This blog post was created for Chuck Wendig’s FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE: IT’S X MEETS Y AGAIN! The idea is to randomly pick two concepts and write a story reflecting a mashup of both. I ended up with Pokémon and Lord of the Flies.
Upon opening her eyes, the young girl was greeted to the sight of a beautiful blue sky framed by the leaves bamboo trees. Underneath her, she could feel the cool, and relatively flat dirt of the forest floor. Turning her head to the side, she caught a glimpse of something small and blue moving through the trees; but by the time she struggled to her feet, whatever it was gone from her view.
She managed to take a few steps before her knees wobbled and threatened to give out from underneath her. Reaching out to grab a nearby bamboo stalk, she steadied herself and took a brief physical inspection of herself. Though she winced when she moved her shoulders, nothing appeared broken and she couldn’t see any signs of wounds or blood. Miraculously, her clothing appeared intact. It was dirty and a little worse for wear, but suffered not tearing.
Looking back up, she scanned her surroundings. Bamboo stalks stretched out as far as she could see in all directions, and the forest floor seemed relatively flat. Off in the distance to her left, she heard something move. She hesitated for a few moments before starting off in the direction of the noise.
Laying on the forest floor before her was young, bespectacled boy, who looked to be about the same age as herself. Remarkably; his thin, bronze-rimmed glasses managed not only to survive the incident unbroken, but remained affixed to the boy’s face, abet askew. While the boy appeared to be unconscious and moaning, the girl had not seen any signs of injury from afar.
When she kneeled down next to him, her hair spilled forward and obscured her view. Upon feeling the loose strands brush his face, the boy blinked and lazily opened his eyes. Warm sunlight filtered down through the girl’s golden hair.
Unable to see, the girl started to collect her hair into a ponytail before muttering, “Shit.” and draping it over her right shoulder instead.
After blinking several times, the boy managed to ask, “What?” in a somewhat hoarse tone.
“Missing my hair tie. Are you hurt?” she asked. Now that she could get a closer look at the book, he seemed to be in a similar state as she was. Disheveled, but not unbroken.
“I hurt. Does that count?” he tried to quip.
“No.” she stated flatly as she struggled back up to her feet. Taking grasp of a near by bamboo stalk, she reached out to the boy and offered her hand. “Sophia Moore.”
The boy started to try to get up without her assistance, but his arms and legs didn’t seem to fully agree with this course of action. After a moment of struggling, he accepted her hand and she helped him to his feet. “Phil Hartman.”
After taking a moment to brush off her knees, she looked at the boy and smiled. “Well, Phil, the last thing I remember was being on plane and hearing a loud noise. Then everything went dark, and I woke up here.”
“Same here. Plane must have crashed.”
“Mmm-hmm. And if we survived, others might have too. I can’t imagine we’d be too far apart.”
“We shouldn’t split up though!” Phil quickly interjected. “I mean, with what was going on back home and us not knowing where we are. Or what might be out there.”
Sophia tilted her head. She looked at the nervous boy over for a minute, before looking at the trees around them. Looking back at the boy, she shrugged. “Ok.”
It turned out that Sophia and Phil weren’t that far away from the shore. On the beach, they found debris from the plane, along with a handful of survivors. It appeared that most of the plane, and its occupants, had landed in the ocean.
One of the survivors, Nimrod, had been the captain of his soccer team. During the crash, he had remained conscious. Immediately upon hitting the water, he had set out to find and rescue his teammates. However, once the entire soccer team team was safe, he and his teammates didn’t try to assist anyone else. Instead, they had watched on from the tree line while other survivors struggled in the ocean and on the beach.
In fact, they had viewed one scene with particular amusement. While all the children on the plane were the same age, there was one boy named Odd who was particularly massive. He looked like he could be a good two or three years older than he was; and he had taken to bullying a couple smaller children who were trying to make it onto the shore.
Whenever he had seen one of the kids start to paddle in toward land, he’d swim towards them. If they got within reach, he’d push them under the water and hold them there for a few seconds before letting go. If one made it past him onto the shore, he’d chase after them, drag them back to the water, and toss them out into the ocean.
The harassment had been going on for quite some time before an equally large young woman by the name of Bridgette noticed it. She had promptly stomped over to Odd and had threatened to box his ears if he continued. When he laughed at her, she had punched him square in the nose and clapped her cupped hands hard over his ears. Dazed and bleeding, Odd had stumbled off to recover while Bridgette helped the smaller children to shore.
However, the closest person to Sophia and Phil when they exited the forest was a frail looking rail of a boy named Pax. A number of children had washed up or landed on the beach and were unconscious. With both great haste and diligence, Pax had moved from one survivor to the next. He had checked to make sure they were breathing and had inspected for signs of injury. When necessary, Pax had administered CPR and as much first aid as his resources allowed. Due to his unflagging efforts and knowledge of CPR and first aid, he managed to save several lives.
While Phil had been stunned upon seeing the chaos on the beach, Sophia had not. Immediately upon taking in the situation, she had turned to Phil and got him to focus his attention on her. Once he was looking at her, she had instructed him to build a fire; breaking down the process into small, concrete and easy to accomplish steps.
While Phil had set about making a fire, Sophia had built a small, crude clothesline out of five pieces of fallen bamboo. Immediately after finishing that, she had started gathering up wet survivors near the future fire pit, stripping them of their clothing, and hanging their soaked attire over the clothesline. In no time, Phil had managed to start a roaring fire using dry tinder from the forest and his classes.
As the sun started to set, everyone had gathered around the warm flames.
Before speaking, Sophia took a moment to look over every other survivor’s face; all thirty six of them.
“Thanks to Phil,” she said pointing to the bashful, bespectacled boy, “we have a warm fire and should have enough fuel to burn until morning.” A few cheers broke out in the crowd. Sophia stopped to smile and waited for the clamor to die down before continuing.
“Those of you who had wet clothes should find them dry tomorrow, over on the rack. Speaking of tomorrow, the first thing we need to do is-”
“Hold up!” Nimrod interjected. As he stepped forward, he continued, “Did someone put you in charge?”
“Then maybe you should shut up.”
“I’m just trying to-”
“Shut up? And failing miserably. I can see that. We’ll worry about tomorrow tomorrow.”
Sophia’s brow furrowed. “And just what makes you think you’re in charge and can tell me what to do?”
Nimrod smirked and motioned to his soccer teammates. “I’m captain of a soccer team. Anyone else here in charge of anything?” Looking out over the crowd of survivors he repeats. “Anyone? Anyone? Anyone at all?” Still smirking, he turns back to face Sophia. “Well then. There you go.”
Sophia met the boy’s gaze. “All that means is that you can order your teammates around when it comes to soccer. Like the military. And, as you know from civics class, we live in a democratic republic – and I didn’t vote for you to represent me.”
The boy’s face twisted with rage. “Fine! Let’s put it to a vote then. Who wants me, a captain, a veteran leader to lead them instead of some stupid, loud mouthed girl?” Twelve boys shouted and raised their hands; the soccer team, Nimrod included, and Odd.
A wide grin spread across Sophia’s face. “Well then, I guess I’m elected leader.”
“Hold up.” a voice shouted from the rear of the crowd. “Hold up! Hold up!” the voice shouted again as the girl worked her way up to the fire. Once Bridgette was fully at the forefront, she cleared her throat and retorted.
“I didn’t vote for him, but I don’t know that I’d vote for you, seeing as you did take upon yourself to set an agenda for us all, without consulting with us first.”
Turning around and looking over the crowd, Bridgette’s eyes eventually found Pax. Pointing to the small boy, she continued. “I want him to represent me. He’s the boy that saved many of your from drowning or bleeding to death.”
The children standing next to the small boy took several steps back, leaving him alone and exposed. In a small, quiet voice; Pax responded. “I just wanted to help. I’m not a leader.”
“He doesn’t want to be your leader, so leave him alone.” Sophia quickly interjected.
Bridgette shook her head. “All the more reason he should lead. People who want to be in charge are the last people who should be in charge.” She looked over at Odd, then to Nimrod, and finally at Sophia. “Like bullies. Wanting to force other people to do their will.”
Sophia sighed. “Fine. So, since we have three candidates, I think we should have the people who support each candidate walk over and stand or sit next to their candidate of choice.”
Nimrod started to say something, but Sophia immediately shot, “Unless you have a better way to make sure no one votes twice. It’s dark and its not like we have anything to use for a formal ballot.” Nimrod shut his mouth.
After a few minutes of shuffling around, the number of children around each candidate was counted. It was a three way tie.
“So who’s in charge?” asked Nimrod.
“I guess all three of us.” Pax replied.
The following morning Sophia awoke to a lot of excited shouting. Sitting up, she took a quick look around and found a the few children making the noise had crowded around in a tight circle around something. Curious, like many of the other newly woken, Sophia made her way over to the circle.
Peering over the nearest girl’s shoulder, she managed to get a glimpse of what they were all excited about. In the center of the circle sat a girl, and on her lap sat a bright purple kitten.
Once the surprise started to wear off, the girl with the kitten was pelted with a flurry of questions. Was it real? Was it actually a kitten? Where did she find it? Were there more?
Sophia managed to extricate the girl (and the kitten) from the crowd, and was quickly joined by Nimrod and Pax. Phil, Odd, and Bridgette ran interference while the group’s leadership questioned the girl and listened to her story.
At some point in the night, the girl woke up and had to pee. When she crept off into the woods, she saw a small light in the distance, and she decided to investigate it. The light had been emanating from a low ceilinged cave, out of which a flowed a small, fresh-water stream. Still curious about the source of the light, she descended into the cave.
The inside of the cave was lined with a rainbow assortment of crystals and, at its heart, she found massive pile of round, glowing, sky-blue blobs. Each blob was about the size of a fist. When she approached the pile, a blob rolled off the pile, and right over to her.
Kneeling down, she reached out to pick it up. However, instead of feeling a whatever one of the blobs may feel like in human hands, she found herself holding a warm, purring, purple kitten. The girl had always wanted a cat, and her favorite color was purple.
After giving the survivors instructions to build a latrine, locate the fresh water stream, and search for edible food; Sophia, Nimrod, and Pax set off for the cave. With her help, they found it fairly quickly. However, it wasn’t glowing and, when they went inside, the entire cave was dark. Nothing was moving at all.
After a few minutes of fruitless exploring, everyone but Pax had left the cave. The second Pax was alone in the cave, a bright light flared up from inside it before receding. Moments later, Pax came out of the cave riding a funny looking turtle with a sapling growing out of its shell.
They determined that the cave only responded to one person at a time, and that whatever someone took from the cave was a baby. Eventually, everyone would make a trip to the cave and most people left with kittens or puppies.
However, some people left with some more exotic partners. Bridgette exited with glorious golden song bird riding on her shoulder. Odd emerged caring what looked like a jet black football with two legs, a large mouth, and no other identifying features. Phil trotted out with a multi-tailed kit. Nimrod carried out a small lizard of some sort.
And then there was Sophia…
When Sophia left the cave she was followed by a monster. It looked like a mashup of multiple featherless dinosaurs with some humanoid features. The creature walked on two massively muscled legs and stood six feet tall – a good head over any of the children. A row of massive, boney plates jutted out of its spine, starting at its neck and ending near the tip of its thick tail. While it’s head had a massive jaw full of sharp teeth, it had high, forward focused eyes. It had two arms that ended in very human-like hands. Instead of skin or scales, it was covered in thick, green keloid scars.
For a while, thinks seemed to go well. Everyone had a fun pet. Clean, fresh water was easily available. The local trees and bushes seemed to provide adequate, non-poisonous food. But that was not to last.
Pax’s followers did most of the heavy and skilled labor. They sustainably cut down bamboo and turned it into shelter and furniture. Sophia’s followers provided a lot of unskilled labor, primarily gathering and transporting fruit, water, and fuel for the fire.
As for Nimrod’s soccer team, they didn’t do much of anything at all; except for compete with one another via primitive ball games or by performing feats of strength. However, one day, two of the players got into a heated argument, that resulted in them trading blows.
The fact that two young men got into a fist fight over a silly game was not, in and of itself, noteworthy. What notable was the fact that their two pets fought with each other when their masters did – and both pets seemed to come out looking slightly larger and more powerful.
Upon seeing this, Nimrod set up regular fighting tournaments for his team and Odd. While most of the island had cute, friendly dogs and cats to play with and keep their owners company; the soccer team team had developed a pack of dire wolves and lions in a few short months. Odd’s pet Chompy had grown too – it’s jaw was now over three meter’s long, and its jaws could crunch through solid rock.
But Nimrod’s pet was the most impressive of them all.
Hunched over, it still stood nearly seven feet tall. It had a long jaw filled with rows of needle like teeth and large, demonic looking horns jutting forward on its head. Long, powerful, curved claws adorned its hands and feet; claws that could easily cut through bone like butter. Venom dripped liberally from its horns, teeth, claws, and stinger-tipped tail. Its body was thin, almost gaunt, yet it still remained surprisingly strong.
And yet it had an even more impressive skill. It could turn invisible at will.
Nimrod had never been happy with the power sharing arrangement, so it should have come as no surprise when Nimrod assassinated Pax in his sleep. What was a surprise was that Nimrod suddenly found himself able to control Pax’s small island sized dragon-turtle-forest pet.
The following morning, Nimrod appeared before the camp and announced what he had done. He displayed the corpse of Pax, showcased his control of Pax’s pet by ordering it to crush a house, and issued an ultimatum. Either all the residents would follow him, or he would slaughter them.
Sophia promptly told Nimrod to go to Hell, and Nimrod and his team descended upon Sophia’s followers like an avalanche. While Sophia’s mighty monster (now towering nearly twelve feet tall and capable of spitting lightning) easily fended off any one who attempted to assault her personally; she found herself woefully unable to defend her followers.
Those who followed Sophia weren’t particularly loyal or skilled. When Nimrod’s forces attacked them, they immediately fled, surrendered, or were executed. Within seconds, Sophia found herself standing alone.
When Nimrod turned to face Pax’s followers, Bridgette told him simply to let her people go, or she would destroy the island and everything on it. Her glorious golden song bird had grown to become an immensely large Roc that shown with all the brilliance of the Sun; and claimed that it had the power burn the island, and everything on it, down to ash.
Nimrod didn’t believe her, and used his perfectly stealthy pet to skewer her right through the heart. With her dying breath, she commanded her firebird to scorch the island and its inhabitants to cinders.
And it did what was asked of it. A wave of fire swept over the island and left nothing in its wake. Even stone melted as it passed. In the end, nothing was left of the island other than a large, black scorch mark in the Pacific Ocean.
And thus ended the last remnants of human life on Earth.
I think that half of the basic premise – Lord of the Flies – was just way too epic for the target word count (2000 words). As it was, I hit 3000 words, and I basically had to rush through the entire thing. It’s crazy hard to setup kids descending from civility to barbarism and self destruction in 2000 words, let alone try to cram in Pokémon.
That said, I did the best I could. I compressed a lot of the narrative, especially at the end. It’s not really my normal style of writing, and may not have flowed as well as I would have hoped. Its a bit sad, as I think the idea works really well.
Both Pokémon and Lord of the Flies are about children. Children who are alone. Children who are growing up in a world that has/is suffering a devastating war. Children who are in constant conflict with each other.
There’s a lot of interesting meat there – but I had to kinda power through it. I wanted to showcase Nimrod’s gradual slide into barbarism, and contrast it with Odd jumping in with both feet. I wanted to spend more time on Pax and Phil, and showcasing their desire to peacefully rebuild, and how their visions differed. I also wanted to use Bridgette in a more expanded role – with her separating off to form a new colony when Nimrod starts to show aggressive tendencies. A colony she protects successfully (for a while at least) by using the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction.
And I would have preferred to use a completely different writing style for most of it.
Also, my regular editor wasn’t available for proofing so… I’m sorry for any spelling or grammar errors, and any poor story content.
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