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    #1

    Obsession, part eight

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

    The warm, musty air made the young man sleepy, and he rolled his jacket and put it under his head. He drifted off to sleep quickly and had a beautiful dream. Jasmine woke up in her bed in the middle of the night beside her husband, of whom hardly his head was visible under the duvet. He was snoring noisily. The full moon peeked though the slits of the Venetian blind. Jasmine slid out from under the duvet, opened the front door and barefoot went outside. She walked noiselessly the wet streets, through the steam rising from the asphalt. Her flowing hair and white light pyjamas billowed in the breeze. The streets were empty; not a sound disturbed the silence of the night. When she reached a meadow, she started to dance, her dainty feet as light as a gazelle. She twirled and whirled in the dew, which sparkled under the moonlight. Her movements mesmerized him, and he was close to hold her by her waist and dance with her, when horrific screams chased away his wonderful dream.

    Once he had watched pigs being slaughtered on TV, and their squeals and shrieks were ear shattering. But these were screams of a human being, right above his head. Heavy boots pounded the floor while their owners battered the victim. The man pleaded with them and appealed to their humanity, but that seemed to make them only more vicious. They cursed and laughed at the poor fellow while his voice reached a high pitch. Through the paneless windows, the moonlight shone across the room, revealing dozens of motionless bodies lying crammed together. Some of the men slept snoring away. How could they sleep so soundly while their fellow prisoner was being tortured in the cruelest way? How can human beings adapt to hell so quickly? He turned to Father to ask him these questions, and winced because Father’s body was shaking. He was lying on his back with his eyes closed and breathed heavily and erratically. His large body looked shrunken, as if the fear was devouring him from inside. The young man put his hand on his arm. “Father, are you all right?” He opened his dark eyes and stared and him. “They’re worse than animals,” he whispered. “Who brought them up to behave in such a disgusting way? Who taught them to hate?” Father closed his eyes again and turned his head towards the ceiling. His arm still shook under the young man’s hand.

    The blows and shrieks went on until dawn when the sudden silence was even more frightening. Soon the four men in camouflage uniforms and black berets ambled down the courtyard. They guffawed, shouted and pated each other on the shoulders. The young man sat on the carton and watched them through the entrance door, which was open all the time. They reminded him of a gang of friends after they had spent an enjoyable night out and were returning home to sober up. They got into a red BMW and drove off at speed. With the first sunlight coming behind the hill, birds started to twitter and insects buzzed in the thicket. The nature seemed to say, “You stupid humans, you’ll never learn a lesson. The sooner you exterminate each other, the better for other creatures.”

    After a few days, the young man had learnt that not all the guards were killers and torturers. Among them, they were ordinary people who had no choice but to follow the orders or risk being imprisoned themselves. They hated the war and wanted it to end before long. They pitied their neighbours who had been killed or expelled, and they wished for the old days to return. Sometimes they gave him a sardine tin and a chunk of bread, which he shared with Father. They were all losing weight rapidly. Their meals consisted mostly of bread, watery bean soups, and boiled potatoes, which they devoured quickly under the watch of the guards, who would beat anyone who exceeded the prescribed two minutes. The prisoners sat in the canteen and filled their empty stomachs in haste, while the guards circled above them like wasps, looking for their victims. The hot food burnt his mouth and oesophagus, and the young man wanted to pause for a second or two, but the burly guards brandishing their clubs and thick cables reminded him of what would happen if he did not hurry. Their perverted imagination and hatred seemed to feed on each other. They constantly dreamed up new ways to humiliate and hurt the prisoners.
    TO BE CONTINUED

  1. teechar's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Obsession, part eight

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    The warm, musty air made the young man sleepy, and he rolled his jacket and put it under his head. He drifted off to sleep quickly and had a beautiful dream. Jasmine woke up in her bed in the middle of the night beside her husband, of whom hardly his head was visible under the duvet. He was snoring noisily. The full moon peeked though the slits of the Venetian blind. Jasmine slid out from under the duvet, opened the front door and barefoot went outside. She walked noiselessly on the wet streets, through the steam rising from the asphalt. Her flowing hair and white light, white pyjamas billowed in the breeze. The streets were empty; not a sound disturbed the silence of the night. When she reached a meadow, she started to dance, her dainty feet as light as a gazelle's. She twirled and whirled in the dew, which sparkled under the moonlight. Her movements mesmerized him, and he was close to holding her by her waist and dancing with her, when horrific screams chased away shattered his wonderful dream.

    Once he had watched pigs being slaughtered on TV, and their squeals and shrieks were ear piercing. shattering. But these were the screams of a human being, right above his head. Heavy boots pounded the floor while their owners battered the victim. The man pleaded with them and appealed to their humanity, but that seemed to make them only more vicious. They cursed and laughed at the poor fellow while his voice reached a high pitch. Through the paneless windows, the moonlight shone across the room, revealing dozens of motionless bodies lying crammed together. Some of the men slept snoring away. How could they sleep so soundly while their fellow prisoner was being tortured in the cruelest way? How can human beings adapt to hell so quickly? He turned to Father to ask him these questions, and winced because Father’s body was shaking. He was lying on his back with his eyes closed, and he breathed heavily and erratically. His large body looked shrunken, as if the fear was devouring him from inside. The young man put his hand on his arm. “Father, are you all right?” He Father opened his dark eyes and stared and him. “They’re worse than animals,” he whispered. “Who brought them up to behave in such a disgusting way? Who taught them to hate?” Father closed his eyes again and turned his head towards the ceiling. His arm still shook under the young man’s hand.

    The blows and shrieks went on until dawn when the sudden silence was even more frightening. Soon the four men in camouflage uniforms and black berets ambled down the courtyard. They guffawed, shouted and patted each other on the shoulders. The young man sat on the carton cardboard and watched them walk through the entrance door, which was open all the time. They reminded him of a gang group of friends after they had spent an enjoyable night out, and were returning home to sober up. They got into a red BMW and drove off at speed. With the first sunlight coming behind the hill, birds started to twitter and insects buzzed in the thickets. The Nature seemed to be saying, “You stupid humans, you’ll never learn your lesson. The sooner you exterminate each other, the better for other creatures.”

    After a few days, the young man had learnt that not all the guards were killers and torturers. Among them , they were ordinary people who had no choice but to follow the orders or risk being imprisoned themselves. They hated the war and wanted it to end soon. before long. They pitied their neighbours who had been killed or expelled, and they wished for the old days to return. Sometimes they gave him a sardine tin tin of sardines and a chunk of bread, which he shared with Father. They were all losing weight rapidly. Their meals consisted mostly of bread, watery bean soups, and boiled potatoes, which they devoured quickly under the watchful eyes of the guards, who would beat anyone who exceeded the prescribed two minutes for eating. The prisoners sat in the canteen and filled their empty stomachs in haste, while the guards circled above them like wasps, looking for their victims. The hot food burnt his mouth and oesophagus, and the young man wanted to pause for a second or two, but the burly guards brandishing their clubs and thick cables reminded him of what would happen if he did not hurry. Their perverted imagination and hatred seemed to feed on each other. They constantly dreamed up new ways to humiliate and hurt the prisoners.
    TO BE CONTINUED
    .

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    #3

    Re: Obsession, part eight

    teechar,
    I really appreciate your help. I have learnt so much from your corrections, which I hope will be of use in my future writing,
    I have just one question regarding the sentence, which after your correction is: " He was lying on his back with his eyes closed, and he breathed heavily and erratically."
    Your version is certainly correct. But I am wondering why is the second "he" needed in this sentence., "and he breathed heavily.." Does it mean that without that second "he" the sentence is unclear or incorrect?
    Have a nice weekend.

  2. teechar's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Obsession, part eight

    "Breathed" isn't in parallel with "was lying" in that sentence. I suppose a better edit would be:
    He was lying on his back with his eyes closed and breathing heavily and erratically.

    Thanks for pointing that out Bassim, and I wish you a great weekend too.

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    #5

    Re: Obsession, part eight

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    When she reached a meadow, she danced, her dainty feet as light as a gazelle's.
    I saw a typo on my first reading that I couldn't find when I looked at it again. Anyhow, pated should be patted. (Past tense of pat, of course.)

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    #6

    Re: Obsession, part eight

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    With the first sunlight coming behind the hill, birds started to twitter and insects buzzed in the thicket. The nature seemed to say, “You stupid humans, you’ll never learn a lesson. The sooner you exterminate each other, the better for other creatures.”
    Say:
    With the first sunlight coming over the hill, birds twittered and insects buzzed in the thicket. Nature seemed to say: "You stupid humans! You'll never learn your lesson. The sooner you exterminate each other, the better for other creatures."



  5. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Obsession, part eight

    On Facebook you can "like" your own posts. They don't allow that here.

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    #8

    Re: Obsession, part eight

    Tarheel,
    Do you think that "started" in my sentence above is unnecessary?

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    #9

    Re: Obsession, part eight

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    Tarheel,
    Do you think that "started" in my sentence above is unnecessary?
    Yes, I do. Jasmine didn't start to dance. She danced. The birds didn't start to twitter. They twittered. People use "started to" a lot, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are right. It has become so common that nobody notices it. (Nobody but me, apparently. ) However, in my humble opinion, most of the time you see "started to" in a sentence you can improve the sentence by taking it out (much as with "actually"). Sometimes, however, it does make sense. Example: "She started to put her glasses on, but she changed her mind."


    That's all for now.

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