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A little girl walked through the crowded streets of a vivid Christmas Eve. Overhead, red and green lights glowed against the chilly night sky. A delicious delicacy wafted through the air, perhaps a freshly baked fruit cake to be enjoyed by a family later. The small child thought of the fruit cake, or the large hams that were no doubt being enjoyed by millions of families on this night and the next. Looking straight through her were those very same families who would exchange presents, smiles, and happiness for the rest of their lives. The night air began to bite the girl’s bare arms, but she focused on her imagination of the families to keep her company. These were the only images that could keep the little girl company nowadays.
Slowly, the little girl left the bubble of the bright town. She descended into the outskirts now, where there was only the moon above to focus her vision on the desolate path. Her pretend, spirited walk morphed into a slow trudge. The gravel and dirt dug into her bare feet which were too numb to recognize the blisters like bombs across her little soles. There were very few things the little girl recognized nowadays - not even herself.
So, when the child’s bare feet stepped into a freezing puddle, she gasped and jumped away. It was not the cold that shocked her - the numbness freezing her extremities was enough - it was her own reflection duly highlighted in the murky water. She saw the beast of her nightmares, a wretched, dirty-faced girl with her matted hair sticking up in all directions. The girl’s thin, grimy body was barely covered with a tattered t-shirt and shorts. Two swirling vortexes, green eyes, tore away from the puddle.
For a moment the girl shook and shivered like never before. A monster creeped towards her from the inside and outside. The creature inside threatened to tear her stomach in two. The beast outside threatened to finally extinguish the quivering flame of the girl’s life by freezing it. This was starvation, the poor little girl knew, and desperation. She had realized what no little girl should understand: death waits for no one.
The little girl need not contemplate her fate. She could not scream for help, nor could she trudge back into town for assistance. Her thin little lips trembled, her hands too frozen to see if her lips were dead. She would not attempt to go into town, for this merry town made the third stop in a week where no one would bother to take the little girl in. Nobody wanted to pull a layer away from the girl’s paucity. It was simply not possible.
And so, the little girl collapsed where she was. She hit the tunda of a ground with a thud that nobody would hear, and slowly closed her eyes. The howling whistle of cold continued above her. She prayed to the unknown entity that had forced this destiny upon her and thought to be thankful for the family she once had before their accident...
A nearby rustle caught the girl’s ear. Instinctively, her eyes popped open. She struggled to pry herself off of the ground, where she watched the nearly frozen creature in front of her. It was no creature, it was....dinner. Its blue body looked like a plump blueberry while five wild leaves flowed from the Pokemon’s head. Beady eyes looked back at the girl and reflected its utter fear.
Horrible urges overcome starving children. The girl immediately lurched after the peeping Oddish before swallowing a huge lump in her throat. It was a knot of hunger that had tied her voice strings in two for too much of her young life now.
Landing on her side after jumping, the girl scowled. The Oddish had jumped to the side, and was clearly agitated. It twirled its flower headwear three hypnotizing times before an odd, purple mist overcame the little girl...she heaved before a terrible poison shook her small frame. This was no fairy dust, but a Poisonpower that left a haze over the young girl’s vision.
Two firm, equally small hands caught the girl before she hit the ground again.
“See,” a voice rang, clear as a bell, “If Oddy woulda hit ya with a full Poisonpowda, you’d be dead.” The little girl looked up at her savior. A young boy was holding her in his cold arms, no older than she but much taller than her. His skeleton stretched out the little fat he had on his lanky frame, and it became very clear to the girl that she was as impoverished as he. His brown hair was caked with dirt, and the girl wondered how brilliant it would shine in the moonlight if it was clean.
“But ya ain’t dead yet. Oddy musta been really hurt if his Poisonpowda’s that damaged.” The boy’s bright blue eyes analyzed all of the girl’s guilt and anxiety like a laser. She sneezed once, overtaken by the poison, wondering how he could be so kind in their condition.
The little boy grinned, and the girl felt a warmth creep over her cold-beaten face. “Let’s get him ova to a Pokemon Center, and us too.” The poison may have fully overcome the girl now, for she simply nodded at this boy’s suggestion. Her hands and feet seemed to be a block of granite each, and she sighed as her blood absorbed the diluted poison. The winter world whirled around her before her eyes gently closed.
The boy had the bravery to put the Oddish’s safety above the madness that had captured her, above the cruelty of the world that had crushed them.
He was her hero.
When the little girl fluttered her exhausted eyes open, the light of the town’s Pokemon Center flooded into her wavy vision. A hint of vanilla coated the room and the bed that she lay on, and the girl looked around to spot happy Chanseys and Blisseys smiling at her. For oce, she smiled back too, and the unused muscles almost ached as she did so.
She heard a chuckle next to her next, and looked up to see the little boy from earlier curled onto the chair next to her bed. In this light, she recognized that the boy had a beautiful grin that shined past the grime caked to his face. The Oddish sat on the little boy’s lap and seemed to smile up too at the girl, as if in a peace offering. A bandage covered the Pokemon’s navy head, and she discerned the smell of antiseptic over the vanilla.
“Hello there!” Nurse Joy exclaimed jubilantly as she burst through the door. The woman had two large loops of pink hair, a white dress with perfectly white shoes, and the most brilliant smile the girl ever had the fortune of seeing. Gingerly, she placed a soft hand over the little girl’s face and expressed genuine concern for her poisoned condition. The little girl’s eyes continue to flutter in and out as the Nurse nodded towards the boy and then back to the Oddish.
“Mornin’ sleepyhead!” her hero called to her, plucking the little girl on the forehead. “How ya feelin’?”
She smiled once more, even wider this time. Her smile ached almost as much as her broken heart strings.
“They’ll be takin’ us in for not only tonight, but forever! They’re buildin’ a home for us kids right next to tha Center,” he said again. The smile that spread across the girl’s lips couldn’t contain her happiness: she began laughing for once, like all of the little children in the world on that very night. The only thing that she was missing was right here.
“So for now, I’ll call ya...sister,” the boy finished her thought with a happy confirmation. He kissed her forehead, and held the healed Oddish between them. Later on, Nurse Joy would bring the children food, shelter, a family. The girl welcomed the start to the rest of her life with her hero at her side.