A Monstrous Bet
(rated E10+ for frightening images)
The Kanto Trio
"A Monstrous Bet"
Prologue: The Bet is Made
"Check this out!" a black hair boy cries as he points out one particular channel in the TV listings for the night. "The Classic Movie Network is having a scary movie marathon in honor of Halloween!"
"Really?" An older boy with tanned skin dashes to the table. "I didn't know you liked scary movies, Ash..."
"I mainly want to see if they'll show 'The Red Fog of Terror', Brock..." Ash explains. "It has Rosa Moretti in it--and surprisingly, it's not THAT scary..."
"Well if you two are so brave enough to stay up all night watching monster movies, then I have a proposal for you..." a orange haired girl suggests as she walks in the room. "If you can make it through the entire marathon without falling asleep or freaking out, I'll give each of you a thousand credits."
Brock is not impressed by his housemate's offer. "Okay, Misty, what's the catch?"
"The catch is this--if I have to drag you out from under the couch, kick you out of my bed, drag you guys to your rooms, or even hear you scream--you have to each pay me a thousand credits." Misty replies.
"Okay, so if we survive an entire night watching scary movies without conking out or freaking out, we get 2000 credits. If we even so much as yelp in fear, we pay you 2000 credits." Ash repeats the terms of the bet to be sure he has heard Misty correctly.
Misty nods in approval. "Do we have a deal?"
Brock offers a hand to Misty. "Deal."
"Your challenge begins at 6 PM tonight, when the marathon begins, and ends tomorrow morning." Misty explains as she and Brock shake hands to seal the deal. "I'll be sleeping with the door open, just in case I hear screams or snores."
Ash swallows hard--how is he going to survive a night full of monsters if he can't even scream?
"...two boxes of Puffytaffy, and five different varieties of soda, a case of each." Brock finishes taking inventory of the food and drinks he and Ash have gathered to make it through the night. "Plus more stuff in the kitchen if this stuff runs out."
"You are allowed to get up to make food or go to the bathroom." Misty assures the boys. "But if I see you doing something other than watching the movies, that counts as failure too."
"O-okay..." Ash stammers.
<i>Coming up next, our Monster Medley kicks off with 'Invasion of the Poison Freaks', followed by 'The Call of the Banshee', here on the Classic Movie Network.</i> the TV announces. Ash and Brock make themselves comfortable on the couch as more commercials count down towards the beginning of the marathon.
"Pika?" a yellow mouse creature asks.
"No, not tonight..." Ash replies. "You might get scared."
<i>Tonight's marathon contains scenes, including graphic special effects, that may be disturbing or upsetting to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.</i> the announcer intones over a black screen with the same message in white text.
"You heard the announcer, Pikachu..." Misty assures the mouse creature. "Let's go watch something else."
"Pika!" Pikachu happily follows Misty upstairs to her room, leaving the boys in the dark room as the opening credits to 'Invasion of the Poison Freaks' begin to roll on the TV, armed with only their treats and caffeine...
<b>To Be Continued...</b>
Re: A Monstrous Bet
Movie 1: Invasion of the Poison Freaks
<i>Oh, what a beautiful morrrniiiiiingggggg...</i> Brock sings as the TV screen pans over the scene of a town as the opening credits finish rolling on "Invasion of the Poison Freaks"
"For all of three seconds." Ash sarcastically muses as a toxic waste truck crashes by a lake a few moments later.
"Why am I not surprised?" Brock is unamused by where the movie's plot is headed. "Toxic waste is dumped somewhere, of course mutants and aliens are gonna pop up everywhere."
"Then again, no one said monster movies were high culture." Ash muses as the professor character explains just what the spilled toxic waste does--turn Grimers into mutated green monsters.
"Pi is equal to 3.145926, etc. etc. etc...." Brock jeers the professor's mostly gibberish scientific babble.
The mocking and laughter are silenced when the boys see the first glowing green Muk-like monsters with eerie red eyes crawl from the lake. "Oh my..." Brock swallows hard at the monstrosity's size as several others just like it follow behind it.
"T-they make my Muk look like a Grimer in comparison!" Ash stammers. He clings to Brock in fear as one of the monsters swallows an unsuspecting Growlithe.
"No screaming, remember?" Brock assures Ash as he peels Ash off of him. "We have 2000 credits at stake."
Ash shakily nods as more and more Pokemon are eaten by the monsters. He almost yelps when a Pikachu is eaten, but he feels a sharp burst of pressure--Brock squeezing his hand.
Misty notices Ash shaking in fear as she delivers the boys their dinner for the night. "Did I just hear Ash scream?"
"He almost did, but I squeezed his hand to quietly remind him not to scream and assure him I was here." Brock assures Misty.
He is suddenly caught off guard by one of the monsters lunging at the screen, intent on swallowing a small girl. Luckily, she and her mother escape, but several other children are not so lucky.
<i>Flash--mutant poison blobs are attacking the city!</i> the TV announcer in the movie begins in the next scene. <i>Keep Pokemon and small children indoors until further notice!</i>
"Then they'll just go after older kids and the grown-ups." Ash muses.
"Well, I'll leave you guys to watch the movies..." Misty turns to leave. "But if I hear one yelp or snore, pay up!"
"Yes ma'am!" Brock salutes Misty, then turns his attention to the carnage on the screen as the poison blobs crash a party, devouring many teenagers in the process.
<I>'Invasion of the Poison Freaks' will be right back after these messages.</i> The announcer calms the jittery Ash down.
"A-any ideas t-to not g-get s-scared?" Ash stammers, still scared from the poison blobs.
"Be thankful we're not watching any remakes or new horror movies--those are even scarier." Brock assures Ash. "These were probably made when Delia was your age--compared to today's horror movies, these are Disney movies. If you're looking forward to 'The Red Fog of Terror', you're probably going to see the original black and white version."
"The one with Rosa is a remake?" Ash is impressed.
Brock nods. "One of the few remakes that is faithful to the original--and one of the few scary movies that even gave ME the willies. This is coming from someone who's sat through a lot of them for someone else's sake."
"Your siblings wanted to watch these kinds of movies?" Ash motions for Brock to go on.
"All the time they'd ask, even though it would scare the daylights out of them and I'd have to stay with them all night." Brock replies. "Over the years, I've learned a few tricks to not be scared, which I've taught them."
"Like what?" Ash wonders as he begins cutting into a piece of Combusken meat.
"It's okay not to look at the scary parts--I'll tell you when it's safe to look again." Brock assures Ash. "Second, think of a happy place or doing something you love and think of that when it gets scary."
<i>Imagine playing my Pokeflute or my whistles at the scary parts...</i> Ash reminds himself.
Then an idea occurs to him, so he gets up from the couch. "I'm gonna go see if I can find my favorite Pikachu doll to hug during the scary parts."
<i>That's a good idea!</i> Brock smiles as he grabs one of the couch pillows and holds it close.
<i>We now return to 'Invasion of the Poison Freaks'.</i> the TV announces. Ash returns clutching a Pikachu doll as the TV displays three surviving teens talking to the professor character the next day.
<i>Blah blah blah...</i> Ash muses as the professor explains how Poison-types are weak to Steel Pokemon and Psychic attacks and how the poison monsters would still be affected by them. A blob of the same toxic waste is easily neutralized by the professor's Alakazam.
Ash holds his Pikachu close as the two boys and a girl follow the professor and a crowd of other survivors to the contaminated lake as the sun sets. The professor's Alakazam and various other Psychic Pokemon follow the crowd.
"Get ready, it's gonna get hairy in a minute." Brock warns Ash as more of the poison blobs begin rising from the lake.
Ash nods, holds his Pikachu doll close, and closes his eyes as Psybeam blasts and the monster's dying screams fill the air. <i>It's opening night at the Pallete, and I'm playing Meunier's Sonata for Pokeflute...</i> he tells himself over the carnage.
Brock lays a hand on Ash's to reassure him. <i>It's okay...I'm here--we'll get through tonight together.</i>
Ash returns Brock's reassuring touch with a loving squeeze. <i>Thank you...</i>
Finally, the carnage on the screen dies down, and the three teens and the professors are hailed as heroes. "We made it...our first scary movie of the night." Brock assures Ash as the closing credits roll.
Ash consults the TV listings. "One movie down, nine more to go."
<b>To Be Continued...</b>
Re: A Monstrous Bet
Movie 2: The Call of the Banshee
<i>Coming up next, it's "The Call of the Banshee", followed by "The Wrath of Mante" as our Monster Medley continues.</i> the TV announces.
"What other movies will we see tonight?" Ash wonders.
"Let's see here..." Brock consults the TV listings. "'Curse of the Giant Arbok'...that one has to be good...'Incredible Being from the Forbidden World'...'The Creeps That Wouldn't Die'....
"That's very reassuring..." Ash sighs as he bites into some chips.
"'The Fury of Dr. Claw', 'Vengeance of the Beast'...." Brock smiles as he sees a familiar movie title. "Looks like you will get to see the original 'Red Fog of Terror' after all..."
"Really?" Ash is excited at this.
"Then we wind everything up with 'Island of the Mad Scientist'" Brock assures Ash as he sets aside the TV listings "For now, let's enjoy 'The Call of the Banshee'" he muses as some Celtic music plays on the TV.
"So you made it through the first movie relatively unscathed...good." Misty smiles as the opening credits roll. "Keep it up." She departs upstairs, leaving the boys alone again.
"According to Celtic folklore, the banshee is actually a spirit that only heralds someone's death." Brock explains. "That said, there are a few that actually enjoy killing people with their screaming--and that's probably the kind we are going to see in this movie."
Ash swallows hard as the scene of a tour bus arriving at an ancient Irish castle appears on the screen. While at first, he smiles when he recognizes tunes he's played hundreds of times and the tour group's initial enthusiasm, he is still a little unnerved by what is to come. <i>Maybe if I keep listening for a tin whistle in the soundtrack, that will keep my mind off the scary parts</i>
That night, one of the girls in the group makes the mistake of telling the legend of the banshee to the others. "Horror Movie Rule #29: If the creature in question is the focus of a legend, it will first show up when their story is told." Brock explains.
"Corollary A: Said story will almost always be blown off as a fairy tale." Ash agrees as a boy does this.
"Corollary B: The person that blew the story off as a fairy tale will almost always be the first one to die." Brock intones as some ominous music plays over a bloodcurdling scream. When the others in the group look to see what has happened, they gasp when they find the boy dead, and yet there is no blood, injury, or signs of a struggle.
This continues for a while, every night--the group hears the banshee scream, only for one of them to be dead the next morning.
Finally, a boy decides to try and take charge and stop the banshee from killing them all. "Banshee Movie Rule 12: If a banshee is the monster in a movie, you have probably angered it by sleeping on tombstones. Light and/or Celtic instruments are the best way to drive it off." Brock muses as the remaining members of the group enter an ancient library. Sure enough, they discover that the hotel they are staying at is built on an ancient tomb.
"There's your tombstones..." Ash smiles.
Brock smiles. "You've been very brave so far, Ash...but it's the last third of a banshee movie when things usually get hairy." he cautions as the remaining group mates make camp in the halls of their hotel in hopes of driving the banshee away.
Ash holds his Pikachu doll close as a ghostly white haired woman appears in the hallway to the accompaniment of a familiar tense bagpipe melody. "I-is that the banshee?"
"Yeah--you may want to cover your eyes." Brock warns. Just as Ash complies with his instruction, he jumps in surprise as the banshee springs at the screen. He holds a pillow close as the other humans shine their flashlights at the banshee, ultimately destroying her.
"Is it safe to look?" Ash peeks from his fingers to see the survivors burying the dead as "Amazing Grace" is heard on bagpipes in the distance, which segues into the closing credits theme.
"Cross off another movie." Brock heaves a relieved sigh as the closing credits roll. "But I've heard 'The Wrath of Mante' is pretty scary as far as vampire movies go--we're not talking sparkly teen heartthrobs that love human girls one bit..."
"Misty would have a field day with 'Sunset'" Ash agrees as he stretches.
To Be Continued...
Re: A Monstrous Bet
Interlude 1: The Soda Soiree
"Just what kinds of soda did you get for tonight?" Ash wonders as he holds his Pikachu doll close.
"We have Fizzo, Midori Mist, Diet Fizzo..." Brock makes a face as he remembers the aftertaste of the Diet Fizzo.
"Why did we even buy a case of that stuff?" Ash wonders.
"Misty confused it for the normal Fizzo." Brock replies. "The normal Fizzo has red cans, and the Diet Fizzo has silver ones. Sometimes, the Diet Fizzo will have red cans like its normal cousin, but you can tell them apart by the colors of the letters on the can."
Ash nods. "Misty didn't think to check to see if the letters were silver or white...."
"Then, once she realized her mistake, went back and got the normal kind." Brock continues taking inventory of the soda. "Dr. Cheri, Nomel Spray, plus cases of Oran Power, root beer, Grepa Blast, and more Fizzo and Midori Mist in the fridge."
"That should be all of it." Ash smiles. "Whether or not we end up drinking it all is another matter entirely."
"If the caffeine helps keep you awake, more power to you." Misty sighs--for all she knows, the boys will be bouncing off the walls in a caffeine induced sugar rush in the morning....