“Do you really think this is going to work?” Frank asked me as we stood in the forest near a small shelter. It was nothing special, a quick roof and three walls, with a hinged gate and hay floor, but hopefully it was enough. More importantly, it was on our land, right near the cottage, and far from any major cities. I pulled out Sawsbuck’s pokeball. Katie, sitting beside me, sniffed at the ball curiously as I did so, her pale lavender ears twitching.
“I hope so. We couldn’t really keep him in the city.” I said as I let out the large deer pokemon. He came out in a burst of light, and immediately started nuzzling me. “Alright, alright,” I told the questing nose, producing an apple from my backpack. “Here you go, Caesar.” I immediately had to dodge his antlers as he bent to eat the apple. Now in full bloom, his antlers were covered in soft velvet and delicate pink flowers. I pet his head awkwardly.
“Alright, come here then,” I said, walking towards the shelter with the nearly-gone apple. He followed me obediently, even after the apple was gone. “This is a shelter for you.” I explained, “We’re going to leave you up here so you don’t have to stay in your pokeball all the time.” The look on his face immediately made me feel guilty. I was never quite sure how much the pokemon understood, but they certainly seemed to understand a lot.
“Don’t look at me like that! This is a much better spot for you.” I said defensively. “And we’ll come visit often. But up here you have space to roam.” Caesar nuzzled my shoulder, still looking sad. I sighed. We had spent the last 6 weeks teaching him to come when we whistled, but clearly I hadn’t thought through my clever plan that well. I rubbed his head just behind the antlers. “Well, we aren’t going to leave until tomorrow, maybe you’ll warm up to the idea.”
“Let’s go walk around the property.” I suggested to my husband, walking back over to him and Katie. Caesar followed behind me as we set off walking.
“Sure.” He said, letting Jewel out of her pokeball too. Jewel stretched her black and gold limbs, until she spotted Caesar following behind us. She reared back, a low growl escaping as she stared him down. The Sawsbuck snorted once, then proceeded to ignore the small Umbreon’s posturing. Frank laughed and roughly mussed up her fur. “Does she do that every time?” He asked as she immediately began grooming herself.
“You know Jewel, simultaneously aggressive and terrified of everything.” I pet the top of her head until she snapped around to try and bite me, snatching back my scarred hand with hard-earned reflexes. “Stop that! We’re going for a walk. If you don’t behave, we’ll stick you in the cottage until we get back.” Jewel glowered at me, but fell in beside Katie as we set off trail-blazing through the property.
“So, what’s with the sudden obsession with Pokemon, Alex?” Frank asked as we walked along through the forest. Thoughts ran through my head. How does one explain that they just woke up one day and found themselves in a world that rightfully belonged in a videogame? And that no one else seemed to find the shift strange? I bit my lip as I tried to think of ways to avoid this.
“Well… I like outdoors stuff… And I need to find something to do when I’m not working, right?” Frank looked suspicious. “And… I thought it’d be fun to try something new. Google is hiring a new Pokemon Master this week.” I said, trying to sound convincing. He still looked unconvinced. I blushed and stared straight ahead. “Look, if I explain, do you promise you won’t think I’m crazy or something?”
“Of course not.” I was always impressed at his ability to not call me crazy when I confessed to things I definitely found crazy. No turning back now.
“A few weeks back, I sorta, kinda I woke up firmly believing that pokemon only existed in games. And then Jewel bit me and was an Umbreon.” I hesitated for a moment. “I dunno, maybe it was just a really vivid dream, but I still feeling like pokemon shouldn’t really exist.” I looked at him, not sure what I expected to see. He mostly just looked confused.
“I’m not sure I get it. Did we just, not have Jewel and Katie?”
“No, we had them, they were just cats. Like, Persian, only smaller. And without the coin.” Frank still looked confused.
“I don’t get it. You dreamed they were cats, and now you think they’re supposed to cats?”
“Yeah. Like, they wasn’t any pokemon at all. Just animals.”
“But if all the pokemon didn’t exist, why were there cats still?” I frowned slightly.
“Still? You mean, there’s still cats?”
“Yeah. Do you really not remember” He looked a little worried now. I smiled slightly.
“I guess it’s because given the choice between a pet Eevee or a pet cat, I’d take a pet Eevee. I’ve always really loved Eevee.” I looked behind me at the crew of pokemon following us. “I’ve always really loved pokemon. Maybe one day I’ll get a cat though.”
“Not unless we get a bigger house. I wonder why you had cats in your dream and not Eevees.” Frank mused.
“Can you put a cat in a pokeball? I bet that has something to do with it.”
“No, but there’s got to be more to it than that! Wikipedia probably knows the difference between a pokemon and an animal. I bet it’s something to do with genes.” I smiled, and grabbed his hand in mine.
“Thanks for not thinking I’m crazy.” He gave my hand a little squeeze.
“I dunno, I think there was something about this in our vows.”
“Hey, you’re already here, vow fulfilled!” I said defensively. He snorted, looking back at the Espeon and Umbreon following us, and the Sawsbuck following them.
“I’m not sure this was my first choice of magical lands.” I squeezed his hand back.
“Well, maybe next time one of us wakes up in a videogame, it’ll be you in Dwarf Fortress.”
“Ooo, or maybe the Warhammer universe!” He started singing a song about dwarves as we walked through the muddy forest, three pokemon in tow.