A Close Thing

BY : Mizor4
Category: +M through R > Pokemon
Dragon prints: 2684
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokemon, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Simi sat at a small desk and poured over one of her mother's well-penned journals, the tight, orderly script fine enough for any library, though the pages were hastily sewn instead of bound. This particular entry detailed a fever, the boy's throat so swollen he couldn't eat, and the steps her mother took to cure him.

Simi had read the pages before, but her mother reviewed this account before leaving for the nearby village currently plagued by a similar outbreak. Simi wanted to help, but someone needed to stay with the house, so her mother said. On the other hand, no one would chastise her for wasting candles instead of sweating in front of the hearth for light so she could read late into the night.

A loud, heavy thump against the door made Simi jump, almost sending the candle toppling onto the journals scattered about the cramped desk and turning years of work to ash. She froze, heart racing and breath held, straining to hear any other noise that might indicate what lurked outside. They had no neighbors who would visit at this hour without desperate need of a healer.

"M-Mother?"

Nobody responded. Simi rose slowly, light on her feet to make as little noise as possible. She snatched her belt-knife from the table beside the door and retreated, gripping the small blade so hard her hand trembled. Something scratched at the door – claws, not fingers. Large claws by the sound they made, slow and rasping against the wood. Simi stood utterly still, her mind constructing the monster waiting just on the other side of a thin piece of wood – waiting for her. Then it stopped. Fire crackled merrily in the hearth.

After seconds or centuries, Simi crept towards the small window high on the wall that overlooked the front steps and rose onto her toes. Evening's fading light obscured any details, but not the inky trail leading up the porch steps. Few things left a trail like blood, and Simi had seen plenty of blood working with her mother. Anyone who lost that much rarely survived. An attack, or an accident perhaps? A bad accident. Surely they would have called out for help if they could make it to the door.

"Hello?" Again, no response. Her heart pounded. The knife hilt dug painfully against her palm, but could she wait while someone died on her mother's steps, slowly bleeding out? No matter what waited outside, she wouldn't.

The door's latch trembled in Simi's hand, but something pressed against the door, causing the latch to bind. Something indeed waited for her. With a shove, the latch clicked free, and the door swung inwards.

Simi would have gasped, but her chest squeezed the noise to a quiet gurgle. She stumbled backwards, almost slicing her face with the belt knife before catching herself against the wall. Through the door, an unmoving and decidedly inhuman creature slumped through the doorway and lay motionless.

While obviously a pokemon – monsters didn't really exist, probably – Simi had never seen anything like it. A crimson mane spilled from the top and back of a narrow head, dark gray fur intermixed with stunning red accents about the mouth, ears, and eyes. The pokemon had a lithe body, far smaller than she imagined, likely similar in height to herself. A thick tuft of fur covered its chest, the rest of its body a dark grey like wet ash. A trio of claws as long as her finger and blood red crowned each limb.

It didn’t take long to find the source of its injuries. A mess of fur, blood, and shadow hid the pokemon's wounds, but its right leg didn't look good. The pokemon didn't move. Neither did Simi.

She had never been so close to a pokemon before and knew even less about them, other than you probably didn't want an untamed one in your house. What if it woke? From the amount of blood that already stained the bare wood floor, she might not have to worry. She wasn't nearly as good at stitching flesh as her mother.

“Panic helped no one.” Her mother would gently remind her when she froze up in front of an injury. Plan, prepare, perform. She had to try, and she couldn't do that with it laying in the doorway. Carefully, Simi knelt, and a surreptitious glance indicated a male. Simi gently reached towards the thick soft fur covering his forearm. He limp arm felt warm despite the blood loss, and when he didn't stir, Simi firmly grabbed his wrist.

"Sorry," she whispered, and unceremoniously dragged the surprisingly heavy pokemon towards the hearth where she could see better. Blood smeared across the wood floor. She rummaged for supplies and every candle she could find, placing them around the pokemon like she were about to perform some occult ritual.

After scrubbing her hands and heating water, Simi settled herself beside the pokemon and examined his wounds. Blood and matted fur created a sticky mess that would make treatment difficult, and fresh blood continued to ooze onto her fingers. It looked bad, like something very large tried to chew through his leg, bone and all, and almost succeeded. Simi deeply hoped whatever caused the injury hadn't followed.

The bone didn't feel broken, but his skin hung in tatters, leaving ripped muscle bare and bloody. She had seen her mother amputate less serious injuries. Simi couldn't. Even if it were the best option, she didn't trust herself not to kill him outright performing an operation like that alone.

Jagged, messy cuts covered his leg from below the knee down, some almost to the bone. Simi cleaned and sewed where she could, but sections along his calf – Simi couldn't fathom where to even begin. The delicate work took time, her fingers slow compared to her mother's precise speed, and one thing the pokemon surely didn't have was time. Eventually she couldn't even find two scraps to sew together, and instead applied an ointment to ward off infection and wrapped his leg as best she could in thick bandages, hopefully tight enough to stop the bleeding.

Two of the candles had guttered by the time she finished, the floor around her looking like that of a slaughterhouse, and she couldn't say whether any of her efforts helped. He breathed laboriously, a soft hiss through his long snout, but didn't make a sound otherwise. You can't hurt the dead, her mother would have said. Her mother could have done so much more.

Simi leaned back against the wall and let out a great sigh. Her knees ached and back felt tight from hunching over her patient. Night fell completely some time ago. Only the hearth and a solitary candle provided any light, casting a distorted silhouette of the strange creature across the kitchen.

It would take a proper scrubbing to remove the red stains from her skin. Simi let her eyes drift closed, just for a moment. She took deep, slow breaths, trying to ignore the metallic tang thick in the air, to not criticize each suture, each bandage, each rushed decision. If only for a moment.



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