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raintop
02-24-2008, 08:08 PM
Part One:
A Murkrow and a Haunted House

Darkness was dappled across the forest floor, broken here and there by shafts of light. The thick canopy swayed and rustled in the wind, tossing shadows and light together wildly, giving the whole place an eerie air, almost mystical. Here and there a patch of foxglove or a lone dandelion offered a bit of hope, but it was always swallowed again in the shaded underbrush. The air was heavy with sound, the faint chirping of Pidgeys, the harsh call of a Murkrow, but the noises of Floaroma were long gone. I wound carefully around a thorny patch of nettle, picking my way carefully along the remains of a dried stream. The rocks that lined the bottom were smooth, and there was a thin layer of silt that stood out against the brown forest floor like a golden bridge.

The back of my throat had begun to feel dry, and I hoped desperately that I was right, that this was only a tributary of a larger river. At the back of my mind, I cursed myself for being so stupid, for following Zip into the forest. Zip was my first and only pokemon, a young Shinx with a yellow and black pelt, like a bee. He reminded me of a bee, a bit, always busy with something or another since I had received him earlier last week, and that's what had gotten us into this mess in the first place. We were supposed to be setting off for Eterna City, of course going through the Eterna Forest, and we had been safe and sound on the path so far. That is, until Zip spotted a Starly fluttering off in the wake of my footsteps. Completely enthralled, he'd dashed off straight through the nettles, and I, stupidly enough, had followed him.

I could almost hear my mother now: “See, there you go again, Jodie, forgetting your wits as soon as anything happens.” She would have been right, of course. Why hadn't I just returned Zip to his ball? Only a week and a half as a trainer, and I was already forgetting the basics. You'd think that having a mother who was known far and wide for her exploits would have helped me, but I was utterly useless at this so far. I had already lost my first pokemon, after all! Plus I was stuck in the middle of a forest that looked haunted, with shadows as thick as feathers, and rustling in the bushes. Were they pokemon, or some other creatures, waiting to attack? It almost seemed a possibility in my current state.

I shook the though away with a shudder. My throat was getting dryer by the instant, and my stomach was twisting uncomfortably with hunger. What time was it? Well past time for lunch, certainly. With a sigh, I settled down on a moldy log by the edge of the steam. It was leaning against a boulder, causing me to have to shimmy steadily down until I found a place where there had once been a branch. The bark cut uncomfortably into my side, but it was better than nothing, so with a resigned look, I began rooting through my rucksack. I had brought plenty of food, but with Zip and me both the supplies had dwindled. They looked depressingly low now, and I wondered if they would last long enough to get me out of here. Not unless I found a river, surely; we had run out of water about a mile back.

Grabbing an apple, I munched contentedly for a moment, letting the juice flow down my throat with pleasure, moistening my soft palate. My brain began to clear as the food entered my system, and I began to formulate a plan. I would have to continue along the riverbed, for at least a while, to get my bearings, but I supposed I could go a bit around it into the woods, so that I could look for Zip. I was almost certain that he had come this way. But, as long as I followed that belt of sand I would be okay. All rivers left the forest at some point.

Suddenly, a shriek resounded through the air, and everything went black.

Yellow claws raked my arms, and I couldn't see for a long moment. A wordless shriek formed on my lips, but my attacker, a large bird that I could not identify at such close quarters, was undisturbed by the noise. My voice battled with it's harsh squawking, giving it's identity away: a Murkrow. Terror flickered somewhere within me as I remember my father saying that they go for the eyes. I raised my arms to ward off the continued blows, but I was too afraid to fight back. A barrage of beak and claw tore at my shoulder, and I could see the red blood blossoming on my shirt, though none of the wounds seemed to be gushing blood. I was knocked backward off of the log, and desperately clawed at the ground, trying to find shelter beneath it. The bird was making a quite unearthly noise now, a cross between a siren and a deep growl. I had stopped screaming, and all that blossomed within me now was a deep sob, as I crawled further into the lee of the log. The Murkrow continued it's ruthless assault, tearing at my ankles. I hastily pulled them back towards my body, making myself smaller and smaller. It advanced quickly, moth opening as it rushed for my temporarily unprotected face...

With a loud crackle, the Murkrow was enveloped in white light. It let out a horrible noise, fluttering maddeningly in the sparkling tendril of lightning. It's wings spread, finally, and it swooped off, feathers singed, and still cawing in pain and terror. I shuddered, wondering where that light had burst from. Surely the creature that had defeated such a foe must be even more terrible. A low, growling noise hummed around the log, and I forced myself further back, afraid. In a flash of yellow, I was again attacked, and nearly blinded by my terror.... My hands met silky fur, and all of a sudden I realized...

“Zip! You came back!” I cried happily, my voice crackling on the edge of a sob. Zip purred and pushed himself further into my arms, orange eyes shimmering.

“Shinx,” he meowed matter-of-factly, as if to say 'of course I did'. Then he jumped out of my lap, tail flicking to the side. He wanted me to come out. I wiggled from my spot, and he watched as I checked my injuries. None were too deep, and most of them had already stopped bleeding. My face was untouched, luckily, but my arm was scoured with claw-marks. I covered those that were still bleeding with the plasters from my first aid kit, and stood up shakily. My whole body was trembling, but I still managed to walk a few steps. Spots flickered before my eyes, and my head felt light, as if all the blood in my body had decided to converge there, but only for a few moments. Zip watched me, concerned, and I managed to give him a tight-lipped smile, knowing that my face had flushed.

“Thank you, Zip,” I whispered to him, giving him a well-deserved pat on the head, “I don't know what I would do without you. Now, come on, we have to keep walking or we'll never get out.” To my surprise, when I took a step along the river, Zip let out a little growl. I looked back, stunned.

“Shi-inx.” he said firmly, flicking his tail again. With no reason to be mistrustful, I decided that I'd better follow him. With a shrug, I nodded, and he trotted off. I followed about a yard behind, worried. We'd soon lost sight of the river between the trees. Still, Zip continued on, and soon a great building rose on the horizon. The walls were in sad shape, sagging, with stones missing, and ivy curled through the tan brickwork. I gasped, never having expected to see such a beautiful place in these dismal woods. An old well rose in the back yard, and my heart swelled with relief.

“There's water, Zip! And shelter!” he ran ahead of me all the way to the door. It was sagging inwards, the knob hopelessly twisted, and as we approached it swung outwards with a bellowing creak. We were too elated to feel that there was no wind that would have caused this, and simply walked in, our steps slowing as we entered.

The room that we burst into was dank, layered so thickly with dust that I had to cover my mouth with the collar of my shirt. Tall, arched windows rose from the wall, creating great shafts of light that cut through the moth eaten curtains. It was here that the dust was more visible, seeming encased in the cold, amber light. My eyes narrowed as I looked around, and the boards below my feet gave a low moan.

"Shinx..." Zip whispered, looking mystified. We faltered, glancing around. Other than the dust, the house seemed nice. A great staircase spiraled up through the roof, some of the steps buckled in. Along the far wall, half hidden by the shadow of the stairs, rose great, ornate bookcases, a beautiful shade of brown wood. It was to these that I began to walk, each step making music rise from the complaining floorboards. My teeth gritted as I looked down, seeing that some of the floorboards looked like they were about to snap. Still, the draw of the books was too much for me, even weakened, to resist, and, with Zip dancing on the tips of his toes, we eventually reached the far wall. I ran a finger along the spines of the books, unveiling colors ranging from evergreen to serra cotta. Zip watched, eyes lighting on each title. Suddenly, when I ran my finger the whole way down, he let out a surprised little chirrup. My eyes were instantly gravitated to the brown, hand-bound book that he was staring at, and I wrapped my fingers around it, pulling it out.

"Looks like a diary, Zip..." I murmured, ignoring the creaks as I strode towards the marble staircase, plopping down on the first step. Dust swirled up around me for an instant, and I let out a monstrous sneeze. Zip was surrounded in swirling gray, almost a veil between us, and even when it cleared the strange feeling remained between us, hanging like a question in the air. I know now that it might have been the place, but it seemed that then we could see all that was bad about one another, my insecurity and fear, and his hyperactive manner and lack of independence. Then the feeling cleared, and he trotted up beside me, paws on my thigh as I cracked open the cover. The pages had faded to an off-white, but the hand was steady. Several pages were missing from the front, and I ran a finger along the sharp edges where they had been torn off. I quickly checked the length, and found that all that remained was the last entry.

"Strange," I murmured, and Zip gave me an impatient glance. I realized with a jolt that he couldn't read the human writing. The thought had never occurred to me, which seemed strange and even a bit stupid. I'd always looked upon him as an equal, well, at least since I had gotten him I had tried to, and it seemed strange that I would have a skill that he did not. Of course, he trumped me in many ways, too, he could create lighting, for goodness' sakes! He decided not to let me contemplate any further, and gave an annoyed growl. I began to read, out loud, having some trouble with the cursive.

October 8th, 1958
Dear diary,
Dad says we have to leave the Chateau today. I know he's been talking about it for moths, but I never thought that we would actually go away. When he told me I started crying, which I know he says I am too old to do, even though I don't think nine years is that old, but it was so unfair! We've lived here since I was a little girl, and there's really no reason to go anyway. I ran outside, and into the yard. The well was just sitting there, all of my flowers hugging it, and I had to go hug it too, now. I will never see it again, now, and that makes me sad. It was a good well, sturdy, and when I climbed on it's sides and played Ring-Around-The-Rosie I never fell off. I had to say goodbye to all of my flowers, too, and I know that they will not survive the winter. How I will miss the cheerful bluebells and those little fairy cups of tulips! To think that I'll never get to play with those little woodland fairies in the thicket by the brook again!

As you know, though, that's not the hardest part. I had to say goodbye to Annette, too, which I can hardly bear. I know she's the reason we have to leave in the first place, but it's not her fault. She has lived here maybe since the beginning of time, and stays around only for the company of me and the warmth of the old house where she used to play with my mother. I don't know why daddy doesn't trust her, she wouldn't do anything to hurt us, she only wants to make sure that the house is in good shape, and that everyone is okay and such. I've seen her get angry at daddy, though, and I tried to calm her down, but she can't be consoled now. Dr. Ivanoff says that it's the place, that she needs to be away from mommy's spirit before she can ever get over the grief of losing her, but daddy won't listen, and he won't let us take her with us. You know what he did, though? He destroyed her pokeball, and said it was because she'd never need an owner anyway. It makes me sore in the heart to think of her all alone, just waiting for someone to come help her out of here...

When I said to her that we had to leave now, she looked really sad. Her eyes kind of crumpled around the edges, and I knew that if ghosts could cry she would... I am going to miss her so. Of course the only thing she can say is 'Gastly', but I imagined that she said
goodbye, Ellen'. I'll never see her again...

I was enthralled, but a sudden crash from a room behind us caused me to leap upwards, eyes flickering around. Was someone... or something... here? I couldn't imagine that people still lived here, but it would be best not to take chances...

“Hello? Helloo-oo?!” I called, suddenly wary. The house was unusually warm. Zip called with me, voice rising reedily through mine. After a moment, though, we decided to just leave it, and began to carefully walk through the house. In some places, the floor was caved in, and in others it creaked dangerously. To our surprise, however, most of the rooms were in good shape. The kitchen was where we finally settled down. The floor was encrusted with dirt, and the wallpaper was peeling down. Depleted island counters ran along the wall, filled with dusty items, their doors hanging limp on one hinge. The oven was in good shape, though it's front was rusted and it's paint was peeling. I sat at a table, half eaten by a Venomoth or a Mothim. The chair creaked warily, but it held, and I sighed, grateful for the chance to further examine my injuries. As I had noticed before, it looked like I had run through a rosebush. The wounds stung, but didn't hurt too badly. Satisfied, I turned my attentions to Zip. He was exhausted, but otherwise fine. I looked him over, and found that one paw was swollen and hot.

“Oh, you poor thing! How were you running on this?” I murmured, examining the pad further. He wriggled in discomfort, “Lie still, Zip, I need to see what's the matter.” After a bit of searching, I found the problem. A thick thorn stuck from the pad, and around it the fur had darkened. Cooing and murmuring to Zip, I began to work it out with the tweezers in my first aid kit. Soon, It had come loose, and the thick green hook lay on the table. I couldn't help but chuckle at my sudden thought.

“Wow, Zippo! A few more like that and we can poke that Murkrow's eyes out.” Zip stared at me indignantly, growling a little laugh before setting on his paw. “That's right, get it clean. I'm going to make us a treat.” I went and pick up a bundle of wood from near the fireplace in the next room, and came back, setting it down in from of the oven. Then I went to my rucksack and brought out a couple of apples. On one of the counters there was a knife rack, and I grabbed one of them, cutting the apples into wedges. There was also tinfoil and a bit of sugar and cinnamon in my sack; I had meant these as a treat for when we made it to Eterna City. I spread the mixture over the wedges of apple, then wrapped the whole bunch in the foil. Zip, done with his paw, sat down on the edge of the table to watch. With a flick of my wrist, I opened the door of the oven.

A whooshing of air filled the room, intertwined with a sing-song cry. White eyes, with only a tiny pupil, wet mine, and purple smog enveloped the room. The rising cries took shape and form, but only in my mind. “JODIE! WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE!” the air seemed to shriek, it's voice high and feminine, cutting the air like a knife, and I backed away. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw a faint sparkle as Zip used charge. My heart skipped a beat as I realized that he was preparing to attack.

“Zip! No!” I screamed, but the sound was barely out of my moth when another bolt of lightning stroked through the air between Zip and the other pokemon, which I recognized as a Gastly. It let out a shriek or surprise, but did not move, and it's eyes seemed to widen. Flashed of brightness lit them up, and I grew cold as I recognized the attack. Mean look! The Gastly, a female, had made it so that Zip could not escape. I wanted to scream, or cry, but inner strength bubbled within me, rising, and I knew that we would have to fight.

“Zip, you weakened her, use leer!” Zip's eyes sparkled, too, and I knew that the effect of his stare would make it easier for us to defeat the Gastly. The creature gave a chattering noise, rising into the air. I watched, horrified, as she swooped down, causing Zip to crouch in fear. Her long, blood-red tongue stretched out, and ran along his fur. A shiver ran through Zip's body, and his eyes widened. My heart was gripped by an icy hand, and I realized that the attack had not only hurt him, but it had also temporarily paralyzed him. The Gastly cackled and rose above him, her voice piercing the room. We watched helplessly as a ball of darkness began to form in front of her, drawing off of the heavy shadows in the room. She hurled it, still laughing, at Zip, and circled high in the air. The blast sent him backwards against the wall, and I could almost feel his pain. Yet, the blow also allowed his limbs to be freed, and I knew what to do, as a lesson my mother taught me came back.

“Zip! Use crunch!” I cried. He nodded, and settled into a crouch, tail flicking, rump wiggling. The Gastly continued to laugh, and when it swooped over his head, he snared it, biting down hard on the solidity behind her shimmering figure. The most horrible shriek of all rose through the air, and she fell, fainting beneath his paws. “Yes!” I cried, as Zip leapt to my side with a proud purr, eyes sparkling. I looked upon the fallen Gastly, frowning thoughtfully. Then something clicked that had not before, in the heat of the battle.

"It must be Annette!" I breathed, my voice coming out thinly. Zip growled, hairs standing out still. I could see in his eyes that he thought I was right, that we had just defeated the lonesome spirit mentioned in the diary. But, now, we had more important things to attend to than the identity of the mystery Ghastly. I scooped Zip up in my arms, cradling him for a moment before sitting at the table to examine his wounds. The shadow ball attack had hit him hard, but it was the flying shrapnel that had really hurt him. Here and there his yellow fur was stained orange with blood. My eyes danced with concern as I rooted through my bag, looking for the supplies I had gotten back home from the PokeMart before leaving. I managed to uproot a couple of potions and a paralyze heal, because I knew that, despite appearances, the effect of the lick had not yet gone away.

...

Mitsuzo-kun
02-24-2008, 08:33 PM
Sorry to tell you, but for a Gastly, your story needs to be at least twice as long. But the quality of your writing is VERY good, and I'm very impressed. Just keep it up. Maybe pick something easier to write for. More informantion can be found here (http://www.pokemonelite2000.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8445), especially in the last post for categories.

=]

Good luck!

raintop
02-24-2008, 08:59 PM
Thank you =D. I can manage at least another 8k in there, though, so I'm just going to go back in instead of changing completely.
---------------------------------

[continued from above!]

As I worked on healing him up a bit, that haze between us, caused by the curtain of dust, seemed to clear and break free. I knew, then, that it had been caused by the place, the dismal house in which many miseries had come and passed in the fifty years between when Ellen left and I came. I knew that Annette was not the only ghost that patrolled these grounds, but I was somehow comforted by the fact. The Chateau was a good place for the sadness and the ghosts, way from other people, in the woods where few would find it. And, as I had just learned, it could bring joy, too. Zip and I, covered in scratches and scars, were undeniably happy at that moment. We had won the battle together, and it seemed that it could only be our destiny to win more battles.

As soon as I had finished healing Zip, I turned and whispered, "Let's go. I'm not in the mood for any other close encounters of the third kind." He grinned and trotted up, seeming happy enough to be finally free of the place. We turned and began to walk out of the kitchen, and I was a yard away from him before I realized that he was not following me anymore.

"Shinx." he murmured, looking at the Gastly, still passed out on the floor, and then turning his gaze to my fanny pack, where I kept my spare pokeballs. It took me a moment to understand, but at last I did. He wanted me to try and catch the Gastly!

"But, Zip, what if she attacks us again?" I asked, uncertain. He put his paw down firmly and looked at her. "Oh, alright, if you want. I suppose it can't hurt..." I muttered, undoing the velcro and bringing out the first pokeball I could find, a great ball. I turned it around in my palm for a moment before pressing the button and tossing it across the floor. IT skittered, and then burst into red light, enveloping the Gastly. I shielded my eyes instinctively, and when I looked up the ball had begun to move side to side as she struggled...

Part 1 Status: Complete
Characters: 21,155
Pokemon Targeted Gastly

Splishee
02-27-2008, 09:03 AM
Hey, I see you put in effort to get the story done better, so I'll be happy to grade this for you!

raintop
02-27-2008, 10:53 PM
Thank you very much ^^

Splishee
02-28-2008, 06:45 AM
Plot

A new trainer named Jodie is exploring a deep, haunted forest with her Shinx, before the mischievous Pokemon decides to run away from her. Frightened and distressed, Jodie attempts to recover her new Pokemon, only to be found and clawed at by a vicious Murkrow. However, she is saved by the apparently lost Shinx named Zip, who soon notices a strange presence deeper into the woods.

Here was where it got good. The characters come across an old, abandoned Chateau, and walk in with high hopes for some water to drink and a place to rest. After coming across a diary entry mentioning an abandoned, lonely Gastly who was left alone in the house by her owner. Spooked by the house, Jodie convinces herself to stay there and make them both a treat, before being shocked by the lonely Gastly mentioned in the book. After a quick battle, Zip convinces his trainer to attempt to catch the ghost Pokemon.

Overall, the plot for a hard level Pokemon like Gastly was pretty darn good! Although it started off painfully average (new trainer losing their Pokemon, being in a forest.. Blah) it delved deeper into the haunting of this Gastly and the creepy house. I loved how you incorporated how the Pokemon had an actual background, a reason to attack out of loneliness, not a simply single-minded, vicious Pokemon wanting a fight. That was very good - the aspect of the background personality for the Gastly was definitely enough to make me like the plot.

Introduction

Very well written, hooked me in straight away. Of course, this is what you want to be aiming for, so well done in this department.

You gave a good clear picture of the beauty and terror of the forest, as well as the reason that Jodie was there. I liked how you delved deeply into her feelings at that particular moment, thoroughly explaining how she felt about losing her precious Zip, looking back on the past and even her mother’s advice. Very well written - but what can I say, you’re a very good writer!

Nothing more to correct or suggest - it was all great!

Length

Gastly, being a hard level Pokemon, should be roughly 20 - 30 thousand characters long. Your story only barely scraped the minimum, coming up at about 21 K of characters. I’ll let you some slack as you seem fairly new to the URPG writing schemes, and you really did try hard to make it adequate; but you should always try and aim somewhere in the middle. It’s a safe length to have if you’re smack bang in the middle, as it’s not too short that could bring the grade down, but not too long to bore the reader to pieces.

Grammar

You know what’s weird? You had practically NO grammar errors in your entire story! Your grammar skills are obviously very well developed, and, although some of your sentences were a little too long and complicated to read, it was fine! That is not a bad thing - it’s great that you’re trying to develop your own unique style of writing, and it’s better to have complex sentences to challenge yourself rather than short, choppy sentences with no particular meanings.

Your main department of grammar issues was mostly the tiniest, yet actually quite big, mistakes. They were spelling errors, and although you hardly had any of them; there were still enough of them that are worth a mention.

Here are some of them:

With a sigh, I settled down on a moldy log by the edge of the steam.

‘Moldy’ is actually spelt ‘mouldy’, and I’m guessing that ‘steam’ was supposed to be ‘stream’?

A great staircase spiraled up through the roof, some of the steps buckled in.

‘Spiraled’ is spelt ‘spiralled’. A very common mistake, but someone with your amount of skill in grammar and writing should be able to avoid these mistakes. Simply typing your story into Microsoft Word and double checking those red lines when you finish writing will go a long, long way!

. My voice battled with it's harsh squawking, giving it's identity away: a Murkrow.

You did this grammar error quite a lot - this one was done twice in the same sentence! It’s a fairly small one, but nonetheless important. When used as possession, the word ‘its’ does not require an apostrophe. That is only in abbreviations, when it is short for ‘it is’. So, since it is the Murkrow’s squawking, it should be its squawking, and its identity.

More about your sentence constructions: you’re sentences are rather long and complex, and believe me - that is an excellent thing. However, you must make sure that in every one of them that you use commas and such adequately, to still make sure the sentence makes sense. Sometimes you overused commas, and sometimes you lacked them; it’s really all about achieving balance and doing what’s just right.

On an ending note, I noticed that you spelt Pokemon without the capital ‘P’. Being a proper noun, it always requires a capital. Keep this in mind for future stories. :P

Other than all that - great work! That was really all that needed to be improved on in the grammar section - everything else was spot on!

Description

Gee; I know you’re a good writer, you know you’re a good writer - is there anything else for me to say? In all areas of description you were spot on, being able to describe appearances (appearance of the house, forest, Pokemon, etc) very well, as well as all the other important senses. I especially liked how you included descriptions for Jodie’s emotions and such, which, to me, is always important in a story.

You succeeded in trying to portray the eerie interior of the house rather well, I may add. Usually, when people try to write about that kind of atmosphere they fall painfully short, but your writing suited it quite well. I actually shivered a little bit when Jodie heard that sound after reading the diary entry - THAT’S quality description!

The only thing I suggest that you try and work on is describing your main character; Jodie. I could picture everything else in your story picture perfect, except for the girl. This is crucial, because readers need to be able to picture your main character the most out of anything in the story, because they need to be able to relate to them in some way. I suggest that you include some kind of facial descriptions or even talk about what colour clothes she was wearing, just to give the reader some kind of idea.

Other than that, well done! A very well written, enjoyable story - description-wise.

Battle

Nice descriptions in there, especially all the Gastly attacks! I especially liked the Scary Face attack, very eerie and intimidating for the ghost Pokemon.

Although, the battle was a little too short for my liking. Even though Crunch, being a dark type move, is super effective against a Ghost type, a reader which has no idea about the world of Pokemon wouldn’t know that. It seemed odd that the battle ended with only one attack on Zip’s part, making it very unrealistic. Perhaps you should have added in a few more attacks (that would have improved length, also) or even just written a short paragraph to show that Dark moves are very powerful against Ghost types would have made the battle a little better and unrealistic.

Don’t take it too harshly - it really did have great descriptions and a great plotline, as well as some thinking and emotions on Jodie’s part, which I loved. But in battling, making it 2-sided and realistic is very important.

Final evaluation

A great story, overall. Although the length and realism of the final battle brought it down a tiny bit, your awesome plot and amazing writing abilities secured the capture. I really enjoyed the story, too! So, overall: Gastly Captured! Good luck with the scary ghosty, and good luck with future stories!