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Stay Out of the Freezer: Stay Out of the Freezer (Chapter 1)

by Mr.RMA

Mr.RMA Taking place between the events of Pokemon B/W and B2/W2, a hotshot trainer passing through the city of Driftveil decides to explore the Cold Storage room at the southernmost end of town, a building that has been abandoned ever since all the workers within it disappeared without a trace.
Four badges in and four more to go, Harold was, understandably, getting pretty confident in his chances with this Unova league. How much tougher could this second half of gym leaders be? Each notch in difficulty was almost completely unnoticeable, with the way his Pokemon were jumping up the experience ladder, taking on stronger and stronger contenders, as well as the more resilient wild Pokemon that would take their place in the ever-growing team. The young man, garbed up in his favorite zip-up red jacket and cargo pants, with his trusty knapsack slung over his shoulder, felt like he had the entire league beaten already, and it was clear from his stride across the drawbridge leading into Driftveil city that Gym number 5 wasn’t going to be intimidating him in the slightest. Nonetheless, he didn’t immediately charge gung-ho into the building in question looming over him from across the docks upon his arrival, instead taking his time to tour himself around the latest town on his pathway to glory.

It was a nice contrast to the loud and somewhat boisterous nature of Nimbasa city, more of a rural sort of place by the looks of it, with an open marketplace and a series of small, orange-roofed houses lined up on the streets. It was apparently more of a blue-collar sort of town, with a focus on shipping if the work on the docks was any indicator. Fewer distractions, which meant Harold expected to get right back on the road soon enough, once the gym challenge was dealt with. This Clay was apparently a ground type user, an unfortunate setback; None of Harold’s Pokemon had any sort of advantage against ground… Water types were all around, but he lacked a fishing rod, leaving him with whatever dwelled on the land in these parts. Figuring the locals could guide him in the proper direction, he made his way over to the marketplace.

“Ah, another trainer… You’re lookin’ for somethin’ with ice, grass or water in ‘em then,” one of the merchants murmured, sounding like he had been approached with this kind of question many a time before.

“Yeah, that’d definitely help me out a ton, sir. You know where the strongest ones are around here?” Harold asked as a follow-up, hoping that the tired response meant he was going to get the solution to his problem sooner than he’d expected.

“Eh… we got a grass-type ‘r two… ain’t the strongest sorts though. All the real tough ones hide themselves pretty good this time’a the year,” he replied with a shrug.

“Ah, darn… So… nothing worthwhile nearby?” the young trainer asked, hoping for some kind of alternative to the tiresome searches he had taken many a time before in situations like these.

“Used to recommend givin’ the ol’ Cold Storage a look, ice types love that sorta thing, obviously, but… that there’s out of the question now,” the merchant grumbled with a shake of his head.

“Cold Storage?” Harold repeated, his curiosity piqued, though the merchant, a fairly husky, dark haired man who seemed to be around his early 40s turned and glared at him intensely at his words.

“I know what yer thinkin’ kid… Don’t even try it, for your own sake; you keep away from those warehouses. We’ve had some nasty business down there, workers goin’ missin’, search teams lookin’ for ‘em never returnin’. I don’t care how much of a hotshot you think you are, you don’t wanna be goin’ off doin’ somethin’ stupid and wastin’ your life on account’a nothin’.”

Harold blinked in surprise at the sudden change of emotion in the once droll-looking older man, but eventually just scoffed at the warning. “I can take perfectly good care of myself, sir. My pals and I have dealt with far worse I’m sure than whatever spooky scary ghouls you’ve got locked up in the freezer there,” he said, giving a light wave as he casually walked out of the marketplace.

“Just stay out of that ‘freezer’, boy, if you damn well know what’s good for ya,” the merchant called over to him before he was out of sight. The brash young man didn’t seem to take the warning to heart, if anything, all the more excited to see just what this Cold Storage warehouse was all about. All these big towns seemed to have some rumors or legends about them, and they usually led to either a whole lot of nothing, or occasionally some super-neat stuff. Maybe there were some real powerhouse ice types in there, just waiting to be captured! Clay would be a pushover with the right Vanillite on his team, and he’d be one more badge closer to the league championship in no time flat. Wasting no time at all, Harold sprinted his way over to the warehouse district, the brisk chill hinting at the building he was looking for.

Aside from the significant drop in temperature around the area, and the ice glazing some of the cracks and creases, the Cold Storage standing at the corner of the district didn’t seem all too different from the other warehouses in the area… well… aside from the sloppily spray-painted “StAy AwAy” message stretched across the garage door. It appeared someone had attempted to seal the two doors leading inside, but it only took a few insistent pushes by Harold’s trusty Herdier to force their way in. The interior was completely frozen over, ice coating the floors and boxes stacked high all throughout the area, with massive icicles hanging perilously over the ceiling. Stepping further inside, Harold abruptly felt a different sort of chill run through him, cautiously sending out his Zebstrika and Pignite to accompany him and Herdier as they steadily pressed further onward, their breath fogging their line of vision every time they exhaled in thick grey clouds. The place seemed strangely bigger on the inside, the flickering lights indicating the storage room had been neglected for some time. As they neared a large, open storage container, the sound of footsteps echoed plainly from within. These were no Pokemon’s footsteps from the sound of it… what sounded like heavy worker boots hitting a steel floor.

“Hey… uh… someone in there?” Harold called out.

No respose.

“I don’t mean to bother you or anything, just… You know if there’s any Pokemon still around here? I haven’t seen anything yet,” he said, just as he felt a brush of fur against his leg. Looking down, he saw Herdier shivering rather fretfully, its eyes firmly stuck on the blackness surrounding the large container before them.

“…Pokemon, here, come see,” a dry, throaty voice suddenly called back out, the unexpected reply stiffening every muscle in Harold’s body, nearly freezing him in place. He began to realize by this point that this was in fact, a very bad idea, but upon turning around to make his way out, he was greeted with a barricade of boxes blocking his path. He was stuck.

“U-uh… I… I think I’ll be fine; you can have them, s-sir… I really think I should be going now…” he murmured, scampering over to the boxes attempting to shove them aside or topple them over to clear a path, turning around to command his Pokemon to do the same, only to find they had vanished… replaced by something entirely different… Stricken with panic, Harold desperately shoved at the boxes again, tears running down his face as he cried out “HELP! SOMEONE! OH ARCEUS SOMEBODY PLEASE!” He screamed as loudly as he could, but then in an instant, as something sharp punctured his spine, ripping into his flesh, hooking him backwards, into the darkness, his throat closed up, and as he felt his insides beginning to fall out one-by-one, he couldn’t scream any more.