In the blackness of midnight, silhouetted by the giant silver moon, a lone vulpix sits. Guided by forces it knows not what, it sits at the edge of the forest. Below it is another world, tiny flourescent lights sprinkled across the blanket of night, signs of human life, civilisation. Unfit for the city, unsuited to the forest, one question remains on the vulpix's mind. Where do I belong?


'In here, in here!' the little girl hissed. As the white coat of the adult disappeared behind the sliding doors, the young tyke managed to slip in behind him. Just in time, a young boy threw himself in after her. The girl held her finger to her lips: "Silence".

The adult had not heard the children. As his heavy boots thumped around the corner, the girl breathed a sigh of relief. They'd made it inside. Now the fun would begin!

Rooms, corridors, and all too many narrow escapes later, the children found themselves in a dark area. A large room of some sort, blanketed in darkness . . . to the human eyes of the children, all that could be seen were shapes, silhouettes, unknown objects. But that only made it all the more exciting.

Light reflected off the silver edges of two barred cages were on a bench at the far side of the room. The children nodded to one another, and crept towards the cages. On closer inspection, they could make out the two dark lumps of the figures inside the cages. One was much larger than the other, but they resembled one another. Large upright ears on either side of long tufts of hair, a flurry of furry tails.

'Wow . . .' the boy breathed, in awe of the creatures. The larger one looked up, and for a moment they made eye contact. Similarly, the girl stood with eyes transfixed on the smaller creature, as it lifted its head to look at her.

'Vul,' it said to her, almost whispering. The girl stared into the creature's deep green eyes, and could almost feel the animal's sorrow as if it were her own. Trapped, alone, afraid.

The girl's thoughts were cut short when a harsh, bird-like shriek sounded from somewhere above the building. A moment later it was followed a chaotic mixture of human voices shouting, heavy footsteps running, alarms sounding.

'It's found us!'

'Everyone, evacuate!'

'But the experiments!'

'It'll hunt us down if we don't abandon them!'

'Everyone, just get out!'

'But . . .'

The two children looked at one another frantically. They hadn't expected any real danger like this to intrude upon their game. Pretending was one thing, but now they were really in trouble.

'If they think I'm gonna leave my life's work behind . . .' a voice grumbled close by. The girl quickly spun around and to realise that she and her friend were no longer alone. A tall, dark figure stood at the door.

'Who's there?' a deep voice boomed. The children threw themselves to the floor and scurried under the bench, as the man entered the room. He flicked the light switch, but nothing happened. 'Darn it! All right, whoever you are, come out!' The children held their breath. The man sighed. 'Maybe it was just the pokémon.'

The voice's owner approached the bench, and the children trembled as the heavy footsteps got closer and closer. But the man mustn't have noticed them, as he reached a hand out towards the larger cage.

'Nine!' snarled the creature inside, and the smaller one yapped its own displeasure.

'You wanna stay here and get killed?' muttered the man. 'You're coming with me!'

He picked up the larger cage and heaved it off the table. The creature inside thrashed its paws and tails violently, baring its sharp teeth at the man.

'Calm down!' hissed the man, but he was powerless against the creature's anger. Unable to keep the cage still, he lost his footing and cried out as he fell flat on his back, the cage landing on his chest. Moaning in pain, he tried to push it off, but combined with the weight of the creature inside, the heavy cage could not be moved.

The children glanced at each other in fear, before taking the opportunity, crawling out from under the bench and leaping to their feet.

'Hey!' the man exclaimed. 'Help me out here!'

Too afraid of being caught, the children ran past the man, heading towards the door. The man grunted angrily and pushed at the cage the was pinning him to the ground, but it was no use.

'Wait!' the boy exclaimed as they reached the door. He turned back uncertainly. 'We can't leave those pokémon . . ..'

The girl paused, then nodded. The two children ran back towards the cages.

'What the heck are you doing!?' the man yelled. 'Get this thing off me!'

The boy reached a hand out to the snarling, thrashing creature in the cage . . . and suddenly it was still. Shocked, the boy pulled his hand back, staring at the creature almost in fear.

'What the . . .' breathed the man.

The girl climbed onto the bench where the smaller creature was yapping frantically.

'Hey, it's OK,' she smiled. The creature looked at her, and was silent.

But before anyone could stay awed for very long, harsh screams shot out from the corridor, and the children spun around in fear.

'It's here! It's inside! Run for your lives!'

A group of ten or so adult humans sprinted past the open door, screaming at the top of their lungs. The children's breathing increased rapidly, the fear swelling up inside of them, consuming them.

The shrill cries became more frantic, and the children's expressions fell as a huge ball of flames shot past the door and down the corridor.

'Get me out of here!' cried the man, and putting all his energy into it, pushed the cage off his chest and got to his feet. The creature inside snarled, but the boy only had to look at it and it was silent once more.

'Run, you stupid kids!' yelled the man, as he sprinted out the door. 'Run!'

The man disappeared down the corridor, and suddenly everything was silent once more . . . except for one sound. A clicking noise, like metal striking metal . . . click . . . click . . . click. It was getting louder, closer . . . click . . . click . . . click, click, click, click click click click.

The girl drew in a breath and clutched the cage tightly, as if the creature inside gave her reassurance.

The clicking got closer, closer . . . and the room began getting lighter as the sound approached. The creatures in the cages became more visible, but the children were too afraid to look at them.

Suddenly, a large figure stood at the doorway.

It was not human. A huge bird-like creature, standing on short legs tipped with three razor-sharp talons. Its white chest feathers contrasted with the dark red of its back and neck . . . while its enormously spread wings shined with the seven colours of the rainbow.

The children were too afraid to even breathe.

The creature stretched its long neck into the room, its sharp red eyes staring straight at the children, almost into them, as if it was looking not at their bodies, but their souls. It nodded to itself, let out a cry, and opened its pointed golden beak.

'No!' the girl exclaimed, as she saw the fire spark up in the bird's throat. She clutched the cage more tightly. 'No!'

But there was nothing that she or anyone else could do. The bird threw its head forward and shot out a burst of flames, and then the whole building was alight . . ..

That was where their memories faded. And when they woke up, the creatures in the cages were nowhere to be seen.

Yuuyake no shita de yakusoku shiyou

Mata ashita issho ni asobou ne . . .