A month had passed, and with it much of the dark that had rolled into station with that empty, lifeless bus. Life had meandered on as it had a way of doing, especially in podunk half-cities. Worse, school had only been cancelled for a few days while, and they'd been filled with such excitement that kids had barely any time to appreciate it. City wide hunts for the students and bus driver and the notoriously protective mother of one of the children who demanded to ride the bus with her kid. The rain beat a dirge against the city, mournful booms of thunder and a pall of storm veined clouds making the search wet, filling the forest with teeming shadow, making footing dangerous and paths easy to lose and flooding the sewers.
But that was last month. This was this month. No one'd disappeared since. Not that anyone noticed, and if someone disappeared without being noticed, wasn't that as good as being disappeared already?
The clouds had gone as quick as they'd come, the sun bullying its rightful way into the sky, but the weather was temperamental. No driving storms lately, but sometimes the sky would grey over with clouds, the wind would grow sharp and coats would come out, but just as often, especially lately, coats were staying stuffed inside lockers or simply left at home. Today was a mild day, the sky a sunny blue when it peaked through the crushed together clouds. The wind was a gentle thing, rustling through leaf and hair affably. It wasn't hot enough to be a perfect park day, but it was good enough. Especially for this early in the churlish region weather cycle.
The kids had been bundled into a bus a little before lunch -- they were all told to pack one for today and a little extra -- and ferried off to the local park: a large, sprawling thing, a verdant field stretching out green and gorgeous, brimming with budding flowers and, more importantly, wobbly, weak pokemon. They trounced happily in the high grass, lazed in bushes and under the long shadows of the tall trees, and splashed in the swampy edges.
And soon the kids would be unleashed upon them.
Ms. Poplar stood tall in front of her unruly, excited charges. She wore a stern look, and her hair in a long, no-nonsense braid. A bucket and small packs sat beside her; the bucket bristled with pokeballs. Kids had exchanged their pokeballs for one of the packs.
"Alright kids, listen up, cuz I'm only gonna explain this once. Inside those packs are an empty pokeball, some bait, and some rubber balls. If I see you throwing any of those things at anything other than a pokemon, you forfeit your pack and your right to catch anything today. "
She eyed the troublemakers for a long moment before continuing.
"Out there," she slung her arm at the field, "are your new best friends. Some of 'em might take better to being warmed up with some food. Others might need to riled up with some of those rubber balls. Remember that each pokemon's different. You might not even need to do anything but throw your pokeball to catch one. You have three hours. If you get tired or hungry, come back to the picnic tables, but I'm sure that food will taste better being shared with a new friend."
She pursed her lips for a few moments, peered up at the sky, then back at the kids.