I am an adult. I have a job working at a middle school teaching history. I have my own house, a car, and a stable adult life. I also play Pokemon Go. Pokemon was part of my childhood. I grew up catching and battling cute little monsters. Thanks to the responsibilities of adult life, however, I haven’t been able to keep up with Pokemon and it eventually fell away with other things I left behind from my childhood.
However, with the release of Pokemon Go, I found myself once again drawn back. I could play casually anywhere, anytime on my phone. During breaks, I could turn it on, nab a few Pokemon, and then go back to work. Sometimes, I’d even leave it on while I graded papers or the like and wait for the Pokemon to come to me. The school where I worked had a decent spawn rate of the creatures, so I often was able to catch quite a few just by sitting in my classroom. I never did a lot of gym battles though. I just didn’t get into the whole team takeover thing. I did still like collecting the little guys at least.
Now, this story starts with a buzz. I was grading tests while I left Pokemon Go active on my phone when the familiar vibration rumbled, indicating an unsuspecting Pokemon had wandered nearby. Welcoming the distraction, I picked up my phone and, to my surprise, I found a Hypno standing near my character. Now, that was unusual. Evolved Pokemon were uncommon and I have yet to see a Hypno. I hadn’t even seen a Drowzee. Immediately, I tapped the yellow form in an attempt to catch it.
“Is that a Hypno?” I suddenly heard from outside. I usually leave one of the class windows open to get some fresh air into the room. Being positioned near the school’s quad, I often am able to hear students talking and yelling as they leave. I glanced out the window to see two students stopped with phones out in their hands.
“Holy shit, it is!” the other boy yelled as he stared at his phone. I couldn’t help but chuckle slightly. First, kids were cursing younger and younger it seemed. Second, I felt like a kid myself, sharing in their childlike excitement at this discovery.
My phone changed to the capture screen and I prepared to add this Hypno to my collection. Its CP wasn’t bad but nothing impressive. That wasn’t what was important. A brand new and uncommon Pokemon for my collection? That’s what got me excited.
Unfortunately, I realized I don’t get out and walk nearly as much as I should have. Add to that how I like to sit and capture Pokemon in my class, and it leads to me having only four Pokeballs for this encounter. The first was a whiff. My second and third were dead hits, however the tricky guy managed to break out. The fourth, and final ball, was a complete fail. My thumb slipped and I, essentially, dropped the ball at my feet. And that was that. I was out of Pokeballs and still, that Hypno stood there just staring at me as if to taunt me for my failure. I shook my head and exited back to the map. The Hypno was gone then. Perhaps one of the kids had better luck.
“Joey?” I heard one of the boys yell from the window just as I was thinking about them. I looked up out the window, watching just one boy of the pair as he looked around. “Joey? Where’d you go?” That was odd. Did his friend run off that quickly? It would be hard to clear the entire quad that fast without the other boy noticing.
“Joey! This isn’t funny!” the kid continued to yell after putting away his phone. “Seriously!” I was tempted to step out and take a look for his friend myself when I heard the rumbling of my phone once again. My curiosity took hold and I once again picked up my phone to see that Hypno had returned. It was positioned near me, standing just outside in the quad. I let out a sigh as the thing just seemed to rub in the fact that I couldn’t catch it. I was more curious about the boy’s friend anyway. I looked up and out the window again to find…nothing. There was nobody out there. The boy had just been there himself. Where could he have gone? Maybe I did underestimate their speed. Perhaps he found his friend and the two ran off. Those were the excuses I gave to myself as I locked my phone and went back to grading.
The next day we were informed that Joey Hollis and Conner Johnson were missing. The same two boys I had seen in the quad. They never arrived home and their parents called the school. Apparently, I was the last person to have seen them walking in the quad. That information was pretty useless though.
Some of the kids, obviously friends with the pair, were incredibly concerned. Most barely noticed. That’s when I caught wind of a strange rumor that wandered the school. Students began to talk about the “Dover Hypno”, named after our school, Dover Middle. Apparently, this Hypno would randomly appear around the school in Pokemon Go. Thing is, nobody could actually catch it. It would appear and either constantly break out of Pokeballs or simply run away. It became a small myth here at the school it seemed. I only just now noticed due to my experience with the Dover Hypno the day before and finally paid attention to it.
The next few days went without incident until another day I found myself staying late working through my lesson plans. Once again, I heard voices through the screen of my class window. I looked up to see a late teen boy, probably 17 or 18, escort a smaller boy through the quad, one that looked like he was still in elementary school. Since the two, obviously, weren’t students here, it was my obligation to see why they were on school property.
“Hey there, you two,” I said as I approached them in the quad, trying to put on a friendly demeanor. “Can I help you two?” My polite way of asking why they were here.
“We’re looking for the Hypno!” the young child said excitedly as he held up a phone to show the Pokemon Go app. The older boy chuckled and nodded his head before turning to me.
“Yeah, we’re sorry but my brother wanted to try and find the Dover Hypno,” he said with a small, yet nervous, laugh. I smiled back and sighed. They obviously weren’t here to hurt anything and who was I to try and deny the kid a chance to get the infamous Dover Hypno?
“All right,” I replied with an amused smile. “I didn’t think that rumor had spread so far.” The brother shrugged his shoulders as he looked on to the younger boy. He started wandering around the quad, intently hunting his prey via phone screen.
“Yeah, it’s spread a bit. Alex thinks if he can catch it, he’ll beat all his friends at the game.” Another laugh from the eldest brother before he pulled a rectangular shape from his pocket: a 3DS system. “I think it’s kind of strange though that a Hypno keeps showing up at a school.” That got my attention.
“I would think any Pokemon showing up somewhere it couldn’t be caught is strange,” I commented. “Why does a Hypno matter here?” The brother laughed, that specific oh-an-adult-asking-silly-questions-about-my-fandom laugh. It kind of pissed me off.
“There’s a Pokedex entry about it luring off a kid,” he responded as he flipped open his game and began to play. I should’ve guessed it was Pokemon. Looks like somebody preferred the real game as opposed to the cell phone app. Though, what he said got me thinking. A Hypno luring off a kid? I pondered about the other day with those students. What did that Pokedex entry say, exactly? My hand wandered down to pull my cell phone out and Google it. With a swipe, I unlocked it to find Pokemon Go staring back at me. Oh, that was right. I had left the app on before I locked it. Immediately, it vibrated in my hand. That Hypno once again appeared before me.
The Dover Hypno. Was it really something strange? Or some kind of game glitch. I kept returning to the idea of it luring off a child. Those two students disappeared right after the Hypno appeared. I lift my phone up toward the elder brother and motioned to the Pokemon.
“Looks like it’s your brother’s lucky day,” I told him before he nodded.
“Oh yeah. Hey Alex!” he called out. “Your Hypno is…” he trailed off as his gaze wandered. I was looking for the same thing. Alex was gone. He was nowhere in the quad. A glance down at my phone and I found the Hypno was gone.
I spent the rest of the day into the night searching for Alex with Daniel, the elder brother. He was nowhere to be found. We searched the school, the nearby streets, even banged on a few doors. We never found him. I spoke to Daniel’s parents and they were devastated by the news. I told them I’d speak to the school but suggested they contact the school’s office themselves as well. I felt terrible for poor Daniel. I knew the kid blamed himself. Alex had been his responsibility and he lost him. It was late by the time I got home and I was exhausted. However, sleep was far from my mind.
My thoughts kept returning to the Dover Hypno. This was twice that it had appeared before a disappearance. Was it a coincidence? Or was something else going on. The rumor stated it couldn’t be caught. That wasn’t right, was it? Or at least, it was some kind of game glitch. But, to show up twice before a kid vanished was something to think about. What Daniel said about it only made me wonder further.
It carries a pendulum-like device. There was once an incident in which it took away a child it hypnotized. That’s what the Pokedex entry said when I looked it up. I don’t remember that from my childhood. I just remembered the Pokemon that hypnotized people and looked like an ant-eater (I realize now it’s supposed to resemble a tapir). It was a strange circumstance, but I just couldn’t believe that a Pokemon Go creature could be connected to these kids disappearing. Still, I couldn’t shake the idea from my head.
Holding class was difficult as well. I kept losing myself during the lecture and, as much as I hate to say it, class turned into a reading session. I don’t think my students complained too much. Word of another disappearance had gotten out and everyone seemed on edge. Another child vanishing meant that it wasn’t an isolated incident. Anyone could be next. I think they were scared and, I admit, I was a little too.
After class wasn’t much better. I found myself lingering at my desk, my eyes concentrating on the Pokemon Go map, just watching and waiting for that strange yellow-furred creature to pop up, tauntingly swinging its pendulum as the mystery surrounding it grows.
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK.
I was brought out of my trance by that banging on my classroom door. I lift my head as a girl, Anna, to be exact slowly entered. She was one of my students, a small girl and bright but a bit on the shy end.
“Ah, hello?” Anna asked as she came forward, her hands fiddling with one another. “Sorry to bother you after class.”
“It’s fine. Really,” I reassured her. “What can I do for you?” Anna hesitated while her gaze tilted toward the ground.
“Is it true you were with the kid who disappeared yesterday?” Word got around fast. Were the kids thinking I had something to do with it? I clearly didn’t. The boy’s brother could attest to that. However, rumors still can deform the truth and spread to the masses.
“Yes, I was with his brother,” I explained, a firm expression on my face. Anna didn’t decide to blame me for it. Instead, she seemed concerned. Even scared.
“So, it really can happen to anyone, anywhere?” she asked, her eyes darting up and looking right into mine. Scratch scared. She seemed terrified. Who wouldn’t be? Two kids disappeared earlier in the quad. And then another vanished right in front of two witnesses. It was terrifying.
“Don’t jump to conclusions. There is an explanation for why they disappeared.” I did my best to reassure her. No need to panic the student body. That would only make it worse. “I’m sure you and your friends are safe. Though I would make sure to get home as soon as possible.” Anna let out a sigh as she once again looked away from me. She wasn’t convinced but realized there wasn’t much I could do for her. The girl thanked me and then turned away, the door shutting behind her as she left.
Poor girl. I was certain the students were building up the incidents, adding more and more to them. Truth was we didn’t know what happened. Nothing is scarier than the monsters someone’s imagination can cook up and we could only imagine what happened to those kids.
My phone vibrated.
I turned away from the door and stared at the small block. That wasn’t a text. It was from a game. I had left Pokemon Go up on my phone when Anna entered. I was almost afraid to look, but, I still turned away from the door and toward the device. I hoped I wouldn’t see that yellow figure, standing on the screen. My heart skipped when I saw the phone. A creature with yellow fur, ring of white around its neck, and a pendulum in its hand stood on the map.
The Dover Hypno appeared once again. Twice before I saw it right before someone disappeared. And now…Anna! I didn’t care if it was a completely unbelievable connection. I couldn’t ignore it. Swiftly, I swiped up my phone and ran out the classroom door.
“Anna!” I called out as I flung open the door. She should’ve been right outside, but, there was nothing. No sign of her. She couldn’t have run off that quickly. There wasn’t any way. No longer did I wonder. That Hypno had something to do with this! It wasn’t a game glitch. It was something else. Something I couldn’t explain.
I looked down at my phone and, unsurprisingly, the Hypno was gone.
“Damn it!” I yelled, nearly throwing my phone in frustration. How the hell could a game do this? It was impossible! And where were these kids going? It had to be taking them somewhere. I nearly cursed again when I finally realized something.
The app had an in-game “Poke Radar” to find nearby Pokemon. You would see a silhouette of the Pokemon with little footprints underneath it, indicating how close it was to you. One footprint meant very close, two and three meant it was further away. It was a long shot, but perhaps I might get lead through it.
To my astonishment, when I clicked on the Radar, among the other Pokemon near me I could see the silhouette of a Hypno. It was only one footprint away as well. Then, it turned to two. Was it moving away from me? Can Pokemon do that in this game? I assumed they were all stationary when they spawned. However, this wasn’t an ordinary game creature. If it was moving away, though, I could follow it using the footprints. My excitement grew as I realized this. If I could follow it to wherever it was going, perhaps I could find the lost children.
I wasted little time. I just grabbed my keys, locked the classroom, and moved with my phone in hand. It would take some effort but if I could keep close, I could potentially follow this thing to wherever it was going. I just had to make sure to stay on top of it. Losing it for a moment could mean it would get away and I didn’t have much to go on for directions. Just the number of disappearing and reappearing footprints under a shadowy figure.
The footprints led on for a while. I was off school property and moving down the street quickly. Following the footprints was difficult but, somehow, I managed to keep on top of them. There were a few times when it switched to three prints and I worried I lost the way, my chance to help the kids with it. I always managed to keep on it though.
I started to get nervous as the footprints led me away from the familiar buildings and houses. I don’t recall how long exactly I walked, but it went on for a quite a while. I worried that, by the time I found wherever this thing was going, it would be night. I didn’t want to deal with whatever this was after dark.
The trail stopped along a deserted section of road with some fields on either side. It wasn’t quite far removed from the main sections of the city, but enough to make me nervous. This road wasn’t used often and, as far as I saw, I was the only one out here in or out of a car. The footprints led me to a particular stretch of this road out here in the middle of nowhere. It took me a moment to realize the Hypno had stopped as the prints were still the only indicator of his location. But as I stood around the area with one footprint on my Poke Radar, I didn’t see anything. It had just stopped at a solitary section of empty road, empty fields, and a dried up ditch that…ran under the road.
I let out a long sigh. Of course. That would be the case, wouldn’t it? I stepped off the side of the road and began to make my way down into the ditch. The small tunnel formed between the ditch and road was dark and it looked like a few homeless had made it home at some point. I could make out some bags, blankets, shopping carts, and some trash around. As I drew closer, I noticed a slight movement in the darkened tunnel. A figure was laying down in the darkness, breathing slowly. My first thought was that I had stumbled across some homeless person’s makeshift house, however, the breathing figure looked small. Like a child.
I ran in swiftly and shoved aside some of the junk blocking my path. There, resting on a dirty blanket was, Alex, the young boy who disappeared while I spoke with his brother. And it wasn’t just him. As I pulled aside more blankets and trash, I found three more kids. Joey, Conner, Alex, and even Anna were all laid out and appeared to be fast asleep. I was surprised by their condition, especially Joey and Conner since they had been gone for days. They all looked healthy though save for being passed out.
I knelt down next to Alex and shook the small boy. He didn’t wake up. I shook a little harder but he still didn’t respond. I moved on to the others, shaking and calling their names but not one responded. Now I was starting to get unnerved. My excitement at finding the missing children was slowly getting replaced by dread. Was there something wrong with the kids? My thoughts soon turned to the Dover Hypno. The Pokemon was known for its hypnosis ability. Could it be…? The idea was silly and childish but I couldn’t let it go. My hand began moving on its own, compelled to pull my phone back out and check Pokemon Go.
When I pulled up the game, I found my next surprise. Right where I stood on the map was the towering shape of a Pokemon Gym. That definitely had not shown up while I wandered the street. I recognized it immediately. Gyms were a major part of the game that, as I mentioned before, I never really took part of. The whole point of these were for the three teams: red, yellow, and blue, to fight over and claim. Usually, the gym was colored to match the team that owned it and would cycle into the model of the Pokemon stationed there to guard it.
The first thing I noticed about this gym was the color. It was grey, colored as if the gym had yet to be claimed by any team. Odd thing was It still showed a Pokemon stationed there as if someone owned it. The second thing I noticed made my blood run cold. The gym animation cycled into the yellow form of a Hypno. I stared at it for a long moment, tightly clutching my phone in my hand. My only guess, from here, was that I had stumbled across the home of whatever creature this was. I began to sweat as my breath caught in my throat. I had no idea what this thing would do now that I stumbled across its home and I didn’t really want to find out.
Curiosity continued to push me forward still. If all of this was caused by the Pokemon from the game, perhaps the game could be the answer to helping the kids. Maybe that wasn’t the most rational route to consider, but that was the feeling I had. My finger tapped the gym and I was treated to a close up of that Hypno. No trainer or name along with it. It didn’t even list its CP. Just the Hypno and the option for battle. Is that what it wanted? A fight?
This whole thing seemed surreal. I could hardly believe it. Was I really standing underneath a road after chasing a mysterious creature from an AR video game? And I was actually considering the possibility of playing against it for a chance to save these kids from some kind of supernatural sleep. I knew that I should contact the police or an ambulance. This sleep was more likely from exhaustion or a drug or something else along those lines. That might’ve explained Joey and Conner who had been gone for days. Alex had only disappeared yesterday but it was still possible. Anna had just been taken though. Would there have been time to do this to her? And there didn’t seem to be any sign of something medically wrong with them. So, my mind considered the possibility of something more.
My finger hovered over the small button to initiate the battle and I began to wish I had fought more of the gyms around town. A single tap brought up the screen to select my Pokemon to participate in the fight. Normally, the game would allow you six Pokemon for a fight. This screen had an option for just one. I should’ve known it wouldn’t be easy. I had to pick only one of my own creatures to go up against this thing.
With only one, what to pick? I had no idea how difficult this Hypno was since I couldn’t see its CP. And, with Pokemon, typing was important. Certain types of Pokemon trumped others. Hypno was a psychic-type which was a difficult one to match. I remembered that the ghost and dark-types beat psychic but I had yet to catch a ghost and dark didn’t exist in Pokemon Go yet.
I had to rack through my childhood memories until I finally remembered. Bugs. Psychic was weak to bug-types. I kind of laughed a little at myself. I felt a strange giddiness as I recalled my memories of playing Pokemon and planning my battles. However, back then Pokemon didn’t involves strange kidnappings and supernatural sleeps.
I looked through my lineup of Pokemon. It seemed I was rather limited on bugs. Plenty of Pidgey, Ratatas, and a number of other species. The bugs I did have I’m sure were too low of CP to actually put up a good fight. I did have one however. A Parasect, a crab-like creature with a large mushroom for a back. It had bug moves too and, though it didn’t have the highest combat power rating, it was much better than most of my crew. I tapped its picture, took a deep breath, and then began the battle.
It started like any other. Battle music, the arena appearing, and my Parasect stood opposite of the Hypno. Immediately, I started tapping the screen quickly, making my Parasect attack the Hypno before it. I planned to fight this like any other gym battle. Repeatedly tap for my Pokemon’s quick attack until my more powerful charge attack was ready. Then, unleash that while attempting to dodge, rinse, and repeat. It would be easy. That’s what I told myself.
Oddly, the Hypno didn’t really fight back. It stood there, taking blow after blow as I chipped away at its health bar. It did strike, but it seemed slow and easy for me to dodge. I kept my focus, watching that yellow creature to anticipate the attacks it sent at me. I figured this strange Pokemon would’ve been more difficult but its movements were slow. It seemed content attacking every once in a while and swinging its pendulum back and forth.
Back and forth…
I didn’t even realized I zoned out. I jerked back from wherever I had gone and blinked. Did I fall asleep? I hadn’t even been tired. My free hand rubbed my now tired-feeling eyes before I looked down at the screen. To my horror, I saw the Hypno had actually started its assault. Repeatedly, it bashed into my Parasect, who just stood there taking it as I watched dumbfounded. I quickly resumed my routine of dodging and attacking though my focus wavered. I didn’t want to think about it but Hypno were known to hypnotize their enemies into sleep. Could it have actually affected me? Strange but if it could kidnap children than anything was possible.
Thankfully, I didn’t lose too much health during its attacks and I managed to set off a charge attack. The Hypno’s health steadily depleted further and further. I told myself to stay focused as furiously tapped at the screen, sending attack after attack to the creature. It slowed once again but its pendulum swung faster and faster. I tried not to look at it as I fought in an attempt to avoid its hypnosis. Stay focused. Keep tapping, watch to dodge, and—
--I blinked and stared at the screen in front of me. There was an orange crab and some yellow thing that stood in front of each other, the yellow creature appearing to be beating the hell out of the crab. What was this? I quickly looked around to see myself in a ditch under a road. It was dark underneath and filled with junk. How did I get here? I took a step back though my foot came in contact with something solid. I stumbled and fell backward, grimacing as I fell back into a pile of junk. I had tripped over…a leg? A short and startled cry as I realized I had tripped over a child’s body. Oh god. Was he dead? And there were others!
No, he wasn’t dead. He was…sleeping. Just like the others. They were all asleep. Not dead. Asleep because of a game. Hidden here because of the same game. That’s why I was down here! That Hypno! I winced as I pushed myself up to my feet, body aching from the fall into the rubbish. I could feel the bruises start to form as I realized I hurt myself in my own confusion. Was this because of that Hypno? It did something else to me now.
A look down revealed it once again beating my Parasect heavily, my own Pokemon reaching about half health. I scrambled to regain control of the battle, attacking and dodging again. My charge attack was almost ready and the Hypno’s health lowered further, nearing the end. I just had to hold on. Keep attacking, keep dodging, and, now, watch out for the Hypno’s attacks. If it could manipulate myself and these children, it was more dangerous than I previously thought.
Once again, the Hypno slowed and that pendulum swung faster. I was prepared this time and wouldn’t let it trick me. As much as I tried, I wasn’t prepared for what followed.
A loud screech sounded in my head but it wasn’t a screech. There was no sound. Just a feeling, It was a feeling as if something had screamed inside my head and started to split apart my brain. It hurt without hurting. There wasn’t physical pain but something else. It stung somewhere deeper, past my flesh.
I held my head in my free hand as I cried out. It hurt. God damn did it hurt. That splitting pain stabbed into my mind as I tried to focus on the game. The Hypno lashed out at my Parasect again, smacking and bashing it while I writhed in pain. Its health quickly diminished and I fought to regain some levels of composure. I didn’t have the focus to dodge. Just attack. I tapped through the pain. My Pokemon’s charge was almost ready for another attack and the Hypno’s health was closing in on zero. Unfortunately, so was my Parasect’s.
“Hold on.” I groaned out to my Parasect as I tapped. Closer and closer my Pokemon’s health dropped. Tap after tap after tap went. As my own Pokemon’s health lingered dangerously close to zero, the bar finally finished its charge. I held my phone just as tight as I held my aching head before I unleashed that charged attack. It bashed into the Hypno and the last of its health vanished! That’s when the game…froze.
I stared at the screen, looking in confusion. No animation, no sound, no anything. Damn it! Just as I won! Did this mean the Dover Hypno still won? I closed my phone in frustration as I yelled a curse.
That’s when I heard the small groan. I looked at Alex by my feet as the young boy began to stir. My eyes widened and I moved to his side. The boy shift from side to side before he opened his eyes, a look of confusion and fear on his face.
“What? Where am I?” he asked. I let out a relieved breath before I heard the other three children moving. My look returned to Alex and I opened my mouth to speak though I hesitated. What would I tell him? That a Pokemon from a game kidnapped him and the others? It sounded so impossible, even I barely believed it.
“It doesn’t matter,” I decided to say. “You’re going home.”
I called the police and they came swiftly. All four children awoke and, aside from a feeling of fatigue, each seemed fine and healthy. Their families certainly were happy to have them back. At first, I was under suspicion of their kidnappings, but that was quickly thrown out since my presence at the school could be confirmed by numerous students on campus and it was unlikely that a kidnapper would call in for a rescue of those he kidnapped.
From then, the Dover Hypno was never seen at the school again. Not even normal Hypno showed up on the campus. Just the usual array of pigeons, rats, bats, and normal Pokemon. The rumor was soon forgotten along with the disappearances.
As for myself, I still dabble in Pokemon Go though I’m not sure if it’s because I enjoyed the game or out of curiosity of another incident. Every time I load the game up and search for more monsters, I keep holding my breath when one pops up. Could it be another like that Hypno? Were more in this game?
Truth be told, I have no idea what I encountered during those days. Looking back now, it feels more like a strange dream. I almost don’t believe it actually happened. I still question what it was and why it wanted those kids. For what purpose did it need those children? And what would’ve happened to them if I hadn’t stopped it? I assume I’ll never know for sure. That’s something I’ll have to accept. At least, for now, it’s over though I know I will never be able to forget the strange case of the Dover Hypno.
Story by Lupus Creepus