[SWC] Exodus

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  1. #1
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    Default [SWC] Exodus

    It's been awhile, Story Section. Soo, this is my SWC entry.

    Notes:


    Exodus
    by Roulette

    Go tell that long tongued liar
    Go and tell that midnight rider
    Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
    Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down
    Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down


    Over the past four months, John Marshall’s small apartment had receded into a chaotic mess. His walls were plastered with papers smudged with black ink and decorated with gold leaf. Red drops covered the bathroom floor, and a nearly unrecognizable bible lay open on the small kitchen table. Hundreds of its pages had been torn from its spine and displayed on the wall, and written in black paint over the door to the apartment the word “Exodus” was bluntly displayed.

    These were the pages that contained John’s messages. The messages came from God himself, and they were instructions meant exclusively for John. He spent his days and nights walking around the rooms, memorizing the scriptures and carving their names into his pale skin. The raised scars that covered his arms and chest were permanent reminders of what he was meant to do.

    As John hypnotically walked around the room reading the verses, his only companion, a Litwick, floated just beside him. It was the only source of light in the apartment, as John had completely stopped paying his bills after his revelation. The Litwick, Abraham, merely smiled in silence as his master consumed verse after verse. The room was bathed in the purple light that extended from Abraham’s head. It was dim, and barely filled the apartment.

    Prior to his revelation, John had not been a particularly religious person. Alcoholism and a love of women led to an extreme feeling of guilt every time he entered a church or picked up a bible, and eventually he stopped caring all together. He found it easier to wallow in his sin than to look a priest in the eye, so soon enough the religion he had studied as a boy was pushed to the back of his mind.

    But of course, his dream had changed everything. He awoke from it drenched in cold sweat, and his hair had turned solid white. After he gathered himself and got up, he noticed a Litwick had come into his apartment. It somehow felt like he had known it for years, and he instantly knew to call it Abraham. The two shared a bond, and he knew that the Pokémon was meant to help him in his mission.

    The only thing left for John to wonder about was precisely where he should follow through with God’s will. He had not been specific, and only told him to punish the sinners for what they had done. He knew that Kanto, and the rest of the world, was full of sinners. He pitied them, but knew what had to be done. They had been given enough chances and time to repent, and judgment was knocking on their doors. God was ready to deliver to them their punishment, and John was his holy messenger.

    But the problem arose with Kanto’s size. There were many cities, and John had been given no clues as to which one he needed to strike. He studied the scriptures day and night, and prayed to God to open his eyes, but nothing came to him.

    “Where does sin thrive?” he would ask himself in the purple glow of the Litwick’s flame. The Pokémon only looked back at him blankly as he pondered his mission.

    John purchased a map of Kanto from the store next door to his apartment complex. It contained descriptions of each city in the region, and what they were famous for. He opened it and started with Pewter City. It seemed innocent enough, only having a museum to offer its visitors. Cinnabar was next, and John scoffed at it. The scientists on that island had done horrible experiment on Pokémon and humans alike for years, but God had given them their due punishment. He brought a volcano up from under their very feet, and burned the island to the ground. Another city was Fuchsia, which had nothing to offer but the Safari Zone. It was true that holding the Pokémon there was cruel, but who was to be punished, the warden? Something bigger was needed. None of the cities particularly caught his eye, and he wondered if he had been misled, like a lost sheep.

    The final city he spotted was Celadon. Initially, John thought it was a nice place. He had visited it once as a child, and gone shopping with his parents in the department store. He reminisced about his father winning him a prize at the local game corner, and then finishing the night with his family at the local diner.

    And as he briefly got caught up in his childhood memory, he realized that this was the answer he had been looking for. The city gave the impression of a happy community full of fun things to entertain anyone, but John saw it for what it truly was. It was nothing but a place for sinners to foolishly waste their money on trivial games and unneeded luxuries. It was a place for wasteful men to spend their money on themselves instead of God. It was as clear as water to him now. The people of Celadon needed to be freed of their sinful lifestyles and become a warning and a lesson to the rest of Kanto. When John delivered them their fates, they would meet face to face with God himself. Their worldly treasures, their money, and their good times would not be there to comfort them when He announced their fate. Only fire would meet them in the afterlife.

    John excitedly gathered the few things he had left. His wallet had a few hundred dollars inside, and he still had clothes in his closet. Other than that, he had given up nearly all he had. He combed his snow white hair so that it fell evenly on both sides of his head. He dressed in his traveling attire for the long road to Celadon City, wearing an old, beat up duster and a sturdy pair of boots. Walking past the city limits and toward Celadon, he looked more like a messenger of Hell. He was dressed in black, and his Litwick floated around his head as he traveled.

    His journey started early in the morning, and he knew he would arrive in Celadon just before nightfall, when the sinners would be leaving their homes to gamble and drink. The long walk to the city was made shorter by reciting the verses he had so painstakingly memorized. Abraham made no sound as he floated behind John, and John paid little attention to his company.

    He hoped that he wouldn’t be a startling sight in Celadon. Since he learned of his mission, he had become a shadow of his former self. His skin was nearly as white as his hair, and his face had sunken in greatly. His skin hung from his bones like clothes set out to dry, and his belt barely held his pants around his slim waist.

    As dusk set in along the road, the glow of Celadon showed brightly in the distance. Abraham glided in front of John, aiming his ghoulish flame at the ground in front of them. It had just become fully dark when the pair entered the city.

    The lights, sounds, and smells overwhelmed him as he slowly paced through the city streets. On the street corners, men advertised women as if they were animals at an auction. John wanted to end their lives there, sending them to the lord to be judged for the final time. But he knew that if he was to attack someone in the streets, his ultimate goal couldn’t be fulfilled and he would certainly fail God.

    He continued toward the neon lights of the game corner and realized how unprepared he was for his mission. He knew that he was supposed to end the lives of the many sinners around him, but with what? He had no weapons, and in his current state would definitely not be able to harm anyone with his hands. He spotted a twenty-four hour pawn shop and went inside. A fat, greasy man with a hairy neck smiled as he walked in, dropping his sandwich on the counter and wiping the mustard from his hands on his shirt.

    “Good evening, sir! What can I do for you today?” he was very upbeat and happy, no doubt wanting to make a sale.

    “What do you have along the lines of self-defense?” asked John. He looked past the various trinkets and objects on the shelves in search of a weapon of some kind.

    “Ah, you looking to protect yourself? Celadon’s a rough city, man. I don’t blame you!” he laughed and went to the back. When he returned he had a large case in his hands, and laid it out on the counter in front of John. He unlocked it and revealed an armory of small weapons.

    “What do you recommend?” asked John, looking over the wares. He had never purchased a weapon before, and wasn’t sure what the most efficient one was. There were knives, brass knuckles, and spikes to wear on your shoes.

    “Well, it depends what you need it for. I don’t ask questions, but if you tell me what exactly you aim to accomplish, I can lead you to the right weapon,” said the man. He had dropped his voice and moved closer to John, even though they were the only two in the store.

    “I just need something that will… do the job quickly. Quick and clean, and without a mess,” said John. The words tasted like vinegar on his lips, but he knew that he had to get used to the idea of killing another person soon. It was a commandment from God, and he was in no position to question it.

    The man reached into the case and pulled out a long, straight blade. It was about eight inches long, and the handle was protected by brass knuckles. It looked like a wicked tool, and John’s hands shook as he held it up. It was heavy, but fit his hand well. He slid his fingers into the brass knuckles and slashed the air in front of him, getting a feel for it.

    “Is it sharp?” he asked.

    “You have my guarantee. That thing could cut the steel off of a Skarmory. So have we reached a deal?” he smiled, showing several golden teeth.

    John looked at the man, disgusted. He sold instruments of death and destruction to people without even questioning it. The man had probably been responsible for hundreds of murders over the years, and all for the sake of a few dollars. John looked into his eyes as adrenaline surged through his body. His face was warm, and his heartbeat quickened. Abraham rested on his shoulders and smirked, sensing what was about to happen.

    “You okay, man?” said the shop owner. As he said it, a thunderous, familiar voice filled the air. It was the very voice of God.

    “Send him to me!” it cried.

    John plunged the cold steel into the man’s chest. He looked down at the blade and saw red seeping through his shirt. The man staggered back, but John continued forward with the knife. Finally, he fell back, taking the knife with him to the floor. John went behind the counter and pulled it from his chest, wiping the blood on the poor soul’s shirt. He sheathed the blade and put it on his hip, watching a pool of blood form around the man.

    John expected to feel guilt or sadness. He had taken a man’s life who he had only known for a few minutes, and yet he only felt joy. He knew that God had been pleased, and one less sinner was corrupting His world. John found solace in the thought that he had saved many lives by killing this man, and grinned as he walked around the store.

    He thought about what else he might need for his mission. He didn’t have much of a plan, and had been expecting God to guide the way for him. But until a few minutes ago, God had been silent, forcing him to formulate his own course of action.

    As John walked through the store, eyeing the shelves for anything that could be useful, Abraham floated down to where the dead body was. He hovered over it and closed his eyes, remaining perfectly still in the air above it. A dark purple, almost black energy came out of the man’s mouth and merged into Abraham’s body. The Pokémon’s flame grew brighter, turning into a magnificent orange color and lighting up the entire shop before returning to its normal purplish hue. After the Litwick had absorbed the last of the man’s life energy, the body turned pale and sat limp on the floor again.

    Abraham floated back to John and perched on his shoulder as John found what he was looking for. Several heavy duty locks sat in a display case, and he crushed the glass to retrieve them. All in all, there were about ten there, and he thought that they would be more than enough. He dropped them down into the pockets of his coat and exited the store, venturing back into the city streets.

    He was only about three blocks from the game corner, and could hear it from where he was standing. Music blared, and the chattering of several people outside filled the air. Rich men with entourages of women stepped out of expensive cars and walked through the casino’s doors as if they owned it, and poor men walked in as if they were being forced, holding the last few dollars they had. They wouldn’t have enough to pay the bills, or even feed their family, but the chance of hitting it big was enough to keep them coming back for more every night.

    John put his knife inside his duster as he walked up to the game corner. The lights were so bright that you couldn’t even tell it was night outside. He surveyed the shape and size of the building, and made his way around. It was a large, circular structure with only a few exits. It was perfect for what John was planning, and he smiled as he counted the doors. He put the padlocks on them one by one, insuring that there was no way to open them from the inside.

    After he had circled the building, he found his way back to the main entrance. These doors were elegant and huge, and his small padlocks wouldn’t be enough. In addition to that, there were two security guards standing in front of them. John took a deep breath and knew that he only had one shot at this. He rushed at the closest guard and slashed at his face savagely with the knife. As the crowd in front of the casino panicked and scattered, the other guard lunged for John. He turned around and smashed the side of his head with the brass knuckles attached to the knife’s handle. The man staggered and backed away from John, but he advanced on him with his blade raised. He stabbed him in the abdomen, and he fell to the ground in a heap. The first guard was still on the ground, howling in pain from the lacerations on his face and throat.

    John knew that there was no stopping now, and rushed inside. A greeter was standing by the door when he walked in, and he held the knife to his face. John put his arm around his neck and advanced into the casino.

    “Abraham, guard the doors!” cried John. The Litwick spewed purple, fiery balls of flame at the entrance.
    The Will-o-Wisps floated around in the air, blocking anyone who tried to go through them.

    John marched his hostage into the main room of the casino. Slot machines, blackjack tables, and roulette wheels covered the casino floor, and waitresses dressed in skimpy skirts walked through the aisles serving drinks. John pulled the man up onto a table with him and stood in front of the terrified crowd. Waitresses dropped their drink trays, and men and women watched him with their mouths open, not sure what to expect.

    “Sinners, hear me now! The wrath of God is being brought upon you like a mighty hammer!” John’s voice silenced the room as everyone turned to watch him.

    Abraham once again landed on John’s shoulders, gazing out into the crowd. The man John was holding close to him was whimpering softly. He couldn’t have been older than nineteen. He was the only thing stopping the crowd from simply overpowering him, and was the only leverage that John possessed. John grinned at the mass of sinners in front of him, and a verse came to him.

    “And this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth!” John excitedly proclaimed. People were clutching each other dearly in the crowd as he carried on, holding the knife to the boy’s throat the entire time.

    “This is God’s judgment! I was sent by Him to cleanse this wretched hole of filth of the sin that inhabits it. You all are sinners, and will be joining the rest of your kind in Hell soon. You have had your chance to make peace with God, but have ignored it. Instead, you have focused your time and attention on money and pleasure. But the time for pleasure is gone now. Soon you will be all alone in front of He who created us all. You will look him in the eye and beg for mercy, but he will have already decided your fate when you see him! This is the end. This is your exodus to Hell. Abraham, Inferno!” he shouted.

    Upon his command, the small Litwick filled up the room with fire. The great banners that hung from the ceilings became engulfed in flame and fell to the floor, wrapping around the fleeing people below and setting them ablaze. The Pokémon floated around the room, lighting everything that would burn while the men and women savagely battered the doors, begging for them to open. As the building groaned and the walls became weak, John threw the boy aside and fell to his knees.

    “Our father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will on Earth be done as it is in Heaven. Give us this our daily bread, and forgive us of our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory. Forever and ever, amen.”

    He rose to his feet as the blistering air singed his hair and burned his skin. The smell of burning flesh and the screams of hundreds of people filled the air as John merely watched. He smiled through the burning pain, knowing that God was watching over him from heaven, smiling upon his son. He had delivered them from sin and punished them as he had been commanded. John’s body could take the heat no more as his clothes set ablaze. He fell to the floor and burned with the rest as Abraham flew to the ceiling. The building gave way and collapsed, crushing everything within with stone and iron. The bars, slots, and sinners were all buried now.

    Abraham hovered above the scene smiling with delight. As Celadon’s citizens scrambled outside to catch a glimpse of the inferno, and the firefighters attempted to douse the flames, hundreds of people’s life energy rose into the night sky. Abraham closed his eyes as he absorbed the energy, letting it make him stronger and brighter than ever. As the lights and flames of the crumbling casino were extinguished below, the small Pokémon nearly illuminated the night sky. As the black energy sank into his body, Abraham began to glow brightly in a yellow and green orb of light. The sky faded back to black and where a Litwick once was, there now stood a Lampent. The Pokémon floated off into the distance, having succeeded with its plan.

    When he had discovered John, Abraham was weak and weary. He wasn’t collecting enough life energy to sustain himself, and was on the verge of death. But just before his last breath, he spotted the perfect candidate for his plan. A lonely, easily swayed man who had nothing to live for. John fit the bill perfectly, and Abraham began his plan one night while the man was asleep in his apartment.

    He invaded his dreams and took the form of something entirely different, something more powerful. He disguised himself as an almighty God, and John fell for it like a child. He mindlessly did the Pokémon’s bidding without thinking twice, believing that a God had actually commanded him to do it. Meanwhile the Pokémon was draining away his life energy, but being careful to leave enough for him to fill out the final step of his plan.

    Finally, John made his move, just as Abraham had hoped he would. He ascended on the city of Celadon with the belief that God was behind him, pushing him forward. But in reality, it was only an illusion. A crafty and truly evil Pokémon had used him to get what he needed to survive, and had become more powerful than ever as a result.

    John had been fooled, and as a result hundreds of citizens of Celadon had perished. The rest of the city will never know what drove him to bring the entire game corner down on their heads, and the Pokémon responsible will never be punished. Instead, he’ll float along the Kanto winds and laugh at man and God alike.





    Notes

  2. #2
    Senile EmBreon's Avatar
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    Default Re: [SWC] Exodus

    I claim.

    No touchy.

    urpg

  3. #3
    Senile EmBreon's Avatar
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    Default Re: [SWC] Exodus

    YOUR CHARACTER'S NAME WAS JOHN MARSHALL. HAS SOMEONE BEEN PLAYING RED DEAD REDEMPTION?

    The Grit: An atypical concept that follows a madman deluded by his Pokemon. Already, you have something interesting enough to keep us reading. It was well-organized, and for a 20k story, the pace was pleasant. I liked that you introduced the story in way that wasn't overwhelming, yet at the same time not slow and dull enough that we were uninterested. We get a great feeling for John within just the first few paragraphs without getting smacked with a bunch of redundant details. Not something I see very often, so well done. :)

    The first half of the story did feel a bit slow-moving compared to the second half - like you were setting up for a longer piece, then started rushing towards the second half. :P It wasn't noticeable in the writing itself, but it was noticeable in the pace. The problem I feel with this is that things start feeling forced and sudden instead of natural and it takes a bit of the experience out of it.

    Your character(s) were nice. I wished we could have learned more about Abraham throughout, since he ended up being your antagonist all along, but I suppose the obscurity was intentional so that the reader would never suspect the Pokemon of being the driving force behind John's insanity. It's a tricky business writing twists, because you have to balance saying too much that the reader guesses the outcome prematurely and saying too little that they end up indifferent or unsatisfied. A potential solution in this case could have gone somewhere along the lines of setting up Litwick as the good guy, so we were able to experience his character more while not figuring everything out before you wanted us to. It is ultimately your preference that matters, but just something to think about.

    In general, I enjoyed the plot as well as your writing. You have an acute sense of style, that while it rarely misses a beat, it sometimes comes off as mechanical. And by this, I mean it tells in a way of 'start. stop. start. stop.' - Moving from one sentence to the next, harsh and abruptly with sharp precise subjects. It feels a bit monotone sometimes, which is actually not that bad in this case considering your story's mood and theme, but I'm not so sure that it was entirely intentional. If you are writing things because you think you have to or that feel forced, chances are they probably are. This isn't something I would say to an average writer about the average story, but your skill is significantly above average and I didn't think you'd appreciate the same vague opinions that most stories wind up getting. So if I am sounding strict, I don't mean it!


    The Grime: Your grammar was near perfect. THANKS A LOT, NOW THERE IS NOTHING FOR ME TO DO.

    Couple petty things to mention, I suppose...

    “Good evening, sir! What can I do for you today?” he was very upbeat and happy, no doubt wanting to make a sale.
    Could be a typo (I sure do it all the time), but this sentence isn't dependent on the quote, nor is it a fragment. "'He'" shouldn't be lower-cased. Incomplete phrases like 'he said', 'he replied', 'he asked', etc. need the attatchment because they lack the what? of the sentence, and therefore become part of the dialogue. This refers to its speaker alone, not the speech itself.

    PROBABLY SAYING CRAP YOU ALREADY KNOW, BUT JUST IN CASE AND WHATEVER. BLAH.

    Something else I should probably put here as well, even though it isn't necessarily an "error":

    He stabbed him in the abdomen, and he fell to the ground in a heap.
    This happened a few times. Here, you are using the same pronoun to describe two different men. It disrupts your flow because we have to pause for a moment and decipher which he is which. It is smoother to substitute one for a proper noun or a different description to prevent confusion for the reader.


    The Goo: This was pretty rich in emotional description. The setting felt grim; the mood felt dire. Everything was nice and slick, which let feeling carry this. Your main character was nuts, and the writing complemented that nicely. I felt like I was seeing the world through his mad eyes and not watching from a third-party view above. It adds a heavy, unique tone to the story and IT PLEASES ME because empathy is an important part of enjoying a story. It is quite refreshing to read. Cool work.

    On the other end, however, physical description was lacking. And by this, I mean things like raw color, size, and figure. What things actually looked like, not just how they felt. This doesn't mean I think you should pack in a bunch of mundane details about hair color and force in shadings that don't fit well into your flow. Just make yourself aware of the world when you are writing it and don't assume we see it too. Miniscule things like the ruffling of jeans as someone is walking down the street, the dirty sweat accumulating on their forehead, the musty smell of the weapons shop... it all paints a virtual picture that turns text into an alternate reality. Don't get me wrong though, there were moments where you had some strokes of crisp, vivid detail that left me completely submerged in it. There was just a lot of coming in and out of scenes instead keeping that vivid style.


    The Gunk: Battle/Climax/Whateveryouwannacallit all came to a peak inside the game corner. It was certainly an exciting way to end the story, being a mass murder and all... The thing that kinda took away from it was the mere fact that is was so short. When I think of being burned alive, I picture a slow, painful, excruciating death. Whereas here, the scene ended within a paragraph or so. Yeah, things were touched on cleverly with the sentence about burning flesh and hundreds of screams, then John being set ablaze himself. But guiltily, I didn't feel sadness here. :x It felt more artistic than unsettling, and I'm not sure if that's what you were going for.

    In addition to that, the big reveal of Litwick's true nature felt a smidgen forced, as though you were tacking it on to make sure the reader got it. It was such an important part to the ending because it brought together your entire tale, and I was a little disappointed by the fact that it didn't follow your awesome styling. In contrary to the way we read about John - as though we were living through his eyes - Litwick's story was far away. I would have loved to feel what he did so I could understand his motives a bit better. I also wonder how he ever got to the point of near death enough to need John's gullibility in the first place, as well as how collecting enough life force brought him to the point of evolution. Was that his goal all along? SO MANY QUESTIONS. IT MAKES ME FEEL LIKE I MISSED SOMETHING, I DUNNO.

    The only reason I probably feel deprived in this area is because the rest of the story is good. :P


    The Game: Nonetheless, Litwick - captured! It was a strong, creative tale that fits right into the realm of this Hard Poke. Everything came together nicely overall; no reason not to award a capture. Have fun with your candle and don't burn yourself.

    Now get out there and write some more. .-.

    urpg

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