Literary Maneuvers October 2018 - "Cloud Riders"

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  1. #1
    Wɾˇʇˇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Literary Maneuvers October 2018 - "Cloud Riders"

    Cloud Riders
    October 2018


    Welcome, or indeed welcome back. This month's prompt, as voted for by you, is "Cloud Riders", for which you are to write a maximum of 650 words of fiction. Pick your own title, write about whatever you want, in whatever prose style and interpreted as you see fit, as long as it's related in some way to the prompt. You decide the best way in which to dazzle your readers - and the judges.

    The judges this month are erstwhile LM host kilroy214 and myself (bdcharles) and ... anyone else (max 2 more). If you wish to join this month's panel (max of 4), 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).

    If you win, you'll get a badge pinned to your profile plus a month’s access to Friends of Writing Forums (FoWF) where you’ll have access to hidden forums. Pretty neat, eh?

    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.


    • 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 the closing date it will ensure a timely release of results. Please see the Judging Guidelines if you have questions. Following the suggested formatting will be much appreciated, too.

    This competition will close on:
    Tuesday night 16th of October at 11:59:59 PM, BST (British Summer Time), on the dot. Please note any time differences where you are.

    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; October 8th, 2018 at 11:45 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
    Even in My Dream . . .

    (650 wds)

    Even in my dream, I was not in control. I tried opening the car door and putting my foot out on the pavement to stop the momentum. No matter what I did, however, the vehicle continued on, winding through the streets and alleys around campus, until I saw her in the distance.

    She was coming across the Commons, walking as if she were in love. That’s what I thought as I watched her from my moving car; there’s a girl in love. There was no one else around and I couldn’t remember why I was even there, but I was captivated by what I was seeing.

    She was swinging her handbag back and forth along her skirt, looking down, and probably smiling, maybe humming a tune. In one moment, she twirled around, arms up, flinging the bag wide. Her loose skirt continued to swish around her body even after she had stopped moving. As she continued toward me, I was mesmerized by the girl, and not at all aware of my responsibility. It was as if someone else was driving the car and I was merely a passenger; someone else was in control.

    The car that would not stop in my dream, hadn’t stopped then either.

    I woke with a violent start, sweating, as if the impact had been on me instead of her. I wished it had been me, wished for all the world that I had never gone out that night, drinking too much, driving when I shouldn’t have.
    Even in my dream, I couldn’t make the car stop.

    I remember the thud. I even remember being confused about where the girl had gone. She had simply vanished. Then some clarity crept in and I realized she had stepped in front of my moving car, and it had not stopped. She must be behind me, I thought. Putting the brakes on then, I finally managed to bring the vehicle to a halt. I didn’t get out right away, just sat, becoming more sober as the seconds ticked on. I knew I had to find out what had happened, what I had done. I grabbed the handle with conviction and stepped out.

    She lay in a lump, barely recognizable. From the distance, it looked as if it were nothing more than tattered rags, thrown carelessly into the street. Had I been wrong? Then I saw her bag, the very bag she had been carrying, lying some feet away from the rag lump, and I knew. I walked over and looked down; her eyes looked past me toward the night clouds. Her blonde hair was spread out on the pavement and then began mixing with the deep red liquid that came from the back of her head. So much blood, it was hard to imagine a head that full of it.

    I didn’t have to touch her to know she was dead. I got back into my car and drove home. I told no one.

    In a funk the next day, I sat on the side of the hill behind my apartment building. The late-day sun was hot on my head and I felt drowsy. I was grateful. I hadn’t slept well the night before. In my sweaty hand I held the newspaper with the story of the hit and run on the front page. The black ink had bled into my palm, and smeared the words.

    I laid back on the grass as the cirrus clouds drifted overhead. And there she was. Her lovely blonde hair streaming back among the puffs, her bag on her lap, legs dangling over the edge, and looking down at me crossly. A cloud rider now, I thought.

    It suits you,” I yelled out, and watched her change then, drifting away bit by bit, as the blood red of sunset spread out and became entangled in her long blonde hair.
    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.

  3. #3
    Global Moderator velo's Avatar
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    Probably on a boat in Puget Sound
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    Last edited by velo; October 2nd, 2018 at 04:36 PM. Reason: Fixed Link
    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

  4. #4
    Member Euripides's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    The mile-and-a-half high city.

  5. #5
    (645 words)

    “Captain on deck!” Turk Mclaren’s voice boomed over the room and the crew stood at attention. Except for Helga Dermont. She sat in a shabby recliner with last year’s Marie Claire in hand. The white coats casually glanced up but soon went back to whatever it was that they did. They weren’t technically part of the crew so Turk paid them no mind.

    “Get out of the captain’s chair, you lubber!” Ms. Dermont ignored Turk and slurped her coffee loud enough to drown out his voice.

    Miles Borne marched up and down the hall, his riding crop tucked under his arm. Some would say it was just an ordinary fly swatter, but Miles knew better. He stopped at an enormous man with a slack jaw. Drool dripped through the gape. Miles nudged it closed with his crop.

    “That’s better, Bernie.” The towering simpleton grinned at Miles and blushed. Bernie liked praise. Miles finished his inspection and marched up to his first mate.

    “Captain, the crone refuses to relinquish the chair. Shall I have her thrown overboard?” Miles thought for a spell. Too hard and morale would plummet. Too soft and his reputation would suffer. He pulled his first mate away so they could whisper in confidence.

    “Turk, have you taken the pills those white coats push?” Turk pulled a few pills from his waistband.

    “They’d have to force feed them to me.” Miles snatched them from Turk’s hand.

    “Good man, Turk. Good man. We’ll have her out of that chair or I’m no captain.” He crushed up the pills in his hand. He had overheard those white coated quacks talking about his first mate’s “condition.” ADB or ABHT or something like that. Miles wasn’t fond of acronyms. He leaned in next to Ms. Dermont.

    “Helga, that isn’t the newest edition. I believe you’ve been duped.” The only time Ms. Dermont paid any mind to anyone else was when someone disrupted her reading. She gave Miles a look reserved only for bible salesmen and beggars. Flipping the magazine over, he stared him down for a few seconds then turned her gaze to the date on the cover.

    Miles sprinkled the crushed pills into her coffee. Ms. Dermont’s scowl returned to him. Her eyes narrowed as a sneer formed on her face.

    “What are you talking about you buffoon? This just came out. Go fly your stupid air ship or whatever nonsense you maniacs believe. I’m not even supposed to be in here.”

    “Helga, this airship has a name and it is Cloud Rider! And you should thank the stars she’s a worthy vessel. Otherwise we’d all plummet to our deaths on the fiery rocks below.” Ms. Dermont sipped her coffee then shook her head.

    “Go be deranged somewhere else. You’re blocking the light.” She turned her magazine back to the page she had been on and continued reading.” Miles motioned Turk away and they took a seat at the table next to the only window.

    They sat in silence as the minutes passed and clouds drifted by. The security screen partially blocked the view, but it was a necessary safety feature regardless of their reality. Miles let out a sigh.

    “Turk, there’s no better life than than one aboard this fine vessel.” Turk nodded. They became lost in the clouds and the dreams held within.

    It started as a low wail but soon elevated to a piercing shriek. Ms. Dermont erupted from the recliner and ran through the ward while tearing at her hair. Miles leapt out of his chair and cheered as the white coats tackled Ms. Dermont in the rec room.

    Bernie ran up to the dogpile, threw his arms up, and proclaimed, “Touchdown!” Miles flopped down in the old recliner.

    “A fine day for sailing. Full sail, Mr. Mclaren.” He smiled to himself as he kicked the recliner back into his favorite position.

    Last edited by Candervalle; October 6th, 2018 at 06:30 AM. Reason: spelling error

  6. #6

    I Slapped William Faulkner and I Liked It / 645 Words / Southern Hospitality Warning

    I fell through a time portal and looked up just as William Faulkner was about to open his mail. Now, I know you’re not supposed to do certain things when travelling through time. But I also know that if you erroneously fuck up in the past, something else has already occurred to make right of it in the future. Time is a mindfuck, ceaseless and globular, and not very much unlike if visualized one of those rotating spinning torture devices astronauts-to-be are placed inside when being tested for G Forces and, on the downlow, to see just how fast a human being can be abused, flailed, and laughed at before the skin starts to peel from their face.

    It’s in this way that time travel is in fact a very leisurely process, despite all the worrywarts and despite all the schlop espoused in bad literature and Hollywood telling you to always remain vigilantly on your toes, and because I knew that no matter what I did, or was bound to do, had already been accounted for sometime somewhere somehow in the past present or future, I felt an immediate sense of giddiness when I saw William Faulkner and recognized that I, Anonymous McGee, was here to play a part in his already established destiny.

    With no time to spare, I hopped up, charged full speed, leapt through the air, and tackled William Faulkner around the waist, knocking the wind out of his chest and the pipe out of his mouth. Above us, the piece of mail flickered in the lowering sun. Beneath me, Faulkner flailed and made desperate noises not unlike those of a walrus as heard through a muffler. I rolled off him so that he could spit the glob of soil out of his mouth.

    “Don’t open it!” I shouted.

    He was a slightly boyish looking Faulkner, a pre-Sound and Fury sort, and regarded me with all the intensity of youth deprived of those later features marked by masterfully solidified disappointment and cynicism. If you see any picture of Faulkner today you will note that he is always a little smug, philosophical, and at all times privy to an unexpressed bout of whimsy. Not this version. Therefore, he was entirely earnest in his response. “Why?”

    “Listen,” I said. “You don’t know me; you don’t need to. Just know this―” and without missing a beat I plucked the descending envelope out of the air. I flicked it, indicating import. “You open this shit? You
    read this shit? You lose everything.”

    William Faulkner looked at me with wide, earnest eyes. “Everything?”

    I nodded severely. “
    Everything.” I went on: “You hold this up to the sun. Each time. Okay? Like this.” I showed him. “Just like this. You do this each time.”

    “Every time.”

    time. You do this every time. And if there’s no money? There ain’t even a cent? Toss it.” I demonstrated how to toss a letter. “Fucking, just―get rid of it, man. You’re going to be a great writer someday. You know that?”

    William Faulkner blushed. “Aw, shucks,” he said. “Thanks, mister.”

    This did not live up to my interpretation of him. “Don’t talk like that,” I commanded.

    “Well, gosh…”

    “Who the fuck are you, Goofy?”


    It was hopeless. The time continuum was closing. So as not to confuse him about the whole time travelling nonsense and distract him from his later masterworks, I administered the hardest back-handed bitch-slap I could muster and knocked William Faulkner unconscious. The portal reopened, and a sparkly blue sentient nimbus lowered itself beside me. “Master McGee!” it said. “Come! We must go! Tolstoy awaits and is about to miss his train!”

    “Jiminy crickets!” said I. “We can’t have that!”

    Taking one last glance at Faulkner, I bid him adieu, then hopped onto the sentient blue sparkly cloud and rode the hell on out of there.

  7. #7
    Member Teb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    West Yorkshire, UK

    Boys to Men

    The boys lay side by side on the grassy hillside, basking in the late autumn sunlight and watching clouds drift overhead at random intervals to cast fleeting shadows across the countryside. The constant chatter of the boys mingled with the sounds of the insects and birds as though they had both accepted that neither posed a threat to the other. A sudden alien sound splits the air as a brace of biplanes erupted over the hill in close formation, wing tips mere feet apart as they soared majestically overhead. The boys leapt to their feet and stood transfixed, eyes following the planes as they faded from view and the sounds of nature returned. The boys looked at each other, words unspoken but understood passed between them and as one they began to run down the hill with their arms outstretched.

    The sun blazed on the yellowing grass, dry leaves tumbled across the ground in the cool breeze that caressed any uncovered skin on the men as they reclined in their deck chairs with caps pulled down across their faces. The sound of an aeroplane engine droned louder and louder, the engine note going from distant buzz to a deep throaty growl as the plane drew closer.

    ”A pint says Paddy forgets his landing gear again.”

    The voice came from under a well worn cap and sounded almost bored of the world as if it’s childhood promise of adventure had somehow failed to materialise.

    ”No chance, not after the last rollocking he got for pranging that way. Your on.”

    This from another cap covered face but the mouth was exposed and a long blade of grass protruded from it’s corner. The two lapsed back into a comfortable silence as the planes engine note continued to grow louder. A few minutes passed before the sound of excited voices and men running caused the blade of grass to shift slightly. The whoosh of a flare being fired brought a wry smile to the grass chewing mouth and as the fighter powered back up hastily to climb he raised his own voice to state ruefully.

    “Damn. Well pretty soon Jerry won’t need an air force if we keep letting Paddy fly. Shall we see if there is still a war going on or if us Cloud Riders can retire?

    As one both figures stretched out their legs and their arms up before the caps were pushed back in perfect unison to reveal boyish faces, eyes twinkling with mischievousness. They levered themselves from their deckchairs and folded them before leaning them against the tail wheels of their Hurricanes then began to stroll towards the small cabin that served as their ready room. Before they were halfway there the door flung open and a figure emerged frantically ringing a bell and screaming for red section to scramble. The two men spun and sprinted back to their planes as ground crew swarmed into action, each crew chief stood waiting with a parachute harness that was hurriedly thrown on as they clambered onto the wing and into the cockpit. Seconds later both engines gave a hacking cough whilst smoke burst from the exhausts before the propeller blades became a blur and the engines roared with power. Ground crew scattered, pulling long ropes to remove the wheel chocks against which the planes were straining as though eager to get airborne, then the engine note deepened as the wheels began to roll over the grass at increasing speeds before the wheels were no longer rolling on grass but spinning aimlessly in the air.

    Slowly the sound of the engines faded as the crew chiefs met for a cigarette at the fallen deckchairs whilst around them their teams dispersed slowly, each one silent as they waited to see if their charges would return safe from the clouds this time round.
    Rimmer: You can't just whack Death on the head!
    Lister: If he comes near me, I'm gonna rip his nipples off!

    You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it.
    - Robin Williams

  8. #8
    Wɾˇʇˇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Jul 2015
    In a far-distant otherworld.
    Blog Entries
    anonymous entry; caution: some adult content


    (649 words)

    Her father brought her to this house last year and said good-bye. Food was delivered every week; everything else she ordered off the internet.

    She was 17 years old and a fungus was growing in and on her face. The doctors had tried to eradicate it, first with ways that didn't hurt, then with ways that did. But the fungus couldn't be removed without tearing all the skin off her face, and even then the doctors thought the fungus was more likely to grow back than her skin.

    Frightening did not even begin to describe how awful her face looked. Showing her face to people was cruel; even her father couldn't look at her.

    Because of the fungus, she needed mist in the air. So misting machines ran continuously in every room. She could go outside only in a thick fog; her internet nickname was CloudRider.

    So, one very foggy night, she was walking outside her house for only the third time, a blanket pulled over her head like a deep hood. She loved the smells in the air and wandering in different places.

    Then, with no warning, two small goblins jumped in front of her and screamed, "BOO!"

    They laughed hysterically. One goblin asked, "Did we scare you?"

    "Um, no? I mean, YES. I was so scared."


    A boy, about 17, appeared out of the mist. "Sorry about the girls. They got away from me and my Mom. I didn't know how to find them in this fog until I heard them screaming."

    "Uh, glad to help."

    "MOM! I FOUND THE GIRLS." They were standing by a street lamp. He looked at the hood hiding her face. "Are you supposed to be death or something?"

    Then one of the girls pulled the blanket off her face.

    She froze in terror. The boy was looking right at the fungus face that terrified a hospital and everyone who saw it.

    "Ick! Ack! That's the grossest thing I've ever seen." She just stood there in pain and humiliation. He added. "How did you get that effect? It's awesome."

    She looked at him. He was dressed like a pirate. It was Halloween. Oh. "It's just makeup. I mean, my mother was a makeup artist for movies."

    "I'm in love with your mother. That is, without a doubt, the scariest face I've ever seen."

    "I know, right?"

    A nurse came walking out the fog. The boy said, "Mom, this is . . ."


    "Hi Erin." She peered at Erin. "That's the most hideous face I have ever seen."

    For once people were saying the truth instead of denying it. "I know."

    "I'll watch the girls, David. You can talk with your friend."

    "Thanks, Mom." They disappeared into the fog, and he turned back to her, "Uh . . . "

    If she could have one wish, it was the touch of a boy. This opportunity would knock only once. "Will you touch me?" She held her breath, waiting.

    "Your face? Probably not, but let me try." He slowly reached up and touched her face. His face was a mask of disgust, but he bravely touched her. Because of the fungus, she could hardly feel it.

    "I mean, touch my stomach. Or my breast."

    "You want me to touch your breast?"

    "More than you will ever know."

    "Maybe I should start with your stomach." She pulled up her t-shirt, baring her stomach. He ran his finger across it. It felt so wonderful she couldn't believe it was happening.

    "Was that what you wanted?"

    "Fantastic." She pulled her t-shirt and bra up higher, exposing her right breast.

    "You're kidding me."

    "Please?" she begged.

    "No problems here." He ran his finger along the skin of her breast. Her whole body shuddered with pleasure.

    "Have you ever had sex with a girl?"

    "No. Why do you ask?"

    "Do you think you could learn really quickly?"

    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!


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