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Literature
An Interview With the Apocalypse, Tape 1
    Cool, this mike is super high tech! Oh, right my story. Okay, here it goes. 
    I really blame it on the cat. Snickers had wandered into the woods behind our house for the millionth time in who knows how many years, and since my parents decided that taking care of him was my responsibility, I was always the one to go find him. This was starting to become too much of a habit; the light and dark tabby liked the sun and didn't understand boundaries. It was lucky for me that he kept going to the same sunning rock time after time. Over the years, I had beaten a path through the underbrush where all I had to look out for were copperheads.
    Where the trouble started was where things were different. Halfway through my hike, a well-defined second trail appeared and veered off to the right. I had come down this way just last week, and there hadn't been a trail then. But despite my arm being pinched a few dozen times, the path continued to
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Literature
The Genome Swap Prologue
    The judges looked at each other with apprehension. The defence had no evidence to protect themselves against the charges, and the head prosecutor knew that. They were going to fire every grievance they could scavenge from the two thousand-so inhabitants of Haven at the couple sitting uncomfortably next to their lawyer. The trial would be ruthless, and the judges weren’t looking forward to it.
    The head judge coughed nervously and stood up. He nodded at the man in the back of the room who then switched on an audio recorder. “The trial of Haven versus HydroGen presidents Renee Collins and Gene Collins began on February 8, 2136 at 8:27 AM. Multiple charges have been put forth, but during this trial, they will be limited to-” He stared at the defendants to make sure they were listening. “Inhumane treatment of test subjects, forcible movement of people, breaking all of Section 3a of the Araki Accords, terrorism, manslaug
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Literature
A Gift Gone Wrong
    There are some times when simpler is better. Like now.
    I mean, she would have been happy with roses or chocolates or really anything, so long as I actually put some thought into the gift, but no, I put myself out of my way to get a sapphire pendant that just so happened to be cursed. Damn it, that’s the last time I shop at Zales!
    Sadie’s happy, though. I guess she thinks that becoming amphibious is just another part of life, and that I did this on purpose. But she doesn’t know about the Society, or my Specialty, or that magic exists except for her transformation. She doesn’t know the danger she’s in, and I can’t help her. If I try to get rid of the stone, she’ll fight back, and my magic doesn’t exactly respond well to water. I can’t convince her since she likes what she’s become, and if the last six months have taught me anything, when Sadie gets an opinio
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Literature
Your Fiction is Not Fiction (part 4)
As soon as I reach my room again, my memories flood back into my brain. Were it not for my body being held in place by the book, I might have fallen out of my bed. As it it, I’m so occupied that I don’t notice anything happening around me. Not the lights turning on, not Stiltskin’s statement, not even time freezing. I'm still trying to get to grips with who I am.
    One one hand, it seems right, what these returned memories are telling me. But the snake’s hypnosis is so deeply ingrained in me that I can’t even accept basic facts of life. I might have been stuck there forever if I hadn’t remembered that Stiltskin had said something. But what had he said? Well, I suppose he can tell me himself if I agree.
    Time begins yet again, and Stiltskin transports me back to the carnival. With my body released from the story’s grip, I promptly fall the the ground, my mental faculties still going haywire. Stiltskin
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Literature
The Mewzoo (part 1 of 2)
    *Author's note: This is a story about Pokémon. If you aren't immediately familiar with the Pokémon universe/franchise, you may be confused reading the following story.*
    Lost Pokémon. Responds to the name of Sting. Reward: 200,000 Pokédollars. If interested, please come to 2556 Main Street, Pewter City on April 23rd. More information will be given upon arrival.
    Carson was getting interested. 200,000 Pokédollars. Imagine what he could do with that money! He could… he could… um, buy pokéballs? Better food? Okay, maybe he didn't have much of an imagination, but Carson knew an opportunity when he saw one. He tore the sign off the lamppost and mentally began to make plans for how to walk to Pewter City.
    Carson stepped up to the front door of 2556 Main Street after walking around the building a few times. This was the address, but the cinder-block build
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Literature
I Think, Therefore I Kill (edited)
    Christina was grinning with glee. Almost a year of work had led to this moment, and it was time to reap the rewards. Sure, there had been some complications along the way, but they had been well worth it. With the same hesitance that always comes with being the first of a kind, Christina started a timer and gingerly pressed the button that would boot up the world’s first fully sentient AI.
    She had gone to MIT for moments like this. To use and create the cutting edge of technology, not to mention having a little fun along the way. Of course, Christina was a nerd by any standards. Dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and packing a pretty decent brain to go with it, she would’ve been a teacher’s pet if she actually cared what her professors thought of her.
    It had taken an extra bit of time to set it up, but she had made the AI in a computer completely separate from all other devices. If something we
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Literature
All Summer in a Day (Alternate Perspective)
*Author's note - This is based off of an original story by Ray Bradbury, and is not my idea. It's probably a good idea to read that first, so here's a secure PDF link: http://staff.esuhsd.org/danielle/English%20Department%20LVillage/RT/Short%20Stories/All%20Summer%20in%20a%20Day.pdf
Also, this was written by seventh grade me, so that's why it's kind of a weird writing style.*
    It was the day. The day my class would see the sun for the first time since we were two. In a sense, it would be the first time we saw it. How many people can say they can remember most everything that happened to them as an infant?
    This is how it is on Venus. For two hours, every seven years, the sun peeks its shining face on us. Except for those two hours, it is rain. Rain, constant rain. This is how it always was and always will be. The first men from Earth only had two hours to build a settlement, and then, underground tunnels. Since then, we’ve been burr
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Literature
I Think, Therefore I Kill
    Christina was almost cackling with glee. Almost a year of work had led to this moment, and it was time to reap the rewards. Sure there had been some complications along the way, but they had been well worth it. Almost afraid to do it, Christina started a timer and gingerly pressed the button that would boot up the world’s first fully sentient AI.
    She had gone to MIT for moments like this. To use and create the cutting edge of technology, not to mention having a little fun along the way. Of course, Christina was a nerd by any standards. Dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and packing a pretty decent brain to go with it, she would be a teacher’s pet if she actually cared what her teachers thought of her.
    It had taken an extra bit of time to set it up, but she had made the AI in a computer completely separate from all other devices. If something went wrong (as something always did), she didn’t want
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Literature
Hurricane Season
(Most articles are shortened versions of their original version. All articles are publicly available, and can be seen in their original versions at your local library.)
    You know, the documentaries get it all wrong.
    When I first watched one, I felt like I was watching a horror movie. Something so preposterous and scary that it could never happen in real life. And that’s mostly because of exaggeration, since that’s the only way they’ll ever get anyone to watch them. So if you want the truth, it’s a good idea to turn to newspapers. Daily news means daily updates, and when you string them together, you’ve got your story.
    So what really happened with Hurricane Debby? I think I’ll let the newspapers speak for themselves.
    NOAA Tropical Storm Watch
    June 28, 2024
    Name: Debby
    Current Status: Tropical Storm
&
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Literature
Your Fiction is Not Fiction (Part 3)
    My eyes open to my pitch dark room, and while my body is held still by whatever force is controlling me, I can't help but feel a shiver of excitement run down my back. That had been awesome. If everything was going to be like that, I might not even want to leave! I'm so preoccupied with my thoughts that I don't even notice my going through the preordained actions until the light turns on.
    “What's this about? How do any of you exist?” I internally roll my eyes because I already know the answer.
    “You know why, Sam,” Stiltskin responds, not noticing he's repeating his actions. “Quick now, there’s something I need to tell you.”
    Time stops for a moment before starting again, since I had already made my decision. “No, there's no need.” What? That doesn't sound like me at all!
    Stiltskin nods and disappears with a s
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Literature
Your Fiction is Not Fiction (Part 2)
    Suddenly, I'm back in the bed with the lights turned off again.
    Sam, Syrena calls again.
    “Yeah, can one of you just turn on the lights?” My voice is my own, but it sounds fake, like someone else is talking.
    Ramsey again turns on the fan light, and I see all the characters from my bedroom. I look around with my eyes because the rest of my body refuses to move under my control. Weirdly enough, Eric and Luke are missing from the room. But I don’t have much time to think about this before I’m forced to talk again.
    “What’s this about? How do any of you exist?”
    “You know why, Sam.” My head turns to look at Stiltskin, looking way more serious than normal. “Quick now, there’s something I need to tell you.”
    I open my mouth when time freezes. My body is
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Literature
Your Fiction is Not Fiction
  I open my eyes and look around at my pitch black bedroom. I thought I heard something. A voice. 
  Sam
  Yep, no denying it now. Someone else is in my room. I just hope it's not who I think it is. 
  “Yeah, can one of you just turn on the lights?”
  Ramsey’s the one who hits the switch. At least, I think it's him. After all, he looks just like my mind’s eye imagines him, right down to his green and brown eyes. Really, all the faces around the room look exactly how I think they should look except for Syrena, who's currently posing as a not-so-inconspicuous armchair. But she can shapeshift, so she doesn't count. 
  I rub my eyes to clear the sleep from them. “What's this about? Actually, how do any of you exist?”
  Eric rolls his eyes from the corner, looking perfectly like the average teenage delinquent, when really, he’s anything but average. “Now you know how I feel.
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Literature
The Courteous Kidnapper #2
Kylie woke up in darkness, confused as to why she was tied to a chair. The last thing she could remember was walking down the street with her friends.
    “Amanda?” she called. “Maxine? Are you there?” Her voice echoed off the walls of the pitch black room with no reply.
    “This- this isn't funny, guys.”
    “Well, I should think not. After all, a kidnapping is no laughing matter,” an amused-sounding man responded.
    “Who the heck are you?! What do you mean a kidnapping?! Let me out of here!” Kylie yelled.
    “Now, now, Kylie. Let's not have a fit like a three year old. I'm sure you can be civil, right?”
    “Sure, right after I punch you in the gut.”
    The man sighed. “Really, Kylie, I think you should calm down now. Otherwise I might have to leave you
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Literature
The Courteous Kidnapper
    Bryan woke up to darkness and a sharp pain in his back and hands. A little moving around proved them to be a hard wooden chair and handcuffs.
    “Hello?” he called out, the sound echoing throughout the room.
    “Hello, Bryan,” an unseen man said back. “How are you doing on this fine afternoon?”
    Bryan struggled to make out where the voice had come from to no avail.
    “Bryan? How are you doing?”
    “I, um, heh. I’m guess I’m a little tied up at the moment,” he responded wryly.
    A bit of laughter came from the person. “Indeed, you are. Do you know why you’re here, Bryan?”
    He tried to remember how in the world he had gotten here and came to the conclusion that he couldn't remember much at all. He knew basic facts like that t
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Literature
Improper Protocol Part 2
   Three months later, a man in a black tailored suit walked up the steps to the witch’s home. He looked around cautiously, then knocked on the door. The witch opened it.
   “Why, hello, Jack! Why are you here?”
   “Hello, Martha. Just stopping by for a quick visit. May I come in?”
   “Of course. Just make yourself comfortable on the couch right there.’
   He walked in, and Martha closed the door behind him. Jack walked over to the couch but didn’t sit down, a frown now plastered on his face.
   “Let’s both drop the act, Martha. The Society knows about your production of golems, and let me say, we are not pleased with you. We banned them centuries ago, and you've made twelve golems and counting.”
   “But I have signed contracts! From every single one of my helpers. Everything corresponds to all of your picky lit
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Literature
Improper Protocol Part 1
   Of course it had to be a witch. Life just happened to toss Jared a witch when he needed a doctor. He looked at the address in his hand and then at the building in front of him. Oh well. What other choice was there?
   He knocked and waited for a minute. No one answered. Just as he was going to turn away, it opened to reveal a shriveled old hag leering at him.
   “Ah, hello, Jared. Come on in.”
   Rather disconcerted by how she knew his name and was expecting him, he cautiously followed her into the house. The interior looked just the same as any other house, but as Jared followed her upstairs, it transitioned into a typical witch’s haunt, minus the spider webs, bats, and lack of sufficient lighting. In fact, the whole room was very tidy, with an obvious organization system in place.
   The witch snapped her fingers to get Jared’s attention. “So, tell me why you'r
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Literature
Just Right
Something was off about the Woods that morning. Papa Bear couldn’t define it, but the feeling lifted hairs on his back while he suggested the family cut their pre-breakfast walk short. The feeling solidified when they found the front door open. He poked his head inside the cabin and huffed in the intruder’s scent. A human female, young and injured. As he took in the last detail he noticed spots of blood leading to the kitchen.
Mama picked up Baby and held him tight. The scent of her fear pricked those hairs on Papa’s back as high as they could go under his shirt. He knew she was thinking the same thing. An injured human cub, in their house. Were the parents tracking it? Few things were more dangerous than a human who believed you were a threat to its cubs. Even unrelated cubs drew this ferocity from them. It hadn’t been a year passed since Big Bad Wolf found that out the hard way. Mama still made pies for Papa to drop off at the widow’s house on his way to
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Literature
Blog #5: Write it!
Blog #5: Write It!
Back in high school I never wrote when I should have. I’m not inspired I thought, I don’t feel like writing…
In my senior year, an author I met told me that you need to glue yourself to the chair and force yourself to write even if it is shit. Keep on writing. There never may be that perfect moment of inspiration—forget writer’s block. Real as those challenges are, don’t give them that power, keep moving forward, don’t let your pencil stop moving. It’ll work its way out eventually.
Thank you.
I probably would have failed college at this point without that advice. I was a pro at putting off writing back then because I had this preconceived notion that my writing would only be good when I had “that feeling”.
Where is this all coming from?
Well, for one, I haven’t written on this blog for a long time. I have been writing but this project was kicked down the road. I’m breaking my own rules here.
Oops
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Literature
Immortality Scheme by Trevor Judd
    “What happens after we die?”
    I sipped at my espresso and tried to hide my amusement.  I had posed a similar question—rhetorically, mind you—earlier that day during one of my lectures.  One of my students cornered me after class and asked if we could have a private discussion about death.  I happened to know he was an aspiring physicist, and I knew he had no more idea about what happens after death than anyone else among the living.  Still, I was impressed with him and intrigued, so like any good professor, I decided to humor him.
    Later we sat together in the university café.  The espresso machine behind the counter whined and hissed, a pop music station blared over the speakers, and dozens of voices speaking over each other blended into an unintelligible cacophony.  It was hard to think in that atmosphere, but we made an effort anyway.
    
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Literature
Speaking Pidgin
There was this one time at a former job of mine, back in 1999, when I was coming back from lunch - or maybe I just went outside for a cigarette (I don't remember) - and there was this pigeon outside flopping around on the sidewalk, flapping one of its wings, weaving around in circles.
I went inside and found one of the managers, an old-timer that I figured had seen it all and would know what to do: grab a cardboard box, maybe, and catch the poor bird so animal control could come and take care of it; perhaps mending its broken wing and restoring it to health.
He followed me outside, took one look at the bird, walked over, lifted his boot, and stomped down on the pigeon's head. There was a sickening crunch as the pigeon's skull collapsed under the weight of his heel. He looked at me as if to say, well, now it's taken care of, and then moseyed back into the building.
At home that night I used the web and printed up a drawn picture I found of three pigeons standing side by side by s
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Literature
Heard Mentality
Part 2 0f 2
    So many words...
    So much information...
    The layers of noise were slowly becoming layers of knowledge. It was as if Lucas was listening to multiple lectures simultaneously. The longer he listened...the harder he listened...the more his brain recognized. He felt as if he were getting more intelligent.
    No, intelligent wasn't the correct word. It was wisdom. It was Enlightenment.
    Lucas' perception of the world around him was slowly changing as...yes...the world was a construct of physical matter vibrating at a specific frequency so there must certainly also be...yes...the calibration of said frequency could be changed to accommodate a sonic tunnel of sorts to bridge the gap. How many other worlds could there be? Where did this knowledge originate from? The woman who cut secret grooves into the vinyl acetate must know w
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On Fashion and Philosophy
    “To Marduk, by whose great victory we stand here today, I offer this libation.”
    “To the clouds, who bring the rain for our crops.”
    “To the principles of logic, which govern the very laws of nature upon which our society is built.”
    Makarios intercepted the bowl before it reached his younger brother, Anakletos. He filled it to the brim with wine, and raised it high above his head to pour his libation in long steady stream. His voice was loud and clear.“To Zeus, the finisher – as it was ever meant to be. May he hear and disregard your heresies as the prattlings of children who know no better.”
    Open mouthed silence followed his words, as Makarios quaffed the dregs from the jug. The group’s eyes met in shifty glances he pretended not to notice.
    Anakletos frowned and kept his eyes on his brother. Today, he wore a plain b
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Literature
2018 FFM Day 24: The New Evolution
She leaned casually out the balcony and tipped her cup, sending a stream of water onto the pavement below. The human body can go without water for three days. I have been without for two. There was a quiet bustle from the apartment below Katrina, though quite loud for the times. This era was being touted by the lay people as the New Evolution - human beings suddenly all becoming decent. But Katrina knew better. She idly traced the bumps on her arm where she’d taken blood. What will it take to prove the lies?
Voices from below drafted upward and as Katrina listened, she smiled.
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The Land of the Red Dragon
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That suit was his skin. It wasn’t allowed to come off. It grew with him, stretched with his limbs and never tore. It had special, intricate systems that took care of his needs and a self-activating helmet. Its digital visor relayed all sorts of communications through the day. This suit was marketed as the pinnacle of human development. An 'If you take it off, you die!' slogan accompanied it. Huang counted once. There were fifty-three variations of that sentence splashed across billboards and large screens along the street he crossed to get to work.
The smog had been at a catastrophic level for years. The giant air filtration units that we
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Literature
Halloween
Halloween
“Do you see that!?” a ghost in a sailor outfit with sandy blonde hair sitting on the front gate of a cemetery, pointing to a couple of kids dressed as ghosts with sheets. Another ghost, who was reading outside the gate, looked up with his eyes downcast accompanying his disinterested look.
“Yeah, kids dressed as ghosts, so what?” the reading ghost replied, looking up from his book. The ghost sitting on the fence floated down to the other ghost, and pulled him up.
“Arnold, look at those kids; making fun of our kind and using those stupid bed sheets to represent the amazing look of us ghosts. Whatever happened to creativity and trying your hardest to make something look good. But nope, just make a couple of holes into some stupid bed sheets, and then you’re a ghost! It’s ridiculous!” he explained, where Arnold responded to by rolling his eyes.
“James, you are really overreacting. They’re just a bunch of stupid ki
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Artist's nightmare #3 - What a world this is
This strange world is my new home. I wasn't sure what do to at that moment. An unknown man just saved me from committing another suicide.  Gosh, I wonder how many people can say that.
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InkTober18: Tranquil
Amelia spread her blanket on the ground and set up her easel and canvas. The wildflowers along the brook near her home provided the perfect atmosphere for inspiration. It had been sometime since she had been home, but here she was at her happiest.
She dipped her brush in the purple paint and began to sketch out the flowers she loved so much. The flowers reminded her of her mother, and Amelia could remember picking them as a child to give to her.
The whistling of the wind reminded her of her father. It was a strong, yet gentle comfort like he was.
Amelia smiled as she cleaned her brush and began painting the morning sky. She began to hum a song that her grandmother had often sung to her when she was a baby.
Amelia happy was in her own little world and nothing could bring her out of it.

“Is she going to be ok?” the doctor asked his colleague.
The two men watched the young woman in her hospital room making painting motions against the air with her hand. She stared off i
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FirstNameICanThinkOf's Profile Picture
FirstNameICanThinkOf
United States
I write and can't really draw. Critique me all you want; it helps me get better. If you have any questions about the world my stories are set in, just ask. I have a lot of details about each that don't actually make it in the story. I only submit on Sundays because I started doing that by accident and just decided that I would keep doing that as a real thing.

All llamas given will result in a llama back, though it might take a few days for me to get back 'cause I'm kinda off and on with my logging onto the site...

Do you feel a slight cringe every time someone uses the wrong there/their/they're? Do you bang your head into your desk when two different characters have dialogue in the same paragraph? Do you automatically correct someone when they use a hyphen instead of a dash or vice versa? Then come on down to Grammar-Nazis-Unite! Yeah, it's a small group, but you can rest easy knowing the people there care just as much about proper grammar as you.

Constantly listening to: Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral (It has nothing to do with Frozen. No words. Just beautiful band music.)
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365 days ago, I joined DeviantArt for the sole purpose of writing a comment on a deviation.

Noted, I was just starting to write as a hobby at the time. So there was probably the thought that I might put some of my writing (literally just Transgenomics at the time) out into the world and maybe get a little better at writing so my essays in English class wouldn't be so bad. But to be honest, the second I saw I couldn't comment unless I had an account, I signed up. I didn't really have any hopes that I would get any attention on the site, but maybe I would get a few favorites and maybe a watcher or two.

Well, in this past year, I've found myself writing like I never had before. What had simply been a few ideas in the back of my head had turned into a legitimate hobby that I enjoyed, and the set deadline for me of Sunday pushed me to try my best to focus and get stuff done. Without an audience, I would never have taken writing stories seriously enough to try to hone my skill set in the craft or even think up the twenty stories (not counting the one I wrote in seventh grade) I have published in my gallery.

I started out with transformational stories. Some were kind of trash. No, actually they were all completely trash. Sweating a little... But I told myself the act of writing itself would make me improve, and I kept going, spurred on by the handful of favorites I wasn't expecting to see in my notifications. I moved on to science-fiction, and the very next one was also trash, but the one after that is one I'm so freaking proud of writing, I Think, Therefore I Kill. I don't even know where to start with this one, but I loved it so much that I brought it to a summer writing camp to get it workshopped. Bad stuff came out, good stuff went in, and out came a better version of a story I now loved even more. 

A slightly less trashy story came after that, and then I got a sudden wave of favorites, watchers, and llamas. It wasn't for the new story, oh no, but apparently I got a freaking Daily Deviation (!!!) for one of my earlier trashy stories! With no qualifications or fame to my name, I was suddenly thrust into the spotlight on the same stage as artists whose work was worth far more than a thousand words, and in only my first year on DA. Yet my story was good enough to earn itself 20 favorites (far more than anything else I've gotten!) and make a person actually cry in real life. I think I've fainted. I had no idea what to do, so I just responded to the comments it got and acted for the time being like it didn't happen, because I'm still not sure it was supposed to happen or if community volunteers can undo DDs. 

All my writing after that point has been at least half decent. But I'm still looking to get a repeat of I Think, Therefore I Kill, to get another little gem that might not be good in other people's opinions, but shines like a star in my eyes. I'm planning to have my gallery go through a editing/rewriting phase maybe in the spring, so tell me what you think about that. Some series may never be finished, but I'll do my best to get the two part series done. And I'm on the edge of doing NaNoWriMo, but I'm not sure if I should. Please help me decide!

365 days, 21 deviations, 969 pageviews, 109 llamas, and 18 watchers after I began my DA journey, I start my second year of hobbyist writing on this website. Thank you to everyone who enjoys reading my work and I hope this year next will be better than the first!

    Cool, this mike is super high tech! Oh, right my story. Okay, here it goes. 

    I really blame it on the cat. Snickers had wandered into the woods behind our house for the millionth time in who knows how many years, and since my parents decided that taking care of him was my responsibility, I was always the one to go find him. This was starting to become too much of a habit; the light and dark tabby liked the sun and didn't understand boundaries. It was lucky for me that he kept going to the same sunning rock time after time. Over the years, I had beaten a path through the underbrush where all I had to look out for were copperheads.

    Where the trouble started was where things were different. Halfway through my hike, a well-defined second trail appeared and veered off to the right. I had come down this way just last week, and there hadn't been a trail then. But despite my arm being pinched a few dozen times, the path continued to exist. It was odd, but that was all. I didn't need to go down it to fetch Snickers. So I ignored the extra path and kept walking through the forest.

    Sometimes I wished people could be more like Snickers. Looking only for sunny spots in their lives and lounging in them. The constant exercise kept him fit enough to not look like Garfield, but heavy enough for me to have to wedge him off the rock while he mewled as if saying, “Already?” I had worn a fleece sweater to keep the crisp air of Autumn out, and I placed Snickers underneath so he wouldn't complain so much about the move.

    The new trail was still there as I passed by. Still weirded out, I didn't even look in its direction. I kept moving all the way up to the snakes blocking my path.

    Looking back, they were clearly placed there to make me go back. But all I saw was a knotted pair of copperheads hissing angrily at me. I couldn't, like, call for help or anything since I didn't own a phone, I clearly couldn't go forward, and I didn't trust the area around to be free enough of spiders and poison ivy to wander off the path. So, I slowly backed away and went back to the new fork in the road.

    It didn't make sense. I was the only one to ever really wander out here, and I certainly didn't forge new trails in my sleep. But maybe, however unlikely it was, another hiker had gotten lost, and that was his trail as they tried to find a way back to civilization. So off I went, Snickers still pressed tight to my chest. The trail winded around for a long time before ending in a clearing with an altar in the middle. I didn't really care at first; all I needed was a way home. But then copperheads appeared from every side of the grove, and I knew this wasn't a random occurrence. They had herded me here.

    Yeah, herded. Is that too weird for you? Life hasn't exactly been normal for the last five years…

    ‘Kay, thank you.

    The snakes waited on the edges, staring at me. Snickers poked his head out of the top of my jacket and zipped back down when he saw the snakes. They kept waiting. When I realized that they weren't going to move unless I did something, I finally decided to check out the altar.

    It was all made of grey, uniform rock, and if not for the top, would have literally just been a box. On top of it, however, were animal statues of all the traditional animals you would see at the zoo facing towards the center, where a small goblet filled with water sat. There wasn't anything that seemed like a clear way forward other than drinking from the cup, so I dipped my finger in the water and tasted it. It seemed fine, so I cupped one arm under Snickers, picked up the goblet with the other, and drank it.

    Alright, so sue me! It wasn't like getting poisoned in the woods was the worst of my problems! Besides, it was just water, and tasted like it too. Nothing happened afterwards, so I looked back at the snakes to see if I had done something wrong. What? Is that weirder than anything else I've told you? Weirder than anything else that's happened? Look at my hair, for pete’s sake! Honestly, you were the person who wanted to hear this, and you can't even give me the respect to take me seriously!

    You're sorry? No you're not, you're laughing. And putting on a straight face won't help. Fine, I'll keep talking. But the rest of it isn't any more believable.

    So I went to put the cup back down when a voice screamed from the altar, “SHOOT, WE GOT ANOTHER ONE. OH, AND IT’S A KID, TOO!” There was a- stop laughing! Just take me seriously, for once! It was a speaker, okay? There was a little speaker that had been hidden by the cup, and now that I had picked that up, some sort of sensor must have been triggered. I jumped away when it went off, but there must have been some sort of camera, because the only voice came back almost immediately with, “SORRY, KID, DIDN’T MEAN TO SCARE YOU! COME ON BACK SO YOU CAN CHOOSE A THINGY! HEY KATYA, WHAT’S IT CALLED? A PATRON? YEAH, CHOOSE A PATRON!”

    I slowly inched back to figure out whatever it was this guy was shouting about. Nothing had changed. He kept talking. “MAN, IT’S BEEN SO LONG SINCE SOMEONE CAME HERE! I REMEMBER WHEN THERE WAS A LINE WHERE PEOPLE HAD TO WAIT FOR DAYS, AND NOW PEOPLE COME EVERY FEW CENTURIES! SO WHO ARE YOU GOING TO CHOOSE, KID? FERDA? PIV? EVERYBODY PICKS PIV, BUT I THINK HE’S OVERRATED!”

    “I, I don’t even know what you’re talking about! Who are these people? Who are you? And what the heck is this place?”

    There was a bit of silence. “SO, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS PLACE IS?”

    “No! I’m just trying to get home! But none of the snakes will let me!”

    “SNAKES?” Another pause. “OH, THOSE SNAKES! THEY’RE JUST THE… UH, THE… KATYA, WHAT DO I SAY? THANKS! THEY’RE, UH, GUARDIANS OF THE ALTAR, OF COURSE! YEAH, THAT’S WHAT THEY ARE!”

    “But they brought me here, not kept me out!”

    “UHHHHH… MAYBE THEY MALFUNCTIONED!” Aw, don’t make fun of him! He was doing the best he could. Probably.

    “Um, surrre… what am I supposed to do, though?”

    “PICK A- WHAT WAS IT AGAIN? PATRON, SORRY! DIDN’T YOU HEAR ME BEFORE?”

    “Well, yeah, but…” I froze. A snake was suddenly slithering up my back. It curled itself around my shoulders and hissed in my ear just to make sure I knew it was there.

    “I’LL EXPLAIN IT THE BEST I CAN, KID! THE STATUES EACH REPRESENT A GOD OR GODDESS THAT’LL HELP YOU OUT IF YOU HELP THEM! CHOOSE ONE, AND I’LL SET UP A DIRECT LINK WITH THEM FOR YOU!”

    “Uhhhhh… sure. But why are you coming out of a speaker? That doesn’t seem right for an altar to gods…”

    “BUDGET CUTS, KID! THE ECONOMISTS ARE BRUTAL WHEN IT COMES TO SAVING MONEY!”

    “Um, okay then…” I stretched out a hand towards the nearest statue, an elephant, when a rattle started shaking right behind my head. It was the snake, apparently a rattlesnake, and I snapped my hand back as soon as I heard it. The rattling stopped. I put my hand out again. The rattle shook again. Well, since it wasn’t letting me do the elephant, I tried a different statue, the tiger. Same results.

    I tried the snake. Nothing happened.

    I put my hand on the statue, and the voice blasted out again. “WOW, IT’S BEEN A WHILE SINCE SOMEONE CHOSE ALAPUTH! NEARLY THREE THOUSAND YEARS, I THINK!”

    “Ala-who?”

    “ALAPUTH, GODDESS OF SNAKES AND STONE, AND ALSO DEMONS, BUT NO ONE WHO GETS THIS FAR EVER REALLY CARES ABOUT THAT PART!”

    I tried another statue again, but the rattlesnake kept backing me away from any of the other ones. So I eventually put my hand back on the snake statue.

    “SET ON ALAPUTH, HUH, KID?”

“Um, yeah, Alaputh sounds about right.” The rattlesnake slithered back down my body and I shivered with disgust at the feeling.

“OKAY, KID, WHATEVER YOU SAY!”

Nothing happened for a while. Then from behind me: “Thank you, Rachel. It’s been a while since I’ve had a patron.”

I spun around to see a woman who I’ll admit was gobsmackingly beautiful. She was dressed in a white cloak, and as far as I could tell, that was all she was wearing. She smiled at me. “It's been really boring up there while all the other gods go running around. But you'll help me change that, won't you?”

    “Uh… Who are you?”

    She spread her arms out wide. “Your patron, of course! Alaputh, goddess of snakes and stone!”

    “What about demons?”

    “I'm sorry, what?” She sounded calm, but you could tell she was barely holding back from going berserk.

    “The voice from the table over there, it uh, it said you were the goddess of snakes, stone, and demons.”

    WHAT?!” She stomped over to the altar, chugged the contents of the goblet which had somehow refilled itself, and screamed into the mouthpiece, “GREG, WHY CAN YOU NEVER DO YOUR JOB RIGHT?! NO ONE REMEMBERS I'M THE GODDESS OF DEMONS UNTIL YOU BRING IT UP!”

    SORRY, MA’AM,” the voice timidly boomed.  

    She snorted, slammed the cup down, and calmly turned back to a very nervous and uncomfortable me. “I'm sorry about that. Now, you were about to pledge your soul to me, were you not?”

    “Iiiiiii… Um, I think I should be getting home now.”

    “Oh, certainly not yet! I can't have you looking like that!”

    “Wait, what? What does that mean? Am I not… Do I not look good enough?”

    She looked apologetic, but in that “sorry, not sorry” sort of way. “Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't quite mean it like that. It's just that your body is so…mortal. Here, we can start with getting rid of that nasty allergy.” She snapped her fingers, and nothing happened. “There! Now you’re no longer allergic to venom!”

    “A- allergic? Are you talking about how venom kills you?”

    “Yeah, that’s an allergy, isn’t it?”

    I know, right? She had no idea what an allergy was, and I honestly don’t think she’ll ever know. No, of course I didn’t tell her! No, I don't know why, and I don't care!

    So she snapped her fingers and apparently I couldn't be killed by poison anymore. Then she went on a long rant about how it was so sad that humans couldn't stand snakes and how fewer and fewer people had snakes as pets when I finally asked her to shut up and do whatever it was that she meant to do. Then she went on a rant about how rude this generation was and that that was one of the things she would be changing. So I asked her nicely if she could skip to the point. “Right, right,” she said as she leaned in close and laid one arm around my shoulders. “Here's what I'm thinking. We should go for a solid blend of old school and new school features. We'll need to change those nails, that horrible wardrobe selection, and definitely the hair.” She ran one hand through my braids, and I shivered like I had with the rattlesnake. “Here, I'll do that now.”

    “What do you-” My mouth stopped mid-sentence as my braids became alive with the hissing of snakes. I plunged my hands into my hair and found myself horrified at the knotting, twisting, scaly mass I found there. Mmhmm, that's how I got my snake hair. I had forgotten that I was carrying Snickers, however, and he fell with a quick yelp of surprise right at the feet of Alaputh.

    “Why, what's this?” She picked him up and studied him as if she had never seen a cat before (she probably hadn’t). “Oh no, I'm afraid no mammal companions are allowed.” A cobra slithered out of her cloak onto her arm. “I believe an adjustment is in order.”

    I cried out and lept to save my poor cat, but Alaputh just smiled and raised her arm towards me. The cobra struck quick as lightning and disappeared back into her robe, and I fell away clutching my forearm. The venom probably was some sort of anesthetic, because my arm was completely numb, and that feeling quickly spread to the rest of my body, along with a feeling of… How do I describe it? Detachment, I suppose. You ever had your wisdom teeth taken out? Well, it was just like the laughing gas where you feel floaty and don't care about anything. Huh? What do you… Huh. I don't know. Maybe she undid the enchantment for those few seconds? I honestly don't know.

    Now, that's not to say I didn't know what was happening after I got drugged. In the corner of my peripheral vision, I saw the odd sight of Snickers getting turned into a thin little grey snake. No, seriously! I could tell you how it- no? Okay, sure, it's not all that nice to describe anyways. Alaputh got all the snakes at the edges to go away and, um, well, she took all my clothes off. What, no, it didn't go there! That's just sick! My clothes selection just didn't suit her tastes, so she changed it, of course! What sort of stuff do you think about in your free time?

    Oh, calm down, for pete’s sake! It was a joke! Hmm, this? Yeah, it's what she made for me. The snake at the top is Snickers, actually. Because after she undressed me, Alaputh stood me up, put him around my shoulders, and closed his mouth on his tail. Then, as if from nowhere, she pulled a thin sheet of gossamer the same color as Snickers from his underbelly all the way down my body to the ground. She was babbling the whole time, but I hardly remember any of it, so I'll skip that part.

    Now, um, do you see the different colors I have on my fingernails? Well, not to freak you out or anything, but each of those corresponds to a different type of poison. Right hand’s got venom that'll kill you in five equally horrifying ways, but the left hand’s for when I’d rather not kill anybody, only sedate them. That crazy woman grew little fangs under my nails that extend when I do this with my hands- see ‘em? Freaky, sure, but I kinda like them. It's odd, but they feel nice going in and out. Oh, sorry, sorry, too weird for you you? Okay, other benefits are… I'll never lose a fist fight again! I mean, not that I've ever been in one, but…

    What do you mean, you can tell? No no, I want to know what you mean.

    Too casually? Have you ever been in a fist fight? Wait, really? Oh, a boxer, cool! No, not cool? You tried to punch a… Oh, yeeeeeaaaah, so, about the rock people things… Well, I should continue my story.

    So after Alaputh did all that, made me look exactly like I do right now (more or less), she hugged me (yeah, she hugged me, is that so wrong?) and, well, I was turned to stone. But it was, like, rock people stone. I could still move, but I was legitimately made out of stone. And since she's the goddess of snakes and stone, she spent the next hour adding and removing bits of me to make my previously average body into something many models would have been jealous to have.

    No, you don't think so? Well, at least I look better than I did.

    And the final part of this whole process (I haven't been boring you, have I?) was Alaputh replacing my free will with her desires and knowledge. Yeah, fun stuff right there. There was some seriously messed up stuff in her head, and I got to experience all of it. She then woke me up, gave me a little pat on the back, and disappeared without any further words. She didn’t need to; I already knew what I had to do.

    It was evening when I finally got back to the house, and my parents were probably frantic that I hadn’t come back since I left at three in the afternoon because they rushed out to greet me and see if I was okay. Honest mistake. They were turned to stone the second they saw my face clearly. Oh, sorry, I forgot to mention that I was able to do that. Wait, where are you going? I thought you already knew this! Aw, come back here, dammit! I’m not evil! Sorry, little microphone, gonna have to turn you off here. HEY! DON'T MAKE ME HAVE TO USE MY RIGHT HAND!


    [RECORDING ENDED]

    [REPLAY?]

    [YES/NO]


An Interview With the Apocalypse, Tape 1
I wrote this whole near-3000 word story in a week, and it's not even finished, darn it! The ending feels rushed in my opinion, but I was rushing to finish this story today, so I hope you'll excuse that. 
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Since polls are only available to core members, I've decided to get around the paywall once again by turning this journal entry into a makeshift poll. I'm hopping between stories right now, unable to decide on what I should finish. So what would you like me to work on?

  1. Your Fiction is Not Fiction
  2. Improper Protocol
  3. Editing Improper Protocol (because let's be honest, neither part is really any good) or any other story you think needs a redo
  4. The Mewzoo
  5. The Courteous Kidnapper
  6. Stories for any of the characters mentioned in YFINF that I haven't yet finished
  7. Stories that I haven't finished and weren't mentioned in YFINF
  8. Sequels to standalone stories like Transgenomics or I Think, Therefore I Kill (because the first one just wasn't bad enough!)
Comment or note me which one you think sounds the best.

    The judges looked at each other with apprehension. The defence had no evidence to protect themselves against the charges, and the head prosecutor knew that. They were going to fire every grievance they could scavenge from the two thousand-so inhabitants of Haven at the couple sitting uncomfortably next to their lawyer. The trial would be ruthless, and the judges weren’t looking forward to it.

    The head judge coughed nervously and stood up. He nodded at the man in the back of the room who then switched on an audio recorder. “The trial of Haven versus HydroGen presidents Renee Collins and Gene Collins began on February 8, 2136 at 8:27 AM. Multiple charges have been put forth, but during this trial, they will be limited to-” He stared at the defendants to make sure they were listening. “Inhumane treatment of test subjects, forcible movement of people, breaking all of Section 3a of the Araki Accords, terrorism, manslaughter, and extinction of the human race. Charges other than these will not be acknowledged as pertaining to the case and shall be ignored in the final ruling. Do the defendants understand the charges brought against them?”

    The woman nodded, and the man gave a firm yes.

    “Prosecution, do you have an opening statement prepared?”

    The woman stood up. “Yes, your Honor.” She walked to the center of the court, met the eyes of each of the five judges, and began in a quick, crisp voice. “I’ll waste no time on formalities. Your Honors, what the Collinses did on the date of October 26, 2135 is nothing short of a crime against humanity. They, without any idea of the consequences, stole our bodies and gave us those of freaks instead. Ignoring emotional impacts, this caused several people with heart conditions to suffer fatal heart attacks, a documented three hundred and forty-eight people to break bones when their legs suddenly changed and they fell, around two hundred members of the populace to be forced out of the city with no intention of being let them back in, and a confirmed eighty percent of victims have been diagnosed with PTSD.

    “But their ‘research’ wasn’t limited to that day, oh no. Investigators have files upon files of information from HydroGen databanks proving that this negligent behavior extends to decades of this same reckless behavior. While we all were amazed by the first HoloPad, these two individuals were already busy working on prototypes to the beings we would become for two months. Most tests gave the participants no rights, denying them lawyers, information, and the ability to leave their facility. Moreover, witnesses will be called forth that were disfigured physically and mentally by these preliminary tests. HydroGen refused to compensate them for that, despite it being well within their capabilities.

    “The defense pretends they have done no wrong by pleading innocent, but there is not a single person in this city who hasn't been wronged by them. There are no excuses. The justice system was created to give justice. A guilty verdict is the only possibility. I close my opening statement.”

    The head judge rolled his eyes as she walked back to her table. She was trying to get a decision right off the bat from the judges and hopefully make them ignore all evidence the defence presented. Then again, she had a right to be arrogant when handed a case like this. He looked at the defence attorney, a man who never expected his clients to put him in this position. He was fidgeting, and when the head judge asked him for his opening statement, he shot out of his seat, sat down about as fast two seconds later, said “Yes, your Honor” in a voice that meant to be calm but ended up only reflecting his nervousness, and half-walked, half-stumbled his way to the center.

    It was, quite frankly, embarrassing. Any lawyer, even if it was impossible to win the case, knew that you never showed your nerves in court. It hurt your reputation and your already miniscule chances of winning. It was good that he tried to make up for it with the confidence in his voice as he said his speech.

    “Your Honors, the only crime against humanity here is what could have happened if my clients had not acted. Our world was in peril. Radiation and resulting mutations were rising by unhealthy amounts, and HydroGen had the technology to fix that. Unfortunately, the human body as it is is unsuitable for protecting against radiation. Changes had to be made, and they had to be made in a humane manner, which they were.

    “Preliminary tests on lab animals were undertaken to avoid dangerous complications when tested with people. No patients were harmed in any serious way. As for the actual citizens of Haven, well, you could hardly expect them to do this willingly, and the modifications had to be made. Besides, many people have had their memories colored by the original shock and actually had a pleasant time after they acclimated to their new forms. Had a group of radicals not stolen the device to reverse the change, society would have functioned just fine.

    “The charges of manslaughter? More people would have died had HydroGen not used the technology at their disposal, and that would truly have been manslaughter. The same applies to extinction of humanity. In fact, that charge should be discounted completely because humanity still existed. Extinction is when a species is completely killed off. Did this happen? Absolutely not. After all, we're still here. The Accords can be waved away because they were meant for a justice system that no longer exists to enforce them, and are now simply guidelines for how to ethically treat test subjects. And finally, the charge of forcible movement of people makes no sense. No one forced City Districts 2 and 5 to move into the river. Their new genome allowed for them to survive out of water for an indefinite period of time. It was their choice to move to an aquatic lifestyle, and theirs alone.

    “In short, the charges have no substance, but are merely unsubstantiated complaints against two individuals who only want the best for everyone. My clients are not monsters. They are people who have done more than anyone else in this generation to continue the advancement and survival of our species, and for that, they should be applauded, not imprisoned. I close my opening statement.”

    The head judge nodded and looked up from his notes. It was good, but his justifications were faulty, especially for the Accords. His defense was weaker than wet tissue paper. They still functioned perfectly fine and offences were punishable by law. But to be honest, no fortifications he put up would be able to stop the onslaught the Kid would give him when he was called to the stand.

    The trial started and evidence, along with a copy of the Araki Accords, was brought forth by the prosecutor. The defense attorney practiced his acupuncture, poking needle-thin holes in her argument. The judges asked a few questions, but were really only listening half-heartedly. This was only an appetizer compared to what would come.

    The defense skipped their evidence phase and the prosecution began calling up witnesses. For the next four days, almost half the city came to the stand. Some psychologists here, a few soon-to-be-former employees of HydroGen there, and a lot of normal people; all to show the extent of HydroGen’s grand experiment. But the absence of the Kid was starting to get to the defense attorney like a man on life support wondering what's taking death so long.

    The effect it had was devastating. The questions in cross-examination became less precise, sometimes even repeating themselves. He began dropping points the prosecution had made with that witness and asking questions that only weakened his case. Not a bad strategy on the prosecution’s part; nerves were a lawyer’s worst enemy, and there were few things more unnerving than watching your ruin slowly but inevitably make its way from fantasy to reality. It was on the fifth day that the prosecuting attorney finally decided she had destroyed the credibility of the defence's case enough for her to call in her trump card.

    “Will Nathan Collins please come to the stand?”

     The Kid's mother started sobbing and three of her arms clutched one of her husband’s while the head judge licked his lips. The feast was ready.

    The court officer left and ushered in the next witness. Nathan Collins took a seat at the stand, making a point to not look to his right and at the defendants whose faces were begging for him to give them a sign that he knew them, but they got no such luxury.

    The Kid was sworn in and the prosecutor got right to work.

    “What is your relation to the defendants?”

    “Said defendants are my adopted parents.” Two of the judges tried their best to silently gasp.

    “When was the first time HydroGen directly impacted your life?”

    “Sixteen years, three months, and two weeks ago, to the day.”

    “How old are you, dating from your birth?”

    “Twelve years, eleven months, and five days.”

    “Would you please tell the court what happened to you seven months before October 26, 2135 and the subsequent events?”

    He nodded and slowly scanned the judges for dramatic effect. The head judge took the opportunity to inconspicuously pull out a fresh ream of paper to replace the seven pieces in front of him. A few more seconds of silence, then Nathan Collins began his testimony with “My story begins at…”


The Genome Swap Prologue
The artist has requested a critique of this piece, but doesn't have core membership. As such, comments will be a welcome alternative. Recommended feedback includes answering the following questions:

Did this feel too long for a prologue? If not, what could be removed?
Did the last few paragraphs feel rushed?
Does it make you want to keep reading about these characters?
Did you spot the two references (one to another story I've submitted and important to the story, the other to a book and just a slight of whimsy)?
Suppose this hypothetically was the beginning of a book. Would you find this to be a satisfying introduction?
Can you guess what criminal justice system this court is modeled after?

Thank you for your time.
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:iconmorriebunned:
morriebunned Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for another fave+!
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:iconfirstnameicanthinkof:
FirstNameICanThinkOf Featured By Owner 5 days ago
You know what, here's something else I'll toss your way. ;) (Wink) 
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:iconmorriebunned:
morriebunned Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
Hey, thanks for the watch!
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:iconfirstnameicanthinkof:
FirstNameICanThinkOf Featured By Owner 4 days ago
You deserve it!
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:iconirennia:
Irennia Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2018
Thanks for the faveee :D 
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:iconfirstnameicanthinkof:
No probleeeeeeeem!
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ALBATROSS-CP Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for the fav.
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:iconfirstnameicanthinkof:
FirstNameICanThinkOf Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2018
Wow, that was fast.
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:iconalbatross-cp:
ALBATROSS-CP Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
XD
I was already checking my notifications right when yours popped up.
Normally I wait a bit until it's not weird, but I forgot. Sorry. ^^;
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:iconfirstnameicanthinkof:
FirstNameICanThinkOf Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2018
No, no, it's fine. Wink/Razz 
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