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My Hometown

by BenoBeruce


We’d been walking for days, tramping the ground where once life lived, at peace. My men are restless, tired, dead within, however I must not be. I must be brave, I must be awake, I must be what the army has trained me to be. 

“I believe this is the road sir”, my second in command tells me in a high-strung accent.

“Thank you lieutenant”, I reply in a thankless voice.

I look across the road, nothing but barbed-wire and lifeless bodies, the view of most places nowadays. 

“We’ll keep walking till nightfall, then rest, then continue in the morning”

“Good plan sir”, always the kiss ass my second in command replies with  a smirk upon his dirty, malnourished and unkept face.

So we walk,  our feet sounding a beat as we do. As we reach the top of a hill suddenly the land slopes away from us and we are left with a view of war. In the river battleships ready themselves for the boarding of the battalion of Fife, numbering some 100,000 men and women, who have for sometime been fighting in the wastelands of the north of Scotland trying to hold off the inevitable, the occupation of Britain. 

“Incoming!”, the word echoes through the Valley of Dead. 

“Find cover!”, I shout at my bewildered and bedraggled men.

Lying in the blood stained mud I feel the earth shake beneath me as shell after shell drops from the heavens, finding its resting place in the fields where once life was abundant, leaving only death.The shelling stops and we continue. It is a daily occurrence which we have all gotten used to. We never know where they come from, or who  sends them. By the time it was over it had gotten dark, so I instruct the men to find a hole and rest, the only comfort they have.

Morning comes early and so does the new wave of earth shakers. My bones are rattled, my eardrums are beaten till broken, and my men are murdered. Yet we continue. The landscape of this part is changed completely. Where once the farmer would've ploughed the fields, tanks lie, abandoned and alone. The trees where once pigeons cooed from have been replaced by artillery and the pigeons made extinct. And the whole ground has been moved 6 foot below where it used to stand. Man has done this, and when it is over, man will be the only thing left. 

“HQ is down there sir, at the rivers edge”

“Thank you lieu… whats that there?”

“According to the map, Longannet power station sir, decommissioned of course”

I was stunned, I hadn't seen that tower since I was a child, on walks with my father. 

“Any other landmarks?”

“A church too sir”

“You take the men, I'm going alone”

“Sir? Are you sure?”

“Just do it!”

I start running, gravity doing half the work as I fly down the hill, my lieutenant shouting after me, his voice being carried away by the wind, once smelling of nature, now of death. I reach the ruin of a grand house, my breath taken away by it, I stare at the house which once I called home. The roof has gone, the floors too, glass from the windows lie smashed on the ground and the kitchen has an unexploded bomb in it, but its still home. I keep running, through the gate and into the graveyard, past the church and left, still running, oblivious to all that is  around me. I pass the neighbours, they wave to me as they water the plants, and keep going, down the potholed road and past the cow field, I say hello to them. Past the only parking anyone had, the left-hand side of the hill road, the cars still there, and still I'm flying. I see the house with the evil eyes, it no longer scares me, I pass Conner's house, I pass Graham and  Lora’s house, where I used to go for curry evenings and we’d play board games till 2am. Onto the cobbles, the ankle breakers. It doesn't stop me though, I pass the cafe where Conner works, I pass the unicorn statue, and, finally, I glimpse the river.  I rush past the town hall, now on flat ground, where Graham sells pictures from and straight to the pier. I stop, I turn back, and there it is, my…

“Incoming!”

After an hour or so of earth shaking I get up and realise it was a mirage, where once the houses and the people stood, rubble and soldiers now do. I walk, slowly, back to the village of my birth, and looking down at the blood splattered masonry where the town hall once stood, where graham used to sell his pictures from. I begin to cry. I look up at the single lane road that runs through the village, where once my bus would drive along to pick and drop me off for school, now rows of soldiers march, their boots beating against the cobbles.  I am lost now, the only thing that tied me to this earth is gone. My home, is gone. 


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Points: 132
Reviews: 3

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Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:30 pm
agronaa wrote a review...



Hey Beno!

I really enjoyed this story, your descriptive work is genuinely really evocative!

The concept for this story is really interesting - I love the idea of coming back to somewhere once incredibly familiar in very unfamiliar circumstances. However, I feel like one place it could be improved is that, due to a few grammatical errors, a possible over-use of commas and the way you have written some of the dialogue (particularly at the beginning), it comes off as unintentionally off kilter. The following dialogue in particular:

“I believe this is the road sir”, my second in command tells me in a high-strung accent.
“Thank you lieutenant”, I reply in a thankless voice.

Comes off as a little stilted. First of all, while you could probably describe someones voice as high-strung, it is generally used to describe their attitude. you could try something like restless instead? Also, the fact that you said "a high-strung accent" instead of "his high-strung accent" makes it sound like the Lt. is purposefully putting on an accent that is not his own. you could instead try something along the lines of:

"my second in command tells me in his usual uneasy tone."

I'm not gonna go through this entire thing and correct your grammar/spelling, because it doesn't totally hinder the storytelling or anything, but I would urge you to give it another thorough look-through. I will just use the following sentence as an example, as it was the first bit that caught my eye.

“Good plan sir”, always the kiss ass my second in command replies with a smirk upon his dirty, malnourished and unkept face.

Should be:

“Good plan sir,” always the kiss-ass, my second in command replies with a smirk upon his dirty, malnourished, unkempt face.

The only other thing I have to say is less of a criticism and more of a suggestion, but I feel where you say:

"I pass Conner's house, I pass Graham and Lora’s house, where I used to [...]"

It would help the rhythm of this paragraph if you gave a similar example of a memory you/the protagonist have/has of Conner's house.

Overall though, i love this concept and find the story really engaging! have fun and keep writing.

- agronaa




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Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:19 am
lemonayyde wrote a review...



Hey BenoBeruce!

I loved your story! The concept is interesting, and you had a great hook!

I only have a few comments. One is about the use of commas. A lot of writers tend to overuse them, myself included, and sometimes it can be very beneficial to remove them or even separate things you had used commas for into different sentences! For example,

"We’d been walking for days, tramping the ground where life once lived at peace. My men are restless, tired, dead within, however, I must not be. I must be brave, I must be awake. I must be what the army has trained me to be."

It's not that big of a difference, but it makes the story flow while reading a little better! The same could be said about some wording. I suggest reading parts that seem a bit iffy out loud to see if there is another way to put it that makes more sense!

Other than that, you did a great job!! I can't wait to see more of your work, and welcome to YWS!

~lemonayyde




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Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:13 am
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neptune wrote a review...



Hey Beno! Welcome to YWS — it’s nice to see a work from you! Let’s just get into this review, shall we? I’ll start with some nitpicks throughout the piece and go on from there.

tramping the ground where once life lived, at peace.

I feel like the wording is a bit off here? “life once lived” seems to roll of the tongue more naturally, rather than “once life lived”.

I reply in a thankless voice.

So far, I haven’t gotten that much emotion or personality from the main character. Writing in first person is a good way to send emotion through to the reader, however, I’m finding it hard to connect with the main character. Although we have some descriptions here and there, I’ve not really gotten to know him much. Describe him more! Why is he thankless? What does he feel when he sees the barbed wire and lifeless bodies? How does it impact him? Describing how things personally effect the main character goes through to the reader.

I actually think the transition from night to morning was a little abrupt. To add on to my point said earlier, including more conversation with the soldiers might help with character and background plot development. I know this is a short story but extending it with a prologue/backstory might be very interesting, or weaving it in through dialogue. I just think the transition between night and morning is the best time to do this in!
I was stunned, I hadn't seen that tower since I was a child, on walks with my father.

This would be another good chance to add in emotion — some sentimental feelings towards his father. What times does this bring back for the main character? What does he feel and why? I feel like this sentence is on the verge of touching upon something filled with emotion, but it’s not quite there yet.

Toward the ending, the amount of description definitely gets much heavier and the emotion reaches it peak! I like the way you’ve described the atmosphere around him and it really adds a nice touch to finish.

It’s a little hard to understand if he either just realizes that everything he once loved is gone, or if he was just suppressing his feelings all along. If it was the latter I think it would have been a nice touch to hint his thoughts or feelings of this just lightly throughout the piece, leading up toward this moment. The change of pace towards the ending was a little awkward because it sped up, but I suppose it left a successful end!

I liked the overall idea of this — I think if you wanted to do even more, you could flesh it out! This plot you have going on is amazing and having a little prequel of some sort to explain the backstory might compliment it.

I know this work has already been sent out of the green room, but I was really tempted to review it. I haven’t reviewed in quite a while, so it might have been a little rusty, though I hope you found something useful! I hope you find YWS fun and see you around!




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Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:04 am
FlamingPhoenix wrote a review...



Hi Shikora here with a review.

I really like this story, it had a very good plot to it, and got me hooked by the first sentence. I think you could turn this into a really good long story, like how this war broke out, how have they managed to get so far with out getting killed. I think that would make a really good story.

The commander in this story seems to really have had a bad life and it makes me want to know what has happened before the war, I think you've given him quit the personality. And that's really good for a main character.
I also like it that you mention his not the only one, and you have a few moments when the other people talk to him.
I know I've said this already but this would really make a good war story.

it was also nice when you mentioned something he did with his father when he was young. It made the story feel like it's not just about war, and that's all his focused on.

Over all I think you have a great plot here, I think you planned it out really well, and it was easy to read, from experience from trying to write these type of thinks I know it's not easy, and you did a really good job.

Now down to the few little things I would like to point out.
Your description is really good, and it put a clear image in my head, but there is another thing you have to think about. There are dead people all over the place right? Well you have to think of the smell, it's going to stink.
And what can they hear as their walking in silence?
This is something I do when I write and it helps me a ton. When you write you should keep this in mind, sound, sight, smell and feel. If you try and do some of this your story will be a lot better.

But other then that I thought your story was great, and I loved reading and reviewing it. I hope you never stop writing and have a great day/night.

Your friend
Shikora. :D




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Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:15 am
Oxara wrote a review...



Hello there, Ox here for a review.

General comments -

I know everyone says this and you have probably heard it before, but show and don't tell. We have lots and lots of resources for you to look at to help you with this.

The flow sometimes feels very jerky and sudden.

Nitpicks/examples-

however I must not be. I must be brave, I must be awake
- This is one example where you could do a better example of showing us and not telling us. Perhaps say that his legs hurt but he walks normally and he just keep blinking to keep self away ect to show us rather than tell us.

man will be the only thing left. “HQ is down there sir, at the rivers edge”
- This feels like a rather sudden jump of ideas form the man destroying everything and being left to the HQ. A simple transition of "I snapped back to attention when" could help a lot"

Praises-
There was very little to no grammar or spelling errors so that was very good.

There was lots of repetition and a clear focus, while I do think some of the repetition was a bit to much it was pretty good

The topic was clear and well presented.

Conclusion-
It was a interesting story and showed good imagery while presenting a really interesting story. Well done!!!

Ox





"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"
— Albus Dumbledore