Chapter 3: Fight or Flight

Zakana lifted himself off the ground and rubbed his back. He tried to breath, but the pain was excruciating. There was no time to wonder if there would be permanent damage. He grimaced, looked out at the two vast creatures. Snow slurries swirled around them in dusty whirlpools, creating some sort of magical effect.


Zakana launched himself behind the kitchen table, readjusted the bag on his shoulder, and removed the red Pokedex device again. He aimed it at Slowpoke and asked the voice inside the machine, “What kind of attacks does this thing have?”

“Slowpoke’s attacks: confusion, water gun and tail whip.” The voice paused, said, “Slowpoke is a water and psychic Pokémon, said to have mysterious powers when gathered in great numbers.”

Zakana looked down at the device, shut it.


Zakana knew how it went. He was supposed to order an attack, and his Pokémon was supposed to obey. If he decided to attack, would things end up even worse for him? Was running the best option?

Before Zakana could order anything, Slowpoke made its own move. It lifted its head, shot a stream of water from its mouth, through the destroyed corner of the house, and hit one of the snowy creatures in the face. The water nearly froze and dissipated before it even reached the monster, which, didn’t seem to notice anything.

Zakana opened his Pokedex again, aimed it at the creatures moving toward him.

“Abamasnow,” the voice inside the device matched the icy theme before them. “The abominable snowman Pokémon. Abamasnow roams the mountains during the winter and retires to caves when the weather becomes too warm. Wild Abamasnow have little interaction with humans and are prone to anger if they come across them. It is said Abamasnow are surrounded by a never-ending blizzard.”

“Slowpoke!” Zakana shouted. “Let’s get out of here!” Quicker than was natural, Zakana lifted his empty Pokeball, said, “return!”

Slowpoke disappeared inside the amorphous ball of white light, became one with the Pokeball again. The two Abamasnow stared onward, walked forward, the same red glare residing inside their eyes as though possessed demons. One of them cocked its piece of timber back, and prepared to swing.

Zakana sprinted back to the south wall, crouched into the corner.

“What do you want with me?”

The next slam came but this time Zakana was prepared. Pieces of wood, ice, and snow blasted against his body, hit him at all angles until he could no longer tell the difference about what pelted him. Shards of wood and ice nailed him in the face, his side. When he opened his eyes, he saw that the kitchen table lie in a billion pieces, and one of the Abamasnow had moved into the opening in the house.

Nothing could have prepared Zakana for this day. No amount of workouts or exercises would save him. Again, his mother’s words rang inside his head, stung his heart. She would never leave him to die, but here he was, moments from having his body crushed into these snow creatures next meal. That was how dire the situation was. His mom told him what he needed to know, and left . . . because she needed to get to safety herself. She had to get to Yumin and dad. Zakana’s logic told him that much. Inside his legs and torso, he felt a surge of energy knowing that his mother trusted him enough to survive on his own. He said, “Whoever sent you should know who they’re dealing with.”

Zakana knew that the next wood hammer would leave him dead. There was no way to get to the stairs now as the Abamasnow moved closer. He would have to slip past it on the right side, and hope that whatever the other one was doing wouldn’t kill him in the process. Something about his training kicked in, adrenaline rushed through him and he acted without another thought. Instead of swinging vertically this time, the Abamasnow swung horizontally.

Zakana hit the ground, slid underneath the passing swing, and popped up. He found himself wedged between the two Abamasnow. The second one swung down at Zakana, who sidestepped, and burst out into the open air.

He thought he should run into town, get to more people, but there was way too much hail and windstorm in that general direction. Instead, Zakana peeled around and headed for the cliffs.

“This is bad.” He clicked open his Pokedex, asked, “when do the trains run in Pallet Town?”

There was a pause, and then the thing said, “How should I know? I’m a Pokedex, not a timetable.”

“Well I thought you knew about this place!”

Zakana stopped suddenly at the precipice, and peered into the ocean. “What do you know?”

“I can tell you anything about the world of Pokémon, their heights, weights, where they live, what they eat, what their abilities are, when they evolve, and anything else that should suit your fancy. I know all things under the great Groudon, Kyogre, and Rayquaza that dominate this universe.”

“I don’t know what you just said but all I heard was ‘I know a whole bunch about things that don’t matter but I still don’t know the train schedule.”‘

“I answer questions about Pokémon. I have never stepped foot inside Pallet Town. What’s your excuse?”

Zakana shut the Pokedex. “This thing has attitude. I don’t remember my mom’s Pokedex ever talking like that.”

The snow brushed against Zakana’s back, fell at his feet. The pain in his back rushed to him, reminded him of the creatures’ true power. He could feel and hear the snowstorm encroaching on him. He pulled his jacket tighter to his chin. How much longer did he have before the Abamasnow cornered him, before the storm pushed him off the cliff?

Without warning, Slowpoke emerged from its Pokeball, landed before Zakana.

“Slowpoke!” it said.

“Slowpoke! I didn’t let you out! It will be faster if you stay inside your Pokeball.”

Somewhere inside the snowstorm, Zakana felt the ground shake and knew that the two beasts were bounding toward him.

“Slowpoke, return!”

Slowpoke moved its rear leg quickly, avoided the beam of light that called it back.

“What do you think you’re doing? Obey me!”

Slowpoke’s pink coat gained a purple hue, glowed bright as it stared into the storm.

“What is it doing?”

“Confusion,” the Pokedex said. “If effective, Slowpoke can confuse its opponents into doing things they might not normally do.”

“Like enrage them further and make them want to kill people? Slowpoke, let’s get moving!”

Zakana shot a look behind, and suddenly had no idea where they would go. He knelt down, scooped up his Slowpoke. It was like lifting a bale of hay, condensed into a slightly smaller salamander shaped thing, its body somewhat slick and cumbersome in the most awkward places.

The red colors emerged from the flurries, two sets of destructive eyes, yearning to eliminate Zakana from the world. One of the Abamasnow looked at Zakana cross-eyed, swung its tree trunk at him. Zakana crouched down to avoid it. The second one moved in, reared back, as a strange crystallized ice formed inside its mouth. There was a bright light, a surge of power, and something deathly cold. It clipped Zakana in the shoulder, spun him around more times than he could comprehend and sent him spiraling backward.

He was weightless and at the same time, completely aware of how weighted he was as he fell. With one bear sized arm, Zakana held onto Slowpoke. With the other, Zakana clutched at the cliff side in his descent. His gloves ripped on one of his holding places, and he fell again. Five feet later, Zakana grabbed another spot, stopped, hung there, felt the pain sear through his shoulder, the block of ice that had formed around it, freezing his bag in place.

“Slowpoke! We’re gonna fall! You should have returned to your Pokeball when I told you to!”

“Slow!” said the creature as it slipped its way out of Zakana’s grasp and fell to the rocks below.

“Zakana couldn’t look down. If he could just muster enough strength he could pull himself up. His strength training would be enough to get him up . . . if only he didn’t feel like his shoulder would fall off . . .

Zakana felt gravity pull him down, down into his final resting place. If he could manage to avoid the rocks, and land in the water, he might be able to find a rock and cling to it until he could get to safety. Instead of plunging into the water, Zakana hit something hard and flat, and the ice encasing his shoulder shattered, fell in pieces around him. His head knocked back the furthest against the ice. Immediately he felt how cold it was, how unforgiving it was as his back took more damage.
He cried out. For a long time Zakana couldn’t move. He stared up the cliff side, wondered how he ended up in this place. The Abamasnow were invisible through the increasing blizzard above, just a tired scene of icy blues and storm clouds. When his hands moved to his jacket pocket he fished out his Pokedex.

“What kind of attack was that?”

“Ice beam. Abamasnow is an ice and grass type Pokémon. Ice beam is one of the most powerful ice attacks and can sometimes freeze its opponents solid.”

“Well that explains why I hit this giant bed of ice.” Zakana rolled to his stomach and looked out. As far as he could see, there was only a thick sheet of ice covering the ocean. He couldn’t see very far past the storm and figured that the ice beam hadn’t frozen too much of the surrounding area. All that mattered was that it had saved his life. He hadn’t fallen far from the rocks to this place on the ocean’s surface, but his back still ached in pain.
Zakana rose to his feet. He wished to be on solid ground, to be in a hospital bed with a cup of hot chocolate. From where the ocean met the rocks, he saw a small cave-like opening. He dragged himself into it, collapsed onto the crusted, prehistoric space there. Slowpoke followed and curled up next to him.

“Are you okay?” Zakana couldn’t help but ask. His lifelong vendetta against Pokémon had suddenly lessened at the sight of his weary and pathetic Slowpoke, which, with every passing moment, desired to be closer to Zakana. It pressed tightly to the places that gave off the most heat. Slowpoke’s skin was rubbery, something like that of dishwashing gloves, and Zakana noticed that in some places the skin was broken. No matter how much he hated Pokémon or said he did, he guessed that his own human decency was stronger at this very moment.

“Once that ice melts, we’re out of luck. Any bright ideas?”
Somewhat against his will, Zakana clicked open his Pokedex knowing that it was the only thing among them that could talk back and offer real answers.

“I’m not in the mood for snarky comments so just tell me what I can do in this situation.”

To Zakana’s surprise, his Pokedex gave a straight answer. “I am sorry. I can only scan Pokémon in the surrounding area, or answer a specific question about a scanned Pokémon. I don’t know your exact situation and am therefore unqualified to give such advice.”

Zakana let the bad news wash over him like a debilitating winter flu, taking all the good pieces of him with it. He adjusted his position in his alcove, felt the pain in his spine and shoulder as he did. He wondered if he would need to go to the hospital for his injuries, because they didn’t feel right. That was the least of his problems, however. If the snowmen Pokémon really wanted to follow him, they could. They could make their way down and finish Zakana off like they were clearly meant to do. Who had sent them? That rusty color behind their eyes was not a normal thing. And what was up with them attacking humans?

“What am I supposed to call you anyway? If we are going to spend some time together, I might as well call you something.”

“I was programmed as Oodi, so you can call me that.”

“Oodi? What kind of name is that? Is it because you have an attitude-ey?”

“That was a good joke. It’s too bad your training ability can’t match your high level of humor.”

“Shut up about that! Who do you think you’re talking to?”

Zakana felt his face flush red, the anger welling up in his forehead. “You get pulled out of the attic and you think you can tell me how to live my life. You don’t get to talk to me like that. You don’t know what I’ve been through!” Zakana let the final syllable fly out of his mouth like he threw his first Pokeball, with a vengeance and anger he had never felt before. Here he was touching, holding and dealing with these Pokémon related things he had sworn never to meddle with, and now look what it was doing to him. The blood pumped inside his veins, ran an unfamiliar course through his body, warmed him underneath his winter jacket, gloves, and jeans.

“I’ve been working on controlling my anger, Oodi, and I don’t need a dumb machine stirring it up again. It’s been a long time since I’ve had those episodes.”

“I meant my comment merely as a joke. That was how I was programmed, so please take no offense.”


Zakana’s training ability was hardly relevant since he had held a Pokeball for less time than was humanly possible in the world of Kanto, where Pokémon was born-or so anyone in Kanto proudly said anytime it was or wasn’t brought up.

“Then what could I have done differently, Oodi?”

Slowpoke nudged in closer, flipped Zakana’s hand over its head. It seemed to want to be nearer to Zakana for this response.

“You could have tried to weaken them using Slowpoke and then capturing them with Pokeballs.”

It had never occurred to Zakana to catch a Pokémon after his first one. He thought to himself, then said, “but that red glare behind their eyes. They were possessed or something. I don’t want to catch something like that.”

“If you are in danger, capturing Pokémon is an option in order to save yourself. You don’t have to use the Pokémon just because you catch it. You can always release it later.”

“You could have told me that at the time. You know I’m a little new to this.”

“I’m not supposed to do anything unless you open me or ask me a question.”

“Well next time, I give you permission to help me.”

“You would have to rewrite me in order for that to take-“
“You sure do talk a lot.”


“You could have used confusion against the Abamasnow,” Oodi said. “They won’t be affected much by water attacks but a psychic attack like confusion could have helped. Your slowpoke even tried to use it.”

“I thought running was the better option,” Zakana snapped. “You know I may be new to this world, but I do know that being stuck inside a machine isn’t the same as actually being a part of what’s out here. There are things your algorithms and systems don’t account for!”

“You are right, Zakana. There are many things my programs don’t account for.”

“Save it, Oodi. I’m done asking questions for now.” He slammed the machine shut, half hoping he would break it in the process. “And I’m done defending myself to you.”

When Zakana looked out, he realized everything had gone quiet, no sounds but the winter winds howling against the rocks above him. The wintry wisps had disappeared and for a moment, Zakana thought the Abamasnow had given up their fight. Then there was a loud roar from both the beasts, and Zakana shook. He lifted Slowpoke’s head off his hand. “Sounds like they’re angry about something. Do you think they’re waiting for us?”

Zakana arched his back, and shivered. Staggering as he stood, he stretched out and ducked his head so as not to bump it on the rocks forming the alcove he stood in. The glove on his right hand had ripped across the palm, leaving his skin bare, bloody, and scraped, like it had been dragged across sandpaper. He latched onto the outer part of the alcove and peered upward.
A flash of fire appeared above the cliff side, dissipated into the chilly air. Zakana heard a man’s voice commanding a Pokémon above. There was an insatiable quality to it that Zakana recognized. A white blob stumbled backward to the edge of the cliff, and then in a single moment that seemed like it would last forever, the Pokémon wobbled there, then plummeted toward Zakana, toward the thinning ice.

“Slowpoke, get back!”

The weight and size of one of the snowmen Pokémon could crush Zakana and Slowpoke into Pokepowder.

Instead of crashing into the ice like Zakana imagined, there was a bit of commotion. Zakana looked out, saw the Abamasnow land on its massive, furry, white feet, as the block of ice made a definite crack. Icy, greenish-white vines retracted from the cliff side, seemingly what had broken its fall, returned to the Abamasnow’s hands and wrists from where they had come, and disappeared inside its endless fur coat.

Its green face and red eyes stared at Zakana with a single intention: it wanted him dead. Why, Zakana still had no idea, but he couldn’t mistake the look. The Abamasnow had dropped the tree that it swung like a common household hammer, and bits of its white coat had turned black, where embers had singed them.

Zakana remembered the ice attack that his shoulder had taken, and knew he could never survive another one. Not from this close. This was his final resting place. Abominable snowman was seconds from freezing him into the next millennium and it was all because he didn’t listen. It was all because he had chosen to remain blind. He could have taken one of his mother’s more well trained Pokémon and demolished these snow creatures.

Everything became clear, flashed inside Zakana’s head like a train about to leave its station. Things were far more serious than he could have imagined. Pokémon were attacking Pallet Town. More specifically, Pokémon were being sent to attack Zakana and his family.

“Confusion!” Zakana remembered the words from Oodi, and hoped that Slowpoke could do enough to hold off the beast.

Slowpoke glowed purple, but nothing happening. Instead of becoming confused, the Abamasnow revealed finger-like-vines from somewhere inside its coat as it moved to clutch Zakana’s throat.


The vines broke as some massive creature flew in and sliced them. It dove in a flash, a red and blue brute of a bird with a curved, yellow hook-like beak, and massively full wings, big enough to wrap a five-member family in its embrace. The eagle thing zipped away, doubled back, landed on the ice and squawked its name.


The Abomasnow turned on its heel, quicker than Zakana thought was possible, its red eyes flashing away, a new ferociousness inside them. It now focused on its new target-the thing that had snapped its vines in half. Abomasnow reared back, shot the same beam of ice at the bird. Its power made the ice underneath shake. All at same time, the ice crackled and popped. Braviary, unbothered, deflected the ice beam with a single wave of its wing like it was swatting away a pesky fly.


The voice belonged to someone Zakana knew, and as he looked up to where it came, everything clicked into place. The eagle Pokémon defending Zakana was Yumin’s. Yumin, who had been supposedly kidnapped, was here now in Pallet, rescuing Zakana from certain death.

“Yumin! We gotta get out of here!”

“No shit, cous!” Yumin leaned over the ledge, shouted, “Braviary! Brave bird!”

The beam of ice that Zakana had seen from the Abomasnow was nothing compared to the flash of light and power that was Braviary. It was the added power of at least five ice beams all combined into one quick, incredible surge of bird. The attack nailed the Abomasnow, sent it crashing into the rocks, causing the ice at Zakana’s feet to crack even more. He felt it thinning and separating beneath him and knew that he would be underwater in seconds. Something swift and powerful snatched the clothing behind Zakana’s neck, lifted him off the cracking ice, and with two heavy flaps of its wings, Braviary was level with Yumin at the cliff side.

“Wait!” Zakana reached inside his pocket, fumbled with the Pokeball there.

The Braviary flapped as Yumin and an infant-monk looking Pokémon boarded the bird. “Braviary, out of here!”

“Yumin, wait!” Zakana repeated. He leaned over the cliff, saw Slowpoke at the bottom, its big white eyes bulging up at him. Clutching the Pokeball in his hand, Zakana stretched it out past Braviary’s body. He nearly fell off too, but Yumin grabbed his free wrist.

“Slowpoke, return!” Zakana said.

A stream of red light shot from the Pokeball, connected with Slowpoke’s body, enveloped it, and brought it sailing back, back to the ball from which it came.