Pokémon PI (Part 1 of 5)

This is a fanfiction. Pokémon is the intellectual property of Gamefreak. I am simply writing an original story in their world.

This story is rated PG-13 for mild language, frightening imagery, and scenes of violence.

I’m standing in the center of the office, my eyes scanning the place for clues. The lights are off – I kept them that way on purpose. Apparently she only appears at night, in the dark.

How original.

The office looks ordinary to me. Desks are arranged in cubicles throughout the room, computer monitors dark with small yellow lights indicating their idle state. All the trash bins are empty. Crimson shades are drawn over the windows; they filter the streetlights from outside and give the whole room a red tint. Next to me, Ebony sits still with her ears lying back. Her red eyes search the dark room, but she’s not found anything yet. The bio-luminescent rings on her body are dimmed, blending in with her sleek black fur.

I’m skeptical of the stories, but I won’t leave just yet. After all, I’m skeptical of all the stories, but I’d be out of a job if none of them were true.

The office ghost is one of the most well-known urban legends in Lumiose City. No one has seen her more than once, but everyone remembers the encounter clearly. She stands before them dressed in black, her long dark hair hanging haphazardly over her face. Then she speaks.

“You’re not the one.” That’s it. She walks away, and any attempt to make further contact with her fails. Everyone who has seen her is understandably disturbed by the experience.

A few errant strands of hair suddenly fall in front of my eyes, thin but invasive lines distorting my view of the room. I take off my hat and return the strands to their proper place, resetting the bobby pin to make sure it holds. After that I put the hat back on and slide my hands into the pockets of my trench coat. But now my sunglasses are sliding down my nose, so I remove my right hand to push them back into their proper place. Not a moment later, those strands of hair drift down again.

Agitated, I bring up my hands to try and fix my hair. They’re all I can see for a few moments, thin fingers struggling to keep my hair in order. When I put them down again, I gasp.

She’s here.

The ghost girl stands before me. Her pale skin seems to glow in the dark room. She’s wearing a dark dress that drags the ground, her long hair hanging in front of her face. It’s quite chilly all of a sudden, and I have to resist the urge to tighten my coat around me. Instead I stare at her through my sunglasses, waiting to hear those words: “you’re not the one.”

She doesn’t speak them though, just continues staring for a long time. I feel my head start to itch, like a bug crawling through my hair. But the crawling is happening underneath; she’s trying to read my mind, to get the edge by knowing my thoughts. But I’m not so easy to read.

I decide to provoke her. “Poke around all you want. You won’t find anything.”

She begins to laugh. Her laugh is high, a sort of excited squealing punctuated by the sound of nails on a chalkboard. The ghost holds up a single trembling hand, her long spindly finger pointing directly at my heart.

“You’re the one.”

She lurches forward like a rag doll being dragged along the floor, her hair billowing back like a heavy cloak. I jump back and Ebony leaps between us, smacking the girl with an extended paw. The girl flinches at the blow, her head twitching in violent spasms like a glitching computer screen. When she looks at me again, I can see her face.

My face.

Those few strands of hair fall down again, and I lose my cool.

I run to the elevator with Ebony on my heels, her loping gait soon carrying her past me. She lets out a fearsome screech as I pass her, trying to frighten the ghost and throw her off her guard. Meanwhile I’m pressing the elevator buttons as quick as I can, repeatedly mashing the button to close the door as my doppelganger shambles towards the door, laughing that hideous laugh.

“You’ll be trapped in that elevator forever,” she warns, “and when you’re old and grey it’ll take a one way trip to Hell!”

The doors close just before she arrives. A sigh of relief escapes my lips, but I’m not in the clear yet. Ebony is panting next to me, ears standing up on end and rings glowing with a fierce golden light. Slowly, the elevator begins its descent.

Suddenly, I start to hear a ringing sound. It’s soft at first but grow louder and more insistent, and I’m looking around wildly for the source. Suddenly I feel a flutter against my hip. The Holocaster in my coat is ringing. I reach into the pocket and take out the device, pressing the button to drop the call. It keeps ringing, the volume growing in intensity until each ring sends a tremor through the elevator. A hologram pops up unbidden, the shimmering blue form hanging suspended in the air.

“Didn’t you hear me calling?” asks the girl. “You’re coming with me, whether you like it or not!”

The elevator reaches the first floor and stops abruptly, sending me staggering forward. Ebony catches me, stopping my descent with practiced ease. Not the first fall she’s broken, and I doubt it’s the last. Her warm fur is a comfort to me even in this heated chase.

The girl is standing in the doorway as the elevator opens. She grins at me wildly and her hair lashes out towards me. I just manage to duck underneath the grasping tendrils as Ebony tackles the girl, both of them rolling along the ground for a few feet. Ebony rises first and begins alternating the light patterns in her fur, running about in circles as the girl desperately tries to follow her. She lashes out desperately but strikes air, Ebony using the opening to smack her over the head from behind.

“I’ll feast on both your souls!” the girl shrieks. The whole room is overtaken by a sudden chill, and I feel myself slumping towards the ground. I manage to catch myself on the front desk, using it to support me as I look around the room. The first floor is a lobby area, with chairs and couches spread out to allow people to sit and wait in comfort. Where the shades were drawn upstairs, here they are open and allowing light into the room.

Ebony is still pounding at the ghost girl’s head, but a ball of inky darkness sends her flying backward. Ebony shakes it off; as a dark type Pokémon, ghost powers barely phase her, and umbreon are notoriously hardy.

The ghost girl flings a ball of shadow at me, her dress billowing outward as she glides right on its heels. I manage to avoid the blast but get caught up in the girl’s hair, cold tendrils crawling up my body and stealing the warmth from my flesh.

“Let’s get a look underneath those glasses,” she says. Her hand reaches towards my face. My mind is working in overdrive. The cold means something, I know it. And then it hits me.

“Ebony, my shadow!”

My clever companion understands immediately. She leaps towards me and finds my shadow, elongated and twisted by the streetlights filtered through the window. She gives a hard thump on the shadow’s chest, and suddenly my doppelganger loosens her grip. Her hand drops to her side and the tendrils of hair all collapse into a heap on the floor.

I lean in to whisper to the ghost.

“Gotcha.”

Ebony gives my shadow one more firm swipe. The ghost girl’s chest bursts open, violet mist exploding outward and quickly fleeing out through the vents in the room. As the mist clears the body itself degenerates, flesh boiling into a pile of thick sludge that oozes to the floor. I watch in disgust before turning to Ebony. She coos contentedly, and I bend down to pet her in thanks.

As kids, we’re all sent on a journey with Pokémon to explore the country and learn about these fascinating creatures we share the world with. While training them is one method of learning their capabilities, we also read about them through the Pokédex technology given to every child. Those Pokédex entries are designed to make it easy to identify a Pokémon quickly.

At first, the ghost girl had me fooled. But when she began to absorb my energy, I felt the terrible chill of her power. And that cold reminded me of gengar, a Pokémon who hides in the shadows of its victims to drain their life away. Gengar have a variety of powers, from confusion to sleep to manipulation of shadows and darkness, but no matter what they do, they can never hide the cold that comes when they begin to feast on the soul of their victims.

And their only form of protection is the shadow camouflage that hides them.

“Looks like we solved that mystery, Ebony,” I say. “The workers here will be safe now.”

My Holocaster begins to ring again. I pull the device out of my pocket and turn it on. The shimmering blue hologram shows a woman. I notice immediately that she appears very tired. Distress has aged her beyond her years.

“Is this Detective Amber Milliarde?” she asks.

“It is.”

“I tried to call earlier,” she says. “You answered, but something went wrong with the call. Anyway, I’m calling about my daughter, Sissi. She’s been kidnapped. She’s Trainer age and she’s only been gone a few hours, so the police won’t look for her, but I just know that she’s missing and she’s not the kind of girl who’d run-”

“Ma’am,” I say, interrupting the one-sided conversation. “Where do you live?”

The woman smiles graciously. “I live in Snowbelle City, by the boutique. You can’t miss the house.”

“It would take me a few days to get to Snowbelle. The police would be willing to help in the search by then. My specialty is the paranormal, ma’am. You really think you need my unique brand of help?”

The woman hesitates, but then nods. Her form shimmers again before she reveals the real reason that she called me.

“There’s a psychic that lives here in Snowbelle. Three days ago, he told me my daughter would go missing today. I don’t know if it was a threat or a prediction, but now Sissi is gone. If he’s really the one responsible, Detective, the police won’t be able to do anything about it. It has to be you.”

I look over at Ebony, who appears to be listening intently. She nods her head and wags her tail expectantly. Her answer clear, I turn back to the hologram. The woman looks at me with eyes full of concern and hope. She’s desperate, and in her eyes I’m the only answer to her prayers. I take only a moment more to think before answering.

“I’ll take the job.”

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