Literary Maneuvers Nov 2019 - "The Scarecrow"


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  1. #1
    Wɾʇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Literary Maneuvers Nov 2019 - "The Scarecrow"

    Literary Maneuvers, November 2019

    "The Scarecrow"

    650 words, deadline 23:59 GMT, Saturday 16th



    Introduction

    This month you will be writing to the prompt of "The Scarecrow." Pick your own title, write about whatever you want, as long as it fits the prompt. You have 650 words of fiction in which to do this.

    If you win, you'll get a badge pinned to your profile, plus the chance to write for our yearly Grand Fiction Challenge which carries cash prizes. Pretty neat, eh?


    Judging

    The judges this month so far are myself (bdcharles), Ibb and velo. For those interested in judging, let me know via PM or in the Coffee Shop. If you wish to know more about scoring, take a look at the Judging Guide


    Additional

    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.


    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 being 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:

    If you aren't too concerned about your first rights, then you can simply post your entry here in this thread.

    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.

    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, though some judges are happy to let you know their score for you privately. 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. Again, please see the Judging Guidelines if you have questions. Following the suggested formatting will be much appreciated, too.


    This competition will close on:
    Saturday 16th of November 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; November 15th, 2019 at 11:35 PM.


    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
    Formidophia
    (650 wds)

    "Oh my stars," says an old woman before me. I can hear her, but can't move or speak in response. She gazes at me fearfully, but still comes close. Taking two fingers, she points them at her eyes, then back at mine. Only then does she turn away to continue planting her garden seeds.

    Plenty of time to consider how I came to this lowly spot, being a scarecrow that portrays a human standing in a newly seeded row of crop. It's not been since ancient Egypt that actual humans were used as scarecrows; I wonder now what any of those poor souls had done wrong, to earn such a punishment.

    I work . . . well, I used to work in a company that made hand-crafted scarecrows. I was young, hired onto the first job I could find. It was an assembly-line opportunity, and my responsibilities were the eyes. Would that I had been given pants, shirt, stuffing of same, but no. I couldn't even claim the head; someone else had that job. All that was left was the face, specifically the eyes, of the scarecrow.

    They were to look as human as possible, I was told, and to that end real human orbs were supplied. It was felt crows and ravens would not be fooled by anything less. Where the eyes came from, what graves were desecrated for their harvest, was unknown to me. Every morning I would show up for work, and my supply of human eyeballs in a large, blue ceramic bowl of preservative was at the ready.

    On the line the completed body of the mannequin would be shoved my way. Everything else had been secured, including the hat, and I was the end of the creation. Two face-holes awaited my station's contribution; it was my choice to select a matching pair, or not.

    The effect on me as I humanized these previously orchestrated, stuffed bodies was gradual. At first, I tried not to spend too much time looking at the weathered face; just pluck a pair, apply glue, press and done. As time went on, however, I began to think of them as actually coming to life under my ministrations. I would talk to them in a low murmur.

    "There you are, dear."
    "You can see now."
    "You're welcome."

    One night, after a long day of production, my scarecrows were tethered and lined up against the wall, ready for shipping. They all looked unique in style and dress and more human than ever before, and, I thought, a little frightened by their circumstances. I touched each one in farewell; shook a straw mitt or patted a crunchy cheek. I felt as if I were losing friends.

    Next day, I decided I was no longer going to bring the scarecrows to life with human eyeballs. Too hard to say goodbye, I thought. I placed the blue ceramic bowl on the floor under the production table and withdrew from my backpack a large bag of ping pong balls, painted as eyes. I had worked long into the night to prepare them. I grabbed my glue gun, plucked a pair and pressed, just like always. Good job, I thought.

    That night in bed, disturbing dreams of ruckus, mayhem and hay dominated; I remember struggling.

    I think it's morning now but I can only go by what I see - that old woman in her bonnet, rows of planted seeds, a watering can nearby. I am dressed in old flannel, shoe-less. I hang with arms akimbo and eyes all-seeing. Surprisingly, the ravens aren't even scared, landing on my outstretched limbs and chatting among themselves.

    As something comes past my ear, my peripheral vision reveals a beak approaching. My eyes are its prey; a tasty morsel. I try to blink. Dang! No lids.

    Ping pong balls were a good option after all, I think, as the old woman screams.
    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.


  3. #3
    Wɾʇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Scaring The Crows Away (anon entry. 650w)


    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
    Wɾʇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    In a far-distant otherworld.
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    Blog Entries
    4
    The Reaping (583w, anon)


    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
    Wɾʇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    In a far-distant otherworld.
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    Blog Entries
    4
    Math and Aftermath (650w, some language)


    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
    "So long is the way to the unknown, long is the way we have come. . ." ~ Turisas, Five Hundred and One

    "[An artist is] an idiot babbling through town. . .crying, 'Dreams, dreams for sale! Two for a kopek, two for a song; if you won't buy them, just take them for free!'" ~ Michael O' Brien,
    Sophia House

    Christ is risen from the dead,
    trampling on Death by death,
    And on those in the tombs,
    lavishing light.



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