When the Buzzards Drone


Mama cotton always told me I was different. Don’t know why or how, but I always seemed a little fast in the sun.

What’s your favorite season? For me, it has to be summer. Summer is a magical time for me and my plantation. It’s hot as the dickens, the sun beating down on all of us, and the humidity can kill a helioptile in a heartbeat. The buzzards pick at us too. But we survive. Besides, it’s that time of year when we bloom into whimsicott, or have our cotton fluff harvested for all the town’s clothing. We’re a hot commodity in this here town, an’ Farmer Bill’s whole family has been keepin us here for generations. When our cotton grows extra fluffy, we get sheared by the workers. We like getting sheared in August ‘cause that’s the hottest, most humid month. We’d burst right into flames! Don’t know where the older whimsies go when they get sheared. They say that their cotton ain’t fresh no more after shearin and I never see them again. Mayhaps they’ve been sold off to new farmers? Who knows!

I live on the largest cottonee plantation in the county. It is huge! Mayhaps a couple, three hundred acres or so? I dunno, but there are large, sprawling fields of grass for us to roam on. However, when we get sheared we are all moved over to one bald spot where all the oddishes done ruined the tilling by the mudsdales. We can’t leave of course. Farmer Bill’s got several houndooms and houndours to keep us from running. This sun amplifies our heat an’ they can’t seem to be affected by our fairy magic; well ‘cept me for some reason. Sometimes when we get picked up by the wind, we can’t help it but fly over the fence into the road. Then they get caught and dumped in the vat. Usually they save that for the pranksters but they ain’t gonna care who they throw it seems.

I got a lot of friends. I’m liked around here, at least, and I like to keep it that way. I was born here on this plantation. Momma and daddy are since gone no clue where they’ve gone. Suppose they’re where the other whimsies are, at least I sure hope so. Wouldn’t want nothing to trouble them. I only have vague memories of them as a baby sprout.. I’ve been here for a while without them, though. It usually takes a growing season to mature into a whimsicott but it’s been three seasons so far and I ain’t able to evolve. Don’t know why; neither do the owners of this here plantation. Maybe I would be able to this year. Arceus knows. 

[b]Chapter 1: The Devastation of the Plantation[/b]

Today on the field has been a scorcher!!

That sun’s beatin’ on me hard. I like the bright sunlight. It gives me a rush of energy. Not many of my friends can say the same and just get beat with it. There's no way to cool off... I might as well burst into flame right now. It’s summer, yeah, but today’s like no other! The humidity had really fluffed up my cotton. It must be the hottest day of the year or somethin’, or is it cause I’ma about to fluff right out into a whimsicott. I know my friends’re gonna be whimsies soon, but I ain’t got no clue. I do know that we’re all young and vulnerable right now in this, here, heat.

I smelt something funny in our field. It was unfamiliar. There was this brown liquid with little strips o’ color runnin through it being spilt by these men in black uniforms. They came in a series of cars and waltz right on over here. They’re layin’ down the liquid all ‘round the plantation; it was real strange that they did this in broad daylight. The smell of the liquid was putrid and sharp. Some of my friends were bouncing in it like children skipping in ponds. Did they like its odor? Did they want relief from the heat?

Woah. Suddenly from behind, I heard a loud woosh and felt warmer from behind. I turned around and the people in the black uniforms were scatterin away from a roarin blaze that ripped all around the plantation! It quickly followed the trail of the liquid, and I saw down yonder that that the blaze engulf the souls playing in it! I thought, “What’s happenin?! Are they after me!? Oh Arceus, I hope this isn’t the end!”

I… turned round to try an’ run away but, but I caught a breeze or somethin.

I made it out.

I made it out alive! I can’t say anythin’ about the others. I had to run through the wall of flames to save myself. Luckily I held my leaves in and found an updraft of the wind which carried me over the wall of fire engulfing the plantation. It took me right to the top. I am so lucky. I, I don’t think anyone else was fast enough to catch it in time before it burned everything to ashes. 

It was hot, very hot that day, but I felt cold inside. Like a blizzard just whipped through. I was so stricken with grief I floated on the ground. I spent a few minutes touching the grass. It was some bit of coolness on such a hot day and felt like a bath to my singed underside. I was speechless for the longest time...all of my friends and family, gone. They was gonna die eventually like everything else in this, here, cruel world, but now? And why? We were all gettin’ ready to be pruned and share our cotton with the world. Mamma cotton, you will be missed. 

I cried, and cried and cried some more. But I had to keep movin’. I took my time to honor the fallen as the blaze died down. It didn’t spread much past the places those men poured that brown liquid over everythin. The grass was too well-watered since we just had a thunderstorm rip across here a day or so ago. I was a little stiff because the fire did singe my underside a little. It must have been a miracle that I didn’t burst into flames like all the rest. The fire that had consumed my patch had all but evaporated. Fires like that eat, destroy, and disappear in an instant. 

I looked over to the owner’s house, Jem Bagwell’s, and his ranch house. It was directly west of me over a mowed, hilly field. It looked fine to me. Nothin’ seemed out of place. The plantation house was a large building built about a hundred years ago. It was your great Southern Plantation House with servants and all. Jem had inherited the ranch from his family and wanted to keep it going. I looked around at the other cottonee fields and they too were burnt to ashes. I couldn’t really tell, but I did see the men who lit my patch down yonder, they looked like they were gonna do the same. Figured there was nothin’ I could do to stop them so I turned away. 

Master Bagwell’s home was about 800 meters away. Not too awful. Just a trek. It was, however, the opposite of the prevailing winds so I wouldn’t be able to reach it as far as the plantation house.

I floated closer towards the house and the doors busted open with Mr. Bagwell running out with his wife, Francine, and their two boys. They were holding large suitcases and running for their station wagon. They entered the car, quickly throwing their suitcases in, shutting the doors, revving the engine and darted off down the dirt road that connected them to the nearby Montgomery County Route 8.

Moments after their car left the driveway in a large cloud of dust, the light blue, three storey ranch house burst into the flames of a similar color to the ones that had consumed my friends and family. I could feel the heat of the fire as it consumed the home a hundred meters away. From the fire were servants running out, screaming, they looked charred and a few ran into the tree, rolled on the dirt driveway, and others fled as far before collapsing from exhaustion on the plantation. They couldn’t leave in time. Where were the men in those black uniforms? 

I softly floated down onto the grass to mourn the house that was steadily being consumed by the flames. There at least was a breeze yet not a cloud in the sky. The human and pokemon loss that I had to suffer. What was it about? Why? 

I heard a large crash off in the distance. It sounded like a large car had smashed into something, but it sounded so… close. 

I got up to investigate. What if it was the Bagwell family? I hope not; they have raised us since seedlings with care and hospitality. They’ve shaved out cotton but it just keeps growing back. Most members of us are so fun and just want to play. I… Was different. While I found them fun, I just seemed to like the sun and travelled and did things faster when it was especially strong. There were other non-pranksters but they often snuck around the plantation house sneaking in and dumping cotton everywhere, but those sorts were usually never heard of again. We think they were sent to the vat, a shower of toxic chemicals that, took the life out of the infiltrators in seconds. 

The colored laborers who took care of us were especially kind to us. I never knew why they were treated by the Bagwells like cattle. They were whipped, foul-mouthed, fed poorly, and forced to do sexually explicit things at their mercy.  There were armed plantation watchers here, too, to make sure that they weren’t the ones in the car. 

I ran into the dirt road to see and there it was! They were there--all of them in their car rammed up against the tree! It was a gruesome sight, but after all that that cursed family has done to it and his friends, I didn’t feel any sympathy! Call me cruel, but after the tens or hundreds of cottonees they mercilessly killed, it felt good to have them dead. 

I… I saw something hop around behind the wrecked car. Something or someone was there as well. I didn’t see any pets get in the car when I started, but I coulda sworn I saw somethin’. I checked around the back to see a little blue, dog like pokemon who had long black ears and paws crouched on the door, sobbing. It jumped as I approached him.

“Oh,” barked the surprised Riolu. “Oh no, what did I do!?”

It was so ashamed over what it done, “I.. was walkin’ on the side of the road when the people here were drivin’ like maniacs! They almost ran into me, but swerved outta the way and into this here tree!” It sobbed.

“No, I’m sure you weren’t doin nothin wrong. Those were evil people who killed a whole lot of us. It’s about time they get some justice.”

That shocked ‘em. He didn’t know what to say.

“I’ma cottonee from this here plantation. Trust me on that one. I’m Jen by the way. You?”

“Beau. I, uh, lived in the plantation down yonder and my--” he stuttered, holding back tears, “were killed in a blaze that destroyed it all!”

He started to weep. I did too. We was so sad. Our lives were torn upside down.

I said, cryin, “our lives were broken!”

We sobbed for a long time. I could hear scurryin’ animals up in the oak above us. There wasn’t much a breeze that day. Soon enough, Beau stopped the bawling and turned around, clenching his fist in a deep, serious voice, “we need to know who did this to us and bring him to justice.”


He turned to me, “I dun known, but we should get to town. I ain’t stayin’ out here in this here heat like this. We gotta long way away of walkin’ and if we leave now we’ll get there by sunset.”
I was shocked at Beau’s determination. He was teary-eyed and had clenched fist; looked like he was still upset but knew he couldn’t stay for very long. I didn’t wanna move, the pain of havin lost of my friends was crushing but I didn’t want to be alone, so I offered to go along with’em.

The walk to Bloomingham was a quiet one. The dusty road lining the farms in the afternoon light was magical but it wasn’t a time to appreciate nature. The cicadas were loud’n obnoxious but the summer air tasted like the burnin’ fires down yonder. Lots of my tears muddied the walk. Reality was sitting in; Beau and I both had our spirits crushed. Never before had we felt so lucky just to even be walkin’ back to town.

[b][b]Chapter 2[[

I wish I was a buzzard.


CC: ~12K aim: Cottonee capture
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Abras are so cute!
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Heya! Hope the wait for this curation didn't light a fire under your butt like Cottonee's ;)

Things you did well:
-Content. As far as content goes, this was an interesting story. I like how you try to tackle stuff like slavery in the US South, while still keeping it on-topic to Pokemon. I also like the overall story plotline; you provided a clear problem, and portrayed the character's reaction to those problems.
-Setting. Your opening paragraphs set up the original setting well, and while I have some problems later on (see below) you stick with the setting throughout.

Things you didn't do as well:
-As a whole, the story felt a little all over the place. Many details were dropped in pretty jarringly at key moments, and the narrator Cottonee's thought process seemed to jump very rapidly between topics. Places such as:

"Nothin’ seemed out of place. The plantation house was a large building built about a hundred years ago. It was your great Southern Plantation House with servants and all. Jem had inherited the ranch from his family and wanted to keep it going. I looked around at the other cottonee fields and they too were burnt to ashes. I couldn’t really tell, but I did see the men who lit my patch down yonder, they looked like they were gonna do the same. Figured there was nothin’ I could do to stop them so I turned away. "

Here, some expose is dropped on the house and plantation, and then immediately jumps back to the fields, and then cuts off to say that this didn't matter at all. When you introduce stuff into the story, you should try to have the expose you do drop matter to the reader, and diverting their attention in rapid succession like this usually comes across pretty jarringly.
-related to this, there were many places that felt awkward, or places where you repeated something previously.
Stuff like:
You mentioned the vat two times, and explained what it was nearly the same way both times.
In one line you say that the Cottonee likes the Bagwells, and 2 lines later you have Cottonee rejoicing in their deaths.
Better placement of your expose lines, and providing a more clear line of thought for the cottonee.

Fixing these and the other consistency errors will really help you bump this story up to Hard.
-small issues, such as the abrupt ending and low character count, as well as formatting, could be fixed easily and add a lot to the story overall.

Unfortunately, this does not pass at Hard. I think with some editing, and bringing some more consistency and planning, you can bump this up to Hard. Also looking forward to chapter 2!
Abras are so cute!
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