Doom In Disguise

Doom In Disguise

A Story by Zoe
"

Greed...

"
Ahh, ice-cream…he thought as he lay languidly in the shade of the tree, protecting himself from the scorching heat of the afternoon sun. Large expanses of pastures surrounded him. The clear blue skies and the green fields complemented each other. Playing gooseberry, in the middle of nowhere stood his uncle’s farmhouse, he and his family’s current holidaying spot. Staring into space, lost in his divine thoughts, he heard someone call out his name:
“Jimmy, Jimmy!” his younger brother, Charlie, yelled at the top of his lungs as he frantically approached him.
“Jimmy,” he halted to catch his breath, “Jimmy, get up, you need to come with me. I gotta show you something!”
“Bug off, you brat” Jimmy said, shutting his eyes to take a nap.
After a short period of nihility he was jolted awake.
“What the-“
“I found a time capsule” Charlie added quickly.
“SO GO AND TANGO WITH YOUR FREAKING TIME CAP-“ he stopped midway as his senses came into being.
“What…what did you just say?” Jimmy stuttered in astonishment.
“Follow me” Charlie said after giving ear to the incredulity in Jimmy’s voice.
***
“Jesus…this is unbelievable!” Jimmy exclaimed.
“Now get your butt movin’ and help me open this thing!” Charlie grumbled.
“Uh, okay”
Charlie was pleased. Jimmy was listening to his orders for the first time in ages.
“Where exactly did you find it?” asked Jimmy.
“Right there” Charlie replied pointing towards a nearby tree. “I was digging for fossils and-“
“Digging for fossils? Hah, such an oaf” Jimmy whispered under his breath.
“Excuse me?” Charlie said sarcastically, having overheard his ‘whisper’.
“Oh, no- nothing, nothing at all!” he replied all panicky, faking a grin.
The time capsule seemed quite similar to a briefcase, fashioned from an odd sort of material. It seemed heavy and had two wooden handles. They dusted off the dirt and perused the capsule from every angle.
“Look, look, I see a button here!” Jimmy exclaimed.
The small round button on one of the handles of the capsule was dazzling with a bright red light. The light went on and off every two seconds.
“Strange…though this thing looks quite old, the button shows a fair amount of progression with regard to the year this might have been buried in. Looks like the person had a neat hand at technology.” Said a sceptical Charlie.
“Oh, Charlie talks big?” Jimmy said mockingly, “I’m pressing the button”
“Stop!”
Too late. Charlie closed his eyes and clasped his ears in a reflex action. To his surprise, nothing happened. Everything was silent for the next few seconds. He slowly opened his eyes, and this time he was forced to open them wider, wider in amazement.
The time capsule lay open on the ground. The items filling the capsule were: an envelope, a small, weird-looking monitor, and a similar button, just yellow in colour, which seemed to be attached to one corner on the inside of the capsule. Jimmy hastily teared open the envelope and read aloud the words written on the piece of parchment inside:
“I am a big name. I know the past, the present, and the future. You probably wouldn’t know me cause I come from the 22nd century. But, as a matter of fact, I do know you. Let me introduce you to myself. Hello folks, this is Dr. Harrot. I have always believed in serving the mankind, be it through any means. So, here I am. I need your help though. Strongly disliking stingy and mean people, I took an oath sitting in my comfy, multipurpose chair, here, in 2165, to free this world from greed. If you are with me on this mission, switch on the monitor for further instructions. If this mission is successful, you will be rewarded.”
“Holy…what the heck is this?” Charlie cried in utter astonishment.
“This is…this is amazeballs!” Jimmy said jumping with excitement.
“But…but this doesn’t feel right, Jimmy”
“Oh come on, don’t be such a scaredy-cat. We’ll soon be big. Just like this Harrot.”
"Eh, greed is bad...you know that, right?"
"Uh-huh, I do. And we're gonna help Harrot clear this world from every and any form of greed."
At the drop of a hat, Jimmy switched on the monitor through the power button present at the bottom left.
And guess what… they were soon face-to-face with Dr. Harrot!
“How do you do, young fellows?’ Glad you’re here to help save the world” he said.
Dr. Harrot was a plump-looking man, roughly in his late forties. He wore a serious expression on his face and clothed himself with decency and modesty- but this is how Jimmy saw him. Charlie saw something beyond his decency. He sensed something wrong, but he being unsure about it was the only reason he continued standing still listening quietly and obediently to Harrot.
“Now, now, let’s get to the point” He continued, “It’s been long since I kick-started the mission, but, I realise that it’s high time to take proper action. Are you ready for this?” He asked staring straight into their eyes.
“Of course!” Jimmy replied without hesitation.
“Great. Now, listen closely, and do as I say.” Harrot said lowering his voice.
“Inside the time capsule, in one of the corners, somewhere close to the monitor, the spot on top of which the envelope rested few minutes ago, is a button which glimmers with a yellow light that goes on and off every two seconds, looks fascinating and catches everyone’s attention, right?” Harrot continued, struggling for breath.
“Yes, yes there is, I pressed it!” Jimmy got too hyper.
“...You didn’t have to,” Harrot replied in his plainest voice.
Before the chill could have even run down Jimmy and Charlie’s spines, they bade farewell to the world as they saw the time capsule explode with the explosion of Dr. Harrot’s wicked laughter on the other end. Nothing remained, except the monitor and virtual Dr. Harrot.
“HAHAHA…BOOM…DOOM!” The sneer on his face explained nearly everything. And, with smugness in his tone, he finally said… “MISSION SUCCESSFUL”

© 2017 Zoe



Author's Note

Zoe
Forgive me for not typing the thoughts in italics, had some problem. I seriously do thank each and every person who finds my work even worthy of reading. If it hadn't been for your support, this wouldn't have been possible. Thanks from the bottom of my heart. Hope you like the story. Any kind of feedback- always appreciated.

My Review

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Featured Review

Interesting concept. Some mixed language with the dialogue: one exchange is realistic for the young characters, then a more advanced vocabulary is used by the children in the next. Where is the connection between what Dr. Harrot actually says to them as opposed to what happens? Maybe drop some hints that the reader doesn't realize are hints until the plot is revealed. This is very imaginative and requires very little rewrite. Stick with this story, work with it, you have something here.

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

3 Months Ago

Yeah, I will work on it. Thank you so much for your review. Means a lot!



Reviews

You sure are pushing yourself for greater things, aren't you Zoe. The desperation of the dialogue was good and had me wanting the capsule to be opened too. It was short and sharp, which is EXACTLY how things are mean't to be when a pacy or exciting part of a story is being written. No real details need to be applied, and it has to be kept to a bare minimum to give the reader a sense of urgency....you got it just right. In a way, this piece has a kind of steven spielberg kids movie feel to it - I can picture it clearly after the last part of your work has finished, the screen goes blank and then the main part of the film begins. One thing is for certain though, you surely have one hell of an imagination on you and it will serve you well in the world of writing.

As for the italic thought bit - It didn't take anything away from me, as it was still a great read.
Love your work. Always have and always will. You're a star in the making.

Mark.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

1 Month Ago

Thank you so very much for reading and reviewing, Mr.mark! Glad to know you liked it
i enjoyed how breezy this story allowed itself to be. It was a funny concept having the dark character claiming he was one of the light in how he tried to prove that evil is necessary to save the world. well done.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

2 Months Ago

Thanks so much. Appreciated!
Another imaginative story, Zoe.

I am sensing you love the idea of time travel....it comes up frequently in your stories. And here it is again. In a very well written form. Your twist at the end was very clever. Your characters received their comeuppance for being overly greedy and inquisitive. Playing around with things they didnt understand.

I enjoyed the piece very much. Excellent use of dialogue to create the characterisation of your two main protagonists. Very well done.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

2 Months Ago

Lol. Dunno what movie(or show...or...) you're talking about. xp. But I'd be sure to inform you..if b.. read more
Doodley

2 Months Ago

Boom Doom!!
Zoe

2 Months Ago

...Indeed xD
it seems like a young start up in the market of writings is going to set a benchmark very soon... it's a thought provoking one...tremendous growth felt by your reader with every of your last writing

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

3 Months Ago

Oh wow...you flattered me with your words :) Thank you so much for reading and reviewing. I truly ap.. read more
hey....your works are always worth loving......ii loved this one too..keep it up.

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

3 Months Ago

Thank you so much for you lovely words. Appreciated ^-^
Wajiha Nayeem

3 Months Ago

always a pleasure.
i genuinely loved this. it was well written and the vocabulary was great. a nice fun little story !!

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

3 Months Ago

Thank you so much for your kind words!
• “Ahh, ice-cream…he thought as he lay languidly in the shade of the tree, protecting himself from the scorching heat of the afternoon sun.”

You’re reading this as the author. So you begin, knowing who he is. But to the reader it’s an unidentified “he,” who lives in an unknown place, at an unknown time. His age is unknown as is why he’s there, and what triggered the words. But not to you. You know all that. So when you read it makes perfect sense, and matches the film you have running in your head.

But as a reader who doesn’t know his age, or what he’s laying on, what does the term “languidly” tell me that has relevance to the scene? To you he’s under “the” tree. To a reader, who doesn’t know if he’s on the lawn, at school, or under a palm tree, the words have no context. And you can’t say, “Read on and it will be clear,” because readers won’t. Confuse them for a single line and they bail.

Next: Thoughts are expressed in italics, with no quotes, or need to tag them with “he thought.”

Part of what’ wrong is that you place effect, his wanting ice cream, before the cause: the hot day. And you, the narrator, someone the reader can’t hear, are explaining HOW he lay. But it’s not your story, it’s his. And you’re neither a character or on the scene. So why not let him live the scene, and in doing so, tell us everything you had to stand on stage to do? For example:
- - - - -
Jimmy leaned back against a tree, watching cattle graze in the pasture. Visiting a farm had its charm, and Uncle Jack’s was nice, the air cooler than the simmering asphalt streets and foot burning concrete of the city. But it was also boring, because Mom was with Aunt Clara, cooking, Dad was off with Uncle Jack somewhere—on farm business—and Charlie, the worst little brother in history, was off digging holes, hoping to find an arrowhead. So that left cow-watching and thinking over the ways he might convince his parents to take the family for ice cream after dinner, as the only thing worth doing.
- - - - -
Look at the differences. I used 107 words as against your 23. Though in fairness, I included what you have in the first two paragraphs). But none of them come from an invisible narrator, who explains things in a voice devoid of all emotion. I changed the order of things to what has his attention, and pulled what was irrelevant, because what belongs in any story is what matters to the plot, what meaningfully sets the scene, and what develops character. So I didn’t mention the kind of tree, or act as an outside observer, reporting what I see.

I mentioned him leaning back to show that he was comfortable. I mentioned that he was visiting, and the differences between the city and the farm that matter to him, to show that he’s a city-boy. Since I said he was visiting, and presumably on vacation, I needed to show why he was alone and mentioned where the others were, as he viewed it. I talked about HIS view of his brother, to set up the relationship and give context for how he’ll treat him. The reader might not approve, but they will understand why he acts as he does.

Note that instead of telling you how he was laying, I simply placed him against a tree. Having him watch the cows grazing tells you he has nothing better to do. I changed him to sitting to make him both not sleepy and place him where he can see the cows he’s watching. I had him thinking about how to talk his parents into going for dessert outside the house to show that he’s the kind of person who uses strategy, and thinks things over before doing them, to “debug” the plan. That makes him the one who hesitates at pushing the button on the thing they find, but a little brother would be more impulsive, and the one to do it, in any case. And of course these aren’t your characters or story, just a quick example to show how the character’s viewpoint can be made more entertaining, and real.

So with paragraph one we know where he is, who he is by name and personality, and that he’s a bit devious. And we learn that in HIS viewpoint, in the order that matters to him. We know enough to have context for what’s about to happen, and perhaps make a guess as to how he will respond to his brother before he acts. And at the same time, there’s a small “hook.” We know what he’s going to try later and will be interested to see how he does it and if it works.

• Large expanses of pastures surrounded him. The clear blue skies and the green fields complimented each other. Playing gooseberry, in the middle of nowhere stood his uncle’s farmhouse, he and his family’s current holidaying spot. Staring into space, lost in his divine thoughts, he heard someone call out his name:

So here you are, on stage again, talking to the reader, and presenting sketchy visual details about things reader CAN’T SEE. Do I, as a reader care that there are pastures around him? No. That’s visual detail the reader doesn’t really care about. I included the cows and pasture only to give him something to do that showed his mood. As such they are relevant. As mentioned in the original they have no purpose so far as plot is concerned. They could be woods or a river and nothing would change.

What I did was to use techniques you won’t hear mentioned in your classes. Why? Remember all the book reports and essays you have to write, and how few stories? That’s because they’re not just teaching you to write, they’re teaching you writing skills that make you useful to an employer. And employers need reports and essays that inform clearly and concisely. But fiction readers want to be entertained. Lecture them and they leave at once. Tell them the story and they walk away, because no matter how hard you try, they can’t hear emotion in the voice of the narrator. Have your computer read the story aloud to hear what a reader gets, which isn’t at all how you’d perform it. And that’s the killer. The reader doesn’t want to read what amounts to the script for a storyteller, minus the stage directions. They want to be made to LIVE the story, and feel like it’s happening around them, in real-time. And because your teachers never mention how to do that, you, of course, use the skills you own—nonfiction writing skills and verbal storyteling skills that can’t work if the reader can’t hear the emotion in their voice and visual performance.

So it’s not a matter of good or bad writing. Nor is it talent or potential. It’s not even the story (except for a small detail I’m mention in a minute). It’s that through no fault of your own, you’re using writing tools inappropriate to the medium. You can’t blame your teachers, though. They learned to write in the same classrooms, so no one told them. And your friends, and people on most writing sites know only what they were taught. But how you, I, and everyone else was taught to write a fact-based and author-centric way. You TELL the reader about the situation, unemotionally.

But fiction’s goal is to entertain. And gossip is far more entertaining than a history lesson. So fiction is emotion-based. It’s also character-centric. And of course, a different objective requires different methods. So because the narrator’s voice can’t be heard, we restrict its use to where a monotone is all that’s needed, and instead of talking about what CAN be seen, we talk about what has the protagonist’s attention in the moment they call now, and how they view it. Make the reader know that, and what drives the protagonist—plus what resources they have to work with—and the reader has just had their own view calibrated to that of the protagonist, and will see the scene as-that-character-does. It also, by making the story immediate and personal, instead of telling about it in overview, the future becomes uncertain—and therefore interesting. History books are immutable. The events have happened and the future is certain. When you read the history of the Civil War you don’t wonder how it will come out, because there is no uncertainty. But look at the example I gave, above. We know the protagonist wants ice cream. We know he plans to try to talk his parents into it. Will he? How will the effort go? No way to know, so you might wonder, and want to know. And that makes all the difference between a reader turning to the next page and closing the cover.

And her’s that problem I mentioned: If that future person “fixes” things by killing everyone in the present, he would never be born, because his great, great, great…(lots of greats here) grandfather was never born. So he could not have grown up and made the capsule and sent it back, and the world wasn’t destroyed. But if it wasn’t, then he would have been born, and would have sent it back, which would have destroyed the world, and he couldn’t have been born. In short, it’s the traditional time traveler’s paradox. There are ways around it, but none of them simple enough to detail here.

Sorry.

That aside, for a more detailed reason for placing the reader into the character’s viewpoint, as against the narrator explaining the story, you might want to read this article:
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/inside-out-the-grumpy-writing-coach/

You might also want to read the next article in the series, A Mirror for the Mind, because it explains how placing the reader into that viewpoint can make it seem real as its read. There are more articles there, and fiction to show what using those techniques looks like.

I really wish I could say, “Oh my god, this story is amazing.” But since I can’t let me point out that I don’t do a critique unless I feel that the one writing shows potential.

And a final thought: If you write a little better today than you did yesterday, and you live long enough…

Hang in there, and keep on writing. The world needs more crazy people.

Jay Greenstein
https://jaygreenstein.wordpress.com/category/the-craft-of-writing/

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

3 Months Ago

It's just to recheck...if the person who opens the capsule is greedy, he'll eventually start getting.. read more
JayG

3 Months Ago

Think about it. Would you spend all that effort and cost, to send back a device to blow up one greed.. read more
Zoe

3 Months Ago

yeah, I agree.
This story was pretty good! You thought of a really interesting concept for the plot, I don't think I could have thought of this. I particularly liked how Harrot was a bad guy despite claiming to try to save the world, that’s a cool idea. I might do something with that in the future now.

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

3 Months Ago

Yep, Harrot was kinda bad, but all he wanted to do was to free this world from greedy people. That's.. read more
Well this is very interesting Zoe:)
I especially liked the dialogues.
The way you plotted the story is quite imaginative:)
I really enjoyed this story Zoe!!


Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

3 Months Ago

Thank you so much for giving it a read! Truly appreciated.
Neetha

3 Months Ago

Always a pleasure:)
Now, this is a really interesting and awesome stuff!! I loved it so much. Humorous too..at the starting. The plot was captivating indeed!

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Zoe

3 Months Ago

Thank you so much, Sofia!
Sofia

3 Months Ago

Always a pleasure reading ur works :)
Zoe

3 Months Ago

Thanks again ^-^

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Added on July 7, 2017
Last Updated on August 27, 2017

Author

Zoe
Zoe

India



About
Hey there! I am a fourteen-year old girl, a fantasist, an aspiring fiction writer and yes, how can I forget, a proud Martinian! I love to read and write fiction. It makes me jump with enthusiasm when .. more..

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