Peer Review by stormguard798 (Singapore)

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Back Again

By: Opal Drop



   I stand, crying at the foot of his grave. He shouldn't have died.
   I say, "Is death worth the pain you caused me? Are you finally happy?"
Then I hear a voice say, "No, not happy. The Underworld really wasn't my style."
I turn around. 
Rex stands in front of me, an amused smile dancing on his face. He has his hand below his chin, the other by his side. He grins when he sees me turn.
    I hate that stupid smile. I had seen too much of it. But I run to him anyway. I grab him and hug him close. I had lost my brother once. I wasn't going to lose him again. 
    He stumbles with my weight and force, then giggles like a child. I punch his shoulder, and then he looks at me with fake reproach. 
"Now, now, Regina, you won't hurt me, will you?"
I look at him, and wish I see something I recognize. He looks the same, but inside he is different. I know it. He has been through things, and his smile doesn't hide what leaks from his eyes. He looks back at me, and I draw away. 
"Rex, I... Mom is gone. Dad is well, how he always was."
"What are you saying? What do you mean, gone? She didn't..."
"No, of course not. She's still alive, just, well, she left us. She's in the Marshes."
    A bitter expression crosses his face. It leaves as quickly as it came. He never did approve of Mom, even as her son. Whatever she did seemed wrong to him. Not to me, but now I began to see why he felt that way. When he was 7, Mom had refused him an outing with his friends (only 3 of them) because she wanted to keep him safe. Which made sense at the time, but not now. She hadn't wanted to spend money on her own son. Then when he was 13, Mom had slapped him for spilling the milk. Again, it didn't seem too bad, because milk was expensive at the time, but the thing was, she was the one who had knocked over the milk. She had walked past him, and her heel had tipped it over. She'd done some other unfair things to Rex over the years that I only realize now. How could I have been so ignorant? How could I have been supportive of that woman? Even not standing up for Rex means that I aided and abetted her. A wave of shame creeps over me. I must be showing it, because his face clouds with concern.
"Regina, what's wrong?"
"Rex.. I'm so sorry." I burst into tears.
"What for?" He tips my chin up towards him.
"Mom," I won't call her mom anymore, "That woman did such horrible things to you. And I didn't say anything. When you died last week, I realized that. I realized that she was cruel, and unfeeling. I know she favored me, but I don't want to be favored by her. Not anymore."
"Regina. Don't beat yourself up over this. You didn't do anything wrong. When I left the house, I was 15. You were only 10. You can't blame yourself."
What he says only makes me cry harder. His kind, his incredibly kind words, just make me feel more ashamed. How could I have done these things to someone who loved me so much?
"Regina. Stop." His tone changed. He wanted me to stop. He didn't want me to cry. And he was willing to do anything, even hit me.
"Ok," I whimper. I wipe off my tears. 
"Smile," he commands.
A weak smile spreads over my face, tempting the tears back. But, for Rex, I push them back forcefully.
"Now listen. I wouldn't be standing here if I had died. Of course I didn't die. I escaped from my murderer's grasp!"
"Murderer?" I question. A fire lights in the depths of my stomach. Who tried to kill my brother? I am ready to rip them to shreds.
"Yes. Why do you think she left? Mom tried to kill me, Regina."

Message to Readers

Chapter 1 guys. I will update on the same document, so I'll just republish it with the previous chapters every time! Hope you enjoy.

Peer Review

The premise of a once-dead brother suddenly being alive again is quite shocking and intriguing from both the persepctive of the protagonist and the reader, and the cliffhanger itself is quite enticing in wanting to find out more.

Since this is obviously split into parts, I'm guessing that more details will be included later, but if not then covered, I think details of the following would be quite important: -Details of how Rex's attempted murder and how he got away -Their subsequent journey to find their mom -The aftermath of Regina trying to deal with Rex's death (Note: I think that regardless of whether they are done as flashbacks, or as just inserted into conversation, that there should be some more background into these main characters at some point. I think it's important to figure out their motivations for what they're doing. ) I also feel that additional description of Regina's: elation at finding her brother again, shame at putting her brother through what he has been, and anger from the injustice that has been done to her brother. I think that more emotional description could lead to some more in-depth character development.

Reviewer Comments

Just as an aesthetic detail, maybe try to add lines between each paragraphs. I think that it makes it look less like a block of text and easier to read.