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Case 2: Zatch (Transformation Phase)

We, including Topher and myself, left the woodland, otherwise known as the scene of what investigators might have defined to be a crime. They didn't know the truth, and I was unsure whether or not I could have still believed it, despite having known it personally since my childhood. Vince. He wasn't dead. He was alive, though no longer human. And something had attracted me to his location, though how could I have explained what it was? Maybe it was paranormal? Maybe Vince's brain was altered in that state? The theories were countless, but the truth was way stranger than any fiction I ever read. That wasn't saying much though.

I had to say, Cruce's cousin was a silly little sucker, but he knew when to be serious. Even I had trouble determining that in this case. Of course, the the results of the meteorites was taken seriously in my mind, but Vince? What the hell even happened to him?! Did he ingest something? I wondered what modern science had to say about that, at least, whenever he decided to come out of the shadows. If I was in that position, which, no offense to him, thankfully I wasn't, I would have done the same thing. In spite of that, scientists were probably up in arms with the meteorites. Hopefully they weren't falling into a coma.

Like I said, it was only Monday... But strange things happened after we left the woodland. I couldn't believe it was possible, but the cycle of oddities continued beyond what had already occurred on this day. The brainwaves filled my head with images of a hospital. They were unclear, and pretty surreal, but I was sure it was that hospital. Was something there? I couldn't tell. I didn't even know if the invocation of images was caused by brainwaves; it was a hunch. Likewise, it seemed like my own brain was trying to reach something, and it wasn't a hospital. It was someone or something inside the hospital...

And if all that wasn't enough, as we left the Obsidian Circle, I felt the presence of something residing over me. A lot was going on, and given one more of these hallucinations or whatever, I would have most likely been overwhelmed.

"Hey!" I called out to Topher, as we were well out of earshot from the investigators. He didn't respond, but he did look my way. "What'd you think of that display?"

"Huh?"

"Vince! Was that something or what?"

"Oh, him. Gosh, I..." He watched the ground as he walked, both of us moving at a quick pace. I could tell he was dumbfounded. 'Didn't blame him for a second. "I don't know. I'm still stunned. I got a good look at him though, and he looks really cute! But I'd feel bad for taking this the wrong way. This could be really bad for him."

"I don't know, he didn't seem too bothered. But he's Vince. 'Never know." I gathered Vince was rather worried about Drew. That might have been an understatement. Nonetheless, being a big green bug was taking his mind off of his little brother... Huh... For some reason, I couldn't stop picturing Drew doing really odd things. I didn't mean that in a negative or perverted way. It was like I saw him just standing in front of me with this odd smile. Like I had done something nice for him. It wasn't too easy to explain. Then again, neither was this whole Monday dilemma.

It took us about ten minutes to get to my place from where we were. My place was alongside the banks of one of the woodland streams, so it wasn't all that difficult to get there. Vince was very smart when it came to directions, so he knew what he was talking about when he knew how to get here via the forest and hide until we made it. It probably took the freak of nature about a minute to get there. When we arrived, I scanned the trees and I saw nothing. I knew he was there, but, again, he blended like no one's business. And really, I didn't expect him to come shooting out of the canopy presenting himself in such a "WHASSUP, AUTUMNRIDGE?! I'M A GIANT BUG" fashion. As much as I'd be entertained by that, it'd be best if it didn't happen.

Topher was smart about this. He checked around the area, rather than in the trees. After confirming that it was clear, he faced the treeline and gave a thumbs-up. Vince flew out of there like a green bolt of lightning, a few leaves following his flight trail for a second. He rushed to the nearest car, which happened to be my dad's truck parked outside the garage, and hid underneath it with ease. That actually almost startled me it was so fast.

"Vince?" I spoke in a low tone, lowering myself to my hands and knees and checking under the car. There he was, with his big blue eyes. "Holy crap, dude."

"Shhhh!" With an arm forward, Vince made this motion of shooing me away. "You'll get attention if you look at me down here like that!"

"Pshaw, I can just say there's a cat under the truck."

"I'm not a cat." Vince clarified. I laughed a little. He had a point though. The last thing I wanted to do was draw attention after he had worked hard to stay concealed. "Oh. Goddammit, I forgot something back there."

"What?" I questioned him.

"Just something I thought I might need for survival." He began to crawl out, his head peering from underneath the truck. I lifted myself to my knees and watched him. "Hey, is Zack home?"

"s**t, he is. And he's picked up Zelda by now." I knew there was more than one way into the house, especially for something Vince's size, but Zelda was a curious girl who just had to be up and about. I was open to ideas.

"We can sneak passed your little sister, right?" Topher wondered. He knew Zelda as an enterprising little lady, based on her music and desire to be with us DJ Brothers for every little project.

"I'm not sure. She's probably in the living room doing homework by now. Gah, ********, if I had my backpack, I could totally stuff Vince in it."

"I'm not that small. My head would stick out. I'd look like a plush or something."

"Oh oh oh, I have an idea!" Topher hopped a couple times like the schoolgirl he was. "What if one of us just carry you in? Like a stuffed animal?"

"That..." I pointed at Topher. "Might work. What do you think? You cool with that?" I returned my attention to Vince, who was now laying flat on his chest with arms extended out from underneath the vehicle, which looked silly.

"Hah! For real?" He chuckled to himself, lowering his face flat against the concrete for a moment. "Yeah, okay."

That was the plan. I offered to carry Vince in. He wasn't too shy of the idea of me holding him. I was more surprised that Topher didn't beg to carry him. Anyway, my house was one story. It was techy inside, mainly because of my siblings and I as 3DJ. My father played guitar. He was the one who taught Zack how to play. My mom is more of a business lady for us, in a way. She liked to organize things and conduct our matters in an orderly manner. We had a studio built in near the living room, which cost a pretty penny. It was worth every cent. That was really the only noticeable feature about our house. Oh, that and the dance floor and stage in the backyard. That was a pretty long story though.

The front door was open. It wasn't supposed to be. Even though Autumnridge was pretty peaceful, someone could have walked in. It could have been anyone! Possibly a transvestite who lives nearby or even a green fairy alien bug... Both of them being cute... (And friends of mine.)

Sure enough, Zelda was sitting on the living room couch with her backpack next to her and the TV on. She was writing on a piece of paper for an assignment that looked like it was possibly math. Zelda was an early tween of about four feet six inches. She was no ordinary girl. I've already mentioned a few of her interests, those including music and playing Pokémon and--right there my head felt a bit weird again--anything that seemed atypical of something a little girl would do... Well I wasn't too sure how many girls her age actually played Pokémon...

Again, this weird qualm instigated at the thought of Pokémon. My vision even blurred a couple times...

"Zatchie!" Zelda hollered in my direction. Instantly, she dropped everything she was doing and stood up, her eyes just locked on my Vince "plush". She gasped. "WHOA! Where did you get THAT?!"

"Oh, um..." I stammered a bit there.

"He got it from me!" That was a nice save, courtesy of Topher. "I told him to hug it tightly so that he'd feel better!" He giggled. I just grinned like an idiot and started making my way to the hallway.

"You like Pokémon, Miss Topher?" I froze. Completely. Not a breath. Literally, I was stopped in mid-step. I think Vince's eye twitched at that point. I felt his wings move.

"Oh, I... Well..." Topher searched around for an answer, though just ended up shrugging and giggling again. Though nervously.

Pokémon? I thought to myself in the five seconds I had to, you know, think to myself. No... wait... I... ...Drew...? ...I was zoning out...

"Can I see the Celebi? Please?! It's so cool looking!" Zelda approached me. My legs weakened. I felt Vince tense up. As silly as this all seemed, it was the worst case scenario for him. And for me? I had no idea what was going on. My chest, my back, my head, my arms, my legs. Everything began to tickle and tingle and even sting a little. My headache got so much worse in that moment... I was shaking... Trembling.

The hospital. I saw the hospital. My mind shot an arrow to the source of this encroaching agony. The lobby. The halls. The rooms. The patient. It was Drew. Drew... was doing this...

"Zatch?" I heard Topher's voice. "You look like you're going to be sick."

Somewhat.

"Uh--y-yeah, here. Be careful with him--I-I gotta...g-..." As foolish as the idea may have been, and I know Vince was thinking this, I handed him off gently to my sister. Topher gave me a look of sheer concern, as though I were about to have a heart attack. Based on descriptions I've heard of that, this was pretty worrisome. And it was getting worse. Two spots on top of my head began to ail me with such pain. The same problem arose just above my behind... I began to feel like I was being gradually electrocuted from the inside. Sparing no thought, I raced to the restroom as far away from here as possible.

My mind flared. Lights and symbols obscured my vision as I barely managed to grope my way to the restroom. The symbols were familiar to me. I have seen them elsewhere, but I was not concerned with that right now. This electric pain was great enough to fell a beast of some huge sort. I wasn't all that huge, and, probably, not all that alive for very much longer. I shut the bathroom door behind me, lacking the dexterity to even lock the damn thing. I wanted to be alone to cope with this pain...

My eyes were locked on my reflection in the mirror, which seemed to me to be a stranger with only some of my physical qualities. The hue of my skin was yellow now. No... it wasn't the skin that was yellow. There was fuzz on that skin. It was fur. I was growing... fur? Tumult ablaze within my mind and body, I removed my shirt, tossing it aside carelessly. It was absolutely true. There was fur all over me. Yellow fur. Eyes wide, I gaze upon myself. Turning my back slightly, I noticed a brown stripe or two... I faced into the mirror once again. My cheeks had changed. They had these circular scarlet blotches. My nose darkened and shrank, but it was as though the shape of my face was changing before my eyes. It was, and I was shrinking, therefore this was all becoming harder and harder to see with each passing second. I kept closing my eyes, opening them to see Drew standing near me in the mirror, but not in reality. As I shrank, I felt entangled in fabric, which happened to be my jeans. I reached out desperately to the counter with my smaller arms, fingers absent from my vision. I raised my chin, giving so much effort into seeing myself. The last thing I saw in the mirror were two pointy, black-tipped ears: the sources of my most recent headache. After that, it became a simple task, despite everything being a thousand times more difficult at the moment, to remove myself from my jeans, socks, and shoes. Already, my legs were miniature, and shaped differently. I felt like a kangaroo, in a sense. And in all this, I just about finally noted the zigzag-shaped tail behind me. I had these stubby paws for hands and feet. Yellow fur all over. Brown stripes, red patches, lightning bolt tail. Even I knew this.

I just turned into a Pikachu...

...Right?

The pain escaped. I was numb all over. Falling back onto my shirt with my small limbs out, I stared at the ceiling, breathing as though I had finished a marathon and a half.

So that's what Pokémon had to do with it... Vince, you changed into a Pokémon...? Christ, so did I. And now everyone will know, because everyone knows what a Pikachu is, and I guess that's me.... I let my mind drift off into a tranquil state of dizzy sanctuary and meditative nothingness. It was like my memory had left for a few seconds, then returned, though damaged and dilapidated. It was up to me to fix it... Thank God that was easier than it sounded. I remembered my name, my place in this world, and the people important to me. That was all I needed... But I refused to stop there. In this dreamy positive agony, I let my acceptance hover above me as an entity in itself, watching my pathetic little body lay on this floor. Once I gathered it had finished examining me, I felt ready to take it in. I wasn't...

"Cr...Crap..." I whispered, realizing right away the challenge of speaking with this body. It probably didn't sound very natural. "Pika" or something seemed like it would have been easy to say. But no, I still spoke. "Drew...?" I asked for Vince's brother. It felt like he was in the room with me. I believed I saw him... Vince...

It all made sense, it and should have made sense right away. A pile of Vince's stuff? He turned into a--what was it--Celebi right there? But how? How on EARTH did that--COULD--that happen to anyone?! It was unthinkable... It had something to do with Drew, who had something to do with the meteorite.

Footsteps. A knock at the bathroom door.

"Zatch?! Are you okay?! We heard you yell!" It was Topher's soft voice. I hadn't realized I yelled. I must have done so to drown out the pain. I didn't remember it. My memory was still vague and cracked as a weak mirror. I'm glad I remembered little things like Topher's voice... I liked his voice... I didn't respond. I just wanted to hear it again. To relax me... "Ohhh, you're scaring me, Zat--I'm coming in. Okay?" And he did. Based on his gasp, to which he covered with both hands, I could tell he wished he didn't. On the bright side, I wasn't dead.

"Geez..." I groaned as I lifted my head a little to see Topher. He was tall... "I bet this... you know... looks odd... sorry." It was still difficult to talk. I managed to get the message across. I wanted to tell him not to be afraid or anything, but I lacked the energy. To think Vince was able to run off and hide right after this, for all I knew. It was beyond me.

"Ahhh!!" I was happy to remember that voice too. It was my sister screaming in the living room. "It's really real!! Celebi's real!!"

I laid my head back in disgust with myself.

"No. Really. Best Monday ever."

--Pikachu.
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