His mind ticked to the articles he had read, numerous tabloids covering the accident. Tragedy at the Park, one read, covering the lives lost. They Had A Bad Time, another frontpage screamed, blaming the operators for neglecting security that caused the fire. A third debated whether it was an accident, fraud attempt gone wrong, terror attack (the writer had accused the Rockets of the fire) or something entirely different, but not less sinister. The lack of knowledge on the cause notwithstanding, the draw to Alex was without question the spate of deaths that occured after the disaster, and even as he looked, he could swear he saw one of the...
"Wait a sec..." he whispered to himself, as his eyes caught sight of a vaguely humanoid shape in the mist. As he gazed at the figure, it seemed to turn to face him, as well as a pair of strange wisps, one of which appeared to crackle slightly, and even with his past behind him, the trainer was disturbed, to the point he stopped, if only to stare back trying to discern the figure, to little avail.
And then there was a grave moaning whistle.
As Alex and it turned to face the sound, the unmistakable sound of metal on metal rang throughout the park, like the Harbingers' hooves on the cobbles, its deep red eyes petrifying the human where he stood, unable to move or breathe autonomously, eyes filled with nought but red and quivering. And then the black smoke of Death Himself billowed from beyond the eyes, another deathly wail as though the reaper wept, the miasma parting to reveal His visage in all His grisly glory, the black skull of the horseman of the apocalypse focusing on the human before Him. The monster approached, with the terrible whistle and a screech which accompanied the jaw of Death opening, as though to show him his final destination, the reaper thundering towards him, seeking to cleave his soul, devour his mortal coil, spill his fluid-
And then Death turned His form away from Alex, the young man's terror fading to realisation at what the Harbinger truly was, into bafflement. He chanced a quick glance towards Paine, who merly looked up at him, giving a small, innocent chime and a shrug. The confusion was not with the fact that the skull was the ghost train, but rather that he had expected something that was...well, not an actual locomotive. Sure, the fact it actually run was perplexing, though he chalked that up to ghostly shenanigans, as was the appearance, warped to fit the grim thematic of Phantom Isle and the centrepiece.
No, what puzzled the trainer was the sheer scale of the damn thing. A train of this caliber should have been on an actual train track, not a kid's ride! This was more a freight train than an amusement train, and as his eyes drank the sight, there was the figure once more, seemingly equally distracted...almost humanly so. Slwly approaching, it turned to face him once more, and through the miasma Alex could almost make out what appeared to be a featureless face, though the distance made discerning this impossible. As the thing and wisps turned from him and the Gothorita, one of the wisps seemed...disturbed, before all three objects were swallowed by one of the machine's carriages, the entrace seemingly accepting of another few passengers...
He turned to the Manipulate pokemon, whose eyes, as the norm, were unreadable, but her stance, relaxed, as though the wisps and implacable being were, at the least, tolerant. Almost hypnotically, Alex found himself approaching the entrance, in the footsteps of the shade before him, before logic caught on.
"...you first. You're not as fragile," he whispered to the lolita, who rolled her eyes at the comment as she set foot into the metallic gloom of the ebon crypt, Alex following. She could not tell him, but the very sight of the human and pokemon in the carriage...she felt they would be in need of support, support Alex would provide.