Pokemon Fan Fiction ❯ A Blond Ray of Sunshine ❯ Chapter 4

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Matt, the thief, raced down a long alleyway with Fireball closing in behind him. He panted heavily, nearly tripping over a pile of discarded wood due to frequently looking down at the display on his phone. He recklessly ran out into the street, blowing through a crowd of people to get to the pavement. Cars screeched to a halt to avoid hitting him, drivers shouting and honking their horns angrily.

Fireball charged through the gap Matt made, pursuing him relentlessly. The thief slid over the hood of a car parked on the side of the street before rushing down another alleyway. With Fireball once again closing in on him, Matt looked at his phone before abruptly turning the next corner.

“Here he comes,” Matt said, loudly enough for Fireball to hear.

Fireball narrowed his eyes and followed him around the corner. He came to a sudden stop, face-to-face with Matt and another person. It was a young woman with dark skin and long, brown hair, standing in front of a parked convertible car with the top down. She wore a sleeveless black shirt that hung slightly over her calf-length jeans, along with black high-top sneakers. She expressed her bitterness at just having to be there.

“Go, Malamar!” she said, tossing out a Poké Ball. The ball opened to reveal a creature akin to an upside down squid. It had no rhythm, no life, no motion to its body — standing still as a statue. Its eyes were brutally cold and empty, as though it had been through terrible trauma. Fireball was unsettled by its glare, too disturbed to want to battle it.

“Malamar, Hypnosis!”

Its eyes glowed in a mesmerizing swirl of colors. Fireball could not turn away from Malamar's gaze. His vision blurred and faded as he fell into a hypnotic state. His eyes rolled closed, falling unconscious while still on his hind legs.

“All right,” she said. “He's out. Let's get him in the—” Fireball suddenly groaned, shaking his head and opening his eyes. Matt and his partner looked on in disbelief.

“Oh, crap,” Matt remarked, watching Fireball get up. “This Typhlosion is tough!”

The young woman sucked her teeth. “Malamar, Hypnosis again! Make it count!”

Malamar did as commanded. Fireball's eyes rolled back in his head before he collapsed to the ground. The young woman carefully walked up to the Typhlosion, nudging him the tip of her sneakers. “Now he's out.”

Both of them sighed in relief.

“You couldn't park anywhere closer, Jalyn?” Matt asked, perturbed. “I had to run a mile!”

You couldn't steal one little kid's wallet sooner?!” she snapped back. “Damn, you're so stupid! You're not even supposed to be here, so don't put any blame on me after you once again prove how useless you are. Sorry that there aren't a thousand nearby alleyways that can fit a car in a moment's notice. How did you even let things get bad enough that you were about to get mauled by some kid's Typhlosion?”

“I got impatient,” he remarked, shrugging. Jalyn stared at him blankly. She shook her head in disappointment before opening the car's trunk. “Look, the point is, I got the kid's wallet and we have a Typhlosion — a strong one! And look at him, he's huge! This big guy can easily sell for millions.”

“Yeah, well, you better hope so. Otherwise, we're dead — literally. With you here, my head is also on the line if you get spotted before we make this delivery.” Jalyn walked over and knelt next to Fireball. She grunted with effort as she managed to roll him over onto his back. “Grab his legs.” Matt followed her instruction while she hooked her arms under Fireball's forelimbs. “All right — one, two, lift.”

The two strained loudly, lifting the heavy Typhlosion, carrying him over to the open trunk. The car's suspension creaked as they laid him inside. They both sighed in relief before Jalyn shut the trunk.

With her hands on her hips, she watched Matt rifle through Antoshi's wallet. “You're a complete idiot,” she remarked. “You were supposed to stay in Cinnabar until the end of the month. Instead, you followed some random kid all the way back here just to steal his wallet. This is why nobody takes you seriously. You're just lucky we managed to bag his Typhlosion. Maybe the boss won't want to gut you for disobeying him once we show him this.”

“He's got a few thousand in cash,” Matt remarked, idly, ignoring her. He opened the side flap to find their seven Gym badges. “Oh-ho, yes. I knew this kid was a pay day. Badges have those little … computer chips inside them. I've seen them go for a hundred grand each. I can get Jeff to buy them off me.”

“Jeff?” Jalyn asked, with a disgusted look on her face. “You mean the creepy guy who sells stuff on the black market that looks like he hasn't showered for … ever?”

“Hey, his money's as good as anyone else's. … It just, ya' know, smells funny.”

“Yeah, well, there's nothing funny about sitting here waiting to get made. Get in the car, Stupid — we're leaving.” Matt scowled at her as she got into the driver's seat. He straightened his aviator jacket and jumped into the passenger side. “Hey! I told you to stop jumping into the car like that! You're going to scratch the upholstery!”

“Whatever,” he muttered, folding his arms across his chest.

She sucked her teeth, exasperated with him. She started the car, slowly drove out of the alley, making her way onto the road. She remained careful to keep her speed restrained to avoid attracting attention while they carried Fireball to an unknown destination.

⁂    ⁂    ⁂

A couple hours had passed since Antoshi last saw Fireball. He'd never been separated from his best friend, or even lost sight of him, for such a long stretch of time throughout their entire journey. He continued calling out for Fireball, asking people on the street if they'd seen a Typhlosion.

He held a constant, icy feeling of dread in his chest. He hadn't stopped to eat for lunch at their usual time. He wondered if Fireball had eaten yet, hoping the Typhlosion was simply lost like he was and trying to make his way back to him. He nervously wrung his hands, his eyes wide, constantly on the lookout for Fireball. With a heavy heart, he trudged onward around the city. He refused to rest until he found Fireball.

‘Okay, what do I do?’ he thought, trying to calm his shaky panting. ‘Fireball's not gone. Fireball is coming back. … Now, do I tell my parents? Should I call them? No, I can't call them since my Trainer Card was in my wallet. I can't remember our new home number since we last moved. Maybe I should look for the police instead. … Yeah, that's what I'll do, I'll go find the police.’

He quickly pulled out his compendium, his hands trembling as he scanned over the map of Viridian City to find the police station. Just as he was about to put the map away, he heard the chirp of police sirens behind him. He and others on the street stopped and turned to see a police cruiser slowing to a halt. The driver door opened. Officer Jenny exited the vehicle, wearing her standard blue-violet police uniform and skirt.

Antoshi was shocked by her timing. He waved his arms to get her attention. “Officer, please help!” he called out, as she put her hat on and straightened it.

She stared at him for a moment, taken aback by the fact he was waving her over. It was certainly not the kind of thing a guilty party would do. Not an intelligent guilty party, at least. She shut the car door before grabbing the radio on her shoulder. She informed her station that she was approaching one of the suspicious persons called in from the Route 1 gate, and then approached the frightened boy.

“What's going on here?” she asked.

“Officer! Y—you have to help me! This guy h—he stole my w—wallet and—and my buddy, Fireball — he's a Typhlosion — he went after him a—and he's lost and I'm lost and I can't find him and you have to help! … I don't know what to do!”

“Okay, okay, … slow down,” she replied, calmly. It was painfully clear to her that the boy was shaken up. “I'm here because the gate guard on Route 1 called in suspicious activity involving a blond kid with a black shirt — that's you — along with another individual and a Pokémon. Let's … just take it from there and explain it slower this time, okay?”

Antoshi nodded, wiping the tears from his eyes. He took a few deep breaths to slow his panicked breathing. He swallowed the lump in his throat before trying again.

“Okay, um, … a man stole my wallet on Route 1. My traveling buddy — he's a Typhlosion named Fireball — chased after him and got away from me. I tried to follow them but, by the time I got out into Viridian City, I—I couldn't find him. I've been looking everywhere for Fireball. He's my only friend and I'm really scared and I don't know what to do.”

“All right, I understand better now,” she said. Antoshi sighed, continuing to wipe the tears from his eyes. “Let me bring you to the police station. We'll take care of you and start searching for your friend. You are not under arrest, okay? I am going to find Fireball for you — I promise.”

“You—you will?” he asked in disbelief.

“Absolutely. I can see how much you care about your Pokémon, and nothing would give me greater joy than having you reunited.”

Antoshi took a deep breath and sighed heavily. A lot of the panic from before finally subsided within him.

“Thank you, officer,” he replied, much more calmly than before. Antoshi followed Jenny back to her squad car where she held the back door open for him. Antoshi climbed into the vehicle and Jenny shut the door behind him.

She got into the driver's seat, reaching for her car's two-way radio. She informed her station that she was returning with him in her custody. Once she got confirmation, she put the car in gear and began to drive back.

“So, what's your name?” she asked, looking at him through the rear-view mirror. The boy was seated behind thick glass plating separating the front and back seats.

“Antoshi,” he softly replied, before clearing his throat.

“Antoshi? That's a unique name. I've never heard it before. I'm Jenny, in case you haven't met any of my sisters during your travels.”

Antoshi grinned weakly. “Fireball and I haven't had any run-ins with the law.”

Jenny chuckled. “That's good. Keep it that way.”

As they drove toward their destination, Antoshi solemnly stared out the window. All he could think about was Fireball, and to hope that he was okay. Memories of when he first met Fireball crept into his mind's eye. Antoshi was just a small child back then. Fireball was an almost newborn Cyndaquil, given to him by his parents who had hoped Antoshi would make a new friend.

At one point, the little Cyndaquil burped up a ball of fire that completely singed off Antoshi's eyebrows and some of his hair.

‘Boy, that was some fireball!’ he recalled father say with a hearty laugh.

‘That's what we'll name him,’ his mother replied, while consoling a crying Antoshi. ‘We'll name him 'Fireball'.’

Antoshi smiled at the recollection. His journey had been like a whirlwind of happiness, hard work, highs and lows. He visited so many new, incredible locations. They made countless wonderful memories that Antoshi wouldn't forget for the rest of his life. Yet, it all never would've happened without Fireball. Antoshi clenched his fists, knowing that Fireball would not give up on him if he was in a bind. Amid the fear and dread in his heart, Antoshi was determined to find his friend.

Just as importantly, he knew he needed to keep his emotions in check — especially during such a test of his inner strength.

⁂    ⁂    ⁂

The drive to the station was short. Jenny parked the car in a small parking lot outside, before getting out and opening the door for Antoshi. She led him inside the station, greeting her fellow officers.

Antoshi had never been inside of a police station before, and the Viridian station was quite busy. Other officers and their partner Pokémon walked around every which way, phones rang in all directions, the air was rife with the smell of coffee. Jenny guided Antoshi to a small break room that housed several tables and chairs, as well as coffee and snack machines.

“I'm going to enlist the help of a few of my officers on this,” she said. “I'll start working right away to find Fireball for you. You can stay here as long as you like. Feel free to walk around if you need to, but please don't disturb anyone who's working. Otherwise, make yourself at home, okay?”

Antoshi nodded. “Thank you again, Officer Jenny,” he said, quietly. She gave him a reassuring smile before taking her leave.

Antoshi looked around. He was all alone in the small room. He placed his backpack on the ground beneath one of the tables. He paced around briefly before taking a seat. Without Fireball around, everything seemed so eerily quiet. He sighed heavily, his hands clasped. All he could do now was wait and hope for the best.

⁂    ⁂    ⁂

Jalyn and Matt drove up to a poorly-kept house at the edge of a run-down neighborhood. The sky had become overcast, almost completely white with touches of gray. After they got out of the car, Matt took the lead. He hastily walked up to the front door with Antoshi's wallet in hand. The overgrown lawn was in dire need of maintenance, littered with garbage and belongings.

Matt opened the screen door, giving a few knocks on the wooden front door before standing back on the stoop beside Jalyn.

“So, tell me something,” Jalyn said. “Why did you follow that kid all the way back here just for his wallet?”

“Because, … I … well, I knew that we would get his Typhlosion, too.”

“Oh, man, you are so full of crap.”

Matt sighed, pondering for a brief moment on what to say next. “I don't like to give up on anything, that's why. Yeah, okay, it was stupid and it made no sense — I get it. But I see things through to the end, no matter how crappy the job is.” Jalyn rolled her eyes. He was a completely hopeless endeavor to her.

They waited a minute for Jeff to come to the door, but got no response. “It's the daytime,” she remarked. “That burnout is probably asleep by now.”

“Come on, Jeff,” Matt muttered, knocking harder on the door. “Jeff! It's Matt! Hey, open the door!”

They continued to wait a moment before Jalyn sighed in frustration. “He's catatonic in there. Come on, we have to get to the warehouse and get this Typhlosion off our hands. You'd best hope he sells for a pretty penny because this is the last chance we're getting.”

Matt sighed, following Jalyn back to the car. “Well, what in the hell am I supposed to do with this kid's wallet? I can't sit on this thing forever.”

Jalyn reached over, smacking the glove compartment open, which exposed a handgun housed inside. “Put it in there for now, Stupid.”

Matt scoffed, carelessly flinging the wallet inside and shutting the compartment. He rest his head against his fist, glaring off in the distance as they drove away.

⁂    ⁂    ⁂

Antoshi stood in front of the window in the break room, staring silently. Various police officers had come and went. Antoshi didn't notice any of them, too busy being lost in his own thoughts.

‘Should I go off on my own? What if Officer Jenny can't find Fireball? What if he's hurt? What if he's … he's—’

Officer Jenny entered, followed by two uniformed policemen. “Antoshi?” she said, snapping him back to reality. Antoshi turned his attention to them. “This is Officer Eric and Officer Robert. They're two of the officers that are handling your case. They have a lot of experience in finding missing Pokémon.”

“Hello there, young man,” Eric said to him.

“Hello,” the boy distantly replied, offering a weak smile.

Jenny approached him, placing a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “I understand how upset you are. Just know that we've got all of our available officers on the lookout for a missing Typhlosion. They're all over the city at all times of the day and night. We're going to find him — it's just a matter of time.”

“Yeah, … I know,” he quietly said, with doubt in his voice. He forced a smile to her before gazing back out the window. Jenny solemnly nodded. The three officers left the room and headed for the station's front doors.

“Poor kid,” Robert said. “Not knowing where his only Pokémon is must be eating away at him.”

“I know what that's like,” Jenny replied, with a pained look on her face.

After they got outside, Jenny heaved a sigh. “I'm gonna head out on patrol for a bit,” she said. “I'll see if I can find anything.”

“Gotcha,” Robert said, as Jenny departed from their company.

From inside the break room, Antoshi watched her climb into her squad car.

‘There's got to be something I can do,’ Antoshi thought, rhythmically clenching his fists. ‘I shouldn't be here doing nothing. I should be out there looking for him, but … what if I can't? What if I never find him? What can I do?!’

He slammed his fists down on the counter in frustration, causing an audible bang. He immediately got a hold of himself, looking around to see if anyone noticed the noise. He slumped back down into his seat with a heavy sigh. He rested his elbows on the table, burying his face in both hands, trying to simmer down. He had no one to talk to, no one to confide in, no one to console him. Holding it together was quickly becoming a painful endeavor.

⁂    ⁂    ⁂

Jalyn drove into the lot behind a large food market, parking by the service entrance. A handful of rats in a nearby dumpster, including some Rattata and Raticate, scattered as she and Matt both got out of the car.

“I'm still pissed we're bossed around by Chad,” he said, as he shut the door. “That guy is such an uptight prick.”

Jalyn rolled her eyes, leading Matt to the market's back door. “Well, it doesn't matter what you think. He's our boss. He reports to the Boss. So, if you don't want to end up in a shallow ditch, you'll deal with him being your boss.”

“Whatever,” he replied, disinterested.

Jalyn rapped on the door in a specific rhythm. A metal slat slid open, revealing a pair of menacing eyes.

“Yeah?” a gruff voice asked on the other side.

“Delivery,” she said.

“Password,” the man replied.

“What's today, Tuesday?” she asked, looking over at Matt. He nodded in response. “Uhh, origami … paper crane?”

“It's 'fold an origami paper crane,' Jalyn,” the man behind the door angrily replied. “Get it right next time or get lost.”

The slat slid shut. Jalyn scoffed. “You already know who the hell we are, Doorman,” she muttered under the sound of a motor rolling up the nearby shutter. She got back into the car, driving it in while Matt casually followed inside on foot.

The motor whirred again as the shutter door closed behind them. They were in a large loading dock. The air was stale, musty, and painfully quiet.

Jalyn got out of the car just before a man in a pristine black three-piece suit emerged, strolling up to them with perfect posture. He wore an expensive watch, his dark brown hair neatly slicked back, a fresh-cut rose set in his breast pocket. He was flanked by a large, muscular man — the 'Doorman' that Jalyn spoke to. Matt rolled his eyes, leaning against the hood of the car with his arms crossed.

“I certainly hope that's a delivery for me,” the man in the expensive suit remarked. His voice carried a distinct upper-class accent.

“Chad,” Jalyn greeted him with surprise in her voice. “You're … here today.”

“I am, indeed,” he replied, smiling, his teeth pearly white. He snapped his fingers and pointed to the trunk. “Open it, Doorman.”

Jalyn tossed the keys to the larger man. Doorman headed over to the trunk, unlocking it, but keeping it mostly closed.

“Matthew!” he exclaimed, gasping and holding out his hands. “It's such a surprise to see you here! If I recall correctly, you were ordered to take a nice, relaxing vacation in Cinnabar.” Matt pursed his lips and nervously glanced away. “I find it strange that you would … ignore a direct order like that. You wouldn't want me to think you were insubordinate, would you?”

“No!” Matt quickly replied. “It's just … I—I was helping Jalyn with this new delivery. That's why we're here.”

Chad's eyes lit up. “Ah, interesting! So, my two underlings, what have you got for me today? I should hope it's something worth my time.”

“A Typhlosion,” Jalyn replied. “A strong one, at that.”

Chad raised his eyebrows in pleasant surprise. “Really? Very intriguing. Much better than the unimpressive delivery of three little Spoink you gave us a few days ago.” Chad sauntered over to the back of the car. Doorman promptly lifted up the lid of the trunk. Chad's eyes widened in surprise. “Well, this is quite the turn of events,” he remarked.

Matt and Jalyn followed to look at their prized catch. What they saw shocked them.

There was no prized catch. Fireball had vanished.

An enormous feeling of dread surged through every vein in their bodies. Both of them shut their eyes in unison. They had both witnessed Chad perform horrible acts of violence towards those who had failed him. The next words they spoke were going to be the difference between life and death. Jalyn swallowed nervously.

“Chad,” Jalyn spoke up. “I'm telling you, there—” Chad turned and slapped her with the back of his hand hard enough to cause her to stumble back.

Shut it,” he sternly commanded. He had a bitter expression on his face, sharply contrasting his previous cordial tone.

“Hey, come on—” Matt began to speak. Chad cut his cold, glaring eyes at him, causing Matt to immediately pipe down. Doorman stood beside Chad, crossing his beefy arms over his chest, staring down at Matt as if to also tell him not to get involved.

Jalyn turned away, scowling angrily, holding the side of her face with a trembling hand. She quickly stood up straight and stared at him with a calm expression.

“Don't you dare give me some meaningless excuse, you street rat,” Chad venomously said. Jalyn bit her tongue. “I took you in out of the kindness of my heart, and I expect you not to screw with me. Is that clear!?

“Yes, sir,” the two replied in unison before nervously glancing at each other.

Chad recomposed himself, straightening his suit, glancing at the back of the hand he struck her with. He folded his arms behind his back, slowly pacing back and forth for a few moments, looking at them both. The pair were intensely serious, yet with just a small amount of worry and prostration in their eyes. It was just what Chad wanted to see from his lackeys. He hummed curiously, studying their faces before deciding to speak again.

“Now, I'm going to ask you both a very simple question, and the two of you will simultaneously give me a very simple 'yes' or 'no' when I finish speaking. … Were you lying to me when you told me you had a Typhlosion?”

“No,” they both replied, quickly.

He hummed again, staring at them intensely, tapping his fingers against his lips. The two of them were sweating bullets and starting to tremble in fear. Chad forced them to wait for a short while in motionless silence until he finally cleared his throat.

“Well, despite the fact that you two have routinely been the most pathetic underlings I've ever had, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt this time. Honestly, I don't care if there really was a Typhlosion in this trunk. If there was, however, I would highly suggest that the two of you go back into the city — right now — and recover it within twenty-four hours. No more excuses — just results. If you don't procure a Typhlosion for me by then, well, … I'd suggest that the two of you never show your faces here again. Should that be the case, pray that no one else from this organization ever finds you for the rest of your miserable lives. Do I make myself perfectly clear?”

“Yes, sir!” they firmly replied.

He looked at the two of them with a menacing glare, before smiling and clasped his hands together. “Very good! That's the team spirit that I admire!” he shook back the sleeve of his suit to glance at his watch. “You have twenty-four hours, staring now. Off you go now!”

The two of them immediately marched into the car before Jalyn turned the engine over. Chad walked over and stood before them at the front of the car.

“Oh, and Jalyn? Matthew?” he said. They both looked up at him with terrified gazes. “Remember: Nobody ever lies to Team Rocket and lives.” The duo nervously nodded in acknowledgment before Chad trilled his fingers on the hood of the car playfully. “Drive safely now!” he said, with a pleasant smile and a wave.

Jalyn waited for Doorman to open the motorized door for them. She quickly backed out into the parking lot and sped away. Chad's expression turned bitter again as the door rolled closed.

⁂    ⁂    ⁂

“Damn it, damn it, damn it!” Jalyn screeched at Matt as they drove down the busy streets. “You idiot! How the hell could you not notice that Typhlosion escaped?!”

“Me? What about you!? You were right with me the whole time!” Jalyn smacked her hands against the steering wheel. Matt held a hand over his forehead. “Ohh, crap. We're dead. We're so dead! We're never going to find him — this city is huge!”

“Shut up, okay?!” she replied. “I'm already on edge as it is and I don't need you freaking out next to me. … Now, let's think about this. When could he have gotten away from us?”

“I don't know, uh, … we would've noticed the shift in weight if he just ducked out while we were driving.”

“So, when were we not driving?”

Matt's eyes lit up. “At Jeff's house!”

“And that's where we start.” Jalyn turned at the next intersection, picking up speed. Her expression suddenly became bitterly cold. “I swear, I'm gonna put this Typhlosion down if it comes to it. Chad can make a Typhlosion rug out of him or something but I am not going back there empty-handed.”

Matt was surprised by her remarks. He found them particularly out of character for her. She had always been cross, short-tempered, and sometimes unbearable, but never brutal — that was Chad's disposition. He wondered just how deeply Chad's earlier remarks had affected her. Chad had never spoken down to her like that before.

He glanced at the glove compartment where that handgun rested. Thoughts of what she may end up doing with it swirled around in his head.

⁂    ⁂    ⁂

By the time evening set in, Fireball had been wandering between buildings and along the quieter side streets of Viridian City for hours. He panted, drained from the constant moving — and from hunger. For once, eating took a backseat in his mind. Getting back to Antoshi was his top priority. He also needed to keep away from the duo that took him, though he wanted to stay away from humans in general. Antoshi was the only human that could understand him. He was sure that a Trainer would attempt to capture him, thinking he was a wild Typhlosion.

'Maybe I should look for the police,' he thought. '… I'll bet that's what Antoshi would do. He's probably already done that. But, what would they do with me? Would they just lock me up somewhere or would they try to find Antoshi for me?'

He groaned, totally exhausted, falling flat on his belly in an alleyway. He rested for a few minutes to catch his breath.

'This city is one a big, fat, giant maze. Man, I really wish Antoshi was here. He always knows what to do. … Then again, if he was here, I wouldn't be in this mess in the first place. … He's probably running all over the city looking for me. I know he's worrying about me. I have to find him!' He rolled over onto his back, staring up at the sparse, vibrant orange clouds in the purplish evening sky. 'I'm so dizzy. I just hope these buildings stop spinning soon …'

He grit his teeth, sitting up. 'I'll make it back to you, buddy. I know I will. After that, we're going to find that thief and get our badges back!'

Fireball rose to his hind feet just before hearing the sound of a car engine. A bright spotlight from the street started to illuminate the alleyway. He panicked and pressed his back against a nearby wall, keeping out of its sight.

“Fireball?!” an unknown man's voice called to him.

Fireball's heart raced, swallowing nervously. 'Who is that?' he thought. 'How do they know my name? Are they working for that thief?'

The spotlight faded away as the car drove off. He peered out from his nook, making sure no one was around. Once it was safe to move, he continued further on his solo campaign.