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Old April 6th, 2013 (1:35 PM).
Cutlerine Cutlerine is offline
Gone. May or may not return.
    Join Date: Mar 2010
    Location: The Misspelled Cyrpt
    Age: 24
    Nature: Impish
    Posts: 1,030
    Oh, now I quite liked icomeanon's little chunk of prose. I adore that sort of thing - things you can put on a board and wave at people while yelling 'Science!' at the top of your lungs.

    As for your fragment, Maced, I have to say it's definitely different. There's very little to go on there, but your character looks to be something a bit different from the norm, which is refreshing. There's a bit of clunkiness in some of the wording. You repeat 'hiking up' and 'the hill' in the first two sentences, very close together, for instance; it doesn't help that the way the formatting's worked out (on this theme at least) has placed the repeated words almost right underneath one another. Little things like that do detract from it slightly - but as you said, this is just a little piece of a first draft, so I really ought to ignore that sort of thing and concentrate on the idea, and the idea is good.

    Anyway, time for my story fragment. This was going to be the start of something, but I'm really not sure what Eric's story might be, so I've left it at that. As it stands, it's merely something between a vignette and half a story.

    Two o'clock in the afternoon, and it is the height of the Hoennian summer. Waves roll lazily onto the beach, heaving themselves up onto the sand to break with a sigh of relief; the sun seems to swell in the sky, blotting out the blue with its brilliance. The air is still and dead, and inside the Seashore House, the only thing approximating to a customer is the lone fly that sucks greedily at a patch of spilled beer.

    Nat Tanner is bored.

    This is the sort of day when no sane person is even on the beach, let alone buying drinks; here, alone except for the fly (and possibly the sweat stains on the armpits of his shirt, which are, by their smell, coming close to achieving some form of microbial life), Nat is beginning to wonder whether he will have the energy to make it home once he shuts up shop. Today is hot even for Hoenn, and he is rapidly losing the will to live. Not even the endless beers he takes from the fridge can cool him; the heat seems to be a living entity, determined to grind him down and crush his head against the floor.
    Even his sweat is exhausted, he thinks. It rests in languid beads on his forehead, too tired to drag itself down his brow and drop to the counter. The only thing in the entire shop that seems to be impervious to the heat is that damn fly, still buzzing its wings and racing around in that crazed way insects do.

    “Christ,” he mutters, licking dry lips, “I can't take much more of this.”

    Had this been a film, something would doubtless have happened at that moment to relieve the tedium: a mysterious stranger would have walked in at the door, or a beautiful girl, or screams would have been heard from the beach. But this was real life, and all that happened was that the fly settled for a moment, just long enough for Nat to think with relief that that bloody buzzing has stopped – and then took off again, circling the room in search of God knows what.

    “****,” he mumbled, and dropped his sodden head into his arms.

    Time dragged on, unimaginably slowly. The minute hand on Nat's watch migrated sluggishly from one extremity of the face to the other, and back around again.

    And a customer arrived.

    When he heard the door open, Nat almost couldn't believe it. He froze, listening hard – yes, there it was, the sound of a footstep! He heaved his head upright and beheld what he thought was a youth; he couldn't be certain under the vast quantity of soot that seemed to have settled over him. His hair was on end in ragged spikes, and patches of his clothes appeared to have been inconsiderately replaced with charcoal.

    For a moment, Nat stared, and the youth stared back. Then, very slowly and deliberately, the blackened apparition made his way over to the bar and dropped into a seat.

    “I...” Nat's tongue took a moment to come unstuck from the roof of his mouth. “You look like you need a drink.”

    “Do I? Do I really? How monumentally ****ing observant of you,” replied the kid, with such acid in his voice as could have eaten through plate steel.

    “Hm,” said Nat mildly, raising his eyebrows. He was a bartender, after all, and had heard far worse. “Seems you really need a drink.”

    “Yes. Yes I do,” the kid snapped. “Like, now.”


    The youth dug around in his pocket and came up with a singed wallet; from this, he withdrew a laminated card and tossed it onto the counter.


    Nat examined the card with interest. It seemed the kid was a Trainer – unusual for anyone over sixteen, really; it wasn't an easy career, and a lot of people gave up pretty soon. Evidently this guy – Eric Hawthorne, the card said – hadn't, because he was eighteen. Just old enough to drink, in Hoenn.

    “All right,” said Nat. “What do you want?”

    “Whiskey,” replied Eric tersely, snatching up his card and jamming it back into his wallet. “I need to get drunk enough to stop feeling pain.”

    “Do you need to go to a hospital?” asked Nat, pouring the drink. “You do look a bit... burnt.”

    “You really are an observant one, aren't you?” retorted Eric, soot falling in a black shower from his fringe. “Yes, I'm burned. No, I'm not going to the hospital.”

    “Nothing injured but your pride, then,” murmured Nat under his breath, placing the whiskey before him and watching with interest as he tried and failed to drink it in one go. Not an experienced drinker, it seemed. When he was sure Eric had finished coughing, Nat asked if he wanted another; the youth nodded, and Nat complied. “So,” he said, as he placed it on the bar, “how did... that” – here he waved a hand in the general direction of Eric's singed body – “happen?”

    Eric snorted.

    “You wouldn't believe it,” he said scornfully.

    “I'm a bartender,” pointed out Nat. “People are always coming in and telling me tall stories.”

    “I thought that was only in movies?”

    “Clichés are more pervasive than you think. Now, how'd it happen?”

    Eric sighed. He was winning him over, Nat could tell; soon he'd have a story to listen to, and that would at least take his mind off the heat.

    “Well,” he said at last, “I was walking along the beach, yeah, and

    And, uh, yeah. It stops midsentence. That's all.


    For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click here.
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