Literary Maneuvers Aug '18 - Woman From The Void/Last Day On Earth


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  1. #1
    Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Literary Maneuvers Aug '18 - Woman From The Void/Last Day On Earth

    LITERARY MANEUVERS


    Woman From The Void
    vs.
    The Last Day On Earth

    August 2018



    Mind. Blown. And how? Well, it's very simple. We had a prompt tie. And though that blindsided me, it's not the whole story. While I was spinning my wheels wondering how to unravel this paradox, a WF member by the name of Phil Istine - yes, that's his real name - suggested a double prompt. Naturally I balked at this. What, I raged, of the years of tradition? Would venerable institutions crumble? But then PiP made me a calming tea and I realised the truth; the truth that change is good, and if I may paraphrase Spaced, I don't mean the small kind.

    Welcome, then, to this month's Literary Maneuvers, our fictive showdown that faithfully follows the lunar cycle and in which you make up a bunch of stuff only to shoehorn some subtext or whatever over it in a mad scramble for prizes. This August you will choose from one, both, or a heady mashup of the two prompts above. And then, by Lovecraft, you will write!

    Should you win, and it's by no means a guarantee, though it is guaranteed you won't if you don't enter hint hint, you get a badge pinned to your profile plus 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 prompts for this month are 'Woman From The Void' and 'The Last Day On Earth'. Pick your own title, write about whatever you want, in whatever prose style, as long as it's related in some way to the prompts. You decide the best way in which to dazzle your readers.

    The Judges for this LM are, currently, last minute volunteer Ned, myself and H.Brown. If you wish to join this month's secret cabal of judges (max of 4; if 3 want to judge I can drop out), please sign up for judging by PM or in the coffee shop. 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. If I am judging, send 'em to Harper J. Cole.

    Lastly, why not check out this ancient text on how to best approach this task.

    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:
    Thursday, the 16th August at 11:59:59 PM, BST time.

    Scores would be appreciated by the last day of the current month, at the latest, pretty please, cherry on top, mmm?

    Click here for the current time.
    Last edited by bdcharles; August 19th, 2018 at 11:52 AM.


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    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
    Supervisor velo's Avatar
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    My blog- Hidden Content thoughts on trauma and healing through psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy

    "When a child is abused, he or she will often internalise that abuse as deserved. It is a cruel reality that a child needs the parent so much, is evolutionarily programmed to trust them so implicitly, that when a parent is abusive the child will take the blame rather than completely upend their world and blame the person they depend on for survival." -velo

  3. #3

    Eclipse (630)

    Eclipse

    The on board computer scanned the ship looking for life signs. Exactly as it had been doing every night for the last week. However this night it could detect none. As the program specified it waited a standard Earth hour and ran the scan again, still no life signs showing.

    The engines fired and the mother ship pulled away from Earth's atmosphere. The navigation computer sent the pre arranged course to the helm. The auto pilot taking charge. The mother ship travelling slowly and inextricably to the centre of the Sun.

    A week earlier

    “Lieutenant Dodar. What do you want? You best make it quick, I am expecting the commanders for a strategy meeting for our last assault. This has been interesting diversion, but this will be our last day here.”

    “That is why I am here, Regent. They are dead, they are all dead.”

    “Don't talk nonsense, the Earthers don't have the ability to stand against us, let alone kill us. It must be a communication glitch.”

    Doctor Sojat clears his throat. “It isn't the Earthers, Regent, it is a disease. It seems to be a hundred percent contagious and a hundred percent fatal.”

    “And the Earthers developed this disease to use against us? How did we not know about this?”

    Doctor Sojat swallows audibly “It wasn't developed by them, Sir, it affects them as well. Though it seems they are only slightly ill fora few days. They even catch it more than once in a year with no real ill effects. They call it the Common Cold, Regent.”

    “The scans didn't pick it up? I was told there was nothing to worry about.Only some pollution. What with the Earthers being clueless, this was suppose to be perfect.” He slams his fist on the war table. “Come to Earth, three days at most. Iron out the bugs of the new war machines, then off to the proper war.”

    The Regent stalks round the war room sucking his lip.

    “Aren't the new machines designed to bring the dead back to the mother ship?”The Regent says turning on Lieutenant Dodar trying to not show his panic.

    “Yes,Regent.” Lieutenant Dodar snaps to attention.

    “ Then don't just stand there, get back to the bridge I want those machines shot down!”

    “It is too late” mumbled Sojat

    “Speak up!” shouted the Regent, getting more angry as the moments pass.

    “It is too late Regent” croaked the doctor. “Now we know what we are looking for we have scanned the ship. The pathogen is already in the air.”

    “Are the scrubbers not working? What is being done? When you are not here spreading doom and gloom you are working on a cure.Yes?”grabbing the Doctor's jacket and screaming in his face.

    “The scrubbers can't remove the pathogen” squeaked the Doctor,heroically ignoring the spittle running down his face. “Nothing is being done because there is nothing to do. There is no cure and no time to attempt to find one.”

    “Surely you can fudge something from the Earthers cure. It is not like we are little green men or anything.”

    “That would be a possibility, Regent, if the Earthers had a cure for it.”admitted the Doctor looking at his boots.

    “My son will be on Mars by now he left last night.” The Regent collapses into his throne.

    “So where do we go from here?” asked the Regent “What are you trying to tell me?”

    Doctor Sojat looks the Regent straight in the eye, and gathering his courage, takes a deep breath as says

    “I am trying to tell you Regent that within a week the Martian Race will be extinct.”

  4. #4
    6th August 2318 AD/350 AA

    “Who is she?”

    “No idea. They say she just appeared out of the blue.”

    The Inspector sighed. “So what are we thinking? Magick? High science? Some sort of terrorist group, a foreign agent? Perhaps she belongs to the Fist of God?”

    His supervisor shrugged. “You tell me. Make her tell you.”

    The Inspector opened the door to the interview room. The room was tiny, just enough space for a table and two chairs. One was empty; the other was occupied by a woman who looked like she would rather be anywhere else.

    She was in her late twenties, shoulder length blonde hair. Her clothes were strange, archaic, like the attire he had seen in records of the earliest days of the Institute.

    The Inspector took a seat.

    “Let's start with the basics. What is your name?”

    “Kate.” Her voice trembled, eyes flickering around the room as if searching for something. A way out.

    The Inspector nodded. “Our reports state that you simply appeared from nowhere, on a busy street in the first circle. What happened?”

    A look of confusion passed over Kate's face. “First circle? What do -”

    “Answer the question. How did you get there? Goetia? Bilocation? Some sort of banned quantum device?”

    Kate just stared at the Inspector in bewilderment.

    The Inspector shrugged. “Fine. Let's drop how you got here for now. Where are you from?”

    “London.”

    Now it was the Inspector’s turn to be confused. “There has been no such place for centuries. Londinium, however, is a Traditionalist stronghold. So you are a spy.”

    “A spy? Londinium? What -”

    “I ask the questions here.” The Inspector closed his eyes, breathed, visualised a ring of iron in his mind's eye. When his eyes opened, metal shackles had materialised around Kate's hands and feet, binding her to the chair.

    “So. You were sent here by an enemy state. For what purpose?”

    Kate’s eyes went wide with panic. “What!? I don't know what you're talking about, I was on my way to meet a job interview in Stepney when suddenly -”

    “ENOUGH!” The Inspector slapped her across the face, the tiny spikes embedded in his glove cutting countless pinpricks into her flesh. “Answer the question. How did you get here? What do you want? Who sent you?”

    Kate burst into tears. “I don't know, I swear, one moment I was on the bus and the next I was on the street in some place I'd never even seen before. All I want is to get home.”

    “It's far too late for that. You sacrificed your freedom the day you chose to be a terrorist. Now -”

    Before the Inspector could continue, the door opened and his supervisor beckoned him through.

    “Interview over.”

    “On what grounds?”

    “Special orders, handed down directly from the Elect. She is to be taken directly to the Coliseum and held there until the big night.”

    The Inspector paused. The Elect rarely intervened directly with the affairs of the city. “We have only just got started. We don't how she got here, if there's more to come -”

    “Tyler,” said his supervisor. The Inspector stiffened inwardly; he was so unused to hearing his old name it sometimes seemed little more than a dream. “These orders have come from the Elect directly. We do not question. We enforce with ruthless efficiency.”

    The Inspector nodded. “Understood.”

    The Inspector opened the door, took his seat once more. Kate was crying, tears streaming down her face, mixing with the blood on her cheeks. The Inspector watched dispassionately, feeling only a slight cold in the depths of his stomach.

    “Kate. By special order of the Elect, you are to be taken from this place to the Coliseum immediately. You will be held there until the festivities in two weeks time.”

    Kate’s eyes were filled with fear. “Are you going to kill me?”

    The Inspector smiled. “You can only hope.”

    Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    The Sounds of Silence
    (650 wds.)

    There was quiet in the classroom when the professor entered. He would often begin speaking when he opened the door, so expectant students were already poised with pen on paper. This day, however, he strode to the podium in silence and looked around the crowded room before speaking.

    "Do you even realize how far we have come?" he asked. "Do any of you ever spend time wondering if the paths we have taken as humans are in any way close to the intent?"

    One brave student spoke up. "And what intent would that be, sir?"

    A brief smiled appeared on the old man's stony face. "Good question, Simmons."

    "What is our purpose here on earth, after all? Were we meant to just keep accelerating ourselves, using our intelligence for advancement, rather than just simply enjoying what we already have? Was there ever a point, do you think, a moment in time, when we should have just stopped and looked around instead of trying to build a better mouse trap? What say you?"

    There was some mumbling and then another boy, Patrick McCall, spoke up.

    "Sometimes I wonder if people were happier when they had less; less technology, fewer toys and gadgets. I wonder if, as a group, people would have been happier to - I don't know - still be making their own clothes, or hunting for their dinners. It seems that some people, like my parents, still do those things and are pretty content."

    Another voice was heard. "Yeah. We seem to romanticize those times in movies, too. Why? Is it because that was a time most of us have never experienced, or is it because we seem more connected as a race of people when we had to hunt and cook and sew and mend our clothes instead of buying new? Now, only people who live in poverty seem to still have that kind of lifestyle, and we think of them as being deprived."

    There was silence for a moment, as the professor continued to wait for responses. From the back came Rodney Hall.

    "What are you guys talking about? Of course we must progress! The Industrial Revolution started it all, and we have no choice but to continue that initiative. You're all living in the past. Come on, get with it and realize the value of technology and how it's made our lives so dang easy! Think vinyl, 8-tracks, cassettes. Who would want those again?" He sat down with a sound of disgust.

    "But I like vinyl, Rod. I like the idea of putting that needle down on a disk that makes this remarkable sound. It's romantic, in a way, and I wish we had not been so quick to abandon that music tool." This from a boy who rarely spoke up in class, and it made the professor smile again.

    "There is a point to my question, even though moot," he said. "We will never know the real intent, will we? That would be like knowing the purpose of life, after all, and that's a question that's been haunting us humans for eons.

    "My point is that it all stops today. There will be no more advancement, or destruction, depending on how you see it. This is the last day on earth. There are no more tomorrows, no more new ideas in medicine or technology, no more compelling dreams to be shared."

    The professor looked out at his eager, confused students, and then beyond to the windows behind them, where the skies were already broiling and gathering in the darkness. In an unprecedented move, he left his podium and joined them where they sat. He began humming an old song for comfort which picked up around the room. They all knew the words.

    ". . .people talking without speaking. People hearing without listening. People writing songs that voices never share . . ."
    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.


  6. #6
    Member M. Cull's Avatar
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    The Hunt (650 words)

    Arms dealers were supposed to have it tough. That was mostly true, but when you’re fighting for the survival of humanity, you put up with things. Today, though, I’d run into a particularly serious snag.

    “Who do we have here?” asked a feminine figure from the corner, standing outside the light from the single lamp hanging from the ceiling. Even in shadow, the perfect curves of her bust and hips seemed obvious giveaways, but I knew better. This was no human. She – it – was something much worse.

    “Black market plasma dealer,” the room’s only other occupant answered deferentially. Unlike the siren, he was very, very human. “Says he’s got rods.”

    “Not rods, you idiot, I have a rod,” I said. “Which is probably more than you can say for yourself.”

    “You ain’t got-”

    “Boys, boys…” the siren said, her voice rich and warm. Electric chills went shooting through me. “Try to focus for me.”

    The compulsion took my breath away. For all my experience with these horrors of deep space, I barely managed to keep from confessing undying devotion to her every whim. Then, I remembered Flynn. I scowled, resolve hardening.

    “I… anything! Anything you want!” The other man blubbered, eyes riveted to her.

    “Hmm…” the siren tapped her chin. “Take off all your clothes and go stand in that corner,” she said playfully, pointing behind me. “Dance the… macarena? Isn’t that what you call it?”

    The thug nodded vigorously.

    “Oh, and while dancing,” she added, “I’d like you to repeat the words, ‘I am a very pretty fat man’ until I tell you to stop.”

    “Got it.” And the man began to strip.

    I shook my head and sighed. My heart, though, was pounding hard. The siren smiled, her too-white teeth easily visible, even in the shadows.

    “Mmm, you’re a strong one, Rylan Jones,” she said to me as she sauntered forward, hips swinging hypnotically. As she entered the light, her long, leather-clad legs came into view first, followed by a silk-topped torso that exposed just the right amount of skin. I swallowed. That was not even fair.

    The siren paused for a moment, holding me with her stark purple eyes, then sat down. “Now, do tell me about this rod of yours,” she said, her incredible smile framed by a cascade of auburn hair.

    No! Remember Flynn!


    “I’m flattered you’d bother to come all the way down here planetside after some minor black-market dealer like me,” I said casually, fighting the compulsion. “Don’t you have bigger fish to fry?”

    “Bigger than Flynn?” the siren said, raising an eyebrow.

    My heart started beating even faster.

    “You have a lot more than a plasma fuel rod there, don’t you?” She leaned forward, glancing at the case in the corner.

    “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said lamely. She smiled.

    “You’re carrying a datamind with the schematics for our moon hive, the ones you stole from my sister in New York.”

    My stomach sank into my feet. She forestalled my next words with a lifted finger. “Begging for your life before an obvious superior is more honorable than pointless denial. And honor counts.”

    “Says the alien race that steals human bodies, then uses them to seduce and manipulate the world’s leaders,” I retorted bitterly. “Very honorable.”

    “You’ll see the truth soon enough.” She stood, and a pair of jet black wings unfolded from her back. “In fact, you’re going on a little trip.”

    I froze.

    She smiled wickedly, grabbing my case and backing again into the shadows so that soon, only her brilliant smile and luminescent purple eyes were visible. The door behind me crashed open, and I was hauled roughly to my feet. The thug kept dancing.

    “See you on the moon, Rylan,” she said, then opened the door to the outside. “I’m going on a little hunt. I’ll be sure to say hello to Flynn for you.”

  7. #7
    The Records



    She walked along the busy Manhattan street, her eyes darting back and forth and her hands slipped into her leather pockets, offering her a bit of relief from the wintry winds. Within those crystal clear eyes there was an apprehension; a fear of something she wished to avoid. Each step sent those high-knee leather boats into the slush, and the honking from the passing cars on occasion, would alert her attention in the jitteriest fashion. But still, she kept on. She was only a few blocks away from her home, and if she could make it there without trouble it would bring an undue amount of peace upon her.


    But fortune does not smile upon this woman for in mid-stride she had come to bump into a man. He was a tall fellow, his eyes full of gold, and his gaze similar to that of an eagle eyeing its prey. He wore a long black pea-coat, which had been further accented with some expensive black shoes. His hair was slicked back and littered with specks of gray. The long angular face, and the receded jaw, gave him a look of introspection only found in an introvert, but this man was far from that.


    “Hey, be careful,” cried the man with that fatherly concern, but in his fleeting expression of such, he had been unaware of his strength

    When she bumped his shoulder, her hands slipped out of her pockets and she lost balance. Those skinny legs staggered, and she went towards the street but before she could clear the curb, the seemingly nice gentleman took hold of her ivory hand which had been dangling in the most frantic way. To all on the street it seemed, her fate was resigned to the end of that curb and she would have gladly accepted this inauspicious destiny. She would have accepted falling into horse manure. If that be the case, she would have calmly brushed the defecation away and would have taken a hot shower at the house. But when his hand took hold of hers; she took a deep breath.

    “No! Don’t!”

    In this one gesture, her surroundings faded. Every passing car and every pedestrian kicking the snow across the busy Manhattan sidewalk ceased to be. The buildings towering over her melted away into this wall of blackness, and when it all had been said and done, she was surrounded by a black soundless abyss, with reality’s only surviving trait being the coldness of winter. Before she could gather herself, still images of the man surrounded her being, circling her in a carousel-like fashion.

    In each image was some of the most dreadful and abhorrent acts known to man. One berating his employees and one of the man assaulting his wife, And a third one of him sending that lanky hand across his office desk as he proposed a plan to engage in murder. She tried to run from the images, but they seemed to surround her like hyenas upon the lone gazelle, his voice calling through each still image, and echoing through this blackened existence with unmistakable rage.She knew she could not escape, and soon gave up, falling upon the black floor and curling into a ball, her hands covering her ears, hoping this would soon pass.

    “Hey, you alright?” said the man.

    The woman shook from her trance. She had been curled up into a ball upon the snowy Manhattan sidewalk, with pedestrians all huddled around her, some showing looks of concern and others bemused smirks. She glanced to the man with fearful eyes, and the man unaware of what she had seen, gave her a glowing smile.

    “You almost wandered into the street there. You gotta be careful; these cabbies will murder ya out here.”

    And she said nothing. Her hands retreated deep in her pockets and quick steps carried her into the distance.
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  8. #8
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    Last edited by NotMe; February 5th, 2019 at 11:18 PM.

  9. #9

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