3rd July 2011, 02:31 AM #1
Unova's #1 Yancy fan
OK, so this is my choice for my return to the forums. It's a one-shot I wrote recently, seeking to explore a) the darker side of Pokemon, and b) the effects of the senses of smell, taste, touch and hearing on creating a mood, not just sight and a bit of dialogue. This fic is very low on dialogue, and high in violence (without being excessively so). What might upset people the most, however, is the general abuse of Pokemon and disregard for the sanctity of life and creation displayed by some of the characters. So, y'know . . . watch out for that, I guess? I should let you get on and read this now.
“A savage specimen -”
“ -a safe choice? It's quite-”
“ -do just fine. You reckon we should start now, or-”
“ -for the green light. You know the rules.”
He heard the words, and knew what they meant, but somehow he still could not understand them. The voices were distant, disembodied, fragmented. The speakers were out of sight. Brief snatches of conversation filtered through to his sharp canine ears, laid back flat against his skull. His crimson eyes, usually blazing with life and unrestrained, wild energy, were dull with fear.
He was being contained. He knew that much, even if he didn't know why. The small cavity he was being held in was abhorrent to him in every way. It was tiny, barely big enough to stretch his lithe, supple limbs in. The walls and floor were made of some awful hard, grey stuff that his teeth and claws could barely scratch. It was cold to the touch, and slightly rough; almost like rock, but somehow . . . different. Rock was good, rock was normal, rock was . . . natural. This was all wrong, so wrong. It reeked of human. There was nothing natural about it.
His sensitive nose quivering slightly, Mightyena raised his head hopefully for what must have been the thousandth time, or perhaps the millionth since his incarceration. He sniffed the air, hoping against hope for a breath of fresh air, but all that filled his nostrils was the sick, heady stink of humans.
They were awful, those humans. They smelled of iron and chemicals, of all sorts of unnatural, fabricated things that made no sense to him. Alien smells, terrifying smells. He was used to the soft, sweet smell of a forest at night, a million different comfortable scents flying through the air, mixing, intermingling and rushing through his lungs to set him at ease. The cold smell of the fresh greenery on the trees, already dripping with dew; the warm smell of the rich, earthy loam beneath his paws; the smell of the hunt.
Pictures flashed before his eyes, taunting him, tormenting him, trying to break him. He was dashing through the trees back home, leaping over fallen logs, shooting through the undergrowth as effortlessly as a Pidgeot soared through the air. He was on the hunt, a helpless, desperate pattering alerting him to his prey's fruitless attempt to escape its fate. He was back with the pack, watching, helping, supporting. He saw his mate, his offspring . . .
A low, agonised growl slipped out of Mightyena's throat. In raw anger, he butted his head against the only part of his new home that was not made of the awful grey stuff. No, no, the bars were even worse. Iron was the worst scent of all, sharp and acidic like blood, but nowhere near as . . . natural.
That was it. It all came back to that. Nothing here was real. It was all artificial and horrid and cruel. Mightyena curled up into as tight of a ball as he possibly could, tucking his tail under his head and squeezing his eyes tightly shut. Perhaps, if he just went to sleep, something would change. Good things happened at night, and although he could not see the sky, he sensed that it was already dark.
Of course, his cold, dead prison was always dark. There was no sun, no moon, no stars. Nothing but the dark shadows cast by the humans when they brought their harsh, bright miniature suns with them to prod, poke and terrify him even more.
As Mightyena fell into an uneasy sleep, his tail twitched involuntarily, and a low, whimpering rumble sounded from his throat – the sound of abject misery.
“Morning, sleepyhead!” came a loud, obnoxious voice, accompanied by a leering face attached to a corpulent human. “Wakey wakey, rise and shine!”
Jerked into wakefulness, Mightyena growled at the man and slunk backwards, away from the bars. The fur on the back of his neck stoof up as he glared at the human in front of him. Every sense in his body was suddenly on full alert, despite his having been in the depth of an uncomfortable slumber just seconds earlier. Every muscle in his body thrummed expectantly, ready to move at a split-second's notice.
With a horrid, ear-rending screeching noise, the fat human pulled back the iron bars, leaving room for Mightyena to exit.
“Come on, boy,” he encouraged. Mightyena growled again, baring his yellowed fangs. All the instincts he possessed were screaming at him to run, to escape, to get as far away from this awful place as possible, but fear rooted him to the spot – cold, iron-scented, paralysing fear that held him tightly in its grip and refused to let go.
Making strange huffing noises, the human squeezed its way into Mightyena's prison, reaching out for him with big, clumsy grasping hands. Mightyena pressed himself desperately against the back wall, frantically attempting to stay out of reach, but to no avail. Surprisingly strong, the human's hands anchored themselves around his waist.
Mightyena tried to slash and bite his assailant, but as he twisted madly in the human's arms, he realised just how very weak he was. He had spent many nights in the barred cell, eating only the queer-smelling, chewy cubes he had been supplied with by the humans. He had not hunted. His body cried out for fresh meat, and protested at the lack thereof.
Still trying futilely to writhe free of his captor, Mightyena was carried out of the room and up into the light.
Or at least, that was what he thought for a split second. Soon, however, he realised that he had simply been carried into another part of the humans' den. It was a larger space, for which, in some tiny, irrelevant corner of his mind, he was thankful. The problem was that it was full of humans and stank even worse than his barred prison had.
At least six humans stood around, dressed in white and wearing coverings on their faces that made them look even more freakish and alien than usual. The room was full of their stench, and it made Mightyena sick to breathe it in.
The fat human carrying Mightyena dumped him unceremoniously on a cold, flat, hard surface. Mightyena shuddered. Steel. Immediately, he moved to leap from it to the floor, but he was seized by several pairs of hands and held down. He felt his limbs being encased in more cold steel, and found himself immobilised. Finally rendered completely unable to move, Mightyena stared up at his tormentors, the last sparks of anger flaring in his eyes. A tremor ran down the length of his spine, causing those sparks to flicker out at last, replaced by utter terror.
Before, it had seemed, nothing could have affected him more than being locked away as he had been, but now he knew that to be wrong. Before, at least, there had been hope. Even though he still did not know his fate, Mightyena was now certain that the humans meant him harm.
Panic flooded through him, making his limbs shake uncontrollably. Snarling, he yanked at the restraints holding him down, but the steel bands were cruelly unyielding. He thrashed his head, growling furiously at his captors, but they just watched him dispassionately.
“Knock him out,” said the human who had brought him, his voice bored. “No-one wants to lose a hand.” One of the others advanced on Mightyena, holding something tiny that glinted in the artificial light. He felt a slight jab in the back of his neck. It wasn't terribly painful, but it made him start. The world began to dissolve around him, swirling into a ghastly, nightmarish quagmire of cold steel, white coats and false light that grew quickly darker and more indistinct.
Sleepily, Mightyena snapped at the humans, but he could feel the will to move seeping from his body. With a final effort, he tried to lift his head, but it was spinning at an impossible speed. Almost thankfully, Mightyena allowed himself to succumb to the bliss of unconsciousness.
Fire coursed through his body. The pain wracked his entire being, white-hot and searing. He tried to scream, but he couldn't wrench his jaws apart, so all he heard was a breathless whine. No part of his body was safe – the pain bled through every inch of his body, tearing, ripping and incinerating him from the inside out.
He writhed around on the floor in an effort to dispel the pain, but the friction only intensified the agony, forcing him to stop. Lying still didn't hurt much less, but it gave him an opportunity to catch his breath. His muzzle was tightly bound, so he was forced to snatch sharp, huffing breaths through his nose. Every time he took a breath, a fresh wave of pain went rolling through his body.
He couldn't see. Everything was dark. There was nothing to hear save his own desperate breathing. Worst of all, though, his sense of smell was blocked. Nothing made any sense, nothing could be sensed. Fear filled his mind, battling with the pain for dominance over his body. He wanted to run, to get up and run away, but every time he tried to move his legs, another spasm of pain shot through them, almost causing him to black out.
He didn't know how long he existed in this dreadful state, or what was happening to him. It could have been eternities, or it could have been mere hours, but whatever the case, every second was worse than the last. No matter how much he wanted to, he could never find the sweet release of unconsciousness.
The humans had done something to him, but he didn't know what. Their foreign, hideous instruments of death had wreaked some havoc on his body, that was sure enough.
After what seemed like many, many moons, he finally began to feel a creeping blackness encroaching on the edges of his already black field of vision. It was a darker blackness than the one he was imprisoned in, and he welcomed it once more as he was released from his agony for what, surely, was the last time . . .
Again . . . why was he awake again? Had the humans not seen fit to end his life yet? With a cautious twitch, Mightyena tested his front paws. No pain was forthcoming, though he was still blinded.
He scrabbled to his feet, nose twitching as he sniffed the air, his ears pricked. The air smelled dank and musty, overlaid with the odour of filthy water and interwoven with a multitude of other scents he couldn't identify, none of which were particularly pleasant.
Mightyena growled cautiously, glad to have the use of his jaws back. His paws flexed experimentally, feeling the texture of the floor beneath him with their sensitive pads. It was rough, cold and porous, like stone. Was it stone? He lowered his head to sniff it gingerly, and recoiled instinctively. It smelled of death.
A great screeching, grating noise filled the air, and he whirled around towards its source, a low growl emitting from his throat. As he turned, he sensed that something was wrong with his body. It moved differently to what was normal. It seemed – heavier, yet more powerful.
The smell of human filled his nostrils, accompanied by ungainly, scraping footsteps, and he balked, his eyes flickering uselessly from side to side beneath their impeding cover. He backed up instinctively as he sensed the human approach, but his tail brushed a stone wall, and he was forced to leap to one side to avoid the human, who continued to follow him.
Yes, his body was different. He felt his muscles shifting and rippling beneath his pelt, but they were unfamiliar – almost as if they did not belong to him. The ground was further from his snout than normal, and he felt in that one leap that his body weight had increased. He stumbled and fell to the ground. Hearing the human approach again, he lashed out with his sharp teeth.
A voice rang out in disgust. “Agh! Damn beast!”
There was a crackling sound, accompanied by a sharp, acidic burning smell, and just a split second later, Mightyena felt a sharp shock course through his entire body. It wasn't exceedingly painful, but it numbed all his limbs and made him drop his head back to the floor. It reminded him vividly of the night he had tried to hunt the Magnemite colony near his den. That excursion had nearly ended in his death.
Strong hands seized his head, and he could do little more than wriggle ineffectually as they ripped something from his head. Light flooded into his eyes, but before he could adjust, he was picked up bodily – still unable to move – and tossed unceremoniously through an aperture in the wall that he could barely make out. With another grinding noise, something was slammed shut behind him.
“Better stand up soon, you filthy creature! You'll be sorry else!” the human hissed malevolently before shuffling off again.
Whining piteously, Mightyena shook off the remainder of the shock and dragged himself to his feet again. There was stone – horrid, mocking, brown stone – on all sides save two. Behind him was iron, from which he shied away instinctively, and in front . . . in front was light and sound.
Warily, he nosed his way forward, out of the confining stone, into light. Before he had even emerged fully, however, the scent of humans hit him like a wall. Casting his eyes around the strange place in which he now found himself, he saw humans everywhere. They were all above him, out of reach beyond a wall, watching him.
Growling suspiciously, Mightyena followed the wall, seeking another way out. It curved around, he soon saw, leading back to where he had started. As he passed them, the humans shouted at him unintelligibly, and he instinctively backed away towards the centre of the area, his ears flicking back and forth as he tried to comprehend his surroundings.
Was that an opening? A way out? Eagerly, Mightyena bounded towards it, feeling as he did the awkwardness with which his new, unwieldy body moved. Just before he could reach it, though, another scent hit his nostrils, causing him to scramble to a stop. His vision turned red, and thoughts of death and killing streamed through his mind like a river, an unstoppable torrent of bloodlust that suffused his entire being.
Suddenly imbued with the will to fight, Mightyena threw back his head and howled. It had been so long since he had had the strength to do that, and it felt good to give in his basest instincts and let loose his voice. It felt so good!
Suddenly, he was the king again. Some other creature was encroaching upon his territory, he sensed. He would kill it! He would tear it apart, rip it limb from limb! He stalked back and forward in front of the small opening, waiting for whatever was inside to step forth and die. He howled again and the humans fell silent, as if waiting for something.
Something shifted in the darkness of the hole, Mightyena's sharp eyes detecting it instantly. As the newcomer stepped forward, the light glanced off its claws like it would off black diamond. It was white, with sharp red markings and high, pointed ears, one red and one white. It hissed in rage as it stalked forward, its muscles bulging grotesquely. Mightyena retreated warily to the centre of the arena, his mouth contorted into a feral snarl, daring his opponent to step forward. He would defend his territory to the death.
The trespasser stepped forward again, its eyes blazing red. It lifted a claw high, and Mightyena tensed, feeling his unfamiliar body respond to his commands. With a hiss, the other attacked in a blur of white, red and black. Mightyena leapt out of the way as the sharp black claws bit the ground where he had been standing. Some part of his mind registered that the humans were cheering and screaming. It made no difference. His body shivered. He would tear the invader apart!
With a snarl, he leapt forward, hoping to pin his opponent and access its vulnerable neck. Unused to his overly responsive body, he ended up sending them both flying into the wall. Growling, he slashed out with the claws on his front leg, gratified by the amount of blood spilled. It was more than usual . . .
His adversary hissed in pain and swiped with its claws. Mightyena felt them rake across his muzzle, accompanied by a lance of white-hot pain that disappeared almost immediately. Nothing remained except for the red fugue of battle.
Mightyena jumped backwards, crouching in preparation for another leap. One of his eyes was partially obscured by blood, but he could see well enough to kill. He knew he had dealt a severe blow. All he had to do was keep it up. He had to kill, tear, maim, destroy! It was all that mattered.
His opponent leapt forward, claws outstretched and rage burning in its eyes. Mightyena countered with a leap of his own, crashing into the trespasser in midair. His adversary was slightly heavier, but Mightyena's hunting instincts were kicking in after so many days left unanswered in the humans' prison. He was free once again, free to rip and tear-
His fangs caught his opponent's throat, slamming them both to the ground, and with a powerful rush of euphoria, Mightyena knew it was over. He bit deep, feeling blood spurt from the other's neck. With its dying breath, his failed challenger screamed its pain to the invisible sky. Mightyena released it and added his voice to the sound, but his was a howl of triumph and sated bloodlust.
A screech of iron, and the humans were coming in again. Still keen to tear something else apart, he bounded forwards, but was stopped in his tracks by another electrifying jolt that made the world go black.
Again, he killed. Again and again, he saw the world explode into a mist of blood.
Over and over again, the humans shouted and hissed as he tore his opponents apart. He kept coming back to the round room that he eventually came to know as the 'arena', and every time he was given new prey.
Before long, he came to exist only for the fight. He adjusted to the horrors inflicted upon his body, and came to use them to his advantage. More and more, he killed without knowing why.
One day, he stepped into the arena for what seemed like the hundredth time. Despite the abhorrent noise of the humans around him, the ones he really longed to kill, he could only focus on the hole in the wall that he had grown accustomed to his prey emerging from. Today, he could smell the excitement of the humans rising to a fever pitch. It disgusted him, but at the same time it fuelled his desire for blood. He let loose a howl, daring his opponent to come forward.
Come forward it did. It roared, and the earth shook. Squeezing its way through the hole, the massive beast was easily twice Mightyena's size. Its shaggy coat was a dirty yellow colour, striped with black, and two lithe black tails tipped with red flicked behind it. Mightyena backed away as his new opponent straightened up, fear and adrenaline struggling in his mind.
Adrenaline won. With a determined snarl, he leapt for the beast's throat. With lightning speed, it turned to him and thrust out a bulky hand. The full force of its fist crashed into Mightyena before he could get anywhere near a vital point. Pain smashed its way through his mind as he felt his ribcage shatter. He went flying back into the wall with a howl of despair.
Desperately, he tried to stand and fight again, but his broken, damaged body refused to obey. All he could do was lie on the ground, panting desperately, as the humans yelled and his opponent roared triumphantly. Already, the world was starting to go fuzzy at the edges.
Tongue lolling, Mightyena made a final, desperate effort to drag himself upright, but the effort sent him spiralling over the edge and into darkness.
“ -worth fixing-”
“ No point, just too much-”
“-money's worth out of it, so I couldn't care-”
“ -worthless. Let it die.”
The Atlantis Codex / Champion Game
'A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.' - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
'Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more; men were deceivers ever.' - William Shakespeare
'Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest.' - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
'When one life meets another life, something will be born.' - Un(k)own