Afterwards [SWC]

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    Vampire Grader sorocoroto's Avatar
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    Default Afterwards [SWC]

    Afterwards





    Afterwards, my mom drove me home in our boring blue station wagon. The streets weren’t usually busy around here, since we didn’t live in the city. You could pretty much walk to all the important places around time.

    “Alex, are you sure you don’t want me to cut your hair? It’s getting really long.” My mom kept her eyes on the road as she spoke to me.

    I didn’t want to respond. I looked in the side mirror back at my reflection. I usually kept my hair at shoulder length, but I didn't really have a chance to have it cut. The bangs slanted to the right covering one of my deep-blue eyes.

    I remained silent, and my mom did the same the whole ride back. My house was two hours away from Jubilife City where I went to Trainer School. I had to miss out on another school day. Even though I couldn’t, my Meditite could train there without me.
    Looking out the window, I thought about the first time I met the little bugger.


    *


    There were about 60 incoming students that school year, and I was proud to be one of them. Many kids who start their journey have no idea about what is out there in the real world, but my mom was smart and enrolled me in the trainer school. Four years of training and we’d be prepared for anything.

    The Trainer School of Jubliife, or TSJ, is special because it provides starter Pokémon for all new students. You see, each student is given an egg to hatch the summer before the school year starts.

    That year was a special one, because eggs from all across the different regions were sent over. However, I wasn’t one of the lucky few to receive an egg from Unova, a region far from Hoenn with Pokémon not seen on the mainland.

    I was playing some baseball with some of the neighborhood kids in the cul-de-sac when the egg began to shine. I quickly ran over and watch the egg hatch into a small Meditite. I lifted up the blue and white Pokémon and began swinging him around in joy, but I was so distracted that I was smacked in that back of the head by a wild ball, knocking me out.

    When I came to, my little Meditite was sad and concerned hovering over my body holding the baseball. I told him I was alright, and that he didn’t have to worry about a thing.


    *


    We arrived at our small one-story house amongst the carbon copies surrounding it in the cul-de-sac mid-afternoon. My mother opened the side door for me before heading to the trunk to pull out some groceries. I immediately went inside and locked myself in my room.

    Everything was nice and neat in my bedroom. Besides a few posters of the Elite Four, the walls were bare. Mom knew that I didn’t like too much clutter. It was the first time since the accident that I was home. I usually didn’t spend a lot of time in my room before, except for sleeping. I was too busy going to school, training with Meditite and playing with my friends.

    At the hospital, I used my laptop to complete assignments, but now, I had to try to make up as much work as I could at home. I opened up my laptop and clicked on the Zapdos email app. The school sent me the written assignments every day, but unless I go back to class soon, I don’t think I’d be able to pass the practical portions. My friend, Erin, was nice enough to help train Meditite, since she has a Tyrogue, another fighting-type Pokémon.

    I opened up today’s lesson plan:

    Hidden and Technical Machines or HMs and TMs respectfully are small discs 1.5 inches in diameter that can be used to teach a Pokémon a new move or ability. TMs were first developed by Richard Ignatius of the Silph Corporation in 1980 as a spin-off of compact disc technology. TMs can be loaded into, but not limited to, Pokedexes and Pokegears. TMs can be seen as the digital counterpart to “tutoring,” which we covered in last week’s lesson. However, just like tutoring, a Pokémon that is exposed to the power of TMs still needs to train to master the move coded within the disc.


    My mind wondered off to the first time I taught Meditite a move through one of these devices.


    *


    It was the beginning of the second year at TSJ, and as second years, we finally had the opportunity to face other students. During the first year, students battle teachers and teaching assistants in more controlled battles or played a simulation battle on a computer.

    We now could test our battle prowess against each other, and I had a bone to pick with one person in particular: Duke. He was the most obnoxious, arrogant, self-serving eleven year-old I’ve ever met. He was one of the few students that were able to get a Unova-based Pokémon, Yamask. The problem was that Yamask was a ghost-type Pokémon, while my Meditite is a fighting-slash-psychic-type Pokémon, so I was at a disadvantage on two levels: fighting-types couldn’t easily attack ghost-types, while psychic-types were weak against them. But I had an ace up my sleeve.

    I had been saving up my money to buy a TM from the Pokémart. While the school provided HMs and move-tutoring, the students had to obtain other moves on their own, which was good for me, because then Duke couldn’t have found out about it.

    I unwrapped the small package to reveal lots of bubble wrap, which Meditite quickly snatched away with his Confusion attack. If only Meditite could use his Confusion to move something other than himself and small objects like utensils and glasses, maybe it would make battling easier, but Meditite exceled at physical abilities.

    I picked up the small disc and the instructions and read it out loud.

    “Congratulations on purchasing your blah blah fluff introduction… In order to use your Technical Machine, insert the disc into your Pokédex… Don’t got one of them.”

    It wasn’t until students graduated that they were given one. I mean, Pokédexes are really expensive. They’re not just going to give it out to anyone.

    “Let’s see… If you don’t own a Pokédex, you can use a Pokégear! Yes! I got one for my birthday this year. Good thing too, but I guess I should have check on that before I purchased the TM, aye Meditite?”

    I turned to Meditite, who was lying on his back popping the bubble wrap.

    “Eh, whatever, you have fun while you can. Soon we’re going to have to train hard.”

    I went to my book bag and pulled out my Pokégear. It was white palm-sized device with pink features that resembled halves of Pokéballs on the sides. Holding the left side of it, I flipped the right side of the device, which was a tubular shape that connected to the top half of the device, revealing two screens.

    I clicked on the bottom screen to a Menu labeled: TMs/HMs configuration. It instructed me to place the TM into the mini-disk drive on the side of the left section that I was holding. After I did so, the top screen showed a spinning disc and instructed me to return the Pokémon that wanted to learn the move to its Pokéball.

    I recalled Meditite to his ball, causing the constant popping sound to stop. I placed his Pokéball on the desk and the Pokégear next to it. The instruction told me to push the orange button on the Pokégear and wait, so I did.

    A small sound emitted from the Pokégear, and the Pokéball started to shake. After about a half a minute, the Pokéball rested in place, and the Pokéball dinged.

    I released Meditite. “Do you feel the power, Meditite?”

    “Tite…” he said dejectedly. He didn’t feel anything different.

    “Well, here, let’s go outside and try it out.”

    I had set up a small practice area in the backyard. A few logs here, a couple of rocks here and you’ve got yourself a training ground.
    I flipped the instruction to the back, where it showed three common poses a Pokémon should make to create the move. I showed them to Meditite, pointing to the first pose.

    “Alright, Meditite, use Shadow Ball at the boulder!” I commanded.

    Meditite cupped his hands together, forming a black and purple glowing ball; however, it fizzled out all too quickly. He turned around and lowered his head in shame.

    “Don’t worry,” I said as I rubbed his big onion head. “We’ll just have to keep trying.”

    He smiled and jumped back, facing the boulder once again. He concentrated harder while holding his hands in front of him. The glowing ball formed quicker this time, and he maintained it longer, but it went away all the same. He immediately tried again and again, and before I knew it, an hour passed.

    “Hmmm… let’s try a different stance.” I looked at another pose and tried to form it. I stood next to Meditite and raised my right elbow up, moved my left arm across my chest, pretending to hold an invisible ball in my hand, and bent my knees a bit apart.

    Meditite imitated me and summoned another small Shadow Ball from his hands.

    “That’s it; now release it at the rock!” I commanded as I pushed my invisible ball in front of me.

    Meditite imitated me once again, and the Shadow Ball soared a few feet in front of it, before dissipating once again. It still didn’t have enough power to cross the yard. Meditite slumped down again.

    “Hey, you’re making progress. I have an idea though.” I rushed to the tool shed and found a couple of baseballs, which were roughly the same size as Meditite’s current Shadow Ball. I gave one to Meditite. “Practice releasing this ball to get the technique down.”

    Meditite obliged and started releasing baseballs towards the rocks. At first, the balls reached only a few inches from where the Shadow Ball singed the grass, but after a good while, the balls were just a few feet from the boulder on the opposite end of the yard.

    “Alright, that’s enough for today. Let’s go inside and get some dinner.” I started to walk to the back doors, when I heard the hum of Meditite’s Confusion attack.

    Turning around, I saw that Meditite was gathering up the baseballs next to him. He then proceeded to practice launching the balls at the boulder once again.

    “Hey, you can pick up tomorrow; you deserve the rest.”

    But it was no use. When Meditite put his mind to something, he couldn’t stop, and no one could stop him.

    “Ok, but I’ll make you some food when you tire yourself out.”

    I went inside and started mixing up some Poffins. Meditite loved spicy berries, especially Figy and Tanga berries. I took a pan full of berries and poured it into a large pot of cold water. I turned the heat up all the way and started stirring.
    After my timer went off, I poured the mixture into the molds and let it cool. Looking out the window, I saw that it was getting darker and darker. I turned the backyard lights on and started washing the pot. After everything was cleaned, I placed the Poffins into a basket and took them outside.

    “It’s time for food!”

    Meditite shot out another ball. I saw it strike the boulder, landing next to a pile of baseballs that must have hit the same mark.

    “Great job. Now eat,” I commanded as I held out the basket of Poffins.

    Meditite didn’t respond. He went back into his stance and formed another small orb of black energy. He cried out as he released it towards the boulder, striking it and causing it to explode from sheer pent-up energy. He smiled at me, before falling back, heavily breathing out of exhaustion.

    “Meditite, are you ok?” I dropped the Poffins and lifted Meditite up.

    Keeping his eyes closed, he smiled at me.

    It wasn’t until a few days later that he finally mastered the technique, which we used to defeat Duke’s Yamask easily. He was so embarrassed, finally getting knocked down from the pedestal he put himself on.


    *


    *Bbzzzz*

    I snapped back to the present when a heard the doorbell ring. I tried to ignore it and looked back at my lesson.

    Question 1:

    Which one of these is not an HM?
    a) Surf
    b) Strength
    c) Rock Sma…


    *Bbbbzzzzzzz*

    The doorbell rang a second time. This time I heard my mom shuffling to the front of the house and open the door.

    “Yes, but I don’t think today is the best time,” my mom responded to a voice I couldn’t hear. “Ok, I’ll tell Alex that you stopped by… No! You can’t!”

    Loud running steps echoed through the house, and then there was a pounding at my door.

    “Alex! Please open up. I heard that you finally got back.”

    It was Duke…

    “Get out of here Duke!” I screamed from the desk.

    He tried shaking the door knob, before knocking again. “Hey, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for anything to happen.”

    “Mom! If you don’t get him out of here, I’m calling Officer Jenny!” I threatened.

    “Come on, Alex. You’ll be back on your feet and at TCJ in no time, right?”

    “Officer Jenny… yes, there was a break-in here by a…” I bluffed loud enough for Duke to hear me.

    “Fine, I’m going!”

    And with that I heard him dragging his feet against the hardwood floor away from my room. I went my bedroom door to listen through.

    “I’m sorry for all the trouble I caused you, Mrs. Sawyer,” he said as he left.

    “Thank you for stopping by. It’s tough for her, you know?”

    I banged my fist against the door; I couldn’t contain myself.

    “GET OUT!” I yelled as hard as I could as the tears fell off my cheeks onto my lap in a manner of seconds. I flailed my arms around trying to wipe my eyes with my arm when I fell.

    “Alex?” my mother asked through the door. “Are you ok?”

    I couldn’t muster any words through my trembling. I made my way to my bed, flopping onto my back, and tried to compose myself, but I couldn’t. I kept thinking about what happened.


    *


    The cave wall started rumbling all around us. The tremors caused the ground to collapse in sections, almost like puzzle pieces. Stalactites rained down nearly missing me, causing shallow gashes across my exposed skin. Meditite was using Confusion to move itself out of the way from falling rock.

    The ground beneath my feet gave way, but I grabbed onto the side of the hole opening up beneath me. Meditite saw this and rushed to pull me up, releasing his Confusion to convert his energy into his physical strength. He wasn’t paying attention, though, and a stalactite hit him in the back of his neck, causing his grip to fail. Jagged rocks scraped alongside me as I fell into darkness.


    *


    I must have fallen asleep, because the sensation falling woke me. The sheets were damp with tears. I could still feel the scars all around my body, like a map of the mountains in Sinnoh. I propped myself up and checked my alarm clock. Meditite and Erin wouldn’t get back for another hour or so.

    Pulling my laptop on the bed, I kept my mind busy by checking my inbox. Many of the emails were from classmates saying things like “get well soon” or “can’t believe what happened” or “I can’t wait for you to get back” or “here are notes so you don’t have to worry too much.”

    They meant well, but it just made me sadder. I wasn’t sure if I would return or not, but a Pokémon couldn’t train at the school without a trainer.

    She didn’t know it, but I had overheard my mom on the phone with the principal. He said that he’s sorry about what happened, but unless I return in a few months, I wouldn’t be able to pass this year due to a lack of practical assessments. See, grades were determined by 30% knowledge-based tests, 60% practical-based tests and 10% attendance.

    The school was expensive, and mom was the only one supporting me, since my father died when I was very young. I knew that she couldn’t pay for the hospital bills and an extra year at TSJ. She would put on a smile and say that everything was alright, but at breakfast this morning, I saw a newspaper with a bunch of red circles and x’s covering the classified section. She already had been searching for jobs, and it seemed like she had been for a while.

    But, I had a plan. Erin was going to drop by with Meditite later, and then I’d ask her to take Meditite. See, students were allowed to have more than one Pokémon train with them during school, which was why Meditite was able to train there. Erin already has had a lot of experience training with Meditite in my absence, and besides Meditite didn’t want to be me to be his trainer anymore.


    *


    “I told you: no visitors!” I yelled at the nurse as she opened the hospital room door.

    “Come on! It’s your best friend!” said Erin as she barged passed the nurse.

    I turned my head away from her. I didn’t want her to see me like this.

    She popped her head in front of me and smiled. “There you are! Didn’t you miss me?”

    “Yeah… but look at me.”

    She took a moment to look me over and then smiled again. “You like good to me.”

    Erin was always an optimist, and I needed it.

    “Thanks,” I whimpered. “She’s fine, nurse. I’ll be ok.”

    “Well, if you need anything else, just hit the button beside your bed.” And with that the nurse left, closing the door behind her.

    Erin dragged over a chair, turning it backwards before sitting on it.

    “So, I heard what happened to you and Duke.”

    “Duke!” She said it like it she had equal pity for both of us. “This is his fault, and yet he’s not the one in the hospital; is he?”

    “I’m sorry…” Erin got quiet.

    We just sat there for a few minutes before she broke the silence.

    “So, where’s Meditite?” she asked.

    “At trainer school… After we got the diagnosis from the doctor, he just up and left.”

    “Then how do you know…?”

    “Because my mom got a call. The principal saw him at TCJ, training with the other Pokémon. Meditite knows that I’m not a fit trainer.”

    “You don’t know that.”

    “Then why did he leave? Why isn’t he here? My mom tried to get him, but she said that he wouldn’t come. He just keeps training, which is why I want to I ask you a favor.”

    “Anything,” she quickly responded, perking up in her chair.

    “Can you train with Meditite? The school won’t let him train there alone.”

    “Of course, Alex. But it’s only until you come back. And you are coming back.”

    I turned, picked up Meditite’s Pokéball from off the counter and handed it to Erin.

    “Don’t worry, I’ll come back to visit, and I’ll bring Meditite too.”

    And she did, but Meditite was nowhere to be seen. Erin tried to get Meditite to come, but he kept resisting returning to his Pokéball. He only listened to Erin when they were training. Though, he seemed to be enjoying his time with Erin from all the stories she’s tells me. Every time she came to visit me, there was another story of their adventures together.


    *


    *Bbbbzzzzzzz*

    I checked the clock; Meditite was back home. I had missed Meditite. I rushed as fast as I could to the front door, but my mother beat me to it.

    Before I made it halfway through the hall, I heard Meditite running towards me. He jumped onto my lap and tightly squeezed me. I was so happy that he was so excited to see me, that I almost forgot my plan.

    “Hey, Alex. You’re mom just asked me to stay over for some dinner.”

    “Alright. Erin, come talk with me a second.” I led her back to my room.

    She sat down on my bed next to Meditite. “Man, you should have seen Meditite, today. We were facing Duke this morning, and Meditite just trashed his Yamask. I didn’t even have to give him any commands.”

    Meditite jumped up and started punching the air, playing out the battle on the bed.

    I laughed. “So, I was wondering…”

    “Yeah go on.”

    “Can you be Meditite’s trainer?”

    Meditite stopped and cried out. He shook his head violently and hugged me.

    “Meditite, I know that I can’t train you properly like this. You need someone who can keep up with you.”

    “Alex, Meditite loves you. He doesn’t want to be with anyone else. Can’t you see that?”

    Meditite squeezed tighter.

    “Meditite, you need to get stronger. I forgive you for leaving me in that hole. I understand that there wasn’t anything you could do.”

    “Medi, medi!” he cried out.

    “Alex… there is a reason why Meditite has been training since you’ve been at the hospital.”

    “What do you mean?” I asked.

    “I think it is better if Meditite just showed you.”

    Meditite placed each hand on either side of my head, and they started to glow a deep shade of purple. A wave upon wave of images started flashing through my head.


    *


    “I demand a rematch,” shouted Duke as he followed me into the forest.

    These were images of what led up to the accident.

    I had been searching for a new Pokémon to catch a train alongside Meditite for a while now, and I guess that Duke learned about it. He had finally asked me to a rematch. I heard that he was talking a lot about “putting me in my place” and “regaining his honor,” but it wasn’t until now that he actually approached me.

    “Alright, Duke.” I might as well indulge him.

    “Yes… And I know the perfect place to do it. Follow me.”

    He led me to a nearby cave that one of the teachers took us to for a lesson about different battling terrains. The cave was lit by hanging mining lights, but Duke led me down a side path to an open area that resembled a battlefield. The ceiling was covered with stalactites, and the field was rocky in terrain.

    “I found this place while looking for new Pokémon to capture.”

    “So I guess you found a new Pokémon to battle with then,” I said.

    “Yes, and I’ll finally be able to defeat you.” Duke walked to the far end of the field and pulled out a Pokéball. “Meet my newest Pokémon Trapinch!”

    He released an orange, ant-like Pokémon with a large claw-like head, which was as big as the rest of its body. It dug halfway into the dirt before settling for battle.

    “Fine, I’ll be glad to beat this Pokémon too!” I sent out Meditite, who looked raring to go. “I’m just sorry that a judge couldn’t be here to make it official. Oh well. It still will be satisfying.”

    “I’ll make the first move: Trapinch, use Sandstorm!”

    Trapinch spun around in its little hole, kicking up a whirlwind of sand that spun towards Meditite.

    “Meditite, Calm Mind.”

    Meditite lifted himself up into the air, his psychic powers manifesting as purple has that surrounded his body. The Sandstorm passed through Meditite, but Meditite didn’t flinch as it concentrated. The whirlwind smashed into a wall, causing it to shake a bit before reflecting the sand over the field.

    Trapinch would be fine due to it being a ground-type, which is why Meditite needs to be focused. It was tough for me to see through the sandstorm, but Meditite should be fine as long as I stay calm.

    “Trapinch, close in and give Meditite a Crunch attack!”

    “Meditite, use Mind Reader to sense where it’s coming! And then counter with a Rock Smash!”

    Meditite could tell Trapinch rumbling through the ground towards it. Trapinch tried circling around Meditite to attack him from behind. Meditite winded up his arm, waiting for Trapinch to get closer, and then trusted his arm. But what he hit was a large rock.

    Trapinch dug up from underneath Meditite and locked its giant mouth on Meditite’s leg.

    “Didn’t think I’d know how to deal with your Meditite’s Mind Reader from before? The field is covered by boulders and rocks. Trapinch doesn’t have to worry about them, since it can just bury through, but Meditite can’t see them through the Sandstorm.”

    That’s why he led me here.

    Meditite tried shaking Trapinch off, but it wouldn’t let go.

    “Ha ha! Trapinch’s jaws are strong enough to crush boulder.” Duke sounded just as smug as ever.

    “Meditite, Rock Smash its head!”

    “Oh no!” Duke cried out.

    Meditite’s fist shone with a white light and smashed it into Trapinch’s head. Trapinch yelped in pain, letting go of Meditite as it fell.

    “Trapinch, dig into the ground and surprise that Meditite.”

    Trapinch used its stubby legs to tunnel though the ground.

    “Just watch, stay calm and use Meditate.”

    Meditite relaxed his body and hovered over the ground, glowing blue as opposed to the purple hue from Calm Mind. While, Calm Mind increased Meditite’s special stats in addition to calming it down, Meditate raised his attack power, which would be useful when Trapinch got close again.

    The ground started rumbling, louder and louder. I could feel the shaking from the Dig attack from over here.

    “Don’t you think you might be overdoing it, Duke?” I shouted across the cavern.

    “This cave is a bit unstable, which gives even more of an advantage to Trapinch. Trapinch and this battlefield are the perfect combination to get my revenge.”

    “At least I don’t have to lead you into an unfair fight to beat you!”

    “A win is a win! Trapinch, attack!”

    Trapinch burst up through the ground and smacked its large head into Meditite, sending it flying into the ceiling. The tremor caused a stalactite to fall down, smashing into Trapinch’s head.

    “Ha! Looks like your field just worked against you.”

    “Errr… Trapinch, use Sand Tomb to stick Meditite to the ceiling.

    Trapinch’s body shone with a dim-blue light and the Sandstorm halted in the air. Trapinch spun its head around, drawing the sand into another twister, clearing up the battlefield, and sent the sand flying towards Meditite. The sand bound Meditite’s arms and legs, before completely covering it in a thick layer. Meditite couldn’t budge out without some room to swing his arms or legs.

    “Looks like I win,” Duke yelled it excitement.

    I couldn’t believe I was going to be beaten by this guy. I couldn’t let it happen.

    Wait. “Meditite, use your head; use Zen Headbutt.”

    The Sand Tomb didn’t bind Meditite’s head, so he was able to gather enough energy and room to break the sand shell with it. Meditite landed on the ground, though he was badly bruised from the attacks. However, he could at least see Trapinch with the Sandstorm lifted.

    “Argh.” Duke started to pull on his hair out of frustration. “I guess I have to use my ace card. Trapinch, use Earthquake!”

    “No! You said this cave is unstable. What do you think Earthquake is going to do to it?”

    “Shut up, you just don’t want me to win! Because you know that I’m better than you! Trapinch do it!”

    “Meditite, use Confusion to stop it from burying underground.”

    Trapinch’s body was glowing purple, but Meditite still couldn’t stop it from digging; his Confusion just was still not strong enough to lift another Pokémon. Trapinch buried deep underground and started to shake the earth beneath us. However, just as I predicted, the entire cavern started to quake. Sections of rock started to fall off the walls and ceiling.

    “Meditite, use Confusion to dodge the rocks!” I cried.

    Meditite covered himself in the purple haze as he floated passed the various falling debris, though he couldn’t get passed them all. But, it was still a good thing to do, because the ground underneath him began to break down, creating large holes that must have led to deeper parts of the tunnels.

    “Duke, you have to stop this right now!” I pleaded as the ground began shifting beneath my feet.

    “No, I will defeat you!” Duke was crazed. He didn’t realize that we were all in big trouble.

    A section of rock gave out under my right foot, and I stumbled. The ground beneath where I fell also started to break apart. I grabbed onto whatever I could, as the rest of my body fell through a newly formed hole.

    Meditite turned and flew over to me. He landed on the side of the hole and tried to use Confusion to lift me up in panic; however, he still couldn’t lift me, so he released his psychic energy to concentrate on pulling me up with his physical strength.

    “Meditite, don’t let go!” I said as he slowly lifted me up.

    I felt my palms slipping as they started to sweat. Meditite grabbed my wrist and cringed as he pulled. The cavern was still falling apart, and a piece of stalactite came falling towards Meditite.

    “Watch out!” I tried to warn him, but he was too busy worrying about me.

    The rock knocked into the back of Meditite’s onion-shaped head, distracting him long enough to cause him to lose his grip.

    Again, the jagged rocks scraped me as I plummet to the bottom of the hole. I saw Meditite looking down at my body, and Meditite showed me what I had missed as I lost consciousness.

    Meditite turned around and saw Duke. Another stalactite was falling down, almost skewering Duke, but Meditite rushed and pushed Duke out of the way.

    “What? What’s happening?” Duke said as he sobered up as he saw the giant pointy pillar of rock that almost hit him. “Meditite? You saved me.”

    Meditate smacked him in the face.

    “Ow… Wait, where’s Alex?”

    Meditite pointed towards the hole that I fell through and, grabbing Duke by the arm, pulled him towards it. Duke stumbled as he made his way past the falling debris and peered into the shaft.

    “I don’t see her! Let me climb down.”

    Duke started to, but Meditite stopped him.

    “You’re right, it wouldn’t be safe.”

    Trapinch appeared from behind them with a sad, guilty expression on its face.

    “No, it’s not your fault Trapinch. I did this, but we have to save her!”

    Trapinch’s body was enveloped in a bright white light. It silhouette grew, extending its legs and body outwards into a tail. Wing shapes sprouted from its back and tail. The glow dissipated, revealing the yellow and green dragonfliy-like Vibrava, Trapinch’s evolution.

    Vibrava leaped into action as it picked up Duke, who in turn, picked up Meditite. The trio flew downwards into the hole.

    “It’s dark; Meditite, can you use Shadow Ball to light the way?”

    Meditite cupped his hand together to form the black ball of energy. The move radiated with a purple glow, and Meditite sustained it the whole ride down. At the bottom of the cavern was my rock-covered body. Duke and Vibrava lifted the rocks away from me, and Meditite looked on as it maintained the only light source.

    “Alex! Wake up! Can you hear me?” Duke screamed at me, but of course, there was no response. “Meditite, can you lift her up with your Confusion attack?”

    Meditite tried and tried, but couldn’t muster enough strength to pull me up.

    “Alright, Vibrava, bring Alex up first and make sure she’s somewhere safe before coming back to get us.”

    Vibrava understood and lifted my body out of the hole.

    Duke looked down at Meditite and said, “I’m sorry. I was so overcomed by revenge, that... I’ll make sure to get her to a hospital I promise.”

    Vibrava returned and carried them out of the cave, where I was laying.

    “Meditite, run and get Alex’s mother. Vibrava and I will take her to the hospital. Go!”

    Meditite didn’t look back as he raced through the forest. He ran through trees and bushes and wild Pokémon before reaching the edge of the forest. He ran through traffic and through random battles on the street. He ran miles to reach my mom’s work. He ran past the security that tried to stop him from entering. He ran to my mother and tried to convey that I was hurt. My mother immediately understood I was in trouble, before Meditate passed out from exhaustion.

    He woke up in the hospital when I was asleep. He heard the doctor’s diagnosis and ran out. He ran and ran and ran until he reached the school grounds. As he starting training, he started crying as he tried lifting a small boulder off the ground.


    *


    The images stopped, but my eyes started to swell up with tears. As he was showing me his memories, I could sense what he was feeling the whole time. Every second he felt was worried for me. He was training, not because he thought I was weak, but because he wanted to help me.

    “I’m sorry for all I’ve said Meditite. I love you!” I cried as I wrapped my arms around him.

    “Meditite!”

    We sobbed together for a while, and even Erin joined in the hugfest. We wiped away our tears together, before calming down and smiling.

    “But wait,” Erin said, drying her eyes against her sleeve. “He hasn’t only been working on that memory thing. Watch.” She gestured towards Meditite.

    Meditite’s eyes started to glow a light cyan color as he lifted his arms up. Soon I felt a tingling sensation as the same color glowed all around me.

    “What’s going on?” I asked as I felt myself being lifted off the bed.

    “Meditite has been training night and day to learn Psychic so he could help you get around.”

    “Really?” But my question was answered, as I floated in the middle of the room.

    Meditite opened his eyes, but the Psychic persisted. He started to glow cyan as well and glided through the air with me. We danced and twirled; I haven’t felt this good since the accident. We laughed and laughed. I knew for sure that Meditite wanted me to be his trainer.

    He smiled, but I knew that he couldn’t keep it up for too long, or else he would tire out.

    “It’s ok, Meditite. You can put me down now.”

    Meditite nodded as gently placed me back down in my wheelchair. He landed on my lap and hugged me once again.

    “Everything is going to be alright now,” I said resting my head on his and patting his back.

    I knew that I would never walk again, but seeing how much Meditite worked to help me, I didn’t care.

    “Erin, Meditite… I’m coming back to school.”



    ------------------------------
    Story Notes - Please do not read until after story.


    ------------------------------
    Last edited by sorocoroto; 17th August 2011 at 03:51 AM.

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    Default Re: Afterwards [SWC]

    Claiming this because you claimed the one I wanted to claim. Also because I just said some variation of "claim" three times in the previous sentence, and four so far.

    NOW I CAN SHOW YOU HOW SUCKISH AWESOME US NEW 'UNS ARE AT GRADING, EH?

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    Default Re: Afterwards [SWC]

    SUCKISH AWESOME GRADE COMMENCING NOW. RIGHT. XD

    Introduction: You want to make this section count. It’s got to draw in your reader, introduce your characters, and help segue into the rest of your story. In other words, it’s introducing stuff, for lack of a better term. Anywho.

    Afterwards, my mom drove me home in our boring blue station wagon.
    I’ll be examining your first sentence in isolation. It looks a bit strange by itself, right? I’ve got mixed feelings on this. Firstly, it feels like a continuation. Like there should be another sentence, or even another word: “after the _____”, or “after I got back from school”, or something like that. It feels like there’s something missing to this sentence, and it makes me really confused for a bit. It feels like you’ve forced the word “afterwards” in there for a title drop, and you just wanted the word to come through. What you’ve got going there kinda works, but it reads really strangely, especially if you ignore the fact that the title of the piece is “Afterwards” (then again, if you read it with the title where it is, your story basically has an afterwards after another afterwards… which is also strange). What I’m trying to say here is that your first sentence reads really awkwardly, and it leaves the reader trying to understand what happened before—this event with the boring blue station wagon is after something, but you don’t tell us what it comes after, right? Just something to think about: having confusion in the very first sentence in your story is something you’d generally want to avoid, even if it’s on purpose; most readers are going to have trouble catching up this early in.



    Another thing that remains unanswered, though, is the time frame for this. It’s “afterwards”, as discussed to the point of blegh-iness by me, but I still can’t understand what it’s after. I’m going to assume that it’s right after Alex decides to return home after the accident, but I really can’t tell. You’ll definitely want to clarify that somehow—the most reliable method is dropping subtle details, perhaps a bit more blatant than the one you had about Meditite’s training at the Trainer School while Alex couldn’t, in both the beginning and end. That way, if/when we read over it again, there can be a moment where everyone says something along the lines of “AH, I REMEMBER THIS”. Then it all gets to work out and stuff.



    Your introduction is pretty standard, I guess. You have somewhat of a hook with the iffy “afterwards” sentence, you somewhat introduce the character Alex, and you have a transition between the start of your story to the actual body. The problem, though, is that you do all three of these things in pretty shaky ways. Your hook isn’t exactly something I’d gladly omnomnom on, your introduction of the main character(s) feels rushed, and you just dive right in to an abrupt flashback with only a sentence for transitory matters.



    On the plus side, your introduction does serve the basic requirements that every good introduction, although it’s lacking in the finer elements. I’m not going to lambast you entirely for it at this level, but you should try to refine some of the other bits at further levels. Try making things flow better—the final sentence, something along the lines of “I remember when I met the little guy” or whatever, and then you just go flat out into a flashback. It’s really abrupt, and there are a bunch of less “standard” ways that you can go between paragraphs. I’ll do more of that in the plot section, but it also applies here.



    Back on the introduction (lol), I’d also suggest making a viable hook in the first few sentences of the story. You’ve got the basis for a good one forming as you build suspense about how all of this happens “after” some mysterious and likely traumatic incident, to which the story will no doubt build up, but you make the suspense almost forgettable when you pound in a lot of calmer, mundane details. Those little things like the quietness of the neighborhood and the calm reflections in the car (both of the mirror and of Alex, excuse the pun. XD) make your introduction have a really soothing feel to it, which happens to contrast with what appears to be your hook—the fact that there has been some awful thing keeping Alex from going back to school and making her really depressed. It’s a jarring difference, which detracts from the subtlety of either. You can make a quiet, reflective introduction, or you can have the foreshadow-y, suspenseful one, or you can even have both. You’ve gone for the third route, I think, but it’s not very effective at fulfilling the roles of either of the previous two. Try subtly slipping in some less-relaxing details about Alex—assuming this is after the accident with Duke, she’s probably going to be pretty upset about her stay in the hospital. Yet, all you tell us about her is that she has orange hair that contrasts her blue eyes perfectly, and pretty much nothing else about her physical state. Perhaps her eyes are puffy from crying, but the expression on her face is stony and she won’t explain why. Perhaps her legs hurt her, because she isn’t able to walk on them any more. Adding ominous things like that would help get your readers interested in the story, and it would help you add some suspense. Just my two cents.



    Anyhow, your introduction is passable for this rank, I think. A lot of the things I point out are because I think you’re an accomplished enough writer that you could take them in mind to improve your writing, but if you’ve got specific reasons for writing this section the way you did, by all means keep it that way. Just some things to keep in mind for next time, if you’d like. ^.^



    Plot:: Your plot is basically summed up as: “Girl and her Pokémon encounter/fight rival a couple of times, have a traumatic experience, and girl is told she will never battle again; flashbacks.” Totally cheating with that semicolon there, but whatever. The point here is that you could make this story either really good or really awful, depending on the execution of your plot. So how’d you do?



    I’d say you did pretty well, for the most part. Your cute, touching bits between Meditite and Alex were cute, your angst wasn’t horridly overdone (especially seeing as she can’t train again, apparently), and your action bits had some tension in them. It worked out all right, and I think you executed it well enough to avoid most of the cheesiness and cliché-ramblings that plague a lot of other, similar stories.



    However, as in a lot of flashback-forward-back-forward stories, the divisions between present and past were both hazy and also a bit awkward.

    Looking out the window, I thought about the first time I met the little bugger.
    Phrases and sentences like these, in all honesty, are kinda pointless and also choppy. Often, you don’t need these transitional sentences at all; if your flashback is written well enough, readers can tell that said paragraph isn’t in the same time frame as the rest of the story. The major qualm I have with these transition-bits is that they exactly phrase what’s going to happen. “I remember how I met my Meditite”. Cue scene about Alex’s meeting Meditite. “I remember how we taught Meditite Shadow Ball”. Cue scene in which Meditite learns Shadow Ball. “Scenes of the accident flash through my mind.” Cue, well… the accident. XD If you’re going to retell each transitional sentence in a much larger scheme anyways, why do you even have those bits? It feels redundant, if I can say so. =X In my opinion, if you could just differentiate your flashbacks from the main line of events (such as by italicizing one time line and leaving the other in normal font), then you would eliminate the need for your awkward sentences altogether, and you’d find that the story flows a lot smoother that way? Perhaps. Again, just my two cents, but I really didn’t like how abrupt your transitions between present and past were.



    It wasn’t until a few days later that he finally mastered the technique, which we used to defeat Duke’s Yamask easily. He was so embarrassed, finally getting knocked down from the pedestal he put himself on.
    Eh, short and unexplained battle is short and unexplained. I’m not going to get mad at you for making the battle so short and so unexplained, though, because I feel like having two battles with Duke in such a short story would feel really forceful. Not to mention roughly a third of the story would just be battling with Duke, so yeah. Still, this paragraph also feels really abrupt. Anyways, onwards to…

    Also, I didn't want to show the Yamask battle because it wasn't the important part of the flashback, the learning of the move and showing Meditite's work ethic was.
    Well, okay. Fair enough. Again, though, as with the transitional sentence bits from above, the first paragraph feels entirely unnecessary. If the focus is on the learning of Shadow Ball and not on defeating Duke/Yamask with it, and we know that Duke has been defeated because he comes in charging like an angry bull for a rematch, and he has the whole “I LOST LAST TIME, BUT I WILL DEFEAT YOU NOW. WTFEQ” thing all over his face, then why do you even need that sentence? You can just close it with Meditite’s mastery of Shadow Ball and then reference Duke’s loss a bit more in the epic rematch (like, something along the lines of “Duke: ‘I lost to you last time when your Meditite pulled that Shadow Ball out of no where, but you’re going down11!!!1!’”), and you would eliminate the need for any explanatory stuff in the end, and the awkwardness that occurs in the story itself.



    Your largest problem in your plot is the transitions, I think. Transitions between the varying moods—the hospital is grimdark, and most of the flashbacks are happy butterflies and muffins (although this is certainly less prominent). Transitions between time frames. Transitions, transitions, transitions. The basis of the plot was good, but each individual plot-point was disjointed, merely because of the way you chose to write out your story—it was a single train of action that jumped around in time. Because of the somewhat unique format of your plot (in the sense that you didn’t tell it all in order, starting with Alex’s meeting Meditite and going chronologically up to the ambiguous “afterwards”), you’ll have to focus especially on the transitions between each paragraph.



    Tiny plot hole: Meditite has issues using ranged/psychic attacks, like Psychic and Confusion. So then Shadow Ball, which is technically a ranged attack (also in the way that Meditite uses it in throwing it out of its hands like a baseball), should also pose the same problems, right? [/random]



    As a whole, though, your plot was good. It made me smile a bit at the end, but it’s also dark and real. There’s a happy ending, but it’s also bittersweet. The protagonist can’t walk again. I wish you had emphasized that fact a bit more—it should be a painful moment, and it would be one of the few times where I’d say it’d be okay to have a teeny bit of angst (after all, she’s lost the use of her legs… I mean, c’mon, she could show a bit more emotion than just “RAWR DON’T TALK TO ME”). But as it is, your story isn’t like a fairy tale. She doesn’t get to hop away and grow wings or have a magical recovery; her legs are scarred and she might not train again, ever. It’s not a particularly happy ending, but you manage to make it cute… ish. I don’t know. The general gist of your plot was pretty good, and, barring the transitions, you managed to pull it off pretty well. Good job.



    Description: You have a pretty decent grasp of description, I think. Most of your things worked out the way I think you intended them too, and it’s pretty clear here. However, there are still a few things I’d like to point out, m’kay?



    I looked in the side mirror back at my reflection. I liked my orange hair this length; it contrasted my blue eyes perfectly.
    We come across one of the most prominent details in first-person narratives: it’s almost impossible to get a description in, because most people don’t spend their days imagining how they look, right? And even if they do, it comes across as narcissistic and just generally strange, which does not a likeable main character make. Most people try to get over this with a classic “I looked in my magical mirror/shiny spoon/magically reflective pool of water and saw my beautiful hair, blah blah blah”, but that gets a bit cliché, right? It’s not necessarily bad, but you can definitely find better ways to pull this off. You can try dropping subtle details across the entire story, things like “I brushed my orange hair out of my face” or “my blue eyes met my mother’s in the rearview mirror” or something a bit more subtle than “I started in the mirror and complemented the contrast between my hair and eyes”, right? It’s a lot more difficult to describe your character in a first person story, but it can definitely be done. You’ll just have to be a little less abrupt with your description.



    In that vein, though, I really wish that you had given us a bit more description. Alex has orange hair and blue eyes. Does she feet? A nose? Anything else on her face? What do her clothes look like? You’re pretty good at describing your attacks and locations, but you a lot of that detail doesn’t transfer over to your characters. For instance, from your story, this is what I know about your characters so far (I’m not going to go into a personality analysis, both because it’s unnecessary and you do a much better job of portraying their traits through their actions than you do their appearances)

    --Alex: orange hair that is long-ish (as determined by her mother) and blue eyes that ‘contrasted perfectly’ ‘r something. Lots of scars. Also, apparently, a girl, which kinda blew my mind. More on that later.

    --Duke: eleven years old. That’s about it. He’s also a jerk, but we still don’t know what he looks like.

    --Meditite: Alex’s starter Pokémon hatched from an egg. Has a head shaped like an onion and is blue and white.

    --Erin: absolutely squat. Like, literally, squat. I assume she’s a girl who is roughly Alex’s age (which is, coincidentally, only implied, and only then because of Duke’s age)

    Do you see the issue here? You’re trying to tell a compelling story, but it becomes harder for readers to relate to main characters when they can’t even imagine what said characters look like. You want us to feel sorry for Alex when she gets in the accident, and you want us to dislike Duke for being a jerk, but it becomes a lot harder when we can’t even picture anyone in our heads. Alex could secretly be Misty for all we know, because both are girls that have blue eyes and orange hair. I think. The point is that you want the readers to be able to picture what’s going on in the story at all times, a feat that becomes exponentially easier with good details. Describe things to us in color, and as much as you can. Everyone looks different, and everyone has something special about them that makes them recognized. Clothes, piercings, cool hairstyles, anything. If I didn’t have a basic knowledge of Pokémon, I wouldn’t even know what a Meditite is, let alone a more “complex” creature like a human.



    cul-de-sac
    Normally, I wouldn’t point something like this out, but it’s mostly because of the unique-ness of this word. Normally, I’d say that using such an epic noun as cul-de-sac, rather than, say, street, but that’s also the problem. Since cul-de-sac is so memorable, most of the readers are going to be like “oh, wow, that’s a pretty cool word instead of, say, street” if they’re nerds like myself, or they’ll say something more like “heh, funny words are funny…” if they’re more normal people. Either way, your use more “exotic” words is going to spark attention in readers, and they’ll notice if you bring it up again. Like, say, two paragraphs later. And this time, the thoughts are going to be more along the lines of “woah, déjà vu…” which you really don’t want to hear. It’s a lot better to have your readers focusing on the awesome-ness of your story than to have them pondering your word selection, right?



    You’ve got enough description to gets us through the story. I’ll give you that much, even if I sound kinda harsh up a few paragraphs. I can pretty much understand what’s going on, because you’ve got a good descriptive grasp on things like events. Your main problem lies with describing people and things; lots of characters have minimal to no detail about them whatsoever. Definitely, definitely pay close attention to your descriptions; they’re some of the things that make stories really powerful.



    Grammar: You’re all right in this section. A few typos here, some random misspellings there, and some things that a few editing runs should clear out. I’m not going to point those out; little things like “yaay, Meditate is my first Pokémon” and Jubliife City or something. They’re small, and some spell checks or a proofreading read-through would do wonders here. However, there are some bigger issues that I’ll be pointing out, ey?



    “Great job. Now eat.” I commanded as I held out the basket of Poffins.
    This one came out of no where, pretty much, because you appear to have a good grasp of dialogue tags and the punctuation that they entail. However, you definitely need a comma between that bit of dialogue and the “I commanded”, seeing as commanded is a sort-of speaking verb that would be treated with the same rules as “said”. So it’d look more like:

    “Great job. Now eat,” I commanded as I…

    However, I think that’s prolly just a typo on your part, because you seemed to have it down everywhere else. Just in case you had something special with the verb “command”, though, I figured I’d point this one out.



    *Bbbbzzzzzzz*
    M’kay, so you’re definitely bordering on l33t sp34k there. Which is painful to read, seeing as you’ve done such a great job of having pretty all right grammar already. But, in all seriousness, *verb* is something that I’d expect to see in chatrooms, rather than a fanfic. I might be picky, and I might be a grammar nazi, but it takes only one or two sentences to say something like “the doorbell’s buzzing was loud and incessant, and I looked up guiltily as it rang for a second time, the harsh tone grating in my ears”. That was one sentence, actually, but it’s a lot easier on the eyes than *verb*. You don’t even have to use that particular sentence (in my opinion, it was a bit to prose-y anyways, and I didn’t like it), but just try to avoid *verb* structures like the plague, right?



    This probably fits in the detail bit, but again, I feel like it works better here. I’m not going to quote the entire paragraph, but the dialogue exchange that you had in the paragraph containing both instances of *bbbzzzzt* was also pretty jarring. It gets hectic, and it also becomes really hard to follow when you’ve just got bits of floating dialogue all jumbled around. This is a pretty important moment; the best thing you could do here is put in a lot of description about who is talking and how. The exchange comes across as choppy and rushed, and we can’t even figure out who’s talking and saying what at first glance. Try to always accompany your dialogue with a name, even if you’re not going exactly like: “blah,” she said. “blah,” he said. “blah,” she said again. “blah.” You can have other things in there, like how one character sounds particularly anguished, even if they’re not described as directly muttering/saying said dialogue. Just try to avoid having long exchanges of speaking with little dialogue tags in between and I think you’ll be good to go.



    Again, I can’t quote an exact instance, but you have one glaring problem in your grammar: often, you would change tenses between past and present for no apparent reason. It happens often enough for me to worry a bit, and it also got really confusing as I read on. Like, your entire story is in past tense up until a point (barring one sentence in the beginning where you said “Meditite is a psychic-fighting type or whatever), and then you suddenly just launch into a whole paragraph like:

    But, I have a plan. Erin is going to drop by with Meditite later, and then I’ll ask her to take Meditite.
    Normally, that’d be okay; first-person-present-tense plotting is perfectly fine by me. However, the events that happened chronologically seconds before this paragraph (Alex’s returning home, opening up her laptop, etc etc) are all in past tense, meaning the shift literally appears out of no where. And then, to top it off, the things that happen after this revelation (Alex/Erin/Meditite scene where Alex learns what happened while she was unconscious and decides to go back to school) also occur in past tense again. So, like, there are a few, concentrated ripples in which you have present tense. And the rest is in past tense. It’s basically a massive paradox, since the present tense bits are both before and after the past tense, which doesn’t really… work, you know? You’ve got to pick a tense and stay in it for that time frame. If you’re going to have two separate time frames (such as the whole accident in past tense and all of the “afterwards” in present tense), that would work too, but you’ve got to be careful to keep them distinct lest you confuse your poor ickly readers. This was, if anything, the most obvious grammatical error that I found in your story.



    There were a couple of other typos (“I was so overcomed by revenge”), but you could fix those with some editing and be on your merry way. Your main problem was the past-present tense flip-flop, and then your other important minor problem was the chunks of floating dialogue. Other than that, though, I’d say you’re pretty all right for grammar, with the other issues being small things that didn’t really affect your writing at this level. Awesome.



    Length: Heh, you have 32,297 and I have 32,298. Closest I’ve gotten with a counter, I think, and I’m not going to complain here (likely because I’m wrong). Double medium capture suggests 20-40K, and you’re just about in the center. You’ve got some pretty good pacing, although I do wish you had emphasized the ending a bit more—this should be a poignant and painful moment, where Alex discovers that she can’t walk again, you know? You kinda just drop it in passing, but you could really focus on it and make it a depressing moment, and then juxtapose it by having the uplifting and happy ending with Meditite and all of the new hope… maybe. It just seems like that’s your main hope is what happens, like… afterwards, and how Alex gets over all of the things that happen after the ending. That might have been just how I interpreted it, and I might be entirely wrong with this, but it’s just a suggestion.



    I’VE DIGRESSED. YOUR LENGTH IS GOOD. We’re aiming for dead center, and that’s pretty much where you are. Awesome.





    Personal Feelings/Outcome:



    Zapdos email app
    I didn’t get this at first. And then I was like “OOOOH, DERP, THUNDERBIRD.” +9000 respect for still knowing what that is.



    stalactite was falling down
    Stalactite. C, ceiling. You got that right, too. AWESOME.



    “Thank you for stopping by. It’s tough for her, you know?”
    Okay, this is going to sound pretty stupid, but I’m not going to lie. My reaction upon reading this sentence was about the same as when I learned that Silver and Bugsy from the G/S/C era were both guys. I’m not sure if you were going for the shock factor with this to try to psyche everyone out, but it got confusing. If you’re going for the whole “ZOMG, THE MAIN CHARACTER IS A GIRL, PSYCHE!!!11!” sort of thing, you’ll want to make it a bit more obvious. I think there might have been a few earlier mentions, but I remember reading it the first time and being really confused. The main problem probably lies in the fact that Alex is both a male and female name, meaning that most of your readers are instantly going to assume that Alex is male—that’s an unfortunate trait in fanfiction, actually. XD I’m still not sure if you intended for that mix-up to occur, as several things (such as your lack of description for Alex’s features/clothing/etc that would help us understand she’s a girl) point to that, or if it was unintentional. If it’s intentional, you should definitely make your “big reveal” a lot more obvious than an underhand line of text, and if it’s not, you should definitely emphasize that Alex is a girl earlier on in the story.



    Anyways, outcome and the seemingly obligatory ramble:


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Afterwards [SWC]

    Graded, and then deleted, for the SWC. Yum. PM'ing soro shortly.

    Uh, I just saw this after I was deleting, but the spacing on this grade is atrocious. And I can't fix it. Uh... yeah. Sorry about that. ._.

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