Eevee TF Series
"Dad, what is taking so long?" Victoria whined from her fold-out cot. The progress of the RV she was cooking in was very limited, and it kept having to stop suddenly for the traffic that filled the burning highway. "When am I going to see some mountains?" She moaned irritably.
"Well, I'm sorry, but I can't just make these cars disappear. Looks as if there's an accident. We may be here a while. I just hope we can get to the hotel before nightfall."
"What hotel," she asked, somewhat surprised.
"We can't possibly get to the campground before morning, so we're staying at this little inn in the city." Her father's apologetic face looked back from the stagnant sea of cars in front of him. "You'll love it! They allow animals!" This information did not serve as a source of any amusement, and she retorted back with an exasperated groan. "What's wrong?"
" she replied simply, and she hoped not to continue the conversation. Conversations with her parents made time go slowly, and she wanted to get out of the inescapable heat. Every so often a mild breeze came in from the busted window across the aisle. She would sigh silently wishing for it to stay. She was like a toad that wished to jump out of boiling water, but had nowhere to go but back in.
She stared wanly from the window at the cars that were slowly passing by. The collision, of course, had to be on the city-bound side of the road, and therefore only existed in order to make her miserable. She silently cursed at whatever drunk, reckless maniac was sitting lamely a half-mile in front of her, in a vehicle whose condition was hardly a cause for a half-mile backup. His car probably had a fan that worked. That's all that you really needed to survive in that magnifying-glass of a crater- a fan that works; just a little shot of cool air to help you hang on in the hard, rocky, lifeless, outcast void she called home. In the inexorable heat of the summer it was almost impossible to comprehend that there was something out there that was enjoyable.
She slapped her forehead in embarrassed realization. She felt furious at herself for her morbid thoughts. Normally she was bright and enthusiastic, but she noticed that the sun was burning her, and she was becoming scarred with dangerous doses of irritability and rage. She stood up from the bright window and flew over to the cracked window, and hoped for a breeze. She was elated when she felt the skin on her face lighten up with the coolness that met her there. She almost giggled with excitement. Through the silvery cracks on the portside window she could distinctly see the stout, impressive cone of the clouded, purple-blue mountain that loomed over the surrounding hills and valleys. She dived for her suitcase and whipped out her sketch-pad. Immediately she had the landscape in proportion and, with help from the motionlessness of the car, she translated every detail into graphite-laden lines and curves with graceful sweeps of her wrist. She believed she had a gift for the sort of work she did, and relished in the credit she received.
When she put the finishing touches on the waving fields of waist-high yellow grass, she sat back and marveled at her craftsmanship- her first sketch of something that was not a desolate crater. Beaming with pride she tore the page out and neatly secured it in the pocket-folder of her journal.
Soon the line of traffic began to move again. Victoria was glad she hadn't wasted her time moping, although it was still hot. Her father muttered something over to his wife, "Hey, how about we get some information on this delay?" He reached forward and fiddled with the old radio, which took a full ten seconds to fully boot up. A deep confident voice came on overhead throughout the length of the RV. The voice was that of a local traffic advisor who patrolled the road frequently, and sometimes gave friendly, funny stories when traffic was bad. He was just finishing up a conversation with one of his callers, whose telephonic voice had a distinctly shallower and more distorted sound.
"No, no; you'll want to take the 48 over to S-126, and go around. It's crazy over on that Northbound."
"Oh, thank you!"
"You're welcome, ma'am."
Suddenly the announcer got another call. The new dilute voice belonged to, as he announced, one of his travelling reporters. "H-hey, Carl?"
"Oh, Steve, what is it?"
"I finally got over here to that Northbound. It's crazy; backed up at least a mile, maybe more."
"Oh, wow! Any movement up there?"
"Standstill, at least from back here. I can see some movement up ahead- that's where we're heading."
"Well, it's nice that you got that info for us, Steve. Hear that, folks? Might want to avoid that northbound today; expect a half-hour delay at the most. We've got our reporter live up there checking it out. You still there, Steve?"
There was a bit of silence for a moment, but the faint voice came back on. "Y-yeah, I'm here. We've found- it's an overturned vehicle on the side, at least- no, at least 10, maybe 20 feet off the road!" He sounded a bit nervous. Victoria rushed back to the sunny side to see the shining patrol car whiz past the traffic, off-road, on its way to the accident scene. A tiny man was seated on the right, talking on a large phone. She looked ahead to try and see the car they were talking about, but could see nothing past the reddish fog that the patrol had kicked up.
A sound of a car door opening and closing became static on the speakers. She could hear a man panting as he was running. "Carl, I'm approaching the vehicle. The owner is sitting nearby, and it appears as if rescue crews haven't arrived yet. Sir, are you alright?"
Steve lent his phone to the dazed owner. "Yeah, I-I'm fine, how 'bout you?" The owner was drunk, and he spoke with a careless, tipsy tone.
"I'm fine," spoke Steve confidently, asserting himself over the drunk. "Would you mind telling me what happened?"
"Uh, y-yeah, uh. I was, uh, uh-driving, and ah this little
black'n cat, 'e walks him out up dare, and
ah-I-I try to stop, but ah just
now I'm right 'ere." He started whimpering.
The reporter paused a moment. "That's what happened?"
He sniffled. "Dat's what happens." He banged the dislocated tire he was sitting on. He took out a handkerchief and wearily whined, "It's-a sure as hot out here."
Victoria looked out the starboard window and saw the whole scene she was hearing on the radio. A green, rusty car was overturned near the road, and a large, unhappy man in sagging overalls was sitting next to it, wiping the sweat from his bald head, and looking around at the scene with bulging eyes. A small man in casual shorts and a baseball cap was talking on his large phone, and was casually sitting on the hood of his car, fanning himself with his free hand.
"Well, Carl, there you have it. He was driving drunk, when he swerved to avoid hitting a
"Thank you, Steve."
Cathy was twitching and shouting at the people who stared at the surgeon being rolled out by nurses. She was embarrassed, but very irate. She couldn't really remember anything that happened that could make her feel so awful and empty inside. What, she wondered, happened in there? All she remembered was Caverte shouting something random, jolting pain, and then blackness. Now she was on a medical truck being taken like a lost child back to her squalid, one-horse hotel.
The students, however, walked home steadily. They were not nearly fortunate enough to have survived a near-fatal electrocution and be taken home with police escorts in an immaculate ambulance.
"Oh, Ron, am I going to see you this afternoon?"
Ron looked at Valencia, who looked back with an entreating stare. "Yeah, I suppose so."
She laughed and replied, "Ok, see you! She walked up the street, carrying a bag with beach scenes on it that contained all of her swim-gear. She couldn't wait to check out the lake, and she wanted to get in a couple hours of swimming before she had to turn in for the night. She walked with Crystal, since they both were staying in the same hotel. That left Ron, Corbyn, and Eric, who stood around at the ornate fountain that sparkled crisply in the afternoon sun.
"So, Eric, you heading home," Corbyn inquired.
"No, not yet. I'm going to take a cab and head over to that park over there." He pointed a thumb over his shoulder towards Corwood Forest. "I'd like to take some nice pictures for my friends back home." He took out a small black camera and displayed it for the other two.
"Nice," Corbyn admitted, scratching his chin at the young photographer. "Well, Ron and I will be heading back to the hotel, I suppose, right?"
"Right," said Ron. "See ya, Eric." He waved an arm and headed down the street, away from the lake.
"See ya," Eric cried out over the traffic. He smiled proudly as he stored his camera away in his pocket. He hailed a cab and headed towards the park, passing the happily chatting girls.
He had an undeveloped passion for photography. Ever since he received his little camera as a college gift, he took every opportunity he could to get a good shot, even if it meant ducking around patrolling guards and sneaking into places he shouldn't be sneaking. He got a kick out of it, and even though he knew it was probably wrong, he kept reassuring himself that things only existed for people to enjoy and take pictures of.
"Did you say something?"
"No, I don't believe so. Did you hear something I might have said?"
Corbyn gave Ron a look. "No, nothing you would say."
"What did it sound like?"
"It sounded like that thing you keep in your pocket." Corbyn poked Ron's flat belly near the lump in his coat pocket. He then started looking around for the source of the sound. A faint, barely audible vowel was carried across the city, and could have been compared to a squeaking car motor. Corbyn turned to it and bolted off. "That way!"
Ron had no choice but to follow. In a minute they had passed the faded wood exterior of the Black Cat and were running up another street in a frantic, blind search. They dodged and dived their way through crowds and traffic, following whatever sort of thing was making the soft shriek, up and down so many streets Ron thought they would actually pass by the hotel again.
Corbyn ears twitched a bit and he slowed down. "Over here," he waved to Ron to hurry up. Ron reached Corbyn who stood flat against a wall near a street corner, both panting a bit.
"Where are you going, man?"
Corbyn furtively poked his head around the street corner to look at some forbidden scene. "Oh, my gosh!" He yelped in distress. He jumped out of hiding, allowing Ron to look. How they had not seen it earlier was unknown, but about a block down, a plume of thick black, curling smoke was rising from the upper floors of a small building. Hoards of spectators were crowding the sidewalks and streets, looking up in horror as the building accumulated more and more damage from the flames that poked out of the windows playfully.
Without another word Corbyn dashed for the scene, with Ron following in a shocked pursuit. He reached out and grabbed Corbyn's shoulder to hold him back.
"What are you doing?" He yelled above the howl of the billowing smoke and the wailing of the spectators.
Corbyn stopped reluctantly in his determination and turned around. "I'm pretty sure- no, I'm positive I heard something up there." He pointed toward the smoldering top floor. He spoke with urgency and seriousness.
Ron looked from the stern face to the building and back. "Well, let the firemen take care of it," he pled.
"They aren't doing anything about it! They don't even know it's up there!"
"How do you know something is up there? What are you hearing?"
"A cry," he implored to Ron. He held out his arms in exasperation, almost crying himself. "A cry for help, Ron! Don't you hear it?" He sounded crazy, as if in some trance.
Ron perked his ears and listened. He could hear the faint squeal his friend had been obsessing about. "Yes, I hear it. But what are you going to-"
Corbyn had taken advantage of Ron's distraction and broke for the building, disappearing into the crowd. When Ron looked back, he was gone. He cursed out loud and ran for the building.
After much searching, he could not manage to run back into Corbyn, and he assumed the worst. He looked at the forbidding building, and charged at it. He broke free of the crowd, and jumped onto the sidewalk, only to be stopped by a weary-looking man in a sweaty, matted suit.
"Sorry, kid, no one's going in. It's not safe."
Ron wrestled with the crude arm that arrested his shoulder, but gave up. He looked into the fireman's dark eyes above him. "Where'd he go? Where's my friend?"
The man chuckled a bit. "You mean that crazy kid?"
He pointed a condemnable finger towards the building. "That crazy kid managed to squeeze past my whole squad. I caught him by the arm, same way I did you, and he gave me a hard one to my side." He pointed to his aching back. "He wriggled free and darted right inside, shouting like a maniac about someone inside."
"No, we cleared the whole building long before the flames showed up." As if in response a flare soared up with a whooshing sound and disappeared like a glowing whip. There was an explosion of sparks as an air-conditioner on the top floor caught fire. The crowd started screaming in fear of getting a sprinkle of sparks, and the front lines crawled back about ten feet. The explosion was followed by a larger puff of smoking flames that almost blew the roof off. Ron stood in shock, trying to imagine what Corbyn was doing, assuming he was still alive. Just then a creaking moan could be heard from within the building. The sound of glass breaking drew everyone's attention to the base floor window. A smoking teen had flung himself out of the window, probably not seeing a door, and landed in a smoldering, limp heap in the drying grass next to the unscathed brick walls.
A herd of heavily suited men ran up to him and turned him over onto his back. His black hair was brushed away, and Ron saw that it was Corbyn, and he was alive. Filled with rapture, Ron ran over to him. He managed to cough away some of the grease and grime that blackened his face and smiled up at Ron. Shoving away the firemen he used his shoulder and Ron's outstretched hand to stand up.
"I don't know," he shouted, as if still in the noisy, collapsing building. He and Ron started walking down the street away from the fray. "I saw Eevee up there," he said, almost not believing himself, "I followed him back down
the flames, they surrounded him and," he paused catching his breath. "He jumped out the window in a flash."
"So you followed him?"
"Yeah, did you see him?"
"Corbyn, you're the only one that jumped out."
He looked distraught and disappointed. "Really?"
"Yeah, and a good thing, too. There was an explosion. You might not have made it if you didn't come out sooner."
"But I know I saw it! It jumped in my arms!" He started wailing again, and held out his arms to show.
Ron felt concerned, though embarrassed. "There, there. You need your rest." He started back for the hotel, hoping it was just around the corner.
"I'm not crazy, Ron. You heard it too."
"Well, perhaps we're both crazy. Maybe everyone else is crazy."
Corbyn nodded in agreement, a little dazed as he walked. Ron walked alongside, taking pride in his friend's bravery and nobility. He looked back around him and saw smoke billowing over the tall buildings behind him, glad that they were out of there.
After a full half-hour of walking and coughing and chatting they finally found the rutty old Black Cat inn. Ron saw Corbyn safely to his room and said good-bye, making sure he was fine and no longer coughing up rubble. He left the hotel and made his way over to the sparkling shores of Lake Windbell.