Selene knew there was a spooky back room in that empty shell of a supermarket. She knew she’d followed that strange Pikachu, which turned out not to be a Pikachu at all, but rather the totem pokemon Mimikyu, there, and she’d never forget the paralytic fear she’d felt when it had extended a claw indistinguishable from the shadows thrown around the cramped space and squeezed her Decidueye around his throat until he stopped shrieking. She’d never forget the gut-wrenching tug of dread she’d felt when his limp form toppled. She’d never forget how badly she’d wanted to throttle the little burlap shit when the nurses at the Pokemon Center told her that the puncture scars on Decidueye’s neck would be permanent.
Despite how vivid her memories were, backed up by the ugly red featherless splotches on Decidueye’s neck, Acerola insisted there was no back room decorated like an eerie shrine to Pikachu. After she became champion, when Selene dragged her through the place to prove her wrong, she was left spluttering for excuses by the solid wall in front of her. Acerola giggled, saying that ghost-types were mischievous little things that enjoyed playing tricks on your eyes. Selene didn’t believe it for a minute.
She returned to the supermarket the next day. She wanted answers, and she wanted them now. Maybe if she could find the totem pokemon again, it would lead her to the room. What she hoped to find there, she couldn’t say, but for now, fantasizing about the look on Acerola’s face when she did was enough. Wandering through the decrepit market with Rotom’s Poke Finder app open, she realized the place was quiet. Far too quiet for the very haunted place she knew it to be. She could barely even smell the characteristic fumes of the Gastly. “What’s going on…?” she wondered out loud, straining her ears for even the slightest sound of pokémon activity.
She jumped when Rotom’s signature buzz broke the silence. “Hey bozzzz! There’s something you’re gonna want to see!” Selene rushed over to the enhanced pokedex, about to ask what it was, when the display on the screen shocked her into silence.
A lone pokemon was huddled away in a corner, head tilted back to stare at the ceiling. Its body, however, twisted back and forth slightly, causing the head to wobble a bit, turning between the two clawed hands protruding from under it. It could very well be mistaken for a Pikachu at first glance, Selene thought venomously. The Mimikyu had made its costume well, and it wasn’t nearly as scuffed up as the totem pokemon’s had been. Suddenly, as if sensing her bitter thoughts towards it, its “head” snapped to attention, and it scurried off behind one of the many shelves in the market before Selene could even shout at it.
“Oi! Earth to Zzzelene!” Rotom waved one of its flipper-arms in front of her face. “Lookzzz like I found something interesting after all.” Selene scowled. It looked more self-satisfied than a pokedex ought to be allowed to. “Just how fried are your circuits today? We should go after it!” Selene said, vaulting over a checkout counter to give chase. “It’s got to be somewhere in here. Pokemon can’t just disappear.” Rotom beeped and buzzed in protest as it struggled to match her sprint.
She rounded the same corner Mimikyu had disappeared behind. It wasn’t there, but it couldn’t have gotten far. She rushed ahead, looking back and forth for any sign of the pokemon. Grinding her teeth in frustration, she picked a random direction and kept running.
Mimikyu watched her go with teary eyes. It slunk off to wallow in its loneliness somewhere safer. Selene, exhausted and defeated, leaned her head against a wall, breathing heavily. She couldn’t find a trace of Mimikyu, despite having searched every nook and cranny (and there were an awful lot of them) of the store. Rotom had slipped into her bag to rest- zipping around was far easier as an incorporeal jolting sensation than as a very square, unwieldy pokedex.
“I assume you lozzzt it too, right?” Selene asked in a bitter mockery of Rotom’s voice. The pokedex was good at cataloguing pokemon, she’d give it that, but it wasn’t the best in the world at finding them in the first place. Its only response was a series of dissatisfied blips.
Selene sighed, rolling her eyes. Her legs ached, she realized as she walked back to the entrance of the supermarket. She had half a mind to page a Charizard to save herself the trouble of walking back to Tapu Village, but it was a bit rude to page a pokémon for such a short ride.
To her surprise, Acerola was also walking- well, more like skipping- down the beach. Before Selene could make herself scarce, she was greeted by a cheery wave as Acerola quickened her pace.
“Still looking for the mystery room?” Despite being a foot shorter and four years younger than Selene, Acerola still managed to sound patronizing, looking up with an amused expression. “You just won’t let that go, will you?”
Selene huffed and crossed her arms. “No. I won’t.”
Acerola giggled. “Well, I won’t stop you. Search your little heart out! Maybe there really is a back room.” Her voice was too damn cheerful, Selene thought with a slight scowl. Almost mocking.
“Yeah, so I’m going to the pokemon center to prepare for next time. See you.” Selene stepped around Acerola, briskly walking down the beach and into Tapu Village. The sun had set by the time she reached the pokemon center, where she bought a few hyper potions and max elixirs, then booked a room for the night. She’d look again tomorrow.
“BZZT! BZZT!” Rotom, who by Selene’s request had set an alarm for seven, was vibrating uncontrollably and yelling through its pokedex speakers as loudly as it could. Selene sat up, stretching after a good night’s sleep. Rotom stopped when it saw her awake. “Good morning, zzzunshine!”
“G’morning,” Selene groaned, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. She hopped out of bed, changed out of her pajamas and into her day clothes (forbidding Rotom to look, of course). “We’re looking for Mimikyu again today. There’s no way we’ll lose it if we just keep it up.” Her fingers traced the surface of Decidueye’s pokeball. She was doing this for him, she thought with a determined nod.
Rotom slid into her messenger bag as she slung it over her shoulder and strode out the door. “Got it, bozzz!” The walk to the abandoned supermarket was uneventful, and Selene took the time to enjoy watching Pelipper circle in the sky. “It really is nice out here...” She stopped in front of the abandoned Megamart for a moment, taking in one last breath of refreshing sea air before she stepped inside.
She dispatched Rotom, along with her Oricorio for a bit of extra protection, to search on its own while she had a look around herself. She bent down to look under shelves, stood on her tiptoes to scout for any signs of unusual (well, unusual for a haunted supermarket) activity, and pushed herself into so many poses in between that her back was starting to hurt. Still no Mimikyu. There was, however, a Gengar, sticking its tongue out at her, starting to cackle when she glared at it. "Decidueye-" Before she could even get her hand to his pokeball, the Gengar disappeared, a frightened look on its face. Selene smiled smugly. "Yeah, you better be afraid! Decidueye's even stronger now." Her voice was raised to attract the attention of any Totem Mimikyu who might happen to be passing by. It would respond to the name of the pokemon it almost killed a few months ago, right? Take it as a challenge? No, everything was quiet save for the chatter of Gastly and the occasional jingle of a Klefki bumping into something. With a sigh, Selene checked her watch, noting that it was getting late for her to be out and about. "Rotom, we're leaving now!" she called, answered by a loud buzz as she made her way back to the decrepit entryway of the market. The next day was about the same, with Selene and Rotom splitting up to look independently. Selene knocked on walls like doors, hoping to find a hollow spot behind one. Rotom slid into tight spaces, looking for any evidence of a Mimikyu’s presence- perhaps a scrap of cloth or thread. No luck for either of them. Eventually, Selene tired out and called off the search for the day.
Just as Selene was about to settle into her rented bed at the pokemon center, a call came in on her cell phone. With a tired groan, she started the monumental effort of reaching the nightstand and fumbled for it, eventually managing to answer. “Hello?”
“Selene, honey! How are you?” The cry of a Meowth also rang through the speaker.
A smile crossed Selene’s face. “Mom? Hi! I’ve been doing okay. I’m trying to find Totem Mimikyu again.”
“Are you sure that’s safe?” her mom asked, worried. “Wasn’t that the one that...” She trailed off, having a weaker stomach for these things than her daughter.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine. I’m the strongest trainer in the region, remember?” And she had to let Decidueye get back at it. She had to get back at it.
Selene’s mom sighed, but Selene could hear the smile in her voice. “If that’s really what you want to do. Good luck, sweetie.”
“Thanks. Bye, Mom.” Selene hung up her phone and put it back on the nightstand. She proceeded to get a good night’s sleep.
Selene, after the next day’s fruitless search, was starting to get frustrated. Mimikyu and the secret room had to be in there somewhere in there, right? Then why couldn’t she find them? “Rotom, set the alarm to six. Maybe it’s more active in the night, and it could still be around then.”
Rotom saluted. “Got it!” It blipped once, and Selene assumed that meant the alarm was set. She gave her pokedex a thumbs-up.
The next few days disproved Selene’s hypothesis. She’d kicked a wall, and she couldn’t tell if the resulting crack was due to poor structural integrity or if something had snapped in her very suddenly smarting toe. She’d gotten a bit chummy with the nurse at the pokemon center, but their conversations were starting to get shorter and sourer as Selene’s anger bubbled up more and more furiously. She started setting her alarm earlier and earlier, half an hour at a time.
The sky was clear as Selene walked down the beach to the abandoned megamart, and the sun cast beautiful red and gold reflections over the ocean. Rotom buzzed, awed by the sight, and paused its floating. “Wow, izzzn’t it pretty?” Selene didn’t answer, continuing to march down the beach. “...Zzzelene?”
Selene didn’t care. She saw the red orb in the sky as a red and bleeding wound, like the ones Mimikyu had punched in Decidueye’s neck that day. “Shut up."
With no regard for any of the natural beauty around her or Rotom’s concerned buzzing, Selene shoved open the door to the run-down, ugly interior of the building Mimikyu hid in. She went through the same procedures as she always did, climbing over shelves and countertops, peeping through the tiniest cracks in the floor, running her hands across the walls for anything that felt like a secret switch. The Gastly went about their normal behavior as if she wasn’t even there, until she just couldn’t take it anymore and kicked the same wall again.
When Selene finally decided to give up for the day, the sky looked roughly the same as it had in the morning, though she knew logically that the sun was going down this time. Rotom, noticing Selene grinding her teeth and clenching her fists until her knuckles were white, tapped her on the shoulder. “Zzzelene, are you okay?”
Selene rounded on it in an instant, grabbing its arms and pulling it close to her face. “I would be if you weren’t so useless!” she spat, taking some sick sort of joy in seeing the pokedex flinch. “We can’t find Mimikyu, my ass! You aren’t doing shit to help! In fact, you’re probably scaring it off, you clunky hunk of scrap plastic!” She let Rotom go before storming off to the pokemon center for her night’s rest.
Unbeknownst to her, Rotom had already alerted her friends and mother to what was going on.
The first phone call came from Hau. Selene was more than happy to pick up at first. “Hey, Selene, I heard-”
“You heard what?” she hissed after hearing highly uncharacteristic doubt in his voice. If he was trying to stop her-
“N-nothing important! Rotom just told me-”
Of course the damn thing had told everyone she knew. “If you’re trying to stop me, don’t. I can’t stop now.” She jammed her thumb into the “end call” button and was just about to turn the phone off when the next call came in. Mom.
“Selene, are you really sure Mimikyu is even there? I don’t want you to-”
“Yes, I’m sure! Where else would it be?!” With that and a mumbled expletive, she hung up on that call as well. Fine. They weren’t helping, either. She only had her pokemon to rely on now, and that was fine by her.
She didn’t get a wink of sleep that night. Something nasty frothed in the back of her brain, and Rotom’s betrayal only fed her growing rage. When she’d been tossing and turning for a few hours, she decided she’d had enough. She was taking Decidueye to the megamart, and they’d bring down the whole building if they had to.
At approximately midnight, Selene and her most faithful companion left the pokemon center. A few minutes later, they reached the same old building Selene had been poking through for the last few days. She was mostly reliant on Decidueye’s night vision to navigate, but she already knew the position of every obstacle and attraction, even an old cotton candy machine stowed away in a corner. When Decidueye pointed her towards her favorite wall to abuse, she grimaced. Might as well try one more time. She rapped on the concrete.
It was hollow.
“Decidueye! Help me out!” Selene ordered as she started to drive her heel into the wall as hard as she could. After a few kicks, Decidueye’s shadow ball collided with the wall, and dust rained from the ceiling. The wall was cracking. One more kick-
Selene had about half a second to scream before the ceiling caved in on her head.
She was surprised to wake up at all. Her vision was blurry, but her proprioception was working just fine- that is, if she suddenly had an excessive number of oddly proportioned limbs. Selene blinked a few times to clear the blurriness, and she screamed at her own appearance. It was… Well, indescribable. Indescribably horrifying, twisted by rage and obsession. She was… she was really dead, and this was what she looked like on the inside. Ashamed, she looked for something to hide herself under for the rest of eternity.
This sack would work. Maybe she’d paint on features someday.