Twilight Always Falls
A Dark Pokemon Novel by Mystic Vaporeon
The inky blackness consumed the young man, the only sensation penetrating his mind, the feeling of hot tears and blood running down his cheeks. He was not sure if he was blind, but his eyes had perceived nothing but black for so long he didn’t care. He closed the bruised and swollen eyes in a futile effort to rest his horrifically aching body, but acute hearing picked up the sound of the heavy, bolted metal door’s digital locks being decoded. It beeped in satisfaction as the correct combination was entered and he tensed apprehensively as the sound of formal dress shoes sounded against the bare and unforgiving tiled walls of his enclosure. He heard the usual procedural sounds of the occasional visits from the men he had once worked with and sighed as he realized what they had come for.
Bracing himself for the inevitable, he winced as he felt the cold, thin metal of a syringe pierce his neck, the utter terror and panic the only thoughts and emotions passing through his blurred and incoherent mind. The pain had become so intense days ago it no longer registered in his brain and his entire being felt numb, so much so that nothing permeated through the void he had put between himself and the world. He sought to escape the torture, the betrayal and the hurt, and had succeeded, and with the distancing of his conscious and equitable mind, he lost his battle for life. “We’re losing him sir!” He barely heard the panicked words above him, feeling the first white-hot pains of the serum surging through his veins. “It hurts this time!” he thought with minimal alarm, opening his deadened brown eyes for what he knew was the last time.
They met with the man that watched as the life slowly dissolved away with the burning liquid of the needle that had pierced his flesh just moments before, and it was clear to his oppressor the venom behind the dying man’s eyes. “Hmm, tragedy, I had really hoped this one would pull through,” he muttered absent-mindedly, “no matter, I’ll just have to get another one.” Though the young man was unable to answer verbally, as the other soul departed, he used the last of his strength to send a message to his mind. “You’ll pay for this you heartless bastard!” he hissed virulently. The older man stopped, grinning sadistically as he turned back to the youth on the table below him. “You forget, you’ve already been dead for weeks! It was a beautiful funeral too, your little blonde friend committed suicide right after I believe, at least now you have something to look forward to,” he responded casually, “that is if she’s rotting in hell.”
The young man heard no more from his murderer, clenching his teeth as the pain escalated to a hideous crescendo, surging throughout his body like rusted and ravenous knives. “I…I’m so sorry, I…I failed you,” he thought as his body no longer responded to his brain. He opened his mouth to scream, but found that he was pleasantly relaxed, smiling one last time as he spat the last of the blood from his mouth. “I’m sorry I failed you, Cassidy…” the teal-haired youth muttered longingly as all vital sign monitors about his battered body went dead with a mournful and final wail of agony.
Heat reigned with omnipotence that day, the sun beating down on the shore of the miniscule lake mercilessly, reflecting off its surface with a vengeance into the eyes of the small group at its shore, as if to spite their failure and intensify the feelings of loss. They sat up with difficulty, their first priorities each other, and throwing themselves into the other’s arms, they affirmed that they had survived the latest painful blast off. Relieved,
they looked then for the Pokemon that accompanied them, concern for his wellbeing rising with the relief of their mutual safety.
They were answered by a groan as the cream-colored cat rose from the ground a few feet further to the waterline than the duo above him. He squeezed his eyes shut as he inspected the glittering charm, already hot from the sun, on his forehead, and shook his head vigorously to clear his vision before searching for his absent friends. “Jess? Jim?” he called, panicked, but heaved a sigh of relief as he spotted the two Rockets a short distance from his location.
Jessie and James smiled warmly as Meowth struggled from the soft grass and into their arms, grateful to see his friends alright. “Geez! I tought youse two was Gyrados bait!” he breathed. The humans swallowed hard, recalling the day’s events, and not exactly enlightened by possessing the knowledge of what the back of the blue Dragon Pokemon’s throat looked like. “That sure was a close call, who could’ve known those Magikarp would evolve to help out the twerps?” James muttered. “Those self-righteous little brats… I swear I saw that rat smile before roasting us to a crisp,” Jessie hissed bitterly clenching her fists in front of her face.
James sighed mournfully at seeing his partner in pain, smoothing her ruffled crimson mane affectionately, and ignoring the biting pain of several electrical burns along the length of his arm. “We’ll get them sooner or later, but let’s worry about us for now. You hurt anywhere? Meowth?” he asked, wincing at his own pain as he stood. Jessie noticed the furtive display of pain, but shook her head as she joined him on her feet. “Not really,” she answered confidently, “nothing a few band-aides and some burn ointment won’t fix in a few days.” James nodded in relief, but he yelped in pain as Jessie put a hand to his shoulder, falling to his knees abruptly. “James, you’re hurt,” she said tenderly, wincing as she brought her hand back with a few bloodstains on her tattered black glove. “I’m fine, it’s nothing, I should look at you two first,” he replied determinedly to which Jessie smirked crookedly at. “Always me and Meowth before you right James? Later you’d be whining more than the both of us combined, but this time I’m not going to give you the opportunity. Let’s get you back to camp,” she said tenderly, shaking her head as James’ formerly confident step faltered. He closed his eyes remorsefully, sinking to the ground, and looked up balefully at his red-haired friend.
She smoothed his cerulean hair away from his dirty forehead and smiled, stooping to drape his arm across her shoulders, assisting him to stand and walk, heeding the plea his emerald eyes conveyed to her. He accepted her help, limping forward on a mildly painful ankle as the still silent and brooding cat followed.
The Rockets didn’t reach their destination until the murky and humid twilight of late summer set its thick quilt upon the world, and in far more foul moods than before. Meowth hadn’t spoken a word since the initial relief of seeing Jessie and James in somewhat good health, and Jessie was contemplating dropping her incapacitated blue-haired partner to walk himself. He had been complaining about his various aches and pains as well as the heat the entire way back, and Jessie could practically feel her hair bristle in fury, her infamous temper finally giving out on her. “James could you possibly shut up for now? The heat is getting to all of us! I know damn well! So if you don’t knock it off you can just walk!” she snapped as his whining reached an intolerable zenith.
James looked momentarily hurt in the robust crimson light spilling over the mountains, but he knew better than to test his fiery-spirited friend and immediately fell silent. “Sorry Jess,” was his only utterance. She felt a pang of remorse at hurting his feelings so often as she did, but quickly banished it, swearing that if he spoke one more word to her that evening she was going to beat him within an inch of his life. James sensed the impending doom, and the entire group was completely silent as they finally held their campsite in their weary eyes once again, bathed in a cooler shade of purple as the flame-red disc slowly sank beneath the mountains to blister another part of the world.
Jessie forced a kind and loving touch as she gently helped James to his still unkempt and obviously slept in sleeping roll, setting him down with a small and caring smile. “Sit tight James, I’ll go get the stuff,” she promised him. James merely nodded in response and sighed deeply and painfully as he watched Jessie stoop to rummage through the small bag that contained all of their worldly possessions. They kept it strapped tightly to the bottom of the woven basket of the Meowth Balloon, and since there wasn’t much else in it besides James’ comic and bottle cap collections, a few pictures of each other, other various trinkets, and Jessie’s immense hair and make-up bag, she located the first aide-kit with ease.
She hefted its bulk in relief, grateful they had stopped for supplies before attempting their latest predictable failure, and walked briskly back to her injured friend. Her gaze softened as she watched him banish the tears from his eyes, assuming a braver and more assertive stature as she approached him. “Okay James, where’d that little freak of nature get you?” she asked attempting to change the mood. It seemed to work, as James snickered softly at the comment, removing his tattered and worn black gloves slowly. “It’s always because of the stupid yellow rat, and that dumber-than-a-slowpoke Ash isn’t it?” he mused remorsefully.
Jessie sighed, taking his burned and battered hands into her own, which were marred in exactly the same way. “James, we’ve been handed a shitty deal in life, we have to face that, but someday, we’ll catch that Pikachu and the boss will let us go! I promise you that,” she assured him, cupping his chin in her hand and directing his sullen emerald eyes upward. James managed a vague smile as they met with Jessie’s brilliant and encouraging azures, suddenly feeling worlds better than he had when she had been cross with him. “I’m sorry I keep screwing it up for you,” he said softly. “Don’t blame yourself James, we have no other choice but to be here, or dead,” Jessie answered, shaking her head to assure her friend.
James said nothing after this, and with a small degree of difficulty, removed his thinned white jacket, revealing several other patches of reddened electrical burns at which Jessie gasped at the sight of. “Oh James,” she breathed in empathy, realizing he had bore the brunt of the aggression of the sadistic rodent. “It’s not too bad, really, there’s a few more I can feel on my back, and a few scrapes from those Gyrados,” he added, shuddering at the mention of his old enemy. “Take off the black shirt too,” Jessie instructed, and James abided by her request, removing the last garment from his upper body.
The red-haired rocket prepared herself for the sight, knowing that not only would he be wounded, but she would again have to view the ugly and spiteful scars along his back once again. She had cried alongside of him when he had finally told her the terrible story of his childhood, and how both his fiance and his parents had whipped him and beaten him, in addition to telling him how worthless he was. Suddenly realizing why James was so morose that evening, Jessie flinched as she finally looked upon his back.
The scars were fading, but there was no mistaking the furious contempt behind the lashes that had created them. Jessie gingerly touched the burn ointment to the most painful looking wound, and he winced in pain. “Sorry, I’ll be more gentle,” she said quietly. He simply sighed in response, and Jessie didn’t even have to ask to know what he was thinking about. “James your parents are idiots, you know that right?” she said critically, fuming at even the mere mention of them.
James turned over his shoulder, a shocked expression distorting his features. “How did you know I was-“ Jessie silenced him, turning him again to tend to his back. “You’ve been apologizing all day, and it’s not your fault, we’re a team, it’s all of our faults,” she said warmly. “Yeah but I can’t help feeling like I’m usually solely responsible, and I can’t seem to get over thinking about how stupid I really am,” he answered solemnly. “James you are not stupid! I know you’ve been told that all your life but they were so wrong! I’ve never heard anything more ridiculous in my life!” Jessie yelled incredulously.
Managing a small smile, James disregarded his wounds and gazed adoringly at his friend, who mirrored it as she ran a hand through his hair once. “You really mean that?” he asked in a small voice. “Of course I do! You’re the most charming, charismatic, and intelligent person I know James! Why else would I hang around with you if I didn’t simply adore you?” Jessie replied amiably. James smiled gratefully, hugging his friend in understanding and even a bit of relief she hadn’t lost faith in him. “Thanks Jessie,” he whispered, grateful to be reminded of exactly why she was his best friend. “No prob, now can I please get you cleaned up before you start to fester?” she asked chuckling. James laughed and sat back up, bracing himself for the pain as Jessie cleansed his abrasions.
After the trio had finished aiding each other in their woes, and James finally felt more like his old self again, they met with the unpleasant realization that they had run out of food a few days ago. Jessie felt her anger boil again as well, discovering that all they had left was a single bag of Pokechow they had picked up for Arbok, Weezing, Likitung, and Victreebel. Meowth, typical of his more human than Pokemon persona, refused to touch the nondescript hunks of synthetic treats. The rest of the Pokemon loved the stuff, and the feline winced as they threw themselves vivaciously into their meal.
Both Jessie and James smiled warmly at their beloved Pokemon friends, happy they didn’t have to have the dubious pleasure of starving that night, and attempting unsuccessfully to conceal their own empty stomachs’ protesting. “Meowth, we found a few tidbits of food left, you sure you don’t wanna eat?” James offered, holding out the last can of sardines to the cat. “Yeah, I’ll just starve wid youse guys,” he answered solemnly, and James tossed the tin back into the balloon. “Bet those twerps are spending the night in a nice warm hotel with a hot dinner and running water,” Jessie sibilated abhorrently, poking their meager fire with a vengeance. “I bet, but you forget we have to report in tomorrow morning, we don’t even really get to sleep tonight,” James muttered taking a seat next to her.
The young woman sighed gratefully as James’ hands moved deftly across her back, locating a few of her larger knots and pressing his thumbs gently into them. “Just relax Jessie, we can spend the night in our room back at headquarters tomorrow night, and we can take a day or two to chill, then we’ll be good as new,” he promised her. Jessie nodded, her weary eyes drooping at James’ rhythmic massage, and she eased herself into his lap affectionately, breathing in the unique scent that was James, laced with a bit of burn ointment. “Go to sleep Jess,” he soothed, “things will get better, I promise you that.” Jessie finally closed her eyes to sleep, letting the soft and tender voice and touch of her friend lull her pleasantly.
James too, drifted off to sleep with Jessie in his arms, and the ever-vigilant Meowth took it upon himself to cover his slumbering companions with James’ sleeping roll. He smiled warmly as he deftly maneuvered himself between the two humans, coiling into a comfortable ball to sleep as well, stifling a purr as he felt James’ hand underneath his chin. “Aw James, ya know I don’t like dat,” he breathed, unable to control shutting his eyes in pleasure. “I just don’t want to see you so sad anymore, and you know you do,” his blue-haired friend replied deviously. Meowth’s smile broadened as he succumbed to the rare treatment, sighing contentedly. “Don’t worry about me Jimmy, I’m a survivor, we all are, and don’t tell Jessie I like dis. I’ll neva hear da end of it!” he replied.
James was satisfied with the answer and huddled closer to his honorary family, wrapping his arms as best he could around both the feline and Jessie, closing his eyes joyfully. “Goodnight Jess, Meowth,” he breathed. “Night James,” he replied, and James finally allowed sleep to overcome him that night.
* * *
Giovanni sighed as he watched the black pointer move across the computer screen deftly, picking up an employee file and dropping it in the recycle bin definitively. He shook his head and looked out the window to see that night had already fallen upon the Team Rocket base in Saffron city, and that no other light in the room illuminated his ominous figure save for the ethereal blue glow of the computer screen. “Well that was a waste,” he muttered distastefully, turning back to his machine to search for the folder that contained the rest of the information he sought. He found it without difficulty, and opened it, immediately shaking his head at the first file that appeared on the screen. “No, no, no, who’s next?” he muttered. An image of a young woman appeared next in the directory, her index and middle fingers of her right hand up in a victory sign, winking and running her other hand through her long mane of scarlet hair vainly. Giovanni smirked. “She would survive, but she’s got a fiery spirit, she’d rebel against me, and I’d hate to have to kill her after all that,” he mused.
The next picture that appeared was of a man about the same age as the woman before, but the stature was noticeably different. He looked more like a Ponyta caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck, his emerald eyes wide with fear and uncertainty, traces of utter terror and almost remorse behind them. Giovanni moved the cursor to proceed to the next file, but something stopped him, his thin malicious lips coiling into a grin as he read through the profile of the young blue-haired man.
Without another move he picked up the phone next to his computer, never taking his eyes of the screen as he hit a few keys on the pad. He brought the receiver to his ear gently after he finished dialing, counting the dull rings silently to himself, jumping slightly as the human on the other end picked up. “Hello?” a distinctly feminine voice asked. “Begin preparations Deirdre, I believe I’ve found someone to be our test subject beta,” Giovanni answered. There was a long pause, followed by a shaky breath on Deirdre’s end of the line. “Sir, after the last one, I don’t know if I can handle another, I know you’re upset about our first dapple in your request, but this is inhuman!” she replied in a small voice.
Giovanni looked away sharply, attempting futilely to ebb his rage, and clenched his teeth bitterly. “I don’t fucking care what you think! Do it or so help me I will find ways to make you suffer that won’t even compare to your worst nightmare!” he snarled into the phone. “Yes, sir, right away,” Deirdre said brokenly, and the still seething Giovanni was left alone.
He smiled crookedly after a time, and set the phone back down, activating the small bell inside its mechanism with a gentle tinkle. He sat back down at his desk, a small chuckle rising in his throat as he twirled around jovially to face the large window of his personal office. He stood up, intrigued by the orange haze of the street lamps that illuminated both the avenue below him and his devoid of light room, moving to the windowsill.
He looked to the velvet summer sky, dotted with sluggish and almost inebriated stars, and sighed deeply, almost seeing the events unfold in front of him again. He could feel his mind tingle with the impeccable psychic power, feel the searing pain of the old office building collapsing atop of him, and the utter loss he felt when his life’s work had escaped, never to be found again. “I cannot believe that bastard did that to me, after all I did for him. What gives him the right to suddenly declare that he’s good, and righteous and I’m wrong when it’s him who is so? He was meant to be my slave, he was born knowing he would do so! It was all so perfect! Where did I fucking go wrong?!” he screeched to the listless sky. “Where am I going wrong again? Where? It’s starting again, and I won’t let it! I lost the first one, but I won’t lose another! I’m tired of the shit life has given me, I will be on top, and if it takes a few lives to get there, so be it! So fucking be it!”
Giovanni finally grew too frustrated to stay in the office building any longer, so he gathered what he needed to take home that night and quickly exited his office, not even bothering to lock the door. He stopped once at his car, however, looking up to the mocking strata defiantly, a smug grin once again upon his spiteful lips. “No, this is different from Mewtwo, if I start with a broken soul, then there isn’t a need to break it and it will be mine forever. This will be different, this time I will succeed.”