Verde’s Doohickey follows Jad Novus and his group of intrepid teenage friends who find themselves in possession of a mysterious body switching device from an enigmatic individual known as Verde Dusk. With this incredible power at their disposal, they set off on a low-key adventure about friendship, anxiety, the alteration and rewriting of reality, and other miscellaneous teenage shenanigans.
This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, locales, and events are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any intellectual properties referenced are property of their respective owners.
This novel contains adult materials including sexually explicit activities, childhood trauma, domestic violence, strong language, and incest. Reader discretion is advised.
This novel is the first part of The Saga of Dawn and Dusk series created by Natalie Neumann. No prerequisite reading is needed to fully understand this story.
This novel was originally released on August 15, 2015. Since then it has been revised repeatedly. Typographical errors and grammatical mistakes have been corrected, certain sections have been rewritten for quality purposes, the formatting of the novel has been changed, and minor aspects of the story have been altered.
Session 01: Re;Birth.exe
So, what exactly do you want me to do, Miss Dusk?
Verde: First off Jad, please call me Verde. We are both adults, and I see no need for such formalities. Second, as I informed you previously, I want you to describe the events that transpired throughout the experiment.
Right, right. So you just want a straightforward recap?
Verde: Not necessarily. I want your own comments on what happened, and I would like for you to be as detailed as possible. Act as if I have no idea what the details of the experiment were. As if I am an outside observer.
Well, it went on for four days, so I’m not sure I will remember every little detail.
Verde: No need to worry about that. I made certain that you will be able to recall every minute detail, down to every step and syllable, you and your friends made or uttered at any point during those four days.
I… wow… um, that’s actually quite amazing. Is that just one of your many powers, or…
Verde: I like to view myself as a woman of many talents, and this is just one of them. Now, assuming you are ready, I would like to begin the next phase of our little experiment.
Erm, alright… It all started on Saturday, November 22, 2014, in the village of Oransen, Illinois. A tranquil little town I’ve lived in almost all my life and was gracefully making its way out of autumn and into winter. With the weather on this particular day being just cold enough for me to justify confining myself in my bedroom.
Verde: And, pretending I have no idea what you look like, how would you describe yourself physically?
I’m not very good when it comes to describing myself, so forgive me if I’m a bit blunt. I am Caucasian, White, whatever term you prefer, 177 centimeters tall, weigh 57 kilograms, turned 18 as of last month. I also have green eyes that people like to compliment for whatever reason, along with a head of medium-length curly brown hair. At the time I was wearing a nice green jacket that I had for years and only wore indoors, because why would you lounge around in something you wear outside? A light blue shirt, some nice khakis, and some thick socks because, again, it was cold.
As for how I was spending this Saturday afternoon, it was not with anything all that important. I was planning on meeting a friend in about an hour and was in the middle of a PC game that I yanked out of my backlog. But I was soon interrupted by somebody opening up my door and shouting “‘Sup dude!” far louder than she needed to. I immediately recognized this as my friend, best friend when you get down to it, Maxxie Flare.
She regularly described herself as being ‘Blasian,’ as her ethnicity was very convoluted and complex, involving ancestors who were African, Indian, Korean, Japanese, Malaysian, and then some. She is 167 centimeters tall, a bit heavier than me at 64 kilograms, and much like myself she recently turned 18.
Maxxie’s black hair went slightly past her shoulders and was even more of a mess than mine. I found it to be an endearing part about her though, much like her smile, and the adorable black freckles that were sprinkled across her face. At the time she was wearing a white long-sleeved shirt with a blue vest over it, some tan leather pants that clung to her figure, and had her school backpack slung across her shoulders. Nothing out of the ordinary for her, with the exception of a small cardboard box in her right hand.
“Hey Maxxie, you’re earl—” I said as she casually tossed the box over to me.
“So, whatcha get?” Maxxie asked.
“I’m not entirely sure…” I murmured.
The box wasn’t even taped shut and the only sign it was for me was how the name ‘Jad Novus’ was written on it in bold white letters. I assumed that somebody simply left this package on my doorstep. But before I could think about what was in the box, or who exactly sent it to me, I was unfolding the cardboard box at my desk as Maxxie peered over my shoulders.
Both Maxxie and I let out a confused “huh” as we gazed at the contents of the box, which were obscured behind a white paper disc sleeve. I quickly picked it up and turned the sleeve around to see a disc with the words ‘VD Warning’ written on it in cursive. Beneath that, there was some electronic doodad. A chunky device with a violet matte finish, a screen that looked to be ripped off for a graphing calculator, and a total of three turquoise buttons labeled 1, 2, and Go. Buttons 1 and 2 were across from each other horizontally, while Go was placed near the bottom of the device.
“So, what’s this supposed to do?” Maxxie asked as she pulled the device out of the box.
“I have no idea, but maybe this… CD-ROM will provide the answers.” I answered, looking at the disc in confusion.
After placing the disc into my PC’s disc drive, I quickly discovered that the only thing on it was a FLAC file that I promptly played after unplugging my headphones. It was a forty seconds long explanation of what this device was, spoken by a feminine robotic voice. It said—
Verde: “Hello, my name is Verde. You… Jad Novus… have been chosen to receive a truly remarkable doohickey. A doohickey that may revolutionize mankind. A doohickey possessing limitless power. A doohickey that can craft experiences never felt before. I trust you will take care of this doohickey and will use it to become closer to your friends. As such, I hereby grant you Codename… VD.“
Exactly, just more artificial sounding, and it pronounced Jad as Jade, instead of having it rhyme with bad, dad, fad, mad, sad, and so forth… Was that intentional by the way?
Verde: I would prefer to save questions until after you reach a more appropriate stopping spot, if you don’t mind, Jad.
Oh, okay… Anyway, both Maxxie and I were a bit perplexed by what that recording was supposed to mean.
“So, this is some super special awesome thingamajig?” Maxxie asked as she gave the VD another once over.
“I guess, but why would this ‘Verde’ person be so vague about its details, or even basic function?” I wondered as I ejected the CD-ROM and placed it back into the sleeve.
“Well, when in doubt, push buttons!”
From that cue, Maxxie began pressing the trinity of buttons on the VD. Nothing happened until she began twirling it around like a baton when I suddenly felt a jolt go up through my spine. I initially did not connect the dots, but then Maxxie excitedly thrust the remote into my hands, where I saw my name, “Jad Novus” brighten up the top half of the monochrome 96 by 64 pixel screen. I naturally raised an eyebrow at this and asked Maxxie what she did.
“I really have no idea, I was just fiddling with it and something happened… I prolly just ended up pointing it at you and pressed a button…”
I viewed that as a perfectly valid reason for a name to appear, although where the remote got my name from was a bit of a mystery, as I viewed the ability to instantly know the identity of somebody based on pointing a device at them to be, well, impossible. Maybe if it had a camera or some kind of sensor, but I did not see anything resembling that on the 12 by 7.5 by 2 centimeter remote.
Regardless, I was curious to see what the remote would do if I pressed button number 2 at Maxxie, which looked to send a jolt through her body as well. My eyes were then drawn back to the remote, where they landed on a second name displayed beneath my own, ‘Maxxisaurus Omega Flare’. And yes, that is indeed Maxxie’s full name… it’s a long story.
With two out of three buttons pressed, I did the next logical thing and promptly pressed my thumb on the turquoise button reading ‘Go’. The VD’s screen then shifted away from our names and read ‘Executing Command: Switch’. After raising an eyebrow at this, and before I could inform Maxxie of this change, my vision began to blur, my hearing faded into nothingness, and my entire body grew numb. It all happened near-instantly, preventing me from panicking at the loss of any and all sensation, and, thinking back on it, was kind of terrifying.
Verde: I did not wish to inspire fear within you, I simply desired to evoke a sense of detachment as, well, you were being physically detached from everything you knew.
…Which you interpreted as making the process resemble… death?
Verde: It was a toss between that, or have your reality gradually shift around you, but I felt that would produce a more… sickening feeling.
And by the by, assuming this is a good time, was that recording supposed to—
Verde: The recording was created using a pre-existing program, which I did not alter in any way. I was not mocking your name, Jad. In fact, I am particularly fond of it.
Thanks, I still remember being mocked during elementary school for it, only to have Maxxie try to defend me… using violence… and then we were both sent to the principal’s office for the first time… Moving on!
Verde’s Doohickey Main Page
Session 01: Re;Birth.exe
Session 02: Osananajimi;Myself
Session 03: Maximum Flare
Session 04: The World of Girl Love
Session 05: It’s Slippery When Wet
Session 06: T-Girl Trouble
Session 07: All The Warriors
Session 08: A School-Style Swap
Session 09: School Daze
Session 10: Starred Social Links
Session 11: Finer Foreshadowing
Session 12: Dark Dreams Develop Despair
Session 13: Back 2 Best Girl
Session 14: Can’t Even Shine In A Prism
Session 15: Maxxie Mit Melancholy
Session 16: The Long Walk Home
Session 17: Obtuse Origins – Omega Overdrive
Afterword: Natalie Rambles About Verde’s Doohickey
Session Extra.1: Adoration
Session Extra.2: Inheritance
Session Extra.3: Resonance
Session Extra.4: Confessions
This Post Has 12 Comments
Don’t put your novel on WordPress. Try to sell it. As a teaser, you can. But, make sure they come off eventually. Sooner is better than later.
As far as the work goes, it’s neat. I mean, I don’t nitpick people’s style choices, I find that rude. So, you’re not going to get a bunch of negative feedback from me.
But, I like the conversational attitude, the introduction of elements in a sort of Genre way. I mean that as like a Vermeer painting, not a type of literary categorization. You could really fall in love with the characters, which is what you’re trying to do, I assume.
It’s going to take some time to get this published. But, five years of work? That’s not a bad thing. If you stay persistent. It took me about 10 years to finish my first novel, which this surprisingly reminds me of. All 1,000 pages of it. It’s not being published because publishers have sticks up their butts. It’s not because it lacks quality. You can see my newer work is just poetry, but it’s good to get some of this out of your system. I think, given the chance, people will read this type of fiction. It’s ahead of its time, but soon people will want to feel human connections in their art. It will be more important than superficial technical detail. They’re already doing it in European markets.
Take your time. Be as long as you want. Educate yourself. You’re writing a novel, so make sure it has a moral. I would probably see this device as Bildungsroman. Which means you’re going to have to take a lot of time and care building characters and bringing them moral growth. But, there has to be a crux to the whole work. Something unifying. Something important that it ought to communicate. That’s what will take it to the pro level.
A Fellow Writer
Thank you for your advice and kind words, but I personally am not interested in trying to sell my work as a writer.
I am not especially confident with my writing, as I am prone to grammatical errors, typos, and so forth, and I view the writing process from a hobbyist’s perspective. I tend to view my novels, and stories in general, as playgrounds for me to craft characters, scenarios, and circumstances. I derive personal fulfillment and happiness from bringing my ideas to life, as evidenced by how I’ve written 5 novels, 8 novellas, 2 web novel serial things, and a growing number of 5,000-10,000 word short stories within the past 8 years. But I would much rather make my work publicly and freely available than try to monetize it, as it is available to a wider audience, and does not have to bear the weighty expectations that come with a price tag.
Also, this is a novel I originally wrote back in 2015, as I explain in my introductory notes, which I recently revised and re-edited to better match my current quality standards. I have no intention of ever returning to this novel following this recent edit, as the story has been told and I would rather move onto something new.
Well, you’re not doing a lot for writers like me, who want to make money off our manuscripts. Your writing is quality. It doesn’t really matter that you have typos, etc. in your stories. That’s why they have editors.
If it’s just a hobby, I get it. But I’m far more than a hobbyist, and just between you and me, if you put 8 years of work into writing, and have produced that much material, you deserve to make money off of it. The price tag is your reward for having done the work. Audiences will find it.
If you’re just being humble, that’s one thing. But, if you’re afraid of failure, you need not be. I’ve been rejected about 100 times, but I understand that my writing is worth reading and earning a living off of. Otherwise I wouldn’t write it.
Work needs to be compensated. If you were writing Shakespeare you’d have a problem getting published in this Market. I just want you to understand that, before you make judgments about the quality of your writing.
The fact that it is so hard to break into the market is part of the reason why I never seriously thought about trying to get my work publicized. It’s a very competitive landscape, and I’d rather do things on my own terms without worrying about compensation. To the point where, if I were to try and make money on my work, it would likely be through the guise of self-publishing. I know that it is a lot harder to make money that way, but I also do not need to rely on my writing to make a living, as I am already working as an accountant, have a master’s degree in accounting, and am making a decent living just working part-time.
Again, I appreciate your concern and kind words, but I am perfectly content with putting out my novels for free.
I can’t understand why hard work shouldn’t be compensated.
Maybe I’m just speaking for myself, because I see a little bit of me in your writing.
Hard work should be compensated. But I do not consider what I do to be work, as I write as a hobby, for my own personal enjoyment, and a sense of self-fulfillment, with no explicit goal of being compensated by any individual or employer.
I am complimented that you, a published author, see a semblance of yourself in my work, but again, I just trying to have fun writing my weird and… mostly unpublishable ideas.
I mean, I wrote a novel called Psycho Shatter 1985: Black Vice Re;Birth (https://nigmabox.com/psycho-shatter-1985-black-vice-rebirth/), wherein a child rapist cannibal steals a woman’s body, gains magical powers, kills, rapes, and mind controls a bunch of people, before setting a town on fire… because it seemed like a fun idea at the time. And I wrote that back in 2019!
I’m not published. I’m self published.
I wish I was published. If you find my work is published, it’d be nice to know, because I haven’t made a dime off of it.
…Sorry about that, I misread your initial comment, where you said that you were not published.
It’s k. No problem. That’s why it stings so much.