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The Last Battle

by lyssiekins


In those hot, crowded downtown streets it felt like it was her and I against the world.

     We were in a fight, a long battle, against monsters that had taken over our land and most of our buildings, and we were rapidly losing. We had even taken to the streets and most of us fought there as we watched those who still lingered in buildings being devoured by the strong offense of the creatures. Our defenses were no more than walls, cheap and sloppy as they had been built at the last minute. The invasion had been fast, too fast, and they were our last hope.

      Across the road I saw someone tearing down the walls, losing his sanity from the chaos of the war. I rushed forward in an effort to rebuild the wall as he was destroying it, but the people who work against this world have just as much determination as those who work for it. My efforts counted for nothing.

      Just as others were beginning to crawl forward to aid me in my struggle a monster appeared above me in a familiar window,  from my own house he glared down at me with evil hatred. I backed up in horror but it was too late, he shot a target seeking missile, at me the target.

       I began running as fast as i could, leaping over debris, watching over my shoulder as the crazed device followed me with vigilance.

       Behind the device, I saw my love following, resolute to save me, but frightened of death. As I looked in her eyes suddenly everything froze for a second, and I saw the indescisive fear dissapear from her eyes, and she must have seen it flee from mine, because at the same moment we both rushed to each other for one last embrace.

      After the bomb hit us we stood there together, and everything was still. Suddenly I could see time on a line, forwards and backwards. Everything laid out as it would occur perfectly.  It was extremely comforting as well as humbling, when after you live your life out thinking you control everything you realise all along you were following a pattern of planned events. Everything that ever happened meant to happen and no matter of fate or luck, just purpose.

       We saw the faces of everyone we knew looking at us, at the place where we had just been. All of our teachers and family and friends stood with proud tears shining in their empty eyes.

       I looked down at my hand and saw that it was glowing. It did not surprise me, but instead soothed me. I stepped forward with ease through the clutter and ruin.

       As we walked forward through the damage together we watched the light illuminate the faces of our brothers and sisters in arms, and we witnessed their acts of bravery thereafter. I realised that the light was hope, and love, and my death had brought them this gift. The will to fight harder to stop more deaths from occuring. Fight to stop the battle.

       I felt a large window open beside my love and I, inviting us to move on into the next life. I looked at her and she smiled and nodded. We stayed there at the battle to continue channeling our love and hope. To help our friends in the last way we ever could.


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Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:07 am
Juniper wrote a review...



Hi Lyssiekins, I’m June,
I feel like this short story has potential, but I don’t feel like your language is delivering your message as strongly as you could. To begin:

In those hot, crowded downtown streets it felt like it was her and I against the world.

I like to think of the beginning line of a story a your one-hit-wonder, your first and only chance to impress the world. It should drag your audience in and make them want to keep reading, essentially tie each line to the next so that you’re holding our full attention. This opening sentence falls a little flat for me, dear, because it feels cliche, and it doesn’t offer anything redeeming towards the later part of the story. I’m always a little skeptical of stories that open with the scenery is literal terms, because more often than not, people forget to bring the story alive. Remember to use words that paint a picture rather than blatantly tell us what’s happening.
We were in a fight, a long battle, against monsters that had taken over our land and most of our buildings, and we were rapidly losing.

The beginning is redundant and doesn’t contribute anything of worth in its redundancy. Repetition isn’t always bad when it adds something for effect, but overall, this sentence feels heavy, dear, in a way where it won’t pull its own weight. Instead, I can think of rewording this as something like, “we were fading fast in a long battle against the monsters...”, but even so, I’m not sure how I feel about blatantly being told such facts.
We had even taken to the streets and most of us fought there as we watched those who still lingered in buildings being devoured by the strong offense of the creatures.
Is there a reason for the word “even” in the beginning of this snippet? I know that you’re trying to paint the picture that your resources are becoming fast exhausted, but I don’t get that image, because there’s no prior delivery of information that tells us this in anyway. That wouldn’t be a terrible problem if your information was being delivered in a consistent way, but so far, the story feels inclined to rather dump info than subtly deliver.

Tell us more about these creatures. We have no idea what they are, less idea of their motive, and without that this early on, we’re devoid of the severity of the situation.


Across the road I saw someone tearing down the walls, losing his sanity from the chaos of the war.

Show us how your character interprets this individual’s lack of sanity. As it stands, the inference seems rather misguided and confusing, because there’s little connectivity between this event and the significance of the walls. Why would he tear down the walls? Is he convinced that they will do nothing, and this is his surrender? Does he feel like it was futile? Is he frustrated? or has some monster eaten a fraction of his brain and he can’t think straight? You’re telling the story here, dearie, so you need to fill in these unanswered questions for us instead of letting us dwell on them.

I rushed forward in an effort to rebuild the wall as he was destroying it, but the people who work against this world have just as much determination as those who work for it. My efforts counted for nothing.

I’m not a fan of the repetition of the word effort in this part here. Furthermore, rushing forward in an effort to do something feels like a wasted action because it’s heavy to the story. You want to make us feel like her impulse took over to rebuild the wall to preserve the salvation efforts that have been made, not like she had to slog herself forward. Be careful where you place the word effort. ;)
from my own house he glared down at me with evil hatred. I backed up in horror but it was too late, he shot a target seeking missile, at me the target.

How does one glare at you with evil hatred? This is what I meant when I mentioned the motive of the creatures earlier on; fill us in with a little background knowledge of who these monsters are and why they want to take over, and then recount the hatred in his/her eyes. As it stands, this hatred and evil feels misguided and empty and we can’t understand an ounce of what any character here is going through.
I began running as fast as i could, leaping over debris, watching over my shoulder as the crazed device followed me with vigilance.

“Began running” feels like this character will soon stop. Why not just say she ran as fast as she could? ;)
Remember that the way you choose your words tells us a lot about the severity of the situation. As it stands, it feels like she’s not very determined to get away. Perhaps if this character dared to steal a glance over her shoulder and caught a glimpse of her loved one, it would feel a little more... severe. :D
Also, the pronoun I should always be capitalized. No excuses.
Behind the device, I saw my love following, resolute to save me, but frightened of death. As I looked in her eyes suddenly everything froze for a second, and I saw the indescisive fear dissapear from her eyes, and she must have seen it flee from mine, because at the same moment we both rushed to each other for one last embrace.

Indescisive should be indecisive, and dissapear should be disappear.
Up until this point in the story, I was convinced the narrator was a woman, but now I realize, I have no idea who the narrator is at all. It helps to give us a little insight about who we’re dealing with so we can relate to them.
As we walked forward through the damage together we watched the light illuminate the faces of our brothers and sisters in arms, and we witnessed their acts of bravery thereafter. I realised that the light was hope, and love, and my death had brought them this gift. The will to fight harder to stop more deaths from occuring. Fight to stop the battle.

I’m not sure how I feel about this death here. It feels rather anti-climactic, and that’s disappointing to me. After the build up of the story, I think you could try to deliver something a little stronger here. The resolution of this story doesn’t feel victorious or final in a way that leaves me feeling like I’ve been impacted at all. It makes me feel like these characters have been rather passive all along.

I would recommend developing your characters just a little bit stronger so that what isn’t written is better implied. I would also encourage you to use metaphors and imagery to paint these scenes to us instead of just duly laying it out on the table for us.

Hope that helped some,
June




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Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:11 pm
Carina wrote a review...



Hi! Thought I'd come by to drop a review.

I really loved the concept of this story. The narrator battling it out in a violent fight only to meet up with their love the moment that their death struck, but then moved on to the next life with purity and innocence to reach out to others? Yes, it's great. You did a great job portraying the concept and it did stir up some thoughts and feelings inside of me. Good job! :)

Now for some critique. Ironically, this piece has a bit too much action and too little feelings. I say it's ironic because, hey, it is some kind of fight, and action is a must; however, there needs to be a link that will connect the readers to the narrator. After all, no one that is reading this has went to a war and died, right? So, it would be incredible if you could write it out as if the narrator is the reader, and the reader is feeling and thinking whatever the narrator is feeling or thinking. This can prove to be a bit difficult at times, but with enough initiative, it can most definitely be accomplished.

Remember the five senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. If you incorporate these five or even a few of these sensory details in, it suddenly makes the story pulse and come alive. What did the narrator hear? Surely he heard the deafening sounds of the bombs exploding around him. What did the narrator see? Surely he saw the guns and weapons slaughter familiar acquaintances as they fall limply and lifelessly into the ground. What did the narrator smell and taste? Surely he smelled and perhaps even tasted the metallic blood puddling in his mouth, and surely he smelled the dead corpses lying around as the horrible blanketed stench of death choked him. What did the narrator feel? Surely he felt panic rise above his throat, and surely he he felt debris get in his way, cutting him, scratching him, trying to slow him down as if it wanted him to die with the town.

These are only a few things that could link the reader in with the story; there is a whole endless list of them, and as a writer, you get to choose which one to write. Overall, I loved the story, and your grammar was near perfect.

Keep writing! I'd love to read more of your future stories. :)

-Carina




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Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:33 am
Caesar wrote a review...



Hey there!

You had good grammar in this short. It has potential to be quite good. However, at the moment I feel it was rather bland. There's not enough emotion to trigger any reaction in me. You talk about love and hope and war, but those are very abstract concepts. Define them, really give us a grasp of what those concepts mean to the character. Consider perhaps if you were in a hopeless war, a planned series of events -- how would you feel? What would the dominating emotions be, then, in your character? Terror? Sadness? Anger, perhaps. And then show us.

She was very sad and frightened due to the hopeless advance of war.


Her limbs were lead. She moved like a fly through syrup, impotent. Weak. Every clang of steel sent a jolt through her, every fountain of blood evoked nightmares. Her soul was lead, too. It seemed like they had been fighting forever. Like there would be no end to the fighting. Her eyes were dull and her face ashen. She barely had the will to defend herself.


Now, you can see that obviously the latter paragraph is more effective -- though a little on the dramatic side. No matter. Take that as an example of showing versus telling, and show us in your own style. But consider emotion at all times. I once read there were two moments in a person's life that are packed with emotion more than any other: making love and fighting. Both are natural to the human race. In this case, however, you should consider the impact of war, what it has on a person.

Your middle paragraph, the one with the bomb, for example. That should be your climax. There, I suggest you go really into detail, have your character analyze the situation with the detached feel of the dying. Or perhaps don't: you could convey the freedom of death in another way. I leave it to you to decide if that's cliche or not.

When you talked about your character's lover, that was also confusing. I suggest you slow down there and explain things better. Bonus points if there's foreshadowing earlier or flashbacks now, or really any other fancy technique to subtly (or not so subtly) convey information.

All I've said above goes five times over for the bit about love and hope. Since they're abstract concepts, every human being perceives them in a different way. How does your character perceive them? Once you've answered that, show us.


Once you've covered the emotional sphere of things fully, you shall have an epic short. In the meanwhile, I wish you good luck.

Hope this helped
~Ita





A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
— Steve Martin