(As usual, I'm only saying this once, so listen up and listen well…)
- I do not, nor have I ever, owned the rights to the video game, Mother, or its unreleased English Language prototype, Earth Bound, from which this fan fiction is based. To my legal knowledge, the game, and its content, though out of print, are both, to this day, legally owned by their respective owners, Shigesato Itoi, APE Software, Nintendo of Japan, and Nintendo of America. All other properties, not in the public domain, that are mentioned in this fan fiction rightfully belong to their individual copyright holders and are mentioned entirely for reference purposes.
- Earth Bound is a work of complete fiction. Names, characters, places, and situations are products of either the original staff's imagination or that of my own. Any similarities to actual events, locations, and/or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
- The views expressed in this fan fiction do not necessarily represent the overall views of the author.
The Year - 1907...
The Place - Podunk, USA - a small, rural country hamlet in the middle of America, seemingly untouched by the nationwide industrialization from merely thirty-to-forty years prior. While the town has its share of the newest modern commodities, it was still a town where you didn't have to lock your doors at night and everyone still knew everyone by their first name - even though such practices were more common during that era, Podunk still had the innocence that they thought the bigger cities around them were slowly losing.
One seemingly ordinary evening, one like any other, a young man in his mid-to-late 20's sits on his front porch, dressed in the fashions of the era, although they were worn discretely "loosened" for comfort, reading the latest copy of The Podunk Press, the town's local weekly newspaper, as the victrola in the corner of the parlor plays "In My Merry Oldsmobile" just low enough to be heard outside and not have the local sheriff come by and charge them with disturbing the peace, even though most of their neighbors were doing the exact same thing themselves this mildly humid midsummer's night.
Momentarily, he looks up from his newspaper to see his young wife walk outside to join him in her favorite white pouter pigeon blouse and black skirt; her hair was still tied into a bun that she tried in vain to keep in a Gibson Girl hairstyle, (in an era before hairspray). It was obvious to George she was still in her corset (all you had to do was look at her once while she was wearing it and you'd never easily forget it.) Smiling, he instinctively stands to greet her until she takes a seat in the chair adjacent to his as she continues where she left off in her copy of Hudson's Green Mansions. She's tired, but still she manages in her treasured evening routine. Lately, this was the only time she really had that she could spend her husband, just the two of them, since the baby was born. While he worked all day as the local newspaper's editor-in-chief, what time she didn't have that was consumed tending to their newborn baby's needs, she spent giving piano lessons to the town's youth. A brief, yet common moment of silence passes between the two.
Though the couple has only been married for little more than a year after a five year courtship, the spark between them (behind closed doors) was still as fresh as it was on the night of their honeymoon.
"I finally got the little one to sleep." Maria said, while trying to hide the yawn in her angelic voice.
"He's been quite a handful lately, hasn't he, Dear."
"I know, Darling." she wearily told George, "But I'm sure he'll grow out of it. He's just a baby, after all."
That night, however, the young woman felt an uncomfortable breeze builds up around her.
"George?" she asks.
"Yes, Dear?" her husband worriedly replies. He knew all too well that she would never refer to him by his given name, especially in private, unless something was bothering her. Unless she was mad at him, it was either 'Darling' or (if she was really in a good mood) "Sweetheart."
"Is it just me, or is it getting too dark all of a sudden?" Even though it was summertime, and the days were usually longer, it was almost getting too dark for this time of year at this time of night - it was hardly 8:00...
Putting down his newspaper for a second time that evening, George looks around, "You know, I think it is." Compelled to get up, he notices something strange in the distance. "That's odd." he said, with a dumbfounded expression on his face.
"Look." George said, pointing up towards the distant Mt. Itoi, the tallest mountain in a small range near the bustling city of Ellay that was so massive, you could clearly see its peak from as far as Podunk, though it was at least a couple thousand miles away.
"What is that?" Maria asks, noticing a dark cloud forming near the mountain's peak - one dark enough to be seen in the darkest of midnight skies. Before they knew what hit them, there was a bright flash of light as the couple disappeared into thin air.
News of the disappearance spread quickly through the small country town, however it was kept quiet from outside news sources. As a whole, they didn't want the kind of publicity a story like this would bring, even if they were both highly respected citizens of the community, so finding out what happened was a high priority. As one prayer vigil after another was held night after night, praying for their safe return, over time, however, the town came to accept that something had happened; what? They didn't know - it was also decided that it'd be a wise idea not to ask too many questions about the incident. Since then, the couple's young son was placed in the custody of George's brother and sister-in-law, who'd moved back to Podunk from Merrysville so he could fill his brother George's "vacated" position as editor of the local newspaper, while his wife became one of the town's lower elementary schoolteachers.
Two years to the day this 'incident' occurred, a strange, yet familiar figure walked into town in a complete daze. The stunned townspeople immediately recognized him as George, the young newlywed that had disappeared two years ago.
When asked about his wife, Maria, he wouldn't tell them anything, not even his own remaining family, what had happened to him or where he had been, almost like he couldn't, or refused to remember any of the details. He was also a shell of his former self - what was once a kind, easygoing gentleman was now a harsh and, basically, curmudgeonly old grouch. While all the town's people knew was that he was back, and Maria wasn't, and though public opinion was against him, no formal charges were pursued due to overall lack of evidence.
Forced into a self-imposed exile, George never remarried, choosing to spend the rest of his life studying the science of parapsychology, focusing his attention primarily on the subject of, what would later be known as, PSI - a catch-all term used to categorize the phenomena of ESP and psychokinesis.
Spending most of the later part of his life "abroad", he died alone and estranged from his remaining family members, who considered him to be growing crazier by the day, of natural, yet mysterious and sudden causes. He was buried where he died, at the top of Mt. Itoi with little to no fan fair - hardly anyone showed up to see the old man off. To this day, however, no one knows whatever happened to Maria, and the incident has long since faded from memory…
Fast forward to the year 1989, where a young, seemingly ordinary, twelve year-old, All-American pre-teenaged boy named Ken sits in his bedroom playing the Nintendo NES his dad got him for Christmas last year - one of the only few times his father was ever around in the physical sense of the word for longer than a day. True, he didn't bare any ill will towards his father, but Ken naturally wished he was around more often. His parents weren't divorced, or anything, but his job as a businessman kept him away far too often, leaving Ken as pro tem man of the house. Struggling to make it past the Death Mountain area of (The Legend of) Zelda II - The Adventures of Link, the picture on his TV screen started to become distorted, ruining Ken's game, and his afternoon, in the process as it finally gave out in a statically, snowy haze.
"Son of a bitch!" Ken curses, tossing the controller to the floor, cursing further as he reverts to some old tried and true methods of TV repair. Pounding the old set's side with little result (which normally worked,) "First the Braves beat the Giants by one run, and now this! What else can go wrong?"
Suddenly, Ken felt the house starting to shake. "I had to ask!" Ken said, as the room shook about. When it finally died down a little, "An earthquake?" Ken thought, "Earthquakes don't happen here! We're in the middle of nowhere!" With that, the shaking started again, worse than before. The problem was intensified when his lucky baseball - the one signed by Shigeo Nagashima he got when his dad took the family to Japan for a vacation/business trip - instead of simply falling to the floor off its shelf, flew across the room, narrowly missing its human target as it slammed against the wall.
"This is too weird." Ken said, as he was trying to get out of his room, forgetting that he'd locked the door - like any older brother, he'd do anything to keep the twins, his sisters - Minnie (who he jokingly referred to as "Mini" - even though they were identical, she was, somehow, almost a quarter inch shorter than her sister…) and Mimi (which was "mistakenly" spelled "Mimmie" on her birth certificate) out of his room - he'd already lost valuable seconds trying to undo the broken latch.
Finally grabbing hold of the doorknob, ready to escape the "Bedroom From Hell", Ken felt an electrical cord wrap around his neck, constricting tighter as he struggled to loosen its grip.
Struggling to break free from the cord's grip, as he was somehow lifted into the air, Ken was shocked to see the source of the strangling power cord - the table lamp he had kept on his nightstand had somehow come to life, and the look on the small piece of electrical furniture's new face told Ken that this lamp was hungry for human flesh, and it turned out he was on the menu.
Naturally, Ken wasn't going to be eaten without a fight. As the cord continued to wrap around his body, Ken continued struggling, though it appeared to be in vain - the creature that had possessed his lamp continued drawing the boy towards its gaping maw.
Able to get his foot free, Ken managed to kick the beastly table lamp enough to make it recoil, breaking its grip on the boy. Falling to the floor, Ken recovered his composure as the lamp attacked head on, attempting to latch itself onto his neck. Narrowly escaping, Ken made it to the other end of the bedroom where his prized baseball landed. Throwing caution to the wind, he wound up and pitched the ball toward the lamp, shattering it with one lucky strike. (Naturally, he was a talented ball player, he was hardly a pitcher.)
Cautiously approaching the lamp's remains, all Ken could see was a lamp shade, various glass and clay fragments, and random pieces of electrical wire - it was apparent that whatever had possessed it had left.
Suddenly, the earthquake started to get worse as the house started shaking to its core. Hearing a loud scream coming from outside his room, only one thought came to mind as Ken immediately recognized its source - "Mini!"
Making it into the hallway, Ken was more than shocked to see the hall in a complete disarray - a dark, slime like substance covered the walls, pictures were altered, revealing more demonic scenery, and the tabletop décor that aligned the walls were floating all over the room.
Getting a grip on himself, Ken barged into Mini's room to find her cornered, as her table lamp, warped by the same demon that had once possessed his, was menacingly inching closer to her, jaws wide open for a free, fleshy meal.
"Ken, help me!" Minnie cried, "I'm scared! My lamp seems to be alive!"
"Hey!" Ken yelled, "Leave my sister alone!"
The possessed lamp turns its attention away from the little girl to focus on Ken. Growling angrily, it rammed itself into its new target as Ken fell back on impact, caught off guard by the assaulting light fixture. Winded, Ken got up as the lamp started using its cord as a whip, lashing into Ken. On the whip's third strike, Ken got lucky and caught the electrical whipcord's business end, wrapping it around his wrist. Before the lamp could take advantage of this seemingly 'foolish' action, Ken swung the lamp between the wall and the floor, finally shattering the lamp as the demon went on to possess another target.
"Oh my!" Minnie cried, after the fiasco was over, "Ken, our house is falling apart!"
"Don't worry, Mini." Ken says, trying to sooth his crying little sister. Unfortunately, another ear-splitting scream came from next door - Minnie's twin sister Mimi was also in trouble!
"Won't that thing ever give up?" Ken asks himself as he races to his other sister's bedroom to check up on her.
Barging in, Ken saw Mimi was worse off than anyone else - her favorite baby doll was holding her hostage.
"Help me!" Mimi cried.
"Hey, you!" Ken cried, going back into full 'big brother mode' as the doll turned around midair. With an otherworldly scowl on its painted face, the doll flew towards Ken, latching onto his throat. Successfully prying the doll away, Ken was lucky that it didn't draw any blood. Letting the doll get close again, Ken abruptly grabbed it by the legs…
"Get - the - Hell - out - of - my - HOUSE!" he yelled as he continuously bashed the doll against the bedroom's hardwood floor (aside from the occasional rug, the house wasn't carpeted.) the doll broke apart as the house stopped shaking. Whatever was happening to the house had somehow stopped - at least for the moment.
"Oh, Ken!" Mimi said, latching onto her older brother, "I was scared to death!"
"It's alright, Mimi." Ken said, soothing her, "It's over."
Releasing her grip on her older brother, Mimi noticed something in her old doll.
"Oh, wow!" she said, amazed, "Ken, check this out."
"What is it?"
"Look!" Mimi replies, showing Ken an old, miniature wind-up music box.
As the handle started to crank on its own, the box began playing its song…
…~"Take A Melody"~…
However, the music box's age had degraded the song to only a few short notes before it finally gave out.
"Ken, here's some soda." Mimi said, giving him the last of her orange soda, "You are thirsty, aren't you?"
Slightly worn out from his fight with the doll and both lamps, Ken gladly took it. Heading downstairs, their mother instantly got up from her chair and engulfed her son in a worried, bone-crushing embrace.
"Ken, are you alright?" she worriedly asks.
"I'm fine, Mom." Ken replied, struggling to catch his breath.
"Egad! What's happening to our house?" she asks, "I wish your father was here now. Maybe…"
As if on cue, the phone started to ring.
"Oh, that phone! Of all times…" his mother says, "Please get it, Ken."
Doing as told, Ken grabbed the receiver.
"Hello? Walters residence. Ken speaking." he says, using the "parental imposed" telephone greeting he despises with a heated passion - however, now was not the time to quarrel over such petty issues.
"Ken? This is your father."
"Dad! You're not gonna believe what's going on." Ken replies as he starts to explain what had been happening over the last hour.
"Well…" his father paused; he had hoped this day wouldn't come, "It seems like a poltergeist."
"A what?" Ken asked, not believing his ears.
"I'm not exactly sure how to…" his father continued, hesitating, "but your Great-Grandfather studied PSI. You might find something in his diary that'll help."
"Where is it?"
"I think it's somewhere in the basement."
"But, Dad…" Ken replied, prepared to state the obvious.
"Yes, I know, the basement's locked. I left the key somewhere… …I just don't remember exactly where…"
"Oh, Dad…" Ken muttered under his breath, hoping the phone wouldn't pick that last little bit.
"Anyway, son…" his father said, pausing before he threw the curve ball at his son straight from left field, "you're this world's only hope!"
"What?" Ken asked, caught off guard.
"It's time for you to go on a little adventure" his father continued, "and explore the potential of your powers."
"My powers?" Ken asked, confused. He knew he could read minds and make small things float around, and stuff like that. But since he started school, his parents have been making him do it only when he was at home, if at all. In fact, the last time he made anything float in midair was when he was entertaining the twins by making one of their teddy bears dance to stop them from crying - and they both couldn't have been more than a year old!
Talking to his father over the phone, Ken failed to see the tears build up in his mother's eyes. She'd always known this day would come since she first saw Ken floating and bending spoons halfway across the room from his high chair, and since then she's been dreading it would come down to this. Sure, she'd always known her baby would leave home some day, but she never expected it'd be like this, or so soon.
After the "spoon incident," her husband finally told her what his parents told him about his grandfather, about what he had kept secret from the world, about his Grandpa George, and about what he'd been doing until the day he died… and when one of his descendents finally developed these type of powers, something devastating would be on the horizon and that he or she would be this world's only hope for survival… She'll admit, when the preacher said, "…for better or for worse…" this wasn't what she had in mind.
"Yes, powers!" his father continued, "Powers not to be taken lightly."
"But…" Ken started to protest.
"Ken, go for it!" his father interrupted him before he could protest, "But remember to call home from time-to-time and check in on our family."
"Dad!" Ken yelled into the receiver before hearing a dial tone. Softly hanging up, he walked to the door. "Mom, I'm going outside for a little while. I think I need some fresh air." Stepping outside, the family dog approached him, laying its head on Ken's leg as he sat down on an old bench on his family's front porch.
"Hey, Mack." Ken said, petting the old, graying golden retriever's head, almost forgetting all that's happened today.
"I'll tell you a secret if you keep scratching me behind my ear like that." Ken heard.
"You say something, boy?" Ken asked. There was no one else was around there that could talk. But after all that's been going on today, anything could happen.
"I was wondering when you'd finally listen, again." Ken heard.
"Oh, right. I forgot…" he replied, "my telepathy." Up until he was told otherwise, he was the only one who really understood the family dog. Doing as requested, Ken finally asked, "Now what is it you wanted to tell me?"
"I heard you're looking for that metal thing that opens that gate leading down into that hole in your pack's den." the dog replies.
"The key to the basement? How do you know about that?" Ken asked.
"I have my ways." Mack smugly replied, "Why don't you check my collar?"
"Sure, why not?" Ken asks, "What've I got to lose?" Doing so, Ken finds something that'd be considered strange to be placed on a dog's collar. "What's this?" he asked, "The key to the basement? Where'd you find this?" He asked, before saying, "Forget it, Mack! I probably don't want to know."
"Suit yourself, Pup." Mack said, doing what, when coming from a dog, could be interrupted as shrugging his shoulders. Then, sharply turning his head, "Hey! Squirrel!" Mack said, before giving chase and barking up a storm as Ken couldn't help but laugh at his old hound, who sometimes was still a pup at heart.
Going back inside, Ken used the key to open the basement door. Inside, the lights were barely working, but Ken found what he was looking for - his Great-Grandfather's old diary. Before leaving the dark, dank cellar, he found his old plastic PlaySkool/Fisher Price baseball bat. "Well, if I'm going on a journey," Ken thought, "I guess I'll need some kind of protection."
Returning from the basement, Ken saw his mother sitting in the living room, crying as she looked over an old photo album.
"Mom?" Ken asked, braking her from her crying spell.
"Ken, *sniff* you're braver than I thought." she said, "I can't let you go on a journey so famished. I'll grill you some of my special steaks. Eat your dinner and run off to bed, young man."
No matter what anyone else would ever tell him - in his mind, the way his mother grilled steaks were worth dying for. He just hoped that, after he left, that analogy wouldn't be taking on a new, more literal meaning.
Waking up bright and early the next morning, Ken got dressed and stuffed some spare clothing into his backpack - taking special care when handling his more meaningless, yet highly prized processions - his Tokyo Giants ticket stubs, his autographed baseball, one of the spoons he bent as a toddler, his stuffed penguin (don't ask…), and the aged photograph of his Great-Grandmother, Maria, which had the most sentimental value to him. He was always told that, even though she'd disappeared, if he kept that photo with him, her spirit would always be watching over him. Right now, he felt he could use all the spiritual protection he could get. Donning his blood red, tiger striped bandana, tying it around his neck and wearing it like a silver screen cowboy would wear his in an old 1940's B-Western, and his favorite (some would say trademark) baseball cap, Ken headed downstairs to be greeted by the smell of his favorite breakfast - omelets.
"Whenever you want to eat any of my steaks and omelets, just come on home." his mother said as Ken walked to the door. Stopping before turning the doorknob, he turned away, and with tears in his eyes, ran and hugged his mother for what may be the final time.
"I'll miss you." Ken said, trying in vain to keep from crying. (Deep down, he always was a momma's boy…)
"I know, Ken." his mother replied. Looking down at him after releasing him, she dried his tearing eyes. "Remember." she said, "No matter where you go, or whatever happens, I will always love you, and I will always be waiting." Kissing him, she continued, "Now, go. Or you'll never be able to leave."
Everything inside Ken made him want to stay, namely his sense of logic. He kept asking himself, "Who in their right mind would send their barely teenaged son out into the world all alone?" Still, whatever was calling him to leave was getting stronger by the second - whatever it was, something devastating was coming to conquer this world, and somehow he was probably the only one that could stop it…