It's a lazy summer day in a quaint little neighborhood. A young boy is sprawled out on his bed, training and battling his pokémon like any normal child does.

"Yes! It's super effective!" He shouts triumphantly.

His mother calls from downstairs. "It's time for dinner!"

"Okay, I'll be right down!" he calls back. "Right after I beat this guy," he adds under his breath. With the hit of a button, the other foe's pokémon is knocked out cleanly. The battle scene switches to regular game-play and the boy quickly brings up the menu, scrolling through the options.

"Aaaaaaaand save," he says conclusively. A pleasant tone rings through the speakers, confirming the save, and he shuts off the game system.

His mother calls his name again.

"Okay, I'm coming!"

He sets his game onto his nightstand and heads for the door.

It shuts behind him with a soft click.

The pokémon that is a part of my party stands at the ready, waiting for the command from above. It never listens to me, just to the commands.

I'm watching the battle, but I'm not a part of the scene at the moment. I don't know where I am. I never really thought about it before. I'm just here.

It's during these times that I just want to walk.

Just walk.

I don't care where I go. I just want to move.

The music changes and I bring my attention back to the scene.

Looks like they won. Well I guess it's time then.

Everything goes black.

When color comes back to the world, I'm standing in a field in front of a trainer. He says the same thing the others say. I've stopped listening after I realized they're not really talking to me.

It seems so real though.

When they talk.

But every time they do, a box appears above their head containing each word they say. They don't say anything else. Whatever is in the box is what they'll say.

No more, no less.

Sometimes, if I ignore the box, I can almost pretend they're really talking to me.

To the real me.

Not the programmed me that they're supposed to talk to. The me that wants to talk back, that wants to have a conversation, that wants to move.

The me that wants to do something different.

But that will never happen.

Hasn't happened.

Not for however long I've been forced to walk through the same routes, towns, caves.

They're all the same.

They never change.

The people never change.

I'll never change.

Above my head, I can sense another box popping up. I can't move to confirm but, I've gotten a knack for sensing when this one appears.

I don't know what is going to be selected but, considering a battle was just won, I expect what usually happens after that.

The world freezes around me and my suspicions are confirmed. Everything that was moving before has stopped. A trainer I could see just ahead, who was walking in circles just a moment a go, has stopped dead in their tracks. The trainer I had just battled doesn't change though. He's always silent and still. He only talks if I'm commanded to interact with him.

The world unfreezes after what feels like forever and I continue staring ahead.

I prepare myself mentally for what almost always comes after moments like these.

Fixing my eyes straight ahead, I try to stay calm as I try not to think about what's coming. The darkness. The darkness where I can't think.

I hate that darkness.