No Toilets for Animals [Chapter 4 up 9/29/2017]

No Toilets for Animals
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Chapter 1
Prey
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A rainstorm was coming to Preserve G-6, it was going to pour so much that the area was receiving a flood warning, I still have nightmares, I still remember…

Mom, Dad and Big Brother Polmias were all hurrying, even though at the time I did not know why they were hurrying, it was a flood, I knew that, but it would start raining in an hour, I did not know why they were hurrying then, but now deep in my soul, I know…from how he held my hand over my mouth to the cramped darkness, to the tears running down our faces I remember, to the scent of the towel he put inside his mouth to muffle his panting, and the taste and scent of my own, I still remember what Dad told me, but only one hour after would I grasp the reality of our situation

Polmias was carrying me, as a result he was slowed down, I was only six at the time, but I was still smart enough to see past his stoic expression to know that I was burdening him with my weight, but I was a child, I could not grasp the full gravity of Dad’s words until three years later-We mean nothing to them, they believe their abuse towards us holds absolutely no moral weight, do you understand?…

I gritted my teeth.

“Hurry Polmias, run faster, go!” Dad said, “don’t stop!”

While mom and Dad were extremely fast by themselves and could run at a 37 mph max speed, for several hours, but Big Brother was a juvenile, a thirteen year old who could barely keep up for half an hour, forget the 70 lb child he was holding, Polmias was panting noticeably, his ears layed back to his head and tail bristled as we ran faster than any human capable. I knew I was slowing us down.

[b]…they believe us to be just another kind of animal, stronger, faster, and often tougher than the humans, while our intelligence is equal to, maybe greater than the humans, but that does not matter, to them we’re still beasts without souls, the monstrous Galehunters made sure every human would think this.

I shuddered on the inside and my face turned pale.

The Galehunters are a fairytail, made up. Not real.

“Dad, what’s going on?” I asked, “the flood is just an hour from now, we should get to the shelter with Carane, Firma and the others, while we can, and BB’s getting tired!”

we were running uphill, and the others were going down, fearfully whispering amongst themselves, all I knew was that running uphill makes you more tired than if you ran on a flat surface, I didn’t make the connection then.

“Don’t stop for anything” Mom said right after my outburst with a desperate tone, “Don’t look back Sweety!”

“Where are we going? The Flood Shelter is that way! Didn’t the Keepers say so?”

“Maed,” BB gasped out, “do not be naive, never trust them no matter what, you can’t because-” he manage to spit out before having a coughing fit, nearly tripping and falling to the ground.

There are those who believe it will be easy to see through their lies once they have all of the answers, but the fact is virtually all know next to nothing, outside the humans themselves. Almost every poke at their deceptions and their motivations raises more questions than answers, I don’t know what you’ll find but…if the humans find out you know they will kill you without hesitation at every opportunity, never give them that chance…

Surely not all of them are like that

“Here Poli, give Maed to me, you don’t have to carry her” BB’s load was relieved when Father took me from BB’s arms and carried me bridal style, relieving him from carrying my weight. As we passed by more people their faces and eyes were giving us a sad, knowing, and distant look, in most of them was a deep-seated respect. I thought they were pitying us then, but it was a look that said they were cheering us on. “Don’t stop, keep going.” One Feli woman with a red tipped tail said

As we fled Mom said, “look!”

I listened for it and my ears were twitching, all perked up when I heard them. It was another group of Hymans running, I could tell there were at least 22 of them, including children, several of them probably not even 8 years old and they were in a hurry, despite this we were faster and caught up to them, being Lacertae their tails were larger and weighed them down.

We were on the doorstep of an adobe brick store with the rainshade extended and we were just now catching up, just several dozen feet away, a few were holding guns. I almost called out to them, asking why they’re carrying weapons, which are illegal, but we heard it before they did and froze, one of them looked up and cried out, using one word I’ve only heard in fearful whispers until that very instant.

“Violators!” One of the shorter men cried, he and his compatriots looked up and saw them, as did my parents and BB. They instantly fled into the alleyways to the right, a few of them firing shots at the airborne terrors, and my family followed several seconds later. Just as I looked up we were in the alleyway system with those men and women and I could not even see the terror of the skies. But I was afraid, for the first time I started to truly grasp the gravity of our situation. The Violator drones are hunters, The Keepers only sent them after criminals

… do you understand? There’s nothing and no one to stop them from doing whatever they want…

Yes, there is, it’s called law, sure it’s bad here, but it would be worse if we were to just run it ourselves, with them in charge there’s order and stability, if it’s just us it would be a mess!

“Dad…?”

“We need to split up.” Dad said, “including those Lacertae, they can’t hunt all of us at once!”

“Where are we going, Dad?” BB asked.

“Stay with Mom Polmias, she knows where to go.”

“Dad?”

Conveniently we encountered a threeway fork, in an apartment complex consisting of various buildings, Dad and me took the left route while Mom and BB took the Middle, we were running for a while and Dad started panting slightly in exhaustion until we we came across the back of the Keeper’s Meal Distribution Complex, with dumpsters.

“We hide here.” Dad said as he slowed to a stop a little bit past the gap.

The smell is something I’m used to, the place always smelled like rotting flesh, I got used to it from a distance, Dad then walked back, he then opened the first dumpster and finding it completely empty. He moved on to the next one, it was as empty as the previous one, he moved on to the third one as he growled in frustration, he opened it and…

I almost immediately held my nose, Father had the same opinion. “Oouugh, perfect, Maed, we hide in here.”

“In there?” I asked incredulously as he picked me up, “but it stinks so bad in there Dad.”

I was dropped in the fetid container and immediately sunk in something a wet and squishy substance almost up to my chest as I was dropped into the bad meat. I gagged and started coughing, the scent was overpowering, and flies were buzzing all around. As Dad dove in he closed the dumpster door, he placed something under the lid, which immediately started blinking.

“Ugh, here, put these nose plugs on.” Dad said, holding out his hand shortly before putting his pair into his nose.

I took it without hesitation and shoved them in there immediately sighing in relief afterwards.

“Better?” Dad said, but he sounded funny, I would have laughed in any other situation, but the fact that we were in grave danger didn’t stop me from smiling.

“Much better”’

The dumpster was silent, as was strangely enough the world outside, I couldn’t hear the human wardens and the robot guards. I couldn’t even hear the chopping of the Violator’s blades as they flew with my sharp Felis hearing.

“Do you think they’re gone?”

“Yes.” Father responded, “but I don’t know if they’re even searching for us, but we’re going to have to stay in here for a while Maed, we can’t risk it.”

I noticed the device Dad had put on the bottom of the dumpster’s door and was curious about it and it’s green blinking light.

…there are very good reasons why we cannot ask questions that the Humans should have been asking themselves for a long long time they’re kings and queens over all the earth, never forget it is they who hold our fate in their hands.

My brows furrowed.

“Dad?”

“Yeah Darling?”

“What’s that thing you put on the dumpster’s door?” I asked, “it’s blinking repeatedly and putting off a weird noise.”

He looked at the device in the poor light, and I saw his fuzzy red ears twitch toward device and the brows furrow ever so slightly, near perfect night vision comes in handy.

“That? It’s the device that will guarantee they won’t find us, it will mask our body heat and dampen all noise in here, the only thing they’ll hear are the flies.”

I relaxed after I heard that news, “thanks Dad,” but still. “Where did you get that? Isn’t technology like that only accessible for the humans?”

He was silent before answering, “Normally, I got it from the Humans, but I will not tell you how, all you need to know is that we’re safe.”

“Okay.”

and so we waited, and as the time dragged on, I decided to satisfy my curiosity.

“Dad?”

“What is it Darling?”

“About your work…”

“My job assignment? I’m a janitor Maed, what’s there to talk about? Aside from all the crap the human kids give deliberately give me to clean up?”

“No, your other job.”

He flinched then went absolutely still and silent for a 15 seconds, “what are you talking about? I’m a janitor, I have no other job assignment, Hymans are only allowed one.”

The gloves are off, I decided to get real.

“Dad, I’m sorry but cut the crap, you said this place is completely soundproofed right? The only thing anyone putting their ear to it is flies! So why don’t we talk about it now? Here’s the perfect time and place to do it. I heard you talking to a coworker about some weapon you’re trying to dispose of?”

I saw his eyes go blank and his jaw hang open slightly, for a while, Dad can overlook things, it doesn’t happen often, but when it does he’s usuall-. Huh?

“Hehehehehe,” He laughed, leaving me dumbstruck.

“What’s so funny?” I asked incredulously.

“It’s just…what you said…‘the only thing anyone putting their ear to it is flies?’ Hehehehehehe!”

My face was blank before I saw it and joined him in face twisting laughter.

“Hahahahahaha!”

We took our time to calm down, and I appreciated the fact I’m trapped in a horribly smelly dumpster with noseplugs…but.

“Dad, where’s Mom and BB? Where are they going?”

“Mom and Polmias are going to hide somewhere, catch their breath, Polmias was pretty tired last we saw him, his asthma isn’t helping anything, then they’re going to hide in the medical ward, it will be completely abandoned by the time they get there,” Dad said with utter surety.

“Dad, there’s an electric fence there that’s turned on all the time, they can’t get in even if they’re not caught!”

He turned my direction. “There used to be a sewer system that ran all throughout the Preserve, but the Craimians shut it down centuries ago, clogging most of the pipes draining into it and leaving us without a way to clear out waste water without the government’s help, the tunnels are still intact, and most of them are dry enough to walk through.”

My eyes widened, “but Father the sewers is where not only the floodwater from here goes, but also where the human city put the floodwater, they’ll drown!”

His lips tightened. “The sewers don’t follow the same pathways the streets do, they’re set up in a grid, no meandering pathways, it won’t take long for them to get there, there’s a manhole they can come up from on the other side of the fence, they’ll be out of there before It even begins to rain. The Human doctors and Keepers there won’t be a problem, they’re long gone now.”

I relaxed at my Father’s words, he always knows best how to calm me down. While I heard another voice whispering something…

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“So, you want to know more about my other job?”

…ed

The voice got louder.

“Yes.” I responded with a steady voice.

Maed

The voice got louder again.

“Alright, I will to tell you, like you said this place is soundproofed, where to begin, the things I’m about to tell you are…complicated to say the least, trust me this will not be easy to accept, brace yourself.”
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“A long time ago, when Mom was pregnant with Polmias, I was approached by-”

MAED!

“Aaah!” I woke up with a start, sitting up fast as light, my nightgown and undershorts drenched in sweat.

Panting, I looked around my surroundings, I was on the floor outside the hallway, right next to a door, the sleeping mat cushioning me effectively. Just another dream.

Just as I started getting up, the door opened and out came a certain girl who…

“Mornin Suregonn!”

BONK
“Urrgh”

…accidentally smashed my forehead with the doorknob, knocking me out for the next few hours.
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Welp, that’s all guys! Hope you enjoyed it! And please do not kill me, what happens next? You cannot decide or know, and if you notice any typos or any other problems, please tell me. Till we meet again, and don’t lose hope for chapter II.

Re: No toilets for Animals

Come on, man. Cattus? Really? You couldn’t at least call them feli (plural for the Latin word felis, which the species name for cats is derived from)? Because the species name sure as hell isn’t “cattus” and all the rest are related to the species/kingdom names… this really looks out of place compared to the rest of them.

Re: No toilets for Animals

Seconded.

As for the story itself, I’m never fond of it when stories start with nothing but exposition. I get that it’s in another world with its own history but there’s nothing here that we can’t learn as the story goes on. Trust your audience to have patience and to accept the world for it is until you fill in the void.

Re: No toilets for Animals

Xenonvoid=aaaah, thank you, I’ll rectify the mistake, I knew I was doing something wrong. :slight_smile:

TheOneWhoSees=It will get better, trust me.

Re: No toilets for Animals

Good. Cattus is admittedly a Latin word for cat, but it’s a highly informal one, which seems very odd when compared to the more official Latin words for species/kingdoms that you have on every other animal. Definitely reads much better as felis.

I think you missed the point of TheOneWhoSees’ comment, though. Since I understand and agree with him (and partly because I think this idea is too amazing to just not say anything and let the execution remain so poor), I’ll explain what he meant.

Starting a story with an info dump like you did is lazy, boring, ineffective writing, no matter how good, relevant or necessary the info itself is. And telling us that “it will get better” does nothing to justify it starting out so badly… in fact, the way you started it is going to lead people to believe that it actually won’t get better, despite your claim, and that the story might not even be worth following to see if they’re wrong. A well written story is able to divulge all the same kinds of information you just did in segments at a realistic pace and frequency within the normal narrative. Was all the info you gave us in the prologue necessary to understand the world you’ve created? Yes, probably. Did you need to tell us all of it in one sitting before even starting the actual story? Hell no, and if I might throw in my personal opinion, doing it that way is just about the worst way to tell us all that info that you could have picked, save for one-handed typing, if you catch my drift.

Sorry if I sound harsh, but I’m not the kind of person to pull my punches when there are glaring flaws that I can’t overlook. If you’re still willing to accept advice, I would recommend completely scrapping the prologue (and just replacing it with chapter one when you finish it) and then rewriting whatever you have already written of chapter one to include bits and pieces of the prologue’s information as they become relevant to the current events of the story. Note that you don’t have to include all of the information in the first chapter, or even the first several chapters. If you want examples of how exactly to do this, PM me and I can give you ways to do it for each major piece of information you divulged in the prologue.

Re: No toilets for Animals

Thanks Xenovoid, I’ll rewrite it, hey, we’re both “voids!”

Re: No toilets for Animals

I had to do a double take; I thought you were replying to yourself with the first reply. :slight_smile:

Re: No toilets for Animals

Honestly I had a similar reaction when the OP suddenly said, “Hey, we’re both voids!” I had seen them around the forum before, but every time I clicked on this story, I never checked the author, so it didn’t hit me that I was talking to this specific person until they pointed out the similarity in our names.

A bit of context for my name, by the way: Xenon (though he is known by the name Xeo - either way, the X is pronounced like a “Z”) is the name of the deuteragonist of a novel series I’ve been working on for my entire time as a writer. Void is the name of his power, as well as the name of the dimension he is trapped in because his powers awakened. Inside this dimension that exists separately from reality, which is quite literally an endless black void, he can control everything, rewrite almost all laws of the natural world, and create anything he wants from the nothingness, save for life. But he also has no idea how to effectively use this great power for a good portion of the series. Not like it matters though, since merely by being able to use his power at an amateur level, he outclasses almost every being in existence by a wide margin. Which would reek of Gary Stu if it weren’t for the fact that he has less fights in the series than any other character in the primary cast, and all his significant one on one battles are against the only characters stronger than he is and the protagonist.

Re: No toilets for Animals

Hm, that’s probably going to be a hard one to pull off. I wish you the best of luck, if you need it.

Re: No toilets for Animals

I’ve done that three times now in as many threads.

@XenonVoid Thanks for elaborating. I saw his reply earlier but was too tired to reply, it’s possible I never would have gotten around to replying if the story had updated before then.

I see exposition dump beginnings all the time here, especially with sci-fi/fantasy settings. I don’t think I’ve ever read past the intro for any of them (I think I’ll go back and do so for a few of them just to see what they’re like).

It’s definitely something to avoid: if it has that affect on me it probably has that affect on plenty of other people, too.

Re: No toilets for Animals

Okay, is it fixed now.

Re: No toilets for Animals

Uh, “fixed” seems to be relative here… because the opening paragraph alone is chock full of run on sentences and overall terrible formatting, never mind how you literally have dialogue in the middle of it… which is kind of a taboo, since dialogue is supposed to have its own paragraph along with its descriptive modifiers.

Re: No toilets for Animals

Don’t worry about the spelling and grammar on the first chapter. It’s so full of exposition, that after you finish the story, we’ll suggest cutting it and starting the story at Chapter Two. Spelling and grammar are important from here on out.

Re: No toilets for Animals

Except we literally already did that with the prologue, and it’s still like this at chapter one… which was so terribly formatted that I legitimately couldn’t read it all the way through.

Re: No toilets for Animals

Where are you guys seeing a chapter 1? Because all I see is an updated version of the prologue with a horizontal rule separating two sections of it.

And speaking of:

Nether Void, did you seriously use an emoticon instead of an actual word in there? That is just horrible on so many levels, and I know for a fact there’s no way in hell you accidentally got the :police: emoticon in there because it requires two f***ing colons to get it.

Re: No toilets for Animals

No no no! It’s not a replacement for a word Renko, it’s only an addition I promise! Ugh, I didn’t think it would be this rough, okay, I’ll lay down on the use of emoticons, I promise!

Re: No toilets for Animals

Here, let me explain (calmly, I promise), what people are talking about with the whole “exposition” thing.

  1. Do not post a glossary of terms to start a story. This is information you can reveal in the story as needed. First time you make mention of a “Canis”, you can spend half a sentence or so describing him or her.

  2. All that stuff about world history? Again, this is information that can be delicately woven into the story itself, piece by piece.

You don’t need to explain it all before the story starts, because when the story first starts, nobody cares about all this world almanac stuff or what the hell a Canis or a Cattus is. You have to make us care by telling a compelling story, only stopping to briefly explain something when that something comes up. Maybe there’s a dramatic scene where one of the transmogs is leading a protest, and he speaks proudly of “a thousand years ago” when the transmogs were proud and free, and a brief recap of how the horrible humans stole their dignity and what-not.

Telling me this stuff up front just means that, by the time I’m actually interested in the story, I have to do the extra work of referring back to that first chapter, because I’m not going to retain any of that information!

Re: No toilets for Animals

Being willing to listen to suggestions and going back to try and rework the opening is good. The story idea itself is interesting and original, so you’ve got that going for you, too. :slight_smile:

This opening reads like it would be something in story notes, filed under “world building”- aka all things the author sees but the readers never see. One thing with fantasy/ sci-fi stories is they require more world building than a story set in places/societies already familiar to most readers.

I’ve seen published books do an info dump in “prologues”-in the beginning of a story, most readers aren’t invested in the characters or their world. They’re just testing the waters to see if this story interests them. Some readers may simple skip the “world tour brochure” aka the info dump. If a reader does read it, they may just skim it and not really pay attention to it.

Information on how the world works, etc, is great notes for the author to use as a reference themselves as they write. :slight_smile: But for the reader, you want them to get emotionally invested in the story first. Give them a character doing something, and explain the world as is needed. Character doing something= that’s a hook, it shows the readers the character and gets them invested in the story.

You have a good story premise here. We’re not dog piling on you to discourage you. We’re trying to help you craft a story that is as awesome as its premise. :slight_smile:

Re: No toilets for Animals

I’ll explain why they’re bad to use in stories. There are actually several people who use screen readers on the board and the emoticons actually mess with those and thus break the flow of the speech. Don’t get me wrong, screen readers aren’t perfect in that regard anyway but most of them make a noticable pause when they encounter a colon.

Read this sentence pausing for a half second on each comma and 1.5 seconds on each colon.

The firemen, :police: , and ambulance drivers all break the law legally when responding to calls.

See how it breaks the flow of the sentence for you? Now imagine having a slightly mechanical voice doing that. :slight_smile:

Re: No toilets for Animals

So I take it ASCII Art is out, too? I was planning on doing that.

Also, how did you type in the codes without the emoticons showing up?