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Old November 26th, 2010, 12:16 PM   #1
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Cut Em' Down


I wrote this last month for my Pre-Ap English class. We were supposed to write about either a tofu zombie or a praying mantis. I chose the former and took a page from CoD: World at War. This story is about Japanese Zombies attacking unsuspecting American Marines after the end of the Battle of Iwo Jima. Please critique it thoroughly and honestly. Enjoy

http://www.writing.com/main/view_ite...79-Cut-Em-Down
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Old December 2nd, 2010, 03:39 PM   #2
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Re: Cut Em' Down


Cut Em’ Down


In the dark, humid tunnel, Capt. Kenny Rutgers and his squad, Sgt. Jorge Gutierrez, Cpl. Carl Jimson, and Pvt. Otto Kalisz and Pvt. James Kuris, slowly moved through the, barely lit, dank tunnels, their rifles raised, bayonets fixed, ready to kill any Japanese diehards. Rutgers and his squad were one of the last patrols to search the tunnels for the Japanese. As they rounded the corner, there was a scream and Rutgers, along with the rest of his squad, turned toward the direction the scream came from. Out of the blackness of the cave, came four Japanese soldiers charging towards them, bayonets raised, all shouting “Banzai!’. Rutgers called up Gutierrez, who unleashed a jet of superheated flame, burning all four Japanese soldiers into charred remains. They heard another scream, but not quickly followed by “Banzai!’, it was Gutierrez, who had just disappeared, only his flamethrower remaining. Then a few seconds later, there was another scream, and Kuris was gone also. Rutgers realizing they all might die, called for a dash to the tunnel entrance. All three made it to safety and, after getting back to camp, Rutgers set off to find Col. Heinz Zimmler. He found Zimmler in the communications tent, Rutgers informed Zimmler of what had happened. Zimmler replied that these types of events had been reported to him over the past couple of days.

Maj. Shiganori Tokofu stood before the thousands of undead men, dressed in either half-charred or bullet strewn uniforms, the smell of decaying flesh overwhelming his very human sense of smell. The aura of these soldiers, his soldiers, gave him a reason to flash a quick, nearly undetectable smile of pride and accomplishment. Feeling the time right, he climbed aboard small, fat boulder, on a small ledge, and began his speech. “A couple of days ago, the Battle of Iwo Jima, as the Americans,” saying the word with cold hatred, “call it, officially ended. There were a few of us, who had held out against the American onslaught, but we realized that the Imperial Army had been totally, and utterly, destroyed.” Moans of despair and grief rose from the undead hordes. Shigonari continued, “So, to keep our honor intact, I ordered my men to rally for a final Banzai charge!” Banzai rose from a thousand torn and shattered throats. “As final preparations were taken, I heard a very raspy name, calling my rank, behind me. The raspy voiced told me he was Maj. Gen. Akahito Abukara. He asked me to lead him to my command tent, alone. When we got there I ordered my guards to prepare for the Banzai. I stepped into the tent and turned around. I saw before me a mass of tangled fleshed, charred skin, and a shredded uniform. He informed me that he had thousands of soldiers, hiding inside the tunnels. I could not believe him, so he took me into this large cave and I saw all of you, thousands upon thousands of soldiers waiting for Maj. Gen. Abukara to purge the Americans off of sacred Japanese soil. I inquired how he planned to purge the overwhelming American advantage in numbers and materiel. He told me his plan and I was thoroughly surprised by the boldness of the attack, but also delighted. I walked to my soldiers and gave them the option, to join you or to continue the Banzai. I drew a line in the dirt and 39 of the 53 soldiers chose to continue the Banzai. I turned away and stared down the hill as Sgt. Inoue blew the whistle. The men surged forward, yelling, ‘Banzai’ at the top of their lungs. A few moments later the American camp lit up with muzzle flashes and jets of flame from their accursed flamethrowers. Their rifles and machine guns fired bullets into the onrushing men shouting ‘Banzai’ and their flamethrowers turned my soldiers to burning corpses. I looked away, feeling sorry for such a waste of life. The rest of the soldiers and I turned away and followed Abukara to the caves and tunnels. Ever since, we have resided here. General Abukara, Maj. Ieyasu, Capt. Habuki and I have been preparing a plan to drive the Americans back into the sea. We finished these plans last night. Tomorrow, you will all receive your orders and objectives. Goodnight.” The half-dead, half-alive, soldiers stood in silence for a moment, and then cheered, the sound reverberating throughout the cave, Tokofu feeling immensely proud. His aide, Capt. Habuki, approached him slowly, but with great discipline instilled in him by the Imperial Army. He spoke, “That was a grand speech.” “Yes, yes it was.” replied Tokofu. Habuki continued, disregarding Shigonari’s comment, “The men will be quite glad to get back in action. I have a report from Lt. Ujima. He says that the ambushes have claimed two more victims in the Chi-Ro tunnels.” Tokofu took a moment to contemplate what to do then an idea sprung into his mind, an idea that would completely demoralize the Americans. Tokofu replied, “Burn the first body and decapitate the second body and blow apart that body. Then have a few scouts penetrate the American lines, at the nearest camp. Have the scouts hide the first body in plain sight and have the second body’s head rolled into the American camp. This is to happen to all victims the ambushes kill.” Habuki smartly saluted and walked, hiding a savage grin. Tokofu looked upon the throngs of undead soldiers, barely hiding his own smile.

A few miles away, in the early hours of, an unusually misty, morning, Capt. Rutgers stood in Col. Zimmler’s command tent. Several prestigious men of the 4th Marine Division were there, including Maj. Gen. Cates and Maj. Gen. Kelly Rockey, of the 5th Marine Division. Before the discussion on how to drive the remaining Japanese soldiers out of their caves and tunnels could begin, an orderly burst through the tent’s flap. He quickly saluted and the officers and generals saluted back. The orderly faced Rutgers, “Sir, your squad is requesting you to come back to the camp. It’s a rather urgent situation. Of course it can wait until you are fini-” Cates interrupted the orderly, “Rutgers, go on and see what your squad wants. Your aide, Sgt. Sumkowski, will inform you of what we’ve come up with.” Sumkowski nodded. Rutgers faced Cates, clicked his heels and saluted. The orderly led him out of the tent, down the, now familiar, path to his squad. Cpl. Kalisz was the first to notice Rutgers had arrived. He approached Rutgers and saluted. Rutgers saluted back. “Captain, one of our patrols was scouting the forest and discovered this.” Kalisz stepped out of Rutgers way. Rutgers looked behind the small man and was numbed. In front of him was the mangled, charred body of Sgt. Gutierrez. Next to the burned corpse was Pvt. Kuris’ head. One ear was missing, the other hanging on the body, his nose was broken and multiple teeth were missing. Rutgers nearly vomited, but held his composure to walk far enough away to be out of eye sight and ear shot and vomited into the brush. After finishing, he wiped his mouth and thought to himself, when will this damned war end?

The next morning, the undead swarmed out of the forest, surged out of the caves, and climbed out of their hiding holes in the ground. Rutgers awoke to their screams and saw Kalisz, along with four other men, stumble out of the forest. “Captain, they came out of nowhere. They, they were visions from Hell.” Kalisz was breathing heavily. “Otto,” yelled Rutgers to the clearly frightened Private, “what are you talking about?” Kalisz looked up. “The Japs, sir." There had to have been thousands of them.” Rutgers, wasting no time, called over the one of the platoon’s three radiomen, “Piett radio command that the Japs have returned, tell them the regiment will have to fall back to the surrounding hills.” Rutgers turned to Kalisz, “Corporal, find Colonel Liversedge and tell him the regiment will have to fall back to the surrounding hills.” Kalisz ran towards the regiment’s command center. Rutgers directed his company to fall back to the hills behind them. Rutgers called over one of the other radiomen near him, “Veers, radio the troops on the hills behind us to build entrenchments, foxholes, and to create obstacles out of fallen trees.” Rutgers called over one of his aides, Cpl. Mario Bernoulli, “Corporal, make sure the soldiers are waving American or white flags, when they get to those hills behind us. “ “Sir.”, replied Bernoulli. Damn, Damn, Damn, thought Rutgers to himself.

It was sunset; Shigonari and Abukara were walking through the American camp. “General, why did we halt the attack?” asked a confused Tokofu. “Because Major, the men need time to punish the captured Americans for the misdeeds they‘ve committed against the Empire of Japan.” replied Abukara. Over to their left, a few of the soldiers were beating an American soldier. To their right some of the soldiers were plundering a tent, most likely looking for cigarettes or alcohol. “Sir,” called Capt. Habuki, “the Americans have withdrawn to the hills to the North. Our scouts report that they’re building defenses, to withstand our next attack.” Before Tokofu could answer, Abukara spoke, “Captain! No matter what they do, we, the soldiers of the Empire of Japan, shall overwhelm their pitiful defenses.” With that, Abukara walked off. Habuki turned toward Tokofu, “Sir, I’m afraid to report that our scouts could not completely determine the depth and complexity of the American defenses. Tomorrow morning there could be anywhere from no American reinforcements to hundreds of American reinforcements. I’m afraid we might be in over our heads.” Tokofu stopped walking and turned toward Habuki, “Captain, you know that we are never to question the decisions of our brilliant Generals.” With that, Tokofu turned around and left the captain alone in the forest.

The next morning, Rutgers was out setting mines, generously “donated’ by the engineers. He looked up and wiped his brow. Just then there were multiple yells. He turned and at least a dozen… men?, rushed out of the forest, bayonets fixed, towards his general area. He turned and dashed towards the American lines, periodically turning around to fire at the… they looked liked charred beings sent back to the Earth from Hell… with his pistol. When he reached the “trenches” the soldiers had dug yesterday, he called out, “The Japs are coming!” Soldiers rushed out of tents, rifles ready and loaded. He watched as the soldiers went to their chosen firing areas. Just then the first demons, which were what Rutgers decided to call them, crested the hill the Americans were on, some 60 to 70 meters away. Suddenly rifles fired, machine guns opened up and flamethrowers spewed jets of flame, but the demons kept charging them, bayonets raised. As more crested the hill, he could tell that there were possibly thousands of them. He grabbed the radio from a dead Piett and called in to Gen. Cates’ communications tent. “Tell the general, we’re about to be overwhelmed by the Japs. I’m requesting for you to bring up tanks.” The other radioman replied, “Normal tanks or the special ones.” Rutgers responded with two words, “Special tanks.”

Tokofu charged behind the third assault wave, watching as the first wave slaughtered the Americans unlucky enough to not have escaped their first line of trenches. The second wave moved towards, through and past the first line of trenches. He yelled Banzai, along with hundreds of other soldiers. As he climbed out of the first trench line, Habuki pulled him back down, “What the-“ just then an undead soldier climbed out of the trench, in the same place he was climbing out of, and fell back, its head missing. Tokofu turned towards Habuki, “Thank you.” Habuki flashed a smile.

Rutgers retreated to the third and last line of trenches, along with the majority of the American defenders. Rutgers called over Veers, who was running towards the third trench, but suddenly he fell over. Rutgers turned to look at the second trench line and saw a human, Japanese soldier holding a pistol. He picked up his rifle, aimed and fired, watching in glee as the Jap fell over.

“Habuki!” cried out Tokofu, but the captain, didn’t respond. Tokofu stared at his dead brother’s body and wiped away a single tear. Resuming his vengeful attitude, he yelled “Banzai!” He leapt over the trench and led the charge towards the third, and final, trench line. Then suddenly there was a bright light, Tokofu felt his skin catch fire, and in a mere quarter a second, Major Shiganori Tokofu, ceased to exist.

Rutgers, along with most of the other Americans cheered, as six tanks came up, spewing flames out of their gun muzzles, and their machine guns chattering. Just then, in the midst of the swirling battle, American planes, F4U Corsairs flew over, firing rockets at the Japanese demons. Even more tanks came up behind the demons rear, causing even more death and destruction.

Several days later, Major Rutgers turned on the radio and heard the president. “… informed by General MacArthur about the recent attacks on our valiant soldiers at Iwo Jima, ever since, my resolve to defeat the Japanese has never been stronger. Tho-” The crowd cheered, interrupting President Roosevelt. “Those valiant soldiers who defended the island are heroes. This battle proves the resilience, stamina, and endurance of the American soldier. We must endure the punishments inflicted upon the American people, in honor of the tens of thousands who have lost there lives at Guadalcanal, Tunisia, Italy, Normandy, the Philippines, Peleliu, Bastogne, and now Iwo Jima. The Ameri-” Sgt. Kalisz turned off the radio and Rutgers looked up, seeing the sadness in his eyes. “Major, we aren’t heroes. Those who died, they’re the heroes. Me? I’m just doing my duty, just like you.” “I know Otto,” responded Rutgers, “I know, but the people back in the states have to have someone to idolize.” Kalisz looked at Rutgers, disbelief in his eyes, “Sir, did you know that Veers had a fiancé? That Gutierrez had two kids? That Sumkowski had a baby on the way? That, that…” Kalisz began to tear up, but quickly collected himself. “Otto head back to your tent and take a good rest.” “Yes, sir.” replied Kalisz, weariness in his voice and walked off. Rutgers, realizing just how tired he was, decided to head back to his own tent, to recuperate.
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Old January 7th, 2011, 09:20 PM   #3
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Is anyone out there?
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Old January 8th, 2011, 01:03 PM   #4
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I just noticed this. I'll get back to you in some time. Cheers!
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Old January 8th, 2011, 01:16 PM   #5

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no
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Old January 8th, 2011, 01:44 PM   #6
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Very well written. From a technical point of view, I have the following comments.

1)Try to avoid repetition of words or sentiments in the same sentence. Your very first sentence contains the word 'tunnel' twice. Perhaps in the second instance you could use 'enclosure' or something similar to refer to the physical space.

Also, I would leave out the names of the members comprising the squad and mention them in the next sentence. Too much information in that first sentence.

2) For the most part your writing flows well but there are certain awkward pauses. For instance: "All three made it to safety and, after getting back to camp, Rutgers set off to find Col. Heinz Zimmler. He found Zimmler in the communications tent, Rutgers informed Zimmler of what had happened. Zimmler replied that these types of events had been reported to him over the past couple of days."

Too many Zimmler's in that small bit. Perhaps you could use an adjective to identify the man instead of using Zimmler over and over again.

Or you could just tighten the aforementioned bit. One way of doing that would be: "All three made it to safety and after getting back to the camp Rutgers set off to convey the news to Col. Heinz Zimmler, whom he found in the communications tent. When Rutgers told him about the disappearance of Gutierrez and Kuris, Zimmler frowned but was not surprised. He said similar incidents had been reported to him over the past couple of days."

Just demonstrating my point.

3) Perhaps a good idea here to mention what Rutgers looks like too.

The same with Maj. Shiganori Tokofu, Habuki, Zimmler, et al. If you flesh out the characters, give them mannerisms and depict their physical appearance, it could add more colour to your story.


You have created the scene of action very well, capturing the broader scene and the sentiment seems to be your strong point. Perhaps a bit more meat in the characters would help. I realise this is a short story so there's limited scope for it but even with very few words you could convey what a person looks like or where they come from. As you see the scene in your mind's eye, try to jot it down to the finest detail. Then choose the most important bits and see how you can convey them using as few words as possible, whilst maintaining the integrity of each and every sentence and paragraph.

Overall, a very good piece.

P.S. One minor thing. The title should be "Cut 'em down", not "Cut em' down".
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Old January 15th, 2011, 05:56 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rosi View Post
Very well written. From a technical point of view, I have the following comments.

1)Try to avoid repetition of words or sentiments in the same sentence. Your very first sentence contains the word 'tunnel' twice. Perhaps in the second instance you could use 'enclosure' or something similar to refer to the physical space.

Also, I would leave out the names of the members comprising the squad and mention them in the next sentence. Too much information in that first sentence.

2) For the most part your writing flows well but there are certain awkward pauses. For instance: "All three made it to safety and, after getting back to camp, Rutgers set off to find Col. Heinz Zimmler. He found Zimmler in the communications tent, Rutgers informed Zimmler of what had happened. Zimmler replied that these types of events had been reported to him over the past couple of days."

Too many Zimmler's in that small bit. Perhaps you could use an adjective to identify the man instead of using Zimmler over and over again.

Or you could just tighten the aforementioned bit. One way of doing that would be: "All three made it to safety and after getting back to the camp Rutgers set off to convey the news to Col. Heinz Zimmler, whom he found in the communications tent. When Rutgers told him about the disappearance of Gutierrez and Kuris, Zimmler frowned but was not surprised. He said similar incidents had been reported to him over the past couple of days."

Just demonstrating my point.

3) Perhaps a good idea here to mention what Rutgers looks like too.

The same with Maj. Shiganori Tokofu, Habuki, Zimmler, et al. If you flesh out the characters, give them mannerisms and depict their physical appearance, it could add more colour to your story.


You have created the scene of action very well, capturing the broader scene and the sentiment seems to be your strong point. Perhaps a bit more meat in the characters would help. I realise this is a short story so there's limited scope for it but even with very few words you could convey what a person looks like or where they come from. As you see the scene in your mind's eye, try to jot it down to the finest detail. Then choose the most important bits and see how you can convey them using as few words as possible, whilst maintaining the integrity of each and every sentence and paragraph.

Overall, a very good piece.

P.S. One minor thing. The title should be "Cut 'em down", not "Cut em' down".
Thanks Rosi. I shall remember this in my future short stories.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 08:40 AM   #8

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I'm a little short on time right now, so this isn't a full critique, but here are some points:

1) Try to avoid using shorthand and abbreviations in written work. Don't write "Col.", write "Colonel" out in full.

2) I second Rosi's point about repetition of words, and including lists. Introduce your characters one by one, to make them more personal to your readers. Otherwise, they're just names.

3) On the point about repetition, consider breaking up sentences into shorter ones. Short sentences have a lot more impact, and focus the attention of the reader. For example:
"In the dark, humid tunnel, Capt. Kenny Rutgers and his squad, Sgt. Jorge Gutierrez, Cpl. Carl Jimson, and Pvt. Otto Kalisz and Pvt. James Kuris, slowly moved through the, barely lit, dank tunnels, their rifles raised, bayonets fixed, ready to kill any Japanese diehards."

This sentence is too long. By the time the reader gets to the end, they've lost direction. Consider something like this:
"The tunnel was dark and humid. Captain Kenny Rutgers and his men moved slowly through the dank and barely passageways, their rifles raised and bayonets fixed, ready to kill any Japanese diehards."
In the original, there are too many commas. It breaks up the sentence into too many parts to digest. Consider using "and" to join two related sections together.

Another example:
"As they rounded the corner, there was a scream and Rutgers, along with the rest of his squad, turned toward the direction the scream came from."

In this part, the scream is the focus of the action. It sets the scene for what is about to happen next, so you must give it more impact. As it is at the moment, it is lost amongst this sentence and the next, and is almost incidental.
"As they rounded the corner, a scream pierced the air. Rutgers and his squad spun to face the direction it had come from."

You might even consider ending the paragraph with the first sentence and starting a new one. I'm not sure what kind of atmosphere you want to build, but "turned towards" is quite leisurely. It seems to me that you want to build up tension - try to convey how on edge these men must be. They can barely see, and they're at risk of being ambushed at any moment.

The first paragraph is too placid - there's nothing that makes us care about Kuris or Gutierrez. They're just names. The description of their deaths is low-key, and just makes the reader think "Oh, okay.". You don't have to spend a lot of time describing them, just a single sentence can be enough.

For example, here: "Rutgers called up Gutierrez, who unleashed a jet of superheated flame, burning all four Japanese soldiers into charred remains."

You could do something like this:
Rutgers called out to Gutierrez. With a grin, the muscular, veteran sergeant unleashed a jet of superheated flame from his flamethrower, burning all four Japanese soldiers into charred remains.

In a few words, you've created an image of the man in the reader's mind, both of his physical appearance and his personality. And then in the next sentence, you kill him off, and the impact is all the greater.

I'll continue reading the rest later, and post some more notes.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 03:11 PM   #9

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sorry Qymaen i only found this today. just read it and ya well written. you really did well in describing the mindset of the characters and the awful condition of the japanese soldiers. i suppose a lot of marines could have mistaken them for zombies at the sight of their torn clothes and blackened skin. also enjoyed the way you fitted fact into it as well like the last japanese banzai attack on the airfield.hmmm i think i'll go play a game of nazi zombies on COD world at war after reading this
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Old January 18th, 2011, 06:50 PM   #10
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sorry Qymaen i only found this today. just read it and ya well written. you really did well in describing the mindset of the characters and the awful condition of the japanese soldiers. i suppose a lot of marines could have mistaken them for zombies at the sight of their torn clothes and blackened skin. also enjoyed the way you fitted fact into it as well like the last japanese banzai attack on the airfield.hmmm i think i'll go play a game of nazi zombies on COD world at war after reading this
Thanks irishcrusader. I appreciate it. Maybe I have a future in writing after all.
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