Oh, I almost forgot.


Chapter 11

Brock’s calls had beckoned me to a pocket in the fog where I could see everything clearly but my own feet. A few steps before was my dearly departed friend sipping down an exotic drink in a bubbling hot tub next to his Croagunk, Sudowoodo and Happiny. All of them looked perfectly content. “What took you so long?” he asked.

I didn’t know what to answer. All I had were questions but before I could ask any, he chuckled and told me to relax. “First of all, no, Ash, you’re not dead. This is just one of those moments where you find the answers you need from heavy introsPection with the aid of a sPirit guide. I’m your Obi Wan Kenobi. Or your Mufasa, if you will.”

My head was sPinning. The hot tubbing sPirit guide was a bit much to take in all at once. I fell to my knees and apologized for not being able to save him.

“Dude, don’t apologize. It was my time. And frankly, I’m just pissed it wasn’t my time earlier. I get to kick it here, hot tubbing with Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny for eternity.” he explained. I was confused however as I saw neither of those women anywhere until both raised their heads out of the water to passionately kiss Brock for a moment and descend back below. How do they hold their breaths for so long, I asked.

“We’re dead, Ash. We don’t breath. Listen. Find Mewtwo. That’s your quest right there. It’ll know what to do. ” And how to find it? “That should be really obvious, Ash.” What was that supposed to mean? “Just think about it.”

That vague bit of advice was the last thing I heard from my newfound sPirit guide before suddenly coming to in the abhorrent stench of Rayquaza’s mangled viscera. Pikachu’s paws tapped at my face, trying to awaken me. My opening eyes and groans of anguish assured it I was up. I took a minute to collect my senses. It eventually dawned on me that Rayquaza’s body was stationary and doubtfully under water.

Reaching around, I grabbed the stake, still intact, and stabbed away at the lining of it’s resPiratory tube and eventually it’s hide. Puncturing a hole large enough to peak through, I looked out to see our surroundings. Below us was a cityscape dotted with fires and crumbling buildings. Rayquaza, dead beyond succor, dangled off a skyscraper and slowly gave to the pull of gravity. My movements caused it’s great swinging corpse, tail beneath me, to gradually lose what friction held its upper half to the broken walls it evidently crashed into.

Pikachu’s head poked out beneath my own. I held it still lest we budged Rayquaza anymore. Now was a time to hold still and think. We survived one crash, wrapped in the serpent’s viscera. Perhaps the only thing to do was go back inside, shake the corpse loose and brace ourselves for another crash. Had I another minute uninterrupted to consider it, that is no doubt the choice I would have made.

As it happened though, Pikachu called my attention to something happening out of my field of vision. To our far right, we saw Charizard flying over the cityscape, outmaneuvering a ravenous flock of Wingull, Starly, Mothim and other common flying Pokemon in their pursuit. In my excitement, I cried aloud “Charizard!”, realizing my mistake no sooner than I had finished. Yes, I got the attention of my fiery friend but I had also gained the interest of the hungry swarm in their wake!

Zombie Pokemon, as I have come to understand are more straightforward in their attacks than their strategically-minded, living counterparts. Had the flock sPlit up and coordinated their attacks better, I’ve no doubt that Charizard’s evasive skills would last little more than a minute against their superior numbers. As it was, however, these bird and bug Pokemon tailing it always followed my friend directly or made a b-line to its most recent position. Also, their reaction time was shot. Often, they would crash into any structure Charizard swerved closely around or fell victim to occasional surprise Ember attacks which shot massive, flaming bullets from its tail. This did little to diminish their numbers, however, as their seemed to be an unlimited supply of flying Pokemon in the distance drawn to the chase.

As it happened, Charizard was flying away from our position when I called out, placing the horde fiendish flyers between us and thus closer to me. They held their position, hovering in the air momentarily before sPlitting up; around half flew over to me while others continued after Charizard. What Charizard would do next, I could not know for Pikachu and I frantically pulled back into Rayquaza’s windpipe.

Inside we could hear and feel the impact of the flock’s attack on the swaying body of our horrific shelter. We looked up to see beaks tear and peck at our makeshift window. Finally we felt the overwhelming warmth of Charizard’s flamethrower engulfing Rayquaza from outside and incinerating the squawking zombies so desPerate to taste our flesh. That tight windpipe seemed to light up from the soft glow coming from outside. Finally, we felt the body lose it’s drag overhead and plunge towards Earth.

Pikachu and I braced ourselves for the coming impact but it would not claim us. Charizard’s claws ran down the opening I made and slashed an exit for us. I was surprised to see Dawn with Piplup, reaching her hand out to mine, pulling Pikachu and myself onto our friend’s winged back. The five of us flew off parallel to the street below because ascending directly would have placed us in the path of the zombie flyers above.

I looked back to see Rayquaza crash onto a crowd of hungry Pokemon zombies who gathered below to watch the sPectacle. We flew low, only about 30 feet above the street and all around us was pure bedlam. Flipped cars littered the streets, water gushed out where fire hydrants used to stand, shattered glass and crumbling walls rained down from the buildings above. There were structure fires, mounds of rubble where buildings used to stand and craters swallowing anything that fell in. And everywhere, there were zombie Pokemon scrounging about for food.

Charizard, fueled by adrenaline, whizzed past them fast enough for most to not even notice until we swung around the corner of every adjacent block. It was then that I realized I hadn’t issued a single command to do so. My Charizard was a brilliant tactician all its own and I couldn’t be prouder. But again Pikachu had called to my attention a predicament I was unaware of; Even at our sPeed, behind us not only flew the zombie Pokemon we expected but a slew of runners and jumpers who were made aware of us by their airborne chase.

At the forefront, I could see an infected Arcanine, Luxray, Hitmonlee and Blaziken. The latter two were leaping and bounding off the streets and sides of buildings, matching our sPeed every now and then but never quite catching us on account of our erratic paths. Even with the reduced sPeed characteric in zombies, their tenacity and naturally superior Pokemon sPeed made them impressive as they tailed us across the post-apocalyptic city grounds. Every so often, Arcanine or Luxray leapt up from below in an attempt to drag us down in their quivering jaws. Both were externally charred by their own flame or lightening expulsion from which their zombie forms provided little immunity. And of course there were the occasional bird and bug Pokemon who caught up and tried to divebomb us from above. Most missed, and the closest were deflected by Piplup’s Bubblebeam.

The flyers overhead prevented us from making any sharp climbs as that would have drastically reduced our sPeed. Eventually, we turned in to a particularly long and narrow avenue bordered by high rises which allowed the jumping Blaziken and Hitmonlee greater sPeed and proximity to us as well as a tighter shooting range for the Flamethrowers and Thunderbolts of Arcanine and Luxray. However, these seeming handicaps worked out to our advantage when their attacks met Blaziken and Hitmonlee in midair, stopping them for good. My replying sigh of relief was premature though. Ahead, standing atop the flipped cars were several Marowak making ready to launch their bones at us.