Bonus Material: Confessions of a Mother, Audrey Hayline

Zakana carries the events of that day with him wherever he goes. Perhaps he is unable to see it any other way. He saw it for Jirachi’s sake! I only saw the aftermath. That was enough. For me as a mother that was more than I could handle in a lifetime. No mother should have to bury her own child. And there I was. Durin was away for work. Kirish at Academy. All that was there were my two baby boys, Zakana and my youngest. He lay in my arms, his blood covering me, naming me, claiming me. I don’t remember what Zakana was doing. I don’t remember what I was doing. I blacked out and woke up sometime later in my life, knowing my own mistake. I should have never let them out of my sight. Without Pokémon! What kind of mother was I ? I don’t have an answer that is fair or acceptable.

In time I gained a sliver of peace.

I don’t believe Zakana ever did. Even now he struggles. He refuses to face it. That day hardened my son. My second oldest. That boy who loved his brother more than anything. When my youngest was ripped from this world so everything was also ripped from Zakana. Love was replaced with fear. And hate. He hated everything. He hated me. He hated his father. He hated Kirish. I think, above all else, he hated himself. The only thing that didn’t kill him was his ability to change and dive into new activities. Pokémon and everything having to do with them floated away like an undocked ship. He untied the ropes. He didn’t care if that ship ever came back. That was the thing that surprised me most. His response to Pokémon. To the one thing that mauled my baby. He began to associate all Pokémon with just that one. I wanted to shake Zakana and tell him it was just one Pokémon. But I didn’t. That would have been unfair. How could I take that away from him after all he had lost? He abandoned his Pokémon quest without another word.

I don’t even full know what happened that day. They were walking home in the forest and they were attacked. Completely unprovoked. I later came to know that Pokémon were acting strange in that area. The stab wounds and the cuts and scrape—I don’t know what it was that murdered my son, while Zakana had to witness it. Without any Pokémon. How did I ever let them out of my sight! A child will grow from the event but a mother will never forgive herself. Not with Zakana walking around. He is a constant reminder. And he believes that he is the only one with pain. Kirish changed from that day onward as well. She hardened in a different way. She clung to Pokémon and their ways. Her affinity for only battle left her and she saw the need and beauty of breeding Pokémon.

Zakana does not know of my pain. And he will never ask. To him sometimes I think it never happened. Death cannot live in the hearts of men and women for too long. Eventually it will kill itself and crawl out. I like to believe I have crawled out. I cannot live as a dead being anymore. Even now as I sit in this cell, with blood on my hands I know I am not guilty. And like this jail cell I will break out. I will come to save my family. I will find a way like I found a way then. Death cannot live alone. It will always kill itself and crawl out.

First I heard howling. I thought a pack of Houndour were hunting and closing in on their prey. The howls came from Zakana. When I came outside, I’ll never forget that moment. I saw it. Our eyes met, Zakana and mine. It was a moment of true agony. He collapsed to the ground with my baby in his arms. He was Zakana’s baby too. We shared his death.

I think back on that day and sometimes wonder if I could have run faster. That if I made it to the end of the trail where Zakana and my baby lay I could have saved him. That is foolish and backward thinking. I could not have saved him. He had been dead for minutes. Questions were not only futile, they were unnecessary. Zakana, through his eyes, through his moans, I knew it was the work of a Pokémon. A bug to be precise. I went back to that spot and saw the blood. Saw the insect markings. Does it matter what Pokémon did it? When I see it, will my heart harden and become hateful? Will I respond like Zakana? I keep reminding myself that I wasn’t there. That I, just as Zakana does not know my pain, that I do not know his.

Death is etched in those eyes.

The blood covering my baby . . . it is the same blood that runs through me. It is my blood. I want to change places. I want to give him my blood, pump it back into him. Make my last breath his first resurrected one. I cannot breath. I want to die. I have lived too many days, and my baby, has lived too little. Is this the cruelty of the world? Is it the kind of world that treats its subjects this way? There is no potion, no Pokémon center, no redo that can bring my baby back. I can only return him to where he began, to the cold grey earth, in the summer heat when he was born. There is no TM or HM that can teach me how to overcome. It is a battle that I will always lose. He’s always just a thought away. I’ve done better. Durin was my rock. He still is. He took it like any father can. He blamed himself as well. He wanted to be there. He wanted to be home more. But with his work he couldn’t. Our house become a revolving door of blame and guilt. Kirish blamed herself. Had she been the one walking through that forest, instead of Zakana, she with her Pokémon would have chased away the god of death. She was already a formidable battler by then. Whatever was there, Kirish could have handled. I could have handled. Durin would have handled. The only one who couldn’t have was Zakana. And he was the one to have to walk those roads.1

It caused a rift between Kirish and Zakana. Neither of them would budge. Kirish tried to be gentle, tried to understand, She tried to make peace with Zakana but in those early years I believe she hated him. That is the tricky thing about an event that begs blame. Everyone wants to blame. It is not the fault of Zakana that my baby died that day. God no. I do not think that. I do not believe Kirish does either. How can we? How can we even say that we would have taken care of the threat? We don’t truly know because we weren’t there. But Kirish does blame things that came after on Zakana. What it did to his character. How he treated me. How he believed that the death only fell on him. For a time they became mortal enemies. And I was caught in the middle. Trying to resolve my own feelings about it while a ghost walked around in my house looking for a way out of the Pokémon world. How could I advise Zakana otherwise? How could I tell him anything? If he wanted to be an astronaut I would have to be there for him.

They became the never-ending battle of Kyogre and Groudon. Zakana brought a never-ending rain and Kirish brought intense drought. The rains were torrential, every time I stepped inside that house. There was a roar of noise that lived in the quiet. When Kirish came home, it all dried up. She brought heat and passion and the rain would go away. Only for a time. Kirish’s passion was intense. For Pokémon and new things she would come home talking about it, and Zakana was not prepared.

Whereas I did not mention Pokémon or bring out my own much, it was a part of Kirish that she could not hide. Could I blame her? I saw both their sides. If one thing can be said of my children it is that they have passion and stand for the things they believe in. God did I see that every time Kirish came home. You would think one of them would yield, but neither did. Looking back, I knew that I was blind. I tried to protect Zakana too much. They might have reached an understanding or some peace had Zakana yielded in his stubbornness. Though Kyogre does not relent. The rains fall ever onward. And so the battle rages.