Peer Review by Julia ♬ (United States of America)()

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Land of the Free, Home of the Broken...

By: JakeFrommStateFarm


    It's been three long years since those... things attacked us.
    It seemed impossible at first. Unbelievable. Like everything was a bad science-fiction movie. But then you wake up the next day, and you quickly realize... it's real. And its not going away anytime soon.
    It's like a bad hangover. Day. After. Day.
    Three years ago, I felt like I was on top of the world. I didn't know that it would take something like this just to prove me wrong...

Three years ago...

    "Honey?" said the sweetest voice I have ever known.
    "Elizabeth? - don't let me see you! - it's bad luck!"
    "On, don't give me that crap."
    Elizabeth walked into my groom's chamber in her wedding dress, looking more beautiful than I had ever seen her before.
    "I hate this dress," she said plainly.
    "You picked it out," I said in defense of the dress. "You said it was the most beautiful dress you had ever seen."
    "That was before I had to wear it for five hours."
    "Well, please leave, this is the last day I need extra bad luck."
    Elizabeth laughed.
    "Look at you... Staff Sergeant David Morris of the United States Marine Corps, afraid of his fiancee walking into the same room as him," she threw her arms up in mock surrender. "Don't shoot! - Please!"
    I stood there in my dress blues, a little embarrassed. I was on six months lave from the Marine Corps so I could get married to the love of my life.
    I was used to dealing with threats that could destroy America from the inside out, and I was worried about seeing my fiancee in her wedding dress before she walked up the altar.
    "All right," I admitted, "maybe I'm being a little superstitious."
    "You have enough superstition for the entire Marine Corps."
    I laughed.
    Elizabeth sighed. "I can't wait to be in Paris," she said. "Alone away from all of this..."
    I wrapped her in my arms.
    "Neither can I..." I said.
    "Well," she said, slowly slipping out of my embrace, "I'll see you at the altar, Sailor."

    I never did see her at the altar. Instead, I saw her bloody, mangled, twisted, deformed dead body lying on the ground as the entire world was torn to shreds by those... things.
    No one knew what to call those things when they attacked us. When I was called in, we called them bugs, because there was no other better name for them.
    I generally don't like to refer to them at all.
    But everyone has to make exceptions.
    The news seemed to be the only people that liked the bugs. Like this was supposed to get them a pay raise or somethin'.
    Everyone wanted to know what these things were, where they came from, what their favorite food was, how they went to the bathroom.
    I couldn't care less, frankly.
    I only know three things for sure.
    First. Life is short. And it doesn't help the fact that I'm fighting for my life twenty-four hours a day.
    Second. We must evolve if we are ever going to survive.
    Natural selection tells us that only the strongest survive.
    There's nothing farther from the truth.
    I've seen men stronger than superheroes die every day.
    Third. There's a reason I'm still alive. I still don't know why.
    If there is a God, I wish he would kill me.
    End it.
    Before I can't take it anymore...

    The bugs had set up a base on Pensacola Beach shortly after they arrived. A team of seventy-five Marine Corps officers, fifteen Navy SEALs, ten snipers, and four tanks were sent to invade that hellish warehouse that was crawling with bugs.
    When it was all said and done, only five men came out, including me.
    We had lost eighty-five men.
    It was the worst massacre in the history of America's military.
    And I led them.
    The Marine Corps didn't train us to fight those... things, and that's why so many of us died that day.
    You can't win when you're fighting against something no one has ever seen before.

    I have a scar from that day that runs down from my temple all the way down my jawline. My left leg from just above the knee down is robotic. Both of them are bitter keepsakes of bitter memories.
    I still fight those bugs today. Nothing I do to them will bring back Elizabeth or the rest of my family, but I do it anyway.
    The will never leave us.
    They will always be here to torment us.
    But I will fight back.
    I will kill them. One. By. One.
    Because if I don't, they will kill us. One. By. One.

Message to Readers

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Peer Review

I think that the plot of this story was very well thought out. You have a good introduction and ending, and the middle parts fit in well with the rest of it. Also, the title is great. It pulls you in and makes you want to know why it's "Home of the Broken" instead of "Home of the Brave".

I'd really like to know more about the bugs. I think you could improve this story by describing them more and showing more of their impact. Why did they go after Elizabeth, and the rest of the character's family? Where did they come from? Why can't they kill the protagonist? How have they impacted the country and the world? I know you want to maintain an air of mystery around these bugs, but I think the story would be better if we knew at least a little more about them.

Reviewer Comments

Great job with this story! It caught my attention and made me want to read the whole thing. I hope some of my comments are helpful for you. I guess you changed your entry in the novel writing contest to another piece, so hopefully this was the right one for me to review. Anyway, you're a great writer! Keep writing! :)