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  1. #1

    Default Chromatic

    PG-13 should be safe.

    Anyway, this is my first piece of writing that I've posted in a while. So far, I've only written one-shots and this is no different. Well, it's a little different, but not much.

    See, I've had this idea for a while now. It's a collection of one-shots devoted to each town in Kanto. Each chapter (they won't be connected like a chaptered fic, but for simplicity's sake, I'll just call each one-shot a chapter) will be named after the color of one of the cities. As an extra challenge to myself, the theme/mood/plot of the chapters will be based on the color. For instance, the Cerulean chapter (Blue) could be sad, since blue is obviously a pretty melancholy color. I don't think most of them will be that obvious, though (I don't plan on the Blue one being sad anyway).

    White
    Green
    ♦ Grey
    ♦ Blue
    ♦ Orange
    ♦ Purple
    ♦ Rainbow
    ♦ Pink
    ♦ Yellow
    ♦ Red

    (It turns out making the color of each one-shot match its title looks horrible.)

    In regards to this chapter, I have to admit that it might not be my best work. I loved writing it and I love where it takes me when I read it, but I'm not sure how well some of the ideas in it translated to writing, especially for someone reading it for the first time. It's also kind of a fluff piece. However, if you don't like it, I would love for you to stick around, since I promise you won't be seeing the same thing twice (hopefully).

    Uh, so yeah. A one-shot based in Pallet Town (although not actually within its borders):

    WHITE


    “Help me, Barnabas!” shouted Willow Birdsong, desperation echoing throughout the plains. Her long legs were pinned under a fallen elm tree, forcing her to watch helplessly as an especially aggressive Tauros, spurred by the black-cloaked man riding it barebacked, charged directly toward her squirming form. Its thundering hoofs pounded relentlessly, splitting fault lines, opening fresh craters, and drowning out Willow's shrieks of terror.

    “You called!?” Not a second too early, Barnabas Bigsby leapt over the large tree trunk on the back of a silky white Rapidash, landing directly in front of Willow and causing the Tauros to screech to a halt. His rugged five o'clock shadow rippled around a confident grin as the woman cheered behind him.

    “Well, well, well, if it isn't Barnabas Bigsby,” the man riding the Tauros crowed, spittle flying from his lips with each overly-enunciated “B” sound. “How disappointing to see you survived the shipwreck. I didn't think your little pony there could swim.”

    Rapidash's glistening muscles quivered underneath its trainer as it stomped the ground warily.

    “I've got a few tricks up my sleeve, Piers,” Barnabas replied, always remaining casual.

    “Yeah!” Willow quipped, woefully unpracticed in the art of banter.

    Barnabas rolled his eyes and continued. “Anyway, I believe you owe me a battle,” he said, raising an eyebrow. “We didn't get to finish our death match on the deck of the St. Zebulon while it was sinking, burning, and exploding, all at the same time.”

    “How right you are,” Piers mumbled, grinning maniacally. “I always repay my debts.”

    “Charge!” Barnabas commanded his Rapidash, sparking a similar order from Piers to his Tauros. Immediately, the two were headed toward a dead collision with each other, each trainer daring the other to blink first.

    Right before impact, a crack of lightning opened the sky, releasing a sudden downpour of rain.

    “Agh!” Barnabas screamed, jerkily changing his Pokémon's direction so that they were running to the nearest tree. “Under here!”

    Piers followed quickly. “I can't get this cape wet!” he cried in terror. “My mom's gonna kill me!”

    “Wait up!” Willow kicked the tree off of her legs, sending it flying. “I knew I shouldn't have worn my good Jigglypuff socks!”

    Soon, all three were gathered under the same tree, dripping wet.

    “Told you we should've played inside,” Piers said, his sinister tone replaced by the simple, somewhat feminine voice a young boy.

    “Inside's boring,” Barnabas muttered, looking down at his wet clothes. What was moments ago a complicated mess of straps, buckles, and pockets was now just a soggy red T-shirt with a faded Poké Ball symbol on the front.

    Both boys stepped off of their bicycles, forgetting about the fierce creatures they had been.

    “I'd rather be bored than muddy!” Willow yelled, wringing out her curly blonde pigtails.

    “Don't worry, Pete,” Barnabas said, addressing his arch-nemesis Piers. “We can just hang this up when it stops raining. Your mom'll never know.”

    “I'm not lying to Mom!” the girl protested, earning a heavy punch to the shoulder from Peter.

    “You will if you know what's good for you!” he bellowed. He then turned to Barnabas. “Sorry, Billy, my mom made me take her. She promised she'd be good.”

    “Maybe next time we'll tape her mouth shut,” Billy snickered.

    “I doubt there'll be a next time!” she declared, fuming when the two boys high-fived each other. “That's it!” She slipped off her shoes and socks and rolled up the legs of her overalls. “We're playing my game now.”

    “We're not playing with your stupid dolls, Wendy.” Peter rolled his eyes, which resulted in a slap to the arm from his sister.

    “I'm not talking about dolls, stupid,” she said, turning out towards the field, which was currently being washed in rain. She juggled ideas for a moment, finally settling. “There are lots of Rattata out there, right? Well, nobody's afraid of them. But what you didn't know is that, when it rains, the mutant Rattata come out of their nests to hunt anything not smart enough to hide. They're called... Rattattacks.”

    The boys raised their eyebrows, impressed. As Wendy spoke, foggy, dark shapes appeared in the distance, aggressively stalking through the grass.

    “We're here to find out what caused them to mutate,” she continued, brushing her now silky blonde hair behind her ears and smoothing out her lab coat. “Call me Doctor Winona, the leading expert on Pokémon mutations.” Her voice was a full octave deeper. “You two can be my assistants.”

    “Benjamin Barracuda reporting,” Billy said dutifully, stepping to the doctor's side. He glanced at Peter, who appeared slightly more reluctant to bend to the girl's will. Finally, he sighed and threw his cape over a branch.

    “Patrick Scott,” he said dryly. “Let's get out there and track down th-”

    “I make the orders around here,” Winona snapped, hushing Patrick instantly. “Now let's get out there and track down some Rattattacks.”

    Braving the rain, the squad of scientists moved forward, feeling the gaze of every mutant Rattattack daring them to let down their guard.

    “They're very sneaky,” the woman whispered, just loud enough to be heard above the rain. “They'll pop up any- look out!” She shoved Patrick forcefully into the mud as a large, purple mess of muscles and veins leapt at him, dagger-like teeth bared. As soon as it landed, it was preparing for another attack, stopped only by a swift kick from Benjamin, which sent it squealing into the tall grass.

    “Get your guns ready!” Winona screamed, whipping a pistol out of seemingly nowhere and pointing it warily at the grass. Patrick was yanked out of the mud by his fellow assistant and they both retrieved their own weapons.

    “There!” Patrick yelled, blasting a bullet at a rustling bush. A shrill, pained squeak followed and the man smiled proudly. “Looks like I took first blood,” is what he would have said, all of the cockiness he could muster infecting every word, but he was unfortunately attacked by another furious Rattattack. It clawed and bit, holding on despite Patrick's best efforts to push it off. The two fell to the ground together, scrambling in the splashing mud.

    “Stay still!” Winona commanded, closing one eye to get the best aim should could in the pounding rain. She shakily pointed the barrel at the creature, twitching constantly as the man rolled around underneath its attacks. “I can't get a good shot!”

    Gritting her teeth, she slowly applied pressure to the trigger.

    “Hurry, Doctor!” Benjamin warned, firing several shots into the surrounding mist as countless mutants intruded on their location. “They're surrounding us!”

    She screamed barbarically, finally squeezing the trigger. A bang louder than any before it silenced even the heavy static of the rain and vibrant red liquid rushed onto the ground, mixing with the mud. Slowly and awkwardly, Patrick pushed the dead Rattattack off of him and climbed to his feet.

    “Good work, Doctor,” he grunted with a hint of resentment, wiping some mud off of his arms.

    “No time to talk!” She swung her pistol out towards the field, shooting a couple of Rattattacks mid-air as they jumped. Patrick quickly took the hint and the three formed a triangle, all shooting outwards at the enclosing hoard of Rattattacks.

    “We're not gonna make it!” Benjamin's blood ran cold as the horrifying click of his gun signaled his lack of ammunition. Winona's soon followed, as did Patrick's.

    “This is it!” The woman grabbed the hands of her assistants. “Just remember: we died in the pursuit of knowledge!” Content with her final words, she closed her eyes, prepared for the end.

    Instead however, every single one of their attackers piled on Patrick. After a few seconds of swatting them and screaming, he silenced himself a split second after Winona pronounced him dead.

    “Wait...” Benjamin mumbled, significantly calmer. “Why are they all attacking him?”

    She thought for a moment. “They must attack creatures with low IQ's. Yes! That's why the only attack stupid Rattata and P-”

    “Shut up!” Patrick said, standing as if a group of insane Rattattacks wasn't devouring his flesh.

    “You're dead!” she protested. “You can't just stand up!”

    “This game is stupid,” he said. “The last one was better. That's why we don't let you play with us.”

    The rain had gradually began to slow and was now at a drizzle.

    “I thought it was pretty fun,” Billy offered, pushing his dark hair out of his eyes. “I'm kinda hungry, though. Let's head back to Pallet.”

    “But I'm not ready to go home!” Wendy yelled. “I wanna keep playing.”

    “Too bad,” Peter said. “You ruined our fun and now we have to back to town. Let's go.”

    “I'll race ya!” Billy shouted, running to his bike. Peter ran after him, agreeing.

    They both sped off, leaving the transportation-less girl behind with nothing to do but yell after them. Seeing it was doing no good, she stuck her bottom lip out and thought the worst things her mind was capable of about the two boys.

    “I'll play by myself,” she murmured, seeing the black cape hanging in the old tree. She ran over, yanked it down, and draped it over her shoulders. The rain had now stopped completely, allowing a sliver of golden sunlight to lay across the field. She walked until she was in the middle of the sunny strip, grabbing the stick that had once been a tree pinning her to the ground. In an instant, it was a gleaning sword.

    Meanwhile, pedaling as fast as he could muster, Peter glanced back and saw his sister swinging a stick wildly at nothing as his own cape blew carelessly on her back. He called to Billy and they both stopped and watched her for a few minutes.

    “She's so dumb,” Peter said. “Like, what loser plays all by themselves?”

    “Yeah,” Peter muttered, distracted. “Do you... do you think she's fighting off a Pokémon...? Or is it another person?”

    “Who cares?” Peter puffed, also unable to take his eyes off the apparently epic battle. “She's an idiot...”

    “I think I'm gonna go check on her,” he replied, taking off slowly but gaining speed quickly. Peter let out an exaggerated groan but made sure not to let Billy beat him there.

    Once close enough, the boys found out they had just intruded on the territory of the toughest bandit on all of Route 1 and that, if they wanted to keep their lives, they would have to prove themselves in a duel.

    They, of course, obliged.
    Last edited by [Imaginative]:[Clockwork]; 27th June 2014 at 8:29 AM.

  2. #2
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    This is a pretty far bump, eh? But with a premise like that I just had to leave a review, so...

    I like the way you intersperse the imagined scenes in the story and how you treat them as if they were real. It forces the reader to do a double-take because you transition so swiftly but smoothly at the same time, as if, again, you're mixing it with what's really happening. The imagined scenes are described rather nicely as well, so good job!

    My only nitpick though is that I didn't see "white" as much as I hoped for in the story? I do get that it's supposed to be mirrored in the innocence and purity of the situation [which is why I can't comment on the lack of conflict because, hey, it's not supposed to have any glaring ones] but since the story is already straightforward, then I have to go for the images. While like I said above your description is really good, I tried to get a feel of the whiteness of the piece, but IMO it isn't as "white" as it can be. Of course, telling you to include physical appearances of the color in the story may be a bit too much, but you need to do something to that extent - make the presence of white more than just symbolical, whether it be physical, metaphorical (which is different from symbolical), emotional (like your example of blue in the first post) or any other way. Again, I may be asking for too much, and this might not be part of what you're trying to do (in that, hey, you actually want the color to be minimal in appearance but visible enough to be noticed, like it is here) but with a series of one-shots revolving around colors, I'd want the colors to be prominent.

    Of course, this is only a suggestion with regards to imagery and to a lesser extent theme, so it can be easily discarded, in which case treat the above paragraph as ramblerambleramble and move on knowing that your writing here is very good.


    EDIT: Forgot to include this little grammar nitpick:

    his sinister tone replaced by the simple, somewhat feminine voice a young boy.
    I think you're lacking a word here.
    Last edited by Dramatic Melody; 6th January 2013 at 2:31 PM.


    Berries -- Humans of Hoenn -- A Friday -- Escape Rope



    images were taken from four specific web pages of Serebii.net

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dramatic Melody View Post
    This is a pretty far bump, eh? But with a premise like that I just had to leave a review, so...
    Haha, don't worry about it. Progress is slow, but this is still technically active. And I always appreciate a review!

    I like the way you intersperse the imagined scenes in the story and how you treat them as if they were real. It forces the reader to do a double-take because you transition so swiftly but smoothly at the same time, as if, again, you're mixing it with what's really happening. The imagined scenes are described rather nicely as well, so good job!
    I was extremely worried about the transitions between reality and the kids' imaginations, so I'm glad to hear you say that. Those transformations were something I really wanted to pull off, so I was very careful not to jump from one world to the next and leave the reader confused.

    The imagined scenes were a lot of fun to describe, if only because they were an excuse to be just a tad ridiculous. ;D

    My only nitpick though is that I didn't see "white" as much as I hoped for in the story? I do get that it's supposed to be mirrored in the innocence and purity of the situation [which is why I can't comment on the lack of conflict because, hey, it's not supposed to have any glaring ones] but since the story is already straightforward, then I have to go for the images. While like I said above your description is really good, I tried to get a feel of the whiteness of the piece, but IMO it isn't as "white" as it can be. Of course, telling you to include physical appearances of the color in the story may be a bit too much, but you need to do something to that extent - make the presence of white more than just symbolical, whether it be physical, metaphorical (which is different from symbolical), emotional (like your example of blue in the first post) or any other way. Again, I may be asking for too much, and this might not be part of what you're trying to do (in that, hey, you actually want the color to be minimal in appearance but visible enough to be noticed, like it is here) but with a series of one-shots revolving around colors, I'd want the colors to be prominent.
    I didn't really intend on including the physical presence of the color itself in the fic, just because the focus wasn't really intended to be the color so much as the theme associated with it. However, now that you mention it, I'm realizing that I just really like the idea of providing a little visual flare to the one-shots. After all, if a series of one-shots based on colors isn't a fair place to paint rainbows, then where is?

    As for an emotional presence, I definitely intend on utilizing that in one-shots governed more by emotions than ideas (like you said, a sad blue chapter would be all about sadness of the characters, situations, places, etc.) but White didn't focus on any particular emotion, but rather the concept of innocence (good guess, by the way!), which could be exemplified by joy, I suppose, but that's getting farther away from what I was trying to do. I could always have the characters toss off adorably naďve lines here and there to prove their innocence, but I feel like in this case it's more strongly displayed by the events of the chapter.

    Of course, this is only a suggestion with regards to imagery and to a lesser extent theme, so it can be easily discarded, in which case treat the above paragraph as ramblerambleramble and move on knowing that your writing here is very good.
    It's definitely under consideration. Thank you so much for the review! I appreciate it so much.



    As for the status of the fic itself, I'm still working. School has been very time-consuming (bad excuse, I know, but it's all I've got!), but I've done a lot of work over the holiday break. Hopefully I can keep it up and get Green out sometime before 2014!

  4. #4

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    Well. It's been a while. Not only since I last put a piece of writing on the forums, but since I updated this! I'm a very irregular writer (especially during the school semester, when I have writing that I have to do), but this is honestly embarrassing, and I'm sorry if anyone just really liked this idea when I first posted White and looked forward to future installments.

    Don't worry, though, because now I'm bringing you Green! It's my first piece of purely enjoyable creative writing in a while, so it's a little rough. It was written over the period of a month or two (I think), and I spent the entire time not quite getting back into the swing of things. It was very fun to write, though, so hopefully that will at least translate. There are a whole lot of things I could say about this one, but instead I'll just shut up.

    (Also, I'd like to say Grey will be out soon, but I know better than to promise something like that.)

    GREEN

    On any given April morning, Viridian Forest was a sight to be seen. The rain was frequent but pleasant, the sun was warm but never hot, and everything – the glossy leaves, the springy grass, and even the lily pads floating lazily on the ponds – was green.

    Perfect for picnics and splendid for sightseeing, many families would stroll happily in the sunshine the entire day, taking in the marvelous but harmless views of the low-level bug Pokémon. For weekend camping trips, there was no place better, and for anyone who found photography to his or her liking, the forest’s picturesque charms could hardly be resisted. When people were in the Viridian Forest, it was with the safe knowledge that whatever may happen in their city lives, nature would always be there to greet them.

    Some imposed on this hospitality more than others.

    “Okay, I’ma squat down in these flowers, and you take a picture from that tree over there,” Loretta said. “I’ll pretend like I’m pickin’ ‘em.” Her voice was so openly mouthed it was common for passersby to assume at least three sticks of bubblegum were tucked in her cheek, but its shrillness quickly eliminated the possibility of any muffling. Her thick Celadon accent – flat on vowels and nasally on consonants – certainly didn’t do anything to help soften her tone.

    Just as she had declared, she squatted into the small patch of yellow flowers as her husband snapped a photograph with the big black camera. She then pulled Dotty, their Oddish, into frame and they took a picture together. With her large nose and bony arms, Loretta didn’t quite have the look of a typical model, but her hazel eyes, spacious and disarmingly sweet, could have been on billboards. In fact, they were a major factor in the pair deciding to move to Viridian City.

    “We gotta go someplace green,” she had said as they had been frantically packing the contents of their Celadon City apartment. She placed Dotty in a pot and sprinkled soil over her, promising she wouldn’t have to hide for long. “Green makes my eyes pop, and y’know color photography’s gettin’ better all the time. I could be a famous model or somethin’.” Lost in a dream, she clutched a stolen sun hat to her bosom and smiled. “Can you picture it, Eddie? Me!” However, the news report playing on the transistor radio reminded her that cops were currently scouring the city, and she snapped out of it and continued packing.

    Eddie grunted in response as usual. He had been a mechanic in downtown Celadon when Loretta had brought in a stolen motorcycle to get fixed. She had convinced him to go on a ride with her, and together they had held up a convenience store. She sometimes wondered what his life would have been like if she’d never dragged him out of that garage. Now, in their hotel room, he carefully folded Loretta’s favorite dress, originally stolen from the department store downtown. Later, as she had waited with their luggage at the train station, he had come back with two tickets to Viridian City, and off they had went.

    Viridian City had been everything they wanted: the cops didn’t look at them as if their faces were familiar, Dotty had plenty of dirt to dig around in, and, of course, everything was green. Sure, Celadon had been exciting, full of danger and glamor and totally unpredictable, but Viridian was quiet. Viridian was peaceful. Most importantly, Viridian was safe. Safety wasn’t something they were used to, but Loretta knew they desperately needed it.

    Still sitting in the grass, Loretta was choosing the perfect flower to pretend to sniff when the music playing from the transistor radio on Eddie’s belt stopped, interrupted by a news broadcast.

    “Attention Viridian City residents,” said the somber man through a curtain of static. Loretta and Eddie tensed. Emergency broadcasts were something they were all too familiar with. “We’ve just received word that Mrs. Betty Ward, who lived with her husband down on Clover Street, passed away this morning at the age of 83. In honor of her memory, it has been requested that we play her favorite song, ‘And the Angels Sing.’ This one goes out to you, Betty.”

    As the orchestra started playing, Eddie sighed and Loretta laughed nervously, and the two continued with the photoshoot. Truly, Viridian City was an entirely different Pokémon than Celadon.

    Weeks later, Loretta was at the Globe Diner with a group of ladies, all of them sipping malts. She had joined the Women’s Society, and for the first time in her life found herself with a collection of female friends. No more gangsters, no more ex-cons, and no more greasy perverts.

    One of the girls said something cheeky, and the table erupted with laughter, Loretta included. Thanks to the fact that her days no longer involved sprinting into alleyways and hopping over fences, she had begun wearing more makeup. She also had more shoe choices than just flats, and she never felt prettier than when she walked around town in her red heels. Of course, none of the men whistled and hollered like they had in Celadon, but Loretta figured they were just too polite.

    “Okay,” Viola said primly, “I’m thinking a bake sale. We just don’t have enough money to fund the Benefit Ball like usual, so we’ll have to settle for a more modest fundraiser.” The group sighed collectively, but Loretta spoke up.

    “How come we don’t have the bake sale and then use the money to pay for the ball?” The concept of parlaying was something she had learned during her days of crime, which seemed ages ago already. “The bake sale don’t cost the Society nothin’, since we’ll all be paying for the food outta our own pockets, so it’ll be pure profit. Then we use that money to set up the ball, since the donated stuff we auction there’ll make more money than a buncha pies and cookies.”

    “That’s nice, Loretta,” Margie answered, “but I don’t think it’s right for the Women’s Society to be keeping the money it makes from one of its fundraisers. What if the Benefit Ball fails? We’d have no profits, and worse, we’d look like a sham. I say we just stick with the bake sale. It’s more reliable. Safer.”

    “How about a tournament, then?” she returned, trying not to seem too pushy. These weren’t the rough guys she was used to dealing with, and she didn’t want to step on any toes. “The kids love battlin’, and I betcha we could get away with chargin’ a pretty stiff entry fee.” She was sure it wouldn’t fail: she couldn’t turn a corner in Celadon without seeing a group of kids battling in the street. However, to drive her case home, she added, “It’ll cost next to nothin’ to set up as long as we got somebody to organize a bracket and make some rules. All we gotta do is find a field somewhere that nobody’s usin’.”

    “I really don’t think we want our name associated with fighting,” Jeanie scoffed. “Especially when the money is to support the abused.”

    “Then it’s settled,” Viola said quickly, spotting a spat-in-the-making. “We’ll have a bake sale. We’ll meet Friday at noon on the square. The abused children of Johto will just have to make do with a smaller donation. Don’t worry, Loretta,” she added quietly. “We’ll have the Benefit Ball next year for sure.”

    Loretta huffed and took a slow drag from her malt straw. Now she had to learn how to bake.

    Hours later, she was pulling a cake pan out of the oven, releasing a huge cloud of smoke into the kitchen. After a minute of violent coughing, she dropped the pan onto the table with a crash and threw her oven mitt to the floor. Dotty scrambled away while Eddie sat calmly.

    “Son of a *****!” she yelled. It was black around the edges, and the middle had caved in. She kicked a table leg, still wearing her red high heels, and stormed out the front door and onto the porch. Eddie grabbed Dotty from behind the trash can and followed his wife. He handed her the Oddish, and Loretta instinctively began brushing her leaves, which slowed her breathing considerably.

    “Why’d we have to a stupid bake sale?” she vented, pacing. “Everybody does bake sales! I told ‘em we could do a tournament or somethin’, but they wouldn’t listen!!”

    Eddie nodded slowly.

    “They tried to act like they’s too good to associate themselves with battlin’!” she continued, her voice reaching new levels of shrillness. “Well I got news for ‘em: their little poker nights ain’t so holy either! If you can even consider it gamblin’, since they’re playin’ with jellybeans. I won six hands the other night, and they acted like I was cheatin’! For jellybeans! I don’t cheat for nothin’, and if I did, it sure as hell wouldn’t be for candy. It ain’t my fault they can’t stop gigglin’ every time they get a good hand!”

    At this point, Eddie was snickering uncontrollably, shaking his head in disbelief. Loretta stopped and glared at him, but quickly cracked a smile herself.

    “I know this is stupid, hon,” she said more softly. “We used to have real problems, huh? I guess I should be grateful that a few crazy ladies is all I got. And that stupid cake.” She sat Dotty on the porch and wrapped her arms around him.

    “I know you miss your buddies back in Celadon,” she whispered. Other than his job cleaning the Pokémon gym on weeknights, Eddie barely left the house, spending most of his free time out in the shed. Loretta always made sure they went out somewhere on Saturdays so he wouldn’t be too lonely, but she knew it was a poor substitute to Celadon. “Thanks for supportin’ me and movin’ here. I know it’s borin’ and slow, but it’s safe, and that’s what we need. Especially if we wanna start a family.” She kissed him and undid her apron.

    “I’ll just buy some cookies tomorrow,” she declared, walking inside. “I’m gonna have a smoke and go to bed.”

    The next morning, she woke up alone in bed. She wandered downstairs and into the kitchen, where she found Eddie, wearing the same clothes as yesterday. He was hunched over the table, and as she walked closer, she saw he was decorating a cake. It was in the shape of a Jigglypuff, and he was currently applying healthy amounts of pink frosting.

    She gasped, and he turned around in shock.

    “Baby,” she mumbled, staring at the perfect dessert. “It’s… gorgeous!” She swallowed as tears crowded her eyes. He was beginning to turn red. “I got the best husband,” she said quietly, the last word cut off as she pulled his head in for a long kiss. She then pushed off his chest, running toward the bedroom.

    “I’m gonna go to the store and get you some beers.” She stopped halfway up the staircase and turned back to him. “And the good kind, too, from the PokéMart, not that Slowpoke piss they sell down at Rodman’s.” With a wink, she disappeared upstairs, returning fully dressed.

    “When I get back,” she said, picking up Dotty, “we’re gonna have a little bondin’ time, ‘kay?” She giggled and pranced out the door.

    Without the aid of stolen income, they had been forced to severely reel in their spending, so the pristine shelves of the PokéMart looked almost heavenly. Rodman’s was always dirty, unevenly stocked, and it wasn’t uncommon for the food to be expired, so Loretta almost shed a tear when she saw the perfectly cut Tauros steaks on the freezer shelf.

    Steak was her favorite.

    She leaned in, grimacing at the price. With a sigh, she backed away and found the beer.

    She was proud of herself. In Celadon, she would have snatched that steak right off the shelf and slipped it into her purse without a second thought. It felt good to live on the right side of the law for a change, without having to worry about the cashier seeing her. ‘Hell,’ she thought, picking up a case of six beers, ‘in this Podunk town, they’d probably think I was usin’ my purse as a shoppin’ cart or somethin’.

    She strolled casually back down the freezer aisle, her heels clicking dully on the shiny linoleum floor. Dotty followed behind her. She wanted one last look at the steaks. She figured it would give her something to work toward. An elderly woman was examining the Spoink chops, right next to the steaks. Loretta sidled up beside her, facing straight ahead while side-eyeing the lady.

    This was a sign, she was sure of it. The days of taking what she wanted when she wanted it were behind her. She was meant to live a life of the straight and narrow. A safe life. She could hang out with the girls from the Women’s Society. Have bake sales. Learn to sew. Have sixteen kids. Live to be a hundred. Die quietly from exposure from sitting on the porch on a cold winter night, her last thought of Eddie and the day he left her to go back to Celadon.

    Dammit, lady!’ she thought, kneeling down to inspect the quality of the steaks. ‘Pick a friggin’ chop already!’ She lifted a steak off the shelf and stood up, practically pressing her nose into the plastic as she examined the meat closer than ever before.

    “Can I help you?”

    She looked up and saw a PokéMart employee smiling next to her. “Oh,” she mumbled, “no thanks. I’m just lookin’, but I don’t think I have enough money on me.” She smiled nervously and set the steak back on the refrigerated shelf. Maybe next time, she thought.

    “How much do you need?” asked the old woman next to her, opening her large purple purse. She smiled, emphasizing the inexact application of her light blue lipstick. “My husband and I live on so little, and you look like you could use a little meat on those bones.”

    Loretta’s disappointment turned to guilt, and she shook her head quickly. “No, no, that’s alright,” she said, stepping away. “I’m just here for beer.” She lifted the case higher to show the woman and the employee, and then quickly paid and left.

    Can’t even steal somethin’,’ she thought, walking briskly down the sidewalk. ‘People here are too damn nice.’ She walked past a large, green yard full of people laughing and barbecuing, all dressed in nice, modest clothing. She looked down at her own tight pink dress and matching heels and felt a knot in her stomach even more tightly wound than when she had she had climbed down from the third story of Celadon Bank while the police were investigating inside. This time, however, she had no adrenaline to distract her.

    She saw some of the teenagers gawking at each other, and she wished she had a jacket to cover up.

    When she got home, Eddie was in the shed as usual. Without bothering him, she ran upstairs, cleaned off most of her makeup, and threw on a much more modest green dress and a pair of flats. She then grabbed the cake and Dotty and left for the bake sale.

    As soon as she arrived, she saw it wasn’t the sensation the Society had been hoping for.

    Tables were set up in the parking lot of the community center, covered with green tablecloths and lined with delicately decorated cakes and picture-perfect pies. However, other than the Women’s Society members, no one had shown up.

    “You’re late, Loretta,” Marianne chided, adjusting her plate of Eevee-shaped cookies ever so slightly.

    “Sorry,” Loretta said quickly, looking for a suitable open space on the tables. “On the bright side, it don’t look like the crowd’s come in yet, huh?” When she decided on a place, she saw that her cake would be right next to another, much more meticulously detailed Jigglypuff cake. She felt as if the knot in her stomach had been tightened with a yank, but she swallowed hard, set her cake down, and picked a seat for herself in between Viola and Margie.

    “Your cake’s adorable,” Viola said, winking. “I’ve never been able to make specialty cakes. It’s always plain designs for me.”

    “Actually,” Loretta said, grinning, “Eddie’s the one who made it.” Scattered “aw’s” popped up from various ladies at the tables. “To tell you the truth, I ain’t no good at makin’ cakes either!”

    Viola giggled, but before she could add anything, Margie jumped in.

    “You mean you didn’t make your own cake?” She sniffed and then, more to the other ladies than Loretta, said, “That hardly seems fair, considering all the hours we put in to making our own food to sell.”

    Loretta wasn’t sure if her face was getting hot from embarrassment or anger, but she knew the high road was the best option either way. “Well, see, I tried makin’ a cake myself,” she said, patting Dotty in her lab, “but I don’t think it woulda made much money. So Eddie made a cake for me.”

    “I wish I could get my husband to bake,” Viola joked, elbowing Loretta playfully. “You’ve got yourself a good one, Loretta.”

    “Thankfully, my husband doesn’t have to cook.”

    Loretta didn’t see who said it, but she could tell by the bloated, Poliwhirl-like croaking that it was Beatrice.

    “Hey,” she said, more sharply than she had intended. “I may not the best cook, but I get food on the table. I ain’t heard no complaints outta Eddie, and if–”

    “Girls!” Viola said, straightening up in her seat and plastering on a smile. Everyone looked out toward the sidewalk, where a man was approaching.

    “Bake sale, huh?” he asked gruffly, examining the baked goods covering the tables. Everyone sat perfectly quietly, each lady stiffening as he passed her own treat. He eventually settled in one area, and Loretta bit her lip while watching him. “How much for the Jigglypuff one?”

    “Which one?” asked Jeanie, the apparent creator of the more impressive version of Loretta’s cake.

    “Uh… the big one,” he said plainly, pointing at Loretta’s.

    She stood up quickly, bumping into the table but correcting her balance. “Thank you for your interest, sir,” she said slowly, straightening her accent carefully like she would a piece of bent wire. “I made that particular cake, and it is priced at eight dollars.” She smiled, bowed slightly, and sat back down.

    He scratched his stubbly chin and then shrugged, pulling eight dollar bills from his wallet. “I’ll take it.” He handed the money to Viola, who had the moneybag, and carried away the Jigglypuff cake.

    “First sale goes to Loretta!” Viola sung, making a big show of putting the money in the plastic bag. “Congratulations!”

    “Looks like size wins this time,” Jeanie said rigidly. “Speaking of,” She looked toward Loretta, “I must say, I like your dress. It’s not quite as… tight as the ones you usually wear.”

    “Yeah, Viola said Viridian might not be ready for that Celadon fashion,” Loretta answered, too excited from her minor victory to take offense at Jeanie’s tone. “So I decided to wear somethin’ a little less revealin’, y’know, at least for the bake sale.”

    “Oh, good,” Beatrice moaned, resting her chubby cheek on her hand. “At least we get to look forward to more of your cleavage at future meetings.”

    “Beatrice,” Viola snapped,” don’t be rude.”

    “It’s fine,” Loretta said quietly. “It’s nothin’ I can’t handle.” However, she could feel her breathing getting shallower, and she almost felt like she might cry, which only made her angry at herself for being so sensitive.

    “I agree with Beatrice,” Ramona interjected loudly, flinging spittle onto her uncovered brownies. “I really don’t think the Women’s Society’s good name should be associated with sex.”

    As Viola attempted to calm the ladies, Loretta rapidly brushed Dotty’s leaves, breathing in and out quickly. A fat guy nicknamed Chops had once slapped her across the face, and she had kicked him in the crotch and stolen his rings. Now, as the knot in her stomach seemed to vibrate from the sheer tension with which it was being pulled, she could only sit quietly as a group of bony women tossed off witless insults at her.

    “I just don’t think it’s fair!” Mary Katherine said, fiddling with her bracelet. “Of course people are going to buy her cake! She’s dressed like a streetwalker! What chance do we have?”

    “You think I’m pocketin’ this?” Loretta said, more harshly than she had intended. “It’s all for the society! Maybe if you’d learn a thing or two about advertising,” she continued, never breaking eye contact, “your cake would’a been sold already.”

    “Advertising!” Beatrice howled. “You mean strutting around town in heels and lingerie? I’m sure we’d sell a lot more than cakes!”

    “Yeah, you might sell those poker chips you call cookies,” Loretta spat back, dropping Dotty onto the table as she quickly stood up. She then swept her eyes across the entire group of ladies. “You’re all just bitter that your food ain’t been sold yet. But if we would’a listened to me, we’d be makin’ tons of money with a Pokémon tournament!”

    “There she goes again with that battling nonsense,” Mary Katherine drawled, rolling her eyes.

    “It ain’t nonsense!” Loretta said sharply. “It was a good idea, and it would’a made more money than this sorry excuse for a fundraiser.

    “You ladies act so nice and innocent, but you ain’t got no more class than I do. You made me feel like some kinda jerk when I was just tryin’ to help. And now you’re payin’ for it, ‘cause this thing ain’t makin’ no money, and those kids you pretend to care about ain’t gettin’ jack squat outta this.”

    “Well, honey,” Ramona growled, “if you hate us so much, feel free to leave.”

    “I will,” she said, her entire face rigidly locked into a defiant expression. “I ain’t gotta waste my time on some club that don’t want me. I’m happier at home with my husband. And this stupid dress,” she continued heatedly, “the one you all seem to like so much,” she grunted, tugging at the coarse, green fabric, “is too stiff and hot!” She pulled it over her head, and the group of ladies screamed at the seemingly imminent threat of nudity at one of their events. However, Loretta stopped when her nose and mouth were covered, leaving only her wavy blonde hair and glaring hazel eyes exposed.

    “Dotty!” she said, muffled from the dress and even harder to hear amongst all the hysterical shouting around her. “Use Sleep Powder!”

    Perking up considerably, Dotty waved her leaves around energetically, and tiny yellow spores flew out of her in waves, covering the parking lot in only moments. The ladies’ sharp emotions were dulled considerably by drowsiness, and eventually everyone except Loretta and Dotty was hunched over the table, sleeping heavily.

    Once the powder had settled safely on the asphalt, Loretta uncovered her face. She then dug through the ladies’ purses, skipping Viola, and took ten dollars out of each, finally throwing her own purse onto the table and unbuttoning the top pocket. “I don’t mind takin’ you guys’ money,” she muttered bitterly, plucking a twenty from her wallet, “but I ain’t stealin’ from no abused kids.” Arranging all the bills she had collected in a neat pile, she stuck it in Viola’s moneybag and picked up Dotty. Allowing herself just one moment’s thrill, she stole a cookie from Marianne’s plate before she walked back home.

    When she got there, the house was empty. She looked everywhere, and then walked out to the shed, where she assumed Eddie must be.

    “Honey,” she said tiredly, knocking on the tin door. “Baby, I did somethin’ real bad.” She heard nothing, but that was no surprise, so she continued. “I thought comin’ here would be good for us, y’know? Like, I thought gettin’ away from the city would make us better people. But I just feel worse. And meaner. And madder.” She sunk to the ground, getting dirt on the green dress she hated. Dotty sat next to her.

    “I put the ladies to sleep, like I used to do at restaurants. Remember?” She smiled softly and absently rubbed Dotty’s slick leaves with her fingers. “But I didn’t even get nothin’ out of it. I gave all the money to charity,” she said, throwing her hands into the air. “And I don’t even feel good about it.”

    She sat quietly for a second, before finally climbing back to her feet. “I’m gonna go make dinner,” she said faintly, after a long sigh. “Sandwiches okay?” Right before she left, the door cracked open, and Eddie peeked out at her from the pitch-black room. She started to ask him if he had heard her, but he grabbed her wrist and pulled her inside, shutting the door quickly behind her.

    They were in a tiny curtained area, and once the door was shut and darkness returned, Eddie parted the thick cloth. Loretta gasped.

    Bathed in dim red light, four shallow basins filled with different liquids sat on a table. Hanging everywhere on strings attached at various points on the walls were fully developed photographs. Loretta walked slowly, careful not to touch anything, and got closer to one of the photos. She saw that it – and all of the pictures – were from their photoshoot in the Viridian Forest. Her lip quivered, and she felt like her face projected more red than the light bulb.

    “Oh, Eddie,” she whispered, placing her hand on her chest. With her other hand, she gently took hold of the photograph, examining it closer. “These are… wait.” She furrowed her brow and plucked the picture out of the clothespin’s grasp. She then quickly shuffled through the curtain and out the door, Eddie close behind. In full daylight, she saw all the details.

    “I look awful!” she shouted, letting her arms fall limply at her side at she stared blankly forward. “I look freakin’ terrible,” she mumbled, biting her lip. She turned around and faced Eddie, her mouth still slightly open.

    Eddie was slowly approaching her. Before he could wrap her in his arms, however, he giggled.

    “You’re… laughing?” Loretta asked, eyes widening. “You think this is funny?” He was laughing even harder now, and his whole body was shaking. “You’re just as mean as those ladies!” she yelled, beginning to smile herself. “The whole reason we moved here,” she said, her nostrils widening as a full-blown grin took over face, “was because I thought green was my color! And look at this!” She waved the photo in his face and grabbed his arm for support as both of them panted for air. “I look like a Nidoking!”

    They screamed and collapsed into the grass, holding each other tightly. Loretta buried her face into Eddie’s chest to contain her shrieks of laughter. After several minutes, they both lay down, holding their stomachs.

    “I’m sorry, honey,” she mumbled, patting the ground until she found his hand. “I can’t believe I thought this would be a good idea. I just don’t know anymore, y’know? I don’t think havin’ kids is worth livin’ like this..” She scooted closer to him. “I’m startin’ to wonder if bein’ shot in the head in my thirties would be better than dyin’ from boredom when I’m eighty.” He laughed lazily in return, and she rolled over, pushing herself up so she could look him in the eyes.

    “Wha’d’ya say, babe? Let’s ditch this place and go back home. We can crash our car runnin’ from the cops. Get in a shootout with a gang. Or we can just keep just keep livin’ forever, you, me, and Dotty, robbin’ banks every day.” As if on cue, the Oddish scampered over. Loretta grinned at her and looked back at her husband with pleading eyes. “It’s your choice. We can even… we can even stay here if you want.”

    Eddie looked sternly back at her with a cocked eyebrow. He had spent their entire time in Viridian reading, making friends at work, and relaxing. For the first time in his life, he felt like he had stability. He didn’t have to worry about prison or gun wounds or dying. He was safer than he had ever been. Leaning up, he came face to face with Loretta, who was staring at him nervously. Never smiling, he took a deep breath.

    “Let’s get the hell outta here.”
    Last edited by [Imaginative]:[Clockwork]; 28th June 2014 at 4:59 AM.

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