Pokemon Capture: Lotad
Characters Needed: 5000
Actual Characters: 5931
A/N: This story is based on a Robert Frost poem called Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. I've never studied it, so I can't say what he wrote it about, but I've always interpreted it as a longing to end everything, but knowing that you can't just yet. That you have to go on. So I wanted to take that theme and put it in a story, so here it is. Obviously, if you're uncomfortable with this theme, you shouldn't read it. But I hope you enjoy ^_^
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
The Rapidash trotted along the gravel road, its hooves crunching in the snow and pebbles with each step. The wind blew against me, cold and aching, but I couldn't even feel it. I had retreated deeply inside of myself. I would not allow myself to feel anything... except for guilt.
She was dead. And I couldn't save her.
I watched the shadows of the forest grow as the sun set lower on the horizon. It was getting dark now. No one would notice me here. The trees were leafless and brittle. The frost had come early this year and stayed late. The forest's undergrowth had already turned brown and dead. The place was perfect for what I had in mind. I could still feel her warm in my arms, her palms soft against my skin... I tossed the memory away with a shake of my head. The Rapidash snorted in surprise and cold. How had it come to pass that she'd gone as she had? I couldn't understand it. I was so close... we were so close. Why did it have to happen then? I remembered the way her hair, so blonde it was almost white, had been carefully straightened and pressed behind her ears. I could recall with perfect clarity the way her hair smelled, like summer, even during the coldest times of year. Times like this. Most of all, I remembered the ring in my pocket, the one she would never wear.
And I could see her hair fanning out, perfectly preserved beneath me. She was so still. So very still. We walked on.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
We walked along the road for at least an hour and the sky had turned the deep navy blue of coming night before we stopped. There were no buildings or signs of people anywhere near. Most of all, it was so, so very cold. It couldn't have been as cold as she felt. How long was she suspended there, unable to escape her fate? How long did her lungs ache? How long did she try to breathe before she gave up, before the bubbles stopped rising to the surface? Though, I suppose, in the end all of these questions lead to one: How long did she suffer?
I dug my heels into the Rapidash's side, stopping it in its tracks. It snorted again, bewildered as to why we would stop out here. I slid off of its back and its flames flared up, protection against the icy night air. It pawed at the ground restlessly, kicking up dirt and rocks and snow. I reached into the brown leather bag strapped to its side and pulled out the revolver. The metal was so cold that it burned into my gloveless hands. It didn't matter. At least, it wouldn't matter soon. I left the Rapidash untethered so that it could find its way back to town where there was food and water for it. Somewhere warm and safe. I turned away from it and walked across the damp muddy field into the woods.
I cannot say that in the woods I stayed as empty inside as I would have liked to be. There was a twinge of something... uneasiness and fear. I tried to sweep it away and I succeeded to a degree, but some of it stayed, dark and cancerous in my heart. Finally, I began to remember her. My pain, my love would wash the fear away.
We'd met when we were young and still soft and pure. We had been friends from the beginning, comfortable with ourselves. We would nudge against each other, touching in brief, wonderful spurts that would make my heart rise in my chest. We loved each other so much to begin with, that when our love became more it was slow and natural. So easy. We were meant to be, like the land and the sea, like day and night. Opposites that touched each other, gently, caressing.
Then she was pulled away.
The morning it happened, I woke with the sun. I expected her to be next to me, bathed in golden sunlight, a perfect angel. She wasn't there and I knew something was wrong. I leaped from our bed and searched the house for her, calling her name. She didn't respond. That was when I went outside.
In our yard was a pond. In the summer we kept Poliwag there until they grew up and moved on. It was winter now and sleet had formed on the surface of the pond. As I walked by, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that a patch of sleet was missing. My heart pounded. I crept closer and looked down to see the face of an angel looking up at me. I screamed and screamed and screamed. Then I dived into the water and pulled her up. She couldn't swim. This fact played over and over again in my mind. When I pulled her out, she was so cold that I already knew. I pinched her nose shut anyways and pressed our mouths together. I breathed my life into her. It didn't help.
So now I walked through the woods to a place I knew from my childhood. It was called the hangman's tree. I pressed the revolver against my side. I wasn't far now. Soon I saw it, rising high above me, its branches twisted into a shape almost human-like. I knelt by the roots at the bottom and clasped my hands in prayer. That's when I spotted the Lotad.
The small frog Pokemon had been ripped open. I could see its insides glistening in the dying light of the sun. Its dark green skin had been shredded and flies were already circling around. When I first saw it, I was sure it was dead. Then it began to croak at me, slowly at first, but then desperately. I watched, transfixed in the most awful of ways as it twitched over and over. Its croaking grew softer. One eye met mine, a gleam of life still there, begging, pleading for something different. Finally, it stopped. I felt something stir in my heart, something unexplainable. The fear rose like bile. I knew this was the wrong choice. I knew this was not something for me, not yet. She had left me, true, but in the dying stirs of this Lotad, I saw myself. I couldn't accept it.
I couldn't let her go either. So I settled. There were more things to do in my life. I could work to help her. I could do the things that she had wanted to do. I could make things different... for someone else at least. I could do right by her.
That was all I really wanted.
I began by digging a hole and placing the Lotad inside... It was a start.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.