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An Undying Flame

by Mr.RMA

Mr.RMA Another #creativechristmas entry at the last minute? Well, why not, right? XD
Anyways, this little tale, a fantasized adaptation of a past real life experience, is about a family and their pet Growlithe, and how the bond they shared was strong enough to keep them together, even when they're forced to part ways for good.
It’s common knowledge, but I feel I gotta say it anyways…you don’t have to be a trainer to love Pokemon. Sure, they get most of the glory, traveling all over the place, getting badges, forming bonds, telling thrilling tales of their adventures to whoever wants to listen, I’m sure it’s a helluva lifestyle, but, it was never one for me. Yet, I don’t feel like I’m exaggerating when I say I love those strange, mysterious creatures just as much as any trainer. I’ve spent hours upon hours just watching Pidgey fly by, along with the occasional migrating Taillow formation, and if I was quiet enough, I could catch sight of a couple of Nidoran frolicking around with each other in my backyard. All very common species, I know, but, rarity wasn’t much of a factor for me, since I wasn’t trying to collect all of them or anything like that. I was content with just seeing any of them milling about, interacting with one another; I didn’t have to be a part of any of their lives to appreciate them…aside from a very special few.

My family is never complete without a pet of some kind; we’re pretty much not even a true family without one. Since my earliest memories, I can recall having a friendly Pokemon bound up to me, always so eager to please, even if a few weren’t always as eager to listen. I could never name a favorite, but I can name the one that left the greatest impact on me. He was the first one I could really remember from the very first day we brought him home as a young pup. He was a scruffy young Growlithe, my parents’ favorite breed when it came to canine Pokemon, who we decided to name “Rage” since he was always so hyperactive and tended to bark a bit too often. Slight quirks aside, he was as loyal a companion as he could possibly be, and even if he wasn’t combat bred, he did his best to be a good watchdog, always alert in the day, always sleeping right beside my folks at night, and on the occasions where I was home by myself, Rage would always sleep right at my doorstep, keeping his protective vigil. Sometimes I feel like he really wanted to be a fighter, a tough little dog out there in the circuit. Whenever I caught him sleeping, I always imagined he was dreaming of being a powerful Arcanine towering over his foes, sending fear down their spines. Sometimes I’d think he would evolve right then and there in his sleep, and when he woke up, he’d get so excited he’d leap up and accidentally punch a hole in the roof with his head! It was something to have a little chuckle about, but, considering the scarcity of fire stones…and the ridiculous prices they commanded… it didn’t seem likely to happen. He wasn’t a fighter anyways, he never got in battles, he didn’t even know any fire-type moves, but, all the same, he seemed content enough being our faithful pet and a beloved member of the family.

We all cared for him deeply, but, some of us may have showed that compassion more than the others…My sister and father in particular were always playing around with him, giving him treats, wrestling with him, giving him walks through town…whereas I didn’t really do much of that. I tended to just pet him every so often, and occasionally walk with him if no one else had the time to, but, I never really spent that much time truly bonding with Rage the way everyone else did when it came to physical activity. On the flipside, I used to always just kinda lie around with the big fella during lazy afternoons, just kicking back, without a care in the world, with my loyal pal right beside me. Might have been a lazier form of bonding, yes, but it was just as meaningful as far as I was concerned. Rage was always a friend I could depend on, someone who was always there for me, even when my other friends were busy or away. He would never be too busy, and he never went away…Or rather…he only went away once…at a time we all knew would come at some point, but never wanted to talk about.

Even as the years went on, and Rage gradually showed signs of age, with his hyperactivity dulling, his stamina dropping, and his face paling, among other things, we didn’t even consider bringing up the steadily approaching day where he’d have to…leave us. It was just not possible for any of us to comprehend it, and even my folks, who had to deal with these moments a number of times before, had trouble accepting how things were when that dreaded time finally came. Nonetheless, they couldn’t just hold it off for much longer. The poor guy had gotten pretty sick, and after the local professor made a house call to check on him, we knew for sure that he wasn’t going to be getting any better. The professor said he’d return the next week to give us the pill…said Rage wouldn’t feel a thing; he’d just drift away quietly, peacefully, as if he was just falling asleep. It was a pretty damn quiet week that followed, and poor Rage was having trouble just getting up on his feet every day. The chill of winter was coming around at the same time, but even if it was the middle of summer, we all would’ve been feeling cold. He was suffering terribly, and the longer the days dragged on, the more we all came to accept this was for the best. When the day finally came, I remember seeing my sister cuddled up with him, having spent the entire evening sleeping beside him as I left for class…It was the last I ever saw of Rage, and I remember feeling a horrible hollowness in me later that day…I knew it was done.

I was slow to walk home, dragging my feet along the paved roads, my eyes watering at the unbearable thought of seeing that house without its guard dog keeping watch, having to see the looks of distress in the rest of my family’s eyes…just knowing we’d have to carry on. It was painful, that’s all I can really say about it. It was hard to get up every morning for a while, everything felt so out of place, nothing felt right about anything. Seeing trainers walking by with their eager, young Pokemon beside them didn’t make things any better either…Never had I felt such a disdain for trainers like I did then. I was jealous of them, still having their lifelong companions when I didn’t have mine anymore. I thought it was unfair…they were always fighting, and yet those were the companionships everyone held in such high regard. All my family did was love our pet Growlithe, and no one else seemed to care… It was selfish of me, I know, to think like that, but, it was just how I was grieving the whole thing. I eventually got over it, but I still felt empty without Rage around, as we all did, and it wasn’t long before we went out to find another pet, someone to help brighten our spirits again…if only just a little.

I offered to try and catch one myself, but, I was no trainer, and I didn’t have the time anyways with my studies in the way. My sister was much the same and my folks couldn’t afford to waste much time for something that was just a gamble when all was said and done. We resorted, then, to find a shelter of some kind that might have a Pokemon for us…and that’s where we met Kiki. She was a shy little Poochyena that someone had found wandering the streets on her own, with muddied up fur and a loose collar around her neck. With the potential owner apparently nowhere in sight, she was taken in, and just looking at her sad little eyes was enough for us. We adopted her with open arms, and while it took her a little while to adjust to the new home and her new family, we got her to warm up to us in time. By that point, the holidays were beginning to come around, and the snow was coming down with it. We had already gotten one early gift that year with Kiki’s arrival, but we had no idea we were about to get another. One unsuspecting afternoon, we got a call from the same breeder in which we got Rage all those years ago, who we had contacted earlier in order to inform her of his passing, and she informed us that she had a Growlithe whose original owners had to return, and she wanted to know if we wanted her. Even with a new dog already, there was no way any of us could refuse this, especially when we learned that this particular Growlithe was the daughter of one of Rage’s siblings. When we all got to see her for the first time, we could see our old pal reflecting right off her eyes…almost as if her uncle had meant for her to come to us. Now we had two Pokemon to tend to, but, the extra work was a small price to pay for two amazing new pets, both of which were able to finally bring us all out of our slump, and make us feel happy again. We all still felt some heartache for our departed old pup, and I know I for one still do whenever I think about him, but at least we still had his memories with us to keep forever, and that was something that could never fade away…I remember one night, Christmas Eve I think, when I dreamt of meeting a massive Arcanine, the most majestic one I’d ever seen, walk up to me with a warm smile and happily nuzzle my face with a friendly lick before running off into the distance, fading from sight…I knew at once that was Rage…and somewhere, somehow, I knew he was out there, still watching over us like the loyal friend he was, and always will be.
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  1. ExoFlashFire
    ExoFlashFire
    Woah, amazing! This is really good!
    Jan 11, 2014
  2. Elizabeth Brodersen
    Elizabeth Brodersen
    Wow never expected Rage to die but it was the story was great. Good details but I couldn't imagine the person telling the story. But still awesome job! >_<
    Jan 7, 2014
  3. Shiny Lyni
    Shiny Lyni
    Might or might not be crying as I read this. Even if I've never had the luxury of knowing what it's like to have a pet get so emotionally attached to you, this still made me cry and I wish I could relate to it more. Well done, Arma~ ♥
    Jan 6, 2014