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    #1

    The Last Lesson, part five

    Would you please correct my grammar and punctuation in the fifth part of my short story?

    Fader and I exchanged looks in silence. Any words were superfluous in that moment. For about 50 years ago, he had experienced the similar brutality in the Second World War, and decades before that, his own father, my grandfather, had spent four years in the muddy trenches fighting in the First World War. It seemed that every new generation in this part of Europe was doomed to spill more blood in meaningless conflicts.
    We heard knocking at the door. Father stood up and shuffled to open it.
    “How many sons do you have?” a voice asked.
    “Only one,” Father answered.
    “Go and tell him to come out. He has to come with us,” the voice said again.

    I did not wait for him to fetch me, and I went outside to face a young lanky man in a combat uniform and a black headband. His rifle hung on his shoulder, and a pistol and two hand grenades hung on his belt. He was relaxed. He told me to follow him, and we joined the groups of soldiers and rounded-up men walking down the street. We stopped at my neighbour’s Asim house. A soldier who knocked at his door was Asim’s workmate before Asim had been sacked just as all other non-Serbs. The soldier could not hide his tears watching his former colleague hugging his family.
    “I know your son is innocent,” he told to his mother, who was crying. “I’ve got orders. If I don’t do as told, they will arrest me too.”
    We walked to the crossing where busses and tanks were waiting for us. Groups of soldiers stood idly around, smoking and watching us with scornful looks. Many were teenagers who had been sitting at school desks a few weeks ago and playing basketball and football after school. Suddenly, they had been thrown into a brutal war where they had a chance to give free reins to their imagination, and torture and kill people as they pleased.

    As I boarded the bus, a burly solder got in my way. He glowered at me and pointed his rifle at my face. “Give me your money!” he growled. I told him I did not have any money, but my answer made him only more furious. He swore, swung his rifle, and held it over his head shouting, “Give me money, or I’ll smash your head.”
    My legs buckled. I imagined the black rifle butt smashing my head, my teeth and destroying my face. The man was so strong; he could kill anyone with one single blow.
    “Don’t beat him. He has no money. I have money!” someone shouted from the back of the bus.
    The soldier turned around, the veins on his thick neck throbbing. My neighbour Enver, a wealthy man, stepped forward holding in front of him a thick wad of money. “I have money,” he repeated. The burly soldier immediately lost interest in me, grunted and grabbed the money. I used this moment to slink by him, but I hardly managed to make two steps when another soldier sitting close to the aisle stretched out his leg, trying to trip me up. I hopped instinctively, landed awkwardly, and almost fell. I plopped into an empty seat and heard the soldier laughing scornfully. “You could’ve broken your neck!” he shouted. I looked up at Enver to express my gratitude. I waved at him, and he gave me a thumb-up winking.

    A minute or two later, a stocky, swarthy soldier with dark, curly hair, boarded the bus. He was furious and lashed out at the soldier who had taken money from my neighbour.
    “You idiot! Who told you to take money from the prisoners? You’ve brought shame on my unit. You’ll pay dearly for this. Give me back the money.”
    The burly soldier cowered and shrivelled, his muscles turning into jelly. He took the money out of his shirt pocket and gave it to his superior. The swarthy man went up to Enver, gave him back the money and apologised. Enver and he chatted like two old acquaintances, and I would later discover that many of my neighbours knew him well. Because of his swarthy skin and curly hair, he was nicknamed Gypsy. He told us not to worry as long as we were under his command. Before he disembarked, he pushed the burly soldier in front of him. I looked out of the window as his comrades took his rifle and his belt from him and led him away.

    They drove us first to the barracks, but when we arrived there, an officer came out and told our guards they were filled to capacity. The buses turned around, and soon we rolled along the motorway. There were three guards in our bus. One stood beside the driver, the second in the middle, and the third at the back. As soon as we left the periphery of the town, the guard in the middle, a man about twenty, started to remove branded watches from prisoners’ wrists. He was not in hurry and wore a smug smile on his face as he walked up and down the aisle filling his pockets with booty. “You’ll not need them anyway,” he said. Someone asked him what they were going to do with us. He answered that we would be exchanged for the Serbs living under the control of the Bosnian government. I did not know if he was telling the truth, but the idea of being transported like cattle through the country seemed terrible. I would not only be separated from my father until the end of the war, but I would also become a soldier in the Bosnian army. I was not keen on risking my life and my limbs fighting for the nationalistic leaders and their mad ideas.
    TO BE CONTINUED

  1. teechar's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The Last Lesson, part five

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    Father and I exchanged looks looked at each other in silence. Any words were would have been superfluous in at that moment, for about 50 years ago, he had experienced the similar brutality in the Second World War, and decades before that, his own father, my grandfather, had spent four years in the muddy trenches fighting in the First World War. It seemed that every new generation in this part of Europe was is doomed to spill more blood in meaningless conflicts.
    We heard knocking at the door. Father stood up and shuffled to open it.
    “How many sons do you have?” a voice asked.
    “Only one,” Father answered.
    “Go and tell him to come out. He has to come with us,” the voice said. again.

    I did not wait for him to fetch me, and I went outside to face a young lanky young man in wearing a combat uniform and a black headband. His rifle hung on his shoulder, and a pistol and two hand grenades hung on his belt. He was relaxed. He told me to follow him, and we joined the groups of soldiers and rounded-up men walking down the street. We stopped at my neighbour Asim's house. A soldier who knocked at his door was Asim’s workmate before Asim had been sacked just as like all the other non-Serbs. The soldier could not hide his tears watching his former colleague hugging his family.
    “I know your son is innocent,” he told to his mother who was crying. “I’ve got orders. If I don’t do as I'm told, they will arrest me too.”
    We walked to the crossing where busses and tanks were waiting for us. Groups of soldiers stood idly around, smoking and watching us with scornful looks. Many were teenagers who had been sitting at school desks a few weeks ago before and playing basketball and football after school. Suddenly, they had been thrown into a brutal war where they had a chance to give free rein to their imagination, and torture and kill people as they pleased.

    As I boarded the bus, a burly soldier got in my way. He glowered at me and pointed his rifle at my face. “Give me your money!” he growled. I told him I did not have any money, but my answer made him only more furious. He swore, swung his rifle, and held it over his head shouting, “Give me money, or I’ll smash your head.”
    My legs buckled. I imagined the black rifle butt smashing my head and my teeth and destroying my face. The man was so strong; he could kill anyone with one single blow.
    “Don’t beat him. He has no money. I have money!” someone shouted from the back of the bus.
    The soldier turned around, the veins on his thick neck throbbing. My neighbour Enver, a wealthy man, stepped forward holding in front of him a thick wad of money. “I have money,” he repeated. The burly soldier immediately lost interest in me, grunted and grabbed the money. I used this moment to slink by him, but I hardly managed to make two steps when another soldier sitting close to the aisle stretched out his leg, trying to trip me up. I hopped instinctively, landed awkwardly, and almost fell. I plopped into an empty seat and heard the soldier laughing scornfully. “You could’ve broken your neck!” he shouted. I looked up at Enver to express my gratitude. I waved at him, and he gave me a thumbs-up wink. ing.

    A minute or two later, a stocky, swarthy soldier with dark, curly hair, boarded the bus. He was furious, and he lashed out at the soldier who had taken money from my neighbour.
    “You idiot! Who told you to take money from the prisoners? You’ve brought shame on my unit. You’ll pay dearly for this. Give me back the money.”
    The burly soldier cowered and shrivelled, his muscles turning into jelly. He took the money out of his shirt pocket and gave it to his superior. The swarthy man went up to Enver, gave him back the money and apologised. Enver and he chatted like two old acquaintances, and I would later discover that many of my neighbours knew him well. Because of his swarthy skin and curly hair, he was nicknamed Gypsy. He told us not to worry as long as we were under his command. Before he disembarked, he pushed the burly soldier off the bus. in front of him. I looked out of the window as his that soldier's comrades took his rifle and his belt from him and led him away.

    They drove us first to the barracks, but when we arrived there, an officer came out and told our guards they were filled to capacity. The buses turned around, and soon we rolled along the motorway. There were three guards in on our bus. One stood beside the driver, the second in the middle, and the third at the back. As soon as we left the periphery of the town, the guard in the middle, a man of about twenty, started to remove branded watches from prisoners’ wrists. He was not in a hurry, and he wore a smug smile on his face as he walked up and down the aisle filling his pockets with booty. “You’ll not need them anyway,” he said. Someone asked him what they were going to do with us. He answered that we would be exchanged for the Serbs living under the control of the Bosnian government. I did not know if he was telling the truth, but the idea of being transported like cattle through the country seemed terrible. I would not only be separated from my father until (at least) the end of the war, but I would also (probably have to) become a soldier in the Bosnian army. I was not keen on risking my life and my limb to fight fighting for the nationalistic leaders and their mad ideas.
    TO BE CONTINUED
    .

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    #3

    Re: The Last Lesson, part five

    teechar,
    I am so grateful for your help.
    I am just wondering about my second sentence, which after your correction sounds like this: Any words would have been superfluous at that moment, for about 50 years ago, he had experienced similar brutality in the Second World War...."
    I do not know way, but the sentence does not sound correct because of that "for" after "moment" ,or maybe I am wrong.
    I am wondering if would be better to end the sentence with the full stop after the "moment", and start a new sentence like this" would have been superfluous at that moment. About 50 years ago he had experienced similar brutality...."

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    #4

    Re: The Last Lesson, part five

    By "for" I presume you mean "because." If so, then the sentence reads OK to me. Alternatively, you could omit the "for" and put a full stop as above.

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    #5

    Re: The Last Lesson, part five

    "We learn from history that we do not learn from history."

    ------------------- Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

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    #6

    Re: The Last Lesson, part five

    The "exchanged looks in siilence" sentence is an interesting one. At first I thought it was a good one. Then I saw teechar's correction. For a while I couldn't decide which is better. Now I have made up my mind, and I think I can explain the difference. However, I am hoping I won't have to. (Too much typing!)

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    #7

    Re: The Last Lesson, part five

    Say:

    Father and I looked at each other in silence. Any words would have been superfluous at that moment, for about 50 years ago he experienced similar brutality in the Second World War, and decades before that, his own father, my grandfather, spent four years in muddy trenches fighting in the First World War.

    (You don't need past perfect there. Simple past is more than adequate.)

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    #8

    Re: The Last Lesson, part five

    Say:

    He told me to follow him, and we joined the groups of soldiers who were walking down the street and rounding up men.

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    #9

    Re: The Last Lesson, part five

    Say:

    We walked to the crossing where busses were waiting for us.
    Last edited by Tarheel; 07-Jan-2016 at 06:32.

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    #10

    Re: The Last Lesson, part five

    Say:

    I took this moment to slink by him, but I hardly managed to take two steps when another soldier....

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