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Brothers at Sea

by Messenger


Tim held onto the rigging as the sailboat rocked in the dark waters of the Gormican coast. His sandy-colored hair ruffled in the breeze that turned an otherwise uncomfortably warm summer night into a cathartic evening of fishing. His brother, Finn, had passed out on the back of the boat, his fishing rod still in hand. Tim looked out over the subtle waves of the sea and sighed with content. A small lantern hanging from the mast gave the pair of youths enough light to see a few feet in every direction, but it was the glowing moon the provided most of the light to see slivers of waves rolling over each other.

Tim inhaled the salty air and shook his head slowly. He could do this every day, or night rather. He peered into the night sky, a deep blue that had turned nearly black, speckled with stars and planets. There were a few puffy clouds that would float across his view of the moon, but no threatening storm clouds. It was the perfect weather for a late-night fishing trip.

There was no sound save for the lapping of the waves against the sound of the boat, and the melodic groan of the boat’s sail and rigging. It was a small craft, fifteen feet in length, just a few feet wide, with one main triangular sail. Tim’s father had built it himself and named her the Peonisi. Tim wasn’t sure what the word meant, but he suspected it may have been something his father had learned from one of his many missions as a government official. Now that Tim and Finn had turned sixteen and fifteen respectively, their father had given them permission to take the boat out as they pleased. The only condition was that the boys returned it in the same condition as they sailed out. This was one of the few times that the sea had been cooperative. The spring had been especially stormy, so it was nice to not be rocked about all night for the first time in months.

Tim had set aside his pole for a few moments to take the night in. He yawned and stretched his arms out wide, realizing that sleep was starting to sneak into the outermost parts of his eyes. He rubbed his face with both hands and shook the sleep away. With a swig of water from his jar, he sat back down against the starboard and cast his line. It plopped into the water and disappeared beneath the murky surface. Tim secured the butt of his pole against the bench and the railing and sat back with his head in his hands. There was nothing to do now but wait.

A splash caused him to jump and he peered over the side of the boat. Nothing. Probably just waves colliding. Tim sat back down, only for his pole to jump. He grabbed it and was standing in an instant. It was the first bite of the night, even though they had been out for over two hours.

The pole vibrated and wiggled in Tim’s arms. He couldn’t see what it was, but it was obvious that the sea creature was large. The pole began to bow, and Tim let some slack on the line. He barred his teeth and leaned back, pulling the line opposite directions of where his bite tried to go. A strong yank caused Tim to stumble towards the edge of the boat. He let out an “oof” and just caught his balance before plunging over the edge. He set his feet against the inside of the boat and squatted down, calling out to his brother.

“Finn! Finn, I got something big!” he hollered, without taking his eyes off the end of his line, where the fish was thrashing and stirring up sea foam. Tim licked his lips and wiped the sweat as it rolled down his brow in beads. He began to reel in the line. Finn came jumping to his side, grabbing the pole, and assisting in the drag. The pole now arched in a high bow. Tim grunted and yanked hard. With one final tug, the fish sprung out of the sea.

Before Tim could even react, a great gust of wind rocked the boat on its side. The fish was snatched out of the air in an instant, and the line went whizzing back out to sea. Tim, still holding onto the pole as he and Finn crashed to the floor, was jerked back to his feet as the line went taut and tugged up into the air.

“Finn I ne-” was all he got out before he was catapulted over the edge of the boat and into the sea.

Tim hit the water face-first. He somersaulted, disoriented as he lost his grip on the fishing pole. Everything was black. With two powerful strokes, he was headed back up to the surface, but he had inhaled sea water and as he broke the surface he sputtered and coughed, his lungs burning. The mouthful of the sea tasted salty and warm. A pair of hands on his shoulder hauled him to the edge of the boat. Tim used the buoyancy of the waves to heave himself back into the boat as Finn grabbed his belt and did his best to help.

Tim rolled on his back and coughed up another mouthful of water. Wiping water from his face and hair he sat up.

“What was that?” he blurted out, his voice cracking with confusion.

Finn was pointing to the moon, however. A dark shape fluttered by. It was hard to judge distance, but it looked big, whatever it was.

“Is that a…” Finn shrugged. His voice trailed off. “I honestly don’t have a clue.”

Tim clasped the rigging and stuttered. “I-I th-think it was a dragon.”

Finn snorted, slapping his brother on the arm. “That’s silly. Dragons don’t live around here.”

Tim swatted at the slap in annoyance. “Oh yeah? Well, what do you think it was, genius?”

Finn pursed his lips. “I don’t know. But probably not a dragon.”

Tim squeezed the water out of his shirt. “Well, it wasn’t a seagull.”

“Fine, it was a dragon. Jerk.” Finn turned his back on Tim.

Tim rolled his eyes peered over the edge of the boat. “I suppose that the fishing rod is a goner.” He looked back toward the moon. It was shining, but there were no dark silhouettes this time, just the hazy grey ball of light.

“You know, he was the real jerk. Snatched our catch out of mid-air.” Tim said.

Finn huffed.

Tim sighed. Brothers.


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Sat Jul 03, 2021 11:28 pm
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Shady wrote a review...



Mess! Hi!

Luckily, I have the memory of a goldfish, so I'm basically looking at this as a fresh set of eyes xD I'm not going to read my review rn bc I want to be able to give you authentic reactions to this draft, rather than remembering what I thought of the last draft. Let's get started...

There was no sound save for the lapping of the waves against the sound of the boat,


Likely a typo, but I'm not sure what "sound of the boat" means here.

The only condition was that the boys returned it in the same condition as they sailed out.


It reads funny to have the word "condition" twice in the same sentence, especially since they're used to mean different things.

A pair of hands on his shoulder hauled him to the edge of the boat.


Something I noticed a couple of times in this story is you use passive language, which is generally advised against. I.e., here the "A pair of hands" becomes the focus of the sentence instead of the actual action. Whereas if you did something like "Finn grabbed Tim's shoulder and hauled him to the edge of the boat" then the action would seem more active. Does that make sense? Try to put the focus on what's happening, not being passive unless you have to be.

~

This is an excellent short story! I remember enjoying this back when I read it the first time, and I just skimmed my review of it -- and this is a much-improved version. The flow is better and helps immerse me in the action straight away.

The only nitpick I have is I'm a little confused by how a dragon managed to get close enough to snatch the fish without at least one of them seeing for sure that that was what it is. I would think that Tim would have looked up when the fishing pole got yanked from his hands. And even if he didn't, then I would assume that Finn would have been watching the interaction. I just envision dragons as huge, so it seems strange that a massive reptile could get near enough to steal a fish without either of the brothers seeing it up close.

But overall, fantastic story! I do think your revisions helped, and I enjoyed reading this again. Hope this helped!

~Shady




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Sat Jun 26, 2021 4:03 pm
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LittleLee wrote a review...



Hello Messenger!

Ooh, I'm glad to see a story set in the same universe as Williwaw! It's not connected to the novel itself, but is clearly meant as a casual piece to be read on the side; I like that.
As something that stands alone, it does pretty well! The pacing is almost perfect, your writing is as good as ever, and there are very few things I can criticise, with a lot to praise! :)

His sandy-colored hair

I would suggest changing this to "sand-coloured" or just "sandy" hair.

sleep was starting to sneak into the outermost parts of his eyes

Okay... I don't think that's how one notices they're getting sleepy... I mean, I don't feel tired in the "outermost" part of my eyes; they just start drifting shut. This description is a little wonky. You could try tweaking it a bit.

He barred his teeth and leaned back, pulling the line opposite directions of where his bite tried to go. A strong yank caused Tim to stumble towards the edge of the boat. He let out an “oof” and just caught his balance before plunging over the edge.

Lovely passage here it reminded me of Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. Just the general description.
Oh, and I think you mean "bared" his teeth?

He somersaulted, disoriented as he lost his grip on the fishing pole.

He somersaulted? In the water? 0.o

Finn was pointing to the moon, however. A dark shape fluttered by.

I'm not sure if "fluttered" is the word you're looking for. I mean, it does indicative flight, but a very specific kind. And it automatically makes me think of butterflies or small birds.

Tim clasped the rigging and stuttered. “I-I th-think it was a dragon.”

Finn snorted, slapping his brother on the arm. “That’s silly. Dragons don’t live around here.”

Tim swatted at the slap in annoyance. “Oh yeah? Well, what do you think it was, genius?”

Finn pursed his lips. “I don’t know. But probably not a dragon.”

Tim squeezed the water out of his shirt. “Well, it wasn’t a seagull.”

Great dialogue!

“You know, he was the real jerk. Snatched our catch out of mid-air.” Tim said.

Finn huffed.

Tim sighed. Brothers.

This would have been a really good ending... except for the very last line. I advise you to remove it. It doesn't tie the story up as well as the previous sentences would.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this short story! It was well done, highly enjoyable, and didn't disappoint in any regard! Good work!

~ Lee




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Thu Dec 31, 2020 9:03 pm
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Shady wrote a review...



STORY!

I really like your opening! It sets a nice tone for the story and I feel like I can really envision the setting really well already. The one suggestion I have is to watch your modifiers, because you have a lot of them.

Tim held onto the rigging as the small sailboat rocked gently in the dark waters of Gormican coast.


For example, your very first sentence (though the ones that follow also have a fair bit). I don't think they're problematic, per se, but they do make sentences clunkier. People, in general, are really bad at holding multiple items in their short-term memory. So, it actually makes it harder to envision the scene when you add more details like this. I would suggest breaking it up into multiple sentences to get all the info in. Or, at least, being aware of the number that you're using.

It plopped into the water and disappeared beneath the dark waters.


I'm sure I've rambled about repetition to you by now xD But this is a case that stuck out to me. I definitely think one of the words needs changed, and I would suggest it being the second one, since that seems easiest. You could have something like "the dark surface" or something like that."

The water hit him face-first.


This might just be a me-thing, but it seems kind of odd making "water" be the focus of this setence. Wouldn't it make more sense to say that he hit the water instead of the water hitting him? This makes the water seem aggressive lol

Finn giggled, slapping his brother on the arm.


Hmm this is an insanely anal nitpick, I realize that, but giggled has really specific connotations in my mind. Like, I think of children giggling. Innocent, joyful laughter. This seems more mocking? Usually, I love alternative word choices but honestly, I feel like "laughed" or "snorted" would fit the tone of this scene better?

~ ~ ~

I REALLY like this scene! I may be biased as the resident fish biologist ;) But I really enjoyed this fishing scene. And I also really liked the ending! It's definitely really tense and has a good hook. I definitely want to read on and know what happens next! Really great story!

Keep Writing!

~Shady 8)




Messenger says...


haha good points made all around. As always :D



Messenger says...


Hey I went back and edited the things you pointed out a few weeks ago. If you could just read those sentences and lemme know what you think that would be cool. I think they read a lot better now



Shady says...


Ooh, will do! I'm a lil overwhelmed rn but if you nudge me next week (I'm going to forget otherwise ;-; ) I'd definitely like to look at both works you answered tonight! It's been a while, definitely look forward to reading your works again <33



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Sun Dec 06, 2020 5:36 am
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ChrisCalaid wrote a review...



Hello there! I am here as requested. I love fiction works about sailing and the sea. I really enjoyed reading this story, it reminded me of Hal from BrotherBand Chronicles!

Let's sail out to the sea!

Impression

As I said before, this story really reminded me of Hal and the characters from Brotherband Chronicles! When I first looked at the title I thought maybe it was like a survival movie about brothers who never got along until they start spending more time with each other when their boat sank from a storm. I think the title is simple but have a pretty good description of the story.

:) I don't like the grammar section either...it's too long and all that..but it's kinda important, so...let's go!

Grammar and Punctuation


Tim held onto the rigging as the small sailboat rocked gently in the dark waters of Gormican coast



His brother, Finn, had passed out on the back of the boat, fishing rod still in hand. Tim looked out over the subtle waves the sea and sighed with content..


You should use "the" before "Gormaican coast" and "fishing". You should use a comma after "subtle waves" or if you want something to change something else rather than something else, then, you should add "of" after "subtle waves".

Now that Tim and Finn had turned sixteen and fifteen respectively, their father had given them permission to take the boat out as they pleased.


You could, perhaps for a better, change "given them permission" to "permitted them" if you have a consideration that it's a bit wordy.

Finn came jumping to his side, grabbing the pole and assisting in the drag. The pole now arched in a high bow. Tim grunted and yanked hard. With one final tug the fish sprung out of the sea.


I suggest you use a comma before "and" and after "tug".

Before Tim could even react, there was a great gust of wind and the boat rocked on its side.


I think you might want to put a comma before "and".

With two powerful strokes he was headed back up to the surface, but he had inhaled sea water and as he broke the surface he sputtered and coughed, his lungs burning. The mouthful of sea tasted salty and warm.


You might want to put a comma after "With two powerful strokes" since it's an introductory phrase. And "the" before "sea" at the last sentence in the quoted piece.

A dark shaped fluttered by. It was hard to judge distance, but it looked big, whatever it was.
“Is that a…” Finn shrugged. His voice trailed off. “I honestly don’t have a clue.”
Tim clasped the rigging and stuttered. “I-I th-think it was a dragon.”
Finn giggled, slapping his brother on the arm. “That’s silly. Dragons don’t live around here.”
Tim swatted at the slap in annoyance. “Oh yeah? Well what do you think it was, genius?”
Finn pursed his lips. “I don’t know. But probably not a dragon.”
Tim squeezed water out of his shirt. “Well it wasn’t a seagull.”
“Fine, it was a dragon. Jerk.” Finn turned his back on Tim.


I don't think you need "ed" after "shaped" unless you mean something like liquid was made solid.

I suggest you use a comma after "Well" for both dialogues in the quoted parts.

AND, finally, "the" before "water".

I loved reading this! Please tell me if you write the next part for this!

Thank you for sharing this and requesting the review!

Best wishes,
Chris

Will Review For Free




Messenger says...


You've read Brotherband!?!? What about Rangers Apprentice? I owned all of them for a while but he keeps writing. I plan on doing a few short stories like this set in the same world. If you look in my portfolio for Williwaw it's my novel in the same universe.



ChrisCalaid says...


Yup, I've read Ranger's Apprentice tho I haven't read Royal Ranger yet...Sure I'd love to read your story!



Messenger says...


Royal Ranger was awesome. At the time it seemed like it would be the last RA book and I thought it was so fitting. Not everything was perfect, but everyone was respectfully written, and the new ranger is awesome. IT was like Ruins of Gorlan all over again in a way.



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Sat Dec 05, 2020 3:15 am
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JeanBean_BC wrote a review...



I very much enjoyed this because I was able to capture the tone of the story. And I was able to put the imagery in my mind, playing like animation, or a live-action movie. I was able to relate to the annoyance of siblings 🤣
I know this is supposed to be a short story, but I'm dying to know how this plays out for the two brothers.
Amazing work!




Messenger says...


THanks! You can check out my progressing novel set in the same world right here ->https://www.youngwriterssociety.com/work/Messenger/Williwaw-Chapter-1-141343



Messenger says...





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Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:52 pm
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twiggy wrote a review...



I loved this! The suspense, and the cliffhanger, and all of the detail! I love books/stories like this. I hope that there is a second part to this. I can completely relate to Tim. I love how the last word is "Brothers". I have two of my own, and I get annoyed with them a whole lot. I loved how the scene was set up. I wish books these days were this detailed! Keep writing!


-
Hannah




Messenger says...


Hey, this is really meant to be just a short story for now, BUT! Here is the link to the novel set in this universe if you would like to have a read Williwaw Chapter 1 :)
~Messy




What praise is more valuable than the praise of an intelligent servant?
— Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice