Cherish The Moment
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  1. #1

    Default Cherish The Moment

    The garden was such a beautiful place. The serene and tranquil lake; the sweeps of gently rolling lawns set against groves of trees; the shrubberies with graveled walks; the thousands of different flower species in skirts of sweeping planted beds; it was such a great place for Mal to take a break. As he continued looking at the scenic views in the huge garden behind his backyard, he started to admire the picturesque architectures, such as the bandstand and the pavilion hut.

    They were all built with such ‘class’, only a rich person like Mal would be able to have his own garden that was as magnificent as this. Mal started to rest on the bench that he was sitting on while closing his eyes, enjoying the peaceful sound of nature with the chirps of birds, and the rustling sound that was made whenever the wind blew against the trees and shrubberies, this was truly something that everyone would wished for.


    ***


    “WAKE UP DAMMIT!”

    The sudden shouting shocked Mal and jolted him up from his sleep. Once he opened his eyes, he saw a bald man standing in front of him, putting his hands on his hips. The man was around his mid-forties, and looked like a dork from head to toe. He was wearing old-fashioned spectacles that had huge circular frames, and his mouth was of an utmost annoyance, because his lips were pouted with so much attitude, that it reminded Mal of lips that were swollen for months. He was wearing a creasy white button-up shirt, but it looked almost yellowish instead. As if these weren’t enough of a fright, he wore pants that stuck up as high as his belly button, and was wearing slippers that showed his filthy toes that smelled like rancid.

    Mal almost fell off from his chair due to the sudden fright, but managed to hold on to the table beside him to regain balance. After exchanging glances with his boss and a few seconds of awkward silence, Mal finally understood what was happening and immediately stood to attention. Fumbling around like a nervous kid who was about to pee in his pants, he managed to stutter out apologies and the 'I won't do it next time!" kind of promise.

    "Look here, young man! You better watch out and not fall asleep next time. I hired you to work for me dammit, not to skive. If you think this job is too boring for you, then get your ass up and find yourself another job," grunted Mr Dickson.

    Once Mal's boss had walked off, Mal dropped himself onto the chair again, and raised his hands to wipe away the saliva that his boss spat on him while shouting. He proceeded to continue and do this work in the office, trying to ignore the many stares and whispers of his fellow colleagues. He started sorting out the documents and proceeded to type them into the computer, while starting to grumble annoyingly to himself.

    This was Mal's bad habit. He had always complained and grumbled throughout his life. In fact, he had switched jobs so many times just because of the grumbles. He kept thinking about how some people were so rich that they didn't even have to work, or people that were so good looking that they could enter showbiz and make a living through it. He had always thought that life was unfair, and kept making excuses and complaints as to how other people didn't have to put in so much effort, while he has to. That was also the reason, that his life is in a wreck now.

    ***


    One year ago...

    "Listen up, Mal! This is the problem with you! You never bothered to cherish your present and keep grumbling about life could be better without this or with that. For the damn sake, STOP COMPLAINING FOR ONCE AND ACTUALLY CHERISH YOUR STATUS QUO!"

    "WELL MAYBE MY LIFE WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN THAT WAY IF I DIDN'T ****ING MARRY YOU!"


    ***


    And so, Mal divorced with his wife one year ago. When they first married, they were a loving couple that everyone had always envied. However, after marriage, things started to change. Everyday, Mal would complain and grumble about the slightest things in life, and keep making comparisons of his life to others. He even had many quarrels with his wife because of that. Eventually, all hell broke lose when Mal started venting his anger on his wife, Marie.

    Due to some problems that he encountered in work, he vented his anger on his wife once he got home, and started the usual grumbles and complains again. Except, he was much more ridiculous this time. He started to blame his wife for his misfortune and unsuccessful career, to which his wife could no longer tolerate and started lashing back at him. The matter accelerated to the point of no return, and they were no longer together. Even when they've divorced, Mal never did see his problem and continued his mistakes.

    It was now night time, and Mal had just returned home. He lived alone and the entire house was in a huge mess, since he never bothered to clean up. The house smelled like a rubbish dump, and yet Mal didn't care. Instead, he settled himself down on the coach and started watching television, while starting to grumble about his life again...

    Seriously, what a stupid life I have. First, I had stupid shit luck at work and nothing ever went well for me. Whenever I returned home, Marie would never spare a thought for me and hear my grumbles. What kind of wife was she if she never let me confided in her? Even with my grumbles, she was my wife, for crying out loud. Then, she started screaming at me for nothing. Luckily I did divorce her, or else my luck would have been worst by now. This was that entire woman's fault! She brought me down with her damn luck!

    However, unconsciously, Mal actually still loved his wife dearly. He didn’t know that, or rather, he chose not to know that, because it was too late to change his decision anyway. He spent his entire life grumbling and complaining about how life is unfair, but in truth, he missed his life in the past, during the days that he courted Marie.

    Suddenly, a Pokemon’s cry came from the balcony. Mal stopped watching television and wondered who was making that noise. He didn’t had any Pokemon ever since he divorced with his wife, partly also because no one wanted to be with him because of his attitude. He walked over to the balcony, and was surprised to see what was making that noise.

    There stood the small-built Pokemon. She was a furry, gray colored chinchilla Pokemon, and sported adorable scruffs of fur on its head, ears insides, and neck. She had really large ears, even though that contributed to her cute image even more that were located to the sides of her head, which were red insides and covered partly by her fur. She had large chocolate brown eyes, which sparkled ever so shiningly whenever you focused onto her eyes. The other parts of her body were mostly small, such as her small, dot-like nose and her rounded limbs, although her tail was particularly long and furry.

    However, the distinctive feature of this particular Minccino was her pink ribbon that was tied onto her right ear. The pink ribbon even had Mal’s signature on it. This Minccino was actually Marie’s Pokemon, but she was also the one that brought Mal and Marie together. Mal could remember faintly about that encounter on the beach, where a Minccino came towards Mal and started bawling her eyes out.

    After a long moment of trying to decipher out what the Minccino was saying through her actions, Mal realized that she was separated with her trainer amongst the huge crowd while buying drinks from the bar at the beach. In order to stop Minccino from crying, Mal went to buy a pink ribbon from a nearby shop and put it onto Minccino, while promising to find her trainer back for her. This was also the first time that Mal met Marie, and it was practically love at first sight.

    “Minccino, what are you doing here?” Mal asked out of shock and surprise, while kneeling down to get closer to the Pokemon. The Minccino started jumping frantically and used her short limbs to point towards her pink ribbon and started crying instead. Although many people might not understand what the Minccino was saying, but Mal understood perfectly. He was really close towards Minccino, and the Pokemon really liked him a lot. From the frantic feeling, the pointing of the pink ribbon, and the bawling, Mal guessed that Marie was in trouble and quickly asked Minccino if he was right, to which the Pokemon nodded immediately.

    Mal asked Minccino to lead him to Marie, and the two of them quickly ran towards Marie’s location. They were running through the neighborhoods and Minccino eventually led him into a place called the White Forest. The forest contained many large trees that grew to enormous heights that even the peaks could not be seen. Even with the overshadowing of the large trees, the forest mysteriously remained extremely bright, as if the trees were giving off light themselves. After a long time of running, they reached into the deeper parts of the forest, where Minccino abruptly stopped.

    Mal carefully looked forward and noticed that it was a huge pit hole; anyone that fell in would be hurt badly and could not get out without any help, due to the immense depth. However, that was when Mal noticed that there was a young woman inside. To his horror, it was Marie.

    The young woman was just a few inches shorter than Mal, being five feet tall. She was the most beautiful woman Mal had ever seen, at least that was what Mal had thought. Her hair was of the same color as Minccino’s eyes – a rich chocolate brown with lighter streaks. Her irises were of a sparkling ocean-blue, and it was always so mysteriously attractive towards Mal. She was wearing an angelic pure white dress, but it was almost of a dirty brown already. Due to the fall, the dress was smudged in shades of brown and red; the color of dirt and blood.

    Mal shouted out to Marie frantically, while asking her if she was alright. Although she had a bad fall and her knees were scraped badly, she still managed to struggle out a reply. “… I’m fine Mal, can you ggget me out of here? I… I don’t think I can hold out any much longer.” She was referring to her fractured leg, to which she was holding onto her left leg in agonizing pain, while continuing to bleed profusely.

    “Hold on!” Mal shouted back. He started to think of ways to pull Marie back up without hurting her. It was almost virtually impossible to climb into the pit and carry Marie back out, the pit was just too deep. However, he could not possibly leave Marie alone in there. Without knowing, he still loved Marie wholeheartedly, and this entire scene was breaking his heart. He started to blame himself for the pain that he caused towards Marie. Perhaps if he didn’t divorce with Marie, none of these would have ever happened.

    Minccino started to tug at Mal’s trousers, as if she knew that Mal was starting to blame himself. Mal reassured Minccino that he was alright, but started to worry about Marie again. He could call for an ambulance but that would take too long. Suddenly, a thought came to him. He knew Marie's Minccino was caught in this very forest itself, because Marie had told him before. He also knew that Minccino species do live in the White Forest. It could be a possibility that Minccino can call upon her species and hopefully, her old friends would remember her voice and all come towards her plead. If there were a lot of Pokemon like a bunch of Minccinos, they might be able to create a bridge for Mal to walk on, or at least climb. He would be able to reach for Marie ten.

    Without losing any time, Mal quickly conveyed his thoughts to Minccino and asked her to cry out and plead for help from her friends that she used to lead with in the White Forest. Minccino didn't even had to consider, she quickly started crying out her name, as her voice started to echo out. In fact, her cry was even louder than usual. Mal thought that she must have been using Echoed Voice to magnify the distance that her cry would travel through echos within the forest. Mal waited anxiously, while Minccino continued crying out for her friends desperately.

    ---

    Extra: If Minccino's friends appear, Minccino is caught. Otherwise, the capture fails.
    Length: 12,052
    Pokemon: Minccino
    Category: Medium
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  2. #2
    Angry about Outer Heavens ChainReaction01's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cherish The Moment

    Claiming this story in the faint hope that Ataro grades my Story of Koma in return :P
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    ~No one understands how important sex is better than someone who isn't having any.~

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  3. #3
    Angry about Outer Heavens ChainReaction01's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cherish The Moment

    Okay, before I go into this grade, I’m acknowledging right from the word go that this isn’t going to be the best grade. It was mostly done late at night, and I figure Ataro has been writing stories long enough that nitpicking isn’t necessarily going to help either of us. Anyway, here we go.

    Introduction

    The first part of your introduction made me think this is going to be a story about a rich man who has to go out into the real world for some reason or another. The description of the protagonists’ garden was wonderful – I could clearly see it in my mind’s eye. The only issue I have is that there are apparently “thousands of different flower species” in the garden. That’s an awful lot of flower beds.

    There’s immediately a twist – the protagonist, Mal, was just daydreaming while at his work. He gets yelled at by his boss and Mal is revealed to have a fairly serious character flaw. He prefers to spend his time whining about his horrible lot in life when it’s actually not that bad. It is incredibly refreshing to see a character who isn’t just a thinly-veiled Gary Stu or some kind of mostly-perfect teenaged Trainer starting out on a journey, especially considering this is only Medium Rank story. It’s also a believable flaw for someone to have – not something stupid or half-assed used to balance a “perfect character”, like an intense fear of bats or something. This is a genuinely imperfect, believable character that readers can associate and identify with.

    Plot

    The plot of this story is fairly simple. There’s a guy who is stuck in a dead-end job who likes to whine about his situation in life. This whining drove away his wife, and he eventually begins to associate his low status with her lack of support. A year after divorcing her, her Minccino appears on the balcony of Mal’s house. After a moment of reminiscing about how Mal and his ex-wife met, he follows the Minccino into the deep parts of White Forest, where Marie has fallen into a pit and broken her leg. Desperately, Mal tries to find a way to rescue her, and he stumbles upon the idea of Marie’s Minccino calling for help, which is where the story ends, depending on the success of the capture.

    It’s a good story. I enjoyed it. I have a little bit of trouble understanding exactly how Mal can still love Marie so much considering he blames her for where he is at the time of the story. It doesn’t really bother me though – I can understand how he might, but no real explanation is given aside from “he isn’t really a douche, he just likes to bitch a lot”. Otherwise, I have no problems with this plot. It doesn’t really surprise, apart from the beginning of the introduction, but it’s a nice story that is easily Medium level.

    Dialogue

    There isn’t much talking in your story, perhaps six lines of dialogue or so. What was there was mostly fine – the argument between Mal and Marie in one of your flashback really sounds like two people are fighting. I also liked the threat given out by Mal’s boss – it’s eerily similar to something one of my high school teachers said to me once.

    You also had a good internal monologue running. Mal’s internal grumbling was a good way to show us his state of mind. The only thing you could have done better was to give us the information that Mal still loves Marie through himself instead of handed down by a narrator, but I can accept that would have been quite hard considering Mal is fairly self-centered.

    The only piece of dialogue I didn’t like occurred when Marie was stuck in the hole.

    “… I’m fine Mal, can you ggget me out of here? I… I don’t think I can hold out any much longer.”
    The “ggget” part is a little bit jarring. I didn’t have any problem immersing myself in your story, which is awesome, but this kinda knocked me out a bit. I assume you were trying to convey a stutter or Marie gasping through the pain or something, but here are a couple of ways it could have been done better:

    “…I’m fine Mal, can you get me out of here?” Marie stuttered.

    “…I’m fine Mal, can you g-g-get me out of here?”

    Grammar

    Your grammar was mostly fine, but you have a slight tendency to make your sentences overly long. There were a few places in your story where you probably should have used periods as opposed to commas and swapped a few words around. You also didn’t really stick to a tense – a couple of times you even toggled between all three inside a single sentence. I’ve quoted and edited a few to show you how I would have done it:

    Mal started to rest on the bench that he was sitting on while closing his eyes, enjoying the peaceful sound of nature with the chirps of birds, and the rustling sound that was made whenever the wind blew against the trees and shrubberies, this was truly something that everyone would wished for.


    Mal started to rest on the bench that he was sitting on while closing his eyes, enjoying the peaceful sounds of nature like the chirps of birds and the rustling of trees and shrubberies. This was truly something that everyone would wish for.

    It could be a possibility that Minccino can call upon her species and hopefully, her old friends would remember her voice and all come towards her plead.
    It was possible that Minccino could call upon her old friends and hopefully, they would remember her voice and all come at her pleas.

    Even when they've divorced, Mal never did see his problem and continued his mistakes.
    Even after they divorced, Mal never did see his problem and continued making his mistakes.

    The forest contained many large trees that grew to enormous heights that even the peaks could not be seen.
    The forest contained many large trees that grew to such enormous heights that the peaks could not be seen.

    Detail

    Detail was excellent, no doubt about it. I already mentioned the garden, but you did it multiple times. You described Mal’s boss very well, and I could clearly see what Marie looked like when she had fallen down the hole. The forest was well done too – I particularly liked the phrase “Even with the overshadowing of the large trees, the forest mysteriously remained extremely bright, as if the trees were giving off light themselves.” Minccino was described extremely well, to the extent that I didn’t even need to go look at a picture to get a mental imagine of what exactly was running around.

    You also did a good job of talking about the time Minccino had been separated from Marie, and it was clever how you managed to make her distinct from other, random Minccino using the pink ribbon. It was even better how you managed to make the ribbon important – it wasn’t just “oh, by the way, this Minccino wears a ribbon because it looks pretty”.

    Lastly, I liked how you mentioned that Minccino was calling for her friends using Echoed Voice. Reminds the readers that Minccino isn’t just like a particularly intelligent dog or something.

    Length

    I count 12,021 characters in this story, which is solidly in the range for a Medium Ranked Pokemon. It might not have hurt to make it a little longer, but I can’t complain, and it doesn’t bother me viciously because you cut out an epilogue to honour the URPG tradition of having the end of the story hinging on the grade.

    Climax

    Strictly speaking, this story didn’t really have much of a body. You spent the first half talking about Mal and his past, and then the Minccino shows up and takes him off to rescue Marie. It keeps building from there, though – Marie is found to be hurt and Mal agonises over a way to save her. It’s always good to see a climax that isn’t a battle, and this was almost a mental one, which is even rarer.

    This is the first story I’ve graded where the end of the story itself (barring just a capture) depends on my grade, and while I’ve seen a couple it’s a good way to end without the reader getting bored. It doesn’t really give me a satisfying conclusion, but this is a 12K attempt to catch a Pokemon, not an epic yarn to be immortalised forever, so I can get over it.

    Overall

    Overall, enjoyable story. The plot was a little bit lacking, and I found Mal’s motives for wanting to rescue Marie a little obscure, but it was so good to see a genuinely imperfect character that I didn’t give a damn. Grammar was more than okay for a Medium story, and your descriptions and details were wonderful to read. The only things I can suggest to keep in mind for future stories are to keep an eye on the tense you’re working with, and make sure your sentences aren’t huge constructs fused together with commas.

    Minccino Captured!
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    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

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