Coal: A Dark and Bloody Pokemon Story

This is, shock-horror, a Pokemon Fanfic. However, it is not exactly your average Fanfic, and is possibly one of the more dark and bloody tellings of the Pokemon story you are likely to find. I made this mainly out of boredom, but I hope you enjoy!
Cover by Sa-chan1603 on deviant art http://browse.deviantart.com/?qh=&section=&q=shiny+charizard#/d552cot

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1. Charizard

Jayce knew he shouldn’t be here, that this was reckless. A bead of sweat trickled down his temple and stung his eye as he gripped his father's rifle tighter. This is where the Charizard had flown to after its raid on his village, wounded from a shot fired from the very weapon he carried. He had been tracking it for a day, and he thought he was close. He would have his revenge on the monster for the damage it had caused his village, avenge his father's death, and win great renown, all in a single shot. On thinking about his father, Jayce's mind went blank. He would not dwell on that, he would mourn later.

High in Mt. Silver, he began to see signs of the gargantuan beast. Burned trees, deep claw marks in boulders, and an empty quiet, as if there were no lesser Pokemon nearby; this was the Charizard's lair, and few creatures were foolish enough to live nearby. The smell of sulphur was thick in the air, and made Jayce feel slightly light headed.

Jayce crested a high outcrop of jagged stone, and froze solid when he spotted his quarry. Not even fifteen feet away rested the Charizard. Up close it was even bigger than he had imagined. A giant by any Pokemon's standards and over twice the size of an ordinary Charizard. It laid curled in the centre of a circular plateau, in a nest made of shredded and burnt branches. The beast's chest heaved, its breathing laboured, and a small pool of blood gathered around its neck. Jayce knew that if left alone, the Charizard would recover, as it had before, and within weeks would be terrorizing his home. He had to act now, and kill the evil Pokemon.

His gun already loaded, Jayce took aim. Breathed. And fired.

The sound of the gunshot reverberated through the mountains, coming back to him a dozen times. Jayce had expected a death scream from the beast, but his aim had been true. A small, bloody hole could be seen in the centre of the beast's now unmoving head and its muscles relaxed as life faded rapidly from its form. He had done it. A savage grin split Jayce's face in two as he straitened and sauntered over to the corpse, head filled with victory. Here the smell of sulphur was much stronger, and his eyes watered as he looked over the massive beast's body for a trophy to bring back to the village. He had to prove his kill. This is it, he thought, with this I will be recognised as a true warrior. They will let me enlist! The Charizard had two large horn-like protrusions on the back of its head, and Jayce decided that one of those would be perfect, and set to sawing one off with his long knife. It took longer than he expected, but eventually the bloody horn came free, and Jayce found himself standing there, staring at his prize. He looked around himself and for the first time saw the tiny bones of other reptilian creatures. Close to the Charizard's head was another, the orange flesh not yet fully rotted away. It was the skeleton of a Charmander. They all were.

A slow, sickening horror overcame him as he began to realise what had happened here. The Charizard – he had always assumed it to be male - had been a mother. A mother desperately attempting to feed its starving young. As the facts realigned themselves in his head, Jayce realised that all the Charizard had been doing was looking for food, and when Mt. Silver had been over-hunted by the likes of Jayce and his father to feed the growing village, the Charizard had been forced to hunt for the domesticated Pokemon that the village held. It had killed dozens of Jayce's fellow villagers, and eventually his own father, but suddenly all the rage and hatred that he bore for the slain beast evaporated, leaving him feeling hollow. The Charizard may have been a monster, but it had never been an evil monster, only a desperate mother.

Jayce's left hand reached up to his face and came back wet, smearing the now dry blood caked on his fingers. He realised, detachedly but with a hint of self-loathing, that he was crying. He fell slowly to his knees as his sobs grew in intensity, and he stayed that way for what felt like hours. He was not even sure what he cried for – did he cry for his father, the Charizard and her young, or for himself?

Slowly, Jayce became aware of an odd, high-pitched noise. He ignored it, wrapped in grief, but it seemed to get louder, and when he eventually opened his sore eyes, his heart caught in his throat. An emaciated Charmander had crawled from the centre of the nest and was now limply nuzzling its deceased mother. The Charmander was of a rare black colouration, and its scales stuck tightly to its bones, its ribs visible. It was obviously near to death and had likely not ate in a long time, as it was too weak to even stand upright.

The Charmander seemed to notice Jayce at the same time that he noticed it, and its surprisingly keen gaze darted from Jayce to his gun, back to its mother. It gave another pathetic cry and once again met Jayce's eyes, and in those two twin pools Jayce could see that, somehow, on some level, the Charmander understood what he had done. There was no accusation in its gaze, only a sadness so deep and so human that it took Jayce's breath away. Jayce once again felt tears threaten as the horror of what he had done became more apparent. But a cold flash of knowledge froze his heart as he realised what a threat the Charmander would be if allowed to live. He knew what he must do. He had been taught from infancy that this monster would one day become as huge and dangerous as its mother. He couldn't let that happen. Without really reaching a conscious decision to move, he picked up his rifle.

“Sorry,” he mouthed as he wiped his eyes and loaded his gun again. Breathing raggedly he pointed the barrel towards the charcoal coloured creature. He steadied his breath and for a moment met the Pokemon's eyes. His finger slowly squeezed on the trigger.

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