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Stories Write a story to catch Pokemon. A Grader will then decide if it catches or not.


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  #1  
Old 05-15-2009, 03:31 AM
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Default Behind Closed Doors

A/N: Hum. Complete; no longer available. All that whatnot.

If I did my job, this should be somewhat disturbing. If I didn't, please pretend it's supposed to be a parody of Silence of the Lambs (this would make it even more uber-phail D:).

Also, a lot of Cearmada's reactions to the crime are based on the state of crime as we see it in the Pokemon games (read: the fact that the Pokemon world is accustomed to inept criminals).

ALSO. The battle is 4 v. 2, but with a rather even split. Which is not technically two sided, because it took four to get the one, BUT if we take the term side into account... yeah. XD




Behind Closed Doors


Day One


There is a cough, wet and hacking with loose mucus and recent sickness; a rustling of papers and scraping of cold metal chair legs against hard floor; a rasping of dry skin as fingers slide against each other in a domed clasp of hands, and then:

“Tell me your story, Mister Kolbe.”


The man has just asked him a question, but Aidan Kolbe isn’t particularly interested in answering it.

He finds the greying walls infinitely more intriguing than the prospect of retelling a story everyone has heard. Yes, the walls—weeping once-white walls, lightly padded and entirely devoid of even the customary two-way mirror. He glares at them, stripping off layers of peeling paint with his eyes, tracing the irregular stains of umber coffee-splashes and pink-tinged blood-droplets—imagining the pain-glazed eyes of the man whose blood was once spilt. He sees the convulsions of the man’s hands, the spasms of his breathing as burning coffee drips onto his flesh, the shudder of his shoulders and bite of teeth into tongue as he struggles to withhold a gasp of pain—and he lurches further into the fantasy, burying himself in its waves.

It could be seconds, hours, days, before he is roused out of his contemplations and drags his eyes away from the barren façades to watch as the doctor, in his neatly pressed pants and perfectly-arranged paisley tie, clicks a pen’s end, twirling it between his fingers. The pale, blunted fingers twist and flick, rolling the cartridge again and again between their poorly-manicured tips that have spent far too much time poking savagely at a keyboard. Up, down, around—across the knuckles, the pen whirls in a wheel of blue. Aidan finds himself fixated on the ink as it sloshes from side to side, on the clack of the spring against the cartridge.

It irritates him. An itch surges through him, settling in his fingertips to lurk like heavy weights; he wants to grab the pen in his hands, snap it into pieces, then cast the shattered fragments at the ground. Pressure builds in his head, pulsating—but when his hands unfurl, the shackles jingle.

The man looks up at him, bark-brown eyes wide, brows furrowed and slightly raised. Aidan’s face hardens; his jaw clenches ever-so-slightly and his mouth purses as he narrows his gaze, pointedly looking straight past the man’s face and alighting on the curved skin of his balding pate. The silence continues.

And then the psychologist bites his upper lip and looks back towards his papers.

The pen’s chirping resumes.


They sit silently, stagnating in a cold room.

The thermostat is not broken. There is not even a window to be opened. It is not the temperature that makes the prisoners of this room tremble. Most certainly not the temperature, which is uncomfortably high—sweat dribbles from one man’s upper lip, pools in the other’s shirt, as they stare at each other in bleak disdain. They both roast, freezing all the while. The contradiction draped in the atmosphere is feverish and unsettling.

No, it is most certainly not the temperature that makes Doctor Gerard Cearmada imagine icicles forming on his clouded breath, falling through the air, shattering across the ground; it is not the temperature that makes Doctor Gerard Cearmada want to shudder, shiver—convulse until it all goes away. It is not even the worn fluorescent lighting that bathes the wall’s Spartan features in a frozen gleam—or the glimmering metallic surface of the table bolted to the floor—that reminds the psychologist of early morning frost crunching beneath his boots, that carries the jagged-pinprick feel of snow slicing into his face.

No, not the temperature. It is the knowledge that sitting before him is a criminal with a mind more corroded than a leper’s flesh that spears ice into his stomach.


“I think we’re done for today, Mister Kolbe.”


Cearmada is a talentless quack.

He works at Hoenn’s one and only penal complex because all other employers have deemed him hardly deserving of the title ‘doctor’. Adessi Penitentiary, quite possibly the smallest prison in existence, receives somewhere around three new criminals a year—few of which are in need of psychological aide. The most he has done in the past eighteen years of his employment is hand out a few Band-Aids.

Cearmada is fully aware of his ineptitude. Thus, he arrives at half past eight, leads a short group therapy discussion for seven of the thirty-something inmates of Hoenn, sits in a dingy office to write progress reports for each of said inmates, and departs each day at precisely a quarter to six.

In his time at Adessi Penitentiary, little competence has been called for until this particular case. The subject is charged with first degree homicide and attempted grand theft—the former of which is the first case in over seven years. The tale behind the crime is so twisted, so disgusting…. Nothing of its kind has been seen in decades. Not in Hoenn, not in Johto or Fiore or Sinnoh or Orre, or any of the islands or continents in between. The psychological scope of this man’s depravity is so unfathomable that government officials are not willing to risk deporting him to a more secure location.

This man is so violent that he’s already harmed seven orderlies; after seeing the razorblade-induced wounds, rest refuse to attend to him. This man is dangerous. This man is insane. The only thing between Cearmada and this man’s deranged malice is a table, a pair of handcuffs, and plastic-stripped ankles.

Doctor Gerard Cearmada can not deal with this.


Last edited by Scourge of Amaranth; 08-31-2009 at 04:54 PM.
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  #2  
Old 05-15-2009, 05:06 AM
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Default Re: Behind Closed Doors

Day Two


On the second day, he finally brings himself to look at the prisoner.

The man, even garbed in a dull grey one-piece prison suit while handcuffed to a chair, reeks of average. Cool grey eyes, blonde hair just tinged with red, a frazzled beard that makes the inexperienced psychologist in him think “There is a sad man with a sad life and a sad family who returns to his sad little home on the weekends, locks himself in his sad, small office, uses his sad, slow internet for an hour, then departs with his sad friends to attend a Lord of the Rings cosplay as Gimli (in, of course, a very sad replication of movie!Gimli's costume) and completes the night by drinking himself into sad, dismal oblivion at a sad, dingy bar… all in an attempt to avoid his sad, dysfunctional family and sad, dead-end cubicle job”. Nothing in Aidan Kolbe appears capable of the atrocities he committed.

Perhaps this is why Cearmada finds it so difficult to meet his eyes.


“I hope to make as much progress today as yesterday. Shall we begin with the original question? I doubt I need to repeat it.”


They both wear cuffs, Aidan notices (with some amusement) on the second day.

Admittedly, his cuffs are a bit more metallic and clasp his wrists to a chair, rather than one side of his sleeve to another… but really, they have the same purpose. They both bind opposing forces together—they both mash two incompatible pieces to each other. Both combine hot anger with cool metal—because if sleeves had personalities, Aidan is sure they would be stubborn and aggravating. The cuffs are the hands that lift the hammer, driving the screw into the too-small hole; the cuffs are the hands that skin apples and slice chicken, then try to bake the ingredients into an apple-and-chicken-pot-pie. His arms certainly do not belong fastened to a piece of furniture in a room that has no windows, and the psychologist’s sleeves should be flopping freely or rolled to the elbow, not clipped neatly.

He is attempting to continue his contemplation on the nature of metaphorical shackles, but the snoot in the psychologist’s words bites into his thoughts. It irritates him.

The pen, however, is not clicking. His sleep was undisturbed, save for the occasional mutterings of his inmate and the curses of someone who dropped something valuable in their toilet. The handcuff metaphor is now quite soporific. Counting the thinning hairs on the doctor’s head is growing rather tedious. He would much rather be sitting on his bunk, tracing the grooves on the ceiling with bored eyes.

And besides. No one has heard his side before.

He may as well answer the question.


Slowly, painfully, dry lips open. “I—” The word cracks. Saliva strings hang between teeth and lips as the throat clears, purging layers of gravelly disuse from the voice. It begins again. “She was beautiful—so, so beautiful, and delicate. Breakable. Like she’d shatter in my hands. All it took was one—one look. I had to… I needed her.” Pink tongue, coated with spit-bubbles, snakes out. Wets the lips. “The first time I saw her, walking with those two mongrels, I knew. I just knew. She was mine.”


The screen crackles. Blips of snow-chunk static ripple across the television, concealing the upper strip of the image behind a flurried blizzard of electric interference. The glaring colors of the marketplace are lusterless, completely sapped of all life in the greyscale recording.

Grey oranges in card-board logo-stamped boxes sit in the center; wheeling around them are haphazardly stacked cartons of apples and sporadically placed baskets of pears, dotted among cascading banana bunches suspended from the ceiling with ropes. Corn—some with half-shucked cobs—and tomatoes lie entwined upon a table in a slapdash grey-and-lighter-grey color clash. Leafy vegetables, little more than blurry blobs of produce on the pixilated screen, are situated directly beneath sprinklers in neatly ordered rows—save for a cluster of lettuce heads that has managed to roll away.

Basket-laden people and the occasional Pokémon mill through the disorganized assortment of produce, tapping watermelons, squeezing cantaloupes, and scouring strawberries in a quest for perfectly developed, impeccably ripe fruit. They occasionally discover something that shouldn't be there at all—a half-frozen chicken, a pile of Pez tablets. None are surprised, though.

The imaginatively-named Coveplace Market is a mess, but a mess that is well-memorized and well-loved by the citizens of Lilycove.

A young girl enters the screen, skipping lightly and sucking on a lollipop, flanked by two Pokémon. The heat of summer dictates her clothing choice—bare feet, denim cut-offs and a tank top, overlapped by a messenger bag with three split-colored Pokéballs clipped to the strap.

Sniffing at the paper grocery sack in her hand, a tufted creature with four stubby legs that extend from a body bisected with color—light on the forelegs, dark on the haunches—saunters gracefully beside an awkward smaller animal, whose disproportionate head is topped by pointed, black-tipped ears and rests on a fur-patch-bow-tied neck. Her shoulder-length hair shimmers with the same off-white shade as the fat-limbed one’s pelt.

As she meanders through the aisles, the Shinx and Pichu flank her, never straying from her heels. The Pichu, toddling on pebbly paws, pushes a layered ball of lettuce to the Shinx, who kicks it back with the slightest hint of force. The girl reaches to lift a cluster of bananas from their perch on the ceiling, but she is short with youth—her nail-polish-flecked fingertips grasp just shy of the huddled fruits.

A shadow falls over her.



A scribbling of pen. The words are recorded; the listener’s lower lip folds under the pressure of teeth.

“God, her hair—so blue. The fading outline of an old bruise, light and delicate, ever-so-slightly dirty, out of place….”


She looks up, eyes wide in surprise, as a man lifts the knotted fruits from their perch and places them in her hands.

His smile, wide, welcoming, flashes at the corner of his mouth, buried in the rag-doll-hair beard. Words and smiles are exchanged, wrapped in shimmering gift-paper and tied with fluttery bows. And then he is on his knees on the fruit-juice splattered cement, rubbing the Pichu behind the its pointed ears, nodding respectfully to the Shinx, talking to the girl as he offers them all Rare Candies.

With a grin and a flourish of an imaginary skirt, she smiles back.



“She was so above the two mongrels, so much higher, so much purer and more dignified, more elegant than them. She deserved better. I can give her better. She knows I can give her better. But first I had to… had to soften the other two. They wouldn’t—not like it, no, wouldn’t like it, not at all….” Fingers release, smeared with crescent-moons of red. Blonde-red hair shakes; mouth and tongue form a single word.

No.

No.



Alarm shoves him into the cushion-less back of his chair.

“No? No more. Not today, Mister Kolbe.”


Day Three


The only note penned in Aidan Kolbe’s psychological profile says “Favorite Childhood Film: Look at the Dark”. This movie sketches the morose tale of a self-destructive man, the tale of an insane man, the tale of a man so amoral that everything around him withers beneath the force of his depravity—the tale of a man whose twisted face is tainted with the ignominy of his misdeeds. He destroys tens of thousands of lives out of a desire to rebuild his own, abuses the trust and adoration bestowed upon him, and tears apart an entire nation by manipulating its people into pouring their hope onto an old-wives’-tale-turned-religion. The story does not have a happy ending, or a happy beginning, or, for that matter, a happy middle; it is one
continuous storyline of anger and adversity and despair.

The dialogue, the acting—no aspect is anything less than perfection. Alone, the story means nothing; but with the power of the presentation, it lodges Pokéballs in the throats of the viewer, pours gnawing acid into their stomach....

The psychologist in Doctor Gerard Cearmada jumps up and down in leaping bounds, pointing and shrieking—hollering at the nature of the story. It is no wonder that the man is screwed up, the Inner Psychologist snarks, watching movies like that and loving them so much at such a young age.

Cearmada’s favorite childhood movie was Lady and the Tramp. Doctor Gerard Cearmada enjoys happy endings. Prefers them. Even as an adult, he can barely stomach Look at the Dark. He keeps going back to it, though, because it fascinates him, because the story isn’t over yet, but he’s never made it to the finale, and instead manages to drudge up a convenient excuse to leave the room and heave out the contents of his nauseous stomach.

Half of the actors reverted to romantic comedies after their performance in Look at the Dark. Even the director has admitted to being unable to stomach the movie, as much of a masterpiece as he views it.

The sheer dejection required to genuinely enjoy such a tale… it sickens him. There isn’t just something wrong with his head, little inner psychologist man whispers. No, no. There’s something wrong with his very heart.

Or perhaps something slightly less melodramatic, Cearmada snaps back, mental face twisting in disdain.

And with this realization on the third day, Doctor Gerard Cearmada wishes to hear no more. After all, he already knows the ending to this story.


“Continue from where you left off, Mister Kolbe.”


A chuckle. Slow, cold, knowing—it taunts him, angers him, then slides away, waving a finger of admonishment as it retreats.

“You don’t really want me to tell my story, do you, Doctor?”

A shift. Neither can pinpoint where it came from.

Another rumbling snippet of laughter rolls out, quivering in the sweltering air. “Nevermind that. You’ve asked. Now I’m going to answer. None of this emotional rambling. I’m going to give you what you want. An account. Distant, detached. Scientific. It might even get you somewhere in this sorry career of yours, Doctor.”


He starts—that transparent.

Doctor.

His title is the window that never draws the shades, but still acts as a cover for anyone new, anyone who doesn’t know…. He is a window through which a peeper now peers. The perpetrator is a madman, no less.

He feels exposed.


“So I saw her, that day. And I decided that she would be mine.” A smile unfurls unconsciously, sickening in its glee. “Scaring her, though—bad idea, quite bad. I had to make her realize she wanted it—because I know she did—and to do that, I had to worm my way into her life.” A pause stretches taut—fingers pick through knotted facial hair and rub at eyebrows. “I showed up at the store on the days she did, entertained her as she strolled through the shop, occasionally paid for a treat. I didn’t see her without the two… beasts—not once.”


“And then… my chance came.”


Aidan Kolbe is tired. He doesn’t feel like completing the story. Not today. It’s a good day, and despite the clarity of speech that they bring, the good days always wear away at him. They are pleasant days, though, despite this fatigue, and he’d rather not ruin his mood by continuing this recount of his folly.

And so he is silent.


“All right, Mister Kolbe. We can try again tomorrow.”


Last edited by Scourge of Amaranth; 05-26-2009 at 03:08 AM.
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:44 AM
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Default Re: Behind Closed Doors

Day Four


It is almost over.

Two more days and a savage needle will plunge into his weeping veins, cruel and cold in its indifference even as it pumps poison through his blood. And then he will die, aware and in pain as the fatal serum seeps through his flesh.

All it takes….

Aidan just wants to get this over with, to go back into his room and crush his pillow between his fingers and beat it against a wall until it bleeds fake feathers and stained shredded cloth. But now that he’s started speaking, now that he’s started talking, he wants to finish his story, to tell this doctor about the only remarkable thing he’s ever done in this life—to tell this doctor about the only remarkable thing he ever will do. After all, everyone else has his story wrong.

And so he motions for a piece of paper, just to have something to hold, something to hurt, and he begins to speak.


“Something had been ordered—specially ordered, and I never knew—” a crack, low, painful—despairing, and Cearmada cannot understand why, “—never found out what. But she had to—had to go to the… the alley. The alley behind the market, where they unload the trucks. And I—I fol… I followed.”


Doctor Cearmada watches.

Paper rips beneath the prisoner’s serrated nails—he bites them, Cearmada notes mentally as the white is torn into perfect squares, layered in a stack and cradled lovingly. The man seems unconscious of his movements as he haltingly speaks, concentrating only upon the words he spews from his faltering mouth.

When the squares are too small to tear, his fingers splay apart and they flutter to the ground, whirling snowflakes in the heat-stroke room. Dots of white splatter the ground, mournful against uncaring grey concrete. It makes him shiver.

Doctor Gerard Cearmada suddenly wants to go home and cook up a steaming drink.


“She wa—was there. Alone. Stuck in t—trap… trapped by the… the delivery truck. No way—” his hands twist into each other, tangling the fingers, “—no way out.”


Color, shuddering and granulated, flickers onto the screen. A painfully stereotypical alleyway appears, lightly shadowed by the sky-scraping office building at its side. This alleyway is worn. Half a century of partially-eaten food, moldy fruit, and wimpy teenage boy has stewed in its dumpster; half a million army battalions’-worth of luggage has sat on the damp asphalt in the form of toothpaste- and produce-filled boxes. The fire escape has been so abused by time and children, all that remains of it is a discolored outline on the moss-encrusted brickwork.

This alleyway has existed to observe everything from illicit lovers’ tryst to unsuccessful muggings and Team Rocket’s malfunctional uniforms—tears and sweat and car oil, apparent from still-fading stains on the eroded ground, has been spilt upon it. The faces of countless delivery-boys and heavy-lifters have spent hours of their precious lives here, shifting boxes and chatting carelessly.

The walls, if they could speak, would claim they have seen everything there is to see, heard everything there is to hear. The dumpster would declare complete knowledge of smell and taste, of all the foods from gourmet meals to TV dinners. The asphalt would convince you it had felt every possible droplet of liquid, every possible tire tread and shoe size or box shape and fruit quality. The alleyway has experienced it all, it would tell you.

Until it learns of murder.


“And she was there, just waiting, stari—looking up at me, tilting her head so… so… sweetly, innocently, like she didn’t see it coming—” and his voice breaks again, jagged with pain “and I needed her and I couldn’t—couldn’t wait, not any longer. So I—so I grab… pull… took a Pokéball from my pocket and I threw it at her.”


The girl with the hair blue as a Shinx’s pelt enters the alleyway, her companions at her side. She glances around and forms a childish pout—it appears as if she is searching for a person who has neglected to be present. With a bare-footed kick at the ground, she flops onto a box… and waits.


Fingers pick at each other as the teeth bite into the lip. He bleeds. “And she got out and then—then the mongrel, the human child that always commands her attention, turned and she was scared, so, so scared and made her attack me and all I could do was defend myself and I called Tesla out, and—and—” The words flow in anguished streams of garble, pouring from his mouth with the blood.


Before the girl even realizes it, everything has gone wrong. Her Pichu is cowering behind a box and her Shinx is struggling against a Pokéball as a man advances toward them.

She is afraid—so afraid. And she, perhaps, makes the stupidest decision of her still-young life.

She calls out her Ekans and her Combee and sics them on the man with the gnarled beard and the cool eyes as he prowls towards her. Her lips form words, but the television emits only silence as the purple snake Pokémon contorts and blinks its slitted orange eyes, sliding forward through disorganizedly-stacked packaging boxes with fangs bared and glimmering with venom. They draw blood immediately, sinking deep into his flesh.

Running, she snatches her Pichu from its hiding place in time to see her Shinx emerging from its would-be prison with a twitch of the four-pointed star on its tail. Her Combee—with its three hexagonal face-dotted honey-comb sections and its paper-thin wings—bobs and buzzes. It twirls the wings, beating them so fast they blur, and releases a hissing Gust of wind.

The man falls back. He kicks savagely at her Ekans, catching it on the banded yellow stripe about its mid-section—it flies away, knotting and contorting in the air, but a chunk of flesh comes away in its teeth. Seemingly impervious to the pain, the man rolls out of the Gust’s reach—his lips open as he does so, and a mammoth furry animal striped with black materializes in a streak of red Pokeball light.

Immediately, with a swish of twin red-tipped tails, Tesla the Electivire jolts the three smiling faces of the Combee out of the sky. Shock arcs from Tesla’s dual antennae, branching into golden veins of scorching lightning. The jolt lances through the Combee, drowning the shadowed alley with an eye-searing blast of light.

The honey-comb Pokémon falls, bug-wings buzzing helplessly as they crumble to ash in the force of the blazing heat. Its body, singed and twitching, lands on blackened ground amongst multi-colored fruits.



“And then we were fighting and the Pichu was getting weak, but I didn’t want to kill it, not after the Combee—I couldn’t have a greater wedge between us, and Tesla was only trained to kill—couldn’t knock anything out, but I didn’t have another Pokémon on me—and if I killed her friends, no matter how undeserving, how ungrateful, she’d never forgive me and I couldn’t deal with that and I was shouting at Tesla, and shouting, but he nearly slipped a few times and then it was getting to be too much and….” He shudders violently, shaking the flimsy metal chair.


The girl shudders.

She hides beneath a box, shivering as her Pokémon protect her without aid. She has tried to worm through the alleyway under the truck, but it is angled badly and boxes clutter what little room there is—she can not squeeze away. She can’t reach the door, either.

So she’s stuck as a crazy man attempts to burn more of her Pokémon to a crisp. Her face cracks and tears begin to stream down her cheeks.

The man’s mouth moves constantly, screaming unheard orders at the bear-beast, whose two-pronged beard has been half shorn off and bloodied by the combined attacks of the Ekans and the cat-like Shinx. It holds its own, though, stomping over burning launching weak blasts of electricity at the two attackers and taking care to step over the Combee’s smoking carcass. This battle would have already been won, but the man’s lips keep shifting, ordering Tesla not to kill the dashing creatures.

The Pichu joins the fray in a dash of yellow-and-black rimmed with electricity; it is suddenly darting on all sides, pushing Tesla back towards the dumpster. The Electivire can do nothing against this many foes. Their attacks bite through his fur, into his skin, drawing blood and burns. His grasping wire tails dart, glowing orange at the tips, and the ordinarily yellow ball-topped antennae that sprout from his head are blackened with the sheer amount of electricity they have produced. It could all be over in a single powerful blow, but as irritating as the pests are, as much blood is staining his yellow-and-black battle-mussed coat with crimson—as terribly as he wants this to end—he must obey his master.

And so when all three lunge at him, two crackling with electric fire and the third hissing between bared fangs, Tesla closes his beady red eyes and does nothing. He is thrown backwards into the dumpster and for a moment, doesn’t rise. He just lies there, bandit-mask-striped face screwed up in irritation and genuine pain.

They think it’s over. Naďve, innocent—their faces, a bloody, burnt mash of yellow and blue and purple, light up. They are practically smiling as they run back to the girl.

And then Tesla is up with a grunt of discomfort, out of the dumpster, throwing bolts at everything from the twin antennae. His heavy-fingered paws begin to glow; they clench together, gaining a practically painful degree of brightness. Fruit is smeared everywhere, seared against walls and on the ground. Fragmented remnants of boxes cling to his feet, shuddering with flame as he marches towards the now-trembling trio.

The girl’s eyes close and her hand slips downward to the third Pokéball, her face a gnarled contortion of fear and tears. The man’s eyes flash for a moment, and then he is running towards her, drawing a knife from his pocket.



“But then the human child sent out two more Pokémon to help the Pichu, and it was all wrong because those Pokéballs should have been empty, but they weren’t and I didn’t know if the third was full and if I waited any longer, someone would come and now my darling was fighting against me, shimmering with electricity and so, so angry and I couldn’t—I couldn’t do anything, so I….” A heaving gasp.


And her head is off, completely off, rolling on the ground in a slew of blood. Tesla now grasps the Pichu in a flaming paw, crushing meaty black fingers around its face; its anguished screams are wailing sirens echoing down the alleyway as yellow fur is burnt away, revealing swiftly-boiling pink flesh. The Ekans, a purple-and-yellow dart, slithers in from behind, but the man shouts and Tesla turns in time to coil his tail around it. Electricity courses through the snake, jolting it until it shudders; the yellowed rattle tinkles on the end of its tale, smoking slightly.

Their master is dead, but still they do not stop.

The Shinx, steadying herself on four legs and lashing its tail to and fro, leaps at Tesla with a Crunch. She fastens her teeth into his free hand and scrapes viciously at him with Charged, Spark-laden paws. The gold bands glow around her fore-legs, practically over-heating with the strain of the simultaneous attacks—she is not trained for battle, but she has nothing to do but keep going.

Tesla's roar is low, pained—even the electricity hurts him now. This has been far too prolonged for him to handle. He is limping and bloody and exhausted, and has been bombarded by three Pokémon without the option of knocking them out and ceasing the fire. He is in pain. He is beginning to tumble to the ground, to just stop, because he doesn't want to take this any more.

The man has had enough. People will come soon and he has just killed a child. He needs to get out, get away—and so he lifts the body in his arms, heedless of the blood that pours over him. He throws the carcass into the dumpster and pushes it back into the darkest recesses, then calls Tesla back and hurls seven Pokéballs without caring what direction they fly in.

He flees, limping and bleeding from the ankle-wound the Ekans dealt him.

In his haste, he leaves the child’s head, wide- and glassy-eyed, lying there.



“I killed the human mongrel with my bare hands.”


Devastation has come to the alleyway of Coveplace Market and departed, leaving nothing but fragmented wreckage in its wake.

Forked scorch-marks criss-cross the brick walls—burnt moss clusters on the ground beneath them. The remnants of cardboard boxes and their contents smolder. Slimy fruit coats the asphalt with smears of yellow and orange and red and green; rolling frantically, eight Pokéballs wrestle through the mush.

And in the center of the alleyway lies a child’s head.

The self-proclaimed all-knowing walls and dumpster and asphalt of the alleyway have admitted their folly. They accept that they did not know everything, and that they do not know everything. It took much to make them accept this fact—a painful amount of persuasion. More was lost than gained. At least, though, the alleyway, if it could talk, has new stories.

And now the alleyway’s walls can tell of exactly how gasping and shocked a traumatized young child’s terrified dying breaths sound—can tell of what flesh looks like after being shorn from the bone. The dumpster can describe the smell of rotting flesh and the taste of maggots and flies as they gather to breed and feed. The asphalt can recite, with painstaking accuracy, the sensation of warm blood splattering across its surface. The alleyway may not have seen it all, but it certainly wishes to see no more.

If this is what more life has to offer, the alleyway most certainly does not want any more stories to tell.



Doctor Gerard Cearmada can honestly call this the most shocking moment of his life. Not only has a whole slew of highly acclaimed psychologists completely misanalyzed Aidan Kolbe’s motives—he will be the one to prove them wrong. His career has been handed to him on a silver platter by a deranged child-murderer. Admittedly, there are differences between the recorded evidence and the man’s claims, but that can be written off as typical eye-witness confusion…. The public exposure for simply handling this case would be enough to double his salary—but evaluating it and correcting the story circulating in the public domain will make him famous.

Oh. Right.

And a man considers himself in some twisted form of love-lust with a Pokémon.

Yes. That.

He straightens his blue-paisley tie with a cough.

Doctor Gerard Cearmada finds that a wee bit shocking, too, but he’s not exactly interested in devoting a huge amount of thought to it. He would really rather… not go there. In fact, the concept rather “grosses him out” in the same way that female tennis players are disturbed by worms that are half dried-up and writhing on their courts. Even his inner psychologist feels a bit squicked when traversing that path of contemplation.

But hey, if he writes a research paper on the experience, he might be able to get a better job. Always look on the bright side, Cearmada, he tells himself.


“…So… you attacked the child in an attempt to get to the Shinx, which you were… in love with?”

A clipped voice; unnaturally pitched. Short, though; safe. To the point. Carefully neutral.


The silver eyes look at him oddly, as if surprised. They already know of the story everyone knows, the lies the psychologists have told... but they, the eyes, feel like feigning ignorance.

“Of course.”


Shuffling feet over concrete prison floors, swooshing with the scrape of poorly-tailored trousers and squishing with the slide of rubber-soled shoes.

A hushed whisper as the venom begins to flow.


A grating monotone beep stretches longer than the silence.

“Aidan Thomas Kolbe. Pronounced dead August 24, 2009.”


Last edited by Scourge of Amaranth; 05-25-2009 at 04:52 AM.
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:45 AM
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Default Re: Behind Closed Doors

Pokémon: Shinx, Pichu, Ekans, Combee
Characters Needed: 20k to 40k
Characters Written: 31k

Ready for grading.
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:38 AM
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Default Re: Behind Closed Doors [Galleon is Grading]

Advanced Grade, as requested.
Note: This is not how a typical grade should be done. To any of you graders out there who might be looking at this for whatever reason, please don't think that you should try to model your grade after this. But if you're just trying to get an idea of what else you can examine in a story besides the usual junk, then maybe this'll help. Hold on to yer butt. ^^

Story
Plot: Quite dark and original, for the most part. The big twist in this story comes from the fact that Kolbe was not in love with the person he murdered, but rather the Pokemon that belonged to that person. This was certainly unexpected, to say the least; however, this twist doesn't really impact the story in a very profound way. It is a twist that provides a bit of surprise, surely, but it does not really change the way we see Kolbe very much. Kolbe still murdered a little girl for practically no reason at all.

When it comes to plot twists, it's really all about how well you plan ahead, how well you set things up. Whether it's from building suspense or from making good use of foreshadowing, that plot twist should be prepared carefully. In this case, you're building suspense by allowing Kolbe to drag things out over a period of four days, which ultimately culminates in the man's execution.

I s'pose I should also mention your battle, which came entirely through a gruesomely detailed flashback. I don't generally regard the battle as particularly important (especially for an advanced grade such as this), but I would be remiss if I left it out completely, because you seemed to put quite a bit of thought into it. For this story, the battle served as an important plot point before the ultimate revelation that Kolbe was not after the little girl, but her Shinx, instead. You might say that the battle built up the suspense for the big twist, which is good, but when the twist actually came, it wasn't particularly clear what had just happened. It came as more of a slow realization than a moment of surprise, and perhaps that was the effect you were going for, but I'd still argue that the latter would have been more worthwhile. I'll talk more about this in the Grammar section, though.

Themes: The big ones I saw were Life, Death, and Beauty. Life & Death are important themes in that, well, your main character has taken someone's life and will subsequently have his own life taken as a result. Kolbe reflects on his actions, but he has apparently come to accept his fate already, even if he does think that no one understands him. Compare this to Cearmada's "outsider" life, and we have a nice contrast between two starkly different characters. Beauty - or perhaps more accurately, "appearance" - comes into play numerous times throughout the story; Kolbe's reason for murder was essentially beauty; the way you provide such dank, disgusting description also lends itself to the contrast between Kolbe's sense of beauty in terms of the world around him.

It's not uncommon for authors to be unaware of some of the themes in their stories, so if what I just described is news to you, then you shouldn't feel upset. However, themes can play a powerful role in a story, whether it's sending a message, setting a mood, or something else entirely. There are themes present in any story, regardless of whether we see them or not. In the typical "kid wanders into forest and catches a Pokemon" story, the big theme may be Discovery or Fate or what have you. As writers, if we recognize these themes, then we will be poised to utilize them in ways we may not have done otherwise. For instance, in that same typical story, we could play off the theme of Discovery by - just off the top of my head - having the kid come to some kind of life-changing realization or by letting the kid stumble upon the secret of freaking Atlantis; suddenly, it's not such a typical story, anymore. Those may not be the best examples, but that's the general idea behind themes.

With regard to this story, however, I think you could've made better use of the three themes I mentioned. For instance, to better illustrate the contrasting lives of Kolbe and Cearmada, you might've chosen to include Cearmada thinking about Kolbe's case as he's doing something that is normal to the doctor's everyday life, like mindlessly watching television as he muses about Kolbe's personality. Or, perhaps from a more dramatic angle, you could've had Cearmada looking at another little girl who is completely unrelated to Kolbe (perhaps Cearmada's daughter or just some girl he sees playing in the street). Then, the doctor might have a moment where he wonders what could possibly make Kolbe, or any human being for that matter, hurt such an innocent child as this. But those are just some examples to get you thinking.

Characters: This story is what's called a character study; it focuses on specific character archetypes and explores the nature of these characters. Here, we have Aidan Kolbe, a murderous psychopath, and Dr. Gerard Cearmada, a self-absorbed psychologist. These two characters work off of one another as the story progresses, and we gradually learn more about them, about how the world sees them, about how they see each other, about how they see themselves. I find this strategy very intriguing, but at the same time, I don't think you're quite using it to its fullest potential.

First of all, consider the purpose of your story. This is a story that revolves around the characters; this story lives or dies by how interesting the characters themselves are. If the reader is not intrigued by these kinds of characters - by the mind of a demented killer or by the mind of a veritable amateur trying to analyze said killer - then the reader will find very little reason to keep reading this story. And really, these two characters do not really present anything that is particularly revealing or forthcoming in their personalities. They seem to think themselves very different, for reasons of their own, but in the end, they are still very much the same as their first impressions describe. Kolbe is a crazed murderer who, unsurprisingly, does not understand the value of human life, despite the fact that, in a strange twist, he very much values the life of a Shinx, simply because he thinks the Pokemon is "beautiful." He is bewitched by this apparently random Pokemon, but there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why, exactly, Kolbe is the way he is. I'd suggest including a little more about Kolbe himself, perhaps a bit of personal history, whether it be from a prologue or a flashback or what have you. Maybe Kolbe went through some kind of traumatic experience at some point in his life that affected his perception of beauty, or maybe Kolbe has simply thought this way his entire life. Regardless, you have ample opportunity to address Kolbe's life, from flashbacks to Kolbe's childhood or from the psychological profile Cearmada is supposedly studying. It'll help you to flesh out the backstory of this important character, because the real drama and intensity of the story rest entirely upon the machinations of this one person's mind.

The same can be said of Dr. Cearmada; there is little information given about Cearmada's past, merely that he hasn't been very successful as a psychologist. It's clear that Cearmada is uncomfortable with his task, but nothing ever really comes out of it. In the end, the doctor simply asks Kolbe about what happened, and Kolbe gradually tells him. Kolbe has no fits of violence as his psychological profile implied earlier, and neither does Dr. Cearmada offer any genuine insight about Kolbe or himself. And that's fine, if this is the way you want to portray Cearmada, but you should consider why you chose to include the man's perspective at all. You're constantly swapping between these two characters, telling the story from the perspective of both the psychologist and the patient, but in this case, the psychologist does not bring any important information to the table, so why even bother with that part? Kolbe is clearly much more relevant and important, so it might've been better to simply go with Kolbe's point-of-view for the entire story and merely present Cearmada as a minor character.

Also, I'll mention a little about one of your more important minor characters: Tesla. As a Pokemon belonging to your main character, Tesla presented an opportunity for you to elaborate more about Kolbe in a way that you might not otherwise have been able to do. But you didn't use this opportunity. You mentioned briefly that Tesla was only trained to kill, which implies some kind of intense relationship between Tesla and Kolbe, but this is never further spoken of or elaborated upon, which begs the question as to why Kolbe would have such a violent partner in the first place.

In essence, what you should take away from this section is that the level of detail you provide for your characters will depend on what kind of story you're writing. For this particular story, your characters should be your chief concern, as they are the driving force behind everything that occurs. You should almost always be very concerned about character creation in whatever kind of story you write, but in many cases, the characters need not be your biggest issue. For instance, you may write a story that is more about the plot, about what happens to characters, rather than the characters themselves, in which case your characters are still very important, but not nearly as much as they would be in a story like this one, where we spend much of the time inside your main character's head.

Length: Mm, while it does fall within the range specified by the list of URPG Pokes, I hafta say that this story feels a little bit... incomplete. Of course, this is an Advanced Grade, so I'm not really abiding by typical URPG standards here. Rather than being worried about your character count, I'm more concerned with whether or not the length of your story is appropriately proportioned under its own terms, and I don't really think that it is, for reasons that I've already mentioned.
Description
Flow: I noticed in some places that you're letting your sentences run a bit too long, when you're describing certain things. Like here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scourge of Nemo View Post
The man, even garbed in a dull grey one-piece prison suit while handcuffed to a chair, reeks of average. Cool grey eyes, blonde hair just tinged with red, a frazzled beard that makes the inexperienced psychologist in him think “There is a sad man with a sad life and a sad family who returns to his sad little home on the weekends, locks himself in his sad, small office, uses his sad, slow internet for an hour, then departs with his sad friends to attend a Lord of the Rings cosplay as Gimli (in, of course, a very sad replication of movie!Gimli's costume) and completes the night by drinking himself into sad, dismal oblivion at a sad, dingy bar… all in an attempt to avoid his sad, dysfunctional family and sad, dead-end cubicle job”.
Dr. Cearmada's terrible typecasting aside, this paragraph is incredibly difficult to follow. I'd give you an example of how to improve it, but it's a rather easy problem to fix, really. It's just unnecessarily drawn out. I mean, we get it; Cearmada thinks Kolbe is of a very typical appearance. This is not a particularly enlightening analysis on the doctor's part, so there's no need to spend so much time on it.

There was also here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scourge of Nemo View Post
No, it is most certainly not the temperature that makes Doctor Gerard Cearmada imagine icicles forming on his clouded breath, falling through the air, shattering across the ground; it is not the temperature that makes Doctor Gerard Cearmada want to shudder, shiver—convulse until it all goes away. It is not even the worn fluorescent lighting that bathes the wall’s Spartan features in a frozen gleam—or the glimmering metallic surface of the table bolted to the floor—that reminds the psychologist of early morning frost crunching beneath his boots, that carries the jagged-pinprick feel of snow slicing into his face.
Like before, this is a place with too much information packed into too small a space. It makes it unnecessarily difficult to follow for the reader, and really, the description here is not particularly important for the reader, either. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say this is a bit overdramatized, because by the end of the story, Kolbe has done nothing more to play on this apparent fear that Cearmada holds, except for perhaps tearing up a piece of paper, but that's a bit... insignificant, compared to his past actions.

It's good that you're trying to provide a detailed picture for the reader, but be wary of the needlessly lengthy sentences; if you take too long to finish a sentence, then the reader may get lost in trying to follow each new piece of description that you provide. Think of each descriptive sentence as a single thought; if one thought includes a large amount of information, then that thought will be much more difficult to understand. It may be better to break the thought up into two. Of course, I'm not telling you to use really short sentences all the time, because that would only make your text choppier and would thusly stifle the flow in a completely different way. Instead, you need to strike that delicate balance with your sentences, your thoughts, and exercise your own judgment as a writer in order to determine when you're beginning to ramble and when you could use a little more detail. As you might imagine, this is very difficult to do, but it'll come to you as you gain experience. For the most part, you're doing very well right now; there are just a few kinks to work out.

Atmosphere: You provide a very dank and sullen environment for the reader, which fits quite appropriately with the subject matter. From the dingy cell of Kolbe's prison to the desperation-soaked air amidst the flashback battle, you provide a fitting level of apprehension, which helps build suspense for the ending. I consider this to be quite well done.

Symbolism: It seems like you did make quite an effort to include symbols in your story. Some of the things you described, like the grotesque chamber where Kolbe is kept or the picturesque alleyway where we see Kolbe's flashbacks, could stand to serve as representations that tie into some of your themes. The "once-white walls" in Kolbe's holding cell are reminiscent of the whole notion of "the past against the present" that comprises much of your story. The alleyway could be representative of Kolbe's psyche - or that of the world around him - in that it embodies the concept of "knowledge" and "experience." For the most part, I thought this added a nice bit of depth to your description, so good job.
Grammar
Clarity: There was one big section that was rather confusing; it was only upon a second read that I was able to fully understand what you were saying here. And this is particularly important, because this is where you reveal what Kolbe's true intentions were.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scourge of Nemo View Post
“And she was there, just waiting, stari—looking up at me, tilting her head so… so… sweetly, innocently, like she didn’t see it coming—” and his voice breaks again, jagged with pain “and I needed her and I couldn’t—couldn’t wait, not any longer. So I—so I grab… pull… took a Pokéball from my pocket and I threw it at her.”


The girl with the hair blue as a Shinx’s pelt enters the alleyway, her companions at her side. She glances around and forms a childish pout—it appears as if she is searching for a person who has neglected to be present. With a bare-footed kick at the ground, she flops onto a box… and waits.


Fingers pick at each other as the teeth bite into the lip. He bleeds. “And she got out and then—then the mongrel, the human child that always commands her attention, turned and she was scared, so, so scared and made her attack me and all I could do was defend myself and I called Tesla out, and—and—” The words flow in anguished streams of garble, pouring from his mouth with the blood.


Before the girl even realizes it, everything has gone wrong. Her Pichu is cowering behind a box and her Shinx is struggling against a Pokéball as a man advances toward them.
There are a few different reasons why this was so difficult for me to follow. The first is, well, the obvious one: you intended for this to have a double meaning. Much of the time when Kolbe says "she" or "her" throughout the story, he is referring to Shinx, not the little girl. When Kolbe says here that he "threw a Pokeball" at "her," the reader originally believes that the "her" he is referring to is still the little girl, and that leads to some confusion, at first. Which is fine, in and of itself; it's clearly your intention here to make the reader stop and question what's going on, but when you combine this intended confusion with the confusion that I think you did not intend, you have yourself one seriously discombobulating mass of text. I'm referring to two other sources of confusion, actually, which are: the way you swap in and out of the flashback very quickly during critical moments, and how the pace of the story is suddenly much faster than it was before.

The swapping is, for most of the story, fine; it's only in this particular section that is a bit too jarring, I think. You might argue that this jarring feel is meant to play off of the also-distressed mind of Kolbe at the moment, but even then, I would argue that you took it a little too far. Kolbe is hard enough to follow on his own, with his stuttering, rambling words. And if you account for the fact that up to this point, the story had so far progressed rather slowly, this sudden leap forward only serves to compound the matter even further.

Instead, I think it'd be more prudent to go for a single moment where everything suddenly becomes clear to the reader, rather than having this "slow realization" like I mentioned in the Plot section. You could have Kolbe in the flashback, closing in on the Shinx, which we still think is the human girl, and then abruptly, you describe Shinx in full, and we see that this figure is not that of a human being... Or, still another option would be to - within the flashback - describe the object of his affection, when suddenly the "human mongrel" shows up at the edge of his vision. Again, just some examples.

Diction: You used a nice range of different words, which added a bit of flair to your description in some places, as well. I'll just point out one thing I saw, which happened to be in one of the quotes I previously used:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scourge of Nemo View Post
It is not even the worn fluorescent lighting that bathes the wall’s Spartan features in a frozen gleam...
"Spartan" probably shouldn't be capitalized, unless you really mean to refer to that wall as "having features related to Sparta," which would be kinda weird.
Overall
Outcome: Normally, this story would probably pass with relative ease, but since this is an Advanced Grade, and I warned you that I'd be very harsh, I'm only going to award you a partial capture. Two of the four Pokemon captured.
...There.

*collapses*
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Last edited by Galleon; 05-29-2009 at 12:50 PM. Reason: Yarharhar... stupid 20K character post-limit...
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Old 05-29-2009, 02:11 PM
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Default Re: Behind Closed Doors [Galleon is Grading]

*giddy* ^^ Awesome. This does wonders for helping me think about... practically everything. THANK YOU for the epicly advanced grade. You deserve an internet glomp. This looks fairly grueling to have written, xD.

I shall get to editing after SWC... perhaps during. Question: should I PM you for a regrade?
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Old 05-29-2009, 02:27 PM
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Default Re: Behind Closed Doors [Galleon is Grading]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scourge of Nemo View Post
I shall get to editing after SWC... perhaps during. Question: should I PM you for a regrade?
Hmm, if I'm gonna do an Advanced Regrade, then... I'll have to ask you to wait at least a month before requesting it. There's quite a lot of info to sift through here, so I want to make sure you take your time, if you plan to edit it. Plus, it's less work for me. ^^
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galleon View Post

Hmm, if I'm gonna do an Advanced Regrade, then... I'll have to ask you to wait at least a month before requesting it. There's quite a lot of info to sift through here, so I want to make sure you take your time, if you plan to edit it. Plus, it's less work for me. ^^
I fully intend to spend quite a bit of time adding a good deal of material. Your comments sparked enough inspiration for at least a whole extra day of interrogation, along with additional nuances to add to the original four. xD I wasn't intending to bug you again until after SWC/NWC, anyway. Hehe.

Thanks for your time. ^^;
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thegalleonman: (8:37:28 PM) How sad.
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Last edited by Scourge of Amaranth; 05-29-2009 at 11:49 PM.
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