Eevee TF Series
Ron was rarely the one to ask for advice, much less actual assistance. He often took his own paths and his own approaches to situations, using his own judgements and generally pouring his hope into their resolutions. Even in high school, his actions reflected a self-confident, independent man- but this never bothered him, nor anyone else. His reliance on his self set himself up for life as the above-average student, making good grades except for only the occasional B in some classes. His friends supported him, and never protested around him- not giving any sort of indication of anything troubling or out of place; they were happy for him. Thus he spen most of his early life in benign isolation, self-determinaton.
As he spoke his words carefully and slowly over the small hotel phone, his voice and speech betrayed him and his secret was let loose: he needed help. Crystal was just the kind of person for such a rare, impossible job. Her lip shifted around her teeth as she tried to pick out what kinds of sounds and whispering thoughts hid under the phone's static- queer silence, only broken by a strange sound that she concluded to be Eevee, roaming around the room. Nothing seemed unorthodox except for Ron. His coolness troubled her. Ron never asked for help, unless it was immediate or urgent, or just as a joke.
Lately, though, as she noted, he seemed somewhat different. Not just that he was asking for help, but he was just not as he usually was. She couldn't quite put a finger on it, but Ron just didn't seem like Ron lately. His reactions seemed similar to a man on a vacation- though, interning (even this far from home) for a college course could hardly be considered a break of any kind. He was lighter, smoother, and very casual- he had a way of turning her senses upside-down and inside-out, as if to completely rip the natural ESP right out of her head, crumple it up, and toss it onto a fire. The very idea of her gift being tortured like this infuriated her, but strangely impressed her. Her feelings fluttered freely to the extent that they could not have been read by even the most skilled readers- they raced across the spectrum of thought like the way a mosquito darts across a human's skin, searching for a suitable feeding spot, and promptly jumping to another place, more or less suitable, but only then deciding whether or not it was a good idea to move, or whether or not to go back, or even why they decided to move- or why they should continue to exist.
A hand came down and smacked one of the mosquitos into reality. Well then, if he needs me that much... Crystal shot forward out of her reclining chair and raced around the room for her necessary belongings. She grabbed up her walking shoes, then strode over to the front door of her apartment and slipped on her loose lavender coat- her favorite, which she often wore when she expected something exciting or unusual to happen. She tapped the cool brass handle, but quickly dashed back to the bathroom to decorate her hair and shoulders with the scents of various exotic berries and flowers- a smell which always put her at ease. At that she stepped out of the warmth of her chamber, into the cool outside air. She closed her eyes and smiled as a soft breeze swept through her hair. She locked the door and walked along the balcony, down the stairwell to the street below. The full moon above lit up the clouds in the late night like a pale blue sunset.
As she paced down the lonely street, she remembered that she was not much of a night person. Her watch read 11:40PM. "I guess I'm missing sunrise tomorrow," she sighed.
Something about seeing the sun rise up from behind the eclipse of the cool Coledgian mountain range made her face instantly light up each morning; an old friend smothering her in his early warm embrace. They had greeted each other every day since she was a young child. He would walk her to school (a short stroll of about a mile each way) and they generally held conversation along the way. They celebrated the good times together, and he comforted her in her mild depressions, which became more frequent in middle school, when her father was hospitalized. The news hit the Aistha family hard, but Crystal, then only 12, struggled to understand. Whenever she asked, her mother remained ambiguous, only repeating what the doctor said, "He's not getting any better." Alone in her confusion, she could only guess what her mother was really saying, and her insights became progressively more accurate.
Strangely, her high school years without her father were not as desolate as her mother thought they would be. Crystal, whose curiosity led her to more and more pursuits, was not so discouraged by the empty bed in her house's upper floor. In his last few days, her father Sampson once turned to look at her, with his eyes glowing pale with sorrowful pride. With some help from the nurses, he removed the silvery chain from his neck and held it in front of his 14-year-old daughter. A cold, lilac-pink stone, cut delicately into a perfect hemisphere, was held securely in its gleaming casing.
"Crystal... dear," he managed. "Take this-" he paused to cough. He took a deep breath before continuing, blue eyes apologizing from the white-wrapped bed. "Take this necklace, and-" again his voice trailed off and he coughed. The necklace he held with a cold hand out from the bed slipped through his frail fingers and plummeted to the tile floor. Crystal's eyes quivered at the sight, her father reeling over onto his other side away from her in a coughing fit. She raced down to the ground to collect his prized possession- the amethyst crystal necklace he bought when she was born. Tears emerged, trying to cloud her vision- there was a small crack in the precious gem. The impact of the frozen tile had created a narrow fissure starting from the lower left, and crossing over to the middle right side, all the way across the front. The sun from the window illuminated the stone, highlighting the new crack brightly, along with many other scratches and marks- fourteen years of experience. Her father's crystal was strong. No mere fall could ever break it.
A cool hand fell on her arm. A tired smile looked up at her, imbued with a kind of strength she had not seen in years. He held his other hand below the necklace. "Here." She carefully placed the jewel in his palm and with hands of an artisan, he spread the chain apart and reached for Crystal's head. She knelt down beside him lovingly. She felt the soft chain fall over her hair and her father's hands carefully lowered it around her ears. At last the necklace settled around her neck and Sampson, with his hair falling out in places, picked up the stone and closely examined the crack.
"Ah, that's nothing. A minor scratch. This old thing's been through a lot." He paused (without coughing) and placed the stone back in Crystal's hands, smiling widely at her. His hands reached up and grabbed her shoulders- she quickly got closer and leaned over, as close as she could get. His hold turned into a warm hug as he continued. "When you were born, all these fourteen years ago, your mother and I were just- overjoyed. That God could give us such a blessing as you, was just incredible. Right then, I went out and bought this just for you. Your mother suggested that we should give it to you when you were older, so I've held onto it for safekeeping. Well, you've certainly grown up since then, and so quickly too!" His voice started to become strained and hoarse. "You've grown into quite the young lady, and I am proud to have been your father. Doc says I might not be around for much longer, but no matter what," he paused to cough. "You'll always be my little girl." After that, he went into a coughing fit, and the Aistha family was gently ushered out of the room.
On the back rim of the beautiful stone's casing was engraved the words My Little Girl. The edges of the fancy, curling letters caught the soft moonlight and lit up. Crystal stared down at it fondly, proud of her father's persisting memory hugging around her neck. She held up the stone to the moon and allowed the cool bluish light to shine through. She could see all the bumps and scratches, and the large crack that appeared the day Sampson passed. It was utterly beautiful- and she always held it around her neck for good luck.
It wasn't long after her father died that her mother decided to move in with her parents, across the country. No one could blame her, though; she took Sampson's death harder than anyone else in the small family, and she needed moral support. Her parents warmly opened their house to them: a large elegant estate, with two floors with bedrooms for each of the three children, of which Crystal was the eldest.
While her mother grieved and sought a husband, Crystal renewed her academic life as a high school freshman, where she quickly found friends, including the soon-to-be couple Ron and Julia. They, along with many of their friends such as Valencia and Corbyn, graduated and continued on to the same community college.
Even in the hardest of times, she never cried for her father- not because she didn't love him, but rather because whenever she saw the sun rise, she knew he was with her. Each morning, she would go out and the dim cold sky would be broken suddenly by his warm embrace, and she always revelled in his delightful hugs.
After a half-hour's walk, she finally stepped into the humble Black Cat Inn, and was met with the musty smell of pet odors.
"Good evening," welcomed one of the attendants.
Crystal smiled and walked past gracefully. "No- good morning!" She displayed her watch, which read 12:10AM. The attendant laughed and waved her past, down the hall.
As she glided along, she could pick up traces of people's thoughts in the various rooms. Two rooms had couples enjoying each other's company, others had people sleeping- thoughts imperceptible among the numerous others (she never figured out how to read dreams while they were happening). What stood out the most was the private conversations of many pets; dogs, cats, and birds mostly, except for the occasional rat inside a wall. She was almost overwhelmed with the numerous readings. She focused her mind to track Ron's mind- she couldn't embarass herself by calling him. At last, she didn't have to worry, because a chorus of loud, strident squeaks turned her attention to a room that was just around the next corner. That certainly sounds familiar!
All hints of pet odor were wiped away by an electrical smell that a cautious dash to the door brought. Before stepping in front of the doorway, she let out a soft, controlled grunt and breathed in with her mouth, avoiding the nauseating smell. Looking down, she saw that the door's locking mechanism had been blown cleanly off its blackened mount, and heat still surrounded it, as if it was the site of a bomb explosion from only minutes ago. She slowly made her appearance in the doorway, offering an extravagant "Hello, Ron."
Just as she had intended, Ron spun around, startled by her smooth voice. "Ah- and, there she is." Ron gestured towards Crystal for Don, who sat next to him on the bed. "Be careful- she's a psycho."
Crystal was removing her coat, until she heard what he said. "That's psychic," she corrected with a friendly scowl. Despite the fact that it was very warm inside, she kept her coat on. She walked over to the bed and opened a window, letting in the cool outside air. The two men made room for her and she sat down between them. Sitting in a chair close to Ron was a girl she had never seen before, holding Eevee. "Who do we have here?" she asked, wary about the stranger holding the peculiar creature- the one she told Ron to keep a secret.
Ron got up and introduced her to Don, his loyal cab driver, and Victoria, a girl who haphazardly discovered him with Eevee, while sneaking around the hotel.
"So what's up-" she started to ask Ron, before Eevee jumped out of the girl's arms and dashed across the room. Ron's pointed finger followed the elated fox as it bounded over to the corner of the room, towards the one obvious thing the seer had managed to miss.
Her eyelids rose- a rare expression of hers. "There's more!"
Ron stood up, offering Crystal a hand. He walked her over to the corner of the room where the colorful bunch was gathered in a semicircle- numerous fox-like creatures that all looked very familiar to her, and one she had met earlier.
"Crystal, you already know Eevee." The small fox chirped in response.
"Yeah, we met earlier, didn't we?" She spoke to the adorable pokémon like a mother would speak to her baby. She sat down on the ground outside the circle and held out her arms for him to jump onto her, as she could tell he desired more than anything at the moment. "And I can see you have also managed to get a hold of a Vulpix, a Flareon, a Vaporeon, and a Jolteon, over there in the back." She tried to get the latter fox's attention by waving, but the stern creature refused to acknowledge her.
She looked back at Ron. "What's going on? Did you find more pokéballs scattered around the city? I should probably keep my eyes open more!" Ron shook his head slowly, hoping to get her to look for something else.
Eevee, cradled in her arms, started chirping. "Your necklace looks very pretty!"
She looked down to see Eevee playing with the smooth lavender rock, trying with its small paws to bat it around like a toy. "Well thank you!" she replied, patting the miniature head. "I- oh this awesome," she muttered. Her gaze switched to Ron. "I can understand what he's saying- that's just too cool!"
"That's what I was hoping for," he commented, smiling and nodding his head.
Her excitement began to overwhelm her. She knew she could understand animals' thoughts, but actually communicating with a pokémon was something she had only dreamed of doing. She turned to the Vulpix next. "How about you? Did Ron find you out and about as well?"
Vulpix looked over at his master. "Actually, no. Don over there has been my master and best friend for as long as I can remember."
"Awesome!" She extended her palm carefully towards the fox (whose masculinity, hidden underneath the curling red bangs, threw her off-guard for a moment). "Do you mind if I..."
"Go right ahead," he replied, and Crystal carefully tapped the locks of hair on his head.
She laughed joyfully as the springy curls bounced into place when she touched them. "It's so soft! And so warm too!" The Vulpix closed its deep eyes and purred as she stroked his neck and back, and she felt soothed by its warmth, like that of a quilted blanket one longs for on a cold winter's night.
She then turned to the Flareon, who was staring silently at her with an odd smirk. "And you, Flareon, I don't suppose you're related to Eevee here? Are you his dad, perhaps?"
The fox snickered before responding. "No Crystal- I am your father!"
Dumbfounded, Crystal stopped stroking Vulpix, frozen under the burst of snickering laughter from all the others. That voice- that cockiness- that couldn't be... Her mouth hung open, not knowing what to say.
"What's wrong, Crystal? Are you just so captivated by my attractiveness that you can't even speak?" Again, the condescending burst of snickering filled the room.
Ron saw that Crystal was trying to talk with what she thought was just an ordinary Flareon. He couldn't help but smile, knowing that Corbyn was no ordinary Flareon. He knelt down beside her and commented for her. "Yeah, that's the problem."
She looked between the two, confounded. At last she faced the Flareon, who was on his back, revelling in her confusion. "Corbyn?!"
"Hey, that's me!"
Again she stared, less shocked than before, but more serious, and now confused. "Wha- what- how? What happened to you, as if I dare asking?"
"I don't know, why don't you tell me, Mrs. 'I can read your mind'!"
She searched Ron's face for answers, until the Vaporeon stepped forward.
"Well, I'll tell you what, Crystal..."
Another shocking blow. "Valencia? You too? I don't-"
The Vaporeon set a cold paw on her knee to calm her down. "Crystal, honey, stop acting like such an infant. You're supposed to be impossible to surprise, yet Corbyn's managed to do it! What's wrong with you?"
Her smooth speech rose her spirits, but only slightly. "You're right. But, what happened, exactly? I can't even think straight right now, much less read your thoughts." Out of curiosity she felt Valencia's rubbery turquoise skin, which was like smooth, wet glass.
"Well, allow your mind to settle down. Relax. This afternoon, after we all left the hospital, Ron and Corbyn were walking towards this hotel."
"But before we could get there," Corbyn chimed in, with some returning maturity, "I heard this wierd sound coming from down the road. In short, I ran into a burning building in an attempt to save an Eevee I thought was inside. Ron took me back here and left me here because I was suffering from some smoke inhalation. While he was gone, I just sprouted fur and a tail, and now I'm a Flareon. No complaints, really, but it feels really wierd not having any thumbs." With that, he held up his paw and tried to flex his former fingers, with no success.
"While all that was happening," Valencia continued, "Ron, Eevee and I were at the lake, going out for a swim. Eevee here went out by himself and almost drowned. I had to dive in and save him, and that's when I blacked out. I don't really remember much about what happened, but the next thing I knew, I was racing for the shore with Eevee in my mouth (but I couldn't really see anything) and then I passed out again. A few hours later, I woke up here as a Vaporeon!"
Crystal held her hand over her mouth in an attempt to hold back something she didn't want to say. Her helplessness was shaded in her eyes. "This is nuts," was all she could say. "Insane- just," fumbling over words she rarely used, thoughts breaking up before she could figure out what she was even saying. To Ron her speech was becoming just almost as unintelligible as that of the pokémon sitting around her.
All of a sudden she drew in a deep breath and exhaled slowly, silencing her babbling. "Wow, I thought Eevee here was the big mystery, but this- you guys just blew everything out of proportion! I don't even know where to begin- I," she turned to Ron. "It's them- Val and Corbyn! They're-"
Ron patted her back slowly with a warm grin on his face. He too was amused at the rare sight of her confusion. "I know, and it's okay." He spoke calmly, even though he himself had some nervous doubts about the situation. "I need you to help me talk with them, since you seem to be doing so well with that."
Her face reddened slightly, the soothing hand rubbing her back and the cool, relaxing tone he complimented her with. "Well thank you- but, I'm still- I don't..." she tried to settle herself again. She looked back at the group- four unique animals which she could talk to, and two of them were her friends- humans she had talked with that morning. They had undergone some incredible reversal- an unexplainable transformation- probably not more than eight hours ago...
Yet they're so calm, she thought. How are they so calm? It's like nothing's even wrong to them. She meditated deeply. If anything they seem happy. Perhaps it's not really that bad... just then her thinking was interrupted when she caught sight of the stolid yellow dog, sitting aloof, glaring at the ground with no obvious intent. The Jolteon's brilliant amber spikes were standing up firmly as if a result of hours of applying hair gel. Its purplish eyes had a certain gleam, even when pointed down, that suggested that it was busy and, if it were to be disturbed from its deep private thoughts, it would direct its murderous vengence towards her without hesitation.
"Who's that over there," she whispered aside to Valencia without gesturing.
Before the petite creature could respond, the Jolteon's ear flicked and the statue-like face turned its slow snout to face her in a silent staredown. Eevee jumped out of her lap and hid behind Vulpix.
The light overhead reflected dimly in the deep eyes, squeezed down venomously by the hatred in its pointed brow. The sides of the mouth, clamped shut, were easily pushed out forward with distaste, and pulled down with disapproval. The head tilted downward and it turned its body to face her, with slowly-executed maneuvers, so that its front end lowered: a vicious warrior's challenge, or a reluctant sign of respect. A faint zap was heard as a spark of electricity was discharged on a tail spike, and the ears were then flattened backwards to complete the ominous portrait.
The Jolteon seemed to be putting all of its energy into its threatening stance, and Crystal could pick out no particular thoughts from its head. She did, however, sense a strange aura of confusion surrounding it, overpowering the apparent anger. This one: hostile, yet... confused. It doesn't know why it is upset, or why it is even here. Does it curse me, or does it curse itself? Not like the others... She tried her best not to look scared, despite the glow of energy that grew around it. It will not attack. Little aggression, no intent- it's scared.
"Cathy Ruck," she said, feeling no need for caution anymore.
The Jolteon's yellow-white glow grew to a peak, filling the room with bright light, and then evaporated suddenly. The grave, frozen expression was still on its face as it resumed its calm sitting position. It snorted loudly. "Damn mindreader," she grumbled softly. The room was still.
Across the room, Don and Victoria silently looked on from the bed, not daring to disrupt the conflict, though Victoria showed some signs of troubled discontent. She wished to join the colorful group, but she knew that it would be best to stay put.
Feeling empowered- having just pacified the stubborn beast, Crystal slid across the carpet, approaching her former instructor. "And what happened to you, Mrs. Ruck?"
"Call me Cathy," she quickly returned without hesitation.
"What happened, Cathy?"
The estranged Jolteon's eyes narrowed, and she snorted, not offering a single word.
Crystal, finding her former pride, played around with her victim. "Well, if you won't tell, then I'll have to just find out for myself," she said condescendingly, and she closed her eyes to focus on the Jolteon's thoughts.
Bite me, she growled in her head. Crystal smirked, humored by the futile insult.
She felt past all the bitterness that Cathy had shrouded herself in, and simply searched around for what she wanted, like skipping through the channels on a TV for one in particular. She saw her teacher waking up after passing out from the defibrillator discharge; the inside of a white ambulance, with the teacher shouting several threats and expletives at the medics who worked around her, monitoring her heart rate and giving her pain pills; her room in the Black Cat Inn, and her dog being relocated to the hotel's kennel.
Mrs Ruck was ushered to her bed, and was told by a middle-aged veteran medic to lay down and stay there for a few days, much to her dissatisfaction (as he left, she threw a shoe at the door). At this point she started sulking, and, not finding anything better to do, turned on the television.
At this point in her vision, Crystal started to relay the story to Ron.
She skipped over hours of inactivity and sleep, and finally reached what she was looking for. Cathy, in her sleep- early evening, around 9:00PM according to the clock- started to toss and turn on the mattress. Enraged, she sat up and yelled "Shut up!" as if out of instinct. She realized that there was in fact no sound that could have been the cause of her unrest, and she reached over to turn on the lamp. Her hand missed the switch and landed clumsily on the base of the lamp. She screamed in pain as a stray spark jumped from her hand. The lightbulb inside the lamp lit up white-hot (even Crystal could feel some heat in the vision) and the glass shattered with a loud crack.
She yelled a loud curse, and got up from her bed, still wearing her outfit from work. The blanket stuck to her, wrapped around her leg. As she pulled it off, she could see small white sparks of static flicker, and it popped like velcro. "Damn heaters," she muttered, and she tossed the sheet back onto the bed. A yawn escaped her mouth as she walked over to the bathroom door, tired from work, the accident, and pretty much everything. She grabbed the brass handle and again, a large spark popped from the metal, singeing her hand. "God damn it!" she hissed through her teeth as she sucked on her throbbing finger. She managed to find a towel, and wrapped it around the knob, and turned it. Keeping the rag, she flipped on the lightswitch and hung her head over the sink before looking in the mirror.
"Uugh," she groaned. Her face was drooping, with some wrinkles visible. Her hair was standing up on end like a fan- when she touched it she could hear it zap at her. On her white suit she saw two large charcoal-gray squares where the defibrillator machine had impacted her shoulders, sending her to the ground. "What the hell was that thing anyway-" she wiped her eyes and squinted at the mirror. A smudge on the glass brought to her mind the glimpse of that creature that had jumped at her at the hospital. She spun around, just to make sure that the shampoo in the shower was really shampoo and not some fiendish pest. As soon as she did so, however, she received a sharp pain in her abdomen, and she grabbed her sides in a frenzy. She felt herself being pushed, her spine and muscles involuntarily bending themselves, forcing her to bend over. Her knees buckled and she fell to the hard floor with a hard thud.
"What the-" she would have screamed, but it came out as a pained growl. Now on the floor, legs going numb, she started to drag herself to the door in a crawl, using her arms like oars of a boat. Her abdomen started to go numb too, but the surrounding areas told her that her legs were somehow crippling themselves. Laboriously, she crawled over to the door and turned on the light (screaming at another spark). Her legs were, in fact, shriveling, and becoming pale. The fat and muscle was visible as the bones inside were shrinking away, and they began to retract themselves, becoming shorter. Her long pants covered the legs, but she didn't hesitate to see anything else happen to her.
"Help! Help! Medic!" She pounded on the soundproof door, attracting attention from nobody. She growled, her sounds becoming more wild and angry. The furious woman reached for the handle of the door. She heard the spark resonate crisply in the air, but she felt no pain. Looking up, she saw her hand grow pale and limp. She quickly pulled down on the handle with her numb arm and she fell out into the hallway.
No one was around, so she tried yelling. "Hhhheyp!" Her voice was starting to crack, and it turned into a yelp. Not a stir of sound. She growled again and crawled down the hall, her whole left arm limp. Another sensation came over the disfigured woman. Her entire body itched painfully, but she had nothing to scratch with. She looked at her one remaining arm, and saw it glow with an unnatural yellow color. The light faded away, and short hairs appeared on her arm, growing longer into a thick layer of mustard-yellow fur. Continuing down her body like a swarm of bees, the fur took over her chest, other arm, belly, back, and legs. Her head swelled with pain, and her sight became distorted and blurry. Everything around her grew to twice and thrice its original height, and she saw the thin hair overcome her cheekbones.
She continued frantically down the hall, her right arm now growing shorter. Her pants slipped off of her hips, along with her undergarment. A quick glance stopped her in her tracks: she had slender yellow hind legs, and her feet were short, stubby paws. From her rear end shot out several long golden spikes of fur. Feeling returned, and the animal legs felt completely natural to her. She sobbed, helpless, growing tired. She rammed herself into the very next door she passed by, and fell down onto her side. Her blazer and shirt were now bigger than her whole body. Her front right leg (now conscious and the same size as the others) reached out and banged on the door several times. Her head pain grew again, as she felt her ears crawl up to the top of her head, and grew several inches longer. Around her neck she saw a large white poof of fur grow- it was long and spiky, scratching her shirt. She tried moving her legs, her whole body underneath the shirt, which hummed with static.
Thoughts flying, heart racing, eyes shut tight in pain, her words came out in a deep growling voice that was not her own: Jolteon; not what she intended to say, but it was all she seemed to be able to say. Her sensitive ears picked out sounds coming from behind the door. She tried to move, but her strength left her. The door opened, and she saw through the fabric of the shirt a familiar man standing above her, looking around for her. She closed her eyes and passed out inside the pile of clothing.
Crystal opened her eyes and stopped.