Scattered Memories of a Chronic Otherworlder: The Beginning

My attachment to the Otherworld started almost like a dream. There were times during the day that I could see another world. There was a girl there, and her name was Saren. Saren Annemarie Furori. I could see through her eyes, but when I was not there, she lived her life without me.

Even so, I had all of her memories, even from when I wasn’t there.

It may sound silly, but the world she grew up in was one with Pokémon in it. Pokémon look like animals, but they are more like trainable monsters. The reason you might think this is silly is because the Pokémon company in the Primary World advertises mostly to children.

But in truth, they are more like wild animals. They can be dangerous.

In the Otherworld, my childhood home was a small town. Smaller even than the neighborhood where I live in the Primary World. There was a small police station there, with a handful of officers, but to go to the hospital you would have to travel to the next town. The roads were not well-maintained, and some residents didn’t even have cars. It was true that you could walk to the nearest town in about fifteen minutes, but I still think it was good that my parents had a car. It was bright red, like a fire engine. Not sure what model or type—in the Otherworld, there are different types of cars than in the Primary World. There was no church–people in that town understood the concept of gods but had no established religion.

We lived in a two-story home. All of our bedrooms were on the second floor, and the front door opened into the kitchen. The front door was blue, and the siding was white. The shutters were red. We had a white picket fence and a small, boxed-in yard.

My parents’ names were Robert and Linda, and my little sister was Cassandra. My dad was blonde and blue-eyed, as was my sister. My mom had the same dark brown curly hair and brown eyes as me. People said I had my dad’s nose, and that always annoyed me for some reason. Like, I should have inherited something a little more notable from my dad than his nose.

My favorite memory of my dad in the Otherworld was when I was really little, he used to swing me up in the air, tossing me gently and catching me again. My mom always fretted he would drop me, but he never did. He would do this several times, and then pretend to get dizzy and we would end up in a pile on the ground, with me giggling uncontrollably and him moaning as if hurt.

He also played soccer with me and tried to teach me to be a Pokémon trainer.

My favorite memory of my mom from the Otherworld was when I called her tennis trophies “shiny cups.” She had three of them in a locked cabinet, and I was little enough that I did not attach any importance to them. I asked if we could drink from the “shiny cups” this time. I think I must have been four or five at the time. At first, she was offended. She went on a rant about how she earned those with sweat and hard work. When she saw I was merely bored with her explanation, she began to laugh. We ate ice cream out of the “shiny cups” that day. That’s what I loved about her. She was able to have fun even at her own expense, and her seriousness would drop in an instant to reveal her brilliant sense of humor.

My sister was 3 years old when I was 12, which is when my story really starts. That’s when I made the attachment with Saren in the Otherworld, and we became one. When it began I shared all of her memories, which is why I have all these early memories of my parents from the Otherworld.

At the time, I was immature. I saw Cassandra—Cassie, we called her—as a bratty child who thought she was the world. I avoided her and never let her play with me and my friends. That is one of my regrets. I made a lot of mistakes in the Otherworld, just like I make mistakes in the Primary World. This is not the worst of my mistakes.

Anyway, I should tell you about the other inhabitants of my hometown, which was called Barktown.

Mira Fesyrimora was my youngest friend. She was 10 years old, with dark pink hair often tied up with golden bands. Her eyes were a lighter pink, and her favorite outfit was a pink and white dress her grandmother had made for her. She was short and almost always wore a small bow. She was bright—an effortless A student. I got A’s too in the Otherworld, but I had to work much harder to get them. She had an Abra, a humanoid teleporting Pokémon.

Cheryl Merusin was my best friend, and she was fourteen. She had green locks, green eyes, and a serious disposition. She preferred to wear her hair in one large clumsy braid that fell over her shoulder like a poorly woven rope. She had a soft side, and we would often read aloud together under our favorite Cheri berry tree. (You would think that Cheri berries taste like cherries, with the way their names sound alike. Nope! Cheri berries are spicy in flavor, more like the tang of cinnamon than anything like cherries). She had a Chancee, a large pink Pokémon known for its healing skills.

She hated this story, but her mom always used to talk about how she had named her daughter after that Cheri berry tree, because it was under that tree that her parents were married. Mrs. Merusin named her daughter Cheryl, but called her Cheri for short. Cheryl told me to never, ever, call her Cheri, so of course I did occasionally. She was my friend after all, and what are friends for if not teasing each other?

Buck Rodd was also fourteen, and he was Cheryl’s ambitious boyfriend. He always wanted to be the best at everything. Catching Pokémon, fishing, running, driving, you name it. He had red hair with a stripe of it dyed yellow—don’t ask me why. He thought it looked like flames, but I thought it looked appalling. Cheryl must have been into it though. Haha. He also had red eyes. He had a Baltoy, a spinning Pokémon that looks kind of like a top.

I liked when Buck helped me practice soccer. Cheryl didn’t worry that Buck and I were also close friends. There was no rivalry there—he was not my type. He could never take anything seriously and was always teasing everyone.

Red Makemurri was not my friend. In fact, we tended to get into vocal arguments every time we crossed paths. He had red hair and scarlet eyes, and was 12 years old. Mr. and Mrs. Makemurri always thought I started the fights, which was far from the truth. He was all about winning as a kid, and when he got over that phase he wasn’t much better. Honestly, he made me want to tear out my hair with frustration sometimes. We played games together like soccer and basketball, but he would make fun of my every move, so it wasn’t much fun. He had a Cyndaquil as a Pokémon, which looked kind of like a fire mole.

Vynona Makemurri was his older sister and was even worse. She was a 16-year-old who had her own silver car that no one was allowed to touch. As if anyone wanted to touch it. Whatever. She had red hair and scarlet eyes like her brother. She was always looking down on us, figuratively and literally. She had a Gardevoir, a tall and graceful psychic Pokemon.

Marley Koto was a 15-year-old who dressed like a goth with black and white clothing. Her hair was black and her eyes were a pretty blue. She acted like she was an older sister to Red, even though she wasn’t. She and Cheryl didn’t get along well. She had an Arcanine, a large fire breathing dog.

Riley Cremont was 16 years old, with dark blue hair and indigo eyes. He always wore this silly blue hat and dark clothes like Marley. He was kind to everyone, and had less of an attitude than Marley. He wore sunglasses most of the time. He had a Lucario, which was a tall fighting-type Pokémon.

My own Pokémon was a Celebi, which looks kind of like a green fairy. They live hundreds of years, so she was passed down from my great-grandmother, to my grandmother, to my mother, and then to me. She was precious to me. We had all sorts of adventures together.

When I first connected to the Otherworld, that was my life. For several weeks, I was a normal kid, finishing up school and getting ready for the coming-of-age journey everyone went on when they felt they were ready—a trek with friends through the surrounding towns and countryside which would involve camping in the great outdoors, growing closer to our Pokémon, and learning to live on our own. It was going to be amazing. I planned on going with Mira, Cheryl, and Buck. My parents were on board with it and said I could do it soon.

This is from my series Scattered Memories of a Chronic Otherworlder (2022).

This is a series made up of my memories from the fantasy world that my mind often got dragged into, starting when my schizophrenia first developed and continuing into the present day. Some of the characters from this series are from fictional works. In this one, characters and monsters from the Pokémon video games are included.

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