Pokemon aimed for: Sandile
Needed Characters: 10k
Actual Characters: 10332
And this is a story deal for TED, if that matters.
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
-H. P. Lovecraft
The three children stood hesitantly on the sidewalk, staring at the house in front of them. The house was old; some said it had been around since the first people walked through this land, created as a monument to some loathsome demon. The once beautiful yard had fallen to ruin. The garden was overrun by weeds, the grass was dry and brittle, and in the middle of the courtyard, a broken fountain lay on its side.
The house itself was just as bad. Many of the tiles had been ripped off the roof and the windows had been shattered. On the door, someone had drawn in spray paint, a hideous red eye. The eye seemed to be part of a living creature, a gleam of what the children would swear was intelligence hidden in its depths.
Joey felt one of the other boys shove him a little. “Go on,” the kid said,” What are you, scared?” Normally, Joey would have taken some grim amusement from the fear in the older boy’s voice, but at the moment, he was terrified. It would be so easy to just turn around and go home, to turn away from the ugly, wrought iron fence that seemed to loom over him. He started to turn around and caught a glimpse of his companions. When they saw him getting ready to leave, ugly sneers crossed their faces.
“Where do you think you’re going?” said the boy in the blue sweatshirt, Tim, Joey thought his name was.
“I ain’t going nowhere. I thought I saw somethin’ out of the corner of my eye, that’s all.”
“Sure thing, Joey,” teased the other boy, this one in baggy jeans and a red jacket.
Joey was powerless. If he had been nine or ten years older, he could have saved himself. Unfortunately, that unspoken rule of childhood stopped him, turned him around, and made his hand press down on the rusty handle, opening the gate. ‘Thou shalt not chicken out.’ The gate shrieked as it swung open, years of rust causing it to stick about halfway. The boys slipped through the small gap and found themselves in the center of the courtyard. In unison, they all turned to the door of the house. The eye seemed to be almost glowing in the dying light of the sun.
A cool breeze seemed to caress each boy on the shoulder, sending chills up and down their spines. Once again, Joey took the first step forward. Every muscle in his body protested that step, but no amount of pain he encountered could be worse than the humiliation he would suffer if he left. The two other boys followed reluctantly behind him. If the little wimp they had dared to spend the night here with them could do it, so could they. As Joey walked by the collapsed fountain, he realized that an angel had once sat on top of it. The poor, ceramic angel was now lying in the dirt, both of its wings snapped off and a crack running through its face. Its eyes seemed to be pleading for help. Joey shivered and forced himself to look away.
When they reached the door, the three boys just looked at each other. Who would be the one to open it, the one cursed with offending the Eye? Yes, the Eye, no longer lowercase in that secret part of their minds where words were given the power to haunt, the power to destroy. The Eye watched them, waiting for its victim. In silent agreement, the two older boys turned their glances to Joey. Joey bit down on his tongue to keep himself from screaming as he slowly touched the door knob with his hand. The feel of it made him shudder, cold and clammy, like the skin of something dead. As soon as he twisted the knob, he threw the door open, eager to get his hand away from it. The door flew open, and as it did, the eye seemed to roll up into its nonexistent head. The boys shrunk back away from it in horror.
“Maybe we should-“one of the older boys started, but he was silenced with a glare from the other boy. He shot the same look at Joey, who gulped and stepped forward, wincing at the sound of the creaking floorboards.
Once inside, Joey was confronted by a simple fact; he could not stay in this place. The house was horrible. In appearance, it wasn’t that bad. It was old and pretty torn up, but that couldn’t explain the terrible panic that nestled inside all three boys’ chests, the urge to run, run, run as fast as they could away from this monstrosity. Maybe it was the putrid smell of rotting flesh that seemed to come from everywhere at once, maybe it was the iciness of the air. Something was wrong with this house. There was evil here. None of the boys could explain how they knew it, but they did. It was natural as a child’s fear of the dark and as unavoidable. Whatever shadowy force was living here, it was something primal and prehistoric, something that lived in the back of every man’s mind, too far away to think about, but close enough to kill.
The silence, Joey thought. That might be it. It was true. The quiet was suffocating. The only sound was of the boy’s breathing and the too fast beating of their hearts. Still, as awful as that deep, eternal silence was, it couldn’t explain away all of their fear. By now, the sun had set, and the house was rapidly growing darker.
“How long do we have to stay here?” Joey asked the older children.
“W-well,” said the oldest one, “I think until morning.”
Just then, a hideous, serpentine form slithered across the floor in front of them. The two older boys screamed, their hearts jumping into their throats, but Joey just gnawed on his lip and watched the Weedle work its way to the other side of the floor. “Relax, guys,” he whispered as the orange worm disappeared into a hole in the wall.
“I h-hate bug Pokemon,” Tim moaned.
“Let’s just all go sit in the corner and wait for the sun to come up,” Joey said miserably. “You guys got your flashlights?”
The older boys nodded and they all reached into their backpacks and pulled their flashlights out. The light from them made everything they shone on seem oddly colored and unreal. The three children huddled in the corner and tried to find an ounce of courage in each other’s presence. It was now completely dark outside the small circle of light from their flashlights. Suddenly, they heard a noise. Thump. Thump. Thump.
“What is that?” cried Tim, on the verge of hysteria.
The oldest boy slapped him in the back of the head. “Stop your whining, it ain’t nothin’ but the wind.” He looked over at Joey. “You, go see what it was.”
“Yes, y-y-you,” the older boy mimicked.
Tim began to snicker through his frightened tears. Both of the boys glared at him. Once again, Joey felt as though he had no choice. He got to his feet, shaking wildly, and headed for the stairs. He cringed at the sight of aging staircase. He crossed his fingers, praying that it wouldn’t collapse under his weight. Each step was torture; the stairs creaked dangerously beneath him. He sighed with relief when he reached the hallway at the top of the staircase. Then came the noise again. Thump. Thump. Thump.
Joey stopped to collect himself, then moved toward the door at the end of the hall; the only place the noise could be coming from. Thump. Thump. Thump. Joey slowly reached forward and turned the door knob. He jumped back in anticipation of a skeleton or a ghost, but instead, he found only an empty room. Well, empty except for what seemed to be a large stuffed Sandile. Judging from the looks of it, it had been killed and stuffed a millennia before. Its once pretty black and brown scales had now faded to an almost grayish color. Some of its claws had been pulled out and it looked rather beat up. Its mouth had been molded into a hideous grin, each jagged tooth sticking out. And the things that Joey noticed, that drove Joey nearly mad with fear, were the red, glass eyes. They seemed to glitter with life, just as the Eye on the door did. These however, also shone with malice and the longer Joey stared at them, the more he felt as though he were falling into them….He suddenly remembered himself and jumped back. He was shaking all over and he almost ran down the stairs.
He burst into the room they had been in and was greeted with a hideous sight. The oldest boy was lying on the floor, dead. He had been ripped open from his neck to his stomach and his entrails had been pulled out and thrown everywhere. Joey saw a trail of blood leading away from the body and followed it with his eyes. It trailed across the floor and up the wall… where a large Eye had been drawn in the boy’s blood. The eye seemed to twinkle with laughter as Joey stood in front of it, his mouth hanging open in a silent scream.
“Help me! Help! Somebody help me, please, oh God!” Joey heard screaming and recognized it as Tim’s voice. It was coming from the top of the staircase. Joey raced from the room and looked up in time to see the stuffed Sandile with Tim in its jaws. It crawled down the hallway at the top of the stairs and disappeared from view. Joey stood at the bottom of the staircase for a moment, trying to decide, before running up the stairs after it.
Joey could barely walk down the hallway. Every instinct told him to run away, go home, and let someone else take care of it. But it was too late. He couldn’t back out. He opened the door and realized he was too late. The Sandile held Tim’s limp body in its jaws; it had bit him almost clean through. The Sandile shook him back and forth like a dog gnawing on a bone. Joey tried to back away, but the Sandile flipped around and stared at him. Its mouth opened in a grin, allowing Tim’s severed body to tumble out. Bits of flesh were stuck in the Sandile’s teeth.
Joey turned around and ran as fast as he could down the stairs, his heart pounding in his chest.
"Now, now, Joey. It's rather rude to run in someone else's home." Joey heard the reptilian hiss of the Sandile's voice and felt its hot, stinking breath on the back of his neck.
Joey saw the front door in front of him and lunged for it, his hands wrapping around the doorknob and twisting. Nothing happened. He heard a low cackling and turned around to find himself face to face with the Sandile.
“Why are you trying to run from me, Joey? I just want to be friends,” the Sandile said in a low, growling voice. “I think you’re going to like it here a lot.” Joey took a step back and found himself standing with his back against the door, which was now closed. Above him, was a blood red Eye, staring down at him. He whimpered as the Sandile took a step closer, and another, and another. He locked eyes with the Sandile and found himself unable to look away. He was completely paralyzed. The Sandile stretched its mouth wide and he felt its teeth start to dig into him, almost gently at first, then harder and harder.
“I think you’ll like it here a lot,” the voice said again, in his head this time. As the teeth sunk in, Joey could do nothing but cry.