As young Zoey followed Zyler and his jingling pocket chains, she found herself startled by the sudden vibration in her hand. Her Pokémon Go map revealed to her the avatar of someone she thought long gone. Zeke? she thought to herself as she ducked into Main Hall to confirm the ghost that just popped on screen. This was real, right? She wasn’t just imagining that this old dude had appeared on her phone.
She wasn’t. It was definitely him.
“Look, you know who I am, man,” Zeke’s voice said from her phone.
She tilted her head. “What? I couldn’t hear you.”
“I said, you know who I am.”
She turned up her volume two notches. “What was that?”
“Look, never mind. You know what you have to do. Capture me.”
“Why would I do that? I’m looking for a Charmander out in the quad somewhere, and, anyway, your level is really low.”
“Listen, Zoey. I am a force ghost, here to provide you with the most essential information you will ever be given. If you don’t catch me, everybody’s gonna die. Or be subjected to a horrific revival of really, really bad nineties fashion choices and technological breakthroughs.”
“Okay,” she said, suddenly worried that neon would be “in” again. “Why do I need to catch you? Can’t you just tell me from here?”
“Do you think I make these rules, Zoey?!”
“Well, yeah, I thought that—”
“Just catch me already.”
Zoey figured she had no other choice. She threw a Pokéball, which Zeke broke out of on the first twitch.
“Uh, dude?! What was that for?” she demanded.
“Just try again!”
She did try again. A third, fourth, fifth, all the way up to fifteen Pokéballs, none of which could contain him.
“You’re really bad at this game, aren’t you?”
Zoey bared her teeth, stomping out of Main Hall to gather more Pokéballs at the stop across the yard. The twenty-seventh ball captured him, and Zoey sighed in relief.
“Now, Zoey, you must listen to me very carefully. In under twenty-four hours, Zyler will attempt to shut down every iPhone on campus.”
Zoey frowned. “I mean, that sucks, I guess? I have an Android, so I don’t see why I have to—”
“And cause the end of the world! He will turn every last iPhone user into a useless, emo zombie that does nothing but wear pant chains and complain about modern music.”
Zoey failed to see how the shutdown of a shitty corporate company would cause the end of the world, but she kept listening. Everybody turning into Zyler did seem like a pretty awful world to live in, though
“This is why you must find the one who will guide you, the one companion that knows the force in ways I will never know. His name is Dog God.”
“So I have to find Dog God and stop Zyler from ending the world via Apple iPhone shutdown?”
“Yes. And you gotta do it soon, man.”
“Okay,” she said, spotting that Charmander that had eluded her for the past hour. “Just let me catch this thing first, and then I’ll get to the whole saving the world bit, alright?”
Zeke nodded, turning to leave.
“Hey, wait a second, you never told me where this Dog God even is. Zeke! Dude, c’mon, don’t leave me hangin’.”
Zeke appeared on her phone again.
“He lives in the bathroom of the dining hall. Good luck to you, man.” He flashed her the peace sign before a notification that “the wild Zeke has fled” flashed across her phone.
It took her ten minutes to capture the Charmander and another ten minutes to work up the courage to go into the dining hall bathroom, which always smelled like things she did not want to think about. But at least she would be saving the world from the Emopocalypse.
Samantha Walsh is a second-year student majoring in special education and English writing. She can be reached at SW850037@wcupa.edu.