Beneath the Soil

Submitted into Contest #143 in response to: Set your story in the woods or on a campground. ... view prompt

44 comments

Fantasy Suspense Historical Fiction

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

One, two, three, four.

Auden pushed the steel poker into the soil with each count. He held his breath, waiting to hit a landmine, and found nothing. Exhale. He crawled forward—only a couple of feet—and breathed in. A red bird with viridian-tinted eyes perched on the tree above and watched. The breeze, colder than yesterday, shook the branches, whistling as it passed.

One, two, three, four.

Nothing. He exhaled. Crawling forward, a faraway soldier called out that he found one. Auden dropped his poker, then covered his ears with cupped hands. A minute passed. No detonation—another mine diffused. The bird stayed perched on the tree.

One, two, three-

Thud.

Auden swallowed. His pulse beat against his neck. With shaking fingers, he removed his poker from the dirt, placed it aside, and clawed at the soil with his bare hands. It stained his fingers and nails. A centipede rushed out from the ground and made him flinch.

The landmine, buried six inches below, glowed a dim black. Like a faded lamp. Its battery would burn for decades to come, and each mine next to the other rendered the forest uninhabitable.

“Got one,” Auden said, barely loud enough to be considered a shout.

Just like in practice, he breathed in deep to steady his pulse, and reached a hand for the centre.

- - -


“None of us are your friends here, understand?” 

Auden stood in line with hundreds of other Solan prisoners. Tired, hungry, and bloodied—they’d been dragged from their cells and out to the fields, where armed soldiers guided them into formations. None of them hesitated to shove.

“Under no circumstance, will you expect kindness from us,” the Tien general continued. He spoke a fluent Solan tongue. “Tien has been under Solan rule for the last twelve years. For twelve years, we’ve dealt with your abhorrent race. The atrocities you sand-rats have committed cannot be taken back. Now, your war of conquest has finally come to an end.”

The general, wearing a decorated uniform, paced to the tables set up beneath a canopy. He grabbed a drill cane from his belt and tapped it against a map pinned to a board.

“Your kind has planted over four-point-one million landmines across our forests, where you thought our allies would advance from. You were wrong.” The drill cane slid across the map, to the east. “Our wildlife now struggles to thrive, our woodworkers unable to do their jobs, and where a child may get lost, they will be found limb by limb.”

The general looked over the crowd of prisoners, right to left. 

“Nobody wants to see Solans here,” he called. “You serve only one purpose to us. You’ll clean up your mess, and then you’ll be given passage home. Understood?”

No one shouted in agreement. 

They trained in sandboxes. An officer walked down a row of soldiers, stopping to yell in their faces. Dozens of inactive mines littered the sand. Auden stood at the end of the line, back straight, hands at his side. The officer approached him.

“Give me your name,” he shouted, his words carrying spit, “sand-rat!”

“Auden Skali, sir!”

“How old are you, Auden?”

“I’m eighteen, sir!”

“And where did you fire your weapon last?”

“I…”

The officer hit him across the face with an open palm.

“Do not hesitate with me, soldier!”

“I was a medic, sir!” Auden’s voice trembled. “I worked off-field, sir!”

“Unlucky you.”

Moving back up the line, the officer gave them their set of instructions.

“You’ll poke for the mine with a steel rod. Once found, you’ll uncover it, then twist the centre. Next, lift the battery. Do not hit the side of the mine with it on the way out. Dispose of both the battery and explosive shell, and carry on to the next. I will not repeat myself.”

As he worked, an officer stood beside him, one hand on a cane. Auden twisted the landmine’s centre—too much force—and fumbled the battery. 

“Your face is blown off.” The officer said. The cane came down hard against Auden’s back, and he winced. “You’re dead. Put it back together, and do it again.”

A day later, not given a choice, he rode out on a truck to the forests of Tien.


- - -


His heartbeat would not slow.

One breath. In, out.

A stream trickled further off. The red bird with its viridian eyes watched from above. If he fumbled the mine, the bird would go as well. The soldier next to him turned his head and covered his ears. Auden reached for the centre—it’d be the same as twisting a bottle cap—and then stopped.

A copper wire glinted in the corner of his eye. 

“Hey, hey,” Auden said to the soldier beside him. He kept his fingers hovering above the landmine’s centre. The wire dug into the soil, leading to the right. “Hey! Listen to me.” The soldier turned his head.

“They’re connected, our mines. We have to diffuse them at the-”

An auburn-furred deer ran by the trees, branches breaking under its hooves. Both Auden and the soldier ducked their heads. The deer froze to stare at them before brushing its antlers against the ground and ambling off.

After a minute, they both exhaled in unison.

“Luckiest animal I’ve seen,” the soldier whispered.

“Yeah,” Auden said. “If we could only switch places.”

With a nervous laugh, Auden pointed to the soil a step ahead of the soldier. He nodded and dug, noting the copper wire connecting the two. Auden raised three fingers. His ally nodded.

One,

Two,

Three.

Click.

Both batteries came undone—the landmines powered down, their shadowy glow fading to nothing. Auden set his aside and lifted the shell, nodded his head, then stood with the components in hand and made way for the wheelbarrow. The soldier caught up beside him.

“Zeyn,” he said. “Good catch. I wouldn't have seen it.”

“Surprised I did.” Auden disposed of the mine, then shook hands. “Auden.”

At nightfall, he broke his bread in two—there hadn’t been enough rations to go around—and handed the half to Zeyn. They sat outside the cabin alongside other prisoners. Stars found their way into the night sky. A Tien soldier patrolled with a rifle in hand.

“Where are you from, Auden?” Zeyn asked.

“Sola.”

“No shit.” He laughed. “I wouldn’t have guessed it. Where in Sola?”

Auden laughed too, careful not to choke on the stale bread. 

“Eastern,” he said. “Far Eastern, where we still have sun temples and arenas set up. But go any further east and it’s all soft-sands, where the worms breed to the size of mountains.”

“Really?” Zeyn said. He bit off another piece. “You ever seen one in person?”

Auden nodded. “My brother worked to pilot one—he manned one of the artillery cannons mounted on them. I thought it was great, to see him parade an armoured sandworm through town. Now…when I think of the letters he sent, of how he levelled cities to break morale, I can only hope they’re all dead when I get back.”

“You know, when I get back,” Zeyn said, “I’m looking forward to seeing my mother again. And I’ll tell her I was wrong. She didn't want to me to go, but I was told I’d be a hero when the recruiters came to my doorstep.” He laughed, emotionless. “We were assholes, weren’t we?”

Silence. Crickets chirped in the bushes nearby.

“I was stationed at a field hospital,” Auden said. “Outside Tien, before we surrendered. We weren’t allowed to operate on anybody who wasn’t Solan. We kept anyone else in the hallways, no bed. Most of the time, our soldiers would drag them outside and…” Auden imitated his fingers into a gun going off. “Recruiters told me the same thing. We were supposed to be heroes.”

Auden exhaled.

“Where are you from?” he asked.

“Sola, if you couldn't tell.” Zeyn forced a smile. “South of the capital. Lots of dry, cracked ground. Where we mine the rock used to power those batteries-”

The Tien soldier approached and called out in choppy Solan,

“It is time of sleeping! Lights out, and make no of noise!”

The days passed by, one by one, seven to eight landmines diffused per morning hour. Stacked up in trucks and driven to a disposal site. Progress in the forests came acre by acre. During the nights, Zeyn spoke of wanting to start a bricklaying company—to rebuild Sola from the rubble—and Auden agreed to help.

Then came the rain.

The downpour soaked his hair. Auden shivered in the cold, and the mud rendered the ground slippery. The officers didn’t bother to provide jackets. Crawling forward, he pushed the steel rod into the mud, four times before moving on. Verdant green leaves stuck to his skin.

“Auden,” Zeyn called from the right. “I haven’t seen this type before.”

“What?”

“It’s boxed. It’s our make, but I don’t know how to diffuse it.”

“Uh…” Auden closed his eyes. “Run a finger along the side to find the latch. Push up and lift slow.”

“Right. Except, the damn ants or termites have chewed-”

Boom.

A mine exploded further off, and the ground trembled. Auden’s teeth chattered, and he looked over to Zeyn, who began breathing hard. Rain pelted a river, loud enough to muffle their voices. 

“Hey, I can’t find the latch. The wood is all ruined.”

“Go slow. It’ll be metal.”

“There’s a damned swarm of these termites, I can’t find it, by the sun-”

Boom.

A second exploded, closer this time. Auden shoved his face into his arms. Next to him, Zeyn fumbled with the landmine as the ground shook, then tried to recoil back.

Boom.

A geyser of mud spattered the air, trees swaying, blood raining down. The ringing echoed through his head. Auden got to his feet, staggered, then fell next to Zeyn. He was missing his right arm, blown off to his shoulder. Torn sinew made up for what remained.

“What happened?” Zeyn mumbled. He blinked slowly, dirt covering his eyes. “Oh, by the sun, something’s wrong. I can’t move my fingers. Something’s wrong.”  

“Breathe, alright?” Auden said. “I need help!”

Over the downpour, not a soul could be heard.

“Something’s wrong. What happened to the rain? I can’t hear.” He shook his head. “Auden, I can’t hear you. I can’t see…why can’t I…” Zeyn blinked again. “We have to keep finding the landmines, Auden. So we can go home…”

“Help me!” Auden cried. “Somebody!”

Auden struggled to lift him up, tripping in the mud. By the time he lifted him again, Zeyn’s breathing had slowed. He dragged him back to the starting point, where the Tien officers laughed.

“Lost another?” one spoke.

“We’ll drag him to the trench for you,” the other said. “Now get back to it, yeah? You still got a lot more to go. Then you’ll all be walking the forest’s grounds, every square inch, to make sure you got every last one.” He whistled. “Goddess knows I’m looking forward to that.”

Auden kept a rock in his pant leg as the day ended. In the shed the prisoners slept in—locked from the outside—he spent days scraping at a plank of wood near his bunk, pushing it out of place until it would break. 

“What’re you…” a voice yawned on a nearby bed. The man turned on his side. “What’re you doing?”

“Leaving.” The board came loose, fresh air seeping in. Auden pried and tore, then threw it aside. “They don’t plan to send us home.”

“Are you out of your mind?”

“Are you?” Auden said. “I’ve had enough of all this. Do you really think the thousands of us won't be beneath the soil by the time we finish? They’re happy to be killing us off.” He slipped out before the man could reply and only made it a few steps before meeting the barrel of a rifle.

“Out past your curfew,” a Tien soldier said.

He raised his rifle into the air and pulled back on the trigger. Auden ducked. The sound echoed in the night, owls hooting and flying off trees, deer running off.

“Go,” the soldier said. He lowered his firearm. “They’ll all think you’re dead. Run south and avoid the road. It’s Middknight territory miles from here. Look for their blue uniforms, crest of a lion on their left shoulder-” 

“Why?” Auden whispered.

“Because my people should be ashamed, and I’m more than disgusted with this war, seeing you kids die. Middknight’s soldiers won’t like you, but they’ll treat you better than we are. Go, now. Before another patrol comes.”

Auden nodded, and took off running.

It’d be a long way to the border.

April 27, 2022 19:32

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44 comments

Alex Sultan
19:32 Apr 27, 2022

Tried something sort of new here. Turned out a lot different than I thought it would. Put many hours in, and I am numb to how good this turned out. All feedback, as always, is appreciated. Note, the concept of this story is based on true events, with the Danish using German POWs in 1945 to clear landmines on the beaches. The prompt didn't call for beaches, so I switched up the genre while keeping the same idea.

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Faith Ogedegbe
08:38 May 03, 2022

Well written, Alex. I enjoyed reading it.

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Alex Sultan
17:16 May 03, 2022

Thank you for reading, Faith. I appreciate it.

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J.C. Lovero
23:41 Apr 30, 2022

Hi Alex! This was an interesting take on the prompt. I always enjoy your writing, and this one was especially unique blending the fantasy world you've created with some historical fiction elements. When I realized that they were diffusing bombs, I already knew something bad would happen to either the MC or Zeyn. When the "booms" started, I felt my stomach tense up, knowing that they would find themselves in trouble. Really good tension you created in that scene. Side note: love how you name your characters. Auden and Zeyn are so unique. ...

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Alex Sultan
17:16 May 03, 2022

Thank you for reading, friend. Your comments are always very kind. Admittedly, I've been on the fence about the story since I posted it, so I appreciate the positive feedback. I'm glad you like the names I've chosen! I have an entire map of this fantasy world I've built, with what names match what region, and I always enjoy going through it for characters. I'm looking forward to reading 'Whispers from Within' - great title btw. I'll give you my thoughts on it later on. I hope you are well.

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Wow. This story is riveting from the first line, and you did a great job with the flashback. The fantasy is so rich. I really enjoyed Auden and Zeyn's conversations, memories, and plans, and of course, this made it worse when Zeyn died. That soldier at the end was awesome - there's still hope. The last line was perfect. Masterful. I get excited every time I realize a story is another extension of your fantasy world. In all the previous stories I've read, Sola has been the enemy. It was great to see someone from Sola's point of view. Auden...

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Alex Sultan
17:19 May 03, 2022

Thank you for reading! The depth you put into your comment is very kind. I'm so glad you remember Eleanor(always one of my favourites) but, unfortunately for Auden, Eleanor is a couple thousand years in the past. She's more medieval, and Auden's time is matched to around the 1960s here. I do want to write more on Sola/Middknight/Tien/Austraze at some point, both medieval and 1960, - just need the right prompt. I appreciate your feedback as well. I didn't get to it in time - can't edit once approved, but I've taken note of what you've writt...

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Annalisa D.
20:28 Apr 29, 2022

This was a really interesting idea you are working with here. I enjoyed the friendship between the two even though it ended sadly. You did a good job with building the tension with the explosions and nervousness. I think this story really pulls the reader into the moment well. It seems like an awful situation to be in. I thought it added an interesting layer that you get a hint of both sides doing something wrong at some point. It doesn't make what is happening okay obviously but takes away from the very clear this side is 100% good and this...

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Alex Sultan
17:23 May 03, 2022

Thank you for reading, friend. I appreciate the kind words. I do get what you're saying - it's not often you hear about what the allied/neutral powers have done wrong. I like the way you phrased it too. It does add realism.

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Dorsa S.
19:17 Apr 29, 2022

hey alex! i just finished reading, and overall it is a nice story, but i would consider this a base for something better, as there is some polishing needed. i agree with other comments referring to his quick and easy release, it is somewhat confusing on how easy the soldier's let the main off. maybe incorporate the soldier's expression, an expression of the soldier pitying him or relating to him in some way. it feels off balanced in that sense - you had kept up the tension for the majority of the story but dialed it down last minute. aude...

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Alex Sultan
15:07 Apr 30, 2022

Thanks for reading. To be honest with you, this is probably the story I've edited the most after posting - you definitely pointed out the two main issues with it. It's a bit late to make more changes, and a bit of a headache with this story specifically, but I've taken note of it for the next one I write. I'm sorry your story didn't work out this week - I didn't get around to reading it in time. I look forward to the next piece you write. I hope you are well, friend.

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L.M. Lydon
15:00 Apr 29, 2022

This was so intense. You draw the tension out as they diffuse the bombs so spectacularly. I also like the conversation that Zeyn and Auden have about their past. Such vivid world-building! I do agree with a prior comment that the soldier letting him go at the end is a somewhat unexpected turn. It's an ending that I could completely see getting to, but I feel like you needed a few more incidents to reach it (or maybe just making the guard a standing character who evolves through the story/witnesses Zeyn's death rather than a generic guard a...

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Alex Sultan
15:28 Apr 30, 2022

Thank you for reading, and for the feedback. I'm glad you liked the world-building. It's always my favourite to write. I agree with your point - the ending was a challenge to write, as it was either write an escape, or have Auden stuck diffusing mines, and the story didn't seem to work with either. I've taken note of it for the next one I write. I hope you are well!

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19:38 Apr 28, 2022

Hi Alex - general impressions of this story - I think you have chosen a really interesting and horrifying scene to set out and you do really well with building the tension with the counting and breathing. I agree with some of the other comments that it feels a little bit too easy for the central character to escape. Could the soldier who lets him go see something in him first? Does he look like his brother? is the soldier half Solan? Did the soldier also lose a mate in the war and he saw what had happened? Was this soldier the one who dragg...

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Alex Sultan
13:31 Apr 29, 2022

Thank you, Katharine. I appreciate the time you put into your comment/s. Don't worry, I get it is all meant in a positive light - if it was negative, I'd assume you wouldn't read the story at all😅 It is all very helpful. I do, at some point, want to write more stories like this one - I'd like to think this one is a decent first attempt at fantasy/modern-war fiction rather than a winner - and all your notes are helpful. I've written a lot of them down, and I made a lot of changes to the story based on your comments(reworked ending, notably) ...

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19:26 Apr 28, 2022

Hi Alex - line edits here - more general impressions to follow in another comment. The breeze, colder than yesterday - nice detail. His heart beat against his neck. - this gives me a weird visual that I dont think you intended. Maybe something like - His pulse raced in his neck. His heart beat against his ribs. I know you're trying to avoid a cliche here and I get that - but there is probably a better way to describe this. With shaking fingers, he removed his poker from the dirt, placed it aside, and clawed (back) at the soil with his b...

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Keya Jadav
09:27 May 14, 2022

Hi Alex, I really liked this one. The words hold a lot of power and you've executed them just in the perfect way, painting it all vivid. The emotions, terror and nervousness - all passed through me efficiently. I honestly didn't expect the man to let Auden go but now I am too excited what'll happen next. Part 2?

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Alex Sultan
16:26 May 14, 2022

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it - mixing fantasy and military fiction is my new favourite thing to write, and I plan to write a lot more of it. I appreciate the kinds words!

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Lavonne H.
06:15 May 08, 2022

Hi Alex, I have read through the very detailed and helpful comments already given to you. It can feel so overwhelming with so much to consider that I am glad the deadline to edit helps us let go of a story...until "next time!" There have been many astute and insightful thoughts on your writing. May I simply say your story about war (especially the involvement of land mines) is, in itself, a laudable endeavour . Your characters, your scenes, your plot...helps us remember that wars are not noble. Thank you for writing this story. Yours in wr...

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17:32 May 05, 2022

Fantastic job Alex. Man, I hope to be able to write this well some day. I'm sure if I tried picking it apart I could find something to critique, but the story read so well that there's no point on even trying. Ha! You've got the gift.

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Alex Sultan
03:48 May 06, 2022

Thank you for reading - I appreciate the kind words. I'm glad you liked it.

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Deidra Lovegren
20:43 May 04, 2022

By now, you should be receiving an honorary doctorate from a prestigious university for the humanities, history and English literature (writing it, not just reading it.) Oh if I could buy stock in your future...loved this and the WWII facts lost to history. I was wondering if you'd ever written about the Vietnam War? That particular proxy war (and the tunnel rats!) fascinate me. Not enough to do your level of research and crank out a historical fiction piece though -- hahah. I continue to be impressed by your attention to detail and high q...

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Alex Sultan
03:44 May 06, 2022

Thank you for reading! Your comment is very kind. I have looked into a lot about the Vietnam War - mainly tunnel rats, the traps set by the Vietnamese soldiers, and South Korea's involvement. A lot of the psychological aspects as well. It is something I'd eventually want to bring to light, once the prompt fits. Again, I appreciate the read. I hope you are well.

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Gareth Hopkins
14:23 May 04, 2022

Hi, Alex, I like what you did with this prompt. It's something that would never have occured to me, which is always nice to read. I also just realised (having read a few of your stories now) that a lot - maybe all? - of your stories are set in the same 'universe'. Sorry if that's sort of obvious, but I've only been on the site for a few weeks. Anyway, I think that's a really interesting way to approach the prompts and it's set my mind whirring a bit in terms of maybe something I can try to help me explore some ideas that I have! As far as...

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Alex Sultan
03:54 May 06, 2022

Thank you for reading, Gareth. I appreciate the comment. Several of the stories I've written take place in this universe. It's cool that you noticed so. Out of the 41 I've posted, 8 are in this world, although this one specifically takes place at a different time. It does help with ideas, since It feels easy for me to write about this world. I appreciate the feedback! I do think it varies from person to person, but I 100% see what you are saying. I've taken note of it. Thanks again for the read.

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Howard Halsall
05:06 May 04, 2022

Hello Alex, I loved your story and thought it worked well in terms of maintaining and escalating tension. I enjoyed the relationship between the lead characters but I missed a bit of descriptive detail in terms of their living conditions. Did they suffer from lice, foot rot or stomach cramps, for instance? Given the present conflict in Ukraine, the following line resonates for me, “You know, when I get back,” Zeyn said, “I’m looking forward to seeing my mother again. And I’ll tell her I was wrong. She didn't want to me to go, but I was told ...

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Alex Sultan
03:59 May 06, 2022

Thanks for reading, Howard. I really like the feedback suggestion - it is not something I would've thought of, to be honest, but now I know for the next one I write. I appreciate you pointing it out. It is a good catch. The line you pointed out is one of my favourites too - it was one I was looking forward to adding. I felt like it fit the characters, and Sola, very effectively while mirroring Germany's involvement in WW2. I'm glad I could get it across.

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Howard Halsall
04:14 May 06, 2022

No problem, Alex, I’m pleased you found it a useful call… If you have a spare moment, I’d appreciate your thoughts about my latest. It’s always handy to get your honest response. HH

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Alex Sultan
05:18 May 06, 2022

Of course! I'll read over and leave my feedback when I get the chance.

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Howard Halsall
05:33 May 06, 2022

Great, I look forward to it :)

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Michał Przywara
21:02 May 03, 2022

This was a fun read! Very strong opening, and the pace in which you provide world details is good. I like how grey everything is. The main character is easy enough to sympathize with, but his people were total assholes. On the other hand, the other side's treatment of prisoners is also reprehensible. Then you touch on more general themes of war, convincing young people they'd be glorious heroes and then sending them into a meat grinder. Others have commented about the suddenness of Auden's release. Yes, it was sudden. I guess those are t...

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Alex Sultan
04:06 May 06, 2022

Thank you for reading! This was my first story trying to mesh war fiction and fantasy together, and I think it was a pretty decent first attempt. I'm glad you liked it. I agree, the ending could use some work, and I've written down what you wrote here. I like the ideas you brought up. This is something I eventually want to write a novel on and am starting here to practice the combination of both genres, so the feedback is very helpful. I appreciate the kind words, too.

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Dragos Marcean
12:50 May 03, 2022

A very nice story. I liked the scenery you made in the landmine defusing "business". I could feel the heart pumping of the guys defusing while explosions happened nearby. I like how you narrate the action parts and the mumbling of the dying Zeyn. The end part shows what humanity should be all about. Very nice

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Alex Sultan
04:00 May 06, 2022

Thank you for reading. I don't write suspense too often, so I'm glad it worked here. The ending was tough to write - I wanted to show humanity from both sides. It is nice to hear you liked it.

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Sharon Hancock
01:52 Apr 30, 2022

Omg that was tense! There have been a few episodes of tv shows where people called in the bomb squad where I held my breath the whole episode and I felt just like that reading this. I’m so glad you relieved some of that tension by having him escape at the end. That scene where bombs went off all around…whew ! Amazing writing ..to be able to make me feel that wound up reading it is just plain talent on your part! Great story!

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Alex Sultan
04:08 May 06, 2022

Thank you for reading. I don't write suspense stories too often, so I'm glad it worked. I appreciate the kind words as always!

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Elizabeth Napier
16:33 Apr 28, 2022

I love the combination of real-world history and your own lore - made for a really tense story! I'm always in awe of your world-building skills and this story is no different - you're very good at creating worlds that are still easy for the reader to be connected too despite their fantasy nature! Another great story, mate :)

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Alex Sultan
11:43 Apr 29, 2022

Thank you, friend. Your comment is so kind. I think this story did come out sort of rough, but I still really like it - I've written so much for this world with Middknight and Sola, from medieval to modern tech, and I'm glad I could get another one of its stories down on paper. I appreciate the read as always 🙂

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Zelda C. Thorne
09:10 Apr 28, 2022

Hi Alex, well written as always. A terrifying piece of history you've chosen here. When the Booms started to happen near the end, I was gripped. Very tense! Typo in first section - "inhabitable", meant to be uninhabitable. I thought it flowed well with the breaks in apt places, but I think I would have cared more about the MC if I knew more about him. Hopes, dreams, things me misses or has lost... family, lost love? What the war took from him. That stuff? I liked the end, but it felt a bit... I don't know... easy? Why didn't he go ear...

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Delia Tomkus
11:17 Apr 28, 2022

I love this so much! The counting with the land mines added suspense that kept me so tense while reading. When the mine exploded near the end- I actually jumped. You portrayed very well how quickly the explosions happen. I agree, there could have been an added struggle at the end, but I do think it makes sense that the guard/soldier let him go, because the circumstances were less than desirable. I have to agree with Rachel, you are one of my favorite writers on here, and you have surprisingly brought me to enjoy historical fiction when you...

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Alex Sultan
13:59 Apr 29, 2022

Thank you for reading, Delia. It's kind of you to follow my stories - comments like yours are always inspiring. I'm glad you liked the piece, and the mines exploding at the end is one of my favourite parts too. I'm looking forward for when you, eventually, post your first story.

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Alex Sultan
14:07 Apr 29, 2022

Thank you for reading, Rachel. L'écriture est difficile - j'apprécie votre commentaire. I really do value your feedback on this one, and I reworked a lot based on it. I still feel like I missed the mark somewhere along the way, but can't exactly pinpoint where. Nevertheless, I appreciate the read. I hope you are well 🙂

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Zelda C. Thorne
14:50 Apr 29, 2022

Love the edits. Nice detail. I don't personally think you missed the mark. You're your own worst critic, it's a great story. Good luck!

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