Should (Working Title) Chapter 1 - Of Messages and Moles
It’s such a capable little word. Everyone has memories of things they should have done, should have said, a way they should have acted... or should not have. Whether they realized it after some well timed self reflection, stumbled upon it thanks to a healthy imagination, or maybe their consequences made themselves known immediately and kicked them right in the head. At the end of the day, regrets like that aren’t horribly bad things - not like there’s anything we could do about them! Besides, knowing there’s something you should have done just proves you’ve undergone some personal growth, right?
Well... turns out, we can go back and do the things we should have done. There’s practically nothing - save one unreasonably angry, possibly Italian mole creature - stopping any one of us from going ahead and abusing that power. He’s not so bad though, really! Definitely worth the trade off.
Fair warning: If messing with time isn’t really your thing - and I don’t blame you, the implications there are pretty heavy - then I guess this message ends here for you. Hope I made you think a little bit, if nothing else. I’d ask you to put this letter in a bottle and send it back out to sea for someone else to find, but if you’d rather just dismiss it and trash it, I guess I understand that. Just do what you think you should do.
On the other hand, if you aren’t afraid to shatter the fabric of your known world, read on ahead! I’m glad this letter found you; I’d feel selfish if I kept the things I’ve learned to myself. Truth is, though, it’s nothing so dramatic. The only advice I really have for you is this: Ignore your Gyroid.
Yep, that’s really all there is to it. Quit reporting to that sketchy wooden doll. Everyone’s got one, but nobody could tell you what they are or what they really do. Despite that, we’re all seemingly entranced by those Gyroids. Go ahead, try walking into your house without at least acknowledging the thing; you never realize how it almost draws you to it until you try to resist.
Once you can manage that, you’ll see what I mean real quick. You’re on your own for the rest, though you can expect to hear from me again - assuming my next letter takes the same path this one does - as I learn more. Though you may wanna wait until tomorrow night. Don’t want to lose my letter now, do you?
Jokes aside, I do believe this phenomenon should all be documented somehow, and the most reliable way I have to do that is currently by... tossing bottles out to sea...
Well, hey. If anyone does end up reading this, then you can’t really dispute my methods, can you?”
I rolled the letter up tightly and slid it back into its bottle, sealing it up with the high-pitched squeak of a cork stopper. After honoring the author’s wishes by taking a moment to think of what I should do, I pulled my arm back and sent the bottle soaring back into the sea. I started my day off here, on a beach bathed in the gentle glow of a sunrise, feeling proud of myself for leaving reality’s fabric safely intact.
Other than that, today was just another passing day. I wandered around town for a while, dishing out the usual greetings to the usual people. The only real task I set for myself that day was gathering up some fruit, which I naturally saved for the last thing I do before I called it a night. As I walked along the tree line circling our town plaza, scanning for apple trees, I began to realize that I didn’t so much protect the fabric of reality as I did shove the choice onto someone else. That bottle’s gonna wash up again somewhere... Guess that’s just the next guy’s problem, though.
“Maybe I should have kept-” I caught myself mid-thought, amused that I fell into the letter writer’s trap. He had a point, everyone has moments they’d like to redo. But that also means it’s an easy way to get some sucker’s attention. If it’s some kind of scam, though, what’s this person getting out of it? Tricking someone into not saying hello to their Gyroid... what’s the point of that? By the time I finished my line of thinking, the sun had set.
I walked home in the dark, likely labeled a crazy person for how many laps around the plaza I did by the end of the day. At least I had half a dozen apples to show for it. Before I knew it I was standing just a short acre away from my house.
“Ignore the gyroid, huh...” I mumbled, eyes fixed to the ground below my feet, watching grass give way to a well-worn cobblestone path, which in turn gave way to my doorstep. Using every ounce of focus in my being, I reached for the front door and pushed, eyes following the edge of the door as my home registered behind it. If some strange wooden stump creature was flailing its arms and loudly nagging beside me, I wouldn’t even have noticed it!
I took a step inside and closed the door behind me, dropped the apples off in their assigned fruit basket (strategically placed next to my only chair, for easy snack accessibility), and finally got settled in for the night. As I fell asleep, my thoughts turned to my faithful Gyroid, who I rudely shunned earlier. I still didn’t believe the message, of course. But it couldn’t hurt to play along.
The next morning, I woke up with pangs of genuine guilt and plans to immediately apologize to my Gyroid. I had an incredible excuse about how tired I was last night all cooked up and ready to do. On my way out the door I reached to swipe an apple from my fruit basket, a familiar breakfast routine that would surely calm my nerves as I opened my door and stepped outside, except... my hand fell on thin air and landed in an empty basket.
From the small window in my door, I could see a large creature seemingly sprouting out of the ground, sporting a hard hat, reading what appeared to be a set of note cards clutched in his claw.
With nowhere else to go, I rubbed my eyes as a precaution to ward off possible insanity, and opened the door. First I saw the pick axe: large and unwieldy, almost comically so, but dirty and obviously frequently used. Then I saw the mole. His name tag read: “Resetti.” And scrawled in front of that in what looked like permanent marker: “MR!”
Hey, thank you for reading - I hope you enjoyed it! This is just a quick little afterthought from me to toss some info about what exactly this story is.
I haven’t written a fanfic here in an extremely long time. Truth be told, I haven’t really written anything in a long time. Inspiration struck me in a weird way, and it got itself tied up with Animal Crossing (because how could you not be in a constant state of AC hype with New Horizons on the... well, horizon). This was just a way to stretch my creative muscles, and I figured I could toss it up here since I’m not sure what to do with it otherwise.
That said, I do have a few ideas about where I can take this, so who knows? If I feel like it and anyone has an interest I’d be happy to continue it, so please sound off if you liked what you read. If not, well, I’m sure eventually another chapter will pop up anyway.
I’d also really appreciate advice and comments on my writing. I feel like I’m pretty rusty and fear my style can be a bit hard to understand at times, but I’d like to sharpen my skills back up.
That’s about it! Thank you again for checking out the intro to this little story!
Should Chapter 2 - Part 1 of 2: Asking the Hard Questions (Had to split into parts because of the character limit - sorry this one ran so long!)
The mole turned its nose up as I closed my front door behind me, clearing his throat to introduce himself. “Good morning sir, my name is Mis-,” he cut himself short as I squatted down to meet him, and immediately snapped. “IS THAT SUPPOSED TO BE AN INSULT?!” he hollered at me, waving his stubby arms and scattering his notecards into the air around him. If I wasn’t half-convinced I was still asleep, I’d probably be a bit concerned at how quickly he became angry. I stood back up, staring down at him as he shuffled around to grip his pickaxe, refusing to step out of his dirt mound.
Neither of us spoke for a minute, as the anger slowly left his face and the sleepiness remained on mine. Finally, he composed and introduced himself as Mister Resetti. I stared expressionlessly at him as he launched into his spiel, a clearly rehearsed monologue about how I somehow lost progress in life by not speaking to the Gyroid; how he was here to give a gentle reminder on why that’s bad. I let a moment of silence hang once he finished speaking to ensure he didn’t remember any last minute add-ons.
“So... I just reset the last day. The fruit I gathered - gone. Thanks to that, I now have no breakfast. And to prevent that from happening again, I have to talk to my Gyroid.”
Relief washed over Resetti’s face. “Yes. Finally, someone who just.. gets it.“
“So, then.. what day is it?” I asked, looking up at the morning sky. Winter’s chill was behind us, and now colorful fruit and flowers grew aplenty, breaking up the lush green of trees and grass. A bit of warmth in the air suggested that summer was just around the corner.
Resetti’s jaw dropped, gripped his pickaxe tightly in one of he claws, as my question caught him just short of digging away. He froze, looking in my direction. “Uh... you awake, kid? You got all that, right? Just say you got all that!”
“I lived through May eighteenth, finding a message in a bottle and hoarding some apples, which I was really looking forward to eating on May nineteenth. But today I woke up with no breakfast. So.. what’s today? Did May eighteenth happen?”
“Today’s May nineteenth, alright,” Resetti said casually, trying to downplay the question. “Yesterday happened, but nothing you did counted.”
“But I remember doing it,” I argued. “How can I recall physically doing it, if it didn’t technically happen?” I jumped between thinking and speaking, trying to form my own answer, finally questioning the situation. “Did the people I talked to remember speaking to me?” Perhaps just the objects I moved reset to their original position, somehow. “Did the apples return to the trees because I didn’t record the act of removing them?” Or.. did I just not do anything at all?
Would the bottle wash back up on the beach today, or did time really flow on as if I wasn’t present for it? Does that mean I wasn’t there to send it back out to sea? I resolved to shut my mind down, content to just roll with this situation instead of losing myself in a desperate search for complex answers. I shook off my lingering tiredness and once again paid attention to the overwhelmed mole in front of me, his face steaming red with frustration and eyes darting back and forth as he struggled to process the barrage of questions.
“I guess what I’m asking is... what did I actually do yesterday, if I didn’t do the things I remember doing?”
The question was enough to make my head want to burst; and it seemed Resetti’s actually did as he blurted out, “I can’t answer these kind of questions, JUST TELL ME YOU’LL TALK TO THE STUPID THING SO I CAN LEAVE!”
I couldn’t help but grin, casting my search for logic aside and opting to press Resetti some more instead. Now more aware, I immediately recognized this poor mole’s weakness: He had scores to keep up, and was likely pelted with business jargon if he didn’t. “Bottom of the chain, huh?” Resetti glanced up at me and breathed in deep, almost as if he knew what was coming next. “.... can I speak to a manager about this?”
Should Chapter 2 - Part 2 of 2: Axe-ing the Hard Questions (Second part of chapter 2, I had to spilt it due to the character limit - sorry!)
The mole shifted nervously in his hole, sending small bits of dirt crumbling down the piles encasing him. “Unfortunately, the higher-ups are very busy with... special cases. Something like this is my jurisdiction.” Resetti did his best to confidently deliver an obviously pre-prepared excuse, his anger still barely contained across his face.
“I see. So what is considered a special case? If I forget to preform a save a bunch of times, does that mean someone with more authority will show up?” I glanced back at my Gyroid, momentarily remembering the pangs of guilt I woke up with for ignoring it. If it’s just a device, then why am I reluctant to simply not speak to it?
While I lost myself in thought, Resetti had a moment to process my plan. He clearly wasn’t thrilled with the concept of paying me visits daily, and he knew he alone would be the one the responsibility fell to. “Actually, no,” he started, catching my attention, “Repeat offenders usually have their Gyroids taken away.“
I snapped my thoughts away once again and attempted to call his bluff. “There’s no way that’s true. I’ve never seen anyone without a Gyroid.”
“LOOK AROUND! YOU LIVE IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, KID!” Resetti caught himself and glanced around, ensuring none of my neighbors were awake to hear him shouting insults at our town, lest he face a long line of animals with long lists of reasons why living out here’s the best. “In cities, they’re starting to build the Gyroids right into people’s furniture!” Again, I glanced back at my Gyroid, clumsily swinging its branchlike arms as though it was swimming in place without a care in the world, responding to my proximity to it. They just... carve them up, into a bed? Aren’t they living things? They can communicate, so... are Gyroids sentient? I shuddered and chased my train of thought away, unwilling to face that consequence.
“Well, then... you’ve gotta have an office somewhere, right? I’m not gonna say anything bad about you, I just can’t get my head around this and I’m assuming there’s someone who can tell me more.” Resetti seemed to relax a bit as I approached him with a level head, but he still refused to give me any say in things.
“I’ll submit your information when I get back to HQ,” he dismissed me, both of us knowing I’d never hear back. He turned his back to leave, making some room in the dirt to prepare his descent. “If that’s all, then...”
I cut him short. “What about a business card? Come on, give me something to follow up with.” He ignored me, burrowing his hands into the dirt and plunging the pickaxe down the hole, clearly done with my questions. I snapped at him, “I’ll follow the tunnel, you know. I have a shovel. And all the time in the world.”
Resetti was once again fuming, face red and teeth gritted tightly, but he stopped preparing to leave. I chimed in, “I’ll even remember to save, so I can continue the tunnel later.” He growled his frustration out, watching as I took a few steps to grab the shovel I left leaning against the side of my house. I walked by him on my way to the soft dirt beyond my home’s stone pathway. “If I pass you on my way, stop by to say hello!”
As I lifted the shovel into the air and prepared to drive it into the dirt, I watched Resetti’s face soften for only a moment. “Look, kid... those kind of questions...” He shook his head, before I gave him my attention. With surprising speed, he lifted his pickaxe into the air, pointed straight out towards me in motion that seemed violent but surprisingly well-controlled for such a small creature. I stumbled back as his voice rose to a roar, “... ARE THE KIND OF QUESTIONS THAT SHOULD NOT BE AXED!”
With that, he swiftly dove underground, the dirt collapsing in above him as if he were never there. My heart pounded in my chest as I tightened my grip on the shovel, hands squeezed red. After a few tense moments, it appeared Resetti was gone. Did he just threaten me and leave? ‘Should be axed’? I glanced at the Gyroid, convinced I shouldn’t want to meet the mole-man again, when I noticed his notecards still scattered about on the ground. I leaned down to recover one that landed near my feet. It read:
“Remember, Sonny - humor is a great way to relax! Make a lighthearted pun to disarm stressed-out clients!”
Oh. He pointed the pickaxe at me... because I was “axe-ing” questions.
I grinned. At least I knew his first name now - I’m sure he really won’t enjoy hearing it during his next visit.
Thank you both for taking the time to read and reply - I’m happy to say I’ve jumped back into writing much more often than I have in a long time. Unfortunately that meant getting side-tracked working on some original stuff, but Animal Crossing’s so much fun to work as a concept (seriously, there’s opportunity everywhere to add depth and flesh everything out however you want!) so I do plan on continuing this along.
I do have the story points mostly planned out and am prepared to see this through to completion, but please feel free to read at your own pace - my free time’s gonna be getting tighter with holidays coming up and it takes me a bit of time to write a chapter I really feel good about, but when it’s ready I’ll be sure to post it up here.
I apologize for keeping you waiting so long, you two! Please let me know what you think of the new part if you stuck around, and I hope anyone who stumbles upon this enjoys it as well! If you’re reading it when it comes out, then Happy Thanksgiving Eve!
Thank you! Resetti was a lot of fun to write for, and I have some big plans for the established characters (including him, of course) as the story goes on!
I have a really bad habit of not explicitly naming my narrator when writing in first person. To be honest, and hopefully this doesn’t make me look too silly, I haven’t thought of his name yet. I do have ideas on how to reveal/work his name in when the time comes, I just haven’t actually picked one yet.
I disarmed myself, my shovel dropping to the dirt with a soft thud. I was no stranger to conflict, but most quarrels ended quickly and amicably here in the old-fashioned wooded town of Solace. The name says it all; peace and quiet were the shared goals of everyone who called this place home. Despite my outward composure and knowing that Resetti hadn’t meant it as a threat, my hands still shook. It had been a long time since I’ve had anything more threatening than a butterfly net pointed my way.
I shook my head, dismissed my thoughts and took the opportunity to quietly gather the note cards Resetti had left scattered around my front lawn. My hands moved quickly from card to card, glancing at the words written but not bothering to comprehend them, as I collected them in a neat stack. Admittedly, I relished this sort of menial task; a chance to focus and act without the risk of getting lost in my overwhelming torrent of thoughts. That was the sort of solace I appreciated most.
So, would the bottled letter still be on the beach today? If I didn't find it yesterday, does that mean someone else did? Is some poor soul struggling with the concept of losing a day they clearly remember, just as I am?
Stash Resetti's cards in the mailbox. Don't think. Put your shovel away. No more questions. The beach has your answers; stop wasting time and get there. Move your feet, follow the cliff's edge. Did I even throw it far enough in the first place, or could it have found its way back to our town naturally? Doesn't matter; I'll run with the assumption that I wasn't there to throw it out at all! Here's the hill, break your habit of missing it and having to circle back. Rush down the slope. Stumble, catch yourself, glance over at Cherry's house. Her lights are still off, good; she doesn't need any more ammo to poke fun at me with. It's fine, you know she means well, now keep moving! Through these trees, past the town plaza. You're sprinting now; good thing it's still early, if anyone was awake they'd think you're a lunatic. No reason to slow down. Bolt past Teddy's house; he'd be proud to see you up and active this early in the morning. Taste the salt in the air, feel the cool breeze, but keep moving your feet. Quit talking to yourself. There's the finish line. Too much momentum; slide down the bank and into the sand.
Stop. Catch your breath. I leaned forward with my hands on my knees, panting. Not like that, dummy! I fixed my posture and placed my hands on my head, breathing in deep.
The wind howled over the ocean's surface and welcomed me to my goal. The gusts that enveloped me were a bit colder and more aggressive than usual, the chill of the night before still lingering in the air. Across the horizon, the sun had just begun to show itself, offering warmth to contrast against the wind. A small smile formed on my face as I realized how silly my frantic journey had been; surely, nobody else had any reason to be out and about this early... save Resetti, who I just realized must have been prepared to wait outside my house for quite a while. I shuddered at the idea and shook it off before walking ahead casually, determined to enjoy a few more moments of peace while I searched the beach.
As I scanned the coastline for the area I found the bottle yesterday, I spotted an unmistakable figure a bit off in the distance and approached him. The raccoon had his signature green apron draped across his shoulder, a distant look on his face as he gazed out to sea, one hand clutching a small, empty glass, and the other a small piece of folded-up paper. I drew just close enough to notice the frown on his face before he glanced in my direction and got in character, donning a sly smile.
Thank you both! This site, especially the Creative Writing board has always been very important to me. I was pretty disappointed with the state of it when I started writing this one, but I'm happy to try to keep it going for a little longer.
I don't have as much time to write as I thought I would, but I plan to see this story through to the end. In the meantime, thanks for your patience and for bearing with me!