Mad Mountain Man
Join Date: Jun 2010
Re: Amputation scene
And I third those comments (Edit: okay fourth them; Joan got in before me!). Enjoyable if grim reading. My main complaints were that I found some pronouns a little ambiguous. I could always (I think) work them out but they did pull me out of the narrative.
I particularly like the action sentences. They were crisp, concise and clear which in turn made them nicely punchy.
Anyway here's my comments:
One final comment, though I'm on much shakier ground here as I'm no doctor! Would they really have cut the arm off right there on the battlefield, especially with their enemies closing in (see I'm with Carmela here!). Having decided the arm had to come off I suspect they'd have applied the tourniquet and then got going. Knowing the arm would have to come off anyway any concerns about having the tourniquet on for too long would be largely irrelevant.
| Simeone had managed to gather the few uninjured men to lift the elephant; among them was Vigo, the man from Sixpoints, whose face was grey and his eyes never left Mona. I found his ambiguous and could have referred to Simeone. Maybe: whose face was grey, his eyes never leaving Mona. Ricardo waited as they heaved the elephant up and over, and Mona gave a fresh cry of pain, weak and broken like a newborn. |
‘Hush, now,’ Simeone said levelly, holding Mona’s injured arm down, dabbing at her forehead with the other hand. Ricardo walked over on uneasy legs, the knife slipping in his sweaty palm.
‘No!’ Vigo said, when he saw the blade, stepping in between them. ‘You can’t-’
‘I have to,’ Simeone said, as Mona began to writhe and cry, her arm swollen and bloodied, bones protruding from the flesh of her crushed fingers. Ricardo swallowed the bile down and focussed instead on his own pain, his own horror, the shape of the girl and her injury blurred in his crossed vision. I think I’d dropped the ‘crossed’
‘Let me do it,’ Vigo insisted, jostling with Ricardo, his eyes wide and wild. ‘I won’t let anyone hurt her.’
Simeone stood up, pushing him back.
‘Do you love her?’
‘I – what kind of a question is that?’
‘Then you won’t be able to,’ Simeone said, gently but firmly, giving him another shove. ‘Now, please, Ricky.’
He knelt down. Simeone had placed Mona’s broken arm on a wooden block, and had tied a heavy leather belt around her upper arm. She was holding Mona around the neck with one arm, the other holding onto the belt. ‘Cut two inches from where the swelling starts,’ she told Ricardo. He pressed the blade against her skin, concentrating on each breath. In, out. Just one movement, then it would be done.
As he was just preparing to slice, Carmela burst through, Safa in tow, cradling his giant desert cat in his arms. Again ambiguous to me who is cradling the cat. Though that might be more obvious from what has passed before.
‘Where is she?’ Safa demanded, his face wet with tears, glinting in the firelight. Simeone let out a sigh of frustration.
‘Over there, but please, I am trying to save this girl’s life-’ Over there? I had the impression Simeone is sitting holding Mona and I wouldn’t say there, but rather “Here, but please…” Or is this actually referring to a different person?
‘There’s no time,’ Carmela said shortly, tightening up her armour, waving a flaming torch. ‘The Orians are coming. I sent Emile and Enzo to search for survivors, but we should really have gone an hour ago. We’ll move slowly, and they’re on horseback.’ We’ll move slowly, sounds like it is her intention to move slowly rather than inevitable. Maybe: We’ll be moving slowly…
‘How far?’ Ricardo asked.
‘They’re just approaching the hill. Come on,’ she ordered, but most stayed put. ‘What are you waiting for?’
‘Do it now!’ Simeone ordered. Ricardo looked at Carmela, and back at Mona, and drew the first cut. The girl screamed. ‘Good,’ she said, holding Mona tighter as she yelled and cried, staying calm as blood rushed up out of the laceration and spilled down Mona’s swollen arm. ‘Right down to the bone, and then around. Gently saw it. Like you’re cutting a ring of steak.’ Ricardo bit the inside of his cheek hard as he sliced through her flesh, more and more blood coming, until he saw the soft pink of bone underneath. Carmela was incensed at the noise Mona was making.
‘They’ll hear us!’ she hissed, drawing her sword. ‘We have to go. Make it quick!’
‘Very good,’ Simeone said again, ignoring Carmela as he Again ambiguous although we know who is doing the cutting this suggests either Simeone or Carmela is actually male and doing the cutting. I think you should use Ricardo here. sliced down and around, like she had instructed I’d prefer just “as instructed” here or “as she’d instructed”, tendons snapping, muscles rendering. ‘General. Pass him the saw.’
‘The saw?’ Carmela echoed, and Ricardo knew she was tempted to disobey. Instead, after a moment of hesitation she dropped her sword She was tightening her armour and waving a flaming torch around a minute ago and picked up the instrument lying next to Simeone, thrusting it at Ricardo.
‘Hurry,’ she snapped at him. He placed the saw teeth on the bone, and heard distant voices.
‘Pull the skin back. Cut the bone a couple of inches from the flesh, so I have room to stitch it. Slow and steady,’ came Simeone’s voice. Mona was silent; the pain had overtaken her, and her consciousness had stepped in. I don’t quite understand the reference to her consciousness stepping in The others were already moving, scrambling up and away from the dead bodies, Safa trying to carry Entelemon and Nala at the same time. Ricardo started to saw through the bone, gritting his teeth so hard he thought they might snap, before finally the swollen arm came loose with a heavy thump onto the ground.
Also, wasn't the wound usually cauterized rather than stitched? And how does the arm fall on the floor when it's tied to a heavy block?
Again I'm on shaky ground here but isn't it a bit of both. Cauterized and then stitched over. And you have got Carmela standing there with a torch in one hand