To start my horrifying testimony with a rather unoriginal captatio benevolentiae: I've always been a great fan of the Pokémon games. According to my Facebook profile, I would skip school and be a Pokémon trainer if Pokémon existed and I intend to comfort my children on my dying bed by telling them I'd be very likely to return as a Gastly, Duskull or Drifloon. My favourite had always been Pokémon Emerald, and I'm using the past perfect for a reason. Take a seat, help yourself to a non-alcoholic beverage and shiver along with this story I'm lucky to have survived and relate. For now.
Whereas there was no future for Pokémon Diamond after Heatran and Black had faded along with the Seven Sages, I had never intended to give Emerald up nor to let it down. With a nearly full National Dex and countless level 100's to raid the Battle Frontier, it seemed as if the sun would never set on this game. When all Frontier Symbols had been obtained, I could find as much joy in re-obtaining them with a Stantler, a Torkoal and a Dewgong.
But all good things must come to an end: before I knew it, countless syllabuses and bear-tending (as I live in Europe, where caveman rampages and bear escapes are about as rare as basic energy cards in a booster pack) had drawn an unfortunate line between me and my long-cherished Emerald.I still played the game daily, but only for a few minutes, as I was one easter egg away from completion: Mirage Island. So before inhaling the morning dew, I would start my Emerald, talk to the old man in Pacifidlog and reluctantly turn off the gameboy and start my day of eradicating caterpillars (up to twelve time as huge and feral as the American ones). As Mirage Island is determined by the first Pokémon in your party, I always kept my female Combusken in front. Female starters were rumored to give you a significantly better chance of going to Mirage Island. This is most likely a lie, but at least it kept my hopes up.Whether the rumor was true or false, Combusken had decided to spite me with the visibility of the island. And yes, I wrote 'spite'. If my experience had been all smiles and no spites, I wouldn't be writing a Creepypasta about it.
So, one day, I talked to the old man again. I was about to conditionally turn off my game, until I discovered a fairly absurd progressive spelling of 'I can't see Mirage Island today...' . My heart leapt all the way up my throat for a split second, as I knew no methodological system would allow a children's game to contain such arbitrary spelling. Mirage Island was visible alright.I hesitated no more, put my loyal HM slave Linoone in front of my party and set sail to the long-awaited Eden.
The trip went smoothly, a few Tentacools here and there, until I was noticed by a Swimmer I seemed to have forgotten. I saw my first exclamation mark bubble in five years, and the battle began. I hoped he'd have a single level 35 Staryu or something similar, I didn't want to waste my time outside of Mirage Island. To my frustration and surprise, he carried 6 Pokémon with him. Now this is something strange, since most NPC trainers carry 1 to 4 Pokémon with them. Only those gimmick Magikarp trainers in the beginning of some games carry 6, and, to my recollection, some Fishermen on the route on the left of Pacifidlog had 6 as well.
But there was no Magikarp to be found, the Swimmer started with an Unown. An Unown H of level 19. Needless to say, my Linoone knocked it out with one hit. But I was stunned: Swimmers are supposed to use Pokémon that are physically adapted to their environment, and therefore of the Water type to be able to swim with them. Of course, an Unown be able to Levitate alongside the swimming trainer, but the idea ruined my perfectly structured mental picture of stereotypical trainer-casted Pokémon.You must know I'm exceedingly paranoid (which is considered a virtue in Europe, for any campfire can be a dragon in disguise here) and suspected a glitch. I feared corrupting my close-to-perfection save file, but I was too intrigued by the unconventional event to switch off my game. Biggest and most likely last mistake of my life.The H preceded five other Unowns: a level 3 E, a level 8 L, a level 9 P, a level 26 M and a level 15 E. It goes without saying that my loyal Linoone made short work of those as well. The Swimmer was defeated, and said nothing out of the ordinary.
While continuing my journey, I encountered wild Unowns too. Now I was convinced: there was definitely something wrong, even though the optimistic ocean music was trying to convince me otherwise. I was too curious to turn back. The wild level 16 S, level 8 E, level 18 A, level 5 L, level 14 E and level 9 D meant no problem at all for Linoone. Shortly after the last battle, I arrived on Mirage Island. Finally, I was able to set foot on the natura naturans I had been longing for so long! I could practically taste the luscious Liechi Berry crushing itself in my Pokémon's mouth. Quite an erotic image. Of course, the Berry was the most important thing on this island. But since I would probably never cast my eyes upon it again, I wandered around for a bit.
And then, all of a sudden, a text box appeared out of the blue: 'This boulder looks like it can be moved. Would you like to use Strength?'. Yet again, I was surprised. But my curiosity was growing faster than a Wailmer that has just reached level 40. I thought 'what the heck', and commanded my slave to move the boulder. I heard the sound of stepping down a staircase. Suddenly, the motivational music stopped. My blood seemed to freeze along with the music, that had turned dead silent. Just like the Cave of Origin. But I had an eerie premonition this place didn't exactly predict origin like a preacher full of ecstasy and fire.
As it was entirely dark, I got my Tropius (another HM slave) to illuminate the creepy area with Flash. It was a little room, with a grey floor and dark edges. A man was facing the wall. I suppressed the coward in me and decided to talk to the man. He didn't turn around to face me, as if he had to finish his business with the wall first. When I spoke to him, a text box with '.............' appeared. All of a sudden, my pulse became twice as intensive. A morbid suspicion crossed my mind: this man reminded me of the 'there's no reply, it's just a corpse' messages in Dragon Quest when you try to talk to a corpse. I was now officially freaked out. Nonetheless, I continued. Before I had time to ponder over the link with Dragon Quest, a battle started out of the blue. The wild Pokémon theme started playing and I encountered a level 93 Smeargle. Smeargle is a laughably weak Pokémon, but it has the ability to learn all moves. And since I preferred my 'adventure" Pokémon while exploring, my strongest Pokémon was my level 79 Linoone.
Smeargle was faster and started with Doom Desire, a souped-up Future Sight. Linoone can take a hit, so I wasn't worried yet. At least, not about the battle. Linoone struck back with Strength, taking almost half of Smeargle's HP. On his next turn, Smeargle used Follow Me. This move is only useful in double battles, so I gained confidence in my victory. A second Strength nearly knocked out the poor center of attention. As Smeargle's HP was in catch-friendly depths, I threw a Repeat Ball. It immediately escaped and used Block. '12 Badgers can't escape now!'. This was getting scary, so I decided to throw one of my many Master Balls. Three cheers for the cloning glitch. But, to my astonishment, it escaped before the ball had been decently closed. This was disturbing, as only Pokémon that have already been caught ought to be able to resist the temptation of a Master Ball. That's the whole point of a children's game: one ball to catch anything, with no exceptions. This seemed a rather lugubrious exception. Out of options and horribly scared, I put the poor thing out of its misery with a Surf. Its famous last attack was Bide. Since the Doom Desire had hardly done any damage to Linoone, this had gone pretty smoothly for a glitch.
I treat my slaves well, so I wanted to soothe Linoone's aching wounds with some Lemonade. But as I checked her health bar, I saw she had found an item with Pickup. It was an Aqua Mail, and I even had the option to read it: 'Do you believe in the afterlife? I don't'. You know how mails are made of preselected words in this game, but I don't think you can choose 'afterlife'. Would have been funny in Dewford town though.This freaked me out even more, I could hardly think of a decent answer with all the virtual creepiness.I'd say concluding whether an afterlife exists or not lies beyond our reach. We can't conceive the idea of 'absolutely nothing', so our idea of post-mortality is subjective as hell (pun slightly intended). There may be SOMETHING after death, but the idea of heaven is ridiculous. We have an infinity of possible answers, so heaven is as probable as balancing monkey hair on your nose after having died.
But that is of no concern to my story, I was trying to find a way out. While touching the walls, I stumbled upon some text, right next to the man. 'Too late', it said in Unown letters. It looked as if the man was, or at least had been, finishing something.I saw no way out, but the super-physical Escape Rope got me out of this creepy place and Tropius flew me to the knowledge of never seeing Mirage Island again. I cloned the Liechi Berry a few times and trampled the Frontier yet again. All seemed well for a few days.
But then, something happened that forbade my life to ever be the same. For the past few weeks, a message concerning a missing person had been spread. A few days after the Mirage Island incident, the television announced he had been found inside an unidentified car at the bottom of a lake. The newsreader said such a death usually points towards suicide, but that some clues might prove otherwise. First of all, there were clear traces of an attempted escape. Could it have been the second thoughts of the suicidal? Secondly, he had an unnatural expression of fear on his face. The doctors assume he had been scared to death, rather than drowned. Thirdly, his fingerprints weren't on a single object in the car, with the exception of a Gameboy with a wireless adapter and Pokémon Emerald. The game seemed to be working. All information was welcome.
I don't know whether it was fear, curiosity, a spooky presentiment or a combination of the three that drove me to the police station. I asked if I could see the Gameboy, for I might have some clues. They gave me an absent-minded look, but handed me the Gameboy nonetheless.The final remainders of my self-imposed bravery fell off as I started the game: the character was named 'TOLDYOU', and he was in the middle of Mirage Island. It is quite a miracle for a game to survive for weeks in a lake, but apparently there was some harm done: the character seemed glued to one spot and the playing time of the trainer's card remained frozen at 45:14, as if the character had died along with the victim and the game gave but a peek of his premarital state.He had five Unowns in his team: a level 1 N, a level 11 O, a level 9 O, a level 12 N and a level 12 E. I screamed in terror as I saw his sixth Pokémon: a level 93 Smeargle with Doom Desire, Follow Me, Block and Bide, carrying an Aqua Mail.
I was rendered speechless, though I was screaming on the inside. Without looking at the puzzled policemen, I bolted home and tucked my head inside my European sea wasp plushie. After a few weeks, I switched on my Emerald again, not because I had mustered the guts to do so, but because it had always been my sole distraction from sorrow or fear. All seemed natural, until I was roaming a route. You often hear the cries of Pokémon that live on the route, but all I could hear was Smeargle. Other route: Smeargle. My hometown: Smeargle. Not only was it omnipresent, its cries became increasingly louder.. Eventually, it was louder the route's music. Drowning in fear, I decided never to play Emerald again.
And now, I often hear Smeargle's distorted cry before I shiver myself to sleep. I do hope its cries won't get louder, as this is more than a cartridge to be thrown away when the going gets rough. Or is it?