Peer Review by anemoia (#words) (United States)

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In the Midst of the Storm

By: IsCa

“You write me everyday, you hear?” Mother said through teary eyes. 
“I promise,” My own eyes started to burn as we hugged. 
Auntie placed a hand on her shoulder and smiled.
“Don’t worry, Elinor,” she said. “I’ll take care of ‘im.”
“Oh, I know you will,” she sniffed.  “But I’ll still miss you both terribly!”
She wrapped her arms around the two of us and squeezed us tightly. We stayed that way until a short, greasy man walked up to Auntie.
“Uh, ‘scuse me,” he said awkwardly. “But the ship’s ready, cap’n,” 
“Time to go,” Auntie whispered.
Mother pressed her hand to my face.
“You take care, you hear?” She smiled sadly. 
“Don’t worry, mother,” I kissed her cheek. “I’ll see you at the end of the summer, okay?”
She turned and held Auntie’s hands. 
“I know, Elinor,” Auntie said reassuringly. “We’ll be extra careful.”
Mother wiped a tear from her eye and nodded. Auntie and I turned and walked up the ramp that led to her ship, The Jolly Wench. I leaned out over the edge as Auntie took to the helm, shouting orders at her men. I waved at mother as the ship started to move, and watched as she shrunk smaller and smaller. My heart ached at the thought that it would be months before I saw her again, but I couldn’t help but feel excited. This was my first trip out at sea, and I was happy that I could have some sense of adventure before heading off to college. Leaning on my arms, I felt the cool breeze run through my hair and watched the rolling waves of the sea. Smiling, I wondered what fun the summer would bring.
I hurled up my lunch over the side of the ship, where I had foolishly stood excitedly just three weeks before. Rain streamed down my face as I watched the explosive waves rise and fall, almost throwing me off the ship. 
“Charlie!” Auntie yanked me away from the edge and I crumbled to the floor. “What are you doing?!”
“I-I…” I felt like I was going to throw up again. 
“Smithy!” she yelled.
The man who I had greeted us at the port ran up to us, almost slipping on the deck.
“Yes, Cap’n?” he yelled over the roar of the storm.
“Take him below deck!” she pointed to me. “And bring a bucket!”
Smithy grumbled as he pulled me to my feet and walked me to the stairs that lead below. The ship swayed terribly as we descended, and my head pounded with every step. 
“Baby-sitter, that’s what I am…” he mumbled to himself. “Here.”
He pushed a bucket into my chest, and I immediately spit up the rest of my lunch into it. Smithy groaned and opened the door to the captain’s cabin. He pushed me inside.
“Just… stay in there,” he said, annoyed. “Stop making it harder for the rest of us. ‘Specially the cap’n.”
He slammed the door shut. I sat on the bed and held the bucket to my chest. It felt like my insides were churning. I looked up and the whole room seemed to spin. I placed the bucket on the ground and layed on the bed, closing my eyes shut. I want to go home, I thought. Maybe I could convince Auntie to turn this damn ship around. I would give anything to step on solid ground again. I sighed and tried to sleep through this nightmare, eventually succeeding. 
I awoke to the sound of knocking, and I saw Auntie peeping through the opened door. 
“How you doing, lad?” she asked as she entered.
I sat up, immediately regretting it as my head throbbed. My face must have been answer enough, because she said:
“I see…”
She ran her fingers through my hair, and smiled.
“Come, I want to show something.” she said excitedly.
“Auntie…” I groaned. “Can’t you show it to me later?” 
“If I could, I would have,” she said. “Come on, then.” 
I sighed and got up slowly. She grinned and led me up the stairs. 
“Close your eyes,” she told me before we stepped onto the deck.
I was too tired to ask why. She held my hand and guided me onto the deck. Then, we stopped. 
“Open them,” I could hear the smile in her voice. 
I gasped as I opened my eyes. The storm clouds and waves had vanished, leaving something truly beautiful. The sea was so still it looked like a mirror, reflecting the starry sky above. It was like we were sailing on the sky itself. 
“Wow…” I gasped. “It’s beautiful, Auntie.”
“Yes,” she said as she looked out. “You could see this a thousand times, and it would still be just as beautiful as the last.”
She turned to look at me then.
“I know that these past few weeks have been hard on you,” she said apologetically. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you were planning on asking me to take you back home.”
I bit my lip. She’s right.
“But, I won’t be taking you back,” 
“W-why?” I managed to say through my shock.
“You’re going to be starting your life soon, and in life there are going to be many difficulties.” She explained. “You need to be tough to survive. And I think that this will be a very valuable lesson for you...”
“But… you’re a buccaneer! Of course you’re used to this!” I said angrily. “Why do I have to be tough like you?”
“It’s not just about sailing, Charlie,” she said patiently. “It’s the same for every challenge you face.”
She placed her hand on my shoulder. 
“I know it’s hard,” she said solemnly. “But without the storm, you could never have… this.”
She gestured to the sea. 
“I...I understand,” I said. 
She was right. How could I expect to do well if I couldn’t even manage a few months at sea?
“Yes, lad?”
“Can... can I come back next summer?”

Message to Readers

Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated! Also, any title suggestions?

Peer Review

The very first sentence caught my eye! I love all the dialogue. And the send off scene is classic and timeless and always emotional. You pulled it off nicely.

Charlie's excitement and idealism make him vivid. Then his disappointment and seasickness give him some negative traits (which is a really good thing!). Charlie's realization that sailing might not be for him is a little heartbreaking after his excitement, but it shows that he sees his problem as unconquerable. I would like to know... hm. Everything! Nah, I;m kidding. I am curious about Charlie's upbringing and the time period, though.

See highlights!

Oh, yes! The ship and the captain remark immediately give me a sense of the genre/style/vibe. I'm curious about the time period, but it definitely feels historical, sometimes in the past. The weather and the sounds definitely are vivid, as well as the lovely imagery when the storm is over.

I can tell, through your writing, that there's probably a fire burning inside to write. To write something. And that something happened to be this story. You impart wisdom and lessons and intrigue and beautiful wording in this. Please, keeping writing. With this story, you drew me in and didn't let go! Also, major cliffhanger!

Reviewer Comments

I need to know more about Charlie! Will his aunt let him go back? Who is he really? I'm also very curious about the other crew members. Eccentric and varied? Gruff? Fanciful? Are there any female crew members? Are you going to continue this and publish more of it?
Anyway, I'm eager for more of Charlie and his aunt. And remember, you are a writer. If you want to be called one. (Not everyone does.) And everything I've said are only suggestions that should never alter your story beyond what you imagined it to be.