eyes snapped open. I became painfully aware of the chill of the night
contrasting to the warmth of my sleeping bag. The woods were cast over with shadows
hardly diminished by the pale light of the moon, half-hidden with dismal
sat up slowly, shivering…not just from the cold…
whole week…Why won't these dreams go away…?
else was sleeping soundly……Of course they were…They weren't the ones having
these nightmares……I looked away from them and down at
myself……Those…dreams……They'd seemed so real……but they also scared me…scared me
bad enough to wake me up in the middle of the night for the past week…every
thought about lying back down and falling asleep again……I did think about
it……Instead, I sat there for about half an hour, trying to erase what I had
just woken up from from my mind……then when I couldn't, I got up and walked
around the campsite, trying to cool my nerves…I thought about starting up a
fire and making myself some breakfast, but no sooner than I had thought of it,
I was completely sickened by the idea…The dreams that I'd had that night…They
were so much worse than the ones that had come before…even…
had happened in those dreams…They were impossible!…They were
impossible……They………They had to be……
sat alone in the cold for a long time, doing nothing but trying to forget the
nightmare that I'd woken up from…It took hours for the sun to start to rise,
and then even more before the others began to stir…
was up first, then Pikachu, then Misty, and then she woke up Togetic. By then,
Brock had breakfast ready and was already serving it out…He handed some to me
it's very, very hard to kill my appetite……In fact, I don't think it's been done
before……before I had that dream that is……What happened in that dream……after
that…I couldn't even think about food without getting a sickening feeling deep
inside of me…Having Brock stick some right under my nose was more than I could
looked disgusting. It smelled disgusting. To taste it…No, I couldn't let myself
do that…I couldn't stand having it so close to me…I shoved it back at Brock.
I said, trying to keep the repulsion that I felt from being voiced, "I'm not
course, that was when my stomach decided to voice its own opinion…
didn't move…I could feel them staring at me, but I had to let them know that
for once, me and my stomach were disagreeing with each other…
you…sure?" Brock asked finally.
indignant rumble sounded…Then there was silence again as they continued to
stare at me.
sure you're sure?" Misty asked.
I'm sure!" I said hotly, finally glaring back at them.
Misty said hesitantly, "Just asking…"
you don't need to ask twice!"
my stomach growled…
Ash…" Brock said slowly, "Are you feeling okay…?"
course I am!"
sure?" he asked doubtfully.
asking me that!!"
set her food down, then stood up and walked over to me.
are you doing?"
still," she said, then placed her hand on my forehead.
didn't say or do anything for a second or two, then took her hand off.
I don't think he has a fever…" she said reflectively.
shrugged, sat down again and continued to eat. Brock watched her for a second,
then turned to me.
dunno, Ash…This…isn't like you…"
that supposed to mean!?" I demanded.
not like this is something new either…" Misty commented while stuffing a
biscuit in her mouth, "You've been acting pretty strange all week…"
that true…? I didn't think I was being so obvious about it…
nodded. "You're going to bed late, waking up early…You're also a lot touchier
than usual…Even a rare Pokémon encounter won't excite you…And now you won't
eat? You've gotta admit that something's different…and it's probably not
a good thing either…"
they knew this all along and they never said anything about it!? Did they think
one day I would just wake up and be okay again…!? Well, that's just too
bad…because it doesn't look like it's ever going to end up that way……Definitely
not at this rate……
stood up crossly.
that so?" I asked through gritted teeth, "Well, I'll tell you what. I don't
have to put up with this anymore, got it?"
walked over to retrieve my backpack. Everyone stared as I did.
what are you-?" Misty began.
going home, okay!? I'm sick of this. This is stupid. It was a stupid idea to
come out here in the first place. I'm ending it all right now…"
was your idea…" Misty informed me.
then I'm stupid too…"
continued to stare at me.
yeah, I do mean that!" I yelled finally.
that, I began walking back in the direction that we'd come from at as fast a
pace I could keep and still be walking.
Wait!" I heard Misty call after me.
ignored them…I was tired of everything…I was tired of this traveling business.
I was tired of those nightmares I was having. And I was tired of being tired of
everything. The sooner I got home…The sooner I got home, the sooner I could
finally rest…I felt like I hadn't slept at all all week, but I knew that I had,
and that was what was making me so tired. I only hoped that coming home again
would end the dreams…the dreams that I loathed……
took a little while before Misty, Pikachu and Togetic caught up with me, and
longer before Brock did. I guess they let him pick up the whole camp while they
tried to slow me down…
I didn't slow down…I didn't even bother listening to them while they talked
endlessly about nothing…I think they wanted to know what was going on and why I
was acting the way I was…Of course I didn't answer. What could I have said even
if I did? The truth? No, those nighttime dreams are pointless things. They
never come true, and they fill you with false feelings……but…my dreams wouldn't
leave after night, and I kept those false feelings with me all night and
day…Didn't I have good reason to be a little…touchy?
went all day without speaking a word to anyone, not even Pikachu…I didn't eat
or stop to rest either…I didn't want to. I had to get home. I hadn't had any of
those nightmares while I was at home…Maybe they would stop once I got there…At
the very least, at least I would wake up someplace familiar and comforting…
I had said to the others…about it being a stupid idea to come out here in the
first place……I wasn't lying when I said that. I'd left on a whim, with no
reason and nothing to go by but my own desire to keep moving…After all, my only
obligation was to get back in time for the annual Pokémon tournament…and even
then, it wasn't like I had anything to do at the tournament. The chance of
anyone getting past the Elite Four was slim to zero…but it would look bad if I
wasn't at the tournament, so I had to go anyway…
that was why I decided to start traveling again…I just didn't have anything
else to do…One of few possible training partners was Gary Oak…and after losing
to me the first few times, he said he wanted to do some training alone out in
the wild before challenging me again…Everyone else I could have trained with
were traveling and training all over the world too, so I figured it was do the
same or just stay in Pallet for a year…I did what seemed like the right thing
at the time…With those dreams though…how could I possibly concentrate on
training when I couldn't even…eat, or talk…or anything?
left them behind by nightfall, probably because they'd actually stopped to eat
and rest a few times. I didn't want to stop. I couldn't stop……That's what I
wanted at least……but by the end of the day, I knew that I didn't have a choice.
came to a fairly clear spot on the path and turned around. They were nowhere in
guess I'll have to wait for them then…?
looked around again…I hadn't realized until then just how tired I'd made
myself. I sat down at the foot of a big tree and waited. My stomach had long
since stopped complaining about its hunger. Instead, I felt as if it had been
replaced by a dull, yet strong, full feeling of painful emptiness. It wasn't a
new feeling for me. I had gone for days at a time without food during some of
my earlier journeys, but that had always been because I didn't have any other
choice…Nevertheless, I still couldn't fathom the idea of eating anything right
then and there…
didn't take very long for Misty, Brock, Pikachu and Togetic to catch up with
me, although it seemed like forever…They seemed very surprised to see me just
else would I be?" I replied degradingly.
asking…" she muttered.
doing alright, Ash?" Brock said.
yawned sleepily from its perch on Misty's shoulder…It may have evolved, but it
was still too young to be keeping up the pace that they'd probably kept.
guys should go to sleep. You look beat."
Misty began, but Togetic nodded and leaned against her.
didn't feel the need to say anything and just let her figure it out for
yeah," Brock said, "You had us going a lot faster than we usually go…but at
least you picked a really nice spot to set up camp…Come on, let's get to work…"
waited until Brock started getting busy before moving.
you going to help?" she asked.
don't need the camp, so I won't get in your way…"
are you talking about? Aren't you going to sleep?"
worry about me…Just go ahead, okay?"
not gonna sleep?"
that mean no? Answer me, Ash…"
it means no. I'm not going to go to sleep, okay? Just leave me alone…okay?"
guess……Don't push yourself too hard……"
that supposed to mean?"
means exactly what you think it does…"
went to go help Brock. I wasn't sure what to make of what she'd just said, so I
ignored it. That was easy, considering what other things I had on my mind…
finished quickly and went to sleep. I didn't move from my selected spot. I had
already decided that I would just sit there until morning came and under no
circumstances would I fall asleep…but it wasn't easy. I was exhausted from both
the walk that day and the little restless sleep that I'd been having all
week…My stomach was numb from hunger, not forceful enough to keep me awake all
night…I tried to fight off the sleep and the darkness and the dreams…but it
came to me anyway…and then the nightmares resumed…