Obligation: Chapter 1 (T for language)

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    The Hyacinth Girl Alaskapigeon's Avatar
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    Default Obligation: Chapter 1 (T for language)

    Pokemon Capture: Sandile
    Needed Characters: 10000
    Actual Characters: 13078


    Chapter 1

    The white porcelain reached up to meet my face. Or maybe it was the other way around. I could feel my stomach lurching. Everything smelled like Windex and toothpaste and there was a tinny voice over the radio declaring "Anarchy in the U.K.".

    Have you ever noticed how many interesting synonyms for 'vomit' there are? Throwing up is rather plain, but common. There's also tossing your cookies, the technicolor yawn, and the ever popular classic, barfing. I was doing all of these times one hundred.

    This, I thought to myself, is a lesson from God. I will never eat vodka and leftover Taco Bell for breakfast. Ever again. I groaned. Shiiiiit. Did I get Kelsie Fruit Loops when I was at the store? Bah. More puking occurred.

    The porch door swung open and closed. I heard footsteps. "Holly?" My sister would be standing at the foot of the stairs. Shit. What time was it? I stood up, attempting to focus my eyes on one point and end the nausea. I looked at the clock radio. 2:45, it told me.

    "I'm coming!" I yelled, then fell back towards the toilet. Okay. I'm just gonna get up now and go be a responsible adult. Sure. Then they'll send me into space and I can start a colony on the fucking moon. I got to my feet and flushed the toilet. "Don't puke, don't puke, don't puke..." I chanted to myself. Hey, if mantras were good enough for the Dalai Lama, they were good enough for me.

    I tottered out of the bathroom and down the stairs. I smiled. "Hey, sis, already out of school?" I realized I was wearing the same pants as yesterday.

    "Yeah, we get out at 2 now." She grinned, but there was something off. I thought I saw her backpack move out of the corner of her eye.

    "Interesting," I said. "Where'd you go for 45 minutes?"

    Her face went pale. She tried to casually take off her jacket and throw it onto the backpack. Right, like I'd buy that. "I, uh, well..." Her neon purple backpack (with rainbow zigzags) began to whimper slightly. I tossed the jacket off of it, zipped it open, and poured it out. Something green and vaguely mushroom shaped tumbled out. Before you could say 'Cheesy 80s' Era After School Special' the mushroom had waddled over to my sister and crouched in her arms. It hissed at me.

    "Kelsie," I said, then shook my head, hoping the Pokemon was the bi-product of alcohol and Pine-sol fumes, "Kelsie, what the hell is that?"

    She blushed and looked at the dirty tile floor. She muttered something.

    "A what?"

    "It's a Shroomish."

    "Shroo- Shroomish," it agreed, as if her point needed to be proven.

    I pinched the bridge of my news. "And it is in our house... Why?"

    She seemed incredibly guilty, and began to tug at the edge of her blue t-shirt, a nervous reaction. "Well... I want to be done with school."

    "Kels, you're 15!"

    "But almost everyone else left when they were 12 or 13. The only ones left in my classes are the people who want to be doctors or professors. And I don't."

    I ran a hand through my hair. "Well..." I sighed. "What's Sobek going to think? He's too old to fight with another Pokemon over his food."

    As if on cue, the ancient, half-blind Sandile slithered out from behind one of the counters and sniffed at Kelsie's sandals. She cautiously put down the Shroomish. They circled each other, snorted, and Sobek touched his snout to its forehead. Then he closed his eyes and promptly went to sleep. The Shroomish climbed onto his back and began to hum. Kelsie giggled.

    "Fine," I gave in. "How are you going to take care of it? You don't know how to battle."

    She shook her head. "I don't want to be a trainer."

    "Then what the hell are you planning to do with a Pokemon!?"

    "Come see," she said and jogged up the stairs, like she was in the prime of her life or something.

    I groaned and managed to pull myself up them just in time to see her disappear into her room. I pushed the door aside. "Oh," I said, slightly stunned. The walls were plastered with posters of coordinators and famous contest Pokemon. Fantina seemed to be a favorite. There were lots of Drifloon in here. On the edge of her neatly made bed were some stuffed Pokemon with fake ribbons around their necks. Everything was startlingly neat. The only thing left out was a pen and an open notebook (complete with a picture of a rather attractive young male coordinator on the front) on her desk. What looked like a shopping list was scribbled in there. I saw the phrase 'Shroomish, Swablu, or Spoink' before she closed it. Well, at least she didn't get a Spoink, I thought, imagining it bouncing around the house, knocking things over. I looked around her room again. It was spotless. The carpet was a pristine white color and had been recently vacuumed, her hamper was empty, even the curtains looked as though they had been dusted, which I hadn't even known was something that needed to be done to curtains. "How are you related to me?" I asked out loud. Sometimes I wondered. Unlike me, she had dark hair and her eyes were almost black. My eyes were green and my hair was dark brown. Most people could never tell we were sisters. Apparently, I took after our father. The constant need to drink was probably a give away.

    She grinned. "Can I go?"

    I froze. I hadn't really put that much thought into it. Go? Alone? Into Hoenn? Land of volcanoes, borderline retarded terrorist organizations, and all sorts of flesh-eating Pokemon? Nuh-uh. Then I looked at her again. Stupid puppy eyes. It wouldn't be fair to make her stay chained up here. Like Mom made me. I winced internally. No self pitying today, Holly, I reminded myself. "I can't let you go alone."

    Her head drooped.

    "But-"

    Suddenly, she was completely alert, hanging on my every word.

    "I can go with you."

    "YES!" She jumped into the air and twirled. God, forget being a coordinator, she could've been a ballerina. She hugged me.

    "Oof. Okay, um. Maybe you should pack your stuff and I'll call the school."

    "Thankyouthankyouthankyou," she screeched, shoveling clothes into a backpack.

    I half-walked, half-stumbled back down the stairs and into the kitchen. Sobek was still happily sleeping while his new friend danced on his back. "Traitor," I growled. The sink was full of dirty dishes again. I picked up the phone and began to scrub at a casserole dish. When had we even used that? I shook my head in bewilderment.

    The phone rang a few times, then clicked as the school secretary picked up. "Hello," she said in her best calm and collected voice, "Oldale Public High School, how can I help you?"

    "Ah, yes, my name is Holly Salinas, I'm Kelsie's older sister and guardian..."

    The screen door swung open, slamming into the wall. "Sorry," yelled Ray as he walked in the door. He strolled over to the fridge, opened it, pulled out a slightly moldy block of cheese, and swung it shut. He then went over to the sink and began to pick the mold off it.

    I tried to mouth, "Get out," but his back was turned to me. Must've been some really good cheese. I narrowed my eyes.

    "Kelsie Salinas? She's a wonderful student. If you've called for a progress report I can have one ready to mail or-"

    "No, no, it's not that," I explained, "It's just that she told me today she was ready to start her Journey."

    "Oh." I could imagine the elderly secretary wiping some imaginary dust off the hem of her skirt disapprovingly. "Well, then, I'll take her off the attendance lists and send you a certificate of education."

    "Thank you so very much," I was trying to hold my "grown up" voice for as long as possible.

    "'Olly, vish cheef ifd nafty," Ray said with a mouthful of cheese.

    I glared at him. "Well, you've been very helpful," I said quickly to the secretary, "I'll just go help her pack now."

    "Goodbye," she responded stiffly and hung up.

    I sighed and slid down on to the floor, knees to my chest. I couldn't help noticing that it was really dirty down there. On the bright side, though, most of the nausea was gone. There was only a slight throbbing in the back of my head.

    "When was the last time you cleaned out your fridge?"

    I turned to look at Ray. He was leaning against the fridge in a red plaid shirt and jeans, thin as a telephone pole, holding the remainders of what had been a large hunk of cheddar. "Why does it strike you as a good idea to walk into my house while I'm on the phone and start eating my food?"

    He shrugged. "I do this every Thursday. It's like a holiday now, I think."

    Kelsie came running down the stairs just then, her backpack stuffed. The Shroomish made a peeping sound and scurried over to her. She picked it up in her arms. "Okay, Holly, I got my stuff!" She twirled again and saw Ray. "Hi, Ray!" She waved.

    Ray stuck the rest of the cheese in his mouth, chewed twice, then swallowed. "Where ya goin' with a backpack that big?" he asked.

    "Holly's taking me on an adventure. We're going to get the ribbons from all the major contests!" As she hugged the Shroomish up against her face, I could see the hint of a gleam in her eyes. That girl had ambition.

    "Wait, you're going where?"

    "I told her I'd take her to all the contest cities." At the mere mention of her journey, Kelsie began dancing around the room, her Shroomish humming merrily.

    Ray raised an eyebrow. "You're really planning to walk all that way?"

    "Hell no, I'm going to book a plane for Mauville tonight and then hike over. It's only a couple miles. Why would I walk?"

    He looked away. "Um."

    This could not be good. "What is it, Ray?" I questioned.

    "It's just that... Er..."

    I grabbed him by the shirt collar. "What. Is. It."

    "Maybe you should turn on the TV...."

    I let him go and ran to the TV which was in a small room adjacent to the kitchen and behind the stairs. The carpet in there hadn't been cleaned (or seen) in months. It was buried beneath a layer of magazines and food wrappers. I reached up to where the TV was balanced precariously on a bookcase, and smacked the power button. Channel 3 was on, HNBC. I knew something was up when the screen flickered to life, an emergency broadcast message flashing on the bottom. "Oh, God," I moaned. The anchor, a professional (if slightly bitchy looking) brunette, had been finishing up whatever the message was.

    "...and so it is advised that anyone in the effected areas evacuates immediately. For those just joining us, there has been a terrorist attack on Sootopolis City. A mysterious organization known as Team Aqua, known for their previous attempts at flooding the entire continent despite the scientific fallacies this would involve, have struck once again. Their most recent plot has been an attempted destruction of Sootopolis."

    The screen behind her changed to footage of people running around a collapsing city as other people in blue uniforms shot high powered hoses at people.

    "Due to these attacks, all flights to, from, and through the Hoenn region are on lockdown. Stay tuned for more announcements..."

    I shut the TV off. "DAMMIT!" I shouted and punched the wall. I immediately recoiled, my fist stinging.

    Ray and Kelsie ran into the room, looking worried. Kelsie's eyes were big. "What is it, Holly?"

    "Uh, it's just that..." I swallowed my words at the look on her face. Puppy eyes had to be the work of the devil. "I thought instead of taking a plane, we could walk."

    Her expression became stubborn. She seemed unconvinced. "But why? You hate walking. And exercising. And moving."

    "Okay, fine. I was planning on flying but it looks like those environmental freaks attacked another city."

    "PETA?"

    "No, other one."

    "Greenpeace?"

    "Nope, Team Aqua," Ray added helpfully.

    I sighed.

    "But we're still going, right?" Kelsie begged.

    "Yeah, of course. If you go to school too much longer you'll be smarter than me."

    "Hey!"

    I tousled Kelsie's hair.

    "Actually, Holly, I kind of need to talk about why I came over," Ray spoke up.

    "You mean you had a reason other than stealing my food?"

    He coughed. "My parents kicked me out. Can I live here?"

    My head was suddenly filled with visions of my house trashed, garbage and food everywhere, and various people passed out on the furniture. "No."

    "But, if I can't find a place to live, I'll have to move into an apartment. I won't be able to keep Echo."

    I sighed. "She's a psychic-type. Tell her to stay invisible."

    "She's not strong enough to do that for a long time!"

    "Why can't Ray come with us?" Kelsie asked.

    "Yeah, why can't I come with you?"

    "He'll eat all of our food."

    As if she was called, Echo appeared in front of me, holding her little green head. She made a cooing sound.

    "You wouldn't really want her to be homeless, would you?"

    She cooed at me. I was beaten once again. "Fine. Pack your stuff."

    He held up a finger indicating one minute and Echo disappeared again. She reappeared with a bag levitating over her head that was bigger than she was. She dropped it at Ray's feet.

    "I left it outside," he said proudly.

    "You're sleeping on the couch down here," I shot back and left. I heard him and Kelsie cheering. I walked upstairs, to my bedroom, and checked the clock again. It was almost 4. Where did all the time go? I began to stuff some clothes and various other items into my old backpack. I opened a bottom pocket and what I thought was a piece of paper fell out. I picked it up. It was a picture of my mother. I could only look at it for a moment, the edge of her dark hair, her smile, and then I had to put it on the floor, face down. My throat swelled up and the tears threatened to spill over, but I held them back. Sobek slithered into the room. The orange and black alligator blinked at me slowly. I scratched the spot in-between his eyes and he closed them happily. "What have we gotten into?" I asked him.

    He didn't respond. He had fallen asleep.

    I continued to stroke the spot on his head and tried to force my memory back to before. Before my mom got sick, before Kelsie was born, before anything bad happened. And the funny thing was, on any normal day, I'd have a few blurry images for my effort, but today, the day I needed to let it all go the most, this was the day that I got it all back. The way her smile could make me feel safe. The way that Sobek had once been trained to become a champion's Pokemon. The way he was going to be mine. That was when I realized I could've had it all. My hand started shaking and I had to stop petting him, afraid that I'd wake him up. I made myself stop. I slowed my breathing. It was okay. It was Kelsie's chance now. I would do whatever it took to make sure that she had it all.
    Last edited by Alaskapigeon; 26th February 2012 at 03:07 PM.
    I speak four languages, help me practice please
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  2. #2
    Beast Mode!!! WebMaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obligation: Chapter 1 (T for language)

    Ok. This has been sitting for too long. Claming and I'll see if I can have a grade up by this weekend. Kinda busy though, I apologize
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    Beast Mode!!! WebMaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obligation: Chapter 1 (T for language)

    @Alaskapigeon

    Introduction
    The first few sentences were very striking. You cast an interesting image of a random person throwing up over a toilet. This immediately made me assume that your character had some problems in life and made terrible choices. You also had some details for Kelsie as she is an excellent student trying to leave school as well as home and start a journey through the Pokemon world.

    However, there are some introductory details that are missing. What is Sandile's story? What is the significance of it? I'm sure there must be something you're trying to reveal in later chapters but some of these questions need to be answered, especially when this is the mon you're trying to capture. Also, why are the two alone? What happened to the their parents? Again, I know you might want to show some more down the road, but I need something in there to help grasp the story in general.


    Plot/Battle/Climax
    So a plot summary of this would be that a girl is living alone with her younger sister when the latter returns home from school with a Pokemon in her bag. She then reveals that she wants to leave her home and start her journey around the Hoenn region. Suddenly Ray drops by and catches the two about to leave, and he joins the party. Soon, they realize that their travel has faced some complications due to terrorist activity, and they must travel on foot. They finished getting ready to leave before Holly spots a picture and almost cries over it.

    Well, here you tried using the "trainer leaves on a journey" plot except with a little twist of the traveler being a coordinator versus a battler. I had mixed feelings about this plot. I'm not sure if that type of plot belongs in the medium difficulty, yet I was intrigued at the same time with how their journey would turn out later on. Also, how the people would interact left me wondering as well.

    Unfortunately, there were some bumps and gaps that damaged your plot as a whole. I know I've mentioned Sandile before in the grade, but what is it's purpose? How does it help the plot? I could not find much about Sandile to the point where I couldn't include it in the plot summary. These questions were left unanswered, and the only thing I could draw from the story about Sandile was that it had some relation to Holly's mom. Try throwing some details to Sandile, or maybe have it have a flashback to a memory (even if it's not a complete one and it leaves me hanging). I need something to grasp about it. Also, who is Ray? There was so much speculation as I was reading through his part. Is he a friend? Is he a significant other? Maybe just a comment from Holly about the two would help me grasp how they relate.

    The characters had some depth to them, but they were still kind of shallow in my opinion. From what I can see, Holly is a young woman that shows some motherly qualities but always ends up making foolish choices (like vodka and Taco Bell for breakfast). However, what caused her to drink so much? Kelsie is a growing girl trying to catch up with the rest of her peers and finally sees an opportunity to do so. From what I saw, she's kind of happy-go-lucky. However, she feels a little too simple for right now. I'm not gonna make a big fuss about the characters though because I know you want to try to develop them more.


    Dialogue
    This area was relatively strong. The meta-commentary used in the opening added a little depth to Holly. I liked how her head was swimming in thoughts as indicated by her puking scene. Also, the first person perspective played out well; it was interesting to see the protagonist (Kelsie) develop from another protagonist's eyes. One more thing, I laughed at when Ray try to say "this cheese is nasty." Nothing bad here.


    Grammar

    They circled each other, snorted, and Sobek touched his snout to its forehead
    Something about this sentence doesn't read right. Maybe you should try rewording it a little. Maybe say "They circled each other and both snorted; Sobek then touched his snout to its forehead." Ok I realize that needs a little more description, but do what you want with it.

    "Come see," she said and jogged up the stairs, like she was in the prime of her life or something.

    I walked upstairs, to my bedroom, and checked the clock again.
    With these two sentences, I'm not sure if commas were needed there. On the first one, I don't think the comma was needed before the adverb clause as it was somewhat essential to describe how Kelsie was walking. With the latter, prepositional phrases rarely require commas to set them off, and I don't believe they were needed in this case.

    I pinched the bridge of my news. "And it is in our house… Why?"
    I think you mean "nose"

    "Oof. Okay, um. Maybe you should pack your stuff and I'll call the school."

    "Okay, fine. I was planning on flying but it looks like those environmental freaks attacked another city."
    These were two different cases but the same error. A comma and a coordinating conjuction sets off independent clauses. These both were missing commas. With the first sentence, it would go before "and." With the second one, the comma would come before "but."

    Those were the errors I could spot. Not bad overall in grammar.


    Detail
    There were some details in this story that were missing and this made it slightly dull. I could get no picture of how Holly looked. Was she tall? How old was she? What color was her hair? Inserting these simple details throughout the story can help me grasp an image of her. The house also had no details aside from Kelsie's room and the place where they kept the TV. Even those areas could have used a little more detailing. For example, maybe you could describe what some of the individual posters had on them specifically or perhaps describe what exactly the room with the TV in it is. Overall, the lack of these descriptions kept me trying to paint a picture of each scene. I know you're capable of more; I've read your Sigilyph story.


    Reality
    Yeah, nothing out of the ordinary here though I was a little confused on how Team Aqua was making Sootopolis collapse. A little more details on that would have helped.


    Length
    13080 was my final character count. You're good


    Outcome
    Last edited by WebMaster; 24th February 2012 at 04:40 PM.
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    Default Re: Obligation: Chapter 1 (T for language)

    @Alaskapigeon

    Introduction
    You answered some of the questions I had there later in the story. No further quirks here


    Plot/Battle/Climax
    You deepened Kelsie a little more by describing what she had in her room. By what I can tell, she's absolutely obsessed with contest coordinators. Glad you fixed that.


    Grammar
    Errors still stand. Wish you had fixed this though :p


    Dialogue
    I didn't ask for anything to be corrected. You're still good


    Detail
    Much better description of Kelsie's room. Could have used a little more with the girls' ages and appearances. Fix those in later chapters


    Reality
    Nothing to fix here. You told me the fire hoses were for lulz


    Outcome
    Yeah this is much better than the last round. Please fill in more of those details as you go along though. Sandile Captured!!!!! Enjoy your mew mon
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