Warning: May contain disturbing imagery
Street Spirit, for setting the mood
The Purrloin sat by the doorway, her large ears drooping in sorrow. Inside the dimly-lit room, her young master lay in bed, struggling to breathe as the doctor examined him. Next to the middle-aged, portly doctor was a yellow-furred beast with a thick white mane around its throat. It had a resigned look on its face as it gently swung a silver pendulum before the stricken child’s face, keeping him hypnotized so the examination wouldn’t upset him and complicate his condition.
In the far right corner of the small, sparsely furnished room was the child’s mother. She was young and pretty, but grief had aged her and made her look older than she was. Her shoulder-length blonde hair was unkempt and tangled, and there were dark circles under her emerald eyes, which were red from crying. She wore a simple black dress, the color of mourning, and wringed a white silk kerchief in her hands as the short doctor completed his exam. Sighing, he straightened and began to place his equipment in the case he carried with him. Next to him, his Hypno moved away from the bed of the child, going to kneel before the Purrloin. The lavender-furred feline stared at the larger Psychic with sad eyes, shaking her head to indicate the other didn’t need to speak. She could smell death, had smelled it for days now. She knew that the boy would not live much longer. She stood and walked over to the bed, lightly jumping on it and curling up next the child’s side. He looked so pale, his short black hair a stark contrast to his gray pallor.
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Clark,” she heard the doctor say to the boy’s mother. A choked sob greeted the balding man’s gentle words. “I know a very good photographer; he’s a kind fellow, understanding. I can contact him for you if you wish.”
“My baby…” the child’s mother moaned. “My Jonah…please, there must be something you can do for him!”
“I’m afraid not,” the doctor answered. Purrloin could hear the weary undertones in his voice and felt sorry for the human. It had to be hard to tell people that their beloved family members could not be saved. But harder still was it for those left behind to move on, and she understood when the child's mother broke down into quiet tears. Purrloin had done her share of crying as well and knew there would be more to come in the future, but as the doctor consoled the woman and bustled her out of the room, she did her best to remain strong.
=So many are getting sick,= the doctor’s Hypno commented softly after the humans were gone. =So many and we don’t know what’s causing it, don’t know how to cure it.=
=A holy man came yesterday to bless Master,= Purrloin said softly, not wanting to wake the boy, who had fallen into a deep slumber from Hypno’s ministrations. =He said that Arceus was punishing the humans for their sins and that only by repenting could the sickness be stopped.= Hypno snorted at that, having heard the foolishness many times before. Purrloin nodded once; she didn’t believe such things, either. Arceus was a kind, loving God, and there was no way he would make people suffer like this.
=What does his family think of such nonsense?= Hypno asked, facing Purrloin with a tired expression.
=They asked why Arceus would choose to punish a child for sins uncommitted,= she replied. =The holy man didn’t answer. In fact, he left almost immediately after.=
=Cursed fear mongers is what those men are,= Hypno spat angrily. =Striking terror into the hearts and souls of those already burdened with the grief and hardship of losing loved ones. They’re like vultures, swooping in on vulnerable prey to fill their stinking ranks. It’s disrespectful, yet what do they care? So long as they fill everyone’s heads with rubbish and turn people to their way of thinking, it fills their coffers at the churches. That’s all that matters to those people.= Here Hypno sighed and shook his head sadly, the anger fleeing from him as quickly as it had come.
=How long?= Purrloin asked after several moments of silence, broken only by the wheezing breaths of her young master. Gently, she stretched her neck and touched her nose to his cheek, wishing she could do more to help him other than simply offering comfort with her presence. She managed not to wince as the cloying, sickly-sweet scent of death assaulted her tender sense of smell. Judging from how strongly the scent had become, it wouldn’t be long before the child no longer suffered. The thought made her heart twist painfully, and her ears went back out of instinctual fear.
=Three, perhaps four days. This illness, whatever it is, works quickly.= Hypno paused for a moment, as if uncertain how to phrase what he wanted to say next. Instead he added, =I’m sorry. I can tell you are close to him.=
=We were going to go on adventures together,= Purrloin said, her voice so soft Hypno had to strain to hear it. Her gaze was turned to the handsome little boy she was lying next to, his once pudgy frame now gaunt from the illness that was taking him from her. =We were going to see the world, discover new things, become famous and rich. He was going to marry and have his own children. I was going to play with them, be their friend and guardian. But now he’ll never get to travel, to see the world. He’ll never get to marry a pretty girl, or have children of his own. We won’t grow old together like we said we would. We won’t…= And here Purrloin gave a tiny mewl, pressing her face against the child’s side. Hypno watched her for a moment, his heart going out to the small cat as she grieved for everything she, as well as her Master, would be losing.
Without another word he turned and left the feline to her sorrow.
=This isn’t right!= Purrloin cried, standing in the doorway as her master’s limp frame was attached to the bizarre contraption. It was a steel pole with many arms, clasps, and straps attached to it, and two men were fiddling with it as they put the straps in place. One of the men was tall and reedy, with a bald head speckled with liver spots. He was dressed in an impeccable black suit, as was his smaller, young companion. That one had cropped brown hair and wore a fedora on his head, which Purrloin found insulting. Who wore such a thing in the presence of the deceased?!
=Stop it! Don’t let them do that to him!= the feline screeched angrily, but she was ignored by all. A few feet from her there stood a small white creature with stark white skin and lime-green hair. A reddish-pink horn grew from its forehead and was radiating a soft blue aura, which was formed into a barrier that Purrloin couldn’t pass through. They had been forced to put her out of the room after she had Scratched the older human when he started moving her master’s body to the unusual device that had been moved into the room earlier that morning.
=Peace,= the white-skinned being replied in a serene voice. =They do no harm, as I have told you several times. They simply prepare him for a photograph, the only picture you and the rest of his family with have to remember him by.=
=But this isn’t right!= Purrloin yowled, tears suddenly filling her eyes as she watched the men secure a thin clasp around her master’s throat. It was barely visible, done so on purpose so as not to ruin the façade that the boy was actually alive when the picture was taken. =It’s disgraceful and horrible! Why can’t they just leave him be?=
=Peace,= the other repeated. =You do not wish for his loved ones to have a token of him? Something to remind them of how he was in life? Do you wish for everyone’s last memory of him to be of his agony?=
=Shut up!= Purrloin snarled, anger churning in her belly along with raw grief. She hissed at the other creature, her long tail whipping the air. Before she could say anything else, the taller man hooking her master up to the odd device muttered, “Ralts, do something about that beast. It’s distracting me.”
=Go,= Ralts said to Purrloin. =I apologize for my earlier words. They were uncalled for and cruel. I do not mean to cause you anger or grief. This is not something you should be watching. Join the rest of the boy’s family in the parlor.=
=But…I can’t leave him…= Purrloin replied sadly, her fury draining from her and being replaced by crushing despair. Ralts sighed softly and shook his head.
=He is already gone.=
Purrloin wanted to rage, to scream and yowl and sink her claws into things to release her emotional torment, but instead she turned and slowly walked away. Down a few short halls she went, eventually reaching the parlor. There were many plush chairs and a few couches, all of them filled with her master’s friends and family. Everyone was clothed in black, so no one wanted to let her into their lap because of her vivid purple fur. After a few minutes of searching, she sadly wandered to the window and jumped into it. She studied the room and the people in it; beige walls and a thin tan carpet offered little color, so the numerous humans in black outfits made her eyes hurt. There were a few wooden tables that were bare save a few glasses of water. Two pictures were hung in the middle of the longest wall, one of her master’s mother and father, and one of her as a tiny newborn (only taken because her master had thrown a fit about wanting to have a picture of her when she was a kit). Seeing her picture, she was overcome by a wash of intense grief.
~Would he have wanted to have another picture of me after I evolved?~ she thought, tears filling her eyes and obscuring her sight. She reached up with a paw to wipe the tears away, leaning against the window for support.
And then, suddenly, there was empty air. Startled, Purrloin shrieked and thrashed, trying to catch herself as she fell through space. Her tumble was abruptly halted by something hard and solid; pain shot through her, then faded as it was replaced with numbness. Her eyes were open but all she saw was white, and her mouth was gaping but she couldn’t breathe. She heard noises above her but couldn’t make sense of them, and a few minutes later she heard more noises. She could understand them now, albeit vaguely; the sounds were words.
“Didn’t know the window was unlocked…”
“At least she didn’t suffer long…”
She was then aware of the sensation of being lifted, though it was very faint and almost unnoticeable through the clutching numbness in her body. She could tell she was being carried, and a moment later the brightness filling her gaze dimmed a little.
~Inside…~ she thought, not even really aware of the idea. A few moments later and she felt herself being lowered, her limbs and tail and head being positioned. She felt the briefest stab of pain as her body was shifted, but then it faded again as the cool numbness returned. The brightness in her eyes dimmed more, until everything had become a peaceful black. She heard nothing now, felt nothing.
Then something happened, and a single idea struck her as the last breath escaped her broken body. It was an image, like a picture. In it, her master was holding her, looking down at her with a serene expression of his young face. She was curled in his arms, eyes closed as if sleeping. The image filled her with comfort, but then it, and she, was gone.
“Wake up Leah!”
With a start, the Liepard’s hazel eyes flew open. The lavender-furred leopard blinked groggily, then noticed that her cheek fur was damp. She twitched her whiskers, wondering what had made her so sad. She couldn’t remember what she was dreaming about, so she didn’t actually know if the dream was a sad one or a happy one. She was happy with not knowing; better to be unaware than to become unhappy over something so intangible as a dream.
Standing, Leah stretched her sleek body before sitting down and cleaning the cream fur on her lower legs and belly. She then moved on to the rest of her body, paying special attention to the cream-colored spots dotting her coat. After a few minutes of cleaning she stood, stretched again, and padded over to her master. She looked up at the young man, remembering how he looked as a child. His hair, once so short, had grown down to his shoulders and was usually done up in a ponytail. He had lost his baby fat many years ago and had become quite lean and muscular thanks to the physical trials of their constant traveling. His smoky gray eyes were focused on the sunrise unfolding before them; she turned her attention from the human beside her, casting a look about the lush field they had camped in last night. There were no trees for miles, and the vibrant emerald grass was nearly a foot deep. A sleeping bag and two large backpacks, along with a cold fire pit, were the only signs that they were really even here. She then turned her attention back to the sunrise, taking in the beauty of the blues, purples, and oranges that heralded the new dawn.
~It’s almost like being in a photograph…~
Pokemon Going For: Purrloin
# of Characters Needed: 5-10k
Total Number of Characters: 12,689
Okay so, this was inspired by several videos of Victorian post-mortem photos, and the song Street Spirit, which was in one of those videos. This story is set back during the Victorian age, when people would often get sick and die of simple things we can cure today. Children were especially susceptible to these illnesses. Back then, pictures were extremely expensive, so usually a family would only get pictures of loved ones after death. Normally they were positioned to look like they were just sleeping (usually on a couch or in a bed, as these things were done at home many times back then), though in some cases, a special device would prop the deceased in a sitting or standing position and “eyes” would be painted on the body’s eyelids.
Sorry if it seems depressing or morbid, but the idea just wouldn’t leave me alone once my muses planted the egg in my brain. Okay that sounded gross. NOW GO READ SOMETHING HAPPY OR WHATEVER.