You know, usually I like the rain.
That time though, it was different. The rain fell lightly in a constant drizzling mist - just enough to soak into my backpack and get me wet and uncomfortable, but not enough to deter all the dangerous Pokemon that I could hear in the forest all around me.
The rain was soft and didn't patter like heavier raindrops. It just hissed.
My first full day as a trainer.
It was hissing to tell me I was a failure.
I should've stayed home. There, I was bored. Repressed. But safe.
I stared down at my feet. I didn't want to look into the forest. I didn't want to know what I would see.
Mud, squelching around my shoes as I left a track of footprints behind me.
I hoped the rain would wash them away before people inevitably came looking for me.
The backpack felt heavy on my back.
Clefairy, light though it was, was weighing on me as I held it to my chest.
It wasn't moving. Just breathing, in and out, a little erratically, but peacefully.
It didn't know about the dangers and loneliness of the forest.
It required my protection, but I felt I needed its.
I blinked through the mist, as water dripped from my hair down my clothes.
The rain hissing was driving me mad.
I just hoped it wouldn't become a storm. I hate lightning.
That first day was a long one. I walked for hours, because there was nothing else to do. I had no idea where I was going.
Clefairy still didn't wake up. I would've thought it would. Aren't Pokemon supposed to be used to battling each other?
I would've checked the Pokemon guide, but didn't particularly want to get Gary's book soaking wet, in the relentless hissing rain.
Finally, after hours of shivering, squelching through the mud, on my path to nowhere, I checked my watch.
It had stopped, apparently, because according to it, it was 1pm. And the sky told me that it was at least 6.
I was vaguely aware that I was totally lost. I'd ceased to care. I just knew that if I walked any further, I would collapse.
I was beginning to realise that the initially romantic idea of running away from home and embarking on adventure... even this exciting sounding adventure I was currently on, being lost in the woods... in reality, there was nothing thrilling about it.
People would tell me that I gave up easily. That I got too quickly discouraged.
Tell me, wouldn't you?
I sat down against a tree, the horrible rain still dripping down, no mercy at all.
Clefairy was wet and shivering in its uneasy forced sleep.
Gary had told me to at least care about my Pokemon. I really wished I could, but even a simple gesture like covering it with my jumper would be useless. That was soaked through, and would probably do more harm than good.
I started rummaging through my backpack for something to eat, when my hand closed around a round object. Pulling it out, I examined the Pokeball which I hadn't really looked at before.
Pokemon could be caught in Pokeballs, and then they wouldn't be a problem any more. With the torch, I read something scrawled on the ball in black felt tip pen.
I groaned with realisation.
I'd carried my Pokemon around with me for the whole day in the rain, probably getting it quite cold and surely not helping its already battered state, an extra weight for me, when I could've just pulled it back in its Pokeball?
And I'm supposed to have lots of common sense. That's what my last home group report said, for school. What will happen when the autumn school holidays are over? I won't be going back to class...
I pressed the button on the middle of the Pokeball, and a red beam came from it. It hit Clefairy before returning it to a place where it could sleep peacefully, where it was presumably warm and safe.
Although the sun was only just beginning to make its descent, I decided I couldn't be bothered eating, and curled up to go to sleep.
After all, I didn't want to be awake still when the forest became dark. I had no friends this time.
After about an hour, I'd finally fallen asleep. It seemed like only seconds until I woke up. I guess it was longer. The sky had gone from a milk chocolate colour to a deep, rich purple.
The air was cold, but the rain, the rain had finally stopped!
I could hear crickets chirping, and there were the usual paranoia-induced amplified sounds of rustling in the bushes.
What had woken me?
Then, in the darkness, I heard something that really scared me.
It was a deep growl.
There I was, pathetic, short little Aurora who was terrible at sports of any kind - including self defense - lying with an unconscious Pokeball-ed Clefairy, in pitch darkness while horrible creatures lurked nearby, probably with the intention of tearing me into shreds.
There were times when having an imagination was not a good thing. I imagined horrible concoctions of creatures with sharp fangs, horns, gleaming red eyes... some images derived from memories of the Pokemon I'd seen at Gary's house.
The growl came again. Persistant. Whatever it was was growling at me.
Well, let it growl. I was annoyed at it for waking me up, when I wanted to be left insensible.
It growled again. I sat up and pulled the soggy backpack I was using as a pillow from under me. Rifling through it, I finally found my torch.
If this Pokemon was going to attack me, why didn't it already?
I finally stood up and swung my torch around.
"Alright. I'm here, pal, let's see who or what you are."
A smallish patch of forest lit up as I shone my torch on it. I couldn't see anything, except dark, cold trees, rain dripping silently down the bark. I kept looking.
Then I saw it and dropped the torch.
A red jewel gleamed malevolantly, and below them, a pair of glittering eyes. I could see them even in the dark.
But I wasn't scared any more.
"Hello! Aren't you cute!"
I recognised this type of Pokemon, and leaned forward to hug the Persian.
It scratched me in the face, but that didn't bother me in the least. I like cats.
I started stroking its soft fur and it relaxed. I wondered why it had woken me up. Then I ran my hand down its side and realised.
I could feel every rib.
About two years earlier, I found a Meowth standing in our front lawn, looking sort of... lost. Alone. It was small and vulnerable looking, and the winter wasn't kind to it.
I wanted to go and feed it - it looked so thin - but Dad wouldn't let me. He said if we fed it, it'd keep hanging around us until it became a total sponge, and we wouldn't be able to get rid of it.
I wouldn't have minded a pet, but I guess they're impractical from Dad's point of view.
The cat's probably dead now. Being fully practical and logical isn't always best.
The cat arched its back and purred loudly as I scratched its cheeks. It seemed fairly affectionate, after it's initial hesitation. Maybe it didn't trust humans?
I could tell it had encountered humans before, otherwise it wouldn't be friendly at all.
"Persian?" I asked quietly, "did your trainer abandon you?"
It shivered slightly and hissed, but I couldn't understand the answer.
After a moment, I re-picked up my torch and rifled through my backpack. I offered the Persian a chicken leg and it gulped it down in about five seconds.
I sighed and got more food.
I think I made a new friend. Heh.
I woke the next morning, feeling horribly stiff.
The Persian was gone. Huh, so much for 'new friend'. At first I thought I might've dreamt it, but then I noticed that half the food was gone from my backpack.
I'd need to get more food within a few days.
So I forced myself to get up and plodded in a half-asleep manner through the morning forest. Well, 11:30 is still morning, right? Heh.
I don't think many trainers come to this part of the forest. I hadn't seen anyone since Kerra yesterday morning.
Each step hurt. Stuff this, I thought, and sat down again. I'd walked, maybe, 300 or so metres. That is called stamina, everyone.
It looked like a nice day to spend reading.
I pulled out Gary's book and turned to the first page. I'd barely started the first paragraph when I heard a shout - a *human* shout. Needless to say, it scared me half to death.
"Prepare for trouble!"