My name is Ash Ketchum.

Last week, I was traveling the Sinnoh wilderness with my pals Brock and Dawn and my best friend Pikachu. We were caught in a storm one night and sought shelter at an out of the way Pokemon Center. The four of us entered expecting to be greeted by the local Nurse Joy but there was none. The lights were on and everything was working but the Center was abandoned. There was no nurse or any Pokemon in sight. It was unusual but we were too tired to be susPicious of anything. We had figured the nurse and her chansey must have stepped out for a short while. Dawn left a note on the counter and we headed for the guest bedchamber.

I slept only for a short while on my bunk when Pikachu and I were awakened by a loud thud. Brock had fallen from of the ladder while climbing off the top. He really shouldn't squint so much, I thought. He mumbled something about getting a drink of water and dragged himself out of the room. Pikachu and I fell back asleep.

We awoke the next morning to a bright sunrise shining through the window. Pikachu leapt over to Dawn's bunk and stirred her as I stood to awaken Brock from his loftier mattress. He wasn't there.

I asked Dawn if he'd gotten up earlier but she was as clueless as I over Brock's whereabouts. She went to the adjoining bathroom to freshen up while I stepped into the hall to look for our missing friend. Knowing Brock, he had probably found Nurse Joy and was frightening her with sad, romantic advances.

Our attention was drawn to the murmur of the TV in the lobby. There was Brock, settled in a waiting room chair transfixated to whatever news story was on. I was about to ask what was so interesting but then I heard slivers of what the reporters had been saying.

"A radical new infection has sPread all over the Sinnoh Region. Countless Pokemon afflicted. Exhibiting dangerous behavior. Turning on trainers. Heightened resilience to injury."

Brock said something about being relieved to be in a backwater Pokemon Center.

That's when we heard Dawn screaming. The three of us ran over to the guest bathroom to find the girl wide-eyed and terror stricken, pointing her shaky finger at something lying in the shower; a half-eaten corpse, mutilated almost beyond the point of recognizing it's former identity. I say almost because, though ripped to shreds, the uniform gave it away. It--she was Joy.

Dawn couldn't believe it but Brock confirmed that it was in fact one of the many identical nurses we've come to know in our travels. And if anybody can identify a Nurse Joy, Brock can. Still, Dawn had begged the question; what could have done this?

As if to answer her, we turned our heads to see something waddle up to the doorway. It was a Chansey, and almost certainly Joy's. But there was something disturbingly wrong with that Pokemon. Its eyes were glazed over, its pink hide was tinged with a shade of gray and it's mouth was smeared with dry blood.

Dawn hadn't seen any of the news report so when she asked Brock and I what was going on, we almost forgotten that it was possible for her to remain in the dark about this terrifying new development in the world. But this wasn't quite the time to answer her. Instead I commanded Pikachu to blast away at Chansey with a thunderbolt and to not hold back.

Nor could I have done so any sooner, for the shell of a formerly gentle and friendly Pokemon lunged at me crying out in a disPairing shriek that still rings in my ears. Chansey crashed into to hallway wall beyond, burned all over and with a substantial chunk of its side blown off.

The four of us wasted no time in escaping. Within seconds, we were out of that Pokemon Center and putting as much distance between it and us as possible. A minute later, we were in the woods when I suggested we all halt and process what had just happened. In doing so, Brock explained the situation to Dawn and told me a few things as well.

The night before, he had gone to get a drink when a story on the late news had caught his attention and he had been watching it until Pikachu and I found him that morning. While we were trekking the woods, Pokemon all over Sinnoh and parts of Kanto, Johto and Hoenn were attacking other Pokemon, sPreading a bizarre new virus turning them into--for lack of a better term--zombies. Undead Pokemon sPreading the infection among their living and with it, a taste for human flesh.

It seemed to sPread fastest in cities among trained Pokemon with lots of people to feed off of, Brock concluded. That's why we haven't run into any yet in the forest. But more than anything, we were just lucky.

The four of us had been faced with the dilemma of where to turn now. I suggested we return to the Pokemon center. Dawn protested but I insisted that it was not only the single outpost of civilization within two miles, but we could fortify the building and contact help. As for the zombie Chansey, it had doubtless been sufficiently dealt with by Pikachu's thunderbolt and if not, we would continue zapping the creature until it was reduced to ashes.

If Dawn or Brock were about to argue my point, I never found out. I had no sooner finished explaining my plan than we all turned to a sound of running in the woods. Roughly a hundred yards away and up a hill, a small pack of Poochyena and Mightyeana had charged out of the bushes and made a b-line for our group. We turned tail and ran back for the Pokemon Center, not wishing to find out whether the wild Pokemon had been infected and just assumed they were.