The Pokémon Tower of Lavender Town - or rather, the Pokémon Graveyard. A place haunted by both sinners and saints alike. A place where the spirits of the past mingled with the people of the present. It wasn't a place where you'd normally find a photographer like me. But here I am, desperately trying to get a picture. Recently, paranormal activity has ramped up in this place, to the point that even burial sites had to be moved. Several people attempted to bury their own beloved partners here, but they all disappeared. Naturally, every Daily, Times, and Journal has to get ahold of this sweet news. Especially the Celadon News. Three photographers have gone in the past two weeks before I did. None of them ever returned. Not Janice, nor Gerald, and not even Daniel. They haven't been seen by anyone after their job. Our company has been receiving a lot of calls from their family and friends. We don't have a choice but to give them the truth. The things you hear them say - the sobbing, the pleading, the grief to know that their loved ones might be gone forever... I don't want to think about it any more. That got me thinking. Is that what will happen to me, too? Well, I'm here now. I don't get a choice in my fate. I guess this is what happens when you're working only slightly above minimum wage. Naturally, to be able to photograph ghosts and end up with a clear result, a Silph Scope is needed. Not only does it allow you to identify Pokémon masquerading as them, it can also tell you where the real spirits are. Most paranormal photographers have one build into their camera. Mine does, too. But it doesn't help all that much. It definitely won't help with my fate. • • • I've been here for hours already. The two lowest floors don't hold anything out of the ordinary, aside from the massive number of disturbed spirits there are. I can hear them warning, laughing, or mocking me for coming tonight of all nights. It's just October 5. What's so special about it? I thought as I went up to the third story. The maze of gravestones and memorials are starting to get in my way. I've tripped over a couple. One caused a Gengar's spirit to come out. I braced myself for an attack, but he just stood there. Then he spoke up. "They've come again. They've been coming a lot lately." "What? Who came? Tell me!" The job required answers. I needed those answers. "They've come. Goodbye to you." He slipped back into his grave, not bothering to pursue further conversation. I didn't bother, either, simply moving on to the fourth. The stairs stretched upwards, with more and more ghosts blocking my way. Pushing through their incorporeal bodies, I continued. But they didn't give way easily. I could feel the masses push and shove each other, clamping me in between. The air became thick and heavy. My lungs began to cry out for oxygen, my breath stuck in my throat. My vision became blurry, and I almost blacked out. Just when I thought I was going to run out, they gave way, and I stumbled right onto the third floor. The entire room was devoid of any life. Even the chattering of the other spirits were gone. Nobody was there, except for a lone child in the middle. It was impossible to tell what this child was. Its long, matted black hair only went down to its shoulders. Its clothes looked far outdated. But the strangest thing about it was that although the ghosts had pestered every living being before that, not a single one dared enter the room in which this kid was in. Part of me was glad to see that it was nothing more than a child, but part of me also warned myself about illusionary Pokémon. "Hello?" My voice cracked a little. "I wan't to go home," it stated in a clear voice. "What?" "I want to go home." Must be a lost kid... but what was a kid doing in a graveyard like this? "What's your name? Why are you here?" "Veldi Nirgatia," the child replied, its voice calm as ever. "And I want to go home. Will you take me home?" Poor thing. It must've been separated from its parents. But the innocence of this child didn't do anything to calm my unease. "Fine, fine. I'll take you home. Just follow me." It nodded, a small smile on its face. I turned and walked back towards the second floor when I felt a tugging on my jacket. Ignoring it, I went on, but I was held back by someone's grip on the hem. I turned to see the child's pitch-black eyes staring up at me. "Home is that way." It pointed towards the staircase going up to the next floor. "What are you doing?!" I asked, impatient. Clearly, this little kid didn't know his way around. "We need to go up. Home is that way." I froze for a moment, before remembering that there were plenty of Channelers that lived close by. Perhaps one of them was at the top of the tower. "Fine, then. I'll go that way with you." "Thank you," it replied, its unnerving smile still there. • • • As the two of us climbed the stairs, scaling floor after floor, the child made a few strange requests. Every time I looked back, it would tell me that there were no ghosts and that home was the other way. I couldn't even take one step back, either, without it complaining. The upper floors were all devoid of life, spirits or not. Everything was silent save for our footfalls. The moon shone in through a window, and I realized that I had not taken a single photo ever since I had arrived. Now that the ghosts were gone as well, I was able to see everything more clearly. I had my camera at the ready, in case a lone spirit or two drifted across. Yet not a single one came. The sixth floor came into sight. Since I had nothing better to do, I decided to look at the gravestones. Someday, my partners might end up in there, too. Then I saw a name that was all too familiar. Here Lies Janice Edenworth. My heart skipped a beat. Before I could say anything, I felt the child tugging at my sleeve, pulling me forward. I saw the other two on my way through the second-last storey. Gerald Hanson. Daniel Lovenstein. My breath quickened, and my eyes floated to a gravestone located right next to Daniel's. It was blank. I just stood there, frozen to the spot, until the child gripped my hand again. "Come on. Let's go home." I didn't resist his pull as he dragged me off to the last floor. But before I left, I could hear the Gengar from earlier not too far away. "Goodbye..." After one last trek upwards, we finally arrived at the deserted seventh storey. Although there weren't any ghosts, the massive amount of mist made it nearly impossible to see. I removed my Silph Scope, as the lenses started fogging up, and saw the little kid standing to my right. It waved its hand, and all the fog suddenly cleared, revealing a bright red glow on the floor. A strange marking shone on the ground, its crimson stains marring the floor of the Tower. Sensing our presence, the five-pointed star in the center began to quiver, slowly turning in its spot. The liquid that adorned the stones began to swirl, slowly dimming the room. The roar of a beast - or several monsters - could be heard inside, and strangely, I swore I could see them as well. Before I could react, the child stepped forward. "Thanks for taking me home." It touched a finger to the ground, watching the images in the portal writhe - then bow. "Y... you're..." I stammered in shock. Everything made sense now. It turned back to me with the same placid smile. "Home can be lonely sometimes. Why don't you come with me?"