Mon aimed for: Gastly
Characters required: 20000
FINAL CHARACTER COUNT: 42000 (estimate)
Comment: Let me know if there's anything I can do to help my case if this is borderline. I have not failed a story and I don't plan to do so now.
Note: Lyrics are taken from the song Nightmare by Avenged Sevenfold
This story is rated PG-13 for mild blood, violence, mild language, mild use of tobacco, and some frightening elements.
"Breaking news. Twenty-two year old trainer Joshua Phillips has been reported missing. His last known location was the Pokemon Tower paying respects to his recently deceased Pidgey. His girlfriend reported that he went to tower three days ago and has not returned. Authorities have investigated the tower searching for Joshua; no evidence of his whereabouts was found . Joshua is now one of eight people in the past two weeks that have ventured to the Pokemon Tower and were not seen since. Local law enforcement has evacuated and closed off the tower over public safety concerns that people entering the tower might not be seen again. We'll have more on this shortly."
Bill was sitting there and was watching this shocking news report on the TV inside a diner in Saffron City. He jerked forward to keep his coffee from spilling on his blue jeans because he tilted his coffee mug a little too much; the coffee streamed down his clean-shaven chin instead. He looked downward away from the TV to soak in the magnitude of this epidemic and to wipe the coffee off his face before it dripped to his gray t-shirt; his dirty blond hair came into view of his eyes due to his head tilting. As he sat there comtemplating, he overheard two men sitting across from each other talking in the booth behind him.
"So people have been disappearing there lately?" said the man on the left.
"Yeah. They go there and vanish without a trace," replied the one on the right.
Upon hearing these frightening words, Bill look up and stroked his hair with his thumb to straighten it. He then turned around on the barstool and faced the two men. His eyes briefly glimpsed at the two men, both mid-thirties and of medium physical stature. "So what is this going on?" he interrupted.
"People are going into the Pokemon Tower, but they aren't coming out," the man on the left answered.
"All of Lavender Town is spooked by this phenomenon," the man on the right added.
"Has this happened before?" questioned Bill.
"No. Ever since the tower's opening, not one person has been reported missing," answered the man on the right. "You don't look familiar. What's your name?"
"Oh, sorry for being so rude by interrupting without introducing myself," apologized Bill. "My name's Bill Mason. I'm from Nuvema Town in the Unova region."
"Get out of here! Are you serious?" the man on the left said while spilling a little coffee on his blue button-down shirt due to a near spit-take. "I've never met someone from Unova! My name's Travis."
The man on the right then introduced himself. "I'm Connor. Nice to meet you. We're both locals of Saffron. Come sit with us. What brings you here?"
"I'm just a traveler visiting different regions," Bill said as he picked up his cup off the bar along with his leather jacket off his lap and sat down next to Travis and across from Connor.
"Any particular goal in mind?" Connor asked as he lifted a fork with a bite of scrambled eggs on it to his mouth.
"Not really," responded Bill. "I'm just traveling and catching Pokemon for right now. I may challenge some gyms, and maybe earn a few badges later though. Who knows? Maybe, I'll try my hand against the elite four and the champion."
"Go for it, dude," Travis responded. "I would love to see a new champion these days. When did you start your journey?"
"Not long ago," Bill answered. "I received my first Pokemon on my 10th birthday, but I never left home until a few months ago."
"And how hold are you?" asked Travis.
"18," said Bill.
"Late start if you ask me, but better late then never as they say," Connor commented.
"I agree with you," Bill replied, "I wish I had done this sooner, but it is what it is."
"You said it," Connor agreed.
"So what's this situation with all the people disappearing?" inquired Bill.
Travis answered, "Oh, it's been quite an epidemic. People have been going to the Pokemon Tower to simply pay their respects. They don't come out afterward and are never seen again."
"Did the trainers have anything in common?" asked Bill.
"No," Travis responded. "About a week ago, I heard on the reports that a construction worker was reported missing, but then one of those creepy channelers vanished the next day."
"Were these people alone?" Bill asked.
"Yeah, as far as we know," Connor answered. "These guys were alone on one of the floors when they were last seen according to interviews with the last people that left that floor. They don't put security cameras in the Pokemon Tower out of respect for the mourning trainers."
"What could be causing this?" wondered Bill.
Travis finished his bite of pancakes and answered, "Some say it might be a murderer or serial killer. Others say that it's just coincidence and that they'll turn up soon."
An idea flashed into Bill's mind. "What about a Pokemon?" he asked.
"A Pokemon?" Travis responded in a surprised manner. "You think a wild Pokemon might be causing this? I don't know, dude. It sounds like too much for a wild Pokemon to kidnap, or kill for all we know, 8 people in two weeks."
"Don't underestimate a Pokemon," Bill contested. "My life was saved from a serial killer by a Machop one time."
"You don't say?" Travis. "Well, I won't discredit your theory, but it still sounds like a lot for a wild Pokemon to handle."
"I think I should check it out myself," Bill resolved.
"No way, dude!" Connor refuted as he almost choked on his bacon from shock. "It's far too dangerous. You might be that saboteur's next victim."
"But someone has to find out what's causing these trainers to disappear," Bill contested.
"It's still suicide," contended Travis. "Besides, they don't let people in the tower anymore. Even if it was open, you can only stay on the first floor unless you have a deceased Pokemon on file."
"Still, I must see what I can do to help," said Bill. "I don't want another trainer to disappear with there being something I could do about it."
"That's a good attitude to have," Connor commented. "You've got guts, boy."
"I just hope you can make yourself useful and make it out in one piece," Travis added.
"Well, I gonna go check it out then," Bill declared as he got up to take his check to the counter.
"Yeah, we work at Silph Co., and our shifts start soon," Conner said as he started to get up. "We should head out as well."
"It was nice meeting you guys," Bill said.
"Nice meetin you. Good luck at the tower," Travis returned.
Upon arriving in Lavender town, Bill could see that the town was just as gloomy as some people say it is. It was rather small, dark, and quiet even to a greater extent than his hometown of Nuvema. Yet the town did not radiate a peaceful feeling. If you were lucky enough to spot a person in its streets, it would likely be an oldster who would usually give a glare or a passing stare at best.
Things turned slightly busier when Bill drew near to the Pokemon Tower. It had a small crowd around a few barricades. News reporters were further away from the crowd conducting interviews and updates to their station. Behind the barriers were police officers who kept the area sealed from entry. One of the officers who was holding a megaphone turned toward the crowd and began shouting into the speaker, "This is an official investigation! There's nothing to see here! Leave now!" The crowd began to thin out a little, but there was still a number that stayed. Bill watched the officer until he stepped outside the barricades. He then approached the officer. "Good morning, sir," Bill greeted.
"What the hell do you want?" The officer answered in a stern voice, his heavy set framework and thick mustache accompanied this commanding tone. "I thought I told you all to go home."
"I'm sorry to bother you officer. I am just a passing trainer and was wondering if there was anything I can do to help."
"No, there's nothing. Now beat it!" the frustrated officer ordered as he snapped his head forward a little almost taking his reflecting sunglasses with it.
"I'm sorry. I just wanted offer my services."
"We got this under control," the officer said as he crossed his muscly arms. "I got investigation teams sweeping the floors. Unfortunately, we didn't find anything."
"Have you tried looking at night? Maybe, the people went missing at night. If so, then what caused them to be that way may be active as well during that time."
"Yeah, I've tried looking at night. We still haven't found anything."
"Did you find any Pokemon during that time?"
"No. What the hell does that have to do with anything?" The officer didn't quite follow his reasoning.
"If you're spooking the Pokemon, maybe you're spooking it. Whatever's in there won't come out if you crowd it."
The officer had an intrigued look on his face and turned his bald head sideways a little. "Where are you going with this?" he asked.
"Try sending someone in there alone," Bill replied.
"Are you kidding me? I could never ask any of my men to do that! They could be killed or kidnapped!"
Bill pondered for a few seconds before coming up with an insane idea. "What about me?" he asked. Bill felt his throat lock up a little bit as he said those words.
"You want to go into a tower where eight people have vanished without any sign of their whereabouts?"
"I just want to help you guys out. Can I just go in for one night? I have Pokemon to help me."
"Sorry I can't let you do that," the officer said as he shook his head.
"Come on," Bill pleaded.
"No way," the blue-uniformed officer said. "This is a crime scene. We'll handle this."
"All I need is one night," Bill requested once more.
"Trust me, I'm doing this for your own good," the officer said.
Bill sighed and simply gave a, "Fine." He then started walking away from the grunt officer. "I have to get in there somehow," Bill thought to himself. "But how?
That night around 10:00, Bill returned to the police scene hiding in a mass of bushes near the tower. Bill saw how creepy the tower was at night sending a chill down his spine. "Why was I doing this again?" he thought to himself. He was about one second from turning back before he remembered that he wanted to help a fellow trainer. Besides that, he figured if there was a Pokemon that was capable of causing this kind of chaos, it would greatly benefit his team. Bill pulled his binoculars out of his backpack to survey the area. There were no flashlights in the windows so the guards had stopped searching for the night. The perimeter looked strong up front with several officers guarding each of the barricades. But there was a slight weakness in their wall. Bill looked all the way over to the left side of their perimeter and saw a lone officer guarding a barricade while smoking his cigarette. He was standing a good distance from the others as well. Bill tried to think of his options.
Bill pulled out a pocket mirror and his flashlight. He was a little far from the cops so he had time to escape when the officer caught the reflection. Bill switched on his flashlight and shined it into his mirror. The light reflected onto the wall of the Pokemon tower in the distance. Bill began moving the mirror shine the reflected light into the lone guard's eyes. The guard quickly turned his head when the new light caught his eye. Bill immediately moved around in the large cluster of bushes and turn his light off. The guard inched closer, pulling out his gun as he halved his distance to the shrub. When the officer was hovering over it, Bill silently stepped out of the row of bushes and began running as fast and as quiet as he could. He vaulted over the barricade making as little noise as possible. The other guards had their backs turned so no one was able to see him.
As neared the main entrance, he felt as if the tower was swallowing him into total darkness. The lobby was as dark as the night sky, but a few candles were left lit during the investigations. Flipping his flashlight on, he could see much further in the distance. Looking around the lobby, he saw a few chairs and couches for those waiting for their companions to come back or to be seen by the tower manager. The front desk was also there for those needing assistance. Pillars towered into the ceiling above to hold up each floor. Bill saw a door in one of the walls. It led to the tower manager's office where people could arrange burial plots. Bill began searching the desk. "It has to be here somewhere," he thought to himself. After about one minute of searching, he pulled out a book that was labeled Burial Plot Directory. Bill slammed the book on the desk, opened it up the list of names, and began searching for Phillips. The grave was located on the fourth floor according to the book. Bill ripped the page out for future reference and pocketed it. Shining his flashlight around the lobby, he found the cracked staircase and proceeded to the second floor.
The second floor had graves as far as the eye could see! Bill could not look in a single direction without spotting at least seven headstones. The only thing that separated it from a graveyard was the presence of walls. Pokemon were buried in a gap between the flooring and the ceiling for the previous floor; pillars were there to support the extra weight. Bill knew that this was going to be a long night. The staircase was on the other side, so he carefully traversed the headstones across the floor. He tripped on a couple when he was not shining his flashlight in front of him. Every time he would turn his gaze, he would almost trip on a tombstone or run into a pillar. Nevertheless, he made it to the staircase; but before climbing the stairs, a sound came from across the floor. *Whoosh,* he heard.
"What? Who's there?" Bill said sternly as his heart began racing. The flashlight beam raced around the room but revealed nothing except a maze of headstones. What made that noise? Was it just the wind...or was there something there? Bill slowly turned around and ascended the staircase carefully to see if that noise would sound again. "Creak. Creak," went the old staircase as his feet moved from one step to the next.
Bill's heart still palpitated as he climbed to the third floor. With a quick snap, he turned around to see if he was being followed. There was nothing there but the stairs. "Get a hold of yourself, Bill. You're just paranoid," he said to reassure himself. Still, that feeling of an unknown follower hung in the air. Of course, all that was on the third floor was more tombstones. That's refreshing.
As Bill proceeded across the silent and melancholy graveyard, his head began to feel a little heavy. A blur entered his eyes as he tried as hard as he could to stay focused. After that last adrenaline moment, what could be causing this sudden weakness? His arms began to droop while his head swung back and forth trying to keep itself up. Bill grasped onto a pillar in the middle of the room to keep himself from falling. After a long moment of disorientation, Bill was finally able to collect himself. He shook his head to clear the remainder of his burdened mind as he continued through the remainder of the third floor.
Having finally reached the fourth floor, Bill pulled out a page that he had torn out from the plot directory. Slowly unfolding it, he rotated the map till it was completely aligned with the way he was standing. His green eyes rapidly switched between the paper and the path in front of him. The winding maze of graves took him many directions around the floor. "It should be right...here,"Bill thought to himself as he arrived at a headstone that looked fairly new. Shining his flashlight, he could see a cross engraved at the top of the stone along with the words,
the beloved Pidgey
Bill felt slightly saddened at those words as his hand stroked the white headstone. However something caught his eye when his hand reached the bottom. Reaching for his flashlight, Bill focused his gaze on the ground where he could see two scuff marks running away from the grave. This headstone had been moved before! Bill did not want to defile the grave by moving the stone; but if he didn't, how would anyone find out what's been causing the trainers to vanish? Bill stood to his feet as he grasped the small headstone and began to force his body weight against it. Suddenly, the foggy feeling from before returned to him. The muscles in his body relaxed simultaneously as his strength wavered from him. Still, he had enough willpower to slide the stone over. With all the focus he could muster, Bill affixed his eyes to a squarehole in the floor revealed by the moved headstone. The coffin inside was a long one though. Was this standard for caskets? Bill, still feeling groggy, maneuvered the casket through the cracks and placed it on the floor above; but before he could finish, he spotted something else in the floor: another casket. This was much tinier than the other being only about four feet long. Bill could easily lift this one to the surface. He managed to fight off his tiredness for a second to brace himself as he snapped the casket opened. The sight of a Pidgey corpse with part of its decaying skull and two of its ribs exposed scarred an image into Bill's mind. The smell of a rotting corpse permeated the nearby atmosphere.
But there was something else that was of greater importance than these rotten senses. If Pidgey was in that coffin,...then what's in the larger one? Bill started shaking as the mental fogginess combined with this newly found fear. He slowly unlatched the casket and swung it open. With this sudden moment, the smell and sight of the rotting Pidgey were no match for what he just saw. Inside was a man shaking violently with his eyes closed and squinted with all their might. His barely audible stuttering matched his panicky trembling. His green collared shirt was soaked in sweat. How long had he been like this? Bill tapped him with his hand, but he gave no response. Bill tried once more a little bit harder and more rapidly. The man gasped for air with all his might as his eyes shot open. He panted as if he had been underwater for too long or if he was being tortured.
"Are you ok?" Bill asked.
The man simply lied there looking around as his eyes began to shoot back into his head.
"Stay with me," Bill said as he tapped him and realigned the man's pinkish face. "What happened?"
"Where...am I?" The man said as he stuttered.
"You're in the Pokemon Tower. I found you in this coffin under this headstone. What's your name?"
"Joshua," the man said as he tried to focus on Bill's eyes. "Joshua Phillips."
Bill felt a little relieved with this discovery of the lost trainer. "How did this happen?"
"All I can remember is that I was in here...saying my final words to...Charles, my Pidgey," Joshua tried to answer. "I just started feeling weak and..." Joshua paused as his eyes widened.
"And what?" Bill asked.
"...oh no," Joshua said softly. "We have to get out of here."
"What?" Bill asked confusingly.
"We have to get out of here!" Joshua said as he started panicking.
"Wait, hold on!" Bill said. "What's wrong?"
"We gotta get out of here right now or he will find us!"
"Who will find us?" Bill asked as he started to look around.
"It's must have been how I got to be in this casket! He will--" Joshua abruptly stopped as his face froze and trembled for a split second.
"He will what?" Bill asked. Joshua returned no response as face stayed frozen. "Josh, stay with me! What's going on?!"
Suddenly a mysterious male voice echoed in the room. "Now now, that's enough out of you," the voice said as Josh laid his head back down as he drifted into unconsciousness.
"Josh!? Josh!" Bill said hopelessly as his hand tapped Josh's face. Bill stood to his feet and reached for his flashlight shining it around like a swordsman surrounded by several hostiles. "Who are you?" he called out to the voice.
"I'm glad you came here," the voice said softly.
"Answer my question, damn it! Who the hell are you?!" Bill said as every nerve in his body tingled with fear.
"I have plans for you," the voice replied as it seemed to sweep across the room.
"Plans? What plans?" Bill asked as his heart raced.
"Oh, you'll see...you'll see."
"What do you want?!" Bill said with panic hanging in his voice.
"You are afraid. Good," the voice iterated. "All will be finished soon. In the meantime, why don't you just relax?"
As soon as those words reached Bill's ears, his energy fell out of him like lead falling to the ocean floor. This time, it was at a much faster rate than the previous two times. Bill's head swirled with the combination of disorientation and panic; his body swayed back and forth as weakness seized him. Finally, he couldn't take it anymore and collapsed to the floor; his body laid there motionless and unconscious. A purple mist began to materialize over Bill. It began to grow thicker as white eyes opened in the middle of it. "Your soul will soon be mine," the ball of mist said as a mouth emerged from it.
Dragged you down below
Down to the devil's show
To be his guest forever
Peace of mind is less than never
All was black; everything was nothing. Up, down, forward, back, left, right; darkness was rampant in all directions. Bill laid flat on the ground face-up unconscious inside this empty dimension. His green eyes slowly opened to stare into nothing. Bill put his hands on the ground to pick himself up; he could see his hand as if he was in a well-lit room which was contrary to bare atmosphere. Bill turned his head in all directions, but there was nothing there except himself. "Where am I?" Bill whispered to himself as he tried to recollect his thoughts.
"Hello," a voice said softly to him.
"Hello? Who's there?" Bill said while still scanning with his eyes.
The voice returned a slight chuckle as it said, "Is something wrong?"
"Where am I?" Bill responded. "What happened?"
"Don't you remember?" The voice said a little louder.
"Wait, you're that voice from before," Bill recognized. "Who are you and what do you want?"
The voice gave another chuckle and questioned, "What do you have to give?"
"I don't understand," Bill answered. "Show yourself!" Bill called out into the blankness.
A purple ball of mist faded into being. Eyes and a mouth began appearing as the voice said, "Who's hiding?"
Bill stared in awe at the floating poison gas Pokemon. "You're...a Gastly." The face returned an evil glare as it stared into Bill's eyes. "Where are we?" Bill questioned again.
"We're in a dream. I lulled you to sleep with Hypnosis," Gastly said as he smiled.
"So when will I wake up?" Bill asked.
"You won't," Gastly answered.
"I don't understand," Bill said.
"I want to challenge you and your mind. Your mind is the only thing that connects your body and soul. And I believe I know the perfect thing that will break your mind."
"And if I refuse?" Bill objected.
Gastly laughed a little bit as he said, "You can't. The dream belongs to me. I am the master of this illusion."
"I'll show you!" Bill shouted as he placed a hand on the side of his blue jeans. He reached for something on his belt, but felt nothing. "What the hell? Where are my Pokeballs?!"
Gastly laughed menacingly and answered, "Remember, I'm the one that decides what goes on in this dream. But if Pokemon battling is your forte, let's see how you do on my turf!"
As soon as he shouted these words, a bright lighted square came between Bill and Gastly. From the square arose a medium-sized wrestling cage perfect for any fight. Suddenly, the ground around the cage began to color itself into floor, and with a quick sweep, spread throughout the darkness. Crowds appeared all around Bill; illusions of people cheering flooded the stands that materialized. Bill got up onto a ledge near the edge the of the cage and there was a blurred vision of a gray Pokemon. Bill tried to align the holes in the multi-layer cage and spotted the two pairs of arms and its belted black girdle. Bill immediately knew what this was.
"Machamp! What's going on?" Machamp simply looked from inside the cage with an equally confused look on his face and shrugged his shoulders. Suddenly, Gastly's image appeared on the jumbotron hovering over the cage.
"So Bill," Gastly said on the screen, "are you ready for round 1?"
"Not until you tell me what the hell is going on here?"
"It's simple, really. Just defeat your opponents. Look at the other corner."
Bill turned his eyes over to the other side and saw purple mist began to materialize. Except it wasn't in the shape of a Gastly. The mist towered from the ground up to a little over 5 feet. Suddenly, the haze burst, and Bill could not believe what he saw. A Machamp replica with yellow glowing eyes a purple flame-like aura emanating off its body stood and pounded its chest with all four arms. Bill's Machamp immediately know what this was as it cracked the knuckles on each of its four fists.
"You're sure you can handle this?" Bill asked his Machamp.
Machamp simply huffed at his trainers question as if he was giving a "no problem."
"Alright. If you're certain," Bill said hesistantly.
The Machamp both circled the arena staring each other down and keeping watch over each others movements. They began to move a little bit closer to get within striking range. Suddenly, Bill's Machamp through a punch with its upper left arm. Anti-Machamp quickly leaned its right side back out of the way. Seeing this as the perfect opportunity, it used the left pair of arms to grab Machamp by its shoulder division following it with seizing his stomach on the rebound from the dodge. Picking up its foe, Anti-Machamp quickly raised Machamp over his head and chucked him at the cage wall. Machamp hit the wall hard where Bill was standing which sent Bill flailing backwards though he regained his balance.
"Machamp, you ok?"
Quickly standing to his feet, he just used his bottom right arm to make a diagonal motion to brush it off. Anti-Machamp quickly began charging its real counterpart to throw him further off balance. Machamp quickly leaped out of the way and then gave his foe a hard four-arm punch. Anti-Machamp immediately was sent flying into iron wall. The purple-glowing Pokemon simply rubbed his head for two seconds and pounded its fist into its hand as he rushed towards his opponent once more. Bill's superpower Pokemon did the same and the two locked all four of their fists simultaneously. The two fighting-types struggled greatly, both grunting at each other and seeing which had the stronger willpower. Who would win this battle of wits? Anti-Machamp quickly swung its leg around to knock its real opponent off balance. Machamp tumbled to the ground, but he didn't even get a chance to get up as his anti-counterpart picked him up and swung him around in a full vertical circle before chucking him at the ceiling. Machamp hit the roof, and gravity did the rest. The purple-flaming Pokemon leisurely walked over to its fallen opponent and picked his head off the ground only to smash it with one of its fists.
"Machmp! No!" Bill cried as he watched from the outer edge of the cage.
The crowds roared while Anti-Machamp stood with one foot resting over its unconscious opponent. Suddenly, the aura-emitting imposter faded away into purple smoke as Gastly appeared from the mist. "Round one goes to me," the ghost-type started saying, "and now I'll claim my prize."
A glowing purple outline appeared around Machamp's unconscious body as he finished those words. After a few seconds, it slowly started fading into purple mist which then flowed into Gastly's mouth. Machamp was no more; Bill could only watch as his friend was completely absorbed by Gastly.
"Where's my Machamp?" Bill asked.
"His soul is mine now," Gastly answered.
"You bastard!" Bill cursed. "Give him back now!"
"Relax, you will join him soon. But in the meantime, it looks like your mind could use another round. Are you ready?"
"I'm ready for whatever you have to throw at me," Bill resolved.
"We'll see about that," Gastly said.
As soon as he finished saying this, the arena around him began to shatter like everything was glass. The falling pieces slowly made their way to the cage in the middle as Bill suddenly lost his footing. Bill began free falling into nothing...until a blue light shined in the distance. The light expanded and covered the blackness like a quick swipe of a paintbrush. Bill looked straight down to spot some puffy and white billows in the distance. Blue background? White fluff? Bill instantly knew that he was falling out of the sky.
Can't wake up and sweat
Cause it ain't over yet
Still dancing with your demons
Victim of your own creation
Suddenly, something came falling alongside Bill: a spiked dragon head with a long blue neck. Bill's eyes scanned the rest of the creature to see its wide blue and gray body along with its long muscular tail. The dragon swooped down ahead of him until he was a few yards below when he suddenly expanded his arc-shaped wings. Bill fell onto the mighty dragon and knew by its friendly disposition that it was none other than his own Salamence.
Unfortunately, this moment of security was short-lived. A fireball suddenly came out of nowhere on a collision course for the two. Salamence could easily dodge this and did so with a quick maneuver. Bill placed his hand over his eyes to look into the distance. Bill's eyes stared in terror as a second Salamence with its body bathing in a purple-flame to accompany its yellow eyes glided hastily through the air.
Bill's Salamence began to fly forward and away from the negative replica. The flaming clone conjured another fireball in its mouth and sent it like a bullet towards its opponent. Salamence quickly swung itself sideways to turn as the flame went roaring past them. Anti-Salamence tried another one; no result. Bill knew how his Salamence was highly trained in his reflexes; but if he couldn't land any attacks, then they would be dodging forever.
Then Bill remembered. There was a trick that he and Salamence had worked on during flight training. It's a little risky since we're still practicing it, but we have no choice, Bill thought to himself.
"Salamence! Loop-de-loop!" he abruptly shouted.
After saying those words, Bill stood up on his dragon's flat back and jumped up in the air. As soon as Salamence felt the kick, he quickly turned upwards and flapped his wings. Salamence circled high in the sky, completely turning himself upside down at the peek of the loop. Bill simply spread his body out like he was skydiving. Bill quickly reached out his hands and caught onto Salamence's shoulders as the dragon returned from its loop. Bill looked forward to see the fiery fake in front of him. Now it was being chased.
"Give it a taste of its own medicine!" Bill said.
Salamence opened his gaping mouth and began to form fire in it. With a puff, a fireball shot forward like a plane shooting a missile. Anti-Salamence began dodging them making the first couple easily miss. As the fire kept coming though, some balls were barely missed; one even skated against its wing. Thinking quickly, Anti-Salamence dived into the clouds below and was hidden from sight. Bill and his dragon partner chased after it and soon became lost in a white, puffy backdrop.
"Keep your eyes open, Salamence," Bill said. "Who knows where it went?"
Salamence kept gliding forward while turning his head to watch for any projectiles. All he could see in front of him was the cloudy barrier. Suddenly, a flash of white came beaming towards Salamence. By the time his eye caught it however, it was too late. The white beam impacted Salamence right on the wing forming a block of ice around it. Unable to keep himself stable, he and Bill started falling through the air.
"How did it..." Bill questioned to himself as he remembered that Salamence cannot be taught Ice Beam.
Suddenly, Gastly appeared in front of the falling duo. "No need to finish that thought," he said. "It's a dream, remember? It's my dream."
Bill grunted and bit down on his teeth at Gastly's display of cheating. Salamence's body then became surrounded in the purple glow like the one Machamp experienced as he slowly disintegrated into mist. Gastly absorbed the mist into his mouth as he was breathing it in.
"Stop it!" Bill objected. "Why are you doing this?"
"Why do you care?" Gastly responded. "Salamence was obsolete."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Bill asked as air continued to blow into his mouth. "He's my Pokemon! He's precious to me!"
"I doubt that," Gastly rejected. "Soon, all of your Pokemon will be mine."
After saying this, the evil ghost-type vanished from his eyes as the scene around Bill faded to black. The wind still waved in Bill's dirty blond hair as he kept falling into nothing. Suddenly, he came to a dead stop as if someone had ropes or bungee cords attached to his limbs. Bill simply stayed there suspended before he fell face down onto the ground. The ground was soft and rippled as he stroked his hand across it. Bill stood up as a tiny light formed on the ground in front of Bill which started expanding to the area around him. It started leaving behind tall green grass in its trail similar to the way the sky painted itself. Bill felt a slight force on his heels when suddenly, a wide tree branch was under his feet. It slowly moved upward along with the rest of its branches. Bill caught the limb with his hands as he held on for dear life. The tree stopped moving as Bill stepped up to sure footing. He could see the endless grass field along with the black background. This was definitely a good view.
Not to fail (Fail!)
Not to fall (Fall!)
Or you'll end up like the others
Bill looked around the grassy plain and spotted a little impression in the green floor. Bill tried to focus his eyes and managed to see dual shades of green covering a long slender body with yellow markings streaking across its camouflage. A red eye stood out along with two yellow leaflike tendrils along its upper neck.
"No, it can't be..." Bill thought to himself.
It was. Bill's starting Pokemon, Serperior was maneuvering his way through the giant grassy field.
"Serperior! Up here!" Bill shouted.
Serperior looked up at the rest of the tree to spot his trainer on the top branch. He gazed confusingly wondering how his trainer got up here or where they even were. Bill's distant reunion with his starter was rather brief as another impression made its way through the grass. It inched closer and closer to Serperior until it was within a yard away from its body. Due to this already happening twice, Bill instantly knew what it was.
"Serperior! Look out!" he shouted.
Serperior quickly turned his his head to spot a fanged mouth diving for his mid-section. He quickly slid out of the way as the jaw bit into the grass. Serperior looked at the head the mouth was featured in and saw his own face with glowing yellow eyes. The rest of the body came into view as the mouth released the bite of grass; purple flames adorned the grass snake's body. The two duelists sank low to the ground as they began to slither around each other like swordsman. Serperior stared into his evil twin's yellow eyes he tried to keep focus.
Anti-Serperior quickly swung its tail around itself trying to use the tipped leaves to cut its foe. Its real counterpart moved its head to dodge the blade and quickly tried to bite its neck. It missed as well; Anti-Serperior flexed its neck out of the way of the bite. Seizing the opportunity, Anti-Serperior wrapped itself around Serperior's neck trying to choke him. Thinking on his feet, the grass snake swung its free tail to give his opponent a nice leaf blade to the head. Anti-Serperior quickly released him as it shouted in pain. Trying to buy some time, it jumped into the grass around the two and fled from vision.
Serperior was now clueless of his foe's whereabouts; Bill was looking around trying to spot it from above. He didn't have any luck though. All was quiet. Too quiet. Serperior coiled himself up to look around and to better defend himself. Just as Serperior looked straight in front of him, an indentation in the grass slowly moved towards the creature.
"Behind you!" Bill shouted.
It was too late. Anti-Serperior came rushing out of the grass while his foe's back was turned and gave him a poison bite with all of its fangs. Serperior screamed in agony as red blood pooled around his evil twin's teeth. The dark clone released his grasp as Serperior uncoiled himself and laid his head on the ground; the poison had knocked him unconscious.
"No! Serperior!" Bill shouted as he hopped down from one tree branch to the next. He fell flat on his back when he hopped to the ground but quickly picked himself back up and rushed over to his fallen friend. It began to shine purple as Bill drew near; Gastly was already in front of it ready to take his soul.
Bill dived in front of him to try to block whatever Gastly was doing. "Enough!" he screamed.
Serperior stopped radiating a purple light as Gastly paused at this new obstruction.
"What do you think you're doing?" Gastly questioned.
"I won't let you take any more of my Pokemon," Bill answered.
"And what's gonna stop me?" Gastly defied.
"...take me," Bill offered. "I was the one you wanted anyway."
Gastly smirked and realized that his plan had worked the whole time. "I knew from the very moment I entered his mind that losing his Pokemon was his worst nightmare. Now that I've broken his mind, his soul is now free for me to take."
"Are you certain?" Gastly asked.
"Yes," Bill said. "My Pokemon mean everything to me. We've become a part of each other's lives. None of us can exist without each other. My only regret was that I could not give them a fulfilling adventure." Bill finished this sentence as he looked down to see his hands starting to give off a purple light.
Suddenly a bright light like a star appeared in between the two. It formed itself into a human shape with a round head. The light began to dim as a white Pokemon featuring a long flowing gown covering its tiny legs. Its green headdress matched its slender arms; the mask its forehead and nose. The light faded completely as the newly formed creature got down on its knees as it shouted in a young lady's voice, "Stop it!"
Bill stared in amazement at his Gardevoir intervening for him. "Gardevoir, what are you doing here?"
"I sensed something was wrong, so I bridged into your mind from my Pokeball,"
"Leave," Bill ordered. "Or he'll steal your soul."
"I don't care," Gardevoir objected, "I won't standby and watch your soul get stolen."
"You would throw away your life for your trainer?" Gastly interjected. "How foolish."
"Foolish?" Gardevoir answered. "How dare you!"
"A human can't love a Pokemon. They're all the same in the end. Trainers are nothing but tyrants and slave drivers."
Bill clenched his fist as he heard those familiar words, his mind flashing back to Castelia city as the memory of the serial killer reiterated that sentence.
"Bill found me in an alleyway after a murderer with the same mindset killed my trainer," Gardevoir defended, "Bill made sure I got well before leaving Castelia City; if it had not been for him, I probably would have died of starvation. It was then that I made the choice to come with him for his journey. I have never regretted that decision for one second. My only regret now is that I won't see the end of Bill's journey."
Gastly's eyes widened at these words. "I don't believe this! The trainer that I always wanted; this is a perfect example of him! I...I can't do this, not to a fellow Pokemon." Gastly stared in awe for a few moments before vanishing into purple mist. Bill and Gardevoir looked around wondering where he went. Suddenly, three blobs of purple mist materialized into three different shapes; one dragon, one snake, and one human. The mist scattered away, and Serperior, Salamence, and Machamp all stood in front of him. Bill rubbed his eyes in disbelief.
"Guys?" He questioned.
As soon as he said that, all three Pokemon came dashing towards him. Machamp got to him first and bumped his chest against Bill's like he always did followed by picking him with all four arms and cracking his back with a big hug. Serperior wrapped himself around Bill's legs as he extended his head up towards Bill's face. Bill embraced him with his arms; Serperior's head rested on Bill's shoulders. However Serperior quickly dashed away from Bill as Salamence stood on his hind legs and forced his front body weight down on Bill. "Nice to see you too Salamence," Bill tried to say with crushed lungs. Salamence got off of him as Bill petted his head with his right hand. Bill gave Gardevoir a big hug and whispered in her ear, "Thank you. I don't know what to say."
"There's nothing to say," she whispered back, "It's just what we do for each other."
Bill opened his eyes during the hug, and a small floating ball of purple mist caught his eye. Bill slowly released his loving Pokemon as he ran off towards it. Bill stopped a few feet from it and watched to see how it would react. Gastly turned his face around and asked, "What do you want?"
"I want to know what made you relent. You had me on the hook for my soul," Bill daringly responded.
Gastly sighed and said, "I saw how much your Pokemon loved you and how much you loved them. All these years, I tried to become heartless. Guess, I was wrong."
"Why would you want to be that way?" Bill inquired
"My trainer," Gastly returned. "I was a Torchic in my first life. I tried to fight as hard as I could, but I could never finish a job. In the end, it was too much for me to knock out a Pokemon. My trainer became increasing frustrated and constantly beat me and starved me as punishment. His words still echo in my brain today. 'Why can't you be more heartless? Who needs hearts?' I'd hear those questions almost daily as he would kick me in the back or hit me with a wooden stick. Eventually, I died of starvation; he didn't even care to bury me."
Bill's eyes stared open as that story sent a chill down his spine. "That's terrible. I'm sorry," Bill condoled.
"After my death, I returned as a Gastly that was unable to put his soul to rest. Even in the afterlife, I could not empty my head of that trainer. So I sought out to prove that I had no heart. I eventually came to the Pokemon Tower where I watched trainers lay their Pokemon to rest. Every buried Pokemon reminded me of my awful life. After a while, I couldn't take it anymore and lulled a defenseless trainer to sleep."
"So you stole his soul?" Bill asked.
"Yes and no," Gastly responded. "I don't truly steal souls; I just absorb their consciousness into my body and lock them in an endless nightmare. I can still return a consciousness. That's why Josh woke up; an outside force returned his consciousness to himself."
"I see," Bill said.
"Now leave me," Gastly ordered as a bright light appeared in the darkness to mark the exit of his dream.
"You don't have to live like this," Bill objected. "Why don't you come along with us?"
"Cause I'm not heartless enough to be with a trainer," he answered.
"Stop that," Bill commanded. "Pokemon have hearts and they use them to show and convey their emotions. Hearts can even make the difference in the battle. My four Pokemon all use their hearts to connect with me and each other. If my Pokemon were heartless, they'd be battling machines. Sure Pokemon and humans hurt sometimes, but it is so much better to feel the happiness that follows."
Gastly just floated there in silence.
"I'm not taking no for an answer. Come on," Bill said as he motioned with his hand and a smile on his face. Gastly smirked a little bit as he levitated alongside Bill. The two walked towards the bright light together...
And your nightmare comes to life
Bill flung his eyes open; his back quickly snapped to raise himself to a sitting position. He looked around the room he was in and recognized the tombstones from the Pokemon Tower. The light from the sunrise shined on his face bringing a comforting warmth. He looked at the sarcophagus next to him from earlier and it was laying opened to show Josh sleeping peacefully. Seven other graves around the room were opened; all had human-sized caskets next to them open to show other trainers asleep. Gastly must have ended the nightmares.
Bill was glad to be back in the real world once more. Bill started to move his other hand and felt an strange orblike resistance. He simply grinned a little bit as the Pokeball in his hand shook trying to keep its contents inside.