0. Prologue - Angel's Lament
1. Never Ask Why
The Prologue - Angel's Lament
I am dying – or am I?
Because, instead of hearing the children’s wails I heard only a second earlier, the only sound I can hear is my mother downstairs, calling for me to get up. I close my eyes and open them up again, unsure whether this is reality or fiction.
My birthday had arrived once again and quite frankly, I wasn't excited.
For the most part, because getting one year older was not something to be thrilled about, at least not for me. Most of my childishness was already sucked out by dreadful puberty - not to speak of my nonexistent life which resembled a social disaster more than anything else on this planet. My life pretty much sucked and I usually had nothing against it. I couldn't deny it though, this day was going to turn out just like any other birthday of mine.
My mother will throw a „surprise“ party for me, invite our entire family and friends, make some special pancakes that I love so dearly, all the usual stuff. I will smile, pretend to be overly ecstatic about it and go to bed late at night.
This was going to be yet another completely "ordinary" day.
In the aftermath of falling asleep late last night, I found myself feeling strangely exhausted the next morning. I rolled around a couple of times in my cozy, average sized bed and then a couple of times more before lazily, almost unknowingly pulling the white sheets off myself. Slight coolness drifted through the sheets made my body shiver. Managing to shield my eyes from the blinding light of the great glowing sun, I checked my cell for the time.
“You’ve got to be kidding me! Seven a.m.?”
I cried in annoyance letting myself sink into coziness of my bed again. How was it possible that after only four hours of sleep one could wake up this early? I was tired and sleepy but nothing could make me fall asleep again. I was fully awake and grumpy enough to let a single word make me kill someone.
“This isn’t happening,” ignoring the sudden feeling of imbalance in my head, I rushed out of my bed towards the window - much to my luck, the weather outside was in perfect harmony with what I wished for it to be; it was ideal.
Branches swaying on the light morning breeze, the fresh smell of the autumn morning, flocks of wild Pokémon moving across the sky, all those were things that made me feel happy. My mother would often tell me how after my father died, I seemed to have changed. She said I used to posses enthusiasm over the silliest things, but that was gone now. I began questioning life and the very meaning of it. My brother called me cynical, I preferred the term realistic.
After all, all life always ended the same way - with death.
My father always encouraged me to become a Pokémon Trainer despite my mother’s fierce reaction towards the very topic of pocket monsters. Initially, I was ecstatic about it. I was a great battle addict who believed that if a bond between a trainer and his partner was strong enough, there would be no limits to their potential. After my father died, however, my belief faded and somewhere along the way, I lost my will for fighting as well.
“Gabriel, honey? You’re already up!”
Her voice pulled me back into reality.
I could recognize that voice anywhere, it was as gentle as her soft, cherished skin and and strong as her ferocious personality. It was my mother, Jenna. She didn’t have it easy for the last couple of years and thus my brother and I kept doing our best to make her know and feel she’s not alone. She suffered a lot, though, and nothing could ever change what she went through.
“Are you okay?” She stepped worriedly inside the room, I could notice slightly dark rings under her emerald green eyes.
I gazed at her for a moment not realizing my head was in pain.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I shook my head while answering. “Did you sleep well?”
"Oh yes, of course, I just got up earlier and being in the mood for cooking I made some special pancakes coated with the Sitrus berry syrup. What do you say? Hungry?”
The way she phrased her sentence made me chuckle.
“Sure, I’ll be right down.”
She giggled before cheerfully running out of my room.
I always felt obligated to respect my mother for what she represented. Not because she was my parent, but because she endured so much pain while having to work in order to raise both my brother and me. She was a free-spirited person, she believed in destiny, she believed that there was a greater goal behind everything. Personally, I couldn’t make myself believe any of that crap as it felt too convenient to be true.
A person suffering for a greater goal - God surely wouldn’t be that cruel.
But I didn’t believe in God, so who was I judge?
There it was – that same feeling in my stomach. This time I didn't just lose my balance, a pain rushed through my head as my heart began pumping. Within next seconds I found myself on the bed only to realize that my headache was long gone.
"What the ...?“
Giving no importance to what had just happened, I yawned, heading downstairs in order to take care of more important stuff – such as eating.
I can not even describe the following smells that overwhelmed my senses as I made my way into the living room. Being just a step away from the kitchen, the smell of our living room changed accordingly to the meals Mom would prepare. It was pretty tempting, so to say, most of the time we could barely hold out before the meals were served. Speaking of the living room, our house, well our house wasn't exactly a big place since we couldn't afford “big” stuff - in fact, it was very modest and due to the lack of space our kitchen crossed over with the living room.
One could say our house was somewhat of a humble structure - a two story building along with a small garden outside which my mother would cherish every now and then. She would often say it was her petite paradise.
I looked in front of me.
My brother, Damian, was already taking up the entire couch. “Well, good morning to you too!” I said in a mocking way.
He paid no attention to my words. Rolling my eyes, I realized how that much attention could have only been given either to a really hot girl or an amazing Pokémon battle. Shivers overtook my skin as I looked at the screen - my father's face flashed in my mind. Once again, I couldn’t watch a single battle without the memory of him emerging in my head - it was almost as if he was haunting me.
I was often confused about the relationship between my brother, my father and myself. Damian was always the older sibling and yet it always seemed as if I was the one who had more connection to Dad than he did. Damian wanted to study Pokémon battles and become a specialized trainer. After a huge argument with Mom, he set off to the Pokémon Academy but was forced to return once he learned of our father's death.
The tragedy of the event reconciled Mom and Damian prompting them to become close again but as Damian broke off his studies, he could never become a proper gym leader he had hoped to become. Instead, he began his job as a worker in one of the gym arenas.
Yes, dreams were nothing but false illusions built up inside of our heads.
“Man, this is one amazing combat!”
I snapped back into reality.
A battle between two of the most powerful trainers of Kanto was taking place as their ace Pokémon kept exchanging hurtful blows.
I suddenly began to breathe heavily but subtly.
On the left side of the arena, a pompous, self-absorbed prick stood in the way as if he owned the stadium. His aerial, elegantly shaped bird Pokémon confronted a fully evolved muscular, purple horn creature. Obviously at the greater advantage, the feathered pigeon monster, Pidgeot, covered itself in a blazing blue aura as it moved at swift, almost untraceable speed prompting the land Pokémon, Nidoking, to step back in order to prepare himself for the full impact.
The furious pumping of my heart continued. It was a breathtaking battle, something so powerful that it was able to give someone back the battle spirits they once possesed but lost. That was how I felt, I took a deep breath before running out of the house. Memories began overflowing me, I was at the verge of tears.
"Gabriel? Where you are going?“ Mom suddenly asked.
"Eh, I need to take some fresh air!“ I answered rushingly shutting the door behind me.
After all this time, the memories of my Dad began raging again.
Despite being an evergreen paradise covered in greenness, it was not exactly a place where I could say I had a happy childhood. Upon suddenly moving in this city with my family, I lost contact with all my former friends from Saffron. To make things even worse, most of the kids in Viridian acted like morons towards me except for the selected few who actually treated newcomers nicely. I guess that, if there was one positive outcome that resulted from my father's death, it was that I stopped giving a damn since that point on.
Kids eventually left me alone realizing how I didn’t give a crap as I kept on with my life still wondering what was the point of it all. I separated myself from the others focusing all my love and support to what had remained from my family – my mother and Damian.
One simple thing, though, made my life in Viridian much more bearable.
Two years ago, a lab founded by the APCS (Association of Pokémon Chairman Society) found its place in the idile of this suburban area. In association with the famous breeders around the world, the established research lab was licensed with the ability to give away Pokémon selectively bred for the new trainers.
The researcher in charge was a professor, a young woman, Katie Amaryllis. Soon after she settled down, I applied as an assistent. Even though most of my work consisted of taking out trash and wiping the dust, it was worth it as I got to witness her evolution research with my own eyes as well as the creation of the new Pokedex.
I knocked on the door lightly expecting to find no one.
Three Pokémon greeted me at the entrance, each in its own unique way.
On the very left of the great desk rested a pretty young grass Pokémon. The big bulb was the first thing that caught my attention; it looked incredibly unique and mysterious at the same time. I was aware of the fact that the bulb was the source of Bulbasaur’s energy but I could only imagine what was actually inside of it.
I chuckled taking another step closer.
It looked at the middle one. It was obviously a fire type, judging by its lively flame on its tail; it resembled a child-kike orange lizard. The creature grinned at me, much to my surprise - that thing actually acknowledged my existence. Strange feeling of warmness overtook me.
And the last, but not the least was the water turtle Pokémon, the only of the three who was actually frightened by my appearance.
"Geez, I don't look that ugly, do I?"
I muttered while grinning, though the light blue creature withdrew itself inside of its seemingly adamant shell.
“What are you doing here?”
Her high-pitched voice was as “charming” as always. Professor Amaryllis or how I wasn’t allowed to call her, Katie, was a pretty woman with stunning looks for her age. She was barely in her thirties but I insisted on calling her an, and I quote, “old hag" much to her dismay. We didn’t share exactly a friendly relationship but for some odd reason she kept me around. Perhaps it was due to the mutual respect we felt for each other.
“Umm, I came to work?” I answered keeping my stare focused at the Pokémon.
“Your services are not needed today, now shoo!” She pointed towards the door.
Yes, the respect we felt for each other.
She replied hastily starting to hit me. Prof. Amaryllis was usually a kind person – that is, when she wasn’t being a total bi*ch towards me.
“Why are you being like that? It’s my birthday?” That’ll show her.
“Oh, happy birthday," she smiled kindly bringing out ladylike kindness out of her, "now get out!” The hag was back.
“Why are you so nervous today?” I asked.
“Because a boy whose father is one of the men founding my research and the lab is coming today for his first Pokémon along with him. I want everything to be flawless and for that to happen, you need to go.”
Her hands were shivering, I could feel that this really was important for her.
"I understand. If that's the case, I'll be going now.“
She softly smiled at me nodding her head. "Thank you, Gabriel.“
It was one of the rare moments of friendship and understanding between the professor and me. I could see that in her genuine smile she cared about me and that molesting me 24/7 was just one of her festishes both she and I enjoyed. I chuckled to myself deciding to leave the lab. And then, I suddenly felt it.
My body began shaking; I suddenly found myself on the floor. The professor rushed towards me, she seemed worried in a way.
"Gabe? What's wrong?"
"Not again," I subconsciously responded grabbing my head. It was the same pain from this morning but only incredibly painful.
Before I knew it, everything faded out.
"Gabriel? My angel, are you awake?" ◘
I barely opened my eyes feeling the exact tiresomeness from this morning. White colors blinded me, everything around me was snow white. I was shocked to learn that I was actually lying in a hospital bed of the Viridian City Clinic, after which my mother rushed in to see me.
"You're awake!" She embraced me tightly, I could see that she's been sobbing earlier. “Oh, thank God, you’re awake!”
I remained calm, there must have been an explanation.
"What happened?" I asked.
"You fainted at the lab. Katie was so worried that she drove you herself in the hospital. Oh Gabe, I wouldn’t bear if anything happened to you.”
Professor Amaryllis – worried? About me?
"She also said you might have experienced this before. Is that true?"
I hesitated, the last thing I needed was for my mom to worry.
"Gabriel, I need you to be honest," she looked at me with her clear, incredibly deep brown eyes.
I decided to tell her the truth. I told her about the tiresomeness I experienced throughout the entire day as well as the slight feeling of imbalance and headache from this morning. Her logical conclusion was that I collapsed from hunger. I found that hard to believe.
Soon enough, the doctor arrived deciding to do a blood exam for some strange reason. He said he needed to take some further examinations on me in order to find out what exactly was wrong with me. I didn't worry too much at the time as I co-operated with him firmly believing how nothing was wrong with me. After series of blood exams and CT scans, my mother soon learned the diagnosis.
The next day, I woke up and found her sitting at the chair next to my bed. Bags on her eyes were pretty large; one could tell that she didn't sleep through the night. "Good morning," I smiled to her, though she kept her frown.
I shivered suddenly, a shimmer of doubt emerged inside of me. Why was this woman in front of me so silent and sad? Why wasn't she smiling back at me? I rarely saw her like this. "Mom?"
“What happened?” I asked.
"They have the diagnosis," she said weakly, almost as if she was forcing herself to speak out the words.
"And?" I asked, this time with a bit more concern.
I can still remember the moment when she said it. "Do you really want to know?"
She broke out in a terrible cry again; her sadness started tearing my heart apart. I never saw her so sad, she was always a cheerful housewife full of love and happiness for all, but now - she was different. She had lost my father and felt almost as if she was going to lose me as well.
"Mom, tell me! What happened, what's wrong?" I grabbed her gentle hands hoping that would calm her. She got up slowly placing her legs over my bed, she lay by my side. It reminded of the times when we would read good night stories together before I fell asleep. Leaning her head on mine, she started whispering, her hand tightly holding mine.
I was at home.
I opened the door as a bunch of people jumped out; they were all so happy and cheerful. Colorful balloons flied everywhere across the living room, little children ran over to me with presents in their tiny hands and I - I remained cold. My brother noticed the frown on my face; I couldn't bear it any longer. I ran up the stairs on the verge of tears jumping furiously on my bed.
Soon after me, my brother worriedly entered the room.
What was I supposed to say? How was I supposed tell my big brother that I had only six months left to live?
To Be Continued