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View Full Version : Strength to Strength (chapter one)


Tabby600
April 1st, 2008, 01:07 PM
Authors note: This is my first pokemon fanfiction, a journey fic, so reviews and constructive critisism is very welcome. Also, ideas for a decent title. It was the first thing that came to mind, better suggestions would be great. :)

Chapter One.

The dark haired girl named Matti hit the button on the PC, plunging the screen into darkness. Swivelling on the chair, she chewed at her right thumbnail, while scanning her untidy bedroom. Where did I leave it? Pulling her hair back into a coarse and practical ponytail, she rummaged through a stack of paper, sending flocks of flat white sheets floating down to the floor. Last year’s maths homework? She shook her head, and began making her way out of the bedroom door. And came back. Grabbing some empty coffee cups, and the list, by the printer, of course, she dashed downstairs.

***

As you can tell, I’m not the most organised of kids. Smart, averaging on pretty I guess, but so not organised. I‘m verging towards autistic, my doctor told me, which in my case means that I’m terribly clumsy and my mind’s just as much mess as my bedroom most of the time. For me, the start of my adventure was as daunting as it was exciting. Not least because I might have had to run home after 15 minutes, realising that I hadn’t packed any underwear. Thankfully, there was no such catastrophe, and I’ll venture as far as to say that my first day as a pokemon trainer ran fairly smoothly. As I practically tumbled into my mother’s kitchen that morning, however, you would never have thought that there was any possibility of the day going off without a hitch.

My mom’s kitchen, you see, is fairly chaotic in the mornings. I dumped my empty mugs on the table, and likewise dumped my butt on a kitchen chair, as my Mother pursed her lips and whisked the mugs away to the sink. The smell of peanut butter buzzed through the air, and I snatched hungrily at a piece of toast.
“You have a smudge of acrylic on your face, sweetie” my mother said, with her eyes still fixed on the washing up. I’ve always been artistic, but falling asleep on my palette is a habit I’ve grown out of… mostly. I grumbled through my mouthful of toast and sticky peanut butter, and glared around at a sickeningly well-groomed vulpix, my younger sister’s precious pet, which was lapping daintily at my lukewarm coffee, oblivious to its offence. I snapped at my little sister, Lilly, who quickly scooped it up and put it on the floor, making a face at me. She’s tall for her age, (nearing my height, even, and she’s 9, six years younger than me, for heavens sake) willowy, and blonde. Just about as different to me as anyone could possibly be. She’s feminine, and I’m a stubborn tomboy. Sometimes I wonder how we were born into the same family, despite us having separate fathers. We don’t even seem to share half our genetics.
“Patrick called, sweetie. Wanted to know if you needed help packing.” I scuffed my trainers against the legs of my chair, as I finished my toast and said nonchalantly “I got everything covered. Will you call him for me and tell him everything’s fine?”
With this, I got a glimpse of the clock and gasped. It wasn‘t late, but I still had so much to pack! In a flurry, I bounded out of the kitchen, and towards the stairs. I hadn’t reached them before my mother’s voice floated from the kitchen.
“You forgot your checklist, honey” and I heard her sigh before I had sighed myself, and dragged my feet back to get it. Roughly two minutes later, through my bedroom floor, I heard my mother’s voice as she picked up the phone.
“Yes Patrick. She would definitely like you to come over and help her pack now”

Back in my bedroom, before half an hour had passed, Trick was perched awkwardly on my bed, flipping his characteristically blonde floppy hair out of his pretty-boy blue eyes. I was emptying the contents of my “useful drawer” onto my carpet, and scrabbling through the resulting heap of random objects.
“So what do you think you’ll go for?” Asked Trick, as he calmly folded a shirt and laid it neatly in the case.
“What the hell is this doing in here? How is a staple gun useful?” I replied distractedly, to which Trick cleared his throat and brought my attention back to him. “What? Oh I have no idea. I can’t even think ahead that far. Wait, where’s my-?” Patrick had picked up my backpack and was trying it on for weight.
“You know, for a girl, you sure know how to pack light.” He murmured, as I bustled over with a badly-folded map.
“Nah, it’s probably just that I’ve forgotten something” I grumbled back in return.
“No, I’ve watched you pack.” This was true, he’d made me empty my bag, discard my acrylic paints and pillow, and started over from scratch. “Don’t worry” he reassured me. “I won’t let you mess this - oh crud, you need a towel. Why isn‘t there a towel on this checklist?”
“Because I wrote the checklist last night” I groaned, slapping a hand to my forehead as I rushed towards the bathroom.

We finally made it to the lab, with a good five minutes to spare. My hair was windswept, and even Trick looked flustered. This was probably because I’d made him run most of the way across town, but I’d like to think he was as excited to be there as me. There was another kid there, Lucas Carter, who’d been in mine and Patrick’s maths class in our final two years of school. I didn’t know much about him, I don’t think anyone really did. He kept himself to himself mostly, but never in the most friendly of ways. He was looking very slick and cool today with dark thick hair gelled at the front, kicking a can around on the grass to pass the time. I’m not really Miss Bravado, (I’m actually fairly shy) so I left him to it. As for him, he didn’t take any notice of Trick and I at all. I can’t say it surprised me. I contented myself with leaning on some nearby railings and fidgeting with the straps of my backpack.

Soon enough, we were welcomed inside by a short woman with mousy, curly hair and friendly smile. She wore a white coat, but she looked more like a technician than a serious professor. I liked her immediately. There were notepads, empty mugs and pens scattered everywhere. I looked around at the chaos approvingly. I’ve heard that a messy desk is the sign of creative genius. I’d like to think that’s true. It should probably be noted that pokemon training doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to how it is in the games the kids’ play, impatient and jealous of their older brothers and sisters who are out trying their luck as trainers already. For one thing, the starter pokemon you choose still depend on the region you live in, but everywhere else, pokemon are just spread out all together. You’ll find ratatta, wingull, and sentret all living within feet of each other, although some pokemon are more common in certain areas than others. So when I looked over at the three pokemon (who were sharing a small wooden and wire pen) I wasn’t surprised by what I saw. Trick made a straight beeline for an easy-going grass type, a female chikorita, and I gave him a smile. I could see at a glance that they would pair up well. For myself, standing there practically bouncing on my feet, I felt like a kid at Christmas (not that my behaviour at Christmas ever changed, I still get up at 4am and head straight for the tree in a kind of delirious excitement) but I figured that if I rushed my decision, I might make a mistake. Pokemon rely more on their instincts, the right one would find me, I hoped. The other trainer whom we’d seen first, the dark haired one, left first, with his new cyndaquil. Well that left my choice fairly straightforward. The remaining pokemon, the totodile, tilted his head to observe my outstretched hand, following my movements with a reptilian and intelligent focus as if he were about to pounce. It put me in mind of my sister’s vulpix back home, chasing after some woollen toy. The thing that set him apart, I realised, were his movements. The totodile looked ungainly on land, with a playful and clumsy exuberance that could have been my own. I ducked my hand, and petted him, taking care to avoid the teeth. The professor stood over me as I was crouched and raised an eyebrow.
“That one’s a handful” she said, amused. I glanced up at her and grinned. She smiled back. “Perfect” she said. I scooped the lizard up into my lap, where he wiggled playfully. I noticed his unwillingness to bite me with relief. I used to have a friend who claimed she’d been bitten by a bellsprout. I don’t know how much truth there was in that, but I did know that by comparison, this pokemon’s jaws were intimidating. Shame about the clown face, I thought, and giggled. “You’re not so fierce” I told him. Soon after, we had left the lab in search of coffee and a place to eat our sandwiches. There was nothing remarkable or spectacular about that day, just that we knew it was the start of an enormous journey. That alone was enough to fix it firmly in my memory.

After spending most of the day in town, picking up the last of the supplies we needed, we stopped at a park to peel the Clingfilm off of our sandwiches. I always said that if there was real need, I could live my whole life eating nothing but beef jerky, and marmite sandwiches. Anyway, it was overhung by the branches of trees, (the park, not the sandwiches) totally enclosed, with a small fountain in the middle. Nothing spectacular, but it shut out the noise of the town outside. It was a perfect spot for the two pokemon, not to mention Trick and I, as we whiled away a few minutes of our evening. There was no rush, after all. I get impatient quickly, however, and there was a chill in the darkening air, the last remnants of the winter. So I suggested we go and scout for a cheap place to sleep. Trick pointed out that we could easily go back to his for the night, or mine, but we had already started, and I didn’t want to go back. Within another half-hour, it was very nearly dark, and we were surveying the sky from the one window in our cheap motel room. I was bruised from tripping up in the doorway, and the room wasn’t ideal, but I was young enough to consider squalor a grand adventure, and Trick was wise enough to leave me be and get it out of my system.

The next day, over a rushed breakfast in which I spilled sticky orange juice all over our map, and Koko and Chickpea (totodile and chikorita, we named them while we were looking at cooking supplies) caused a ruckus with another trainer’s snubbull, we decided to make our way out of the city. This was mainly because in the daylight, I knew the familiar town very well, and you can’t be on an adventure if you haven’t gone anywhere. I don’t think Trick quite understood this “Matti logic”, but perhaps he didn’t have any better ideas. Perhaps he simply didn’t mind. With hindsight, I don’t think it really mattered all that much, neither of us had any real specific ambition or aim. In fact, looking back at it, I don’t think we had any idea what we were doing at all.

I’d heard a lot of stories about new trainers not getting on with their new pokemon, and initially winning over your pokemon’s trust and respect seemed to be some sort of trend, a rite of passage. So it concerned me when Trick and myself got on with the pokemon fine. When I voiced my illogical concerns to Trick, “It’s too simple” he laughed, and pointed out that we hadn’t even battled yet. The constant walking wasn’t treating me nearly as nice as the pokemon however, I can hardly walk in a straight line on pavement, so needless to say, I was tripping over tree roots like nobody’s business. Coupled with my ceaseless need to explore anything that took my fancy (pretty much everything) meant that we covered very little ground. I only really went flat on my face once that first day of walking, despite my eagerness to climb every overhanging tree branch. Trick was invaluable in getting us out of any stupid scrapes, and did a good job of patching up my knee after I mangled it on some gravel. Neither of us were anything near what you could call fit, and by the end of the day, Trick was tired, sore and dusty, while I was exhausted, scratched, and covered in grass stains. We’d seen some pidgeys, but just let them be. I didn’t feel that I wanted to catch another pokemon just yet. I was more preoccupied with finding something to eat for lunch. We found a nice spot near a little river, where the water broke in a small fall over an uncovered pipeline, which had left one side shallow enough to just walk across, and the other side much deeper. Underneath the drooping branches of a willow tree on the other side was a patch of perfectly cleared, soft ground, and this was where we pitched our little two man green tent. By night time, I’d munched my way through a whole packet of beef jerky, and now we were toasting marshmallows over the small fire we’d managed to light (somehow, and with an awful lot of matches). Trick was looking kinda quiet and melancholy, and turned to me and said hesitantly,
“Did you ever think that we could…?” He shut his mouth, looking thoughtful, and I prompted;
“What is it, Pattycake?” I gestured at the fire “You know you’re gonna burn those, don’t you?” He didn’t look annoyed with my breach of The Nickname Contract, but he started and took the marshmallows off the fire before offering me the stick with a smile. I took a pink one from the end, and blew on it before trying to dislodge the sticky goo from my fingers with my tongue. “Gross” he muttered, with a grin.

New Age Retro Hippie
April 2nd, 2008, 01:09 AM
This is quite good, however, I sense it is quite rushed. Though it is commonplace to skim over the boring bits, you skimmed them too much. I swear, if this was spread out, you could make at least three chapters this size. The description starts out fairly good, but it dwindles away to near none at the end. As I said, spread it out as thin as possible. Describe the scuffle with the Snubbul. Describe their sore feet or such more. Writing is like butter: You can take a small amount and spread thinly over your bread and be careful, or you can spal huge lumps onto your bread and rip it apart.

The paragraphing is somewhat awkward, on forums it is better to go:

"I like pie," intoned Dude.

"Really?" inquired Person, disbelieving that simple statement. However, soon he would see it was true.

***

The two young lads were walking in town later that day, having exited Dude's house after their brief discussion...

You see? *** or similar to shift scene and double space per paragraph.

However, I really like Matti. I can so totally relate to her. It's like, you copied me and made me one and a half years older. Intelligent and unorganised ^.^ I will be sticking with this fic, as I enjoy new trainer fics. A little advice goes to no harm~

Tabby600
April 2nd, 2008, 01:18 AM
Wow, that was a quick reply, I'm really glad you liked it! I can see what you mean about skimming bits, though. I'll work over the paragraphing, and I'll definitely be putting more detail into my next draft. :)
Thanks again!

Jak
April 4th, 2008, 09:49 AM
Where did I leave it? Pulling her hair back into a coarse and practical ponytail, she rummaged through a stack of paper, sending flocks of flat white sheets floating down to the floor

Erm. Thoughts should be in italics. It looks like a run-on sentence without it.

As you can tell, I’m not the most organised of kids

Organized, not organised. I also see here that you changed tense-- not good.

Everything's kinda clumped together, too. It makes it hard to read. I'll have to review the rest later--I'm kinda at school right now. But, I like Matti so far. Good name for a girl, and I like how it's spelled. Like I said, I'll be back.

Astinus
April 4th, 2008, 11:45 AM
Just me popping in here.

To separate your paragraphs better, hit the Enter button twice to make a new paragraph. If you use some word processing program, you can also do this, as just using Tab will not work on forums. Same with the coding for italics, bold, and underlining.

Organized, not organised.
Spelling it with a "s" is the British way of spelling it. If it is spelled with a "z", then it is American. Also holds true for "realized/realised" and other words.

Jak
April 5th, 2008, 10:26 AM
Spelling it with a "s" is the British way of spelling it. If it is spelled with a "z", then it is American. Also holds true for "realized/realised" and other words.

-headdesk- Sorry 'bout that. Living where I live...I'm completely shunned from all the 'other world' spellings and words. I had a few mishaps with bobandbill's story, too, considering he's Australian. X.x

Anyway, to continue my review...

Well, I can't. X.x I have eye problems. I seriously can't read well if it's blocked up like that, although, I can usually make out some of it. Just go with what Astinus said and un-clump this thing.

Another thing...from what I was able to read, the change in tense is starting to grate on me. What reason is there for that? It's chapter one...and starts of with a narrorator, but then goes into Matti telling the story. Odd. :/