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Pokémon Iktsuarpok (Oneshot)

Iktsuarpok

NebulaDreams

Ace Trainer
Partners
  1. luxray
Hi! Here's a surprise story I wrote in a surprisingly small time-frame. I initially wrote the entirety of the first draft in just a few hours, and from there, I expanded the story so that the improvised parts felt more cohesive. I partially wrote this since I wanted to rebound from the disastrous process of another oneshot (which is currently still in development hell), but I've also had this idea for a Nosepass-themed fic for a while. And let's just say a certain someone on this site inspired me to go through with it. Speaking of which...

Thanks, @Bluwiikoon, for your initial interest in this story's concept, beta-reading it, and being a great person in general. Also, you have a lot of good noses on your website.

Rating: T

Content warning: Suicidal ideation, swearing, references to alcohol.


***

Ikt-suar-pok

(Inuit): the feeling of anticipation while waiting for someone to arrive, often leading to intermittently going outside to check for them.

I came here with no destination and no map for guidance; all that's left is the broken compass in my mind pointing towards nowhere.

Where I came from isn’t important. I just left home and let the metal dinghy steer itself wherever it pleased. It ended up going north for pretty much most of the journey. But now I’m here on this island, with the endless sea sloshing against the rocks on the shore and the green-infested mountains looming in the distance, I shall let my mind wander wherever it pleases before... well, only I know that. But my hands will write what I see in shorthand, acting as my second pair of eyes.

Before I continue my journey, I sift through the rest of my belongings on the deck of the boat: a hip flask, a pack of sausages, a portable tent, a set of matches, a candle, and a hunting knife. I hope I don’t need to use it.

A curious object floats before me. It’s like a floating rock, except it has a big nose and a brow ridge carved into the surface, forming an imitation of a face.

I tighten my grip on the knife’s handle. I doubt a floating rock can do much, but one can never be too careful. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem interested in harming me. What happens instead is that the flask in my hand starts gravitating towards it, along with my blade. I instinctively pull both of them back. That bugger isn’t gonna take my whiskey! Before it can do anything else, though, the object flies away, ceasing the pull on my possessions.

I must be careful going forward. I almost consider turning back and leaving this island, but there’s no point wasting a journey if I’m already committed to it. I’ll follow my nose towards that, er, nose. My only hope is that I’ll get to finish this Sunflory before that thing does it for me.

I pointedly do not secure the boat to the rock.

***​

I’ve walked for an hour and haven’t discovered much. The wind feels slightly off since it always seems to blow north. As I’m writing this, I’m walking across the desire lines of a grassy hill. There must still be people visiting this island, though there’s no sign of anyone else, not even that nose fellow from an hour ago. A part of me hopes that no one else is visiting the island at this time.

Speaking of which, now’s as good a time as any to stop and take a sip of whiskey. I withdraw some from my bag and open the lid, only for the flask, along with its contents, to go flying forward.

Well, crap. There goes a tenner’s worth of hooch.

I don’t mourn the loss of it for long as I’m fixated on what the hell that flask is doing spinning in the air. My knife also flies out of its sheath and meets the same fate as the flask, twirling in suspension like they’re doing the tango with one another.

I stare, completely dumbfounded for a moment before I go off to investigate.

I keep a distance since there’s a chance that the knife could just slash me open if I try to retrieve it. Instead, I focus on what’s causing this disturbance in the first place. There are two stone heads of some sort that are partially buried in the soil, both of them facing one another. They have no eyes, only niches carved into the rock that suggest some sort of skull shape. Moss has overtaken their bodies, making them blend in with the rest of the grassy clearing. So, these must be Nosepass.

I’ve never seen one in person before, only on the radio in some of the news features. I remember one story about a Nosepass guide on Mt. Coronet that helped tourists find their way to the peak. I hope they got paid for that job, though I don’t know what a Pokemon would need money for. In any case, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the reason for my belongings getting stuck like that.

It also dawns on me that these Nosepass might wake up at any moment. What would they do if some random asshole just suddenly disturbed their beauty sleep? I don’t want my tombstone to read: ‘Pummelled to death by a pissed-off rock sculpture.’ Though who’s to say I’ll have a tombstone?

So I tread carefully, watching where I step and what I step on. There are more of those buried Nosepass, some facing different directions from one another, some on their own, lying down as if they’re basking in the sky's light. There’s even one Nosepass couple sitting together with their backs touching. That’s a pretty image if I’ve ever seen one, though just like the others, they’re immobile and covered with flora.

Must be a pretty lonely existence, not being able to face your own kind without repelling one another. Then again, I don’t think they’d be able to kiss without their noses getting in the way.

After traversing my way through the clearing, I stop to snack on a sausage. They’re rather salty and have that processed, plasticky aftertaste since they're the ready-to-eat ones, but they get the job done. I don’t feel like lighting a fire, so I eat them cold. Besides, I don’t really wish to have a fancy meal before I go anyway.

That little floating schnozz comes back and eyes what I’m eating. It stares as I take another bite out of my lunch. Aaaaaaaaaaaaand it’s still staring.

“What?” I say, no duh. “You want some? Do you guys even eat this stuff?”

The nose shakes from side to side, which I take as a ‘no’. So it can understand what I’m saying.

“Huh.” Either I’m going crazy or I’m really talking to a sentient rock. Sentient or sapient? The meaning of those two words has always escaped me. “I’ve just heard that certain Nosepass hunt for prey, so…”

It shakes its head again and jumps up and down on a nearby rock.

“So that’s your diet, eh? I don’t want to know what the inside of your toilet looks like.”

I chuckle at that little joke I made, though it doesn’t seem to react to the jib with any enthusiasm. Tough crowd.

“So… you’re part of the Probopass, right?”

It bobs up and down, nodding.

“You must be somewhere on the island, then. What’s with all these other Nosepass? I’d say they’re asleep, but, er, it looks like they’ve been there for a long time.”

It nods, a bit slower this time. I cotton onto its tone there.

“Must get awful lonely here, then. I know what that feels like.”

It doesn’t respond to that. I catch myself about to say something ridiculous. I’m getting invested in a floating rock, either out of genuine sympathy or simple curiosity. Maybe it’s those old journo instincts kicking in again. Still, I want to know what’s up with this island in general, so I stand up and gather my belongings, saving the sausage for later.

“I don’t wanna pry, but can you let me follow your nose for a bit? You know what they say: the nose always knows, after all.”

It stares for a moment longer, then floats off at a slow enough pace that I can follow. It guides me through trees, rocks, and other resting Nosepass. A bitter wind starts to blow through the forest. The trees rustle. Leaves dance in the air. The floating rock has some difficulty keeping itself upright with the sudden gusts, but it manages to adjust itself to continue its journey.

The terrain gets rockier as we go deeper into the island's centre. The peak looms above me like a jagged monument, standing taller than any other tree on this rock. The wind whistles through the forest, each tree acting as nature's flute. Then drops of rain splatter on my—

***​

That was a close one. Thank the white god for this bag, otherwise this notebook would've been drenched.

We found refuge in a mountain cave where I'm finally face to face with this island's host: the Probopass. This pal's snout is even bigger than all the Nosepass', and wow, he’s in serious need of a nose trimmer. Seeing a Probopass in pictures doesn't compare to the real thing.

Oh yeah, for now, I’ll call him Noseboy. I don’t know his gender for sure, but he strikes me as more of a ‘he’ anyway.

"Good call, by the way, getting us out of the rain.”

Although the nose fuzz seems to cover his mouth, Noseboy smiles through his eyes as one mini-nose rubs his giant red hat-looking-thingy. Sorry, I'm not some wordsmith; I just call it like I see it. One other mini-nose nudges my notebook with the bridge of its, well, take a guess.

"What do you want out of this book, big fella? I don't really have much in here, 'cept..."

I remember the sketches I made in the earlier pages. I'm no artist; I'm just a dilettante at best, though I often drew what I saw and fancied. Sometimes that included women. Or men. Perhaps I had dreams of getting into art as a youth that had fallen apart, but I still didn't let go of. But anyway, I turn the pages and hold it out to Noseboy. I show him one drawing of people passing a random street, which he takes great interest in. He stares at the random Pokemon in particular; he’s probably never seen anything like it from the outside world before.

Y’know, moments like this are probably why I still draw. Back then, whatever friends I had, they really liked my doodles, and it was great to see them smiling about it. Look at me, getting nostalgic, even though I know it won’t last.

The mini-nose nudges it again, drawing me—pardon the pun—out of my stupor.

"What's got you so interested in my doodles anyway?"

I wait for a response, though he doesn't seem like he knows how to answer. Right, he can't speak. I'll just stick with yes/no questions from now on. At least, that's what I tell myself until one mini-nose floats independently and starts rubbing the tip of its nose on the cave walls. Huh, Noseboy actually made a dent in the rocks. He only drew a stick figure, but at least that tells me he has some other method of communication. Another mini-nose points to the figure while the other one points to my notebook.

"I'm not sure I follow.”

Noseboy leers at me, smacking his face with a mini-nose. Then he draws another cave with an arrow pointing towards it as well as a trail of paw prints. Wait, I don’t have paws. Oh, never mind, footsteps, paw prints, same difference. It’s here that I understand his request.

“You want me to follow you somewhere else?”

He nods. The rain’s still pitter-pattering outside. Thunder rumbles. I’m not exactly tempted to go on a grand journey right now in the middle of a storm. Curiosity gnaws at me, like it always does, but an invisible thread pulls me back.

I don’t know Noseboy all that well, and there’s that lingering feeling of dread for what he’ll do to me if I accept his request. It’s not rational. I know it isn’t. A part of me also knows that I’m looking for any excuse to dip out at this point.

There’s a reason I came to this island in the first place. I came here to be alone. I didn’t want to bury my nose into anyone else’s business, as nobody’s been interested in mine in a long time, not that I can ever tell it to another living soul. I guess that’s the folly of being a journalist: disappearing into other people’s stories so you can forget your own.

Sorry, I’m not in the best state right now. So excuse me for a moment.

***​

I'm sitting in a tent, which shields me from the onslaught of the storm. The rain pelts my tarp from all directions, and I suspect that the wind will uproot this blasted thing and blow me away with how much the roof is flapping. Not that I care that much in any case. The only thing warming me up is this lit candle.

So… I ended up abandoning Noseboy. Without words, he insisted that I come with him, or at least stay in the cave to shelter myself from the rain, but I didn’t want to be there any longer. It’s uncomfortable, talking to a rock and staring at his big blue eyes. I just saw myself in his reflection and I didn’t like it at all. So I told him to stay away from me.

He seemed hurt, and in that moment of hurt, the looks of all of those I had let down in the past rushed back to me. It loops back to why I came here. I’ve been skirting around the issue for a while, and even here, at my most vulnerable, I don’t want to admit my plans. Even now, I can’t bring myself to organise my thoughts, so I’ll just run through them randomly.

After spending so long in the gaol, my life’s purpose after that was to travel. I saw a lot of things. A lot of islands, museums, tourist traps, etc. All of them blur into one another in retrospect, even with all the journaling I did, but at least then, I learned how to live again.

I don't live for moments like these, however, where I'm alone with my own thoughts. It gets to you. Seeps through your skin. Comes to you while you're asleep and slits your belly open in the hopes of throwing your entrails all over the room. Not even the heavy rain can drown out my thoughts. The travelling’s just a distraction for that, and in the end, I’m ultimately still alone.

Damn. If I had my whiskey, that would keep me warm, or at least, it would fool me into thinking I’m warmer than I actually am.

It's been a long time since I've seen anyone close to me. Whoever I was with long ago, she left when I went to prison. She was pregnant too, though I haven't seen her kid either, whatever he or she looks like. My brothers, well, they never gave a Rattata's dick about me anyway, not that I ever gave them much reason to. All I did was ask them for money once I got out and used that money to travel. I don’t even know if I feel bad about that part. The rest, though...

I still won't tell you what I did. And by you, I don't mean a specific 'you'. It's just as abstract as a specific me. 'You' are not real, just like how there's no real me. Or maybe the 'you' I'm talking to is the better version of me, or perhaps someone that would actually want to listen to my story. I haven't found either.

Perhaps that's all Noseboy wants: to tell his story. This island is full of ‘em. A part of me still wants to go and investigate, but after what happened so long ago, I don’t have it in me to do his story justice. I still haven't got the gist of what went down here, if something awful did happen, but that won’t matter any more.

Anyways, I'm rambling. I know what I want to do now. This will be my last entry. I don’t have a fancy eulogy for it. I'm not in the mood for waxing lyrical in a fucking book no one else will read. But just in case someone stumbles across this journal, whoever you are, don’t look for me. I’ll be food for the Wingull by the time you read this.

Dedicated to that one stray Poochyena I found as a pimple-faced teen. I hardly knew you, but you were the last friend that ever stuck with me to the bitter end. You know what they say: the more I know men, the more I like dogs.

***

No wait, scratch that. The last part of this journal looks ridiculous now.

I’m shivering, like I’d just dipped my whole body in a sub-zero ice bath. Even as I’m noting this down, my handwriting’s all shaky, but I need something to organise my thoughts.

Noseboy is with me right now. Just before I went off to try and, y’know, do the deed, he found me. I was pure adrenaline then and felt unshakeable in my conviction. I told him off for following me. But then he went ahead and stood by the edge of the cliff with me, staring at the ocean. He just stood there, staying by my side. At that moment, I sensed that Noseboy understood. Like he knew what I was going through. And then, I just… cried.

When was the last time that happened? Perhaps after I fell off of my bike and skinned my knee as a tot. Or when I saw the pooch had, no, that doesn’t matter. But everything I ever did and was about to do in that moment all rushed back to me. One thing led to another, all the energy got zapped from my body, and those mini-noses of his carried me back to some shelter.

In any case, he strikes up both of his mini-noses over some firewood, setting it alight. It brings warmth into the cave, something my body sorely needs.

I need to stop writing for now while the fire warms up my cold, tired bones. Oh, and I should get some food in me. Luckily, I have some sausages left over. Hopefully, I don’t vomit it back up.

***​

I still feel like garbage, even after coming down from that episode. It’ll probably linger for a while. At least I’ve got something in my gut and am in a position to stand up now. Noseboy escorts me to wherever he wants to take me. I doubt it’s anything sinister, but if you find this journal and a pair of old leather boots lying around, well, I don’t care what you do with ‘em to be honest. Lost my train of thought there.

We hit a dead end, and thankfully, what’s awaiting me isn’t a sacrificial altar, but a huge wall with lots of cave drawings. It’s a wide tapestry of rock etchings, some of which look recent judging by the fresh marks on the right, probably Noseboy’s doing. The faded markings on the leftmost side, however, look like they’ve been there for ages, giving the whole thing a primordial atmosphere. It’s honestly a work of art.

Elsewhere, Noseboy looks back at me, only to point a mini-nose at a tally chart to strike up a new line out of eleven. Huh, so he can add up numbers as well. Finally, he gestures over to me and points to the beginning of the mural.

“So, this is what you want to show me. What do you want me to do here?”

He taps my book with a mini-nose, and I take the hint. I don’t know if it’s the sign of a fever, but a bit of heat rises to my head. “Y’know, it’s been a while since I’ve done this for someone else.”

He leaves me to it, and for now, I focus on copying what’s on the wall.

***​

Faded lines and circles make human shapes. Several of them, in fact. Their twig-like arms wrap around a solid form, like a rock. A big circle makes up the sun above them.

There’s a copy of the same picture on the right, except dots and circles have been poked into the sun, making up craters and peaks to turn it into a moon. The humans have been scratched out.

The next section of the wall has no humans at all, and this is where the markings look fresher. More of those rocks have taken their place, some small, some big with hat-shaped carvings atop their heads. Their craggy arms reach up to the sky, and their carved eyes seem to reflect joy.

The solid shapes are standing in a line atop the mountain, spaced out and facing opposite directions from one another. The ones bearing the hats are the only figures holding hands with one another.

Next wall. The smaller rocks are crying jagged-looking tears. They are still facing opposite directions, like the couple I saw at the enclave. The only company they have are the smaller floating rocks and the hat-bearing titans. Some stop crying, while most of the others persist. The ratio of those satisfied with the island vs. those that aren't is roughly 1:4.

The next wall depicts an ocean, suggested by one wavy line with a crude fish shape in it. The crying rocks make up four silhouettes positioned below the wavy line, suggesting that they're walking on the ocean floor. The last rock left on the island stays.

On the last wall, lots of vine-like lines rise up from the ground and cover up the last rock. There is a crudely-drawn smiley face above it.

***​

I go through these entries one by one with Noseboy. I might as well mention that I’ve left the descriptions of the notes rather vague, as I’m unsure of how to interpret it exactly. I explain this to Noseboy, but one of the mini-noses nudges my face anyway.

"Okay, okay. I guess you want me to make up some kind of story from what you drew."

He nods.

"Alright. Well, I dunno how much everyone else knows about what happened here. If I'm the only sucker who got roped into this, I'll be surprised."

The nose nudges me again.

"Okay, okay, I'm on it." I take a bigger bite this time. "So, these guys built you... I think? These stick figures here; they might’ve been a tribe, I dunno. That's what I reckon."

He shrugs.

"I guess you don't have any way of knowing if you only became animate after they went away. Or they died. I dunno. It beats me why they'd make rock statues like that, unless they tried to make them in each other’s image, somehow."

Another shrug. I try to sort through the rest as it seems rather self-explanatory. The more I think about it though, the more it starts to get under my skin, just like the cold rain outside.

"You seemed all alone. Like you wanted to talk to one another, but couldn't, if that whole 'Nosepass can't face each other' thing is true."

He nods that time. So I struck gold there.

"That'd get on anyone's nerves, human or Pokemon." I sigh, remembering a time when I used to be in the isolation cell for about a week. All I heard was the clock ticking. Shouts echoing through the walls. My own heartbeat. The unquiet of my own thoughts. "And one day, they couldn't take it any more. So the Nosepass left. And there are quite a lot of Nosepass here already, so imagine how many Nosepass made it off the island and are now on the mainland."

Noseboy's eyes droop.

"So everyone else here decided they were happy and just... rested, I guess.”

It’s a lot to take in, and I don’t really know how to feel about the whole affair. There’s a bittersweet feeling to the whole thing, but then there’s another feeling of discovery. I made plenty of discoveries back in the day, one of which ruined my life. But this is probably the biggest discovery I’ve made, observing the fringes of an ancient civilization. And this is only one part of a bigger story, since the Nosepass that left are still alive, some with trainers, some roaming around the world, and some that just decided to settle into society, either in a group of their own or with humans.

Noseboy interrupts me with another mini-nose tap. Then he points towards me, with the other mini-nose drawing a mouth on the wall.

"Aw, I don't think you wanna hear me rag on about my crappy life all night."

He nods regardless and sits in front of me like a kid waiting for a bedtime story. Well, there ain’t no bedtime stories here. Just the story of a man rolling a boulder up a hill only to be crushed as the whole thing runs him over.

Still, he wants me to talk about what happened. For the first time in a while, I’m actually smiling. I’m writing this in such a long-winded way because again, I don't remember the last time I really felt what my face expressed. But I won't ramble into this notebook any longer. I will tell my story, and I will unearth what has plagued me for so long, but it won't be for your eyes and ears, or nose in this case. I fear that if anyone discovers what happened, they might imprison me again.

I will say for now though, if you’re working in the journalism industry, screw ethics and the truth. They’ll only get you so far, and they got me so far off of the deep end that it ruined me forever. Just goes to show what you get for trying to unearth someone’s dark past.

***​

A cold sweat spreads throughout my body. Noseboy is no longer there.

After spending so long talking to him last night, it feels surreal to not face that bright, red snout. I power-walk out of the cave, trying not to overexert this old, tired body of mine. I see no sign of Noseboy on my journey. I retrace my steps through the muddy tracks, walking and stopping to catch my breath, walking and stopping, walk, stop, rinse, repeat.

I reach the clearing I had crossed just a day ago. One new figure has joined the mossy, crumbling gathering of Nosepass.

I turn to stone and join him too.

***​

Sorry, I had to flex my literary muscles there. It was all a dream, as they say. I know I’m a hack, but at least I’m aware of it. But no, Noseboy is right here with me still. He was watching over me the whole time I slept. It’s a comforting thought after the nightmare I had.

That was an actual dream by the way. I’m still kind of anxious about it. So I express what I dreamt to Noseboy, exactly as I had noted it down, and he waddles towards me. He—

He just hugged me. Well, the closest thing a Probopass can get to hugging someone is wrapping their mini-noses around them. Still, it has the desired effect. I feel better, better than I did waking up from the nightmare, and better than I did yesterday.

“Thanks.” I sigh. “Sorry you had to see me in that…” I would say ‘state’, but I struggle to get the next words out. “But I really appreciate you sittin’ down to listen to me prattle on about my baggage. Strange. You can’t even speak and you’re a better listener than most assholes I’ve met.”

He smiles with his eyes.

“Though most of what I said must sound like utter bollocks to you, I reckon. Talking about things like embargoes, whistleblowing and all that.”

He shakes his head. It’s probably for the best that he doesn’t know.

A part of me wants to stay here, but I need to distance myself from what happened. I no longer want to rot away on this island, even if that feeling, that bottomless pit inside me, hasn’t completely gone away. For now, I want to be somewhere else, or at least ponder what to do next alone while I sail on my boat.

My boat.

Oh, right, I didn’t tie it to the rock.

Fuck.

***​

The dinghy’s not there. The one thing tethering me to the outside world and it left me behind. It’s probably already deep in the drink by now, and if it has kept itself afloat by some miracle, I certainly can’t see where it is.

Noseboy seems to share the same shock as I do.

“So… I guess I’m stuck on this island. Can’t be too bad if I’m with you, right?” I laugh, and laugh, and laugh. And laugh.

***​

Sorry, I needed to gather myself for a moment. Noseboy made sure to calm me down. Good ol’ Noseboy. I’m only writing now because I need something to keep myself sane. Can’t really think if I’m catastrophising like this. What would past-me say?

Okay. So, if I do choose to live on this island, what can I eat other than sausages? I’m sure I can improvise. The knife could be useful for cutting up things. Maybe if I fetch it from the two Nosepass… Gotta watch out for that magnetism though.

Wait, magnetism. The dinghy’s made out of metal. So there has to be a way for Noseboy to get it to shore, right? Even if he can’t, it’s worth a shot.

I ask him and describe what the dinghy looks like: a long chunk of steel with a pure silver finish and a motor at the back. I hope the thing’s still got gas in it. He understands, and his mini-noses start scouting the ocean. Those things can go quite far, so far that it disappears into the distance. Either that or it’s gone underwater. But I watch with bated breath, holding onto this notebook like a safety blanket.

It doesn’t seem to take a toll on Noseboy. I also wonder if he’s had to pull boats out before, or other metallic things from the ocean. So I ask him about that as well and he nods too. So that gives me hope. Well, more hope even though I have plenty of it to spare after this.

It’s not like me to get sentimental. I’ll probably never see the fuzzy guy again after this if our plan works out. But two thoughts gnaw at my mind: the possibility that I would make another attempt again, as well as the thought of Noseboy being stuck here on his own.

He’s probably been here for time immemorial. Imagine being cut off from any sort of contact for days, weeks, months, years, possibly even aeons. No human would want to live that long. I know I wouldn’t.

“I’m just thinking. You stayed here for ages. Yet the others didn’t, and the ones that did, well… Anyone would go crazy staying on an island for so long. So, did you ever think about, you know…”

I make a neck-slashing gesture, and he nods in reply.

“You did?”

He nods again.

"Why? I..." Dammit, why is it starting to get to me? I can’t choke up again. But it hurts that someone I know has the same thoughts as I do. "Sorry if it's a front loaded question, but well, I've lived all this time. God, I can’t even off myself the old fashioned way, but I know I don’t want to live much longer. So, why stay?"

He points to me. Except, there is no 'me'. At least, I don't think so. I suppose he means that he stays for anyone like me who visits the island, and that he’ll tell his story to anyone willing to listen. I imagine quite a few people have visited before if that tally chart’s of any indication, so I'm probably not a unique case. It doesn't lessen the impact of the story he told me, after all. It fills my heart with a warmth I haven't felt in a while.

I want to hug him, though I keep my hands to myself, to this notebook. So I settle for a thumbs up, and he tries to give one back. He has no hands, but at least the nose, when pointed upwards, sort of looks like a thumb.

I know what I want to do now. If I leave this island, when I leave this island and get back to the mainland, I want to start telling stories again. I want to talk about Noseboy, but I also want to discover new stories as well. Stories worth telling. And it’s probably been so long since all of that trouble ages ago that I can start telling my own story. And if the truth’s still sealed behind all that red tape, then I want to find the scissors to cut it all to ribbons.

The boat pops out of the surface, at last. And so I leave, still with no destination or map, but with a repaired compass in my head pointing true north.
 

cynsh

full-time quilava
Location
Deepden
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. quilava
It ended up going north for pretty much most of the journey
The 'pretty much' seems redundant here. I noticed a few occasions early in the story where the prose was a bit sloppy - words like 'anyway' which could be cut without anything really being lost. This stopped happening pretty quickly though.
I wasn't sure at first what this meant for the nosepass's movement - like, did you actually mean 'fly', or just use the word to refer to some other kind of movement?.Having read the whole thing I can gather that they hover through the air, which is pretty funny but that's beside the point.
There goes a tenner’s worth of hooch.
Yusssss, British dialect :quag:
So, these must be Nosepass.
It seems odd that the narrator only recognised at this point that they were nosepass, instead of when he encountered that first nosepass. Something to do with seeing such a high volume of the same shape together?
There’s even one Nosepass couple sitting together with their backs touching.
adorable :veelove:
but I still didn't let go of
missing an 'it'
I just saw myself in his reflection and I didn’t like it at all.
Hmm. How exactly does he see himself in the reflection of this massive rock? Especially since he doesn't know much about Noseboy at this point, it seemed a strange thing to say.
I still won't tell you what I did. And by you, I don't mean a specific 'you'. It's just as abstract as a specific me. 'You' are not real, just like how there's no real me.
I appreciate what you're going for here, but it was a little clumsy to read imo
He shrugs.
he can shrug?! :eek:
Wait, magnetism. The dinghy’s made out of metal. So there has to be a way for Noseboy to get it to shore, right? Even if he can’t, it’s worth a shot.
Given your use of sudden scene breaks elsewhere, I would have liked for this part to better represent the narrator's sudden realisation. E.g.,
'Wait, magnetism. The dinghy’s made out of metal. So maybe Noseboy could-

He said he can do it! Or at least try.'
(etc etc, don't judge my writing pls it's just a suggestion)


I've got to give you props for tackling such a serious topic (suicide) so head on, but it was done well. Noseboy's story was really quite touching, and there was some great little touches like the markings on the wall representing his number of visitors. Given how inherently silly nosepass and probopass are, I was surprised by the route this story took, but I'm not complaining. And the few funny moments it inevitably raised are always a bonus.

I liked the diary-style POV - obviously not something you see in longer stories, but it worked here. Perhaps a few occasions where the sheer amount the narrator was writing down as he moved seemed a bit much, but I can forgive that given, y'know, the writing should be interesting for the reader too.

Overall, I thought this was lovely! Not much else I can say, really. I'm annoyingly picky about what I read and enjoy, but I'm certainly glad I read this one. :quag:
 

kintsugi

golden scars
Location
waiting for the fog to roll out
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. silvally-grass
  2. lapras
  3. golurk
Honestly, not sure what I was expecting coming off of Suffer Like G Did, but this was such a pleasant surprise.

Your narrator's really interesting to spend some time with. I like how you have this dejected tone that pervades pretty much everything they're doing; I kept picturing this big, heavy fog that just permeates everything. "I pointedly do not secure the boat to the rock" -- big ol' oof on this one. The opening is really strong and you nail down this oppressive, gloomy vibe that doesn't really let up. I liked the choice not to really have a dialogue here and to keep everything as a retelling; it makes everything feel very lonely and filtered, even as the narrator meets Noseboy and things seem like they could be looking up. The coaxing of their backstory also feels really well-handled and natural, and I liked how the details build on one another--lonely, prison, prison for (maybe? ethics), and then culmination in choosing to keep their own secrets from a future reader. It's definitely hard to run such a single-character-centric story for so long, and I was really impressed with the execution here.

I dig the sort of whimsical nature of this, this weird blending of horrible and sad real things with a friendly rock who wants to give you a hug; it's a really interesting direction to take Pokemon and I have this now on my list for when people ask for dark fics that aren't edgy. I like how you condense this idea of finding yourself, asking questions, discovery--it feels like a really natural extension of the coming-of-age journeys that are more traditional. And the ending is nice too; it doesn't really feel like things are 100% better, but that's not really how things go--the magic island and rock friend might help fix your compass, but the rest of the journey is still on you. You need to write your own story instead of losing yourself in other's. It's really fun to see how you build up this character as rugged, alone, I'm going to take care of things myself--and then pull the rug out and have the solution be swapping stories with a rock. There's some really lovely catharsis in here.

I'm kinda sad that Noseboy and the narrator part ways! Is Noseboy also lonely? Does he want to see the world?

I did have a little bit of a tough time grasping the larger-scale setting in a few details. The narrator seems surprised that Noseboy can answer their questions ("either I'm going crazy or I'm really talking to a sentient rock"), but then towards the end they talk about how maybe all the probopass/nosepass go off and find trainers, which would suggest that partnership with pokemon is common, but somehow the narrator has never previously met one who could answer their questions? Likewise I struggled a bit wrapping my head around what the narrator is doing--there are some lines that suggest that they're writing everything down as it happens (like the section where it starts raining and they break off / story cuts to when they're dry), but that seems almost comical when there's so much stuff going on. Kinda a hangup that you can't get out of in first-person stories, but I'm not sure why it had to be happening in that exact moment rather than like, at the end of each day or during a rest break or something. Minor quibbles tho; this was a really beautiful read.

some line-thoughts:
with the endless sea sloshing against the rocks on the shore and the green-infested mountains looming in the distance
The phrase "green-infested" had me leaning in a little--it suggests that the narrator sees the greenness as a bad thing, which I thought was certainly interesting. But it didn't seem to go anywhere?

I hope they got paid for that job, though I don’t know what a Pokemon would need money for.
I'm curious too haha! Does the narrator think that the only way someone can be valued is through money? I had a little bit of trouble tracking them tbh--they definitely seem jaded about society and people in general post-prison, but then they have little mundane thoughts like this that just seem a little contradictory.

It’s uncomfortable, talking to a rock and staring at his big blue eyes. I just saw myself in his reflection and I didn’t like it at all. So I told him to stay away from me.
I wasn't sure what the reflection was here--something about how Noseboy holds himself? Since the narrator doesn't really know Noseboy all that well I couldn't figure out what's being projected here.

I guess that’s the folly of being a journalist: disappearing into other people’s stories so you can forget your own.
mmmm beautiful <3

I have mixed feelings about the "art is suffering" trope, but I like how you pull it off here, and all the steps that the narrators takes to get here make a lot of internal sense for a tired, broken person.

It gets to you. Seeps through your skin. Comes to you while you're asleep and slits your belly open in the hopes of throwing your entrails all over the room. Not even the heavy rain can drown out my thoughts. The travelling’s just a distraction for that, and in the end, I’m ultimately still alone.
lil' tiny prose question here--otherwise it's all really well-put together and I think the prose hit home for me--I had troubles picturing what it means for loneliness to slit your belly open, to hope to throw your entrails around. The three metaphors here all seem to describe different aspects: pervasiveness, violence, inevitability--but I didn't quite put together an image from them.

She was pregnant too, though I haven't seen her kid either, whatever he or she looks like.
I thought it was really telling that the narrator doesn't think of the kid as their own.

Next wall. The smaller rocks are crying jagged-looking tears. They are still facing opposite directions, like the couple I saw at the enclave. The only company they have are the smaller floating rocks and the hat-bearing titans. Some stop crying, while most of the others persist. The ratio of those satisfied with the island vs. those that aren't is roughly 1:4.
okay i lied I have one more prose question The 1:4 line at the end felt a bit precise in a story that's more impressional, and I wasn't sure why. Was there a specific reason it gets described this way?

He nods regardless and sits in front of me like a kid waiting for a bedtime story. Well, there ain’t no bedtime stories here. Just the story of a man rolling a boulder up a hill only to be crushed as the whole thing runs him over.
Mmm, nice sisiphyean imagery here, and I like how the narrator's first reaction for a life story is eternal punishment.

I will say for now though, if you’re working in the journalism industry, screw ethics and the truth.
Ah yes good this is gonna be one of those "it was all a lie the whole time" stories when we do analysis on it, isn't it.
 

canisaries

voted most likely to be edgy
Location
the middle of nowhere
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/inkay-shirlee
Been meaning to read this for a while, as your oneshots have been consistently captivating, and the Review Blitz gave the perfect excuse. So, some line comments first:

A curious object floats before me.

As I first read this, this felt like it was bit too matter-of-factly introduced for such a strange and sudden(?) event, but afterwards I know these are meant to be journal entries the way they were written down, and so it would only be more strange for fragmented flow-of-thought inner monologue to be written down verbatim. Still, though, perhaps the surprise could have been expressed more in the writing, as I felt a lack of suddenness in this narration, which made me unsure if the Mini-Nose had just arrived (or the author had just noticed it) or been there already during the intro with the author aware of its presence and deciding only now to write it down. The latter feels like strange priorities, but then again, this guy has kind of given up on life so I could believe him just not caring at the moment.

On an additional note, I initially thought the Mini-Nose was a Nosepass as the description doesn't feel exclusive to Mini-Noses (and a reader likely remembers Nosepass better than a detail of Probopass), and was slightly confused when the author only recognized them as Nosepass when he met the actual Nosepass later on. I think the way to prevent this is as easy as calling it a small floating rock, as Nosepass probably does not fit that descriptor for many. Only after writing all this did I realize that Nosepass have legs and probably don't float, so I should have assumed Mini-Nose to begin with. My bad.

I’ve never seen one in person before, only on the radio in some of the news features.

seen... on the radio...

You know what they say: the nose always knows, after all.”

It stares for a moment longer

"jesse what the fuck are you talking about"

Then drops of rain splatter on my—

***​
That was a close one.

On first read (sensing a theme?), this struck me as a clever way to timeskip, but upon returning to my notes, I realized it also literally makes sense for the author to stop writing as rain comes down and continue only once securely in shelter. In any case, very nice.

Sorry, I had to flex my literary muscles there. It was all a dream, as they say.

OHHHH YOUUU

Oh, right, I didn’t tie it to the rock.

Fuck.



---

General Thoughts

You've done it again. You've made me like a Pokémon I used to hate.

Anyway, this was rather emotional, and very much rang true to me with its depiction of suicidality - how those thoughts aren't typically ones you commit to without hesitation until the end, but it's not that they fully go away, either. It also shows how peer support and rediscovery of one's passions can help pull one away from such thoughts and find life meaningful once again.

After my dumb ass internalized way too far into the story that these were journal entries, it definitely made me appreciate the narration in a more meta way as it made me read the story beyond the pages and stay alert for bouts of unreliability. I think in some places it did fall back more into traditional storytelling prose, but it's as I probably already commented on the interview sections of TCATS: the story still needs to be told to the reader in an understandable way, so complete loyalty to the medium presented isn't possible, or at least it begins to harm the reader experience if stuck to too faithfully.

The narrator, though, stays consistent in his(?) voice and his state of mind is easy to extrapolate. I felt that the changes in his moods and attitudes were understandable and realistic, but they remained unpredictable - or at least kept me so engaged that my mind didn't wander onto guessing games on what would happen next.

To get back to the story itself, I also really like the setpiece. It's easy to imagine, but special enough to stick with you with that inherent mystery that an island of strange rock statues overtaken by vegetation has. And speaking of mystery I also found myself very curious as to what exactly had gone down in the author's past, but recognize the merit in keeping it vague. Less is more, after all.

Overall, memorable, beautiful. Strong in its themes, but subtle. Great work, a story I would and will recommend.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
He points to me.

So. Iktsuarpok made my cry. Just a little, but still, not a lot of fics ever manage that. Very well fucking done, Nebby.

REVIEW TIME

This fic has a really promising chapter title, I must say. I have also done the "definition of a weird noun" thing as a tagline, and so I'm rather fond of that choice. It feels really emotionally resonant for me both before and after the fic.

I found it interesting how you hint at the narrator's Deal and at the nature of the nosepass, building up expectations for both as more of the picture is revealed. Good job pacing that out, in my opinion. Similarly, I liked the little worldbuilding tidbits you drpped occasionally, like the narrator's memory of a nosepass guiding humans to safety and how that's a service deserving of financial compensation. In fact, the narrator's thoughts and musings are very characterful in general, giving the whole story a strong voice, and himself a clear characterisation as someone who goes down a lot of mental rabbitholes. In doing so, there's quite a bit of humour. I didn't crack up hard but I did crack plenty of smiles at the narrator's nonsense. 'Noseboy,' ha.

My main emotional reactions to the story, however, were melancholy, real sorrow, and catharsis. The build up hits a certain emotional note perfectly, that's neither dread nor grief nor quite anything else I can put my finger on. It feels fatalistic right up until he can't go through with it, and then it feels... shameful, perhaps? Hard to say. But it affected me pretty strongly. He does feel like quite the pretentious asshole for a bit, but the humility he displays in the greater part of the work, especially later, really works to make him sympathetic.

Some elements of this worked really well for me, such as the very deliberate abandoning of the boat and the later predictable consequence of this, the focus on how powerful the mininoses and magnetism are before they enter critical use, the ambiguity of both the narrator's story and that of Noseboy, and the journal narrative device. Other elements felt a bit hamfisted, specifically the 'his reflection' line (shouldn't it be 'my' reflection?) and the paragraph about present and previous abandonment. But overall I found this story about two lonely beings trying to communicate and find reasons not to die incredibly touching to the point I even sobbed a little at the end.

Thanks for writing this.
 

Pen

the cat is mightier than the pen
Staff
Partners
  1. dratini
First, I was charmed by your choice to go with first-person, epistolary, sort of early 20th century style narration. You did some fun things with the form and it took off the pressure for the narrative to focus too much on a to be or logistics. It also lets the narrator play the game of deliberately being coy, even though they're as transparent as glass. I liked the push-pull between the narrator's cynicism and their curiosity, their inability to stop seeking out stories and finding beauty and interest in their surroundings. The backstory was nicely scattered, and I felt satisfied with the broad strokes we got--journalism, did an expose of the wrong people, suffered for it. There's a continual tension here around the question of to what extent your own problems serve as an excuse for turning away from other people's problems. And in the end, our narrator finds that turning towards, not away, is a way to continue to find meaning. I really like how the theme of direction ties this all together. We have a narrator who deliberately sets out to be directionless, set on collision course with a pokemon that by its nature cannot be. There's a fair bit of mystery surrounding what really happened with the nosepass and what Noseboy wants and feels, but that felt appropriate to such a tight first-person POV. Journalism isn't about fixing other people's problems, it's about telling them.

Line-by-lines below. The main thing that kept coming up for me were places where it felt like the narration broke discordantly from the slightly formalized, not-quite-modern literary voice you'd established.

(Inuit): the feeling of anticipation while waiting for someone to arrive, often leading to intermittently going outside to check for them.
Ooh, love this word. I totally do this.

I came here with no destination and no map for guidance; all that's left is the broken compass in my mind pointing towards nowhere.
So, the way this is structured with "all that's left" made me think there was a big time gap between the two sides of the semi-colon. When he first came, x, but all that's left [after time passing] is y. That made the understanding that he hasn't even left the boat yet jarring.

Maybe, "I came here with no destination and no map. All I have is a broken compass in my mind pointing nowhere."

It ended up going north for pretty much most of the journey. But now I’m here on this island,
The jump between these two sentences felt a little abrupt. Maybe the moment he saw the island?

the green-infested mountains
Not a fan of natural beauty, our narrator? Infested is a bit of odd word-choice.

I shall let my mind wander wherever it pleases before... well, only I know that. But my hands will write what I see in shorthand, acting as my second pair of eyes.
I'm enjoying the formalism and old-fashioned diary vibe here.

a hunting knife. I hope I don’t need to use it.
I like this--our narrator seems kind.

A curious object floats before me. It’s like a floating rock, except it has a big nose and a brow ridge carved into the surface, forming an imitation of a face.
This also felt a bit abrupt. Does he notice the object coming? Does he look up and it's there?

I’ll follow my nose towards that, er, nose. My only hope is that I’ll get to finish this Sunflory before that thing does it for me.
Is the Sunflory the whiskey brand or something? This sentence baffled me a little.

I pointedly do not secure the boat to the rock.
Oof. Lot of punch to this line.

The wind feels slightly off since it always seems to blow north.
Wasn't sure what feels off about this?

desire lines of a grassy hill
I hadn't encountered the phrase desire lines before! It's really lovely.

A part of me hopes that no one else is visiting the island at this time.
Isn't it more than a part of him? I thought he came here to be alone. The line would hit a bit harder if you removed the qualifier, I think.

A part of me hopes that no one else is visiting the island at this time.

Speaking of which,
Wasn't sure how that lead into the alchohol. No people = drinking?

Well, crap. There goes a tenner’s worth of hooch.
I like the old-style slang you're dropping in, but "Well, crap" feels jarringly casual next to the formal tone you have going on elsewhere.

My knife also flies out of its sheath and meets the same fate as the flask, twirling in suspension like they’re doing the tango with one another.
I like the image--very whimsical.

Maybe, "My knife also flies out of its sheath and meets the same fate as the flask; together they twirl like they’re doing the tango."

I’ve never seen one in person before, only on the radio in some of the news features.
Since you can't see something on the radio, maybe "I’ve never seen one in person before, but I'd heard them described on the radio."

Another nod towards this setting being in an older era.

I remember one story about a Nosepass guide on Mt. Coronet that helped tourists find their way to the peak. I hope they got paid for that job, though I don’t know what a Pokemon would need money for.
I like this sentiment on the part of the narrator.

What would they do if some random asshole just suddenly disturbed their beauty sleep? I don’t want my tombstone to read: ‘Pummelled to death by a pissed-off rock sculpture.’ Though who’s to say I’ll have a tombstone?
The tone felt a little dissonant with "random asshole" and "pissed-off."

The tombstone line . . . yeah, it's pretty clear he doesn't plan to have one.

There are more of those buried Nosepass, some facing different directions from one another, some on their own, lying down as if they’re basking in the sky's light. There’s even one Nosepass couple sitting together with their backs touching. That’s a pretty image if I’ve ever seen one, though just like the others, they’re immobile and covered with flora.
Mm, this has a mix of beautiful and disturbing. When a lot of stones are laid out like that in the ground, hard not to think of a graveyard. It's interesting to me that the protagonist takes a more optimistic view, finding beauty in the scene. It suggests to me that they aren't as a ready to let go as life as they think. They keep searching for wonders.

Must be a pretty lonely existence, not being able to face your own kind without repelling one another. Then again, I don’t think they’d be able to kiss without their noses getting in the way.
I guess the thing about kissing is meant to lighten the mood, but it's a pretty disturbing thought that the only reason you'd want to see someone's face is to kiss them.

“What?” I say, no duh.
Hm, "no duh" feels very modern.

I catch myself about to say something ridiculous.
For flow purposes, maybe, "I catch myself about to say something ridiculous, and instead take another cold bite of sausage."

The wind whistles through the forest, each tree acting as nature's flute.
Mm, lovely.

hen drops of rain splatter on my—

***​
That was a close one. Thank the white god for this bag, otherwise this notebook would've been drenched.
Hah! This is cutesy but I'm here for it.

Oh yeah, for now, I’ll call him Noseboy.
Not sure about the "Oh yeah."

I'm no artist; I'm just a dilettante at best, though I often drew what I saw and fancied.
Just pull-quoting this to contrast with the above line. They don't really feel like the same narrative tone.

Then he draws another cave with an arrow pointing towards it as well as a trail of paw prints. Wait, I don’t have paws. Oh, never mind, footsteps, paw prints, same difference. It’s here that I understand his request.

“You want me to follow you somewhere else?”
This seems out of order, logically. He wouldn't have a reaction like "Wait, I don't have paws" unless he'd worked out that the paws are supposed to refer to him.

I guess that’s the folly of being a journalist: disappearing into other people’s stories so you can forget your own.
Yeah, that's real.

Sorry, I’m not in the best state right now. So excuse me for a moment.
I wonder if you could play up the narrative voice a little?

"Please excuse me, I don't write well when I get maudlin."

The only thing warming me up is this lit candle.
This seems a little silly. Candles can't really warm you up, all they can do is illuminate. He has matches and there is wood around--no fire?

It’s uncomfortable, talking to a rock and staring at his big blue eyes. I just saw myself in his reflection and I didn’t like it at all. So I told him to stay away from me.
I really love the progression here. It's abrupt, but in a way that feels like it's conveying the narrator's unease.

There’s a reason I came to this island in the first place. I came here to be alone.
I don't live for moments like these, however, where I'm alone with my own thoughts. It gets to you. Seeps through your skin. Comes to you while you're asleep and slits your belly open in the hopes of throwing your entrails all over the room. Not even the heavy rain can drown out my thoughts. The travelling’s just a distraction for that, and in the end, I’m ultimately still alone.
Bit of a push-pull here. They travelled to be alone, and yet they consider travelling an insufficient distraction from being alone.

Loneliness as seeping through the skin and slitting your belly and throwing you entrails around are really different images. I think this would land more strongly if you went with one vibe or the other.

My brothers, well, they never gave a Rattata's dick about me anyway, not that I ever gave them much reason to. All I did was ask them for money once I got out and used that money to travel. I don’t even know if I feel bad about that part.
Nice backstory here. I like that his family isn't completely absent, but how clearly this isn't a relationship he can turn to for any emotional support.

Dedicated to that one stray Poochyena I found as a pimple-faced teen. I hardly knew you, but you were the last friend that ever stuck with me to the bitter end. You know what they say: the more I know men, the more I like dogs.
Quoting the aphorism feels nicely period.

I was pure adrenaline then and felt unshakeable in my conviction. I told him off for following me. But then he went ahead and stood by the edge of the cliff with me, staring at the ocean. He just stood there, staying by my side. At that moment, I sensed that Noseboy understood. Like he knew what I was going through. And then, I just… cried.
'The moment I didn't commit suicide' passages are tricky, but I think you nailed this one. I like how the nosepass doesn't do anything active except to be there. Being there is enough. (Maybe that's the reason he tried so hard to be somewhere alone.)

One thing led to another, all the energy got zapped from my body,
Not sure about zapped. It's a very bouncy word. Got drained? Ran from? Bled from, even? Sapped from?

The solid shapes are standing in a line atop the mountain, spaced out and facing opposite directions from one another. The ones bearing the hats are the only figures holding hands with one another.

Next wall. The smaller rocks are crying jagged-looking tears. They are still facing opposite directions, like the couple I saw at the enclave. The only company they have are the smaller floating rocks and the hat-bearing titans. Some stop crying, while most of the others persist. The ratio of those satisfied with the island vs. those that aren't is roughly 1:4.

The next wall depicts an ocean, suggested by one wavy line with a crude fish shape in it. The crying rocks make up four silhouettes positioned below the wavy line, suggesting that they're walking on the ocean floor. The last rock left on the island stays.

On the last wall, lots of vine-like lines rise up from the ground and cover up the last rock. There is a crudely-drawn smiley face above it.
This was a really interesting bit! I love the idea of a nosepass mural and the question of interpreting it. Part of me wonders why nosepass wouldn't make sculptures, but perhaps that's too close to making a person, the same way we might feel uncomfortable with taxidermy as art.

I'm not sure about tears as a representation a nosepass would turn to in order to depict sadness. Do rocks cry?

"I guess you don't have any way of knowing if you only became animate after they went away. Or they died. I dunno. It beats me why they'd make rock statues like that, unless they tried to make them in each other’s image, somehow."
This mystery of their creation and abandonment is fascinating. Smacks a bit of a religious question here too.

Why have creation without companionship feels like the question this scenario poses.

He nods regardless and sits in front of me like a kid waiting for a bedtime story. Well, there ain’t no bedtime stories here. Just the story of a man rolling a boulder up a hill only to be crushed as the whole thing runs him over.
That first simile is so adorable. And the second metaphor is oof.

One new figure has joined the mossy, crumbling gathering of Nosepass.

I turn to stone and join him too.

***​
Sorry, I had to flex my literary muscles there. It was all a dream, as they say. I know I’m a hack, but at least I’m aware of it.
This was also cute. I'm enjoying your playfulness with this form.

My boat.

Oh, right, I didn’t tie it to the rock.

Fuck.
Yuuup, that's the problem with being sure you plan to die.

I laugh, and laugh, and laugh. And laugh.
I like how you chose to punctuate this.

He points to me. Except, there is no 'me'. At least, I don't think so. I suppose he means that he stays for anyone like me who visits the island, and that he’ll tell his story to anyone willing to listen.
And maybe, more broadly, that there's always someone. You don't know. And thinking of the way the wind blew the ship north, to the place the narrator could find help--a direction is infinite. If you follow it long enough, there may be something there.

And if the truth’s still sealed behind all that red tape, then I want to find the scissors to cut it all to ribbons.
Go journalism!

And so I leave, still with no destination or map, but with a repaired compass in my head pointing true north.
This reads a little clunky to me for the closing line. Particularly "repaired" belabors the point a bit, and I never love the idea of a "broken" person being "fixed." Perhaps, "And so I leave, still with no destination or map, but the compass in my head points me true north."
 

kyeugh

onion witch
Location
florida
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. farfetchd-galar
I pointedly do not secure the boat to the rock.
oof ouch owie my feels

---

hey neb! i read this fic a while ago and meant to give it a review earlier this week, but it toootally slipped my mind. better late than never!

i‘ve really warmed up to the nosepass line this last year or so thanks to blu, so i was hype to see that this fic featured them prominently. i wasn’t expecting everything else to hit quite so hard, lol. you’ve crafted a really beautiful story here that has very real insights into the human condition i wasn’t anticipating from a fanfic starring nosepass. your characterization was a lot of fun; nosepass has such a strong personality despite being speechless and largely inexpressive, and the narrator has a strong sense of character and history too despite how sparing you are with concrete details about their history (we don’t even receive confirmation of their gender as far as i can tell!). in general i found this story to employ negative space masterfully; the things you don’t say seem to have nearly as much impact as the ones you do. the setting you establish is very powerful as well, and honestly, as powerful as the narrator’s arc is, i found myself thinking about the mysterious nosepass island just as much in the days after reading this story.

there are some things i think could be improved in this story—the unique perspective is awesome and done in an interesting, compelling way most of the time, but there are some occasions where the narrator’s tangents become distracting without the benefit of providing additional characterization. additionally, i found the portion where the narrator uncovers the tragic story of the island a bit clumsy; since the descriptions of the drawings and the narrator’s interpretation of them are split rather than concurrent, i found myself confused throughout each. more detail on that in the line comments. i also felt like the narrator’s literary prowess was inconsistently characterized; at some points they wittingly use very clunky language, and at others they wax poetic. there were a lot of small things i fell in love with too—the symbol of the boat as the narrator’s will to live was really powerful to me, and as i said, the unique perspective provides a lot of really interesting, dynamic little moments that i’ve never seen in a pokémon fic before. overall, the little things i think could be improved still don’t majorly distract from the beautiful story you’ve crafted here. definitely has put me in the mood to read more of your writing! :D very well done, this is a story you should be very proud of.

But now I’m here on this island, with the endless sea sloshing against the rocks on the shore and the green-infested mountains looming in the distance, I shall let my mind wander wherever it pleases before... well, only I know that. But my hands will write what I see in shorthand, acting as my second pair of eyes.
i found this first sentence a little confusing. “But now I’m here on this island...” felt like a complete sentence to me, so the ”I shall let my mind wander...” came as a surprise and it took me a bit to wrap my head around the structure of the sentence. i think if the first sentenc read “But now that I’m here on this island...” it would read smoother to me. also, two sentences starting with “but” back-to-back here. i found the metaphor of hands serving as eyes as a pair of eyes a bit odd—writing and seeing don’t seem like comparable actions to me.

Before I continue my journey, I sift through the rest of my belongings on the deck of the boat: a hip flask, a pack of sausages, a portable tent, a set of matches, a candle, and a hunting knife. I hope I don’t need to use it.
the scarceness of these supplies tells a story on its own. good detail. i think it’s a little unclear what “it” is referring to in the last sentence; i bet you could make this description of his supplies hit extra side with a sentence like “It’s not much, but I doubt I’ll use it all anyway,” instead.

I tighten my grip on the knife’s handle. I doubt a floating rock can do much, but one can never be too careful.
i’m sure the rock is thinking the same about your knife, bud.

I pointedly do not secure the boat to the rock.
i wonder how it must have felt for the narrator to write this line.

My knife also flies out of its sheath and meets the same fate as the flask, twirling in suspension like they’re doing the tango with one another.
your subject changes from th eknife to both the knife and the flask here. i think it would read a bit smoother if you split the sentence in two.

“What?” I say, no duh.
not sure what the function of “no duh” is here.

“Huh.” Either I’m going crazy or I’m really talking to a sentient rock. Sentient or sapient? The meaning of those two words has always escaped me. “I’ve just heard that certain Nosepass hunt for prey, so…”
echoing kintsugi’s sentiments about the narrator’s knowledge of nosepass being somewhat confusing and contradictory. also, the aside about the meanings of sentient/sapient kinda doesn’t do anything for me here... doesn’t characterize the narrator, doesn’t really give us any information about the story or surroundings, it’s kinda just there. most of the narrator’s internal conversations are good stuff but there are a few lines like this that don’t really do anything and i think you could cut.

It stares for a moment longer, then floats off at a slow enough pace that I can follow. It guides me through trees, rocks, and other resting Nosepass. A bitter wind starts to blow through the forest. The trees rustle. Leaves dance in the air. The floating rock has some difficulty keeping itself upright with the sudden gusts, but it manages to adjust itself to continue its journey.

The terrain gets rockier as we go deeper into the island's centre. The peak looms above me like a jagged monument, standing taller than any other tree on this rock. The wind whistles through the forest, each tree acting as nature's flute. Then drops of rain splatter on my—
i loooove this imagery, very vivid. one of the main things that stuck with me from this one-shot was the strong, distinct setting, and it’s thanks to lines like this.

We found refuge in a mountain cave where I'm finally face to face with this island's host: the Probopass.
tense change here.

Sorry, I'm not some wordsmith
weren’t they literally a wordsmith…? 😅

Noseboy leers at me, smacking his face with a mini-nose.
lmfao

I guess that’s the folly of being a journalist: disappearing into other people’s stories so you can forget your own.

Sorry, I’m not in the best state right now. So excuse me for a moment.
really nice. i like the way the narrator’s emotional state impacts the flow of the narration itself. it creates an interesting structure that can only really come from this first-person, realtime perspective.

Without words, he insisted that I come with him, or at least stay in the cave to shelter myself from the rain, but I didn’t want to be there any longer.
this just happened, so the recap feels kind of unnecessary. noseboy’s insistence that he at least stay and shelter from the rain is new, but i feel like that could’ve just been written into the previous scene.

After spending so long in the gaol, my life’s purpose after that was to travel. I saw a lot of things. A lot of islands, museums, tourist traps, etc. All of them blur into one another in retrospect, even with all the journaling I did, but at least then, I learned how to live again.
don’t think you need to specify “after” twice in the first sentence. also they blur together now, not in retrospect, right? i feel like “in retrospect” suggests the experiences actually did blur together while he was experiencing them, but he didn’t realize until later, which doesn’t really make sense to me.

Whoever I was with long ago, she left when I went to prison. She was pregnant too, though I haven't seen her kid either, whatever he or she looks like.
interesting how distant this language is. you do a good job suggesting a story here without plunging too deep into it.

I was pure adrenaline then and felt unshakeable in my conviction. I told him off for following me. But then he went ahead and stood by the edge of the cliff with me, staring at the ocean. He just stood there, staying by my side. At that moment, I sensed that Noseboy understood.
oof. this is the most powerful part of the story to me. i love how much you communicate in so few words. the brevity of it makes it more impactful for me.

after reaching the end of it, i think the first sentence of this section is unnecessary. i think it would be more powerful if you cut from his goodbye directly to him shivering in the rain, rather than him backtracking and making the meta comment about the previous passage.

I still feel like garbage, even after coming down from that episode. It’ll probably linger for a while.
i appreciate that, even after coming down from the ledge, the narrator still feels like shit. the narrator isn’t relieved to be alive, and their negative feelings didn‘t evaporate. they’ve just taken a step back.

Elsewhere, Noseboy looks back at me, only to point a mini-nose at a tally chart to strike up a new line out of eleven.
i wasn’t totally tracking on the meaning of “a new line out of eleven.”

Faded lines and circles make human shapes. Several of them, in fact. Their twig-like arms wrap around a solid form, like a rock. A big circle makes up the sun above them.

There’s a copy of the same picture on the right, except dots and circles have been poked into the sun, making up craters and peaks to turn it into a moon. The humans have been scratched out.

The next section of the wall has no humans at all, and this is where the markings look fresher. More of those rocks have taken their place, some small, some big with hat-shaped carvings atop their heads. Their craggy arms reach up to the sky, and their carved eyes seem to reflect joy.

The solid shapes are standing in a line atop the mountain, spaced out and facing opposite directions from one another. The ones bearing the hats are the only figures holding hands with one another.

Next wall. The smaller rocks are crying jagged-looking tears. They are still facing opposite directions, like the couple I saw at the enclave. The only company they have are the smaller floating rocks and the hat-bearing titans. Some stop crying, while most of the others persist. The ratio of those satisfied with the island vs. those that aren't is roughly 1:4.

The next wall depicts an ocean, suggested by one wavy line with a crude fish shape in it. The crying rocks make up four silhouettes positioned below the wavy line, suggesting that they're walking on the ocean floor. The last rock left on the island stays.

On the last wall, lots of vine-like lines rise up from the ground and cover up the last rock. There is a crudely-drawn smiley face above it.
honestly, this section was kind of hard for me to follow. it was hard enough for me to visualize the drawings, let alone derive meaning from them, so in the end my eyes kind of just rolled over a lot of this and i didn’t retain most of the information. the following section is a bit difficult for me, too, since it’s calling back to the drawings i barely remember. i think the two sections are weaker apart, and it would be improved a lot if the narrator tried to interpret the drawings as they described them.

He just hugged me. Well, the closest thing a Probopass can get to hugging someone is wrapping their mini-noses around them. Still, it has the desired effect. I feel better, better than I did waking up from the nightmare, and better than I did yesterday.
omg probopass hug!!!! so precious.
My boat.

Oh, right, I didn’t tie it to the rock.

Fuck.
i really like the boat as a symbol of the narrator’s will to live. not gonna lie though, i initially thought the narrator was gonna ride noseboy to a distant shore and then become his trainer, lol.

Okay. So, if I do choose to live on this island, what can I eat other than sausages? I’m sure I can improvise. The knife could be useful for cutting up things. Maybe if I fetch it from the two Nosepass… Gotta watch out for that magnetism though.

Wait, magnetism. The dinghy’s made out of metal. So there has to be a way for Noseboy to get it to shore, right? Even if he can’t, it’s worth a shot.
i really liked seeing the narrator’s thought process here, first thinking of the knife and then the magnetism and then the dinghy culminating in an aha! moment.

He’s probably been here for time immemorial. Imagine being cut off from any sort of contact for days, weeks, months, years, possibly even aeons. No human would want to live that long. I know I wouldn’t.

“I’m just thinking. You stayed here for ages. Yet the others didn’t, and the ones that did, well… Anyone would go crazy staying on an island for so long. So, did you ever think about, you know…”

I make a neck-slashing gesture, and he nods in reply.
honestly, i thought this was going in a completely different direction. i thought the narrator was going to offer to bring noseboy back with him, so it really caught me off guard that he just asked him if he’d considered suicide before, haha. it’s honestly kind of surprising that the thought of bringing noseboy back with him doesn’t even occur to him? maybe it is impractical but i feel like it’s a natural place for his thoughts to arrive at this point in the story.

The boat pops out of the surface, at last. And so I leave, still with no destination or map, but with a repaired compass in my head pointing true north.
the parallel here to the first line of the story is really nice.
 
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