Her first name is Susanne. Her last name does not matter.
On October 31st, 2001, she turned twenty.
On December 14th that year, she died.
This is the true story of Hex. This was her life.
I don’t know where to begin the story. When I went to the mall, I waited in front of GameStop wearing an off-white hat with a blue-and-green patterned band. A young woman with gray eyes and short blond hair approached me. She was wearing a white dress that ended above her knees with a light blue jacket and black yoga pants—just as she said. Five minutes later we were in the food court, sitting at the one empty table.
Her name is Halo. I don’t know her real name; she didn’t tell me, and I didn’t ask. This would probably be the only time we’d meet. We only had one topic to discuss: Hex.
According to Halo, Hex was raised by her mom. For whatever reason, her dad was never in the picture; she doesn’t know why. Her grandfather was a Japanese immigrant who insisted on teaching his children Japanese, and then his granddaughter when he had to babysit her while her mom was at work. She grew up hearing both English and Japanese since she was a baby, and by the time she was seven she was pretty good at speaking it and was learning to read it. Around this time her mom got a job transfer and they moved to another state, but she kept up her studies even then.
This is where Halo comes into the story. The house Hex’s mom bought was right next door to Halo’s house. There was a six year age gap between them, though; she was only a baby when Hex moved in. However, they were still pretty good friends because of Halo’s older sister, Hannah. Hannah was different from other girls: she was born with a are skin condition called xeroderma pigmentosum, XP for short. It made her skin incredibly sensitive to UV rays, making sunlight deadly; just a little exposure could burn her and put her at risk for developing skin cancer. As a result, she could only play outside at night. Her parents centered their entire lives around her, moving to night shifts and becoming somewhat nocturnal.
She couldn’t leave home much because of it. Regular school was out of the question, so they hired an at-home tutor for her. Since most kids make their first friends at school, she was pretty lonely. So when Hex moved in next door, she naturally jumped at the chance to make a new friend. They were the same age, and Hex was new to town; she didn’t know anyone. They began playing together and quickly became best friends, with Hex adapting her own schedule a bit to play with Hannah at night. It was Hannah who gave her the nickname “Hex” when she mentioned she didn’t like the name “Susanne”, based on her supernatural interests (perhaps stemming from her Halloween birthday). Even when Hex made new friends at school, Hannah was her closest friend; she’d go over almost every day to play. Even Halo says she thought of Hex like family.
As they grew older, their interests naturally changed from dolls to more “mature” stuff. Since Hannah was pretty much stuck indoors anyway, they took an interest in video games and computers. Video games were a great way to spend time together; they could play two-player games or just sit next to each other playing on their GameBoys. Pretty soon they both wanted to design their own games, and began working with computers to try and do this. Hex proved to be a natural at programming; Hannah… not so much.
Then, in 1996, one of Hex’s relatives in Japan sent her copies of two new games: Pokémon Red and Green. They were in Japanese, but Hex could read it anyway. She gave Red to Hannah and kept Green for herself. Since Hannah couldn’t read Japanese, Hex helped her out by translating the names of moves, types and some of the dialogue. They both fell in love with Pokémon and became kind of obsessed. When Red and Blue were released in English two years later, they bought those, too, so they could both understand it as they played. They would spend hours battling each other or trading.
But just a couple of months later, tragedy struck: Hannah died. It wasn’t even because of her health; she was caught in a car accident. She was only sixteen at the time; Halo, her sister, was only eleven. Hannah didn’t have many friends, but the few she had were extremely close to her, and naturally they were devastated. Needless to say, Halo and Hex weren’t the same after that. Hex became reclusive, locking herself in her room to mess with her computer. Halo’s grades began slipping and she started spending more time away from home.
Though Hannah was the common thread between Halo and Hex, they didn’t just stop talking to each other. They lived next door to each other, after all. Hex was always the first choice for a babysitter and often played chauffeur when Halo’s parents were busy. They weren’t the closest of friends, but they were still comfortable together. As we talked in the mall food court, Halo said that, in retrospect, Hex was probably trying to honor Hannah’s memory by taking her place as the big sister. She was always there for her. When Hex graduated high school, she couldn’t go straight to college due to some unknown circumstances, so she had even more time for Halo.
Despite this, tragedy struck again in 2000. Hex began noticing some strange changes to her body. She had a couple new moles and her skin seemed… different. She didn’t think too much of it until later when she began to lose weight and coughing a lot. Then one day she happened to mention it to Halo’s mom, and she recognized them as symptoms of skin cancer. It was the same kind of things they’d look for in Hannah. At this point Hex went to a doctor, who confirmed it: she had skin cancer. Apparently she’d had it for a while, and it had already reached her lymph nodes, lowering her survival chances by a lot. To make it worse, it was about to reach her organs. She and her mom couldn’t afford immediate treatment, and they realized she would probably die.
The news spread around fast and had a heavy effect. When Halo, then 13, heard about it from her parents, she burst into tears. She told me that it felt like she was about to lose another sister. The ironic part is that it was skin cancer, the very thing they’d expected to kill Hannah. It kind of gave everything a surreal spin. Hex hid herself in her room for a while and didn’t leave. No one knew what she was doing in there. but now they know she was probably working on her first and final game: a hacked version of Pokémon Silver version—my version.
Hex’s health kept getting worse and worse. The cancer progressed quicker than expected. When her old high school friends found out while home from college on winter break, they went over to her house to see her. She started getting more and more tired, she kept quiet… She tried to fight it as long as possible, but finally, mid-2001, she was admitted to the hospital. She never left it again, and died before the end of year.
As Halo and I talked, she admitted that it hurt to see Hex. She didn’t go into much detail about the treatments or visits. She told me she couldn’t really remember much of it; she thinks she might have repressed the memories. Her strongest memory of that time was Hex’s final birthday, on October 31st. Her hospital room was decorated for Halloween, and there was a stack of ghost story books on the table. Hex had reached the point where she was paler than Hannah, who hadn’t seen sunlight since she was diagnosed as a baby.
A lot of Halo’s memories of watching Hex and Hannah together involved them playing or discussing Pokémon, so she got a stuffed Pikachu for her birthday, even though she wasn’t sure if Hex still liked Pokémon. When she took it out of the bag, though, her eyes lit up. At the end of the visit, she asked Halo for one last thing: Hannah’s copies of Red and Blue. Halo says she remembers Hex’s words perfectly:
“I’m going to die soon. Before I do, I want to play Hannah’s Pokémon games one last time. Those games are part of her legacy and were a part of her. I want to see them one last time before I die.”
Halo obeyed. She went home and found the games in Hannah’s room. It took a while to find them because they hadn’t been seen since Hannah’s death, and it was hard to loo through her sister’s room. Everything was a painful reminder of her dead sister; she had to stop several times to cry. But she didn’t give up and eventually found them, and the next day she went back to the hospital to give them to Hex. Hex thanked her, put Red in her Game Boy, and began to play. At this point Halo left her alone. A little over a month later, Hex died.
After Hex’s death, there was naturally a funeral and her will was read. Being a teenager, she didn’t have much to leave anyone. Halo got Hannah’s copies of Red and Blue back and put them back in her room where they belonged. Her parents got a picture of Hex and Hannah as kids, and several mementos. But there was one unusual request Halo says she’ll never forget. One of the items was an open request for her former classmates. Before it could be read, it was asked that everyone but her classmates leave the room. Halo, being curious, stuck near the door to listen in.
What she heard was a request to get a copy of Pokémon Silver sold.
The request didn’t say anything about the game or what was so special about it. It was just a simple task, with no details other than it must be sold as a “new” game, meaning it had to be sold at a store as part of its stock. It was strange, but her classmates respected her wishes. They began discussing what to do and one of them mentioned he worked at a nearby Target. He could probably slip the Silver Version into the stock sometime when no one was looking. Everyone agreed and he got the copy. Halo didn’t know what happened to it, but we do now.
From there, a mother bought it along with a copy of Pokémon Gold upon her young daughter’s request. And thus I came into ownership of perhaps the most unique copy of Pokémon Silver in existence.
Halo says she’d forgotten about it since then. Of course she was curious for a while, but she never found out what was so special and eventually forgot about it, moving on with her life. Then, at some point last year, a friend of hers was on Tumblr searching for “Pokémon creepypastas” when he came across my blog. He mentioned it to one day to her and a group of friends, and she quickly made the connection. She searched for my Tumblr, just to be sure, and made an account just to follow it.
She kept silent for the longest time, not wanting to interfere with whatever Hex had planned. Even as I wildly speculated and felt like I was on the verge of insanity, she didn’t contact me once. It was only after I admitted to finishing the game that she finally sent me a message. Of course I was suspicious at first, but she provided a detail I’d kept to myself about Hex’s ghost: she had a tendency to toy with her sleeves. It’s a minor tendency I didn’t find worth mentioning, so when Halo mentioned that I believed her, so we arranged to meet at a nearby mall.
Getting there was tricky for me because A) I still don’t have a driver’s license, and B) I hate shopping, but I somehow convinced my mom to leave me alone there without mentioning the meeting. Halo and I spent about two hours talking yesterday, all about Hex. When we finished, we just sat there in silence for a couple minutes. There was nothing left for us to discuss, so we decided to leave. I called my mom to pick me up and went home, spending hours thinking about what I’d just learned.
Hex’s ghost was still here. She was standing there, watching me as I sat on the couch, deep in thought. Finally I got up and walked over to my laptop. On an impulse, I opened a word document and typed “hi”. After a moment, I saw the word “hello” appear on the screen in italics. I looked at the screen in shock for a moment, and then the following conversation happened.
I heard your story from your friend Halo.
You were there? I didn’t see you.
In all the ghost stories I’ve read, you don’t usually see ghosts. You should know this. You’re a fan of ghost stories yourself.
Yeah… I’ll probably take a break from them for a while.
I had a feeling you would feel that way. Most fans of ghost stories tend to have a change of heart when it happens.
What makes you so sure? Were you haunted by a ghost?
I might as well have been. Hannah’s death was always on my mind. Sometimes I thought I saw her but it turned out to be my imagination or someone who looked like her.
I heard that kind of thing happens in grief. I guess I wouldn’t know, though. I still haven’t lost any friends or family members since I was born. Well, I HAVE lost pets, but that doesn’t really count as much as a human being.
True. I’d go into more on that, but you’re kind of a philosophical type and we could probably spend hours talking about it. Philosophical types can get carried away pretty easily. Besides, I have something more important to talk about.
Yes. I’ve noticed that blog you’ve been running about this game. I’ve watched you type in it from the start. I want to try something.
Haven’t you already interfered a couple times? I’m pretty sure you typed something while I was away once and also opened an ask box.
I wanted to mess with you. If I’m a ghost, I might as well have some fun with it.
You do realize you almost made me crazy, right?
I think you’re exaggerating. Anyways, I have a request. When you write the next entry, can you post something for me?
A simple sentence appeared on the page:
And then… the room suddenly felt lighter. No more words appeared on the screen, no matter how much I typed. I sat there for a long time, in shock. I understood what had happened: she’d moved on. After following that copy of Pokémon Silver for years, it had finally been completed. She finally had closure and could move on to the afterlife.
So… I began to cry. She was no longer haunting me. She was gone, and I would never see her again.
I can’t help but wonder if we’d have been friends in real life. It’s cheesy and kind of a cliche thought, but I can’t help it. She and I seem to share a lot of interests. I mean, we both like ghost stories and Pokémon games… She probably could have taught me Japanese, too, but… I guess I’ll never know the answer. All I can do now is echo her message.
Thank you everyone. Thanks for reading this and following me on my journey. What started out as a simple video game log became something more. It became the story of a person’s life. Now that this is complete, this will no longer be updated. Today I’ll log out of Tumblr and never get on again.
But maybe years from now, I’ll open this site and read through the log one more time.
And then I’ll cry again as I relive all the events that happened here.
(Thanks for reading everyone! I’ll start posting only in my “primary” blog (Monkeys In a Room) as of today. I’ve already posted some trivia about the making of Pokémon Hex and will be writing about future writing projects there! Be sure to visit it! ^_^)