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I have tried a multitude of ways to correct this, trying to find the 2.2 version of the micro nucleus, but I am stumped. Arduino is not sure how to upload the code onto the chip. I do not know what to do.
Thank so much for your well considered feedback. Very helpful indeed.
I enjoyed this. It's very well written and there's a poignancy that creeps up on the reader as we absorb subtle hints of what is to come.

A few minor observations, if I may.

You spell 'flak' with a CK early on in the story then correct the typo later.

One paragraph is written in present tense and I'm not sure why.
My body rolls between the wheels, Machla and I make our way back home, silently into the alcove and under the sheets. Mama wakes us with hot milk and grain bread. Papa kisses our foreheads before setting off for the day.
Maybe it's a dream sequence but it didn't really work that way for me.

This is confusing:
“There is nothing left of her!” Mama had to drag him away.
Presumably Maxime is badly injured, but I assumed Papa was refering to Machla since Maxime is a boy. When we discover the little girl has vanished his comment makes no sense.

You tell us Papa had 'taken to drink' - but that's usually a gradual process whereas here it happens in the space of a single day by the look of it.

The closing line doesn't fit smoothly with the rest of the story - even though it provides context and resolution. We are suddenly confronted by 'the author' rather than Maxime (the narrator throughout) and it jars. Even though this reads like an authentic memoir, I would suggest a more subtle reference towards the final outcome. You also pose the question whether or not this is suitable as a YA piece. I'm sure it will appeal to the more mature YA reader - most of whom expect a little more action or intrigue.

Thanks for sharing.

Paris, August, 1945

In 1940, when I was twelve, I lived in the Centre-Val de Loire, in the town of Montoire with Mama, Papa and my ten-year-old sister, Machla, who was small for her age but very determined. At bedtime Papa would scoop her up, making her chortle and twist when he tickled her sides. That would make me and Mama laugh.
    I would never fall asleep until I heard the cluck of Machla’s throat and felt her pats of breath on my cheek. Then, in the morning, when I whispered, “Machla, there are trains coming.” She would be out of bed and at the window, grinning towards the distant tracks.
Each day after school we sat and watched the trains appear through the tunnel that lay a short distance from the station. We could tell a train was coming when the tracks began to whine and we could feel the push of warm air through the tunnel. There were the freight trains from Poitiers and Bordeaux, the elegant passenger cars from Paris, and at dusk, the military trains with flack wagons, gun nests and sullen-faced soldiers. Papa said those trains carried armaments surrendered by Petain, weapons to be used in the war we could feel under our feet. Mr. Marchand said it was the liberation of Paris by the people of Germany.
One cold October morning we saw Papa in a crowd in the town square reading a notice.
                                          All residents are to remain in their homes
                                          for 24 hours beginning midnight 21st October.
                                          By order, Schutzstaffel.
     “With no compensation for lost pay.” he muttered.
     “What is it Papa?” asked Machla. He did not answer.
     “It’s the train.” said Mr Marchand.
     “A train full of ravens.” said Papa, before gripping our hands and leading us briskly away. Papa did not like Mr. Marchand.
That night we huddled under the sheets, whispering. “What train? What did Papa mean about ravens?” Our curiosity was such that all sense left us.
In the early hours of the 21st day of October, Machla’s bisque dolls began to rattle on the dresser. “It’s here, Maxime!” We pressed our faces to the window and watched the Gargantua creep to a stop in the distance. A minute later, couplings clunked and the monster backed itself into the tunnel.   
    We tiptoed through the kitchenette, slipped into our shoes, and with the bite of cold on our faces, made our way through the streets and into the long grass across from the tunnel.
    Steam hissed and sprayed from the entrance while the locomotive idled in the shadows.
   “We have to get closer.” Machla was up and running.
    I caught her at the entrance. We crouched in the dimness before the moon broke through, bathing us in light. We ran into the tunnel.
    We breathed in the rasped steam as our eyes adjusted. A locomotive evolved before us, a BR52 class, the most powerful in the world. The driving wheels and coupling rods were enormous and the boiler was the size of a tram. Machla cocked her neck to feel its warmth on her cheek. “It’s beautiful.” Then she was on the move again, running further into the darkness, her slightness silhouetted by the light of a carriage further along. I nearly stumbled when yet another BR52 came into view, then a flak wagon, with nests of guns at each end, their barrels directed skywards. Then the first passenger car, its light forming shapes on the arc of the tunnel, the faint sound of music drifting from an open door. Machla pointed. A nameplate.
The sound of boots crunching into gravel sent us scurrying under the carriage. Chatter, the waft of tobacco. I could have reached out and touched those shiny black boots. I wanted them to move away so we could run home to Mama and Papa. But more men came, resting their rifles against the tunnel wall. It was hard to cry and not make any noise.
   After a time, the locomotive’s engines growled, couplings clunked taking up the strain. Above me, Amerika began to inch forward.

My body rolls between the wheels, Machla and I make our way back home, silently into the alcove and under the sheets. Mama wakes us with hot milk and grain bread. Papa kisses our foreheads before setting off for the day.

But the moment had passed. I remained between the tracks, under the train, my face buried in sharp gravel.

My throat, dry and sticky. A hand cupped behind my neck. Water against my lips. Her voice, soft and kind, “There you are.” Mama, gaunt and weary. Then Papa, maddened, his hands trembling against the sides of my head, his thumbs pressing into my wounds. “There is nothing left of her!” Mama had to drag him away.

All day long I sat at the window while Mama did her best to calm Papa, who had taken to drink. I covered my ears, trying not to listen, trying not think about the ravens picking over Machla’s bones.
   Friends bought food and offered help. One said another notice had been posted, that Amerika was returning. When Mr. Marchand came to visit, Papa ran him out of the house. “Traitor pig!” Mr. Marchand spotted me in the window as he gathered himself. He smiled. I ducked from view.
That night, I dreamt I lay between the tracks, underneath the train. I stare at the light, its oblong shapes against the tunnel wall. A shadow in a doorway. I dash between the trundle wheels and watch her wave. She is alive.

Crouching behind houses and hedges, I carefully made my way in the daylight towards the station. I lay in the long grass, watching leather clad men stepping from long black cars onto red carpet. An orchestra played. Buoyant. Patriotic. Keeping low, I ran into the tunnel. I pressed myself against its sides as Amerika eased past.
    On the platform, aides hurried to reposition the red carpet when the carriage overshot its mark. Soldiers and officials nudging each as they shuffled further along.
   Minutes passed before the latch of the carriage door clicked then turned. The orchestra lulled then stopped. A man of small stature stepped onto the platform. Immaculately dressed, he wore a white shirt, red tie and a brown suit with military insignia. He walked with a limp and had a thin mouth that pointed down at the corners. Another man, in a modest jacket with armbands, stepped forward. Mr. Marchand? Then, when the man in brown turned back to the carriage, a small girl floated into view and into his arms. “Machla!” With that, an official jumped from the platform, striking me across the face with his fist. A voice rang out in French. “You there! Stop what you are doing! That is my brother!” The man took me by the neck and threw me up onto the platform.
    “You there,” said the man holding Machla, his French perfect. “Step over here.” I could not feel my legs as I moved forward. “This is your brother?”
    “Yes. This is Maxime.” said Machla, bloodying her fingers on the side of my face. She seemed comfortable in his arms.
    “I see.” He stared into me, expressionless. There was no colour in his eyes, just black. It frightened me…it frightened me.
    “So, take her,” he said, smiling and shifting on his feet. “Be happy. And my kind wishes to your father,” I drew back as he leaned in. “He should keep a better eye on this precious one.” He passed Machla into my arms. “Escort them home.”
     I followed Mr. Marchand along the red carpet and back out onto the street. Machla buried her head in my neck, her warm breath musky and familiar. Mr. Marchand held one of his arm bands against my face as we walked.
     “You know,” he said. “That’s why I came by yesterday. To tell your papa a girl had been found on the train.” I didn’t know what to say. I was too happy.
Mama fell to the ground when she opened the door. Papa appeared from inside, lifting Machla into his arms, squeezing her so tightly she yelped. He looked down at me then at Mr. Marchand. Papa pushed us inside then slammed the door.

For days Papa did not speak to me or let me near him.
  “Why won’t Papa speak to me?”
  “He is very upset,’ said Mama. “About Machla being on the train, with those men.”
   Machla appeared in the doorway. “But the men on the train were good to me, especially Joseph. He has a broken foot, and, well, me with my size. And Mama, he has seven children, seven!” Machla dotted the air as she named them. “Hildegard, Helga, Heltmut, Hedwig, Holdine, Harald and Heidrun and they all live in a big house on an island and there was another man, the one everyone liked speaking to. He liked my drawings and said he was an artis—”
   “That’s enough Machla!’ yelled Papa from the bedroom. It gave us all a dreadful fright, Machla began to cry. “They were nice men! And I liked being on their train!” Papa ran from the bedroom, fists shaking at his side. Mama threw herself between them, “No Levi. Let her be.” Papa just stood there, snorting like a bull. “To your room, both of you.’ said Mama, softly.

When we heard the voices in the tunnel, Machla had run for the carriage door.
    “It was so warm inside. I hid behind the biggest chair I had ever seen. Then, after a while, the train started moving and I stayed where I was. The carpet was soft and I was cosy.”
    She fell asleep before being discovered.
    “There were so many men with guns and I was quite afraid. Until Joseph appeared. He picked me up and took me into another carriage. I told him how sorry I was for being a sneak and how we just wanted to see the train. He was kind and accompanied me on a tour. Oh, Maxime, it was beautiful! One of the bathrooms had a gold faucet, and there was hot water! And every car had its own telephone…they were always ringing. Then when we arrived in Hendaye, I had to stay on the train. But I didn’t mind, I had pencils and paper and a comfortable bed to nap on, and I gorged myself silly.”
   She said the journey back was just as exciting, but the man who had liked her drawings began raising his voice to the other men.
   “Joseph told me there had been a meeting with an important Spanish man who had made the man who liked my drawings very very angry. I told Joseph that Papa always says there’s a good time coming and to tell his friend not to be mad.”
I’m sure, in time, Papa would have forgiven me. But we did not have that. Not long after, on a sunny day in Montoire, another train came.

Maxime spent four years in Bergan-Belson before the camp was liberated by the Americans on the 5th June 1945. He is the only member of his family to survive. He lives in Paris.
                                                                        Wilson J. Wilson©2019
I like English Breakfast Tea and drink it morning, mid day and night time when I am reading.
Of course, I drink it the British way - with milk.
There's something very relaxing about stretching out on a comfortable chair, reading a good book and drinking English Breakfast Tea.
OK, many thanks.
You will have a better chance of getting feedback if you post the story (or an extract) on here rather than providing a link. Take a look at other postings to see what I mean. Most on here won't risk opening a link from an unknown source.
This is my short story, Amerika. The setting is France,1940. Maxime and Machla (brother and sister) have a passion for trains. The story is fiction but is based around true events. I wonder if it would be suitable as children's story? Any feedback most welcome. graciously
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« Last post by WilsonJWilson on November 14, 2019, 11:18:54 PM »
Would someone be kind enough to critique one of my short stories (2000 words) It's a historical/fantasy fiction piece set in 1899 during the Boer War.
here's the link
Thank you for sharing this. My initial take-away is that I felt tuned to her sense of release and relief at leaving this job. I know that she wants to be free, that responsibility - clutter and I'm curious to know what, eventually, will make her happy.

I think, as next pass for this draft, look to reduce it be 25 - 30%. To do that, allow yourself to move more closely to Laura's POV

"Her brain connections had become a traffic jam in which her consciousness was stuck."
"Her thoughts became a traffic jam"

"Her sight was examining the star pattern of her boss’s shirt to avoid eye contact."
"She studied the pattern of his shirt, afraid to meet his eyes."

"She felt liberated and didn’t even pay attention to what her manager said in the following thirty minutes"
"It was liberating. What her manager said next she didn't hear."

Have fun and keep writing!
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