Based on the infamous "Glitchy Red." Its premise inspired me so much that I decided to write a oneshot about it.
This is, in no shape or form, canon to my manga-mixed-with-game verse. Once again, it's based on Glitchy Red. xox
You are really naïve.
You wake up in a house, a normal-looking house. You don't remember why you're here – but you decide that maybe you should explore a little. You head down the steps – the house doesn't blink or change, no abnormalities whatsoever. You notice strange bars to your side as background music as if illustrating your life plays, on occasion stopping on one note and turning into a high-pitched screeching sound. After the world turns to black for a few seconds, it returns to normal – and you breathe a sigh of relief. You had heard in the past of strange occurrences with trainers with bloody tears streaming down their faces, and quite frankly you didn't want to end up the same way.
As you explore normally like you had in another, very similar world to this one, you find that despite the occasional blinking and music stopping that you had encountered earlier, this world is quite like the one that you had lived in previously. You acquire your Pokémon as normal – and, of course, just for the sake of a good laugh, you call your rival, whose name is once again forgotten by his grandfather, "Douche." As Douche's grandfather asks for your name, you answer with the first one that comes to your mind – Red.
Your journey is fun – difficult, but fun. You don't regret starting it. And you don't feel disturbed.
Until you see a SNES in Celadon's mall.
You stare at it. You want to say, "Dad would like this!" because, of course, he would. However, instead, your words turn out to be, "Where is Dad?"
Where is Dad?
But – that doesn't make sense. You could've sworn…
It's just a mistranslation, you decide. You… were probably distracted when you were talking. You didn't mean to say that, and of course if you look at the SNES again—
"Where is Dad?"
No. The form you take doesn't have a conscience. You were mishearing yourself. Of course you said, "Dad would like this!" You are just imagining things. It's just another aspect of this world to shrug off, just like those random bars and the music stopping…
You move away from the SNES, leaving it alone. It's time to shop for your Pokémon. Maybe you could look at the SNES again on your way out, and you will see that really, that was just a figment of your imagination. With a long, odd glance turning back to the SNES, you walk off – your Pokémon follow you loyally, faces impassive, like as if nothing had just happened. Doubt clouds your head, and your eyes widen unconsciously, and – you know what, you just have to check the SNES again.
So you do.
And blink in surprise at what you subconsciously say next.
"Who created me?"
Who created me?
So… the form you inhabit does have a conscience, and you aren't just imagining it. A grin lights your face. This is a great addition to the mechanics of your world. You find it funny, hilarious, even. You think it creative that the creators of your world even bothered to give this character life, a conscience. Of course, as you know already, this is not real… but it amuses you beyond belief. You had always been entertained by the breaking of the fourth wall, just like any other adventurer of various worlds.
But this character is not real.
Was never real, in fact.
You think of the creator of this world and thank them for the temporary entertainment. It amuses you, and now, you simply cannot leave this adventure alone. You call your Pokémon, your servants, to follow you once more. You are done here, after all.
You don't even notice a gaze settled on you, because this is all a game to you.
Nothing can touch you here.
Every time that you had gone on an adventure similar to this one, you had always tried a certain trick that allowed you to mess up the world. As like everything in this journey, it's entertainment to you to see the sprite of the form you inhabit messed up, to see people walking by you with blank looks spread across their faces. You decide, since you have done so on previous adventures, why not do so here? The world surrounding you here is already glitched up beyond belief – adding a little more to it wouldn't hurt and would only provide you with laughter.
You fly back to Viridian, ignoring a cry from your Pokémon like as if it notices something off. Let me have a little fun, you think. Indeed, images of random numbers floating around make you giddy – especially the image of the glitchy figure. The name floats in your head since you have done this already – the name of Missingno., your old friend from journeys ages ago. You would have greeted him in a previous adventure of yours, but you decided to save the Pokémon that you had gained there and instead try it out in this new adventure. That way, there would be no repercussions.
You try what has been lovingly dubbed the "Old Man trick" by fellow travelers and hardcore adventurers that you had chatted with outside of this realm. The Old Man walks up to you, as predicted. You fly, as predicted. You do everything as predicted.
… And nothing happens.
You look around in alarm. Where is he? Missingno. did not decide to greet you. You think maybe that Missingno. had been removed, but then immediately disregard the idea, as you had seen the Viridian forest glitching up like crazy – if other areas glitched, then surely the block would appear as is planned.
This… is strange. As far as you can remember, nothing like this happened before.
And then you hear him.
"Nice try, Red." Your player name. That isn't what alarms you, though.
The real Red just spoke. He just spoke.
You look around, your heart racing. How is this possible how did he just speak I am him so how is this possible no no no this is all wrong he's not he's not this is a game it's—
You are at the Pokémon Mansion again. Wait… what the hell are you doing here! You remember distinctly that you didn't put a tag at the Pokémon Mansion… your last tag was before you even attempted to encounter Missingno. again. You look around, looking for any sign of why you could possibly be here, but you see nothing except for walls surrounding you. You don't even see the Red who supposedly talked to you earlier. Was that… was that just your imagination?
You move slowly, fear gripping your heart tightly like a poison-tipped claw. You don't dare do anything reckless – you have no idea what the flip is going on, and quite frankly you don't want to risk anything anymore, either. Maybe you can just inconspicuously continue like as if you saw nothing… you heard nothing… like as if this is normal…
That idea gets thrown out the window when, as soon as you leave the mansion, a very very very familiar message that you dread seeing pops up:
"DING-DONG! Time's up! Your safari game is over!"
What… but… I…
Since when the hell did I do the Glitch City glitch!
You know what this means…
Oh dear God.
The dialog box appears in front of you, and you're scared to death at the thought of what might happen if you close it. Slowly, hesitantly, you do so – there is nothing else you can do, and you can't find a work around. You might as well endure it… you might as well see what horror awaits you…
You are transported outside of the Safari Zone gate. You hear the attendants asking you if you got a good haul, but honestly, you don't give a damn about what they have to say. Even if you wanted to listen to whatever they wanted to say, your heart is pounding too hard for you to hear, anyway. Your chest hurts and you feel dizzy as you start sweating – you know whatever is going to happen is not good news.
You walk through the door, your eyes squeezed shut…
… but instead of seeing the jumbled numbers and strange figures that make no sense as you were expecting, you are instead greeted with a much more, usually comforting sight – Pallet Town. Your home town for this adventure.
Only problem is, you can't hear the familiar music that was previously following you no matter where you went.
And then his freakin' voice is back.
"This isn't where I'm from. I've been lied to."
His voice, so sad…
His voice, so agonized…
Oh my God what is going on here why what where who how
AND OH MY GOD I CAN'T MOVE.
Your legs won't move. You can't move.
You just want to get the hell out of here. This is creeping you the fuck out. Is this some cruel joke! You whip your head around, wanting to scream. And why the hell can't you move!
You take deep breaths, deep breaths. Calm down, you say to yourself. Calm calm calm. You can get out this. You can leave this place. Okay, so you can't move. But you are able to Fly. You distinctly remember getting a Pidgeot that knows Fly, and oh my God he will be your savior. You find yourself being comforted, feeling so much better… okay, okay. And you check your Pokémon…
Oh my FUCKING GOD.
To your horror, your Pidgeot is gone.
But that's not all.
He is actually replaced. In his place you see a Raticate, level sixteen. You know this just can't be possible – Rattatas don't evolve until level twenty.
Curiosity overcomes your terror as you check the Raticate's stats. It definitely is abnormal – Hyper Beam, Quick Attack, Glare, and Skull Bash. You don't know if Raticate can even learn the latter two of the moves. As well, the rat Pokémon is barely clinging on – it only has one hit point left, and on top of that is poisoned – if you took a step, it would faint. But that's not what alarms you the most.
The Raticate's OT is Blue.
You remember distinctly that Blue is the "canon" rival's name. However, this memory conflicts with another – you also remember that you named your rival "Douche."
… This is Blue's Raticate that you have right now.
For some reason, you feel like healing it. You know, what the hell.
So you back out of your Pokémon menu… only to find that the menu of everything else closes, and you can no longer access it. You can't heal the Raticate's poison.
What the fu—
Oh wait, you can move again, too.
And that you do, forgetting the poison. Confusion sweeps through you, until—
"We killed it."
… The real Red is referring to Blue's Raticate.
We killed it.
An empty feeling manifests at the pit of your stomach. Oh my God. You find you can look through the menus again, and check on your Pokémon – as you expect, Blue's Raticate is now gone from your party. Pidgeot apparently does not come back – there is only an empty slot where they used to be. And of course, as you expect, when you close out the menu, you can't open it again. You try moving.
I can't move.
… No, wait.
Red isn't letting me move.
This… this is a game. This is a joke.
"This happened to me. Why?"
You try to go back to your previous adventure, a remake of the one this world is based on.
It's corrupted, of course.
And, afraid it will corrupt your other adventure, you put away one that you were going to partake in.
You appear in Pallet Town again, and find, to your mild surprise, that the music is back – very comforting. You notice that the slot is still empty, telling you that indeed, you had not imagined what happened. However, at this point, you feel better, happier at the fact that you could now hear the music playing in the background. It seems everything is back to normal.
You bike to a Pokémon Center. You check the PC, and find that your Pidgeot is there, safely tucked away. He wasn't deleted at all… he's there. You withdraw him, feeling elated that he is now back in your team. You can continue your journey as normal, as if nothing happened. Red didn't exist. He never did.
You fly to Cinnabar – might as well fight Blaine and get that gym badge you needed.
You approach the door, sift through your pack.
"No." Red's voice. Again. Surprise.
My fucking God. He's not letting me enter the gym. What is this.
You try again and again to enter the damn gym. You start to feel sick – oh my God, not again.
"Everything that happened to me," Red continues, and you swallow as you endure his speech, "happened because the world let it happen to me." His voice starts to shake with fury, and the pit in your stomach returns. "I didn't become a hero on my own! I was manipulated. I never unlocked that door." You know he is referring to the gym door, and you stare at it blankly as he continues. "The door was unlocked because the game let me in." Anger escalating… "Everything you do, you do because the game lets you."
You try to move, try to escape.
And you can't fucking move again.
Red is not letting you move.
"I'm going to show you how it feels to be unable to choose your own fate." You shiver at Red's voice, filled with malice and anger and rage and concealed emotions that a game character should not have.
You give up moving, and open the menu – relief floods through you that you can, and you ride the back of Pidgey and leave the gym's front.
You don't feel so great, though. Because you know the only reason why you can Fly at all is because Red is letting you.
He's toying with me.
You Fly to Lavender, because, as far as you can recall… all the glitching, all the weirdness that happened… it never occurred in that particular town, and you feel safe there. You don't know why it is that Red never messed with you there, but it's a safe place.
Of course, you dare to try to leave to go to Fucshia.
Red is not pleased.
Well, fuck you, Red.
You open the menu, and decide that if you can't walk there, then you'll just have to Fly there.
HOLY FUCKING SHIT.
How did what in the world why what where oh my Gaaaaaaaawddddd—
A menu pops up, asking you if you want to save. There is no "NO" option.
No way in hell. There is no way I am going to save when I'm amongst a bunch of fucking incomprehensible numbers.
The world goes black. Again.
Of course, when you wake up again, you are still in Glitch City. Anger rushes through you like a flood – Red kept you here. Again. Is there nothing that you can control in this fucking game?
You check your party – and of course, you know Red wants you to. You check your Pidgeot and Kadabra, which, thankfully, are still there – and you freeze when you see that instead of having Fly and Teleport, they both have "Cursed." Not Curse, like the infamous other adventures you heard about – but "Cursed." You know that you can't select it – you know that if you do, something will happen… something irreversible. You leave the menu – and you hear Red's voice again, echoing through the air.
"You're staying here with me, Red." You find it odd that he refers to you with the same name as his own. "They replaced me because I was glitched and not good enouigh." You blink as you hear "enough" come out as a mangled mess instead of the usual word – if written in text, it would be typo'd. This… this doesn't make sense. "I thought this was my story," you frown, "but I'm just a character in a video game." His voice cracks, and despite all that Red has put you through, despite all the grief that he has made for you recently… you feel sorry for him. "They took everything from me. My voice. My freedom. My legacy. They replaced me with the brown-eyed kid."
You understand. Red is referring to the new kid in his remade adventure, with brown hair. You also remember that in another adventure, he had been demoted to a boss instead of a playable character. You swallow again – damnit. This is why he had been toying with you. You have a copy of the very adventure that he is referring to… Fucking guilt.
You find that you are able to move again, but you don't relish in this fact. For some reason, the world around you no longer glitches as you move again. Red is letting you have freedom… why?
You walk on water. You enter houses.
… You apparently go too far, as you hear his voice again.
"Am I a joke to you?"
A YES/NO option pops up. You hit the "NO" option as fast as you fucking can.
"Then why do you do these things to me?" Oh my God. "Why do you corrupt my world and show me glitches that aren't meant to be?" That's why… that's why he stopped me earlier when I was trying to encounter Missingno. Oh… my God. "Why do you want to hurt me with MISSINGNO.?"
I… I never meant to hurt you. It was… it was just fun and games! Wasn't it? There was… there was no harm it and I never meant any harm and I never meant anything by it… Red you're my favorite character I just I wanted to… oh…
No. No, you love Red. You always have, ever since you first started adventuring. Ever since…
How… When what…
"Why did I have to die? Just because I'm a hero?"
You dream. You see the brown-haired, new version of Red—
No. He's not Red. He's just… he's just Pokémon Trainer. Yes, that's it. That's all he is. I can't call him Red again. Not again. He's not Red.
You see a white pale body. It's chasing you… it tries to catch you. You can feel its pain, sorrow… everything falling on top of you and crashing and burning and you feel awful and what is this hurting feeling in your chest—
It slashes you. It doesn't hurt. Physically.
The last thing you see before you wake again is a boy – a boy with black hair, bright red eyes, and a red and white hat.
You can't bring yourself to inhabit Pokémon Trainer again. He's a fake, a fake fake fake fake fucking fake.
And when you encounter Red on Mt. Silver's top with Gold, you can't battle him.
Would he be happy? Angry? Nervous? Scared? … Vengeful?
No. You can't fight him again. You can't…
I don't know.
No matter what I do to him, he'll suffer the same fate.
It's just a game, you try to tell yourself.
But no matter how much you repeat that to yourself in your head, you can't forgive yourself. You can't forget the shaking in his voice…
"Why did I have to die?"
Gold and Ethan had taken his accomplishments from him. They became such a legend that there was nothing left of Red to be proud of himself.