Night In Strange House: A Pokémon Fanfiction
By Spiral Breeze
"Where did you get that?" Ash asked staring at the black stationary with trepidation. Pikachu looked as if he was ready to shock the envelope to bits.
"Nurse Joy said it was just delivered for me. I've been invited to a Halloween party." Cilan opened the card again. "It says transport will arrive at two this afternoon, and I and my friends will be over night guests. The party is tomorrow evening and only the strongest trainers have been invited."
"Daisy said Misty was invited to a Halloween party somewhere in Unova, she described an envelope just like that, Sweet Scent and everything. Who's it from?"
"Hmm..." Cilan looked at it again, Iris peered down at the black paper as well. "It doesn't say, someone wrote in silver ink, "Signed a fellow TraiNer", and see, the 'N' is capitalized."
"It's really weird." Iris stated.
"Eww, eww." Axew nodded in agreement.
"Well, you know what this means don't you?" Cilan asked. He was beginning to get that super excited look in his eye.
"It's costume time!"
Startled from Cilan's outburst, Pikachu nearly fell off Ash's shoulder.
"Oh no..." Their female companion groaned, but she seemed to be a hiding a smile. Who didn't love dressing up for Halloween?
"Wait, we don't know who this trainer is, and you've already decided to go?" Even Ash was surprised that Cilan possessed that little in rationality.
"Well, yes." Cilan looked at the envelope again, running his fingers along the clean sharp edges and sniffing the paper. "You want to go because Misty will be there." It wasn't a question.
The young man nodded in defeat.
"Well, an invitation such as this only comes once in a blue moon, this paper is exquisite, the hand written calligraphy penned by a true master of the craft! Whoever is hosting this party is very wealthy indeed, and I wont say no to such lavish hospitality, that would be rude. So! As I stated before, it's costume time!"
Everything seemed to be happening at lightening speed, which Ash was otherwise used to, but there was still a nagging feeling preventing him from being truly excited. He just couldn't shake the feeling of the nightmare from his memory. Zoroark, Misty, her ice cold hands. He sighed as he listened to his best friends talk frenziedly about what costumes they would wear to the party. Perhaps that nightmare was nothing to worry about, maybe it was just that, an awful dream, and there was no need to get so worked up over it, despite how incredibly real it felt. He shivered again when he recalled those icy cold fingers.
"Nurse Joy might know where we can go to get some costumes!" Exclaimed Iris. "I hope we can find something extra cute for Axew."
"Ew?" It was the small dragon type's turn to roll his eyes.
Ash followed Cilan and Iris to the reception desk. As he absentmindedly petted Pikachu in between the ears, he allowed himself to feel some measure of excitement for the party, especially since it meant seeing Misty after all these years.
"Pikachu, what would you like to go as?" He asked his best partner, he knew Pikachu could sense his apprehension but that didn't mean he was going to prohibit the Pocket Monster from having fun on the scariest day of the calendar.
"Pi pikachu! Pika pi!"
The electric mouse pointed to a sofa in the lobby where a Harlequin, who would normally be out in the streets performing, sat reading today's paper due to the rain. Ash couldn't help but chuckle at his partner's choice. It certainly would up his cute factor; Iris might get jealous.
"Excuse me Nurse Joy, are there any places to purchase costumes in town?" Cilan, ever the gentleman.
"Last minute Halloween shopping?" She asked with a smile. "There's a party supply store down the street, but be careful out there, it's a really nasty storm. Hopefully, it clears up for tomorrow, we usually get a lot of trick or treaters."
The three friends gave their thanks and looked to the large windows of the Pokémon Center, where the wind and rain was pounding on the streets outside. Ash had seen worse storms than this. He tucked Pikachu inside his jacket and pulled down the brim of his hat.
"I'm ready if you guys are."
"Ready." Iris nodded as Axew hid in the seemingly never ending depths of her hair.
"Hmm..." Cilan glanced down at his fine leather shoes. "Thank goodness for water proofing spray."
They made a mad dash for the exit, and laughed and squealed like preschoolers let out for recess, all the way down the main street. The party shop was easy to spot, with it's ghoulish decorations outside. As they got closer however, Ash stopped dead in his tracks, his heart suddenly pounding in his chest.
"Wow! It looks so real!" Iris giggled excitedly, rain dripping down her nose.
"Yes, it is very life like, but at least twice as tall!" Cilan carefully examined the huge Zoroark dummy. "This will no doubt scare many children tomorrow."
"Uh, Cilan, I think it's scaring Ash now."
"Ash!" The older boy ran up to his side, where he had stopped in the middle of the street, which thankfully was devoid of traffic. "It's okay Ash, it's only a dummy... just think of it as an extra large Poké Doll."
"Pika, pi?" Pikachu had left the warm confines of his trainer's jacket to perch upon his shoulder, and try to shake him out of his sudden paralysis. This time Pikachu knew a small electric jolt would be just fine. He released a small Thunderbolt, hitting Cilan as well in the process. They both cried out in surprise more than pain, and Ash tried to laugh it off.
"Ha ha! Th-thanks P-pikachu." He was still very much shaken.
"As long as you're all right Ash." Cilan said with a slight grimace from the shock.
Pikachu nodded and proceeded to apologize to his friends, looking properly embarrassed about forgetting the torrential downpour.
"Yeah, I'm fine... it's just, the one in my dream, that's how big the Zoroark was."
"Come on! Axew and I are getting drenched!" Iris called before she entered the party store.
Cilan placed a hand on Ash's shoulder, leading him to the store, keeping him on the opposite side of the huge dummy. Once inside, they were greeted by a very friendly staff member who assisted them in not only finding costumes for themselves but for their Pokémon as well. Pikachu was overjoyed to find his harlequin costume, while Iris was happy to find a princess costume from one of her favorite movies. She also seemed overly enthusiastic to find the matching prince costume for Axew. Cilan found a Phantom of The Pokémon Musical costume for himself and he quickly got into character, much to Iris' annoyance. However, that emotion was quickly replaced when Cilan asked her to find something unique for Pansage to dress up as, he was thinking about The Red Fog, another movie favorite. Ash, meanwhile wandered the aisles with Pikachu on his shoulder, who clutched his costume much like he did with ketchup bottles.
The thought of the Zoroark dummy lingered in the back of his mind as he perused the store for his own costume. His eyes fell on a pirate hat and he quickly made up his mind. If he knew Misty, which he liked to think that he did, she would be dressed as a mermaid, which meant that a weather beaten pirate would be the perfect accompaniment.
"What d'ya think Pikachu?"
"Pika!" The electric mouse nodded in excitement, the prospect of getting all those Rare Candies just from dressing up was way too enticing.
Ash pulled the hanger from the shelf and carried it to the front of the store.
"Hey Ash, you find something?" Iris asked, adjusting a glittery tiara on her voluminous hair.
"Ah, a pirate? Arg!" Cilan chuckled. "Come, let's pay for these so we can get back to the Pokémon Center. The invitation stated we'll be picked up at two." He glanced at his C-Gear. "Hmm, lunch time exactly."
Both Ash and Pikachu's stomach's growled.
"I guess, those two are better time keepers when it comes to that."
They all shared a laugh as they each took turns paying for their various items. Still in giggles, they ran back to the Pokémon Center, all thankful that Ash was able to pass the huge Zoroark dummy without a second incident. After eating a befitting lunch of grilled cheese and chicken noodle soup, they gathered their belongings from their room and checked out. Cilan made it a point to stop by the Poké Mart counter in order to stock up on some much needed supplies.
"It's better to be safe than sorry." He stated ominously.
Ash nodded in understanding. This was, after all, a complete stranger's home they were going to, regardless of how many trainers and other Pokémon were going to be there.
By the time all their preparations were done, it was nearly two o'clock. They were waiting in the lobby, sitting in the window seats keeping an eye on the storm outside, when the double doors slid open. A gentleman walked to the reception desk and bowed to Nurse Joy. He must have asked a question because she pointed to where they were sitting, and as he walked over, Ash noted his unusual uniform, it was very old fashioned, by at least a century.
"Ah, good afternoon, I am Chadwick, my master's driver. Which of you is Cilan the leader of the Striation Gym?"
"That would be I." Cilan stood and bowed, at least one of them knew how to deal with formality. "These are the friends that shall accompany me."
Chadwick gave them a quick glance, and bowed to both Iris and Ash in turn.
"Very well, it is a pleasure to meet your acquaintance."
He bowed again and began to collect what few belongings they had and together with Chadwick in the lead, they walked out into the rain for the second time that day. What met their eyes however, was very much unexpected. They had believed they would be picked up by a limo, or at the very least a well appointed luxury sedan. Instead, two Zebstrika stood dripping with water, drawing between them a sleek, yet eerie looking black carriage.
The driver first helped Iris inside, then Ash and Cilan. As they took in the interior of the vehicle, they heard Chadwick fastening their bags to the covered roof rack. The inside was quite exquisite, the seats were black leather with brass fittings, a deep red jacquard wall paper lined the entire inside, and on the floor the same color Mareep wool carpet. The only lighting came from two brass oil lamps fixed to opposite sides between the windows, illuminating their wet faces in an unaccustomed glow.
"I apologize for this form of transport, however, my master is very much against technology of any sort." Chadwick made a final adjustment of the door handle, securing them all safely inside. "If you need anything during our drive, don't hesitate to pull that cord, it rings the bell, I can't hear you otherwise."
Pikachu gave a pull and they all heard a bell ring somewhere outside on the front of the carriage, one of the Zebstrika whinnied. A moment later, they heard a whistle and they were moving forward at a lively trot, the rain beating down overhead. It only took a few moments for the lull and sway of the carriage to send Ash drifting off to sleep.
~ (-o-) ~
"Ash, wake up!"
"Hey sleepy head!"
"Who'd ya think it was?"
Ash sat up, he was slightly confused, while he was very happy to see the red head standing in front of him, he didn't recognize his surroundings when he looked around the room.
"Where are we?" He turned his head but she was gone. He heard her giggling somewhere out in the hallway.
"Betcha can't catch me Ketchum!" Her sing song voice echoed.
He threw the covers off himself and walked out into the hallway, listening again for the sound of her laughter. He was inside a very old desert style mansion, like the type common in Lentimas Town. Antique solid wood beams crossed the expansive ceilings in every direction he turned. In corners stood ancient hand painted pottery and on walls hung hand woven Mareep wool tapestries in deep saturated colors. He could still hear her giggling and followed the sound into yet another large room.
A girl in a white night dress was standing by the window, but it wasn't Misty.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean-"
"I can't find Abra."
"Um... ok, well maybe me and Misty can help you look for your Pokémon."
"That's very nice of you." She still had not turned to face him, her long brown hair seemed dull and lifeless in the morning light streaming through the window. "But, it's really no good you see."
"No, it's fine, we can help you."
"You can't help me Ash Ketchum, but I wish you could."
"I'm sorry, do I know you? I don't even know where I am." He took a step closer. "Have you seen my friend Misty?"
"Misty?" She asked, the name sounded strange on her tongue. "No, she's not here."
"Uh... I just saw her, she woke me-"
The door suddenly slammed shut behind him, causing Ash to nearly fall in surprise.
"Did you do that? What's-" He turned back to face her and the girl was standing mere inches in front of him, but it wasn't the girl with the brown hair, it was Misty, yet she looked sick and very pale.
"You can't help me Ash, because I'm already dead."
His heart seemed to plummet in his chest as Misty's hand reached for his arm, but went straight through, leaving an icy numbness in it's wake.
To Be Continued...