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

Below, you'll see any text that was highlighted with comments from the reviewer.

Tap on comment to view. Using a mouse?

Hover over comments to view. On a touch device?


The Breaking of the Great Heart of Athehull

By: starryeyeddragon45


FREE WRITING

    Felix wiped the grease from the glinting bronze cogs, off of her hands. She set down her wrench and stepped back to examine her handiwork, The Great Metal Heart of Athehull. It had now resumed the turning of the many crude cogs and gears, moving them in a steady motion, like the beating of a heart. Felix had been repairing one of the lesser gears towards the outer rims of The Heart. These gears often had to be repaired as they often snapped in brittle places where proper care had not been initiated. Often no care at all was ever received to this great lumbering beast of machinery. The huge cogs at the center of The Heart broke less often, but when they did the entire city shut down in a grave emergency. That is why being a mechanic was the most dangerous job that one could have been picked for. To maneuver one’s self into the narrow spaces between the cogs and gears with only a faint gas lamp to provide meager light, a mechanic would often die at the hands of The Great Heart, in hopes that another would be able to fix The Heart before the city and The Great Metal Heart of Athehull shut down forever.
    It was a good thing then, that these gears at the center of the metal beast, that was The Great Heart of Athehull, hardly ever broke down.  In the eyes of the nobles, however, The Heart breaking down would have resulted in a solution to the overpopulation of the rats of the city, as the lowest working class was called. Even though mechanics held the most important job in the entirety of Athehull, they were usually grouped in with all of the drunks, thieves, gypsies, and everyone else of the criminal underworld; in regards of status. Usually, because of the severity in which they were underpaid, mechanics often ended their life as criminals.
    Felix bent and picked up her few, time-worn tools. She trudged towards the door, in her boots that were several sizes too large for her delicate feet, that would lead to the rickety elevator that would carry her out of this mechanical wasteland. She pulled her scarf tighter in order to keep out the blasting cold wind that came from the opened door.
    “Hurry in, ye blasted twist. We’re taking the last load up of ye yonder rats, so get a wiggle on, you glocky glock,” the scurrilous elevator operator snapped at Felix, without realizing that he had just made a mistake and called her a half-witted half-wit. Felix picked up her pace and squeeze into the tight space between all of the other mudsills, too tired to point out the operator’s mistake. Odd looks were passed her way, as she was a short teenage girl of about the age of fifteen with bright green eyes and fiery red hair, surrounded by gruff, middle-aged men, who had become insensitive to life though various drug and other sources, in order to dull the mind-shattering pain. The whole fifteen-minute was filled with loud banter from the men. Felix stood in an uncomfortable silence the entire, hoping that none of the men would try and take advantage of her.
    When they were finally at the top, the others pushed to the front, because in this cruel society of the underworld those who got there first, got the most desired items and the biggest sums of money. Felix slowly moved out of the elevator to the back of the clump that was fighting for first in line, content to get whatever was leftover. 
    “Ye, scurvy dogs! Straighten yur line and pull in your horns. Or I’ll call the Punishers,” the elevator operator called over the noise of the brawl.
    Instantly, the group of men quieted and straightened into what could have been called a line. Slowly the line moved forward, shortening as each man got his pay. The ones in the front looked on at the others with a mix of pity and delight. Loud rambunctious laughter filled the room, and then the streets as these men walked out to go spend their newly acquired fortunes on immoral and damaging substances and things.
 Felix at last stepped up to the desk to collect her meager pay. The operator looked down his nose at her, studying her body. Luckily the clothes she wore were several sizes too big and it concealed her thin, worn frame. Finally, he cleared his throat but still grunting muttered, “ What ya want, twist? There’s a hunk of toke that’s gone up the spout, ripped kecks, some spoiled Oh-be joyful and a stupid lottery ticket that I found on there yonder street, that has yet to be claimed.”
Felix considered her options. Torn trousers, spoiled beer, moldy bread, or a lottery ticket bearing the number 41328-9503, that had yet to be spent; which was probably worthless anyway, but hey, there was a chance it was the rare lucky one.
“I’ll take the ticket, Toff,” she said in an underlying mocking tone. The gruff operator took it as a compliment and smiled, showing his filthy teeth and gums. Felix quickly snatched the ticket, turned and escaped through the door. 
Once out of the elevator station, she grumbled under her breath, “Geez, all these hoodlums are just tea leaves. All of them deserve a topping. Leaving me with nothing but a stupid lottery ticket. Them stupid blooming dollymops.”
Slowly Felix trudged through the streets, ignoring the catcalling given by the prigs of the city. Through the filthy slums, towards her family’s home, towards the place where all of the buildings were melted and covered in a thin layer of rust. She picked her way around the melted metal rumble. Scaling one of the now diagonal buildings, with the help of the vines and plants, she climbed through the empty window frame into the family house. Felix was the only one who had survived the bombings and the fires, out of her family. No one else was left to comfort her, so she found solace in mechanics. Before her family had gone on their way, her father had encouraged Felix’s (then Gwyneth), love of clock working and mechanics, even though they were some of the high nobles of the city. Felix (Gwyneth’s father) had believed that she would be the one who changed people’s view on mechanics and free then of the horrible cycle in which they lived in.
Sadly, that never happened. The rest of the Ryleans never made it out of the fire that consumed the ballroom of the ball they were at. Felix was the youngest so she was not yet allowed to go to the ball. She had been staying with her grandmother, Syzis, while her parents and four older siblings congregated at the ball. That had been ten years ago; Felix was now fifteen. Her grandmother was now six years gone. 
Now she lived in one of the many apartments that her parents had owned. It was the only one that currently was not in utter ruins. Syzis and Felix had spent several weeks searching for a suitable home. Finally, they found this little hole wall and it had been their home ever since.
Felix moved about the apartment straightening her few remaining possessions, wasting time before the announcement would blare out over the darkened smog-filled sky. Finally, night came and they started. 
Usually, Felix would pay them no mind. She had stopped doing that since the survivor reports had stopped some four years back. Tonight, however, she paid them special attention. They would announce the lottery ticket winners to the whole night sky.
    “Today is the forty-third day of Ruiwj in the tenth year after the  Ballroom Bombings, and here are the announcements,” a New Noble’s voice started up and then continued, droning on. The Ballroom Bombings were the faults of the Rebellion that now controlled the government. The bombs had done their job and killed off most of the previous nobles. The other few who had survived had mysteriously disappeared. Now the Rebellion was in full control, installing a new breed of nobles called The New Nobles to replace the old, ten-year dead ones. 
    “... This week’s lottery ticket winners are once again…” Felix panicked thinking she had missed them, for she had gotten lost thinking about the Rebellion and its cruel system. Lucky she had no need to worry. “The prizes are 9000 grand each. The winners are number 42086-7324, number 94103-4567 and number 41328-9503. Please obtain your prize by the announcements tomorrow. That’s …”
    The rest of the announcements seemed miles away Felix in a rare burst of excitement, realized that her ticket had won, so she started dancing about the small space she called her home, singing her favorite childhood tune. However, she quickly stopped, as the announcements continued. They always stopped right after the ticket winners. 
    ‘What’s wrong?!’ she thought panicked. Instantly she shaded her lantern, and quietly drew the vines over the entrance to her dwelling place as if that would conceal her from the holographic projection in the sky.
    “There have been sightings of men and women going into the Glëlyur, or the area which was bombed ten years ago, the bombs which killed our dear beloved nobles all those years back,” the voice was no longer the noble who had given the nights announcements, but Lucious Ammuis, the head of the Rebellion’s new Government, “All those currently staying there will need to leave by tomorrow before the announcements. For those who do not leave, you have been warned. Goodnight.”
    Felix stood in shock. That meant she would have to leave her home. ‘No, I need to figure out a way to stop this.’ She went to bed, her mind still troubled by these thoughts.
***
    Lucious Ammuis stood next to the microphone that had just projected his voice across the city. He turned to the city council, sneering, “Hopefully that will drive that noble girl out of her hiding spot. We got her grandmother several years back, and that dillo rat swore that she had been nine years dead. Well, now we’ve got her.”
    “Umm, sir, how will we get her if she escapes us again?” a timid voice from the back asked.
     Lucious Ammuis turned swiftly his long blond hair and midnight colored robe swirling around about him. “Today, she was given a lottery ticket, by one of our spies. It just so happened to be a winning one. By tomorrow when she claims it, there will be plenty of soldiers posed to take her to this very council room, where we will do exactly what we have done with the other old nobles. She’ll sure to feel right at home.”
***
    In the morning, Felix gathered her remaining possessions into a bag and headed out for the day, planning to buy a new room for rent with her soon to be acquired money. She started out, carefully going as not to attract the attention of any government spies or other intruders. 
    Once in the main city, Felix headed to the government exchange station, completely unaware of the trap that had been set for her. She walked like always, her head down, shuffling her feet. As she neared the station, Felix noticed several men giving her special attention. She quickly ducked into a nearby alleyway and then behind a dumpster. Looking behind her she saw the men creep in after her. She stayed as still as possible, hoping that the shadows of the dim alleyway would be enough to hide her flamboyant red hair. 
    “Herey, kitty. We mean noo harm. The government just wants to… Ow! You didn’t needn’t to elbow me! No, I’m not bloody giving away the plan,” one said.
    “Just shut yer blooming bazoo, you bloody dripper,” the other one responded.
    “I ain’t no half sea over!”
    “I never said yer were!”
    Back and forth the two men bickered, too lost in the worlds of their anger to notice a small redhead slip out of the alley into the daylight. Felix frantically scanned the crowd, and when nothing stood out she continued on, now a bit puzzled, to the trading station. 
As she neared it, she paused seeing guards at the doors. She quickly scampered closer, but still mostly out of sight to overhear what the guards were doing there. After all, after her experience just seconds ago, she could only take the most precautions.
“Move along, we are looking for a small, spritely young girl who happened to steal the lottery ticket of Lucious Ammuis. Yes, the Lucious Ammuis. She is under arrest and those found affiliated with her will be executed unless she is turned in before the announcements tonight. She is a redhead with bright green eyes whose name is Felix. The reward for turning in Felix is the 9000 grand promised to any lottery winner,” one of the guards explained to the crowds.
‘What?! How?! But I didn’t get that ticket from Lucious Ammuis, I got it after the operator offered it to me, as my pay. Then how….’ 
Felix’s thoughts were cut short as someone called out and pointed with an accusatory finger, “There’s she is!”
The guards reacted immediately, give chase to Felix as she rushed through the crowded streets, running to who knows where. She turned several corners in hopes that she would lose the guards, but they kept gaining on her. Around one corner, and suddenly she found herself in a pit, with a ladder only descending. Frantically she climbed down these stairs, as the government’s guards, figuring out how to follow her. 
Felix found herself in the central chambers of The Great Metal Heart of Athehull. The massive gears and cogs turned slowly around about her. Sounds of the guards were now far away. Felix’s mind finally came to a solution on how to stop her home and life from being taken. She grabbed her hammer out of her small bag, that she somehow still had.
“I will lead a new revolution!” Felix shouted into the darkness, as she hurled the hammer into the many gears and cogs of the inner chambers of the Great Heart of Athehull, causing it to be forever stalled.
THE END
(for now)

http://www.metrov.org/victorian-steampunk-glossary/ (Some of the confusing words in the dialogue are found at this website). This the extended version of the piece I submitted for the noveling competition. I still would like to expound upon it further, but this is what it is now.

Peer Review

This piece is very original, and I love the way you created a new world for your story. Felix felt very real, and it makes me want to know what she'll do next. She has so much determination, and it's great to see a strong female character. Also, this story has a lot of conflicts in it, creating many opportunities for more chapters. :)


I'd like to know more about the history of Athehull and why it was overthrown. I think you could include some more details about Felix's family, as I said in some of my highlights. This would help us learn more about her and why she's in this situation. Why were the previous nobles overthrown? What happened to make them susceptible to bombing by the rebels? Were they all in ballrooms when they were bombed? If so, why is this? Did they really love dancing or something? Those are just some of the questions I thought of while I was reading it.


Reviewer Comments

This was a great story, and you should totally post more of it! I'd love to know what happens next. Hopefully you don't mind all of my comments about punctuation and sentence structure, but those are only minor problems and can be fixed pretty quickly. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading your story. Good job, and keep writing! :)