Death. War. Destruction. The world of the future lies in ruins. I got the chance to go back and stop it from ever happening, only to discover that I was the cause. This is how I destroyed the world.


37. Escape Methods 101

The dumber people think you are, the more surprised they're going to be when you kill them ~ William Clayton


"Never underestimate what good people will do in a bad situation."

- Devon Stone, founder of Devon Inc. (January 23rd, 2968)


My arm itched.

It was the main thing I noticed when my world came crashing down again. Pain flooded back into my body; fear and foreboding replaced bliss and my mouth felt as dry as a desert.

I groaned as I rolled my head across my shoulders and leant my chin on my chest. I needed a drink. I needed to get out of the strange shackles binding my wrists and ankles. I knew I needed to get out of the strange bunker, rescue my pokémon and Mia, yet I couldn't help but want to achieve such bliss again.

I shook a hand feebly as I tried in vain to scratch my stupid itchy elbow. It was only when I stared at the horrible blue-black bruise that I really realised how bad a situation I was in.

I'd been injected with some sort of drug and knew I was already starting on a downward slope to addiction. I had to find a way out of the metallic cuffs that bound me to the strange table, to get out of the room, find my pokémon and rescue Mia before I could be injected with the junk again.

The worse part of it all was that I knew I wanted that feeling again. I wanted the pain and stress to go away; to be left with no feeling other than that brilliant euphoric peace.

Joy and despair hit me at once when the door unlocked and my addiction-benefactor walked in. I wouldn't be able to get away with him in the room, yet I'd get to have another brilliant release from the miracle-in-a-syringe.

Getting another dose would be a win-lose situation, I knew. A win in the short term, a loss in the long... yet I didn't care at the time. If I were to be trapped in that room for any given amount of time, I wanted to pass it in the least painful and stressful way possible.

The man walked up to me and smacked the bruise on my elbow with two fingers. I hissed at him and tried to punch him as best I could. However, the bonds held me tight, refusing to let me move more than a few centimetres. I sighed and relegated myself to just glaring up at the man.

"I'll kill you for all this," I promised him.

He smiled and folded his arms smugly. "You'd have to escape first. I happen to know that you have no chance of escaping; the only way you're getting out is if someone lets you out. And I sincerely doubt that's going to happen at all."

My hair fell into my eyes as I continued to glare at him. "I'll find a way. You killed my pokémon. At least have the courtesy to tell me what one of them it was."

He shook his head. "And why would I want to do that? The best you can hope for is that I tell you once you let me know everything I need to." He turned his back on me, walked over to the table and picked up something sharp and shiny. I fidgeted in my bonds as much as I could, hoping to see exactly what it was. All I knew was that my options were looking even bleaker; get tortured into revealing the information, or just hooked on a drug and then forced into exchanging information for another fix. Either way wasn't good; I wasn't trained to resist torture – I really didn't want him sticking a knife in me or cutting off anything that I supposedly wouldn't miss – and I definitely didn't want to become hooked to something I'd only be able to get from back-alley dealers.

I turned my head away and scrunched my eyes shut, refusing to let any tears leak out. I heard the man walk back to my table and stop by my side. Moments past in silence, yet still nothing happened. I stayed looking away, my eyes shut and refusing to look back at him.

Finally my resolve broke as I rolled back over and opened my eyes at the man.

My heart gave out when he thrust a knife down at me.

I screamed and flinched as far away from the blade as I could. It bounced off the metal an inch away from my arm with a harsh metallic clang. I barely heard it over the thundering of my heart, the pulse banging in my ears and the way I breathed frantically.

"The next time, I'll be aiming for you instead," he promised as he stroked his thumb along the blade edge. "Now, answer my question; are you from the future?"

I rolled my eyes behind my eyelids. I weighed up my options as best I could, as quickly as I could. If I told them everything, I doubted that they would turn round and suddenly release me with a pat on the back and a lollypop. It seemed unlikely that I'd ever be making it out of that damned room.

Yet at the same time, I didn't know what he wanted to do with the information. He could have been part of a group that was trying to ensure my future happened, or even was trying to guide it in their own way, or something equally as farfetched.

I didn't know what to do.

I was afraid that he'd hurt me. I feared for my pokémon's lives; for their safety as well as Mia's.

I hated these people for what they had done to me and how they'd dragged my innocent friends into it all.

I longed for the feeling of that drug pouring through my veins.

I despised the people for making me feel so hooked on the damn drug in the first place.

And most of all; I hated the fact that even though I'd tried to live a normal life, my miracle-turned-debacle had fucked up my life once more.

I shook my head and looked up at the man, fear already burning in my stomach. "I don't know what you're talking about," I told him.

"Pity," he whispered.

Then pain exploded in my palm.

I screamed from the agony of it all as he rested a finger calmly atop the blade sticking through my hand.

"I told you to answer my questions," he said apathetically. "Now I advise you to actually answer me now."

I breathed quick, shallow breaths to try and numb the pain as best I could. I didn't trust him. I couldn't let him know.

"Still... don't know... what you're on about!" I breathed though the pain and tried to force as much conviction into my voice as possible.

The man raised an eyebrow and twisted the knife. Pain screamed all through my hand as my nerves felt like they were on fire.

"Stop, stop, stop! I screamed at him, unable to bare it all. "I'll talk! I'll talk!" I sobbed as I tried to pry the knife back out of my hand. "I'm from the future, okay! Now make it stop!"

The man smirked and pulled the blade from my hand. "Good. You've learnt." He reached down and I felt something cold prick the skin of my elbow. Almost instantly a little smile came across my face. "And now you'll learn the benefits of being a good boy."

I chuckled like a manic as euphoric bliss pumped through my veins once more, bringing the sweet oblivion of unconscious ecstasy with it.

Hours seemed to roll into days and then weeks when I was in that room. Everything about me was a mess; I had no idea when I'd had my last fix; only that I needed to get a new one soon.

I groaned as everything returned to reality and I was left with a hollow, stump of an emotional core once again.

Keys jingled around the door again and I felt my heart leap within my chest; his return meant more drugs for me. It meant I wouldn't have to feel so hollow inside. It meant I'd feel peaceful again!

The door opened and the trilby-girl slunk through. Instantly my gut and face fell upon seeing her in the room. She looked up at me, scrunched her nose and shook her head.

"What is that smell?" she grunted and pinched her nose as quickly as she could.

I groaned and started laughing at her. "Do you think they give me bathroom breaks while I'm here?"

Realisation peeled her eyes open completely. "Oh," she whispered and stared at the floor. "I'm sorry. I didn't want everything to turn out like this. I didn't think... I thought you wouldn't come back. I thought if they tried doing anything like this... you'd be strong enough to resist."

I laughed at her again, heedless of the drool that slithered out my mouth and down my chin. "Celebi doesn't pick them like it used to, huh? We're not all the big heroes from the legends, girly. I'm just an ordinary seventeen year old kid from the future."

Her head snapped back up at that. "You're...?"

I nodded with a lunatic's smile spread over my face. "Damn right! Eighty years from now!" I laughed again and tried to move my wrists a little. "You think I wouldn't tell all? My hand's got a hole in it now... my elbow's got track marks and bruises that say it all... I say what they need to hear... I get to escape the pain for a little while."

She looked up at me and shook her head to herself. "It's only been a week," she whispered to herself, gripping the keys hard. "This shouldn't be happening to you. This place... it's meant for the people that aren't right... the ones that shouldn't exist in the world. We're the good guys! We do this to the bad ones! You shouldn't be here."

"Of course I shouldn't be here, I'm from the future," I mocked her. "Now have you come to bore me, or have you come to help me out here?" I waved my scarred hand and injection-riddled arm. "Could do with a little help easing the pain, you know?"

She glared at me. "What's happened to you?" she whispered.

I laughed again. "Well, you happened to slip me a drug that got a haunter to track me. Forget that?" I groaned and turned my head a little to the side. "As for the rest... I think that's obvious." My brain spun in my head and my elbow itched something fierce, yet all I could think about was getting another fix.

The girl sighed to herself. "For what it's worth, I'm sorry. For you and your friend."

I remembered Mia suddenly and that she'd been captured to. "What're they doing to her?" I growled, forcing myself to be angry with them rather than myself. I told myself it wasn't my fault I'd forgotten about her – I'd been pumped that full of drugs I'd forgotten about everything else.

The girl just shook her head again. "I can't say. Just know I'm sorry."

I laughed scornfully as she turned to leave the room. "If you want to help, get us out of here. Or get me another fix. Either one would be helpful right now!" The door slammed shut and I glared at the metallic barrier between me and the outside world.


It must have been about an hour later when the door opened again. I groaned at the sound and tried to hide my ears from it all. If they weren't bringing another fix, I hoped it was a drink – my mouth felt so dry I was sure it could have been used as sandpaper.

To my surprise it was the trilby-girl again, looking as shifty as ever. She cast a quick glance out of the door before she shut and it checked my hand as quickly as she could.

I winced at her touch and tried to snatch my hand away from her – to no avail. "Come to gloat?" I hissed at her.

She looked at me as her tongue played nervously with her lip ring. "You don't trust me. I don't blame you." I heard something metallic click and found my injured hand suddenly free and by my side. "I told you; we're meant to be the good guys. This isn't doing good." She sighed, reached down and placed some clothes on my chest. "I brought you a change of underwear. I couldn't find anything else spare. We can probably find something on the way out."

I snorted and rubbed my hurt hand when the other was freed. "You're just hoping I don't follow through on my threat to kill you."

She winced and then smiled a little. "I suppose that's a little part of that," she said as she quickly unlocked my ankles.

I met her smile with my own.

Then I punched her in the jaw and knocked her out.

"I'm not going to kill you," I told her unconscious form as I changed quickly. "I'm just going to leave you here to die instead." I laughed to myself as I tried to step over her, only for my legs to give out from underneath me. I grunted as I landed on the floor and hissed at the sudden pain of it all, wanting nothing more than for a way to be rid of the agony-filled spasms.

I realised I had to escape as quickly as possible. Someone could be coming at any time. My heart beat faster and faster with every small thing, telling me it was someone coming to discover me. Every sound. Every voice. Every passing shadow.

Keys jangled outside. I yelped and pulled myself behind the table I'd been strapped to for so long, breathing frantically. I knew they'd walk in and find me. They'd find the girl knocked out. They'd find me free. Then they'd find me and do who knew what to me too.

The sound of keys disappeared and I heard nothing in my little room. I poked my head out from behind the table, to find the room completely unchanged. I laughed to myself as I began to crawl away from my hiding place.

Then I heard a key slide into my door's lock.

I bit my tongue hard enough to draw blood when the door flew open and footsteps thundered into the room. I heard distant, furious mumblings as I hugged my knees and buried my head on them both.

I couldn't be captured again! Not when I'd been so close to escaping!

The person stood up and stepped slowly around the room. The heavy sounds of boots treading on the floor were like psychological torture. Every step he took meant another chance of me getting discovered.

"I know you're still in here."

The voice made my head snap back up. My torturer! My supplier and the reason for my addiction to those stupid drugs!

The man who'd killed one of my pokémon.

I took a slow, silent breath and started to inch myself away from his footsteps. I had to find some way to get out! Some sort of weapon, something that I could use to knock him out.

My heart leapt for joy when I saw the tables at the side of the room, covered with potential weapons.

I heard the footsteps walk slowly around the room, closer still to my position. I was amazed he hadn't found me, but tried to think of it as little as possible. I inched myself closer and closer to the table, waiting for the opportunity to grab one of the weapons.

They were about two feet away from me. I jumped up and leapt at them, sensing freedom. Only a hand snatched my hair and dragged me back down to earth, smashing my face into the marble floor beneath.

"Did you really think I couldn't see you?" my pokémon's murderer whispered into my ear. My body shook and betrayed the fear I felt to him, as much as I tried to keep calm. "I found it rather amusing to see you crawling across the floor ever so slowly, thinking that I was so dense I wouldn't notice you?"

He growled, pulled me up by my hair and closed his other hand around my neck, slowly squeezing and stopping my breathing.

"I didn't think she would try to help you," he told the back of my skull. "But she doesn't understand that our actions are necessary."

I wheezed and tried to find some way of attacking him. My limbs were too weak from drug use. My legs threatened to give way beneath me. Air was refusing to come into my lungs. I was being strangled, ever so slowly. Every breath I couldn't take stung my chest and ripped in my throat.

I grunted as I flailed my arms, trying to punch the man. He laughed and shifted back a little, my flailing attacks hitting nothing but air. I gave up and felt water leak from my eyes as breathing became even more difficult.

"Don't try this again," he growled into my ear. He moved his weight again so that he was completely behind me. "Drug addiction and a knife through your hand will be the least of your pains if you do."

With the final amount of strength in my body, I reached back and grabbed him between the legs. He gasped and then screamed in pain as I twisted my hand as sharply as I could. As soon as he doubled over I smashed my elbow into his face and felt nothing but delighted as hot, coppery blood splashed over me.

He fell to the floor, one hand gripping his face, the other holding his other injuries. I laughed breathlessly as I fell down roughly to the floor, trying to inhale as much of the stale, stank air as I could.

He got back to his feet far quicker than I would have hoped. I yelped as I dove forwards and grabbed a small scalpel in my hands, turning with shaking hands to meet him. He growled, leapt at me like a furious animal as I fell sideways into a clumsy roll.

Then he screamed as I drove the scalpel through the back of his leg.

I laughed at the beautiful sound before I pulled the blade out and stuck it in his shoulders. He screamed once more, blood pooling out around him as I quickly slammed the metallic door shut, giving us a little peace.

A predatory grin came over my face as I heaved him to his feet with all my strength and slammed his face down on the table. Dazed, he tried to attack me and managed to punch me in the gut.

I doubled over, winded and with tears in my eyes. I cursed him and took a deep breath before I slammed his face on the table again, leaving a thick, bubbling red smear that made me smile.

Then I saw the perfect tool of revenge. I dragged him by his collar to the side of the table and slammed his face down in the metallic vice. It took only a few seconds to shut his head perfectly within the metallic jaws, after which I laughed and fell back on the desk, trying to recover my breath.

The man blinked, groaned and tried to regain his bearings before panic became obvious. He flailed about manically, kicking and screaming as his hands found the clamps around his head. He pried at them uselessly, cursing me and swearing vengeance as his shoulder and leg continued to bleed everywhere.

I laughed, fell over myself, punched him in the face and overcompensating, managed to fall on top of him too. He hissed, pushed me off and I flew backwards onto the floor, laughing like a maniac all the while.

"You're going to answer my questions now!" I gloated as I pulled myself back to my feet. I picked up one of the many blades from the table and held it just underneath the man's eye. "You're going to tell me what I know, then I'm going to kill you."

His eyes widened yet stayed trained on the metal threatening to puncture them. "Don't you mean 'or I'm going to kill you'?" he hissed.

I snorted. "Not so confident now the tables are turned, are you?" I jammed the blade down in the front of his injured shoulder and relished the screams before I pulled it back out. "What one of my pokémon did you kill?"

He breathed quick, shallow breaths, much like I did when the roles were reversed. "I don't know," he growled.

"You don't know?" I screamed and pulled at his collar, placing the blade to his eye again. "Liar!"

"I'm not lying!" he blurted out quickly. "I swear I don't know!" he told me, holding up his hands, palms out, next to his head. "I just got given one of the poké balls, knew it wasn't poisonous and knew I didn't have any use for it."

I growled and pressed the tip of the metal into his eye just enough so that nothing was punctured. "Where are the rest of them?" I growled.

"Other trainers!" he breathed. "Your pokémon were divided out. Five other people have one each!"

"The whole gym is in on this?" I whispered incredulously to myself. I shook my head and refocused on the man. I was starting to have trouble focusing and felt my arms and legs all shaking with the amount of energy I was putting into standing up. My body was craving a fix – it was all I could do to try and stay relatively intact until I could escape.

I pressed my free arm into the man's neck. "Where is my stuff and where is my friend?"

He attempted a shrug. "Incinerated. Your stuff, not your friend!" he yelped quickly. "Everything you had on you apart from money, food and that's been destroyed. Your pokédex might be in the safe with your money – they're built to last. Your friend... I don't know. She's probably still in here somewhere."

"Right," I growled and pushed myself off him. He relaxed just a little before I smiled and reached across to a little control panel. "Now I believe I promised death?"

He screamed as I activated the mechanical vice. I watched with morbid fascination as it pressed against either side of his skull, slowly squashing it and distorting it into some strange, eerie sort of shape.

"Last thing," I said as I grabbed a bit of his shirt. "Where do you keep everything you injected me with?"

He looked back down at me and managed to plaster a smirk over his fear. Almost like a final one-over on me, he refused to give me the location of my cravings before he died.

I snarled at him and watched his head begin to grow out of proportions. His screams became nothing but white noise as I watched his head burst like a balloon, spraying blood, brains and bone all over the wall behind him.

I flinched as a little splashed on me. I looked down as the machine finally whirred to a close and picked a little bit of brain from my chest.

"Great," I grumbled as I flicked gray matter from my body. "As if I couldn't get any dirtier."

I snuck over and opened the door a crack before I slithered back into the room and pried what I could off the dead man. I stole what remained of his shirt, work pants and his boots, though I did have to pad out his boots with his socks since they were too big for me and kept flopping along, making excessive noise.

He didn't have anything worthwhile on him though. No identification, no money and worst of all; no weapon. I growled to myself, picked up a set of keys and a knife before I snuck out of the door and made my escape for freedom.

Instantly I regretted not bringing a hostage with me. At least they would have been able to navigate their way through the corridors. All I could see were the same metallic walls, leading off into each and every direction like an artificial, sterile maze.

I crept into the first room I found. It was filled with useless junk; file cabinets from wall to wall and papers decorating both the floors and the desks. I realised how useless my escape attempts were then. I didn't know anything about the place I was trying to escape, nor about the people I was trying to escape from.

I was in clothes that were far too big for me, lost in their home turf and armed with only a small knife against people that would undoubtedly have knives, pokémon and probably guns too.

I buried my face in my hands and realised how stupid I'd been. I was trapped, with one dead body and one unconscious weighed up against me. They were going to kill me if they ever found out what I'd done.

Which seemed to be at any time.

I froze as I saw a shadow pass by the window of the room I was in. I watched the shadow move a little and then as it took off... right in the direction of my little cell.

I cursed and snuck out after the shadow, checking every shadow of the corridors for an enemy. I was in enemy territory, hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned. There was every chance I would never escape and I'd never get to save my pokémon or Mia.

The thought of leaving them trapped in that dungeon gave me the resolve to see it all through. I decided then and there that I'd make sure they escaped, even if I didn't get to.

I crouched down and sped along behind the man, watching him cautiously as he patrolled the corridors. I watched him walk into a room and waited a long, agonising moment before I crept up to the door and peeked through the glass.

Then my heart sank once more.

I was staring at a security room. Dozens of monitors lined the wall, each displaying a different view of somewhere within the base.

They had to have seen me escape!

I counted only two people inside the room – the security guard and the man I'd followed. The one I'd followed was standing near the door, his back towards it. The other person was mostly hidden behind the other man, though I could tell that his back was also to the door.

I counted my lucky blessings and took a slow deep breath before I inched the door open. Slowly, ever so slowly I opened it. I couldn't make a noise or they'd both notice me. I knew it was foolish. I knew they were likely to discover me. But seeing the security footage was probably my best chance of getting a map of the damned place.

I managed to open the door just enough to sneak through. The man I'd followed grunted as he noticed the door slowly swinging to a close.

I panicked and leapt at him. I covered his mouth with a hand as I slit his throat with the blade, spraying blood all over the monitors in front of him.

The other man heard that.

He gasped a strangled sound as he turned around and saw me murdering his workmate. I let go of the dying man and leapt at the other, slicing at him like a madman. He backed away, fell onto the desk and held his hands up to try and block my strikes.

Then he punched me in the side, hard. I winced and darted sideways as he reached up, grabbed my head and smashed it against the desk next to him.

Blood poured from my nose and tears blurred my vision. The man pushed me aside and rushed for the door, trying to call backup. I just about saw him through it all and thrust the knife into his back. He gasped with surprise more than pain and fell into the door, falling down against the metallic frame. He hissed as he tried to get back up before I slid the knife between his ribs and sliced his heart in two.

I fell back against the desk, winded and covered in blood as the man finally died. There was a little blind over the door's window that I pulled down before I turned around and stared at the monitors.

The problem was that half of them were covered in blood.

I groaned as I pinched my nose, trying to stop the blood from flowing out of it. My ears were ringing and my vision was nothing better than a spinning blur. I took a deep breath and tried to focus as best as I could, though the sinking feeling in my stomach stopped me from doing that.

I'd effectively killed them both for nothing.

Although a little part of me reasoned it wasn't for nothing when I realised that if they were swapping shifts, no one should have been coming to check on them for a little while.

The little part rejoiced and took over when I found a gun on the first man I'd killed. I might have been outnumbered in that place, but with a gun in my hands I felt like I stood a chance.

It seemed like it was taking forever to escape that place. I'd killed two more people that worked there, only to discover nothing worthwhile on any of them. None of them seemed to have any pokémon on them, making me begin to doubt my torturer's words.

It was just another thing to add to the list. My injured hand wasn't feeling too great either, though I was thankful I'd been stabbed in the left hand and not the right – at least being right-handed meant I could still attack people well enough.

I stopped before another standard, same-looking room as I cradled my gun and took as many breaths as I could before I kicked the door open.

The man inside leapt out of his chair instantly. "Hey, what're you-!"

I shot him in the chest.

He went down with a scream as the sound of gunfire made my ears ring a little. As soon as it was over my brain kicked into gear – I'd shot a man in a guarded pokémon gym, where there were no other sounds audible.

I winced and knew that people would be running and looking for me quickly. I shut the door behind me and advanced on the dead man, gun still held ready in my hand. I saw the bullet hole in his chest and sighed to myself – I'd been aiming for his head. It was only sheer dumb luck I'd managed to hit his heart.

My vision swam and I stumbled on my feet, suddenly aware of how much of a state I was in. I shook my head and searched the man as quickly as I could, knowing people would be rushing at me soon.

My heart stopped when I saw the red and white metallic balls on his belt. Pokémon! He was the first man I'd found that actually had one of the creatures on him!

Reality kicked me in the teeth when I realised that his pokémon weren't likely to listen to their trainer's murderer. I'd lucked out with Alistair – unless the man had a team full of gallade with Alistair's code of honour, I wouldn't be able to use any of them.

Or so I thought, until I saw my handwriting on one of the poké balls.

My heart stopped again as I leapt at the ball, cradling it in my hands as I began to laugh. My fingers were shaking as I spun the ball around, eager to read the marking and see who was inside.

"Scar!" I cried in elation. Instantly I pressed the release mechanism on the ball and threw myself at the charmeleon when he appeared before me.

He hissed at the contact and tensed instantly. I laughed and ignored it all as I buried my face in his neck and tried my best not to sob. Scar growled lowly, confused and wanting an explanation. I couldn't blame him. I detached myself form the creature and wiped my eyes, unable to be rid of the smile on my face.

He growled once again as he leant over and sniffed the corpse that tried to claim ownership of him. He stopped above the man's trainer belt, sniffed again before he hissed and set fire to the entire corpse.

I blinked and stared numbly at the flames for a moment before reality kicked me back into touch.

"We need to get out of here Scar," I told him, my entire body shaking as I tried to think of what to do. "I got knocked out. We've been here for a week, at least. Maybe more." I stopped and scratched my head before an impatient hiss from my pokémon prompted me to keep it together. "The rest of our team is down here. So is Mia. We need to find them and get out of here."

I turned and watched the corpse between us burn with a disdainful expression. "Anyone like him," I said as I gestured towards the body with my gun, "feel free to kill. If they've got pokémon on them, make sure you don't destroy them – it looks like these people have got everyone else."

He stretched his neck back to me, his eyes meeting mine before he growled in agreement. I smiled and grabbed hold of the door handle. "Better be ready," I warned him. "I think they know I've escaped now."

I opened the door and Scar leapt out instantly, hissing wildly. I heard a man scream just before Scar growled and ripped the man's throat out, painting the walls red with blood. Another man stood behind them both, frantically trying to reach for his gun. I fired at him, only for my bullet to miss completely and bury itself in the wall instead.

I winced and cursed at once as the man's head snapped up at me. Scar spun round and smacked the human in the stomach with his tail, setting the man's clothes aflame. As he fell to the floor screaming, trying to roll the flames out, my pokémon calmly walked up to him, sniffed him and then bit down on his throat.

Neither the man's dying gurgles nor did the sounds of Scar crunching on bones manage to faze me as I searched the non-flaming body. I found nothing and cursed once more before I nodded for Scar to follow me again. He chirped as he walked just a pace ahead of me, head bouncing with every step.

"Can you smell any of the others?" I asked him in a harsh whisper. He stopped and cocked his head a little. "Or smell anything like me? I need to find them and my stuff."

He stopped and sniffed at the air, turned around, faced me and cawed before trying to walk back past me. I stared off in the direction, realising it only lead to the little room I'd been locked in for so long.

I pressed a hand on his snout and shook my head. "Not back there Scar," I told him and pointed forwards. "We need to go that way. I came from back there; I checked everywhere and found nothing."

He growled and turned around again, skulking through the halls with flames spilling from his teeth. I groaned a little as the world rocked again, lost my balance and fell into a wall. Scar leapt round instantly, spitting flames and hissing wildly until he saw it was just me trying to push myself up and off the floor.

"I'm fine," I grunted at him, even as he bit the back of my collar and tried to help hoist me onto my feet. "Seriously," I told him as he nudged my side with his head, then pressed his neck underneath my arm. I quickly snatched it back to my side and shook my head at him. "I need you to help me escape, not be my support, okay? If you're busy supporting me, we won't be able to deal with anyone coming after us."

He growled a small note in response. I smiled and patted him on the head before I started following him again.

We made it three steps before I heard gunfire.

Both Scar and I froze on the spot. It sounded so close. I began to wonder if someone else had escaped. Maybe Mia had got free and she was trying to fight her way out! Maybe they had someone else here and they'd gotten free, just like me!

Scar growled as he sniffed at the air, scratching one foot against the floor in apprehension.

Instantly I realised the worst possible case; they'd found out about my escape and were killing off all my pokémon.

I nodded for Scar to follow me as we tracked down the source of the sounds. There was more gunfire. Screaming. Pokémon growling and grunting. More screaming. A few more gunshots. Death screams.

Then nothing but silence.

I stopped before the metallic door that sheltered me from the carnage, taking a breath to calm myself. With Scar behind me and my gun in my uninjured hand, I flung the door open.

And found a bloodbath.

The walls, ceiling and the floor were all stained crimson with it. Little meaty chunks were everywhere; some were even still falling from the ceiling. I saw the remains of a few poisonous pokémon like zubat, spinarak and even a few nidoran.

And in the middle of all the carnage was Loki, grinning to himself as he nibbled on a human hand, even as little bits of meat fell from his ears.

"Loki!" I exclaimed and flung myself at the little sableye. He looked up with a grunt and rasped a laugh as I flung my arms around him. "Did they hurt you?" I whispered as I quickly tried to see any injuries.

He laughed again and sucked the remaining blood off his fingers. He looked around, smiled at Scar and bounced up to the charmeleon, cawing happily at the pokémon. Scar looked down at him, snorted a sulphurous breath at the ghost and then began chewing on a human leg that had no body.

I blinked as I stared at the carnage, vaguely that the blood was pouring out into the corridors. "How did you do all this?" I asked my pokémon, bewildered.

He threw back his head and cackled once more. I decided that maybe I was better off not knowing, for the sake of my ever depleting sanity, if nothing else.

"We need to find the others," I told them both. "Loki; you take point. Keep to the shadows. Scar's tracking. If he finds somewhere we need to go into, you slip through the shadows and give them a surprise, alright? When they start screaming, we'll jump in and kill the rest of them."

He looked up at me and the nodded excitedly, bouncing up and down all the while. In a small way I was slightly glad I hadn't found Xander; I knew that he wouldn't approve of me slaughtering everyone in the gym. But they'd all turned a blind eye, tried to take my pokémon and let me get addicted to drugs, all to get as much information out of me as possible.

Which was the other reason why I was going on a rampage. Their plan had worked; I'd told them everything. I just wanted no more pain and to get another fix. I'd told them everything they needed to know in exchange. I didn't know what they were going to use the information for, or even if they had already used it. I just knew that I couldn't let them live, knowing what they did. Something in me told me they wouldn't use what they knew to help me.

I growled to myself as I found Loki's poké ball in amidst the bloody, meaty chunks and placed it in my pocket. I missed my bandolier. I wanted Lacey with me to help in the carnage. I wanted Xander there to bring me some stability. I wanted Sophie there to lighten the mood a little. I wanted Erra with me just so I could show her what happened to people that hurt us.

But most of all... I wanted another fix.

I stumbled over my own feet as I stood back up and managed to fall into Scar once more. He growled and nudged me back to my feet.

"I'm fine," I grunted at him when he wouldn't leave my side. "Seriously. It's just been a while since I've had something to eat. Or something proper to drink." I shook my head, waited for the room to spot spinning and to finally come into focus before I nodded at them both. "Come on."

My pokémon looked at me, shared a concerned glance with each other and then grudgingly began to walk through the halls, occasionally shooting glances back towards me. I promised them I was fine and that I could actually walk every time they did so, ensuring they would help find the others.

I was starting to become a mess by that point. By sheer dumb luck the first room that Scar led us to was only a little storage room. I ransacked it as quickly as I could and found what remained of my stuff; my bandolier and my backpack with nothing but my pokédex and Jennifer's guide book inside.

I cursed and threw it back on the ground. There was none of my clothes left. None of my money. My phone, my wallet; it was all gone!

I touched my neck and realised just how bare it felt without my dogtags around them. The simple reminder of who I was imprinted onto cheap metal and the only thing I'd kept that was from my future.

The whole situation made me so angry. I ended up turning over half of the room in my rage, just trying to find some clue. Some meaning behind it all! I needed something, anything that was able to tell me why the fuck they'd kept me down there like that!

I found nothing like that in the damn room. I found a few hundred poké – less than I had originally – and a couple of small necklaces that they hadn't been able to melt.

Nothing of mine was in there though. I growled and threw it back, only to rattle a number of metallic shelves lining the wall. Everything on the shelves shook. For one horrible moment I thought it was all going to fall down. It didn't, instead showing me something I'd failed to see; a poké ball.

I jumped up the shelves and grabbed the poké ball as quickly as I could. A little flash of marker on the ball itself caught my eye. More letters. More markings.

It was one of mine!

I wondered just why it had been hidden away with the rest of my stuff. My hands were shaking again as I spun the ball round to see the marking on it. It was one of my pokémon! Another one of my friends that the bastards hadn't killed!


I sunk to the floor and burst into happy tears as I held the ball against my chest. I'd been so angry at her for killing Lucy... it wasn't until then that I realised just how much I wanted her to be around.

The thrill of it all made me want to celebrate with another fix.

I shook my head and pressed the button to release her.

But nothing happened.

I pressed it again and again, beginning to worry. What if they'd killed her? What if they'd done something to kill her without destroying her poké ball?

Then I saw the light shining from the button on the poké ball, almost as bright as the light above my head.

I squinted at the poké ball for a long moment before realisation dawned. "You have got to be shitting me," I growled at the poké ball. "You chose now to evolve? Now, when I need you to go around killing things? Couldn't you have waited another day at least?"

Scar and Loki both shot me curious looks before they grunted n unison. I sighed as I looked back up at them, nodded and shoved Lacey's poké ball onto my bandolier. She was alive. That was the important thing. Even if she couldn't help me escape, she was still evolving and would be a shiftry soon enough.

I pushed myself to my feet and looked around the corridor. "We need to find Mia as well," I told them both. "Loki, you remember what she looks like, don't you?" He bounced up and down, rasping excitedly – a stark contrast to my sullen nod. "Good. Let us know if you see her when you sneak into a room. Scar-" I turned to the pokémon. "I want you not to go in all guns blazing if Loki says we've found her."

The charmeleon sneered at me and turned away to walk. I snatched his horn from the air, pulled his head close to mine and growled into his ear. "Believe me Scar, I know you're the one helping to keep me alive here. But if you hurt Mia, I'll make sure I hurt you back. Understand?"

He snarled and pulled himself completely free from my grip. Teeth dripping flames, he turned towards me, breathing hot, sulphurous breath in my face. I fought the urge to wince and glared back at him, making a standstill until Loki crawled up the charmeleon's back and dropped his head between ours, chattering at us both.

"Fine," I grunted at the ghost. "I'll play nice, as long as Scar leaves her safe. Kill anyone else; I won't be stopping you in doing that."

The fiery lizard growled at me before he skulked back down the halls, Loki on his head. I sighed to myself and pulled myself along the corridor's walls, hoping to keep myself upright long enough to find freedom.

That was, until I heard the footsteps.

Or rather, I felt them.

The entire floor seemed to shake with every step. Closer and closer they came. I knew that something big was coming. It felt like it would be able to rip us all to pieces. I tried to think; what sort of poisonous pokémon could make such a noise?

My mind kept coming up blank. I couldn't think of anything past finding a stock room and getting a good supply on me. I had my backpack; I could fill it up with their entire stock. It would be enough to let me at least a week, I figured.

A week's worth of fixes. The thought made me smile, even though the floor was still trembling. There was a loud roar, then me and both my pokémon froze in on the spot.

A pokémon came into view. It looked like a rabbit.

A big, purple, scaly rabbit.

With spikes.

That walked on two legs.

I winced and backed away instinctively. The pokémon's tail was a thick as a tree trunk, purple-scaled armour covering its entire body - save for beige scales over its stomach - and a number of large, fearsome spikes grew out of its back.

Its mouth had large fangs that dripped a steaming, black liquid and one large, ferocious looking spike grew out of its forehead.

"Great," I groaned as I backed away from the creature. "A nidoking. Just what we need."

Then the hissing started.

I leapt around to see the other end of the corridor blocked by another pokémon. It was a long black snake with golden markings, two ferocious red fangs dripping from its mouth and a long tail ending with a blade made of bone.

A seviper and a nidoking. Just what everyone would love to run into when trying to escape a gym full of insane torturers.

"Guys," I whispered, my hands shaking as I backed myself into a little corner. "Take out the nidoking. I'll deal with the snake."

They didn't even have time to reply as the nidoking roared and stormed at them. My gaze dropped to it for less than a second. In that time, the seviper pounced.

I screamed and squeezed the trigger, even as I crouched down. The bullet pinged off the wall nearby the snake with no effect, other than pissing off the predator even more.

I winced and pulled myself back up, hands still shaking. I cursed my body and my mind for going through such withdrawls.

The seviper hissed at me, tongue tasting the air. It swayed on the spot, eyes focused on the gun in my hands. At least it knew it was a threat.

Though I forgot about the nidoking on my right.

I felt an explosion of hot air race by my ear. Suddenly the world titled sideways and gravity left me. Just as quickly I hit the floor, arms aching and body groaning in protest of it all.

The seviper pounced again, landing on me with all its weight. I yelped and threw my head backwards, succeeding only in slamming it hard against the floor beneath me.

The snake leant forwards, tongue grazing my cheek as it wrapped its body around me, squeezing me slowly. My breath was short again. My ribs were being crushed. My heart was racing inside my chest, threatening to explode outwards.

As everything faded out of view, I could only think that seviper usually killed things with their bladed tail.

Then I blacked out.

It felt like I hadn't been out for long at all when water started pouring over my face. I yelped and fought it off, spitting it out of my mouth and barely registering the unsavoury taste as I forced myself to my feet.

"What-?" I whispered as the world came back into focus. I was still in the corridor. The seviper had been cut into pieces – little chunks of the snake were scattered around me, its bladed tail piercing through the top of its severed head. The nidoking was dead too – roasted alive, by the smell of it.

There were large dents on all the walls, the ceiling and the floor, scorch marks and even large slashes through the metal. Both Scar and Loki were looking at me, little smiles on their faces, their bodies covered in scratches and cuts.

"Thanks guys," I said as I picked my gun out from under some of the remains of the seviper. My whole body screamed with the effort, agony dancing through every nerve of my being. I hissed at it all, pressed against my side with my injured hand, only to make more pain flood through me once more.

Then horror flooded through me as the warm water dripped out of my hair.

Neither of my pokémon were capable of watery attacks. The seviper and the nidoking were dead – even if they were alive, they wouldn't have bothered trying to wake me up.

I wiped some of the wetness off my face, stopped and sniffed my fingers.

Then the horrific realisation struck me full force.

I looked down at Loki, who was quite happily picking through the remains of the seviper, choosing bits and pieces to eat. "Say you didn't," I whispered.

There was only one way he could have produced any liquid to wake me up. And it was still warm and dripping from my hair.

He looked at me, sniffed at the air and then threw back his head in a demonic cackle.

I watched him for a moment, then shook my head and carried along the corridor, using the wall to help me walk. "You're evil," I told him. "Through and through."

Scar cut the sableye's laugh short with a sharp hiss. The charmeleon stopped before another door, growled at the metal handle and slapped me with his tail.

I nodded and pressed my hand onto the handle delicately. I flung the door open as Scar snarled and leapt inside, roaring wildly and making the people within scream for their lives.

I poked my head round the doorframe and took a look within. Scar had already killed two of the people, their chests ripped out and their faces burnt beyond recognition. He was already chewing on another's throat as Loki leapt in, scrambled up another's man's back and chomped down on his head.

I saw another man in there and fired my gun at him. It took two tries for me to finally hit him – his head finally exploded on the wall behind him, his face forever frozen in shock and anger.

Scar looked up at me, blood and flames trickling from his moth. He glanced at the gun in my hands, snarled and then turned back to chewing on his victim's chest. Loki was dancing around as blood sprayed from another's man's throat, showering over the celebrating sableye.

And huddled in the corner of the room was Mia, wearing of all things, a black, full length dress.

"Mia!" I shouted as I rushed over to her side, swearing at the handcuffs restraining her and chaining her to the radiator. "Are you alright?"

She looked up at me, briefly surprised and happy before anger clouded her expression. "Do I look alright?" she growled as she shook her restrained arms. I winced and drew back, looking for a key before I heard her sigh from behind me. "S-sorry," she whispered, voice breaking. "I just..."

"It's alright," I told her, though the trembling of my hands and the track marks in my elbow said something else entirely. "We're gonna get out of here."

"My pokémon," she grunted. "I don't know where they are."

I froze halfway through searching a cabinet. I'd killed everyone on my way here, searching them all for my pokémon alone. Scar had burnt enough people beyond all recognition and I'd never stopped to think about Mia's pokémon! The whole time I'd been so fixated on getting my pokémon, finding Mia, escaping the hideout and getting another fix. If I'd stopped a moment to think, I would have realised they'd have likely given her pokémon away, just like mine!

"I... I haven't seen them," I said as I flung the cabinet door shut. "Only these guys. Lacey too," I said as I touched her poké ball. "But she's evolving... of all the times to choose it." I peered in another cabinet, found nothing and slammed it shut, cursing all the while. "Fuck this," I growled and turned away. "Scar, cut those handcuffs, would you?" I smiled at Mia as I pulled out the chains as far as they could go. "Aim for the metal; I don't really want to lose any part of my body and I doubt Mia does either."

We both winced as Scar leapt forwards and sliced through the metallic bindings. The chain snapped in two instantly, glowing slightly orange and smoking as they fell away.

"Thanks," I whispered to my pokémon and patted him on the back. "We need to find a way out," I said as I turned back to Mia. "My pokémon have been split up – distributed between these weirdoes. Yours probably have been too."

She shook her head. "Only one guy has them. He's been taunting me with them the whole time, telling me he'd kill one of them if I didn't tell him what he needed to know." She rubbed her arms, head hanging as her shoulders trembled.

I reached out and pressed a hand to her shoulder.

"Don't touch me!" she hissed and knocked my hand away. I froze, confused as she shook again. Finally she looked back up at me, her face straight. "Just... let's get out of here, alright?"

My blood froze as Loki started hissing.

I whipped around to find him glaring at a large shadow on the wall. His ears were pinned back against his head, claws flexing at the strange shadow.

I thought he was just being paranoid.

Then the shadow moved.

I couldn't help but yelp a little as it raced up the wall, remaining stationary on the ceiling. Loki peered up at it, growling darkly.

Then the shadow opened its eyes. Two haunting, evil red eyes peered down on us, filling me entirely with fear as they washed over me. Scar growled at the shadow, though even he backed away a little when the eyes fixed on him.

"This isn't good," Mia whispered. "We should leave. Now!"

I nodded and kicked the messy remains of someone aside, finding a gun pinned underneath his body. "Here," I said as I pressed it into Mia's hands. "Just point and shoot."

Her hands shook as she rotated the gun. "S-sure."

I checked my own gun, found I only had one bullet left and cursed as I turned around, back towards the door. The whole time, I thought Scar had been growling at the shadow still on the ceiling.

I was wrong.

He was growling at the man in the doorway.

The same man who was in the time traveller's help group.

The same man who was behind this all.

"Well, well, well," he said confidently as I felt Mia wince behind me. "Look what we have here; two rats, a lizard and a ghost. If anything, that's the start of a bad joke."

Scar growled and leapt at him. The man pulled out a gun and pointed it straight at the charmeleon, stopping him instantly. Scar glared at the weapon, whined and backed away from it, protecting his once-injured hip all the while.

"Good pet," the man said. "For an escape attempt, you weren't exactly subtle," he said, turning his gaze to me. "At last count, twenty bodies? That's two-thirds of the people I have working down here, you know?"

"You have working down here?" I whispered to myself. "You mean you're the gym leader here?"

He nodded and waved the gun carelessly. "Well, among other things. The last one retired early. Said he was going to travel the world, seeing if he could teach other pokémon the ways of poisons. Apparently his father had managed to do so with a seedot before he passed away."

I glanced between my pokémon. Loki was still busy with the strange shadow and Scar was hiding away from the gun whenever it pointed at him. I scowled and realised I'd have to make the final bullet in my gun count.

"Shut up," I growled at him. "Enough gloating. You got that girl to lead us here. You got me tortured and so drug-addled that half my brain is constantly telling me to find another fix. Long story short; you're not seeing the end of today."

The man quirked an eyebrow at me. "I doubt that. And what girl would you be talking about? The one that you've knocked out, or the one that you've put so much trust into?"

I stared at him, confused and then looked back to Mia. She looked as confused as me, if not a little angry and frightened of the man. "That's right," he said. "Your little friend here; the one that you've trusted so much... she's working with us."

I snorted. "Bullshit," I spat. "Mind games won't work on me. You really expect me to believe something like that."

I didn't believe the words.

But when the gun pressed into the back of my head, I became a firm believer.

Behind me, I was sure I felt Mia smile a little as she said, "Looks like your hero complex might have fucked you over a little, huh?"

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