Literary Maneuvers May 2019 - "At Sea"

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  1. #1

    Literary Maneuvers May 2019 - "At Sea"

    "At Sea"
    650 words, deadline 23:59 GMT, Thursday 16th May, 2019


    This month's prompt, as voted for by WF members, is "At Sea", 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 Candervalle, meegads, velo, and -xXx-. 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 should 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 3 days into the next month to deliver their scores and then I will post with what I have.

    All anonymous entries will be PMed to bdcharles.

    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, including judges. 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:
    Thursday night 16th of May at 11:59:59 PM, GMT, on the dot. Please note any time differences where you are and be mindful of daylight savings time.

    Scores would be appreciated by the last day of the current month, at the latest, pretty please, cherry on top, mmm? Too much later than that and I will have to post with any scores that I have.

    Click here for the current time. Good luck!

    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

    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
    The Nude Beach
    (word count - 646)

    I remember I was walking along the water's edge at New Smirna's Nude Beach, when I saw the boat. I pushed it out a little and got in. I sat facing the shore when I picked up both oars and began rowing far away from where I had been.

    It was morning when a strange feeling had come over me at work. I felt I just had to leave. I walked out of the office, down the elevator to the parking garage, into my car and then onto the busy street. I had no destination in mind, just the idea that I simply needed to go. And go I did. First north, then south, then east to the ocean. Somehow, an odd internal navigation system was in operation now, and I knew, just knew, where to go next.

    By noon, I had gotten to the beach and found the small parking lot deserted. I saw the sign, the word "Nude" playing in my head. Without hesitating, I took off all of my clothes and threw them into the passenger's seat of my car. I left the doors unlocked as I started toward the water.

    I had not been outside without clothes on since I was a small child, but the feeling of freedom now, as a naked adult, was almost overwhelming. There was enough of a wind blowing as I stepped onto the hot sand, and I could feel the hair on my head lifting up as I walked. I stopped, spreading my arms wide, wanting to feel wind and heat on every part of my body, sweeping up my legs, across my bare bottom, over my chest and back; up my neck. I smiled; I was happy. I wanted to shout, so I did.

    I walked into the water until it was above my knees. That tentative moment, just before warm genitals are submerged into a cold body of water, was delicious and eventually I went further, up to my waist. I turned to face the shore and walked back. My newly-tanned skin was glistening in the sun and I looked more muscular and fit than ever before, water droplets falling off of me in slow motion as I made my way back onto the sand. I felt several inches taller somehow and continued my walk where small waves washed my feet at every step.

    I spotted the boat then, and took it out to sea. I rowed until I could row no more, the sand and shore becoming smaller and smaller as I went. The sense of freedom and well-being continued, even as I looked into the dark waters of the ocean. I couldn't see the shore at all now, I was officially at sea. There was no sound save the lapping of water against the side of the boat, so I decided a nap would be wonderful. I struck my feet up on the bench seat and laid my body on the warm wooden boat bottom. I slept, dreamless and carefree.

    The little craft was rocking violently as I awoke some time later and I could hear someone calling, sounding like Fred, my assistant.

    "Hey! You missed the meeting. What do you think you're doing? And what is THIS, for crissake?"

    I reluctantly opened my eyes. I saw I was no longer at the beach, no longer in the little boat. I was, however, all the way naked, my clothes lying in a heap under the desk.

    "I was at sea, Fred, and I was awesome." He started to laugh.

    "Yeah, you're awesome all right, and you even have an audience to confirm that."

    Along the inner window of my office were the many faces of my co-workers; some smiling, some frowning, some laughing as I confidently stood before them.

    Yes, Fred, I thought, I was at sea. And dammit, I was awesome!
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.

  4. #4
    Member Bardling's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Houston TX

    A Pirate's Tale

    The seas are dangerous, dark and deep, and much is hidden within them. Every sailor knows that you should never turn your back to the sea. Knowing and doing are two different things, however.

    Harris was a canny old sea dog. He had a permanent sunburn, what little hair he had left looked windswept under his hat, and the privations of a life at sea had left him skinny, scarred and limping. He had seen about as much as there was to see on the water and off it, he felt. After he had saved up a little and left the navy, not amicably, he had gathered a fine crew of ruffians and set about trying to earn a living by parting others from their livings. Sometimes literally.

    They had chased a fine merchant ship for most of a fortnight before they finally ran her down. A stern chase is a long chase, but this was longer than most. He almost called off a few times. Their pilot had finally made one too many mistakes, though. They had caught her close to a smoking wasteland of an island, which Harris had to admit he hadn’t ever seen before, and he couldn’t guess where they might actually be.

    Standing by the guns, he listened to the shouts and yells of his crew, as they stormed onto the deck of the galleon. The smell of gunsmoke was thick in the air, from shooting off one of the big guns, by way of a salute. That had convinced the other captain to lay over right quick. Most of the crew seemed to be missing, though.

    And here was the captured captain, being chivvied along by Big Tom. Harris’s first mate was thoughtful like that; it was why they got along so well. The captain looked fancy, dressed in white pants and long coat. It contrasted with his dusky skin and curly black hair. Harris stepped forward, his greatcoat flaring out behind him like tattered rusty black wings. Their captive captain wasn’t a large man. Harris could loom over him quite satisfactorily, and Big Tom positively dwarfed him. The cheeky smile showed not a lick of fear though. Looked like the man wasn’t properly comprehendin’ his situation, here.

    “What do we have here, Tom” Harris said, looking the pretty young fool up and down slowly. “This the captain, or the captain’s pet?”

    “He was actin’ like he was in charge, Captain Harris” Tom said, after a gravely laugh. “There weren’t no one in the big cabin, so he might just be.”

    Harris shook his head in despair over what the world had come to, letting fools like this lead ships.

    “Captain Harris?” The little fool said. “The mutineer Harris, who murdered the crew and passengers of seven ships?”

    “You heard of me, little man?” Harris asked gravely. “Then you should have some idea of what could happen to you.”

    The little fool laughed. Laughed! Harris was amazed at his complete disregard of an agonizing death.

    “Why should I worry? I have you right where he wants you.” He said “Not many can bargain with a sea witch, but throw enough overboard and someone will get lucky.”

    Harris and Tom stared in shock. Then the shouting started. From the deep and empty sea, a dead ship had risen up. Her captain was a sea witch, black haired and pale, the tentacles of his lower half writhing and knotting against the deck. The screams of his sailors almost drowned out Big Tom’s shout. Harris turned to see the damned bastard that lured them here darting for the rail as Big Tom folded up around the knife in his gut.

    “Where do you think you can run?” Harris roared angrily, “What good is revenge if you die too!”

    The bastard laughed.

    “Why should I run from my love?” He asked, leaving Harris at sea for an answer.

  5. #5
    Supervisor velo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Probably on a boat in Puget Sound
    Blog Entries
    "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

    "Don't fuck with writers, we will describe you." -unknown

  6. #6
    Mental Oedema
    (650 words)

    With her entire hand engulfed up his anus and threatening to creep up to her wrist, past the barrier of her gloves, Mary was beginning to think it would have been better had she phoned in sick.

    “A bit further,” the old man croaked, bent over the trolley.

    “It’s as far as it needs to go Mr Bennett.” And with that she freed her hand. The suppository had probably gone past the first bend of his bowels and into his sigmoid colon. As Mr Bennett thanked her and wrestled up his trousers, Mary wiped sweat from her brow, sure to use the forearm of her clean arm, and stared at the deep blue curtains engulfing the cubicle.

    Beyond them she could hear a world of pain floating her way. Blaring monitors, groans and retches and the general hub-bub of the emergency department. Her stomach rumbled. She was just about up to date with her patients, having sacrificed lunch to be so, but with the squeak of some wheels that was changing. Opening the curtain, an ambulance crew was bringing her another patient, a wave of putrid fish assailing her nose. Urine infection. She sighed. Old people always got crazy with urine infections.

    Mary washed her hands, wondering how the day could get any worse.

    “Where is he?” a face flew at her, “Take me to him now!”

    Mary’s brain stuttered.

    “Don’t you try to hide him from me!”

    The woman’s face was contorted at feral angles. The resus patient. She must be a relative of the resus patient. Who had died not 30 minutes past.

    “Tell me what happened!”

    Shit. Shit. Shit.

    Mary could think of nothing to say. It wasn’t her deceased patient, she knew no details, but that didn’t absolve her of responsibility. She took the task on in her mind, adding it to the top of a list that was already impossible to achieve. Her mind creaked; wood under the weight of an ocean.

    “Follow me,” she said, drying her hands with paper towels as they went.

    Mary started walking towards the nurses station, completely unsure how she was going to deal with this situation. In a teaching session just last week, it was reiterated how important were those first few moments around the breaking of bad news. Maybe the difference between gradual acceptance and years of grieving. This wasn’t the place to tell her, and Mary wasn’t the person, but even now she could feel the immediacy of the relative, demanding answers. Her hypoglycaemic brain offered nothing.

    Walking, she could feel the sticky wetness of blood between her legs – she had needed to change pads for the last hour, but just hadn’t had the chance to nip to the toilet.

    Seconds. That’s how long she had to come up with something to say. Something that may stay with this person forever. As if in the eye of some great storm, Mary’s mind was blank, serene even, unable to stir itself to avoid an inevitable battering.

    Approaching the nurses station: no one there. No one useful anyway. A healthcare assistant and a couple of junior doctors sharing some joke. Had a charge nurse been there, even one of the senior doctors, they may have helped. But she alone would have to find some words.

    “Belinda!” the relative cried, and ran off towards the relatives room opposite the station, “what happened? Is he…?”

    The two relatives fell into each other’s arms, sobbing, and retreated back into the room, asking nothing further of Mary. She let out a long breath, only then becoming aware that she had held it at all.

    Mary stood by the nurses station for a few moments, letting her breath settle. She sent a silent prayer: it felt like a blessing to have been spared that task. She took a chocolate from the station, and turned back to her cubicles.

    “Nurse, I pissed myself again.”

  7. #7

    Expanse (Contains Words)

    -Those who are borne into the abyss can never stare into it -


    "Young one? Are you still awake?"

    I shuffled my body beneath the blankets. Old Ragar, mate first o' me father Zord, he was in the zone tah tell a tale again.

    "Speak oh Ragar, for thou hast awakened me!"

    Ragar spoke. Our ship did float through the nebulae. The tale was told.


    Captain Imarkh came to the city of Antark, that southernmost Jewel. The great leviathan, Johnaz, pulled Imarkh's vessel, that old ironsides maiden of a thousand souls, into port.

    It pulled her past the great whale pens, where beasts as big as hills were fed.

    It pulled them past the Gunnery, the orbital defence system.

    They docked. Ship VXII docked.

    Captain Imarkh at once disembarked, stepped upon the solo rail. It flung him towards the palace, that monolithic coral spire which jutted above all of Antark.

    The king, Edward, 60th of his name, awaited him.

    "Oh sir Imarkh! What providence that you have arrived so soon from the Rus wars! Sir Imarkh, my mommy awaits you. Urgent thing, oh yes an urgent thing indeed!"

    The great obsidian panel slid upward. Imarkh scratched his crotch out of boredom. The Eterness, labmother to a thousand kings, was revealed. Floating in her symbitank. Wires, tubes, thousands of both spread from her like an orgy of spiders. Her body, a paltry thing, was near motionless, merely bobbing.

    The corpse queen's mechanical voice spake thus:

    "Imarkh, ant, here is my decree: Thou art to kill the hermit, the Man, the lost one. Longalatitudes on ship VXII. Dive. Alone. Kill."


    Ship VXII was astride upon the ever hungry waves. The storm raged. The sub was prepped. Imarkh entered it. Dove. Dove deep. Many fathoms it took afore he sighted buildings.


    Outer hull of subaqua hab breached. Air sealed and normalised.. Kalishnikov shouldered. Imarkh spat, and entered the control room


    The hermit was... old. Wrinkled, greyed and stooping. He was smiling.

    "Imarkh, hero of Madagasc. Nice to meet you! Please, take a seat!"

    Imarkh fired instead. Fired four times. The fission shield dissipated his bullets. He spat, harder this time. Grinned.

    "Why does the Eternes want you dead, old codger?"

    "Ah Imarkh, boy, now you ask deep questions. But I offer only simple answers. See now... here!"

    The hermit pushed a small pink button.

    "What did you press, Hermit?"

    "Why young laddie, this be the end! And the beginning. Yea. Nukes have just been unleashed on this poor earthly planet. All cities, gone. But my ships! For millenia I have crafted 'em. Staffed 'em. So... this planet is bird shit. But our boats! Our future! They embrace the universe. Let them flow like a torrent onto the shores of eternity!"


    "That's why we float, young son of Zord. That is why we float."

    I heard these last words of old Ragar and then... embraced sleep.

    The cosmic ocean stretched around us.


    Rest is vital.

    For we be explorers.

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