So many people... the largest town... so many people... too many people...
Lavender Town. It started out with 41 people, making it the largest town in the Pokemon World. The Pokemon Tower, full of ghosts and Cubone, and one Marowak ghost, is a very popular tourist attraction. But no one knows how Lavender Town lost so many people at one time. I do... and I can tell you.
You're itching for this to be a scary story, I see. I can tell by the way your eyes are shining, even in this dark cave. You think
(so many people too many people)
that it's the sort of story that sends shivers up one's spine. Well, you may be right. It all depends on how you think of it.
It was so long ago that it happened... my frail old mind must recall it. I can tell that you want to see how old I am... or at least what I look like. I can't show you that. Not until you've heard my story.
There is a faint purple haze that has always hung over Lavender Town. That is why the town was named so. Because of that haze, not many people in Lavender Town have actually seen the clear blue sky. A few people who lived there after or before traveling, maybe.
But it was a surprisingly clear day when it started. The haze had lightened significantly, and the sky was almost perfectly blue. There were no clouds.
James was a pokemon trainer. He had been doing quite well, to his knowledge at least, and he was eager to visit this town of "purple nobility," as the Lavender Town motto went. When he arrived in the town, he was amazed at the way the sky was such a rich color. The purple in the air made the blue stand out vividly. He was also astonished at the number of people living in the town.
"41 people!" he said to an elderly woman, who was standing near the Pokemon Tower doors. "Don't you get crowded together?"
He was puzzled by the way the woman didn't reply. Instead she just stared at him, her eyes hollow. But because he was young and unable to focus on such things for long, James shrugged it off and walked away.
A young girl in the town sat in her yard. She had two pokemon dolls, a Gastly and a Doduo, which she was bouncing around as though they were moving.
James grinned. He was 11 now; he had been on his pokemon journey for a year, and he thought that a little kid like this girl was adorable.
"Hi," he said, crouching by her. "What's your name?"
"Lily," the girl replied, and made the Gastly doll whack the Doduo doll.
"What are you playing?" James asked her. The girl looked up at him for a long time, then looked back at her toys.
"I'm making the ghost kill the zombie," she said.
James's smile slipped off of his face and he looked at the girl hard. "That looks like a Doduo to me," he said, "not a zombie."
"It's a dead Doduo," Lily said matter-of-factly. "It was Mr. Fuji's Doduo but it died and now it's fighting my pokemon."
On Lily's other side, a woman opened the door of a house. "Lily!" she exclaimed, rushing over. "You shouldn't be playing zombie again. You know there's no such thing as a zombie."
"But ghosts are real," Lily protested as her mother picked up the Doduo doll. "I saw one before. She's over there." She pointed a chubby finger at the woman standing by the door of the Pokemon Tower.
James followed her finger and was surprised. "Her?" he said, looking at the woman. "She's no ghost. I already talked to her."
"Did she say anything to you?" Lily asked him, fixing big blue eyes sternly on his face. James frowned, recalling that the woman had, indeed, refused to reply.
"No, but that doesn't make her a ghost," James pointed out.
Lily's mother looked at the woman. "Lily, darling, just because you've never seen someone in town doesn't make them a ghost."
Lily shook her head. "The woman isn't a lady, she's a ghost. I can tell because I can see the pokemon inside of her."
Her mother sighed. "Sweetie, I've had enough of that. You say this sort of thing every day; I really don't see why you insist that half the people in town are ghosts."
"They are!" Lily shouted as her mother picked her up and started to walk away. "They are ghosts and they want to kill us! I know because I see them! Mommy, I mean it!"
James stared after the girl and her mother for a long time, even after they had gone back into their house. Ghosts? Hm. Maybe I should go check out that tower, James thought. He turned around and began to walk towards the Pokemon tower. As he did, he noticed that the woman that had been near the door was gone.
James opened the door to the Pokemon Tower and walked inside. It was sort of foggy inside, but he didn't see anything that, honestly, looked like a ghost. Actually, all he could see was gravestones. They were everywhere, creating a maze.
One grave was larger than the others. James walked up to it and read the words inscribed in the marble block.
"Here lies Marsha, a beloved Squirtle belonging to PKMN Trainer Todd."
James knelt before the grave, suddenly overcome with sadness. "Todd... I remember him." James had battled many times with Todd, who was a simple trainer much like him. James had defeated Marsha with his starter pokemon, Ember, who was a Charmander. He recalled the last battle, the most vicious one, when Marsha had been a Squirtle like before and Ember was a Charizard.
Todd had then had three other pokemon, all of them a higher level than Ember, but James had defeated all of them with the help of his other pokemon. Then, with an injured Ember, James had fought with Marsha.
It hadn't been like most of the other battles. It was bloody, and both pokemon and trainer had been injured in the close-contact battle. James still had a scar on his left arm from the battle. He lifted his sleeve then, and ran his finger along the scar. For just a moment, he recalled how Ember, in a last and desperate attempt to win, had stomped on Marsha and crushed her shell. That was when James had one, but he hadn't stayed to see what had happened to Todd and Marsha. Ember had collapsed.
"So that's what happened," James murmured, reaching out to trace the letters of Marsha's name. "I wonder if Todd is still alive..."
When he looked up again, the woman from before was standing in front of him. Her eyes were hollow as before, but now James noticed that they were a red-brown color. The same color as a Squirtle's eyes...
James blinked hard once, ridding himself of the thought. James, he told himself, this woman is not a Squirtle! You're just upset over seeing Marsha's grave!
The woman took a single step closer to James, and for a second, she... flickered. For just an instant, James thought he glimpsed the image of a Squirtle. He stood up and shook his head, pacing a few steps backwards. I'm being ridiculous! This woman cannot be a Squirtle! I'm having a breakdown, maybe, or it's stress over realizing that Ember killed Marsha!
The woman's red-brown eyes were very cold, and James found that he was afraid of here. Maybe only mildly, but that was enough. He glanced over the woman's shoulder to see that she was blocking the door.
"Err," he stammered, unsure of why he was so nervous, "the door is over there, and I'm... I'm trying to get out. Could you please... would you...?" He trailed off, not wanting to sound rude.
The woman didn't respond. Instead her eyebrows scrunched into a scowl. James took another step back and cautiously put up his hands. "Whoa, wait, I'm not trying to..."
The woman cut him off by raising her hand. Then, when James fell silent, she pointed at the stairs to the next level.
"I don't want to go up there!" James exclaimed. "I want to get out of this tower! Let me go!" He tried to dodge around the woman and accidentally stepped on a mound of dirt with a small gravestone on it. For a moment, James felt a twinge of fear - as though the pokemon was going to climb out of its grave and attack him.
But his anxiousness grew to outright terror as the woman put out her hands and shoved him backwards onto the ground. Her scowling face grew into a furious leer.
James scrambled unsteadily to his feet and turned, planning to find a way out of the gravestone maze. However, a Gastly came out of nowhere and attacked him. James had no choice but to battle it.
"Go, Ember, get me out of here!" James cried. He was too terrified to remember one important thing about the Pokemon Tower... without a Silph Scope, pokemon were too terrified to attack.
Ember stared long and hard at the Gastly when he was freed from his pokeball... then began to shake.
James felt hopelessness well up in his heart. "Ember, attack it! Kill it!" he insisted. "Get rid of it! Let me out of here!"
The woman from before suddenly grabbed him by the back of his shirt and dragged him towards the stairwell. James struggled to free himself, but the woman's grip was like steel. He couldn't get free. "Ember!" he shrieked. "Help me!" He used his pokeball to return Ember, and the Gastly followed him as the woman dragged him up the stairs.
James felt cold terror blaze through him as the woman dragged him upstairs through the levels. She wove neatly through the gravestones, managing to keep both herself and James from touching them. And still the Gastly floated above them, its leering face keeping James too scared to move.
At the top level of the tower, the seventh floor, the woman dropped James on the ground, where he lay perfectly still, frozen with terror.
"Don't hurt me," he whimpered. The woman just sneered silently at him. Then she pointed at the far wall.
James turned to look. Almost at once, he felt a wetness growing in his lap and came to the realization that he'd wet his pants. But he didn't care about embarrassment. He cared more about the row of graves... 12 empty graves that had been dug. All but one had engraved gravestones. One said "Abbey," another said "Travis," and so on. James stared at the one that was not engraved. "W-who is that for?" he asked, knowing the answer already.
The woman was suddenly next to him. She gripped his shoulders fiercely and pointed at the empty graves. Then she pointed back at him.
"I thought so," James whispered. "Are you going to kill me?"
The woman threw back her head and laughed soundlessly. The sight of her mouth moving and shoulders shaking without a single sound scared James more than anything else that had happened. "Don't kill me!" he begged her. "Don't!" He reached up and grasped the woman's shoulders.
And then she flickered again. And James saw, very clearly, that this was no woman. This wasn't even a human. It was a Squirtle.
"Marsha," he gasped.
The Squirtle's human image flickered a few more times before dying away, and James saw her as she really was.
The Squirtle was grotesque. Its shell was crushed, so that there were holes in it everywhere, and it looked as though it had been put back together by a deranged child. The underside of the shell was scattered all over, next to the darker top side of the shell or next to the white ridge that usually went around the shell.
The Squirtle's skin was terrifyingly pale and bloodless, except for its face. The skin was pale, sure, but it was crisscrossed with trails of blood. The eyes were missing... they were completely gone, and blood trailed down the Squirtle's cheeks like tears. There was crusty, dried blood all over the Squirtle's body, but its face was wet with fresh blood.
"It's you, Marsha," James whispered, and tried to back away. But Marsha was obviously ready for that. She grabbed James by the cheek, her stubby fingerlike claws digging into his skin and drawing blood. The pain was sharp and sudden, and James barely stopped himself from screaming.
"Lavender Town... the noble town, isn't it?" Marsha's voice was hoarse and raspy. There was a high-pitched, screeching undertone to it that sounded like nails on a chalkboard. "But the people here are not all of pure-blooded birth! The liars deserve to die here! And you... you would have settled here, would have brought impure blood to this town like the other liars!"
James looked up and saw that the Gastly was hovering above him. It met his eyes and for a second, he thought he saw it wink. Then it disappeared.
"Look at me, boy!" Marsha's order was sharp and instantaneous in a voice that commanded obedience. James obeyed fearfully, and looked into the black pits that had once held the eyes of a cheery Squirtle belonging to a lighthearted trainer.
"So many people in Lavender town die tonight, boy," Marsha sneered. "Aren't you proud to be among them? You will help us become a pure-blooded town. We will all be born of noble Lavender Town birth! Shion, Lavender, either one is fine, but we are pure, and we will not accept your imperfection!"
"No!" screamed James, and kicked out at Marsha. He managed to connect after quite a bit of flailing. His foot smashed into the side of her face, and Marsha let out a cry of pain and dropped James's shoulders. The second that she did, he scrambled backwards into the mist to hide behind a gravestone and prayed that Marsha wouldn't be able to see him.
"Run, boy, run! Makes it more fun! You know I'll find you," Marsha rasped. Then, in a terrifyingly singsong voice, she began to call, "Life is mine and death is yours, little boy! Life is mine and death is yours! Come to me, child, and we'll go to a land where you'll live among other tortured souls! Just like mine!"
James staggered backwards and fell onto a mound of dirt. For one horrifying second, he thought he felt an arm reach up and scratch at him, but realized it was just a small stick.
Then Marsha's face appeared, leering at him, out of the mist. "Hey, boy," she sang, "Marsha's gonna take you to a place you'll like! You must like it, since you thought I'd like it as well when you sent me there!"
James knew she saw him, so he let himself scream. The sound somehow gave him strength, and he leaped to his feet. Then, still screaming, he rushed forward and overturned Marsha. She lay spinning around on her back, letting out an awful howling sound. Blood began to run down the side of James's face and he realized that his ears were bleeding from her howl.
Then, behind him, James heard Marsha let out a shriek. "Go ahead and run, boy! My friends will take care of you! You chose the wrong grave to step on!" From behind James, a sound like a bowling ball rolling down an alley sounded.
It must be a Voltorb or an Electrode! James thought, and ran harder. When he reached the stairs to the final floor, he dove forward towards the door.
Behind him, there was an ear-shattering explosion.
Then the world came tumbling down around him.
So now you know the story. After that, Pokemon Tower went tumbling down. Eleven people disappeared from the town that month, and the remaining citizens decided that the Pokemon Tower had collapsed because of the many graves weakening its structure. They tore it down and replaced it with a radio tower. The graves were moved to the House of Memories.
I can see that you're horrified. It's quite a story, but every word of it is true. Do you really want to know who I am, still? Because I think you'll find it interesting. However, there is one little requirement. Tell me first, were you born in Lavender Town?
Well then, let me reveal myself to you. I am Marsha, and you are going to die.