Author Topic: Normalization Quest  (Read 524 times)

Certis Baliano

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Normalization Quest
« on: March 25, 2014, 06:45:45 PM »

Normalization Quest

Another cross-post from BL. As with Hot Worms, votes will be added together.
There are 5 “main” endings: Order, Anarchy, Naivety, Megalomania and Apathy. However, since there will be times when I’ll allow write-in answers, it is possible to go so off the rails that I’ll have to write a completely new ending. There are also a numerous sub- and dead endings. Whenever you encounter an ending of any type – even a dead one – I’ll ask whether or not you’ll accept it as the “true” ending to this story. If you do, this Quest will end, if you don’t, then we’ll go back in the story a bit and choose a different course of action.
This quest will most likely be an unhappy one. It will contain dark themes and actions. With enough perseverance, things might just change, but that will be up to you.

Please join me for the Normalization Quest.

You felt a shock going through your body as your back met with the hard metal of a needlessly large locker.
I bet it’s due to the events of yesterday.
“We’re doing this because of what happened yesterday,” said a girl you wish you knew less than you did.
Sandra seemed to fit a girl who dressed the way she did. Dirty blonde hair, tied up in a high-cut ponytail; thick black-rimmed glasses which lacked the ability to correct anyone’s eyesight; mismatched clothes from numerous older decades – combining all of those elements screamed the name she had. Her personality, however, didn’t.
“We used to do this to you only when you failed to live up to our expectations,” said Sandra. “But now we are going to shove you into your locker. Every. Single. Day.” She smiled. “For your surely to come future insubordinations, we’ll just have to think of something else. Lock the door, Tanel.”
The big guy – made even bigger in comparison to the 160 cm short girl he was standing next to – suddenly blinked his eyes, as if waking up from a daydream. Afraid to do the wrong thing, he decided to be absolutely sure of his orders, “Will I close the locker door first?”
“Yes!” said Sandra impatiently. “Dmitri would have never wasted my time like you are doing now. Get to it already.”
Your world went black, save for a small slit about the height of your eye level. Arguing was pointless, dragged things out and usually made things worse. It was easier to just wait until 5 pm, slip your hand through the opening in the door and use your key to unlock yourself. The first dozen times it had taken you close to an hour to accomplish, but hey, practice made you perfect. If you so desired, you could be an your way home as soon as Sandra took her leave.
“Don’t even think of leaving before your ‘Time out’ is over,” said Sandra, repeating the sentence she always said just before leaving. You never did; not anymore, at least. For some reason, she always punished you the day after you had left or even thought about leaving early. She never said why she punished you, but as soon as you stopped having those forbidden thoughts, the silent punishments stopped as well.
She knows. She always knows.
“Well, seeing as you’ll be here until 8 pm today, I’ll grant you the right to think about escaping. Only thinking, understand?” asked Sandra.
You knocked twice. She and you had an understanding that two knocks stood for ‘yes’ and one knock for ‘no’. She had commanded you to use a knocking system after the Ball gown Incident, which rendered you unable to speak for two weeks. You occasionally still communicated that way with her even now; usually in cases when you didn’t want your voice to agitate her. Sandra hated the sound of your voice. You knew that because she said so at least once a day.
“Most pleasing,’ said Sandra in a soft moan. “If you’ll walk barefoot in school tomorrow, you may leave half an hour early today. Follow me, Tanel.”
As if in tune with the fading footsteps, the gears in your head started turning. She said that it was because of what Raido did to Dmitri yesterday. In that case, why is she being so nice to me? I thought that she’d act hysterically today. I guess that she must be planning something special. Just thinking about yesterday is making you feel down. Raido, you didn’t have to do that to him, I tried telling you… You didn’t have to get kicked out of school for me.
Raido Tamm, your best – and only – friend had always stuck up for you. If you hadn’t stopped him from “avenging” you after the Ball gown Incident, he would most likely be in jail right now. Even though he was probably in his room right now instead of a prison cell, it felt all the same for you. Your one pillar of support was gone.
You closed your eyes for a minute and cleared your head. Stupid me. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Boarding that train of thought lead to a bad place; heading in that direction was a sign that you should take your medication. You didn’t like taking it since it made you feel disconnected from yourself, but you made sure to take it at least once a week; it was the best compromise you could make.
Seeing as you were inside your own locker, you had all of your “isolation items” neatly put onto the shelves, to their precise spot. You took a bottle of water and a small round pill from a long and silvery sheet. After ingesting the white ball of numbness, you put the things back to their right places and whipped out your iPhone. Even inside the locker, the reception was great.
Getting out half an hour early in exchange for all of the explaining you would have to do was not worth it. Besides, the only thing that bothered you about being stuck in here was the lack of ability to change positions. Otherwise, you didn’t mind it at all. After all, you would be doing exactly the same thing right now, even if you had gone straight home; being on the internet. The phone’s bright screen gave the insides of your locker a faint blue glow. You Googled “Red Wonder” – the oddly-nicknamed comet flying past Earth – in hopes of digging up new developments relating to it. A lot of people were arguing that the comet was flying too close to Earth.
All of the different news sites were citing just a couple of hours old article written by a well-respected professor. He was saying that the so-called “Red Wonder” posed absolutely no threat to anyone and that the media has blown the absurd theories of anonymous internet users way out of proportions. He even provided calculations, serving to validate his story. Seeing as no-one – besides a handful of commentators – were trying to dispute the numbers, you thought that they must be correct. After all, you didn’t know much about math nor physics.
What a shame. If the world were to end, I wouldn’t have to worry about whatever Sandra is planning. You sighed and then moved your sight to the upper area of your phone’s screen. It’s 5:30 pm, the new episode of Involuntary Waifu Project should be translated by now.
It was. You navigated to a colorful site and clicked on the anime you had in your mind. After a couple of seconds, episode 172 started playing. You observed it stoically.
When you first started watching that series, it interested you; it gave you energy; it was something that made you happy. Now, however, it gave you nothing. It was simply something you mechanically did. You needed to finish that series, that way you would be able to say that you had seen something from start to finish. It was a problem that had plagued your life for as long as you could remember; you don’t remember a single thing that you had completed 100%. You were used to giving up on other things, other projects; this would not be one of them.
Time flew by quickly. The episode was nearing its end. As Waifu’s ending song began with the familiar-sounding four chords of pop, the door shuddered with the sound of a knock. “Well, well. If I knew you liked school this much, I could have granted you the right to roam around here even after hours,” said a smiling man.
Hearing something unexpected, you flinched by reflex, causing your phone to fall to the bottom of the locker; screen down. During the many, many times you had been stuck here, you had never seen someone walk through this hallway past 5 pm. Since it was also dark outside in the hallway, the light of his phone must have given him away. You knew that the speaker was a man due to his voice and you knew he was smiling because his mouth was the only thing you could see through the slit.
You heard a clang resonating from the outside of the locker. “Hold on for a bit. I’ll call our huff-and-puffer and we’ll get you out in no time. Or rather… in a little time.” He paused. “Longer if the traffic’s bad.
He thinks that I’ve been locked inside someone else’s locker.
“I… uh, here,” you said, reaching out hand through the opening; key in your palm.
“Well, that sure speeds things up.”
After a soft ‘clack’, there door opened. The man before you looked too old to be a student but too young to be an employee. Nonetheless, you knew him; kind of. You had seen him walking around the school a great number of times, yet you knew nothing about the man. You figured that he must be an IT guy, seeing as he was a suited-up man in his twenties. Shortly after immigrating, you had learned that 95% of the teachers in this country were women, 4% old men and only the remaining 1% consisted of young men.
“Listen, I know that it’s getting late already. In fact, I was actually on my way home right now, but…” said the man, trailing off. After a short pause, he continues, “There’s obviously a story behind you ending up in that locker… and having a key for it, so let’s continue this conversation in my classroom. I’ll make some coffee.”
Without waiting for your reply, he started walking down the hallway, expecting you to follow him.
[ ] Follow him. He seems like a genuinely nice person.
[ ] Run home. He probably doesn’t know who you are.
[ ] Hide and then go back into the closet. Sandra will know otherwise. She always knows.

Our main character was voted to have the name Jaune Delacroix. He moved to Estonia a couple of years ago and speaks – or rather, writes and understands – the language well enough. Nonetheless, he clearly looks different from everyone.

Certis Baliano

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Re: Normalization Quest
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2014, 06:46:30 PM »

Your instinct of doing what other people tell you to do kicked in.
Besides, he looks like a nice guy enough. Then again, so does everyone at first.
Picking up your phone, you started following the man. You had to put an effort into walking faster than usual. Even though you were a small guy, the need to keep up with tall people’s footsteps had never been a problem for you. The only person ever to walk beside you had been Raido, and he had always walked in short strides.
You made sure not to completely catch up with the man. After the distance between the two of you had shrunk down to 1 meter, you tried to keep it that way and kept trotting along the dim hallway, making a couple of turns here and there.
Tap-tap. Tap, tap. Tap-tap. Tap, tap.
At that moment, the only audible sound in your whole world was the sound of footsteps. You were not the type of person to engage others in conversations. In fact, you loved the moments when other people around you stayed quiet, didn’t ask any questions or best of yet – left you alone. It gave you time to think, to ‘recharge’ yourself. However, your current situation felt wrong somehow.
Why does this feel so eerie?
Even though you had walked these halls countless times, something felt different.
Oh yeah, I usually listen to music. That must be it.
Realizing that you had been clutching your phone the entire time, you finally looked at it; you wish you hadn’t. The phone’s screen was full of so many cracks that you could not see anything on the display; if the phone was still turned on, that is. You could not tell.
Shit! Hopefully someone will be able to fix my iPhone; otherwise I’ll just be throwing money into the wind. The contract’s still valid for a year or so.
Sighing, you suddenly hit your head against something and almost fell down.
“Eh, I was going to make a joke about me filing a sexual harassment complaint, but you look like you might actually take me seriously, “ said the man you were following. Noticing the confused look on your face, he tried to explain further, “You know… because of you bumping into me and hitting an inappropriate part of the body and how it usually is the other way---- never mind. Let’s go inside.” He unlocked a beautiful wooden door and gestured for you to go inside.
Has that door always been here? I’m sure that I would have noticed it before.
All the doors in your school were regular plain old white and had metal hinges. However, the door in front of you was completely different. It almost looked ancient. The entire thing was full of ornate carvings of angels. Every part of the carving looked unique; no detail had been copied or rushed. It almost seemed like a painting. It didn’t even have a hinge. The man had simply pushed it open, after ramming a 20 cm long key inside, made in a similar design to the door.
“I promise not to make any more jokes like that. Sheesh, you are way too serious,” said the man in a friendly tone while pocketing the key.
Feeling pressured by the man’s glare, you entered the dim classroom.
“The light switch is on your left,” came a sound from the hallway.
Hearing that, you immediately started looking for the switch. Even though you had never been scared of the dark before, something inside of you pressured you to find a source of light; fast.
You could not believe that closing a door – any door – could make a noise loud enough to rival the sound of a gunshot; that one did. You could tell by the fact that your world had gone pitch-black right after that horrendously loud sound.
Light, light, where’s the damn switc-----aaah!
“There you are!”
As soon as your hand had found the switch, something else had found you. You tried pulling your hand away from the switch, but couldn’t. Something was preventing you from doing that. You felt a pressure rising higher and higher on the back of your hand. You felt as if a hot branding iron was being pressed against you.
And then the pain was gone; in its stead, there was light.
“Aaaahaha, I really should apologize about that,” said the man after pulling his hand away from yours. “You see, this switch is an old relic from the Soviet era that no-one has bothered to replace. You have to apply some serious force in order to turn the lights on. I forgot to mention that, didn’t I?”
Flicking a switch takes only a second; that felt like--- no, I guess it makes sense.
From the inside, the classroom looked like any other. There were 16 double-seated desks, one large desk and a dozen of shelves and cupboards; all on them made out of maple. The only peculiar thing was the door, looking otherworldly even from the inside.
“Please, take a seat, Jaune.”
You did not find it odd for the man to know your name. In fact, you did not even think about it. Everything felt so natural. There was no need to be on your guard around him. After all, he seemed like such a nice person.
“S-sure,” you replied, trying to get your stammering under control.
After you had taken a seat, the man looked in your eyes and said, “Since you probably don’t know me, I should introduce myself.” He offered you his hand. “I’m Patrik Orunurm, this school’s religion teacher.” You shook it. “Well, since it’s not a required class, pretty much no-one takes it. I only have 7 students in total. Aaahahaha”
You let out a small chuckle, finding Orunurm’s odd laughter more amusing than his self-deprecation.
Yeah, coming here was the right thing to do. I think I feel better already.
The man smiled. “It’s good to finally see a smile on your face. You should do it more often, it suits you.”
You smiled.
“Well, I did promise you some coffee. It’ll only take a couple of minutes, so stay put. We’ll put our discussion on hold until then, deal?”
You watched as Orunurm bustled around, getting hot water and pouring it to his french press, then realizing that he had forgotten to add coffee, then spending half an hour going through all the classrooms in the school, determined that someone must’ve taken his pack of coffee and forgotten to give it back.
Eventually, he found what he was looking for and managed to make a damn good cup of coffee. None of you had said a word since first tasting that strangely alluring hot liquid and none of you had stopped until the entire can was empty.
“So,” said Orunurm, his face darkening. “Who stuck you into that closet?”
The teacher locked his eyes with yours. After what felt like an eternity, he spoke again, “I’ll change my question, then. Who was responsible for you ending up in that closet?”
You tried to meet his gaze, but couldn’t. You looked left and right, finally to the ground. Gazing at the empty cups, you realized that he’d wait here all night if he’d have to. Besides, you had probably already accepted this man when deciding to go with him. After all, he seemed like such a good man.
“…it was Sandra. She was the one who told Tanel to force me into the closet,” you spit out the words, becoming more confident. “Before him, it was Dmitri. Raido was just, just trying to protect me, to pay back for Dmitri after WHAT HE DID!” You were half-yelling, half-crying by then.
Instead of saying how it’ll all turn out right or offering any kind of consolation, Orunurm simply asked, “What did he do?”
[ ] Tell him. Tell Orunurm what the bastard did!
[ ] Don’t tell him. You don’t feel like sharing that memory.
[ ] Bolt! Something feels wrong.

Cherry Lover

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Re: Normalization Quest
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2014, 06:53:14 PM »
OK, what's the general idea of this? Is it Nasuverse-based?

Certis Baliano

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Re: Normalization Quest
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2014, 06:55:24 PM »
OK, what's the general idea of this? Is it Nasuverse-based?

Not at all. That's why I posted it under Doujin.

Cherry Lover

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Re: Normalization Quest
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2014, 06:57:34 PM »
OK, well, I vote:

[X] Tell him. Tell Orunurm what the bastard did!

I think getting someone to deal with whoever these assholes are would be a good idea.