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Zero's Weekly Vignette

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by Negative Zero, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. Negative Zero

    Negative Zero The most positive negative number you know!

    Mythical Egg
    (Deoxys Egg)
    Level 22
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    Uh oh, what’s Zero doing this time? Another project? Is he drawing more Pokémon beside Accelgor, or finally getting around to recording the second episode of his podcast, more self-teaching beatboxing, or Ninja Warrior training? While all of those are still happening, the answer this time is none of the above! Zero is writing!

    I fancy myself an amateur writer, but there are two things I have yet to get good at. Well, there are a lot of things I have yet to get good at, but two things I want to practice here: writing disconnected short stories, since I mostly write larger novel-like projects; and writing things far removed from my comfort zone and experience, specifically foraying into light-hearted and slice-of-life topics. And I know just the tool for that!

    WavePearl’s awesome weekly prompts! Just like I’m drawing a few quadrillion Accelgor because I’m trying something new, except this thing will be a lot less arduous and a lot more fun. Starting in my next post, I’m going to put these ideas into short stories for my own wants and needs, as well as for any commentary you may wish to add. And I'm going to do my best to keep up with it every week (though I am a busy man).

    I'm going to call these short stories vignettes, but that's mostly because I like how that word sounds (and Vigilance will have to pry this word out of my cold, dead hands to use it for himself). I'm going to aim for less than 1000 words, just a nice five-minute read, maybe way less than that if I can just make it some good, condensed prose. Maybe I'll even try to write something entirely in meter and rhyme?

    Feel free to comment here or to collect all your prompted stories in a thread of your own, like a portfolio of what you can do from on-demand prompts!

    It begins!
     
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  2. Negative Zero

    Negative Zero The most positive negative number you know!

    Mythical Egg
    (Deoxys Egg)
    Level 22
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    Your character ordered something, and today it came in the mail. What was it that they ordered? Is it everything they thought it would be?

    "All right Rapidash, Bounce again! I know you can get more airtime!" Malcolm called to his Pokémon, dashing all around the dry badland field. "I want you to be able to completely dodge a Surf. I believe in you!"

    Rapidash ran another loop and jumped thirty feet into the air, landing hooves first on a straw-filled dummy of a Poliwrath.

    "Excellent, that's better than last time," he sighed, "but forty feet would be even better," he added as his phone rang in his pocket. "What's up."

    "Mal, did you order something?"

    "Sure, I ordered breakfast at the cafe this morning. But I already got that."

    Monica's sigh of frustration came across the phone as a wall of wind and static. "I mean in the mail."

    Malcolm resisted the urge to comment on just how off-putting mail-order breakfast would be. "No? Did you check the name on it?"

    "It's just our address."

    Malcolm hesitated for a moment. What if it was something secret? Or embarrassing? Or blackmailable? For either of them? An opportunity to play offense or defense like that should not be passed by.

    "If you're not here in five minutes, then I’ll take it all."

    Malcolm whistled to Rapidash. "Are you ready to set a new land speed record!" He said it loud enough for Monica to overhear, then ended the call. “Let’s go!”

    ---

    Monica sat at the short table in the main room of the flat, scissors in hand in front of the mysterious cardboard box, about 24 inches cube and mostly lightweight. She glanced at her watch on the inner side of her wrist. "Close enough." She stabbed gently through the gap in the box's top with the closed scissors, and started tearing through tamper-evident threads.

    The doorknob twisted to let Malcolm into the suite. "Four minutes and forty five seconds." He said, holding up a timer on his phone, showing its display to his sister, rapidly approaching the five minute mark. "Four minutes. Forty five."

    "I said I would take it in five minutes. I said nothing about resisting opening it." She said, only slightly condescendingly.

    "Yeah, okay." Malcolm said, plopping down on the opposite side of the low table. He watched as Monica finished cutting the tape across the top of the box, then pulled it away from her and closer to himself to peek inside secretly. He stared into the dark interior intensely.

    "Your face right now." Monica commented flatly. "So, what is it?"

    Malcolm lowered the lid, looking confused. "This must be yours." He pushed the box across the table.

    Monica hesitantly lifted the lid of the box and unfolded its top item. A long, low-thread-count pillow at least six feet long unrolled. On one side it was blank, and on the other side was a silk-screened image of a suave man with a sharp, smiling face framed by locks of shining dark hair and impeccable fashion sense, minus the shirt. "Uh, no, this isn't mine."

    "You sure?" Malcolm asked. "Professor Sycamore is quite a man, I can admit that."

    "Not. Mine." Monica closed the discussion. She put the pillow face-down on the floor beside the table and reached into the box for the next parcel. A stout glass bottle topped with a silver sprayer. "Eau de Gible..." She read, then sniffed an attached card. Her face wrinkled with disgust, nose and forehead and eyes all clenching at the smell. She exhaled sharply and put the bottle back down.

    "Clearly this isn't your order or mine." Malcolm whispered. "How about we box this all back up, find a phone number to call--"

    A frantic knocking on the door. "Are you going to get that?" Monica asked, rifling through the rest of the box’s contents.

    Malcolm sighed. He strode to the door and opened it just a crack. "Oh, Professor Palm. Always nice to see you." He said as he tried his best to keep from nervously spilling the secret. He stood strategically in the doorway to block her view inside entirely.

    “Professor-assistant, and good afternoon to you also. I’m afraid I’m in a spot of trouble.” She explained, trying to stand on toes to look over Malcolm’s shoulders, her petite figure unable to look beyond him. “I ordered a package online and was notified it was delivered, but it is nowhere to be seen. By chance, did you encounter anyone ambling off with a sealed box in the past quarter-hour?”

    Malcolm froze, and Monica pulled the door open out of his grip. “Did you consider calling about replacement policy?” Monica asked Palm, avoid a lie about having gotten the package mistakenly.

    “Yes, but I’m worried about...” She trailed off and Malcolm looked back into the now-opened room. The table was clear and everything from the package was out of sight. “Yes, I suppose I will. Thank you for the recommendation. Have a pleasant afternoon, you two.” She crossed the hall to her flat directly across the way.

    They closed the door. “Where’s the box?” He asked tensely, circling around the room. “Did you already pack it all up?”

    Monica’s face was flush. “We’re sending it back.” She said so quietly.

    “Why don’t we just give it to her right across the hall?”

    She turned to a corner of the room. “I can’t meet her.” She cupped her hands over her face and shuffled out of the flat and outside.

    Malcolm was left alone in the flat. He saw something left behind under the table, so he bent down to examine it more closely. “Oh.” He paused and pulled back his hand. “Ohhhh.”

    I’m recycling the names of Malcolm and Monica from a previous project I had that never got off the ground, but they’re otherwise original characters. Maybe I’ll reuse them in future prompts? Anyway, this is my first attempt at something that’s entirely slice-of-life. I’ve done slices of life in bigger epics, but never something standalone. I think it turned out okay for a first attempt at the genre.
     
  3. Negative Zero

    Negative Zero The most positive negative number you know!

    Mythical Egg
    (Deoxys Egg)
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    Rebuilding from the ground up.

    I wrote some haiku, and read them aloud as well. All in type order.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    NORMAL

    Rebuild from zero.
    Eighteen portraits of rebirth.
    None are quite normal.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    FIRE

    This blaze destroys all.
    Consuming green, leaving black.
    In its wake, new life.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    FIGHTING

    Broken skeleton.
    Growing back even stronger
    Mending after pain.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    WATER

    Life follows the stream.
    Desolate, dry savanna.
    Herds come with the rain.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    FLYING

    Sky above the earth.
    Stars and space beyond the sky.
    Cosmos in nothing.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    GRASS

    City abandoned.
    Trees and vines creeping back in.
    Nature will reclaim.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    POISON

    A cure for the bite.
    Antidote from the venom.
    The good with the bad.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    ELECTRIC

    Life primordial.
    Protein, amino, glucose;
    and electric spark.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    GROUND

    New land is a gift.
    Respect what it has and gives.
    It survives past you.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    PSYCHIC

    The mind was empty
    able to hold so much thought.
    it started to fill.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    ROCK

    From clay into brick,
    and from bricks into cities.
    On and of the earth.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    ICE

    Frozen, preserved, still.
    Awakened in a new frame.
    Overcoming time.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    BUG

    Locusts swarm a plague.
    Stalks and trees are left ravaged.
    Now to sow new seeds.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    DRAGON

    Impossible foe.
    Countless losses, just one win.
    Stronger from the fight.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    GHOST

    The body perished.
    This ghost chooses to linger.
    New life after death.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    DARK

    Learning from evil,
    how to be good and righteous.
    Rising from the pit.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    STEEL

    Those weapons destroy,
    it is right they should rebuild.
    Swords into plowshares.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    FAIRY

    Forgotten story,
    though the elements remain.
    Rewritten lost love.

    ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~​

    You know I like haiku, and you know I like Pokémon. So I put them together: each of these is a flash vignette story about making something new from something related to destruction or emptiness (rebuilding from the ground up), themed on each and every type. I took some liberties on some types, but what did you do today?

    I apologize for sounding wet-mouthed, especially in the first haiku. It's difficult for me to re-record due to hardware. I really should buy a 3.5mm microphone so I can do this directly into my computer. I put all these together in about an hour, and I'm rather proud of myself. My reading and voice acting will be so much better once I can get instant feedback instead instead of a three-minute-delay while I transfer files.
     
    #3 Aug 7, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
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  4. Laserdragon14

    Laserdragon14 Team Azure Dragon Maverick Hunter

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    Lucarionite ★★★★Legendary Triforce ★★
    idk much about haikus but I do like it. (Sorry that I couldn't be helpful)
     
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  5. Negative Zero

    Negative Zero The most positive negative number you know!

    Mythical Egg
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    This is the boiled version down version of what a haiku is, as I answer all of my Q&A answers (with two exceptions: I've answered a few questions for JTM in iambac tetrameter and one recent answer in free-verse prose) in this format and sometimes speak spontaneously like this in Discord and in life. It is a very short poem whose style started in Japan and which consists of three lines; the first of which has five syllables, the second has seven, and the last also has five (see also: my forum signature). There are also tanka, which are five lines of syllables 5-7-5-7-7. Both of these are supposed to always be about nature, and the last line of a haiku or the last two lines of a tanka are supposed to be separate in perspective from the first portion, a set of rules I almost always break when going off the cuff, but which I stuck to more truly here. Most of these here are about nature in some way, and I tried to go bad-bad-goodor thing-thing-otherthing in most of them, with the bad being destruction or emptiness and the good being the rebuilding of the prompt.

    These are among my first honest haiku that do more than proper line separation and syllable count, having a theme of nature (usually) and two distinct images per, such as a wildfire and the new vegetation growing, or a dry grassland hosting life again when the wet season arrives (those blessed rains down in Aaaafricaaaa). Most of my haikus are just the rhythm, like when I'm going to work and I spontaneously say "Traffic is so bad. How does it even happen? Let's just keep driving!" Five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables.

    Edit to the haiku themselves: I added the type before each one to make that more clear.
     
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