Not Fan-Fic


Gentlemen of the Road
Critique, please? I haven't posted here in a while, and after being published once now the real challenge starts: to do it again. I don't do fanfic (though would be open to writing requests, that may be fun and I've never seen it done), but I want to keep writing every day, so I may have a short story or so for you guys every couple of weeks!


- The Last Song
by S. Athas

"You sure you're okay coming back?" comes through on my radio.

"It's all past now. This place is a safe-zone, ain't it?" I balk, and cycle my weapon.

"Yes, Sarge," called the captain, "the Third Army hasn't been spotted anywhere near here. You're clear to proceed."

Still doesn't leave me with any level of reassurance. The whole squad's been acting weird. I suppose that's just the history of the place. There’s at least ten years and god-knows-what between life in this town and us going and pokin’ around.

"You clear this floor," I order and motion my man down the hall while I turn, rifle level, and take the stairs to the second floor.

My other guys cover the adjacent buildings. Not like we'll find any Tango’s, the war's been going on far too long for that.

I glance out the vacant windows to the guns rusting away on the far hill.

"Some kinda monument." I spit.

There’s the empty echo of my boots on the floor. The dust is thick, like the place got shelled yesterday. The sun's high now. It spears through the blown out sections of wall and roof to conquer the shadows in here.

Least that gives some light, I think as I step over a mixture of concrete, re-bar, and old textbooks.

"Is it you?" I hear.

I hold up at the voice. Not from one of my men. A girl's voice sounds from a room down the hall.

I run, whip through the doorway with weapon level to a shattered room and an empty face.

"Did you come to listen?” she says, and smiles as she picks at a hole in her guitar. “It's show and tell today.”

I lower my weapon and pin a hand to my radio, but say nothing. How could a girl have survived out here for ten years?

"I hid beneath the bridge at first,” she says, “There were so many stars falling."

I can’t even say why, but all I can do is watch, and listen.

She plucks the strings, singing, and all the walls return. There's no artillery on the far hill anymore...

Everything's like it used to be. Halls of students and teachers. Desk lids snapping shut. Heels on the hallway like a rolling snare.

The noise of all this life deafens, and all is in time with her song. Through it is a clatter as my rifle falls to the floor. The girl halts, and all the sight and sound halts with her. All to attend and wait for me.

Sarge?” my radio chirps, “Check in.”

I pry my weapon from the floor, check it over, and turn away from the girl and the room and what could’ve been.

I will not remember her. I will disconnect.

Some other town.

Some other school.

"Daddy," the girl calls as I walk away, "Did you like my song?"

Someone else's daughter.


[14] Master
Overall you did a good job and keep writing. My two critiques would be about setting the scene better and just being more careful about sentence structure and spelling errors. Like if you had a brief opening explaining where these men were and what they were doing.I think it would add a little context and make the story more clear.

One example where I saw something could be improved, ""You clear this floor," I order and motion my man down the hall while I turn,". It should of been "motioned" and "ordered". But even that, the part where you say "my man" still sounds a little funny. Since "my man" almost makes him sound like a significant other. Personally, I would of gone with something more along the lines of. ""You clear this floor" As I motioned and ordered one of my men down the hall while turning around the other corner." Even something like that is a little clunky and would probably separate the ideas into multiple sentences. I'd say to not be afraid to flesh out sentences and be more descriptive while writing. Stories will general flow nicer and it will help run on sentences/ vaguely written sentences. Keep writing though, thanks for the story.
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[14] Master
Thanks! It has since been revised, and thank you for your input. Man did I screw that up.
Don't worry about "screwing" things up. Writing is a process that takes time and practice. You did a good job also. Just get in the habit of proofreading, this is the best friend of all writers. If you go back and read something out loud. There will always be a few things that sound a little funny or could be revised.