Eevee TF Series
As the day progressed, the cab that carried Eric continuously bumped and veered through the streets and along old cobblestone roads until it finally broke through the barrier of urbanity and crossed into the luscious green landscapes of the vast, undulating Corwood Forest reserve. The sun was setting beneath the distant shores of Windbell, making everything in sight, even the course, tar-black road, glow with an orange-gold tinge. Behind him in the grassless city a thin gray line rose vertically, curling around itself making knots that broke in midair. The cab left the main highway and started making a steady ascent along the famed scenic route towards the higher reaches of the nature preserve, where the park was located.
Eric reached into his coat pocket and retrieved his small, trusty camera. He made sure to get snapshots of all the wondrous sights that called his attention. He waited patiently for a higher altitude before he shot an impressive shot of the whole valley. Indeed he was impressed with it, showing it to his driver and almost making him go off the steep cliff they were lining. The cab stopped at his request at a photo-op deck on the cliff. His ballistic finger snapped numerous shots of the wondrous scene below him: the gray nucleus of the city, behind it the giant mountain; the placid lake (which he could now see the other side of), the surrounding desolate desert, and the tree-topped hills that were contained within. He felt like he was in a helicopter, hovering gently above the Earth, with all of its magnificent traits were brought together in a brilliant kaleidoscope of blue, green, purple, and golden-yellow.
"Hey, kid, the park's gonna close soon." his cab driver hollered from behind him.
"Yeah, I'll be right there." He took one more satisfying photo and sprinted back to the cab, dead oak leaves crunching beneath his steps and echoing throughout the valley.
The cab finally reached the horizontal hilltop and the driver maneuvered around to the gate. It was starting to get darker, but golden sunlight could be seen through the thick shady canopy of pine and oak. Eric grabbed his bag and camera and jumped out in a hurry. He walked over to the driver to pay the fee.
The driver tiredly spoke with a notably calm businesslike, New Jersey accent. "That'll be ten
oh, would you look at dat," he exclaimed apologetically, "It's closed. Look."
Eric looked over at the concrete building with dark windows. A pair of brown, sleek two-passenger cars was irregularly parked near it, with authoritative police logos and markings on the hoods and doors, and unlit lights were located in the clear Plexiglas domes on top. An large man, not in uniform and probably an employee, was busy trying to figure out how to wrap crime scene tape around his gate tower. He looked over his shoulder into the headlights of the cab and quickly made his way over to it.
"Sorry, kid. I gotta take you back."
"Hold on." Eric leaned back from the window for a moment and thought. He thoughtfully chewed his lip, thinking of what to say to the approaching guard.
"H-hey, you'll have to leave. You can't go in."
"Why do you think? I'm not putting up police tape for the fun of it."
Eric did, actually, think he was putting it up for the fun of it. "What happened?"
"Well, from what the cops told me, they got a call from a guy who claims he saw a dead guy in there," he nervously explained, pointing off towards the woods behind the untapped gate. "They don't know where, exactly, so they told me to close the whole park so they can investigate." He saw Eric's disappointed expression. "I know. It's a load of crap, right? They haven't even found the witness. There may not even be a guy in there."
Eric stood back, hating to keep his driver waiting. "No one can go in?"
"No one, I'm afraid."
"Could I just
stay out here and take pictures? That's all I really came here for." Eric tried to sway the man with his childish innocence, even though he had only come to take pictures.
"Well, I suppose that's okay. Really, I don't think those cops would care. Go ahead."
Eric smiled, grateful. He paid his driver and told him that he could leave, and that he could get a ride from a friend. He didn't have a friend to get a ride from. He planned to walk back to the city, getting nice sunset pictures without the constraints of a constantly moving cab. The driver sped off, reluctantly, and worried that the kid might not be as okay as he said he'd be.
Eric turned around and took out his camera, looking over at the guard who looked on and nodded, smiling. He began almost blindly shooting fake shots of golden trees and the gaping canopy above. The guard soon left him and returned to his tape problem, eventually just wrapping it around the gate arm and leaving it at that; he decided that the police didn't need the extra decoration. He forgot about Eric completely and shuffled back into the concrete building.
He almost reeled over in delight of how easy his objective was achieved. He sneaked over to the building, making sure that the guard could not hear the leaves rustling through the two feet of concrete and dark windows, and dashed for the crudely-wrapped gate arm. After that little barrier, he was home-free. He took a look back at the house of the inept sentry and the two patrol cars and snapped a mocking picture before ducking under the gate and taking off down the one-lane asphalt road.
The trees leaned over the road in a graceful leafy arch, and almost nothing could be seen beyond the walls they made. Occasionally a small clearing or manmade dirt path was cut into the barrier, and the road eventually split into two paths. The map in between the paths explained that the road made a large loop around the park, and several smaller paths branched off of the main route for shorter walks and in case of emergency. A narrow stream cut through the winding circle of the main road and brackets marked bridges where the stream met a path.
He stepped away from the map and chose carefully between the two paths. The left path was orange-gold and bright sunlight shone through the thin forestry. The right path was a bit darker, probably not touched by the sun. Moss was growing on the trees and it looked a bit damp and gloomy. Another look at the map confirmed that the stream was nearby on the right, and so he decided to go right to get some pictures of the freshwater stream. Darkness in the forest also meant good cover if a couple of policemen happened to come walking by. Absolutely silent, he took another look around him to check for any distant footsteps. When all he could hear was the fast stream and the chirping of evening insects, he got his camera ready and made his way, like a mouse, down the dark, right path towards the stream.
Across the streets, Ron could see the alluring, sparkling whitecaps of the short waves on the clear surface of Lake Windbell. A nice refreshing wind was blowing down from the mountain behind him, drawing him over to the shaded oasis. The white sandy shore was only about half of a mile away, and he was carefully scanning the area for velvety brown hair and brightly-colored clothing of Valencia Tuman. He gently tapped the lump in his pocket to some catchy rhythm in his head as he strolled down the empty street toward the sparsely populated beach. He started stepping to that rhythm, too, helping the time fly by quickly.
As he stepped onto an old wooden deck he immediately hear a voice shout out "Ron!" over to his left. Valencia was far over to his left, almost imperceptible without her signal. She was just getting out of the water to look for him. Between them was a wide stream that was spanned by a stone bridge that accommodated a road and a wide pedestrian walkway. It didn't look like it was used often and had an old, rustic look. As he walked across, water gurgled about ten or fifteen feet below- a steep incline from the stream to the lake formed a small waterfall that made a soft, murmured trickling against the smooth rocks. Over to the south, on the left side of the bridge, Ron could see that the stream continued along, winding its way along the sides of the mountain. Mist could be seen from the spectacular waterfall that it led to on the other side. There were many bridges that crossed the river and each had a metal grate underneath to rescue any wayward swimmers or boats.
Ron was halfway across the bridge when a sudden chill came over him. He looked up and noticed that the mountain, which he was now on the lower parts of, was blocking the sun completely, and everything around him suddenly gained a darker, shady quality. He could feel the cool wind blowing across the water by him. It felt, actually, interesting. The mountain cast enormous slabs of rock that had been blasted away years ago for a road, and all that was left was a curious, grayscale portrait of something unintelligible formed from the differently-aged deposits. When he finally got to the other side he ran over next to Valencia and jumped on the top of one of the outlying rock slabs and lied down on it, bathing in the shadows of the stone giant.
No one was around; the cove was lesser-known and the nearby, though little-used road drove people away from it. A wedge of trees, however, separated the asphalt from the secret sanctuary. Waves gently brushed up against the grassy, stony shoreline, almost silently, and the wind blowing through the rocks created a pristine setting.
Valencia sidled up alongside Ron and also hopped on the rock, lying down next to him. She noticed his lack of energy, and his slightly-blackened face.
"Glad you made it! But, what happened?"
"Your face is all dirty. What, did you get trip down a flight of stairs or something?"
Ron shook his head in dismay and saw her giggle. "Yeah, that's what happened. No, I got in a little situation coming back to the hotel." Her face crinkled a bit. "We passed by this fire-"
"Oh, my goodness, you mean that fire? I could see it from here- it looked awful."
"Well, 'passed by' isn't exactly right; more like 'went out of our way'."
"I couldn't imagine what would happen if my house caught on fire."
"Corby got this crazy idea that there was someone inside."
"What would I do? All of my things would be just
gone, like that."
"And he decided he was going to run in-"
Valencia stopped rambling when she heard that. "Wait- what?"
It was Ron's turn to laugh. He sat up and told her what happened; how Corbyn, like a madman, had dragged him halfway across town just to follow some strange sound he heard inside. "We both heard something- high-pitched and whistling. He insisted that it was Eevee and claimed he saw it jump out of the building. Luckily the crazy sonofagun 'followed' it and jumped out of the window right before the building exploded."
"My, goodness! Is he alright?"
"Sure, you know Corby. He can take quite a hit. He just got the wind knocked out of him when he landed flat on his face. A little bruised and battered, but he should be alright, all except for that insanity."
"Well, perhaps he really did see something. I don't think he's crazy; he's certainly brave- and noble for trying to rescue that poor little guy. But, what happened to him?"
"No one ever saw him."
"Well, do you still have him?"
"Sure I do." Ron took the pokéball out of his pocket and showed her. In fact, it was the first time he had revealed his secret without hesitation or tension. She nodded in approval and he replaced the ball.
"So, maybe he's delusional. Maybe it was trauma from seeing Mrs. Ruck faint like that. Either way, he still tried to rescue somebody. Speak of the devil," at this, they snickered, "how was Eevee out at the hospital?"
Ron recalled that nerve-racking event. "I really don't know. He just got out without my knowing. He certainly is a rascal. Can they do that?"
"Can who do what?"
"Pokémon; can they simply get out of the pokéball on their own? I'm not exactly the, err, expert on this subject."
Of course Valencia was more than happy to answer a theoretical question on a subject she adored. "Well, I suppose. Some are able to come out at will, but they're usually just called out. They actually don't regularly spend a lot of time outside the ball. Their trainers let them out, though, on occasion, for training or for play."
"Wait- trainers? I thought they were just
fantastic animal-equivalents." He sat up suddenly and turned to face her. He heard a soft, metallic clink against the rock and saw that the red-and-white sphere had fallen out of his coat pocket. It rolled to a stop on the grass next to them and glowed red. Eevee jumped out in its flamboyant spectacle, and, as Ron expected, shouted an excited, shrill Vee!
He tried desperately to jump on the rock between them, reaching up high on the edge with its front paws and scuffling its back paws on the ground. Ron and Valencia laughed, and Ron reached over and gently gripped his mane, pulling him up and releasing him onto the smooth rock. He rolled onto his back and started pawing at the loose wet strands of Valencia's hair and her arm when she moved to rub his exposed belly. He then made his way onto her chest and started kissing her smooth, damp face. She laughed uncontrollably and struggled to contain him.
She finally got a hold of him and, sitting up, gently placed him in her lap. "Do you think he can swim?" Eevee gave her a curious look with his shimmering eyes.
Ron grinned. "He never ceases to amaze me; it wouldn't surprise me if he could swim better than you!" Eevee looked up from his position between Valencia's knees and saw the crystal-clear, iridescent water in front of him that stretched out for infinite. He squeaked and scurried off of the rock in a graceless bound and dashed towards the sparkling lake. Ron and Valencia sat up with their arms and watched proudly as the small brown fluff hesitated on the rocky shore before dabbing a shaky paw into the water. He recoiled as he felt the icy sensation, but soon had his whole paw in the water. He looked back at his human friends and reported an approving Vee! He then scuttled in with the water coming up to his neck. He shouted at Ron and Valencia to come in and started licking at the fresh water.
"Come on, Ron," Valencia pleaded, already getting up from the rock.
"Nah, I'm not that much of a swimmer. Besides, I didn't think I would need my suit when I was packing back home."
"Aw, ok then..."
"I'm sorry, Val."
"I guess I'll have to pull you in." She grabbed his wrist and pulled him off of the rock.
"W-wait! Ah! No!" he laughed as he lost his balance when he got off the rock and Valencia tugged him behind her with all of her strength to the shoreline. Ron started to feel the rocks he was sliding over and tried to stand up, but to his own demise. Valencia again gave him a tug and he fell forwards into the icy water. She let go of his arm, giggling hysterically, allowing it to get wet as well. Ron was soon back up, sitting in the water and trying futilely to stand up on the slick, rocky bottom.
"Aw, man!" he chattered, flailing his arms. "Geez, that's cold!" He wrested the heavy coat off his back and tossed it towards the large rock on the shore. Eevee ran up to him, splashing with each heavy jump he made. Ron slowly tried to stand up and succeeded. He ran over to the dry shore, away from the spattering frenzy.
"Oh, come on, Ron! It's not that bad. See, look- even Eevee likes it!"
Ron sat and stared back at the two. "No thanks, guys. I'll just sit here and watch. You two have fun. I need to dry out." He emphasized 'dry out' by wringing out his soaked coat sleeve.
"Alright. Come on, Eevee!"
The two went off frolicking in the cool sparkle of the lake and Ron sat back, smiling at them while he bathed in the sun.
If Eevee hadn't known how to swim before, he was certainly making excellent progress. He was no longer touching the bottom of the water, and was happily paddling around Valencia who stood knee-deep next to him. She knelt down in the water and came face to face with him, and he started licking her face again before swimming further out.
"Haha! Wait up!" She began stroking swiftly in pursuit, following his rippling wake. He looked over at her with his ears angled wide and squeaked, and sped ahead. "Oh, you can't beat me!" She began swimming faster, and dived when she was no longer in reach of the rocky bottom. She was really used to the water; it was her second home. She could see very well underwater, almost as if she was wearing goggles. The sun glimmered against smooth rocks that were scattered across the floor several feet beneath, fish occasionally shined out of inexistence before disappearing into rocks and cracks, and Eevee's fast little feet made a constant cloud of bubbles above her. She passed him under the surface and startled him when she shot up right in front of him. As she laughed, sputtering water everywhere, Eevee maneuvered around her and jumped on her head. Before he could start tangling her hair she reached up and grabbed him and held him in front of her. He squirmed frantically as she leaned back and began floating on her back. She then allowed him to curl up on her belly, using it as a floatation device.
"Hey Ron!" she called. She displayed her mastery of the little menace.
He nodded back at her.
She began making her way back over to the shore, still on her back, and held Eevee as she stood up to get out of the water. Eevee jumped out and shook out his fur excitedly.
"Looks like he had fun," Ron muttered.
"I guess he loves swimming! He's almost a natural!"
The small, wet face looked up at the woman. He flinched at the word 'almost' and took up the challenge. He darted back into the water without waiting for anyone, chirping all the way.
"Aw," Valencia laughed. "He doesn't want to stop."
"Are you going to go back in?"
"No, not right now. I'll rest a bit." Valencia hopped on the rock that Ron leaned against. She took the damp coat and tossed it over Ron's face.
"Hey!" came a muffled cry from within. He pulled off the coat and placed it back on the rock. "I'm trying to dry that."
"Hehe," she giggled. She looked out at the brown blur in the splashing water. "He's so cute." She saw him swimming in circles and looking over his shoulders expecting some other intimidating human to pop up in front of him. He started dipping his small head below water and looking around.
"I wonder what he's thinking, you know, Ron?" Valencia sighed.
"What do you mean?"
"Why does he do what he does? Sure, he must be excited, but
" she paused. "We see him as an impossibly real character from a
an unreal world. What does he see us as? Is he lonely without any friends like him, or any family?"
Ron stood with a blank expression and sighed. "Hmm. I've never really seen it like that."
"I mean, he exists. And if he exists, then
pokémon, somewhere, must be real. Somewhere. Wouldn't that be just awesome?"
"Sure, I guess."
"Wouldn't it be great to go there; to not have to go to school and work all the time, but get out of the house and make friends with cute pokémon like Eevee? Go out and have an adventure every day." She looked longingly at the cloudy sky.
"Sure, I guess."
"I wonder what it's like to be a pokémon..."
"You've said that before."
"Being happy as can be in your own natural environment and not having a care in the world
"Like we are now?"
"Sure. And you have awesome powers- powers over your environment and the elements."
"Yeah, I remember you saying something like that, like your favorite- that bluish what's-it's-name
"Yeah, that one."
"It has powers of the water, like Aqua Jet."
"Oh, it's a power it has- it can spray a powerful stream of water from its mouth."
"Hmm. Can Eevee do that?"
"No, I don't believe so."
"Then what's he doing?" Ron pointed out at the water. Eevee was stirring a large torrent of white, turbulent water, flailing its paws in every possible direction. He then went underwater, only his tail being visible in the calming water before he disappeared under the green surface.
"Perhaps he's just trying to dive." Valencia sat up and stared at the motionless water where Eevee went under. "He's been down for a while, longer than I've ever seen."
"Is that bad?" They looked at each other.
"It could be." Immediately she jumped off of the rock and landed on the slippery rocks, dashing for the water without losing her footing. Ron followed at a slower pace, nervous about getting back in the water.
As soon as his feet were in the water Valencia was already diving underwater where Eevee went down. Ron stood on the rocks with a worried look as he saw Valencia's feet disappear.
He knew he didn't have anything to worry about. When she was in high school, Valencia held the record for the fastest time in everything. She could hold her breath for at least two minutes. Besides, she was a professional lifeguard. Still, he knew that Eevee couldn't hold his breath for long, and he couldn't imagine CPR on such a small mouth.
He continued staring for a minute and a half at the scene, less than a hundred feet away, nervous about what was happening. Surely it didn't take that long to dive a couple feet and retrieve a sinking furball. He thought he saw movement, but his face flushed when he saw an explosion of bubbles rush up to the surface and erupt violently.