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EVERYONE: My Halloween Contest One-Shot Story: The Romani Ranch Abduction

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Do I really need to explain? This is Romani's abduction by aliens/ghosts/whatever those things were, but from Romani's perspective. I did alter things a bit to make the story work. While it does not have anywhere near 10,000 words, I decided to be careful since I didn't want to go crazy with ideas only to end up over the 10,000-word limit. If I did, I would have to make changes and that would be annoying. I wanted to explore what happened during Romani's time in the orb/spaceship. This was the original idea that I had for the contest, but then I swapped to other Legend of Zelda ideas, like conquering one's fear. I also swapped to Pokémon for a bit, but nothing really worked since I felt they would need more than 10,000 words due to how complex they were. This idea works because it is simple due to only being about one specific event: The abduction and what happened between Romani's abduction and Romani's return.

One morning, at 11:55 PM, Romani stands proudly upon a box near the barn. In her hand is a wooden bow, one that was created for her by Link due to her interest in archery. She scans the horizon for the orb that the aliens arrive in. They always come around midnight before leaving at sunrise. This she noticed when she observed them after seeing them the first time. She looks to the house. "Cremia. I know you don't believe me about the ghostly aliens. I will show you that they are real. I am going to not only stop them, but I will show the proof of their existence," she said. The aliens have been coming for the past few days, almost like they are looking around the ranch for something.

"I'm sure it's just a person who stole the milk. I already sent a note to Link and Kafei to investigate the theft," Cremia said.
"It wasn't a person! It was a monster! They came from a strange glowing orb, Cremia. I think they might take the cows since I saw them near the cow pen as well," Romani said, frustrated that her sister is not believing her.
Cremia rolls her eyes. "What else could it have been?" She said.
"Ghostly aliens. Didn't you hear the humming sound last night?" Romani asked in response.
"No, I heard nothing. Look, taking milk bottles would be easier to pull off than taking a cow," Cremia said, starting to get angry.
"Yeah, I guess that makes sense," Romani sad, wanting to not anger Cremia anymore.
"Ok. Now, I would like you to get ready for bed," Cremia said, a hint of anger in her voice.
Romani nods and heads upstairs.

Romani lets out a gasp as she hears the familiar humming sound of the orb as it approaches. With a smile, Romani takes an arrow from her quiver and nocks it into the bow.

She watches as the orb stops in midair as if it noticed her presence. "Yeah. Bring it on," Romani whispers. The orb flashes red for a second before a beam of energy is emitted from it. Several of the aliens materialize before Romani's eyes.

Their heads are shaped like a spade with purple and black lines. The only part of their face that Romani can see are their glowing yellow eyes. Their bodies are small cylinders that match the colors of their heads. They also possess long spindly arms with long claws. They float several inches off the ground, and they are almost as tall as she is. "They look like the Flatwoods Monster that appeared in 1952," Romani whispers now that she has a better look at them.

Romani grits her teeth as she lifts her bow. The aliens then start making their way in her direction. She fires, only for it to pass right through the alien. "What?" She asks. She pulls another arrow and fires, only to get the same result. "What is going on? Can they even be defeated?" She asks as she preps another arrow. The aliens are now almost near, forcing Romani to back up to the barn since they seem to be trying to surround her. She fires and is horrified that she can't seem to do any harm to them.

Her heart starting to race, Romani looks around for a way to escape, only to realize that she has nowhere to go but into the barn since the creatures have her surrounded. She looks up as the orb approaches the barn. With a shout of fear, Romani turns and enters the structure. She closes the door and backs up, knowing that it's over for her. "I should have stayed in bed," she mutters.

Her eyes widen with fear as the aliens pass right through the wall. While several approach the cows, one approaches Romani. Romani starts hyperventilating as the alien nears her. Its eyes begin to exhibit a strange purple aura. "AAHHH!" Romani exclaims as she is suddenly lifted up into the air. "No! Let me go!" Romani shouts. She attempts to kick the alien, only to be pushed against the wall. The alien uses its power to take the bow and quiver away from Romani.

Before she can react to this, she is startled by a beam of light that blasts through the roof, destroying it. She watches in horror as the cows are lifted up into the air along with the aliens beside them. After a few moment, she realizes that she is also being lifted up. "No, no, no!" Romani cries as she attempts to find something to grab onto. The alien, as if it knows what she is trying to do, pulls her away from the wall as they go up through the roof. "NOOOOO!" Romani cries as she is pulled into the orb.
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Romani awakens with a gasp. After a moment, she looks around fearfully and sees that she is within a strange dome. "Where am I?" She asks as she stands up and looks around. Approaching the edge of the dome where it looks like she could go through it, she reaches out and touches it. "Ew. Gross. Feels weird and sticky. What is this stuff?" she asks as she rubs her hand.

She pushes hard and manages to break through it. After a moment of staring in shock about what she did, Romani slowly steps through and looks around. The dome is within a large room that has domes along the walls. "Is this, like, some sort of prison?" She asks as she looks around. She walks around the room in order to find a way out. Hearing a sound, Romani hides behind a strange looking box. She peeks out as a pair of the aliens enter the room through a doorway. Once they pass, Romani silently and quickly runs for the door and leaves the room. She walks along the hallway, her heart pounding in her chest fearing that those aliens that had entered the room are aware that she is no longer inside the dome they had put her in.

Hearing a moo farther along the hallway, Romani sneaks up to a window and peeks inside to see more of the aliens along with the stolen cows. The aliens are putting a strange device onto the udders of each cow. "What are they doing? Those cows belong to the ranch. They are, like, our livelihood," Romani said.

As she watches them, the lights suddenly turn red as an alarm starts blaring. "(Get the human! She has escaped! We can't allow her to reveal our existence!)" An alien voice said over the intercom, though Romani can only hear strange ghostly groans and wails. Romani turns as some aliens appear down the hall. "Uh-oh!" She exclaims as she turns and runs the other way.

Romani turns a corner and enters a strange room with multiple entryways. Above her is a strange machine that is aimed downward. On the floor is a giant hole that is covered by a strange energy barrier. "Is this where we entered?" She asks as she peers into the hole. She sees the ranch far below, the barn still without the roof. Hearing a sound, she looks up and around. Her eyes widen as aliens emerged from every door and approach her. In seconds, Romani is surrounded.

Several approach her as Romani is lifted into the air. "No! I was so close! I can see the barn and the ranch down there!" Romani cries as the aliens carry her through a door.

"Where are they taking me?" Romani asks as she is moved along. Eventually, the aliens take her into a room that has a table in the middle. The aliens, using their power, place her upon it. "What are you doing to me?" Romani fearfully asks.

She attempts to struggle, only for the aliens touse their psychic power to force her arms and legs down so they can clamp her wrists and ankles using strange bands of energy. One of the aliens smears a strange slimy substance across her mouth which quickly hardens, preventing her from being able to talk.

"(The human has been secured! Repeat: The human has been secured.)" An alien voice said over the intercom. One of the aliens then attaches a band of energy to her head so that she can only move her eyes.
"(Is the Mindflayer ready? We must wipe this human's memories of us,)" One of the said.
"(It is. I don't know how she became aware of us. I do know there is another human in the house,)" The other alien replies.
"(Does the other human know about us?)" The first alien asks.
"(The scouts read her mind and it seems that she does not believe this human child's words,)" the other alien said.

As she watches, a strange machine emerges from the ceiling and is lowered down towards Romani's head. Romani starts hyperventilating once more as she watches helplessly. The machine stops as an arm emerges from the machine, prompting muffled screams from Romani as she watches in terror as the arm slow reaches down and places its fingers upon her face.

"What is this thing? What is going on?" Romani asks fearfully. An eye opens in the palm of the hand to Romani's horror and disgust. There is a sudden pulse of energy runs from the fingers into and through Romani's body, causing her to pass out. As she vision fades, the eye of the hand begins to turn red.
"(The mind wipe has begun,)" An alien said.
"(Good. Return her once it finishes,)" the other alien said.
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The next day, Cremia heads downstairs, only to not see Romani. Usually, she is reading by the fireplace. "Huh. That's weird," she said. Heading back upstairs, she peeks into Romani's room and sees that she is not there.

However, through the window, she notices something odd. Walking over to it, she peeks through and is horrified to see that the roof of the barn has been blown apart. "What in the world?" She asks in shock. She quickly leaves the house and runs to the barn.

As she nears it, she hears a sound: the sound of whimpering. She peeks inside and sees Romani curled up in the corner. "Romani!" Cremia exclaims as she rushes to her sister's side and embraces her. "What happened? What happened to the barn? Where are the cows? What happened to you?" Cremia asks as she hugs Romani.
Romani shakes her head, clearly in a catatonic state. "I…I don't…I don't remember," She replies, clearly out of it. She begins to sob.
Cremia holds Romani close. "I feel that you might have been right about those aliens," Cremia said.
"Aliens? Is that…what happened? I…don't remember," Romani mutters. Then she falls asleep.

Cremia embraces Romani as she gently picks her up. "Perhaps some rest will help you, my little sister," she says. She carries her back to the house and puts her in bed before heading downstairs. She heads outside to see if anything else is missing. "The horses are still here thankfully," Cremia said as she looks into the stable. Epona, on seeing her, walks up and nuzzles Cremia, who smiles and plants a kiss upon her muzzle.

After looking around, she heads back into the house and sits in a chair. After a few minutes, she bursts into tears about Romani's current condition, believing that she will never be the same again and that she can’t help her.

Hearing a knock, Cremia looks up. Someone knocks on the door again. Cremia gets up and walks over to the door. She opens it and sees that it's Link and Kafei.

"Are you ok?" Kafei asks on seeing tear stains on Cremia's face. He pulls her into an embrace.

Cremia shakes her head. "I know I contacted you about the theft. I honestly thought it could be a person, but now I'm not sure," she said after taking deep breaths and trying not to burst into tears. She tells the two about Romani's condition before leading them to Romani's room.

"Yeah. She seems to have been affected by something," Kafei said, a hand on the girl's forehead.
"You said the roof got blown off the barn?" Link asks.
"Yes. The cows are also missing. She tried to tell me, but I didn't believe her," Cremia replies, staring at Romani.
"You think aliens did it?" Kafei asks.
Cremia shrugs. "If it was, I doubt they will be coming back," she said, "those cows were the only animals we raised on the ranch aside from horses. Thankfully, Epona and the other horses are still in the stable."
"We'll just have to keep an eye on her to see if she gets better," Link said.
"I hope so," Cremia said with a nod. She looks at Romani while trying hard not cry. "I really do hope so," she adds.

For the next several days, Link and Kafei stop by to check on Romani's condition. While she does recover from being catatonic, she never recovers completely, still retaining some of the damage of her condition and is clearly still traumatized by whatever happened to her. She also never fully regains her memory of the event.
 
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Quick update: I have decided to expand a bit and add more about Romani's time on the alien ship. I didn't go too far with expanding it because I figured a 9-year-old farm girl with no combat experience (other than a bow [and even then, she is not that skilled with it]) would not be able to evade the aliens for too long.
 
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Hi there! I love seeing everyone's different takes on prompts, and it was really neat to read a little bit about what went into picking the topic for your story. Apologies in advance, as it's been a hot sec since I've really interacted with the Zelda universe and I didn't really remember this specific subplot of MM--which is to say that if it seems like I'm asking questions that are glaringly answered by the canon, that's more on me than it is on you.

The story opens up suitably atmospheric: it's close to midnight, and a child searches the dark for monsters. I really liked the use of the word "proudly" in the opening sentence, as it works well with Romani's first dialogue ("I will show you that they are real.") to strongly establish her motivation and character. LoZ canon aside, I also thought framing it like this was a neat twist on a lot of alien/supernatural stories, where the protagonists are confident that this is being caused by Totally Normal things and end up being surprised by an alien that they can best. But in this case, Romani is confident that this is just aliens--but where she's wrong is in how easily she can defeat them. The resulting story is less of a mystery and more of a bleak exploration of character: Romani goes from a confident but brash child who tries to solo aliens with a bow she's barely used, to a silent, borderline-catatonic victim who doesn't even speak for the rest of the story and can't trust her own mind. The last few sentences paint a bleak ending that's at odds with (what I remember from) Romani's plot in Majora's Mask, but I interpreted this as one of the versions where Link doesn't arrive before nightfall, and the nights pass without him being around to help, instead dealing with the aftermath. It's spooky and sad, though the closing paragraphs leave little to question--Romani never fully recovers, and never properly remembers, there is no silver lining, do not collect $200, do not pass go. It's almost as if she's removed from the story completely after the abduction, as she essentially becomes a non-character in the closing section. It's a pretty dreadful way to go, and I thought fit the horror vibes nicely.

I did have a little trouble pinning down Romani's character in this--oneshot characterization is always pretty hard, though. Her introductory lines are determined and proud, but a little formal and solemn ("I am going to not only stop them, but I will show the proof of their existence."); she has some lines in the middle that seem more fourth-wall-breaking, which typically to me leans more comedic ("They look like the Flatwoods Monster that appeared in 1952."); after she fails to repel the aliens she just gives up and kind of cracks a joke ("I should have stayed in bed"); on the ship she tilts into what I read as Valley Girl subdialect ("They [the cows] are, like, our livelihood"); finally, when she's caught, one of the last real lines of dialogue she gets as her old self is pretty self-deprecating and defeatist ("Welp...They got me. I don't think I would have been able to escape anyway...").

As a result, in a story that sort of hinges on this contrast between [vibrant character] experiences a traumatic event and becomes [shell of themself], Romani was admittedly a little hard for me to pin down, since [vibrant character] was hard for me to define in the first place. Is she formal and solemn, or is she breaking the fourth wall and joking? Is she determined and confident to the point that she'll contradict her beloved older sister and try to stake out a shadowy enemy alone, or is she self-deprecating and defeatist to the point that she admits she always thought she'd fail? It's a really tricky line to juggle, and I don't want to imply that characters are incapable of contradiction either--lots of people can be bold and confident in some situations and then completely change tact in others. What would've helped me a little would be either:
  1. More consistent behavior from her throughout, since this is a relatively tightly-paced story and there's not much room for sweeping character arcs. I.e. she's always cracking jokes, or always solemn; or she's confident in the beginning and at the end laments about how escape was just out of reach and she totally could've gotten there.
  2. More insight into what guides these changes, since it's not unrealistic for people to act in different ways; it just helps to know why. Maybe she's solemn to Cremia and jokey when she's alone because Romani feels like she's got to prove she's mature to her older sister, but she's able to let loose a little when she's by herself. Maybe instead of reacting with curiosity/confusion on the alien ship she begins to be horrified by the power and oddity she's witnessing--on a level she can barely comprehend--and her confidence turns to despair as she realizes that she never stood a chance to begin with.
It's hard to say there's one right answer here, of course--I think (1) lends itself to a more streamlined, compact story that would focus on the actual events of the abduction, whereas (2) would require a heavier focus on Romani's inner struggles and character.

Regardless, I particularly enjoyed the role this oneshot fills in (what I remember) of the larger canon. Romani isn't actually The Hero here, so she gets in over her head and is met with a terrible fate. It intersects nicely with MM's bleak but semi-optimistic coming of age story wherein events can be undone and things can be made right, except this time becoming an adult is terrible and irreversible and everything is awful and there's no fixing it. And it still has the fun trappings of a Zelda game, which is to say you can have cool opening scenes about a girl standing on a rock with a bow and arrow preparing to shoot some aliens. I thought this was a fun addition to the contest, so thanks for sharing!

I did keep track of a few typos as I was reading, tucked in the spoiler below if you're interested:
Romani takes an arrow from her quiver and knocks it into the bow.
"Knock" is to strike a surface like a door to get attention or to hit something; "nock" without the K is to place an arrow on a bowstring
Romani starts hyperventilating as the alien neared her.
you'll want "nears" instead of "neared" to keep the tenses consistent
"What is this thing? What is going on?" Roman asks fearfully.
you'll want "Romani" instead of "Roman" here
As she neared it, she hears a sound: the sound of whimpering.
you'll also want "nears" instead of "neared" here for tense consistency (although I'd probably streamline this to "As she nears, she hears a sound: whimpering.")
"Perhaps some rest will help you, my little sister," she said.
you'll want "says" instead of "said" here for tense consistency
I honestly thought it could be person
I believe a word got dropped from this sentence--perhaps "I honestly thought it could be a person".
Thankfully, Epona and the other horses are still in the stable,"
the comma here should be a period

And the others are all centrally about dialogue punctuation, which mostly boils down to a memorization game, so I just added revised versions. Here's a link to a rundown if you want full explanations. I also noticed that you liked to have dialogue exchanges (bits where multiple lines of dialogue happen between characters) in a block of text; this is mostly a formatting thing so it's ultimately up to you, but typically it's easier to read if there's also paragraph breaks between each speaker.
"(The human has been secured! Repeat: The human has been secured.)" An alien voice said over an intercom. One of the aliens then attaches a band of energy to her head so that she can only move her eyes.
"(Is the Mindflayer ready? We must wipe this human's memories of us,)" One of the said.
"(It is. I don't know how she became aware of us. I do know there is another human in the house,)" The other alien replies.
"(Does the other human know about us?)" The first alien asks.
"(The scouts read her mind and it seems that she does not believe this human child's words,)" the other alien said.
"(The human has been secured! Repeat: The human has been secured,)" an alien voice said over an intercom. One of the aliens then attaches a band of energy to her head so that she can only move her eyes.

"(Is the Mindflayer ready? We must wipe this human's memories of us,)" one of them said.
"(It is. I don't know how she became aware of us. I do know there is another human in the house,)" the other alien replies.
"(Does the other human know about us?)" the first alien asks.
"(The scouts read her mind and it seems that she does not believe this human child's words,)" the other alien said.
"Uh-oh!" She exclaims
"Uh-oh!" she exclaims
"Is this where we entered?" She asks
"Is this where we entered?" she asks
"(The mind wipe has begun,)" An alien said.
"(The mind wipe has begun,)" an alien said.
"What in the world?" She asks in shock.
"What in the world?" she asks in shock.
Romani shakes her head, clearly in a catatonic state. "I…I don't…I don't remember," She replies, clearly out of it.
Romani shakes her head, clearly in a catatonic state. "I…I don't…I don't remember," she replies, clearly out of it.
 
Thanks for the review! I do agree that Romani’s character is a bit all over the place. This is my first short story, so I was more focusing on the events themselves rather than her character. Character building is not something that can easily be done in a short story. Yes, I know it can be done, but there isn’t really too much space for that in a short story for that. Which is why I focused on the events rather than the characters.

As for the typos, I blame low vision. I can still see, just if it’s small, I won’t notice unless it’s pointed out to me. I just didn’t catch any of the issues that you mentioned. The only mistakes I really catch are the ones Microsoft word catch.
 
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Final update before the end of the deadline

I fixed some small errors that @kintsugi pointed out (thank you for that). Also, about what Romani says about them looking like the Flatwoods Monsters: They seem to serve as the inspiration that inspired the aliens that appear at Romani Ranch. That is why I had her mention that.
 
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I sadly didn't get some of it because I'm not a Zelda fan, it's a classic alien abduction story, I think! And of course, if you're going to be basing it on something already set in stone, it'll likely be a solid work, so congratulations on that!

I wouldn't have expected a non-Pokémon fic, even though we allowed them all the same! Bonus points for you!
 
a zelda fic... definitely something i didnt expect. granted i also dont follow zelda so ive yet to know whats going about with this work, but i still enjoyed reading it nonetheless.
 
I sadly didn't get some of it because I'm not a Zelda fan, it's a classic alien abduction story, I think! And of course, if you're going to be basing it on something already set in stone, it'll likely be a solid work, so congratulations on that!

I wouldn't have expected a non-Pokémon fic, even though we allowed them all the same! Bonus points for you!
a zelda fic... definitely something i didnt expect. granted i also dont follow zelda so ive yet to know whats going about with this work, but i still enjoyed reading it nonetheless.
Well, in a game called Majora's Mask, there is a side quest where you (as Link) can help Romani fight off the aliens/ghosts. Now, if you fail to help her, she gets abducted along with the cows. If succeed in helping her, she does not get abducted and the cows are saved. This story (as I said in the first post), looks at the events that happen after the abduction and before she is returned the next morning.

Edit: Forgot to mention. Thanks for the reviews, guys!
 
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