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    #1

    Obsession, part six

    Would you please correct my mistakes in the sixth part of my short story?

    The roar of the tanks was frightening. From his balcony, he watched them approach the suburb, and his heart pounded. On their antennae fluttered black flags. Groups of soldiers huddled on the turrets and hulls while others went on foot. The smell of hot oil and the exhaust drifted into his nostrils and made him nauseous. A few shots were fired, followed by yells and hoots of laughter. He rushed into the empty street and wanted to run away. The panic spread through him, as if he were a hunted animal. He would rather die than be captured. He had seen on TV what this army had done to other people: tortured, disembowelled bodies without limbs, cut-off heads mounted on the wooden poles, men’s mutilated sexual organs shoved into the victims’ mouths, raped women and young girls, some of whom had become mad... His eyes searched for an escape route, hidden tunnel, hole or gap through which he could vanish, but whenever he moved he saw only the silent walls of neighbouring houses, fences and closed gates. Why hadn’t he gone after Jasmine, if he had such strong feeling for her? He should have been abroad among sane people and let madmen kill each other. His heart beat furiously. He had never been so afraid. Were these the last minutes of his life? All of a sudden, he was ashamed of his thoughts. How could he think of running away and leaving his parents at the mercy of the soldiers? He dashed into the house, and found them in their bedroom by the window, watching in silence the soldiers trudging the neighbouring street. Beside them walked the groups of civilian men. The only sounds were the pounding of their shoes on the asphalt and an occasional cough. They looked as if they were extras in a war film. Both his parents were calm, and that had a soothing effect on him. Father turned away from the window and said, “Son, we’d better prepare ourselves. Put on a pair of strong trousers and a thick jacket. You never know how long they can hold us.” The young man did as told and dressed in a pair of thick jeans and a winter jacket, even if it was hot outside. He kissed and hugged Mother, who tried in vain to hold back tears. They all went outside in front of their home to wait for the soldiers.

    “Good day,” said a tall man dressed in a camouflage uniform, a black headband around his close-cropped head, and Ray Ban sunglasses on his pimply face. He was no more than seventeen, probably a farmer’s boy who now enjoyed having power over the inhabitants of the town, the arbiter of life and death. He pointed his index finger towards Father.
    “You two, the only men in the house?”
    “Yes.”
    “Come with me.”
    “Where are you taking them?” Mother asked.
    “Don’t worry, they’ll be back soon.”

    They waved at her and joined the others who streamed into the street. Men walked in silence, turning for one last glimpse of their families. The young man passed by Jasmine’s overgrown garden and his chest constricted with pain. “Jasmine, please help me.” He muttered his prayer over and over as if imploring God.
    They walked towards the main square flanked by the soldiers, who seemed to be relaxed, without showing any hostility. Few of them held their rifles in their hands, but the others had their weapons on their shoulders. Suddenly, a large Alsatian bolted out of the kennel. It barked and growled as if infected with rabies, trying to jump over the fence. It startled everyone, but probably mostly the solder at the lead of the column, who seemed to be some kind of a commander. “Kill that damn dog!” he snarled. A few meters in front of the young man, a solder drew a revolver from his holster, took aim and pulled the trigger. The shot was an explosion in the young man’s ears, which drowned the dog’s short yelp. He glanced furtively at it and winced at a motionless pile of brown and black fur covered in blood. The executioner slipped the gun back into a holster, without giving the dog a second glance. The young man could not take his eyes off his sweaty back. He must have been younger than he was--a secondary school student who only few days before still sat in his class and mulled over his lessons. Then as if by magic, he mutated into a warrior who would implement his leader’s ideas into reality, impeccably and ruthlessly. He was a lanky man, and a rifle slung on his back looked like a toy. How many people had he already killed with that black toy; how many families shrouded in mourning? A large knife dangled from his belt. Was it a knife to cut people’s throats, breasts, sexual organs or gouge their eyes out?

    At the crossing, buses and tanks had been waiting for them, together with the soldiers, who stared at the prisoners with a mixture of scorn and interest, as if they were cattle bound for the abattoir. Among them were some middle-aged men whose looks were frightening. Their beards were bushy, hair long and dirty, and on the heads, they had strange, ridiculous black caps. Their uniforms were soiled and frayed, but the knives hanging from their belts sparkled under the sun. The young man did not dare to look at them, and he felt Father’s hand on his arm pulling him closer to him. “Stay close. Don’t let them separate us,” he whispered.
    Soldiers hurried them onto the buses, but everything was in a civilized way. No shots were fired, no swearwords uttered, no hand raised. Father went first and then his son. “Hello,” he said and waved at the bus driver, a middle-aged man with a large paunch bulging under the uniform. The driver ignored him and stared blankly in front of him. When they sat down in the middle of the bus, Father said, “Bastard! We worked together for years, and now he pretends not to know me.” The young man looked at the driver’s flabby, sweaty face in a rear-view mirror, asking himself how he would behave if their roles were reversed. Probably he would ignore everyone, schoolmates, acquaintances, neighbours, even family members and act like a callous murderer. Maybe he would even kill Jasmine and her family if ordered by his commander.
    TO BE CONTINUED

  1. teechar's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Obsession, part six

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    The roar of the tanks was frightening. From his balcony, he watched them approach the suburb, and his heart pounded. On their antennae, fluttered black flags. Groups of soldiers huddled on the turrets and hulls while others went on foot. The smell of hot oil and the exhaust fumes drifted into his nostrils and made him nauseous. A few shots were fired, followed by yells and hoots of laughter. He rushed into the empty street and wanted to run away. The Panic spread through him, as if he were an animal being hunted. a hunted animal. He would rather die than be captured. He had seen on TV the results of what this army had done to other people-- tortured and disemboweled bodies without limbs, cut-off heads mounted on the wooden poles, men’s mutilated sexual organs shoved into the victims’ mouths, raped women and young girls, some of whom had become gone mad. His eyes searched for an escape route, a hidden tunnel, a hole or gap through which he could vanish, but wherever he moved, he saw only the silent walls of neighbouring houses, fences and closed gates. Why hadn’t he gone after Jasmine, if he had such a strong feeling for her? He should have been abroad among sane people and let the madmen kill each other. His heart beat furiously. He had never been so afraid. Were these the last minutes of his life? All of a sudden, he was ashamed of his thoughts. How could he think of running away and leaving his parents at the mercy of the soldiers? He dashed into the house, and found them in their bedroom by the window, watching in silence the soldiers trudging through the a neighbouring street. Beside them, walked the groups of civilian men. The only sounds were the pounding of their shoes on the asphalt and an occasional cough. They looked as if they were extras in a war film. Both his parents were calm, and that had a soothing effect on him. Father turned away from the window and said, “Son, we’d better prepare ourselves. Put on a pair of strong trousers and a thick jacket. You never know how long they can hold us.” The young man did as told and dressed in a pair of thick jeans and a winter jacket, even if though it was hot outside. He kissed and hugged Mother, who tried in vain to hold back her tears. They all went outside in front of their home to wait for the soldiers.

    “Good day,” said a tall man dressed in a camouflage uniform, a black headband around his close-cropped head, and Ray Ban sunglasses on his pimply face. He was no more than seventeen, probably a farmer’s boy who now enjoyed having power over the inhabitants of the town; the arbiter of life and death. He pointed his index finger towards Father.
    “You two, the only men in the house?”
    “Yes.”
    “Come with me.”
    “Where are you taking them?” Mother asked.
    “Don’t worry, they’ll be back soon.”

    They waved at her and joined the others who streamed into the street. Men walked in silence, turning for one last glimpse of their families. The young man passed by Jasmine’s overgrown garden and his chest constricted with pain. “Jasmine, please help me.” He muttered his prayer over and over as if imploring God.
    They walked towards the main square flanked by the soldiers, who seemed to be relaxed, without showing any hostility. A few of them held their rifles in their hands, but the others had their weapons on their shoulders. Suddenly, a large Alsatian bolted out of the its kennel. It barked and growled as if infected with rabies, trying to jump over the a fence. It startled everyone, but probably mostly the soldier at the lead head of the column, who seemed to be some kind of a commander. “Kill that damn dog!” he snarled. A few meters in front of the young man, a soldier drew a revolver from his holster, took aim and pulled the trigger. The shot was an explosion in the young man’s ears, which drowned the dog’s short yelp. He glanced furtively at it and winced at a motionless pile of brown and black fur covered in blood. The executioner slipped the gun back into a the holster, without giving the dog a second glance. The young man could not take his eyes off his sweaty back. He must have been younger than he was--a secondary school student who only few days before still sat in his class and mulled over his lessons. Then as if by magic, he mutated into a warrior who would implement transform his leader’s ideas into reality, impeccably and ruthlessly. He was a lanky man, and the rifle slung on his back looked like a toy. How many people had he already killed with that black toy; how many families shrouded in mourning? A large knife dangled from his belt. Was it a knife to cut people’s throats, breasts, sexual organs or gouge their eyes out?

    At the crossing, buses and tanks had been waiting for them, together with the soldiers, who stared at the prisoners with a mixture of scorn and interest, as if they were cattle bound for the abattoir. Among them were some middle-aged men whose looks were frightening. Their beards were bushy, hair long and dirty, and on their heads, they had strange, ridiculous black caps. Their uniforms were soiled and frayed, but the knives hanging from their belts sparkled under the sun. The young man did not dare (to) look at them, and he felt Father’s hand on his arm pulling him closer to him. “Stay close. Don’t let them separate us,” he whispered.
    Soldiers hurried them onto the buses, but everything was in a civilized way. No shots were fired, no swearwords uttered, no hand raised. Father went first and then his son. “Hello,” he said and waved at the bus driver, a middle-aged man with a large paunch bulging under the uniform. The driver ignored him and stared blankly in front of him. When they sat down in the middle of the bus, Father said, “Bastard! We worked together for years, and now he pretends not to know me.” The young man looked at the driver’s flabby, sweaty face in the rear-view mirror, asking himself how he would behave if their roles were reversed. Probably he would ignore everyone-- schoolmates, acquaintances, neighbours, even family members and act like a callous murderer. Maybe he would even kill Jasmine and her family if ordered by his commander.
    TO BE CONTINUED
    .

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    #3

    Re: Obsession, part six

    teechar,

    I have to repeat how grateful I am that you have corrected my mistakes. This is the best present anyone could have given to me.
    Have a nice evening.
    Last edited by Bassim; 04-Nov-2015 at 20:52.

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Obsession, part six

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    The roar of the tanks was frightening. From his balcony, he watched them approach, and his heart pounded. On their antennas fluttered black flags. Groups of soldiers huddled on the turrets and hulls while others went on foot. The smell of hot oil and exhaust drifted into his nostrils and made him nauseous. A few shots were fired, followed by yells and hoots of laughter. He rushed into the empty street and wanted to run away.
    The word "antenna" has two different meanings and two different plurals. (Yes, I know that's confusing.)

    As for that last line, it confuses me. The street was not empty, and if he wanted to run away why did he run out into a street full of soldiers?

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    #5

    Re: Obsession, part six

    Tarheel,
    His street was empty. The solders were in neighbouring streets rounding up people. He could hear the tanks and the shots from his balcony. He knew he would be arrested and panicked.

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    #6

    Re: Obsession, part six

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    Tarheel,
    His street was empty. The solders were in neighbouring streets rounding up people. He could hear the tanks and the shots from his balcony. He knew he would be arrested and panicked.
    You need to use that. Perhaps:


    His street was empty, but in neighboring streets soldiers were rounding up people. From his balcony he could hear the noise of the tanks and also gunshots. He was sure he would be arrested, and he panicked.


    See? (I hope you like that as much as I do.)


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    #7

    Re: Obsession, part six

    In case you were wondering--

    You do not, I think, want it to seem like the shots were or might have been coming from his balcony. Instead, of course, he heard them from his balcony.


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    #8

    Re: Obsession, part six

    Tarheel,

    I think my original version is better. He watches the soldiers approaching the suburbs. That means they have not arrived yet. And then he runs back into his home, and sees his father and mother watching soldiers rounding up people in the neighbouring street.

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    #9

    Re: Obsession, part six

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    The panic spread through him as if he were a hunted animal. He would rather die than be captured. He had seen on TV what this army had done to other people. They had left in their wake disemboweled bodies without limbs, cut-off heads mounted on wooden poles, dead men with their mutilated sexual organs shoved into their mouths, women and young girls who had been raped, some of whom had become mad. His eyes searched for an escape route, hidden tunnel, hole or gap through which he could vanish, but wherever he looked he saw only the silent walls of neighbouring houses, fences and closed gates. Why hadn’t he gone after Jasmine, if he had such strong feelings for her? He should have been abroad among sane people and let madmen kill each other. His heart beat furiously. He had never been so afraid. Were these the last minutes of his life? All of a sudden, he was ashamed of his thoughts. How could he think of running away and leaving his parents at the mercy of the soldiers? He dashed into the house, and found them in their bedroom by the window, watching in silence the soldiers marching down the neighbouring street. Beside them walked groups of civilian men. The only sounds were the pounding of their boots on the asphalt and an occasional cough. They looked as if they were extras in a war film. Both his parents were calm, and that had a soothing effect on him. Father turned away from the window and said, “Son, we’d better prepare ourselves. Put on a pair of strong trousers and a thick jacket. You never know how long they can hold us.” The young man did as told and dressed in a pair of thick jeans and a winter jacket, even if it was hot outside. He kissed and hugged Mother, who tried in vain to hold back tears. They all went outside in front of their home to wait for the soldiers.
    The phrase "strong trousers" seems a bit odd to me. Perhaps "thick trousers" or "heavy wool trousers" or something like that would be better. (Is he ever going to see Jasmine again?)

  6. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Obsession, part six

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    Tarheel,

    I think my original version is better. He watches the soldiers approaching the suburbs. That means they have not arrived yet. And then he runs back into his home, and sees his father and mother watching soldiers rounding up people in the neighbouring street.
    OK, the soldiers are approaching the suburbs, but isn't he thinking more in terms of them getting closer to where he and his family live?

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