March 2018 Literary Maneuvers - Locked Inside
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  1. #1
    Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    March 2018 Literary Maneuvers - Locked Inside

    LITERARY MANEUVERS

    Locked Inside


    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 'Locked Inside'. Pick your own title, write about whatever you want, in whatever prose style, as long as it's related in some way to the prompt. Dig deep! Think outside the box. Or inside it, in this case...


    The Judges for this LM are: moderan, others 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 the LM Workshop Thread.

    All Judges scores will be PMed to bdcharles

    All anonymous entries will be PMed to bdcharles


    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 in the Workshop which 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:
    Sunday, the 18th March at 11:59 PM, GMT time.

    Scores would be appreciated by Saturday, the 31st of March, at the latest.

    Click here for the current time.
    Last edited by PiP; March 9th, 2018 at 11:38 PM.




    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!





  2. #2
    WF Veteran midnightpoet's Avatar
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    648 words


    Eddie’s murder trial had come to an end. There was a murmur in the courtroom as the judge addressed the jury.

    “Have you reached a verdict?” The judge asked.

    “Yes, your honor. Guilty as charged. Murder in the first degree.”

    Eddie rose from his seat.

    “No, no, I didn’t do it!”

    The judge pounded his gavel as Eddie’s lawyer touched his shoulder and made him sit.

    “I sentence you,” the judge replied, “to death in the electric chair. Take the defendant away.”

    As he was shoved into a jail cell, Eddie cried.

    “Eddie?”

    “What? Who are you?”

    “Eddie, take off those goggles and come to supper.”

    “Dad? Leave me alone, gotta finish this game. I’m locked in a jail cell, have to figure my way out.”

    David, Eddie’s father, gave up and went into the kitchen. His wife looked up as she set the table.

    “Is he coming? Everything will get cold.”

    “No, Helen. He’s into another game.”

    “Virtual reality. Wish we had never bought those stupid games. They’re taking over his life. Can’t you just jerk the thing off?”

    “Last time I tried that he almost had a nervous breakdown. We need to get him to a counselor.”

    Eddie had been playing the game forever he thought, and he had successfully defeated each level. He now was at the top level. He paced back and forth across his cell. Why did this happen, how will I free myself? Looking back, he was backpacking across a foreign country on foot when he was stopped by the police. They accused him of assassinating the country's president and he would pay. No matter what he said they ignored him, throwing him into the back of a squad car.

    Scapegoat, was all he could think of. His lawyer was no help. Dig out, that’s what he would do. The prison was old and dilapidated, he thought he could scrape away the loose concrete and escape. He kept a spoon from one of his meals and day by day he worked at the cell window.

    His fingers were sore and he was sweating profusely. It was a desert country and the temps were known to rise into the 100’s daily. He tried to sleep but found he could not - but just when he was making progress he was taken from his cell to the place of his execution.

    He fought back, yelling over and over that he was innocent.

    This can’t be happening, Eddie thought. The experience seemed too real. This is lame. There are supposed to be ways out. He tried to take the goggles off. They wouldn’t budge.

    His head was shaved, then strapped into a chair and a cap was put on his head. They pulled the switch. He trembled as he felt the electricity enter his body. He screamed.

    “What was that?” David asked. “We’d better check on Eddie.”

    Helen and David rushed to Eddie’s room. Eddie lay on the floor, very still. Helen bent down to check on him. She looked up, tears in her eyes.

    “I can’t get a pulse, David.”

    “Let’s try CPR.”

    David worked on Eddie as Helen called 911. They arrived soon after but it was too late. Eddie was gone. They sat on the couch holding each other as the tears flowed. After they recovered enough from their grief they asked themselves why a fourteen year old boy died playing a VR game.

    When the medical examiner called to ask permission to do an autopsy, they agreed, needing to know what happened. Their pediatrician had never found a problem.

    “It was strange,” the M.E. said when he called back. “First, I had to surgically remove the goggles and found his face burned. I couldn’t find anything wrong with his heart or any internal problem, but I did find some other scars on his body that all seemed to point to electrocution.”














    "I pray that I not miswrite thee"

    Chaucer

    "There are four and twenty ways
    to practice tribal lays
    and every single one of them is right."

    Kipling

    "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

    Shakespeare's Hamlet

  3. #3
    Locked Inside a Box
    (650 wds)

    The box had always been in our home. On a table, a shelf, in a closet, and then back on a shelf. It didn't seem to fit anywhere. It was too small to be decorative or eye catching, although it was quite ornate. My mother's style fell along the lines of primitive, more plain than unusual, littering the house with hand-made antique tables, rockers and linens. So the box that always was, never seemed to belong in our home.

    When my mother died at the age of eighty, my father still had eight more years to live without her. In his hands, their home remained the same as it always had. It got dirtier, dustier and more neglected, but the pictures and furniture stayed where Mom had placed them. The little box, which on the day of her death was on her night stand, was ignored and left alone for probably the longest time in its life.

    My father passed away in his sleep at the age of eighty-six. My brother and I could only imagine our Mom, waiting for him with her hands on her hips, asking what took him so long to get there. It gave us comfort to think of them that way.

    Now it was our job to go through their home. We weren't expecting any surprises.

    While my brother was looking into paperwork and whatnot in Dad's desk, I wandered into their bedroom. I sat on Mom's side of the bed and just thought about her and Dad. I thought about the people they were; devoted to one another until the end. They fought, they disagreed, they'd stop speaking to each other for a time or two; but they always came back to a hug at the end of the day.

    I picked up the little box from Mom's night stand and just held it for a moment. The base color was a medium blue, with many other hues used for flowers of some type painted on top of that. It looked like enamel; oriental. There was a tiny lock on one long side. When I turned it over, I saw the smallest key taped to the bottom. It looked as if the tape had been pulled off and put back on many times.

    I was anxious to see what was inside and brought the box with the key to my brother in the living room. He was knee deep in paperwork spread out on the coffee table; tax statements, home equity pages, personal notes from Dad about stocks he wanted to look into.

    "Do you remember this box?" I asked as I sat down next to him.

    "Of course. It was always somewhere in the house, wasn't it?"

    "It really is a pretty little thing. There's a key taped to the bottom. Let's see what's inside." He willingly put down the pages he was holding and turned his attention to the box. I inserted the tiny key, turned it, and lifted the lid.

    Inside were two pieces of paper. One was a small note in our mother's hand, the other an official-looking document. I read Mom's message first.

    Pamela Sue was born and died on October 2, 1933. She was a beautiful red-haired baby and I loved her. Her father was my Uncle Joe.

    The accompanying death certificate confirmed the date and name of a baby girl. The father's name was missing. My mother was fifteen.

    My brother and I looked at each other in shock and then back at the box. Lying in the bottom was a very small lock of bright red hair, tied with a tiny pink ribbon. I held it in the palm of my hand.

    The box and the story it holds will always be cherished. My mother's secret, never forgotten by her and locked inside a pretty box for eighty-five years, was a secret no more.
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    No, I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.


  4. #4

  5. #5
    Locked inside?

    It was a fence. Quite a nice fence Jake thought, though really he wasn’t much of an expert on fences. For what it was worth it seemed to be doing its job as a fence very well. It stood up, nice and tall, interlocking wires that gave a lovely view of the other side, without allowing any sort of direct access. It was a quite delightful silver colour, that stood out most charmingly against the copper sand that churned along the dusty ground. He had seen a fence before, his father had built one before the raiders had ridden through. That had been a terrible fence. Bits of old wood that had evaporated in the hot sun until they were lighter than air. That fence hadn’t been tall. Or strong. Or silver. And it certainly hadn’t stopped anyone getting through. Jake wondered if he still would have a family if his father had only made a proper fence.

    Jake walked up to the fence and peered through some of the little gaps. It looked pretty similar on the other side, but he couldn’t be sure. Jake was by nature a fairly inquisitive child. Even if he hadn’t been inquisitive, he would have had to be brain dead to not be interested in this wonderful fence. All sorts of questions whirled up in his head as he gazed at it. How long had the fence been there? Was it built after the event? Or had it been placed before, and managed to do what most of human civilisation had failed to, and survived. Who had built it in the first place? Were they still alive? That was a nice thought. Jake hadn’t seen another living person in years. And not another sane living person since his parents. Sargent Blisterwoot Montgomery was nice, but there was only so much worth in talking to a sock with a fortuitous rip in it that sort of looks like a mouth. Having said that, that conversation was becoming a lot less one sided the longer Jake stayed away from other people.

    “It’s a bleedin’ fence!” Sargent Blisterwoot Montgomery exclaimed from Jakes hand, his one googly button eye falling to one side in his excitement. Jake didn’t dignify him with a response. Instead he walked away from the fence, looked up and down, watching the it stretch off beyond sight in both direction, and sat down to think.

    Someone had built the fence. The only question, as far as Jake could really see it, was why had someone built the fence. Were they keeping people out, or were they keeping them in. Was Jake on the outside looking into the lost paradise his mother had told him about? Or was the fence the last piece of protection holding back the unimaginable evil that lurked just on the other side?

    Jake walked back to the fence. He then changed his mind and walked away from it. He turned his back on it, then quickly spun around as if he might catch the fence trying to sneak away. He then walked back to the fence and gave it a push. It was hot, and wobbled. He pushed harder. It wobbled the same amount. He gave himself a run up and launched himself at the fence. It wobbled the same exact wobble.

    “So what are you going to do Laddy? It’s not bleedin’ going anywhere, that’s for sure.”

    Jake wasn’t sure. This fence was a line, a clear distinction between here and there. One was worse than the other. Did he believe, then, that this was the good side?
    Jake gave the fence another look, soaking in the glorious testament of human ingenuity, and nodded to himself. Taking Sargent Blisterwoot Montgomery from his hand and placing him in the inside pocket of his weasel jacket, he set off to climb the fence.
    "I like the cover," he said. "'Don't Panic.' It's the first helpful or intelligible thing anybody's said to me all day." - Arthur Dent

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