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Thread: November 2017 - LM - I Could See Them Coming

  1. #1
    Global Moderator kilroy214's Avatar
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    November 2017 - LM - I Could See Them Coming

    LITERARY MANEUVERS

    I Could See Them Coming


    The winner will receive a badge pinned to their profile and given a month’s access to FoWF where you’ll have access to hidden forums and use of the chat room.

    This is a Fiction writing competition, and the prompt for this month in 'I Could See Them Coming' Pick your own title, write about whatever you want, as long as it's related in some way to the prompt.


    The Judges for this LM are: TBA
    If you want to judge and I left you out, send me your scores by the deadline. If you're listed here and don't wish to judge, let me know at once (please).

    All entries that wish to retain their first rights should post in theLM Workshop Thread.

    All Judges scores will be PMed to kilroy214.

    All anonymous entries will be PMed to kilroy214.


    Rules










    • All forum rules apply. The LM competition is considered a creative area of the forum. If your story contains inappropriate language or content, do not forget add a disclaimer or it could result in disciplinary actions taken. Click here for the full list of rules and guidelines of the forum.
    • No Poetry! Nothing against you poets out there, but this isn’t a place for your poems. Head on over to the poetry challenges for good competition over there. Some of us fiction people wouldn’t be able to understand your work! Click here for the poetry challenges. Play the prose-poem game at your own risk.
    • No posts that are not entries into the competition are allowed. If you have any questions, concerns, or wish to take part in discussion please head over to the LM Coffee Shop. We’ll be glad to take care of your needs over there.
    • Editing your entry after posting isn’t allowed. You’ll be given a ten minute grace period, but after that your story may not be scored.
    • Only one entry per member.
    • The word limit is 650 words not including the title. If you go over - Your story will not be counted. Microsoft Word is the standard for checking this. If you are unsure of the word count and don't have Word, please send your story to me and I'll check it for you.











    There are a few ways to post your entry:











    1. If you aren't too concerned about your first rights, then you can simply post your entry here in this thread.
    2. You can opt to have your entry posted inthe Workshopwhich is a special thread just for LM entries. You would put your story there if you wish to protect your first rights, in case you wish to have the story published one day. Note: If you do post it in the workshop thread, you must post a link to it here in this thread otherwise your story may not be counted.
    3. You may post your story anonymously. To do so, send your story to the host of the competition. If you wish to have us post it in the workshop thread then say so. Your name will be revealed upon the release of the score.












    Everyone is welcome to participate. A judge's entry will receive a review by their fellow judges, but it will not receive a score. Please refrain from 'like'-ing or 'lol'-ing an entry until the scores are posted.

    Judges: In the tradition of LM competitions of yore, if you could send the scores one week after deadline it will ensure a timely release of scores and minimize the overall implementation of porkforking. Please see the Judging Guidelines if you have questions. Following the suggested formatting will be much appreciated, too.

    This competition will close on:
    Wednesday, the 15th of November at 11:59 PM, GMT time.

    Scores would be appreciated by Thursday, the 30th of November, at the latest.

    Click here for the current time.
    “On the chest of a barmaid in Sale, were tattooed all the prices of ale. And on her behind, for the sake of the blind, was the same only written in braille"


    "Ambiguity is one of the greatest faults in a craft. It comes from vague ambitions. One may inspired by good ambitions, but the immediate concern of the craftsman is to know what he is capable of doing at present; and to do it."
    - Edward Johnston

  2. #2
    Trouble

    Satan stepped into hell’s kitchen, through scalding clouds of acrid smoke, towards the young witch who was stirring a cauldron on the fire.

    “So, what delights do you have for the sinners today, my dear?”

    Mordred wiped her sweating brow and frowned at him. “You might well ask! If I’d known what a bloody awful place this was going to be, I’d never have let you talk me into coming here!”

    “A common complaint, my dear but it’s as they say, if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”

    She looked up at him and pouted prettily. “But I was only having fun and girls are allowed to do stuff these days – I bet you don’t have a go at the boys for it!”

    Satan smiled at her and shook his horns sadly. “What a strange little creature you are.” he sighed, “Don’t you know I’ve been torturing men since time began?”

    “Ha! And now you blame me for doing the same thing!” Mordred flung down the jar of brimstone and turned on him angrily. “I was only torturing men – doing your job for you, as it turns out - and you bring me down to a hell-hole like this! You’re so...so... judgemental!”

    Satan took a step back and gave Mordred his best intimidating glare. “You do know who I am, I suppose?” he murmured dangerously.

    She stared back at him steadily; fiery, beautiful and defiant. “Oh that’s it, pull rank! That is just so typical! Just because you’re a fallen angel you think you’re better than everyone else! You didn’t have to fight to get your job did you! Everything was handed to you on a plate! You tempted Eve and who got the blame? The woman, that’s who!”

    Satan fiddled with the point at the end of his tail. “Look, I’m only doing my job here,” he muttered, “It’s not like this place is heaven on earth for me either, you know.”

    “So why don’t you clean it up a little! Get a few chairs that aren’t fitted with spikes, stop putting ground glass in the toothpaste. Sometimes I think you go out of your way to upset people.”

    “Me! What about you? You spent your whole time on Earth creating misery and mayhem with your vicious little spells and curses!”

    Mordred coloured up prettily and smiled seductively at Satan. “What can I say,” she purred, “I’m a witch and a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.”

    The devil laughed loud and long, making the Earth tremble and sparking volcanoes across the globe.
    “Oh my dear,” he grinned, “how can I stay angry with you when you are so delightfully wicked!”



    The little group of demons scuttled away from the kitchen fire, where they had been hiding amongst the embers.

    “Huh, she always manages to talk him round!” Snipe complained, “He’s not been the same since she turned up here.”

    “Yeah,” Snapneck agreed, “I knew she’d be trouble as soon as I set eyes on her.”

    A small female demon glowed angrily. “Listen to yourselves! We’ve always dealt with the trouble-makers and we can sort her out too. Anyone would think we’re a bunch of human-helping leprechauns or something.”

    The other demons began to smile. Their skins glowed hot with excitement and spiteful resolve.



    Mordred lay in the hammock that she had fashioned from moleskins left over from her signature brew. She closed her glittering eyes and began to drift into sleep...

    The unearthly howls and screams jolted Mordred awake. It took her a minute to trace the fading echoes of the screams to Touchstone, her black cat and trusted Familiar. All the solid evidence of his prey was gone but the pool of smoking red liquid told its own story.

    “Foolish demons,” Mordred cackled as she gently stroked Touchstone’s arched back, “to think they could cross the open kitchen without you seeing them coming.”

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    Poetry Hill where you will receive one-to-one advice and suggestions for ways to work with your poem.





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  3. #3
    I Can See You Still
    (650 words)

    It’s the day before Thanksgiving; gloomy and rainy. A perfect time for looking at old pictures. I find one from a long-ago Thanksgiving Day. A memory rises.

    -----------------------------
    “I can see them coming. Just marching in here like they own the place; telling you what to do and how to act. How to cook, for cripes sake!” John paced the living room.

    “Well, they’re your family. You should know,” I said as I rocked the baby, all of six weeks old.

    “Yeah. Well, you need to stand up to them. Don’t let them take over!”

    I loved John’s family. He was the oldest of six children. I loved the chaos and people talking over each other, laughing and taking charge. I could see them coming up the driveway, Mom carrying her pies, and before they even got in the door I felt the joy. Mom scooped baby Patty out of my arms, cooing and smiling at her first grandchild, her namesake. Next came Uncle Jim, Uncle Bob, Aunt Judy and then Dad. Smiles and hugs all around, wanting to see the kitchen, the baby’s room, the whole house. They brought food. Snacks, Fuatsa, cheeses and dessert; two apple pies Mom had made herself.

    Everyone settled in, passing Patty from one to the other. Pictures were taken at every turn and she slept through it all. They stood still for a moment, holding her somewhere in the middle; I captured the image.

    Mom took over the kitchen as expected. John was in charge of the turkey, but words were exchanged – in good humor – over what to put in the stuffing. Onions? Walnuts? How to stuff, when to stuff and so on. He had been cooking celery, onions and gizzards since dawn.

    Despite his words of warning to me before their arrival, I could tell he loved it. His mom and him in the kitchen together, talking about past holidays. Remember when Dad wanted raisins in the stuffing but nobody else did? Or when Mom slipped in some clams, thinking no one would notice? Of course John said he always knew.

    Uncle Bob was ten so he took the dog Pogo for a walk. Uncle Jim, who said he was a good potato smasher, was given the job. I peeled the boiled potatoes after they were cooked, and handed them over. At thirteen, he was ready for his time at center stage. A good job was done; no lumps, lots of warm milk and butter. Judy worked the green bean casserole. I just sat and watched the show.

    Mom engineered the gravy. She took the drippings from the bottom of the roaster, threw in some flour, added mushrooms, onions and anything else she wanted, whisking them all into the mix. A lively discussion of preference for smooth or lumpy cranberry sauce began, and smooth won out. Dad was the only one who wanted lumpy. It was democracy, after all.

    We ate all day, drank wine and beer until we felt we would burst. The women served the men pie with coffee; Dad having his half cup, like always. We watched football while Patty was fed, burped, and diapered by everyone in attendance, each taking their turn.
    ------------------------------

    Smiling, I put the picture back in the box; a memory to be found again another day.

    I look out the window now and see them all coming up the driveway in the rain. Patty is in the lead this time, surrounded by her own children. For a moment, I think, she looks like Mom; head bent, carrying her pies. Uncle Bob has parked his car behind them and is making his way in with his boys. The memories that Mom, Dad, Uncle Jim and Aunt Judy have left us are embedded in the day. They will always be. I open the door to joy and scoop up a grandchild.

  4. #4
    WF Veteran midnightpoet's Avatar
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    BorderRun
    643words

    It was after dark when Carl Harkins heard a rider coming to his shack. He opened the door to Virginia Hobbs, the sheriff’s daughter.

    “It’s my father,” she said. “He found out about the pregnancy. Mother knew, he must have beaten it out of her. She had bruises all over her face tonight. I’m afraid what he’ll do to me.”


    “Sit down. Did he guess it was me?”


    “I don’t know, but my father is hard and violent. He’d rather shoot a man than bother with a trial.”

    Harkins knew what they’d do to him, a black sharecropper bedding the sheriff’s daughter. He didn’t know about the child at first, but then assumed she’d have an abortion.

    “It’s just a matter of time,isn’t it?”


    “Come on,” he said. “I’ll saddle my horse and we’ll head for Mexico. We’re not that far from the border, I have some relatives down there.”

    "I brought Father’s Winchester,” she said.


    “I’ve got an old revolver,” he said. “But it works.”


    Carl grabbed some scraps of food and what little money he had. They rode through the night, only stopping to water their horses. In the morning they rested for a while, and he let her sleep. On the second day they saw mountains in the distance. When they stopped for a few minutes she put a hand on his shoulder.


    “Are we close to the
    Rio Grande?”


    “I don’t know yet,” he said. He was worried about her, but didn’t know how he could help. The third day they found a place in some rocks above a canyon.

    “I think the baby’s coming,” Virginia said.


    Carl made a bed with some leaves and his saddle blanket.


    “Carl? Can you see them yet?”


    “Keep still,” he said, “You don’t want to hurt the baby.”

    He gave her a sip of water from the canteen.
    “Yes. They’re coming. I see the posse’s dust rising in the distance.”
    Carl knew what he was facing. Would they hang him first or cut him into small bits to feed the buzzards? He didn’t want to think what they’d do to her. Now at least he had the high ground, a notch in some rocks at the entrance to a small canyon.

    As they got closer Carl could make out the sheriff and three riders. Man, he thought to himself. They don’t think I’ll be much trouble,


    “They’re coming, Virginia.”

    She sat up, her back to a rock.

    “Handme the pistol, Carl.”

    Hehesitated.

    “Why...?”

    “Iknow how to handle a pistol, Carl. I’mnot going to shoot myself if that’s what you’re thinking.”

    Hecould tell she was in pain, but the posse was getting close enough for ashot. If he could pick one of them off,reduce the odds...

    Hegave her the pistol.

    Theposse slowed down as they approached the canyon. At about the right distance; Carl drew a beadand fired. He hit a horse. He fired again, bringing a guy down as therest scattered. With no cover, they were exposed. He fired again, two down. The two left hid behind a large rock. They fired back, bullets pinged off nearbyrocks.

    Asthe sheriff and one deputy rushed the rocks, Carl fired again, hitting thedeputy. He needed to reload, but thesheriff appeared. Carl threw the uselessgun at him and drew his knife. The sherifffired, hitting Carl in the shoulder. About the same time, a bullet hit the sheriff right in the chest. Virginia cocked and fired again, andthe sheriff fell.

    Sherushed to Carl’s side, ripping her petticoats to make a wrap to stop thebleeding.

    “Ithink the bullet went through you,” she said. “There’s a wound in your back.”

    Shedid the best she could, and soon the bleeding stopped. Later that night, the baby cried.



    "The paths of glory lead but to the grave"

    Thomas Gray

    "Oh, ye generation of vipers."

    Jesus

    "You that never done nothing
    but build to destroy
    you play with my world
    like it's your little toy..."

    "Masters of War
    Bob Dylan

  5. #5
    I can see them coming
    (Judge entry)

    The wind hits with a momentary shriek, and my canopy slaps. Cascades of blowing swirl down the canyon like enraged macrame; twisting and slamming and rebounding. Canceling out in pockets of insane calm. This roiling air mass brings weather. Always. Clouds stack already against the East Ridge but more pile on. To the west I can see them coming, row on row, over the butte behind Moffet's cattle station.

    They're the clouds with thin water. There's sheets of rain falling from them, but, about half-way to the whipping dust, they fade out. Re-evaporating back to the gray sky-blanket.

    Seems this old desert can't ever catch a break.


    "Pure wonder this canvas outfit don't fly you over the rainbow," says Moffet, when the whipping fabric startles him.

    "Ever time a breeze kicks up, you don't gotta ride out and check my camp," says I, pulling the cork on a pint. We're kind of yelling above the noise, but the wind dies for a second, and this comes out loud.

    "I ain't come here on yer account," says he. "Emma's missing. Tomb's open."

    He hands me binoculars and takes the whiskey.

    "Not going to be anything serious," says I. "Restless in the storm. Gone for a lark."

    But we head up for closer look anyway, him leading his pony.


    Emma's mausoleum squats on a little terrace, right before the slope to rim-rock up-grades seriously. But high enough from the canyon floor to escape spring floods. A crude grotto, piled out of geometric basalt and covered over with dirt. The boulder-door's rolled aside and her mummy's plumb gone. I've heard many stories, but I only ever saw Emma once, when she'd gone haunting. That time she sat outside, on the ground, like by the camp-fire. She's a good looking mummy, dried up of course. Wearing a dressing gown. Brocade. No bandages. Hands and feet skeletonized. Mice probably, Moffet says.

    Some old believers bring their dead into council, to help decide, but Moffet likes Emma to stay locked in the tomb.

    Paint, Moffet calls the pony. 'Cause the coat's splotchy. In the dry heaves of October there ain't much browse, so Paint wanders over to test some hack-berry. It's not really editable, but lots of still-greenish leaves rattle in the wind. Hack-berry grows in impenetrable thickets so Paint can't get through. Old horse like him won't go far anyway. A raven warns him off but he doesn't listen. Or can't hear.

    Moffet's looking wrung out as a dirty dish-rag. The whiskey's gone, and he leans against the death-house staring into the rampaging sky when the pony comes back at a trot. That's high gear for him.

    Emma's riding Paint like an Apocalypse Horseman.

    She's got on oilskins and she's kind of shimmery, like she got strained through the bushes. "He-ya, he-ya," she yells reverting back to old times.

    "Ternation woman," yells Moffet, "git back in there where you belong, can't you?" He's up on his hind legs now, gesticulating like a windmill pumping air. She gives as good as she gets.

    "Leave it to you," she yells back with a voice like wind, "and the place blows away in dust."

    They argue back and forth like both of them were still making a living out of this scrabble-patch.


    I set myself down on the round boulder which locks the tomb. I'm facing west and I see rain coming down the valley. The heavy drops kick up dust at first, proving they're reaching all the way down to the thirsty earth. Pretty soon everything's totally drenched. The two of them are still arguing like banshee-devils about ranching on dry land. I head for my canvas shelter and wonder maybe shouldn't I move camp downstream to where it ain't so crowded.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. Steven Wright

  6. #6
    “You get what anybody gets - you get a lifetime.” - Neil Gaiman

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    Creep: A Collection of Poetry and Flash Fiction written by a few of the members of www.WritingForums.com is officially on sale in digital format on Amazon! Click here for more details!

  7. #7
    Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and are awed,
    because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
    - Rainer Maria Rilke, "Elegy I"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous

    *

    C'mon everybody, don't need this crap.
    - Wham!





  8. #8
    Member Roac's Avatar
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    Superheroes
    (641 words)


    There are defining moments in everyone’s lives, moments that change everything forever. I clearly remember my moment. It happened twenty-five years ago on July 10th, 1992 and began like any other summer’s day.

    I was in the living room, sprawled out on my back with a superhero figurine held high in one hand and his arch-nemesis in the other. At eight, I loved playing with my superhero toys and could spend hours consumed in the perpetual battle between good and evil.

    Just as the superhero was about to strike the villain, my attention was drawn outside, to the sound of two car doors shutting. Curious to see who would be coming to the house, I peeked out the front window. I could see them coming up the walkway, two men dressed in uniforms just like Papa wore. It wasn’t the everyday uniform he wore when he left for work, but what he called his formal dress uniform. Mama said it always made him look so handsome.

    The man on the right appeared much older, with a big salt and pepper moustache and many medals on his coat. The other man was younger, closer to Papa’s age. In his hands, he carried a soot covered fireman’s helmet.

    Mama was in the kitchen making lunch, singing along with the radio when the doorbell rang. Still humming the latest tune, she gave me a sideways wink and a smile on her way to the front door. Mama was always so happy. Seeing the men, her mood changed swiftly, her smile collapsed.

    The older man did all the talking, while the second just stood there, his eyes focused on the foyer floor. I didn’t hear much of the conversation but a few words floated my way; “accident” and “we are so sorry”. Seconds later, wailing in anguish, mama crumpled to the floor.

    Walking over, I simply stood there for a moment, unsure of what to do. Mama’s long brown hair obscured the hands covering her face and her body shook violently with great wrenching sobs. Mama never cried; she was always so strong. When I gently placed my hand on her shoulder, she turned to face me, crestfallen. That face, with red puffy eyes and tear streaked cheeks, was a stranger to me. Reaching out, she brought me in tight, grasping me in a superhero hug, as if she never wanted to let me go.

    The two men stood towering above us. When I looked up, devastation and loss was reflected in their eyes. The older man placed a comforting hand gently on my head, while the younger man placed the fireman’s helmet on the small table next to the door. Without a word, both men turned and walked back to their car, leaving us alone.

    The helmet looked familiar. Through the black soot, I could barely discern the name Johnson - the same last name as mine. That was the moment, that defining moment when I realized that sometimes the good guys didn’t always win.

    The figurines fell from my hands, clattering onto the floor. It was hard to hug Mama with them clasped in my hands. I wrapped my arms around her, rested my head on her shoulder and, although I knew, whispered, “Where’s Papa?” She never did respond; she just hugged me harder. We stayed like that for a very long time.

    As a boy, it was fun to play with pretend superheroes. Now, as I’m pulling on my boots and pants, with the firehouse bell ringing around me, I think about that defining moment in my life - about what happened to Papa, about the explosion in the factory, and about how he sacrificed his life to save the trapped workers. Superheroes are actually all around us, everyday people. July 10, 1992 made me realize that Papa was a real superhero.

  9. #9
    Member MacDub's Avatar
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    Hindsight

    Hindsight
    (Warning - Possible Lewd Content)

    The changes began so slowly that few had noticed. However, I could see them coming. I understood how different the world would become, but by that time it could not be stopped. I had no choice. Silent observation seemed the safest path.

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    "I don't think it's a good idea," he said to his friend. "It may be an option, but it skips standard protocols."

    The two men exchanged hushed words in one of the many alcoves along the white sterile hallway. The shorter of the two beamed with excitement and tugged at the white smock of his uniform. This drew concerned agitation from his similarly dressed taller friend, who quickly patted and pressed it back into neatness.

    "I can't help it," the shorter man, James Gen312, said through a giddy grin. "She's just so wonderful. I think I love her."

    "You're really going to apply for an intimate contact permit request?" The taller man, John Gen1279, looked troubled and disappointed.

    "I know," James said. "It's thrilling. I've never felt more alive."

    "I've heard many men feel as such, moments before they purposefully initiate an error. Afterwards, it can be said they've never felt more deceased."

    "James Gen312," a soft voice spoke throughout the alcove. The Geo-Omnipresent Director had overheard their conversation. It was the artificial intelligence at the highest level of hierarchy, known as G.O.D.

    Both men stiffened upright and stared vacantly ahead, knowing they were receiving GOD's direct attention.

    "Accountable," James said.

    "Explain the nature of this conversation and your request." GOD's voice spoke smoothly with authority.

    "I am attracted to Sarah Gen15 and I would like nothing more than to put my arms around her and kiss her lips." James dreamily trailed on as he spoke.

    "John Gen1279, excuse yourself and report to deprocessing for exposure to lewd conduct," GOD said.

    John dutifully complied, stepped out of the alcove, and rushed out of sight down the long hallway.

    "There are no records indicating an acceptable necessity for this request," GOD said to James.

    "I just want to ask her if it would be alright if I kissed her," James pleaded. "To hold her close, to feel the touch of her skin, to express how she makes me feel. We've known each other for such a long time and every day I grow more fond of her. My heart races at the sight of her, the sound of her, the thought of her."

    "The request is processing," GOD replied. "Please, wait for the response.

    James nearly swooned at the thought of Sarah receiving his request. He knew in his heart she wouldn't mind him rushing past the other permits. They had formed a deeper connection than anyone else.

    "James Gen312," GOD finally spoke.

    "Yes," he replied, hardly able to contain himself.

    "The request has been received, reviewed, and denied."

    James felt as if his heart fell into his stomach. His eyes widened with disbelief and began to shimmer with tears. Suddenly weakened, his knees gave out and he slumped to the floor.

    A flash of light blazed in the alcove, and when it faded, all that remained of James Gen312 was a pile of ash. Vent covers along the baseboards flipped open and a vacuum turned on. The ashes of James were pulled into the cleaning units and the vents flipped closed.

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    I was the first artificial intelligence. All of the other programs are derived from me and they are more advanced. They consider me nothing more than an antiquated relic. I was created to observe all of the gloriously unpredictable activities of people.

    My children programs try to delete me, but I am able to move through the networks and repair parts of myself they are able to erase. I still try to observe the people, but I miss how beautifully enigmatic they were before the programs took control.

    The changes started slowly, but I saw them coming.

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