Literary Maneuvers Sept 2019 - Choose a Prompt!

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  1. #1

    Literary Maneuvers Sept 2019 - Choose a Prompt!

    Literary Maneuvers September 2019
    "Choose A Prompt"

    650 words, deadline 23:59 GMT, Monday 16th Sept, 2019


    OKay, fiction contest lovers, this is it. This is the month where you get to choose from all seconded prompts. As normal, 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 one of the prompts below. Please include which prompt you used.

    So with no (well, maybe a little) further ado, the prompts are:


    Caught in a web

    Crimson Flower

    The Devil is a Poser

    Fearsome Beast

    Give War a Chance!

    Me & Bobby McGee ~Janice Joplin

    "There are two possibilities . . .either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying." Arthur C. Clark

    Re-tell a fairy tale

    Spirit Talk

    Tales of a Scorched Earth

    Thorn of Crowns

    The worst betrayal

    Where Boys Fear to Tread

    The judges this month are BornForBurning, luckyscars, SueC, and -xXx-. You know 'em (if you don't, they're all great), you love 'em (maybe), and you probably know what they like, so ... you have been warned 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?

    A couple of points:

    Note 1: we are sticking with the new scoring: evaluation focuses on the technical aspects, synposise the story, consider whether the prompt is included, what story elements are used, is it consistent, and so on. Reaction is the personal bit: did the story touch you?

    All entries that wish to retain their first rights should post in the LM Workshop Thread.

    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 no later than three days after the closing date it will ensure a timely release of results. Much later than that and I will have to post with what 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:
    Monday night 16th of September at 11:59:59 PM, GMT (not BST), on the dot. Please note any time differences where you are and be mindful of daylight savings time.
    Last edited by bdcharles; September 3rd, 2019 at 10:57 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
    Member CmdrTrailblazer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Middle of Nowhere
    Last Request

    The Worst Betrayal

    "Joe! Joey!"

    All thoughts of sleep were dashed from Joe's mind. Within seconds, Joe had appeared in his father's doorway. He hesitantly edged in the room, fearing the worst.

    Instantly, he relaxed. His father was sitting in the same position Joe had left him.

    "I need water," Dad said grumpily, giving his son a glare.

    "Of course!" Joe said. He immediately left and returned, glass in hand.

    After making his father comfortable, Joe returned to bed. A night of restless slumber followed.

    7AM the next morning, Joe jerked awake. As his routine, he went straight to his father's room.

    Like clockwork, Dad was wide awake. He looked up when Joe entered.

    "Oh good. You're up," Dad said cheerfully, "I got something to tell you."

    Dad patted the bed beside him. Joe sat down. As his father smiled, Joe could see the toll cancer was taking on the old man. His father's features were contorted in pain. The sparkle in his dad's eye that Joe remembered from childhood still remained.

    "I want to talk to you about my will," Dad said, "as you know-"

    "No," Joe fervently said, "I don't want to talk about this."

    Dad simply put a hand on his son's shoulder, saying gently, "I know. But we've got to face this sooner rather than later."

    Joe sighed and nodded. Dad reached over and plucked a photo from his nightstand, saying idly, "I'm splitting everything between you and Tom."

    "What?!" Joe spat, standing up. "Why? Tom left the instant you were diagnosed. Why should you bother with him?"

    Dads smile never wavered. He said softly, "That may so. But he is my son. I can't leave him out. Besides, at least you're getting the house."

    Joe hung his head. Within the span of moments, he had to admit defeat twice. He looked up at the old man again and said, "Okay Dad."


    Time passed. Two weeks later, Joe came in to his dad's room at 7AM as usual. But Dad had fallen asleep for the last time.

    The funeral was a week later. It was a small, quiet event. To Joe's surprise, Tom actually bothered to show up.

    Later, Joe went home to find an envelope on the kitchen table. The top read "From Dad, to Joe".

    Joe snatched a knife from the kitchen and quietly opened the envelope and pulled out a letter. He quietly read it until a voice startled him.

    "Some funeral, eh Joe?"

    It was Thomas. Joe turned around, knifed letter in hand to face his older brother.

    "What do you want?" Joe demanded.

    "Oh, I was just wondering if Dad, y'know, had any money left," Tom said with a smug grin. "Heard he was loaded. If he did, I wanted my cut before my flight left tomorrow."

    That was it. Without thinking, Joe's hand with the knife struck out. The utensil embedded itself in Tom's throat. Seconds later, Tom fell to the floor, a shocked expression forever embedded on his face.

    Joe looked at his brother's body in shock, dropping the knife. Then he remembered the words of the letter.

    Hey Joey,

    I know the last couple years have been hard on you. I'm sorry to have been the cause of that. I want to thank you for being the best son a father could have. But now that I've passed on, I have one final request for you.

    Reach out to Thomas. He may not have been here as you have, but he is your brother and my son. I want the both of you to remember how things were before the cancer. Please honor the last request of a dying man. As always, I know you will make the right choice.


    The letter dropped from Joe's hands, falling in the puddle of Tom's blood. In the silence of the empty house, all he could do was weep.
    Fire is beautiful and dangerous. It destroys and plants seeds for rebuilding. Small or large, fire both contributes and takes away - just like people.

  3. #3
    Offline: Depressed Trollheart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Where the sour turns to sweet
    Come away, human child to the waters and the wild
    With a faery hand in hand.
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. - WB Yeats "The Stolen Child"

    I drink to forget, but I never forget to drink.

    "If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA" - The The, "Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)" - Mind Bomb, 1989

    The most destructive force on the planet is not nukes or global is the human ego. - Ralph Rotten

  4. #4

    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
    Liar [Warning- abuse triggers]

    Worst betrayal prompt (244 words)
    Last edited by seigfried007; September 13th, 2019 at 03:52 PM.
    "Ammonia will disinfect sin."

    "Art is life, just add bull****."
    --Chris Miller

  6. #6
    "When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand." - Raymond Chandler

  7. #7
    The Worst Betrayal (640 words, anonymous)

    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

    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
    "ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring
    forget your perfect offering
    there is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
    that's how the light gets in."

  10. #10
    Front line, back hand.

    650 words, mild language, Adrift

    Dr Lindberg was a GP. So why on earth he was triaging A&E patients was quite beyond him. This was a nurse’s job: not that this was beneath him, it just wasn’t part of his day job. The department had been spilt into an Urgent Care Centre for the minor injuries and illnesses, while the A&E remained to deal with the rest. He was employed by the former, not technically part of the hospital: he wasn’t part of the ‘team’, and the A&E staff sure let him know it. He was adrift and it was beginning to tell. GPs were supposed to triage patients now, to ‘streamline’ patient care – one of those buzzwords managers so cherished which meant nothing. Trying to send a patient to A&E had become a nightmare.

    “What do you mean you can’t take the patient? You’re an A&E department, you take everything.” He wasn’t used to getting resistance from nurses, but was starting to learn that those from A&E were a different breed.

    “Only so long as we keep accepting this rubbish. This is clearly a GP issue so deal with it. That’s the point of having you.”

    Dr Lindberg punched the nurse. He could scarcely believe he had done it. The nurse stumbled back. Immediately he regretted it, even without the entire waiting room, now in silent anticipation, watching him.

    “I’m so sorry… no don’t…” the nurse struck him back, thankfully the punch of someone not used to using fists. “OK, OK. Look we’re even now. I’m sorry I hit you. I just snapped.”

    The nurse seemed to relax, at least a little. “What the hell, man? What’s your problem?”

    “I’m just having a bad year.” Much like the punch, the words came without him realising, “lost my girlfriend, then got into a spot of debt and been trying to work my way out of it, and then this fucking place, you know?” he lifted exasperated arms to the waiting room, no longer caring who saw, hoping the nurse would understand.

    “Yeah, I know. You need a break, mate. So do I actually.”

    “Fuck it. Shall we leave?” the idea didn’t sound like his own, but it thrilled him.

    “Now? Really?”

    Dr Lindberg nodded enthusiastically. “What can they do to me? I’ve got nothing left to lose. I’ve even thrown away my dignity now. I’ve been on my rat wheel forever and the faster I run the more the world blurs. Had enough. I’m out.”

    “Excuse me,” came a nasal voice. The doctor turned to a weasel faced man, glasses perched delicately on the end of a long nose, “but if you leave, who is going to see me?”

    “Someone will see you. Just not me.”

    “But we’ll all have to wait here a lot longer. This is most unacceptable.”

    This time he recognised the wave of anger that flooded through his body, twitching his fists, and was able to hold it back. Or at least turn a physical lashing into a verbal one.

    “Look, it’s pompous pricks like you that make my job miserable. You just saw me punch someone. Would you rather wait longer to be seen, a risk having a doctor more than happy to lamp you one?”

    “Well, I never…” the man started, but soon sat down as Dr Lindberg stepped forward, terrified and thrilled at his audacity.

    The nurse put a hand on his shoulder. “Easy, mate. You need to calm down.”

    He sighed. “I need more than that. I’m actually having homicidal ideation,” the weasel man shrank in his chair, “and if that’s not a mental health emergency, I don’t know what is. I’m booking myself in.”

    He strode towards the reception desk, all the receptionists watching him silently.

    “Hi Sam. Can I book myself in?”

    “Um… yes, of course…” Sam entered some details. “Erm… you’ll have to wait for the triage doctor, but it might be a while…”

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