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Thread: Taxonomy of the Heart

  1. #1
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    Default Taxonomy of the Heart

    Warning: This fic starts with a scene of domestic violence

    Prologue


    I haven’t shed a tear in fourteen years. The last time I felt sadness was the night my parents were killed right in front of my face.

    When I was six, I saw through a crack in the door my dad bury his fists into my mother’s face. One punch after another, she cried for him to stop and one punch later her face became more unrecognizable a bloody mess. It was as if by demonic possession, my father had become host to this other persona, his face as well unrecognizable.

    “Your death, Tammy. Your death is the only atonement!” he yelled and violently threw her against her night stand. My mother, with her face a canvas smeared with blood, tears, and pain, used of her final breaths to utter that when they married, her life, her heart belonged to him. And that now he could do with it what he pleased. With that, he pulled from his coat a gun.

    “Edward, I love you so mu…” A loud shot finished her sentence. The devastating and final full stop that punctuated my mother’s life.

    For the first time in a long time, my heart panged. It mercilessly beat against my chest. I twitched and shivered, I writhed internally, filled with something I had never felt before, at least never so strongly. And then the second shot sounded. Both my father and mother lay dead on the floor, having loved in life and having died at the hands of the most intense hatred. The deafening silence of the otherwise calm night and the absence of their loud voices was filled with a thunderous internal eruption of feeling. The vision became blurred and the ducts in my eyes began to overflow. And that’s the last I remember of that night. I don’t remember who found their bodies or who found me “weeping” over them. I don’t remember exactly what that pain felt like, only that I never want to feel it again.

    I say that they were killed even though on the surface my father killed himself and his wife. But they were killed by the manifestation of negative emotions. The anger and sadness that caused this tragedy have rightfully been done away with now. Even before this defining moment of my life, pharmaceutical company, Enjoyce, had developed a synthetic neuron-inhibitor that damaged and blocked receptors in the brain linked to depression, rage, and jealousy. After a deluge of horrific events; increasingly deranged acts of violence, an outbreak of the most brazen theft, and a rash of teenage suicides that ravaged the hearts of this country’s people, Enjoyce’s drug was adopted at increasing rates. Never in the history of Kenta has a drug company been so influential in the shaping of our nation. I still remember the turning point of it all…

    “We interrupt our regularly-scheduled programming to bring you an important message from Enjoyce Pharmaceuticals.”

    “Hello Kenta.” A sincere face appeared on the screen, stark green eyes commiserating with the soul of every viewer and warm, flushed-red cheeks evidence of a large, beating heart. “My heart grieves along with yours over what this nation has become. The violence, the corruption, the greed, the loathing and the desperation of the human heart, it all has seemingly culminated in one of the most dire states of emergency this country has ever had to face.” His tone of voice was calm until this point, then it rose and became stronger. “And in this time of uncertainty, when you can no longer visit a public park with sound mind, when taking your children to day care and having them supervised by perverted individuals who would rob them of their innocence is no less a risk than leaving them home alone where you can’t be sure they won’t be killed in a violent forced entry of your home, what can be done?” His intense conviction flowed out through the inflections in his voice and the rising volume of his voice. “We can increase the police force until half the citizens have the power to arrest, but the root cause must be eradicated. The root cause is the negative emotion. It is what clouds the judgment of a man, makes him kill his own wife and then himself right in front of their child’s eyes. It is what you see in the eyes of the robber who will force you from your car at a stop light with his gun held to your face. It is what leads otherwise rational beings down the path of all manner of violence!”

    A translucent overlay of jiggling biological molecules whirred across the screen as Redeal continued to speak.

    “The root of emotion is the interaction of the chemicals in your body and mind.” On the overlay, molecules clashed and flashed bright red. “Certain interactions result from particular stimuli and produce particular emotions. Dophinimine regulates the interactions which cause you to feel depressed, loathsome, violent, and uncivil. Dophinimine is the cure for this nation’s disease because it attacks it at its heart….and that is yours…


    Enjoyce is the fastest growing and by far the most successful global company in the history of the entire world. That day, that message from Redeal on the airways marked a change in tide and this country is a much better place to live because of what they’ve done. Post Dophinimine crime levels are almost infinitely smaller than before due to its wide adoption and prescription. Scientists have officially done what the artists said no one could: They’ve separated pain from joy.




    ----------------------

    I've been thinking about this story for a while and I think you'll be surprised by how this develops. Won't you stick around?

    EDIT: I realize the prologue isn't too poke-centric, but this is a story that takes place in the pokemon universe. Pokemon will show up......and you'll be surprised.
    Last edited by Maze; 24th December 2007 at 9:21 AM.
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  2. #2
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    Hello Maze! ^^

    Hm...interesting concept so far. Something tells me that there is something more to Enjoyce then what meets the eye. ;D

    Also, quite like how you did the emotions already in the prologue. Ya know, you quite improved a lot since the last fic, so congrats on that!. (Speaking of which, continue that first fic of yours! XD Will PM you when Serebii doesn't lag on me >.>). Hm...I hope I did not nominate anyone for Best Improved Author yet at the fanfic awards becuase I am thinking of nominating you for that because you deserved it! ^^

    Well, the only other thing I would like to say is do not forget to add a bit description of your character's surrondings in the next chapters. Ya know, describe the streets, forests, buildings, etc. that your character is in.

    Hehe, good luck on this and hope you continue on this one! Can't wait to see how Pokemon plays into this.
    Last edited by Bay; 4th August 2007 at 10:06 PM.


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  3. #3
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    Hey! It's pretty cool that you haven't forgotten me. Thanks for commenting my fic. I'm already hard at work on the next chapter of this, but I'm having trouble with the pacing. I don't know how much I want to let out of the bag at one time, you know? And I think you'll be surprised at the kind of things that are in that bag! I'm also working on the environment and character description due to your advice. I don't think you'll be disappointed!

    Oh, and I'll get started on the next chapter of All I Need pronto, then!
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  4. #4
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    Maze is back to writing! =D

    First of all, continue your first fic. I'm sorry I didn't review the last chapter, but I am still interested in reading the fic. So get writing!

    As for this fic, I'm reminded of Brave New World. It's going to be fun to see how this new drug will affect people. And I can't wait to see how Pokemon will be used in this fic.

    And unfortunately, that's all I can think of to say in this review.

  5. #5
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    Not bad, I guess... A bit... Gruesome... Probably should have put a disclaimer or something. Also, the domestic abuse was slightly unrealistic. I know if I was about to be shot by my boyfriend I would not be telling him that I loved him. Would probably have tried to get to the kitchen to grab a steak knife. Anyway, I look forward to the first chapter and see how Pokémon get involved. The boy clearly is going to have issues.

  6. #6
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    Hey all! I'm hard at work on the first chapter. The pokemon integration is proving difficult. They are definitely integral to the storyline, but I am having trouble with the way I had originally planned to explain their involvement in the story. Bear with me. I've also been diligently pecking away at this keyboard trying to get another chapter of All I Need up, too! This will be a double-feature week.
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  7. #7
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    HEAVEN ON EARTH


    It’s no longer odd to me that remembering the night my parents died “feels” exactly the same as remembering what I had for breakfast in the morning. There’s no special reaction, no solemn recognition of horrific tragedy, just a passing thought. One new age axiom I find particularly true is “Dophinimine heals all wounds”. Ha, it’s so true. I’ve been so happy recently and for most of the years I can remember.

    “Do you plan on going to work today, Michael? If you get out of bed now, you’ll have enough time for a three course breakfast of eggs, bacon, and toast within a two minute margin of err…”

    I reached from under my comforter and quieted my alarm clock. The reality of my everyday routine started to fill my mind, saturating the grey matter that’d been soaked in reflection. I opened my eyes and left the bed with heavy head and light heart.

    I stretched long and thoroughly, awakening every muscle in my body as I stood fresh before the new day. My well-rested bones creaked much in the same manner the floor of this old flat did. And just like most days prior, I made my way from my bedroom to my shower, showered, ate my breakfast, grabbed a day’s worth of Dophinamine, and headed towards the door of my apartment in front of which my shoes lay. The hardwood floor beneath my feet bemoaned my departing steps.

    “Don’t worry, we’ll be together again soon enough, room 116” I said as I shut the door tightly and locked it. I made my way down the building’s stairs and out the front door, on my way to my job. It was within walking distance of my home, so each day I enjoyed the same early-morning scenery: the dew-covered lawns of the neighbors, the sound of early-bird retirees putting at the golf course, and the laughing children headed to the bus stop. This morning-time reminder of the heaven-on-earth that Enjoyce has created is for me everyday to observe.

    But as I drew closer to the bus stop, a particular young child caught my eye. He looked just like me. His brown hair and his brilliant green eyes reminded me so much of my youthful image that I had to stop.

    “What’s wrong, mister?” That high-pitched voice got caught up between my ears and swirled around, echoed, and reverberated throughout every cavity of my mind. How could he be smiling after what he’d just been through? How is there no gravity to the momentous event that was his parents’ death in a murder-suicide? The child continued to smile and it continued to bother me more and more. On the one hand, in the very recent past the scenario had been so perfect.

    “Are you all ready for school?” My mother ran her hands through my short brown hair and kissed me on the forehead all while I scooped up a spoonful of cheerios and carefully filled my mouth.

    To put this in perspective, the first day of first grade was what I considered a “momentous event” then. The experiences of a lifetime constantly expand our understanding of the words we use and the things we feel. What is “ecstatic” one day is “content” the next, and what is “sorrowful” one day is “indifferent” the next. A series of calluses form as the events of every day pluck at our heart’s strings. The strings become worn and the hands that pluck become unaware of even having affected anything for the better or for the worse. And life becomes a song of loud and soft notes, missed notes and triumphant choruses, heavy beats and pitchy noise. It is either that Enjoyce has done us a great service, protecting everyone, by realizing that the notes played need not always be solely a function of what plucks the strings but also the configuration of the instrument, or that Enjoyce has done us a terrible disservice by disrupting the rhythm of our natural song.

    I don’t know what plucked my father’s heart string that night, but the note played back was of grave consequence.

    “Your death, Tammy. Your death is the only atonement!”

    When I left that morning for school, I heard I high note of anxiety and anticipation of new things to come. And my mother died just that week. The next school day, I left my foster home with a high note of anticipation of new things to be learned. And there was no deep, bellowing tone in between.


    And there I was again, standing at a school bus stop with a frown on my face. I grabbed from my pants pocket a pill bottle full of 325 mg Dophinimine pills and spilled two of them out onto the palm of my right hand. I kissed them and placed them on my tongue where they dissolved readily. One full dose of heaven on earth. I took a deep breath and exhaled some of those thoughts and I continued on to work.

    “You’re late, Michael.” The tone of his voice was flat and unsympathetic. His eyes were dull and filled with annoyance. Mr. Gowlman had been my boss for five years now and I’d never seen him this discontent.

    “I’m sorry, sir. Would you believe that I got lost along the way?” It was partially true in the sense that I was lost in thought.

    “If that’s what you say. No matter, just don’t let it become a habit.” Mr. Gowlman forcefully manufactured a false chuckle and went off to his office. And I sat down in my cubicle. Sometimes I hated myself for being so content with selling services over the phone, but i was happy regardless. I jiggled the mouse at my desk and brought my monitor to life. There'd always be a small news story detailing the tragic death of some person by manslaughter or other human-induced cause. Acts of hatred put on display to constantly reinforce our faith in Dophinimine is what they were. It wasn't effective on many levels, though. It was like the days when high definition televisions were niche but there'd always be ads broadcast in SD supposedly showing the benefit of the picture enhancement. There was a barrier robbing the image of its power: the ability to perceive its worth and understand its depth by the targeted demographic.

    Not more than an hour later, Mr. Gowlman emerged from his office with a document in his hand.

    “What is this, Nicholas?” Mr. Gowlman asked with a tone of reproach in his voice. He held up a printout in front of the face of the guy in the cubicle next to me.

    Nicholas and I started our jobs at this company on the same day.

    ”Nice to meet you, Michael. My name is Nick.” The first day of work ended and Nick invited me to join him at his favorite bar, McKenzie’s.

    “You know what the problem with women today is, Michael?” he asked me in a low, secretive tone.

    “What’s that?”

    “The ones that I could’ve gotten are too damn happy on their own. That Dophinimine must be eliminating their need for happiness from a relationship, I think.”

    “Nah man, I’m pretty sure it’s just you,” I laughed
    . We conversed into the middle of the night so many times in that bar. It became almost a daily ritual for us to meet there. All the events of the day, the happenings in the sports world, and our romance escapades were lined up and digested by our chatter over a glass. We’d double dated, taken trips, and hosted parties together. There was only a minor technicality that robbed us of being brothers. So my ears perked up when the boss approached Nick just now.

    “I don’t know what that is, sir.” Nicholas replied.

    “This is a list of those we sold to last week. Notice how it’s only a page-long list? Notice how many cubicles are on this floor?” Mr. Gowlman then raised his voice to say this, “So what the **** is the problem?! Did I goof up and hire a bunch of incompetent idiots?!”

    Silence followed his question. His tone of voice, the flush red hue of his face, the beads of sweat that now formed on his forehead all transformed the atmosphere into one thick with anxiety and fear. The air was still but in no way calm. A volatile state had been created, an unpredictable and unforeseen state of affairs had descended upon us unsuspecting workers. It was the kind of situation so intense that you feel as if shifting your weight even slightly could start a chain reaction leading to devastating outcome.

    “What causes a man to lose his control and lash out in this way?” I thought.

    And once we all had come to grips with the situation and we began to exhale, Mr. Gowlman lifted from out of his coat’s inner pocket his gun and ostentatiously waved it about.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    The following is an off-shoot running concurrently with this fic and in the same universe.

    Mrs. Rische



    I walked towards the counter where my prescription would be filled, still very much under the effect of my last dosage of Dophinimine.

    Sometimes I wonder briefly how things would be different had my child not been still-born. Sometimes I mull around the thought of an active home filled with the pitter-patter of a toddler’s feet or the changing voice of an adolescent. Sometimes I linger by my fire place, imagining what pictures would lay above it on the mantel. I’ve seen young firemen clad in heavy, dignified uniforms with a look of accomplishment on their faces, graduates, and all manner of upstanding citizen.

    There’s no heaviness associated with these contemplations. They are merely passing thoughts, sometimes even whimsical fancies. It’s only when I let them settle, these thoughts, that I begin to feel embitterment creep out from the annals of my heart and encroach upon the space in my mind. It’s almost a physical pain, one that changes my demeanor and facial expression.

    ”We’re sorry, Mrs. Rische…your baby has been still-born.”

    When they told me this, I wondered mostly about how much time it would take to return the presents received at the baby shower. The more I think about it, the more I know my priorities were wrong.

    I left the pharmacy with my prescription of heaven on earth filled.
    Last edited by Maze; 26th December 2008 at 6:36 PM.
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  8. #8
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    Hehe, nice chapter. Looks like Andrew is in a real good mood until Mr. Gowlman came and screamed at his friend. And man, looks like he is really serous with this business. Maybe he needs a little bit of Dophinimine. XD

    I like how you show a flashback of Andrew and Nick’s friendship. Something tells me that their friendship will be important in this story. Also, I cannot help but think that what Nick said on how the women were too happy because of Dophinimine is an important factor in this story also. That comment probably shows how now in this society too many people are being dependent on things like medicine and technology to make themselves happy.

    Yep, you quite improved your descriptions on the settings. Like how you describe the places Andrew passed before he went to work. However, I think you could have spice up the description of Andrew’s workplace. For instance, you can describe how busy the place was with people carrying papers, taking phonecalls, and looking information on their computer. Also, describe a little bit the inside and outside of Enjoyce.

    Well, so far, so good. Keep up the good work and good luck on the next chapter!


    Tumblr | FFnet | Author's Profile| Archive of Our Own | Banner: Umi Mizuno
    I'm still writing, but probably not much Pokemon stuff at the moment. HAM!


  9. #9
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    I, eh, thought the main character's name was Michael. The beginning of this fic had his name as Michael, but then he became Andrew. oO

    I'm enjoying the many wise words of this fic. How an event can be so horrible the day that it happens, but the next day it is something to just think of in passing. Great words that remain with me after reading this.

    Nice job just keeping this a character-driven fic. Those are some of the best fics out there.

  10. #10
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    Thanks very much for stopping by. The main character's name is michael. I made a mistake. I edited.

    How an event can be so horrible the day that it happens, but the next day it is something to just think of in passing.
    yeah, Michael is having a lot of trouble with this. He thinks given the importance of life, death should have more weight, be given more respect. And that respect, in his mind, can only come from grieving the deceased. Something's missing when you can feel such a great love but then, when it's gone, feel no pain. It's just really unnatural. But there are always two sides. I want to shed some light on Redeal's thinking on the issue in either the next chapter or the one after that.

    And man, looks like he is really serous with this business. Maybe he needs a little bit of Dophinimine. XD
    Oh yeah he does! There's more to be disclosed soon. Can't really say much, but I'm happy to hear you speak in terms of the universe of the story. That's so awesome to read. I hope it means you're enjoying it!

    I like how you show a flashback of Andrew and Nick’s friendship. Something tells me that their friendship will be important in this story.
    Yup!

    Also, I cannot help but think that what Nick said on how the women were too happy because of Dophinimine is an important factor in this story also.
    Haha, yup! Very perceptive.

    And I'm glad to hear that you've seen improvement in my description. Of course, I still have work to do in that department. I've already thrown in a little workplace description in the next chapter in fact!

    Before the next chapter, another episode of Mrs. Rische will be posted. It gives me another avenue of controlling the pacing of the fic. And i think another perspective broadens the scope of the universe for you guys. Tell me what you think about that mechanic.
    Last edited by Maze; 17th August 2007 at 5:40 AM.
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  11. #11
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    Okay, good start I must admit. I haven't read your other Fic, but I recognize your writing style. It is purposely vague, which lends the Fic a nice look. But it also tends to be confusing. Details become vague and muddy. Anyway, be careful to make sure that doesn't happen. Make sure you have plenty of description.

    Here's something that didn't quite make sound right to me though:

    “This is a list of those we sold to last week. Notice how it’s only a page-long list? Notice how many cubicles are on this floor?” Mr. Gowlman then raised his voice to say this, “So what the **** is the problem?! Did I goof up and hire a bunch of incompetent idiots?!”
    How many people curse and directly afterward say goof? Not really anything major, just thought I'd point it out.

    And here's something else: I understand how you went to Mrs. Rische, but when you go to a new character, you usually don't have them in first-person. Again nothing major.

    Besides that, I like it. The whole miracle drug story has been done before, but this seems like it's might be different. The beginning was, well violent. But it portayed the meaning of the fic well.

    Overall, I like it. To be honest, this was the part that really hooked me. So twisted...

    "We’re sorry, Mrs. Rische…your baby has been still-born.”

    When they told me this, I wondered mostly about how much time it would take to return the presents received at the baby shower. The more I think about it, the more I know my priorities were wrong.
    That simple paragraph said it plain and simple. This has definitely made me think. I'll be reading.

  12. #12
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    Hey, thanks a lot, duncan! I'm chewin' on your advice right now, mullin' it over, digestin' it while i'm writing the next chapter.

    How many people curse and directly afterward say goof?
    Nobody. I goofed. I guess I was a little nervous about how all the language would come across...and then in asterisked it out anyway.

    And here's something else: I understand how you went to Mrs. Rische, but when you go to a new character, you usually don't have them in first-person.
    Mrs. Rische is another fic. kinda. She's sort of a character in the main story but sort of not. It's an off-shoot, another narrative. The same world from someone else's perspective. Michael will see Mrs. Rische, he may even speak with her, but she's got her own story and her own voice, you know?

    The Mrs. Rische episodes will only ever be a few paragraphs to a page long, though. It's just another vantage point on the world Michael lives in. And a great way for me to add details that my main character might not pick up.

    But do you think that's a bad idea? Should i try and just incorporate her into the main story and not try and split the two? i don't want to dilute her experience, but I don't know. What should I do?

    Thank you for reading! Hopefully you will stay with me through this fic!
    Last edited by Maze; 18th August 2007 at 5:37 AM.
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  13. #13
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    Oh no, keep her seperate. The only thing I meant was that it's just unusual to have two people in first person, that's all. Having another view on the world will give readers better perspective.

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    Default Stop-gap

    Here's another episode of Mrs. Rische which will be followed shortly by the next chapter of the main fic.

    Mrs. Rische

    I was only aware of how cold it was. Not one of my other senses was being stimulated at the time: no light for me to see, no odor for me to smell, nothing in the air for me to taste. There was only an all enveloping coldness for me to feel and darkness for me to see.

    And then he arrived. His eyes looked just like mine but he had his father’s nose. The light from his body permeated the space around me to reveal our living room where I sat on a couch across from him. He had very dark hair but a brighter smile than his hair was dark and he ran towards me.

    “Mommy! How are you, mommy?!” I embraced my son as tightly as is humanly…no, as tightly as is motherly possible. That’s because the love a mother has for her child is more than something that results in humane treatment or humane regard. It’s very much a force beyond being described as humane. It’s a bond that passes all understanding and caught up in this pouring over of contemplation over what my son’s existence would mean to me, I felt some of this motherly love…

    And I woke up with a start, in a cold sweat. Anxiety, fear, pain, love, things I can’t explain, things I haven’t felt so strongly in many years, flooded back, sharp blades piercing the thick lining of Dophinimine numbing my soul. I cried out because it hurt. The mental anguish was unbearable. I tumbled out of bed, in my mind anxiously trying to recall where I’d laid my filled prescription of Dophinimine. I couldn’t think clearly, I was overcome and overwhelmed by increasing sensitivity to emotion.

    “I can’t think, I can’t think, I can’t think!” I cried in anguish. All I could think to do was turn on my radio and hope that something playing could soothe me. On the floor next to my bed, I reached my hand up and turned my alarm radio on. Unable to move willingly yet writhing in pain, I sat on the floor with hands wrapped tightly about my bended knees and closed my eyes.

    …And these happy feelin's (Feel that happy feeling)
    I'll spread them all over the world
    From deep in my soul I wish you
    Happy Feelin's (You and me)
    Happy Feelin's (Aye, Aye, Aye,Aye)
    Happy Feelin's (Yeah, Alright)
    Happy Feelin's


    The melody lulled me back off to sleep at 6:14 AM.
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  15. #15
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    Interesting. It was short, though (just like this post). You should probably stick to keeping her episodes to the main chapter. Anyway, it really added some more depth to the fic. I think I'm beginning to understand her (and the story) better now. Nice job.

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    Default Guys, it's about to get crazy

    EXEMPLARY CASES

    There was panic throughout our floor of the office. Mr. Gowlman fired a shot into the air.

    “I want you all to go on about your jobs. If you make a sale, call me to your desk. I’ll confirm it and you can live. If, in the next hour, you do not make a sale, I will shoot you in your empty head!” And then he stood by the water cooler, menacingly staring at us all. He panned back and forth scanning each cubicle. But we were all on phones. Surely he expected one of us to call the police. Or maybe he had thought it through. Maybe he knew how drastically the police force had been scaled down here. Maybe he knew that there wasn’t much of a force to call in since the crime rate in this area had been non-existent in the past decade due to the high saturation of Dophinimine?

    In this grey office, confined by this grey cubicle, and under the heat of those fluorescent tube lights, the pressure began to mount. I could call the police myself. Someone would come, there was still something left. I didn’t want my moves to be too obvious, nor my intentions too overt. I moved my hand to dial…

    “What are you doing?!” Mr. Gowlman pushed off of the water cooler and clasped his gun tightly in his hand. He waved it in the air again. “You think this is a ****ing toy? You think I’m ****ing joking?!”

    My heart stopped. I wasn’t looking directly at him. I couldn’t tell if he was looking directly at me. Long seconds passed and he said nothing.

    Oh ****, oh ****, oh ****




    IN THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS (mild sexual innuendo present below)

    “The ones that I could’ve gotten are too damn happy on their own. That Dophinimine must be eliminating their need for happiness from a relationship, I think.”

    “Nah man, I’m pretty sure it’s just you” I laughed.

    From the corner of the bar, a soft glow caught my eye. Her name, I would later find, was Michelle.

    “With that, my good man, I bid you adieu. There’s a woman in the corner of the bar with my name written all over her” I said naively.

    “Oh, I see” he said, turning around to catch a glimpse. “Good luck”.

    I walked in her direction and she stared in mine, sipping what looked like the last little bit of burgundy from her glass. Deeply colored maroon waves of hair accentuated her choice in drink, flowing over either side of her neck, down past her shoulders and ending just above her wonderfully shapen bosom.

    She seemed to be a softened target. She smiled at me in a relaxed and inviting way when I approached her table. This had not been her first drink, I thought.

    “You need a refill?”

    “Oh, how kind of you” she said in a tone of playing along with a hackneyed modus operandi. “I’ll have another cranberry juice, please.”

    Cranberry juice? Really? What was this woman doing in a bar if that’s all she wanted? I guess I didn’t have that much of a right to be surprised, though. The smell of alcohol was absent from her breath and it wasn’t too uncommon for people to use bars as a simple hang-out place. No one really needs alcohol to relax because Dophinimine does a very fine job of easing the nerves.

    I ordered her cranberry juice.

    “Won’t you sit down, kind stranger?” I sat across from her at the small round table. She was familiar enough with the game. Someone as pretty as she was would be expected to be.

    The bartender sat her juice by her hand.

    “I can’t get over how bright and beautiful you are. I saw you from the corner of my eye from all the way across the room. What is your name?”

    “My name is Michelle, but people close to me call me 'Elle' for short. Like the letter ‘L’”.

    “Well, you can’t spell love without Elle.”

    “Now hold on, stranger. Aren’t you laying it on a little too thick? Eight ounces of cranberry juice will get you close, but you haven’t got my heart yet” she laughed as she took another sip from her glass. She looked back up at me with pale green eyes. “But I say that assuming that you want my heart...when really, you don’t. You’re looking for recreation, aren’t you? Because after you’ve done away with your sadness and pain, you’ve moved from searching for happiness in a higher purpose or meaningful relationship. You have it now and you will always have it as long as you keep your prescription filled. The search is over for you. But doesn’t that make you a shallow ******* to begin with? I mean, was your life’s purpose simply to pursue your own happiness? And now that you’ve found it, is it to simply revel in your contentment and complacency, disrespecting ideas like love and responsibility by reducing the women you meet to recreational fodder?”

    “I, well” I stammered. Unlike her, I was somewhat inebriated.

    “Don’t worry. You’ve still got a 65% chance ‘cause I think you’re cute. But don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it? After all, ‘the unexamined life…’, right?” She lifted her glass to her face and paused. There apparently was a small smudge at a specific spot below the rim. “Hm. I wonder who drank out of this before me. And before then, who?”

    “They can replace the glass.”

    “Oh I know. I suppose it doesn’t matter which glass if all I’m looking for is the juice, right?”

    “Yes, I suppose.” Even the simple questions I answered with caution. This whole encounter caught me off guard.

    “Does it matter which pretty woman you sleep with when all you want is the gratification? There’s no difference from one to the next, is there? As if to demonstrate, Elle poured the cranberry juice into the glass she’d been drinking from prior and then sipped from it. “Answer wisely,” she took a sip “You’re at about 50% right now.”

    “Well, I don’t feel that way at all. If you’re suggesting that I view women as pretty containers created for the sole purpose of quenching my thirst for gratification, then you’re wrong. I view some women that way because that’s how they present themselves, but not you, Michelle.”

    She stared off to her left and smiled. "Hmm, you weren't so presumptious as to call me 'Elle', a name reserved for people I deem to be close friends. That's nice, Michael. 72%”. My face must’ve been the sight of one humorously bewildered as Elle laughed when she turned back to face me. “Ha-ha, cuter when confused. 77%!" I cracked a small smile. It had become her game, she'd stolen it. "I never got your name, stranger.”

    “My name’s Michael, Michelle.”

    “I can’t say why, but I like the name. 82%,” she paused “Michael.” She took another sip of cranberry juice. “I guess you found it odd that I ordered a non-alcoholic beverage, specifically a bitter cranberry juice." She looked into her glass as she talked to me. "I saw it on your face.”

    “It’s not odd, I just had assumed something different based on the beverages I consume, I suppose. But it’s erroneous to project my own habits on to someone else. I apologize if you were at all offended.”

    “Oh no, Michael. I wasn’t offended. But I’d like to answer the question that was on your face." She looked up at me. "I drink a bitter, sharp cranberry juice because I don’t like to be numbed by alcohol. I don’t like to be numbed period. It's a very dangerous thing. You don’t eliminate scary things because you can’t feel fear," she said, raising her hands and waving them...scarily? "You can’t get rid of tragedy because you don’t have the ability to mourn. You can’t stay alive by turning a blind eye to what’s killing you.”

    The things she said made sense to me, but they were unlike anything anyone has ever said aloud in so many years. She touched the core of my life and nudged it off kilter, making statements that begged the question of what really matters. Her beauty became more real, she exuded a certain je ne sais quoi, an uncommon, unexplainable glow of substance and beauty which couldn't be physically touched.

    “Michelle, I don’t know what to say. That’s partially because I’m a bit drunk, but mostly because of how much more real you are than most women I’ve met here. I could reach out and touch you without touching your flesh because there’s so much more there…if that makes sense.”

    “Oh, it makes enough sense for a drunkard, Michael.”

    “Ha! I’m a bit drunk, but I’m no drunkard, Michelle.”

    “Well that’s good to know. So many these days are drunk on a broken way of living, popping pills to make their problems go away. It’s like playing peek-a-boo with a baby who hasn’t developed Object Permanence. Everything is still where it was, how it was.”

    There was a long pause as Michelle ran her fingers around the rim of her glass, now devoid of harsh cranberry juice. I decided to take her words with me as I left.

    “Where are you going, Michael?”

    “Hm?”

    “You’re walking away, but you have a very good chance of ‘touching the flesh’, as you say, of Michelle Rische…”

    ------------------------------------------



    Mr. Gowlman curled his index finger around the trigger of his handgun and pulled it back. The bullet whizzed through the air, tore through the cubicle wall and hit Nick right between the eyes. His blood splattered up and over the wall of my cubicle, landing on my lap, on my sleeves, on my face.

    “Does anyone else feel like trying to dial for the police?!!” Mr. Gowlman shouted. I sat still, drops of blood on my face, and smiled.

    I later hated myself for not crying when he got shot. I hated myself for not feeling anything. Is heaven losing a friend of five years and feeling nothing at all? No, that’s not what heaven is. This is a twisted reality, we are a twisted people. Misshapen, soulless beings, ignoring half of the human experience.

    ----------------------


    DUN DUN DUN. And so it begins…..

    Notice he calls here "Michelle" in the dialogue, but as the narrator he calls her "Elle". The dialogue takes place when they first meet and is in the past. Elle is a nickname reserved for those close to her.........

    Also note the similarity in their names....
    Last edited by Maze; 25th August 2007 at 7:14 AM.
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  17. #17
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    *heads spins* Whoa! The whole Michael/Michelle thing was different. It was kind of different, but I see what you were doing with it. It was a short chapter, but more and more of the plot is revealing itself. And Gowlman... That was unexpected (sort of). Every chapter so far has really impressed upon me about the power (and horror) or Dolphomine. This fic is really quite emotional, and you are quite good at writing it. I'm definitely looking forward to the next chapter.

  18. #18
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    Hehe, so that is how Michael and Michelle met. Hehe, like their conversation. The way how Michelle say how much she is liking him by using percents is quite amusing to me. Maybe I should do that to a guy sometime XDDDD.

    Speaking of the both of them..

        Spoiler:- "Michael and Michelle:


    Also, something tells me the parts of how both crime and alcohol use were down because of that pill will be important also. Man, that pill really works wonders, huh? XD

    Really great chapter here. Can't wait to read the next chapter!


    Tumblr | FFnet | Author's Profile| Archive of Our Own | Banner: Umi Mizuno
    I'm still writing, but probably not much Pokemon stuff at the moment. HAM!


  19. #19
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    Its a very good writing style but its a bit too dark for my tastes. Will there be any pokemon in this, out of curiousity?
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
    Chapter 17 is up.

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    HI!

    Wow... seems interesting. Everything has a way of coming out really deep and... important. I like how the character's reactions aren't as conventional as most. I can tell you're gonna have a lot of cool themes. One thing: you might want to throw something in for comic relief, just to make the dark bits stand out more.

    Anyway, great fic!

    ~Mix

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    Default Thanks everybody!

    One thing: you might want to throw something in for comic relief, just to make the dark bits stand out more.
    That's great advice, liveletlove_mix. I'm gonna try and come up with something comical to throw in there. Man, that's a good idea. Thanks. I need to get to work on that ASAP.

    And I'm glad you stopped by even though i haven't been keeping up with your fic. i saw the other day that you were on chapter 13! Oh mai! But no worries, I'm gonna get there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bay View Post
    Hehe, so that is how Michael and Michelle met. Hehe, like their conversation. The way how Michelle say how much she is liking him by using percents is quite amusing to me. Maybe I should do that to a guy sometime XDDDD.
    Hahaha. Tell me how that goes!

        Spoiler:- "Michael and Michelle:


        Spoiler:- "RE: Michael and Michelle:


    You keep on making so many close predictions, you might have to spoiler tag your whole comment!

    Really great chapter here. Can't wait to read the next chapter!
    Thanks! I'm glad you're enjoying it. I hope you continue to enjoy it as I move deeper into the world of the story.

    duncan

    And Gowlman... That was unexpected (sort of). Every chapter so far has really impressed upon me about the power (and horror) or Dolphomine.
    Yeah, I didn't know if I wanted to kill Nick now or not, but it ended up being for the better. i can't say so much now, but yeah. Dophinimine is powerful for a lot of reasons.

    Griff:

    Its a very good writing style but its a bit too dark for my tastes. Will there be any pokemon in this, out of curiousity?
    Thank you! I'm sorry that you feel that way, but I'm very glad that you stopped by to read this much! There WILL be pokemon. It's not apparent yet, but they'll be here.............................................. ....................

    And thanks to Mix, there WILL be comic relief!

    This next chapter will probably be up in five or six days.

    All I Need won't continue until this one is done.

    Author's Cut

    Michelle's first little paragraph of speech was cut down from the original. Here's the beta:

    "To escape the ups and downs of life, people turn to seeking a higher purpose, nobler goals, and absolute truths. Are you content with just being happy because you know you’ll always be? Has this inhibited your search for meaning in your life? I drink a cranberry juice because I don’t like to be numbed by alcohol. I don’t like to be numbed period. Do you need me to be numbed before I find you overwhelmingly attractive or before I agree to leave with you? Is that satisfying? Changing my reality because the reality is that you really aren’t enough to do the job on your own? Being numbed is a very dangerous thing. You don’t eliminate scary things because you can’t feel fear. You can’t get rid of tragedy because you don’t have the ability to mourn. And so what you’re really doing is turning a blind eye to what’s killing you"

    The next Author's Cut will have a lost conversation between Nick and Michael.
    Last edited by Maze; 29th August 2007 at 5:25 PM.
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  22. #22
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    YES. I am very pleased to see a story like this: a well-written, psychological piece with strong, relevant themes.

    I'm reminded of something someone told me once: "A fake smile is better than no smile." No, it most certainly is not, and it's for that reason that Dophinimine is creepy, just like that quote--only far moreso than the quote. It's a drug that brings smiles and order at the apparent expense of people's humanity, their ability to care. CREEPY. o___o;

    I wouldn't want to see such a drug ever come onto the market in real life, but Dophinimine as a story element is a virtual godsend because it provides such an excellent means to explore human emotions and their importance. Furthermore, in showing what people become when deprived of certain emotions, it might perhaps instill in a person a little more respect for our ability to care, even if caring does hurt like hell sometimes.

    I'm personally partial to stories that contain tragic elements, and this story presents them in a unique and powerful way. The inability of characters under the influence of Dophinimine to truly appreciate and respond appropriately to tragic and horrific events also serves to underscore those events, giving them even more tragic potency.

    Good work on the characters, too. I'm particularly fond of Michelle at this point in the story, mainly because she has said some seriously quotable and rather wise things. Also, her use of percentages to tell Michael how she regards him was great.

        Spoiler:- Oh, and...:


        Spoiler:- Highlights:


    I respect you and this story a great deal for exploring the themes that it does. You've done terrific work on this piece, and I will most certainly continue reading. ^^
    Last edited by Sike Saner; 31st August 2007 at 9:17 AM.
    DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK
    (Or do. I don't actually mind.)
    The Origin of Storms | Communication

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    REACHING RISCHE

    I could do two things: I could continue to dial for the police or I could focus my energies on trying to make a sale that’d assure my freedom. But the choice was apparently made a bit sooner by someone else because now I could see a small red dot hovering between Mr. Gowlman’s left and right eyebrows, playfully darting back and forth until it steadied and moved down his left cheek past his bicep to his wrist.

    “My hand! Oh God, my hand!” he screamed in pain as different streams of blood ran down from his wrist, separating into different channels along their descent and falling to the floor along with his gun. I couldn’t imagine what that must feel like because I hadn’t felt anything like it, nor was I able to feel anything like it. Watching the “agony” on his face, though, hinted at something that wasn’t all too desirable an experience. And that’s when I knew we’d be plastered on the front page of every news paper nationwide the next day. Man Loses Cool and Kills Employee. It’d be a warning, a strong and real reminder of the kind of “tragedy” that Dophinimine was produced to prevent. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they were exploiting our misfortune to sell drugs. But I couldn’t care less.

    The team of police rushed in and grounded Gowlman. They dragged him away, right past us. And we all looked at him with big, wide, bright eyes. We weren’t happy that he’d done what he’d done, not necessarily happy that he’d been stopped, we certainly weren’t happy that Nick had been shot, but for no particular reason we were just happy.

    And Gowlman cried his lungs out, shouting and screaming obscenities. He shook his head violently as the police struggled to retain him. His face was the face of a madman’s; the wide open eyes, the confused and anxious expression, the glare produced by pouring sweat touched by fluorescent lights. And you have to mention the wide open eyes first because a madman doesn’t become a madman until he sees something that drives him to extreme action. He’s not a madman until he first becomes crazy, until some touch of paranoia, some touch of truth opens his mind’s eye to something that can not be ignored. If we saw what he saw, how his eyes saw it, we might do the same thing. And so a perception is what separates us all from the crazies. The unwavering will to carry out our misconceived, ill-informed idea of what is right is what makes us madmen.

    And so we stood there so close to Gowlman, one paradigm away.

    I later walked home.

    I closed the door, leaning against it, physically and mentally exhausted. What would become of today’s events? For breakfast I ate eggs, I walked to work today, my friend was shot in the head, I came home, rested, walked to work the next day…. Was that right? I couldn’t tell, I couldn’t feel. I picked myself off of the wooden door and the floor creaked beneath my feet.

    “Nice to see you too, apartment 116.”

    I stood in front of my bathroom mirror and rubbed the blood off of my face with a warm damp cloth.

    “Well, the blood’s not coming out of this shirt.” I unbuttoned my shirt and took it off. I could throw it away just like I’d throw away the events of this morning. I can toss away my tragedy with a pop of a pill. I reached into my pocket and grabbed my bottle of Dophinimine.

    You can’t get rid of tragedy because you don’t have the ability to mourn.

    I stood there with the pills in my hand and remembered Michelle.

    After that night of meaningless pleasure, I had lost contact with Michelle. Well, “lost” isn’t the right word. I’d avoided contact with Michelle. I think that I was mostly afraid of the truth she presented. Afraid not solely because it’d mean that I was living my life wrong, but afraid because there was absolutely nothing I could do about the way the world works. But I don’t have the bliss of being ignorant. I now know that things should be different and I can’t help but think of Michelle and her cranberry juice on a day like this one.

    I stared into my own eyes, my own empty eyes that had been blinded from the tragedy of this world. My mind traveled. It wandered past Mckinzie’s, down Third Street, past the ball park, and to Michelle’s front door.

    I grabbed my bloodied shirt from the waste bin, threw it back on and went out the front door with my keys in my hand. I let my body take me where my mind’s eye had traveled.

    Her home was small and painted a deep blue which complimented the night sky. White summer lilies adorned two small patches of soil on either side of her front porch. Large, round and bright, the full moon bathed the scene in its silver glow. And I stood in front of her door, knocking.

    “What do you want, Michael?”

    “I need to ask you a question, Michelle.”

    “I haven’t seen you in a while. May I ask you a question first?”

    “Sure.”

    “Are you here because of what we talked about or what we did a month ago?”

    “What we talked about.” I could here her unlocking the door, preparing to let me in. Michelle’s heart was such a complex thing. I had a strong feeling that I didn’t know what do to do with it, but she kept letting me in anyway. As irresponsible and shallow as I was, she let me in. But maybe she saw in me some capacity that I didn’t see in myself. After all, I was here to talk.

    “How can I help you, Michael? Have you realized some truth in what I said?”

    “My friend of five years was shot in the head today. His blood is what stains my shirt and my thoughts, but his memory is all I have inside. I don’t have any remorse for what happened, I’m not sad about it, Michelle. I watched him die just like I watched my parents die and the only difference was that the same feeling was not present.”

    “Come on in, Michael.”

    Some times you walk into a place and are greeted with a predominant color, some predominant sound or smell, but at once I was overwhelmed by the culmination of all things that made Michelle’s home what it was. The sounds, the color, the smell all were one thing in that they played off of each other flawlessly to inspire one perception, one feeling. And that feeling was one of completeness and order. It was as if you could hear sounds through the colors on the wall and see pictures from listening to the music. And why I am impressed is because I’ve seen it all once before. (Admittedly, the first time, I had a little more than décor on the mind). I say that to emphasize the fact that being overwhelmed by the same thing twice hints at a truly amazing thing. I may have to be more cautious in the future when it comes to describing a feeling as “overwhelming”. I can’t be too sure what’s next.

    I sat down on Michelle’s couch as she walked behind it and into the adjacent room which was the kitchen.

    “Can I get you something to drink, Michael?”

    “No thank you. I’m fine.”

    She sat down on the couch, right next to me. “How do you suppose I can help you, Michael?” In the richness of her voice, I understood the statement she made with the question she asked.

    “Michelle, I know that this is not something you can tell me how to do…because I have to do this for myself, but I need some guidance to know where to begin.”

    “How long has it been since you’ve taken your last dose of Dophinimine?”

    “Twelve hours or so. Not since this morning on my way to work.”

    “And what prompted you to take a dose then?” she asked, swirling around her small, four ounce glass of cranberry juice.

    “I started to feel a little anxious about something.”

    “And before then, you hadn’t taken a dose since the morning of the day prior, right?”

    “That’s correct.”

    Michelle leaned back on the couch and turned her head to the right to face me, her cheek smothered in her dark leather couch.

    “You need to be detoxed, Michael….Stay here tonight, don’t take your pills in the morning.”

    “Why do I need to stay here? For accountability?”

    “Oh, you’ll see” she said. I looked at her face and couldn’t tell immediately what the tone in her voice meant. It was foreboding, it was serious, but it couldn’t prepare me for what I would experience, I knew it.














    HMMMMMMMMMM, what is this detox??? What’s gonna happen to Michael? Stay tuned for the next chapter, which is to be precluded by another episode of Mrs. Rische. The wide open eyes of a madman……….
    Taxonomy of the Heart
    Another fic - Foresight

    "When you're in your final moment and your life flashes before your eyes, it isn't for your entertainment, it's your subconscious hurling every relevant and pseudo-relevant experience you've ever had up into consciousness. It's saying 'try this! or this! or this! does what we learned here help?! ****!!'. So don't sit back and relax, take your last stand. Take your brain's emergency alarm and do something.

  24. #24
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    ...Astonishing...

    And I thought that the only lunatic that would serve a story of mixed up emotions of remorse and coldness was my teacher...well if coldness is an emotion...

    that just adds up to the depth...a word of truth I must say...

    that I strongly remember destoevsky's masterpiece, The Gambler...if you added more about the unability (or unwill) to change, i am certian you will manage if you willed.

    I guess you have a new reader (willingly ropes self in the basement untill a new chapter is ready to read)
    I'm back.

    No, no more stories, I'm still recovering from the horror that was Forgotten Paths. I'll just drop by your thread, post a cruel mocking review or two and be on my way.
    (*Innocent grin*)

  25. #25
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    The beginning I was confused. So it was the police that hit Mr. Growlman's hand, or someone else? O.o

    Anyways, good chapter. Things are becoming more interesting, so is that Rische girl. Hm, wonder what that detox can be...


    Some times you walk into a place and are greeted with a predominant color, some predominant sound or smell, but at once I was overwhelmed by the culmination of all things that made Michelle’s home what it was. The sounds, the color, the smell all were one thing in that they played off of each other flawlessly to inspire one perception, one feeling. And that feeling was one of completeness and order. It was as if you could hear sounds through the colors on the wall and see pictures from listening to the music. And why I am impressed is because I’ve seen it all once before. (Admittedly, the first time, I had a little more than décor on the mind). I say that to emphasize the fact that being overwhelmed by the same thing twice hints at a truly amazing thing. I may have to be more cautious in the future when it comes to describing a feeling as “overwhelming”. I can’t be too sure what’s next.
    I like how you describe Mrs. Rische's house not with coffee tables and carpet floors but more with other "senses" and his feelings of it.

    Again, great chapter. Can't wait for the next one!


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    I'm still writing, but probably not much Pokemon stuff at the moment. HAM!


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