Finger Training

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Minister of Gloom
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Re: Finger Training

Post by Minister of Gloom » Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:11 pm

It's been more than a month. A lot has happened. Between my final tests, army issues, and about a hundred complete rewrites and revisions (including more than ten pages simply being deleted), it took me a long, long time to bring you this chapter. By this point, I guess the story hasn't just died, it's now rotting and stinking the whole place up. But I felt it was fair to at least give you the latest version of this chapter before the lights go out on it. I am very disappointed with myself. I really thought this was going somewhere, but I guess it wasn't. I do have a few more ideas, a few more characters, but I doubt they'll ever get used.

Endure.

A Friendly Interrogation

Mom decided to go to the offices, in the end, and try to ask a secretary where I should go to get a key to my dorm room or where my class is. Even though we already knew where they were, it took us a while to get to them. This school was much bigger than the last one I went to. I wondered how many times I'll have to get lost in it before I manage to memorize where everything is. Corridors within the buildings, dozens of doors that look all the same save for a small sign hang nearby. Paths outside of buildings, twisting into and out of the green lawns, in the cool shade of the structure itself. There was a lonely, quiet beauty to the place at this time of the day. I could hear the buzzing of bugs and the chirping of birds, the wind gently caressing the leaves. I wondered how it might feel on my skin, and regretted for a moment for wearing my complex uniform so early in the morning. I knew it was the smart thing to do, since it really took a very long time, but it didn't make it any less frustrating. It was hot, tight, and generally uncomfortable with so many layers of clothing on, and it took me a while to get used to.

I just exhaled quietly and kept walking.

As far as I was aware, the office we were finally led to look just like one would expect an office of the sort to look like. Pale, yellowish walls, a faint smell of sweet coffee, a small potted plant in the corner, though it was a remarkably well watered one, in my opinion. A soft feeling of mechanical neutrality filled the air the air, a dreary, passive pleasantness appropriately devoid of emotion.
A quiet, polite man with small glasses and a professional smile instructed us on our short journey through the school bureaucracy. He spoke to mom for a few minuets while I took a seat in the corner, from which I stared at the both of them absent mindedly and thought about schools and how they should probably look. He stopped the conversation once and tried to give me what she must have thought was a comforting smile, and I responded by nodding silently and then getting back to my staring. They were expecting us a lot earlier, of course, but it was okay to be a little late, considering the traffic and the weather and the distance from our home.

In time and space, home suddenly seemed so far away.

There was a small bowl of candies of some sort on her desk. I was glad he didn't try to give me some. It's the kind of thing people do when they realize how poor and helpless and miserable you must be and try to make themselves feel less guilty about it. Doctors give you candies, teachers give you candies, random people on the street, mothers and old men look at you for a while and then give you a candy, smiling reassuredly. It must have been because of the crutches. Maybe they assumed I was sick or injured. Or maybe they heard me speaking to someone and assumed I was mentally retarded, which sounded just as likely. The more people try to be nice and considerate to you, the more obvious their pity becomes.
Sometimes, when I was younger, I ate those candies; mostly they just sat around until somebody decided to clean them up. I thought about starting a collection one day to pass the time, but it didn't seem like a very fun thing to do. I would have given them to Mika, but she would just say that they are mine and that I should enjoy them.

They gave us a key to my room, on the first floor of the dormitory building, which was a very pleasant thing to hear after all; I think I've already mentioned my dislike of staircases. It isn't fun to fall down one, especially when there are people around looking at you. Some of them laugh. Some of them come running to give you a hand. Both of them you would like to go away, I think.
I was told some of the buildings actually had elevators for just this kind of reasons, but I guessed for the time being I wouldn't have to worry about those.
Mom picked up my luggage and went to put it in my new room. I told her I want to go and help, but she suggested that I go looking for my class instead. I knew it was the right thing to do, even if I didn't like it.

I said goodbye to mom, and slowly and carefully asked the polite man where class 1-1 was located and which teacher I should be looking for. He answered, and a moment later I was on my way there.
The door to the classroom looked like any other door in the building. Like any other classroom door anywhere, perhaps. It must have been the middle of a lesson, since the corridor was empty and I could hear the sound of people speaking from the other side of the wall. I closed my fingers around the handle and tried to mentally prepare myself for what would happen when I opened it. I tried to imagine the teacher staring at me, confused, somewhat annoyed, asking me why I am disturbing the class. I tried to imagine the students staring at me, even though I knew they shouldn't be because this is a special school and nobody would think I am weird for not speaking or walking or writing properly. They would all expect me to answer, quickly, decisively, politely. I'll try to speak and my words would all come out broken and twisted. I moved my lips silently, as if warming them up for a very important challenge, as if it would really help. To an outside observer, I must have seemed to be praying.

My heart was beating like crazy, so I think I almost died when someone lightly touched the back of my right shoulder. Another person might have jumped and screamed; I just fell down a little until I managed to get myself back into balance and breathed out in surprise.

"Can I help you with something?" a woman's voice asked from behind me. She spoke quickly, but calmly, and her perfume had a faint smell of some fresh flower whose name I couldn't recall. Instead of answering, I turned around slowly to look at her. She looked a little younger than my mother, with her dark hair in a short, businesslike cut. She had a folder full of papers under one arm, and she was currently looking at me with a kind, gentle expression.

I raised my head a bit to get a better look at her face. She kept staring at me for a second, than presented herself.
"I am Ms. Nakano, the teacher of class 1-1. Were you waiting for me?"

"I thought y-you were inside," I replied, lowering my head in a quick apology. She laughed and raised her hand, as if telling me that everything is all right.
"Are you Yuno Okada? I expected to see you a bit earlier."
She didn't seem angry or disappointed. She was just stating a fact.

"Sorry I'm late. I-it was a long way f-from home."

"Don't worry about this; I'm sure nobody will hold it against you," she said while carefully kneeling down in front of me until her head was level with mine. It wasn't the first time someone tried that with me; counselors and doctors always like to make you feel like they think of you as an equal, but I didn't mind it much.

"How was your ride here, then? From what I heard, you do live a bit far from here."

There was a moment of silent hesitation. It was exciting, and boring, and sad, and happy, and I still didn't know exactly what else. That whole day has been strange like that, full of mixed emotions with no real names of their own. I was told that this was only natural, that it would have happened to anybody in my place and that there was no reason to dwell on it. Maybe it made me feel a little better about it. Maybe I just thought it did.

"Fine," I finally answered, not wanting to get dragged into one of those "There is no reason for you to worry, we all love you here and everything will be okay" conversations that usually followed honest displays of emotion in front of strangers.

The look on her face changed a little, perhaps becoming a bit more serious, or a bit sadder. Her head tilted very slightly to the left, and she raised her eyebrows a little. I could imagine what was coming next.

"Are you really sure about it?" she asked, and from the tone of her voice I could tell it was only partly a question.

"Yes. Sure. Thank you."
She tried another calm smile. She seemed to be very good at those. Maybe I should have smiled too, but I didn't. I just nodded as if to confirm that I did feel whatever it was that she wanted me to. Her eyes kept scanning me systematically, trying to gather as much information about me as possible in as few seconds as possible. She shouldn't have been in such a hurry, I wasn't going anywhere. She had all the time in the world to stare at me like that.

She pointed at my neck slowly, as if actually considering her words. "Your uniform ribbon isn't tied."

It really wasn't. A part of me hoped nobody would notice, or care, but it was a rather foolish part. I spent ten minuets trying to tie this ribbon earlier in the morning before I had to give up. I was very thankful the shoes they gave us didn't have laces in them, or I would have been forced to walk barefoot for the entire year.

I fidgeted uncomfortably, looking to the side. "…I c-couldn't tie it."

Her facial expression changed again. I think she bit a little into her tongue. Some people have a habit of doing it when they're nervous, or when they try to concentrate. Now she was definitely weighting her words. She's probably read my files. She was probably thinking that she knew about me, and she probably did, if not nearly as much as she thought. She knew that she should speak very carefully, because this was a sensitive spot of mine.

She spoke slowly, giving each syllable its due respect, but without making any word incomprehensible or cutting the sentence in two. I was a little jealous of that kind of speech.

"You could have asked someone to help you. You don't think you would have felt a lot more comfortable like this?"

"I didn't want help," I said. "I wanted to d-do it. On my own."

She changed her posture. Crouching like that couldn't have possibly been comfortable.

"But you already said that you couldn't. Why not ask for help after you've already tried it yourself?"

"Other people don't n-need that. I don't want to."

"Everybody needs some help from time to time."

"M-most people don't need it t-to dress up."

"Most people don't have cerebral palsy."

She said it, just like that. My eyes were wide open with genuine surprise. Not shock, mind you, just surprise. It might have been the first time in many, many years that someone said something like that so bluntly to my face. "Most people aren't like you. You are different. You have different needs."

You are a cripple. You always were. You always will be, most likely. Get used to it already. Get over it already.

Maybe that subtext was just in my mind. Maybe she didn't mean to say that. Maybe I interpreted her expression and the tone of her voice improperly, or maybe I was prejudiced against certain other interpretations. But back then, I was absolutely sure that this was what she meant.

It was insulting. Of course it was insulting, how could it have been otherwise? It hurt and for a short moment I regretted hearing it. I wished that she didn't say it.
But it was also oddly refreshing. Mom would never have said anything like that. Neither would the doctors or the counselors. They'd all try to soften the impact, to hide behind a more pleasant mask and different wording.

"I don't want that."

"You don't have a choice."

"I want to b-be independent", I said stubbornly.

"You'll never be. That's how it is. You may one day be more independent than you are now, though", she replied as if it was a fact. I think she was exaggerating things by this point, but it sure had the desired effect. I was taken aback once again.

"Assuming," she continued, "that you'll let us help you. If you don't need help, why come here in the first place? There must be a dozen high-schools far closer to your home than this one. Why did you come here?"

I am not sure how much sense she was making. The way I felt, she was brutally beating me with the situation like some secret police interrogator. Not even giving me enough time to clear my mind, to focus, to formulate a proper response.

I wondered if my first impression of her as a nice young woman might have been wrong. She was smiling that smile of hers through most of the process, but she was far from nice in the words she said. And maybe it was good.

I breathed slowly. "I-I came her b-because… I wanted to live n-normally."

"No," she said, just like this. "You didn't. You would have gone to a regular school if that was the case. You had that choice all along. We asked you more than once about it, didn't we?"

She once again changed her demeanor in reaction to my look.

"I promise that we'll help you become more independent if that's what you want. I will stay with you personally for as long as it takes, if that's what it comes to. But right now, a class full of kids is waiting for you and for me. We can't keep them waiting. Will you please let me help you with that ribbon?"

"…It's j-just a stupid ribbon," I muttered angrily.

She laughed and started tying it nonetheless, with a couple of lightning fast motions of her fingers. She made it look awfully easy. "Life is made of a long, long chain of stupid ribbons."

It felt tight around my throat, almost painful for a few minuets, but by the end of the day I didn't even notice it.

She opened the door, and I followed her in.

The classroom, which was obviously host to a long and heated whispered conversation until a moment ago, silenced as soon as the teacher stepped in. About ten or twenty kids were now looking at the both of us intently, not with anger, but with innocent curiosity. All of them were looking at me, or so I felt, checking me out, analyzing me and studying me. I was being scrutinized in an instant, face, body, mannerisms, walk. They were smiling politely, and I wondered what was passing through their minds. I stood there before them, and Ms. Nakano stood nearby, and nobody said anything and I was starting to get nervous.

By this point in my former school, the teacher would have been saying "This is Okada Yuno, a new student. She has a "difficulty", so be nice to her", and a minuet later I'd be surrounded by nosy, evil little children poking me like a was some sort of strange alien, asking me if it's all for real, if it hurts, why I am speaking so funnily.

But nobody said everything, and I was getting worried.

"We were expecting you a bit earlier", she said in an amused, apologetic tone after a while. "Why won't you introduce yourself?"

I went pale. It was too much too quickly for me. I didn't want to speak. I didn't even want to stand there. I wanted to hide somewhere, and there was nowhere to hide. My eyes raced from one end of the room to the other. I took a very, very deep breath.

"I-I am Okada Yuno. N-nice to meet you."

One boy nodded quietly. Some others smiled. There was some talking at the back,
and that was it.
__________________________________________________________________________

I had to rewrite that teacher over like ten times. And I still don't like the result. sigh
You know, I am trying very, very hard to make Yuno's (that's her name, folks! The random generator said so!) experience noticeably different from Hisao's. Not just because it won't be interesting otherwise, but because they are coming to this situation from completely different places and I expect them to see it in a very different light. For Hisao, a special school is a step-down. He sees himself as a normal, perfectly healthy boy and he can't come to terms with the fact that he no longer is.
Yuno's the exact opposite. She never thought of herself as anything but a cripple. For her, even a special school is a dream coming true because it gives her a chance to live something close to a normal life of a normal girl her age.

But I guess first days of school tend to be very similar over all. I am doing best here.

Also, it turns out I have a real problem with chapter lengths. Over the course of this month, this chapter has been over ten pages long, then eight, then ten again, then three, then four and a half, which is what you have here. I decided to put the rest into following chapters, see how it works out. I hope it does.

Maybe there will be another chapter, maybe there won't. If there will be, I am considering changing the name of the story. I talked to some people and it turns out "Finger Training" sounds too suggestive for some (which leads to disappointment, naturally). Besides, it's just the name of the first piece, which isn't even directly related to the story. Not to mention being written in a completely different style.

Time will tell.
Last edited by Minister of Gloom on Sun Jul 10, 2011 6:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
Life, what is it but a dream?
זה מגניב אותי כל פעם מחדש, העובדה שיש פה עברית. אני תוהה אם מישהו ישים לב ששיניתי חתימה.

sabre98
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Re: Finger Training

Post by sabre98 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 6:27 am

I think you´re too hard on yourself. I really like the way you portrayed Ms. Nakano. She might be brutally honest but she has to deal with kids like Yuno. Kids who need to realize they´re different and it won´t change no matter how hard they´ll try. She is doing it for they own good.
Show respect for age. Drink good Scotch for a change

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Finger Training

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:52 am

I am very disappointed with myself. I really thought this was going somewhere, but I guess it wasn't. I do have a few more ideas, a few more characters, but I doubt they'll ever get used.
It would be a pity if you didn't continue this story. So far, your writing has improved with every chapter, and you've got some very interesting characters here. It would be very interesting to see how she really copes with being away from her family for the first time.

As for not knowing where the story goes... Just have her interact with other characters (you'll need a few more - classmates, roommates etc.) and see where that leads you. I write my stories the same way. I may have some idea where the story is supposed to go, but the way to get there is decided from chapter to chapter, and sometimes the destination changes altogether.
For example in Katawa Kijo I had no idea that Misha would have cancer until she was standing in Hisao's room, and I was trying to find a reason for her to be there^^°
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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scott1and
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Re: Finger Training

Post by scott1and » Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:39 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:
I am very disappointed with myself. I really thought this was going somewhere, but I guess it wasn't. I do have a few more ideas, a few more characters, but I doubt they'll ever get used.
It would be a pity if you didn't continue this story. So far, your writing has improved with every chapter, and you've got some very interesting characters here. It would be very interesting to see how she really copes with being away from her family for the first time.
I agree with mirage, this is a good story and it would be a pity if you didn't continue this, and it would be good to see if or how she interacts with certain characters.
Other than that I think I should note that this has been another good chapter and if you plan to write another chapter I look forward to it and, if not, I enjoyed the story thus far :mrgreen:
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Petermeter
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Re: Finger Training

Post by Petermeter » Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:39 am

I don't think either that the story is bad, you just have a lot of work with figuring out all the characters as it seems you're not using (or not yet) any prebuilt characters. That leaves all the work to you, you don't get much of a base to build on. (Of course, I am saying this with nothing comparable to writing experience, so feel free to take that lightly)
Btw, you have a recurring mistake in the word "minutes", just saying.
Ranking after act 1:
Hanako > Rin >> Lilly > Shizune > Emi
I played the routes in that order, every ending and all.
Ranking after full playthrough:
Lilly > Emi >> Rin ~ Hanako > Shizune

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Minister of Gloom
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Re: Finger Training

Post by Minister of Gloom » Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:45 pm

So... it's been a long, long month. A little more than a month, actually. Much has happened. I had my eighteenth birthday, far from a happy occasion. My computer was replaced after it blew up, taking with it into oblivion more than ten years of game saves, documents and more or less my entire life. I went on a vacation in Spain and bought myself a new carnival mask for my collection. It's been three months now since I have stopped taking Ritalin and the side effects are still troubling me physically and mentally. Army service is approaching. Soon I'll take the tests to become a news reporter for the military, I really want to pass. My ex-girlfriend finally returned to Israel for a couple of days, which I have managed to use to finally apologize for what happened one year ago (Of all the people in the world, I, the most vile and hypocritical of them, dumped the most beautiful and talented girl I have ever met because she had a physical disability...).Another ex-girlfriend finally grew her hair back after the whole chemotherapy thing. My best friend tried to get accepted to a prestigious infantry unit and during the brutal tests ended up breaking his leg very badly, and will now forever walk with a limp- a sad fate for a great and passionate athlete.

And I am still writing this story, little by little, at times. My OC's are not very good. It's hard to make them distinctive from the characters already in this setting and still make them interesting and funny and lovable. I hope I'll manage some day.

So, just so you know. I am not dead. yet. And neither is my story (I hope).

Have a good evening.
Life, what is it but a dream?
זה מגניב אותי כל פעם מחדש, העובדה שיש פה עברית. אני תוהה אם מישהו ישים לב ששיניתי חתימה.

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Minister of Gloom
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Re: Finger Training

Post by Minister of Gloom » Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:04 pm

This chapter took about two eternities and a half to write, and at some point it sort of stopped becoming better and just started becoming long, so I said "Screw this" and decided to just post it. If it looks like it was cut in the middle, it's because I decided to surgically remove about three fourths of it. Apparently I am better at writing single, 4 page scenes than 12 page sequences. I'll see about fixing that problem later.

A Veritable Eternity

It took me a couple of minutes to relax from my stressful introduction, which was probably not at all so for anybody else in the room, or in the whole entire world, for the matter. Ms. Nakano asked around the class for vacant seats, and one anemic looking boy with glasses insisted very strongly that I take the particular chair next to him, so there I went. I didn't like the way he looked at me. There was something weird about him, and I do understand that this is an extremely inappropriate thing to say for a girl who generally needs special help to go to the bathroom.

I sat down and looked around me. One student was dozing off; another was drawing something unclear in his notebook. Most seemed disinterested to some degree, busy to another, listening to the teacher and writing down notes and closing their eyes in frustration when they got the same question wrong for the fifth time in a row. Girls were whispering to each other, giggling. Boys were changing their sitting postures constantly in a doomed attempt to reach a comfortable one.

The sheer normality of it scared me, fascinated me. One boy had a missing arm. There was a girl in a wheelchair down the row in front of me. Another one was constantly shaking weakly, to the point that she seemed to have difficulty holding her pen, but she seemed so used to it and nobody said anything.

It was a class. A completely, utterly, perfectly normal high school class, with a lower than average amount of limbs. No more, no less.
And it scared me. Because the very reason I was there was that I didn't fit in a normal class. I couldn't study properly in a normal class. I couldn't make friends in a normal class. Normal people who go to normal classes have certain expectations from you. Like being able to speak properly. If you can't do that, than they're going to be disappointed, bored, frustrated, disgusted. They will apologize quietly and go somewhere else, to speak with someone who can respond at the same rate as they do, someone who smiles when she's amused and frowns when she's annoyed. Despite all of them being crippled freaks like me, they all seemed to be doing so well. They would want nothing to do with me.

I was back at square one.

I was angry. Why was it that they were all doing so well? It didn't make sense. School only started a few weeks ago, even less. They couldn't have possibly had the time to make so many good friends, to get used to all of it. If some were in as bad a shape as me when they arrived, they couldn't have possibly gotten over it so quickly.

I felt like there was some secret magic at work that only I wasn't aware of, some hidden truth they were all hiding from me, that they expected me to already know, that I obviously didn't know.
I just tried to listen to the teacher despite all of this. I was a normal girl in a normal class now. I had to function like one. I had to imagine that there was no pair of crutches resting on the floor beneath the desk. I had to pull out my textbook and my notebook and start writing, and if I couldn't do that, than I didn't deserve a spot in a normal place like this one surrounded by normal people.

Homeschooling, as I have already mentioned before, I believe, has its advantages. Ms. Nakano taught mathematics, but while her methods were naturally different from my teachers', I still essentially knew most of the material fairly well. At the very least, from my own point of view, it seemed to me as if I was having less trouble figuring out the concepts than the others around me. Math is one of my favorite subjects, and I would like to believe that I am quite good at it. It's horrifically cliché to say so these days, but I really do think that there is just something calming and comforting about it to me. You'll expect me to say something about how numbers always act the same way, unlike people. How there are clear mechanisms at work, unbreakable rules that, once figured out, provide clear, short answers to all questions.

But that's just silly, isn't it? That would be like saying poetry must be a piece of cake because it's all about words and letters. Once you know those, shouldn't poetry be an easy matter? But of course, it isn't. And if you ask me, math is like poetry with numbers.

As for the second part of the cliché, do be aware, many people are often far more predictable and far less complicated than a mathematical problem.
Or maybe that's just the way I see them, with my twisted, broken point of view of the world and my virtually nonexistent social skills and experience.

Unfortunately, for all of the knowledge and talent I might or might not have had, solving those math problems still required one thing that was always a burden and a pain for me: writing it all down. Holding the paper so it won't tear away or move across the desk. Holding the pen and applying force down just in the right amount, not to carve into the notebook, but to still make a mark. I have trained for years on that simple matter, and it was still something I had to consciously consider every time again, a physical and mental challenge that distracted and annoyed me. My grip was awkward, my fingers weak and clumsy. I tried to move my other arm so that the others won't see me struggling like this. It was embarrassing. I didn't want anyone to ask questions, to offer help. Not even the teacher. Especially her, actually, after our little talk earlier outside the door, her speech about a life made of stupid ribbons. This must have been another one, and once again, I was stupidly dedicated to trying to tie it down myself. At least for a while.

She did catch me once, about half an hour into the lesson, while we were all working quietly on our assignments and I was so focused on mine that I didn't even notice her approaching. It was the second time in the last hour that she startled me by touching my shoulder like that. She probably meant well, but I was starting to hate some of her habits.
"Everything's fine here?" she asked me, and without even raising my head from the paper, I replied "Yes". She didn't say anything, and if any emotion was apparent on her face, I couldn't see it, since, as I said, I wasn't looking at her. From the corner of my field of vision I think I could see the shaking girl giving me a half-amused look of weary sympathy. I moved my head to get a better look at her, but she just shrugged and went back to work. At least, I think she shrugged. It could have just been another twitch.

The long awaited ringing of the school bell ended the momentary discomfort, which was, as I grumpily expected, immediately replaced with another one just as bad.
In my last school, the ringing of the bell signaled a sharp, shocking passage from silence to cacophony. Thirty students who, until the spoken moment were all sitting quietly in their places writing and reading transformed in an instant into a horde of loud, messy, screaming, laughing, talking, running idiots. It scared me every single time. It made me instinctively crawl into my seat of fear that someone will accidentally knock me over, at which point I will almost certainly be trampled by the horde.
So many people moving so quickly in so many different directions, making so much noise. I felt like a mouse on a dancing floor full of people: gigantic, incomprehensible, uncaring, crushingly powerful and terribly inconsiderate.

A part of me expected things to be a bit different in this school, but if there was a difference, it was very minor.

By the time I finished setting my crutches and standing up, the classroom was virtually empty. This was the double edged sword of going to a special school: where everybody is special, nobody is. When everybody has problems moving around, nobody deserves special attention for it. Among normal people, I was unnoticeable for my abnormality. Among these kids, I was unnoticeable for being like everybody else.
This all meant one thing: that I had to get stronger yet. Better, more skilled, more independent. If I want to have friends, if I want to function, if I want a normal life even in a place like this, I paradoxically needed to overcome my supposed problem. Moments like this one gave me strength, renewed my conviction. Yes, I was miserable and angry. But I knew, keenly, that the only way to end this misery would be to overcome.

With fire in my eyes, I stumbled out of the classroom, and narrowly avoided what could have been a very embarrassing fall. Someone was waiting for me outside.

"Okada, then? That's a nice name."
The girl in front of me might or might have not been very tall, I couldn't really say. She was sitting in a wheelchair, and it made the whole measure somewhat problematic. I know I look shorter than I actually am physically, since I always walk a little hunched over. This girl was about as tall as my chest while sitting down, so I guess she could have been quite tall if she could stand. Her hair was cut very short, almost like a boy's, and she was looking at me intently, as if trying to read my body language.

Good luck with that, I thought, but didn't say anything.

"W-what do you want?" I asked in return, perhaps a little too grumpily, and immediately regretted this instinctive action. I told myself I'll be trying to make friends, and here I had a perfect chance to introduce myself to a nice person who presumably stayed behind just to wait for me, and I blew it up with my anxious reactions. I have to learn to calm down, I told myself. Normal people can speak to strangers without coming off as a crazy grouch.
She seemed to be taken aback, a little, but she regained her composure quickly and just smiled quietly. "Woke up early today, didn't you?"

I collected myself and smiled in return, dropping my head apologetically. "Yes. Sorry f-for this outburst."

"Nah, don't think about it. First day of school is always a difficult one. All that stress and anxiety. I was just like you when I first came here."

"W-when was that?" I asked with some suspicion. She was in my class, before. How long could she have been here?

She thought for a moment, raising a hand to her chin dramatically. "About two weeks ago, two and a half? Not exactly a grizzled veteran, but you're really new here, aren't you? "

"Yes. I arrived j-just a few hours ago."

"How is it working for you so far?"

I blinked in surprise. "I don't know. It was just one l-lesson."

"An hour and a half is a long time, you know! Surely you've made some sort of opinion for yourself?"

"It's n-not a long time."

"Of course it is. One second could mean the difference between glory and doom, life and death. An hour and a half is, like, five thousand times that? It's a veritable eternity."

"Are you t-trying to s-sound smart now?" I asked without thinking, not even bothering to mention that she was wrong by four hundred seconds, which wasn't, in my opinion, giving a lot of respect for a whole bunch of veritable eternities. I felt oddly at ease, suddenly. Maybe it was intentional on her side, maybe it wasn't, but this short confusion definitely managed to break the ice. Or at least crack it a little.

"Is it working?"

We both laughed a little. "Seriously, though", she quickly added. "You don't have an opinion at all?"

I did have. But nothing that I felt like sharing at the moment, especially not with a nice person I just met. I felt like I had something precious between my fingers right now, and all it would take to drop and break it would be a word out of place. I couldn't let that happen.

"It's strange here," I finally answered. I good, solid, ambiguous answer, of the kind nobody ever bothers to check further, as often out of respect or politeness as out of lack of interest. She seemed to get the hint: she didn't inquire any further, instead starting to roll down the corridor without further ado, waving lightly with her hand as if asking me to follow. "You'd look weird just standing there."

"P-please wait for me!" I cried quietly, pushing myself forward with all the strength I could muster, trying to match her speed. She seemed amused and slowed down.
"I'd offer you a ride," she said with a smile "but the teachers always seem very upset for some reason when they see me do this. If it makes you feel better I can make you the same offer once I get my driving license. We could park in those special spots and then laugh at all the other people!"

As far as planning for the future goes, I don't think I've met someone with these kinds of ideas before, so I replied with a small giggle of my own and added "I'll r-remember that". It was a shallow conversation, but far from unpleasant. All for the better, I think. I am not sure how I would have done back then if she insisted on it being a deep one.

"Nobody should have to stand alone in an empty class on the first day of school. Usually some teacher would have paired you with an older student or a classmate just so you'd have someone to speak to, but Nakano decided not to, for some reason. So I thought I'll do it, you know? Scrape some good karma for myself."

"Thank you. It w-was nice of you."

"You deserve it, that's all. I got some weird second-year to guide me around on my first day. Maybe I'll introduce you to her later or something". She stopped suddenly, with a look of astonished confusion on her face, touching a finger to her forehead in a manner not generally seen outside of children's cartoons. "Speaking of introductions, I never told you my own name, did I?"

"You didn't", I replied, even though, to be honest, I couldn't care less about it at the point. The fact that she was willing to speak to me like that was more than enough.

"Well, then, I'm Maeda Tomiko. Pleased to meet you", she said, bowing in a way that must have been a little painful, spreading her hands dramatically to her sides as if standing on a stage. It just occurred to me how often she did those kinds of things during our short conversation. Her hands never stopped moving, accompanying and complimenting every word, sentence and facial expression. Maybe she was unconsciously compensating for only being able to move one half of her body. I didn't ask.

"Th-the p-pleasure is all mine, M-maeda".

"See? Now that you know my name you are a lot more comfortable."

I wasn't, really, but I nodded nonetheless. No point in turning this into an argument.

We kept walking, or as it so happened, stumbling and rolling down a couple more corridors at a steady though thoroughly unremarkable pace. I wondered how long the break was and how much distance we are going to make this way before we have to go back. The building was huge.

We kept speaking all through our little trip, though, so I didn't care. She didn't say anything about my stutter, as if it wasn't there at all, and it made it a lot easier to loosen up and speak with her. Not about anything special, mind you. Just a conversation for the sake of it.

It was a lot of fun. For a couple of moments, I think I really felt like a completely normal student in a normal school. I liked that feeling.

"Where are we g-going?" I asked as we approached the main doors to the building. "Nowhere in particular. Just outside", she replied. "Sunlight will make you cheerful. Trust me on that, it's real science. Heard it on TV once, I think."

"Y-you usually g-go outside on breaks?"

"Unless it's time to eat, yeah, usually. Why are you asking?"

"N-no reason. Just…"

"Just what?"

"It's a l-long way."

"It is?"

I didn't answer, and she either didn't notice or didn't mind. She seemed to be absorbed in some very important internal dialogue. "You know," she begun as we approached the building door; "I really should've invited you to lunch, didn't I? But we already had lunch just before you came in. What about dinner, then? Compared to other schools, the food here isn't at all bad."

............................................

Crap, I suck at this. I NEED to find a big plot to fit everything into, or it'll just be short pointless scenes with boring cliche OC's forever. I do have my OC's, don't get me wrong, some re-purposed from other stories, some new, but all are pretty bad. Far too bad to keep a story without a plot floating.

As for changing the name of the story, which I considered doing before, why bother? It isn't like anybody is going to start reading this piece now who didn't do so before. Waste of virtual ink.

I'll see about refitting the next part. If there's going to be one.

As for the weird anemic boy with the glasses with strange opinions about THIS CHAIR, yes, it's Tohno Shiki, no he isn't going to become a recurring character. Call it an easter egg. Haruhi and Lelouch are in Hisao's class, why can't Tohno Shiki be in Yuno's? He even has the anemia thing going for him as an excuse. Who knows? Maybe there's a redheaded boy in some third year class missing his left arm with a huge sword fetish...
Last edited by Minister of Gloom on Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Life, what is it but a dream?
זה מגניב אותי כל פעם מחדש, העובדה שיש פה עברית. אני תוהה אם מישהו ישים לב ששיניתי חתימה.

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Finger Training

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:56 pm

As far as OCs are concerned, I really like yours. I have the feeling that you're starting to get more comfortable writing your main character by now.
A few things:
- The name Maeda Tomiko sounds like Tomiko is the given name, so when she introduces herself, she uses japanese name order. Your MC then calls her by her last name. Is that intentional?
- We've not yet seen much of Tomiko, but a few of her lines sound a bit off for an...15-year-old? ("Already forgiven and forgotten." or "Not exactly a grizzled veteran..."
- A few grammar issues. Nothing majior, but a few wrong pronouns and some wrong tenses, especially when using subjunctive, like in this sentence:
It made me instinctively crawl into my seat of for fear that someone will would accidentally knock me over, at which point I will would almost certainly be trampled by the horde.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Minister of Gloom
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Re: Finger Training

Post by Minister of Gloom » Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:04 pm

English grammar is my long-time nemesis. Together with his vile companion, French grammar, the crazy headless clown thing that makes English look sane.
As for the given name thing, yes, it is her given name and yes, Yuno calls her by her family name. It's an awkward moment for her, and she isn't exactly sure how to handle it. Calling someone by his more formal family name felt like something she'd do at the moment. Maybe I'll fix it.
As for sounding off for a 15 years old... I am not sure I get you. You mean the language is too "high" for a kid?

Thank you very much for reading, anyway. Your suggestions and notes are also very helpful.
Life, what is it but a dream?
זה מגניב אותי כל פעם מחדש, העובדה שיש פה עברית. אני תוהה אם מישהו ישים לב ששיניתי חתימה.

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Re: Finger Training

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:26 am

Well, "already forgiven and forgoten" is very formal. I could picture Lilly saying that, but Tomiko didn't seem to be like that to me.
"Like a grizzeled veteran" is an analogy I also wouldn't expect from a 15-year old who (I assume) has no prior experience with the military or veterans in general. Like I said, it's nohing major, just something that stuck out at me, when I read the chapter.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Leotrak
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Re: Finger Training

Post by Leotrak » Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:39 am

You know what this is, MoG?

Beauty in simplicity :3 You write this very interestingly, making it a joy to read despite there not being any kind of real plot other than "the daily life of" ^_^ Any idea how hard that sort of thing is to pull off? :3
"ice-cream-flavoured ice-cream" -Rin
"oh moe is me" -me
Numbered Days, my first piece of fanfic
Leotrak's Library, my other depository of written stuffs
Before: Hanako>/=Emi>Rin>Lilly>Shizune
After: Emi>Rin>Hanako>Lilly>>>>>>>>>>>Shizune

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Finger Training

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:59 am

I have.
I'm trying to do much the same thing at the moment.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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scott1and
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Re: Finger Training

Post by scott1and » Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:43 pm

I like it when a plan comes together...or not in this case as you put MoG, and did I just misquote the A-team, maybe I did or maybe I think I did, but either way its good to see this still going.
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Minister of Gloom
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Re: Finger Training

Post by Minister of Gloom » Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:44 am

I am not sure I understand. What did you mean, with the plan and the A-Team?
Life, what is it but a dream?
זה מגניב אותי כל פעם מחדש, העובדה שיש פה עברית. אני תוהה אם מישהו ישים לב ששיניתי חתימה.

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Re: Finger Training

Post by Petermeter » Sat Aug 27, 2011 3:00 pm

Minister of Gloom wrote:I am not sure I understand. What did you mean, with the plan and the A-Team?
What he is talking about is the (quite well known) quote by "Colonel John Smith" of the A-Team "I love it when a plan comes together." The misquote he is talking about would then be the like<->love exchange.
Anyway, I like your OC a lot, depicted really well and I like the introduction into class, feeling like a newbie even if some of the others aren't really any more experienced than she is. Good story, bro :)
Ranking after act 1:
Hanako > Rin >> Lilly > Shizune > Emi
I played the routes in that order, every ending and all.
Ranking after full playthrough:
Lilly > Emi >> Rin ~ Hanako > Shizune

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