Midnight Snack
#1
Midnight Snack 
[explicit language]

=======================
January 1st, 6:16 AM
The Round House, Ultima City
Graham’s Notes
=======================

We’ve got less than an hour open until opening, where the hell is Ruben? The kid’s usually here ten minutes early but it’s already past fifteen now. First day of the new year and he’s going to be late for work? Eh, whatever, he probably slept through his alarm I guess. Today’s a weekday so it shouldn’t be too busy. I’ll give him an earful if he saunters in here later in the afternoon hehehe.... Alright, these look ready to go. 

“Donut, can you put these in the oven for twenty minutes?” 

“Munch!” 

The Munchlax behind me takes the tray of galettes from my hands and carefully runs them over to the oven. The pale blue tint of the morning sky peeks out from the windows, brightening up the room as I clean up the prep area. Although my part-timer Ruben isn’t here today, I’ve still got Donut with me acting as an assistant so the work isn’t too difficult. 

The Round House - I opened up this Bakery in Ultima City near the world famous National Park hoping to get some good business. It’s alright. The place is small but wide enough not to feel cramped, giving it a snug homely feeling. After traveling from Sinnoh to other regions around the globe, I’ve picked up a couple highlight recipes like Hau’oli-styled sweet malasada and the Lumiose galette. Granted they aren’t perfect replicas of the originals, I think a do pretty decent job at emulating the authenticity and taste of the desserts. Just wish we’d get some good press in return for all this hard work. Maybe I should try making those Hoenn lava cookies? Old gateau? 

*Ding!* 

A low chime brings my attention back to the kitchen. Looks like the galettes are done. 

“Hey now be careful. I’ve got gloves, I’ll take the tray out.” 

Donut steps back and drools as the savory aroma of freshly baked galettes permeates throughout the store. These aren’t for you, you little gremlin. I’m not much of a pokemon trainer, but Donut’s been a friend of mine since my days back at Floaroma Town. Mom always let me use the spare dough to experiment with, and every now and then this guy would pop up outside our window looking for something to eat. He was a nuisance at first but we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well over the years, so he’s become my unofficial partner in a sense. Donut doesn’t have a pokeball but he’s got his own room and bed, not a bad deal eh? 

*Guuu* 

I hear a little rumbling sound coming from behind me. Donut’s round eyes are still locked onto the galettes in my hands. His slobber is drips all over his kids’ apron, soaking the fabric wet. Gross. I check the clock to confirm we’ve still got a little under half an hour before opening. 

“Alright, breakfast for us too!” I put the galettes down on the counter to cool, and pick up Donut in my arms. This kid is small but heavy, ugh. Donut swings his small pointed feet around while I carry him, overflowing with energy at the notion of finally getting to eat. His mouth babbles while flashing his two snaggleteeth, ready to chow down. He’s more suited to being a customer than a baker, really. 

=======================
January 1st, 9:42 AM
Ultima City, Arpege
Rahel’s Journal
=======================

Knees weak, arms heavy, 
but there is no mom’s spaghetti. 
….
I’m hungry. 

Why’s it so cold every fucking morning? My fingers are freezing off, winter sucks. The air feels like that one time Chuchu sneezed and Powder Snow’d my face. Hotteok swings across the area beside my shoulder, riding her tail like a hoverboard. How do you have that much energy at this time of day…. I mean, yeah we’re going for pancakes, but it’s so cold I’m going to die before I get it eat them….

My boots crunch through the snow as we make our way down the sidewalk. I wish the bakery did deliveries….I want to go back home… Summer sucks but so does Winter. Since Ultima is a port city, I guess our weather is a little colder due to being so close to the ocean. The usual chaotic, lively spirit of the streets not quite awake just yet, left the metropolis in a soft lull. New Year’s Eve festivities probably drained whatever energy was left after Christmas. 

As I curse at the wretched weather and complain about how far away my apartment is, my Raichu and I arrive in front of the bakery, the Round House. What an uninspiring name. The tea brown wood of its exterior and sleek rounded corners give it an odd charm of looking antique yet urban. At least the food is okay. Hotteok squeals at the sight of the store and zips through the door before me. The draft of wind from her speed smacks me in the face a like whip of cold, cold, cold, water. My child, what have I done to deserve this. With my nose frozen and nearly dripping like a Cubchoo, I pull open the entrance and step into the small cafe. 

*Jingle*

“Hey, happy New Year.” 

The store owner and baker, Graham, greets me with his arm raised sloppily as I trudge into the establishment. His messy honey-blonde hair and pasty complexion gives him the impression of a half-assed chef, which arguably he is. A pair of sleepy gold eyes accompanies his thin, angular face, further enhancing the dudebro skater vibes. Tall and more lanky than handsome, his demeanor is lazy but he’s serious when it comes to baking. The heat of the ovens start to warm my quivering body as I near the glass counter. Hotteok is already moving around looking at the array of baked goods that are on display. 

“I want pizza.” 

“Why are you coming into a bakery looking for pizza? We’ve got galettes; look, cheese and tomatoes on top of flour. That’s pretty pizza-ish eh? Aren’t you from Unova? These taste almost just like the Lumiose ones.” 

“But that’s not pizzaaaa….” 

“Buy something we do have, or leave.” 

“Your fake-smile is just as uninspiring as your naming sense. I’ll take two galettes and a breakfast set of pancakes to go. Oh, one bag of powdered malasadas.”

What a terrible salesman, I’m tryna tell you what the customers want here. It’s pizza. Give me pizza. Your sales will skyrocket, I guarantee it. I shake my head while I take a seat at a nearby table. The store’s perfectly empty besides us, as usual. Well it’s only the morning. The Round House is usually only busy when there’s a Battle Royal taking place on the weekends. I don’t particularly like super crowded places though, so it’s great that this place is always deserted hahaha. But it’s a little quieter than normal today.

“Where’s Ruben?” 

“Not here. This is his first time skipping work.” 

“Hm, didn’t seem like the kind of guy to skip.” 

“Yeah, he’s probably sick or something. Your stuff is ready by the way.” 

“Terrible salesman….”

“You say something?”

“No…” 

I gather the paper bags full of pastries and look around for Hotteok. While waiting for our food to be ready she seems to have been playing with Graham’s Munchlax. Although stout and squishy, I’ve seen Donut carry multiple bags of flour at once. He seems to do a lot of the heavy work around the bakery in addition to sourcing natural ingredients like forest honey. Good strength and capability…..not to mention a relatively rare species around these parts. I want one. 

“Hotteok, we’re leaving!” My Raichu turns her head to look back at me as I shout across the store. She swivels through the air back to my side and we wave goodbye to Graham and Donut. I depart from my haven of warmth back into the frigid hell of reality, but this time there’s the small heat of freshly baked goodies at my chest. 

Today, we’re going to the Underground, and I want to pick up some supplies at the PokeMart as well…. From the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of a bright yellow figure across the street. I stop to take a glance but as soon as I blink, it’s gone. Only a small imprint in the snow of some sort of weight certainly being there remained. 

=======================
January 1st, 6:44 PM
Trainer’s Union, Ultima City
Graham’s Notes
=======================

“Ruben left this morning, but he hasn’t come back?” 

Ruben never ended up showing up at the bakery today. I closed up shop a bit early, not because we didn’t have any business mind you, but because I was worried for my poor bro out of the kindness of my heart. Weird though. If he left this morning than he should have popped in to let me know where he was going. And it’s past six now, he’s been out all day. What is this, new year, new me? Did he go on one of those self-care trips to a different region? 

Disappointed and Ruben-less, Donut and I head back down the street to the Round House. The front of the building acts as the cafe and bakery, while our rooms are behind the kitchen area. It’s homely little place, but it’s ours. The indigo coat of Donut’s back toddles on ahead of me, his pale little feet leaving deep footprints in the snow. It’s not as cold as Snowpoint, but the weather today in Ultima isn’t exactly welcoming. The evening sky was littered with dull gray clouds, and the chilling air set an unfortunate mood for new year’s day. Donut seems to be okay with the cold, continuing along just like any other day despite the temperature. I wonder if his ability is Thick Fat? 

“Donut, don’t get too far ahead now. Watch where you’re going.” 

I get a little “aaa” kind of sound in response, but the young munchlax shuffles along without a care as if he hadn’t heard me. Don’t blame me when you fall over again. 

Donut stops walking for a moment to peer down an alleyway. He stands still, focusing into the darkness in the distance. What is it, food? As I catch up to him, he dashes into the backstreet. 

“Hey, where are you going!” 

Shit. I run after the little pokemon as he heads down the narrow passage. The sun’s gone down but it’s too early for the street lights to start up. I fumble across the alleyway, panicking as I follow Donut’s footsteps. 

“Stop! Donut!!” 

What the heck’s gotten into him? My heart pounds for oxygen but I can only take in the freezing cold air. My chest contorts as I struggle to try keep my breath while running. I stop hearing Donut’s footsteps ahead of me. Did he stop? Did I lose him? The hollow shadows of the night wrap around me in this small corner of the city. 

“Donut!! Where are you?!” 

“Munch.” 

“HUH??” 

I trip backwards as I vaguely make out the silhouette of a Munchlax approach me. 

“Jesus, what the hell? What were you doing? Why’d you run off like that?” 

“Munch…..” 

Donut gives me a mixed expression like he’s disappointed and confused at the same time. Both exasperated and relieved to see him safe, I stay on the ground while I catch my breath. I thought I was going to lose him out here. 

I let out the biggest sigh I’ve had since I moved to the Arpege Region. 

*Guuu* 

Donut ruins my emotional moment with the sound of his stomach rumbling. 

“What, you hungry? You saw something to eat or what?” 

“Munch munch!” 

Donut’s eyes light up and drool starts to trickle down his mouth again. Gave me a heart attack for this? I’m starting to think I should invest in a pokeball or at least a leash for this guy…. 

“What’s even here though, I can barely see shit.” 

“Munch, lax. Munch munch, munch…” 

Donut flails his hands around forming circles and different shapes. I don’t get it. Withdrawal symptoms? Is this what happens when you leave a Munchlax hungry for too long? Terrifying. 

“Donu-” 

*VWOOSH*

From behind Donut, a pitch black hand sweeps across me, engulfing the entire are where my Munchlax stood just minutes ago. The mass of black energy burns viciously; the whole scene looking like the night sky tore out a piece of the street before me.

“DONUT!!” 

“Munch.” 

Donut steps out of the darkness unharmed. He scratches his butt and looks at me as if to ask why I keep screaming.

Huh? 

I glimpse back to where the darkness was, but it vanishes; leaving no trace of what had just occurred. I pat down Donut, looking for any injuries or irregularities, only to find him in perfect condition. Donut beams a smile at me and gives me a quizzical expression. 

What was that just now? Yeah, it’s dark out, but it’s like the void just swept across my eyes entirely. The entire space in front of me disappeared for a couple seconds. But Donut’s fine, and he didn’t get hurt. Maybe I’m the one who’s tired and hallucinating. I’m worried about Ruben and my store’s not doing so hot; I must be stressed out. I crouch down and pick up Donut into my arms, squeezing him to make sure he’s still here with me. My walk speeds up into a jog and I hurry my way out of the backstreet. 

I want to go home. 

=======================
January 2nd, 12:35 PM
The Round House, Ultima City
Graham’s Notes
=======================

I woke up the next morning just like any other day. Donut and I got to work on the galettes and a couple batches of muffins. 

Donut was okay. 
Ruben didn’t come to work. 

*Jingle*

“Welcome- oh hey, I haven’t seen you since last year, Walter.” 

“Your jokes are as unfortunate as your naming sense.” 

Why does everyone say that about my store? What’s wrong with the Round House? It’s short and sweet. I’m hurt. 

The older gentleman in front of me works for the public safety department in Ultima City. I’m not entirely keen on the details, but it sounds like a loose-ends type of government job. He often goes around helping repair broken stuff in public structures. His silver white, well groomed facial hair gives him a refined look in a work suit. He stands tall, perfectly upright like an iron tower, watching down with piercing blue eyes. Although aged, his body has an athletic build, possibly from a nature of his work keeping him in shape. Walter’s a somewhat regular customer and not bad company if I might add. 

“What’ll you have today?” 

“A black coffee and a bag of croissants. …..I could go for a Rage Candy Bar right now actually. Pardon, you don’t happen to have any of those Rage Candy Bars would you?”

“Do I look like I have Rage Candy Bars to you? Stop coming to my store to ask for things I don’t sell.”  

*Jingle*

“GRAHAM I WANT PIZZA!” 

“YOU AGAIN! WE DON’T SELL PIZZA!!” 

By Arceus! All of my customers are assholes!! Mom, I want to go back to Sinnoh…

A local trainer and another regular at our bakery, Rahel storms into the store shivering. Bits of frost lay scattered across their dusty black hair, while their burgundy eyes slowly browse through the assortment of pastries they might, but probably won’t buy. 

“What’s this? New? Strawberry chocolate muffin?” 

“Yeah we just made a test batch today. Here’s a sample.” 

They took a piece of the muffin and stared off into space as they slowly savored the pastry. Must have been hungry. Rahel’s eyes meet mine again and their brows lower into a glare. 

“.....What.” 

“This is good.” 

“Thank you.” 

“Too good.” 

“.......” 

Walter carefully picks up a sample and tries for himself. His stoic expression leaves no hint of how opinion, but he ingests the morsel quickly and takes a moment to develop his evaluation. 

“Fair, but a tad too sweet for my taste. Young ones may certainly enjoy it.” 

“Aye, I am young....” 

While I’m not looking, Rahel sneaks a couple more samples into their mouth. They say they want the entire batch, but since it’s a test portion I want more than just a couple customers to try it out. I compromise, parting with two of the new muffins and offer a bundle of sweet rolls instead. As I prepare Walter’s coffee I overhear the conversation the pair are having. 

“Missing people? In Ultima?”

“Indeed. We’ve got a string of cases of people mysteriously disappearing after New Year’s Eve. I’m not a detective, but all of the civil workers have been notified to stay on the lookout. Have you seen anything strange as of late?” 

“Strange… nah, not really.” 

“I have.” 

I approach the counter with a bad feeling in my gut. 

“Here’s your coffee and croissants Walter. Something weird happened to us yesterday.” 

“Intriguing, do tell us.”

“Before that though, you were talking about disappearances. My part-timer Ruben’s been gone since yesterday. He’s not the type to ditch work. The Trainer’s Union said they saw him leave but he never came back.” 

“Ruben. I’ll notify the police immediately. Let’s hope it’s nothing serious, but that boy definitely looked like the more prudent type. We can’t rule out the possibility of his situation being related to these peculiar occurrences across the city. Anything else out of the ordinary?” 

“I was on my way back from the Union, you know it’s just a block or so away from here. Donut got distracted an ran off into the backstreet. It was too dark to see what was going on, but I think we got attacked back there. The weird part is that Donut’s unharmed, and whatever I saw just vanished into the darkness.” 

“Munch?” 

Donut peeks his head over the counter and the three of us stare at his innocent smile. He laughs playfully and wanders off to the back of the kitchen. 

“I would kill if anything hurt Donut….” 

“Agreeable.” 

“I don’t need other people getting violent for my pokemon’s sake, but I appreciate the sentiment.” 

“Vanishing though… actually, I had something kinda similar happen yesterday maybe? Across the street from here I saw some flash, and in an instant it was gone…”

“Darkness and shadows have long represented dangers and evils since ancient times. We live in a world inhabited by monsters strong enough to take down whole buildings. Getting assaulted once or twice isn’t as far fetched of case as one might believe.” 

The gravity of the topic shifted so fast that the conversation kinda dropped off. We stood there silent for a couple moments thinking about Walter’s words. Humans are weaker than pokemon, we are vulnerable. 

“Pokemon are unique creatures blessed with powers that we cannot imagine. We have chosen to befriend these beasts and live alongside them in harmony. However, wild pokemon exist, unbound by the rules we have fabricated for ourselves and the bubble of civilization. Rahel, you’re a trainer so I’m sure you’ll be relatively safe, but both of you make sure to have a partner with you when you’re outside.” 

“Eh…. I don’t see you with a partner pokemon right now.” 

“Nonsense, my Stoutland is on watch twenty-four seven.” 

Walter flashes a jet black Luxury Ball at his belt, its exterior polished perfectly as if it was only purchased this morning.

“I’ll be off then, I appreciate the information. Take care on the way home.” 

Walter takes his bags and makes his way out the door. So you’re saying a wild pokemon attacked Donut back in the alleyway, huh? And it’s out there targeting random passerby in the city. Rahel mutters something about old people flexing on them, and turns their attention back to me. During our talk with Walter, their galettes and muffins have been warmed up and ready to go. 

“Ooooo… spooky spooky, are you going to be okay with just Donut?” 

“Shut up and take your stuff. Donut knows a couple of moves, and besides, he’s tough as nails. Whatever happened yesterday didn’t even faze him.” 

“Alright, if you say so.... Um, can you make a batch of those strawberry muffins for tomorrow morning? Please… my livelihood depends on your food…”

“Arceus, why are you like this. Alright fine I’ll have a whole dozen prepped just for you. You better come fuckin early or I’m gonna use them as samples when I run out.” 

“Really!! Thank you, thank you…” 

With a rare excited gait, Rahel prances out of the store with their food, completely ignoring Walter’s advice. If this were a horror movie, they would be dead next. I had some difficult customers come in straight from the get-go today; the afternoon is looking like it’s gonna be rough… 

=======================
January 3rd, 7:02 AM 
Ultima City, Arpege
Rahel’s Journal 
=======================

I woke up early for once, I’m honestly surprised myself. 

Muffins, muffins, muffins~~~ 
I get strawberry chocolate muffins today~~~
Muffins are waiting for me at the bakery~~~

Yay! The weather is still cold but I can handle it today. Up this early in the morning these streets look even emptier than they were before. Walter said to keep a pokemon with me when I’m outside, but I’m just gonna run to the bakery and come back real quick! 

Ah, I can smell them now! My love! Strawberry! Chocolate! Hm?

Across the street from me I see the flash of yellow again. What now? It’s gonna go away when I blink right? Maybe I have some sort of eye problem, agh. Once. Twice. Three times. The blurry shape of yellow doesn’t go away. I squint to look closer and the shape focuses much more clearly now. 

A pokedoll…? Some kids’ toy of a pokemon maybe. Certainly doesn’t look very lifelike. On the contrary, it looks devoid of any properties you would call “living.” The faded fabric on the doll is almost transparent, and fuzz is completely worn out. Tattered from the wind and snow? Actually, what’s that doing outside?

Two dark buttons blink at me from the other side of the street. 

Blink? 

Darkness devours my vision.

=======================
January 3rd, 3:30 PM
The Round House, Ultima City
Graham’s Notes
=======================

Ruben’s third day of absence.
I got a call from his mother asking if I knew where he was. 

Rahel never came to pick up the muffins.

I told them to be here, EARLY, not late as hell. They didn’t even come by for breakfast or lunch today. Are they finally sick of my menu? No, I made the stupid muffins specifically for them, they left yesterday practically dancing out of the store. What the fuck? 

I stand at the counter dumbfounded and kinda angry. I’m not going to bake a new batch for you. You are the one who didn’t show up at the appointed time. Whether they go stale or dry, I’m going to make you pay for all these muffins… 

*Jingle* 

“SO NOWWW YOU SHOWED UP-” 

“Excuse me?” 

“Uh- shit, sorry. I thought you were someone else.” 

Walter enters the storefront with a razzled countenance, and briskly walks to the counter. What’s the rush man? 

“Have you seen Rahel today?” 

“Dude, I wish! They made a custom order and didn’t even come to pick it up!” 

“Curses! I just saw them yesterday, I can’t believe I let this happen right under my nose..” 

Walter hunched over the counter as he threw a fist down at the poor table. His fierce facial expression would probably scare any passerby, but knowing his usual calm attitude made the sudden intensity twice as fearsome. 

“Wha-” 

“The disappearances! Rahel’s gone missing. They had an appointment at the Pokemon Center for twelve, and a referee testing at three. They missed both. A notice was sent out on the loudspeaker and compatible electronic devices, but no one’s seen them since yesterday.” 

“Aww haha come on gramps, you’re tryna scare me-” 

Walter’s eyes strike through me like knives. I break out into a cold sweat. So what? First Ruben gets abducted, they attack Donut, and now Rahel? You’re gonna take my workers and my customers too? I feel like I’m being unfairly targeted here. 

“I apologize, I didn’t mean to involve you in this way. The safety department is working in tandem with the police force and investigators to track these missing people down. I let my emotions get the best of me in the heat of the moment.”

Walter regains his normal, refined demeanor and straightens up his suit with a sigh. He prepares to leave since he’s confirmed I don’t have any leads for him. Are wild pokemon even capable of just making people vanish like this? Are they dead? Where would they even go? 

Pokemon are unique creatures with powers unimaginable to us, is what you told me. I look behind me at Donut taking a nap on kitchen floor. Yeah, he’s got superhuman strength, his stomach is probably a black hole, and sometimes he gets into trouble; but he never causes problems on purpose. He loves food, he helps out in the kitchen whenever I need him to, and he shares that food he loves so much with all his friends. But most of all, I love that little guy to death. I would do anything to protect him.

Ruben’s gone. He’s been gone for three days. He’s got a family who misses him, and I want him back working with us at the Round House too. Rahel’s annoying, but a good kid. They’ve got big dreams and they’re working hard on their own as a trainer here in Ultima. A person can disappear, but you can’t change all the people they’ve affected, and all of the things they’ve given to the community around them. 

“Wait! Let me help. My worker’s gone missing, now I’m even a customer down. You know I’m not that busy here anyway. I haven’t gotten them back for tryna take a swing at Donut either.” 

I call to Walter as he stands, amused by proposal. My legs jitter with anxiety, but I don’t want to be stuck here making bread while something dangerous happening to the people I care about. I return Walter’s gaze with as much confidence as I can muster. He breaks out into a refreshing grin I haven’t seen in a long time. 

“Very well, I’ll be appointing you as an honorary safety officer for today, Graham. I expect only the finest work from an deputy of mine.” 

=======================
January 3rd, 9:34 PM
Ultima City, Arpege
Walter’s Memoir
=======================

Spirited away. 

Almost unreal, these disappearances. Twenty-two. The number of missing persons that are registered residents at Ultima City. I can’t even begin to fathom the notion that this number of civilians could be abducted without a trace in only the span of a mere three days. The exact times of the disappearances are unknown, but no one has any recollection of having seen or being in contact with a missing resident the day they vanished. From this information I would like to conclude that these occurrences are exclusive to being very early in the morning or very late at night. They would vanish during times where there aren’t many bystanders, and be gone without warning the next day. 

Is this the work of a pokemon or humans? Many species of pokemon possess intellect that far surpasses the capacity of a human being. A calculated assault? Are there multiple perpetrators? And what is the scheme? The end goal? There is nothing connecting these missing people apart from the fact that they are residents here at Ultima City. Of the several cities in Arpege that trainers can travel to the National Park at, Ultima offers the fastest and most frequent trips by ferry. Home to an abundance of rare species and diverse types of pokemon, the National Park is a one of a kind existence. Could the culprit be a powerful, wild pokemon that came from the Park? One that has a grudge on humans, perhaps? Pokemon poachers trespassing in the park is common news, and at a time before the island was protected, a man once tried to renovate the land and the habitat there. The possibilities are endless. 

For now, I’ve enlisted the help of a local friend, baker Graham and his Munchlax to aid me on my task. Although investigators are certainly doing their best, that doesn’t mean I should just loiter around on buttocks aimlessly. If possible, I would like to take a bit of an aggressive approach to smoke out the perpetrator behind these eerie disappearances.

From Graham we’ve learned that he was attacked in an alleyway on the block between the Round House and the Trainer’s Union. Whether this is related on not, Rahel has also noted some strange sightings on the opposite side of the street. This area is a prime section of interest we will be investigating today. 

Our plan of action for tonight is as follows: 

Myself and Stoutland (hidden), will wait around in the street acting as decoys. Stoutland is trained in a variety of moves that should prove to be effective no matter who or what the foe may be. Graham and Donut will be on standby at a safe distance, acting as backup if needed and watching for any suspicious activity that may occur. If the enemy attacks us, we will attempt to subdue or stall the foe while Graham notifies the police force. With Stoutland’s speed, we should be able to pursue any runaways comfortably, barring exceptionally nimble opponents. 

As such, we wait. 

Perhaps I should move to a more dimly lit area? Directly under the streetlight may have been a poor choice. I should hope to look as vulnerable as possible without indiscreetly screaming “I’m bait.” Camouflaged into the handle of my cane, Stoutland keeps watch silently inside his pokeball. 

Several minutes pass by without incident. Rage Candy Bars are perfect for such stakeout nights, but my supply has unfortunately run dry. The street is perfectly empty as I stand against the streetlight alone. From my peripheral vision I confirm Graham and Donut’s status several feet away. They’re hidden near the bushes so that they could only be visible by anyone directly behind them. From their position they have a clear view of my surroundings, and Donut should be keeping watch behind Graham as well. Especially for something highly suspicious like that creepy moving shadow above them. 

OH MY ARCEUS!!!

In only the time it took for me turn my body, I’ve lost them. 

They’re gone. 

=======================
January 3rd (?)
???
Graham’s Notes
=======================

I woke up in a glittering mansion where the floor glistened in a beautiful, toasted golden brown. Gumdrops colorfully lined the windows and whip cream decorated the walls. A sweet, sugary aroma overwhelmed my sense of smell and I instinctively started drooling. I think I can finally relate to what Donut feels on a daily basis. 

Donut. Where’s Donut? Last I remember, I was doing something and then it got dark. I was falling…

“Are you gonna eat?” 

A familiar face calls me from a table to my left. Rahel’s head tilts towards me as they fork their way through a chocolate cake. I look past them to see the table extending endlessly into the distance, lavishly decorated with lace and plenty of desserts to go around. A dozen or more people are present, enjoying their time and socializing. I don’t see any point to just sitting around when there’s free food to be eaten, so I get up and approach the table. I take a seat across from Rahel next to Ruben. 

“Yo Ruben what’s up?” 

“I’m pretty good boss, how are you?” 

“Hungry I guess, can you pass me a plate of that cheesecake?” 

“Yeah sure, I recommend you try the blueberry crepes as well.”

“Thanks. How long have you been here? Where is this?” 

“The Gingerbread House. I don’t know, a couple of hours? Food’s good, I just keep eating.” 

“Yeah, this is good…” 

I try a bit of the cheesecake but I don’t really feel any different. In fact it doesn’t really taste like anything. I think I have to eat some more. The more I eat, the more I want to eat again. I don’t feel anything except the endless craving of food. I just want to stay here. And eat. Didn’t I have something to do? What was I doing? Oh, wow. Doughnuts. I like doughnuts. 

Should I eat this doughnut? 

=======================
January 3rd, 10:28 PM
Ultima City, Arpege
Walter’s Memoir
=======================

I’ve lost them. 
I’ve lost everyone. 

Stoutland probes the perimeter around us one more time. Nothing, nothing at all. Absolutely no trace of anyone even being here. It was fairly far from the original place Graham said they got ambushed at, and to think they would go for him second time. Both he and his pokemon are absolutely gone. 

I’m crushed by guilt and shame at having endangered a young man who wasn’t even supposed to be here in the first place. It’s all my fault. I brought him here. 

Stop. Let’s be rational, this is not the time to be wallowing in your mistakes. We’ve got to find them. The culprit was just here, there have got to be some sort of clues they left that we can use. I saw a glimpse of the beast myself as well, a jet-black shadowy mass… 

“Rarf!” 

Stoutland’s bark beckons me from towards him. In the tree a couple feet from where Graham and Donut were, a small piece of pale yellow fabric lay lodged against a branch. A clue? This yellow cloth? I stand befuddled, studying the new discovery. 

Based on the way the shadow approached them from above, this could be related to the culprit; but otherwise it could also be an entirely unrelated piece of textile stuck in a tree. And this pale tainted yellow, just looking at the color it’s ghastly. The culprit too, disappeared like a ghost; as if it could vanish into thin air. Lurking in the shadows and manipulating the darkness around it; straight out of a fairy tale, this type of villain. 

….

Hold on a minute. Disappearing? Like a ghost you say? Hahaha! I’ve got it! 

“Good boy! Well done!” 

I run my hands over Stoutland’s head and rustle his fur. He smiles proudly at having found something important. 

“Our job’s not done just yet though, boy. Ready to go? Use Odor Sleuth!” 

“Arf!”

=======================
January 3rd (?)
Gingerbread House (?)
Graham’s Notes
=======================

I’ve lost my sense of time since I’ve come here. But I don’t think I care? 

Food just pops up in front of my plate and I never get full. Rahel’s been eating that chocolate cake for, for, since I got here. They’re still not done? Or did they start eating a new one? The fork dips into the cake and resurfaces with a large chunk of the dessert, but the cake looks no different from before. Ruben just throws his empty plates behind him but there doesn’t seem to be a mess anywhere around him. 

I recognize the other people at the table from where I’m sitting. The old woman that shows up at the art gallery sometimes, a pair of park rangers that occasionally drop by for a snack, one of the judges at the contest hall. Everyone’s having a good time, snacking away like we are. I wonder who’s making all this food? Who’s house is this? The endless supply of desserts in front of me prevent me from thinking deeper into these questions. Ah, the doughnuts are back. I want that indigo looking one. 

Doughnut? 

Donut? 

*Rumble rumble*

What’s that sound? 

*Rumble rumble rumble* 

Bits and pieces of gingerbread start dropping on the table like debris. Is this part of the roof? I look up to see a crack shatter across the ceiling. 

*Crack* 

The ceiling comes clattering down, and I drown in the falling gingerbread. 

But I catch a glimpse of a chubby little face falling towards me. 

=======================
January 4th 12:00 AM
Abandoned Warehouse
Graham’s Notes
=======================

Donut. 

My vision went black, and I fell into an abyss while keeping watch for Walter. 

Donut dove into void after me. 

I woke up this time, not at the Gingerbread House with a beautifully decorated dining room, but a dusty old, run-down warehouse. Beside me were people, people I saw at the Gingerbread House, littered across the floor, asleep. I tried to get up, but my body felt sluggish and empty. I was supposed to be eating but I felt an excruciating pang of hunger suddenly hit my body when I attempted to move. 

“Munch!” 

Donut caught my shoulders as I was about to collapse on the floor. His large oval eyes were wet with tears and his usual sunshine-like smile was gone. 

“Donut, what’s wrong?” 

I try to bring my arm up to his face but my strength escapes me. Ah… what’s wrong with me? I look down at my arms, paler than normal. 

“Awake, Graham? Sorry to have you end up like this. I’ve failed as an officer.” 

A stern voice booms throughout the building. I see Walter and Stoutland at the doorway, but they’re still alert as if they’re watching for something. 

Before I can call out to them, a wave of purple tiles swarms in and locks the area around us. I can’t see Walter anymore, but I hear the faint pounding of bodies against a wall. 

“Munch.” 

Donut tenses up as a small figure emerges from the floor. 

“Kyuu….” 

A pale, faded yellow fabric covering its body, it tries to move its limbs in a puppet-like manner. Two dark, button looking circles lock their gaze onto me. 

What is that a Pikachu? Doll? 

The doll, mute, doesn’t attack. We observe each other in silence, all other sounds slowly fading out into nothingness. Though it looks like it’s the one that set up this barrier, through its shabby, faded rags I can see its eyes trembling. 

“....”

“Hey,”

“!!”

The doll flinches in reflex. It trembles more in a enraged fear. 

“I’m Graham. This is Donut.” 
 
“....” 

Donut remains silent, glaring at the doll. 

“Did you attack us? Back in the alleyway.” 

“!!!” 

The doll’s head droops kinda low, it looks a little upset. It may be feeling remorseful for its actions. 

“I’m not that mad, he wasn’t hurt.” 

“.....”

“Are you a Ghost-type?” 

“!!!!!” 

The doll’s head flings back up in a comedic manner, shocked at its identity being exposed. 

“Hahaha, guess that’s why it didn’t affect Donut. You don’t seem like a bad guy, did you bring me here? Do you want to talk about anything?” 

“............” 

The doll goes silent again, and we stare at each other for a couple minutes. A small piece of the air in front of me begins to shimmer and sparkle, and out of the glittering light, a piece of paper floats down landing perfectly in front of me. 

In scraggly handwriting I make out the words
New Year’s Resolution: Make 100 friends. 

“Is this yours?” 

The doll bobbles its head back and forth, nodding. 

It just wanted to be friends with everyone…….but what is this, almost two dozen people passed out on the floor. It looks like a murder scene. 

“You gathered all these people?” 

*Bobble*

“Are they your friends?”

“....”

“Are you happy?”

“...........” 

“Hey, sorry. Didn’t mean to put it that way.” 

The doll’s head plunges down completely. It looks super depressed. 

“Do you know what friends are?” 

“....” 

“They’re people that are there for you when you need them. You respect each other, and you recognize the good things, and the bad things that make up who you are as people. I was really upset when you tried to attack Donut, and I’m sure he doesn’t feel that great right now either.” 

“......”

Donut’s face has been unchanging this entire time. He stands stiff, supporting my body while I regain the energy I’ve lost while asleep. I can’t even remember the way he’s supposed to look with his usual goofy expression. But his small furry hands grasp my shoulders strongly, making sure that I’m still here next to him.  

“Friends take care of each other, they don’t attack and kidnap random strangers.” 

“...........”

“Friends talk and share stories with each other. They eat and share food together. Those desserts in the dream were great. But look at everyone around you, are they eating it together with you?” 

“..................”

“I think you’ve got the wrong approach to this, my guy. You can’t just be friends with someone because you want to. It’s a mutual understanding. You have to make sure both parties want to form a friendship. There are people waiting for these guys to wake up, you can’t keep them here like this all to yourself. They have other friends too.” 

At this point the glossy, purple tiles that surrounded us start to dissipate, revealing the dirty old warehouse once again. Walter and Stoutland are behind us, sweaty and frantic. When I look back, the doll is gone. 

=======================
January 4th 1:16 AM
Abandoned Warehouse
Graham’s Notes
=======================

Most of the people have woken up and the police have arrived with ambulance cars. Some of the people that have been missing longer have become extremely weak from rapid weight loss. Rahel and I were only gone for a day so we were just fatigued and hungry. Ruben was sent in for a check up just in case. 

“Ugh… where are my muffins….”

“Fucking….you’re the one who didn’t show up to pick them up!!” 

**Guuuuuuuuu**

Both of our stomachs rumble in unison. 

“.....Is your place still open….”

“Of course not, it’s way past closing time. ….But, I will make an exception for today. You better buy a bunch of stuff.”

“Eh….. isn’t this the part where you treat me? I’m a victim, I’m so weak…...I am hunger…”

“Yeah, so am I, I don’t care.”

“Stingy….” 

“Actually, go on ahead of me for a bit. Wait at the bakery.”

I backtrack my way past security, telling them I forgot something in the warehouse. I walk into the dusty room where I saw the doll pokemon. The place is empty now, and I feel a cool breeze of loneliness sweep through the doors. 

“Hey, I don’t know if you’re still here, but, this is my card. I run a bakery up the block from here. I’m not a hundred people, but I’m one of me. You can get to know Donut better too! We can eat some real pastries together, I think I’m a pretty good baker.” 

I talk to myself in this dark, empty room. I receive no response except for the silence of the abandoned warehouse.

“Come by sometime, let’s be friends.” 

I start to walk back out of the building when hear a muffled giggle echo in the distance. I turn around to see that my business card is gone. 

“Munch…”

Donut peaks his head into the room, his expression still anxious from the events today. I crouch down and pick him up. 

“Sorry, I didn’t want things to end on such a sour note. Thanks for all the help today. I owe you one.” 

“Munch!” 

Donut hugs my neck as I cradle him with my arms. These soft little hands are what supported me not just today, but all these years in the kitchen. Next time, I’ll be the one to protect you. 

“It’s past your bedtime, but I’ll make a special exception for today! Let’s have a midnight snack shall we?” 

“MUNCH!!” 

=======================
January 7th, 11:49 AM
Trainer’s Court, Ultima City 
Walter’s Memoir
=======================

Mimikyu, the Ghost/Fairy-type Pokemon. 

It seems to have taken up residence in an abandoned warehouse in Ultima City near the end of last year. In a poor attempt at engaging in relationships with humans, it caused a string of missing persons cases across the city. Initially, Mimikyu used Copycat to put on various disguises and lure people into isolated areas. Later on, it also employed Shadow Sneaking to silently approach its target, then Dark Pulse and Telekinesis to transport its victims. With these supernatural powers, it created the illusion of making people vanish into thin air. At the warehouse where it stored its new “friends,” they were put to sleep, and with a mix of Wonder Room and Dream Eater, kept in a comatose state of pleasant dreams. However, humans are but mortal beings, left in this situation for too long and we could have had some unfortunate deaths in the news.

After correctly deducing the identity of the pokemon, Stoutland and I tracked our target down to the warehouse. There, we found Graham’s Munchlax, Donut, unaffected by Mimikyu’s powers, perhaps due to being a Normal type. Together with Stoutland, Donut broke through the Wonder Room, freeing the captive people from Dream Eater. For a short while, Graham and Donut were again locked into a Trick Room from Mimikyu, but Graham managed to peacefully persuade the pokemon out of any more shenanigans. 

All of the missing residents were treated at the hospital and are now happily going about their lives again in Ultima City. I’ve also heard of a certain mysterious new regular at the Round House bakery, however, that’s a topic for a different report. 

I will continue to observe and record important events that take place in our beautiful city for the foreseeable future. Until next time, 

Ultima City 
Public Safety Department 
Chief Officer Walter

  Reply
#2
Claim
"Take Care of Yourself"

  Reply
#3
THE GOOD

-I like the way you introduce the setting. I think stating the location, date and time during a story is seriously underrated. It gives the events taking place a bit of realism in my mind as the reader, as I can tangibly place it in the real world.
-A very cute aesthetic!! Having the story take place in a bakery is never bad, and just adds to the charm, especially for a Munchlax.
-I like the snide comments the protagonist makes, calling their Pokemon gross, or complaining about how heavy they are, it adds to the charm of the character. While everything is bubbly around them, I kind of just imagine someone just tired as heck narrating this. I love it.
-Moms spaghetti reference. That is all.
- I really like the way you’ve done details throughout this story...Nice job.
-You really did a good job of building up the impending doom feeling. Something as simple as “ruben isnt at work today, he’s late” Slowly unfolding into “It’s been three days.” Was nice, and felt really natural.
-”I would kill if anything hurt Donut.”
I agree with this sentiment. Amazing job on making Donut seem so freakin’ adorable. I need him.
-Overall, the wholesomeness and the characters in this story are all completely identifiable, I’d say that’s your strongest trait in this story. You have made each character feel like a different character. The moment of realization I had for this was when you introduced Ruben within the dream, with just a sentence or two, and a single action. I got the vibe of his character. Well done!
-Good job on giving the Mimikyu a motive.

THE NOT SO GOOD
-
Quote:The Kid’s usually here ten minutes early but it’s already past fifteen now.

I’m not gonna do this a lot as it is a concise grade, but this was in the first paragraph so I figured id point this one out. The saying is “fifteen past,” not “past fifteen,” Feel free to correct me on this though. I just have never heard it said the other way.
-What is a Hotteok? Although you give the Alolan Raichu surfing detail, I didn’t really realize it was a Raichu until rereading a few times. Maybe give some sort of color, or more of a signifier like their fur. A good way of doing this would have been contrasting the color of their fur to the white snow around them. There are tons of possibilities, but that’s just an example. Then again this could be a me problem.
-I think it was because you were finding your footing... But the first set of notes felt awfully lacking in detail compared to the rest of the story. I complimented your characters introduction and stand by it, but the rest of the event feels very oddly paced.
-
Quote:”I would kill if anything hurt Donut.”
Quote:
“Agreeable”
Nitpick, but I feel as though “agreeable” is a very robotic response. It doesn’t feel like the natural flow of conversation.
-Speaking of, in this same chapter, I was starting to get very mixed up with who was talking. Something to keep in mind is make the characters feel animated and alive, not just standing there talking. Something small like an interaction with the environment or a personality trait usually helps. The world is your oyster.
An example for this:
Quote:“Shut up and take your stuff. Donut knows a couple of moves, and besides, he’s tough as nails. Whatever happened yesterday didn’t even faze him”

This could easily be changed to something like this:
“Shut up and take your stuff,” I slide the bag of muffins to the other side of the counter. “Donut knows a couple of moves, and besides, he’s tough as nails. Whatever happened yesterday didn’t even faze him”

This isn’t perfect, but I figure it could give you a good idea of what you could try!
- the middle of the story was really well done, but the final chapter felt a bit rushed. It wrapped up everything fine and dandy, but it was all done within a paragraph or two.
-Although I think Mimikyu having a motive was great, I think putting a little more detail into the motive would have helped.

Overall though, despite some spots lacking in detail…

This definitely fits the criteria for a Demanding story. You have an overall plot, good foreshadowing, solid characters, and heck, good details when you put them in too! Although I would have liked more detail, I think that can always be said. For your next Complex, though, try for that extra detail and flow of dialogue. Another important thing is that this story definitely shows you put the effort in, never once did this feel rushed. At Demanding, that’s when it gets important.

EDIT: I Wrote complex. I meant demanding.

STORY PASSED
"Take Care of Yourself"

  Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)