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Curse of the Miasma

"Unexpected Guests"


It was late at night, the countryside in solemn silence. Yet far into the distance, there was no peace.

It was dark when she awoke; the VCR blinking 12:00 did her little good. A soothing blue light filled her room from outside, yet it was still too dark for it to be five AM -- the time she usually got up. Suspicious, she got up and walked to the door that led outside, tripping over a bunch of textbooks. Grumbling under her breath, she went out onto the porch to see a huge blue bird down below. She crept down the staircase and onto the grass that carpeted her backyard. The large bird was facing her and seemed very nervous. She approached it slowly.

"A-Articuno?"

The bird blinked at her. The girl continued walking up to it until she was a few yards away, still in shock about the rare pokémon in her yard. It too began to walk up to her but then it would step back as if it didn't know if it could trust her.

"Ti..." It sang quietly while looking from the girl to the mountain.

"Articuno, what's wrong?"

"Cunooo..." The bird stepped forward and lowered to the ground; it's icy wings stretched out.

"Do you want me to come with you?"

The girl glanced at the Clock Tower far away in the center of town. The illuminated face read two AM. Articuno looked up at her and nodded.

"Sorry, but I need my rest. I have exams in the morning and if I fail, I'll have to take 12th grade all over again. As nice as it is being a senior and all, I don't want to stay one forever."

Articuno stood up and stared at her, its eyes glistening when suddenly it looked up at Wintry Mountain, which was looming over the haze. The bird's feathers began to ruffle as if seeing an evil force. It looked back at the girl, its eyes pleading for help. She looked at the bird then over at the mountain. Then she too sensed that something was wrong. She shuddered, followed by goose bumps running down her arms. She looked back towards Articuno and nodded.

Running back to her room, she changed out of her pajamas and into warmer clothes. Flinging open a small Sailor Moon tin box, she grabbed a lime Pixie Stick and swallowed all the sugar within. She came back out less than a minute later wearing jeans, boots, and a black jacket over her white pajama top. She jogged up to Articuno and shook her head.

"Sayonara, diploma."

Articuno leaned close to the ground again and she climbed up its back. She held firmly on to the feathers around its neck and they were off. The girl held on tight and looked at the trees below while the Freeze pokémon furiously flew higher and higher. Almost ten minutes later they were at Wintry Mountain.

The girl looked back to where they came from, barely seeing the tall pine trees that surround her ranch. Jumping off Articuno's back, she fell into the deep fluffy snow. The bird immediately crouched low to the ground, a soft growl humming in its throat. The girl quickly mimicked Articuno's action, following its gaze from behind the large snowdrifts that hid them. What she saw confirmed Articuno's fear completely. Six men in sleek fur coats surrounded the perimeter, especially the conspicuous cave out in front. The girl had heard about this cave, for legend said that an Articuno roosted there because the heavy storm would keep its eggs safe from intruders. Obviously, the storm wasn't doing much to protect the cave from these strangers.

Two of the men suddenly went in the cave while the others guarded the entrance with rifles. A few minutes later they came back out; one of them was holding a large bag. They pulled out the contents to show the others, which were Articuno's eggs. But these weren't your run-of-the-mill eggs, oh, no. These eggs were huge, almost two feet long, and were snowy-white with pale blue specks. The men placed the crystallized eggs back in the bag and began to leave, their black and blue helicopter seen from behind a snow bank.

The girl wanted to stop them, as did Articuno, but they were often reminded of the rifles that glistened in the dim moonlight. A few of the men began boarding the helicopter when the colors triggered something in the girl's mind. Repressed memories from her past flashed swiftly before her eyes until a common theme was placed for all. Black and blue uniforms. They all wore one. An icy shiver not from the snow ran down the girl's spine as she thought about it.

"Miasma." She hissed through her teeth.

Upon hearing that word, Articuno suddenly reared up with its wings spread, screeching at the top of its lungs.

"ARRRRTTTIIII!!!!"

"Articuno, no!" She screamed as the men got their guns ready.


{: One Week Later :}


Ash knocked on the hard oak door, but no answer came. In fact, it probably wasn't even heard. Music from the inside was so loud; he had to shout so he could be heard. He looked to his left to see Brock, who nodded. Turning the round handle on the door, the music got much louder as they entered.

They were in a small corridor and a small shrub at the corner of each wall marked the end. Walking in, they took note of the place and looked for an owner. To their left was an empty kitchen, ahead lead to two stairways; one leading upstairs and the other to a longer hall. But to their right led to the living room and another hall. Walking in that direction, they found a girl in the middle of the living room, laying on the floor in a puddle of blood.

Ash saw her first and froze. Misty gasped when she saw her, covered her mouth and looked away. Brock was last to see this gory sight. Trying not to look at the blood directly, he walked up to her. He went past the couch and nearly tripped over the low coffee table.

She was lying face down; long dark-chestnut hair flowed over her back and shoulders. She was wearing a long blue dress that had a tear near her stomach. He walked up to her right side, careful not to step in the blood. He gulped as he gently nudged her shoulder with the toe of his shoe. She stayed motionless. He looked up to see Ash and Misty on the other side of the fallen girl.

"Find a phone and call the ambulance. Hurry!" He shouted.

Ash and Misty immediately got up and began their search. The song ended and a DJ spoke, revealing that it was the radio playing. Brock kneeled down next to her, even though the blood urged him to gag.


{: | :}


Ash and Misty went in different directions; Misty headed to the kitchen and Ash going past the living room into the halls farther down.

Misty ran throughout the large kitchen, looking for a phone. On a table there were some paper bags filled with food, like someone had just returned from shopping. She began rummaging the cupboards when she found a Drivers License. She looked around the kitchen a moment more before she ran out to the hall nearby. The first door led to the bathroom, and no phone was found. The next door led to a guest bedroom.

Searching around, she found a phone sitting on the bookshelf. She quickly picked up the receiver and dialed 911. She began tapping her foot while she waited when she realized that there was no dial tone. Following the cord with her eyes, she saw that it was cut in two. She picked one end up and held it close to her face, the inner wires hanging out loosely.


{: | :}


Ash ran down the hallway, shaking violently. He came to another fork, which led in three directions.

'I'll never cover it all in time...'

He thought, grinding his teeth together. Pulling out two pokéballs, he called out Squirtle and Bulbasaur.

"Okay! Bulbasaur: go that way." He pointed one way. "Squirtle: go that way." He pointed the other way. "If you find a phone, dial 9-1-1 and then find me, all right?"

The two pokémon nodded and went their separate ways. Ash began to shake again as he went down another hall. He had never seen a murder victim before and quite frankly, it scared the stuffing out of him. Someone's life taken away... It wasn't right. Who would do such an evil thing? Team Rocket immediately came to mind, but he always thought that they tried catching rare pokémon, not killing people. As he entered the Master Bedroom at the end of the long hall, he suddenly stopped. He found the stereo that was playing; the music so loud he had to cover his ears. He slowly walked over to it, trying to find the volume button.

Suddenly the DJ came on, talking about the station's monthly prize. A drum roll was heard and he announced a name.

"Miss Samantha Lynn! You are the winner! I'll be calling your house, so you better be there to claim your 2,000-dollar reward! You have seven minutes to answer!"

Misty suddenly looked up.

"Samantha Lynn? Isn't that..."

Her eyes widened as a phone was heard ringing somewhere in the house. Brock and Ash also looked up.

"We gotta find that phone!" Ash yelled over the music.

Elsewhere, Bulbasaur and Squirtle nodded. Squirtle climbed on top of a table and threw paper and clothes behind him, searching frantically. Finding nothing but an old candy bar, he jumped off and searched the rest of the small closet.

Bulbasaur was in the office and sat in a large black chair, using his vines to open desk drawers. Despite the panicked atmosphere, he couldn't help it but stop and listen to the odd music box tune that had begun to play. Spinning the chair around, he was greeted by a ringing phone.

"Bulba!"

Using his vines, he picked up the phone receiver and held it close to his ear.

"Bulba?"
"Hello? Is Samantha Lynn there?"
"Bulba...Saur? Bulbasaur!"
"Listen little Bulbasaur, go get Samantha and tell her she just won two grand!"
"Saur? Bulba-bul saur!"

Ash, Misty and Brock looked up to hear Bulbasaur talking on the radio, playing loudly over the speakers that hung everywhere in the house. Ash ran out of the room, down the hallway and turned right, the way Bulbasaur went. Misty ran out of the bedroom and into the living room, just in time to see where Ash went. Following Ash, she ran past Brock, not noticing that the door behind him was slowly opening. Brock stayed where he was, keeping two fingers on Samantha's neck where he could feel her pulse. Sensing the presence of another, he glanced over his shoulder to see Samantha's attacker before he was knocked unconscious with a blunt object.


{: | :}


Ash rushed into the small office, with Misty not too far behind. Jumping over the three steps that led up into the room, he nearly crashed into the desk.

"Bulbasaur?"

The chair with its back to Ash began to swivel as Bulbasaur spun the chair around with one vine, while the other held the phone.

"Bulba!"

He replied and passed the receiver up to Ash.

"Hello?"
"...Are you Samantha Lynn?" The DJ asked.
"No, but I need an ambulance right away! A girl here is hurt extremely bad. I think she's Samantha Lynn, but I'm not sure. We need help now!"

Misty ran through the doorway and paused at the stairs, gasping for air. Squirtle sped into the room and bumped into Misty's legs, causing her to fall.

"Squirtle! Squirt Squirtle!"

The turtle pokémon shouted hastily, pointing toward the living room. Misty glanced up at Ash then followed Squirtle while Ash told the DJ to send an ambulance to the eminent Luna Ranch.

Misty followed Squirtle out into the living room, a worried expression settling in her eyes. When they reached the end of the hall, she saw Squirtle stop and point to where Brock was the last time that she saw him. Walking past a baby grand piano, she looked at the floor in the middle of the living room. But all she saw was blood.

"Wh-where did they go?"

Upon closer inspection, she saw a trail of blood leading towards a half-open door. Walking out the door, she saw that the blood led down the stairs and to the driveway, where it stopped and tire tracks began. Sprinting back into the house, she raced into the office, nearly running over Squirtle. When she reached it, Ash looked at her surprised.

"They're...they're gone. I think...they've been kidnapped." She said breathless.

Ash stared at her wide-eyed, and dropped the phone.

"WHAT?!"

He ran past Misty who collapsed on the stairs and hurried into the living room. Skidding to a stop next to Squirtle, he stared at the empty room.

"But...Who would take them?"

He grimaced, just as the ambulance drove up the driveway, sirens blaring. Walking back to the office, he helped Misty stand up. Pulling out a pokéball, he recalled Bulbasaur. A loud crash was heard as the paramedics knocked the wooden door open. Rushing in with a stretcher, they called out over the loud music.

"Hello! Anyone here?"

One of the three men shouted. Ash and Misty walked into the large room, greeting them.

"Are you the boy who told the DJ at KMIS to call us about an emergency?" One of the other helpers asked.

"Yes, sir." Ash replied, pulling out Squirtle's pokéball.

"Well, where's the patient? From what we heard, she needs immediate attention." The last helper ordered.

"They're...not here. I think they've been kidnapped, maybe by the person that attacked her. Squirtle found them missing and told me and Ash, but when I got out here, they were gone! But if you look over there," Misty pointed toward the open door, "there's a trail of blood leading down to the driveway."

"Wait a minute. You keep saying 'they'. We were told that there was only one person injured. Who are the others?"

"Our friend, Brock. He was looking after Samantha while Misty and I looked for a phone so we could call for help." Ash explained.

"Oh, I hope he'll be all right." Misty whispered as she looked down at the black and white tile floor.

'Was the killer waiting here the whole time? What if they do something horrible to...'

She couldn't finish. She knew bad stuff happened all the time, but she never thought something like this could happen to someone she knew. Misty squeezed her eyes closed, trying to keep her composure. For some extremely unlikely reason, Ash saw right through this and tried to comfort her.

"Brock was like a big brother to me. I know we'll find him, Samantha too. We have to."

He put a hand on her shoulder reassuringly. She looked up at him; her eyes brimmed with tears.

"I hope so."

She whispered, her voice steadying. Ash nodded and turned back toward the paramedics.

"Follow me."

He went to show them the trail of blood leading outside. Misty and Squirtle followed.


{: | :}


Inside a dark van Brock lay unconscious, tied and gagged. Across from him laid Samantha in the same situation, only a man was aiding her. He unraveled a blood-soaked towel around her wound, and switched it with a clean one. The van was already miles away from Luna Ranch, and was heading towards a mysterious town up North...


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Click here to go to chapter two.


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Written by Jade Smith
Orignally June 2000, rewritten Sept. 2002