Previously: “The Old Bridge In The Park.”
This week, a Pokemon creepypasta story I wasn’t familiar with until quite recently, despite the fact that it’s quite old indeed. It’s called “Braid,” and although it wasn’t originally written as a creepypasta — its author seems somewhat bemused that it’s become regarded as such, according to one comment on it she left once upon a time — but, perhaps because of the proliferation of Pokemon creepypasta stories strewn across the internet, it’s gradually gained the reputation of being one itself.
When I say it’s old, by the way, I do mean that; it was originally published back in 2010, making it more than 12 years old. Its author posted it in several places — on Oct. 1, 2010, she published it to a Pokecommunity board under the name JX Valentine, with a DeviantArt republication following about a month later under the name banzaisebastian, for example — before it eventually made its way to the Creepypasta Wikia a few years later (in 2012, per the revision history).
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
I’m a sucker for stories that build on lore for specific properties that’s merely hinted at in the official texts — and that’s where “Braid” excels. It takes its cues from Ilex Forest, a location in the Johto region that initially appeared in Pokemon Gold and Silver, which were released for Game Boy Color in Japan in 1999, North America in 2000, and Europe in 2001. It went on to make a handful of appearances in other games, anime, and manga as the years and generations rolled on, too. There are several interwoven narratives here (hence the title of the story — get it? Braid?), so the structure might seem a little confusing at first — but they all come together eventually. And the payoff? It’s good. Promise.
If you venture into Ilex Forest, keep your eyes on the path — no matter what.
Before you looms the darkness of Ilex Forest, you’ve just earned your second badge in the Johto League, and you’re already excited about getting your third. It doesn’t strike you as odd that no one in Azalea Town told you much about the forest. It strikes you as a little odd that no one will tell you how to get through it. Nonetheless, you know from the map in the Pokémon center that it stands between you and Goldenrod City, and you need to get to Goldenrod within a week. (There is, in reality, no reason why you absolutely need to be there within a week. You simply decided right after defeating Bugsy that you want to get your next badge right away.) So, you need to go through Ilex Forest.
You pass an elderly couple on your way through the pristine checkpoint. They stare at you for a while before the old man turns to his wife.
Part of you swears you can hear him mutter, “You know we can’t warn anyone, Muriel. Don’t you remember what happened to the last kid we tried to tell the story to?”
[Photo via Lucy_Prior/Pixabay, remixed by Lucia Peters.]