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The Hero's Brother (1.2)

by mellifera


"You were supposed to be back nearly an hour ago, boy. What could possibly have held you up so long?"

Carter shrunk away from Bazzoli as his employer towered over him. Carter wasn't actually that small and he was definitely not frail, but Bazzoli still loomed over him with enough mass that he might be able to lift a horse if he wanted. Carter didn't know and didn't want to. The absence of knowledge was, many times, a friend to him.

"Um," Carter said, picking at the straw the basket was woven from that was still attached to Reese's saddle. Reese snuffed into his hair and Carter flinched. "The-the um, there were a-a lot of people, and-and, um. I-I got delayed by, um, by them."

Bazzoli's temple bent into a scowl, but he leaned away from Carter so he was no longer breathing in his face. His breath was hot and always smelled like meat and it was one of the things Bazzoli knew made Carter squirm.

"Why do I pay you if you can't even do one simple job?" he growled, crossing his arms over his chest in such a fast motion that Carter flinched, his heart skipping beats in his chest.

"I'm, um, I'm sorry," Carter said, but it came out as a whisper and he bowed his head, trying to tuck his neck into his shoulders.

The scowl of Bazzoli's face deepened and he growled. "Stop that pathetic 'um!' noise, boy! It makes you sound no more educated than one of Mr. Wilson's swines!" he snapped, shaking his head rapidly.

Although he said it with a commanding, harsh tone, they both knew it was just a part of a song and dance. Bazzoli told Carter at least daily to stop saying 'um' all the time, and at least half the time, Carter replied by saying 'um'. It was a cycle that had gone on since Carter was young, and it wasn't likely to end anytime soon.

When Carter didn't move, his heart beating wildly in his chest like a caged animal, Bazzoli harrumphed. "I don't pay you to sit around on your pretty behind all day boy. You have the stock to tend to!" Bazzoli turned away from Carter. "We're hoping to have some buyers in the coming days. Don't you dare disappoint me, or I'll have you skinned for the market."

The sound of the barn door slamming shut made Carter stumble backwards into Reese, who shifted her weight to lean into him. Carter caught himself on her saddle, his breathing faster then he wanted it to be.

Even though Bazzoli made such threats all the time, it didn't mean Carter's heart didn't palpitate any less than it ever did.

Reese nickered at him and craned her neck towards him. Carter steadied himself on his feet and she leaned over to snuff his hair. He turned to give her a half-hearted scolding look, but she just let out a long breath into his face.

He took a deep breath, not that it helped when he reached up to detach the basket from Reese's saddle and his hands were shaking like leaves. He flushed, heat creeping up the back of his neck and spreading up towards his cheeks, before setting the basket aside after getting it loose from the saddle.

Once the basket was set aside, he pulled out a saddle rack that had been sitting nearby and starting undoing Reese's girth.

After Reese was taken care of and returned to her respective stall, the horses' feed was put away, and Carter put away his tack, he snuck out of the barn. The sky was growing a waning grey, and he could no longer see any clouds in the sky. The sun gleamed dully in the sky, still hanging high in the sky, though it was several hours now past noon.

He left the light in the barn on, not planning a long excursion. Carter followed along a small cobble path that lead straight into a thicket of trees. Tiny lights littered the side of the path like fireflies, and though none of them were on right now, they always filled Carter with a sense of serenity.

Even though Shiloh wasn't going to be back to the property until sundown, the earliest she even got home, Carter still wanted to drop into their little cottage that Bazzoli let them stay in before he got back to his chores.

The path through the stretch of forest that clung tightly around him was a dark contrast to the sunlight outside of them, but Carter didn't mind. He preferred the comforting darkness and, in a way, liked the uncertainty of it. Better than the uncertainty of people anyway.

A gentle breeze drifted through the forest, ruffling Carter's hair. Not that it wasn't already a mess, but he did appreciate the cool draft. The afternoon and the market had left him feeling sticky and uncomfortable, and he couldn't bathe until after chores were done lest he want to nullify the point of cleaning himself.

Ahead about thirty yards, Carter glanced up to see as the trees gently split to give way to the opening and, past that, the small cottage Bazzoli let Shiloh and Carter live in. A wave of ease washed over Carter that had evaded him at the market, even when talking to Whisper.

He knew it was dumb to let himself believe that the cottage was unquestionably safe because the security was non-existent - Carter was almost positive both the stables and Bazzoli's tool shed had more locks or defences than the cottage - but it was the lack of people to disturb him.

Birds sang around him, even as he started to come out of the woods, and flew around overhead. He glanced up, still on the worn cobbled path, to see two blue jays fly overhead into the thicker part of the forest.

He smiled despite himself, turning back to the cottage and letting his shoulders sink into an eased position. The cottage was built from stone, sturdy if not cold, and had one window Carter could see on the entryway side. He knew it was overlooking the kitchen and living space, and it let in beams of sunlight throughout the day.

Outside, around the steps leading up to the front door - a worn, wooden thing that creaked any time anyone shifted it - was a small garden that was partially wilted. That had been Shiloh's idea. A sort of spur-of-the-moment gesture that Carter had never been and would never be capable of achieving.

She loved to sink her fingers into new ideas whenever they rolled around, and Carter, for the most part, simply went along with it. But because of her new job working with the caravans that were running to and from the crossroads a few miles out of Midvale, Shiloh hadn't been able to keep up with her green thumb the way she had hoped.

Carter sucked in a deep breath through his nose as he climbed the few stairs to the front door and unlatched a rusting lock before letting the door swing open.

He took a step inside and shut it behind him, light from the pale evening sun still wafting it through that window towards the front. It cast white beams into the living room where they had a secondhand, floral patterned and fading blue sofa. The rug was practically patchwork at this point, and something Shiloh had tried to fix several times without success.

"One day, we're going to live in a grand house, and you're going to have room to have your horses. We're going to make it, Carter. We'll figure it out." Shiloh had told him once over dinner, her dark eyes glittering as she grinned. "Maybe we'll even live here one day."

He had unhelpfully pointed out that they already did live here, even though he knew Shiloh meant Bazzoli's nicer, larger, and significantly safer house.

Despite the heat outside, the cottage was pleasantly cool when Carter dragged himself in. He knew it wouldn't do him any good to sit down right now, not when he'd just have to go back outside again and start working. When it would just make him more tired than he already was.

A small flash of some pale resting on the tiny, rickety kitchen table that Carter and Shiloh shared their meals at together caught his eyes. Carter paused and stared at the table before he realised it was a slip of parchment. He blinked and glanced around as if the answer to what it was doing there might crawl out of one of the walls.

Nothing.

His heart crept into his throat and Carter drummed against his thigh nervously. Had that paper been there this morning? Surely it hadn't, he definitely would have noticed it. But he could also miss things sometimes.

Who could have left a note there? It couldn't be Shiloh, she would still be at work. Bazzoli? What if someone had broke in and stolen their stuff? Oh God, then Shiloh and him wouldn't have anything and Bazzoli would get mad and they'd be forced to live like this forever-

Carter didn't realise how hard he was breathing until he noticed black fuzz covering his vision and he had to carefully lower himself onto the ground as he grew light-headed.

The sensation of falling crashed into him like a tidal wave and his stomach dropped. Thankfully, the fuzz around his vision cleared, but that didn't mean his breathing steadied out.

In his mind, Carter knew it was stupid to freak out over just the sight of a little piece of paper, but it didn't reach all the corners of his brain.

You're never going to know whether it's worth losing your mind about if you don't read it, Carter offered to the part of his brain that insisted on panic despite the logic against it at hand.

He drummed his fingers against his leg in a suspended moment between getting up and sitting there, but he managed to collect himself enough to stand up and scramble over to the table.

The handwriting on the letter was flowing and beautiful, written in large letters to make the cursive clear. But it didn't matter how big it was, it would have been clear anyway. Carter knew that handwriting any day, it was the same lilt he saw every time he practised his own.

Carter still read the lovely Shiloh over several times before he frowned down at it. His heart clenched in his chest and he flipped the note over in his hands. Why had Shiloh come back during work hours just for this?

He started unfolding the parchment with quivering hands. He leaned onto the table in an attempt to steady them to no success. Carter let out a deep breath as he finished unfolding the note.

C,

To all the things I never told you and for all the things I meant to.

I'm sorry.

He reread the note several times before he had to sit down at one of the chairs. It gave a great squeaking noise as his weight came down on it, but Carter couldn't bring himself to worry about the chair giving out on him right now.

The note wasn't in cursive, and it's scrawled out almost illegibly. Shiloh had a terrible habit of blending her words when she was writing too fast and Carter doubted this was an exception. She must have been in a rush while she was writing.

But what did it mean? Why C? What did Shiloh mean, everything she had never told him? What hadn't she told him?

His stomach gaped open into a pit and the sensation of falling returns as Carter leaned back in the chair, still staring dumbstruck at the note. Nausea crawled into his throat like a worm wriggling through an apple.

There was no reason for Shiloh to have written such a vague note. She knew how much Carter hated when things weren't explained to him. He could never work out what to do in his mind when it involved anyone else and it ended with Carter spiralling downwards because he could never not overthink things.

Carter set the note down, swallowing back a lump in his throat, and turning to the window. The note didn't have to mean anything. He'd just ask her about it later. There had to be a good explanation for it.

The thought of Shiloh giving him a reassuring smile later and ruffling his hair for worrying over nothing brought him a little more comfort. He'd just have to survive the wait until she got back.

He tapped against the table. Villa, one of their mares, needed exercise. She was full of energy, and she'd be enough of a handful to keep his mind occupied for a while.

Yes. Villa could keep him distracted for a while. He could worry about his sister and vague notes when his head was clearer.

word count: 2,174


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Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:43 am
Querencia wrote a review...



Hi again! :) I'm going to start right into this.

Carter wasn't actually that small and he was definitely not frail, but Bazzoli still loomed over him with enough mass that he might be able to lift a horse if he wanted.

I just wanted to say I really liked this! The idea that Carter is always nervous despite the fact that he's not actually small is really striking, and it feels refreshing. :)

Although he said it with a commanding, harsh tone, they both knew it was just a part of a song and dance. Bazzoli told Carter at least daily to stop saying 'um' all the time, and at least half the time, Carter replied by saying 'um'. It was a cycle that had gone on since Carter was young, and it wasn't likely to end anytime soon.

This makes sense, but at the same time, not quite. If Carter's been working there since he was young, it seems like either his attitude would change towards Bazzoli (being less scared) or Bazzoli's attitude would change towards him (either becoming less fearsome or continually getting worse or actually deciding to fire him). Just the stagnation of this relationship for years seems odd.

He knew it wouldn't do him any good to sit down right now, not when he'd just have to go back outside again and start working. When it would just make him more tired than he already was.

I'm sort of unsure why he goes to the cottage, then? If he isn't taking a break, there's sort of no reason for him to go there (aside from Plot Reasons) so maybe he needs to get something ready for dinner later or just drink some water, so it feels more plausible that he would drop in at home when his sister isn't around.

The handwriting on the letter was flowing and beautiful, written in large letters to make the cursive clear. But it didn't matter how big it was, it would have been clear anyway. Carter knew that handwriting any day, it was the same lilt he saw every time he practised his own.

Carter still read the lovely Shiloh over several times before he frowned down at it. His heart clenched in his chest and he flipped the note over in his hands. Why had Shiloh come back during work hours just for this?

He started unfolding the parchment with quivering hands. He leaned onto the table in an attempt to steady them to no success. Carter let out a deep breath as he finished unfolding the note.

The note wasn't in cursive, and it's scrawled out almost illegibly. Shiloh had a terrible habit of blending her words when she was writing too fast and Carter doubted this was an exception. She must have been in a rush while she was writing.

This just confuses me a tad bit. There's beautiful cursive on the outside of the letter--but on the inside, it's just a scrawl. And it says Shiloh on the outside, as if it's addressed to her, rather than him. So I don't know if I'm just visualizing this wrong, but it seems like a contrast of two different things here and I can't tell why.

I really liked that Carter is so sure of his sister and the constance of their relationship! Bazzoli is just kind of there, really, and I wish he had a bit more of a purpose (other than intimidating poor Carter). But yeah, I love seeing Carter's internal processing of everything that's happening. It's very accurate and everything is all his own voice. :)

-Q




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Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:03 pm
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nogutsnoglory wrote a review...



Hm.

Good chapter, definitely, and I definitely appreciate the introduction of the mystery regarding the note and everything. It helps move the plot forward and gives a conflict to focus on.

I think my biggest critique would have to be the boss man. He just doesn't seem very threatening to me? He seems more cartoonish than anything - a caricature, if you will. He just needs more of an 'umph' behind him, something real to make him realistic and scary. Maybe he whispers when he's angry, maybe he hits Carter every once in a while, something.

Otherwise, great chapter! Like I said, I really like the introduction of the note and the plot moving forward.

I also love how we can get a sense of Shiloh and Carter's dynamic just from how Carter thinks about his sister.

We really really get a sense of who Carter is, how he thinks, what he likes and dislikes, how he interacts with other characters. It's really good character development and helps keep all of your characters from being flat.

Great job!

Keep writing,

Oli/Vomit




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Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:18 pm
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JabberHut wrote a review...



I'm back!!

Carter wasn't actually that small and he was definitely not frail, but Bazzoli still loomed over him with enough mass that he might be able to lift a horse if he wanted.


Just want to say that I absolutely appreciate the horse reference here, considering their line of work. XD

HNNNNNNNG I LOVE CARTER. I love Carter and how you just so beautifully portray his character versus someone like Bazzoli. It's such a heart-wrenching, squirmy interaction and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT.

Although he said it with a commanding, harsh tone, they both knew it was just a part of a song and dance. Bazzoli told Carter at least daily to stop saying 'um' all the time, and at least half the time, Carter replied by saying 'um'. It was a cycle that had gone on since Carter was young, and it wasn't likely to end anytime soon.


Another example of such awesome narration complementing Carter's character. It's so descriptive, easy to read, and reads very nonchalantly as if this is part of his daily routine (WHICH IT IS). I love this so much.

I love how we get a brief Bazzoli scene, and we already have a good sense of his character.

I also ADORE how human-like your horses are. They're characters of their own and I adore them.

So there's a very interesting style trait you have here that I'm noticing during this transition scene from barn to cottage. You have a lot of very small paragraphs that don't really need to be broken up. (THIS IS A STYLE THING, THOUGH, AND NOT PERTINENT TO ANYTHING.) But it creates a lot of little pauses in my brain as I read the narration, and I found myself backtracking like "oh we're still talking about the garden" or "oh we're still talking about the nature around him". Examples, examples...

He left the light in the barn on, not planning a long excursion. Carter followed along a small cobble path that lead straight into a thicket of trees. Tiny lights littered the side of the path like fireflies, and though none of them were on right now, they always filled Carter with a sense of serenity.

Even though Shiloh wasn't going to be back to the property until sundown, the earliest she even got home, Carter still wanted to drop into their little cottage that Bazzoli let them stay in before he got back to his chores.


Here's one example(ish) of an idea being broken up that doesn't really need to be broken up. These paragraphs talk about why Carter is going back to the cottage and the serenity that accompanies that notion. The second paragraph kinda teased me into thinking we're talking about Shiloh, but the idea of that whole paragraph is actually a continuation of the previous paragraph.

Outside, around the steps leading up to the front door - a worn, wooden thing that creaked any time anyone shifted it - was a small garden that was partially wilted. That had been Shiloh's idea. A sort of spur-of-the-moment gesture that Carter had never been and would never be capable of achieving.

She loved to sink her fingers into new ideas whenever they rolled around, and Carter, for the most part, simply went along with it. But because of her new job working with the caravans that were running to and from the crossroads a few miles out of Midvale, Shiloh hadn't been able to keep up with her green thumb the way she had hoped.


And here's this example of two paragraphs that I didn't think needed to be broken up. It created a brief pause or indicated a transition of subject that wasn't necessary because both paragraphs are used to describe the garden and the history behind its existence.

But anyhow, it's just a style preference, I think, and something I'll get used to throughout reading. I'm not sure if it's anything useful to point out, but it did throw my mind around during a transition scene where nothing was happening except narration. I do like that we spend time contemplating his surroundings as that seems like a direct correlation to his character, someone who prefers to just be left to his thoughts and observations, so this kind of dwelling is good and fun and I enjoy it nonetheless! :D

SHILOH IS ADORABLE AND I LOVE HER AND I WANT TO MEET HERRRRRRRR.

Despite the heat outside, the cottage was pleasantly cool when Carter dragged himself in. He knew it wouldn't do him any good to sit down right now, not when he'd just have to go back outside again and start working. When it would just make him more tired than he already was.


THIS IS ENTIRELY RELATABLE OMG. I'm constantly telling people like "DON'T MAKE ME SIT, I HAVE TO KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING." Carter gets me.

OKAY I JUST READ THE LETTER. I'M KIND OF FREAKING OUT. But real quickly, I wanted to say I love how we dwell on this moment of his anxiety too. We're getting a really good sense of how crippling anxiety can be, and I'm actually fascinated to read about a main character with this kind of struggle. Anxiety is a MONSTER. PLEASE SAVE THE WORLD, CARTER. <3 <3 <3

He'd just ask her about it later. There had to be a good explanation for it.


I'M GOING TO CRY.

The thought of Shiloh giving him a reassuring smile later and ruffling his hair for worrying over nothing brought him a little more comfort. He'd just have to survive the wait until she got back.


I'M CRYING.

I love this tapping coping mechanism and how you're smoothly worked that into your story so far. YES I HAVE NOTICED, AND I APPRECIATE THIS.

We've also introduced that major plot point that thrusts Carter into adventure, whether he agrees to it or not. Like tHIS IS A THING NOW, BE WARNED, READER. And I am DEATHLY WORRIED. But I like this development a whole lot. The idea that Carter will be left alone tonight terrifies me in an exciting way.

I think overall, the chapter might be trimmed down a little bit here and there, but it generally gives a lot of information and relaly good insight into Carter's character. I have a 110% idea of who this guy is and how things are going to go for him (IT'S GONNA BE ROCKY FUN, BOI). I think the weakest point might be his conversation with Whisper earlier still, where it was really just going slow in revealing information. I love this half of the chapter and how it tops it off with this development at the end. I haven't even MET Shiloh and I'm worried sick, so that was well done.

I LOOK FORWARD TO CHAPTER TWO!

Jabber, the One and Only!




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Wed May 01, 2019 3:06 pm
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Panikos wrote a review...



Hi mellifera! Back again!

This is a definite improvement on the first chapter with regards to Plot Stuff happening. Shiloh's disappearance - and the note with it - sets this whole story in motion and leaves me wondering where the heck she's gone. I'm an absolute sucker for stories about people who vanish under uncertain circumstances; the inherent mystery is just so exciting.

I do think you should try and get to it more quickly though, because that is the moment where the narrative becomes gripping. I don't think you should leap into it off the bat, because we need time to get to know Carter a little and realise how vulnerable he'd be without his sister. It's definitely worth keeping the scene were he goes into town, but maybe try and find a way to inject a little more conflict into it. You could probably lean on Carter's fear of Bazzoli a little more and make a bigger thing about him not wanting to be late back.

In this chapter, I also think there's stuff you can cut. It seems to take a long time to get to the woods, and the moment where Carter sees and freaks out about the letter went out a bit too long for me:

His heart crept into his throat and Carter drummed against his thigh nervously. Had that paper been there this morning? Surely it hadn't, he definitely would have noticed it. But he could also miss things sometimes.

Who could have left a note there? It couldn't be Shiloh, she would still be at work. Bazzoli? What if someone had broke in and stolen their stuff? Oh God, then Shiloh and him wouldn't have anything and Bazzoli would get mad and they'd be forced to live like this forever-

Carter didn't realise how hard he was breathing until he noticed black fuzz covering his vision and he had to carefully lower himself onto the ground as he grew light-headed.

The sensation of falling crashed into him like a tidal wave and his stomach dropped. Thankfully, the fuzz around his vision cleared, but that didn't mean his breathing steadied out.

In his mind, Carter knew it was stupid to freak out over just the sight of a little piece of paper, but it didn't reach all the corners of his brain.

You're never going to know whether it's worth losing your mind about if you don't read it, Carter offered to the part of his brain that insisted on panic despite the logic against it at hand.

He drummed his fingers against his leg in a suspended moment between getting up and sitting there, but he managed to collect himself enough to stand up and scramble over to the table.


Like, I get why you linger on it, because it makes sense for Carter to freak out and start worrying before he even reads it. It's perfectly in-character for him. However, you could've conveyed that in a few lines. I think you could scrap everything after 'forever--' and then just move to him picking up the letter with a shaky hand or something, because that's enough to convey that he's got an over-active mind. You don't want to drag things out too long given what a pivotal moment is - as I was reading I was just yelling internally like 'OH MY GOD DUDE PLEASE JUST READ THE LETTER ALREADY'.

With regards to the rest of the chapter, I agree with Sound that the little details about how Carter interacts with the horses are really sweet. His connection to them feels completely authentic and real, and while I'm not much of a horse person, it's nice to see how much more at ease Carter is in their company. I get big Newt Scamander vibes from him.

Bazzoli certainly seems like a piece of work. I hate how he treats Carter, and I'm already terrified that Shiloh has vanished and left him alone with the man. As first impressions go, though, Bazzoli does come across a bit pantomime in how nasty he is, so maybe...even out his character a bit at some point? I always find horrible characters far more frightening when they're not horrible all of the time. If someone's awful and angry constantly, at least you can trust them to be consistent. But when someone is occasionally reasonable, occasionally civil? Then you never know when their temper is going to blow. And I think that for a person like Carter, the latter would be worse, because it means he can never be sure how they're going to react to something. Maybe sometimes when he's late, Bazzoli brushes it off with a grumpy comment. Maybe other times, he completely loses it. And there's never any way for Carter to tell which it'll be, so he's on guard constantly.

Hmm, any other thoughts? One small, prose-level thing is to try not to overstuff your sentences. You seem to have a bit of habit of sticking a bit too much info into relative clauses, and it can make some parts a little clunky. Examples:

Even though Shiloh wasn't going to be back to the property until sundown, the earliest she even got home, Carter still wanted to drop into their little cottage that Bazzoli let them stay in before he got back to his chores.


The path through the stretch of forest that clung tightly around him was a dark contrast to the sunlight outside of them


Strictly speaking, the relative clauses here are [that Bazzoli let them stay in] and [that clung tightly around him], and the reason I think they make the sentences 'bumpy' is because you're encoding a whole clause of extra information into the noun phrase of another full clause. To get nerdy about it, the information is encoded into a very low part of the sentence structure. That means it's a lot for the reader to extract, especially when all of it is new information. Don't be afraid to just break them up into separate sentences. The second sentence, for example, could be re-written as:

The path through the forest was dark despite the daylight; the trees clung together too closely to let much sun in.

Here, the information about the path and the information about the tight-clinging forest is spelt out in two independent clauses, which I personally think makes it much easier to digest. This isn't to say that you can't use relative clauses - just be wary of them in sentences that are already quite long and already contain a lot of new information. As I said, don't stuff too much information into once place.

I think that's it for this review! I got pretty critical here, but rest assured that I did enjoy this and you totally have me hooked now. I love Carter already and I have to know what happened to Shiloh. I can't wait to see my poor nervous boi get pushed out of his comfort zone.

Keep writing! :D
~Pan




mellifera says...


thank you again for your reviews! I try to respond but I can get,,, bad at doing that haha.

me? overstuffing my sentences?? it's more likely than you think. (but bless for pointing it out because I'm so bad at falling back on it rip)

<3



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Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:49 am
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soundofmind wrote a review...



BACK TO REVIEW after 5 years! HA

Just gonna do a few little things as I go!

The sound of the barn door slamming shut made Carter stumble backwards into Reese, who shifted her weight to lean into him. Carter caught himself on her saddle, his breathing faster then he wanted it to be...

Reese nickered at him and craned her neck towards him. Carter steadied himself on his feet and she leaned over to snuff his hair. He turned to give her a half-hearted scolding look, but she just let out a long breath into his face.

I know these are probably gonna be littered throughout the story, because he deals with horses all the time, but I just love these little details of his horses interacting with him. It's cute, and sweet, and now I love Reese? Not to be dramatic or anything, but I would die for Reese.

But also - and I mean, I know they're horses, but - I almost feel like this is Reese's way of comforting Carter and just being like "lol chill dude, I'm here."

The sky was growing a waning grey, and he could no longer see any clouds in the sky. The sun gleamed dully in the sky, still hanging high in the sky, though it was several hours now past noon.


This felt like "the sky" or just "sky" was said a lot lol, but it's not a big thing to fix! Just thought I'd mention it.

He preferred the comforting darkness and, in a way, liked the uncertainty of it. Better than the uncertainty of people anyway.


I like this little detail. Like, you made it clear that people and noises and loud colors and stuff can be overstimulating for him!! But it's just nice to have a confirmation that there are things that make him... happy and calm lol. Like darkness! And those little lights mentioned earlier.

The afternoon and the market had left him feeling sticky and uncomfortable, and he couldn't bathe until after chores were done lest he want to nullify the point of cleaning himself.

M O O D

He smiled despite himself, turning back to the cottage and letting his shoulders sink into an eased position.


This isn't a big deal haha, but I guess the despite himself bit confused me? Mostly just cause I'm used to seeing that phrase used like, in the context of someone trying to hide a smile because it's inappropriate to at the time, or they really don't want to. And I guess I was just like... WHY NOT SMILE CARTER? Lol, no one's there, let ur teeth breathe little horse-loving child.

He had unhelpfully pointed out that they already did live here, even though he knew Shiloh meant Bazzoli's nicer, larger, and significantly safer house.

Hmmmm. You've mentioned the safety of the house being an issue like once or twice now that I'm starting to think that the crime rate is really high in their area, or they've had experiences with burglary or something in the past. I mean, maybe safety/security is just a thing on Carter's mind a lot because anxious thoughts and stuff, but I guess I wonder if any of this "safe" stuff will catch up to them lol. I.E. if it's a plot point. Just thinking, you know!

It couldn't be Shiloh, she would still be at work. Bazzoli? What if someone had broke in and stolen their stuff?

OMG THAT'S JUST WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT LOL

Also wow Bazolli is a real stinker. Really likes to throw his weight around.

And oh oh! One of the things I really appreciated about this chapter was how easy it was to imagine everything around Carter. Your descriptions were clear and vivid and you gave me a lot of visual words and clues and stuff!

But MAN I'm worried about Shiloh now. I know enough from your writer's thread that she dissapears and doesn't come back but I'm so worried for Carter!! I'm excited to keep reading! I don't know if any of this was helpful but if you have any questions I love love talking stories!

See ya at the next chapter!!




soundofmind says...


ALSO SHOOT, forgot to add - I really liked the development of Carter and Shiloh in this chapter and how you build of the contrast of her being more of a carefree sister and kind of keeping him grounded. They sound like they have a really cute relationship as siblings!



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Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:57 pm
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elysian wrote a review...



hey wifey <3 So weirdly, I read through everything before writing this review because I guess I just wanted to generalize my thoughts. So this won't be a super long review, so sorry for that!

**disclaimer: I will most likely focus on negative aspects more so than positive aspects when reviewing, and this is just to help you grow as a writer! It is totally okay not to agree with something I say! Also, If I repeat anything already said, it's probably because it needs to be changed!**

I'm glad you got into some of the mystery that I know from reading your lms thread happens. I was beginning to feel a little dragged out and I'm glad we got to it in this second part.

i hope to find out why B is the way that he is. Is there more to that story, or is he just mean for the sake of being mean? I feel like that could be an interesting character.

I feel like there was a lot of description of the setting but then the actions blurred together, maybe shorten the setting description and add some flavor to the action scenes.

Other than that, I'm starting to get intrigued with this plot which I couldn't say about the first part, so I'm glad it's starting to pick up with the mystery.

I don't think I have anything else to add, I agree with the reviews before this and don't feel the need to re-emphasize that.

love u

- del




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Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:47 pm
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Messenger wrote a review...



Hey Inks, Mess here weeks late. I just have a jumble of thoughts that I'm going to throw out since you've already got some solid reviews.

The sky was growing a waning grey, and he could no longer see any clouds in the sky. The sun gleamed dully in the sky, still hanging high in the sky, though it was several hours now past noon.

This is a lot of description of the sky, which doesn't really affect the story at all. We already know the time because of your previous chapter, and then "waning grey" didn't make sense if there are no clouds?

So, Bazzoli is a prick. The first image that popped into my mind was the blacksmith from Pirates of the Carribean xD Just way meaner of course. But, more importantly, I've got questions! Why does he work for him since it's such a tense situation? Why is Bazzoli so mean? And this is good. It's great to get us to ask questions! I think Carlito mentioned this as well and I concur.

I feel so bad for Carter, he's such a wreck. I will ask, is there a specific disorder that he suffers from because obviously, this is all way over the top for what someone would usually react.

So, I know that kind of your whole hook for the next chapter hangs on the letter that Carter finds, but, why does he even go back to the cottage? I mean sure, you say he wants to visit it, but why? Didn't Bazzoli just get on him for already being late, and yet he's going to go do something else before working on a job he's already late to get started? That doesn't seem right.

I did not realize Carter and Shiloh were siblings, I really thought they were married. If you mentioned their relationship status and I missed it then just ignore this, but I thought they were a couple xD

Lastly, this is a long chapter. And I feel like so much of it is the description of the cottage and the things that this entails, i.e. garden, door, a pail for dinner, but honestly, It goes on for far too long in my opinion. I was okay with it at first, but after the third description, it really started to drag. It's just a lot of info that I feel like wasn't important to the story. Sure, it gives us a better mental picture of the setting, but I'm more interested in Carter and Shiloh right now.

That being said, I think your description itself (ignoring the amount of it) is good. I could really get a feel for it and got a full picture in my mind of where we were at. Your description of Carter's breakdowns is pretty good. I feel so bad for him, I wish there was someone with him to help him. However, be careful, because if he has two-three breakdowns a chapter it's going to get really tiring to read( and I would assume) write them to keep them interesting.

Hopefully, this helps!
~Mess




mellifera says...


take you're time!! no rush :)

I'm hoping to answer those questions as soon as possible! It is going to be answered, but hopefully I can squeeze it in sooner rather than later since everyone seems to be curious now haha.

Oh! uh, there was a bit of a tiny timeskip? Like, I summarised what he did right before going to the cottage but I am also basing it off my own job as a stablehand (I'M not employed by someone mean though my bosses are super nice haha) and there are times when? there's just not much to do and I can sit for a bit?? But it that strikes you as odd I could totally think about fixing it!

OH I thought Whisper described Shiloh as Carter's sister in chapter one?? I mean, I'm also just kinda assuming most of the people read the summary that mentions it so maybe that might just be because I know they're already siblings but I'll make sure to fix that!!

Thank you for the review!! I hope you have a great day :D



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Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:01 am
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Carlito wrote a review...



Hello again!! :D
I really liked this segment!

So first of all I loved that you showed the interaction with Carter and Bazzoli - he's just as terrible as I thought he'd be! I'm curious to learn how Carter came to work with Bazzoli in the first place and why Carter hasn't left (especially since Bazzoli is so abusive). I can't remember if this was mentioned in the first segment, and my apologies if it's already been mentioned, my brain is fuzzy :p I would assume that Carter stays because he cares about the horses and Shiloh and he probably has no where else to go and no other way to earn money.

I probably mentioned this in the last segment, but in case I didn't, I love how you show Carter's anxiety. I think you struck a good balance of being authentic while not having Carter be a caricature of anxiety. I also appreciate that it's pervasive across pretty much any situation he finds himself in and he spirals over just about anything.

And speaking of his spirals. I found it interesting that he had such a big anxiety spiral just from seeing the piece of paper and he had a much smaller spiral after actually reading the note. To me, what the note says would be more anxiety provoking than seeing the paper (but anxiety doesn't always make sense so... :p) Is there a reason why he was able to be a little more rational and think things through after reading the note but not prior?

Also, I was worried for Carter after he put his stuff away and got the horse taken care of and went for a short walk in lieu of his chores. I get why he did it and I'm glad we got to see more of his surroundings and the cottage (<3). But while he was walking I kept waiting for Bazzoli to show up and get mad at him for not working or for him to get in trouble. Does he go on walks often during the job? Does Bazzoli care if he does?

Overall, good chapter! I like at the end that Carter assumes Shiloh will be coming home and all will be well (when I know that she won't be coming home because of the blurb you wrote :p) Poor Carter!

Looking forward to reading more! Let me know when the next segment is up! And let me know if you have any questions or if you'd like feedback about something I didn't mention! :D




mellifera says...


Oh awesome! I was worried it didn't turn out as great haha.

I actually didn't really notice I wrote it like that (about the note), but now that I think about it, that's kind of how I get? Uhh, it'll be like, coming up with a million terrible possibilities and even if it's not good, once you know what it is, it can only be One Thing? And there are times where, even if it is bad, it's kind of easier to pretend that it isn't for as long as you can until it just becomes too overwhelming and you have to deal with it? Carter definitely does things like that where he almost blocks out reality in a way until he has to deal with it. I guess that's the best way I can explain it?

Bazzoli isn't constantly monitoring Carter because he has More Important things to do then hovering over Carter, and Bazzoli knows Carter is too scared of him to do anything crazy on his own, and there are times when Carter can take breaks because he has his chores juggled? I'm kind of leaning a little on my own experiences with stable management and taking little breaks between chores.

Thank you so much for the review! It's very appreciated, and I'm super glad you're liking it so far :D



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Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:00 pm
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EverLight wrote a review...



Please feel free to ignore my advice it is not intended to offend you demean you or your story, that said brace yorself.
1. Sentences and word usage
Okay first of all I would like some more descriptions, about were he found the note, and secant I have a feeling you could varay the sentences some more. Also the description of when he found the note seems to long.
Also there is a repeate

Villa, one of their mares, needed exercise. She was full of energy, and she'd be enough of a handful to keep his mind occupied for a while.

Yes. Villa could keep him distracted for a while. He could worry about his sister and vague notes when his head was clearer.

You baically say that Villa wold destract him twice try this instead

Villa, one of their mares, needed excersise, she was full of energy, and hopefully she'd be enough of a destraction to keep his mind away from his sister and vague notes for a while.

You don't need to say the same thing twice!

I think your first few sentences could use some work as well

Carter wasn't actually that small and he was definitely not frail, but Bazzoli still loomed over him with enough mass that he might be able to lift a horse if he wanted. Carter didn't know and didn't want to.

I think that could be better said this way-Carter wasn't small, and he was not frail but. Bazzoli loomed over him with enough mass to lift a horse.

Other then those few problems I think you are fine.
Amazing job!





The reason a boat sinks isn't the water around it. It sinks when water gets into it. Don't let what's happening around you weigh you down.
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