Categories > Anime/Manga > Pokemon > The Spirit of Alola

8. Fever and Fog

by CJWorthington 0 reviews

Chapter 8 of The Spirit of Alola

Category: Pokemon - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2021-03-30 - Updated: 2021-10-29 - 3745 words - Complete

There's nothing but darkness as I nap, wrapped snugly in my sleeping bag but, the gentle abyss of rest is pushed aside suddenly when I hear a deep voice whisper in my ear.

Why, hello there, dear one.

My head swims as I suddenly try to pull my mind out of sleep, but it clings to me like wet clothes. I feel as if I'm in a furnace, but the air on my skin is icy cold.

Am I running a fever? I ask myself, memories from my dreams evaporating faster than water near a Macargo.

I drag my eyes open and attempt to focus them but can only catch blurred shapes—the blue of Tinsel's sleeping head, the dark wood of the floor, and distant, silent flashes of light. I know I'm tired, but something about this exhaustion doesn't sit right in my mind.

It might be wise to have Kabir look me over in case I've caught a bug while traveling to Alola, I think groggily.

I slowly pull my aching arm out from my sleeping bag and reach over to where my husband's sleeping form should lie, only to find an empty, discarded bag.

"Kabir?" My throat is dry and cracked, making my voice a barely audible whisper and stinging as my vocal cords vibrate painfully in their failed attempt to produce a sound. The rattling noise of the wind outside drowns out my useless call anyways.

Glancing carefully about, I look for signs of movement or shadows from my husband in the storm-darkened home. The electricity to the house works, but the blind man would have no use for turning on lights.

My attempts turn up empty anyway, and I only exceed at making the spinning world swirl more heavily before me as I swing my eyes back and forth over the room.

"Kabir," I choke out again, hoping his sensitive ears would be able to pick up my pitiful cry.

Reaching to my side, I locate my mobile phone with shivering fingers, barely able to grasp it in my weakened state. I try to switch it on, only to realize the battery must have died after several failed attempts.

Miltank droppings, I think to myself in annoyance. It must have come unplugged from its charger while I slept.

I clamber out of my sleeping bag with difficulty and drag my form up to stand. I'm shaking uncontrollably from fever and exhaustion, barely able to hold myself up. Sweat pours down my body, freezing with a sting against my skin and soaking through my clothes. Even so, the cold has no effect on the heat radiating from inside me.

Something is definitely wrong. This isn't some cold. The thought flashes through my fog-filled mind with rising alarm. I need to find help.

I stumble forward dizzily, ramming painfully into a wall. I stand for a moment to regain my bearings but then feel a soft ribbon wrap around my hand.

"Vee?" Tinsel questions in concern, her blurry shape staring up at me.

"Find Kabir," I rasp incoherently.

Despite my inability to form proper words, she seems to understand my desperate situation, for I feel her ribbon reluctantly leave my hand, and she scampers off through the house, loudly calling out to anyone who would hear her.

I stumble along the wall towards my home's entryway. The pounding wind roars outside, making my head swim from the sound. My eyes struggle to focus on the front door as I prepare to fling myself against it, hoping to find my husband outside, but it looks so far away.

Where are my Pokèballs? I question myself, realizing my Pokémon contained within could help me get to safety, even if I were to pass out. I look back to where I had slept and see a dark lump that must be my pack.

I make to push myself off the wall towards the black shape by my sleeping bag, but stop when I feel something soft and warm rub against my leg.

Tinsel has returned alone, defeated, mumbling with sadness and worry.

Her face swims in front of my unfocusing eyes. I reach down, wanting to console the sweet Pokémon with a pat on her head, but the image in my mind doesn't align with the physical form in front of me.

I reach out further, stretching my fingers towards the small blue face, but my sweaty palm slips from the wall. I feel the Sylveon desperately trying to catch me with her ribbons, placing her body in front of my falling form. Still, I slam into the hard ground despite her best efforts to keep me up.

My mind swims at the sudden movement, but I remain without injury. Tinsel followed her training as a PokèAssist well and protected my head from hitting the floor with her soft stomach.

"Thank you," I try to say, but only a soft whispered grunt comes out. I know I need to find help, but my arms can't pull me up anymore. I try to drag my way to my bag, but my legs can only shove me forward by a few inches before they also fail.

I lay on the floor, close my eyes, and listen for any sounds of my husband's return, trying to call out over the noise of the wind but failing as I struggle to form the words with my lips.

Suddenly, I see lightning flash through my closed eyelids, brighter and closer than the previous sparks before. It's painful against my abused eyes and makes my head pound all the more. The crash of thunder that follows sounds distant to me, though I can feel the house rumble from its closeness and power, my body trembling on the ground with its force.

Rain begins to fall on the roof but grows softer with each moment as the world flickers in and out. Another flash of light crosses past my closed eyes, but now the world is silent. As the lightning fades, so does the rest of my mind.

I awake a second time, my mind blurred and slow. The world around sounds muffled, and the lights of the morning sun are dim as it passes through my eyelids.

I feel a small figure pressed against my shivering side and recognize the form as Tinsel. I can feel my clothes clinging to my skin, soaked in sweat, but still the form of the Sylveon presses, allowing her own fur to become covered as well, trying with all her might to help me in the best way she knows how.

Where is Kabir? The thought flashes across my mind, followed by a rush of anxiety. Is he sick as well?

There's a pounding sound coming from everywhere at once suddenly, painful and constant. I want to shut it out by pressing my ears, but my hands are numb. I can't figure out in what direction the noise is coming from, but I both crave it for the possibility of help and despise it for the pain it is causing me.

Tinsel has left my side. I hear the desperate creature scratching at the door and then pounding her body against a window. The sound of my front door opening can barely be heard over the rush of fluid in my head.

"Miss, are you ok?" I hear an unfamiliar voice call, so close to me, yet sounding so distant. Then the floor suddenly jolts as a giant stranger drops to their knees in front of me

"Miss?" the voice calls again.

A large, warm hand shakes my shoulder gently as they try to rouse my attention. I muster all my strength, every last ounce of energy my sickly body can gather, pulling it together to form one, just one, singular word.

Help, my mind says, and I find that I can't manage to speak that one simple syllable even with all my strength. My eyes won't open any small amount. My tongue won't move, and my lips won't part. I can't even force more air through my lungs.

The hand shakes me some more, first carefully, then more frantically at the futile attempts. The voice repeats itself a few times, trying and failing to get me to wake up. A second hand wraps around my waist, and I feel myself being lifted with ease, delicately into the air, like a fragile porcelain doll in a shop, being examined by a curious patron.

I can do nothing. I can say nothing.

I rise higher and higher as the stranger cradles me gingerly in their arms and stands to their feet. It feels as though I have been picked up by a mountain.

They rush to the door and then outside into the bright sunlight. My mind whizzes around at the sudden movement, and, despite my best efforts, I feel myself slip back into the darkness.

I fade in and out for what feels like an eternity.

I feel an arm carefully set me onto a high, sturdy place.

Massive hooves pound rhythmically in my head, and the world rocks back and forth with painful, constant jolts. Solid and steady, a warm body sits behind me, holding my limp form upright, held firmly but gently against a heaving chest. Whoever this stranger is, they sound as though they are on the verge of tears.

I'm pulled down from my high place and carefully held in the large arms once more. A yell from the stranger, strong and loud but filled with terror, echoes through my aching mind. A pounding, maybe also in my head, but perhaps outside of my sickly bubble, rattles through me.

I feel myself placed carefully on a soft surface, my rocking and shifting world finally coming to a halt.

The last sound to pass through my mind is of Kabir. His voice is high-pitched and terrified, fear searing through it. I hear him grunting and struggling against an unseen force.

"LET ME GO!" He screams as my mind slips back into the abyss.

The sound of a baby giggling near me slowly begins to pull my mind out of the darkness I have come to accept. A woman with a kind and soothing voice mumbles gentle words to the infant.

Anya? I wonder, thinking about my sister and her young child. No, little Himiko is older than this child's voice. Maybe this is a memory? That thought doesn't make much sense to me either, so I lay still for a moment and listen.

The babbling continues as I begin to pull my mind together slowly.

I focus on my fingers. They move sluggishly at my command. My toes wiggle with an effort. My legs and arms twitch just slightly as I force them to budge.

My whole self protests every slight motion. My chest burns, my muscles ache, and my head swims. I still feel the heat from last night, but it's lessened, and the soft blanket on my body is warm on my cold skin.

I shake only slightly as I lay still, trying to gather myself. The world is muffled and distant, but the sound of the baby begins to pull me back into place.

I focus my attention on my face now. I open my mouth and move my swollen, dry tongue. My throat is scratchy and sore. Next, I test my eyes. Light filters through the lids. I flutter them a few times, but the brightness that floods into my head makes it pound severely, so I close them again.

I think hard about what transpired. Flashes of movement and pain. A pounding of hooves. A voice yelling. Someone was carrying me away from my home. Then I remember the words. Kabir's voice was raised in a fear and pain I have never heard from him, even through all our years of travels and tragedies.

I fling my eyes open and force my body painfully into a sitting position, the blanket on my form slipping off of me. The world spins at the sudden movement, and I catch myself on the soft cushion of a couch before I fall to the floor. I raise a shaking, fever-cold hand to my aching eyes and try to filter out some of the burning gleams of day.

I see the woman now, her olive-colored skin making her bright white hair seem all the lighter. It blinds my abused eyes. The baby in her arms has stopped babbling and stares at me curiously.

I notice the woman's gaze focus on me too. Surprise lights up in their yellow depths. I see her mouth moving, but a rushing cacophony of water has filled my head, and the sound of her voice only makes an incomprehensible tone in my mind. She reaches a hand out and touches my arm cautiously.

I look carefully at my surroundings. The room I sit in is bright, with the afternoon sun shining in through a skylight on the ceiling and a window in front of me. The only ones I can see in this place are myself and the girl with the child.

Wait, where's my family? The thought pulses through my mind.

I realize with a sudden jolt that I have no clue where I am. My husband isn't around, and my Pokemon aren't by my side like they usually would be if I were under the weather. Instead, I've been rushed to a strange place in the midst of my sickness.

My family isn't here. I think again, worry edging into the corners of my thoughts.

The yell from Kabir's voice rattles through my tattered mind as I realize that he may still be fearful, held back, or in danger.

With only the thought of getting to my family now, I force myself to stand, flinging the stranger's arm away from me clumsily. My heel catches on a level change behind me, and I feel myself crash to the floor in a painful heap.

If only Anya could see you now, a cold, sardonic voice says, ringing in my head. She'd have a good tease about your terrible form and uncontrolled movements. In fact, you'd probably never hear the end of it!

I gather my mind against the harsh voice, forcing the thoughts to return to this time, here and now, back to the real world sitting in front of me.

Why, of all times, is that the thought that passes through my mind? I question myself, shaking my head to push the words away.

Scrambling to my feet again, I clumsily make my way to a wall and slam heavily against it. The world spins and lurches at my efforts. Sweat has begun dripping down my body once more, soaking through my clothes and matting my already greasy hair. My knees quake as they try to support me.

You could fall back into the comforting coolness of darkness again if you really wanted. The cold voice returns, gentler now. Go ahead, release yourself, and allow your mind to slip back into the emptiness of sleep. Away from the painful bright flashing lights. Away from the pounding noises that make your head spin. Come, dear one, slip away once more. The voice continues to say in a near mock concern, changing from the cold tone from earlier, to a malicious attempt at kindness. Won't it feel nice to sleep? Wouldn't it be easier to simply lie down and rest for just a little bit longer?

The words feel soothing, talking softly and truthfully in my ears now. I feel myself wanting to trust this strange voice. To allow myself to slip down the wall, back to the floor, and give my aching body just a few more hours of comforting sleep.

Yes, dear one, come with me to find the solace of rest. It encourages, a feeling of eagerness, not my own, washes through my mind as it pushes harder into my thoughts.

Then suddenly, as if the entity realized its enthusiasm might be discouraging to me, it drops the feeling of excitement, slipping its tone back to the soft, gentle hissing of comfort once more. Yes, dear one, Just a few more hours, and you should feel so much better.

No! I think, remembering the real, tangible world around me. No, I can't allow that, I tell the voice, giving my head an angry, dizzying shake, and I finally feel the intrusive thoughts dissipate from my mind.

I think again of the pain and fear in Kabir's yell. My husband was terrified, and I don't know why, but someone was forcing him from moving. I can't think of anything else than trying to protect my husband.

If I were to allow myself to slip back into unconsciousness, who would defend and comfort him? I question the now absent voice.

The woman has my arm in her hand once more. I don't know when she came up beside me, but I can't muster the energy to push her away this time. I can barely keep myself standing. I feel as if I'm moving in slow motion while the rest of the world speeds past in some twisting blur of blinding lights and swirling colors.

I hear her yell to someone as if from a far distance, but the words don't form coherently in my mind. Placing her shoulder under mine, the woman slowly leads me away from the wall. She forces me carefully into a chair and holds my arms down as I struggle weakly against her. I hear a door slam open, sounding as if it was a mile away.

A man's form swims into my vision, his white coat as blinding as the girl's hair. He crouches down in front of me and looks me in the eyes. I hear them talking to me, but the words barely form in my head.

"Kabir," I try to demand angrily, but my voice is strangled and raw. It sounds inhuman as it escapes my lips, a gurgling, unrecognizable scratch. I notice the movement of two eyes looking into each other's as the heads of the two people in front of me swim into a different position.

"Yes, Kabir," a soft female voice repeats me. The woman has lowered herself in front of me now too, next to the man, and is patting my hand, gently nodding her head. "Just give us a moment," she says.

It's becoming more clear the longer I sit as if the stillness of my body has caused the swaying of my mind to slow. The man vanishes from my swirling field of view.

My body and mind tell me to move, push this stranger away, find Kabir, and help him through whatever caused him fear. But, my heart tells me to stay. These people might be trying to help. Besides, if I try to get up a second time, I know my mind and body will betray me and start swimming and swaying like before.

What use will I be if I collapse again before I reach my husband?

I sit with my eyes closed and allow my whole self to return to me, catching each other up in the swirling of the world around me.

"-has gone for him," the voice of the woman finally reaches my ears in a confusing tangle of words that takes my mind several seconds to decipher. "He'll be here in a moment. Just stay where you are." She says in a soft voice, rhythmically patting my shaking arm. "He's safe, you're safe, and all your Pokémon are safe as well." She says.

As if my mind just decided to notice, I see that Hop has laid under my chair. Her tail wraps around my legs, and her chin rests against the chair leg, looking up past my seat at me, deep purple eyes swimming with a mixture of emotions.

The thought of my dear Delcatty, sad and concerned for me, pulls my mind fully back into my body for the first time since my collapse. If I were in danger, she would know, and she wouldn't be acting so calm.

I force my hand out of my lap and reach my fingers towards her soft fur. She rises and presses her cheek against my hand, pinning it to the chair leg and rubbing her head against it, purring hard. This soothes me even more.

My body continues to ache and shiver as I sit in the chair, but at least my concerning thoughts are finally being calmed.

"My name is Professor Burnet," the woman says, sitting on her toes in front of me, "this is my son Lei," she gestures with her head to the child in her arm, her other hand still patting mine. "Kukui has just gone to fetch your husband. He'll be here in just a moment."

"Professor Ashoka," I manage unsteadily, only able to form words enough for my name.

I hear the door open but choose to keep my head forward, worried that any movement would cause the spinning to return.

"Sashi!" the cry of Kabir rings out over the rushing of my mind. I hear his feet walk swiftly over to me.

Tinsel appears in front of my downcast eyes first, then the feet of my husband. He nearly collapses to his knees and grabs my hand, Burnet swiftly moving out of the way to make room for him.

"Oh, Sashi, I was so scared." He says, tears welling up in his milky eyes. "I thought I was going to lose you." His voice is choked as he pulls me into a tight embrace.

"I'm sorry. I'm here now." I say, trying hard to make my voice sound strong for his sake, though I know my weakness is clearly evident.

I don't like seeing him like this. He's had enough hardship in his life. He doesn't need me scaring him too. And from the sounds of it, my recent illness caused him a lot of fear and pain. It's an understandable concern, considering the trials my family has been through this last year.

I silently scold myself for being the one that caused the pain and terror in his voice from his scream when I first arrived.

"It's alright," I repeat. I lay my head on his shaking shoulder and close my eyes, "I can only get better from here," I promise him.
Sign up to rate and review this story