This is my best one-shot, especially for the time at which it was written...




Sunset Beach

A cream-coloured cat Pokémon sped across the forest.

It was a female. Otherwise covered with silky, soft fur, the purple velvet ruff around her neck, also covering her ears and forehead, didn’t look naturally attached to her body. Yet, however unlikely it seemed, they were indeed body parts. So was the similar-looking tulip-shaped end of her tail.

Judging from her delicate legs, which you would expect to shatter like porcelain from the smallest impact, it seemed impossible that she could even keep her head up. Nevertheless, she was running sure-footedly, as if her life depended on it. And who knows, perhaps it did.

The Delcatty darted with amazing agility between the trees, dodging them so that all the years of precise training were clearly showing. A young Taillow sitting on a branch two metres above watched her and admired her accuracy and the grace of her catlike body, despite the fact that they were natural enemies.

But she didn’t even notice him. All she cared about was getting to Sunset Beach.

Sunset Beach had this name because it faced west so that one could see the sun sink into the sea in its full colourful glory every night, uninterrupted by the skyscrapers and pollution that often tended to block out the horizon and destroy the beauty of the setting sun inside and near big cities. Sunset Beach was very secluded. Only an occasional nature-loving human would come there to admire the wonders of nature and watch the wild Pokémon go to sleep in the treetops, holes and glades of Golden Woods.

But now, in late August, most of those white ravens of the world were either competing in the Pokémon League or watching it transfixed from their TV screens. The woods sparkled with wildlife, but no humans were there to interfere.

The Delcatty finally reached the edge of the forest. She slowed down as the golden light blinded her.

She sighed deeply in relief; she had reached the sanctuary.

Sunset Beach at sunset was a sacred place and time in the eyes of the Pokémon inhabitants of Golden Woods. No predator would chase its prey any farther than to Sunset Beach in the evening. And who could blame them? At such a beautiful place, no one would want to hunt and kill.

The Delcatty walked slowly down to the coast, sat down and gazed as if in a trance at the setting sun.

“Who’s there?” a raspy, intimidating voice hissed, causing her to jump. She turned quickly around, her cat-heart pounding.

The owner of the voice was a giant, red crab Pokémon with a tan underbelly. A deadly pincer, at least the size of the Pokémon’s body, clicked on his left arm, and a significantly smaller one on the right side. His huge lower jaw, set with spikes pointing upwards, hung down, leaving his gaping mouth open as his royal eyes glared hungrily at her from the crown-shaped head.

The cat Pokémon instinctually backed away. The crab Pokémon crawled sideways after her with a murderous glint in his eyes.

“You’d make a… decent meal…” the crab rasped. He sped up slightly and managed to corner the Delcatty by a large rock.

“Shouldn’t I introduce myself first?” The crab Pokémon twitched as if he was trying hard to resist the temptation of striking instantly, just for the pleasure of watching her shiver with fear.

“My name is Argo.”

His larger claw shot forward, but the terrified cat leapt to the side, avoiding it. She made a feeble attempt to escape, but her legs felt like rubber, trembling so that she could barely stand still, let alone run.

“I’m a Kingler.”

“You…” she said weakly. “You… c-can’t kill me… this is a sacred place…”

“Do I look like I care?” the Kingler snapped. “I’ve spent all my life on this so-called sacred place of yours, killing all I wanted, and I will do so to the end of my days!”

“At sunset… no Pokémon should be killed on the beach,” she whispered, salty tears forming in her eyes.

“Very well, then,” Argo growled. “I’ll just make sure you can’t leave, and then I’ll kill you when the sun has set. How does that sound?”

The cat Pokémon made another attempt to run, but with a quick movement, Argo’s smaller claw locked around her tail and held her still.

“So,” said the crab slyly, “isn’t it polite to say your name when somebody has told you theirs?”

“Nanee,” the cat Pokémon squealed, struggling without success to release herself from Argo’s grip.

“Lovely name,” said the Kingler slowly, dragging her nearer to himself. “Has a… soft sound to it...”

He paused for a moment; nothing could be heard apart from Nanee’s breathing and the sound of the waves crashing upon the shore.

“Yes, very nice name.”

His claw pulled her closer. The Delcatty extended her claws, making unreasonable attempts to dig them into the sand. Argo smirked.

“Ah, the stage of illogical escape plans,” he rasped. “All potential victims go through that one.”

He paused, but then thoughtfully added: “That is a bit worrisome, actually… because I’d prefer for you not to reach the next stage of panic before I eat you.”

He raised his claw above his mouth, the cat Pokémon hanging limply from it. Then all of a sudden, an ancient instinct took control of her body and gave her strength.

Nanee hissed violently and opened her mouth as a bright orange orb formed inside it. A beam of energy blasted into the Kingler’s mouth; he dropped her and was thrown backwards to end up on his back. His vulnerable underbelly showed clearly as he flailed around in unsuccessful attempts to get up.

The Delcatty was very weak. The Hyper beam had consumed most of her newly-attained energy. Nevertheless, eying the helpless Kingler caused her to come to a stop before leaving and running away. Her power-desiring Pokémon instincts now wanted to be paid back for saving her.

The Delcatty slowly walked up to the crab Pokémon and took a deep breath. She screwed her eyes shut in concentration and started emitting a bright yellow glow. Small sparks formed around her body, dancing across her fur. Finally, a bolt of lightning shot towards Argo. He roared in pain, but she shouldn’t have let herself be tempted to attack him again. The Kingler was thrown back a little by the Thunderbolt and managed to get back to his feet. He immediately smashed his bigger pincer in the Delcatty’s direction with gritted teeth, hitting her left front leg hard. A sickening crack was heard.

Her battle instincts again sent energy flowing through her body and put her free will under the spell of survival. She let out a battle hiss as she shook herself violently. As if her body was a bell, a soft chime was heard. Her broken leg was enveloped in a blue glow as she closed her eyes in concentration. Argo watched, stunned, as the bones mended and the leg was left fully healed.

Nanee smirked. She had caught him off guard.

The cat looked upwards, at the golden sky, and started meowing in a sweet, silky voice. It put the old Kingler into a trance. Despite his best efforts, his eyelids dropped gradually as it became harder and harder for him to keep awake.

The Delcatty smiled and continued her beautiful cat-song about long-lost love and courage. The crab Pokémon felt his thoughts turn cloudy, and finally he slipped into a dream.

Nanee charged up electricity for a second Thunderbolt. Argo twitched in his sleep when the electricity surged through his body, but it didn’t wake him from the enchanted sleep.

Nanee could now have escaped, but her subconscious will had completely taken over. Her eyes glowed deep violet as the Kingler started to twitch violently, small purple orbs starting to drain from his and swirling around her. After the glow in her eyes started to fade, the energy circling her started sinking into her body, giving her added strength.

Now, to finish off Argo, who was still in a deep slumber, Nanee took a deep breath and glowed bright white. She then tackled the sleeping Kingler at high speed. The recoil left her dizzy, but Argo started to wake up, opening his eyes slowly and weakly.

Nanee charged up electricity in her body again; yellow sparks flew around her head, and then a huge blast of lightning shot forward and hit the crab Pokémon. The Kingler froze for a second as Nanee breathed rapidly. Then his eyes rolled backwards into his skull and he collapsed.

Dead.

Nanee’s eyes widened in shock as she realized what she had done: she had killed on Sunset beach, while the sun was setting; a sacred place and time.

She quickly looked up in the direction of Golden Woods. She was relieved; there didn’t appear to be any witnesses to her crime.

Or what? A small Taillow took off from a branch, eyes wide in horror and his little heart beating rapidly.

Nanee closed her eyes, then looked with regret at the dead Kingler. Slowly, she walked down the beach, towards the golden sun, a few steps into the beautiful ocean.

“Forgive me…” she whispered so that she couldn’t even hear the words herself.

She admired the sunset with glittering eyes, tears flooding down her cheeks.