SUMMARY: Ash, Misty, and Brock enter an ominous city where something presumably murdered the locals. Much to the kids' horrific discovery, the residents and Pokemon aren't quite as "dead" as authorities claimed. – A Pokemon spin-off of Resident Evil.
RATED: R / M
NOTABLE CONTENT: Explicitly Gory Violence, Strong Language, Some Disturbing Content, and Brief References to Drugs and Sexuality *
SHIP: (Slight) Pokeshipping (Ash/Misty) & Rocketshipping (Jessie/James)
COPYRIGHT NOTE: I don't own Pokemon / Pocket Monsters or Resident Evil / Biohazard
STORY TAKES PLACE IN: Season 5 – Master Quest (this fic slightly alters the canon, so feel free to dub this AUish)
COMMENTS: Story Revised Spring 2010 – Sorry folks, but no cuteness from Aiselne in this story (unless you're like me and think zombies are cuddly ^_^). Gruesome zombie goodness and a dash of Pokeshippy/Rocketshippy hints…this was ecstasy for me to write! (Now, I realize I've got many opening notes for this story, but I do advise people to read these notices before undertaking my fic. You're not obligated to read my disclaimers, but don't say I didn't warn you).
Special Notice: Knowledge of Capcom's Resident Evil series is NOT needed to fully understand this story.
However, I would like to warn Resident Evil veterans that this story was inspired by multiple installments of the RE lore, including the primary series and side story games. S.D. Perry's Resident Evil novelizations were also heavily referenced for writing purposes, and I even allude to the movies (how many fans did I just turn off after that one?). The goal of this spin-off was to encompass different aspects of RE and merge them into one story. Of course, some RE installments will be more heavily emphasized than others (generally speaking, Resident Evil 2 mostly inspired this story. I found it the most appropriate game for this fanfic's situation).
Also, *please* keep in mind that this story mainly stars children & teenagers, not professionally trained adult cops/operatives. I haven't turned Ash and friends into OOC gunslingers. (*If you're looking for kid gunslingers, you're in the wrong half of my fandom, right Xenosaga fans? ^_^*). Obviously, the way kids handle a Resident Evil-like situation is going to be significantly different than the trained/adult professionals in RE. Please don't submit whiny reviews regarding, "Ash is no Chris Redfield" and "Misty is no Jill Valentine," etc., because I'm well aware they're not. If it paints a clearer picture, I approached this fic after studying little Sherry Birkin's story in Resident Evil 2: a young, defenseless child left to fend for herself in a zombie nightmare. The Resident Evil: Outbreak games were also heavily referenced, as most playable characters in those games are ordinary civilians caught in the viral terror. Also, this fanfic is a "spin-off" that mimics RE; this is not a "crossover," so don't expect RE characters like Chris or Jill debuting in this story. However, there will be characters/monsters in this story based on the aforementioned RE cast. Credits will be given with their applicable chapters.
* Content Disclaimer/Warning: Like the series this story spoofs, this fanfic contains very graphic and gruesome horror violence (I would never tone-down the gory brilliance of Resident Evil!). Content disclaimers will be posted during the most graphic chapters, so please heed them. Unlike my previous Pokemon stories, this fanfic is 100% dark. In this fic, guts will be spilled, people and Pokemon alike will be dying…consider yourself warned! If stories of this caliber bother you, then just don't read this. I've given readers more than a generous amount of warnings about the kind of story you are about to read, so the least you can do is kindly spare me from whiny reviews. Again, never say I didn't warn you.
Alrighty, (thanks to everyone who actually read my disclaimers!). With all that out of the way, I sincerely hope you enjoy "Carnage Necropolis"!
I dedicate this story to Sweet Sedaytion.
If it weren't for her, I would've never been brave enough to consider publishing this story in the first place.
The revised edition of this story is dedicated to all supporters of this fanfic's original publication. Thank you for generously providing advice, encouragement, and for helping to make this large story worth the effort!
FILE #001: "Anything But an Ordinary City"
Brock's watch claimed it was nine o'clock P.M. by the time he, Ash, and Misty set foot into the city. It was already nightfall, and the only available light sources were those of the thousands of neon signs and streetlights around them. But that was the least of the kids' concerns. They had been traveling non-stop the whole day. Their young bodies ached and sleep seductively taunted them. By now, all the trio wanted to do was find a Pokemon Center and hit the sack, hardly waiting to slip into peaceful, glorious slumber.
"Guys...?" Misty asked, rubbing her tired eyes as she walked, glancing around the surprisingly bright locale. "...Where are we?"
"How would I know?" Ash angrily piped up in a huff, earning himself a snarl from the red-haired girl. The Pikachu lethargically hanging on the boy's shoulder rolled its brown eyes sleepily over Pikapi and Pikachupi's consistent bickers. "If a certain redhead hadn't flung the map like a madwoman earlier…maybe we could know where the hell we are!"
"Don't start with me, Ash Ketchum!" Misty countered sharply, causing the Togepi in her red backpack to squeal in discomfort. "I vaguely remember 'someone' saying he knew EXACTLY where he was going!"
"Don't blame poor Brock for your stupid move," Ash replied sarcastically, narrowing his brown eyes at Misty's equally slit aquamarine orbs. Growling angrily, Misty wiped her hand quickly across Ash's back in frustration, sending the boy stumbling forward a few shaky steps.
"You know WHO I'm talking about, Mr. No-Sense-of-Direction!!" Misty blasted, never even realizing her voice was getting loud enough to echo through the streets. "I swear, Ash, you'd get lost in your own house!"
Brock, of course, noticed Misty's echo…and 'other' things the oh-so-bickering-ones were too busy to notice. "Come' on, guys," he groaned, rolling his eyes at their continuing arguments. It was because of Ash and Misty's daylong arguing that the trio was "mapless" in the first place. Ash had been on another ego trip today, and foolishly decided to be a "tough Pokemon Master who doesn't need some dumb map!" Naturally, Misty threw the map into a river, daring Ash to live up to his overblown boast.
The three kids had been wandering aimlessly in a forest for hours, trying to find a hint of civilization. It was Pikachu who first noticed the lights of a nearby city, thus leading them to their current position. But as Ash and Misty proceeded to stupidly argue, Brock thoroughly absorbed the area's surroundings. Due to the absence of a map, he did not even know the name of the city he was standing in. The place looked so lively with all the lights and signs, but there was still one factor that bothered the teenager.
"Uh, guys?" Brock asked, snapping his friends out of their mind-numbing bickering. "Am I the only one who finds it odd that we're the 'only' ones standing in the street?"
Ash and Misty blinked, noticing just then the same problem. The kids stood in a brightly lit city, and yet there was not one car on the road or one person or Pokemon on the sidewalk. Oddly, the kids saw nobody in the nearby windows of the lit stores, either. As animated as this place looked with all the lights, the city seemed absolutely dead.
"Well, it's late..." muttered Ash, desperately searching for some other form of life in the city. "...Maybe everyone's sleeping."
"…And left every freakin' light on, Ash?!" Misty exclaimed incredulously, wanting to smack Ash again before pointing to distant apartments that were fully illuminated. "Either we're standing in the most energy-inefficient city on the planet, or this city's people happen to go to sleep after YOUR bedtime!"
"I don't have a bedtime!" Ash shot back offensively, never liking Misty's digs emphasizing how much younger he was than her and Brock. "And you're one to talk about sleep, Sleeping Beauty…though I'm not so sure about the 'beauty' part…"
"WHAT WAS THAT, ASH KETCHUM?!" shrieked Misty.
Brock could not take much more of this lunacy. "Look, let's just get to the Center, okay?" he interrupted before his friends could engage in another asinine fight. All of them were on short fuses this evening, something a good night's sleep would promptly fix. The sooner the trio started acting their ages, the sooner they could reach the Pokemon Center and put this hellish day behind them.
"Aaargh, now where are those little twerps?!" Jessie moaned as she and her two teammates dragged themselves into the same illuminated town. The three Team Rocket thieves were tired enough to fall to the ground in exhaustion after chasing the twerps all day. The fact that the Rockets were running on little food and rest did not ward off their lethargy, either. Oh, forget twerps! Jessie, James, and Meowth just wanted to find a place to eat at and sleep for the night!
"That's strange..." James muttered as he surveyed the quiet area, everything illuminated brightly but with no sign of a person or Pokemon. "Where is everybody?"
"In bed, which is where I wanna' be, too!" Jessie complained as her body leaned against James' for support. The red-haired woman felt tired enough to fall asleep standing! She never even noticed James' face flush when she snuggled close to him, of all people, after claiming she wanted to "be in bed." Too bad the Team Rocket trio was too tired for that particular caliber of "sleep" this evening. "Forget the twerps, I just want to get some rest!"
"I feel more like gettin' some food, ratha' than sleepin'," Meowth admitted, placing a paw over his grumbling stomach. Fortunately, the trio happened to be in a city, and a city was bound to have restaurants! True, most places were probably closed at this late hour, but Meowth was not fussy at the moment. A cheap burger and fries at a 24-7 fast food joint sounded like bliss. This city was bound to have one little burger place open late, and Meowth was determined to find one! He was not a dog, but the cat's sense of smell was still keen enough to pinpoint the nearest restaurant cooking food. A few whiffs…sniff…sniff…
"MEOOOWTH!!" the cat squealed, while Jessie and James instantly tried to hush the loud-mouthed cat before he attracted attention. Yet, before either Jessie or James could cover Meowth's big mouth, the cat's paws did the honors: covering Meowth's mouth, and covering his nose. "Whadda' hell stinks around here?!"
His human partners blinked, before Jessie pulled away from James and shot him a suspicious look. Cringing by her glare, James winced defensively, claiming, "Don't look at me! It wasn't me!" he swore on his life.
"Woooobbuffet!!" Wobbuffet popped out, adding its oblivious two cents before Jessie groaned and returned the annoyance to its Pokeball.
"No, notin' like 'dat, Jimmy!" Meowth reassured, his accented voice sounding nasally due to his pinched nose. While James breathed a loud sigh of relief, Meowth bravely uncovered his nose to try and better identify the odor. Whatever the hell it was, it smelled nasty enough to water Meowth's eyes. Both of the cat's paws flew to his face the second time, one to cover his nose and the other to cover his mouth before retching. "Urgh…dis' smells woirse 'dan a Gloom paired with a Muk!"
Jessie and James blinked again, taking their chances to sniff the immediate area. Unlike Meowth, the humans did not seem to smell anything, especially anything as disgusting as "a Gloom paired with a Muk." There were typical city smells around them, such as faint traces of dissipated car and factory exhaust. The seemingly empty city did not smell like a basket of flowers, but it did not "stink" like Meowth claimed. To Jessie and James, the city smelt like a normal city.
"I don't smell anything odd," Jessie spoke matter-of-factly, shrugging for Meowth's benefit. She glanced around the nearby settings, noticing a trashcan overfilled with garbage and swarmed by buzzing insects. Meowth's keener sense of smell must have picked up the odor better than Jessie and James' noses. "You're probably just smelling that garbage over there," she pointed to the can, noticing it was in dire need of being emptied. Some slob was obviously too lazy to clean out their trash, but it was not Jessie's responsibility, so she could care less.
Tearing her sapphire eyes away from the revolting garbage, Jessie then set her sights forward, resuming her leadership role. "Don't worry about it. Let's just focus on finding the Pokemon Center. You know as well as I do that's where those twerps always go. Besides, there'll be food and beds there, too! Onward!" she declared with her final pint of energy, leading a hesitant James and Meowth further down the empty street. Honestly, Jessie could care less about the twerps and Pikachu right now. She just wanted a warm meal and a warmer bed. For all Jessie cared, the twerps and the rest of the world could go to Hell tonight.
The three kids proceeded down the long street, occasionally looking into windows of brightly lit shops with no people inside. No longer arguing, even Ash and Misty noticed how strange the city appeared. Why were all the shops lit as if they were open, yet nobody was around? Maybe this place was another 24-7 city like Neon Town, where everything was open twenty-four hours a day. Perhaps, but then where the hell were all the people?!
The redhead girl silently pondered another possibility. Maybe there was some sort of function being held somewhere tonight, such as a popular sports game. Misty recalled how empty her hometown of Cerulean City got whenever the Sensational Sisters hosted a water ballet. Everybody always flocked to the Cerulean Gym, causing the arena to be crammed to capacity while the rest of the city seemed abandoned. For all the transient kids knew, this city might have a Pokemon Gym, arena, or theater sponsoring a popular show. Perhaps, but then why the hell were all the lights left on?!
No doubt, there was something very odd about this city. It felt as though all the residents just vanished, which was a silly assumption, but also a disturbing assumption. Had the city lights been shut off, the three kids would have assumed they were traversing a ghost town. Such was yet another silly, yet still disturbing, assumption none of them wanted to read into too deeply. They just wanted to reach the Pokemon Center and…dammit, where the hell was the Center, anyway? Surely this city must have one!
Fortunately, when the Center's bright neon sign peered over the distant horizon, the kids sighed in relief. The Pokemon Center was quite a long distance away, but at least there was indeed a Center. The sight of the Center's sign encouraged the tired kids to walk faster, hoping to reach the building as soon as possible. In five or ten minutes, Ash and his friends would be able to check into a Center room and get a well-deserved good night's rest. Plus, there were bound to be people at the Pokemon Center, too.
But just as the kids neared an empty street intersection…something caught Misty's eye. Skidding to a halt, the redhead turned towards the direction, while Ash and Brock needed another moment to stop and realize Misty was not following them. The girl found herself standing before the display window of a small perfume shop, keenly similar to those in Celadon City. As with the rest of the city, the shop's lights were fully lit, shining off the glistening multi-colored glass bottles of various perfumes.
A glare from the bottles, maybe? Misty wondered, trying to figure out what attracted her to this shop. True, she loved perfume, but now certainly was not the time for her to go shopping. Misty and her friends were much too tired for recreation. Still, why did something in that shop attract her eye? Nobody was inside, though there was no "closed" sign indicating the store was locked. Maybe somebody was indeed inside, after all! At this rate, Misty just wanted to know if she and her friends were really not the only living souls in this city.
"Guys…I'm gonna' go in that shop for a second, okay?" Misty asked, though she spoke it as more of a statement than question. "There's…something I want to look at." Such was no lie, though her male friends probably assumed Misty was just interested in the dumb perfume. "I'll be right back."
"Hold on, Misty," Brock suddenly voiced, briskly walking over to the girl and grabbing her arm. Now definitely was not the time to shop, especially in a city like this! "It's late. Let's go to the Pokemon Center and come back here tomorrow...hopefully when there's more people around."
"Yeah!" Ash agreed, furrowing his brow in agitation. "You can get your stinky perfume tomorrow. Brock and I want to get to the Pokemon Center."
Rolling her eyes at the boy's impeccable maturity, Misty pulled her arm out of Brock's grip and shook her head. "I'll be out in a sec'!" she reassured, before heading closer to the shop's entrance. "There are no lines...nobody else is in there! I'll just be a minute!"
"That's just it, Myst!" Brock said forcefully, shaking his head at another disturbing thought. "Nobody else is here! What kind of lively-looking city has no people in it?"
"Well, maybe Mr. Pokemon Master's right," Misty sneered, shooting a playful glare at Ash, one he easily returned to her. "Maybe everyone's sleeping."
"Misty...I don't even see a sales clerk," Brock observed, peering into the display window of the empty shop. He could see the cash register on a glass counter, but there was no uniformed person standing behind the machine. There were no customers browsing the shelves, no clerks strolling the store to ask if they can help customers' selections…NOTHING! What in God's name is wrong with this city?! The only reason Brock was never inclined to leave the town was because he knew his friends had nowhere else to go for the night. The kids were out of supplies and needed food and rest, which the forests outside this city could not provide. "I don't like the looks of this place, either. Our best bet is probably the Pokemon Center."
Misty did not like this city, either, but she needed to find out what that 'something' was that caught her eye. Perhaps the eye-catch was just the glint off a shiny bottle, but Misty needed to be certain. Brock was right; there was something not quite right about this city, and Misty wanted to know why.
"Look," Misty insisted, narrowing her blue eyes in annoyance to her male friends. "You two can either wait for me or head to the Pokemon Center. I can take care of myself, you know. Besides, I doubt there's anything to worry about. The sales clerk could be in the back of the store for all we know! Just head to the Pokemon Center and I'll meet you there later."
"Misty!" Brock called back to her, only to realize the girl never listened as she disappeared into the ornate store. The last sign of her presence came from the ringing of a bell attached to the shop's door, before it shut and Misty was gone.
"Just what she needs," Brock heard Ash joke, drawing the teen's attention back to the younger boy. "More of that smelly crap to get herself high on," Ash chuckled, hoping Brock would join in as well. But the pale look on Brock's face proved otherwise. Brock had been uneasy ever since the kids entered town. Ash, too, was not crazy about the city. Even if all the lights were on, this unnamed city did not provide the warmest welcoming for transients.
"Brock, you' okay?" Ash asked cautiously, cocking his head gently.
"Yeah, I guess..." muttered Brock, burying his face into his hands and rubbing his sore temples. "I need a good night's sleep," he admitted wholeheartedly. "Or maybe I'm just tired from all that traveling and lack of food we had. We haven't eaten since breakfast."
"Well, why don't we get something to eat while we're waiting for Misty?" Ash offered, pointing to the neon sign further down the street with the word Nemi's Restaurant above its doors. There was no indication the business was closed, either, just like the rest of the city.
Raising his head from his hands to see the restaurant sign, Brock smiled faintly. As appealing as a nice warm meal sounded, Brock knew he needed to get some sleep in a safe, filled Pokemon Center. The sooner he found some other people, the calmer Brock would feel.
Ash, on the other hand, liked the new idea of a meal far better than reaching the Pokemon Center. Hearing his stomach grumble, the boy sweatdropped and blushed. "Actually, a meal really does sound pretty good right now," he giggled, hearing Pikachu squeak a hungry "pika" in agreement.
Brock smiled sympathetically, knowing neither the kids nor their Pokemon had eaten a decent meal all day. Even Brock was hungry, though he felt too tired to cook anything tonight. Ordinarily, the teen never minded cooking food for his hungry friends, but tonight Brock was actually glad they were near a restaurant.
Yet, Brock was still hesitant in this city. "I'm more tired than hungry right now, and I don't like the idea of us splitting up in this place, but…" he trailed, noticing the silently pleading look on Ash and Pikachu's faces. Brock knew the direction this conversation would go if Ash reverted to his ego trip: "Brock, I can take care of myself, too!" and "don't baby me!" Brock was not in the mood to listen to the boy's stubborn argument.
"Look, if nobody's in the restaurant, I want you going straight to the Pokemon Center, Ash," Brock ordered rather paternally, while Ash and Pikachu nodded affirmatively. The electric mouse put Brock's mind at ease regarding his two friends. At least Ash and Misty had their Pokemon, so if worse came to worse, the kids could defend themselves. Brock had to remember that his younger friends were certainly not defenseless. Then again, Brock considered Ash and Misty as two extra younger siblings of Brock's, so it was only natural that Brock watched over the kids. But…they're not helpless. Ash and Misty are strong. Besides, there was no evidence proving this city was dangerous, anyway. 'Deserted' did not necessarily mean 'danger.' "Just…be careful, okay Ash?"
"Got it!" the boy winked confidently, before he and Pikachu bounded down the street towards Nemi's.
A little voice inside Brock's conscience told the teenager that he just made an incredibly stupid choice. Sadly, both Ash and Misty were out of Brock's sights before he could change his decision. Besides, Ash and Misty could take care of themselves…and for Heaven's sake, why was Brock acting so paranoid?! True, this city was odd, but there was no reason to assume it was unsafe.
I need to get some sleep, Brock knew, shaking his head before heading towards the Pokemon Center. Something kept telling Brock that his salvation would come upon entering the Center, seeing people, Pokemon, Nurse Joy…
…Well, she was a pretty little incentive for Brock to hightail to the Pokemon Center.
"Urgh…this city does reek!" Jessie gagged as she, James, and Meowth dragged themselves through the bright streets. The city was massive, though the Rockets managed to notice the illuminated sign of the Pokemon Center nearby.
By now, the entire Team Rocket trio had noticed the foul stench Meowth smelt earlier, and all three pitched their noses. The cat was right; this city stank like a Gloom and Muk in heat! Surprisingly, there were not an inexcusable number of overfilled trashcans lining the streets. The city had its share of filth: wrappers rolling on the ground during a breeze, crushed cigarettes, soda, and beer cans, et cetera…typical garbage of a busy city. But this odor was worse! The best assumption Jessie made was the city must have been undergoing massive sewage problems, which might explain why so few people were outside. Odd. Jessie always assumed cities with major sewage problems were locked down and quarantined. Maybe the odor was not sewage…
Jessie really did not care to know, as long as her team reached the Pokemon Center. "This place must be Gringy City's sister city!" the red-haired woman muttered, constantly stifling urges to vomit. Fortunately, she and her partners had not eaten anything substantial, so even if they did retch, there probably would not be much in their stomachs to heave. "Either that, or there's a Gloom and Muk nearby having waaay too much fun."
"Wooo-bu-woob!" Wobbuffet agreed, popping out and obliviously saluting behind Jessie, before its blue flippers shielded its nose from the city odor. Groaning loudly, the woman was too tired to return the blue blob to its Pokeball, so Jessie just continued walking. Either Wobbuffet would silently follow her, or stay behind…which Jessie would not mind the latter, either.
"Not now, Wobbuffet!" Jessie moaned, hearing the blue Pokemon "wobbing" behind her. Jessie was too irritable to tolerate the Pokemon's nonsense tonight. "Shut up or get back in your Pokeball!"
"Wooobbu!" The blue Pokemon nagged, still lagging a short distance behind Jessie, James, and Meowth.
"I said not now!" snarled Jessie, getting on her last nerve.
"WHAT?!" Jessie finally screamed, spinning around and ready to bash the living daylights out of her obnoxious Pokemon. Her fists were balled as she stomped over to where Wobbuffet stood a short distance away. The blue Pokemon just stood idle, staring aimlessly at something, as always. This time, the blob seemed fascinated with something in the middle of the road…something small…red…
"A shoe?" James pointed out, kneeling down to survey the innocent shoe lying in the road, flipped upside down with its sole facing the sky. Jessie had ranted something to Wobbuffet before returning it to its Pokeball, while James pondered the Psychic Pokemon's little discovery. The Team Rocket trio's lethargy probably prevented them from noticing the shoe before, but now that James noticed it, he and Meowth exchanged disturbed glances.
It did not help that the red shoe…was red for 'another' reason.
"What are you two staring at?!" Jessie huffed, joining her cohorts and feeling her blue eyes widen upon noticing the red shoe on the ground. More specifically, the shoe was a white sneaker…colored by dark crimson fluid…that trailed across the street…
"Is dat'…w-what I tink' it is?" Meowth stammered, praying to every Pokemon deity that he was just seeing things. No doubt, Meowth and his friends were tired, so their eyes could easily be playing tricks on them. Eyes could not always be trusted.
But Meowth's nose would never lie. Cats knew the fetor of blood.
Swallowing nervously, James and Jessie's eyes followed the thin trail of blood from the shoe. The tiny trail led to the nearest sidewalk where two large trashcans stood. Strangely, as the Rockets neared the cans, they noticed the trash bins were empty, and yet…there were several parasites buzzing around the receptacles.
Something was not right. Feelings of dread washed over the Rocket trio as they stepped closer to the insect-covered trashcans. Pulses raced and foreheads sweat. Something must have been attracting the flies, but that 'something' could not possibly be garbage. But…what ELSE attracts a large magnitude of flies?!
Jessie, James, and Meowth learned the answer to that question a little too quickly for their stomachs to tolerate.
She was a little girl, seemingly eight years old. The pretty sunflower-patterned sundress she wore was tainted in reddish-brown stains and tears. The child's short brown hair stuck to her cheekbones via a disgusting red adhesive, concealing scarlet scars and cuts. Her uncovered legs below her dress hem were also marred with identical hues of brown, red, and sickly purple. Only the left foot wore a white shoe, while the other shoe was obviously in the road…
…along with the girl's right foot hidden inside the sole.
Ordinarily, Jessie, James, and Meowth would have retched upon noticing the shoe in the road contained a dismembered foot. However, such a sight was nowhere near as disturbing as the sight that truly caught the Rockets' eyes. Since the girl laid flat on her back, her front portion was exposed to her audience. Massive, animal-like tears sliced open her undeveloped chest, revealing broken ribs caked in dried carnage. Beyond the prison-like bars of the child's rust-colored ribcage was her heart; current feasting grounds for flies and yellow maggots. The same applied to the gaping hole torn through the girl's lower abdomen, spilling parasite-devoured intestines like spoiled sausage links.
It took a moment, but then the disgusted Rockets finally about-faced and retched into the once-empty trashcans.
"Where…da' hell…did dis' come from?!" Meowth struggled to say through his hoarse voice. Of course, the cat was aware that Jessie and James did not have any answers to his question. The only answer the thieves deducted was now they knew what stunk to high heavens in this city. Yet, none of them suspected a corpse!
Her stomach totally empty, Jessie wiped her mouth against the sleeve of her long black glove. Come hell or high water, Jessie did not want to look back at the child's carcass anymore than necessary. Jessie's first assumption was the little girl had been hit by a car and left for dead. However, how could the girl's body have gotten to the sidewalk? Plus, if the kid was hit by a car, that did not explain the gaping holes in her chest and stomach! The flesh wounds were ragged, not clean cuts a knife might induce. The poor girl looked mutilated, as though she was the unfortunate victim of a rabid Pokemon attack! "What kind of city are those twerps visiting, anyway?!" Jessie asked to nobody in particular.
Speaking of the twerps, "I wonder if they saw this as well," James pondered, almost hoping the twerps did not see such a sight. James was not particularly fond of the brats, but even he admitted nobody deserved to find the rotten carcass of a little girl. This is enough to traumatize the young twerps. James had a feeling he would be having a few nightmares tonight, and for some nights to come, if he ever reached the Pokemon Center…
"Hilarious, James," Jessie grunted sarcastically, narrowing her eyes back at her violet-haired partner and whacking his shoulder. "Stop making that moaning sound! This is serious! We should call the police or something."
James absolutely agreed with her, but "…But…I didn't say anything, Jessie."
Her sapphire eyes blinking, Jessie stared into James' unmoving face whilst listening to the ghastly moans. James' lips never budged, proving he was not the moaner. The groans sounded male, but too deep for Meowth's pitch, and certainly not Jessie's, either. Something, or someone, was moaning…louder…closer…
James' emerald eyes widened slowly. His gaze passed beyond Jessie's, James' face paled with each moan resonating from behind the red-haired woman's back. Louder…deeper…closer…Jessie felt a bead of nervous sweat trickle down her brow as an icy shiver overcame her body. Conversely, she felt a sickeningly scented warmth breeze against the back of her neck…closer…louder…closer…
From somewhere buried deep inside her horrified body, Jessie mustered the strength to spin around in a heartbeat. All three thieves kept their backs to the dead little girl by the trashcans, averting their attentions to a new shocking discovery. Exhaling a breath she never knew she held, the woman's wide azure eyes widened identically to James'. Absentmindedly stepping backwards, Jessie stood by the appalled James and Meowth: three white-faced Rockets gaping silently at the sight before their unbelieving eyes.
Two pairs of blue eyes, and one pair of green, found a man standing before the front door of a package store. Fitting for his location, he staggered like a drunkard, barely maintaining balance on his dragged feet. His head was downcast, occasionally bobbing like a floating cork as pained moans echoed from his hidden lips. Just standing still, three feet away from the Rockets, seemed to be a difficult task for the lurching man to undertake.
A foul, exceptionally unpleasant odor lingered into the onlooking thieves' noses. Ironically, these smells were not the scents of alcohol from the package store or 'drunkard.' This redolence was stronger and more putrid than ever, churning the trio's stomachs, but never upchucking the empty insides. The Rockets were too petrified to move, never mind vomit, because the man standing in front of them…
…was a corpse.
It must have been a dream. Yes. Jessie, James, and Meowth concluded that their daylong exhaustion had finally rendered them unable to decipher reality and fantasy. The poor thieves probably collapsed in the street and were now undergoing bizarre nightmares. Tomorrow morning, the friends would awaken and have a jolly old laugh over their ridiculous dreams. Then they would happily resume their hunt for Pikachu!
Yes, this was a dream. After all, there was no other logical explanation for why the burly man standing in front of them was covered in dark blood. There was no purpose for why his muscle shirt and pants were torn, much like a hobo's. And why else would half of his thick black hair have fallen out in odd places, certainly not via naturally balding? Why would his skin sport an ill purple hue, or be tattooed with reddish-brown scars and holes? There certainly were no explanations for the man's once-rippling muscles now dangling from rotten skin and bone…
Yes. It was all a dream. How else could a corpse be standing?!
"Uuurrrgggh." How else could a corpse be moaning?!
How else could a corpse be moving?! Closer…closer…
Only Meowth noticed one 'other' lingering stench infiltrate his keen nostrils. Had they noticed, Jessie and James would have probably relentlessly teased the poor cat for it, too. Alas, after seeing such a gruesome sight…walking towards him…Meowth could not help it. Dream or not, Meowth never felt so scared before in his life. For God's sake, there was a corpse walking in his direction! Right now, Meowth knew he had better things to worry about than the warm excrement trickling between his legs. The cat's pitiful whimper was barely audible over the corpse's moaning reaching higher decimals…closer…louder…feral…closer…
It was only when the horrid man extended his greasy, muscle-rotten arms towards the thieves that the trio finally screamed at the tops of their lungs. Reality or fantasy, that corpse kept edging closer. It was within arms reach before the Rockets finally found the courage to step backwards, nearly tripping over the dead little girl behind them…
…The dead little girl behind them…clawing at the heel of James' boot!
James never had time to ponder the fact that the child was indeed dead. Shrieking, he defensively kicked the girl's boney arms away. His eyes widened and his blood raced in shock upon noticing his kick snapped off child's disgusting arms, sending them across the sidewalk. The muscle man's shuffling feet absentmindedly stepped on one of the child's dismembered hands, crushing the frail bone in a bloody pool under his shoe. Although slow, the man persisted to close the gap between the trembling thieves.
Unable to choose between screaming, vomiting, and running, Jessie's chaotic mind whirled before she screamed again. Her leadership and survival instincts somehow managed to tear through her mental hysteria, coercing her to grab James' and Meowth's arms. They nearly tripped over the girl's twitching carcass as the Team Rocket trio dashed into the empty street. The threesome could only pray that muscle man could not run, which seemed unlikely due to his drunken maneuvers. Jessie was not about to stop and find out, either.
"What the hell kinda' city is this?!" Jessie cried through panicked breaths. She never expected James and Meowth to answer her. At the moment, Team Rocket had more pivotal details to worry about as they ran through the ominous streets.
More echoing moans were beginning to emerge from the city.
A sweet, yet strong, aroma encompassed the perfume shop, much like whenever Misty's sisters wore too much perfume. Yes, the girl liked perfume, but only when used in moderation. Too much perfume often smelt overwhelmingly retched, and granted Misty a slight headache as she strolled through the small store. Each glass bottle called out to Misty as she walked alongside the colorful shelves. The bottles all shined in the store's lights, and under normal circumstances, Misty would have gushed like a schoolgirl over the pretty perfumes.
However, no matter how appealing the bottles looked, Misty did not come to this store to shop. She still did not understand 'what' caught her attention, but Misty was determined to find out. Misty's gut continuously told her that there was something here that required her attention.
"Hello?" the redhead cocked her head curiously, being cautious as she neared the unattended cash register. If there was somebody in the store, the last thing Misty intended was to sneak up and startle him or her. Plus, she did not want to appear as though she was snooping around, looting the shop. There was no little bell to alert a sales clerk for customer assistance, either. Thus, Misty leaned against the glass display counter, trying to peer into the back of the store and find somebody. The girl was really starting to get nervous in this seemingly empty city. "Is somebody here?"
In the store's silence, a simple click of a doorknob was as startling as a gunshot. Her heart skipping a beat, Misty skittishly jumped upon noticing a door behind the counter jerk. The door labeled "employees only" cracked open two inches, unveiling four bony fingers clutching the frame. A breath was ensnared in Misty's throat as she saw half a wrinkled face peering through the ajar door; one hazel eye leering at the girl.
Releasing a startled breath, Misty's wide eyes blinked a few times, unsure what to do or say. Much to her relief, there was indeed somebody in this store! Misty knew she saw something that attracted her to this shop! Yet, something still did not seem right. Backing away from the display counter, Misty then took a careful step forward towards the door. "…Hello?"
The door shuddered loudly, causing Misty to freeze in her tracks. The mysterious person's hand gripping the door vibrated, as if in fear of the young girl. "It's okay…" Misty reassured, wearing a nervous yet friendly expression to prove no harm. "…I'm not a thief or anything. I've just been looking to see if anyone's here." In many ways, Misty was relieved to have found someone. "My friends and I just arrived in town, and…"
Whatever else she was about to say once again got snarled inside her throat in the midst of a sudden gag. "What…the…?" Misty choked, prompting a hand to her face to pinch her nose and cover her mouth. Out of the clear blue, a vile stench attacked her nose like a fireball. The odor manifested remarkably quickly, as if some foolish child tossed a stink bomb into the perfume shop. Such immature pranks reminded Misty of Ash's mentality, but the red-haired girl knew he was elsewhere with Brock. So then, what in God's name caused the stench? Certainly, such fetor could not be credited to the store's fragrant perfume, unless they specialized in Essence of Gloom. True, the perfume shop was overwhelmingly odoriferous, but now it just smelt putrid.
This smell, however, was much worse than a Gloom. Misty was a Water Pokemon trainer. Often, the fish-like Water Types emitted unpleasant odors, especially when their hygiene was neglected. When Misty was an innocent five-year-old, she accidentally forgot to turn on the filtration system for her sisters' Goldeen tank. The fish remained healthy, but the unfiltered water rapidly putrefied into a foul smell, reminiscent of Misty's current surroundings. The fetor was enough to make the poor girl throw up. What the hell is that stench?!
Her watering aqua eyes barely noticed the "employees only" door click again, this time closed. No longer was that unknown person leering at Misty, alarming her to follow. "Wait!" she called out, her voice rough between stifled gags as she rushed behind the counter. Her slender fingers nearly scraped against the metallic doorknob, before…
…Before Misty's red and white trainers squeaked to a halt.
The white parts of her sneaker were instantly stained crimson as Misty's foot splattered into a red puddle. The puddle led into an enlarged trail, several feet away from the stunned redhead. Hidden in the far recesses behind the perfume shop's display counter was a body laying facedown in a blood pool. Judging by the bloodstained apron tied around the blonde woman's back, Misty assumed she was an employee.
A hand flew to Misty's agape mouth while her blue eyes widened further. Oh my God! Her first assumption was the store had been held-up, and this poor saleswoman had been shot and left for dead. That might have explained why the shop was empty…perhaps. Misty figured she could unearth the details later. Considering the superfluous amount of blood leading to the unmoving woman, Misty knew she had to call the police immediately. Checking for vital signs might tamper with the crime scene, and waste valuable time.
There's gotta' be a phone around here somewhere, Misty prayed, spying a touchtone phone next to the cash register. Seizing the receiver, Misty's fingers nearly flew to the digits 911 before the dial tone buzzed…
…Yet, the dial tone never buzzed. Misty nearly dropped the phone upon realizing it was dead.
The phone definitely crashed to the gruesome floor when Misty's eyes fell back on the bleeding woman. The saleswoman's bloodied fingers twitched oddly, attached to a moving arm that staggeringly propped her upwards to her knees. Half of Misty's instincts told her to assist the wounded woman, while the other half screamed at her to back away. It can't be...! Surely, it was impossible for a woman who suffered substantial blood loss to rise to her feet! Perhaps the blood was not her own…
…But Misty begged to differ, especially when a faucet of blood poured out of the salesclerk's retching mouth. A small shriek escaped Misty's lips as she backed away from the rapidly growing red puddle, slamming her back into the "employees only" door. Faint dizzy spots hindered Misty's vision upon noticing the pool of blood contain dark, mushy pieces of…something Misty preferred not to identify.
The once-pristine glass counter became slathered in red rivers and trickles as the saleswoman propped herself against it. Pained moans and gargles escaped her mouth as the blonde's head bobbed into focus. It was only when she faced Misty that the onlooking girl was able to see the full extent of the woman's injuries. The reddened apron and clothes were torn in too many places to count. Her blonde hair was a sticky mess of reddish-brown, skin an ill purple-red hue, and eyes perpetually rolled in the back of her head.
The woman also happened to be propping herself up with one arm on the counter…because she only had 'one' arm. The other arm was still lying motionless in the bloody puddle.
Misty could feel the blood pounding in her head. Now Misty knew she was certainly not looking at the unfortunate victim of an armed robbery. She was staring at a walking nightmare, staggering closer and closer to the petrified young girl. Desperate moans became louder as the woman gritted bloodied teeth at Misty. The stench from earlier became stronger as the ghastly creature's shuffling feet waded through her own blood.
The redhead's own blood ran cold. Misty did not know what to do or say, though it was quite obvious that reasoning would not work with this…monster. Misty was smart enough to know she was not staring at a 'human.' Mental warnings screamed at the girl to run…run…RUN!!
But where could Misty run? Just as she turned towards the store's entrance, whence Misty came, she heard the door's little bell ring. Another person staggered into the shop: a man in the identical gory condition of the saleswoman! More ghoulish creatures were following him, too, all heading in the same direction: towards Misty!
She did not have time to ask questions! It was pretty damn obvious these creatures were after her, so without delay, Misty seized a Pokeball. "Staryu! Rapid Spin!" she screamed, releasing the jewel-like Pokemon careening into the salesclerk's torso. Misty did not know whether to sigh or scream upon watching her Pokemon's attack was powerful enough to snap the woman in half. Frail and brittle like decayed bone, the clerk's spine shattered. The woman Misty once pitied now landed back into the blood pool, this time in two unmoving halves.
Misty did not have time to sigh, scream, retch, or cry before three more decayed monsters strolled through the shop's door. Staryu could keep fighting, but God only knew how many more of these monsters were coming! Staying in the perfume shop was certainly not safe, so Misty decided to run. Recalling her Pokemon to its Pokeball, Misty then spun around and turned the backdoor's knob. To her unparalleled relief, the door opened, though Misty was surprised to find it led to an empty hall. She had no idea where it went, but it was definitely a clear passage.
Only for a second did she ponder, What happened to that person who was watching me?
But now was not the time for such. Misty burst through the door, slammed it shut, and then dashed down the dark corridor. Various boxes marked "fragile" cluttered the hallway, presumably for storage purposes. Misty tripped on a few boxes, but never stopped. Her body pulsed with adrenaline and horror, all inducing her to keep moving, never stop, and above all:
Find Ash and Brock!
"Hello?" Ash called out as he and Pikachu entered the small Nemi's Restaurant. It was a quaint little diner-like setting: various four-seater booths and tables, and a small bar further back. Considering all the lights that were on inside, Ash and Pikachu were amazed to find the restaurant totally empty.
As the boy and mouse walked around the casual dining room, the sinking feeling Brock had was also beginning to bother Ash. It was very strange how such a lively-looking city had no life whatsoever. Ash did not honestly believe everyone was sleeping, either, despite his earlier comment. But why else does the city look deserted?
Shrugging the chilling idea out of him, Ash and Pikachu proceeded to the back of the restaurant. The back wall consisted of a large metal door that obviously had to lead to the kitchen. Next to the door was the small bar, with its bottles shining brightly from overhead lights and the mirror behind them. Everything looked untouched and perfect, minus the idea that nobody else was around.
Attempting to set aside the uneasy feelings, Ash placed a hand on the bar's polished countertop. Pikachu hopped of its master's shoulder, carefully inspecting the bar for any life signs. Even Ash noticed the disturbing immaculacy of the counter. It was unblemished by fingerprints or rings of condensation from drinks, lacking any indications of recent usage. Yet, there was obviously no dust, either. The restaurant must not have been 'abandoned' for an excruciatingly extended period of time.
"Pikachu…" Ash whispered, keeping his eyes on the yellow mouse as it scampered over towards the bar's cash register. The stubborn boy never liked to admit whenever he got scared. However, as the seconds ticked, Ash started to also strongly believe he and his friends were the only souls in the city.
When he was a carefree five-year-old, Ash and his old pal Gary used to imagine a world where they were the only people in it. Then the boys could do whatever they wanted, free of the grown-ups' rules, bedtimes, baths, and so forth (things typical freedom-craving kids hated). But now older and a little more mature, Ash realized that being "alone in a world" was not as fun as his five-year-old self imagined. It was…frightening. True, he knew Misty and Brock were elsewhere in the city, but they were not by Ash's side right now, so he still felt uneasy. Of course, Ash would have been damned if he ran outside after his friends, even if he felt a nagging urge to do so. Misty would love nothing better than to tease Ash for being a big baby, and Ash refused to give her that satisfaction. Besides, there was nothing to worry about, and he could take care of himself.
Swallowing any nerves, Ash returned his attention to Pikachu. "Where do you think everyone is, buddy?"
Perching itself atop the bar's cash register, Pikachu shrugged innocently. With a bird's eye view of the restaurant, the electric rodent surveyed the immediate area, using its keener Pokemon senses to try and pinpoint any residents. Pikachu's ears and nose twitched, but detected nothing. The solitude was starting to trigger red flags in Pikachu's mind, too. Something was definitely wrong with this city.
"I guess…we might as well leave and head for the Pokemon Center," Ash concluded, feeling stupid for coming to the restaurant in the first place. Cuing Pikachu to hop back on his shoulder, Ash blinked upon noticing the mouse's long ears prick suddenly. Instead of returning to Ash, Pikachu leapt down off the bar and scampered towards the large kitchen doors.
"Pikachu?" Ash asked, following his Pokemon to the enormous doors. "What's wrong?"
Sniffing the metallic doors, Pikachu then noted "Pikapi, pikachu!" whilst pointing towards the kitchen.
"Somebody's in there?" Ash translated, smiling soon after Pikachu nodded. "Great! At least there's someone else here!" Boy, what a relief that was! At this point, the boy forgot all about his earlier hunger that coerced him to visit Nemi's. More than anything, Ash just wanted to find a townsperson, proof that there was indeed life in the city. With a small grateful smile, Ash carefully pushed open the swinging kitchen doors, silently nodding for Pikachu to follow inside.
The young trainer never noticed the skittish expression Pikachu displayed as the Pokemon hopped back onto its master's shoulder.
With one final blow, a rickety wooden backdoor burst open, almost sending Misty flying onto the pavement. She was fortunate to catch her balance before falling, and stumbling forward, the girl took notice of her new surroundings. The winding passageway from the perfume shop led to a street…the same street Misty, Ash, and Brock entered the city. From there, the girl could see the neon sign of the Pokemon Center in the distance. That was where Misty's friends were patiently waiting for her, thus it was the place she wanted to be!
But that did not mean Misty's nightmare was over, of course. Seemingly out of every door and alley, more 'monsters' staggered into the streets like mindless pack hunters. Pumping as much adrenaline as possible into her tired legs, Misty set her sights on the Pokemon Center's neon sign. Once Misty reached the Center and found Ash and Brock, everything would be okay.
…At least…she hoped so.
TO BE CONTINUED
A/N: So it begins! (I'm sure the readers of my past Pokemon fluff fics are thinking to themselves: "Aiselne wrote this?! Where's the squee?! Where's the Ash-adorableness?! Who the *bleep* are you and what have you done with Aiselne?!" – Heh, you guys are getting a crash course in what I mean when I say my fanfics are bipolar: either sweet and adorable, or gritty and dark ^_^). Muwahaha, Aiselne's evil side!
I'm sure Resident Evil fans felt some nostalgia with this story (especially if you're a veteran of the old RE PlayStation (One) games [Resident Evil 1-3], which were my prime sources of inspiration). Some scenes in this fic purposely mimic RE scenes, others are from my own sick imagination. (I'm actually curious to know how many readers of this fic are Resident Evil/Survival Horror gamers, too. To readers unfamiliar with RE, I certainly hope you enjoyed/understood this first chapter. I'm doing my damnedest to ensure this fic can be followed without prior knowledge of Resident Evil).
Chapter 2 will be released next week. Until then, what did you readers think of the first chapter? Reviews help fight the battle against writer's block, you know. ^_-