Credited to an anonymous writer on F Yeah Pokemon Creepypasta.
Ever since their creation in the second generation, shiny pokemon have become one of the single most desired things in the history of the franchise. And why not? They’re different, beautiful—in most cases at least—and extremely rare; so much so that one could go through every one of the post-Second Gen. games ten times and never see even one. As such, many people all over the world have discovered glitches and loopholes that can be exploited, albeit with slight difficulty, in order to obtain one of those rare and sparkling pixel creatures.
Now, I’ve always looked down a little on those who would cheat to get a shiny, as it seemed “impure” to catch one due to something other than the pure luck that’s usually required. It takes all the wonder out of it if you merely have to punch in a code and get that rare and beautiful pokemon others could spend their lives searching for. This idea only grew stronger in my mind when I, at last, encountered my first shiny: the Ursaring I named Chernobyl, inspired by its nuclear-waste green coloring. I’d caught Chernobyl after playing these games for years, my heart pounding and my hand shaking as I clicked on the Ultra Ball icon, adrenaline rushing through me as I watched it wobble and then fall silent. How could anyone cheapen moments like this through cheating?
But then I discovered the art of soft-resetting.
It wasn’t technically cheating, I thought. The chances of encountering a shiny didn’t decrease, and it was entirely possible that I could spend just as many years soft resetting as I’d spent playing and never actually get one. And, yeah, perhaps I was a tad jealous of my friends and their shinies, since I couldn’t actually use Chernobyl due to her stats and level in relation to my other pokemon. Just as well, I wasn’t a huge fan of Ursaring, though I can hardly complain about finding one that was shiny! So while Chernobyl currently rests in my box in Soul Silver, right next to the complimentary red Gyrados, theirs were out and about in their main parties, winning battles and looking beautiful. If there was a chance that I could both obtain a useable shiny and not have to cheat to get it, I decided I would take it.
So, I turned on my DS and started up the copy of Leaf Green I’d borrowed from a friend a few months before. I’d just recently played through most of it, but my team was sub-par and I’d already sent them up into Soul Silver, so I had nothing to lose in starting over.
I racked up a full minute of game play naming my rival and myself—a boy I dubbed Jace, despite my gender—and nearly entering the tall grass before I finally stood before the table holding those three famous pokeballs. I moved to the last one, pressing A to make sure it contained who I hoped it did:
I smiled, clicking in and out of the save menu for the first and last time for a long while. As expected, the first one of what would be many, I was sure, was the regular blend of yellow and orange. It leapt in place on the screen and I smiled. I’d always gotten Squirtle when I was younger, adoring the tank-like qualities of Blatoise and the incredible usefulness of the water type in general, but I couldn’t deny how cute Charmander was. Nor could I deny how incredibly awesome a shiny Charizard would look at the front of my team.
The first combination was pressed, giving way to countless more afterward. And when I say countless, I mean I didn’t even try to keep track of them. I started my mission at five-o-clock on a Thursday night and went on painstakingly pressing that same combination of buttons until around 11:15, with no luck. The same thing with the next night to no avail. And the next. And the next. I almost gave up more than once, but how many times had I given up on things like this before? And was I really going to be the one to admit I tried getting one of the most beautiful shinies in the game but gave up simply because I wasn’t willing to put in the time? So I kept on going until I lost track of time, perhaps passing one in my eventual exhaustion at the monotonous task of button-pressing. I memorized the sound of Charmander’s cry and the exact shade of orange coloring its skin, praying each time that it would be different and that it would appear to be leaping towards the little red star that would confirm it was, at last, the Charmander I wanted.
I must’ve gone through every single one of the 8,192 ordinary Charmaders the odds assured me I would encounter before the moment arrived. It was nearing 10 on a school night and I had a test the next day, so I was a mixture of exhausted and anxious, determination replaced with sheer desire for both a shiny and to overcome the obstacle of the game. I actually almost pressed those buttons again, numbed by time and lack of success, but something made me look twice before I could.
The orange that had begun to mock me was replaced by a soft shade of yellow, and the tiny, adorable lizard gazing up at me did so beneath a bright red star.
I saved the game for the second time, play time of one minute still remaining despite the hours I’d thrown into finding my little golden Charmander, and then went nuts. I screamed with excitement and leapt from the couch, jumping to the ceiling with excitement. My second shiny ever and it was going to be a Charizard! Charizard! One of the most famous and desired pokemon and it was mine and shiny! I couldn’t contain myself; didn’t even try.
It ended up being a girl. Tiamat—the perfect name for a vicious dragon, black as night. I squealed, hugging the DS to my chest.
At last, it came time to battle Blue and his Squirtle—his non-shiny Squirtle. Blue threw out the little turtle and it gave its trademark cry. But then, Tiamat came out, and I thought I was going to faint. Her gold back and red flame were briefly surrounded by the ring of tiny sparkles, and then she, too, called out. I could swear I heard happiness in it—though that may have just been me. Again, I giggled like a little girl, shutting my eyes and clutching Tiamat and my DS to my heart.
I heard a few various battle noises while still fangirling, and I assumed I must’ve pressed A. There was the sound similar to when a pokemon uses scratch, followed shortly after by the set of lowering tones meant one of the various stats have been lowered. At that second sound I lifted the DS and looked back at the battle. Tiamat had lost a tiny bit of damage—about 2 HP—and I scowled at the Squirtle. How dare he lay a hand on Tiamat!?
The rest of the battle went down quickly, and a few scratches and tackles later I emerged victorious, with Tiamat now at level 6! I loved her already! Just after we finished, I saved again for good measure, far too in love and far too paranoid to not do all I could to make sure Tiamat stayed safely in my new file.
Oak and Blue spouted their usual dialogue, and no sooner had Blue finished demanding that I smell him later than I burst out of Oak’s lab, healed Tiamat back at my mom’s house, and headed up towards Route 1. And yea, did my journey with Tiamat begin—
with a battle with a Pidgey.
For the first time, I think, I was overjoyed to run into a wild pokemon. I couldn’t wait to show off Tiamat’s skills, if only to myself and the indifferent A.I. I smiled wickedly at the little Pidgey. Hello, first victim! Tiamat sparkled when she emerged from her pokeball, crying out threateningly to the weak little bird. I didn’t think I’d ever get tired of that little glittery ring that wound about her back.
Once more, I heard that scratching sound, followed by the indicator of stats being lowered. As I was watching this time, however, I was baffled. I hadn’t used scratch, neither had the Pidgey; for that matter, neither of us had had time to use any moves at all. As I stared, too, I noticed that a tiny bit of HP fell from Tiamat’s health bar, as it had during that battle with Blue.
I felt my eyes narrow. This didn’t make any sense. I knew that there were a few abilities that could affect the pokemon on the field in later generations, but I didn’t recall them coming with a sound…or being possessed by any wild Pidgey I’d ever encountered.
However, I wasn’t given much chance to ponder this, as almost immediately after I noticed it, the Pidgey suddenly fled, ending the battle.
Out of battle and back in the over world, things appeared normal. Jace was just standing there amidst the grass, upbeat music playing as though nothing out of the ordinary had occurred just seconds before. Wary, I opened the pokemon menu to check on Tiamat, unease pooling in my stomach.
There she sat, just as she always had, her green eyes shining as she smiled that constant grin. I looked at her for a bit, still a little rattled, and finally noticed something—something I wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t spent so many hours inspecting the Charmander sprite.
The color at the top of her head looked off. It was off by maybe a little bit more than a single pixel, but it was there. It appeared…faded; like the yellow had been in the sun and was just a little bleached.
I blinked multiple times, unsure of my eyes, which surely must be tired after staring at the screen so long before finding Tiamat. It appeared to still be there, even after my longest blink. I shook my head, knowing how paranoid I was when it came to data in electronics, and decided that it was only my own fear of losing the shiny I’d worked so hard to find.
Shrugging it off, I exited out of the menu. I took two more steps forward and encountered another wild pokemon. This time, a Rattata bared its tiny fangs at me from across the field.
Again, the sound of scratching and the dropping of stats. This time, though, I was almost expecting it, and I noticed that as Tiamat’s HP fell a little more, so, too, did the strange bleaching effect occur on the top of her head. I could see now that the yellow was not merely fading, but disappearing all together, being replaced by pure white.
The wild RATTATA fled!
I didn’t move this time, didn’t open the pokemon menu. This wasn’t my eyes, I was sure of that now, but I still didn’t know what was going on. Something with the programming? A glitch, maybe—?
A new thought came to me, then: that this wasn’t my game, that somehow all of my soft resetting must have screwed up the cartridge, and that I’d have to answer to my friend the next time I saw him. Oh, man, he was going to kill me! I mean, I could probably buy him a new one, but that didn’t make this okay. I groaned, smacking myself in the forehead, cursing myself and my desire for shinies.
But my guilt was interrupted by the sound of battle music.
I felt a chill. I hadn’t even moved.
Another Pidgey appeared, followed by Tiamat, and I could take no joy in that sparkle I was already in love with because I knew what was coming—that strange couplet of sounds and decreasing pixels that hinted at something being amiss. All I could do was watch as it happened, my face going pale and my stomach turning. I was almost grateful when I saw that text box appear, alerting me that the pokemon had run away, but something new went wrong immediately after.
The battle scene didn’t fade away; the music never stopped. Another wild Rattata simply slid into place from off-screen, looking just as it always had so many times before.
That same pair of unsettling noises, faster now, and more of Tiamat’s HP and color disappeared than before.
Wild RATTATA fled!
Wild PIDGEY appeared!
Wild PIDGEY fled!
Wild PIDGEY appeared!
Wild PIDGEY fled!
Wild RATTATA appeared!
Wild RATTATA fled!
Faster and faster the sprites kept sliding on and off the screen. Their cries were mingled into one disturbing drone emerging from my speakers, meshing dreadfully with the scratching and dropping tones. And Tiamat, my beautiful Tiamat; I could only watch as her HP fell faster and faster, as her color drained like sand in an hourglass, revealing ghostly-white beneath the sunflower yellow.
I mashed the buttons, desperate, but the pokemon kept coming and her color kept draining and her life kept fading. I lifted the on/off switch over and over again, but the game seemed frozen in this terrifying loop. At last, exasperated and shaking, I shouted at my DS.
To my surprise, it did.
Panting, I stared at the screen, tears of literal fear and frustration in my eyes. Tiamat’s HP had reached one, her skin was the color of bones and the field was empty, silent suddenly of even the battle music. I thought about pressing something, trying again to turn it off, but I couldn’t make myself move. Before my eyes, the field remained empty, until another text box popped up on screen:
Wild CHARMANDER appeared!
A shiny Charmander suddenly appeared before me. No…not quite shiny. A small splotch on its leg was the same color that Tiamat had once been, but the rest was the same shade of orange I’d come to know so well. I met its eyes and shuddered: they glared at me—not at the male pixel figure, but right into my eyes—with visible malice above a red-tinged mouth. I couldn’t look away.
Wild CHARMANDER appeared!
This one was almost shiny, too, with a patch of yellow around its stomach. It merged with the first, becoming a small, hideous monster. It had the same look as the first, but its tail—what I could see of it—had a flame that was almost non-existent.
Charmaders continued to appear at a frightening rate, each one clipping into the other and each one with a small patch of shiny skin somewhere on its body and red in its mouth. Some of their mouths were open—black holes with thick red drops spilling out of them—and some of their eyes were angry slits, bits of sea-green with blue-black beneath them. I could see what looked like bones through some of their bodies, rotting as they stood. They only got worse as they kept coming, their cries as mutilated as their tiny bodies, until I could hardly recognize them. The entire side of the field was filling up with them; text had stopped appearing anymore and all that announced their presence was a new cry or appearance of a hateful, repulsive lizard.
And through it all, there was only one HP bar for the mass of broken, yellow-orange bodies, though the names had stopped being Charmander and began to spell out a phrase, repeated over and over and over again.
DO YOU WANT ME NOW
The DS was shaking in my hands and my heart thundered in my chest. I could barely read the sentence as it flew up before me.
Beneath it, I saw the HP counter rising almost as fast as the dying pokemon appeared, the number skyrocketing into the thousands, two-thousands, three-thousands, and upward, as their cries resounded in the background, sounding almost sad and angry as they shot out of my speakers.
I tried to turn it off again, tried to turn off the sound, tried to do anything to make this stop! But nothing responded. I would listen to the vengeful death songs of these rotting creatures until the battery died, I thought, and there was nothing I could do about it. I watched the numbers climb through blurry eyes.
I almost dropped the DS when it all came to a sudden halt, cold silence stabbing me in the gut as the wailing ceased. Barely breathing, I shifted my eyes to the mass of orange and yellow and black and red and was met with a formless, mutated mass of head and arms and fire; every eye that I could see looked straight into mine, filled with pure murder and loathing. I looked away and back to the HP:
My eyes flicked over to Tiamat. She was pale as a corpse and looked like she was shaking in time with me, and as I watched, she turned, letting out a low, tortured cry. Our eyes locked and I felt the agony in her expression chill me to the bone, felt the rage in her eyes chill me to the bone. Her mouth was a black void dripping red. Text flashed rapidly through the box below her.
CccCCWaNNNNNTMEEEEEEE used REVENGE!
A single, deafening roar.
The screen flashed like a shattering lightbulb.
I tore the cartridge out, almost snapping off the top screen of the DS. My breath was swift and shallow and I could feel sweat soaking through my shirt. For a long time, I clutched the cartridge in a shaky, white-knuckled grasp, feeling it press against my damp skin, too scared to look at it for fear of what I’d see. I was expecting melted plastic or shattered bits of microchip to meet my eyes.
Finally, I wrenched my fingers open, trembling all over. It looked as pure and harmless as the day I received it.
I cracked it against the table.
A few days later, I bought a new copy of Leaf Green to return to my friend the next time I saw him. I didn’t plan on telling him or anyone else about what had happened that night; to keep him from questioning my lack of playtime, I started a new game and played a little bit, shivering through it all and jumping every time a wild pokemon appeared. I chose Bulbasaur just so I’d be far away from the Charmander at the end of the table.
The old copy went out with the trash a long time ago—in pieces.