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Lull

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Breezy, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. Breezy

    Breezy Well-Known Member

    [img139]http://img847.imageshack.us/img847/7938/lullbanner2.png[/img139]

    [FONT=Vivaldi, cursive]Some things aren't as simple as they appear[/FONT]

    Rated: T (PG-14+) for explicit language, sexual innuendo, and violent imagery
    Genre: Fantasy/Friendship
    World: Game
    Verse: Gen IV, D/P​

    Synopsis: Lane Eldritch likes dragon pokémon cards. So much so that he would do almost anything for them, even Francis' stupid dare about entering the old, supposedly haunted, Harbor Inn. Then something weird happens the next day; Lane won't wake up, and his worried parents have no idea why. A sullen Lucas, Sinnoh's latest pokémon champion and Rowan's renowned apprentice, is forced to help solve this mystery by cheerful co-researcher Dawn. It's not easy trying to fight someone else's demons when you have your own you're trying to bury.

    Lull is an expansion of the cresselia event that takes place in the Diamond & Pearl games, though it also touches on other events in the games. If you cannot remember what that event is about, it is pretty much: 1) Player character goes to Canalave and finds that Eldritch, the sailor that earlier took him/her to Iron Island, has a problem involving his son; 2) Eldritch asks player character to help him by going to Fullmoon Island and retrieving a Lunar Wing. I realized that a whole helluva lot could be done with this plot, especially on Eldritch's side of things. Characterizations, specifically Lucas's, were influenced by the other events in the game, specifically the Team Galactic plot.

    This is, currently, my fan fiction baby. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. =) Thanks for reading.

    Awards

    2010 SPPf Fanfiction Awards


    Second place for best pokémon chaptered fanfic
    Second place for best writing style
    First place for best expansion of canon
    First place for best supporting character, Lane
    First-third place for best non-human supporting character, Squish

    Thanks for the nominations, guys. =)

    [img139]http://img852.imageshack.us/img852/1613/lullchapterindex.png[/img139]
    Completed June 06, 2011
    Currently being revised for clarity/grammatical errors
    Will be moved to Completed Section by the end of July. Review please. <3

    Chapter One
    Chapter Two
    Chapter Three
    Chapter Four
    Chapter Five
    Chapter Six
    Chapter Seven
    Chapter Eight
    Chapter Nine
    Chapter Ten
    Chapter Eleven
    Chapter Twelve
    Chapter Thirteen
    Chapter Fourteen
    Chapter Fifteen
    Chapter Sixteen
    Chapter Seventeen
    "What? That's it?"

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~​

    Myth: sacred narrative used to explain the view of a people.

    Cynthia likes myths. I don't. They're essentially stories weaved by the naïve who, in a desperate attempt for truth, pass it along to their people until this myth becomes a reality in their minds. It doesn't work like that. Somewhere is an answer, a solid truth, that can be analyzed, defined, and contextualized.

    No, I'm not a fan of myth. I blame myth for the current state of the Sinnoh championship, the state of our region–why I had to concern with issues bigger than me. That should have been Cynthia's job, not mine. I was only a kid. She left the region–no, the world–to me, gave me a few words of advice, and pushed me forward. I was pissed.

    I digress. It doesn't matter. It's my rule now. She can loll about in Fairy Tale Land for all I care. I like to stick to what is true. Solid fact.

    ...

    It's a girl.

    ~ ~ ~
    [FONT=Vivaldi, cursive]Chapter One[/FONT]
    ~ ~ ~

    [FONT=Vivaldi, cursive]O[/FONT]nce upon a time in a not far off place lived a boy. Let's call him Lane. He was your average kid, a height of four feet, four and a half inches (the exact amount matters when you're eight and a half), and relatively thin of frame.

    The boy also had ears. They were big and stuck out, like airplane wings. Zoom! But they were big, pointy ears – and don't you dare say elf-shaped. He had a strange dislike of elves ever two Christmases ago where a group of elves made him DANCE (the horror!), and he missed his chance with Santa – and darn, all he really wanted to do was ask him for a new set of toy cars (which he would begrudgingly mention he did not get by the way), and everyone laughed, making him aware of the huge stature of his ears, and – well, the main point is not to associate Lane with elves. But that's for another time. Right now it's time to focus on the current issue: running. Quickly, too, otherwise that would be jogging.

    Lane was good at running, believe it. He liked to run everywhere. Up the street to school. Down the street to the library. To the left for the docks. To the right for more docks. Running and docks and sea and school and friends and pokémon were all he knew. He liked running across the drawbridge, his sneakers making funny noises as they slapped against the wooden planks. Every time he had to walk across the bridge, he made sure to stop in the middle where the bridge would separate in two and stare out toward the sea. He gripped the metal railing with sticky hands and pulled himself up, his feet dangling in the air. The salty wind whipped his hair around.

    This was Canalave, Lane's home for eight-and-a-half-years, and he liked it lots because it was all he knew. The sunsets were always orange and yellow and pink, brighter at the horizon where the sun was beginning to set and darker the further up he looked. In class, they learned how to draw sunsets–you need at least five colors, preferably in order from bright to dark–because that's what Canalave is known for: the pretty sunsets that made the ocean look like it was on fire.

    Or was it the docks? Canalave wasn't much of a tourist attraction despite its pretty sunsets and coastlines, but people from other regions used the city as a port, a place to drop off and load goods from all over the world.

    Or maybe it was the ships. Lane couldn't remember. History was awfully boring.

    “Get off the bridge, kid!” he heard one of the workers yell. “A ship is going out!”

    Right. It was definitely the ships.

    He laughed and scampered off the bridge back onto the concrete sidewalk on the other side, continuing toward his destination: the local pokémart. It was a part of a chain of markets with its trademark blue roof, though Canalave tried to separate its market from the pack by embedding its walls with the local sand and seashells. He could make out the figure of a girl picking at the wall with her fingernail while another boy stood next to her, fiddling with something in his hands. He saw the girl turn her head.

    “Laney!” she squealed loudly, causing the boy next to her to look up. “You're here!”

    “Hurry it up, Dumbo!” yelled the other friend. “We've been waiting forever!”

    Lane gasped for breath, something rattling inside one of the pockets of his dirty jeans. “Guys!” he shouted, his right hand reaching for the item inside his pocket and pulling it out with a few quick tugs. He finally reached the group after running up the store's ramp, wiping a light sweat off his brow. “Look! My dad gave me these!” Lane excitedly opened the palm of his hand, revealing a small canvas bag. He pulled on the strings and opened the bag to reveal marbles the size and shape of his irises. Besides the generic cat's eyes marbles, a few marbles with red tops and white bottoms glinted in the sunlight.

    “Your dad gave you pokéballs?” the girl questioned excitedly. “Wow!”

    “What? No,” Lane muttered, quickly pulling the bag away. He pulled one of the shiny spheres out. “It's just a marble. But it totally looks like one, doesn't it?”

    The older boy slapped the bag, making the glass marbles rattle. “Who cares about your stupid marbles?” Lane looked up from his marble and glared. “Especially when I got this beauty?” The other boy held up the group of cards in his hands and plucked one of them out, kissing it.

    Lane threw the marble back in the bag, holding back a sigh at the lackluster reaction. “What is it?”

    “This, baby!” After giving his oily, blond hair a cocky flick, the boy revealed the front of the card to Lane's curious eyes. On the card was a picture of a dragonite, a metallic sheen behind it. “Beautiful, ain't it?”

    “You got another dragonite card?” Lane asked in disbelief. “And a metallic one, too!”

    “Well, Laney Boy,” at this, the boy wiped the front of the card on his mustard-stained polo to rid it of fingerprints, “I'll gladly trade you this card ... for the right price.”

    Immediately, Lane's free hand jumped to the back pocket of his jeans where he kept his collection of pokémon cards. He patted it and felt nothing. Well, crud. He forgot his collection. He could run home and get them – no, that wouldn't work. His friends wouldn't wait for him again, and the pudgy boy wasn't the most reasonable of people either.

    Looking back and forth between his friends and his back pocket, Lane feebly pulled up his bag of marbles and sheepishly murmured, “I'll trade you your card for my marbles.”

    His friend laughed, fingers wiping at his nose. “Pathetic,” he said, snorting. He plucked out a card from the stack and flung it at Lane. “But here, Midget. Since I'm such a nice guy and all, I'll let you keep this one.” The boy scampered down the ramp, the girl following him, leaving Lane behind and staring at the fallen card. Big, wide eyes embedded in a tiny, blob-like body stared back up at him. A castform. It was nothing special, and he had a few of them at home, too. He didn't know why he bothered to pick it up and pocket it. A card was a card was a card, he supposed.

    Still, he couldn't help but whine as he chased after his friends heading toward the railing that served as a barrier between the land and sea. They were watching a ship leave the Canalave docks, blowing its horn as the drawbridge raised to let it out. He hopped on the curb and grabbed at the cold railing, leaning back. “C'mon, Francis,” he begged. “You already have that card! You know how bad I want it!”

    “Heck no!” argued Francis, his eyes cast forward toward the docks. Waves crash into the docks' wooden pillars. Boats that bobbed in the water reflected the sun.

    “C'mon!” Lane whined again. “I'll do anything!” He should have stopped there. No good would come from this.

    Sure enough, Francis’s eyes rolled toward the side. “Anything, huh?” the bigger boy sneered.

    Lane gulped but nodded anyway.

    “Okay, then.” Francis hopped off the curb. He clapped the smaller Lane on the back, making him choke on saliva, and urged him forward. Shoes scuffing on dry concrete sounded. That one girl followed behind, annoyingly asking–in that annoying, high-pitched voice that only girls had–where they were going. Of course she was ignored, making her whine more.

    The walk wasn't long. Francis stopped them in front of an old, rickety building, its shingle roof in shambles and its lawn unkempt. The fence–or what remained of it–surrounding the building was weather-worn, the wood splotched and splintered. One of the front windows was cracked and smudged while the other window was nothing more than a gaping hole, letting in whistling sea wind that pushed back dusty, red curtains.

    “I dare you to open the door.”

    The old Harbor Inn, as Lane recalled. His dad told him that years ago, even before Lane was born, the Inn was a thriving, popular building which gave home to sailors stopped in town. But something happened to the old man who ran it (died, Lane figured), and ever since, the Inn had been shut down. People have tried to revive the building back to its lively state but rumor had that the building was haunted. Or maybe no one cared. Something like that.

    “No way!” protested Lane, his voice almost squeaking. He jumped a bit at the sound of creaky hinges, marbles rattling in his pocket, and he quickly snapped his head to find the source. It was the old Harbor Inn sign that hung above the doorway of the building, the white paint flecked and bits of it resting in the grooves of the letters.

    “Yeah, Francis!” begged the girl. “Don't make him do that! It's dangerous in there!”

    “Quit your worryin', Julie.” Francis glared at the girl before turning his attention toward Lane, a glint in his eye. “Do you want this or not?” He pulled out the dragonite card from his pocket and waved it back and forth in front of Lane's eyes.

    “Don't do it, Laney!” pleaded Julie, brown pigtails waving wildly in the ocean's gusts. “The ghosts will get you!”

    Francis snorted. “Ghosts, Julie? Please.”

    Julie huffed, blowing up the bangs that teased her forehead. She crossed her arms, a slight wrinkle in her nose. “They exist, I swear! How can you explain why there's sometimes a light on inside there?” She let out another frantic gasp of breath, wild greens turning toward Lane. “Don't do it, Laney!” she repeated in a shrill voice, making Lane cringe. Small fingers wrapped around Lane's upper arm again, making him cringe again. “I won't let you!”

    “For Arceus's sake, Julie. Get off him.” Lane felt the girl's nails dig into his upper arm, which made him wrinkle his nose, as she desperately fought against Francis' grasp. His arm was getting more sweaty. Then cool air – she let go. Francis turned toward him and gave him a look that clearly said, “Go. Unless you're a chicken.” If only his facial expression read, “Let's get pie!” He did enjoy pie.

    Not wanting to displease or look like he was scared out of his mind (which he was, but whatever), Lane ignored the pleas of Julie and walked past the broken fence and up the cracked pathway toward Harbor Inn's porch, stepping over a trail of ants. The rickety door and its imperfections became clearer the closer he walked. He noted the cracks, jagged lines that zigzagged across the wood in no coherent pattern, and another chipped paint job, red flakes peeling off and revealing old oak. The doorknob was rusted, its keyhole scratched at like someone before him dared, or was stupid enough, to enter the supposedly haunted building.

    Another gust of wind – he wasn't sure if he shivered because of that or the butterfree that flew restlessly in his stomach. It was an emotion that suppressed the current dislike he had for Francis's dare, but all Lane could do was channel that nervous, jumpy energy to another physical source: the door.

    His feet rested on the first concrete step leading to the old inn's porch, and he turned his head, looking at his friends. Francis was edging him on and smirking – but that wasn't anything new. Julie, meanwhile, was watching him bug-eyed, biting at her pink nail-polished fingernails. Lane turned back toward the door and breathlessly pushed his legs up onto the porch, resting both feet firmly on the ground.

    No ghosts. No motion. Nothing. He could do this.

    Shaky hands and trembling fingers reached for the rusted doorknob. He jiggled it. Nothing ... again. The door remained locked and stood that way even after several years of neglect. A harder jiggle. Still locked. Two hands now? Nope. What if he leaned all his weight on the knob? Negative. Kicking? Kicking always worked. ... Nope.

    Lane gave the door a final annoyed kick, leaving a footprint on it, before turning around and shrugging toward his friends. “It won't open!”

    “Try harder!” Francis yelled back, waving the dragonite card tauntingly.

    Determined to get that card out of Francis' stubby, sausage-like fingers (sausage-like fingers that were surely smudging the glossy sheen of the card), Lane turned around, spat on his hands, rubbed them together and attacked the doorknob again with vigor, eyebrows furrowed. He rammed into the door with his shoulder, the pound hurting more than helping the cause, but he continued to push into the solid wood anyway, hands still twisting at the knob. He focused on the broken window ahead, red curtains fluttering outside the frame in the sea breeze.

    Then eyes. Sharp ones–blue ones–that peeked out at him from the corner of the broken window. Curtains fell back and eyes were gone.

    Before he could register what the heck that was, a sharp pain shocked the hand holding the doorknob and ran through his arm, and he jumped back, yelping, sucking at dirty fingers–thump!–something kicked from inside the inn, but that was impossible as nothing actually lived inside the inn, right?–thump! There! The door! He was sure of it this time!

    Lane turned toward the door and knocked. More power, Lane. Weak knocks never get answered. Maybe if you knock repeatedly. Use the palm of your hand – no, the side of your fist. Knuckles will get you nowhere in life and neither will weak knocks. Your foot – kicking! Kicking is always the solution! ... Still nothing.

    “There's someone in there!” Lane turned around, waving frantically to get his friends' attention, curiosity overwhelming his nervousness. “I think I saw someone through the window!”

    “See!” Julie squealed, tugging at her pigtails. “I told you there were ghosts!”

    Francis tuned out the high-pitched squeaks that poured out of Julie's mouth and focused on Lane who still stood on the ancient porch. “I swear to Arceus, Lane. If you go in there now, I will give you all the dragon pokémon cards I have.”

    All of them? Francis, known for his pokémon card collection at school, was bound to have all the good dragon pokémon cards. He craved them. He wanted them – badly. And he was already here anyway.

    Since the door was locked and his frame was too weak to push it down, the only way in would be through the broken window. Running a hand through his black locks, Lane jumped off the concrete porch back onto the unkempt lawn, some of the weeds reaching up to his knees. He brushed past them, amusedly thinking he was an explorer in the heart of the jungle as he kicked the weeds down, squishing them under his feet. He was tall, too, in this adventure and grew into his jumbo ears. Crunch, crunch. Broken glass littered in the weeds, maybe?

    He sneezed as another puff of wind blew. He felt the old velvet, his fingers picking up dust and making him sneeze again. He peeled the heavy curtain back, peering inside.

    The eyes again, a deep blue embedded in ... nothing? No, it had a shape, sort of. Blob-like but tall, kind of fat. Dark – or was it because it was in the shadows? They stared at him–the eyes he meant–but the figure cowered in the corner of the dusty room. Clammy sweat. Piercing ... heart racing. Then a thought, a whisper – was it out loud? No, it was in his head.

    I am watching you – wait. Why would he think that?

    I know who you are. Know what?

    I am coming for–

    “Lane Eldritch! What in the world do you think you're doing?”


    Last revised: April 26, 2010
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  2. Willow's Tara

    Willow's Tara The Bewitched

    Interesting story, nice to see Cynthia mentioned in here.
    I didn't see much wrong with it, although when in th sentence it said When people disappeared they don't wake up for days, I am guessing that's a typo?

    Not a big fan of the boy named Lane though, I guess I always thought that was a girl's name (And because I have a girl in my story called Lane)
     
  3. Yonowaru in Chaos

    Yonowaru in Chaos gaspard de la nuit

    Incubii! :DDDD

    I can't say anymore that's already been said, except that I found the narration quite interesting (in the quirky sense you described) to read. Quite rarely is third-person narration ever this...informal. It shapes the work perfectly, despite detracting away from the darker side of the story.
     
  4. Araleon

    Araleon Chill

    Whoa. I rather like this story.

    Lane is an interesting character. He acts like the typical boy, but at the same time there seems to be an air about him that doesn't think he's good enough. Maybe that's why he likes dragons so much? Because they win? Eh, I might be reading too much in to his character. After all, all little kids love Dragons. they were the best thing ever win I was little. I never liked Charizard as much as Blastoise, but who didn't like Dragonite?

    Eldritch... That name sounds familiar. I checked and I was right, he was a familiar character from the games. Just not the game I though of... (I was thinking of Eldes from XD). The actual Eldritch makes more sense then my confused Eldritch. Although if the story goes where I think it is, Eldes' shadow Pokemon knowledge could have made for an interesting story.

    Anyways, Eldritch is awesome. He's a cool guy. He has a son and a wife, his wife seems to be the controlling type, and his son resents that in a way. Yet he stays calm, cool, and collected. I like him.

    Alyson, however, I'm not too fond of, but I don't think we're supposed to be. I can, however, see why she acted the way she did about Lane going to the Inn, but I can't really understand why she would choose Francis' story over her own son's side of the story. I guess we'll find out later on in the story.

    Francis and Julie are also developing well. Francis is the schoolyard bully, and Julie seems like she'll play an important part later in the story.

    So, all in all, kudos to you for awesome character development!

    As for grammar errors, I didn't catch any, nor did I expect to.

    I also liked the narration. The informality (thanks for the word Yonowaru) did add to the story. If the style had been formal, I don't think the flow of the story would have come out quite as well as it did.

    One last comment, I found the beginning about Cynthia and the myths and the fate of Sinnoh and all that jazz to be confusing. Was it a future Lane talking?
     
  5. Breezy

    Breezy Well-Known Member

    Every day is a struggle. It's not your classic struggle to survive; it's a struggle of self-identification. I have to constantly remind myself of who I am and what my purpose is. In an attempt to make something of yourself, you tend to lose who you are – or the person whose intentions were once good. It's pathetic, I know.

    People are easily corruptible. Sex, money, power – people often use one to get another, and it becomes an endless cycle. You want more for some reason, and you'll do anything for it. But in the end, it means nothing.

    I don't understand people. I really don't.

    ...

    Age: Fourteen, possibly fifteen.

    ~ ~ ~
    [FONT=Vivaldi, cursive]Chapter Two[/FONT]
    ~ ~ ~

    [FONT=Vivaldi, cursive]I[/FONT]t was time to panic. Lane quickly turned around, dropping the curtain and letting it flap with nature, eyes wide. There, standing next to his friends who were also looking at the source of the screeching voice, was a snarling creature. Its eyes were narrowed into slits of fury, and long claws–okay, nails–were clenched into fists that rested next to powerful thighs disguised underneath the friendly facade of floral print.

    The creature shouted, “You come here right now!”

    “But Mom!” whined Lane, stamping his foot. “I saw–”

    “Now, young man!”

    A weird noise, a mixture between a growl and whimper, escaped Lane's mouth as he moved forward toward the fence, kicking down gnarled weeds with his head bowed down.

    “Busted,” snickered Francis as Lane exited the old inn's yard.

    Lane Eldritch's mom, a usually pleasant woman, was furious, her hands on the waist of her skirt. In between her fingers was a plastic shopping bag filled with groceries. “Well?” she demanded.

    “Well ...” her son murmured back, trailing off, eyes still cast toward the floor. Dry, chewed up pieces of gum littered the ground almost decoratively.

    “Look at me, Lane.”

    Meek blue met mad blue.

    “... Francis said if I went inside, I'd get all his dragon pokémon cards!” Lane blurted out after his mom stared him down for a few seconds. There was something about his mom's stare that could make him say anything. The smaller boy averted his gaze from the bigger boy. He felt cold daggers coming his way.

    “If Francis told you to jump off a bridge, would you?” his mother retorted.

    Would he got pokémon cards if he did? Was there water under the bridge? Were they at a water park? Lane loved water parks.

    Lane's mother took notice of Lane's dazed state. “Lane Adam Eldritch!” Uh oh. The middle name. “Are you listening to me?”

    “Yes, Mom,” he grumbled.

    She didn't believe him. “You're coming home. Say goodbye to your friends.” She grabbed Lane by the upper arm and pulling him with her, high heels clicking on pavement. “And don't think your dad isn't going to hear about this.”

    Lane looked back toward his friends in horror and abject confusion, reluctantly following his mom across town. His friends' faces responded: shock and smirking satisfaction.

    Did he mention how much he hated Francis’s dare?

    ~ ~ ~​

    His name is Lance.

    No, forget Lane! Lane is gone! Lane and his big ears and short legs are not on this world! Lane, who is grounded and had all his video games taken away for a week for apparently intruding on “sacred ground” (whatever that means), is no more! He is Lance now, the greatest dragon pokémon tamer in all of Kanto–no, the entire world!

    Lane tied a blanket around his neck and bounced on his bed, making springs groan and creak with each bounce. He jumped off, landing gracefully on the shaggy, white carpet, and pointed up, yelling, “Use Dragon Rage, Dragonite!” before dropping to the floor and rolling around.

    There was a time once where Lane's mom asked about her son's infatuation with dragons and Lance, the greatest dragon tamer in Kanto–no, the entire world!–and why he didn't look up to ... closer pokémon idols like, let's say, Cynthia, who was in the region and could be easily seen at a local event (and to be fair, Lane's mom was somewhat bitter about Lane's birthday present and the expensive train ticket which connected Sinnoh to Kanto where Lane's almighty god in his sweet, sweet mortal flesh was, and Lane just had to see him because MOM, HE'S BRINGING ALL THREE, YES THREE, DRAGONITE), and his response, filled with gasps and looks of horror was this: Cynthia's a GIRL, Mom! Besides, there are a multitude of reasons why Lance, the greatest dragon tamer in Kanto–no, the entire world!–is better than Cynthia. Lance, on his time off, fought bad guys. Literally, he kicked them out of the way. Awesome. Cynthia, on the other hand, researched myths. Pfft! Oh, and she didn't wear a cape. Lame.

    “Are you not going to talk to him?” whispered Lane's mom as she watched her boy.

    “About why he was rolling on the floor or–”

    The sly remark was returned with a light punch on a shoulder and a small smile as Mrs. Eldritch stepped back a bit to look her husband in the eye. A jolly man but tough, muscles barely contained by the sleeves of his shirt, though he was starting to get a little chubby around the belly. He returned his wife's affection with a laugh.

    “Come off it, Alyson,” he said quietly, regaining composure, his face basked in the slim, golden light coming out of Lane's bedroom. “It wasn't that big of a deal. Kids go in there all the time.”

    “Eldritch, he tried to climb through the window! This wasn't just a run to the door, knock, then run back sort of thing! He really was trying to go in! He could have gotten hurt! What if he got inside but couldn't get out? No one would know where he was!”

    “He was with friends,” Eldritch argued. He gently pulled his wife away into the shadows of the narrow hallway. “He would have been fine. He's a growing boy, Aly. He's going to get into trouble.”

    A cluck made its way out of Alyson's mouth. “I'm all for boys being boys but not when it could seriously hurt him. I was lucky that I was in that area to stop him.”

    “Relax, Aly. You've got to let him go sometimes. In two years’ time–”

    “Don't,” she interrupted, wincing. She looked toward Lane's partially open door. “Just don't.”

    “You know how bad he wants to be one.”

    “I know he does. And we both know I'm going to let him become a trainer once he does get his trainer's license. But I'd rather not think about it ... not until I absolutely have to.”

    The muscular man put his hands behind his neck and looked up at the ceiling thoughtfully. “I suppose.” He paused, head still pointed up but eyes pointed down toward his wife. “You want me to talk to him?”

    She nodded.

    “About?”

    “Just ... talk to him, really. Get him ready for bed, too. It's late.”

    Eldritch put his hand on Alyson's shoulder and lightly squeezed it before brushing past her toward his kid's room where a bouncing Lane – or Lance, the greatest dragon tamer in Kanto–no, the entire world!–pulled the pillow off his bed and threw it toward the wall, cackling like a witch.

    Lane turned toward the door as soon as Eldritch entered. “Who dare enters the great lair of Lance, the greatest dragon tamer of the world!” boomed Lane, a frightening creature clad in blue, cotton pajamas as he outstretched an arm that held a marble pokéball.

    “I do! Prepare yourself!” proclaimed his father as he ran into the room, scooped up the pillow, and dashed toward a giggling Lane. Eldritch tackled into Lane with the pillow before picking him up and playfully (but carefully he would say to Alyson) threw him onto the bed. Lane growled and hopped onto his feet, but his father had other plans. He sat on the edge of the bed, making it groan from all the weight, and patted the space next to him. A shy Lane emerged from caped shoulders and marble-clutched hands and sat next to his father, legs swinging across the side. He knew why his father was here.

    “It wasn't my fault,” the boy remarked after a few seconds of silence. He bowed his head, avoiding his father's gaze by staring at his bed covers. “Francis said if I went inside, he'd give me all his dragon pokémon cards.”

    His father nodded.

    “And I had to go in, Dad!”

    “Had to?”

    “Well ...” Lane fumbled with his words, fidgeting with the marble between his fingers. “Yeah! It was the only way Francis would give me his card!”

    “And what is so special about this card?” asked Eldritch, ruffling Lane's hair with an affectionate palm.

    Lane's nose scrunched up from the action. “Dragon pokémon are the best!” he proclaimed, swatting his father's hand away. “Real trainers are dragon pokémon tamers!”

    A sly smile formed on Eldritch's face. “Real men are sailors.”

    “Daaad ...” the boy whined. Lane, for as long as he could remember, was often told that by his father. He had no idea why. Sailors didn't wear capes after all. “Dragon pokémon are awesome! They're so strong, and they look so cool!”

    “Don't go judging a book by its cover, Lane.” At this, Eldritch dug around his pocket and pulled out a pokémon card bent at the corners. “Strength can come in all shapes and sizes.”

    Lane eagerly took the card in his hands, but his smile soon dropped when he realized it was the castform card from earlier.

    “I found those in your jeans when you threw them in the hamper.”

    “Oh,” quietly replied Lane, fixing the bent corner of the card before stretching over and placing it on his nightstand. The friendly, big eyes of the castform stared up toward the ceiling. “Can you keep a secret, Dad?”

    “Hmm?” Eldritch quickly snapped his head toward his son. Lane was beaming, his eyes shining in the light of his lamp. He wrapped an arm around Lane's shoulders and pulled him in comfortingly.

    Lane looked at the door, then at his dad, then at the door again, eyes wide with excitement. “Well,” he began in a low voice, “I saw something in Harbor Inn today.”

    Bugs? A bidoof? Another small smile made its way to his face as Eldritch asked, “What?”

    “Eyes!”

    Eldritch looked at Lane, a bit bewildered. “Eyes?” he repeated. “What do you mean by that?”

    Lane nodded eagerly. “In the Inn, Dad! They were blue! I was going to check it out”–he grumbled–“until Mom stopped me.”

    If Lane noticed the flash of worry that crossed his dad's face, it quickly disappeared. Eldritch gave his son's hair another ruffle. “Must have been an exciting day.”

    “It was, Dad!” The boy bounced up and down on his bed, ruffling his sheets. “I wish stupid Francis gave me the card, though.”

    A small chuckle made its way through Eldritch's lips as he reached over and untied the blanket around Lane's shoulders, draping it across the bed. “Well, you can't have it your way all the time.” He looked at the pokéball-shaped alarm clock on Lane's nightstand. Glaring red lights told him it was forty-six minutes past eight. “All right, kid. Time for bed.”

    An annoying whine but Eldritch expected it. “It's too early!”

    “Bed,” his old man repeated in a firmer tone. “You still have school tomorrow and that big spelling test.” Eldritch stood up and walked around Lane, peeling back his comforter and looking down. Water pokémon on his son's bedsheets looked back at him. “Get in.”

    Begrudgingly, Lane obeyed, crawling, back arched, toward his pillows. He flopped onto his belly, muffling his whines before rolling onto his back, kicking the comforter back with socked feet. “You believe me, don't you?” he asked as he slipped into his sheets, resting his head against the pillows.

    His father pulled the comforter back. “About the eyes?”

    Lane nodded.

    “Of course, Lane. Now night.”

    “G'night, Dad!” The boy snuggled into his sheets and turned toward the wall.

    Taking a final glance at his son's back, Eldritch strolled across the room toward the door and flicked off the switch. The light of the street posts leaked through the blinds covering Lane's bedroom window, leaving a striped pattern of gold and shadow on his small frame. He heard Lane squirm, the bed creaking, but this wasn't uncommon; when awake, the kid was a ball of energy. The door creaked as he opened it (Eldritch made a mental note to take a look at that tomorrow) and exited, leaving the door open a bit as another source of light for Lane. As much as Lane protested that he wasn't afraid of the dark, the boy couldn't sleep without his door being slightly ajar.

    Sailors liked to talk. A lot. Mostly about nothing. How was the trip? I heard it was stormy in Hoenn a few days ago; you make it back all right? How are the kids? Johnny got in trouble again, huh? When do you ship out again? Did you get some? Some what – oh! Heh. Maybe. But no one likes to hear about that. When sailors talk, the only thing people remember are the epic tales. That and hearty language. Stereotypes. Oh well.

    Eyes. Eldritch took a few steps away from his son's room before pressing his back against the hallway's wall, filing through stories he retained in his head throughout the years. Eyes and the Inn. It sounded familiar. Some say the Inn is haunted. Any attempts to renovate were stopped due to some mishap. Or maybe no one cared. Something like that. They were tales, the sailor reminded himself. Talk. That was all it was. Exaggerated talk. But eyes? Just eyes? What the hell did that mean?

    “Eldritch? You okay?” With her arms wrapped around a basket of laundry, Alyson stopped in front of her husband and stared at him worriedly.

    You should tell her. No. Aly wouldn't believe such crap. “Nothing,” sheepishly replied Eldritch. “Just lost in my thoughts.”

    Alyson nodded, shifting her head to look at Lane's bedroom door. “Did you put him to bed?”

    “I did.”

    “Good.” She thrust the basket of laundry into the surprised arms of her husband. “Now come. I need help with the laundry.” She heard him mutter something incoherent.

    They walked past Lane's room, and Alyson couldn't help but peer inside. She watched him wiggle like a worm on a wet sidewalk, tossing about before he turned toward the door, the hallway light enveloping his face in a warm glow. It startled her how startled he looked.

    She knew he was still mad at her, and the last thing he wanted was her getting cuddly and kissy all over his precious face. Still, she couldn't help but let it out: “I love you, Lane. Sweet dreams.”

    The boy smiled. “Night, Mom.” Lane was getting older and therefore was embarrassed in saying the “L” word back to dear momma. One day he would say it again. She kept those thoughts nestled in the back of her mind.

    It was now fifty seven minutes past eight, and Lane still couldn't sleep. He settled on his left side, staring out the window. Through the blinds he made out the night sky. Stars winked back at him. No moon. Maybe there was a moon somewhere. He couldn't see it.

    With one fidgety leg, Lane decided to kick a socked foot toward the wall, making loud thumping noises that traveled down the quiet hallway toward the living room where the married couple sat. That'll teach them. What, exactly, he didn't know.

    Thump, thump, thump!

    “Do you have work tomorrow?” asked Alyson. She reached over and pulled a t-shirt from the basket.

    “The docks,” Eldritch answered. “I should be home for dinner tomorrow.”

    Thump, thump! Eight fifty-eight.

    “That's good.”

    Unlike his wife, Eldritch carelessly folded a pair of his son’s jeans and haphazardly threw them toward the floor. He shrugged at the glare his wife gave him and reached for the remote control resting on the coffee table. His wife stopped him.

    “Wait,” she said over more thumps. “Not until he falls asleep.”

    Thump!

    “Oh, who knows how long that will be. He seems restless tonight,” Eldritch argued. Nevertheless, he sat back, leaving the remote where it was.

    Thump ... thump ...

    Alyson clicked her tongue. “That boy has too much energy. I wish he'd be a little quieter.”

    Thump ... Eight fifty-nine.

    “Yeah, well ...” Eldritch shrugged again.

    There was silence for quite some time as folding continued. The coo-coo clock rang nine times, the tiny spearow figurine popping in and out of its wooden confinement. The thumps ceased. Lane had fallen asleep and the television was turned on.


    Last revised: April 26, 2011

    Do you mean the tense on "disappeared"? If so, yeah. I'll look for it.

    Yeah, it's always a little bit weird when you have a character by the same name but a different gender, isn't it? ;P I do understand if you don't feel sympathetic for Lane; I'm not sure if I was trying to make the reader feel sorry for him. Moreso, well, he's eight, he did something to get himself in trouble. Innocent trouble, really, if that makes sense.

    Thanks for reviewing!

    That's an interesting analysis, actually, lol, especially this early in. XP I'll refrain from fully commenting on this as it'll ruin things, but you're pretty close(r) to what I'm going for with Lane's character, though I wasn't trying to fully develop (or reveal) his character in this chapter.

    Yeah, the Eldritch family is actually a canon family in pokémon D/P/PT, although their purpose is to serve toward the Cresselia event. Hence why they're not really developed or memorable. That's the idea behind this fic. =P Er, to develop it. I am glad that you realized it was someone from the game, though. I wasn't sure if anyone would know lol.

    Again, exactly what I was going for for both these characters. Eldritch is the more steadfast, reliable character in the sea of shaky, ticking timebomb characters (with maybe the exception of Lane, but, well, he's eight lol), while Alyson is ... eh, I said it up there somewhere lol. She'll develop, and maybe she'll make more sense once we get to that point. Until then, yeah, was somewhat building her to a character that you can't exactly bond with, like Lane or Eldritch.

    Eee, hope you weren't too connected to them as they're supporters and not main characters. They'll come up again, but they're not huge in terms of plot. Just used to amplify Lane's age and personality.

    Thanks for the comment on narration. T'was a bit nervous about the reactions to it, so I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    As for the introduction, yeahhhhh. XP It's confusing now, I know, but (god I know everyone is sick of me saying this), it'll make more sense as the story progresses. But if you want to dissect it, the character mentions Cynthia making him do something he wasn't ready for while only giving him a few words of advice. This can be a perspective from a game character who has ties to Cynthia.

    Cough.

    Thanks for the review, Araleon!

    Lol. XP

    I was a little scared about posting this piece because of the informality in narrative and then getting reviews that say stuff like "Narrative should always beeeeee objectiveeee especially in third persooonnn" but I honestly don't see how this story can function, or achieve the same tone, if it didn't have the same quirk it does now. So I'm glad to see that the narration seems to be fitting for the story.

    In a way, I do hope it detracts from the darker side. I want the reader to be aware that it CAN be dark, sure, but ... dunno. I just can't see this story as dark.

    Thanks for the review. <3
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011
  6. Willow's Tara

    Willow's Tara The Bewitched

    Actually I do sympathise with him, it's just the name I don't like. The character Francis is such a jerk to him really.
     
  7. Breezy

    Breezy Well-Known Member

    I like being alone. I'm not sure why. The peace, maybe. I don't feel pressured to finish my projects. I'm better this way. I don't need anyone to help me.

    I'm not sure why she's here. She slows me down. I function by doing things myself. Everyone–mentors, gym leaders, anyone who had a sense of power over me–made me feel like no one can do a better job of taking care of you than yourself. If you want something done right, do it yourself, and don't you dare get connected to the people involved. When you start caring, when you start loving, when you start empathizing, you lose sight of the bigger picture. Such useless emotion ... It's illogical and irrational. I think someone told me that. I don't remember who.

    ...

    Hair color: Dark blue.
    Height: Roughly five foot.
    Weight: Specimen wouldn't give me the chance to analyze this.

    ~ ~ ~
    [FONT=Vivaldi, cursive]Chapter Three[/FONT]
    ~ ~ ~

    He went down the street. He was in Jubilife.

    Why?

    He wasn't sure. A lot of kids from school were walking in the opposite direction.

    He was in the mood for ice cream.

    ~ ~ ~​

    “Lane!” shouted Alyson. “Come on! It's already seven-thirty, and your breakfast is getting cold! You're going to be late for school!”

    No response. No loud stomping. No doors creaking. No water running. Nothing.

    Wiping damp fingers across her jeans, Alyson turned off the tap of the kitchen sink and shuffled across the floor. She kicked off her slippers as soon as she reached the carpet of her living room, letting her toes sink into its thickness before heading down the narrow hallway. It was dusty in here, spider webs hanging from the ceiling, but with Lane being the handful that he is and a never-ending basket of laundry needing to be washed or folded ... Ah, it wasn't the time to think about what she had to do later. What important was now, and what needed to happen now was Lane's awakening.

    She knocked–Arceus knows why; it was her home after all–before pushing the bedroom door back, the hinges squeaking, her mind making a mental note to tell Eldritch about the annoying noise. Lane was tucked into his sheets, his body rising and falling lightly as he breathed. Black bangs teased his eyelids (it reminded her that she needed to cut his hair), but he didn't seem to mind considering he was still, well, sleeping.

    “Lane!” she said sharply. “It's time to get up! Let's go!”

    Lane didn't respond other than the gentle lifting and lowering of his chest.

    She walked in further, stepping past toys thrown about his room. She peered over his body. His hands were outside the covers and stretched over his head, palms faced up with fingers slightly curled. The sleeves of his pajamas were pushed back to the elbow. Lips, dry, were partially open, showing the tips of his two front teeth.

    Alyson bent down a bit and gently shook Lane by the shoulder. “C'mon, love. You've slept in long enough.” She shook harder. If that didn’t wake him up, nothing would.

    ... Nothing?

    Frustration turned to nervousness turned to anxiety as she pressed two of her fingers against Lane's neck, looking for his pulse. She felt it beating, not too slow, not too fast. Normal, really – er, whatever a normal pulse was. It wasn't any different from hers anyway.

    He would. He would pretend to be asleep so he wouldn't have to go to school and skip his spelling test today.

    “All right, Lane,” she said in a mock disapproving tone. She placed her hands on her hips and tapped her foot. “If you're not going to wake up in time for school, then I guess you get to stick around when Aunt Beatrice visits. She'll just love pinching those cute little cheeks of yours.” The mock threat went over Lane's head as he continued to sleep – or fake sleep. Whatever he was doing.

    That biting anxiety continued to nibble at Alyson's insides, building its way up from her stomach to her throat. She felt his forehead – she wasn’t sure why she did that. Foreheads don't tell you anything except if a person is too hot, and sure enough, he wasn't too hot. So why did she feel his forehead?

    She racked her brain for answers, swallowing a lump in her throat. Coma? But ... but she saw him last night and he was just fine. Unless that thumping – did he hit his head? A concussion? No. Lane always kicks the wall when he's frustrated – being grounded is frustrating for a little kid, right? There's no reason to jump to conclusions. You're no doctor. But what else could it be if he wasn't responding?

    Alyson walked around Lane's bed toward the window, fingers wrapping around the cord of the blinds. She pulled on them, letting sunlight pour into the room while keeping her eyes fixated on Lane. She saw it: twitching eyes, eyeballs rolling around in their sockets but were trapped underneath closed eyelids. It was like he was dreaming. So he was able to respond–sort of–but ... huh? What the hell was going on?

    “Lane,” she pleaded. She let go of the cord, letting it hit the wall. “Please wake up.”

    The boy simply grunted and rolled onto his side.

    Lane wasn't good with playing along with jokes – at least for this long. He usually cracked after a while, the corners of his lips pulling into a smile and a quiet laugh peeping its way through. But there was no smile, no laughter. Just snores.

    Alyson hurriedly ran toward the phone.

    ~ ~ ~​

    He was in the supermarket, the one at the corner, and he was going to buy some ice cream. The lady at the register pressured him–peer pressure, old lady pressure, tire pressure–to get candy too, and he did like candy. So he got it. Why? Who knows. He didn't have money.

    He was lured to the back of the store by the manager, and the manager adopted a baby girl from some place called Hoenn. He watched the adoption tape (there were a lot of palm trees), and where did the ice cream go? He was holding it. The candy was melting in his pocket into goop. Green, bubbly goop. The room had brown walls and was dark. The only light was the television. It was kind of cold. Smelled of fish. The manager was talking in gibberish, some awkward, cawing language.

    He was back home–no, not his home but his neighbor's. He switched homes with his neighbor, but it looked like his house except the kitchen was to his left instead of the right. He went to the backyard. Aipom heads in ice bordered the garden, and in the heads were knives sticking through the eye sockets. Bizarre, though the oran tree was still there.

    A starly crashed into the glass door and caught on fire.

    ~ ~ ~​

    Ropes are heavy. Don't ever let someone tell you they're not because they are, and if they tell you ropes are light, then you tell them they’re liars. Really. Straight up. Especially when they're coiled and several are stacked upon each other – the ropes, not the people. But Eldritch was a man, and no rope was taking him down today. Fight the good fight against the rope. Justice will prevail another day ... assuming rope is evil.

    He dropped the rope (serves it right!) in a pile on the wooden docks before wiping his brow and turning around to stare at the ocean. It was a nice day: breezy but thick. Did that make sense? Thick wind? The oceans were calmer than usual too. Were they thick as well?

    Still, despite the cool weather and thick wind, sweat trickled down his neck. It bothered him, but he tried to ignore it, climbing up the ramp leading up to the small ship he was maintaining. Its metal surface glinted in the morning sunlight. Wooden floorboards were spotless. Sails stood tall. Perfect. It was going to be a boring day; he had been assigned for local work, shipping people back and forth between the various islands that dotted Sinnoh's seas. He had preferred it for a while, though; he missed his boy quite a bit on his last trip to the Sevii Islands. He was sure his itch for adventure would come biting sooner or later.

    Eldritch looked up, watching the wingull circle lazily above as they squawked. It was going to be a slow morning. Trainers–slow trainers–didn't appear until noon or so where he would ship them to Iron Island. That was the more popular destination, Iron Island, as it had tough terrain trainers liked to make their pokémon tackle. God, hit that rock, Onix! or whatever. The other islands were peaceful but nothing was on them besides wildflowers and tropical trees. God, hit that flower, Onix! just didn't have the same ring.

    “Eldritch!” A voice broke through the squawks. Eldritch snapped his head down to see a co-worker running on the docks, one of his arms waving him down frantically.

    “Hey, Jason!” Eldritch hollered back heartily, grinning. Jason was such a funny character, a tall and gawky creature with arms that easily hung at the knees when he stood up straight. Okay, so he over-exaggerated – sue him. He was always oily looking, too. Eldritch never questioned why. That would be rude, and he had bigger issues to worry about, like saving the world from rope.

    Jason was particularly oily today, sweat glistening off his forehead. He stumbled by tripping over his sneakers but quickly regained balance with a flail of thin limbs. He stopped and panted near the boat Eldritch was standing on.

    “What's your problem?” asked Eldritch playfully, leaning on the metal railing. He rested his chin on his fists.

    “Not ... my ... problem ...” Jason managed to pant out, rolling back the sleeves of his jacket. “... Yours.”

    “Yeah, I suppose.” The young father gave one of his charming grins. Then he blinked twice. “Wait, why?”

    “Your son.”

    ~ ~ ~​

    Black. Maybe it was for an hour. A minute. A second.

    He was on a boat with his dad wearing a cape – no, he was wearing the cape, not his dad. A huge magikarp jumped over the boat, and he shouted, and the magikarp opened his mouth, and smaller magikarp flopped onto the boat. He was up to his knees in flailing magikarp, and his dad laughed. He grabbed a magikarp by its tail and threw it at his dad’s head, but he ducked.

    The sky was purple, he noticed, blueish-purple, like right after the sun had set below the horizon. He reached into his pockets for his marbles but color pencils came out instead. The boat was filled with magikarp, and they flopped into the sea with a splash. It got him wet. They landed on a sandy island, boat scraping the shore, and on the island were crawdaunt that were green.

    ~ ~ ~​

    “What do you mean he won't wake up?” He opened the door of his home, making the white shutters covering the windows quiver, and stormed inside, not caring that he was trekking dirt onto the carpet his wife worked hard on to keep clean. Alyson grimaced.

    “I tried everything.” Alyson matched Eldritch's long strides down the hallway toward Lane's bedroom.

    “Are you sure he isn't kidding? He has that spelling test today.” One of Eldritch’s arms accidentally knocked down a picture hanging on the wall, but the married couple stepped past it. “You know how he acts when he has a test.”

    “If it's a joke, he's been at it for a while.” Alyson stepped forward and pushed open Lane's bedroom door where the sleeping boy resided, still cozy in his covers. Eldritch stopped, staring, before stepping inside the room. “I think something is wrong.”

    “Well, obviously.” He cringed at his bitter tone. “Lane!”

    Lane's nose twitched.

    “Well, he responds to things like sleeping people can do sometimes,” Alyson murmured. “His eyes twitched at sudden amounts of light hitting him, he swatted at his face when I ran a feather across it ... But he just won't wake up.”

    Eyes in the Inn. Why the hell are you thinking about myths now?

    Eldritch looked back and forth between his sleeping son and worried wife, heart racing. He finally decided to pick up his son, blanket in tow. “Come on,” he urged, walking swiftly toward the door. Alyson was on his heels. “We're taking him to the hospital.”

    ~ ~ ~​

    More black? Was it for a day? A millisecond?

    He was at school, and he was practicing pokémon battling with one of the school pokémon. It was a bidoof, but it kept crying out, “Budew budew budew.” He was inside his classroom for some reason instead of on the field. Things kept slipping through the cracks of the doors: flowers, paper cranes, paper dolls.

    “Hey, some guy left a crane in the room. Did you find it?”

    Yeah. The crane was brown nor did it look like a crane but a rotten banana peel. He didn't know how to imagine a crane. He slid it back under the door.

    Why did he shrink? He was the size of an ant, and he ran toward the bidoof and climbed on it and away they ran ran ran, but he never got the chance to get his trainer’s card–

    “Laneeeyyyy!”

    ~ ~ ~​

    Nothing was wrong with him. They ran tests for a day and a half so far and nothing had come up. Eldritch had never felt so frustrated – or tired for that matter. He ran his hands through his hair before running his fingers down his face, feeling the black stubble poke out around his chin. He rubbed his eyes.

    Someone gently clasped a hand around his shoulder, making him jump. “Take a nap. Please,” Alyson pleaded. “He'll be fine. I'll watch him for both of us.”

    “Lane would hate it here,” he murmured. Hospital decor was plain: white walls, white tiles, white bedsheets. They allowed Lane to wear his pajamas, a vibrant blue against the white. The room was, dare he say, boring. Eldritch ripped his eyes away from Lane to look out the window. It was dark already, golden light from street posts pouring into the room. He saw his reflection in the clear glass. Damn, he looked worn out. He needed a shave.

    “I'm not sure how to say this,” he remembered the doctor telling him earlier. “We ran tests but we cannot find anything ... unusual. He really is just sleeping. We'll keep him here to monitor and to run tests, but I'm not sure what else we can do.”

    He's okay, right?

    “In the stable sense, I suppose. There is obviously something wrong; we're just not sure what.”

    This can't be the first case.

    “We suspect a pokémon has something to do with it. A human falling under a pokémon's hypnosis spell has happened before. Inhaling sleep-inducing spores is common, too.”

    What are you saying? A pokémon is the reason for this?

    “It's plausible. We're asking for the opinion of people who specialize in sleep-inducing pokémon.”

    What can they do? They're not doctors.

    “If a Pokémon is causing your son's sleeping state, then they'd know better than us.”

    Lane isn't a pokémon.

    “I know. But, again, if a Pokémon is causing this, then they'd know–”

    You're a doctor. You have to know–

    “Eldritch!”

    Eldritch blinked as Alyson snapped her fingers in front of his face. “What?”

    “You dazed out on me. Go home.”

    “I'm fine,” he muttered. He jumped up from the stool near his son's bed and strode across the room, collapsing into one of the stiff armchairs. He tapped his foot, staring at the heart monitor, listening to its beeps and watching the green line rise and fall. He leaned forward, digging his elbows into his thighs, resting his fallen head into his hands. “I’m fine.”

    “You just said that.” Alyson took Eldritch's spot, sitting on the wooden stool and squirming, trying to get comfortable. She reached through the metal rails and lightly pressed her hand against Lane's tinier one. His hand was warm, and while it made her smile lightly, it brought little comfort to the beautifly in her stomach. She wrapped her hand around his fingers and squeezed gently.

    “Well, I am. I'm fine.”

    “You're tired.”

    “I'm fine.”

    “Fine.” She looked at her husband. “And he's fine, too.”

    “Fine.”

    “Go to bed.”

    “No.”

    “You're being stubborn.”

    Eldritch stuck out his tongue.

    “And childish.”

    “A little. And fine my ass, Aly.”

    She glared.

    “What?”

    “Nothing.”

    “How come no one here knows what's wrong with him? How come no one seems to be trying anything anymore?”

    “Who else is there, Eldritch?”

    “I don't know. Have you called God yet?”

    “Your sarcasm woos me.”

    “I am quite the charmer.”

    She ran a thumb down the smooth skin of Lane's hand, running it past his knuckles and resting it on his nails. A lock of wavy hair fell into her eyesight. “They're trying, Eldritch. Keep positive. For me. For yourself. For Lane.”

    “I'm trying. It's just ... is there nothing we can do?” He racked his brain for answers, trying to review today's events, fingernails scratching his scalp. “There has to be an answer somewhere.”

    Yes, humans have fallen asleep by cause of pokémon, Eldritch. It's quite common, really. We can either wait for the spell to wear off–this takes a couple of days–or we can try to counter the effects with different medication. This varies, depending on how your son was attacked. The most common way a human falls asleep due to a pokémon is via spores, such as Sleep Powder.

    “Medication, Nurse Joy?” he murmured quietly. “The doctors gave Lane a shot earlier, but it had no effect.”

    Yes, that would be it. Next would be via audio, such as Sing or Grasswhistle. This one is a little bit trickier, but the effects usually wear off.

    “I don't think so.” His voice got louder though still inaudible to his wife’s ears. “I guess it's possible, but I'm sure my wife and I would have heard something last night if that were the case. He was just down the hallway.”

    Well, if he is still in a sleeping state after a few days, then we’ll know it's not from an audio attack. Neurological attacks, such as Hypnosis, aren't as common though quite possible. Perhaps some sort of pokémon put your son under a spell.

    “That sounds likely, but I'm not too convinced. Are there any pokémon in the Canalave area that use hypnosis against humans?”

    Not many. But let's keep it in mind. It's a little more complicated to snap a human out of a hypnotic state, but it can be done.

    “Thank you, Nurse Joy.”

    “Who are you talking to?” asked Alyson, staring at her husband.

    Eldritch blinked a few times. “I was talking out loud? I thought that was in my head.”

    She sighed. “Go home. Come back in a few hours after you get some sleep.”

    “I'm–”

    “Fine?”

    “Mhm.”

    She stood up and reached over, cupping Lane’s chin delicately in her hand. Lane was such a peaceful sleeper. She looked around – her husband was right; Lane would hate it here. It needed more ... color, more vibrancy. She needed to clean it, decorate it, make it her own.

    “Why is everyone so sure it has to do with a pokémon anyway?” he asked. “Or that a pokémon can help? Lane isn't a pokémon.”

    “It's keeping your options open, Eldritch.”

    “He's not a pokémon,” he repeated.

    “I know. You're grumpy. You need sleep.”

    “No. You go home and sleep.”

    “I did. It's your turn.”

    “I'm not leaving.”

    “It's only for a few hours. A clearer head will help you think.”

    “I'm thinking just fine.”

    His wife gave another all-knowing sigh and slowly stood up, the folds of her skirt flowing downward. White, sandaled feet crossed the cold linoleum toward him, leather bands stringed and crossed around her ankles like some sort of Greek goddess. Fair, brown hair, slightly curled, framed her face. No profound wrinkles, though worry tugged at her lips and rested in the crinkles at the edge of eyes.

    Young, he thought, too young to be worried about an eight year-old child. He was, too. But with Eldritch often out at sea, dare he say his homecomings were ... well-receptive. It was almost cliché, thinking about his love life. A young woman waiting for him at home, hands clasped against her chest and hair blowing wildly in the wind as she stood on a cliff (or something – Canalave had no major cliffs) while he was off doing god-knows-what. In a romantic world, he would be fighting pirates, (but in all reality he was probably negotiating with other regions about goods), thinking about her – and no, he had no lock of her hair in a pocket watch, though he did keep her picture in his wallet that was bent and faded due to the seawater.

    How could he say it politely? Lane was a ...

    Well ...

    When he came home and she told him she was pregnant, he was in absolute ...

    Yeah.

    It gave him another reason to come home in one piece. He wasn't sure if he liked that as horrible as it sounded out loud – or in his head. Tied down with wife and child ... Wasn't that the reason he became a sailor, to travel? To escape that?

    He loved his wife. He always would no matter what. He knew that things were tense between them lately. Fights, arguments, disagreements ... however you want to phrase it. They were more frequent, more intense, but held behind closed doors. What did they even fight about? Things just happened too fast, he supposed.

    The calmness she radiated scared him a little. She would normally be stressed out beyond belief (she was such a neurotic lady) but she was quite mellow, relaxed. It was weird. “Eldritch,” she said in a quiet voice, finger wrapping around the cord of the blinds.

    He looked up from the armchair. “Hmm?”

    “You smell awful.”

    “Thanks.”

    She smiled. “At least shower.”

    “Fine.”

    “Good.”

    He got up, his rear impressed into the cushion of the armchair, and stretched his arms, cracking his knuckles in the process. Sneakers squeaking across the floor, he walked past Lane's bed, giving it a look–not a look of worry or despair, mind you, but pure curiosity–and toward the heavy door, hands grasping the cold handle and turning it where even more silence greeted him. Whispers: “There's Eldritch, Lane’s father,” from nurses, custodians, doctors even.

    “Poor guy,” he heard.

    The smell of disinfectant tickled his nostrils. Hospitals were always so cold. Was the air conditioner on full blast? Was it the circumstances of the place that made it cold – and hushed for that matter? Yet at the same time it was stuffy, like the hospital was waiting on bated breath, not breathing but hoping.

    Doors swished and he stood outside near a concrete fountain, observing it for some reason – or maybe he enjoyed the sound of splashing water. Canalave was a quiet town, pushed to the side and surrounded by sea, leaving little room to escape. That was the first thing he noted when he came to town: ships and sea and nothing more. It was its own world. Sure, there were visitors but rarely anyone came back. All the locals knew each other. It was a take-it-or-leave-it kind of town. It's hard to handle it if you don’t like your life being pried into.

    Needless to say he was surprised when he flicked his brown eyes from the fountain to the life past the railing and saw someone he remembered years ago stomp down the pavement. A trainer. Trainers come for one purpose (Iron Island to hit rocks–not flowers–with onix) and that was the end of it. They don't return, especially not him. Out of all trainers, he must have something more important to do.

    The trainer was talking with some whiny girl in a mumbled tone, eyes cast toward the floor as he tugged at his scarf. The girl let out a shriek at something he said, pounded the floor with her boot, and stopped, but the boy kept walking, so she chased after him. Their stomps got louder as they approached, and they were about to pass him by when Eldritch yelled, “Hey!”

    The boy stopped and looked up, unflinching in the chilly breeze. The girl, meanwhile, let out a whimper, grabbing at her upper arms and running her hands up and down the goose-bumped skin.

    “Hey,” he replied, staring. “Uh ... Eldritch, right?”

    “It's cold!” the girl whined. She tugged at his shirt sleeve. “C'mon!”

    He snapped his head toward the side and sighed. “You didn't have to come. Rowan asked me to”

    “And I AM Rowan's closest researcher,” she said in a haughty tone, arms crossed.

    “That's by choice – you could leave Sandgem, you know.” He brushed her off, ignoring her fuming, and turned around to face the sailor again. “It's nice to see you,” he said politely.

    “Back at ya, kid.” The cold wind that whipped around his jacket awoke Eldritch from his sleep-deprived state. “How's that riolu?”

    “Good. He's growing strong. He evolved, actually,” he replied.

    Another question: “So what brings you round these parts again?”

    Gripped in between the boy's hands was a package wrapped in brown paper. He held it up. “Delivery,” he murmured. “Rowan asked me to drop it off. I think they're just research packets for the library.”

    “I could have done it,” muttered the girl, staring at the ground. “By myself, too.”

    He ignored this, dropping his hands to his sides, fingers still wrapped tightly around the package. “Still a delivery boy for the old man after all this time.” Another soft sigh. He looked up, noticing they were standing in front of a hospital. “Hey ...” he trailed off. “What about you? Why are you here?”

    His heart dropped. For a moment, Lane's state slipped from his mind. “Troubled times, kid.”

    This caught the girl's attention. “What's wrong, sir?”

    ~ ~ ~​

    “Did you hear me?” Giggle. “I said wake up! I said your name!” Another giggle.

    Something bopped him on the forehead.

    “I saw you move! I swear I did! Wake up!”

    Another bop.

    Lane grunted, rolling onto his belly. Wet. What the? Why wet? Oh, crud ... Did he pee the bed again? No, it was wet all over. Cold, too, and spiky, like wet grass. Fingers stretched away from each other, grasping the floor – yep, definitely wet grass.

    Weird.

    “See! I was right! You're moving!”

    It was going through his pajamas–er, the wetness, not the voice, though he figured that could be debated–and his eyes flicked open, blurry. He was on his stomach. It smelled fresh like after a rainstorm. Another bop, this time harder and right in the back, and he yelped, pushing himself up onto his knees. He ran his fingers across the front of his jeans, wiping off blades of grass. His eyesight became clearer. There were trees. Dead, waving trees. At least that's what he thought. Maybe it was tiredness – him, not the trees. Or were the trees tired too? He could not read tree or talk tree for that matter, so he couldn’t ask Tree if it was tired. He could mime tree, maybe.

    Did trees have genders?

    A gasp, followed by squeals of delight.

    “I did it!”

    Then a thought, a horrible thought.

    He was going to be late for school. And he had a spelling test today!


    Last revised: April 26, 2011
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011
  8. Yonowaru in Chaos

    Yonowaru in Chaos gaspard de la nuit

    'walking in the direction opposite to him' or something.

    There were other errors...until I realised that they weren't errors >_>;


    I love the dream segments for their detached, run-and-never-look-back-or-you-turn-into-a-salt-pillar structures. It's like nonsense that makes sense. Really captures the essence of a dream. Funny how it seeps into some of the conscious segments...

    :D?

    So yeah, lovely chapter. Needs moar rope tho.
     
  9. Breezy

    Breezy Well-Known Member

    Will fix. Dammit, that's like one of the first lines, isn't it?

    They might be errors. Care to point them out just in case? ;P

    You know what's weird? When I did dream, I remember thinking in my dream, "Remember how you see things in here because you need it for your story!"

    It was trippy, man. I am glad that you loved it. =) The first version of the dreams, actually, were a lot more confusing. I neglected punctuation and made the sentence structure all funky, but I felt that might be pushing it too far. =3

    AND NO! Rope is evilllll. Do not mess.
     
  10. Act

    Act Let's Go Rangers!

    Well, not quite. An incubus is a demon that sexually assaults women; a succubus is the one who assaults men. One isn't “more” sexual than the other... the only real difference is that “suc-” makes us giggle where “in-” does not. Well, maybe.

    Anyway, it's not that's there's sexual “connotations” with these words... it's that they're innately sexual. If there is no rape going on, the creature in question cannot truly be an incubus or succubus. When I saw the title of the fic there were two options: 1) It was a rape/assault fic 2) There was a general misunderstanding is to what an incubus is (that everyone seems to have, and now people kind of accept this misinterpretation, which bothers me).

    I guess I could see, how people use it in a kind of metaphoric sense, if you wanted to use it simply because “someone is being 'assaulted' in their sleep” but on that note, I think something like “Boogeyman” would be more appropriate because now I'm going to have to read this as if there are sexual undertones between (I'm assuming) darkrai and Lane. Because if there aren't sexual undertones (at least), it isn't supposed to be called an incubus. Hey, maybe that was your intention. Who knows.

    And that's my rant.

    I'm thinking “Fairy-Tale Land” should be capitalized, pedantic as that seems.

    That is one giant sentence. It could really use to be two or even three.

    This next sentence works in a rambling kind of way because you don't change the topic.

    Again, this is too much stuffed in to one place. You can't use commas as a means to tack new ideas onto a sentence (there are really to many commas here anyway)... a sentence should be one topic, and as soon as you digress too far it confuses the reader and makes it hard to discern exactly what point you're driving at.

    I get what you're trying to do, I think, but there's too many commas and not enough coherence for these sentences to work in a “rambling train-of-thought” way. Also, I think it can be ramble-y and train-y without all of the information being contained in one sentence, mostly because our thoughts aren't usually one big sentence. Lots of short pauses lend to that effect too. Like this. See? This is clearly just being written as I think it which is weird because I tend to think in a much more pre-edited style than most people and I don't really think people connect the way I talk and the way I think as much as they should and that's not cool (see how all of that kind of leads into each other? That's what I was driving at with the “more coherence” statement; it also all adheres to one topic, which serves to keep the reader from going, “Buh-wuh?”) Also, so many commas tend to break up this effect because a comma is a mental pause.

    Anyway, this sentence I had to read several times, and I think what you've got going here (if I'm reading it right) is the first two clauses talking about how he was dashing across the bridge, and the last four (which is a lot of clauses for one sentence) are about how he actually did stop, something that kind of directly contradicts with the first part, as well as how he stopped and what he did. It's just too much to juxtapose, and there's not enough lead-in from one idea to the next to make it clear.

    Boys.

    I'd make this two separate sentences.

    “He had forgotten...” methinks.

    You're kind of dancing the “overdoing it” line with this “pudgy boy” character, he's mean and we should dislike him we get it, but meh. I don't think it's too big a deal quite yet.

    Nothing in the “few truths in life” paragraph really relates to the situation. It had already been establish that Francis is a meanie. I was expecting you to end it with something along the lines of, “Offering to do *anything* could never turn out well,” but you didn't, it as such the paragraph didn't really tie in with its own main idea.

    Too many pronouns.

    Why does Lane have a friend named Shane?

    Semicolons have to connect two complete, independent clauses.

    When creative the comparative or superlative forms of adjectives, you can either add “-er/-est” to the end or “more/most” to the front, but not both.

    I can't figure out what “it” is referring to.

    That “not” shouldn't be there.

    “The” or “one of the” in between “for” and “dragon.”

    You did the ramble pretty well here.

    A few things. I think that “the...cause” should be set off with dashes, not commas. You're missing a “he” between “but” and “continued.” And “hand” should be plural, I think.

     
  11. Breezy

    Breezy Well-Known Member

    Please tell her to go away.

    Arceus?

    Dialga?

    Mom?

    No, really. I have dealt with crazy men, fought against some of the strongest pokémon in the region, went to places that any ordinary trainer wouldn't be able to survive in for a day, let alone weeks, and my downfall is going to be this ... thing? Some girl I swear to GOD is trying to get into my pants? Cocky? Maybe. No pun intended.

    There has to be a reason why she's so nosy, why she's all up in my business. She wants to know me again. Why? The observer does not need to be the observed. There is no deep meaning to me, no inner trauma that needs to be brought up. So butt out, woman.

    The faster I figure this out, the faster I can get the hell out of this place and away from her.

    ...

    Eyes: Dark blue.
    Bipedal.
    Supple, though clumsy.

    Note: Buy milk for breakfast tomorrow.

    ~ ~ ~
    Chapter Four

    ~ ~ ~

    Good morning!” she said cheerfully.

    He stared at her, unamused. She stood next to him, a cup of coffee in each hand.

    “I said good morning,” she repeated in a sterner tone, her eyes fixated on him.

    “And I said nothing,” he replied, still staring.

    She broke the awkward gaze by turning her attention toward the cups of coffee warming up her hands. She set them down on the table. “I got you coffee. I thought it'd be nice to have something warm to drink.”

    He turned his head back toward his work, tapping his pencil on the table. “I didn't ask.”

    “Yeah, but it's nice, no?”

    He didn't reply, flipping through the pages of a heavy book. Dawn set the cups on the table, moved the chair next to Lucas, and plopped herself in it. She scooted the chair back in, making its legs squeak across the wooden floorboards. He gave her a glare–so cold–before snapping his head back down. She gave her cup of coffee a warm smile instead and pulled it in comfortingly, wrapping her fingers around it and breathing in the steam.

    His name is Lucas. Did you know that? Dawn knew. She taught him how to catch a pokémon, you know. He was such a nice boy, and he had such a nice smile. Such a helpful kid. He helped find her pokédex once. This was years ago. They were only twelve then – kids! Now they were older–fourteen, almost fifteen ... where does time go?–and he had changed into ... well, whatever that thing is.

    Oh, he looked the same, sure. Blue eyes. Black hair. Weird hat. Red scarf. (She always thought it was cute that they both had red scarves.) He was kind of pale and on the gawky side since he hit a growth spurt, a good eight inches taller than her and still growing. He was so much colder, though. A hardened face, hunched shoulders, and bags under his eyes – too young to look so old. Mom said apathy was worse than ignorance. With ignorance, you just don't know. With apathy, you know ... you just don't care. That's what Lucas was, apathetic and ...

    Emotionless?

    Maybe. There was still a spark, a twinkle, he had back when they were rookies. Something was just ... different. Maybe she imagined that spark. It was discomforting seeing what was once an empathetic child turn into nothing more but an asexual shell. He changed. She wasn't sure if she liked it. Was that what you turned into after three years of journeying?

    “How's it going?” she asked sheepishly.

    “Fine,” was Lucas's stiff reply as he scribbled inside his notebook. He reached for a book placed in front of him and flipped it a page forward.

    She guessed he was mad at her. It wasn't her fault, honest! ... Okay, so what if she, after meeting Eldritch and learning of his predicament, offered her help? And so what if she immediately mentioned that “Lucas would like to help too!” resulting in a death glare from the boy? And does it really matter that she forced him, via Professor Rowan, to postpone his travels for another week ... or two ... or four? Surrounded by books ... this was his thing, wasn't it?

    She decided to ask. She knew the answer, but she decided to ask anyway: “Are you mad?”

    “I don't get mad,” was his quick reply.

    “Well, do you need help?”

    “No,” he answered. He pulled the book in closer, his left hand resting on the pages. It was like he was trying to avoid looking at her. Goddammit, she was pretty! She needed to be looked at!

    Dawn let out a huff. “There must be something I can do!”

    Lucas let out a sigh, stretching his arms above his head, fingers wrapped around his pencil. “You can be quiet,” he said, dropping his hands back down and tapping the eraser end in a steady beat.

    “I'm a researcher too!” she whined, tugging at the ends of her dark-blue hair. “I can help, you know!”

    “Uh huh.”

    It was Dawn's turn to let out an exasperated sigh. “I'm not as annoying as you think.”

    “Right.”

    “Whatever!”

    A small smirk–emotion?–that quickly vanished as Lucas scribbled in his notebook. Dawn tucked her legs underneath her rear, making sure to pull down on her skirt so Lucas wouldn't see more than he needed to (not that he cared), and raised herself up to peer over the boy's shoulder. Words. A lot of words in an illegible cursive that swirled and blurred together into fancy language. She narrowed her eyes, staring at the chicken scratch, trying to unwrap the text into something coherent.

    “Does that say, 'Buy milk for breakfast tomorrow'?” she asked.

    Lucas pulled his notebook away from the girl's view. “No,” he muttered.

    Dawn lifted her hands up and pulled out one of her barrettes, letting the loose strands brush against her cheek. “Can you at least tell me what you think is going on?” She bunched her hair together and clipped it back tighter.

    “Mm ...” He licked his lips. “I don't think Nurse Joy was far off. A severe case of Hypnosis or other sleep-induced attack sound plausible. Maybe the best hope is to wait it out.”

    So that's why he was so enthralled with that status effects book. “So you think it has something to do with pokémon too?” she asked.

    “Not unless something darker is going on in that household.”

    “What are you saying?” She frowned. “You think Mr. Eldritch had something to do with it? Don't say that! He's such a sweet man.”

    “Well, it's not that I want to say it nor do I think he would. But you never know.” Lucas shrugged and turned the page, revealing a drawing of a drowzee. “Canalave–this south-western area, really–doesn't have many pokémon capable of learning sleep-inducing moves naturally. If there are any, most pokémon use it under threat.”

    “Are there varying levels of sleep-induced attacks? Like effectiveness?”

    He paused, then nodded. “Air-borne attacks spread via spores, like Sleep Powder, are much more effective and common in the wild because of its ability to travel over greater distances. That being said, it is not necessarily strong.”

    “What about audio?”

    “Audio isn't as powerful since other noises can drown it out. It's definitely not as effective as spores.”

    “So maybe it's audio. Bird pokémon have audio moves and can travel great distances even if they're not common in the area.”

    “It's possible”–this made Dawn smile triumphantly–“but then again, the victim usually awakens after a hour or so. I'm not ready to rule audio out, though. Same goes for air-borne spores.”

    Dawn nodded slightly and pulled Lucas's book towards her, staring at the drawing. “So what else is there?” she asked. “Visual?”

    “Yes. This, too, can vary. Yawn, for example, is visual. The user yawns, resulting in a chain reaction that eventually lulls its opponent to sleep. Then you also have moves like Hypnosis which are powerful but inaccurate.”

    “So maybe Lane saw a pokémon using Yawn and the attack hit him later that night?”

    “I mean – well, yeah, that could ...” Frustrated, Lucas took off his hat and ran his fingers through his sweaty hair. “Sleep Powder, Spore, Yawn, Hypnosis, Grasswhistle, Lovely Kiss, Sing ... All of these, to an extent, are 'curable,' but nothing has worked. So what could it be?”

    ~ ~ ~​

    Lane scrambled to his feet, toes sinking into the wet grass and, to put it simply, panicked.

    “Aw, man!” Hands brushed past elf-like – er, huge ears to the top of his head. He rested them there, flattening unruly strands of hair. He paced back and forth. “Momisgoingtokillme. Iwokeuplate! Test!”

    He kicked a rock with his bare foot and grabbed the band of his jeans, pulling them up so they fit snugly around his waist. “I'm already doing bad in spelling! Why do I need to learn how to spell 'rainbow'?! That's such a stupid word!”

    Squish floated toward him and gave him a half-smile. “What's wrong, Lane?” he asked.

    “My test, Squish! My mom is going to kill me if she knows I woke up late!”

    “Oh, it'll be okay!” said Squish. He nudged Lane in the head with his own squishy one and giggled.

    Lane let out a sigh as his companion oozed out rainbow drops. Squish turned into a cumulus cloud, puffy and fluffy–which Lane wanted to grab and form into another shape–with two watery eyes, except his coloring was highlighter yellow, not white; and he meant the clouds, really, because eyes? They are mentioned too often and in weird descriptors, like orbs, or spheres. Wonder why? But either way, he was being honest and true, like a dart, if darts were honest and had feelings and were not just weapons to be thrown. Also, nun-chucks are weapons.

    Squish squeaked and came to rest on Lane's bedhead, letting out a sigh. Moisture seeped through the creature's body and pooled into Lane's hair. He felt a drop of rainbow water run down the side of his forehead.

    “What brings you to Darkwood?” asked the squishy one.

    Darkwood was a place in the middle of another place. It had trees and also creatures.

    “I'm not sure,” admitted Lane, feeling the top of his head and pressing his fingers against Squish's form. His finger sank in, getting wet. “What about you? What are you doing here?” He pointed his head up toward the sky. It was dark blue and wavy. There was also the sun, a darker orange that Lane didn't remember.

    “Princess went missing,” was what he heard.

    Lane blinked a few times. “Princess ...” he repeated, trailing off. “What happened to her?”

    “Kidnapped, Lane!” squealed Squish fretfully and quickly, quivering on top of Lane's head. He floated away from the boy and came within his line of vision. Lane noticed the being's fluffy form turned into a droopier one, his yellow coloring turning gray. “I was running away from the explosion and came across you sleeping.”

    Questions, so many questions, and where to begin? You must start with the most important one. You came here unaware that life lessons would be passed unto your breast, but they came, and now you are a better person because of it. “What about my test?” Lane first asked.

    “Postponed,” said Squish. He motioned his entire body toward more trees, trees of no gender, that were brown and dead. “The explosion was in that direction.”

    “Explosion? From what?”

    Squish's eyes focused on the sky. “There.” He motioned his head.

    Lane was confused. Was it the sky or the trees he was supposed to be mad at?

    “There was a bright light that fell from the sky and BOOM!” The creature dramatically floated toward the ground like a twirling leaf in the wind, his form reverting back to its original state: a gray, shapeless blob with two, blue eyes (orbs, mayhap!). He giggled, rolling onto his back so he could look up at Lane. “Princess was there! The light hit her, and she vanished!”

    Lane plopped into the grass, the wetness dampening the bottom of his pants, and picked Squish up who drooped and oozed between his fingers like silly putty. “Princess,” he repeated for the second time, this time thoughtfully.

    A whirring noise–the grinding of metal against metal–caught Lane's attention, making him stand up and look. Bubbles floated toward him and popped against his face, making him flinch. The land rattled, so he held Squish tighter in his hand and ran toward the source of shaking. He brushed past the genderless trees, the air cold and cutting against his face, and he smelled the sea – but too bad there was none near. Or so he thought ...

    No, he was right. No ocean. There was a train though!

    ~ ~ ~​

    Dawn had a piplup: bipedal, roughly a foot high, and weighing in at eleven and a half pounds, give or take a few ounces. Its ability is Torrent, which increases the power of the pokémon's water-based moves when low on health. Its evolution is prinplup, who evolves into empoleon. The breed is terrible at walking but powerful at swimming. They often puff out their chests as they are a prideful species.

    Dawn's piplup was puffing out his chest. Also, he was annoying.

    “Move your damn bird,” Lucas growled, pushing the piplup away with his left hand. The piplup, with an unhappy chirp, deflated and flapped his wings to gain stability only to fall backward. He hopped back onto his wobbly, yellow flippers and poked at the books sprawled out in front of the researcher. Lucas looked up from his notebook to stare at the bird, and the bird smirked back–as good as you could smirk with a beak anyway–filling his chest with air and puffing out again.

    “Oh, he's just interested in what you're doing. Pip is such a curious, little guy.” Dawn grabbed for the chick and hugged him to her chest, and the piplup cooed, nuzzling against her breast. The bird turned his eyes toward Lucas, and – Arceus, he better have imagined that. Did that bird just glare at him evilly as he pressed the side of his face against Dawn's bosoms?

    “Be nice to him,” she remarked. “He'll warm up to you once you get to know him better.”

    Warm up, huh?

    “I don't even see why you need to have him out,” Lucas said, eyes returning to the safety of his notebook. “And why hasn't that thing evolved yet? You've had him for years.”

    “You know as well as I do that some pokémon don't want to evolve,” Dawn replied. “Why? I don't know. You tell me. Maybe you can figure it out. Either way, Pip doesn't want to evolve, and I don't mind.” She smiled and patted her pokémon's head affectionately.

    Lucas watched the bird once more, this time out of sheer observation than annoyance. Pip wiggled out of the arms of Dawn and toddled around on the barely-clothed thighs of his trainer, the tip of his slipper slightly underneath the pink cloth of Dawn's skirt. How sweet. How angelic. How innocent the movement of lifting his flipper, shifting Dawn's skirt. How convenient that the piplup's head was pointed down at that moment. It became apparently clear why the piplup refused to evolve. It was cute to be a pervert when you were under a foot tall. Once you become fat, and chubby, and older, and pimply (or prinpuply, if you want to make it a lame pokémon pun), the police are called.

    Good god this girl is stupid. What Lucas–and any other normal human being with the semblance of a brain–saw as perverted action, she saw as cute, sweet, ooey-gooey, kissy motion.

    He was tempted to tell her, but he had doubts that she would believe him.

    With a sigh, Lucas reached up and took off his hat, letting the ceiling fans dry off the sweat built up on his forehead. He looked toward the window and watched a flock of wingull fly by in a crooked v-formation. “Enough distractions,” he murmured, staring down at his markings and putting his hat down next to it. “Do something. Particularly something that does not involve me.”

    Dawn picked Pip up and pressed him against her stomach as she stood up, boots scuffing the wooden floorboards. Shelves and shelves of books, she thought, and all of them boring as heck. Her eyebrows furrowed together. She used her free arm to run a gloved hand down the dusty tomes. No gossip magazines? No histories of trainers? Just boring data collected over the years and shuffled into leather hardbounds? Must Lucas pick the most boring floor to reside on?

    Ah, a good book finally. Pokémon Myths and Legends. The title was simple, yet it effectively caught Dawn's attention. She pulled it out, sending up dust that made her nose twitch and Pip sneeze and jump out of her hold to waddle on the floor. The book was out of place unless they were in some bizarre library universe where the alphabet went A, B, L, C, D. Wait! It made sense now! This is why Lucas wanted to study on this floor! He wanted his name to be in front of the alphabet! The fiend! The devil!

    Wait. Aren't books organized by last name? What was Lucas's last name? And hell, what powers could you possess by messing with the alphabet? If you acquired a power that everything you touched turned into chocolate simply by messing with the alphabet, Dawn would do it. She totally would.

    “Lucas, what's your last name?” she asked, laying the book flat on the palm of her left hand and flipping the cover open with her right. She leaned on her left leg, popping her hip.

    “How 'bout no?” he muttered, turning a page.

    “That makes no sense.”

    Lucas didn't reply, making Dawn sigh for about the hundredth time today. The boy was a frustrating creature, yet he really didn't do anything to bother Dawn in the first place. Maybe that was the problem. All he did was sit and read and write. He didn't like to joke around, let alone talk.

    Now let's be honest here. Like dart honest. As much as Dawn wanted to help the Eldritch family solve their problems, there wasn't much that she could do other than regurgitate the same information those in the medical field already knew. The chances of her solving this mystery were slim to none. Her credentials? She barely had any. Oh, right. She was Rowan's apprentice for the last three years. Had she learned anything? Outside the useful tip here and there and a memory or two that she will tell her future kids (two boys, one girl, two years apart in age with the girl being the youngest. Also, she wanted to live in Hearthrome, and her husband would be a successful researcher or businessman or whatever who also fought the evil rope villain on the side. Oh, and he would cry at the end of romantic comedies and not be afraid of emotion), her apprenticeship was, dare she say, pointless – at least until she could use it on some résumé for an equally crappy job. But that's beside the point.

    All things have a second motive. The surface motive was helping Lane. The real motive was to get her friend back. She knew Lucas was a well-respected trainer and researcher despite his age. She knew doctors and Nurse Joy and all the experts in Canalave would ask his opinion had they known he was in the area. He wouldn't do it of course–at least by free will–so that's where Professor Rowan came into play. Professor Rowan would make Lucas stay, and here they sat.

    Dawn was a friendly, lovely child. Dawn knew it, too. While she had her moments of ... denseness, she knew when she wasn't wanted, and it never really mattered; there were plenty of others who liked being around her. Lucas didn't want her around. But for some reason, she didn't want to give up. She wanted to get to know him – then immediately change him into something that would fit him better. It must be a girl thing.

    She slammed the heavy book on the table and pulled the chair back, sitting in it. She cleared her throat, flipped her hair behind her shoulders, tapped her fingers on the tabletop, and grinned at the annoyed researcher next to her. Lucas quickly lowered his head back to his notebook.

    Dawn was a stupid, noisy child. Lucas knew it, too. She was always dense–the stupid way she bit her lip as she read the table of contents, like a book without pictures on every page boggled her mind–and he didn't understand how anyone could stand to be around her. He didn't want her around. But for some reason, she didn't want to give up. He knew she wanted to get to know him. Why? He had no idea. It must be a girl thing.

    “What happened to your friend?” she asked, sliding a finger underneath the thin leaf of the book and flipping it to the next page.

    Friend?

    “What friend?” he questioned back.

    “You know!” Dawn tore her eyes away from her book and made motions with her hands. She petted something imaginary above her head and extended this motion toward the sides near her ears. “This guy!”

    This must mean something meaningful. Something like the imaginary airspace is metaphorical for the huge amount of crazy the girl had stored in her head, and she was trying to pat it down, only for the crazy to explode forth like a volcano, spewing forth its hot, molten, crazy hate of craziness.

    “I'm not following.”

    “You know!” she repeated with more enthusiasm. She simulated jogging in place while remaining firm in her seat. She puffed out her cheeks.

    That answers it. She, indeed, was a mad, volcano-like woman on the verge.

    Lucas rolled his eyes. “Use words.”

    “Oh, I don't know his name. That blond kid you hung out with. He ran off after we let him keep that chimchar. You two screamed like sissies when a flock of starly attacked you. Remember?”

    “Oh, Barry?” He smiled, and he noticed it caught Dawn off-guard. “And starly can be fierce in flocks, you know.”

    “Uh huh. But either way, what happened to him?”

    Lucas shrugged. “I don't know. I lost track of him after ...” He trailed off. Repress it, Lucas. It's over.

    Dawn gazed at him worriedly and nudged him in the shoulder. “Are you okay?”

    Lucas blinked a few times, nodded, and recapped his sweaty hair. “We just ... drifted apart I guess. Last I heard he was going to the Battle Frontier. I was going to head there, too.”

    “But?”

    “But I was roped into staying here for a week or so for a whimsical research project,” he muttered.

    “Oh.” Dawn beamed as Pip hopped onto her lap. “Rope is evil.”

    “Quite.”

    ~ ~ ~ ​

    He had no idea what happened, why he was doing it, and where he was heading, but Lane knew he had to get on that train. He was pretty sure he wasn't going to make it but whatever.

    “That train always leaves earlier than its departure time,” remarked Squish in a shaky voice, quivering in Lane's sweaty hands.

    The genderless trees swung at him (or maybe he imagined that), and he dodged the fiends like any good hero would, ducking and weaving while Squish screamed. The train was pulling out of the station, he noticed, and was picking up speed, bubbles flying out of the train's stack.

    “Wait!” Lane yelled, pushing his legs to run faster. He held his left arm up and tried to wave it down.

    The train was made out of steel, wheels grinding against the tracks with a rhythmic thunk, THUNK! He ran closer to it–which in all reality probably wasn't the safest thing but whatever to that too–with his left hand still thrust forward, fingers wiggling and grasping at the cold air. Passenger car after passenger car painted in an array of blue shades rushed him by, and all seemed hopeless until something grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him up so his feet were no longer on the ground but swinging forward in a wild flailing of limbs. The being dragged him into the train, and Lane rolled in, resting on the flat of his belly. Squish was flung out of Lane's grasp and groaned tiredly a few feet away.

    Lane had been on a train once. He was about six, and he was with Mom to visit Dad who was stationed in another city further away. He remembered the train with its loud honking and its brakes screeching, and he got out of his mom's grip and ran toward the edge of the platform and peered forward when it was pulling into the station. He slipped. He fell forward. He remembered the bright light from the train turning into a streamed blur and hands gripping and pulling him back by the shoulders, and the honking noise was multiplied by five. He remembered Mom freaking out. She was crying for some reason and sat him in her lap when they got on the train, and she constantly kissed him through his hair. It bothered him. He was old enough to sit on his own! He also remembered candy–lots of it!–and the landscape rushing by the window.

    “Never again,” she kept breathing into his hair. “Never again.”

    He didn't know why he remembered that, or why he was remembering that particular moment in this peculiar situation. Either way, he did.

    “Th ... thanks ...” Lane managed to breathe out.

    There was a giggle followed by a response. “You're welcome, Laney!”

    Something collapsed on top of him. He didn't move, partially bewildered and partially exhausted from running and almost killing himself like any good hero, and let whatever on top of him rest there, pressing its face against the nape of his neck. Something stringy but soft draped around his head. Was it hair?

    “Want to wrestle?” The voice giggled again. It pulled at his elf-like – er, pointy ears, making him flinch.

    He shook his head no, managing to shake off the being’s grasp.

    Wait. Laney? Oh, sweet mesprit, no ...

    Lane managed to squirm enough to roll onto his back and thus stared into the wild face of Julie.



    Last Revised: April 27, 2011
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011
  12. Breezy

    Breezy Well-Known Member

    I guess she's amusing in a train wreck sort of way. You probably shouldn't stare but you end up staring anyway just to see if more chaos ensues. She captures my attention so quickly, and I feel so stupid, so weak, for giving in like some trained puppy. She is pointless distraction. I don't like it. It scares me – no. I don't get scared. I don't get angry, or upset, or ... anything. That is pointless, too.

    She's still at it. She's still trying to understand me. I don't like when people try to justify things, research it more than needed, and make ludicrous hypotheses. Things happen. That's it. You'll never understand the situation more than skin deep. Nothing good comes from prying into territory where you are obviously not wanted. Its anti-researcher, I know. You don't have to tell me. You don't have to go, “You're not doing your job.”

    If she wants to get hurt, fine. I'm not apologizing for it.

    ...

    Details:
    - hat: white
    - hair clips: gold/yellow
    - scarf: red
    - skirt: pink, slightly ruffled
    - shirt: black and sleeveless

    ~ ~ ~
    Chapter Five
    ~ ~ ~

    Betray not your anger, lest ??? will come.
    Weep not with sorrow, or ??? will draw near.
    When joy and enjoyment come natural as the air, that is happiness.
    Let such be blessed by the hand of Master ???.


    She commented, “Pretty,” before turning toward her notebook and writing down – why was he paying attention to her? “What do you think, Lucas?” she asked thoughtfully. She brushed a loose strand of hair away from her cheek and smiled. “It's about mesprit.”

    “I think you're wasting time reading that useless crap,” he muttered, casting his eyes down to stare at his notebook. He made motions with his left hand and watched his shadows dance on the lined paper.

    Dawn ignored the comment. “It's part of the trio – the lake guardians. It sleeps at Lake Verity. I saw its shadow once.”

    Lucas didn't reply.

    “It's known as the 'being of emotion.”

    “Uh huh.”

    Dawn smiled. Pip jumped onto the table and knocked her pencil out of her hand to nuzzle her palm. She petted him, ruffling the feathers on his head.

    Lucas shifted his eyes to the side, taking a peek at the girl's notebook. She wrote down terminology, the estimated height and weight of mesprit, and its physical details next to a picture of a gray blob with two dots for eyes and a u-shaped smile. It had a long, skinny tail. Happy sperm? he thought amusedly. He looked toward his notebook. He doodled a hypno, somewhat realistic, somewhat cartoonish. It was hypnotizing itself and was stumbling around.

    “If I weren't so adamant about you following in my footsteps, boy, I would say you would have done well as a cartoonist,” he remembered Rowan telling him. “Honestly, though, Lucas. You need to get serious; doodles do not belong in a report.”

    Why was he clenching his pencil, his teeth? Why did his nose scrunch slightly? Why did that make him so upset all of a sudden? “I ... We should call it a day,” Lucas murmured, slamming shut the status book in front of him, making Dawn and Pip flinch in surprise. He placed it on top of the huge pile of books he collected and pushed the stack toward the edge of the table. “I think we should wait until tomorrow and ask Lane's parents about the day before he went into his ... dormancy state.”

    “You mean sleeping?”

    “We're not sure if it's sleeping per say.”

    “But it's just ... sleeping, isn't it?”

    Take your notebook and go home, he thought. And he did. He grabbed his notebook with his left hand, stood up, and swung his backpack over his right shoulder. Dawn still had that myths book open, fingers lightly resting on its thin pages with Pip on the opposite side of the book, peering down at it, head cocked to the side. “Meet me at the hospital tomorrow if you want to continue this little 'research project' of yours. I'm going home.”

    He heard Dawn make noises projected from the back of her throat as she quickly swiped the myths book with one hand and Pip in the other. That didn't stop him from walking toward the staircase. It had been a long day of doodling, and reading information that he could easily look up in his own data collection, and sitting, and writing things that had nothing to do with why he was here, and much, much more (including shipping & handling). Oh, and eating smashed crackers that he had found at the bottom of his backpack. Can't forget that.

    He heard his stomach grumble. He should probably get something to eat before heading–

    “Hey! You wanna go out to dinner?”

    She asked it so coyly, so sweetly, so quietly that it startled Lucas into stopping just to make sure he heard right. It was uncharacteristic of her, being quiet. He turned his head slightly, eyes on the peripherals so he could look at her. He watched as she returned her piplup to his ball and grabbed her bag by the handles. That myths book was still pressed against her chest. Was she blushing or was that a trick of the library lights?

    “Dinner?”

    She stepped forward–dainty steps like she walked on the balls of her feet–and nodded. “Yeah, you know, the meal that we eat when it is around this time of day?” She gestured toward the window with a nudge of her head. It wasn't too dark but it wasn't light either, a mix of pinks and purples – a nighttime canvas only seen in cliché cowboy movies.

    “My treat,” she added. “We haven't eaten since breakfast or lunch or whatever we had this morning, and, well, I'd like to catch up. You've gotten so busy since you won the league. I mean, you have all these events you have to attend, and the paperwork, and Rowan has been pushing us to finish our theses ... well, I barely get to see you. I don't know. I ...”

    He didn't know why she trailed off like that and turned her head when he gave her his full attention. “I'd just like to be friends again,” Dawn continued, staring at the floorboards. “I’m not sure if we were friends to begin with, but I'd like to change that. What do you say?”

    He was about to say no, tell her that he had things to do, people to see, paperwork to fill out, any excuse he could muster, and they could go out tomorrow–maybe, if she was lucky–but her eyes suddenly snapped up toward his and quickly swept back and forth, reading his face. And like that, a light hope disappeared into heavy disappointment.

    Oh, hell. He was going to regret this. “Sure, Dawn.”

    “Great!” Dawn grabbed at his wrist and pulled him toward the staircase excitedly. “There's this cute little seaside café nearby that I just love, and I think you'll like it too! We can talk about what you've been up to – oh! I have so much to tell you about what's been going on in Rowan's lab! And ...”

    Yep, he thought, as Dawn made him half walk, half run down the stairs in an awkward galloping motion while she chattered away. He was definitely going to regret it.

    ~ ~ ~​

    Lane heard gasps, sharp and short. Julie had him pinned down by the arms, and the ends of her pigtails, draped into his face. He sputtered, he coughed, he gagged, he huffed, but the hair fell all over his nose and mouth. So he let the strands lay there, trying not to move his face so it wouldn't tickle him further.

    One of his arms was released in order for Julie to point ahead. “Who's that?” she asked. “He's a cutie.”

    Lane figured she was talking about Squish despite not being to see him, so he stated the castform's name. “I like him,” was what he heard. The weight was lifted off him, and she crawled over him toward Squish. There was a weird squelching noise, followed by Squish's squeals. Lane remained flat on his back, still catching his breath.

    “I'm Julie!”

    “I'm Squish!” replied Squish happily.

    Julie walked over toward Lane with Squish–who was a shade of coral red though retained his regular castform shape–floating above her left shoulder. “Come on, Lane!” she said. “You need to help us with this game to keep the train going!”

    He walked toward Julie. He stood in front of a square machine with glass windows. One, two, three, four ... multiply by five. There were twenty-five of them, he counted, and each window had a picture of a different water pokémon.

    “The train is running on water, see?”

    He looked down. Below his feet was the ocean, flat as glass, and they were rushing past it – or were they in it? Is that what she meant by “running on water?” Or did the train use water as energy?

    Squish hopped from Julie's shoulder to his and bopped a glass window adorned with a picture of a wingull. The window lit up and went through several colors that traveled to the other windows. They all settled on a shade of gold. Lane followed suit, pressing another wingull window, and it squealed like a bidoof, leaked green ooze onto his fingers, and flickered through different hues of purple.

    “Yeah, ooze comes out if you press the wrong one. It's the pollution of the train,” answered Julie as Lane gagged and wiped the liquid onto his jeans, leaving a green streak across his thigh.

    “What are we supposed to do then?”

    Julie giggled. “It's simple.” She stepped forward and, with her index finger stretched out, connected a picture of a piplup to a magikarp. A trail of white dots followed, encasing each window in the same light, and they remained that way amongst the flickering purple tiles. “Get it?”

    He did. Using his index and middle finger, his thumb tucked underneath his other fingers, Lane dragged his hand across the glass windows, lighting up a picture of a luvdisc, quagsire, and psyduck. Alarms rang and a beacon on the top of the machine flashed red.

    DING DING DING! Free wailmer bonus!

    ~ ~ ~​

    Cynthia once told him that he was a cute but socially awkward creature who needed to work on his conversation skills. It was mostly because the poor kid could barely keep a conversation going past five lines with anyone, let alone strangers, but it, somehow, also maintained the “down-to-earth” persona the Sinnoh League wanted their champions to perceive. By constantly re-telling your story, you remain humble ... in theory, anyway.

    “I want you to remember your roots, the journey you took, the difficulties you went through,” she told him. “This is what will make other trainers relate to you while also keeping your feet firm on the ground. It is difficult to relate to a champion who thinks too highly of himself, who thinks he is better than everyone around him.” That always confused him. Surely if he won the pokémon league, that would make him better than everyone around him, wouldn't it? Trainer-wise, at least.

    “Kids are going to look up to you whether you like it or not,” she continued, “and knowing your history ...” She hesitated when he glared at her. “My point, Lucas, is from here on out, you're not some regular kid. I'm not saying you have to change yourself entirely – that's the last thing I want. Just ... be careful. You're a role model now.”

    He didn't know. There was something really odd about an eight year-old running up to him to ask for his autograph. His reign as Sinnoh's latest champion was coming up on its six month birthday–or anniversary, or whatever–and by now he figured he would be used to the publicity, but he wasn't. He still had that stantler-caught-in-the-headlights look. Were they talking to him when asking about his life as a trainer? Did they want him to take the picture or be in the picture? It was like winning the lottery and not knowing what to do. It was that moment you realized you were wandering around town naked. Something like that.

    “What a sweetie,” said Dawn with a smile, dipping a fry into her ketchup before biting the tip with her front teeth. She chewed it thoughtfully. “It must be strange getting asked for autographs, huh?”

    Yes.

    “No,” he lied.

    “That's great. I'm glad you're getting used to it.” She giggled, the edges of her eyes creasing as her smile widened.

    “I guess.” He stared at his half-eaten burger.

    Luckily–or unluckily, depending on how pessimistic Lucas felt like being–Dawn took control of the conversation and barely waited for his “yes,” “no,” or “I guess” responses. She somehow managed to weave a story out of those four simple words. Somehow those words triggered a memory, made her ask a question, made her respond. Why couldn't he do that?

    “So really,” Dawn rested her chin on the ball of her fist and leaned forward, “what is it like to be champion?”

    Great. He couldn't respond with his three answers. “It's ...” He paused, thinking. What was it like to be champion? It was kind of like that one feeling you get when people hype up a movie, and you watch it, but it turns out to be not so great. Everything is amazing at first–you get invited to all the parties and sometimes get free stuff–but everyone tries to get all up in your business. It was like barely coming to grips about wandering around town naked before being asked why you were wandering around town naked.

    She looked at him funny after a few seconds of awkward silence.

    “It's okay,” he finally muttered.

    “Oh.” She simply nodded and stirred a fry in her ketchup. “Personally, I'd love the attention.”

    Of course.

    “I'd use it to bring attention to issues I'm concerned about.”

    Uh huh. He had many conversations like this. The “what if?” scenario that previous champions warned him about. It reminded Lucas of the questionnaire portion of beauty contests. What cause are you behind? What is your biggest regret? What is your greatest desire? What would you do if you were the winner of the pokémon league? They were nothing more than questions with fake answers that sounded good out loud but were unattainable in real life.

    It made him think. A fourteen year-old should never be handed that much power. Once you have it, you don't know what to do with it or you end up wanting more of it. And once you get more power, then what? He hadn't really done anything with his supposed power. He was kind of apathetic toward it; the fame wasn't what he wanted. He wasn't eccentric like the others, didn't use his power to fulfill outside goals. He knew it should be something he should take advantage of–good things don't last forever–but there was this voice, a voice telling him that he got this far without this power and he damn sure didn't need it.

    “I suppose it's scary to be given all that power.” It was like she was reading his mind. “I ...” Dawn trailed off but stared Lucas directly in the face. “I have to ask, Lucas. What was it like to ... to–”

    “Out with it,” he muttered. He knew where this was going.

    The sudden interruption startled her. “He was ... power-hungry, wasn't he?”

    “He” was Cyrus. Lucas met him when he was eleven. He didn't know it was Cyrus at the time, just some odd man in a trench coat. Team Galactic's presence had increasingly become more apparent after this. Maybe he started to pay attention to them after the fated meeting – who knows? It was never Lucas looking for trouble; he simply ran into it. Regardless, he became “that child,” that child with a vendetta against Team Galactic, according to Cyrus, the media, his mentors ... everyone, really. But he never had one, a vendetta. He didn't even know what the word meant at the time. He was just confused. He had no idea what was going on, but everyone assumed he did and attacked or praised him for it. Where was everyone else? Why didn't anyone help him? He was a kid, a stupid kid. Why did they put the weight of the world on his shoulders?

    Dawn watched Lucas struggle with his thoughts, his eyes darting. His shoulders tensed, his forehead crinkled, his fingers fidgeted along the line of his cap. She sort of regretted asking but she had to know.

    Straight off the bat, Dawn knew she wanted to focus her research on the relationship between trainer and pokémon. Rowan's focus was on pokémon evolution, so she took it a step further and based her research around the effect human interaction had on pokémon evolution. Would domesticating pokémon make them weaker than their wild counterparts or did this make them stronger? More importantly, how does human interaction trigger maturation to the point of transformation? Maybe it was just an excuse to people watch. It sounded smart though, didn't it? Dawn had to split her focus between pokémon and humans. You learn things from other humans.

    Cyrus had a tough childhood, she read. Extremely brilliant as a child but his work was often ignored or criticized. No love, she figured, and no friends. Then he went ... “crazy,” but he made it seem so normal. He was cool, so calculating, that people actually believed in his ideals of a new world. She never understood that. It sounded too complex trying to start from scratch rather than improving on what was already given to you, but to each his own.

    She made theories. He wanted to create a new world to frame his attitude toward life. He had good intentions, she supposed. No more fighting, no more strife, but no love, no compassion, no joy. It saddened her that a human could be so empty–could feel so alone–that he thought all emotion was futile and that the world would be better without any feeling whatsoever.

    When you're a researcher, you start to see red flags. Most flags have to do with pokémon. Foaming at the mouth and a suddenly vicious nature may indicate an onset of rabies. When plant pokémon start to sprout flowers, it usually means that they are preparing for their next stage in evolution. Things like that. But Dawn was also a people researcher given her specialty, and it was hard to miss the connection.

    “He was,” he finally answered. “He had big goals. Bigger goals than most people could even dream of let alone go through with.”

    “He was close,” she said quietly.

    She watched him bite through his burger quite aggressively, ripping at the bun with his teeth. She watched his Adam's Apple move as he swallowed his food. He ran his tongue over teeth. “I wouldn't say power-hungry. He knew he needed a lot of power to go through with his plans. I don't think he cared if he was powerful in this world. Only if he was powerful in–”

    “In his world,” Dawn finished.

    “Yeah.”

    Dawn could feel her next question burning on her lips. “What was he like?”

    Lucas repeated the information Dawn already knew. He hated any type of emotion, positive or negative (ignoring the irony in hating emotion), and he was calculating but calm. A man with good intentions (they both supposed) but overzealous in his execution. Misunderstood as a child. Unappreciated as a child. Antisocial. A genius.

    “I can't help but wonder,” Dawn began, fiddling with her split ends, “that if he got the attention he wanted as a child, would he have turned out the way he was? If someone, somewhere, gave him the credit, the attention he craved, would he have become what he is? Wherever he is?”

    Lucas stared at her, the sound of kricketot chirping in the background.

    “I heard he had no friends. I heard he had no one to talk to.”

    Where was she heading with this?

    “He didn't want to befriend his pokémon either. They were just sources of power. He wanted that power.”

    Why was she babbling on about this?

    “And because he didn't know what friendship felt like, because he didn't know what it felt like to have someone truly interested in you, he figured starting over would be better than working on what he already had.” Dawn started to feel sick to her stomach and pushed her plate of food away toward Lucas. “Right?”

    Why was she getting so riled up from this? He noticed the pitch in her voice was getting higher and higher, and she seemed breathless. “I ... You would know more about that than me, Dawn,” Lucas answered, a bit bewildered though he hid it well. His hunger pains disappeared quickly too. “That's not my specialty, like you. Pokémon and human interaction, I mean. I don't need to understand humans. You know my emphasis is on battle–”

    Right?” she stressed the word again.

    “... Right,” he replied, not so much in agreement than to appease her.

    “If someone is so misunderstood, so friendless, so ignored, despite being so brilliant, wouldn't it seem like these sorts of actions would be repeated? Maybe not to Cyrus's extent but wouldn't they seem mentally unbalanced?”

    “I don't know. Each situation is different. Every person is–”

    “You know as well as I do that when you recognize certain patterns in pokémon, certain outcomes are sure to follow,” she interrupted again. “Nature proves this time and time again. What makes this any different with humans, Lucas?” Dawn wasn't sure when her hands flew up from her thighs to grip the edge of the table so roughly that it shook in her palms.

    He was at a loss for words. “Where the hell are you going with this, Dawn?” The tension, the concern that rested in the creases of her forehead, jumped into the pit of Lucas's stomach and kicked him repeatedly. He hated that feeling. He did his best to remain calm. There was no point in agitating her further.

    Dawn paused, unsure how to say it. She observed him, trying to separate her emotion from her subject – and failing at it. “I'm worried.”

    Lucas didn't respond, unsure if she was going to finish her statement. “... About?” he finally asked.

    She bit her lip before replying: “About ... you.”

    And like that, it all became so clear. The reason why she brought Cyrus up was because–

    “I don't miss red flags, Lucas.”

    –she thought he was turning into him. He was Cyrus, at least in her eyes.

    Lucas had never felt so pissed. “You are so ...” Again, he was at a loss for words. He stood up quickly and grabbed his backpack from the side of the table, swinging it over his shoulder. Dawn remained sitting though she looked up toward him. He felt his face flush with anger. “I have never been so – I don't even know what to say to you.” Customers sitting at other tables turned toward their direction.

    “Don't leave,” she begged. She stood up and reached over, resting her hand on his shoulder. “Lucas, I just–”

    He brushed her hand away. “Just what? You think I'm a miniature version of him?”

    Their scarves blew in the bitter wind. Dawn shivered but didn't reply. Lucas scoffed.

    “That's what I thought.” He pushed the strap of his backpack further up his shoulder before lacing his fingers behind his head. He watched her open her mouth in response, but she stopped midway to lick her lips. “Wait. Let me try to figure this out. Your question is if a child–someone around our age, I assume–is raised in a neglectful environment, that may lead to a lonesome, depressing, or emotionless adulthood?”

    “I ... guess.”

    “Your background research involved delving into Cyrus's life story. You found that his personality and background matches mine. Is that right? We're both scarred in some form because of lack of adult presence, him with his school career, and me with the whole Team Galactic scandal. We were left to fend for ourselves because the supposed adults around us were just too stupid to help us. We don't like talking to anyone because of that. We don't trust anyone, not even our companions. Is that what you figured out?”

    Dawn turned her attention toward the murmuring patrons around her before ogling him. “Kind of.”

    “And your hypothesis?”

    “Don't patronize me, Lucas.”

    “Answer me,” he demanded.

    His tone startled her. “I think you might go down a similar path like he did.”

    Lucas, unlike Dawn, didn't seem aware of the growing interest in their conversation from bystanders. “And let me guess. Your experiment–and correct me if I'm wrong–is if there is human interference ... that's your researcher's emphasis right? Human interference with pokémon? You want to see if messing with me, getting into my business, will change me. By becoming my 'friend,'” he made sure to put emphasize this word, “you think you'll be able to alter my 'natural' course. Am I hitting the nail on the head?”

    No response.

    Lucas raised an eyebrow. “Right. Good luck with that. I'm out.”

    Dawn hesitated, legs planted to the ground, as Lucas turned around toward the exit, a heavy pound with each step. “Lucas!” she managed to call out after being baffled for a few seconds. “Come on!” She started to follow him.

    Lucas quickly spun around. “Don't,” he said. The tension in his voice somehow made her stop. He turned back around to walk. He was so angry with himself. He gave her a chance – he actually allowed someone to come into his life, and he almost fell for it. He almost let a tiny piece of him go to that ... to that–

    A bump to the shoulder threw him off balance slightly and made him stop in his tracks. He looked up. A man, thick but short, was standing in his way, blocking the only exit – a small gap in the metal railings that surrounded the outdoor café. It was Eldritch.

    “Hey, kid.” The sailor's voice was gruff. “What's the rush?”

    It had now been three days since Lane had entered his “slumber state.” Eldritch was tired as ffffffft (let's assume that's a word), and, well, thought? He could still think? He was running on ten hours of sleep. Things were starting to get ... hazy. He didn't feel tired. He knew he was tired, but he felt like he was on a high. You know, that feeling you get at the peak of a sugar rush. That feeling you get when you're running on ten hours of sleep for the last three days. And yes, he was aware that he used his situation as an analogy to explain his situation, and if he had gotten more sleep–let's say, fifteen hours because that's a nice wholesome number right there, fifteen–he probably could have been more creative. But he didn't. So there.

    “Nothing,” he heard Lucas mutter, his eyes returning back toward the concrete floor.

    Eldritch looked down the direction Lucas had come and saw that girl–Dawn, Sunny, something that had to do with the sun–at one of the metal tables that sporadically decorated the café's garden. She looked worried but mystified at the same time. Oh, women. His wife had bothered him to go eat. Go, sleep, Eldritch. Go eat, Eldritch. Remember to breathe, Eldritch. Always nag, nag, nag about remembering to live.

    “Girl problems?” he asked.

    “You could say that.” Lucas shook his head and walked past Eldritch. “I'm sorry. I'm going.”

    It took him a while to contemplate those two words. He blinked, finally understanding. “Now wait. Going?” Eldritch quickly spun around (mentally, he went “whee!” as he felt his brain jolt about in his skull) and grabbed Lucas by the shoulder, pulling him back and stopping him. “Going home for the night?”

    “No, going for good. I'm sorry, sir, but I can't stay. Honestly, I'm not finding anything new other than what you guys already know, but if it'll help ...” Lucas swung his backpack around and dug through it, pulling out a red notebook. He proceeded to open it and looked it over a few times before ripping out a few pages and handing it to Eldritch.

    “Well, it's your call, kid.” Eldritch took the papers and folded them up. “I can't stop you. At the same time, I can't say I'm not a little deflated.”

    Lucas zipped up his backpack. “Yeah ... Good night, sir.” He brushed past Eldritch.

    “Erm ... Good night.”

    Think of something. Stop? No, too dramatic. Come back? Too desperate. Eldritch wasn't a desperate man. Think faster. Quicker, now, quicker.

    “Hey!” he finally shouted, waving the papers in the air. Work, dammit.

    It did. Lucas turned around, his scarf flapping in the wind.

    Eldritch started to walk toward him. “I need to tell you something.” He felt like a feather when he walked now. Did you know that? Probably not.

    Lucas didn't reply but listened.

    “I know this much, Lucas,” Eldritch began, shoving his hands within the depths of his pants' pockets. He looked up, gazing at the winking stars. “I know I shouldn't even be thinking this – I haven't gotten much sleep, you see but even I know my theory is ludicrous. But I really do think something in that inn did something to my kid. He was playing near the area a few hours before he was hit with that sleeping spell, or whatever the heck the doctors are calling it. He was with his friends, but he was the only kid to look in. So says my wife anyway.”

    He waited to see if Lucas was going to say something, but he didn't, so Eldritch continued. “There's this myth”–he noticed Lucas rolled his eyes–“that Canalave locals like to tell about that inn. It's haunted, they say. Pokémon, demon, who knows. All you can really see is its eyes.”

    “Eyes,” Lucas repeated questionably, disbelievingly.

    “Los ojos,” Eldritch said, pointing to his. He had no idea where the Spanish came from. “Canalave is a strange town, Lucas. That’s the first thing you gotta know about this town. You hear stories about people going missing, people going under deep spells like this, but you never really think that they're true. They're just myths, something to pass the time.”

    Lucas nodded.

    “And again it might be because I'm delirious, but I kind of believe this one. Within Harbor Inn is something evil and hates being bothered. I don't understand it. What kind of creature is so mean-spirited that it would hurt a child who bore no ill-feeling toward it? I digress. I suppose that doesn't matter. What matters is figuring out what's wrong with Lane.

    “I trust you, you know. Not because you're some hotshot trainer, or because you're a prodigy, or because you're a brilliant researcher following in Rowan's footsteps”–there was another eye roll from the kid–“but because I know how you are deep down. I could see how dedicated you were three years ago when I first met you. You were determined. A little confused about what you wanted to do, sure, but determined. And I suppose being smart helped, too. You didn't like giving up.”

    Eldritch grinned, pulling a hand out to run it along his unshaven jawline. “But I know you don't trust anyone anymore. Bad things happened to you and people expected you to recover quickly. They tell you to repress it, don't they, because showing pain isn't an inspiring quality. You started to look at the world differently because of what happened to you. I see you lost hope in most things.” He paused thoughtfully, staring Lucas straight in the eye. “But don't lose hope in solving this. For me. For my boy.”

    ~ ~ ~​

    They got off the train, Lane, Julie, and Squish, in front of a cottage. They were only meant to stay for a few minutes, but they got distracted by a video playing the background noises of a sci-fi show. The television was mounted in the wall of the cottage. Lane could reach into it and feel around, grabbing at sound effects. He managed to catch a “whizz!” noise and brought it out, careful not to crush it in his palm. He released it, and the whizz swirled above their heads. It sounded like a high-pitch whistle.

    Crap! That was the train leaving!

    “Hurry up, Lane!” shouted Julie, chasing it down with Squish perched on her head. “It's gaining speed!”

    Lane had taken his socks off earlier because they got wet from playing the train's game, and he was trying to force them on his feet, though the wetness made it all the more difficult. He tripped, falling flat onto his belly, one sock gripped in his hand and the other stuck around his toes. Julie stopped, turned around, and ran back to help him. The train left.

    Of course that would happen. Socks are the leading cause of people being late for trains.


    Last Revised: April 27, 2011
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011
  13. Concept

    Concept Führer of Fun

    This is one of those things that I saw and subscribed to with the intention of reading and then never got to reading then you posted a new chapter and I made time to read it. Very glad I did. The later chapters seemed to have less of the stream of conciousness writing style, which is a shame because it works very well. Although the bit about socks was brilliant :).

    All in all, this is one of the very few fics I haven't got bored of within a chapter or two, so well done. Keep it up :).
     
  14. Wordy

    Wordy #FlorrieSlayage2014

    Liek, hai and stuff.

    First thing's first- they totally wasted that Cresselia event in the games. It would be so cool to have something linked with Darkrai and la-di-da-di-da, but instead we just snatch the Lunar Wing and leg it. Well, we could've at least seen Darkrai in some form. Also, Squish reminds me of Finding Nemo.

    La~ The beginning bit is so sweet, it seems like Lucas is 'studying' Dawn. Weight was funny. However, the other bit is also Lucas- so on one hand we have a teenager looking at girls like ordinary teenagers do, and on the other hand we have the Champion, some great bastion of glory whom everyone else looks up to, and is also slowly becoming a Cyrus-ish kind of person. Why has nobody ever done this sort of thing before?

    Then we have our dare, and that 'Francis' character that everybody's both been and met at some point in their lives. What a malicious creature you're making out the being in the Harbor Inn to be. I'm not going to say Darkrai, because it won't be so simple. I hope. I enjoy being surprised. We all also love to dress up as our heroes- you really get into the mindframe of a child, don't you?

    Now we meet Lucas. We know he has Lucario. Lucas and Lucario. Tee hee. Will we ever meet more of his Pokemon? He really does just treat them as tools. I can imagine neglected Infernape sobbing in the corner. Then again, they aren't Muddy and Flare, are they? The dream was so strangely cute, and the spelling test bit was just adowable.

    Chapterre 3. Dawn seems so sweet and kind. Hmm. Spear Pillar. Did she go there? Can't remember. Mesprit probably appeared in front of her, though. Her whole analysis of Lucas was touching, and I can just imagine her piping up 'Lucas would like to help too!' in a happy-go-lucky way. Dark Void... Void. So different to Powder or Yawn. Void creates a rather grisly image, doesn't it? 'The Princess' will probably look like Julie or something. Or maybe Dawn.

    The perverted Piplup is really amusing. Because Dawn is obviously more 'emotional,' then I can't wait to see some of her Pokemon like that. Hmm. I'm interested- there are less actual physical creatures here, aren't there? The overlying threat of Darkrai, yes, but not really much presence. Eldritch mentions Onix, but then Pip is the first Pokemon we actually see properly. As for the alphabet thing- totally the funniest thing so far. I would be like Dawn- turn everything into chocolate. Well, not everything, but yummy! She's really like me- got her life planned out and everything. I want one child who will be a girl, and will do her homework when she's told. And stuff.

    Barry! I Did Saturn turn Team Galactic into a legitimate venture at the end, or something? The Galactic Corporation sounds totally radical. And it's Julie at the end. Wowee. Chapter Four, and jeepers. Lucas is getting mad at himself for clenching his teeth, and so forth.

    Dawn is actually really quite clever, isn't she? I think she may be playing up the denseness a tad, or maybe she finds some things adorable. But all this talk of 'red flags' and such is very insightful. And then- he's in denial. Turning into the man you defeated, all very poetic. You're an amazing writer.

    And then Eldritch proves to be very smart as well. Next thing you know, Barry will pull out an IQ of gazillion. Or maybe just insightful. You don't need smarts to be good with people- something Lucas lacks.

    And then socks. Socks. Lane is really... (trying to think of a synonym for cute...) cute. (I give up.) I know I say this a lot, but 'socks and trains.' So beautiful is the mind of a child...

    Says the person who was a child seven years ago. Hmm. This is really good- keep up the good work! You may have a winner on your hands here. I'll also be here, like some annoying stalker, waving a little flag. With a picture of CRASHER WAKE on it. It would be so funny to see Lucas's reaction to CRASHER WAKE. Narm. Will we see Byron soon? It is his town, he seems to be very down-to-earth and caring...

    Yeah. Toodles!
     
  15. Sireath

    Sireath The world's a stage

    I see you first started posting this back in November - wow! I'm surprised this doesn't have more reviews than it already does. A crying shame in my opinion.

    Anyway, I'll go ahead and tackle these one chapter at a time, shall I? :)


    CHAPTER 1-

    One of the first things I noticed while reading was the very conversational voice you gave the narrator. Whether done on purpose or by accident, it really drew me in as something that I hadn't seen before. The choice of phrasings or the numerous parenthetical statements give such life to your work, that the narrator becomes a character in his/her own right. I would assume this was a specific choice you made as it is consistent throughout the fic thus far.

    However, while I do love that you are employing this technique, I've also seen that you've fallen prey to some of its pitfalls that cause other writers to take the more standard approach. As the narrator is a 3rd person entity, writing in a familiar way causes you to naturally want to shift into the 2nd person (using “you” when referring to the reader). While this would not necessarily be bad to write in second person, it is a mistake when you flop back and forth between the two. Also, you have a similar problem with switching from past tense to present tense in some places. You have to keep your choices consistent, or your work's integrity will suffer for it.

    Your description is marvelous here, whether you're describing your characters or the world around them. it's all very nice.

    At first, I wasn't sure whether or not I'd enjoy reading something centered around a young boy (I usually find these characters to be portrayed very poorly and generically in many fics I have seen), but you handle the younger characters very well, showing their more innocent and more conniving sides with a good balance. I had no trouble whatsoever believing that the character really was a little boy getting annoyed by a whiny girl or getting jealous of a bully with the best trading cards. By the way, the Santa story at the beginning was absolutely brilliant and was a great introduction to Lane.

    I really like this sentence. It never even mentions eyes, but you know exactly what it's talking about.

    I would omit the “Not” at the beginning of the sentence. It is confusing and (I believe) contradicts the intended meaning.


    It’s “more clear” or “clearer”


    Technically, this whole thing is a run-on sentence, but I get that you chose to have the “-thump!-”s inserted between thoughts. I totally get that and respect that. However, the “right” at the end of the last thought needs to be followed by a question mark (giving you “right?-thump!”) or else you lose the integrity of the question.


    It’s “badly”


    You need a “was” between the “frame” and “too.” It looks as though you probably left out that word out to take advantage of a parallel structure between “the door was locked” and “his frame was to weak,” but in order for that to work, both phrases would have to apply to “to push down the door,” which they don’t in the strictest sense. All that jargon is to say: put in "was" :)


    I believe it's "Hon" as in Honey. However, since it's part of a dialogue, it could be you meant to alter the spelling for a phonetic alternative.


    CHAPTER 2-

    I thought you handled the mother’s discovery of her son’s state very well. I think there could have been a bit more done to show her getting progressively more worried as the scene went on, but it honestly works fine as is.

    The dream caught me off guard at first. I was like, umm… where are we? What’s going on? Especially when you said, “…and the manager adopted a baby girl from some place called Hoenn.” Haha! I was thinking, wow, that’s a pretty big story to sum up in one sentence. Then I figured out it was a dream, and all those random, nonsensical things made sense. You handle the irregularities of dream-logic very well, and your dream segments are very entertaining.

    The tire pressure line just made me crack up!

    Okay, the whole rope thing is wonderful to begin with, and then you made it a running joke in the later chapters. This rope joke is magical, I hope you know that. To me it embodies the whimsical tone of this entire fic that there is no greater evil than rope. :)

    Once you get into the hospital, I was a bit confused at first as to who was present in the room and what conversations were merely being remembered. That being said, I think that if you are quoting someone (or stating a person’s thoughts from their point of view), you should italicize. This would help separate narration from memories of conversations and help your readers keep track with what is going on more easily.

    I really like the father’s character. The thoughts and emotions that you have given to him are real and relatable, and you really were able to capture the protective father who cannot help but worry constantly about his child. I thought it a very intriguing choice to make the mother the one who is trying to keep the father calm and rational, and I think it really helps bring life to their husband and wife dynamic.

    The “and” in the middle of this sentence implies that the phrases on either side of it need to be of the same type. Since “being such a handful” is a participial phrase (using –ing), you need to make the phrase following the “and” into a participial phrase as well. A suggestion I could offer for this instance would be to replace the bolded words in this excerpt with “always needing to be either.” The resulting sentence would be:
    It was dusty in here, spiderwebs hanging from the ceiling, but with Lane being such a handful and a never ending basket of laundry always needing to be either washed or folded ... Ah, it wasn't the time to think about what she had to do later.


    “Will” should be replaced with “would” to keep everything in the past tense.


    “Forehead” should be “Foreheads.”


    This is one of those spots I was talking about where I think you should italicize. Since your narrative is in third person, you should technically change this to "she was no doctor." However, what you were trying to do here was stay with the flow of the mother's thoughts. Therefore, by italicizing this phrase, you would separate it from the third person narrative and show that it is a direct thought.


    "Don't know" implies "I don't know." This statement would mean that your narrative voice is actually a person capable of referring to his or herself in the first person. While you could make the choice to do this, you would have to make it consistent across the entire fic. Therefore, you should probably just change this to a third-person statement, and then (to avoid starting to sentences in a row with "he") combine it with the next sentence. My recommendation would be: "Why? He didn't know - didn't have money."


    I believe this should be "had preferred" to match with the "for awhile now."


    The "has" should be "had" to keep the past tense, and I would put quotes around the trainer statements for clarity. I get the feeling you might have left those off for a specific reason, so whatever you go with is cool.


    You have commas after every other item in this series, so (for consistency's sake) I think there should be a comma after "mouth."


    Since the second sentence is continuing to describe the sky, I think you could combine the two with a dash: "purple - like"


    This is another direct thought that I think would be best italicized.


    I get how in this dream, run-on sentences (such as the quote in this excerpt) can be justified, and I believe even work to the benefit of the dream sequence, however, "through the door a voice" just struck me as unnecessarily odd. If you are adamant that the phrase stay that way, I can respect it as a stylized choice. However, I think it could best be rephrased in a more concise manner.


    "bad" should be "badly." I suppose this, and the other instance of this mistake that I found, could be justified in one way: if you are purposefully using the word "bad" incorrectly to keep the voice of the narrator in a more common speech vernacular. However, if it was not done with this specific intent, it should be fixed.


    I chose this excerpt to show an example of where you could italicize to show a remembered quote (or a quote heard inside the father's head). Italicizing allows the audience to better differentiate the quote from the immediate physical reality of the scene.


    "thinks" should be "thought"; "guesses" should be "guessed"; "were" should be "was"
    The first two are to keep it in the past tense, and the third is to match the singular "it."




    CHAPTER 3-

    I really like the work you do here with establishing the relationship between Lucas and Dawn, especially given how important it will be to have that relationship already set up in the next chapter.

    Squish is, of course, adorable. I really liked how you implemented the Castform as a character. You continue the dream sequence in a more coherent manner in this chapter, but retain every bit of the randomness. I am very interested in seeing what happens to Lane as he traverses his own little world.

    A very pretty sentence here. I do enjoy a sentence with a bit of a musical feel to it.

    The choice to make the Piplup a total pervert is great. It gives you a whole other element to play with in the midst of the conflict between the two human characters, and allows for a good amount of humor which you take advantage of. And of course, I am happy to see that rope is still, in fact, evil! :D

    I adore this logic. It just made me fall in love with Dawn’s peculiarity.

    I like that you’re not afraid of a good, long parenthetical statement. It really works here and gives life to the rapid-fire workings of Dawn’s brain.

    I like how the chapter ended with the introduction of Julie. It might seem insignificant to merely have another character in the dream, but I am very interested as to if there are specific reasons why she is the one familiar person he has actually come into extended contact with in his dream, and if there is some significance to her outside his dream as well as within.

    "He glared" and "so cold" do not go together grammatically, so you have to choose which one to keep. You could say:
    "He glared-so coldly"
    or "He gave her a glare-so cold" (the important thing if you want to keep "so cold" is that you have it apply to the noun, "a glare")


    "awaken" should be "awoken"


    "snug" should be "snugly"


    The comma after "unaware" should be removed; "past" should be "passed"; and "it" should be changed to "they" to match the plural "lessons."


    This is a run-on sentence. The best way I can see to fix it would be to insert a comma between "simple" and "yet", change the comma following "attention" into a period, and then remove the word "and" and capitalize "she." The resulting sentences would be:
    The title was simple, yet it effectively caught Dawn's attention. She grabbed and pulled it out, sending up dust that made her nose twitch and Pip sneeze and jump out of her hold to waddle on the floor."


    "makes" should be "made" to keep it past tense.


    I think you meant to say "sigh."


    "sit" should be "sat."


    I would omit the "what" as it isn't necessary and only clutters the sentence.



    CHAPTER 4-

    Once more, I really like what you are doing between Lucas and Dawn. Her attempts to create a solid friendship between them, and his dismissal of her create a really good dynamic between the two. I really liked his decision to go with her based off of her look of premature disappointment. It was really a touching moment.

    The dream continues to entertain with its nonsensical nature. I really like the energy that Julie is bringing to these scenes, and I am interested to see what direction they take.

    Yes. I love the sheer and utter randomness. It’s perfect.

    The conversation between Lucas and Dawn about Cyrus is very intriguing, mainly in what it reveals about Lucas’s character. It is a good viewpoint on what it would do to a kid to actually be forced to do all those things the RPG characters do.

    Exactly my point above. I know that Pokemon portrays their characters around the age of ten to appeal to their best marketing demographic, but its honestly quite ridiculous to put a kid that young through adventures like that and try to say they won’t have serious problems… or just flat out get themselves killed.

    The rest of this scene was beautiful. Both characters had only the best intentions, but because they clashed, it just caused the entire scenario to plummet. The audience can both be fully behind Dawn’s best intentions to try and save her friend and fully understand Lucas taking offence at what he sees as a lack of trust and an insult to his integrity. It probably will also cause him to wonder if what she says could be true, causing him to do who knows what. Very nicely handled indeed. And then, of course, we see the father finally reaching the end of his rope to where he tells Lucas about the Inn. I look forward to seeing what happens when Lucas goes (assuming he does, of course).

    Yay! Once more, the warped logic of this fic has made me smile! :)

    It’s “stantler”


    “has” should be “have.”

    A final note that could be an error or might not is the issue of capitalizing the word "Pokemon" and the names of Pokemon. I believe it is standard to capitalize in these instances, but it could be you made a choice not to. Just make sure you are consistent in this matter, as I think I saw you capitalize in a few places.

    And, of course, you are well within your rights to challenge any "error" I may have found. I am merely seeking to assist and point out things that you might not have intended to do.

    Thank you for a lovely reading experience! :)

    Good Fortune! ;206;
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  16. Breezy

    Breezy Well-Known Member

    I apologize for the late responses. Near the end of school finals so been busy concentrating on that. D: Anyway, ty for the responses and reading. =)

    Yeah, the first two chapters were written wayyyy late at night when I was a bit delusional, so they have more of a ... rambly tangent sort of feel toward it. But the main reason I drifted away from the stream-of-conscious narrative is because chapter 3 and 4 are focused more on Lucas, who, as you hopefully have seen, is straightforward and not into that whimsical jazz. Pairing him with the sort of narrative used in chapter 1 and 2 would be an odd match up. With that said, I hope to bring back that style of narrative with Eldritch to illustrate his sleep deprived state. I'll probably focus on Lane's dream (soon nightmare ...?) as well, using the same writing style. Thanks for reading! =)

    Wordy: =O Thanks for the super long review. <3

    Writing the Lucas diary parts (eh, did I give that away? I think it's kind of obvious now, though lol) is one of my favorite parts. And I have no idea why no one else can see the Lucas-Cyrus connection. The whole "ten year old against the world" thing was always fishy toward me, but the Sinnoh evil Team plot was really ... insane, especially for a kid. I figured the character must have gone through some sort of psychological problems because of it. And here we are!

    Do I? =P I hope so. That's one of my major worries. I'm afraid I'm "adultifying" Lane because I'm used to working with older characters. But it's good to hear that Lane's character doesn't sound all that ... old or whatever.

    Forgot about that, though it makes sense. Lucas means light (Dawn ... Light, tee hee) and Lucario is known for that ... one aura move, right? XP And unfortunately (or fortunately maybe), nah, no Muddy and Flare sort of characters in this story. The closest might be Dawn's piplup. Squish isn't that insane. More cute really.

    In terms of pokemon, yeah, not too many, though since you mentioned it, I'll try to incorporate more beings in the real world. Writing those parts were fun to write; it's a refreshing mix between Lucas's stoic character and Dawn's bubbly one that keeps things interesting for me. The fact that they're both researchers makes thing even more interesting as I get to think of two different ways of how each character would analyze a situation.

    Tee hee. I do have to admit that this was part of a dream I had ... kinda. I was late for something cuz I didn't want to leave the house without socks on.

    Interesting you bring that up. I actually forgot about him. D: But maybe I'll think of something to add him in. Thanks for mentioning it. ^^

    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to highlight areas that you liked or areas that you just wanted to comment on. Gave me a fresh new insight on certain scenes. I'm glad that a few of my themes aren't flying over my reader's heads. So, again, thanks! <333


    Sireath: Wow. That review must have taken awhile to write. D: Thanks so much for the detail you put in. And I'll be sure to edit those errors once I have the free time (which should be later this week).

    Yeah, it was somewhat of an experiment at first because it was a narrative I never really used (chapter four leans more to my regular writing style). I hope to get back into in with chapter 5 or 6 when I focus more on Eldritch and family and Lane.

    The whole "third person -> second person" shift is something I've been arguing in my head ever since I started this story. I don't want to give away the narrative/narrator, and I do want the reader to feel like the narrator is an actual person rather than an outside force commenting. With that said, I probably will fix the second person tenses, along with the present tense areas. Those areas kind of irked me as well.

    Thanks for reaffirming Lane's character to me, too. It's an area I'm still worried about. =) The Santa story was fun to write, too. I did trim it down a bit from its original form as it was extremely ramble-y.

    I agree. Alyson/Lane's mother is a ... complex character, moreso than Lucas's. I haven't really delved into her character (coming in 5 or 6), but she's a weird mix of being overprotective and controlling but finds ways to hide her emotional outbursts (via cleaning or other things). I'm not sure why I'm rambling about this (cuz I, too, realized that it was a skimp area, so I guess I created this reasoning to argue against it), but I suppose there's a reason why she didn't freak the freak out over Lane's state.

    Thanks, lol. =P And it's true!

    My purpose wasn't really to "confuse" the reader (k, maybe slightly lol), but that's what I kind of wanted to do. Eldritch, who had little sleep, was starting to turn ... nuts, what with his babbling on to himself, and I wanted the reader to feel that way, too. Putting italics would have really altered the confused tone that I was trying to set (that and, well, I never did the italicize thought thing anyway. I do make thought clearer in regular narrative, though).

    ... ;) That Lane boy is getting older. Girls have cooties now, but ... well ... ;) I'll shut up now.

    Also, thanks for the lovely comments with this chapter. I don't want to make this response longer than necessary, but they really did make me all the more confident in this story.

    God yes. I said this in my response to Wordy's review, but I never understood the whole logic behind giving a ten year old that much responsibility and barely giving him help with it. D/P really bothered me because I always considered Team Galactic the more "cult-y" team. At least more ... insane with their plans.

    Did I capitalize? I'm in the school of decapitlizing pokemon and a pokemon's name (not unless it's a proper name). Do you think you could point out a few instances? It might be because I consider the name a proper noun or something. Or I might have just done it on accident. ^^;

    Anyway, thank you so much for the time you spent on your review. It means a lot to me that a few of my points are being picked up on (my other worry was that some themes wouldn't be picked up by readers). I hope you continue to enjoy reading it. =)

    Spoiled the last two for the sake of length. =P
     
  17. Stryder

    Stryder Pokedex Reject

    This... is a good Fanfic. Good work!

    I think all the error have been addressed, even with them... i'd give this 10/10.

    Keep writing, you've got me hooked.
     
  18. jirachiman876

    jirachiman876 The King of Kirby

    Ok, so I finally got around to reviewing. And I don't have much to say really. Mostly because it's been said and I don't like being too redundant on stuff like this. And also because I don't have much to say in general, that's how terrible of a reviewer I am.
    Anyway, I do love the narration of it. It's soooo fun to read, because it's like what happens to me in a dream sometimes. I talk to myself and I say the weirdest things. I love it.
    Description is great, but that really ties in with the whole narration thing, because the description aspect is included in that anyway.
    I don't even bother with grammar and typos anymore, mainly because all the authors I read are too good and don't have them anymore, or I read more than one chapter and don't feel like being that detailed with the typos. Anyway, good on that aspect.
    I do like the idea, and I'm interested in seeing where this goes. I like the relationship Dawn and Lucas have, and I do like Lane's little dreamworld here, because I know the train game made NO sense to me.
    jirachiman out ;385;
     
  19. Praxiteles

    Praxiteles Friendly POKéMON.

    Thoughts while reading each chapter. (Because everyone else is doing it.)

    Chapter 1: Your story gives me two decent revelations about writing. The first is that mortal writers are capable of really distinct narrating voices, unless you're one of the immortal classic geniuses in disguise, in which case drat. Otherwise you give me new hope to look for one for my own.

    The other more useful revelation is that description is good for something. You have just enough of it to ornament the narration rather than bag it down, and the overall impression is one of immense vividity. I feel all the things your characters note, as clear impressions that are actually fairly fundamental to the story. I realize that using description as a living, organic part of the events, rather than a working model of your objects and people that you just dump at the beginning of the story, is the only way to go.

    Corollary revelation: your imagination of your stories is really detailed. How clearly do you see the scenes in your head?

    I will gush over your description a while longer. Despite the almost physical vividity you're very good with ideas, and shape them and set them off in really wonderful ways. You cull them directly from the characters' minds. They're fresh and very lucid, and the emotions pop out from them. I have to restrain myself hard from making an herb garden analogy right now. Furthermore, fear, which is most powerful exactly when it's physical (and it's no cruder or less worthy for that) you can do ravishingly. I haven't seen a scene where you're properly terrifying yet.

    I love you. (m-b-m-m-b. It could almost be a song.)

    Chapter 2: The dream section was what urged me to start reading this story in the first place. I saw it in your sig and I thought: I have to see this. The stream-of-consciousness came together really well: Lane's calm mental commentary about the dreamworld, hovering over these everyday life details that just barely skim so many disturbing sights of rapidly-increasing obscenity. The sentences lose basic logical cohesion and gain a sensational cohesion -- you can see the visions descending by smooth degrees into a nightmare, and on that level it makes perfect sense.

    The last time this sentence appaeared, it mentioned all the gradations between those two extremes, day and millisecond. Hmm.

    Girls have beautiflies, boys have butterfrees. *nods* What if boys had dustoxes?

    I like how the recurring themes you put: continuations of the same scene or conversation, an impression or sentence repeated: invert themselves on the repetition. The doctor's dialogue was in quotes the first time, Eldritch's dialogue the second time. I don't even detect intent in it: it's just your narration subconsciously changing direction. I love it when creations turn out this way.

    Very common mistake. The word is 'bated': you've held it down; you're not releasing it.

    Chapter 3:
    Personal notes of either a professor or a Galactic scientist. Seriously. I can't guess any better than that.

    ****. I'm thick.

    I believe that is the most hilarious case of pokémon perversion I've read in my life. I should have noticed when you tried to pass off face-in-breast as innocuous. Lucas is all -- >.> walk away.

    Realer, more vivid, more coherent. There are a bunch of ways to explain this. Laney's dreams are being pulled into a specific direction. Or he's coming closer to the presence of something/someone who works in dreams. Or you got bored of the stream-of-consciousness. Also, you may or may not have meant 'rushed by him' there. I'm still trying to make sense of 'rushed him by' grammatically.

    Oh, wait, you already explained why it's less stream of consciousness.

    Chapter 4: Your fic is full of male characters not understanding or fearing female ones. It's amusing to watch.

    This is the first idea I get that she'd be useful for anything besides the usual Emotional Rejuvenation of stifled Lucas. I wonder... will you eventually elaborate on what the Lake Trio really are?

    I know a fourth answer he'd like. "It's okay."

    I can't entirely resist, being someone who advocates stable mindsets of different kinds than the usual. My reply would be that physiological patterns are based on repeatable physical mechanisms, while minds are capable of existing in very different systems with very different responses to conditions and patterns. A 'normal' mindset has certain natural responses to certain stimuli, and honours certain concepts above others. If an 'abnormal' mind is attuned to a different value system, will it necessarily collapse? In the mind at least one may have freedom to exist and function in whatever ways, through whatever media, and using whatever systems one wants. There is something of self-determination here, too. (I don't know why I'm saying this. It's irrelevant, and Lucas is going to turn out to show the normal destructive response to his isolation and emotionlessness anyway.)

    I will proceed to petition that as a dictionary word. (And force people to get the number of 'f's right every time.)

    As unsuccessful as Dawn's attempt was, I think Eldritch will succeed in keeping Lucas at least on the mission for a while longer. I don't believe he's never wondered what was in that old Inn, and there are many many ways to rationalise it: some powerful psychic pokémon recoiling in hibernation, an excess of sleep fungi, perhaps truly something not documented by the usual books. It would be worthwhile to inspect the place, his logic would agree, if he can stand Dawn a little longer. And his morality looks intact. Do it for the kid.

    One last thing: how did you get Vivaldi of all things as a font? It's not in the usual list. Are there hidden font mechanics in the BBCode that I never wot of? You could PM me if it's too irrelevant.

    Repress the rope! *raises fist*
     
  20. Breezy

    Breezy Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the long review, Luphinid Silnaek!

    I am a lapras after all. Actually, this story is an experiment for me. I'm trying to figure out what my favorite writing style is (which is the narrative I use with Lucas where his thoughts bleed into the narrative). Lane's was fun to write, though. Eldritch's was really amusing because I had to be really, really sleep deprived to get the tone right, but I don't think I could do it through an entire story. Much too tiring. Awesome to read, though.

    It's honestly a lot more detailed in my head than here. I see this story playing as a movie/anime in my head, and I started to try and write it that way. For example, I had a painfully longer description of the sky and setting in the first chapter because I imagined Lane running around with the sun setting and the wind blowing, and I wanted the reader to see exactly what I was seeing. In the end, I realized that the reader is going to imagine something different than what's in my head no matter what. So I ended up scraping a lot of detail that bogged down the story.

    I mean, you pretty much nailed my style when it comes to description. I know there isn't a lot of description compared to a lot of stories here, but I scrutinize each line of description and decide whether stays and goes. I make sure each line of description has a point to it or doesn't stop the flow of the fic. It's kind of why I never really have huge description paragraphs and why a lot of the description is shoved in between lines of dialogue/thought.

    I love that everyone loves this line. =P

    This line was my own commentary on dreams. I like how dreams sometimes come like rapid fire while other dreams seem to last throughout a large portion of night. It's also my commentary on time within dreams and how dreams can skip through several days in the blink of an eye or drag around the same day.

    A lot of the weird lines that I never mention again usually have some sort of inner meaning. I'll probably explain them when I finish this story if no one quotes them in their reviews.

    Then there is trouble afoot.

    I remember my intent behind that section was to make the reader feel bewildered to get a feel for Eldritch's current state of mind. Like LOL YOU'RE CRAZY TOO.

    To be fair, Lucas is kind of both with his ties to Professor Rowan and Team Galactic.

    Nah "rush him by" was a mistake. Andddd ... no comment on the "being pulled in a direction" comment. =)

    As for the lack of stream-of-consciousness in the dreams ... Well, the main problem that I had with the style I used in chapter two was that it was obvious that we were reading dreams. As much as I liked reading and writing in that style for dreams (and it is a style that really makes sense for dreams), it wouldn't have given me the tone I wanted, which is the feeling that the reader was a fourth person audience of the dream instead of, well, just reading it.

    That being said ... I'm not entirely that happy with the dream segments because they do seem more ... realistic than I intended despite the random reasoning for things. I'll go back and retweak the narrative while keeping the same points eventually.

    That is one of the themes, yes. Women and how insane they are (and how men fall for it most of the time).

    Unfortunately, I didn't really plan a Lake Trio subplot. I'll keep it in mind, though.

    I might steal this actually, as it seems more fitting for Lucas' character. Or switch what he originally said in the dialogue as thought narrative and then have him answer with that. Thanks for that. Lol.

    Snipped for room but I love your response. Had I wanted to go down a more creative route, I probably would have attempted (and failed) to write a brilliant explanation like you did. But no. I'd rather go with RAGEEEE Lucas instead.

    Make it so.

    I think some fonts are hidden in the BBcode. I really wanted a snazzy cursive font to start each chapter with. So I did the ole

    PHP:
    [font=vivaldi]LOL WORDS![/font]
    And lo behold, it worked. It probably works with other fonts too.

    And yes! Do not mess with the rope! Thanks for the review again!

    Jirachimannn! Thanks for reviewing!

    I'm glad you're having fun reading it. It's a fun story to write I'll tell you that. =)

    That train game was inspired by some dream I had where I had to do something in the dream that made no sense whatsoever irl but I had a fascinating reasoning for it in the dream.

    Thanks for reading and reviewing! =)
     

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