Burn Out (Warning: Semi Creepy but not as bad as normal)

Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Burn Out (Warning: Semi Creepy but not as bad as normal)

  1. #1
    The Hyacinth Girl Alaskapigeon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Santa Barbara, California
    Posts
    2,730

    Default Burn Out (Warning: Semi Creepy but not as bad as normal)

    Capture: Seedot
    Needed Characters: 5k
    Actual Characters: 5227


    It was a pleasure to burn.
    -Fahrenheit 451


    “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.”
    -Part of Kurt Cobain’s suicide note.


    It was, indeed, a pleasure to burn. Every time I struck a match, I watched with wonder as a flame sprung to life, as if out of thin air. My pulse would beat faster and faster as I watched the tiny fire burn its way through a piece of paper, leaving nothing but a smoldering hole and turning what it had touched to ashes. How many sheets of paper did I go through in a month? How many nights did I stay awake, silently striking matches over and over, willing them to stay lit forever. Of course, they did eventually burn themselves out. All good fires did.

    I don’t know when I started doing it. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t, but of course, there must have been a time in my life when I didn’t have the courage or the necessary materials. As I pulled the Bic lighter out of my pocket, I paused for a minute to take in the stinging scent of gasoline. It made me delightfully light headed. A tiny movement of my hand and the fire had started. At first, I panicked. My beautiful embers seemed to be dying! Had I lit it too soon after last night’s rain? Had I given it enough fuel to fill its starving belly? I needn’t have worried. The fire finally seemed to catch on the rotting wood of the abandoned apartment and then the real fun started. I lingered a second more with my creation before sadly jogging away. It wouldn’t do to be caught.

    From a safe distance of about a block away, I inhaled the sweet perfume of smoke. I couldn’t look away from the creature I had given birth to. I couldn’t see much of the flames yet, but the smoke, my baby’s breath, rose like a pillar into the sky, a monument to the power of fire. Suddenly, a scream interrupted my contemplations.

    “Help me! My Pokemon! Somebody please help!”

    Oh, fuck. I ran back to the base of the building to see a little old lady wearing a dress covered in floral print. She smelled faintly of cat urine and antibacterial soap. She kept screaming something about a Pokemon that was stuck in her apartment. Against my better judgment, I approached her.

    “Miss, what does your Pokemon look like?”

    The old woman was too distressed to do anything but shout random words at me. “Help! Loki! Please help my Pokemon, young man!”

    I sighed and looked at the burning building in front of me. I suppose it was time to face the beast I had created. As I crept closer to the blaze, the roar of the fire drowned out all other noises. Every instinct told me to turn around and run away, but I couldn’t. I wouldn’t let myself. Stepping inside the apartment was probably the equivalent of stepping into the bowels of hell. The smoke made it nearly impossible to see anything and I began to choke on it. I quickly pulled my shirt on it and wrapped it around my face, using it as a filter. I dropped to my knees and began crawling on the floor.

    “Here, little Pokemon,” I tried to call, but all that got out was a scratchy sounding cough.

    The heat was intense. Never before had I experienced anything like it, not while setting other fires, not while training under Blaine, not even when I burned myself in my darkest moments. No, this was different. The heat seemed to come in waves, pushing me backwards, but I struggled forward against them. Maybe this was the end. How ironic could it get? Death by fire, and not just any fire, but my fire, the one I had raised from a single spark to a towering inferno. Killed by my own kin; it was almost poetic.

    “Seed….Seedot.”

    Even half dead from smoke inhalation, the sudden sound made my head snap around. The Seedot must have been close. Otherwise, I would have never been able to hear it over the sound of the collapsing building. There! Hiding under the remains of a table about a foot away, the tiny acorn Pokemon was trembling.

    “It’ll be alright little buddy,” I said and gently scooped it up into my hands. My arm bumped against the leg of the metal card table and I yelped. I could feel my flesh blistering and I quickly scooted away from the table. I looked around. How far was the exit? I wasn’t thinking well. Everything was…fuzzy. I crawled forward, much more slowly now. The Seedot was barely making any noise. I had to….So close. I could see the light up ahead. Now I was in the clear. The air was a little bit easier to breathe here. Just a bit more….A hand reached through the doorway and I placed the Seedot in it without waiting to see if the Pokemon was even still breathing. I sucked in a breath of fresh air and then-

    “AGH!” I screamed as something incredibly hot pinned me to the floor. I tried to squirm out from under it, but I couldn’t move, couldn’t feel my body. Or rather, I could feel it, I just couldn’t make it respond. I sure as hell felt the burning. I screamed again. It was so unfair….I had been so close, only to be stopped by a couple of beams from the ceiling.

    “Seedot, seed,” I heard from outside. At least the Pokemon was safe. I suppose…if I had to die, this is the way I would choose: by fire. I would rather be turned to ashes than die alone in a hospital bed. I guess it’s true what they say: “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” I screamed again and closed my eyes…
    I speak four languages, help me practice please
    Hablas conmigo en español, por favor
    Vous parlez avec moi en français, s'il vous plaît
    我正在学中文

  2. #2
    Angry about Outer Heavens ChainReaction01's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    5,526

    Default Re: Burn Out (Warning: Semi Creepy but not as bad as normal)

    I'mma claim this, mainly cos I owe Alaska and this is perhaps the second story of hers that I can read without feeling suicidal >_>
    URPG Stats
    SCROLL OF CHAINS
    Ranger Chapter | Referee Chapter | Grader Chapter | Judge Chapter
    ~No one understands how important sex is better than someone who isn't having any.~

    "ALLAREFRED" WinterVines 7:15 pm
    nightgowns aren't for sleeping silly

  3. #3
    Angry about Outer Heavens ChainReaction01's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    5,526

    Default Re: Burn Out (Warning: Semi Creepy but not as bad as normal)

    Intro

    I liked the way you included the two quotes at the very beginning. It sets the tone of the story very nicely, and shows a subtlety not often displayed in a Simple story. It's made even better by referencing the quote's origin. I know you've taken to doing this in your stories recently, but it's a great way to give a small snapshot into the feel of your writing.

    Your introduction itself is great as well - you show us the protagonist and their love of fire. You also push in a bit of backstory, talking about the protagonist's tendency to stay up late and use tons of matches and sheets of paper in their pyromaniacal lust. Once the setting up of the character is done with, you lead into the story - the protagonist has just set a dilapidated apartment on fire, and from there the story rolls.

    One thing you didn't do that Simple stories usually do is describe the character physically - hell, I couldn't even say with certainty what the gender of the protagonist is yet. But the way you have written this story makes it seem more like a psychological exploration that the usual Simple offerings, and it's also very easy for the reader to imagine themselves as the pyromaniac, and thus identify further with the story. Very well done.

    Plot

    For me, the weakest part of this story is the plot. You introduce the protagonist, who likes to ignite fires. They set an abandoned apartment on fire and then begin to flee the scene. It is at this point that you lose me a little bit - an old lady's Pokemon is trapped in the fire, and the protagonist volunteers to venture into the burning building to rescue it. I suppose it's not impossible that a firebug would risk themselves to save an innocent life, but it still seems unlikely to me. Even if they're going for plausible deniability, it still seems a little too far to go.

    After venturing into the fire and battling the heat and smoke inhalation, the character finds the lady's Seedot, and starts heading back to the exit. Just before the pair manage to escape, some ceiling beams fall and pin the protagonist. Despite being trapped, their first thought is to save the Seedot, so they push it out the door, away from the fire. Again, this doesn't seem very characteristic of a pyromaniac, but this is a Simple story so I'm only mentioning it for future reference.

    All in all, the plot is fine for a Simple story, but I had a little trouble identifying with the main character. It sounds like you're setting them up as a despicable (or at least unlikeable) person in the introduction, but then they go and die selflessly while saving another's life. Not a huge deal, but it bothered me a little bit.

    Dialogue

    I can't really say much here as there were in total eight lines of external dialogue in the whole story, all of which seemed believable to me. What I did like was the internal monologue you had going - the things I liked best are quoted below.

    At first, I panicked. My beautiful embers seemed to be dying! Had I lit it too soon after last night's rain? Had I given it enough fuel to fill its starving belly?
    Oh, fuck.
    ...if I had to die, this is the way I would choose: by fire. I would rather be turned to ashes than die alone in a hospital bed.
    Grammar

    Your grammar was wonderful. In fact, that's the second most important reason behind my choice of claiming this. A Simple story with wonderful grammar? WUTISTHIS?

    There were only two mistakes that I could see that majorly affected the flow of the story, and you don't need to worry about them for Simple level. I point them out below for future reference.

    How many nights did I stay awake, silently striking matches over and over, willing them to stay lit forever.
    Fairly sure that should end with a question mark, not a period. It seems like a rhetorical question, especially when you take into account the context and the rhetorical questions directly before it.

    The smoke made it nearly impossible to see anything and I began to choke on it. I quickly pulled my shirt on it and wrapped it around my face, using it as a filter.
    The bolded part should say "over my head" or something like that. It sounds like you're trying to pull your shirt over the smoke, which makes no sense.

    Detail

    Your details and descriptions were great - you talked about the smell, warmth, and sight of the fire, and included little details like the room getting hazy because of the smoke. I could clearly see the fire itself, but not only physically - I knew how the character felt about it as well, almost like a rambunctious child throwing a temper tantrum.

    The only thing I didn't really like was how the old lady calls the character a "young man". I liked the sense of anonymity you gave to the character in your introduction, the way the reader could easily superimpose themselves into the story. Unfortunately, by locking in the protagonist's gender, you've locked out about half of your readers from being able to do this.

    Length

    I count 5, 249 characters in this story, including the quotes at the beginning. Even without them, you've passed the 5,000 character requirement for this Simple Pokemon. However, like I mentioned early, I felt like the character was a bit too eager to go rescue the Seedot. It would have been nice to see a little bit more added in, maybe a short scene where the protagonist argues with themself about whether or not to help.

    Climax

    The flow of your story is great. The main character sets a fire, good. They go into the fire, great. They find the Pokemon, awesome. And then, the character gets trapped right at the exit and dies. It's a masterful use of the climax - you end RIGHT on the climax as opposed to just a little before or after.

    It's also nice to see a Simple story where the climax isn't straight out Pokemon battle, but hell, this is a story by Alaskapigeon. No freaking way it was going to be ordinary, I just thought I'd mention it here as well.

    Overall

    The story was very enjoyable, and I particularly liked that it wasn't as dark as your usual offerings (Strawberry Gashes *shudders*). You used dialogue and descriptions masterfully, and the climax was great which is nice to see because it is usually the climax that lets stories down. I also really liked the way you kept your protagonist nameless and faceless - this style of writing wouldn't work in just any kind of story, and it takes an exceptional author to keep it from failing.

    The only thing I didn't like was how very different the character seemed to be - like I said, he seems to be awfully quick to do a good deed at the risk of his own life, especially considering he just began burning a house down. This is only a minor fault, though, and I point it out for lack of anything better to gripe about.

    Seedot Captured!
    URPG Stats
    SCROLL OF CHAINS
    Ranger Chapter | Referee Chapter | Grader Chapter | Judge Chapter
    ~No one understands how important sex is better than someone who isn't having any.~

    "ALLAREFRED" WinterVines 7:15 pm
    nightgowns aren't for sleeping silly

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •