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Eternity: A Tale of Change 
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Post Eternity: A Tale of Change
EDIT 1: Changed the location of Babylon Gardens to Michigan Missouri Kentucky VIRGINIA, in response to musclecar326's helpful tip.

EDIT 2: Made several immediate changes, after reading the enlightened words of Stephen King. A tip to writers: Read On Writing. It is a godsend. In particular, I have removed most (if not all) adverbs, and edited out an extraneous sentence.

EDIT 3: More changes, after a long hiatus.

It's a bird! It's a plane! *Gasp!* No, it's...
That guy who posts fanfics, never updates them, and disappears for months at a time!
...Wait, who's he again?


A select few readers of this thread* may remember my first work here on the HP forums - Creeping Realization: A Housepets! Fanfic. I cancelled it, mainly on account of it being terrible. This new story is a sort of spiritual successor, in the sense that it is going to succeed Creeping Realization by the sheer virtue of it not being terrible.
**cough*probably just Copper*cough*

I will be going so far as to try and make Eternity a test: I want to know how professionally I can write at the age of fifteen. As such, I want metric tons of feedback. I don't care what kind of feedback it is - I will happily accept both the most vitriolic spewings of rage and the most tender, affectionate love letters that can be penned to a person without both writer and reader suddenly becoming pregnant. If you manage to cross that line, by the way, I'll be incredibly impressed.

However, all feedback needs to be within Housepets! guidelines.

Feel free to critique or simply comment on my grammar, brevity, tone, choice of words, inclusion or lack of detail, word and paragraph structure, and so on. Even if you have trouble articulating what exactly you like or dislike, try to voice such struggling thoughts anyway.

I especially want to know if my words incite the proper emotion for the occasion. If I fail at that, I fail as a writer, and I don't want that to be happening without my knowledge. If you wish to discuss my story in depth, feel free to PM me as well. If you want to skype, then message me your skype name and I'll add it to my list of contacts right away.

Just to cover all my bases: All works created by Rick Griffin are not under my ownership. This includes the Housepets! franchise.

So without further ado...

Eternity: A Tale of Change

Chapter 1: Burning Bridges


The grandfather clock clanged midnight, the strikes of its gong interrupting a hallway's silence. A light brown cat sat on the tiled floor – his back to a pale and plastered wall, his left ear to the mahogany surface of the timekeeper. The noise of the passing hours was not bothersome to the feline. To him it felt comforting, and musical in its constancy. Each hour was a reminder that life was in ageless motion. Every loud bang of the disk reminded the cat that of all the concepts in the world, time at least felt eternal. He sighed, and shut his eyes, and counted the clock strikes in his head.

During the sixth, he heard the door to the house open. By the eighth, he opened his eyes.

His owner was in view. Callused fingers shook. Normally grey eyes leaked, red and tired and puffy.

“She’s gone, Zack,” The man said, at the tenth. “The doctors couldn’t save her.”

Zack never heard, nor counted, the twelfth toll. His sobs drowned it out.

*********************

The funeral was short, and bitter. A sermon was given, a casket lowered into a graveyard hillside within the hour. Nobody except Zack and his owner had come. Family relations had been hostile for many years, and the lady had had no friends save for her husband and her pet. In the end, she was left with a mound of dirt and a pithy inscription on a stone slab:

Emily Lawrence. Rest in peace.

The brevity was fitting. Emily had long been a woman of little words and small deeds. Her husband had married her entirely for that purpose. He would oftentimes say to Zack that he ‘Found the ordinary extraordinary.’ Zack used to think that the phrase sounded like something out of a Mary Poppins film. As the cat glanced at Emily’s grave, however, it was all he could do not to ponder the oddness of death.

Zack’s owner kneeled in the dirt, staring at the tombstone. He began to speak, his whispers audible in the chill silence. Zack counted the seconds.

For two minutes, Samuel Lawrence murmured under his breath about apologies and promises. He stood. Motioning to Zack, he began to walk home, his dull grey eyes fixed to the sky.

**********************

The next day, Zack opened his bedroom door to see Samuel pulling the books out of the living room bookshelf.

“We’re moving,” he said. Zack blinked.

“What? Where?” The feline asked. Samuel looked at him, and smiled.

“A nice, quaint little community, far away from the hustle and bustle of New York City life.”

“Is that code for ‘excruciatingly dull,’ or have you just gone insane?”

“No, on both counts. I'm happy for your trust in my mental faculties, though.”

Zack crossed his arms. “I'm not. Where, specifically, is this place? What's it called?"

Samuel paused, sighing at his old copy of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. He reached for a weathered map lying on top of the shelf, and threw it to his pet.

“Babylon Gardens, it’s called. I’ve heard it’s a good place for animals.”

“That’s only half an answer,” Zack said. Samuel shrugged.

“It’s in Virginia, I think.”

“You think?”

“Does it really matter? I just need to get out of here before…” He trailed off. “Well, before the memories begin to eat away at me.”

Zack felt the silence permeate the room. “You know I don’t care much for the South,” he said, after a minute.

“Honestly? Neither do I, but I’ve done some extensive googling. Daniel Burnham could team up with Gandhi and Mother Theresa, and still not build a nicer place. Houses there are a pittance, anyway. There’s some kind of millionaire family living there that really likes to lower suburban housing prices. I called to ask why, but all I got on the line was a squeaky drunk man. I could barely understand a word he said! Got me the house, though. Nice man.”

Samuel looked at Zack, noticing the uncertainty in his golden eyes.

“Look,” he said. “If you really don’t like it, we’ll just stay for a few months, alright? We could afford another move easily enough.”

“In the meantime,” Samuel said, “Mind finding a place to burn these Pridelands books? I don’t know how they got here, but they’re not leaving this house intact.”

Zack shook his head, and smiled, and went to get a match.

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Reminiscence: A Tale of Dreams - Complete
An Experiment - Ongoing: Story 2, 'The Babylon Incident', in progress!
Tired/Eternity/Broadsides: 'I did not have literary relations with those fanfics'

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Last edited by Rollofthedice on Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:00 am, edited 8 times in total.



Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:29 am
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
It's looking pretty good to me so far. I hope to see you update it on a regular basis, because you have me really interested.

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Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:45 am
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
FINALLY!!! Man, I thought you were gone for good. I am happy to see one of the best ficcers here back and writing again. I cannot wait for the next update! :D

Samuel is quite the interesting character.

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Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:07 pm
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
JeffCvt wrote:
It's looking pretty good to me so far. I hope to see you update it on a regular basis, because you have me really interested.
copper wrote:
FINALLY!!! Man, I thought you were gone for good. I am happy to see one of the best ficcers here back and writing again. I cannot wait for the next update! :D


Thanks a bunch!

I'm warning everyone ahead of time, though: I will not be following any set schedule when updating this story. You might get one update a day, or one every month. As I basically write this on the spot, without any real planning (a nasty habit that I really need to break one of these days), I will post an update as soon as I happen to write one.

That said, I'm hoping to at least post a chapter a week. Don't hold me to that, though.

copper wrote:
Samuel is quite the interesting character.

Man, a compliment by proxy. :lol: I'm glad I'm not already boring anyone.

_________________
Reminiscence: A Tale of Dreams - Complete
An Experiment - Ongoing: Story 2, 'The Babylon Incident', in progress!
Tired/Eternity/Broadsides: 'I did not have literary relations with those fanfics'

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Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:22 pm
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
EDIT 1: Altered Paragraph 15, Sentence 3 and Paragraph 16, Sentence 3 to further clarify Zack's location, as per JeffCvt's advice.
EDIT 2: Altered a few words to fit with the change in state, as previously suggested by musclecar326.
EDIT 3: Removed most if not all adverbs and excessive attribution verbs (that is, any variation on the word 'said'), as per Stephen King's excellent On Writing.
EDIT 4: Further changes, that I hope are improvements.

Chapter 2:
Journey and Destination


Zack wiggled in his booster seat, and rubbed his eyes as Samuel pulled into a gas station. The cat had been trapped in the back of his owner’s minivan for exactly three hours and forty-three minutes, watching the towns and roads near Interstate 81 blur behind him. There was nothing to do, and nothing to enjoy. Zack hadn't bothered to take one of Samuel’s books – Rereading texts on behavioral psychology was not high on his list of priorities – and his owner was convinced that country music was the genre of choice while on a trip to Virginia. Zack had no idea what insanity felt like, but he suspected he had come close to finding out when Samuel began to sing along to Alan Jackson, in an off-pitch croon.

Samuel had not spent much time planning the trip; he had caught Virginia in the rainy season. Zack yawned, and traced the raindrops trailing down the car window. With a lack of anything better to do, he closed his eyes, and attempted to drown out the songs with slumber.

***********

Samuel stopped the car four hours later, taking the radio with it. Zack stirred, his subconscious registering the sudden break. “Are we there? Please tell me we’re there,” He said, voice raw from sleep. “I had a nightmare of you, breakdancing to Achy Breaky Heart in a bloodcurdling falsetto. Tell me we’re at Babylon Gardens, before I bite my ears off.”

“Look out the window, and see for yourself,” Samuel said. Zack frowned, and did so.

To his left was a small, ancient brick house. Ivies lined its front wall. They curled over and around a weathered, cracked stone porch, its only inhabitants being some grass and a small placemat near the door. 'Welcome in!' It read, with faded and cheerful lettering dwarfed by an imposing Victorian doorframe. A low, iron fence surrounded the building. It stretched off into a backyard obscured by weeping willows and weeds.

“I think I know why the place was so cheap,” Zack said. “Did you even know this place looked so old?”

“The pictures made it seem quite a deal quainter.” Samuel said. He smiled, and shrugged his shoulders. “Ah, well. I’ve always liked fixer-uppers,” Samuel opened the driver side door, and stepped out. Zack unbuckled his seat belt, jumping off his booster seat and nearly out the window.

“By the way,” Samuel said, grunting as he pushed open the rusted gate to the entrance. “Remember when I said we can totally move, if we want? That still stands, but take a guess on which radio stations I’ll be playing along the way.”

Zack, then lying on the fresh grass, sat up and scowled.

***********

Zack’s new home looked just as decrepit from the inside as the out. The entrance door led to a nearly empty kitchen, save for an off-white marble countertop and a small oak table. The kitchen was in turn connected by a crumbling archway, which separated it from the living room – a small, square, cheerless area that housed a fireplace marked with ash stains. Two doors branched from the north side of the lounge to separate bedrooms, both with their own cramped bathrooms. There was no air conditioning in Zack and Samuel’s new home, but it was dry and cool when compared to the heat outside.

“This would've been an excellent house, back in the nineteenth century,” Zack said.

“It’ll be fine,” Samuel said, “Especially once we start unpacking. Check outside and see if the moving company’s arrived yet.” They had.

The furniture arrangements were lengthy, and Zack took the opportunity to explore the back of the house. The fenced off area was spacious. To Zack’s surprise it even held a pond, choked as it was with lichen and cattails. The grass, however, almost reached to Zack’s waist. He felt lucky he wasn’t the one that had to mow it, and unfortunate for the man that did.

The cat heard Samuel in the distance. “Hey, Zack, get over here!” Zack followed the voice into the house.

“Where do you want the bed?” Samuel asked, studying the leftmost bedroom. Zack blinked.

“Bed? I get a bed?”

“Yep.”

“Since when did we have an extra bed?” Zack asked.

“Your grandmother gave it to me once I mentioned our moving to her, in a subtle ploy to get me to leave as fast as possible. Luckily for her, it worked.” Zack recalled that Samuel’s parents had died several years past, both by alcohol abuse. He assumed his owner was talking about Emily’s mother, a bitter old rural woman who never forgave Samuel for taking her daughter. Zack wondered if she was still mad at her son-in-law, now that she had something much more eternal to be angry about.


“The left is fine, then, I guess,” Zack said, pointing to the corner of the room. Samuel yelled some firm words to the furniture movers, and turned back.

“Okay, how about the computer?” Samuel said. Zack’s eyes widened.

“My uncle,” Samuel said. “He’s the only family member who still likes us, nowadays.”

“Next to the bed, then,” Zack said. “And tell your uncle I said thanks, next time he’s on the phone.”

“Will do,” Samuel said, as he turned and left the room.

************

The unpacking took hours, lasting well into sunset. Zack was bored enough to meet the neighbors. Samuel, however, had him transporting things off the shipping container. He considerately supplied a motivational bellow whenever appropriate. It all finished ten minutes before midnight, right as Zack felt like collapsing on the spot from exhaustion. Shuffling into his room, the cat fell into bed without bothering to shut the door.

************

Six hours later, Zack awoke. The hints of sunrise crept past the windows – faint rays illuminated the pallid walls. Zack sat up, and stretched.

Indistinct noise found Zack’s ears, muffled by thick stone and plaster walls. After a bit of listening, Zack realized what it was.

It was Samuel, sobbing into his pillow.

Zack attempted to swallow a lump in his throat. Sighing, he got up, went into the kitchen, and made breakfast.

_________________
Reminiscence: A Tale of Dreams - Complete
An Experiment - Ongoing: Story 2, 'The Babylon Incident', in progress!
Tired/Eternity/Broadsides: 'I did not have literary relations with those fanfics'

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Last edited by Rollofthedice on Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:13 am, edited 8 times in total.



Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:50 am
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
Alright, a great job. The only feed back that I can give would be right here
Rollofthedice wrote:
The furniture arrangements were lengthy, so Zack took the opportunity to explore the back of the house. The fenced off area was spacious, and to Zack’s surprise even held a pond. The grass, however, almost reached to Zack’s waist. He felt lucky he wasn’t the one that had to mow it.

The cat heard Samuel’s yell in the distance. “Hey, Zack, get over here!” Curious, Zack followed the voice.

“Where do you want the bed?” Samuel asked, as he studied the leftmost bedroom. Zack blinked.

“Bed? I get a bed?”

“Yep.”

“Since when did we have an extra bed?” Zack asked.

While you said that Zack followed the voice, you should have probably put something in there to indicate he was back in the house. Probably something like "He followed the voice into the house. He looked around and noticed it was coming from the leftmost bedroom." I imagined them shouting back and forth as Zack walked in the first time I read it, and didn't realize that Zack was already in the house during this conversation.

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Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:01 am
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
JeffCvt wrote:
While you said that Zack followed the voice, you should have probably put something in there to indicate he was back in the house. Probably something like "He followed the voice into the house. He looked around and noticed it was coming from the leftmost bedroom." I imagined them shouting back and forth as Zack walked in the first time I read it, and didn't realize that Zack was already in the house during this conversation.


Yes yes yes

This is what I live for right here - constructive criticism and comments! I'll edit the section right away; thanks for pointing that out.

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Reminiscence: A Tale of Dreams - Complete
An Experiment - Ongoing: Story 2, 'The Babylon Incident', in progress!
Tired/Eternity/Broadsides: 'I did not have literary relations with those fanfics'

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Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:35 pm
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
I know exactly how you feel about that. Glad I can help, and just know that if you don't get much criticism, it's probably because there isn't much to give in your case. You are already very good at writing. It saddens me that you say you sometimes disappear for months at a time, I enjoy reading well written stories like this.

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Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:45 pm
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
EDIT 1: Yet another removal of adverbs and strong attributive verbs.
EDIT 2: Changed a smidgen of descriptive dialogue to correspond with the now-being-written Chapter 5.
EDIT 3: More changes. Too many to count, in fact.

Chapter 3:
A Lesson in Sociability



“Thanks for breakfast,” Samuel said, as he picked at his food. “I didn’t know you could make omelets.”

“I can’t,” Zack said. “In fact, I’m surprised you haven’t tasted the eggshells yet.”

Samuel dropped his fork, turning a slight shade of green. “Is that why you’re eating toast?”

“Yes. Also, you haven’t bought any cat food yet.”

Zack’s owner winced. “Sorry. I should go to the pet store right now,” He said, standing up.

“In yesterday’s clothes?”

Samuel blinked, looking down at the shirt and pants he had worn during the trip to Babylon Gardens. Grimacing, he began to walk to his bedroom to change.

The sound of thunderous clock bells permeated the kitchen. Zack jumped into the air and nearly swallowed his tongue. He heard a thump and muffled curse from the living room. Samuel burst out the archway, cradling his left knee as he hopped.

“Is our house playing Westminster Quarters?” Zack asked.

“I think it’s the doorbell. Get it for me,” Samuel said, jumping to one of the kitchen chairs. Again the melody chimed, invading the home with noise. Flinching, Zack answered the door.

A Pomeranian stood in the front porch, her yellow eyes fixed on the cat’s face.

“Hello,” Zack said, with as much of a smile as he could give under the circumstances. “What brings you here, this time of day?”

“My name is Tarot,” Tarot said. “I just thought I’d introduce myself, while you and Samuel were awake.”

Zack opened his mouth. Then he closed it, and tilted his head. “Alright, I’ll bite. How did you know that?”

Tarot smiled. “Well, I’m a psychic. In hindsight, I should have said that first.”

Zack stared.

“Or, well, not in hindsight, really. More ‘I should have paid better attention to the future as I communed with the spirits of time’. Ah well, can’t do anything about it now. Especially since you’re going to slam the door on me.”

Zack, smiling, decided to humor her.

“Did that dog say she was a psychic?” Samuel asked. Zack cradled his head in his hands; he was beginning to get a headache.

“Either way, I bet you ten bucks she’s going to ring that doorbell again.”

It did.

“Hey, look! I must be psychic too!” Zack exclaimed, before throwing open the door.

“Hello again,” Tarot said. “I just wanted to let you know that other inhabitants of this town will be visiting at ‘somewhere around precisely 3:13 PM’. Sorry, the spirits are a bit confused with linear time.”

“Thank you,” Zack said. “You’ve been very kind.” Tarot turned to leave.

“If you ever decide to visit us again,” Zack said, “Please don’t ring the doorbell, in case I decide to-“

“Rip it out and beat me over the head with it? Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind,” Tarot said. She smiled as she walked away. Zack hissed, and flung the door shut.

******************

Thirteen minutes after three, the doorbell rang once again. Samuel sighed. Turning off the television, he hurried to the kitchen door.

“Hello!” Samuel said. “You must be our new neighbors!”

A rather hairy man stood on the porch, wiping his hands on blue jeans stained with automobile grease. A straw-haired woman stood to his left, scowling at the lack of manners.

“Hi!” She exclaimed, thrusting a tray of cookies into Samuel’s arms and grinning. “We’re the Sandwiches. Our house is a bit left of this one.”

“I’m Earl,” The man said. Samuel balanced the cookies on one arm, shaking Earl’s hand with the other. “My wife here is Jill.”

Two pets stepped out from behind their owner’s legs. One was a brown dog, with pale blue eyes and a tan front. Samuel’s attention was more drawn to the other animal – a purple and white cat, with bright yellow eyes and an annoyed scowl on its face. Samuel wondered how such a color scheme was possible on a feline.

“Hey,” The cat said. “I’m Grape.”

“And I’m Peanut!” Yelled the dog. “Nice to meet you!”

“The names were Earl’s idea,” Jill said. Samuel smiled, and welcomed them into the house.

_________________
Reminiscence: A Tale of Dreams - Complete
An Experiment - Ongoing: Story 2, 'The Babylon Incident', in progress!
Tired/Eternity/Broadsides: 'I did not have literary relations with those fanfics'

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Last edited by Rollofthedice on Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:19 am, edited 3 times in total.



Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:52 pm
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
Great story so far, hopefully you'll finish this one. I have just 1 thing that i think is wrong. Babylon Gardens can't be in alabama, since Peanut has played in lots of snow before, Alabama doesn't get any more than a few inches a year of snow.

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Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:57 pm
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
musclecar326 wrote:
Great story so far, hopefully you'll finish this one. I have just 1 thing that i think is wrong. Babylon Gardens can't be in alabama, since Peanut has played in lots of snow before, Alabama doesn't get any more than a few inches a year of snow.


Somehow while writing the first chapter, Alabama just popped into my head, and without thinking I wrote it down. Honestly, I'm not even sure if Rick means for Babylon Gardens to be in any state - just a place presumably suburban or sub-rural, and within driving distance of a farm. I'd message him and ask, but I don't happen to care all that much.

Good point, though! I think I'll do some editing and make it Michigan, or something.

EDIT: On second thought, I need to wiki some states for climate details, hold on a sec
EDIT EDIT: Alright, Virginia sounds fine. It both snows a lot there (depending on location) and is even in the South, so I don't have to compromise Zack's dislike of moving there! It's a win-win!

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Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:23 pm
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
It's looking very good so far.

Zack seems to have a short fuse on him. Even though it's probably something to do with his dislike of having recently moved, I can't help but think he's going to get in trouble because of it.

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Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:45 am
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
EDIT 1: Yay, changes!

JeffCvt wrote:
Zack seems to have a short fuse on him. Even though it's probably something to do with his dislike of having recently moved, I can't help but think he's going to get in trouble because of it.


Man, it's like you read my mind.

Chapter 4:
The Labeling Theory, and Other Disappointments


“I’m sorry, I don’t believe I caught your name,” Jill said, looking around the living room.

“It’s Samuel, Samuel Lawrence. Please, have a seat.” Jill did so, and so did Earl. Peanut and Grape ignored the adults. They stood in a nearby corner, talking in hushed and excited whispers about ponds and adventures. Samuel was too involved with his human guests to be concerned.

“What brings you here?” Earl asked. “We get a lot of tourists during the summer. Not many new residents, though.”

“Well, I come from Riverdale. You know, in New York City? The place started to wear on me after a while, so I thought I’d move somewhere more traditional.” Samuel grabbed a cookie from the tray on the coffee table, and forced himself to eat it. It was decent, if a bit on the dry side.

“You’re going to love it here,” Jill said. “Especially if you like pets. Do you have any?” She asked, looking around.

“Yeah, a cat named Zack. I think he’s in his room. Hold on, let me go get him.” Samuel walked over and opened the cat’s bedroom door.

Zack sat on his computer chair, a pair of headphones on. He was humming along to a song.

“Hey, Zack, we have guests.” There was no answer.

“Hey. Zack. We have guests.” Zack kept humming. His eyes were glued to the computer screen.

Samuel sighed, and turned around. Walking into the kitchen, he stuck his arm outside, ringing the doorbell.

The guests jumped as Westminster bells became intermixed with creative expletives. Samuel smiled, and walked back into the living room.

Zack stood in the center of his bedroom doorframe. All eyes were on him. “Uh… Hello,” He said. “Nice to meet everyone.”

*************

“You know,” Grape said, after Samuel had broken the silence with some small talk. “You probably shouldn’t visit England.”

“Why is that?” Zack asked.

“You’d kill someone once you heard Big Ben.”

**************

“Wow, you’re a psychologist?”

“A clinical psychologist, mainly,” Samuel said. “Though I do some behavior analysis and therapy on the side.”

Peanut listened to the conversation, intrigued. ‘Hey, Mr. Lawrence?”

“Yes?”

“I know a dog that likes to dress up in cat suits and massage his mouse girlfriend. Is that normal?”

Samuel stared.

“…Well,” He said. “Many facets of human or animal personality might seem-“

“I mean, is he crazy? Absolutely bonkers?”

“I don’t think I can-“

“So he isn’t, then,” Peanut said. He frowned. “Well, that sucks.”

*************

“Bye! Have a great day!” Samuel exclaimed, shutting the kitchen door. The man ran a hand through his greying black hair, and shook his head.

“I hope I never have to answer questions like that again,” he said. Zack smirked.

“Serves you right, for ringing that bell on me.”

“You had your headphones on.”

“You could’ve just spoken louder!”

“That would’ve been rude,” Samuel said. Zack scowled.

_________________
Reminiscence: A Tale of Dreams - Complete
An Experiment - Ongoing: Story 2, 'The Babylon Incident', in progress!
Tired/Eternity/Broadsides: 'I did not have literary relations with those fanfics'

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Last edited by Rollofthedice on Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:25 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:56 pm
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
EDIT 1: Added in the fact that Zach exists. Nevermind, I messed with Marvin's introduction instead.
EDIT 2: Included some detail, so that everything past the first part isn't as anemic as it used to be. It still probably needs a bit more work, though.
EDIT 3: Much more changes.

Chapter 5:
Interaction


"You know, I should go and meet the other pets," Zack said. He gazed at the digital clock above the living room television. 4:15 PM; The Sandwiches had spent an hour visiting.

"That would be a good idea," Samuel said. He walked into his bedroom, and Zack left.

The cat saw houses all around. The street was a modified form of a cul-de-sac, wide and with an open hill in the center. A large and solitary tree grew there, looking down at the buildings which surrounded it.

Zack decided to move in a counter-clockwise direction, glancing near homes and into backyards. The cat did not want to knock on all the entrances. The thought of doing so reminded him of traveling salesmen, an unflattering thought.

The first house Zack passed was unkempt and ramshackle. It's supports tilted underneath a dull, ceramic roof. Angry and incoherent shouts echoed from inside. Frowning, Zack tried his best to ignore them.

The second house was a paneled white. In front of it was a knotted wooden porch, adorned with a makeshift rocking chair. A male cat sat at the foot of the porch steps, staring at Zack. He had black and grey fur, and a torn right ear.

"Hey!" The cat yelled, as Zack approached. "You must be the new neighbor."

"Yeah. I'm Zack," Zack said, sitting next to the other cat.

"Maxwell. Don't ask about the ear."

"Okay." Zack imagined there could only be so many possibilities.

"Do you normally just sit here?" Zack asked.

"Nah," Maxwell said. "I'm just bored. I'd bother Bino, if I could, but the dogs are having another stupid club meeting."

"Bino?"

"You haven't met him? That's good, I guess. He's a pain, and I'm not even saying that because I live with him."

"I hope he's fun to annoy, at least." Zack said.

Maxwell grinned. "Ridiculously so."

Zack stood up. The street was large, and the day was winding down. "Well, thanks for the chat. I need to go and acquaint myself a bit more."

"Speaking of acquainting," Maxwell said, as Zack turned to leave. "Have you seen a purple cat around yet?"

"Actually, yes," Zack said. "Grape, right?"

"Yeah. She's totally my girlfriend, by the way. So, you know."

Zack shrugged. He wasn't really interested in Grape. "Alright," Zack said, leaving.

************

A faint mist surrounded the third home. Neon lights emanated from the windows. Tarot was near the entrance, talking with animated vigor to a black cat. Zack tried not to make eye contact, hurrying past them and across the street.

A sweep of steps led to the door of the fourth home. An old man in a bowler hat stood behind the oriel window above the stairs. Reading the newspaper, he looked up through the gable and tipped his hat as Zack walked by.

Zack gazed at the fifth house. It was covered with windows, including one much larger than the door below it. Zack was not well versed in architecture, but he cringed at the aesthetics all the same.

An orange and cream-colored cat stepped out of the house, his purple eyes fixed upon a far distance. The cat hastened past Zack, but then paused and turned around.

"Oh, hello! Let me guess, you're-"

"The new neighbor, yeah. I'm Zack."

"I'm Marvin."

"Nice to meet you," Zack said. “You look like you’re in a hurry.”

“I need to check up on Tiger.”

"Is ‘Tiger’ in trouble?"

"Maybe," Marvin said. "The dogs like to pick on him when he's at the meetings."

Zack smiled, and opened his mouth. Marvin raised a hand.

"Yeah, Tiger's a dog. Don't talk about the name in front of him, though. He's very touchy."

"How touchy?" Zack asked.

"'Rip your spleen out and sprinkle it with garnish' touchy."

"Oh."

There was a moment of silence. Zack coughed.

"Anyway," Marvin said. "I've got to go. Every second I waste, Tiger might be strangling someone. Bye!"

*************

The sun began to set. Zack walked to home, and rang the doorbell. The cat felt glad he was on the other side of the treatment for once.

Samuel opened the door. "How was it?" He asked.

"Not particularly fruitful," Zack said, letting himself in. "All the dogs are at some kind of meeting, and I've only met two cats. The others must be around the area or something. I'll try and find them tomorrow."

Zack went into his room. Closing the door, he sat down on his computer chair.

**************

Zack rubbed his eyes. It was four in the morning, and he had been awake all night listening to music and arguing on chat forums. Yawning, Zack flopped into bed.

“You know, it’s not nice to ignore a guest.”

Zack sat back up.

Leaning on the bedroom door was a man. He held a cane, and wore a bowler hat.

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Last edited by Rollofthedice on Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:34 am, edited 5 times in total.



Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:41 am
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
It all looks pretty good right now, but doesn't Zach live with Tiger and Marvin? Marvin says it's just him and Tiger.

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Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:23 pm
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
JeffCvt wrote:
It all looks pretty good right now, but doesn't Zach live with Tiger and Marvin? Marvin says it's just him and Tiger.


Oops. That's what sleepless writing will do to ya, folks! I'll edit the chapter right away.

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Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:42 pm
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
Yet another great story so far. Though if you look around the strips showing the neighborhood, there is no central hill, and the main road is a winding one, not a huge circle... I think the actual neighborhood is huge, though maybe the street they live on is the circle around the hill.

Samuel is a real cut up. Love the door chime... I hope Max takes advantage of that and enjoys ding-dong-ditching them all the time. :roll:

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Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:55 pm
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
EDIT 1: Changes.

copper wrote:
I think the actual neighborhood is huge, though maybe the street they live on is the circle around the hill.

I'm just going to go with that, since I'm too charmed by the last panel of this strip to bother changing it.

Today's a short one.


Chapter 6:
Snapshots


"Try not to scream. It would be quite pointless."

Zack decided to stare instead. The old man stared back, with bright yellow eyes that glittered in the dark.

"Who are you?" Zack asked. "And why are you in my room?"

"You may call me Pete," Pete said. "I'm here to chat."

"Really? By all means, go ahead," Zack said. "I'm sure now is a fantastic time to-"

"Shut up."

Zack shut up.

"Thank you," Pete said. "Now, let's cut to the chase. Are you nice? Trust me, I'm not joking. Are you an animal who just loves to make others feel better?"

Zack didn't respond.

"Oh, of course," Pete said. "The death of your owner must be turning you mute. It's only been five days, after all. Three, since the funeral."

Zack’s eyes widened.

"Samuel's been taking it especially hard," Pete said. “He should be crying in about an hour. Emily always woke up early, you know. "

“You think he'll hang on?" Pete asked, with a smile that failed to reach his eyes. "Some men never cope. Samuel could easily buy a gun. Go out with a bang, you know, instead of a whimper.”

"Stop it," Zack said. He began to shake.

"Alcohol might do him in. Liver poisoning is quite popular these days."

"I told you to stop it!"

Pete leaned forward. He was not smiling anymore.

"Don't meddle," Pete said. "At all, with anything. I have plans for this dung heap of a neighborhood, and you are not going to ruin them."

Pete snapped his fingers, and was gone.

Zack stared at the bedroom door. Lying down on his bed, he counted the minutes, until he reached sixty.

Zack didn’t hear Samuel’s tears, but he cried along with them all the same.

****************

"Good morning," Samuel said, sitting on one of the kitchen chairs. He sipped on some coffee, and read the newspaper. "You look tired. On the computer all night?"

"Yeah." Zack sat down, on the other end of the table.

"I'll be making pancakes, in a few minutes. At least with those you don't get eggshells. Cat food's in the fridge, whenever you need any."

"Thanks," Zack said. "Hey, Sam?"

"Yeah?"

"It's going to be okay. Okay?"

Samuel looked at Zack for a second, and blinked.

"Okay."

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Last edited by Rollofthedice on Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:39 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:42 pm
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
Well, Pete was quite rude and mean in this one... very unlike his usual self. He must be threatened by this new cat in the neighborhood.

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Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:48 pm
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
Oh, so Pete is a bloody old git, ain't he?

Seems like a bad time for Zack because of the bad luck, though perhaps the next fortnight should be better, eh? :| pardon my british

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Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:56 pm
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
copper wrote:
Well, Pete was quite rude and mean in this one... very unlike his usual self. He must be threatened by this new cat in the neighborhood.

CanadianHero wrote:
Oh, so Pete is a bloody old git, ain't he?

Seems like a bad time for Zack because of the bad luck, though perhaps the next fortnight should be better, eh? :| pardon my british


Pete's always been a polite kind of evil. I thought it'd be a nice change of pace if he was a rude son of a charming young woman instead, for a little while.

No chapter today, sorry. My schizo sleep schedule has finally begun to catch up with me, and I feel awful.

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Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:46 pm
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
Hello.

Chapter 7:
A Need To Forget


After breakfast, Samuel went to the store. Zack was invited – a new doorbell was to be bought – but he declined the invitation. The cat wanted to be somewhere quiet, not loud. He wasn't yet ready to go back into his room.

Zack decided he'd lie on the living room couch, his face buried into a decorative pillow.

*************

There wasn't a Home Depot in Babylon Gardens. Rather, there was a House Depot. It was quite packed, as stores go, though Samuel imagined that at least half of the customers were copyright inspectors in disguise.

Stumbling his way through the crowds, Samuel eventually found himself in the 'Doors and Door Appliances' section of the store. Its name was written on a large card dangling from the ceiling, in a font Samuel could only guess was a cross between Comic Sans and Wingdings.

A whole shelf was empty. Samuel realized, with a sinking heart, that the shelf was meant to hold doorbells. He cursed. A mother gave Samuel a dirty look as she walked by with her children. Sighing, he tried to find some tools instead.

*************

Zack had fallen asleep by the time the banging started. It started him awake. Zack looked around the room in a panic, before realizing that the noise had come from outside the house. Jumping out of the couch, the cat flung the door to the house open.

Samuel was there, attempting to use a hammer to bust open the doorbell case. He looked at Zack, a bit shamefaced.

“There weren't any doorbells. Or screwdrivers.”

Zack stared at Samuel, fighting an urge to cry. He went back to the couch, and tried to go back to sleep.

*************

Samuel wiped his brow. He had, in one frustrating hour, finished taking the doorbell apart. It had been a task made somewhat harder without the traditional tools. Grimacing, Samuel threw the electronic pieces away.

Zack was still on the sofa. Samuel frowned, staring at the cat. He wasn't sure if Zack was alright, though to be fair, Samuel doubted he was doing well either. He scowled at the thought, and went into his room.

It had been only five days, but Samuel was sick of feeling grief. He was tired of the tears, and of the cold sheets next to him in bed, and of the deluge of sympathetic e-mails by people he'd barely met.

All Samuel wanted was to be happy again, wife or no wife. The man wondered if that was a cruel thing to believe in, and whether it mattered. He decided it didn't. The thought made him cry, and he cursed himself for it.

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Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:11 am
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
I was wondering where you went. So are you continuing then? :roll:

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Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:58 pm
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Post Re: Eternity: A Tale of Change
copper wrote:
I was wondering where you went. So are you continuing then? :roll:


We'll see. Right now, it's really a 'whenever I feel interested' kind of thing - and you can see, my interest likes to come and go every several months or so. :lol: Sorry if I've disappointed anyone with my nonexistent schedule. I haven't yet mastered the art of spontaneous motivation, unfortunately.

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Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:31 am
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