From: S. Flamehair <> Subject: [PW!] On the Road from Viridian City! Date: Tuesday, November 09, 1999 5:16 PM Darkness. Pure darkness. Darkness so stifling it sucked the breath out of him. So dark, the light from the entrance was but a mere afterimage on his retinas. So overwhelming, the emptiness ground his bones to dust. Terror. Pure, unrefined, 100% sheer terror. The cacophony of sound that came only from his most horrible nightmare breathing down his neck, trampling him as he tried to escape it. Chuck was powerless to resist. He huddled in a niche, his panting drowned out by its. Staring at the approaching mass of utter and total darkness, he threw up his arms in a futile gesture of defense and drew even father into the niche. The nothing raised an appendage and, impossibly fast, struck. The scream was a broken, wailing, cracking thing. It was as if it couldn't decide a register to stay on. Chuck wondered where it came from as he felt blow after blow rain down on him. Strangely, he was also out of oxygen. Hungrily, he gulped air. The wail ceased, and it was again quiet. The wail was mine, Chuck realized. He opened his eyes, not remembering when he had closed them. "Finally!" Ray stood over him, holding a down pillow. "You've been screaming for a minute and a half straight. I thought you were going to pass out." Ray held out his hand, and Chuck took it, coming to his feet shakily. "You were huddled in that corner this morning when I woke up," Ray said slapping Chuck on the back. "Come on, we're leaving on our Trainer's Journey in an hour!" Chuck was standing. The air was perfumed with the lovely smell of burning toast and searing meat. Apparently, Chuck thought, Ray is mangling breakfast already. "You, sir," he called, "are the worst cook I know." Ray beamed. "Always glad to be of service!" Chuck Zoromski and Ray Neupert had been friends since they were in kindergarten, through grade school and junior high. The two tried to get together whenever an opportunity presented itself. This weekend, Ray was at Chuck's house, as both of their parents were at a convention together. Looking at the two, one couldn't tell much in common about them. Chuck, 16, was a lean, wiry, former wrestler who had a penchant for acting and woman chasing. He possessed a razor sharp wit and used it regularly. Ray, 15, on the other hand, was slightly overweight, heavy set, and a lifelong fall guy. His wit was a drier and slower one, but he enjoyed Chuck's ragging. Therein was the cement between the two. Chuck played the funny man to Ray's straight. And now, 5 years after most people did, they began their Trainer's Journey. Chuck quickly settled into his normal morning routine. There was nothing normal about this day though. Today was their first step to the Pokémon League, the day they finally left home. After scarfing down breakfast, getting dressed, and doing the final check on his packing, Chuck was ready to go. "Come on, Pyre," he called out to his pet Growlithe. Pyre was busy chowing down on Pokémeal when he heard his master's call. He swallowed, barked out a gruff {Good morning, what took you so long?} and got back to eating. "Ingrate," Chuck muttered. He turned to look at Sparq, Ray's Pikachu, who was likewise eating heartily this morning. He, however, was doing so as Ray walked outside with Sparq riding on his shoulders and his staff in his hand. Chuck snarled something inarticulate, and grabbed his loaded backpack and his finely polished katana blade. "Come on, Pyre!" he shouted, "We're leaving!" The Growlithe huffed, and left his food dish, an exact copy of which was in Chuck's pack. {Ray is impatient, isn't he?} Pyre ruffed. "That he is," Ray puffed as the two rushed to catch up. Chuck hastily strapped the sword to his body as Pyre raced ahead of Ray to stop him. "What's the rush?" "I wanted to get a head start," Ray said calmly. It was weird to Chuck that a guy as out of shape as Ray could be easily pacing Chuck. "But I thought---stop running! I thought that you didn't want to go for badges." Sparq answered that one. {No, he said that his goal wasn't to be a Master. There's a difference.} "Still," Chuck countered, "we don't have to get to Pewter in one day." Ray skidded to a slow walk. "Sorry, I guess my excitement got the better of me." "Yeah, well, just see it doesn't happen again," Chuck mock-scolded. {Hey, aren't you guys forgetting something?} Pyre asked. "Like what?" {Pokéballs, for one.} Ray slapped his forehead. "That's where I was going!" He turned and headed towards the Pokémart with Chuck on his heels. TBC (Yeah, I know it just kinda drops off there, but I'm running out of comp time and I needed to end this and get offline. More soon!) -- S. Flamehair Remove "_HOOPAK_" to reply via E-mail! "OhMaGawd, run! It's, like, a kender!"---Takhisis in her younger years ICQ# 29042774