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Eve of a New Day

by Carmen Lopez

Carmen Lopez One summer evening chronicles the new beginnings for three friends in beautiful Nacrene City...
Cornelia Ellijay

It was one of those early summer nights where my neighborhood in Nacrene City was really alive. This was the time of year when not only were the artists and the other city residents were out in full force, but so were the tourists. There wasn't a festival or anything and Nacrene in general was used to visitors—artists, trainers, academics, tourists or otherwise, but this was different. No one could really explain it, but one day five years ago, they started coming every summer around this time.
Middle class families...mom, dad, adorable children, those types. They were usually rare among the touristy-y types—especially in my artsy neighborhood. A lot of the more colorful residents complained about their blandness, but even they had to admit they brought in good money. You didn't even need to be a career artist to get in on the deal either. Not even an hour ago, I played a song on my guitar to entertain some little girls. Their parents tipped me generously while the little girls told me I was pretty...

But I digress. I had two missions right now: Find Joey and then find Waverly. I made my way to the old industrial plant that had been converted into a craftsman market. I had to avoid getting hit by cars driven by people who were unfamiliar with the area. They were more focused on their GPS systems than on wayward pedestrians. It's a miracle no one had been killed yet.

Fortunately for me, Joey wasn't all that hard to find. Unfortunately for me, I could smell him before I even saw him. I frowned as I sniffed the air.

“Joey,” I complained. “I thought we agreed you would quit!”

Joey Dominguez had classic good looks to go with his blond, slightly tussled hair and clear blue eyes. He was dressed in a plain white t-shirt, skinny jeans and orange Chucks. Joey was the very picture of casual as he leaned against the wall facing an empty parking lot. His Umbreon named Zahra snoozed at his feet with her rings glowing slightly in the darkness. Joey took a long drag on his cigarette and blew out several smoke rings to show off. I rolled my eyes, but he smiled at me. “I don't remember agreeing to anything of the sort ,” he said in his gentle, even voice.

“But it's such a horrible and useless habit,” I said. “Besides, it just makes you--

“Makes me smell bad, blackens my lungs, and will ruin my singing voice,” he finished. “Did I get everything?”

“Of course not,” I said dismissively while he inhaled the cigarette smoke again. “You forgot that it also ages you, destroys your taste buds, and it's just plain rude! Why should non-smokers have to deal with the stuff?”

Another smile. “I know you didn't find me just to lecture me,” Joey said. I watched him exhale a stream of smoke.

I'd digressed again. I also remembered that yesterday I promised myself I wouldn't nag him about smoking. So much for that. I wasn't giving up on getting him to quit, but I dropped the subject for now. “No,” I admitted. “I wanted you to come with me to find Waverly. She seems to be heavily implying that she's going any day now.”

“She keeps changing her mind so much I wasn't sure if she was actually going to go through with it,” Joey said. “Looks like she finally decided.” He finished off his cigarette and extinguished it on the brick wall he was leaning on. “Is she at her favorite spot now?”

“More than likely,” I said.

“All right then,” sighed Joey as he stood up straight. “ Time to go, Zahra.”

The Umbreon's ears twitched once and then she rose to her feet. Joey had told me she was taller than most Umbreon, but as I've never seen another one, I couldn't really compare. It's not like they were common in Unova. Either way, Zahra was one of the sleekest Pokemon I'd ever seen; she reminded me of a sports car as she glided alongside Joey. He definitely loved his dark types. I'd train anything, but I had a special fondness for grass, rock, and ground types. They reminded me of the forest and of the earth itself. I look forward to seeing plenty of nature when Joey and I began traveling around Unova together.

The area shifted as evening rolled in. It didn't empty out, but the types of people changed. The families began to leave so that their children would be in bed at a decent hour. The new visitors were the college aged artists types that flocked to Nacrene whenever Burgh was holding an art show. They were definitely really cool, but they also definitely didn't pay as well. They were as broke as most traveling trainers were. Joey and I were approaching the outer edge of our neighborhood where there were many restaurants and other stores. As a result, the air here smelled delicious. It was also super crowded. I had wanted to get something to eat before going home, but there was no way I was going to wait in any of those lines. Waverly's favorite spot was on the rooftop of an Italian restaurant. Like just about everything else around here, it was converted from an old building—the old post office in this case. We walked around to the back and found the ladder in its usual place. It was probably a safety code violation or something, but the owners always left it up just for Waverly. She just had a way with people that I just couldn't explain.

“Umbry!” Zahra said as she glanced at the ladder.

“I'll let you back out as soon as we get up there,” Joey told her. He took out her Pokeball and recalled her. She nodded as she was transformed into red energy and disappeared into her ball. Joey climbed up the ladder and I followed. I wasn't afraid of heights, but I was still always nervous when I climbed. I was always paranoid that I would fall and break my neck or something horrible like that.

On top of the roof we found Waverly staring out over Nacrene City and into the forest that surrounded us. When she heard us approach, she turned to face us.

“I need to confess something to you,” Waverly said in a wistfully sad voice.

Joey and I attempted to put concerned expressions on our faces but I knew we were both thinking the same exact thing. Waverly was one of the most overly dramatic people we had ever known. Seriously. The last time she told us she had a confession to make it was that she didn't like that new style of music that all the hipsters and indie scene people were raging about (But then wouldn't hipsters hate it? Back on topic...) She made it seem like it was the most horrifying thing ever...well I guess that is major if you were twelve trying to be a cool.

“Well, what is it,” said Joey after the dramatic silence.

“Guys, I feel trapped here,” Waverly said.

“Trapped,” I repeated. “You're thirteen. You aren't supposed to feel trapped until you're an adult and your life isn't what you thought it would be.”

“Yeah, just ask my Uncle Bobby, he'll tell you all about what being trapped feels like,” said Joey and we both couldn't hold back the laughs.

Waverly dropped her would-be nostalgic expression and glared at us. “Be serious! You two are about to go on this awesome adventure and leave me behind! Do you know how much that's going to suck?”

“No we don't,” I said. “We've graduated high school already. This is when we're supposed to be going on adventures.”

“On the other hand, you haven't even finished your first year of high school,” Joey added.

Waverly's face contorted and a single tear rolled down her cheek. She closed her eyes. “I knew you guys would shoot me down,” she whispered.

I'm glad she had her eyes closed because we both facepalmed. “Look Waverly,” I said. “Don't cry. We aren't trying to shut you down; we're just saying that you have plenty of time to go on an adventure when you're...older.” Honestly the word I wanted to use was mature, but why make her more upset than she already is? “There's no need to rush off or anything.”

Waverly's eyes snapped open. “When I'm older?! You're telling me to just sit here while you two go off and send me post cards or something?”

“Why on earth would we send you post cards?” Joey mused. “That's the lamest thing ever.”

Waverly snorted and crossed her arms. “You two are like my older brother and sister and you're just leaving me to rot here.”

I admit it. I got pangs of guilt with that one. Waverly's older brothers had long left home to do some traveling of their own and her parents largely left her to her own devices even though they were overall nice people. Joey and I first met Waverly when we volunteered at her then elementary school's fall festival. She was ten and we were fifteen but we were both drawn her her craziness. Waverly always had a few friends around her own age, but we became something like her mentors. She had big dreams and I saw where she was coming from...that wasn't going to stop us from leaving. Also, I did take issue with the last thing she said though.

“What do you mean leave you here to rot?” I said. “You act like you live in a backwater place like Kanto or something! You're living in one of the most active, interesting places in Unova! There is plenty to see, do, and learn here before you just up and leave.”

“That settles it,” Waverly said as though she were finishing up a conversation with someone. “I'm going to Hoenn and starting my Pokemon adventure there.”


“What.” Joey said, but I was beside myself.

“Were you listening to a word I just said?!”

“No, seriously,” she said as she looked me in the eye. “I have to do this.”

And with those five words, I knew there was no convincing her stay in Unova. Joey took the words right out of my mouth.

“Well aren't you the determined one,” he said. “Clearly there's no stopping you is there.”

“Nope.” she said. But as quickly as she turned serious, I saw that gleam in her eye return. “Hoenn is such a beautiful place...”

She trailed off and I knew her mind was wandering to places far beyond what Joey and I could see. We could make every reasonable argument in the world--that she has no idea how to live on the road, that she's only living in a fantasy world--but it wouldn't make the slightest bit of difference. Waverly would have to learn the hard way because we couldn't stop her.
  1. Psycho Monkey
    Psycho Monkey
    I like this. The scenery around Nacrene is amazingly beautiful and well described. I can clearly imagine what it would be like on not just particular summer night, but on any day at any time with all of the events you mentioned that happen. For being a one-shot the characters are also very well developed.
    Sep 10, 2013