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I’m writing this here because no one else would believe me. No one else seems to know what I know. With the stories I’ve read here, perhaps you all will understand, investigate, and help correct what has gone wrong with the world. I apologize now for the wall of words I am subjecting you all to, but I need help!

My name is Akiva, and my story begins 22 years ago, on my birthday. Just like every 10 year old interested in Pokémon, it was the day I received my first. I was so happy when I chose my Charmander. Not really good with names at that age, I named her Flamer and set out on my journey. I won’t bore you with the details of the journey, if you’re really interested you can easily research it at any one of the many libraries scattered around Kanto. But needless to say, I clawed my way through collecting all the badges and finally overcoming the Elite 4 of the Kanto region.

But I didn’t stop there. I continued into Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, and even Kalos! After collecting hundreds of Pokémon, I finally decided to retire. My journey took me 17 years and 6 months or so and by then I was rich and famous enough that I could live the rest of my life doing anything I wanted. I continued training Pokémon and even took over the Cinnibar Island Gym from Blaine since I specialized in Fire-type Pokémon.

During my 13 year journey, I could hear what seemed to be random whispering during my battles. Others said I was hearing the “Warrior souls of the Pokémon” in the battle or the “True voices of the Pokémon". Some of the times I lost, I thought I heard them whispering curse words in anger.  Occasionally, I’d be out hunting for new Pokémon or training my team when I’d suddenly hear more whispering that seemed to come from two or more voices, and get a strange feeling. Somehow that feeling told me that there was a trader waiting for a Pokémon I had (usually a breed that I had multiples of or knew I could get again easily) and they had a rare or special Pokémon that I wanted. In fact, that’s how I had Mew, Mewtwo, and other legendaries in my collection!

It seemed that the whispers were helping me, guiding me on my journey! But when I returned, the whispering stopped. Perhaps it was only a side effect of my homesickness or a minor, temporary mental illness. After it stopped, I saw no reason to mention it to anyone.

For the next 8 years, I set myself to training Pokémon and testing young trainers to ensure they earned the Volcano badge. I made sure they treasured it, respected it, and knew they had earned something special.

And then, 6 months ago, as I was out training more Pokémon, a kid stopped me and challenged me to a duel. I felt the familiar rush of that battle, just as I had on my original journey. As we chose our Pokémon for battle, I could hear it again.

The whispering.

This time I could almost make out what they were saying:

Voice 1: “Really? You still play that?”

Voice 2: *Inaudible—just loud enough for me to know it was there*

Voice 1: “*Inaudible*--meant. I play too!”

Voice 2: “Really? How many do you have?”

Voice 1: “I have them all! In fact… *Inaudible*”

All of that was going on as my Growlithe and the kid’s Blastoise faced off. Despite the elemental advantage the kid had over me, I won the battle. The kid insisted on giving me the regional prize money amount required by the Kanto region Pokémon League, even though I told him I was a Gym Trainer and not on a journey.

As I decided to head back to town to heal my Growlithe, the whispers didn’t abate like they had in my childhood. Instead they continued, and I listened to the conversation as best I could.

Voice 2: “You can do that? You *Inaudible – but I swear the voice said ‘can make’* your own?”

Voice 1: “Not only that, but I *inaudible*”

Voice 2: “Really?! You have got to let me see!”

Voice 2: “*Inaudible* to you tonight.”

At that point the whispers stopped. Confused, I took my Growlithe to the Pokèmon Center, healed him, and went home. I pondered what those whispers were planning. As I finally drifted off to sleep that night, I still hadn’t come up with any good scenarios.

The next day, I received word that Blaine was coming to visit and hoped to spend a week at his old job of gym leader. I replied promptly, deciding that going to visit my hometown for a week might be good for me. After all, those whispers I heard yesterday had to be nothing more than stress, or my body telling me I needed a vacation. Besides, Thanksgiving was coming up and I didn’t want to miss my mom’s turkey!

The day came when Blaine showed up and I gave him a tour of the refurbished gym. After chatting for a while, I handed over the keys to the gym and set off for Pallet Town.

By early evening, I was home. I greeted my mom warmly, and after a few hours of catching up, I went to bed. As I lay in bed, looking up at my old ceiling, I couldn’t help the feeling of foreboding. I couldn’t pinpoint what was causing it and eventually fell asleep. The next morning held a nasty surprise for me.

I woke slowly that morning. Still groggy, I checked my old computer to see the status of my Pokémon. Bleary eyed, I made sure they were all doing well and then went down to breakfast. Halfway down the stairs, I realized that everything looked bigger than it had last night. Chalking it up to still being sleepy, I made my way to the breakfast table, my mother in the kitchen fixing breakfast like she had when I was a kid.

I got to the table and froze.

There. On the table in front of me. Unbelievably, there was a cake. Not just any cake, but the exact one my mother had made for me for my 10th birthday.

“You look like you forgot what day it is! I figured that with all the effort you put into training those other Pokémon, you’d want to get started on your journey right away,” my mother said as she plated the pancakes, eggs, and sausage she had made… The same breakfast she had made for me before my journey on my birthday. “I know you want to just head on out, but you still need to stop by Professor Oak’s and get one of his starter Pokémon. League rules, you know!”

I remembered my mom saying that exact phrase to me nearly 18 years ago. I looked over at her and noticed my hand on the chair. It was small and childlike. Not worn with age and the stress of my journey.

This had to be a dream. Everything was extremely clear, not fuzzy looking or sounding like my other dreams, but this was obviously a dream. It was one of the happiest times in my life, so I decided to just go with it. I answered my mother’s questions as I ate. After breakfast, I ran upstairs, got changed and chose my three favorite Pokémon: I still had Flamer, now evolved into a Charizard; my Growlithe, and my Quilava.

I rushed to Professor Oak’s lab and picked out the league starter Pokémon as required. This time I chose the Squirtle, since I had Flamer already. I decided not to name it since I’d not likely use it much, but brought it with me just in case the dream lasted to when I faced Misty, the Water Gym Leader.

I turned to head out of the lab, expecting to run into Gary, Professor Oak’s grandson, as I had in real life. This time, though, he never showed and I headed north to start my journey. Just as I got to the edge of town, I came across Pallet Town’s Officer Jenny keeping everyone back as she taped off a crime scene.

I hurried over, curious not only to what had happened, but to see if it would impact my journey.

There, in the middle of the crime scene, lay Gary. Looking like he was asleep. His head was a little misshapen, but I figured that was simply a misconception from the dream. As I got closer, Officer Jenny saw me and yelled harshly for me to stay back. Although the dream had felt real before this, the fuzziness I always associated with my dreams came flooding in. I could barely hear what Officer Jenny was yelling and I couldn’t help but wonder why Gary chose to sleep out here and in a dark muddy area instead of being awake and getting his own starter Pokémon to start his own journey.

And then I got close enough to see. Gary’s head has been haunting my nightmares ever since. Instead of a full head of hair, Gary’s skull had been ripped open and the brain violently removed.

Officer Jenny grabbed me and pulled me out of the horror. My mind still struggling to make sense of what I had just seen. Looking me hard in the eye, Jenny said firmly, “By law I can’t force you, but I suggest you go home immediately instead of leaving on your journey.”

I looked from Officer Jenny to the body that was once my rival. “No, I have to do this,” I heard myself say. It was as if I were watching a movie in the first person point of view. What sane person wouldn’t take the advice of going home after seeing something that… that… horrible? Instead a surge of anger, of righteous justice raced through me. “Gary can’t go on his journey, so I’ll go for him. I’ll live for him so that he won’t be just another forgotten kid,” I said before I tore away from Pallet’s Officer Jenny and ran onto route 1 and on my way.

I didn’t see any Pokémon on my way to Viridian. Once I got there, it was eerily quiet. No people out and about, no stores open, not even the drunk guy passed out on the road heading out. As I passed the Viridian Gym, one of the front doors opened and a young man yelled out to me. “Hey kid! Get your ass in here! It isn’t safe out there!”

I looked around, wondering what he meant, and began jogging towards him. “You mean me?” I asked feeling silly. I was the only one on the street.

“Thank Arceus you’re living!” he said as he let me in. Inside I saw a number of people, all in the old Team Rocket uniforms, welding bars over the windows. The man bolted the door behind me as I stood there in disbelief. Hadn’t I defeated Team Rocket and forced them to disband? I never liked those guys, what were they doing in my dream?

Giovanni strode out of his office, checking his henchmen’s work. Seeing me, he swiftly strode over. “Where did you come from, kid?”

“Pallet Town… What’s going on?” I asked. I didn’t want to disrupt the flow of the dream, hoping it would either start making sense or get better.

“The end of the world,” Giovanni said as he motioned me to follow. “Judging by the Poké Balls on your belt, you’re on your journey, otherwise I’d prefer not showing this to a mere kid. But you have to know what’s out there. Maybe we can get you home safely.”

I followed Giovanni into his office. He motioned to a seat in front of his desk and pulled out a video tape, putting into a TV/VCR combo mounted in the wall. “This is from our security cameras at one of our buildings in Saffron City. I warn you, it’s… not pretty.” Giovanni pressed play and sat behind his desk, watching me intently.

I turned to the TV and saw what appeared to be a massive Pokémon battle taking place in the streets of Saffron City. Two groups of people stood in the streets, commanding Pokémon. One group was ordinary people; the other group was harder to make out. Many of them looked injured and bloody. The Pokémon on the side of the injured people also looked injured and bloody. How could they let them battle like that? Despite the injuries, the bloody group kept advancing, forcing the ordinary people back. Then I noticed that the Pokémon weren’t battling each other, but were instead the bloody Pokémon were aiming for the unhurt people!

What the hell was going on? I looked to Giovanni, confused. He simply motioned toward the TV and I turned back to it. A few minutes later I saw one of the ordinary people get caught by a Venusaur’s Vine Whip. The vine wrapped itself around the person’s ankle began to drag him towards the bloody group. A Scyther jumped to his rescue, cutting through the vine. The man began to get up to get back to the group when a grey and bloody Lucario jumped onto his back, biting his shoulder. The Scyther turned to attack the Lucario when a Blastoise fired what appeared to be green slime from its water cannons, engulfing the Scyther in the goo. After a few moment's struggle, both the man and the Scyther had stopped moving. The man was being ripped into by the Lucario, and the Scyther having obviously drowned in the goo. Suddenly, the Lucario stopped attacking the man and began pacing its way towards the group of ordinary people. After several moments, the bloody horde caught up to where the man and Scyther were. The Scyther began moving in the goo. Maybe it had only been tired and had held its breath when it got covered? The Scyther was pushed out of the goo by a Snorlax that was missing a large portion of its stomach and had ribs protruding the hanging skin. I figured the Scyther would attack the blood horde, or maybe run back to the relative safety of the ordinary group, but instead it started shambling along with the horde. The man, his back now a bloody ruin, slowly got up and shambled along as well.

“What the hell?” I asked, still confused by what I was seeing. This had to be an excerpt from a movie or something.

“Pretty ugly, isn’t it?” Giovanni asked as he clicked off the TV. “What you just saw was the first wave of an undead attack. You go anywhere near the larger towns in the region and you’ll be attacked by the hordes, kid.”

“What…” I swallowed, realizing my throat had gone dry. What a weird detail to notice in a dream… “What was that? A movie?”

“I wish it were, kid. Those are real zombies. And if Team Rocket doesn’t take action, it will be the apocalypse.” Giovanni stood up. “Will you go home before the hordes get here?”

“My friend… Gary… He… he was attacked and had his brain eaten… didn’t he?” I said, horrified.

“If that’s true, then it’s already here, and already too late. You’ll have to stay here, tonight.” Giovanni said as he glanced out his barred window. The sun was low in the sky; it was late in the afternoon. There was no way I’d make it home by night fall. “This gym has several sublevels all encased in thick concrete. Fortunately, the Rock- and Steel-type Pokémon that can get through it seem to be immune to the disease.” Giovanni looked at me. “So are the Ghost- and Fire-types. What types do you have?”

“Mostly fire types, though I do have a Squirtle with me. All of my other Pokémon are in the computer storage system,” I said, worried about them.

“They’ll be safe there,” Giovanni said as he motioned to me follow him out of his office. “I’ll have my people get you a cot. Keep your Squirtle in its Poké Ball while you’re here. Don’t bring it out, no matter what!”

That night I couldn’t get to sleep. I stayed up stairs watching as Team Rocket members took turns patrolling the windows and keeping an eye out. All the lights in the gym were shut off. At about one in the morning, one of the patrols stopped at a window. Looking out they said something softly into a radio and moments later four more teams came upstairs. I rushed to an adjacent window to see what they saw. There in the middle of the road was an undead woman missing a big chunk of her left leg. By its side was a brutalized Pidgeotto with a broken wing. Both were shambling down the road, heading into the town.

One of the Team Rocket teams ran to the front windows to see where the undead’s travel would take it. “Shit! The Bakery isn’t secured!” One of the team members yelled. “The Baker is locking up like there’s nothing wrong! Why did he not listen?!”

“Shut up! It’ll hear you!” a familiar voice said curtly. I turned and saw Giovanni coming out of his office. “Kurt and Rayne, you two use the roof exit and take it out quickly. Protect that man.” One of the teams ran toward the stairwell without hesitation.

“I thought Team Rocket wanted to take over the planet. Why are you saving him?” I asked Giovanni.

He gave me a strange look before answering. “Not worth much, running a world of corpses. We need people alive if we’re going to rule them.”

At that moment, two large streams of fire raced down from the roof and engulfed the two undead in the street. Although the two caught fire, the undead woman and the Pidgeotto only slowed down enough to turn towards the gym. A moment later, a Geodude and a Graveler dropped from the roof and charged the woman and the undead Pokémon.  A battle occurred and ended quickly with the two rock types literally crushing the undeads’ heads.

It was at that moment that I realized I wasn’t dreaming. This was more than just a nightmare. This was a nightmare made real…

I’m working with Team Rocket now. Trying to preserve what’s left of humanity. Giovanni’s been impressed with my knowledge and skills as a trainer, though I haven’t told him of my past.

No one knows how this started. So I’ve put the word out here. I hope… No, I pray you all can help me. In the last six months things have been getting worse. I don’t know how long we can last….

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 AkivaDaphydd

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