A New Task for Seth Nichols

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A New Task for Seth Nichols

Postby Mullet Death » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:23 pm

This is the beginning of a short story I've been wanting to write for some time. We'll see how things go. Feel free to criticize me and my writing all you like. :thumb: Suggestions for a better title are especially appreciated, as is anyone reading it at all! XD Note that this a rough draft and I'll be editing this as I go.
Chapter 1

Seth didn't even attempt to hide his sigh of relief as the previous customer finally walked away. He gave the next customer, evidently unpertubred by the last exchange, his usual salutory grunt and wasted no time scanning their items without any further word. Whatever it took to get each customer out of his sight as fast as possible, and whatever it took to get through the day. To say that a few rouge people here and there pushed Seth's buttons hardly described the situation. Many people employed in customer service positions complain about interactions with more disreputable customers. Seth had certainly encountered his fair share of reprobates in this dead-end office supply store job at Office Locust Queen.

No, even those customers who didn't believe the jackass-centric model of the universe grated on Seth's psyche. Worse still was the now indisputable fact that these interactions amounted to the entirety of Seth's existence. Never mind the rudeness or the tedious tasks themselves. The monotony and mediocrity had absorbed him and now defined him. To be Seth Nichols was to be surrounded by office supplies, warehouse boxes, and people he didn't like. Every day. Every. Single. Day. Interuppted only by legally mandated time off wasted on the televisual pursuits of men who have no drive or time for anything else.

As he mechanically dealt with each customer Seth's mind drited to now seemingly fantastical visions of what he wanted to be doing instead. What he wanted to do? The idea seemed rather novel. As a child, Seth had wanted to be a paleotologist as far back as he could remember. The fickle lady Adolescence meanwhile had wanted many other things, and had a funny way of crushing old dreams before they got started. Things never really seemed to go right. It had been this way long before his divorce or dropping out of college. Seth was a nobody, had always been a nobody, and would no doubt die a nobody.

Seth's introspection was disturbed by his boss asking him to take a lunch break. He made a beeline for the break room, eager to be alone and pity himself some more. Before reaching the office area next to the supply warehouse Janette jumped out from behind a box with a "Graaah!" to scare him, as all Office Locust Queen employees frequently did to each other. Still lost in thought about his slowly decaying life, Seth jumped out of his skin.

"Woo," he breathed. "You really got me there." He genuinely laughed despite his poor mood. All of his coworkers had always been like that. Whenever they weren't really working-- or when they weren't split up by management who insisted that working together was inefficient-- work didn't feel like work. They could all make him laugh when he didn't feel like laughing, whether it was Joshua's after-hours mopping karaoke, or Bridgette squishing people between her fingers, or Brody making up his own dialogue for their conversations at a safe distance.

Janette let out the hearty laughs and snorts of success and slapped Seth on the back. "I better get right back to work, just saw you coming and had to take the opportunity!" she said as she waved and trotted away. Janette wasn't exactly what Seth considered attractive. A little overweight and boyish for Seth's tastes at any rate. Nevertheless, she was a sweetheart and hardworking coworker, so he genuinely admired her. He uncharacteristically went out of his way to treat Janette and his other coworkers right. They were the only thing that made this place occasionally beareable to him.

That thought, however, sent him spiraling right back into his melancholic abyss. He pressed on to the break room, breifly nodding to Joshua, who was messing with stacks of printer paper and going off about the latest Zelda announcement with Brody. Seth finally plopped in his break chair with another sigh. Though it wasn't the least bit comfortable, just being in it and away from the hustle and small talk of the people outside was as rejuvenating as a swig of Gatorade after a tennis match. The lights flickered and there was a mighty crack of thunder as he reached over and grabbed a sandwich from the mini fridge. Hmm, the storm must be coming in early this evening, he thought, as at least four or five customers had mentioned it might. He shrugged and tried to enjoy his respite despite the dark thoughts still plaguing him. This place is really getting to me, he thought. Though he had not smoked for four years, for not the last time that night, Seth really wanted a pack of Dorals.

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Re: A New Task for Seth Nichols

Postby Mullet Death » Sat Aug 30, 2014 12:42 pm

I know no one cares, but I genuinely want to finish this story. :rock: :D 僕頑張ります!


Chapter 2

The storm intesified as Seth's break trickled away, with the lights flickering with a soft buzz and an odd but somehow soothing patter of heavy rain on the metal roof higher above. Seth wanted nothing more than to be alone, espcially as the next half of his shift approached, but he eventually decided that he couldn't get away with staying any longer. He slowly and reluctantly pushed his chair away from the table and stood up to go back to his own personal Hell.

As he did so, the lights flickered and hummed again. This time, Seth heard a noise that he had never heard in his entire life. It started out as a moaning whisper, like a distant approaching subway car late at night. It grew into a screeching, wailing roar, growing louder and louder than anything Seth had ever experienced in or out of a rock concert. It blared in Seth's ears and shook the feeble break-room walls and the hanging lamps which finally went out completely as the roar consumed Seth all the more. It was a sound that was felt, not merely heard. Seth grasped his head and pitifully gripped the table for support, and the sound disappeared, leaving only the ringing in his ears. Seth could only react with groans, as he tried to steady himself. With no outside doors or windows in the warehouse, Seth was now enveloped in the total darkness of a cavern.

"What was...that?" he mumbled, with yet more groaning noises.

He staggered and felt his way to the door, calling out for his coworkers. "Yo, Josh! Brody! You guys remember where we put the flashlights back here!?" It seemed odd for some reason to call out asking what that noise had been, so he kept quiet about it until everyone could get their bearings. When Seth got no repsonse, he stuffed his fingers in his ears a few times, futiley trying to stave off his screeching tinnitus.

"Yo!" Maybe he really couldn't hear them?

"Hmmm..." Apparently on his own for a moment, Seth racked his brain until he remembered where those flashlights were. He fumbled around far less efficiently than a blind man in search of the closet where they hopefully were. It's amazing how hard it is to find things you see every day when your vision is suddenly useuless, he thought as he painfully bumped into everything in the warehouse-- boxes, shevles, the forklift. No one called out to him even as he made all this noise, and beyond his own racket he heard nothing.

He finally happened upon the closet, which was mercifully never locked. Better yet, he quickly found one of the flashlights on the second shelf down as he let out a relieved "Ahaaa!"

He clicked his light on and scanned the warehouse, seeing nothing save for some boxes of papers and folders and other items spilled all over the floor. Brody and the others had probably gone up front to deal with the situation. Seth was surprised he couldn't hear anyone up front complaining. Rather, Seth was really, really surprised he couldn't hear anything at all. Nothing. He was even approaching the warehouse door, where he would normally hear murmurs of various customers beyond, but now there was nothing. An oppressive silence and darkness cut only by his flashlight was all that remained of what was normally an irritatingly noisy area, even in the evening. He hadn't noticed at first, but even the sound of the rain had stopped. But just before he pushed the double doors open to investigate, a second shockwave of the noise from earlier came.

The screeching and whirring and roaring were all there, filling his head as before. But this time, even as Seth's head throbbed and threatened to split, he started to make out other sounds in the mix-- a murmuring of many indistinct voices. These murmuring voices were arguing with each other amidst that unbelievable roar-- or at least it seemed so to Seth. They picked up speed, volume and impact until they merged with the other sounds into a high-pitched scream. Just as Seth reached a point where he thought he could no longer stand it, the noises were suddenly replaced by a quiet series of rumbling waves. These also quickly ended as Seth dropped his flashlight and staggered to one knee.

"Grrraaaaah!" was all he could manage at first, followed by: "Okay...okay. Something... something is not right here! I don't know what's happening out there, but..."

Seth reached for his flashlight, stood up, and steadied himself as if the entire world were spinning. For all he knew, it really was. He didn't know what to think; he couldn't think. He just pressed forward, bursting through the doors of the warehouse ready for anything at all.

Seth had only gone a few paces when the power suddenly flicked back on, accompanied by a much lighter wail which subsided almost immediately. He was stading in front of the furniture section. There was no sign of anyone at all, and Seth's own breathing and footsteps were all he heard. Apart from the fact that no one was around and weird stuff was going down, everything seemed to be in order... He pocketed the flashlight and walked timidly forward, looking this way and that.

"Uhhh, guys?" he called out. He got no answer.

He stepped up to one of the desks being displayed and noticed something upon it that couldn't possibly be there. "What in the Samuel L. Jackson...?"

Evidently abandoned and laid out casually on this ordinary, clean desk in the middle of an ordinary office supply store was a SPAS-12 combat shotgun. Seth knew his way around a firearm well enough; he'd fired a shot or two at the range in his spare time anyway, same as anyone. But he only recognized this from movies. Seth's mouth opened and closed but formed no words; why was this here?

He picked it up to inspect it, dumbfounded, curious, and terrified all at once.

"Woah, this thing's loaded!" he exclaimed, nearly chucking it across the desk. He caught himself and set it back down more gently than a baby. Breathing heavy and at a complete loss for words, he gripped the side of the desk and put his head between his arms, only to notice an ammo pouch for the weapon on the ground. Before Seth could even contemplate what might happen next, he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. It produced yet another sound he'd never heard in all his life-- not quite a croak, not quite the grinding of a meat grinder.
Last edited by Mullet Death on Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:29 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: A New Task for Seth Nichols

Postby Thunderscream872 » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:17 pm

I read all of this so far, and I gotta say, I do kinda enjoy it up to this point. It could use a little more dialogue, but that's just a preference thing. I like reading dialogue.

I’m gonna try to give you a couple tips. I’m not telling you what’s the right way to write a story or anything like that. I’m simply giving my opinion on a couple things. If you find it useful, that’s great!

Some of the descriptions (if that's the right word for it) are a little too extreme. For example: "The monotony and mediocrity had absorbed him and now defined him"--You might wanna find some way to "simplify" sentences like this. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that certain parts of this aren't an easy read.

I'm gonna pull out another example: "He finally happened upon the closet, which was mercifully never locked." To me it would sound allot better to just say: "Finally, he found the closet, which was never locked." Using "happened upon" sounds like you're trying too hard to not be generic, and "mercifully" is way too overly dramatic for describing a closet door not being locked.

In a nutshell, I think at certain points you're trying too hard with the descriptions. No, you don't want it to be so simple that it sounds like kindergarten writing, but at the same time you don't want to go overboard with trying to make it sound "smart" (for lack of a better word at the moment). lol, I'm not telling you to write for idiots, but also take into consideration that the majority of people probably don't know what words like "televisual" mean (I had to Google it).

Here's a quote by C. S. Lewis that I literally just came across, “Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very’; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”—I think that sums up part of what I’m trying to say.

Anyways, Seth sounds like an interesting enough character. If you post more of this, I'll read it :)

Please don't think I'm trying to be a jerk, cause I'm not.

“I don’t take orders from anybody. If there’s something I wanna do, I do it. If there’s something I don’t wanna do, I don’t do it. That’s the dandy way to live, and I’m Dandy. Do you get it?” - Space Dandy

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