Please comment! I'm new at writing fanfics.
I stood there, watching the basketballs bounce with a hypnotic rhythm on the ground. It was almost magical… well maybe to another person. I'm not too good at basketball. Or baseball. Or soccer. Or any sport, for that matter. I'm decent. That word has begun to define me as of late. I wasn't much to look at, especially now that I was in my, ah, how does Mom put it? Awkward years. Yeah, short black hair, brown eyes, average build, average everything. Except for my brain! I have an above average one of those. Of course, seeing as the gods of my life couldn't give me one edge, all my teachers hate me because I'm an "instigator" and "funny" and "have a life". As you can see, my teachers do not have the highest opinion of me, nor I them. Then again, I am fourteen, so it's not like I'm forging lifelong relationships with them. None of this matters, however, because I am in middle school, and that means life sucks. All the time. Forever… well, at least until you leave the seventh ring of hell, otherwise known as Robertson Middle School, Chicago (Home of the Tigers!).
Anyway, back to P.E, the bane of my existence. You see, in my "better" middle school, where we are "smarter", we have a different kind of P.E. We do deadly exercises that are designed by a guild of instructors to push the limits of the body miles forwards and the limits of the mind backwards. In this domain, grunting halfwits ruled the floor and sniveling nerds ruled the inside of lockers. I, however, ruled the bleachers and the corners where no hulking mass of muscle (a.k.a. gym teacher) could spot me doing nothing and as they described it, "being a lazy bum." Add a grunt on there and you have Mr. Lacertus, the Neanderthal- like gym teacher we relied on to keep fit. After warm-up had ended, we started drills. Mr. Lacertus had been a drill sergeant back in the Vietnam War and he lacked no force of voice.
After several sprints and suicides, we lined up for shooting. Basketballs, of course. I was next in line, after Miguel Terrezado, the school jock. Every school has one, the self-centered, popular and evil guy who gets all the girls and is all-star of every team in existence. He easily sunk in the basket, with perfect motion and everyone cheered.
I stepped up. I made a big show of pretending to know what I was doing, such as spinning basketball and making movements like I was a pro. I jumped in the air and released the ball. It rotated in the air, spinning like a top before swooshing into the basket. I turned around, looking at the stunned faces. Some were literally laugh out loud funny, such as Mr. Lacertus and Miguel, who had identical expressions of incredulity. Finally, after a couple seconds, a single voice rang out. Christina, the most beautiful girl in our grade called out a single sentence, but that sentence made all the difference. "Nice one, Anthony!" I grinned and nodded in her direction, trying to seem cool and gracious at the same time. I was high fived by some people who had never bothered to talk to me before, and Mr. Lacertus tousled my hair. I walked on clouds for the rest of the day.
I pushed open my door, and dropped my bag on the floor. As always, I immediately ran to the kitchen to make myself an orange juice and seltzer. After I fizzed up the water and added the wonderful orange nectar, I flopped down on the couch and opened up my report card. My mom would kill me, but I might as well know how bad it was before the encounter of the parental kind. I took a deep breath and unfolded the paper.
I jumped up from the couch, spewing golden droplets from my mouth and all over the couch, splattering an unusual pattern on the cushions. A 94 in Science, a 99 in Humanities, a 98 in Math and, wonder of all wonders, a 100 in Spanish! How the heck did this happen? My teachers all hate me! I talk too much in class! I have never gotten a great grade in any class and now, I had four of ‘em in front of me. As I thought this, my mom burst through the door, a bustling load of maternal energy, constantly looking out for my five siblings and me. My dad was probably going to be home soon, depending on whether or not his work was going to keep him. Unfortunately, this day was far from over, and there would be no wonderful sleep for a long time.
As soon as my mom pushed through the door, clutching multiple bags and holding her purse against her chest, I knew something was wrong. She had a distant look in her eye, sad, disappointed and very odd. Normally I got this look around report card time, but never anything of this caliber. She looked straight at me and her eyes seemed to hold an infinite amount of sadness. She looked at me as if she would never see me again and wanted to get a last look before I was swept away from her, the ocean of time swallowing me up like an old man swallows a pill. Of course, this couldn't happen, I'm 14, young and ready to… well… ready to do something. Yes, something. And I will do it WELL! I know that I was put on this planet to do something, but, being fourteen, I don't know what it is yet.
My mother's face was usually carefree, albeit lined from years of keeping six growing children alive and well and with only a few scars and bruises. I usually retained most of those, being almost six feet tall, having huge hands and feet and usually tripping over everything that surrounded me in a twenty-mile radius. Nothing was safe from Sasquatch, as they called me. My mom was never world-weary, but today, she looked like the saddest person in the world. She sat down next to me and with a sigh, ran her hand down the length of my hair. She hugged me and looked like she was about to say something, but stopped in the middle. She got up, muttered something about a nap before dinner and went to bed. From the inside of her bedroom, though, I could hear faint sobs.
The weirdness of today was overwhelming, first the basketball shot, then the good grades and finally, the look in my mom's eyes, as if she knew she would never see me again. It seems like my life was spiraling out of control, my un-jockiness had been lost when I made that basketball shot. My bad grades had been switched for good ones and my mother's usually firm resolve had been flattened until she was now crying on her bed because… well, I don't know why. She had never broken down like this, except from when my grandpa had died. She didn't talk for a week and after that, never mentioned his name. Some people have weird ways of mourning, I guess… Whenever I need to mourn, I laugh and remember the person fondly, but when anyone isn't around, I sit down and sing a song that always reminds me of mourning.
Leaves from the vine
Falling so slow
Like tiny, fragile shells
Drifting in the foam
Little soldier boy
Comes marching home
Brave soldier boy
Comes marching home.
The song always makes me cry, but whenever I cry, I always feel better, like the crying has not only taken moisture from my eyes, but also took my sad feeling with the tears, rolled up inside the droplets of salty water.
Soon, my mom was up, and back to her usual self
"Honey, how was school today?" she asked, typical of all stereotypical mothers.
"Fine," I replied, sticking to the beloved response of all teenagers around the globe. Actually, "meh" might have been a better response.
She gave me the classic mom look, the no-nonsense because I can and will ground you for life but she let it go and set to work chopping onions. My eyes began to water, aggravated by the pungency of the onion. I sighed, consumed by the idea that life was a constant cycle, always the same thing over and over again until you die. Some days I felt I would give anything, just to break out of the endless cycle. The rest of the day was like always, eat, computer, bed. I lay awake in my bed, wishing that life would one-day spice itself up.
My watch beeped, as usual. With a moan, I pulled myself out of bed, rubbing my eyes and yawning widely. I pulled on my clothes in a half-asleep stupor; not even seeing that there was a man watching me from outside. I turned my head towards the window because I had seen a flash, but the man was gone with but a whispered word. I forced some food down my throat, not even thinking that it might be my last for a while. As I finished that, I snuck into my parent's room, and plopped a kiss on both their cheeks, acting on instinct. I shouldered my backpack with a sigh and trudged out the door, resigned to a boring day. Boy, was I wrong about that.
I headed straight towards the subway station, not taking any detours to pick up an energy drink or food like I might have done the year before. I stepped carefully down the steps, weaving my way around the poor, the unfortunate, the druggies and some combinations of all three. I always felt bad for these people, lost in both mind and spirit with nothing to live for. I always avoided their gazes, their cries and pleas for help, because I didn't want these unfortunate people to see my pitying gaze. As I reached the bottom step, I turned around and saw, wonders of all wonders, Christina! I went up to say hi and tripped. My hand hit her arm and she spun around, kind of like a top before falling into the subway. Everything went into slow-motion, the blowing of the train and the screeching of its wheels as it tried to slow itself. I knew that there was one thing to do. I jumped down into the subway and pushed the girl I loved up onto the platform just in time, before the train hit me. I remembered something I asked myself sometimes, "Would you sacrifice yourself to save someone you loved?" I had never had an answer to that question, but now I did.
Seconds before the train hit me, I heard screams, cries and yells. I readied myself to die, laughing on the inside at the irony that my mom had indeed been justified in thinking I wouldn't come home. Just before the train ran me over and the dark, dank subway swallowed me up forever, time stopped. Literally stopped. I could've felt the trains smooth side and climbed up but, before I could do that, I heard a voice.
"No, no! This wasn't how this was supposed to go!" The voice sounded angry, and annoyed. The man pulled a spherical, red and white object out of the many pockets of his trench coat and looked at me apologetically.
"I'm sorry we had to meet this way, Anthony. I hope we can be great friends after we get over this incident." There was a blinding flash of light and the man said some garbled words that sounded like "Minerva, teleport." Then, all I saw was darkness.
I blinked my eyes as I came to, and quickly shut them, because I did not like what I saw. I was soaring far above the earth, on the back of a blue and red winged dragon. I took one peek from the side of the massive monsters back and saw the dizzying sight of clouds, so giant and fluffy that I looked like a field of icebergs, high in the sky. I squealed and scrambled back to the center of the beast earning a snort of contempt from the giant monster. I slammed into a man, who was lying on his back, staring up into the troposphere. Without giving me a look, he said to me, "Isn't it beautiful?" He motioned to the sky, gesturing at a flock of odd birds. I had never seen birds that looked like them, asked, "What are those?" The weird man remained quiet before replying.
"Have you ever wanted to break out of life's cycle? To never have to do what you always do? Never go to school? Never be forced to do homework? Live your life outside what people expect of you?" I looked at him with incredulity, because this thinking mirrored what I had been thinking for years.
I responded in a shaking voice, perturbed that the man had thought so similarly to me. "Yes. All the time! How did you know that I-"
The man cut me off, and rolled over on his stomach, staring right at me. I flinched, seeing the scar that ran down his temple to his mouth, a fierce prize from a bloody battle. "Would you be willing to give up everything for it?"
I was taken aback by the severity of his voice, by the shrewdness, and lying underneath, the pain. I thought about it. Now that everyone thinks I'm dead, why not? Of course, it's not as easy as that. What would happen to me without my parents and family? Will I be strong enough? I came to a decision and took a breath. "Yes." That one, simple word changed everything. My life would never be the same again.
The strange man looked at me and laughed. "Well, then," He boomed. "That's great, because we're already here!" He gestured around him, but I saw nothing but the clouds. He looked and did a double take. "Oops, my bad. Salamence, take us down."
The name struck a cord in me, kindling childhood memories. "Salamence. Where have I heard this?" After the giant dragon took us down, however, I remembered in a flash. The rolling landscape was amazing. Flowers of enormous size and wonderful color dotted lush green hills. Beyond the hills lay a forest of mountains, tall and looming above towns nestled in the crooks of the cold and forbidding behemoths. Around the peak of each mountain was a halo of clouds, adding to the magic of the scene. Far to the right of the hill lands, lay a turquoise sea. Flocks of strange seagulls were flying low over the ocean, kicking up a spray of salty water. People were playing on the beach, but from this height, they seemed as small as ants, scurrying about.
"You want to see it closer?" the man asked suddenly.
I responded with a nod, entranced by the scene before me. I was snapped out of my state of stupor, however, when the man brought down his dragon at a terrifying speed. My father had once tried to cure my fear of heights by taking me skydiving. This hadn't worked for some reason, and only made it worse. On top of this, I developed a fear of falling. Now, I was doing both.
"Blargh!" I yelled, but my scream caught in my throat by the rushing onslaught of air. The adrenaline rush was astounding; my entire body felt like it was unstoppable. Unfortunately, there was nothing that I had to stop, other than the giant dragon dive-bombing the ground at a speed of 500 miles an hour. Suddenly, before I could blink, we were floating again, like nothing had happened. That was when I was hit by the most beautiful, strange and wonderful sight I had ever seen.
The hills were even more beautiful up close, taking my breath away by the green tablecloth that was spread among the hills, hugging every contour and curve. Along the side of the hills, however, came the strange part. A pair of orange horses was galloping along the side of a hill, an orange glow around them. When I looked closer, I saw there wasn't an orange glow. The two pretty horses were on fire! I gasped and sat up, startled.
"Horsie on fire! Horsie on fire!" I yelled, pointing frantically at the burning ponies, who were completely oblivious to their dire situation.
The scarred man rolled over and turned a lazy eye at the spectacle. He looked back at me with a sigh and said, "I guess I'm going to have to teach you, won't I?"
I was confused. "Teach me what?"
"This," he responded with a sigh and a gesture all around him. "This is the world of Pokémon."
I blinked, one, twice and then asked a simple question. "What's that?"
The man sighed, rubbing his head and saying, "Why is it that I always get the newbie? Frank always gets like the masters of the video games but NO, I get the guy who lived under a rock." He shook his head and prepared to explain something. Then, he stopped and grinned. "Here, you'll learn better on your own." The man handed me a red and white ball. He then brought out one of his and said, "Here's the basics. This is a poke ball. This contains a Pokémon. They are your friends and to be trusted and treated as such. Except a super powerful friends that can destroy your enemies and kill you easily." He paused for breath before continuing.
"Pretty much, you use one to fight by commanding it to use a specific move. Pokémon can evolve into a different Pokémon and learn new moves. I have given you an Abra. It knows Confusion, Teleport and Fire Punch. The rest, my friend, I leave to you." He brought out his ball and threw it high in the air. Out emerged, in a twinkle of stars, a blue and red Pokémon, or what I assumed was a Pokémon. "Teleport," He said simply. The Pokémon wrapped its arms around him and vanished, along with the dragon. I began to freefall to the ground.
As I fell towards the ground, all because of the man, whom I had never been told his, I fumbled around in my pocket. My hand closed around the sphere that may or may not save my life. "Go, whoever you are! Save me!" I screamed as loud as I could.
The ball rotated, once, twice, before popping open to reveal a floating figure, it's arms crossed. "Abraaaa" it said, before noticing my situation. "Braaa, bra"! it shouted, obviously under intense concentration. Then, its eyes turned blue, surrounding me with a blue aura that held me up, suspended in the air. I gazed around in wonder, my thoughts wandering before, "Want to do something fun?" My Pokémon asked me. I recoiled, amazed.
"Did it just talk in my head?" I wondered to myself, in my head.
"Yes, yes I did." The smart aleck Pokémon's voice resounded in my head, like an echo in an empty cave. "Fine…. You."
"What was that? Is that my new name? Okay. I like my name. I am You!"
"Wait," I responded, surprised. "I can name you?"
"Duh! What are you, a newbie?" the Pokémon chortled.
"Really? Oh, great! I want to adventure and explore and now I belong to a new guy? Just great!" The Pokémon snorted and its concentration slipped. I plunged a few feet before the abra caught me and hauled me back up.
"Whoa, whoa whoa." I said, taken off guard by the Pokémon's resentful tone. "You can still adventure and I thought of a name for you.
"Really? You mean it?" The abra's slanted shut eyes were filling with tears. It suddenly gave me a hug. "Thank you! Thank you! What's my name going to be?"
I thought for a moment. "Houdini. He was an amazing magician where I come from, so since you are slightly magic, that's what I'll name you. Okay?"
"Houdini? I like the sound of it. Okay, from no on, that's my name! Anyway, we're going to have a great time in this…. Well, I think it's the Hoenn region! That's what my pokéinstincts tell me, at least." The bipolar abra clapped his hands happily.
"Off we two heroes go! An adventure awaits! Tralalaalalala!" I groaned. This was going to be even worse than our family trip to the Grand Canyon. Days of driving to get to one place. But… that one place was a hell of a sight to see.