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FICTION / Catch Them All / Jai Lynn

Image copyright Warner Bros.

Image copyright Warner Bros.

It wasn’t my job, but really it was. 

The potholes, like almost everything else left in the After, were worse. There was no point for me to even walk on the sidewalk, since there wasn’t much of one left. Chunks of skyscraper had fallen out of the air and left behind bite marks on the pavement, storefronts were razed with scorch marks like burned skin and cracks had splintered out everywhere like broken bones fracturing the skeleton of New York City. At this point it was hard for me to remember what it all looked like Before. 

Somewhere, not far off, a siren wailed into the night. I jumped over a barricade and ducked under a sofa hanging precariously against the shattered glass door at Starbucks. Coffee beans were scattered like marbles across the tile inside, among other things that had spilled during the attacks. Other things better not mentioned. Every time I made my way to the supplier I always made the same mistake of looking.

It had been an innocent idea, when this all had first started. An idea that was born previously to recognizing the world as Before and the world as After. Ah yes, that stupididea was an innocent one. The video game company had said our minds would be blown, that life would never be the same. Well, they were right. 

My legs hurt but I kept walking, the metal spheres at my belt jangling with each succeeding step I took. I couldn’t remember the last time I had actually had a decent night’s sleep. I wasn’t sure I would be able to again. There were just too many things now that went bump in the night, never mind the day.

A lot of civilians had died, many during the first month after the release. Many more had gone into hiding. It wasn’t their fault. It was no one’s fault. Really. That was just the way it was. This has been a long time coming with technology getting better, faster, stronger. One day it was bound to hit too strong, too fast, too good. That day had been February 27, 2018. Exactly, a year ago today.

Of those who were left in the city, the need to protect themselves from a world they had never grown up in was what fueled them to hide. Unlike me, and the few other trainers somewhere out there. We were the only ones who understood the game and the only ones who knew how to win. You see, if we wanted to live, we had to do our job

I wondered what my ten year old self would think. 

The streets were still, too still. No one around to yell at me to get inside or tell me to go home or scream at me to hide. In a way, it was nice. In another it wasn’t. Some part of me wasn’t even sure I liked this job anymore. At first I did, despite all the violence and all the blood. From a Game Boy game to an app on my iPhone, neither of which were working any longer, to so genuine I now had permanent scars carved into my shins and arms, and a real beauty engraved across my forehead. 

In the span of my life my favorite game had gone from pixels to the real world. Now, in hindsight seeing how bad everything had really become, I attempted to ward off the despair clinging to the edges of my mind. I had nothing much left except for this job. Well on my way to becoming a master of these monsters but that’s just all that they were. Monsters. Even after being caught they still fought you tooth and nail. Electrocution, drowning, even suffocation in a tornado of fallen leaves just a few potential side effects in facing these beasts. Oh, joy.

Something sparked in my line of sight. Within my next breath I had already ducked behind the nearest pile of rubble, some golden arches from a fast food restaurant sign. Maybe it was my imagination feeling the static in the air and maybe it was just my eyes playing tricks, but then again…

Collecting myself, I peaked around the corner. Before, I couldn’t believe I that I actually wanted to get my hands on one. After, I found it was the last thing. This world though didn’t have room for wants. Only needs. 

I peaked out from behind the building. Sparks were definitely flying from its florescent red cheeks, and its fur was as a startling yellow as bright as it was nauseating.

Hooking a ball from my side I clutched it tightly into my hand feeling it expand until it took up the whole of my palm. I shouldn’t have waited so long to restock because this was it. My last one. It couldn’t be wasted. But after this, if I succeeded, I would be one step closer to the goal. The collective goal, to capture all one hundred and fifty one of these monsters.

I exhaled, “You’re up number 25.”

Duty calls.


Jai Lynn was born and raised in the suburbs of New Jersey and has been writing since she could pick up a pencil. She is an Arcadia University graduate and a new, previously unpublished, author. You can find her blog at jailynn.com.