5th February 2013, 3:09 PM
Extinguished (one shot)
“Well, doctor, what do you think?”
“She has a fever. The sickness itself is nothing unusual, but that’s not what interests me.”
My body was still tingling at the spots where the stethoscope had touched me. The bright fluorescent lights from the top of the checkup room were making me feel fuzzy. I jiggled nervously in my seat, sniffling a bit as my mother and the doctor talked.
“What is it, then?”
“It looks like she only got so sick in the first place because her natural defenses were so worn down. What I really want to know is how she got this weak.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, the results of her checkup show that her weight’s dropped drastically. She also seems to be showing all the signs of sleep deprivation. Usually I just see these results for low-income families, or for people with addiction problems. But for her, it’s unusual.”
“Isn’t losing weight supposed to be a good thing?” I asked carelessly, and immediately regretted it when I saw the look mommy gave me. I shut up and looked down at the floor.
“Tell me, have you been under a lot of stress lately?” he asked.
“No…” I answered lazily.
“Have you been engaging in any heavy physical activity?”
“Have you been eating a full meal, three times a day?”
“N- I mean, yes,” I wasn’t really paying attention.
The doctor looked funny at me for a moment, and then to Mommy, as if expecting her to say something. Her face was starting to color, but she stayed silent.
The doctor started talking again, “She’s just extremely fatigued, and that’s why she got so sick in the first place. You can find some over-the-counter drugs to help her get better, but what I think is that she just needs to get some rest.”
“Yes. Okay,” she said anxiously.
“You,” the doctor had turned to me, “Drink plenty of fluids, eat on time, and sleep early everyday. Then you should be fine.”
I nodded weakly and tried to give him a smile. Mommy then thanked the doctor and both of us walked out the door.
Mommy boiled a hot soup for dinner, and made it fill my bowl to the brim. She was giving me even more soup than she usually did when I was sick. I could tell from the determined way she cooked, that she was focused on something in her mind. The both of us sat down at the table, quietly having our dinner. I finished my bowl as quickly as I could, put on my jacket, and then started heading for the door.
“Eh? Where are you going?” Mommy asked, noticing me.
“Oh, I just have this one thing I have to finish at the park… I’ll just be gone for half an hour or so,” I said casually, not stopping my walk to the door.
“You have to stay home,” she answered, quickly getting up from her chair, “You have a fever.”
“It’s not that bad, okay?” I said, trying to reassure her. I was actually still feeling a little light-headed, but I had important things to do today. My hand now at the doorknob, I said, “I can still go out for a brief moment, can I?”
“You collapsed on the sidewalk!” my mom’s tone of voice grew louder; I could tell she was serious this time, “Your friends had to carry you back home!”
“But I really need to…” I trailed off, realizing it wouldn’t do me any good to let her know why I was in such a hurry. How was I supposed to tell her that I was going to catch a Pokémon I had found in the park? Not only was I too young to start catching and training them, but Mommy didn’t want to have anything to do with them. She said they were too dangerous, even though my friends kept them as pets the whole time.
For a long moment, I looked to my mom’s face. The way her eyes locked onto me told me there was no way I was getting out. Right now she was very determined… at me. I took off my jacket and started walking away from the door.
“You’re not going anywhere until you get better,” she said in a final tone, “It’s autumn already and it gets dark early at this time.”
As I hung my jacket back up, my mom started to talk me down even further.
“Asking if you can go out again…” she mocked in contempt, “what could possibly be more important than your health?”
I didn’t want to answer that, and just started walking to the stairs.
“Did you remember what that doctor said? He thinks I’m not raising you well. Do you know how embarrassing that looks?”
“I’m going to bed,” I told her, trying to end her rant on a good note.
“That doctor was right. Look at you, it’s like the life is getting sucked out of you!”
I turned red in the face as I heard her last words, embarrassed at her overly dramatic description. I ran the rest of the way up to brush my teeth.
I first saw the rare Pokémon a few weeks ago. I was at the edge of the park trying to retrieve a ball that got tossed too far. I never saw anything like it, and I knew none of my friends around could ever get something like this. The next time I went there, it was still there, and I learned about the special abilities it had. One day it was dark, and it lit up in an awesome fire. One day when my friends came along, it disappeared into thin air to hide. I guess it only wanted to see me…
I lay in bed, propped up on several pillows to help with my sickness. My thoughts were wandering, and I started to become worried. How long was she going to keep me in bed rest? From the way she looked it seemed she wasn’t going to let me out of her sight until I got better. That Pokémon could have disappeared at any day, and then I would never be able to see it again, let alone capture it. What if someone else found it and tried to catch it as well? If only I hadn’t fainted the other day. Why was I suddenly feeling so fatigued anyway?
Just as the digital clock turned to read 11:00, I heard a light, but sure sound of something tapping on glass. I turned my head, and was amazed to see that, right there on my windowsill, was the little rare Pokémon that I met at the park! I laid there staring at it for a moment; just making sure it was real. A small purple flame burned above it; bathing the glass in a pale glow; it looked just like a candle. The Pokémon continued to tap my window, looking at me endearingly with its button-like yellow eyes. As fast as I could, I got out of bed and opened the window.
“I didn’t know you knew where I lived,” I said weakly, but happily.
The small, candle-like Pokémon hopped in my room, and squeaked in delight.
“It’s nice to see you again… oh? You brought friends?” I watched as the Pokémon made a signal to the empty night outside, and one by one more of the same Pokémon appeared on my windowsill. They all hopped into my room, lighting it up with their pale, purple fires. My head was really hurting; the fever was really making me feel miserable. I tiredly made my way back to the bed, feeling more and more fatigued with each step. I really did need to rest…
The Pokémon followed, hopping along onto the desk next to my bed. The other five or six of them did the same thing, all gathering around on opposite sides of my bed.
“Oh, man… if I had my ball I could’ve caught you…” I said, remembering what I wanted to do earlier. The candle Pokémon didn’t seem to mind what I said, and continued to watch me with their button-like yellow eyes.
“Mommy doesn’t like Pokémon,” I continued to talk to them, “thinks they’re dangerous, even though all of my friends have one…”
The candle Pokémon were paying close attention to me, and the flames on top of their heads grew even brighter. As the room got brighter, it began to spin, and the misery of my fever began to disappear…
“I think she’s silly,” I said, losing my breath. I was struggling to keep my voice steady, “I mean… just because… you can sometimes get burned or shocked… doesn’t mean they’re dangerous, right?”
The rest of the room was just a hazy blur now… but the lights of the Pokémon remained. Glowing brightly, they were like guideposts to the growing darkness. Underneath the blankets, I felt my bones protruding. My arms and legs were shriveling, while my skin pulled back on my ribs. It pulled back on my face too; I felt the walls of my cheeks get thinner and thinner...
I felt comfortable. Or maybe I didn’t… but I didn’t mind, because my entire body felt distant. All the pain of the fever was gone now, for some reason I felt free…
The darkness around me was thick and vague, growing darker and darker as the lights that broke it grew brighter. And then it fell back, all to one large, distant light. It was like the light of the candles, but flared even brighter, and it beckoned me to come. All my feelings were detached now; the only thing I knew now was that I had to go to it- this one final light. I rose up slowly… a feeling of peace as I drifted towards it. Drawing closer and closer… until I became engulfed in-
“While appearing to shed light and serve as a guidepost, it sucks out creatures’ life force.”
-Hitomoshi’s Japanese Pokémon White Dex Entry
“It appears before those on their deathbeds, severs the soul from the body, and immediately sucks it up.”
-Ranpura’s Japanese Pokémon White Dex Entry
A re-post from some other forum I posted on. I like this forum's fanfic community, and I'd like comments even more.
5th February 2013, 3:30 PM
I wish I could more in-depth and break this down like I normally would, but I'm on break at work and only have 10 minutes, not to mention the computer here jumps around in the text box when I try to reply to quotes, making it near-impossible to reply like that.
It's a fairly obvious idea, really, but I'm surprised I never read more Litwick/Lampent/Chandelure-based stories around here. I liked the feeling of Litwick as friendly when its intent is obviously more insidious. That seems accurate.
The story itself is short; maybe too short. Instead of getting so many of the details in narrative flashback, I wish we had seen them. The collapsing on the sidewalk and being carried by friends; the meetings in the woods with the original Litwick and how it hid from the new friends when they were brought. You could have made this 15 pages or so and given us short glimpses of those moments interspersed with the other scenes. It would have made the story "pop" more. I feel like it was a miss not including more of the history. As it is, the story seems too log to be a drabble, but too short to give me all the details I want.
One thing that really stuck outto me was this line: "“Well, the results of her checkup show that her weight’s dropped drastically. She also seems to be showing all the signs of sleep deprivation. Usually I just see these results for low-income families, or for people with addiction problems. But for her, it’s unusual.”" I just don't see a doctor coming out and saying that. It seems so blunt and judgmental for a professional. It would be interesting if he suspected drug use or abuse in the household, but it's just him basically saying other people are beneath the POV character's family, and that rubbed me wrong.
I don't think you needed to include the Dex entries at the end, either. You could explain the plot in subsequent comments to readers if need be, but I think most people understand the creepiness of the Litwick line. Those felt kind of tacked on.
not that I think the story was bad; I'm just saying what I, personally, would have improved upon. It was a fun, light read. Good work overall.
5th February 2013, 4:10 PM
Hey. Thanks for the comment.
The doctor's line was originally meant to make it apparent that something's not very right of her, although now that I look at it, the doctor's line could be taken in a condescending fashion.
This fic was originally posted about a month after Black and White came out in Japan (the original translations of their names are still there too!), so there was more of a need at that time to make that apparent for those who weren't totally up to date with everything yet. That being said, this fic was mainly written with the expectation that people in general had gotten wind of the new Pokemon and yet hadn't completely settled in on them yet, and that the identity of the "friend" wouldn't be readily obvious to the readers until it was too late. I guess this one generally runs on a lot of novelty value.
The stuff referred to in the flashbacks was actually going to be written! XD But I took it down and condensed it because I feared that if the reader was kept in exposure of the already-revealed horror for too long, it would lose its emotional shock value needed for the last scene. The original plan was to have the surprise pulled out in the bedroom, as a revealed threat that readers suddenly recognize as dangerous. In the current day, without that element of surprise, I suppose that drawing out the tension over a series of more-elaborated events (i.e., having her get closer and closer in a relationship with the Pokemon while worrying the audience over it on how bad an idea it really is) would have been a better choice.
Those times when people have just discovered Pokemon and found the new things on them seem to have long passed, I suppose.