches of him blocking the doorway.
“Hello, Blair.” His booming voice was too loud for my liking.
“Err, hello Mr. Stocks.” My voice was quiet. It always did this when I was talking to the intimidating man in front of me. “Um, what was that, ya know, with Bianca?” My voice got even quieter on the last word.
“She’s just run off to go train Pokémon!” He was getting angrier. “Did you know about this?”
“Ah, well actually . . .” I paused, trying to think of the right way to phrase this. “I saw her earlier this morning. She’d just come from Professor Juniper’s lab. She went there to choose a starter Pokémon.
“WHAT! How long did you know about this for?”
“I only found out today,” I lied smoothly. “Only just before I got to the lab.” I’d actually known for weeks what Bianca was planning. Unlike me, she’d always wanted to train Pokémon. We’d decided to start on the same day – Bianca was too scared to run out on her father on her own, and even though I was forced to go, I didn’t have to courage to do it alone either. So we decided to start together. What’d happened to that plan?
“Ok then. I’ll have to have a word to that professor.” His expression changed from anger to understanding; however his voice was gruff when he said the professor’s name. “So you’re starting your journey too, Blair?”
“Um, yes.” I paused for a second, remembering that Mr. Stocks was a courier. He should know how to get to Route One. “I’m actually looking for Route One. Do you have any idea how to get there?”
“Yes. Just wait here a moment.” He disappeared into the house, his brown leather wallet sticking out from the blue jeans that his large waist shouldn’t have fit into.
He was back quite quickly, holding a cardboard box against his ripped grey t-shirt. “These are state of the art town maps,” he explained, “they’re handy for showing you how to get from town to town.” He held the box carefully with one arm and took a map from inside. It was a blue-silver colour, about the size of a folded piece of paper, but as thick as a plate. “We got a surplus of these from work. They’re mine to keep. But I don’t need them. Take one.” He held it out to me with his large hand.
I took it sheepishly, holding it carefully. It was surprisingly light.
“Um, could you take one for Bianca too? You know, for if you ever see her again?” His voice was softer than usual. “I’d hate to see her get lost.” He chose another map from the box and placed it into my free hand.
“Ok, will do. How exactly does it work?” I put Bianca’s map into my bag, and opened mine with two hands, pointing the empty screen towards him. He took it and I moved to his side to observe.
“Well, you’ve got the power button here.” He pressed a long index finger into a green button beside the bottom screen. Both screens flashed to life, the bottom showing a grey screen with green grid lines, and the top reading Welcome in friendly yellow script. “Everything else is operated using the touch screen.” This time he tapped the bottom screen, and language appeared on the upper screen. He tapped English gave it back to me. “It’s pretty simple. You should have no problem with it.”
“Um, thanks, Mr. Stocks. I, er, appreciate it.” I folded the screen down, not bothering to turn off the power. I shoved it back into my bag, pushing everything down so that it would fit before I sealed the Velcro pocket shut. I stepped down from the porch onto the sap green doormat.
“Ah, take care Blair,” said Mr. Stocks, his voice a bit less energetic. He seemed like he was going to miss his daughter’s company. I felt a twinge of guilt. He was going to be alone for a long time.
I tried to put on a sympathetic voice. “See ya Mr. Stocks. Um, sorry about Bianca leaving. I’ll try to catch up with her later.” I walked down the messy asphalt driveway, kicking a small piece of rubble as I walked, not looking back at Bianca’s father.
After a moment, when I heard the white wooded door slam shut, I pulled out my town map from my bag. I opened it and the screen was already ready. A colourful image of Unova was showing on the bottom screen. I looked at the compass on the top screen. Now which way was Route One?
Ok. so just some questions for possible reviewers so I can improve:
-Do you think i'm using too much description in some parts, and/or too little in others?
-Do you think this chapter is rushed in some parts and/or too slow in others?
-Am I abusing italics? It took longer than I expected putting on the forum tags