Anonymous Literary Maneuvers February 2019 - "Footprints in the Snow"


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  1. #1
    Wɾ°ʇ°∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Anonymous Literary Maneuvers February 2019 - "Footprints in the Snow"

    Anonymous comp: "Footprints in the Snow"

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    Feb 2019

    Word count: 650 excl title; end date: 15 Feb 23:59 GMT


    Introduction - PLEASE READ


    This month's prompt, as voted for by you, is "Footprints in the Snow", for which you are to write a maximum of 650 words of fiction. However I would like to try something a little different. I would like all entries to be submitted anonymously. On top of that judges' entries can be scored as normal but only by the other judges - no scoring of your own work. 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, and then send it to me as a PM. Sound easy? Good. It is easy Just let me know whether you want it in the secure area or not. If you happen to submit your story as yourself, not to worry, it's not the end of the world. You can edit your post and resend it to me as long as its within the 10 min grace period. If you do leave it up, don't worry. It's just an experiment to try and see if things seem different when some of the information is removed, like those restaurants where you dine in the dark. I will reveal the identities of all judges and participants with the scores unless you tell me otherwise.

    The full pack of 4 judges this month are... for me to know and for you to find out! If you wish to join this month's panel (max of 4), please sign up for judging by PM only. If you want to judge and I left you out, send me your scores before the end of the month. If you're listed here and don't wish to judge, please let me know at once.

    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 must be marked as "SECURE" and I will post in the LM Workshop Thread.

    All Judges scores will be PMed to bdcharles as soon as possible after the competition closes. Note: I will give judges till the last day of the month to deliver their scores and then I will post with what I have, to ensure the continued slick running of WF to which we all contribute.

    All anonymous entries will be PMed to bdcharles.

    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.



    Everyone is welcome to participate, including judges. A judge's entry will receive a review by their fellow judges, but it will not receive a score from the submitter. If you do try and score your own entry, I shall have to remove said score Please refrain from 'like'-ing or 'lol'-ing an entry until the scores are posted.

    Judges, if you could send the scores one week after the closing date it will ensure a timely release of results, and by the last day of the current month, at the latest. Any later than that and I will have to post with any scores that I have. Please see the Judging Guidelines if you have questions. Following the suggested formatting will be much appreciated, too.

    This competition will close on:
    Friday night 15th of February at 11:59:59 PM, GMT, on the dot. Please note any time differences where you are and be mindful of daylight savings time.


    Click here for the current time. Good luck!
    Last edited by bdcharles; February 13th, 2019 at 11:59 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
    Wɾ°ʇ°∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    FORGIVENESS

    There is one kind of snow that I love; barely below freezing, no wind, with big, soft flakes. Many of them. And the quiet; those type of snows are always so very quiet, you can almost hear the voice of God. It seems a sin to speak out loud in such a snow fall.

    It had come during the night, and the morning found me standing at my kitchen window, coffee cup in hand. I am old, but that morning it was hard to resist getting into coat and mittens and going out and just standing in the yard; in that lovely, God-gifted snow. I stayed in my pajamas instead, watching at the window this time. Thatís when I saw them.

    Little indents, barely visible at first. They began at the edge of the patio and went off into the yard. So small, I thought, but when the pallet is blank, discerning even the slightest irregularity is not that difficult. I took a sip of my brew and eventually followed the line of footprints onto the blank page.

    There is something sad about the first disturbance of newly-fallen snow, almost unforgivable. So few things arrive in such pristine condition, but it never remains. There are snow men and forts to build, shovels and snow-blowers to utilize, and in no time, that rare moment of virgin precipitation is gone.

    I forgave the baby rabbit. A little soul, so young, had come out of the hutch, away from siblings and its mom, and traveled across the white expanse. A little boy, I thought. Tentative at first and staying close to the familiar patio edge, he was now in the middle of the yard, alone. My little adventurous baby bunny. I smiled at my imagination, still capable of bringing a story to a small moment in the snow.

    He stood in profile at the end of the line of dots in the white; in the open and probably wondering where to go next. He was a brown baby, sharp contrast against the pale, with tiny floppy ears. I imagined he was looking at me and I lowered my cup so he could see me better. Was he wondering why I hadnít come out to play?

    He sat still for so long that he almost seemed artificial and then he performed a small, endearing sideways hop toward the house again, toward me. I wondered if he was going to go back the way he had come, if his adventure was over and he couldnít wait to tell those back in the hutch what fun it had been, being alone in the open space.

    Yes, I forgave the little fellow for his tracks on that white pallet, but what happened next made me wish he had never been born with such an adventurous spirit.

    On days such as this, everything seems to be of one color, although in varying shades. There was pure white, off white, shades of cream and gray. Ultra-pale green as fir branches became laden with snow. And then there was little boy bunny Ė brown as a walnut, visible, and sweet.

    There was a noise, I remembered later, caustic and an affront to the silent falling. I imagined in all the white, viewed from above, my little bunny may have appeared to be a stone at first. Until he moved, of course; until he had made that little half-hop in my direction, toward safety. Were mom and the others watching him too?

    It was that preciously endearing moment, I reflected, that told the flying predator that food could be had in my yard, in my pristine heaven. It came from on high, hawk talons extended and without so much as a pretense at a landing, grabbed my sweet brown nugget from the yard, and flew back into the sky.

    Is it silly to cry over one less baby bunny in the world?


    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!





  3. #3
    Wɾ°ʇ°∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Be Careful What You Wish For (643 words)

    Peter was fed up of next door's Kelvin shooting at him. He wished a grizzly or something would get Kelvin in the woods. Anyway,now Peter had his own rifle to shoot back.

    Laters.

    Meanwhile, Peter’s footsteps crumped along the snowy field. The prints of a young bobcat were clear in the snow. Crouching down, he fingered them lightly for a moment then stood, raising his 12th birthday present (air rifle) in their direction. Gravity caused his cold nose to run and he sniffed loudly. Lowering the rifle, he continued walking and sometimes grimacing at the noise underfoot. He just wanted to see that bobcat - and rudely sting its butt with a pellet!

    At the shallow stream Peter lost the prints, though found that his waterproofed left boot wasn’t fit for purpose after crossing the water.
    Then more bobcat prints showed. He crouched and fingered them again. They seemed bigger, deeper and wet from crossing the stream. The same young cat or an adult? The rifle pointed again and then the crumping feet and squelching foot followed the pugmarks.

    Continuing on, Peter's feet were rhythmically crump-crump- squelching along on the bobcat’s trail. He knelt down and fingered a print. Maybe it wasn’t a young one after all. This print seemed bigger. Too big for a bobcat. The loud sniff as he stood was accompanied by a noisy swallow as cold mucous slithered pleasantly down his throat.

    The trees were sparse at first but became more crowded the deeper Peter went in. He lost the prints, then found them, then lost and found them again. Kneeling down, a nose droplet landed in the print. Surely too big for a bobcat, he thought, jerking his head back while sniffing loudly and swallowing. Maybe the light wind had enlarged them. The snow wasn’t as deep here in the wood. There were leaves and dirt mixed in, making tracking difficult. A print here, a print there, a few yards of nothing, then another print.

    Then sadly, the prints were lost…

    … and one found again but now it was huge! Peter didn’t even need to squat down to look. It had to be made by a bear. Ignoring the danger, he followed. He couldn’t help himself. Fully in hunter-mode, he continued on for several minutes, exiting the wood and following the largish prints across the field. The nature of the fluffy snow caused the prints to lose the precise indentations of the toes.

    Some bushes and then another wood getting close. There was something about the prints that seemed odd; the indents were clear but no toes. Peter’s puzzled expression cleared as he realised there were just two prints repeated : footprints - shoeprints!

    Deliberately, Peter trod next to a footprint to gauge it with his own. His print was bigger.

    Suddenly a sharp, stinging pain hit the side of his cheek. A burning sensation at odds with his cold flesh. A loud cracking noise had accompanied the sensation. He grimaced and espied Kelvin from next door, smiling and reloading his own air rifle, half-hiding behind a bush. Peter immediately raised his rifle - shot, missed, turned and ran.

    Ran towards the woods. Peter could hear running, crumping noises and material- rubbing noises that were not his own. He felt a slight tap on his back as he heard the gun behind him fire. Glancing backwards once, he could see Kelvin running and smiling while awkwardly reloading. There was another crack in the air but this time no impact.

    Entering the woods, Peter kept running. Glancing back, he heard a loud roar as he saw Kelvin, smile gone, taking aim at an approaching grizzly, and firing to no effect.

    Peter stared in astonishment then turned and ran. He would never forget the alarmed look on Kelvin's face.

    Peter ran and never looked back.

    He never saw Kelvin again.


    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!





  4. #4
    Wɾ°ʇ°∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    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!





  5. #5
    Wɾ°ʇ°∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Snow Angel
    630 words

    In a bedlam of blinding snow I blundered towards the base. Or so I hoped. Every step was a colossal effort against frozen limbs and with my hooded head bent low against the flurry I couldn’t see a thing. Not that it would matter in this frozen desert. I could only hope that I had not deviated too far from my path during the storm.

    As quickly as it had descended, the wind died, the snow ceased and the storm passed. To my right a few black rocks somehow defied the white austerity of the world, protruding through their deathly veil.

    And there I saw it before me. Hope!

    It took the shape of footprints. No doubt mine. They should lead back to the base, and even if they had faded with the storm, it was enough for me to know that at least I trod the right path.

    Now the wind had stopped stripping any warmth I had, I could feel just how cold I was. Yes, there was still pain there; biting in places where the cold penetrated, dull in others where my weary muscles protested. I wiggled my toes – I couldn’t be sure if they responded. To stop now would be to die. I gritted my teeth and decided this was not the day I would die. Martha waited for me back home; across the oceans but always in my heart.

    Fortunately the footprints continued. Even though they faded in some places, and were utterly scattered in others, enough remained of the trail that I might navigate this white and grey world.

    The long day was nearing its end, and though the night was but a few hours long I didn’t want to be caught in its chilling grip. I quickened my pace, forcing protesting limbs. My breathing quickened and heart raced with the effort.

    Odd that the footprints were getting stronger now that I was closer to the base. I still couldn’t see it, but by the time that had passed, I knew it should be close. To my right a few black rocks protruded from the barren landscape, the contrast as clear as life to death. They looked familiar, but I couldn’t place them. Martha would know, I’d ask as soon as I got back. Ah, but Martha was safe back home, I was going back to work. Or trying.

    Curious. There were now two sets of footprints in the snow.

    “Good evening Mr Berclow.” I looked up at the sudden voice to see a hooded figure. It looked as though he wore a black cloak, but somehow it let the snow behind it peer through, as if a veil.

    “Um… good evening…” I didn’t want to be rude, even if I was surprised to meet this chap.

    “Well now, we are in a spot of bother, aren’t we?” he said in voice as distant as the first memories of man and yet it was as if he spoke straight to my mind.

    I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, but I needed to focus on the task at hand. “Do you mind, I’m trying to do something here.”

    “Oh, of course. I shall be here when you need me. Worry not, all will be well.”

    The fellow left and I proceeded. I couldn’t quite remember why I was walking. Was I supposed to be getting something? I was so tired from the trek, and it was so warm and cosy here. Yes, a little nap would set me right. I could lose myself in a thousand dreams and wake up fresh. Just for a while.

    “Right this way Mr Berclow, you will be most welcome.” A voice somewhere said.

    I lay my head down upon the silken white pillow and closed my eyes.


    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!





  6. #6
    Wɾ°ʇ°∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    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!





  7. #7
    Wɾ°ʇ°∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
    Join Date
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    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!





  8. #8
    Wɾ°ʇ°∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
    Join Date
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    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!





  9. #9
    Wɾ°ʇ°∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    'Something's Ishy,' (Language and content warning)
    650 Words

    I’m pretty much the hottest shit I know. I have two friends: Ishmael and Paul. Paul’s a good guy. Ishmael’s secretive, prone to random outbursts and gazing longingly at the sea, and has more than once intimated without anybody asking that ‘Ishmael’ might not even be his real name. We also suspect, Paul and I, that he consorts with demons. How else would he know all the shit he knows? I’d always suspected Ishmael was a bit of a peeping tom. “How was breakfast?” he might ask. “Good,” I might respond. Then he’d say, “I would have chosen the strawberry pancakes, myself,” and I’d whip around, wigged out, ready to sock him one, only to find Ishmael disappeared, poofed off to somewhere else he probably didn’t belong.

    Anyways―I’m still the hottest shit I know. For one thing, I have lots of sex. I’ve boned fat chicks; small chicks; minority chicks; LGBQT LMNOP chicks; 10/10 chicks; chicks who possibly weren’t chicks... Whatever. Recently, however, I’ve been banging the same chick for three years straight. Paul asks, “When we going to meet her?” and I’ll look at Ishmael, daring him to say something. “Who cares?” I say. “Keep out of if.” She even makes me breakfast.

    “Damn, dude. Breakfast?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Blowjobs?”

    “Every day.”

    Breakfast?

    “I would have gone for the bacon, personally.”

    “Ishmael?”

    “Yeah?”


    “Fuck yourself.”


    Finally one day I’d had enough. I phoned Paul. “Paul,” I said. “Help me catch Ishmael.” “What?” “How does he know all the shit he knows?” “Iunno.” “Exactly!” “He reads a lot,” Paul said. “You know that.” “So what if he reads a lot? I read a lot.” “You do?” “Who cares? Say I do―it doesn’t give me superpowers.” Paul squealed. “You think he has superpowers, too?” “It was a figure of speech, Paul.” “I think he does, though!” “What?” “I think Ish has superpowers!” “Ishmael does not have fucking superpowers.” “Well then how does he know all the shit he knows?” “Oh my god.” “(BABY).” There was a pause. “Who’s that?” I ran into the other room. “No one,” I said. “It sounded like an old lady, dude.” “(WHERE ARE YOU, BABY).” “Is that an old chick?” “Paul, focus.” “Are you dating an old chick?” “Paul!” “(I NEED SOME SUGAR, BABY!).” “You’re dating an old chick!” “You know what, Paul?” “Yeah, bud?” “Fuck yourself. “But―!”

    Anyways, fuck Paul. I went to the lady’s room. So she looked like a deflated bedbound walrus. So what? She had money. I got on my knees and started crawling when I caught sight of it outside the window: footprints, no body, appearing magically in the snow.


    “Motherfucker…”


    “Baby?”


    “I gotta go.”

    “BABY?”

    My penis flopped in the wind, but at least I’d remembered my hat. “ISHMAEL!” I screamed. “YOU SONOFABITCH!” The footprints picked up their pace. “I CAN SEE YOU, YOU FUCK!” They went full sprint. “MOTHERFUCKER!”

    I leapt, tackling air. Ishmael’s invisible body collapsed under mine, and I wrestled him, penis v. penis, in the snow. “Get off!” “YOU PRICK!” “Get off!” “SAY IT?” “What?” “SAY IT!” “Say WHAT?” “SAY YOU CONSORT WITH DEMONS!” Ishmael’s bulge brushed my cheek; I had no idea what I was punching. “WHAT?” “SAY YOU CONSORT WITH DEMONS!” “OKAY!” “SAY IT!” “AAAGHHH.” “SAY ‘I CONSORT WITH DEMONS.” “I CONSORT WITH DEMONS.” I rolled off. Ishmael materialized before me, naked as I.


    “I knew it,” I said. “Well,” said Ishamel; “Cat’s out of the bag.”


    “How’d ya do it?”


    “Oh,” he said. “You know… Spells; sacrifices; potato chips…”


    I thought about my life; about the lady. “Ish,” I said; “Ya gotta teach me.”


    Ishmael thought about it. “Sure,” he said. “Okay.”


    “That’s it?”


    “That’s it.”


    “Okay,” I said. “Then… let’s go?”


    “Sure,” Ishmael said, “But…”


    “Yeah?”


    “Can I borrow your hat?”


    I smiled. “Sure thing, bud.”


    I gave Ishmael my hat; and together naked, penises side by side, we walked through the snow.


    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!





  10. #10
    Wɾ°ʇ°∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Tick-tick-boom. Time's up.


    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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