Story 1: Vulpix
Subject name: Julia
She came running from the house to hold her husband as he departed for his trip.
They gazed lovingly at each other for what to them seemed like forever, keeping a mutual feeling of undying love for each other. One might have thought that they may never see each other again. To an extent, that may be true.
He stared into Julia's deep, brown eyes. "You look amazing in that dress," he noted quietly.
"Why do you have to go?"
"I've already explained this to you," Ron replied, controlling his annoyance at this naïve question. "I have been called for an emergency procedure at the new hospital in Coledge County. I'll only be gone for three days."
"I still don't understand why they can't get their own doctor. It's not fair!"
"Well, that's the business of the medical field for you. Oh! Gotta go- my cab's here. I'll see you in three days. And don't worry; you'll be fine." He then gave her a kiss and ran to the waiting cab.
She sobbed quietly as the cab took her husband away. "You'll be fine." The words echoed endlessly in her ears. She was alone for the next three days. What could happen? Anything.
Part I: Alone.
She sulked back up to the elaborate house on the hill, already dreading the coming lonely days. She sat down on the couch and flipped on the television. It was dark and very late. She was bored, so she started flipping through the channels, half asleep. She finally dozed off.
"WHO'S THAT POKÉMON?"
"AAH! Huh? Oh. Just the TV." She had apparently flipped to some old tv show, to which she knew a little about from her childhood. On the screen appeared a silhouette of a wolf-fox like creature. Julia knew little about pokémon, so she yelled out in a pseudo-enthusiast voice, "Pikachu!" In response, the TV replied in the same annoying voice, "It's Vulpix!" The silhouette was promptly filled with appropriate colors to create a rust-colored fox creature with red curls on its head and a fanning tail of the same color. It had deep, brown eyes and brown sock-like paws.
"Oh. Haha! I guess I was wrong! I guess I'll head on up to bed." She turned off the television and walked upstairs to her bed. Being well past midnight, she quickly fell asleep
Part II: A Dream?
"Huh? Where am I?" Julia rose dazed and confused. From the looks of it, she was in some colorful bank or doctor's office. She looked down- she was in a pure white dress with a red cross on her sleeve.
"Hello?" came an unfamiliar male voice.
"Ron?" Julia asked as she stood up. It was not Ron. It was some kid with noticeably spiky black hair. He had on a backpack and basic children's attire; a jacket and pants. He held a strange red and white ball in his hand.
"No. It's Don," the kid replied.
"Don? W-what are you doing in my house?"
"Yo-Your HOUSE?! No, this is the Pokémon treatment center! And you're the head nurse here are you not? Don't answer that. Listen- my pokémon got injured in a battle and it needs medical attention."
Don raised his red and white ball. It emitted a strange red light and out of it popped a creature she thought looked familiar. "This is my Vulpix. Heal it for me, will ya?"
"No, no, you don't understand. I'm no-," the creature Don talked about sprang up onto the counter that Julia was standing behind. It looked up at her, and their eyes met. As Julia stared into the pokémon's eyes, she could not help but smile. Here before her was the same creature she had seen on the television before- before going to sleep. She must be dreaming. That explains it, she thought. She tried looking away, but their eyes were locked. It took a lot of effort to tear her gaze off of the impossibility before her.
"Listen- sir, I'm not-" but Don had disappeared. "Huh. He's gone. And he left this little guy here." Once again, their eyes locked. Since the "trainer" (at least that's what she thought they were called) was gone, she felt no shame in ignoring his demand. She reached down and gently stroked its head, and it pushed its head into her hand. Julia quickly felt a sensation of extreme heat and pulled back her hand. "Ooh! Hot! Very hot!" She cried, not in pain, but in surprise. For a dream, that fur sure felt real. Out of curiosity, she again stroked the animal's rust-colored fur on its back. It was, as expected, warm, but not as warm as the head. It didn't hurt her; it actually felt soothing. In that comfort, she felt a strange sense of familiarity; as if she had known this creature her whole life. She continued to stroke its fur, and in return received the exhilarating sensation.
"Poor thing," Julia said, continuing to pet the Vulpix. "It must be hard being a pokémon."
The Vulpix, almost in response, attacked Julia with a puzzled look, as if saying, "What do you mean?" Julia laughed at the thought of the pokémon actually understanding her, but continued anyway.
"One day, you're in the woods, minding your own business, and suddenly, you're attacked and captured by an annoying kid. Then you're forced to fight for this kid, even injured at times, and the kid thinks you enjoy it. You can only say your name, and I also bet those balls you call home can get pretty cramped."
The Vulpix rolled onto its back. "Well, it's not as bad as it seems."
"D-did you just talk?!"
Ding! Ding-a-ding! The trainer was back, and he seemed very unhappy.
"Hey! What are you doing with my Vulpix?!" He screamed.
Part III: The next day.
Julia rose screaming. She had been dreaming. Or had she? She had just awoken, but that "dream," if it was to be called that, seemed so real; the detail of the room, the character of the kid, the warmth of that Vulpix. But how? You can't use deep senses in dreams can you? All you can do is see and hear, right? It didn't matter now. She was awake, and back in her home, in front of the fireplace.
"The fireplace?! How did I get here? I went to bed last night, didn't I? Was I sleepwalking?" All of these events were just too confusing to analyze right now. She was hungry.
She walked to the kitchen and prepared a breakfast of coffee and warm toast- a unique change from her normal cold cereal and milk. She sipped her coffee and thought about the day's agenda.
work, then home. Oh wait, I can go shopping after work." This was ironic: an unusual dream and sleepwalking, yet a normal, unordinary schedule. Or one would think.
Julia took a shower- a long, very hot shower- got dressed, and left for work.
After work, got in her car and drove to the local Target store to shop around a bit. Browsing the store, she bought some interesting items; heaters, blankets, and logs for the fireplace.
After she finished her rounds, she felt the strong urge to visit the toys aisle. Instinctively, she found the area with the pokémon merchandise. After revisiting that television show and having that dream, she yearned for more, even if it seemed childish. She found a tub that contained countless plush dolls of pokémon she had never seen before. She started a mad search for her new favorite: Vulpix. It was all she could think of. Not finding any, she dug deeper, tossing stuffed Pikachus, Turtwigs, and Chimchars everywhere, but could not find one Vulpix. Meanwhile, a crowd of shocked parents with wide-eyed children gathered around the aisle watching this crazy woman toss toys everywhere.
Finally noticing the crowd, Julia looked up with a red face. What could she say?
"Sorry, erm, just looking for a certain one. I'm trying to get my son a Christmas present!"
"In July?!" One of the parents yelled in surprise.
"I'll just leave. I apologize," Julia mumbled as she sneaked away, trying to hide from the disapproving parents. While checking out, she received strange looks from the cashier, who scanned the heater and blanket and also pointed out to Julia the month they were in.
Part IV: Dinner with "The Black Cat"
Sneaking out of the store as fast as she could, Julia decided to eat out for a change. Ron usually made dinner for them. Remembering this and then the incident at Target almost drove her to tears.
She approached her car, and threw her bags in the trunk. As she started the engine, she could have sworn that she saw a little rust-colored stray "dog" with a huge fan of tails run across the parking lot. Of course, it was dark and it could have been anything, or nothing at all, but those deep, brown eyes certainly looked real to her. She disregarded it and drove away.
She saw a Steak and Shake restaurant and decided to stop there for food. She walked in and was blinded by all of the bright white tiles. A kind-looking waiter seated her in her own booth on one side of an aisle. She ordered her food and drink and waited. It was certainly nice to be away from anything that reminded her of that pokémon after all she had been through.
As if to deliberately ruin this peace around her, an elderly man was seated across the aisle from her. She never really liked old people; she had a prejudice that they were always cranky and rude. Of course, every one she met was cranky and rude. But at this particular time, it was not the old man she was concerned with, but who he was with. Or rather, what he was with. She glared wide eyed at it. "Of course," she muttered.
Just like in her dream, the Vulpix was as clear as day. It had rust-red fur, deep brown eyes, a large bushy tail, and a shadow. And, just like in the dream, it was staring at her. Why her? There were many other strange people to look at, why this one? But as much as she wished it to look away, the Vulpix did not budge, did not flick its tail, did not blink.
Julia tried ignoring the creature, but it would not stop staring at her. Why was no one else doing something? There were many kids there, why didn't any of them say, "Oh look, mommy! A pokémon!" She wanted to avoid confrontation, so as to not stir anything like what happened at Target. She decided to try "going" to the bathroom- would it change its gaze? Would it disappear when she stood up?
She stood up, watching it carefully. She walked down the aisle to the bathrooms. Its head turned to follow her. After standing a while in the bathroom, she went back to her seat. It was still there. Sitting there, staring at her and no one else. This was getting out of hand. It was not bothering anyone, so why worry-
"OK, single burger and extra hot chili." The waiter placed the food on the table. "Enjoy your food!" And he started walking away.
"Excuse me! Waiter?"
"Yes? Is there a problem?"
"Not really, just a question. Do you allow service animals here"
"No, sorry. We don't."
"Well then what's that doing over there?" She pointed at the "seeing-eye dog" next to the old man.
"What's What doing over there?"
"That dog, next to that man over there."
"Ma'am, there's no dog as far as I can see. Are you OK?"
Julia paused, staring at the oblivious creature. "No, I guess I must be seeing things. Thank you." The waiter nodded and walked to his next table, which happened to be the old man. He took his order and walked away. Well, at least the man is real.
She sipped her chili, the extra-hot sting not bothering her a bit. She just stared at the Vulpix, and it just stared at her, not stirring a bit.
This had gone on far enough. She had to confront the creature and its "owner." But she would have to be subtle about it, to avoid drawing attention. She slowly made her way over to the man's booth. She tried to make it look like she was talking with the old man, when she was really staring at the real-life nightmare before her. She reached down to try and pet the creature. It made no effort to try and evade her hand. She had almost made contact, when she heard,
"What'r you doin'?!"
Part V: Confrontations.
The old, blind man was looking at her with his useless eyes. How had he seen her? Could he smell her? Did he have extrasensory perception? Did he-
"You hard of hearing? I said 'What'r you doin'?'"
At first, she was at a loss of words. "Uh.. uh.. j-just dropped a quarter and it rolled over here. I'm just picking it up and- yeah."
"Oh, ah see. Pickin on ole people now, is't?
She started to panic. "No, you don't understand, I just dropped
," she tried changing the subject: "-may I sit with you," she blurted out.
The man sat, surprised at the sudden turning of the tables. "Huh?!"
Relieved, "May I sit with you, sir?"
The man turned his head, bewildered. "Uuh, sure. I guess."
"Thank you, sir," she started sitting down, careful not to step on the creature down below. "My name's Julia by the way."
Don. She had heard that name somewhere before. Her dream? Yes! Could this somehow have anything to do with the dream she had? She would find out.
Don. May I ask you a personal question?"
"Fire away," he mumbled as he drank his water.
"Do you like
The man immediately sprayed his water all over the table and Julia. "Animals?! What kind of question is that?!"
"It's just a question," she said, wiping off her face.
back when ah was a kid, growing up on a farm in Nebrasky, I made friends with a certain fox. She wasn't like the other foxes I saw; She was a rusty colored thing with a huge tail, and the most beautiful eyes you would ever see. All you had to do was look at them and you'd be lost in their impossible depth and beauty
Julia heard the word "fox" and that was all she really needed. A grumpy guy named Don that grew up with a fox for a friend. That explained why the Vulpix was there
sort of. Speaking of which, was it still there? Julia risked a look under the table, not listening to the man anymore. It was gone.
She was relieved to see it was gone, but also curious as to where it went. Did it disappear? It didn't seem to be able to move its body, so it seemed logical. Of course, none of this seemed logical at all to her, but it wasn't a dream. She felt a heat next to her. She slowly turned her head around. There it was. It was sitting next to her on the bench. It hadn't changed its pose at all, and it was still staring at her. Smart little thing.
"Whoah!" she screamed at its startling appearance.
"What?" Asked Don.
"Huh? Oh- uh, that story is very interesting, and I would love to hear the rest of it, but I am supposed to be somewhere right now. Maybe we'll meet again later." She started walking away.
"OK. See you, Nurse Julia."
NURSE?! I need to get outta here!
She left her bill and tip money and ran out of the restaurant in a frenzy. She found her car and hopped in. She half-expected to see the cursed creature in her front passenger seat, but to her relief, it was nowhere to be seen. She sped on home.
She ran into her house and locked the huge door, and tried calming down. She walked towards the TV and flipped it on, this time, fully awake, hoping to find solace in all of the day's turmoil.
The Japanese surrendered in 19
These flames continue to engulf the hou
She just kept throwing toys everywhere... Steak and Shake- famous for
See as the mother fox stalks its prey
Nintendo announced today the release of
Oh, Don!... Target: Why pay
After all of this, she simply flipped the TV off. It was dark. She decided to go to bed. But she then recalled, almost instinctively, the comfort and refreshment she felt when she slept in front of the fireplace the other night. She decided, without thinking on it further, to repeat this and hope for a similar outcome. She set up her blanket, heater, and put the logs in the fireplace and started it. She slowly fell asleep.
Part VI: The Dream- Part Deaux?
Through all of the day's events, she couldn't tell what was dream and what was reality anymore. Everything, she assumed, was real. There wasn't much she could do about it. She could shut out dreams, but she couldn't shut out reality.
The fire was so comfortable on her skin while she slept. She was surrounded- engulfed in warmth she had never thought could possibly feel so good. This perpetuated her sleep. Hopefully her dream this time would be as comfortable as the fire.
There she was. Of course. She was back at the Target. Except this time, it wasn't a first person thing; she was watching herself from a distance. She couldn't really hear much; it was like being inside a thick bubble or something, as every sound was muffled. She could see herself flinging pokémon dolls all across the aisle, even pegging a parent at one point. This actually brought her amusement, as it was the same parent that had come to embarrass her publicly. She heard over everything else, "in July?!" And laughed to herself, as she watched her embarrassed other self walk away from the scene. She began to follow her.
As she followed herself out of the store, she felt herself flying, as if some bird or spiritual being floating through time and space. Instantly, she was at the Steak and Shake, on the floor. She looked for herself, of course she wasn't hard to find; the only person around staring at her.
Her?! Wait. Was she in the Vulpix's position? She tried to jerk her head around. Sure enough, with effort, she saw her body composed of a rusty-red color. Six large tails protruded from her rear, and she could see her elongated snout in her vision as well.
She saw her counterpart point at her with the waiter next to her. The waiter shook his head and walked away. Then the human Julia just sipped her chili, and stared at the Vulpix Julia.
Wow, Julia thought to herself, this is interesting seeing this from another perspective. Her thoughts were echoing all throughout the dream-realm.
She saw herself get up and walk to her left, to the bathrooms. The being she was looking through turned its head slowly, always watching her human self. She then felt herself being lifted up and carried to the bathrooms too. She was instantly in the bathrooms, looking at herself, who was looking for her. Stupid! Turn around! She thought loudly. But the human just walked back to her seat. She again felt herself lift up and fly to the side of the old man again. She was again, staring at herself. How weird she felt thinking of her selves as the human and the creature.
She again saw herself walk slowly toward the old man's booth. Her human self reached down and tried to touch her. She heard the old man yell at her human self and laughed, mercilessly at her image, watching her trip and fumble over words. She finally sat down.
This was so much fun, watching herself get beat up and embarrassed like this, yet she couldn't even think of why it was fun. It was like the body she was in was creating these feelings and thrusting them on her. There was also this sense of power; being able to watch her day unfold and not feel shame or embarrassment.
She leapt up onto the bench next to her human self, and stared at her, remaining inconspicuous, and the humans totally oblivious. Not long after, she nudged herself and the human looked down. She squealed loudly and backed away. She saw the human run to her table, and then saw her run out the door.
As expected, her point of view changed again. This time, to the back seat of her car. This, however, caused her panic instead of pleasure. Look out! She wanted to scream. It's in your car! But it was futile.
She was driven by herself to her house, and her counterpart hopped out of the car. She saw herself lock the huge door. But that wasn't a problem. Her body drifted out of the car, and she was walking toward her house. Her body waited for several minutes before continuing. All Julia's mental self could do was sit and watch in shock as the creature she inhabited drifted through the door with ease.
She was now inside her house. Her human body sprawled out in front of the fireplace. She noticed that she looked a lot like some house pet. But no matter; it was comfortable. Her creature body crawled up to her human body.
She was now horrified. She had already understood what this was- she was catching up with time. She thought to herself What is it going to do to me? Eat me? Push me into the fire? Snuggle up next to me so I freak out in the morning? OH WAKE UP, JULIA!!!
She saw her pokémon body push its head toward the oblivious human body that she longed to be in again. The pokémon licked her cheek. Instantly, she was awake.
Part VII: Reawakening
Realizing that the dream had substantial meaning, Julia was prepared to see her stalker. She looked all around the room. She was relieved to not see anything, but more relieved to be back in her human body. She touched her cheek. That pokémon had liked her right there. It felt very warm, and she again felt that same feeling of familiarity- that sensation from her last dream.
She was petrified now. She knew that creature could be anywhere. She stood up, and shook off her blanket. She tried turning on a light, but it didn't work. She was suddenly icy cold. She got near the fire again, but not too close.
She started thinking again, about this creature. She created a picture in her head. Sure it was feisty; had the determination of a mule. She saw it as a being of pure evil, but yet it was so elegant- so beautiful.
She sighed, and let the mental image dissolve into the fire before her. She noticed that despite the intense flames, she still felt chilly. She looked up. Was the image still in her mind? Did that creature that was of such evil, yet was impossible to loathe, leave an image of itself engraved in her mind? This was crazy. This is just a character from some Japanese kids show. How could it have divinity and spirituality?
And yet, the outline of this impossible creature was somehow appearing in the flames. One might have thought that the creature itself was in the flames. But that was impossible! No animal's fur can withstand such a degree of heat!
Yet, as much as she tried to discredit the existence of a pokémon in her fireplace, it still seemed as if it were sitting there, staring at her, and her staring at it. She wanted to turn off the flames, but she felt like waiting- just waiting for something to happen.
As if to answer her thoughts, the image of the "creature" became more detailed. A fox with the same body, hair, tail, and eyes as the one she had seen so many times, but entirely composed of flame. Her heart rate increased quickly. She had no doubt in her mind that there was the creature that she had loved, hated, been, and loathed in her fireplace.
Tired beyond belief, she gave in to the impulse to get up and walk over to it. Flames lapped at her skin, yet she felt nothing but cold. She managed to touch the silhouette in the fire, and it felt real- more real than anything she had felt for the past two days. And there was the same, now understandable "connection" sensation she kept feeling.
Shocked at this, she recoiled violently. She threw herself backwards, onto the floor where she had awoken. She lay on the floor, staring madly into the fire. The unthinkable happened.
The fiery Vulpix leapt from the flames towards her. All Julia could do was stare into its fiery eyes in shock. Then she closed her eyes tightly. The Vulpix did not land on top of her, but seemed to land inside of her, as if some ghostly poltergeist jumping into her chest.
She pried her eyes open, to see that the ghost was gone. She patted her chest, and felt it still beating quickly. She looked around. She was back where she had gone to sleep; on the blanket in front of the fireplace. Had she been dreaming? Was all of that some scary hoax?
She groaned. The sound answered her questions: it wasn't over. The sound was muffled again. She had control over her actions, thoughts, and tongue, but she didn't feel right.
Suddenly, she remembered her cheek. It instantly sent a painfully warm, yet soothing feeling through her whole body. It was like she was stroking the pokémon except all over her body. She touched her cheek, and again felt its warmth.
She sighed, and felt another tingle in her hand. It looked hairy. She should probably shave. Then she looked all over her arm- it too needed shaving. She felt her bones shake in her arm, and her fingers went numb- probably the cold.
Then she knew she must be dreaming. Her fingers started losing stability. She saw her pinky merge with her ring finger, and her index finger with her middle finger. She now had three fingers, covered in a coat of thin, brown fur. She felt a bulge on her palm- it had morphed into a large three-pronged sack, and then a smaller sack on each finger's underside. She looked at her other hand- the same thing had happened- they had become paws.
Her arms each sprouted a thicker coating of rusty-red fur. Soon, her whole body started itching. She felt her shirt- it felt padded, even though she couldn't feel much with these weird sacks on her deformed hands. She removed her shirt.
"AAAAH!!!!!" Her whole body was starting to become covered in the rusty-red fur! The thickest patch was over her heart. She now had a flat chest, and it had turned a creamy-white color. Her abdomen was also flat, and had turned the same color.
She felt an extraordinary pain in her feet. She saw them shrink and become straight and grow the same sacks as on her hands. They too turned a brown color. She now had four paws.
She next felt her face tickle, then throb with pain. Her cheekbones and nose thrust forward and out slowly. Her nose merged with her mouth to form a short snout. Her flat teeth were molded and reformed into sharper ones. She almost bit her tongue, readjusting to the new mouth. It too grew rusty-red fur. She was now completely covered in fur.
Her blonde hair fell out and was replaced by a curly hat-like head of red locks.
She tried standing up, but was overcome by the next, most excruciating pain of them all. She fell over forwards as she felt a sharp pain in her tailbone. She turned her head, and saw a bony structure protrude from her rear. It quickly sprouted into five other extensions, and each curled elegantly at the ends. They were quickly covered in very thick red fur, the same color as her head hair.
She felt her legs reform so that her knee was eliminated, and the joint had inverted itself. Her hip joints followed suit; thrusting the legs forward, then back, then forward for her foot.
She then started shrinking so that she was about two feet from nose to tail.
The last change pleased Julia internally. Her eyes bulged, reformed, and were repositioned. She closed her eyes. She saw the image of the Vulpix staring at her again, but she didn't hate it anymore- she embraced it. She opened her eyes. They were a dark, golden-brown, and just about as deep an eye could get.
She smiled, for having seen the spectacular show. Though it must've been a dream. But it felt pretty real to her. She had felt pain and heat in this illusion, so it had to be something. She patted her body of fur and felt real enough.
She decided to test it. She walked into the fire, with great difficulty, with her feet now gone and replaced by four paws. She saw the fire engulf her, but she felt nothing. Nothing at all. This has to be a dream. She then recalled how the Vulpix had come out of the fire, and that she could now withstand the heat. Knowing this knowledge, she felt comfortable around the flaming inferno. She circled the base of the kiln twice, then sat down on the bed of logs and fell asleep. if this was a dream, she might as well make the most of it. After all, she felt soooo comfortable
She saw the Vulpix that had been watching her throughout the day. It was standing next to the front door, just staring at her. She felt no hostility. Instead, she slid over a bit on the logs and offered it a place to sit. It quickly accepted and bounded over to her and sat next to her. They nuzzled, and Julia felt that warm tingling sensation. The other Vulpix looked longingly at her.
"See? Being a Pokémon is not so bad."