The furniture jumped. A toy fell off the shelf with a loud clack onto the floor. Sarah opened her eyes and saw nothing. She waited.
So it wasn't a dream.
She sat up in bed, fully awake as the fact that the sound was real sank into her. Something was making loud thumps outside -- loud, and big enough to shake the house. It wasn't an earthquake. She looked at her clock: the display read 3:00 AM. What could be thumping around outside at this hour?
Sarah got up and looked out the window. All she saw were houses in the night. A few lights were turned on, and she saw her neighbor, Anthony, looking out of his window across the street. She opened the window and waved her arms out at him. He spotted her, and opened his window as well.
"What's going on? Do you know what's making that noise?" he called.
"No, I have no idea!" she called back.
A horrible screeching sound, like two beams of rough metal scraping against each other, blasted through the town. Sarah slapped her hands over her ears and nearly fell over from the noise; it was downright painful. She reached out one hand and quickly closed the window, but it didn't help against the sound. She decided the best thing to do would be to get her parents and see if they knew anything. As she ran out of her bedroom, the noise stopped. Her ears were still ringing as she knocked on her parents' bedroom door.
There was no reply. She knocked again. "Mom? Dad?"
She turned the doorknob and waited, but no one yelled at her to keep out, so she opened the door. The blankets were thrown over the side of the bed and their window was open. So was her mom's jewelry box, with all of its contents dumped on top of the dresser. Did someone rob the place? Sarah wondered. But if someone had robbed them, then why not take any jewelry? Her mom's diamonds and pearls were lying there. In fact, nothing seemed to be missing. And the window wasn't broken at all. It had been unlocked and opened from the inside. Her parents opened the window, and dumped the jewelry box? None of it was making any sense. She decided to check downstairs, to see if they were down there. It didn't occur to her that they might have jumped out the window. The bedrooms were on the second story, after all.
As she reached the bottom of the stairs, two of the three house Pokemon ran up to her, obviously frightened. It was Neo, their Nidoran, and Bones the Houndour, both male. They huddled around her legs, fur bristling.
"There there, it's okay," she said, kneeling down to pet them. She heard Piera the Pidgey squawking in her birdcage in the kitchen, and went to open it. Piera flew out and landed on Sarah's arm; Sarah hugged the bird close, feeling the Pokemon's quickly beating heart.
"Mom? Dad?" she called out again. She couldn't hear anything. The house was empty.
"Should I stay here, or go out and look for them?" she asked the Pokemon, who of course said nothing.
Before she could decide, she heard a terrifyingly nearby roar that sounded like it came from a monster bigger than a house. The Pokemon shivered against Sarah. She stood frozen, only her eyes moving to the window over the kitchen sink, where she saw a horned dark shape in the street. Moonlight shone off of what looked like plates of armor, and two straight horns jutted out of its head. I wish I had a Pokedex, she thought suddenly, And at least I'd know what it was.
It bellowed again, just as two more Pokemon rushed at it. In an instant the street outside was a flurry of attacks: gouts of rushing flame, beams of ghostly light and orbs of shadow. The huge Pokemon roared, its claws and tail flashing brightly, before it swung them around and knocked back its attackers with a sound like a ringing gong. Every time it moved, the earth shook with its weight. All Sarah could see of the battle was through the small rectangle of the window; she couldn't even tell who was winning, or what species they were.
Suddenly the kitchen wall was crushed as a river of boulders smashed through it. Sarah screamed and barely jumped out of the way, half-falling, half-running through the door into the living room. The metal-coated Pokemon stomped into the kitchen, its horns scraping the ceiling, its feet cracking the floor tiling. The two Pokemon behind it rushed it again, and its tail flashed and swung at them again. They flew backwards into the street, out of sight, and didn't attack again.
Sarah was scrambling for the front door as the huge Pokemon bashed through the wall into the living room. Piera and Neo were shrieking in panic; only Bones took a defensive stance, growling at the attacker four times his size. Sarah took a split-second glance over her shoulder at it; it was the color of stone and vaguely bipedal, covered in steel, and had huge metal jaws and small blue eyes. It snorted, and made a slapping motion at her: globs of thick mud appeared from its paw and splattered against her, like getting hit with soggy tennis balls. She spat mud out of her mouth and wiped it out of her eyes, as she felt it stomping closer, snapping wooden floorboards under its immense weight.
"What do you want with me?!" Sarah yelled at it, and blindly opened the door. She ran out of it, nearly falling on her face as she tripped down the front steps, just as the huge Pokemon charged with surprising speed and trampled through the doorway. She didn't have time to look and see if her Pokemon were all right; the attacker was only a few feet behind her now. She ran as fast as she could across the lawn, slipping on the dewy grass in her bare feet. As she bolted down the dirt path that marked the road through town, she barely even noticed the unfamiliar black car parked behind her parents' minivan.
The metal screeching sound filled her ears again, and she stumbled and ran into a mailbox in her confusion, knocking the wind out of herself. She felt a small whiskery face nudge her feet and little teeth tug on her pajama bottoms: Neo, trying to urge her on. She scooped him up and ran half-blind and half-deaf, covered in mud and splinters of her own house. She wasn't even thinking of figuring out what was going on anymore. Her mind was focused on just trying to get out of there alive.
Neo suddenly tugged on her sleeve; she looked down at him and blearily saw him pointing his paw to her right. She ran in that direction, and almost collided with a bicycle propped against a tree.
"No time to worry about being a thief," she said and mounted the bicycle. Neo jumped into the front basket, and Sarah pedaled hard, skidding on the grass for one frightening moment before speeding ahead. It wasn't a Mach Bike, but it was fast enough to get her away from the --
Suddenly another volley of mud slapped against her from behind. The back tire slipped at an angle; the gears started to jam. But there wasn't enough mud to do any harm; she kept pedaling on ahead. For a few minutes, she could hear the steady th-thump th-thump of the Pokemon galloping after her, but soon it quieted. She didn't dare stop, but rode on steadily into the night.