Catching Dreams (updated 11/30, seeking advice)

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MrDan
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Catching Dreams (updated 11/30, seeking advice)

Post by MrDan » Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:20 am

Hi! This is not my first time writing, but it is my first time doing something KS related, so I am understandably nervous. That combined with an OC makes this a bit of a challenge for me, so hopefully this is a fun learning experience for me. Everything is pretty raw at this point, but I hope develop and continue this story into something respectable, or at least readable. I also don't know any people that I can turn to for writing help, so hopefully I can rectify that. Please read, enjoy, and criticize! You guys are nice people, right?

Prologue (This post)
Chapter 1: Crossed Up
Chapter 2: Moving Station to Station
Chapter 3: DFA
Chapter 4: Opening Day
Chapter 5: BB
Chapter 6: Hot Start
Chapter 7: Tools of Ignorance
Chapter 8: Seventh-inning stretch
Reika's side of things: A few days before Tanabata

---
Prologue


I see her from afar, the object of my affection, coming towards me. I know if I don't go now she will fly right by me, and I won't catch up to her. I go swiftly, but it is too late. She's gone, and I've missed her. I go through what happened in my head over and over, quietly berating myself for not acting sooner. I thought for too long, so I tell myself not to think, just act.

I wait for her patiently, trying to relax my mind and focus. I get the idea in my head that maybe she will come the same way this time, and I can look for her there. Before I can think about how bad of an idea that is, I see her, but she's going a different way than last time. Of course this would happen. I panic and move as fast as I can, but she is gone and out of my sight again.

I won't miss thrice, I can't. I prepare myself, expecting everything that could happen and every way things could go. Back in my spot, I wait, and just like last time, there she is, on her way. I move to get in front of her, but she slides away from my reach and even with my arms extended as far as they can, I miss once more.

“Strike three!”

Gee whiz ump, could you yell it louder? I think I know.

I hate striking out. As I walk back to the dugout with the bat on my shoulders, I tell myself I'll get 'em next time. It's what I always tell myself.

I take my seat next to my boisterous teammates, all of them eager to joke and tease how much I missed those pitches. I never really did like to bat anyways, I prefer my defensive role. As the catcher, I'll coordinate the defense, shifting the men to counter the opponents tendencies. I put down the signs for my pitcher, having a plan for every hitter. Each hitter has a different approach, a different swing, and consequently, a different weakness for me to exploit. Every night I have 27 chess matches to win. I don't do much to score the runs, but I'll be damned if the other team does.

I have eight other players trusting me to do the right thing. Through my sunglasses, helmet and mask, my expression is always one of cool and calm. I carry myself with confidence, I have to. I can look at any of my guys, and without words, they know that I will do everything I can to win, no matter how long the game, or how big the inning. It's all on my shoulders.

It's my game to lose, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

---

I'm quite sure there's a baseball club at Yamaku. And there is plenty to expand in the story, I don't even have the main character named yet! I'm not very familiar with the customs and culture of baseball in Japan, so I hope I didn't make any glaring mistakes. Also can you guess what the injury that falls upon our hero will be? It is indeed sports related.
EDIT: Just a couple things touched up and added. More to come.
Last edited by MrDan on Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:46 am, edited 15 times in total.
Sometimes the easiest decision to make is the one where you only have two-tenths of a second to decide.
A story of baseball, love, and living life.

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Catching Dreams

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:31 am

Well, my guess was he is mute, because otherwise he could have just called out to her - whoever she is.
Muteness is hardly ever sports-related, though.
I think the Japanese play baseball in much the same way everyone else does, but I can't tell you if you made any mistakes there, since I know hardly anything about baseball.
The story so far is a bit hard to follow since you know nothing at all about either character. Not necessarily a bad way to begin a story, but if it's just a short bit like this without any revelation to conclude with, it just leaves you hanging...
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Re: Catching Dreams

Post by MrDan » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:46 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:Well, my guess was he is mute, because otherwise he could have just called out to her - whoever she is.
Muteness is hardly ever sports-related, though.
I think the Japanese play baseball in much the same way everyone else does, but I can't tell you if you made any mistakes there, since I know hardly anything about baseball.
The story so far is a bit hard to follow since you know nothing at all about either character. Not necessarily a bad way to begin a story, but if it's just a short bit like this without any revelation to conclude with, it just leaves you hanging...
Thanks for the comments! I'm probably gonna revise this a little before I continue onto the actual meat of the story, the first part was supposed to be him actually striking out in a game and his thought process throughout that, so I might clarify that segment. And further installations will likely be more complete and not as short as this.
Sometimes the easiest decision to make is the one where you only have two-tenths of a second to decide.
A story of baseball, love, and living life.

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Re: Catching Dreams

Post by kw343 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:49 am

“Strike three!”
I lol'd at this point! great intro!
Looking forward to the story, no major problems that I noticed.

MrDan
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Re: Catching Dreams

Post by MrDan » Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:24 am

Hi! I'm back at this, and hopefully this first chapter can get things rolling. My two big hopes are that this chapter isn't too technical from a baseball standpoint, and that it makes sense to people. Sometimes I write something that makes sense in my head and when someone else reads it they have no idea what's going on. If any problems arise, I will do my best to rectify them. Read, enjoy, and criticize!


Chapter 1: Crossed Up

I'm sitting in the dugout, gear on, sometime in the early evening, watching the sun that is still peeking over the horizon. Soon it will disappear, and all we'll have is the bright white lights of the park on us all. Ive played countless games throughout the season, yet I still feel a little romantic about every one, I'm still invaded by the butterflies that flutter in my stomach and chest. Every night is a new game, a chance at the glory of victory.

My teammates might feel the same if we won more than a quarter of our games, but that's no problem for me. I've never been concerned with earning any scholarships or getting drafted by a big league team, I just want to play the game I love. Our coach, who we all call Coach, taps me on the shoulder. He's wearing the big smile he has every day.

"Go get 'em, Skip."

The little PA system finishes announcing our lineup, and we take the field and man our positions. Squatting down in my spot, I hop up and down a little, readying my knees. I'm going to have horrible knees when I'm older. I point to my pitcher with my glove and give him a nod that says “We got this.”

The first batter sets up in the box and gets ready. I look him up and down, recalling what I know about him and formulating a plan. His swing is too long and loopy, and I know how to carve him up like a turkey now. I look to the pitcher, put one finger down, tap my thigh, and set up my glove. Fastball, inside corner.

He delivers the pitch right to my glove, no swing. Strike one.

I do it again, setting my glove higher. Fastball, below his hands.

Again, my man delivers right to my glove and the batter swings, too late to catch up. Strike two. We're going to have a good night.

He's scared now, and I can do whatever I want to him. I put two fingers down and tap my other thigh. Curveball away. I set up my glove and get ready to block the ball if it goes into the dirt. The pitcher winds up and throws.

The ball starts out low already, a good curveball. I get my glove low to the ground to block it when it breaks straight down. Something is wrong though.

The realization that this is a fastball travels through my head as I put my glove up as fast as I can and close my eyes. I'm too late, and the ball hits me square in the mask. I stand up and recoil backwards, trying to shake off the hit. My head feels a little light, and I swear I can still feel my helmet rattling around my head. Maybe it's my brains rattling around in my skull. The thought elicits a chuckle from me.

“Hey man, you OK?” The batter asks, putting a hand on my shoulder like I might fall over.

“Yeah, I'm good, I think,” I reply automatically. It's not like I can say no.

After a few shakes of my head and blinks, I put my mask back on and settle back down into my squat. I point at the pitcher and motion for him to pay better attention next time, and we resume play.

I think it's the third inning now, but I haven't been paying much attention. My head is still ringing like a bell, and I find myself squinting into the bright park lights. Man that hit got me good. I grab my sunglasses from my bag and get back onto the field.

I trot off the field at the end of the top of the third. I'm glad I can sit down again, my head feels like it's beneath 50 feet of water. But something is wrong again, as nobody is joining me. I look at my teammates on the field, and then the scoreboard in center field. It reads two outs. I can't believe it; I haven't done that… ever. I apologetically get back to my position.

I think it's the ninth inning now, and the game is tied, 3-3. Man, when did they score three runs? I think I would remember something like that; I play right next to home plate and all. I shake myself out of my thoughts to receive the next pitch. I look at the scoreboard again, trying to make sure I have my bearings, and I almost don't catch the pitch flying towards me. It doesn't matter anyways, as its hit high to left field, and caught. The runner on third tags up and starts barreling towards me to score on the deep fly ball.

When did a runner get on third base?

I peek at the scoreboard for help once more, but it offers me none.

The throw to me is perfect. I turn to block the plate.

~

I remember a conversation I had with the coach one day, some long time ago.

“Hey Skip, good game today,” He said, his voice deeper and older than mine.

“Why do you guys keep calling me that?” I wondered, mostly annoyed by the nickname I had no part in coining.

“I may be the coach of this team, but you're the skipper. You're the captain. You run this ship and its crew. They all look up to you to know, they trust you.”

“Really? But…why me?” I asked. I was young, I didn't understand much then.

The coach walked up to me and put his hands on my shoulders, giving me a dead serious look.

“You command the game in so many ways you don't even understand yet. You're the first and last line of defense. When the other team is at bat, you call the pitches. And when they're rounding third and coming home, you lay your body on the line to stop them.”

I kept staring at him, trying to let the words sink in. I might have even gotten a little teary eyed.

“You play hard, and you play the right way. The other guys, they get that, and they respect you for it.”

He gave me firm pat on the back and laughed hard.

“Also Skip sounds cool. Now get out of here and rest up. We have a game tomorrow.”

~

That conversation from years ago keeps replaying in my head, but I am snapped out of my daydream when I feel the car go over a bump. Right, I'm in a car now. Coach must have been nice enough to give a few of us a ride home. My brain feels like it's in a fog, and I'm so, so tired. My head still feels underwater, and I tap my ears a couple times to pop them, to no avail. They feel funny. Still poking at my ear, I look up a little at everyone else. Nobody is talking, or looking at me. I think furiously. Oh no, the game.

We… lost the game?

Won?

“What happened?” I say to no one in particular.

I don't remember. I shake my head again and blink, trying to wake myself up a little, I must just be tired. Nothing happens. I squint and turn away from the bright lights in whatever room we just walked into. I guess the others pulled me out of the car. I pull out my sunglasses to shield myself from the lamps and find one lens broken in half and the other cracked.

“What happened?” The question just spills out of my mouth.

I look up at my teammates and Coach. Only Coach is looking at me. I can barely look at him back, the lights blurring my vision.

“What happened? Coach?”

He looks down at his shoes and says nothing. I can see a red sign behind him.

We're in the emergency room.

“What happened?” I ask again, realizing I've been mumbling this whole time. I speak up once more.

“What. Happened.”

Everyone looks up at me, their full attention drawn. A teammate steps in front of my and looks at me, with worry and fear in his eyes. Like he’s afraid of me. Now I’m scared.

“You got hit, Skip. You got hit hard.”

He's standing right in front of me and he sound miles away.

“You didn't get back up immediately.”

Now I'm very scared.

“We'll see what the doctor has to say.”

Will I ever play again?

“You're gonna be OK.”
Sometimes the easiest decision to make is the one where you only have two-tenths of a second to decide.
A story of baseball, love, and living life.

kw343
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Re: Catching Dreams

Post by kw343 » Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:39 am

Seems good afer a quick read, I didn't notice any glaring mistakes.
One thing, it would be nice if you updated the title of the thread with the date when you add a section.
Seriously looking forward to more of this.

MrDan
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Re: Catching Dreams

Post by MrDan » Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:49 am

kw343 wrote:Seems good afer a quick read, I didn't notice any glaring mistakes.
One thing, it would be nice if you updated the title of the thread with the date when you add a section.
Seriously looking forward to more of this.
Thanks! Also good idea, I should do that. Also added a table of contents for the future.
Sometimes the easiest decision to make is the one where you only have two-tenths of a second to decide.
A story of baseball, love, and living life.

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Re: Catching Dreams (updated 9/5)

Post by MrDan » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:56 am

Hi! I'm back at it once again, this time we start to actually get to relevant bits! Despite never having any sort of head injury, or knowing anyone who has, I felt like this is something I had to portray well, or at least accurately. It's one of those things that feels like it hits close to home when it really doesn't. Also, if anyone here has had the same injury afflict them, and are willing to talk about it, hit me up, I would love to know more. Anyway, enjoy, and criticize!

Chapter 2: Moving Station to Station

I wake up, the memories from my dreams already slipping away. I'm pretty sure I woke up right before the good part again, that's how it always works. I blink, adjusting my eyes to the soft glow of my alarm clock. 4:30 AM, it reads. I bring a finger to each temple, rubbing them gently, as if it could actually alleviate the ache in my head. It's just a soft one today, not throbbing, not crushing, just a soft, dull ache. Today might actually be an OK day. Maybe even a good day.
I haven't had a good day in eight months.

For eight months, I've been in my room, in my bed. Dark curtains drawn to keep out the daylight, padding around my door to keep out the noise. I haven't been outside in eight months. I have seen the sun maybe once or twice in that time, but just a painful glimpse.

Eight months ago I got out of the hospital. The words of the doctor linger in my head to this day, and I remember how I was wracked with anger and frustration at my situation, but more than anything, I was in sheer disbelief.

“You've broken your skull in half,” he could have said. I wish, that would have made sense.

“You've got brain cancer.” Such a diagnosis would have sufficed as well.

“You broke your brain and we had to transplant a new one in.” I don't think that's even how it works.

No, nothing as grand as any of those things happened. I left the hospital with no scars to show, no clock ticking down to when I die, no fantastical story of survival. I left the hospital with a couple medications, a small stack of pamphlets, and a single word.

“You had a concussion.”

A concussion. It made no sense to me. I've seen people get their bell rung badly before, and maybe they hurt for a bit, but not like this. This did something else, this changed me for good.

“You should stay away from baseball in the future. You can't risk this happening again.”

This broke me.

The first month was the worst, at least emotionally. I was angry all the time and all being angry did was make the headaches worse. Whenever my parents tried to console me, I would snap at them, telling them they didn't understand. I would cry myself to sleep sometimes, when crying was the only thing I could do without feeling like my head was going to implode.

My second month was the worst physically. I managed to come to terms with my problem to some degree. I wasn't so angry or depressed anymore. Maybe it was because I didn’t have time to, I spent most of my time dealing with crushing headaches that confined me to lying in bed perfectly still, trying to will the pain away. My pain medication did little to alleviate the aches, and my sleeping pills didn't work at all. I don't think I talked to my parents at all during that month.

The many months after that bled into each other, the lines between days getting runny as well, and most of the time I never knew if it was night or day. I would fall in and out of sleep, waking up to a meal on a tray next to my bed. I had a couple OK days, where I would get out of bed and move around my room, trying to stay active. I found myself able to read a book, or play a video game; at least for a little bit before I couldn't take it and went back to my bed. I actually managed to go outside my room once. I was so nervous; I wanted to talk to my parents again for once. They weren't home. I simply made myself a sandwich and went back to bed, but it felt good to be able to do something for myself for once.

One day I found myself wearing my catcher gear. It still felt good to strap it on. I'd squat down in the middle of my room, setting myself up to catch an imaginary pitch. Sometimes I’d just sit on my bed wearing the gear, letting the feeling of it all sink in.
Only a week ago, I was attempting to fall asleep, and my Mom quietly walked into the room, placing a meal down for me. She must have thought I was asleep, because she sat on my bed and rubbed my back. I thought I heard her crying. It was at that point I realized that while they didn't understand what I was going through, they still cared so much, and how hard it must be for them to know that their son is so close to them, yet so far away, separated by a concussion sized canyon.

Today is different though. There isn't a ringing in my ears. My head doesn't feel like it's being crushed, and my ears don't feel like they're full of water. It's just a little headache today. I put on some decent clothes and open my door. The hallway light still hurts my eyes and I don't know if that will ever go away, it hasn't yet. Before I step out, I turn back into my room and grab my cap, my teams logo still proudly displayed on the front. Maybe I'll go outside today.
I take careful steps down the stars, trying my best to keep my head still. I can hear the television on downstairs, and I get nervous. What do I say to my parents? I haven't had a real conversation in so long. I decide to keep it simple, and I finish my descent. My Dad is sitting there, watching TV. He looks at me, surprised, and gives me a little smile.

“Hey son, how's it going?”

“Pretty well, actually,” I say, not realizing I sound upbeat, “I think I might go outside today.”

“Is that so? Well wait right here then,” He says, getting up and walking to his bedroom. I watch him with a perplexed look. He quickly comes back with a small case in his hands.

“You might need these. It's a bit sunny today.” His voice is quiet and gentle. I take the case from him and open it. A familiar object resides inside.

“My old sunglasses, you… fixed them?”

They had broken that fateful day, but here they are, white plastic frame and reflective lenses all there.

“The doctor said you might need a pair, because of the, uh… you know. So I got your old ones fixed up, I know you liked them.”

I run a finger over the frame, thinking back to all the good times I had with these. They were my best friend in the tough times. When the team needed someone to look to, they'd look at me and see these staring back at them. They kept me looking collected and ready to win no matter the situation. I open them up and gently place them over my eyes, putting a dark tint over the world and making the lights bearable.

“Thanks Dad,” I say simply. There's not much more to say really, I think he already understands.

“Where are you heading out to?” he asks, his voice returning to casual Dad mode.

I shrug, and smile. I put on my hat and head out the door, ready to take on whatever lies ahead. Bring it on world.

~

I ended up just getting some ice cream. Eating ice cream and sitting in the sun while watching the people around me go about their lives was relaxing. It made me feel a little normal again, like I might just get back my life.

I return home and upon entering I'm greeted by the sight of both my parents sitting on the couch, looking at me. I can tell they want to talk about more than just how my day went. I start to feel a little anxious.

“Have a seat son, we need to talk about something,” my Dad says, motioning to a chair.

“Sure thing, what is it?” I say, sitting in the chair.

“Well, we didn't want to spring this on you so early, but...”

“We want to talk about you going to school,” my Mom cuts in. She seems a little excited at the prospect of me going back to school. I notice she's holding a pamphlet as well.

“I'd love to get back to school, but what's with the pamphlet?” I ask.

Do they want to send me somewhere else?

“It's for a school honey,” my Mom answers, forcing her voice to be gentle, “one that can… take care of you better than others.”

So they do want to send me somewhere else. I'm not very broken up about the idea; I've lost contact with everyone from my old life. I wasn't in any shape to take visitors anyways. The idea that I need a special school bothers me though; it reminds me I still have problems that could come crashing back down on me, that at any moment I could have my brain become my own worst enemy, and then I'm just stuck in bed again like a broken useless piece of-

“Son,” he says firmly, shaking me out of my spiraling thoughts.

“Have you ever heard of Yamaku Academy?”
Sometimes the easiest decision to make is the one where you only have two-tenths of a second to decide.
A story of baseball, love, and living life.

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Re: Catching Dreams (updated 9/7)

Post by Scissorlips » Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:32 am

Enjoying this story so far, the portrayal of his disability is something new and not over the top, which is good. Your writing style is enjoyable and solid, although there's a little bit of repetition here and there, things like "going to school" and "pamphlet". Just small things, and I know it can be hard to find syllables in lots of situations, so nothing too much to worry about.
I have a bad feeling about this.
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Re: Catching Dreams (updated 9/7)

Post by MrDan » Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:38 am

Scissorlips wrote:Enjoying this story so far, the portrayal of his disability is something new and not over the top, which is good. Your writing style is enjoyable and solid, although there's a little bit of repetition here and there, things like "going to school" and "pamphlet". Just small things, and I know it can be hard to find syllables in lots of situations, so nothing too much to worry about.
I have a bad feeling about this.
Thanks for the comments. Repetition has been something I've struggled with in the past and it's something I need to iron out, so I'll keep a close eye on that. And bad feelings?
/cue evil laugh
Sometimes the easiest decision to make is the one where you only have two-tenths of a second to decide.
A story of baseball, love, and living life.

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Re: Catching Dreams (updated 9/7)

Post by MrDan » Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:38 am

A shorter chapter this time, next one will be much longer. Got a little stuck and I'm not completely satisfied with myself, but the next piece ought to be more fun for me, and hopefully for you too. Enjoy, and respond!

Chapter 3: DFA

Today was supposed to be a good day.

It's been two weeks since my first good day, and I haven't had a bad once since. I don't even need my sunglasses today. I was ready to start my first day at Yamaku, my things already in my dorm room. I was eager to get back to school, back to a normal life maybe. I felt like I can beat whatever my brain throws at me.

All those feelings went away when I found an ambulance and other emergency responders clogging the front gate. Today isn't a good day anymore.

I had to watch as they took a girl away in the ambulance. She was breathing heavily, and I couldn't understand what the paramedics were talking about. She looked younger than me. The small crowd of students that formed around the gate watched with me as the flashing lights disappeared off in the distance. I'm still staring off into the distance, trying to get my head around what happened. Seeing someone hurt is something I'm used to, it happens every once in a while during the season. But to see someone being rushed away for their life is different. It rattles me a little.

“Are you new here?”

A voice snaps me out of my trance, and I look at its origin. A very pale girl with white hair is staring back at me, a soft, blank look on her face.

“Uh, yeah, I'm new here I guess,” I mumble back nervously.

“I hope they don't take you away in an ambulance too,” she replies bluntly.

I hope I don't get taken away in an ambulance either, but her comment doesn't make me feel much better. I just give her a little shrug. I don't really know how to respond.
“Hm. Well then, welcome to Yamaku.” She turns and heads back through the gates, leaving me alone.

Her ambulance comment helps me realize something. This isn't a place where I can come reclaim my normal life. This is somewhere that people who need help go to. Some of the students here might never have a normal life, and will need help for as long as they live. I might be one of those students. I need help, and that's not a notion I'm used to yet.

Man, today really isn't a good day at all.

~

After a short and fairly uncomfortable conversation with the school nurse, I start heading to my dorm. I already know what meds I can and need to take, and I already have earplugs and sunglasses and my curtains. I know I'm supposed to avoid head trauma.

Of course I know I can't join the baseball team. I really wish he hadn't brought that up. He also said something to me that I think was supposed to be a joke.

“It's all in your head.”

I chuckle to myself remembering it. It is pretty funny. Maybe it is really all in my head, and I just need to get over it. I'll probably realize it's not that simple next time I have a bad day, but for now I'll pretend it works like that. It makes me feel a little better, and I'll take any good feelings I can get right now. He also told me that if Ism not feeling too well I should stay away from one of my classmates, but I can't remember her name. It shouldn't matter; one person can't be that bad.

Walking inside the boys dorm and head to my floor, I pass what looks like a rec room and maybe a kitchen. All the guys look like they're relaxing and having fun, which puts me at ease a little. Seeing a student missing his legs tenses me right back up again. I'm not used to seeing people like this, people with something wrong or something missing. I should probably get used to it, but for some reason the idea of making friends with other disabled students doesn't seem appealing.

Hell, even thinking about other disabled students puts a sour taste in my head.

But why? It's not like I hate them or anything, I'm sure they're all great people. I've never had anything against disabled people, ever. Confused, I shake the thoughts out of my head; I can figure this crap out later.

I reach my room and unlock the door, preparing myself for my new home. The walls are white and bare, and I mentally thank my parents for unpacking all my things. It's almost 9:00 already. Tomorrow is my first day of classes, and the day I meet all my new classmates, so I should probably get a good night's rest. I undress and get ready for bed, taking a peek at what I have to wear. I don't think I've ever seen so many white shirts and green slacks in my life. I'll have to spiff this up a bit later. I slip under my covers and try to get some sleep, but of course my mind has other ideas.

I thought I was going to be mature enough to look past people's disabilities. Why can't I then? I think back to what happened to that poor girl. I hope I don't get taken away in an ambulance like here.

Maybe that's just it.

I'm afraid. How bad of a day must some of these kids had? Are they still having one? Will those bad days get worse and worse, until they have no days left at all?

A single logical thought surfaces. I shouldn't be afraid, I have bad days too. That's why I'm here, and maybe everyone here just wants to have another good day.

I roll over and check my alarm clock. 11:30. this sleep thing isn't working out right now. A walk might help get my head on straight again. Rolling out of bed and getting dressed, I try and cheer myself up a bit.

Maybe tomorrow will be a good day.
Sometimes the easiest decision to make is the one where you only have two-tenths of a second to decide.
A story of baseball, love, and living life.

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Re: Catching Dreams (updated 9/16)

Post by Scissorlips » Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:05 am

A nice little addition. I'm interested in seeing your protagonist begin meeting students and settling in. I'll just say that I quite like the way you handle his internal monologue and his thought processes, they feel natural, and you can see the way the gears turn and how he arrives at his conclusions, which is good.
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Re: Catching Dreams (updated 10/2)

Post by MrDan » Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:44 am

Despite being short again, I took a while with this one, I was mostly procrastinating or contemplating whether or not I wanted to continue the story. I'm more of a "Oh god ideas in my head vomit them onto paper blaaaaugh" writer, so I'm not used to the amount of preparation and planning that comes along with something like this. So I bought a 50 page notebook and sat down with it to gush out whatever came to me, and 50 pages later I have a much more solid idea of what I'm doing. Writing is one of those things I've never felt comfortable doing, so hopefully I can help myself out a bit. This is also the first chapter with dialogue from KS, so lets see how well I did there. Please read, criticize, and enjoy!

Chapter 4: Opening Day

I really don't want to get out of bed right now. My alarm clock has a different idea, so I silence the lone dissenter with the back of my hand. I'm not tired at all right now, I got a good night's sleep, and my head feels better than usual. I don't want to get out of bed because I'm anxious about my first day of class.

Anxious. No, I'm downright terrified.

Rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, I get ready for my day. My parents left me a new book bag already full of supplies, so I'm ready on that front. I open my closet and remember that my wardrobe is dull; I'll definitely have to get some fixes for this. For now I slip on some green slacks and a white shirt. But wait, how should I wear my tie? I don't know if I should keep it tight and everything buttoned up, to show my teacher and peers I'm serious and not a slob or something, or will I look too uptight if it's all buttoned up? Maybe just one button undone would look OK. Do I wear the jacket as well?

I'm over-thinking this. Its four damn bits of clothing, just wear them. I put on the whole school uniform and take a peek in the mirror to adjust everything, reminding myself to slouch less. I never really used to have bad posture. I know I always stood up straight during games. I haven't played in a game in forever though.
Taking a harder look in the mirror, the person on the other side looks wrong. It's not the confident, able person I was used to being. This person looks tired and beaten down, almost defeated. I like the old me better, but old me was only around when I played baseball. So was old me ever really me? Or was it just something in me that only came out when I stood on a dirt and grass field for a few hours? If I never played in the first place, would I still be that level-headed kid who actually had an idea of what he was doing with himself? Maybe not, maybe I didn't use baseball to make myself a better person, maybe I used it as a tool to cheat my own self into being something it never was and never could be.

I figure now is a good time to snap out of my little existential crisis so I'm not late for class. Grabbing my bag and jacket, I dart out of the dorms and get moving. I should think about other things, better things. Things like how beautiful the grounds of Yamaku are. It's a sunny morning, and the brick buildings and grassy yards shine beautifully in the golden light. This is definitely a school I won't mind for its looks.
I should also think about my studies. Being confined to a bed for eight months wasn't conducive to keeping up with my schoolwork, so I'll be playing this all by ear. Catching up shouldn't be too hard.

Of course my mind drifts to the topic I'm dreading most today, my new classmates.

“Just be a mature adult, you'll do just fine,” I tell myself as I enter the main building.

The interior gives off a much warmer feeling than my old high school, but you would never mistake it for anything but a school. Looking around and above to take in the sight of the spacious lobby almost completely distracts me from noticing the tall figure standing at the other end of the room. An awkward and somewhat impatient looking man is fumbling around with his jacket pockets when he notices me.

“Hello. You are, uh…” he checks a crumpled piece of paper. “You are Aoki, correct?”

“That's correct,” I'm mumble.

“Good, good. I'll be your homeroom and science teacher, my name is Mutou. Please, if you'll follow me to your classroom.”

I nod and start to follow him up the stairs. He seems like a genuinely nice guy, and I was decent at science, so hopefully I can get along with my teachers.

“Oh, welcome to Yamaku.” he adds, sounding more polite than genuine.

“Um, will I have to introduce myself to the class?” I ask timidly.

“Not if you don't want to. Do you want to?”

“I'd like to not, I'm sort of…” I clear my throat when I realize I'm mumbling again. “I'm nervous, I guess.”

“Well that's to be expected, coming to a new school for the first time and all.” He sounds much more engaged now. “You should try and make some friends though, your classmates are nice people, and it would help you to get to know new people. We're here now,” he motions towards a door labeled 3-3 and then heads inside.

I sigh and take a deep breath. I can do this. Or is it you can do this? I suck at giving myself pep talks.

Oh screw it.

I step inside the classroom where Mutou is idly waiting for me, and I'm immediately assaulted by the stares of over a dozen students. Standing in the front of the room I attempt to smile, but I think I just wince.

My mind immediately starts to discern what is wrong with everybody. For some it is obvious, one girl is missing a hand, another is missing both legs. I tell myself to stop it, just look past that, or around it or something. Making eye contact works well enough, until I reach a girl with extensive facial scarring. I look away from her so they don’t think I'm staring, but wait, did I look away too fast? Crap, I might have offended her. I can't win. I look down awkwardly at my hands, and one hand making a fist and grinding into an imaginary catcher's mitt.

“Class, this is your new classmate Aoki. Take a seat anywhere; we'll be starting class soon.”

Staring intently at my desk and nothing else, I take my seat and get ready for class. So that went well, I guess. Maybe. I wish I had a friend here to help me out. While I'm contemplating all of the other things I wish I could have, a booming, penetrating sound assaults my ears and sends a jolt of pain into my head.

“Hi, I'm Misha!”

Turning to my right I see the pinkest thing I have ever laid eyes upon in my life, in the form of a pretty girl with bright pink hair woven in some odd style.

“Uh, hello,” I say, still a little dazed.

“I'm sorry, was I too loud?” She asks, sounding a little concerned.

“Yeah, just a little, sorry.”

“Wahahaha! I'll be quieter next time,” She says at the same loud volume.

This might be a very painful relationship.

“I appreciate it,” I politely reply with a chuckle and a smile. It's the first time I've smiled all day. “Oh, and you can call me Skip, at least, it's what most people call me.”
“That's an odd nickname. Do you like to skip a lot or-” she's cut off when the girl sitting next to her gives her a tap on the shoulder. She has short, dark hair and glasses, but the most striking element of her appearance is her steely expression.

“That is an odd name,” Misha says to me, then whirling around back to the other girl. “That's what I thought too Shicchan!”

Now I'm confused. Looking down a little, I notice both their hands making a flurry of signals back and forth to each other. Oh, duh. “Shicchan” must be deaf.

“Sorry, Shicchan, er, Shizune says it's nice to meet you,” Misha says, facing me again. “You seem confused, which is understandable.”

“We'll if I understand correctly, Shizune is deaf, and you translate for her,” I say, unsure.
“Haha, you got it! This one is a little quicker than most Shicchan!”

“Than most?” I ask, giving her a curious look. “Do you guys usually talk to the new student?”

“As members of the student council, it's our duty to help new students acc-li-mate to Yamaku. We can show you around after class and help you with anything you need to know!”

From how they were signing and the cadence of her statement, I think that was Shizune talking there. It's funny; I'm talking to a couple of the people I was so scared of before, only to find that they're just kids too. The thought brings a little smile to my lips.

“That would be nice, I'd like to see more of Yamaku and get to know more,” I say with just a little enthusiasm added on.

“Wahahaha! We'll show you all around, we can tell you more over lunch too!” Misha declares, drawing a few stares for her volume.

Class starts, and my mind drifts away from the lecture. Not a bad start to the day, I guess. Misha is a nice enough person, if only she could keep the volume down a little, and Shizune seems OK too. It makes me feel pretty good that they want to help me get oriented. Hopefully I get to know them better during lunch. My new life at Yamaku seems a lot less scary now with a couple of friends.

---

I can't stop reading the "Hi, I'm Misha" line in the tone of "Hi I'm Daisy" and it cracks me up every time
Sometimes the easiest decision to make is the one where you only have two-tenths of a second to decide.
A story of baseball, love, and living life.

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Scissorlips
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Re: Catching Dreams (updated 10/2)

Post by Scissorlips » Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:09 am

To be honest, I have nothing against shorter, more manageable and digestible chunks. As for this chapter, I continue to like the way you write your character, his struggles and fears are human and believable. I think you managed to borrow a familiar scene from the game without it feeling too much like a cut-and-paste, and Misha's loudness being an actual, real problem for your protagonist is interesting. I wasn't expecting him to essentially fill Hisao's spot though, so I'll confess I don't have much of an idea where this story is headed next. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. Keep up the good work.
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I'm a writer for a visual novel project called Familiarity, where I go by the name Lunch.

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Re: Catching Dreams (updated 10/2)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:53 am

I think you managed to borrow a familiar scene from the game without it feeling too much like a cut-and-paste, and Misha's loudness being an actual, real problem for your protagonist is interesting.
I mostly agree, but I still wish 3-3 wasn't always the dump for new students. The first contacts will invariably be Shizune and Misha, and it gets stale after the 22nd iteration - maybe even sooner.
Why can't new students sometimes come into 3-4 instead?
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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