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Stuck in Time

by 12aa


BOOM!

The grenade erupted from the ground.

All his comrades were dead on the battlefield and puddles of blood were all around him. Joseph held tightly to his only remaining photo of his wife, Emily, who remained back home. Tears rolled down his cheeks.

It was just this morning at sunrise when Joseph was put into a rescue mission. Although now he was the only one left of his battalion.

His hands were covered in his comrades’ blood. His left leg was fractured, and his forehead gushing with blood. Josephwas getting dizzy from the blood loss, heart beating faster and his vision limited by the blood rolling down his head. Joseph quickly grabbed his gun which had only 5 bullets left and jumped into a ditch to hide himself from the enemies that surrounded him.

A sound of a man running could be heard. Joseph looked up and looked at his uniform, a swastika, Joseph thought as he pulled his gun up and fired a bullet straight through the head. He assured that he had been killed and hid inside the ditch again.

Joseph was in a small island of the Philippines called Gabra island. He had ended up there after fleeing an ambush fromthe Axis on the Lubang islands. The mission was to take back the island and free the Allies that had been captured. The ambush came as if they were expecting Joseph’s battalion to come there, there had to be a spy on his side. But now, spy or ally, they were all dead.

All Joseph could think of was his family who were waiting for him to come home.

“Emily...” he said as he thought of his newlywed bride, “I’ll come home right after I win this war.”

Joseph clenched his fists with all his anger inside him.

“I’ll make all of you pay!”

************

It had been a while since the sounds of thefootsteps coming from the Nazis and the Japanese disappeared, the only sound that remained was the sound of the leaves rustling against the wind and the river flowing right next to him. He stood up cautiously looking around for enemies he might not have seen. He crawled towards his comrades one by one and pulled them into the ditch laying them onto the walls of dirt.

They were his friends, his family, but now they were dead. He wanted nothing but revenge for his fallen comrades. He made the decision; he would stay there and kill anyone who walked in. It would be his outpost, his defense line, and no one would be able to cross it.

First, he buried his comrades and saluted. 1 minute, 3 minutes, 10... He stood still; he couldn’t understand the moment. He stood before them, all 11 comrades, yet nothing came into mind. Then suddenly, like he had been holding it in for a long time, tears poured outlike a waterfall crashing down.

After a long while, Joseph’s tears stopped and as he looked up a flower caught his glance. It’s a Narra, Joseph thought. It was a flower that Emily loved most, a pink flower almost as beautiful as Emily herself. He pulled its roots out from the ground and layed them next to his comrade’s bodies,

“Go there where there are flowers as beautiful as this. Although it will never be as beautiful as these before you all.”, he said before leaving to start building the outpost.

Now it was time.

Time for revenge.

He cut down trees and started building the base, and then the walls. He cut down twenty more trees and built the main building. The outpost was finished. It was about half the size of the Quonset hut that he and his comrades would sleep in and as tall as two light M3 tanks stacked on top of each other.

The outpost had open windows on each wall, a wooden ladder to climb up, and a muddy bed of leaves. The outpost was built on the southernmost side of the island, which was the only entrance. The northern part of the island had shallow water which made it impossible to take a ship and sail to, and the eastern part of the island had a landslide of rocks and mud making it hard to get through. On the western part of the island was a cliff. Joseph had thought the southernmost side of the island, which had a beach full of sand and open sea, would be the best place to build the outpost.

He grabbed his comrades’ ammos and weapons that he took out before engraving them. He leaned them onto the walls of the outpost and started looking out and protecting his land.

************

Days passed by as no one came. Joseph could not know how long it had been since he had come here. However, he didn’t care. He only wanted to win this war for his country, his comrades and Emily.

A new routine had been made, Joseph went to hunt and get food in the morning and stand guard all night. It was safer to leave his post in the morning, it was easier to see, and he would be close by. If he heard the sound of an engine he could come running back.

One night, Joseph was startled by a loud abrupt sound.

Engine? Joseph thought as he looked out. He spotted a long ship with a flag attached to it. The flag had a bright red sun in the middle.

“Japanese.”, Joseph said as he grabbed his gun.

Joseph ran towards the seashore and hid behind some rocks. The rocks were big enough to cover his whole body, and once he saw that the ship was only about a mile away Joseph grabbed his Lee-Enfield leaned it against the top of the rock.

Joseph aimed his gun to one of the men and started firing all the enemies one by one.

All the men started ducking, but for some reason no one fired back. One of the men stood up and started screaming,

“Yameru! Senso waowatta!”, All the others started repeating the same sentence.

They must be ordering to attack now Joseph thought as he turned to reload his gun. Without caring about what they were saying Joseph kept firing shots at them. Then the ship started leaving, Joseph had protected his outpost against a whole ship. It was an accomplishment rewarded by nothing but a feeling of relief.

************

Joseph could not tell how much time had passed. All he knew was that he could no longer hear any gun shots nor any bombs. Must be a trick Joseph thought. They're trying to lure me out.

The next day, a boat passed by. Joseph quickly grabbed his gun. The boat was... small. As small as his outpost. It was wide open with 2 people on board, going at speeds Joseph had never seen before. Joseph cautiously crept towards it. Never had he seen a boat that fast, it was a genius invention. Although it was amazing, Joseph had no choice but to shoot. They were enemies, not allies.

BAM!

He shot at the ship, barely missing the man’s head, shattering the glass instead. The men ducked down and fled. Joseph had protected his outpost for another day.

The very next day started with a weird sensation. The night was colder than usual, no animals appeared before him, and no fish were caught. Then Joseph heard another boat from a distance. This one was louder than the boat that had come yesterday.

“Cease fire!”, the man had a mid-size object in his hands and his voice was as loud as the ship as he spoke with the object in front of his mouth. Joseph, curious decided to wait until they came, since the man could speak English.

The ship arrived on shore, and the man and some soldiers stepped down. The soldiers had uniforms that looked formal, tight, way better than the ones he had on now. One of the six men stepped forward.

“Hello, my name is Randoph, I am captain of the Philippines national police.We are here because of reports of some man with a gun shooting at a boat. Would that be you?”

“Yes, my name is Joseph, soldier of the 2nd commando brigade, now taking part in the commando operations!”

Shocked, the captain said,

“Well Joseph... hate to tell you this now but, the war ended 30 years ago.”


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Wed Dec 08, 2021 3:30 pm
MissGangamash wrote a review...



Hello!

Okay, lets get into this. The narrative style is very stunted. There is not heart to it, no real sense of who Joseph is. All I know is he has a wife. The story is written completely through 'telling' and no 'showing.'

There's a lot of sad moments throughout this piece, like him being surrounded by his dead comrades and then burying them. But I don't feel any of it. You could expand on who his comrades are. Their names. Did he meet them all in the army or were some even childhood friends? Give them identities and then the reader will sympathise.

I also can't really picture the scene. You've stated where he is but not painted a picture. Is it a wooden area? A beach? A field? All I know is he's on an island. Help the reader see what you saw when you wrote this.

When I read it, I felt like you skipped through a lot. Like him building his fort. I'm guessing that was a lot of effort and took up a lot of time but that wasn't really mentioned. I now understand why you didn't mention how long it took after getting to the end. But if you're going to have a big reveal at the end, it's good to pepper in throughout the story that something isn't quite right. Maybe when he's burying his comrades, some of them could be little more than skeletons. That would make the reader think, 'hm that's weird, I wouldn't think a body would decompose that quickly' then when they're hit with the ending they'll be like 'oooooooh now I get it,' Just little things like that would make the story more cohesive.

Also if Joseph has been on that island for 30 years, you could mention him aging in ways like his fractured leg healing - or maybe healing wrong because he didn't get any medical attention. Maybe mention his beard itching his face. Cutting his hair short with a blunt knife. Just little things that hint at the passage of time without saying it outright.

Also, clearly Joseph had some sort of mental breakdown so adding more to his narrative and giving him a stronger voice would also help show this and make the reader question his sanity.

Overall, cool concept but needs a lot of work on the execution to make it more cutting.

Hope this helps!




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Wed Dec 01, 2021 5:54 am
HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Okayy...so, this was quite an interesting story here. Its a pretty simple idea, and you execute it pretty well. I love the tiny touch of backstory to set it all up, before we then get to the main issue of the story where you build things up quite nicely before that last shocking reveal.

Anyway let's get right to it,

BOOM!

The grenade erupted from the ground.

All his comrades were dead on the battlefield and puddles of blood were all around him. Joseph held tightly to his only remaining photo of his wife, Emily, who remained back home. Tears rolled down his cheeks.

It was just this morning at sunrise when Joseph was put into a rescue mission. Although now he was the only one left of his battalion.

His hands were covered in his comrades’ blood. His left leg was fractured, and his forehead gushing with blood. Josephwas getting dizzy from the blood loss, heart beating faster and his vision limited by the blood rolling down his head. Joseph quickly grabbed his gun which had only 5 bullets left and jumped into a ditch to hide himself from the enemies that surrounded him.


Okayyy...this is quite the scene to set here right at the very beginning. Certainly quite a powerful image of what seems to be a man that has suffered through quite a few horrors in the span of a single day and is just kind of barely trying to survive and remain conscious. This is a powerful picture that you manage to paint here to start things off and so far I think its a great start.

A sound of a man running could be heard. Joseph looked up and looked at his uniform, a swastika, Joseph thought as he pulled his gun up and fired a bullet straight through the head. He assured that he had been killed and hid inside the ditch again.

Joseph was in a small island of the Philippines called Gabra island. He had ended up there after fleeing an ambush fromthe Axis on the Lubang islands. The mission was to take back the island and free the Allies that had been captured. The ambush came as if they were expecting Joseph’s battalion to come there, there had to be a spy on his side. But now, spy or ally, they were all dead.


Okayyy....well, that was a good little moment there just to place everything in context so we know what this whole battle is about and who exactly this person happens to be. Its a good little touch of context there so that we know what's going on. I think it manages to be pretty helpful here.

All Joseph could think of was his family who were waiting for him to come home.

“Emily...” he said as he thought of his newlywed bride, “I’ll come home right after I win this war.”

Joseph clenched his fists with all his anger inside him.

“I’ll make all of you pay!”


Hmm, that's also a good addition I think, showing sort of drives this character forward in fighting this war and wanting to survive. It seems like some pretty good motivation there and it shows here.

It had been a while since the sounds of thefootsteps coming from the Nazis and the Japanese disappeared, the only sound that remained was the sound of the leaves rustling against the wind and the river flowing right next to him. He stood up cautiously looking around for enemies he might not have seen. He crawled towards his comrades one by one and pulled them into the ditch laying them onto the walls of dirt.

They were his friends, his family, but now they were dead. He wanted nothing but revenge for his fallen comrades. He made the decision; he would stay there and kill anyone who walked in. It would be his outpost, his defense line, and no one would be able to cross it.

First, he buried his comrades and saluted. 1 minute, 3 minutes, 10... He stood still; he couldn’t understand the moment. He stood before them, all 11 comrades, yet nothing came into mind. Then suddenly, like he had been holding it in for a long time, tears poured outlike a waterfall crashing down.


Okayyy...well, it really seems like pretty much everyone in the area must be dead if he's going to get quite this much time to grieve, but I like that you slow things down a bit even after that bit of determination in the previous scene so that we can get a sense of just how many have died here and how much its going to affect the protagonist here. Its a great little moment I think.

“Go there where there are flowers as beautiful as this. Although it will never be as beautiful as these before you all.”, he said before leaving to start building the outpost.

Now it was time.

Time for revenge.

He cut down trees and started building the base, and then the walls. He cut down twenty more trees and built the main building. The outpost was finished. It was about half the size of the Quonset hut that he and his comrades would sleep in and as tall as two light M3 tanks stacked on top of each other.


Okayy...wow, so we move on from that quickly, almost a tiny bit too quickly, but that could just be me...and it seems this person is going through with that plan for one final defense here. Its a good show of strength and that will to live, I especially love the touch with the flower, but I do have to wonder how someone this battered and tired manages to construct something this elaborate looking and massive. I think partly this is due to the lack of a time for context to see how long it takes to actually build this. That could make this a bit more believable.

The outpost had open windows on each wall, a wooden ladder to climb up, and a muddy bed of leaves. The outpost was built on the southernmost side of the island, which was the only entrance. The northern part of the island had shallow water which made it impossible to take a ship and sail to, and the eastern part of the island had a landslide of rocks and mud making it hard to get through. On the western part of the island was a cliff. Joseph had thought the southernmost side of the island, which had a beach full of sand and open sea, would be the best place to build the outpost.

He grabbed his comrades’ ammos and weapons that he took out before engraving them. He leaned them onto the walls of the outpost and started looking out and protecting his land.


Okayy....well, this is a proper makeshift fort that he's constructed here. I still can't quite fathom how something like this can be made by one person, but ignoring that, I love the description here. It does seem like a proper little shelter to salvage what's available and make a last stand.

A new routine had been made, Joseph went to hunt and get food in the morning and stand guard all night. It was safer to leave his post in the morning, it was easier to see, and he would be close by. If he heard the sound of an engine he could come running back.

One night, Joseph was startled by a loud abrupt sound.

Engine? Joseph thought as he looked out. He spotted a long ship with a flag attached to it. The flag had a bright red sun in the middle.

“Japanese.”, Joseph said as he grabbed his gun.


Okayy..it seems that there is some activity and things are about to really get into the action. This is quite the moment here I think. You really do manage to paint quite the picture here with this. It seems his long vigil is finally going to see some action here.

Joseph ran towards the seashore and hid behind some rocks. The rocks were big enough to cover his whole body, and once he saw that the ship was only about a mile away Joseph grabbed his Lee-Enfield leaned it against the top of the rock.

Joseph aimed his gun to one of the men and started firing all the enemies one by one.

All the men started ducking, but for some reason no one fired back. One of the men stood up and started screaming,

“Yameru! Senso waowatta!”, All the others started repeating the same sentence.

They must be ordering to attack now Joseph thought as he turned to reload his gun. Without caring about what they were saying Joseph kept firing shots at them. Then the ship started leaving, Joseph had protected his outpost against a whole ship. It was an accomplishment rewarded by nothing but a feeling of relief.


Okayy...well, the behavior of the men is pretty odd you do have to wonder what that could possibly be about, especially considering the title of this piece, and especially because as accomplished as Joseph might feel, one person firing onto the deck of a ship is hardly going to send on turning back without ever firing a single shot...so I get the feeling there's more here than meets the eye.

The next day, a boat passed by. Joseph quickly grabbed his gun. The boat was... small. As small as his outpost. It was wide open with 2 people on board, going at speeds Joseph had never seen before. Joseph cautiously crept towards it. Never had he seen a boat that fast, it was a genius invention. Although it was amazing, Joseph had no choice but to shoot. They were enemies, not allies.

BAM!

He shot at the ship, barely missing the man’s head, shattering the glass instead. The men ducked down and fled. Joseph had protected his outpost for another day.


Okayy....things are definitely starting to get weird now...I get the feeling I know what this particular title referring to and I love how you're building this all up rather slowly, starting with something that is relatively explainable before things slowly increase in the weirdness factor.

The ship arrived on shore, and the man and some soldiers stepped down. The soldiers had uniforms that looked formal, tight, way better than the ones he had on now. One of the six men stepped forward.

“Hello, my name is Randoph, I am captain of the Philippines national police.We are here because of reports of some man with a gun shooting at a boat. Would that be you?”

“Yes, my name is Joseph, soldier of the 2nd commando brigade, now taking part in the commando operations!”

Shocked, the captain said,

“Well Joseph... hate to tell you this now but, the war ended 30 years ago.”


Oooh, love that ending. Its a tiny bit anticlimactic. I feel like that last line was a teensy bit too casual for someone giving orders to a potentially dangerous gunman/ soldier from the past, but otherwise, I think it makes for a pretty good 'DUN, DUN, DUN' moment there.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, I think this is a pretty solid piece here. It was a pretty fun read and I think you're doing a pretty good job of showcasing this soldier and what he's trying to do and also the increasingly weird events that eventually culminate in that reveal. The reveal itself could do with a few changes like that one I mentioned above and also perhaps just a little more detail. It feels like that ended a little too quick. Otherwise, this was pretty well done here.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




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Wed Dec 01, 2021 2:01 am
IMK wrote a review...



Hey, IMK here with a review.

I don't usually review things like this so it'll be a bit awkward, sorry.

I really like the stylistic choices you made with separating the onomatopoeia from the rest of the text, I usually don't like that, but you pulled it off. I really like the verb choice, it wasn't bland and actually brought about the goal beautifully. It would be nice if you would add footnotes with asterisks or something like that for translations, though, so people don't have to interrupt the flow of reading your work with a quick google search. My favourite parts are the almost-but-not-quite lists, such as the minutes thing in the beginning.


-IMK





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