Hey all! I'm here with a new project I'm really excited about. I've been on these boards for eleven years now (yeesh) and in that time I've put out three stories, all set in the same universe - sort-of. In this particular Pokemon reality, the main evil team is known as Team Skye. You can read more about them in my recently-completed fic, Earth, Air, Water, Fire.
But, no prior reading is necessary for this story. My intention with these chronicles is to study the individuals who would choose to join an 'evil' organization. So I hope you'll take this ride with me!
The Skye Chronicles
“Are you being helped, miss?” asked the girl behind the counter.
Kathryn massaged her right arm, which was still smarting from the fall outside. “No, but that’s okay, I’m waiting for someone,” she said, offering a half-smile and breaking eye contact before the girl could ask any further questions. Kathryn didn’t like making small talk with strangers.
Why am I here? she thought to herself, her gaze drifting across the dimly-lit counter and landing on the various cushions and tables which inhabited the small coffee shop. Because Isabel forced you. She sighed and glanced outside again. He’s not coming.
“Excuse me, do you have a restroom?” she asked the girl behind the counter, again avoiding prolonged eye contact.
“Surely we do!” she said cheerfully. The girl’s perky attitude annoyed Kathryn. “See the bulletin board over there? Follow the hallway down and turn right.” She offered a winning smile, one which Kathryn did not return.
She stepped into the bathroom, flicking the light on and letting her eyes adjust to find the mirror. She rolled her sleeve up and stepped to the sink, looking into the glass and studying her bruised arm. She’d slipped on the ice outside Winston’s and smashed her arm into a cold metal trash can in her efforts to keep her balance. The pale ivory of her skin was now laced with a lovely blue-green cloud the size of her fist. “Wonderful,” she muttered, touching the wound gingerly.
With another sigh, she delicately lowered her sleeve and ran her fingers through the thin stubble of her hair, meeting her own eyes in the mirror. Who are you trying to impress? she wondered, looking at her new-grown brown hair. Myself, she decided finally.
Years of silence and neglect from her mother had finally driven the conclusion into the girl’s mind that she was too ordinary, plain enough that a person’s eyes skipped right over her in a room. That she’d somehow gotten through school with average marks was a miracle in her eyes; her teachers never remembered her name. It took four years of vague notes scrawled across her homework - ‘This isn’t bad; are you in my class?’ to convince Kathryn she was the problem, she needed to change.
So she’d shaved her head, she’d pierced her nose, she’d plucked her thick eyebrows so thin and so carefully there wasn’t a hair left above her murky brown eyes. And her mother had called her a disgrace to the family name.
But now her approval doesn’t matter, she thought fiercely, pulling out her pencil and carefully tracing at her left eyebrow so it matched her right one. Only my own.
Kathryn stepped out of the bathroom with an affected coolness, her penciled eyebrows arched and lip curled in an approximation of detachment. Play the game. Make him think you don’t care.
There was a new customer standing nervously by the door. This must be him, she thought grimly. Her only friend Isabel had insisted that what she was missing in her life was romance. There’s a list of things missing in my life that’s miles long, she told herself, taking the man in from her distant point by the bulletin board, but romance isn’t high on it.
He was good-looking, as Isabel had promised; six feet tall by the look of it, with dark hair that casually hung just so over his pale, pale eyes. What was his name? Scott? Steven? Let’s go with Steven. His wintery eastern complexion flushed at his cheekbones, which were perfect, as his snowy eyes met Kathryn’s. “Are you Isabel’s friend?” he asked, smiling wanly. His tone was slow, resonant, and clearly put on.
“Kathryn,” she confirmed, unimpressed with the cocky way he held himself and deepened his voice. “You must be Steven.”
“Staven,” he corrected.
Kathryn arched her penciled eyebrow. “I’m sorry?”
“People get it wrong all the time,” he said, grinning, stepping forward and rolling up the sleeves of his waffle-knit shirt. I don’t need to look at your biceps, thanks, Kathryn thought irritably. “My parents spelled it ‘Stave-in’, so that’s how I like to say it,” Staven continued.
“You can’t be serious.” Is there an out option yet? Kathryn already knew she didn’t want the date to continue.
Yet continue it did. Staven found a table near the window that looked out onto the streets of Ecruteak, and immediately launched into a ten-minute speech pontificating the fascinating trials he’d undergone before meeting Kathryn for coffee.
“But tell me about yourself, Miss Fletcher,” he said smoothly.
“There’s not much to tell,” Kathryn said, shaking her head and finally re-focusing her attention to him; she’d allowed her mind to wander during his speech. “I have an older sister who’s sick. I live alone, mostly. Isabel and I technically share a place but she’s never home.” She took a sip of her coffee; she’d ordered a Mini Bare, the smallest, plainest drink she could get. Plain drink for a plain girl.
“But what do you do?” Staven pressed. He chomped on the straw of his Max Double Chocolate Wonder. His pale gaze was making Kathryn supremely uncomfortable.
She squirmed in the flat plastic seat, wishing Winston’s supplied some second variety of more comfortable chairs. “I’m a pit fighter,” she answered finally. It’s been twenty minutes, I’m ready to leave and never look back.
“Pit fighter?” Staven blinked, as if he’d heard her incorrectly. “You’re sure?”
“I don’t know what else you’d call the job I’ve had for five years,” she said. Kathryn’s voice was low, dangerous; she was in a bad mood and it was being tested tremendously by Stave-in.
“Isn’t that illegal? It’s been illegal since…” Staven’s would-be-sexy deep voice was breaking, becoming higher, more nasal. “Since like...before the split.”
“Well somebody saw fit to pay me for it,” Kathryn said, shrugging. “I’m thinking of asking for a raise, actually, because I’ve been put in real danger before.” Staven was silent. “Like the other day, I was forced into the ring with a wild Mamoswine...it was MASSIVE. Rumor is they’d fed it steroids. Luckily, I made short work of it, but…”
“You...killed it?” Staven asked, his strong jaw slackened.
“Yep,” Kathryn said casually. She was enjoying herself, finally; manipulating his feelings and twisting him to fear her was quite enjoyable. As if any of this is true, she thought, scoffing at the foolish conclusions he’d jumped to as soon as she’d mentioned the fateful words ‘pit fighting’. I would never kill a Pokémon. Never.
“I...uh...you know, now that I think about it, you know, I have to get back to the gym, I have an appointment...a physical therapy thing, you know, remember, what I was telling you?” Staven was already crushing his emptied cup and standing, his eyes still wide from Kathryn’s revelation.
“No, don’t go, I’m having fun,” Kathryn said truthfully.
“I’m not,” Staven said bluntly. He extended a hand. “It was nice meeting you, Katrina.”
Kathryn felt her insides freeze. “Kathryn.”
“Right, right, okay, well...Kathryn...um, I’m glad Isabel got us together, uh...I should…”
“You’re not going anywhere,” Kathryn said quietly.
“I beg your pardon?” Staven’s eyes darted nervously around the near-empty common room at Winston’s.
“I’m having so much fun, Staven!” she said, grabbing his arm and forcing him back into his seat. “What’s wrong, didn’t Isabel warn you I was a handful?”
“Well... as a matter of fact,” Staven stammered.
Kathryn reached into her pocket and produced a Poké Ball. “You can’t leave without meeting Prodigy!”
“My Dragonair! Sometimes the two of us enter the pits together,” Kathryn said brightly. She didn’t know where she was ultimately going with this game; she only knew she liked it.
“Uh, no Pokémon allowed inside,” Staven said, pointing to a sign on the wall opposite them.
“Is everything all right over here?” asked the bright-eyed girl from the counter; she’d sidled over to their table under the pretense of changing napkins, but Kathryn could sense the apprehension in her voice.
“Yes indeed,” she responded, pocketing her Dragonair’s orb and releasing Staven’s arm from her stronghold. “My boyfriend and I were just leaving. Thank you so much.”
Staven followed Kathryn at a safe distance as she wove her way outside. Isabel keeps warning you about your temper, she reminded herself, struggling to reconcile the thrill she’d received at incensing her date with the rational side of her that told her she’d gone too far. He deserved it, she thought fiercely.
“Well, Kathryn, this was fun, um, but I need to go, really,” Staven said after a moment of uneasy silence passed between them. He shifted his weight, as if to leave.
“What, no kiss?” she asked coyly. Isabel promised romance.
“Uhh…” Staven looked torn; he clearly didn’t want to upset the crazy girl he’d ended up wasting his afternoon on. “I…”
She grabbed his face and kissed him. There was no tongue; after all, the kiss wasn’t her ultimate goal. Kathryn had finally decided how she wanted to end this particular encounter. Staven did not fight her advances; at this point, he was likely more resolute in his resolve to get out than to keep her away.
Kathryn pulled back after a moment, stroking his face. “Mm. You’re a good kisser, Steven.”
“Staven,” he corrected patiently.
“Ah, yes.” Kathryn felt that familiar rush of adrenaline pump through her veins. “Stave-in. Thank you so much for the advice.”
His neck snapped cleanly, and before anybody could respond from inside Winston’s, the young man’s murderer was gone, leaving behind a barely-recognizable body with a staved-in head.