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hikar

A year lost

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Hello guys.

This is my very first try at writing something important in a language that is different from my beloved native spanish, so I blame any stupid structure mistakes to that (phew got off the hook easy).

This is kinda the introduction of a novel that explores adiction as an act of will rather than as an act of a substance (those cleptomaniac, problem gamblers, et,al understand what I'm talking about).

I'm really in need of an editor as english is not my native language, and eventhough I try to do my best effort I don't think it's enough.

If you don't like depressing stories please stop here.

well here it goes

A year lost

Chapter 1

Hikar mounted his ram and swiftly moved to the next fishing node, after a few tries it finaly landed on the node, and Andr?s waited with little patience to hear that sound, that splash that allowed him to click on the pole to get his fish.

He was tired, it was almost an hour since Hikar was fishing, but fish sells well and he has yet to trade all that uncommon gear to epic gear as soon as possible. Andr?s was focused on his task, moving hikar around the basin as fast as possible, being as precise as possible with his pole, paying no attention to anything not related with his task. He was also bored, this was no fun, but he really needed that mace, and his instances were locked for the day so that meant nothing to do until raid time, that of course if his guild actually invited him to raid with them this time, he was tired of being left behind, he did not pay 15 bucks a month to be left behind.

As he moved away from the keyboard leaving Hikar standing there in the middle of the screen he noticed that his right eye started to itch, he had been staring at the screen for too long, he got up to take a shower, he stank, after all he didn't take a shower at all yesterday and it was almost 5pm, just a few hours until his brother came home and, more importantly, a few hours until the raid began, he was finally hoping to be included.

The shower was long, hot and relaxing, the only other daily pleasure he allowed himself to enjoy, there was nothing sexual about it, just the relaxed felling, the nothingness of his mind and the comforting drowsiness of his heart. After 20 minutes he finally got out, and quickly got dressed with the first thing the found, he was not going out anyway so why care. He sat on his computer, and he was logging in he heard the sound he found the most disturbing these days, the ringing of a phone.

He knew what it meant, he had been irresponsible in the past, and the call was simply to remind him to do something small to correct that mistake, something small so someone can move on with his life. It's not what you think, he didn't kill anyone, he didn't broke any heart nor stole anything valuable, as a matter of fact it was not about what he did, it was about what he didn't do. He did not send the final grades on the deadline, he knew it was a ?soft? deadline, but then he did something worse. He sent them one day ofter the ?hard? deadline, the day everyone working in the university went on vacation, so all his students got a ?pending? grade and his problems were still there this year.

Well even if he sent the grades late it SHOULD have been ok, the grades were there right?, wrong! Do not underestimate what will freshman medicine students do to get the slightest improvement on his final math grade. To be fair, Andr?s was responsible for some of the mistakes made at grading, and he understood those students trying to contact him to correct his mistakes, but then everyone thought he had made a mistake grading (or said so anyway) .

But even then his problems should have been over weeks ago, should he had gone forward and corrected those mistakes quickly, he did not, instead he let all those mistakes stack one over another as a house of cards ready to fall at the slightest breeze. For that very reason he was afraid of checking his e-mail, or talking to anyone for that matter..As no one was home he simply let the answering machine take the message, he would delete it as soon as they hang up without even listening to it.

***

Andr?s wanted a house, he wanted a home of his own, a place where to be himself, a place where he could bring anyone have a nice home cooked dinner (cooked by himself of course, he loved to cook), crash on the sofa, watch a silly movie, then move to the bedroom and fuck like rabbits if he wanted.

But this is not USA, nor Europe, nor any first world country. for that matter, this is Colombia, this is Bogot?, salaries are low and rents are high, and before you move out you may consider buying a few essentials of course, and of course here is culturally ?easier? to live with your parents until you marry.

Andres may have been able to move last year but he needed to help his mother as she was unemployed (or earning minimum wage the few months she had been working), and he could either move out and not help her, or he could stay at home and help.

He hated the part of his mother that hated him being gay, the part that cried 7 years ago when he told her the first time, the part that cried last year when he told her he finally found the love of his life. He always considered her a woman of little intelligence, and unable a little too ?delicate? to care for stuff like diaper changing or scraped knees. Yet he loved her, she always gave him and his brother what they wanted within reason and neither he nor his brother took advantage of that privilege as they were growing up, she payed for his English classes as he was growing up, not because she wanted a son who spoke English but because Andr?s wanted to learn (Andr?s was a little geeky by the way), she moved to the USA as an illegal alien just before he finished high school to help him pay his studies in the most expensive university of Colombia and of course he wanted to study Physics but he finally moved onto mathematics.

He could not leave her yet, neither could he stay. He would not lose Cami, not even for her.

The money was almost there, he has been working his ass off to get his house his life, 2 jobs one with the city, one with the university, working on his master's thesis, trying to keep fit going to the gym as often as possible, and trying to keep a healthy relationship. It was too much for him. But he wanted, he NEEDED, all those things. He worked even more for those things.

And then it was not pretty.

Cami broke up with him, for reasons unknown, then nothing mattered anymore. Within weeks he lost his job with he city, and he started to become less and less interested with his work at the university, leaving work to the last minute, neglecting his responsibilities. The university will not renew his contract for the next year and who would blame them. Andr?s did not want to do anything anyway. Well at least this stupid game calmed him down, at least this stupid game did not betray him.

-?I could keep playing this stupid game all day?.

And he did, and the day after that and the day after that...

****

Andr?s barely turned around to pick his lunch, he had made habit of having all his meals by the keyboard, -?Why get up when I can eat here?, he turned down all the attempts his family made to make him a part of the family, meals, a movie, some music, latest soup opera, all of them were turned down with a mixture of tactics, apathy and anger. His schedule was also changing, mornings were boring and no one was on line anyway, so he did not get up early, and most people would go to sleep at about midnight and he wasn't sleepy at all so he used the few hours left before sunrise to do the only other thing he did beside playing. He read. Paranoia kept growing, he did not only ignored the phone now, he also started ignoring bills that came home mailed to him, he turned off his cell phone and kept it that way afraid of anyone calling him. This kind of fear was not new to him, but I has been years since he felt something similar. He had felt that kind of fear a few other times through the years, but he mostly remembered it from when he was a little boy.

He was eleven back then, an intelligent yet irresponsible boy, irresponsible not because he did irresponsible things but because he failed to do what he had to do, namely homework. He spent the afternoon watching TV, maybe reading but homework of course was neglected. I new mom would be home at about 7:30 and I was afraid very afraid of what would she tell me, she never (as far as I remember) grounded me or my brother, there was never physical punishment, only lectures.

Yet he was very afraid.

Then I learned a tactic that would allow me to escape the lecture and the fright. It was so simple, she had not the heart to wake us children up if we were sleeping when she got home. So I just went to bed early before she came home. Now he was going to bed early to the world avoiding everything, everyone. He knew it was wrong, he knew hiding would not solve any problem, he knew that he had to tackle his problems in order to solve them. The problem was that it was his head that knew this fact, it was his head. The same head that got him through college, through his Master, the same head that got him that winter trip to Europe, the same head that got the highest grade in his undergraduate thesis.

The same head that was now shutting down.

Now his actions were governed by basic instinct. Get food, get water, get some dopamine in your organism (the game was providing this of course) and of course avoid the pain. And a pain ignored is a pain relived, just like so many years ago he was pulling the same act, he was going to bed early so he would be in the bed when the problems came knocking in his door. Maybe, just maybe his heart would have been able to get things right, maybe just maybe it would have the strength to reconnect his head, to look at the future.

The problem was that his heart no longer held any warmth

----------------------------------------------------------------

Please be kind but sincere

Thank you

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This is a very impressive startup for what appears to be an important story. It would not take much editorial guidance to set it right. Your command of English grammar is only slightly flawed and problems with voice and tense are easily remedied. What comes through very strongly for me is your ability to deliver nuance and subtlety.

I encourage you to go on and I would certainly look forward to reading the result. Unfortunately I cannot offer to help with editing, but I am sure there is someone here with editorial skills whose imagination will be seized by this undertaking.

James Merkin

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I think you have a great story-writing talent and I strongly encourage you to keep writing.

Your English is remarkably good as it's not your first language, I know I would be daunted by the task of writing anything, even the simplest, in any language not my own. Bravo!

However, English as you will know is a tricky language, full of inconsistencies, illogical idiom and linguistic rules that don't work. And at present you need some help from a native English speaker to add the final touch that will make your story read smoothly in English. The fact that it needs very little work to get to that standard is testament to your remarkable achievement. Bravo, I say, again.

Thank you for sharing your work with us - I am honoured to read it.

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I was unsure, just after starting to read this story, if I could 'deal with' the English errors, however, after deciding to ignore them, they became as nothing, and the story itself came to the forefront. Very nicely done. Sadly, I still try to hide from some of my own 'problems' and there were some heart pounding moments of anxiety as I observed my own tactics being revealed.

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Thank you for your comments.

After reading what I wrote again I found several mistakes about the use of person (I mixed first and third person in what should have been third person), it will be corrected in the final draft.

I suspect my english was better than this in the past, but it has been more than 5 years since I had to use it on an everyday basis to write or to speak, and then it was for a short period of time (2 months or so), I still keep reading (of course) and you hear spoken english everywhere even in a country like Colombia. So yes, stricture and grammar are big problems for me as I was never taught how to use them in English and are (of course) very different to their Spanish equivalent.

I'm also having trouble with pacing, I feel like I'm giving away too much information in very few words. I don't know if that is a good or a bad thing as I've noticed that a very common mistake are stories that go nowhere due to highly detalided events that don't matter at all. Yet I feel that I'm writing an abreviatted version of what I'm expecting to be in paper.

I still need an editor and an English teacher of course XD.

EDIT

It is incredible the difference it makes to read the same words in a different font and in a diferent "page". I feel so dumb after reading what I wrote, it looks like a 9 year old did it.

I made some heavy editing and the plan was to edit the main post, but instead I will leave it there as a testimony to my "noobnes" in writing.

A year lost

Chapter 1

Hikar mounted his ram and swiftly moved to the next fishing node, after a few tries it finaly landed on the node, and Andr?s waited with little patience to hear that sound, that splash that allowed him to click on the pole to get his fish.

He was tired, it was almost an hour since Hikar was fishing, but fish sells well and he has yet to upgrade all that uncommon gear to epic gear as soon as possible. Andr?s was focused on his task, moving Hikar around the basin as fast as possible, being as precise as possible with his pole, paying no attention to anything not related with his task. He was also bored, this was not fun, but he really needed that mace, and his instances were locked for the day so that meant nothing to do until raid time. That of course if his guild actually invited him to raid with them this time, he was tired of being left behind, he did not pay 15 bucks a month to be left behind.

As he moved away from the keyboard leaving Hikar standing there in the middle of the screen, he noticed that his right eye started to itch, he had been staring at the screen for too long. He got up to take a shower, he stank, after all he didn't take a shower yesterday and it was almost 5pm, just a few hours until his brother came home and, more importantly, a few hours until the raid began, he was finally hoping to be included.

The shower was long, hot and relaxing, the only other daily pleasure he allowed himself to enjoy. There was nothing sexual about it, just the relaxed felling, the nothingness of his mind and the comforting drowsiness of his heart. After 20 minutes he finally got out and quickly got dressed with the first thing the found. He was not going out anyway so why bother. He sat on his computer, and as he was logging in he heard the sound he found the most disturbing these days, the ringing of a phone.

He knew what it meant, he had been irresponsible in the past and the call was simply to remind him to do something small to correct that mistake, something small so someone can move on with his life. It's not what you think, he didn't kill anyone, he didn't broke any heart nor stole anything valuable, as a matter of fact it was not about what he did, it was about what he didn't do. He did not send the final grades on the deadline, he knew it was a ?soft? deadline so it shouldn't be too much of a problem, but then he did something worse. He sent them one day ofter the ?hard? deadline, the day everyone working in the university went on vacation, as a consequence all his students got a ?pending? grade and his problems were still there this year.

Well. even if he sent the grades late it SHOULD have been ok, the grades were there right?, wrong! Do not underestimate what will freshman medicine students do to get the slightest improvement on his final math grade. To be fair, Andr?s was responsible for some of the mistakes made at grading, and he understood those students trying to contact him to correct his own mistakes, but then everyone thought he had made a mistake grading (or said so anyway) .

But even then his problems should have been over weeks ago, should he had gone forward and corrected those mistakes quickly. He did not, instead he let all those mistakes stack one over another as a house of cards ready to fall at the slightest breeze. For that very reason he was afraid of checking his e-mail, or talking to anyone for that matter, as no one was home he simply let the answering machine take the message, he would delete it as soon as they hang up without even listening to it.

Andr?s wanted a house, he wanted a home of his own, a place where to be himself, a place where he could bring anyone to have a nice home cooked dinner (cooked by himself of course, he loved to cook), crash on the sofa, watch a silly movie, then move to the bedroom and fuck like rabbits if he wanted.

But this is not USA, nor Europe, nor any first world country. for that matter, this is Colombia, this is Bogot?, salaries are low and rents are high, and before you move out you may consider buying a few essentials of course. and the fact that here is culturally ?easier? to live with your parents until you marry meant that there wasn't any pressure of leaving, from outside that is, but inside moving out was the only thing he thought about.

Andres may have been able to move last year but he needed to help his mother as she was unemployed (or earning minimum wage the few months she had been working). He really didn't have any choice if he moved out there was no way, even with his combined salaries, that he had enough left at the end of the month to help her.

He hated the part of his mother that hated him being gay, the part that cried 7 years ago when he told her about his orientation the first time, she had cried the most sorrowful tears Andŕes remembered every time he tried to touch the subject, she cried even more last year when he told her he finally found the love of his life. He always considered her a woman of little intelligence, and unable to care for stuff like diaper changing or scraped knees (She excused herself from those duties on the ground of being ?delicate?). Yet he loved her, she always gave him and his brother everything that they wanted (within reason) and neither he nor his brother took advantage of that privilege as they were growing up, she payed for his English classes when he was a teenager, not because she wanted a son who spoke English (something common in snob Colombian mothers but she was not that snob) but because Andr?s wanted to learn it (Andr?s was a little geeky as you can see), she moved to the USA as an illegal alien just before he finished high school to help him pay his studies in the most expensive university of Colombia. He started studying physics but finally moved onto Mathematics.

He could not leave her yet, neither could he stay. He would not lose Cami, not even for her.

The money was almost there, he has been working his ass off to get his house his life, two jobs, one with the city and one with the university. Working on his master's thesis, trying to keep fit going to the gym as often as possible, and trying to keep a healthy relationship. It was too much for him. But he wanted, he NEEDED all those things. He worked even harder for what he wanted.

And then it was not pretty.

Cami broke up with him, for reasons unknown and then nothing mattered anymore. Within weeks he lost his job with he city, and he started to become less and less interested with his work at the university, leaving it to the last minute, neglecting his responsibilities. The university will not renew his contract for the next year and who would blame them. Andr?s did not want to do anything anyway. Well at least this ?stupid? game calmed him down, at least this ?stupid? game did not betray him.

-?I could keep playing this ?stupid? game all day?.

And he did, and the day after that and the day after that...

***

Andr?s barely turned around to pick his lunch, he had made habit of having all his meals by the keyboard, -?Why get up when I can eat here??, he turned down all the attempts his family made to make him a part of the family, meals, a movie, some music, latest soup opera, all of them were turned down with a mixture of old tactics, apathy and anger. His schedule was also changing, mornings were boring and no one was on line anyway and most people would go to sleep at about midnight, his schedule now started at noon and finished at about 3 am, most of this time was spent playing, only a few hours were spent doing something different, he read as he has done all his life. Paranoia kept growing, he did not only ignored the phone now, he also started ignoring bills that came home mailed to him, he turned off his cell phone and kept it that way afraid of anyone calling him. This kind of fear was not new to him, but it has been years since he felt something similar. He had felt that kind of fear a few other times through the years, but he mostly remembered it from when he was a little boy.

He was eleven back then, an intelligent yet irresponsible boy, irresponsible not because he did irresponsible things but because he failed to do what he had to do, namely homework. He spent the afternoon watching TV, maybe reading, but homework, of course, was neglected. He knew mom would be home at about 7:30 and he was afraid very afraid of what would she tell him, she never grounded him or his brother, there was never physical punishment, only lectures.

Yet he was very afraid.

With time he developed a tactic that would allow him to escape the lecture and the fright. It was so simple, she had not the heart to wake her children up if they were sleeping when she got home. So he just went to bed early before she came home. Now he was going to bed early to the world. Avoiding everything, everyone, he knew it was wrong, he knew hiding would not solve any problem, he knew that he had to tackle his problems in order to solve them. The problem was that it was his head that knew this fact, it was his head. The same head that got him through college, through his Master, the same head that got him that winter trip to Europe, the same head that got the highest grade in his undergraduate thesis.

The same head that was now shutting down.

Now his actions were governed by basic instinct. Get food, get water, get some dopamine in your organism (the game was providing this of course) and of course avoid the pain. And a pain ignored is a pain relived, just like so many years ago he was pulling the same act, he was going to bed early so he would be in the bed when the problems came knocking in his door. Maybe, just maybe his heart would have been able to get things right, maybe just maybe it would have the strength to reconnect his head, maybe it would have allowed him to look at the future.

The problem was that his heart no longer held any warmth[

****

Sorry for taking too much visual space but I couldn't get the tag [hide] a [/hide] to work

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/e

Boadiceas stares at you with disapproval

/s

"Who's life are you calling stupid, pal? You may think it's 'just a game' but it's my life.

/rude

Yes, I know the addiction. It's like living in an interactive novel...very, very seductive for those of us who like to make up our own worlds and characters.

The only criticism I would make is a content problem, and nothing to do with grammar or first and third person or any of that. All that stuff can be fixed relatively easily. The problem that I see is that while the prose is lovely, the piece you've given us is more like an outline of a story than an actual story. There's a couple minutes of showing the scene in the beginning of the piece, and then you go to telling us about what the guy is feeling and thinking. I think there are two problems with this: one, you don't have much of anywhere left to go, since you've already explained the story. and two, we miss the 'unfolding' of the story as it is revealed by what the character does and in slow degrees we start to really get what is going on. I think you said this was chapter one of a novel, right? So you have room enough and time to really show us what kind of guy this person is by how he lives his days, where he goes and what he thinks as he's fixing his meals to eat next to his keyboard...well, you see what I mean.

You have a knack for beautiful language. It's clear that you have the poet's love for the feel of good language on your tongue, so you've a whole lot of what it takes to be a writer. keep going on this - I believe it's got the bones of an excellent story.

cheers!

aj

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