This is a work of fanfiction by Butterfree/Dragonfree/antialiasis and is not to be reposted without permission. This story is in no way official or endorsed by Nintendo, GAME FREAK, Creatures Inc., or The Pokémon Company.

Morphic

For more information on this story and a full list of chapters and extras, click here. Please note that Morphic is rated R (M if you prefer Fiction Ratings) for strong language, violence and other sensitive subject matter.

Chapter 11

“The hotdogs were good,” said Mia as she stared through the side window of the car.

“You’re welcome,” Dave replied and darted an eye towards her to make sure the corners of her scythes weren’t poking holes in the seat. There was a short silence.

“Why do people celebrate birthdays?” Mia asked suddenly.

“Well,” Dave began but then paused to quickly turn a corner he’d almost missed. They jerked uncomfortably in their seats. Damn distractions.

Mia looked expectantly at him. “Well,” he started again. “Today it’s been forty-three years since your mother was born. So we celebrate it.”

“I don’t get it,” Mia said and looked distractedly around for a few seconds, as if she wasn’t going to continue. “Why you celebrate that,” she then added.

“What’s so hard to get?”

Mia looked directly at him. “It doesn’t make any sense,” she said. “Years and days don’t even line up right. Maybe the real time when the earth has gone around the sun forty-three times since the birth is tomorrow. Maybe it was this morning but we’re celebrating it tonight. It doesn’t have any meaning that it’s still the same day. And it doesn’t have any meaning anyway that the earth has gone around the sun so many times since your birth. None of it makes sense.”

Dave sighed; Mia was going philosophical on him again. “It’s just a nice excuse to give people presents. Nobody cares how many circles the earth has gone around the sun or whatever. You’re thinking about it too much.”

“Presents,” Mia repeated with a nod. There was another one of those few-second silences where she made Dave think she wasn’t going to continue. “I like presents.”

“See? That’s why we have birthdays.”

“As long as it’s a good present,” Mia went on as if he hadn’t spoken. “I don’t like getting bad presents.”

Giving Mia presents had been a nightmarish task the first few years. Then they’d realized it was best just to stick with giving her meat and things she could cut.

Pause. “I didn’t get her anything,” Mia said in her usual neutral voice.

“Well, I got her something,” Dave replied. “It can be from both of us if you want.”

Mia shrugged in a way that could have been indifference or agreement. Dave supposed it didn’t really matter.

He’d gotten Cheryl a Miltank in some third-world country. Some church-sponsored charity crap, trying to make donations feel more physical by giving you a photo of a Miltank for a set price that would supposedly buy one for a starving family and might single-handedly save their lives and future for generations to come, according to the probably exaggerated little booklet about it. Cheryl was all over charities like that. He’d figured the best way to make up for coming on to her the other day was to give her something personal that she would really like, but it had to be something that could not be taken the wrong way. This was the best thing he’d come up with, and reluctant as he was to do business with any sort of church, she was more important. Besides, it was just a charity; it didn’t actually have anything to do with religion.

He turned into the Kerrigans’ home street. On the corner stood that creepy, pale, dark-haired fundamentalist guy with the sign again – he hadn’t seen him in a while. What had his name been again? The man looked at Dave as they passed and grinned widely. Creepy fuck.

“It was him,” said Mia matter-of-factly.

“Hm?”

“It was him,” she repeated. “Who killed Brian.”

Dave turned his head sharply towards her and turned back just in time to avoid driving up onto the sidewalk. “What? Don’t be ridiculous. That’s not him. They caught him, remember?”

Mia shook her head. “It was him. Must have got the wrong guy.”

Dave laughed for a moment but stopped when he realized how nervous he sounded. “That’s ridiculous. Why the fuck would you think that?”

“The way he looked at you.”

“You can’t tell who killed a guy by just watching how he looks at some other guy, for fuck’s sake.” Dave glanced in the rear-view mirror. The man had turned around and was still watching them.

“The tendons in his neck tensed. And then he bared his teeth.”

“That’s what you call a fucking smile.”

“His pupils dilated. The index finger twitched a little when he was remembering how he pulled the trigger.”

“What are you now, fucking psychic?” He pulled into the driveway. “Look, they had a real psychic down at the police station. They have the right guy, okay?”

“It was him,” Mia just repeated, in the exact same tone as before.

“Bullshit.” Dave stopped the car, pulled the key out of the ignition and opened the door, throwing Mia a glance. She casually opened the door at her own side as she would any other time.

As he knocked on the front door, Dave looked quickly down the street, but the man was gone.

“Hi,” said Cheryl warmly as she opened the door, giving each of them a quick smile in turn. “We have a bit of a surprise visitor at the moment, so I hope you don’t mind...”

She gestured for them to come inside. In the sofa sat a distraught-looking plump woman in a plain maroon dress, hunched over and fiddling nervously with her hands.

“Who is that?” Dave asked. The woman looked quickly up and gave him a look of what he could only call terror; she sat there frozenly for a second but didn’t reply.

Howard, sitting opposite her, gave Dave a glare.

“She says she knows something about Brian,” Cheryl murmured. “The murder, I mean.”

The woman, who had turned back towards Howard, shot a quick glance their way and Dave suddenly realized it was Mia she was looking at with terror, not him. Cheryl gestured silently at the girl and the Scyther morph obediently walked into her room and closed the door.

The woman shook her head absent-mindedly, her orange-red curls swishing in front of her face. She straightened herself, brushed them aside, gave Howard, Cheryl and Dave a quick glance each, and then stared down at her lap again. She licked her lips and swallowed, as if just to demonstrate every nervous gesture known to man.

“M-my name is Monica Sellers,” she began at last. There were a few seconds of silence. “I’m a member of your church.” She looked at Howard, very quickly, and then back down. Another silence.

“Yes?” Howard said carefully.

The woman nodded quickly. “I’m also among a group of churchgoers who meet regularly to discuss...” She stopped and glanced around once more. “They organized the attack on...”

Howard and Cheryl both glanced at Dave; he shuddered inwardly at the memory.

Monica Sellers took a deep breath. “I’m here because... I think what they did was wrong.”

“No shit,” Dave interjected; the woman flinched visibly. Howard gave him another glare.

“The... the one who hatched the plan... was Isaac Daniels. He also did the...” She trailed off, glancing at Dave.

“Isaac? I thought his name was Jacob or something.”

Monica Sellers shook her head frantically. “Jacob is his brother. They sent him to take the blame so the police would stop watching over you.”

Dave looked at the door to Mia’s room, feeling sick. This had to be some sort of a joke.

“You’re full of shit,” he managed to say. “They had a fucking Gardevoir. He said he did it and wasn’t working with anybody and he wasn’t lying.”

The woman looked blankly at him. He felt his heart pounding in his chest, anger rising in his throat. “You’re just fucking with us!” he shouted, louder than he’d intended. “It was that one nut who did the shooting and now you’re trying to make us get all in a panic again by taking credit for it. Crazy fundamentalist fucks!”

“N-no,” the woman stammered, flinching again. “I swear I...”

Dave felt something move by his thigh and jumped before realizing it was his cellphone vibrating. He pulled it out of his pocket, turned around and took a deep breath to calm himself down before opening it to answer. “Hello?”

“Hello, David Ambrose,” said a smooth, calm voice on the other end.

“Who are you?”

“My name is Isaac Daniels. We met earlier.”

An uncomfortable cold shiver trickled ever so slowly down Dave’s spine. “What the fuck do you want?”

“We have the Slugma boy.”

He froze.

“What?” he asked weakly and heard his voice tremble.

“A woman named Monica Sellers has been talking to you. If you tell the police what she told you or anything about the kidnapping, the hybrid dies. Do you understand?”

“What the fuck.” Dave tried to get the gears started in his brain again. “You’re bluffing.”

There was a distorted sigh on the other end. “Call his phone. He will tell you himself if he needs to. Rest assured that if you inform the police of anything, we will know and will be happy to keep our end of the deal. Goodbye, Mr. Ambrose.”

-------

While Gabriel waited for Jack’s mom to pick him up for the birthday party, he flipped through the first few pages of one of the comic books he’d just bought. It was pretty bloody, he noted – Jack would love it. He’d definitely show it to him at the party. Maybe, if the other morphs were the same, they’d be all over it too.

He looked up to scan the street for Sharon’s car, but there wasn’t a person in sight. Jack had gone with his dad earlier to get a present for Cheryl. He’d opted to go to the comic book store instead and get picked up later when Sharon got out of work. He didn’t like going to the bigger shopping streets where there would be people wrinkling their noses at him everywhere. At least the guys at the comic book store were used to him and that street was less travelled. And he’d still told her to pick him up in a side street a couple of blocks away, where he was comfortably sure nobody would be around. Sitting on a bench here, where all the city sounds were kind of muted, was strangely calm and peaceful. It made him feel almost normal.

Somebody clamped a hand over his mouth from behind.

He yelped in surprise as two sets of strong, gloved hands pulled him over the back of the bench and grabbed hold of his arms. He tried frantically to kick backwards and scream for help with feeble results and then to bring his feet down to stop them from dragging him, but it didn’t even slow them down. He tried to turn his head to see the men or where they were taking him, but the hand over his mouth was holding his head in place.

He was thrown into the back seat of a car and finally got to look at one of the men – it was a tall, muscular guy, but he had a white scarf tied around his face as a makeshift mask – as the man sat down in the seat beside him, all the while pointing a small pistol straight at him. Gabriel pressed against the back of the seat, his throat dry, and tried not to move as the car jerked into motion. The man pulled out another scarf, a red one, and handed it to Gabriel, who looked blankly at his captor.

“Tie it over your eyes,” the man said through his own scarf. “Now.” He thrust the gun towards Gabriel for emphasis; he flinched, accepted the scarf carefully and began to tie it around his head.

The murky reddish darkness behind the scarf was somehow calming. He tried to tie it as tightly as he could behind his head and then lowered his hands very slowly when he was done. A hand felt briefly around the scarf; the man grunted in approval and then, judging from the sound, took the scarf away from his own face.

“Don’t move,” said the man’s voice, now unmuffled. “Don’t try to take it off. Don’t try anything.”

Gabriel hadn’t been planning to.

He took a shaky breath and tried to get his brain back into thinking-mode. He couldn’t really; everything was sort of whirling around – kidnapping, must be still, guy had a gun pointed at him, what did they want? He dimly heard the man beside him talking on the phone but didn’t have the presence of mind to process just what he was saying. Kidnapping. Were they holding him for ransom? They might kill him. The guy had a gun. What had happened to his comic books? He must have dropped them on the bench. What would Sharon think when he wasn’t there? Jack would be worried sick.

“Wh... what...” he began when the chaos in his mind began to settle on the question of what the kidnappers wanted, but his lips were still not quite reconnected to his brain and his mouth was still uncomfortably dry. “Why...?”

“You are a hostage,” said the man beside him, apparently no longer on the phone, though Gabriel hadn’t noticed when that happened. “As long as you don’t try anything and nobody calls the police, we won’t kill you. Be still.”

Nobody calls the police? About what? Gabriel tried to make sense of it; his brain alternated between thinking they meant about the kidnapping and thinking that would be circular logic. He couldn’t really think clearly enough to tell which was right. Not with a gun pointed at his head.

His cellphone started vibrating in his pocket. He turned his head towards the man beside him, not sure if he could answer it. The man shoved his own hand into the pocket instead and picked up the phone; Gabriel heard the soft click of it opening. Then...

“Gabriel? Please tell me you’re there.”

“Dave?” he called without thinking. “I’ve been kidnapped as a hostage and they have me in some car and I think we’re heading...” Cold metal pressed against the side of his head and he froze, not daring to even breathe: the feeling of the weapon there made it suddenly seem real in a way it hadn’t before.

“Oh, shit. Fuck. Gabriel? Are you still...”

The phone snapped shut again; it did not come back into Gabriel’s pocket.

A few slow seconds passed; Gabriel felt his heart thumping in his chest as he held his breath, shivering at the touch of what he knew was the muzzle of the gun. Finally, slowly, the man pulled it back and he managed to exhale. He sucked in another breath, still trembling, but the man was silent and the gun didn’t touch him again. Even after the initial shock wore off, the knowledge that the gun was still there, somewhere off to his left, kept his thoughts from wandering; whatever he tried to think about was jerked back to the horrifying reality by the memory of feeling it pressed to his head.

With the reddish darkness still covering his vision, the world soon became nothing but the gun, the noise of the car engine and his heavy breaths and thumping heartbeats, each of them sending more chilling terror pulsing through his veins.

Page last modified July 14 2017 at 16:44 GMT