Literary Maneuvers JAN 2020: Write a Death Scene

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  1. #1
    Supervisor velo's Avatar
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    Literary Maneuvers JAN 2020: Write a Death Scene

    Literary Maneuvers, December 2020

    "Write a Death Scene"

    650 words, deadline 0000hrs GMT, Saturday, 18 JAN


    This month you will be writing a death scnee. 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?


    The judges this month are Ralph Rotten, SueC, Clark, and myself. For those interested in judging, let me know via PM or in the new Coffee Shop. If you wish to know more about scoring, take a look at the NEW JUDGING GUIDE which also includes a template to use for your scoring. Please use this template for consistency.


    All entries that wish to retain their first rights should post in the LM WORKSHOP THREAD.

    All anonymous entries will be PMed to velo and please note in the PM if you want your entry posted in the workshop

    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 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 18 January at 0000hrs, GMT (not BST), on the dot. Please note any time differences where you are and be mindful of daylight savings time.

    Last edited by velo; December 31st, 2019 at 06:01 PM.
    "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

  2. #2

  3. #3
    My Father Will Die Today
    Lisa Orban
    608 words
    Last edited by LisaOrbanAuthor; January 5th, 2020 at 07:54 PM.

  4. #4
    Supervisor velo's Avatar
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    The Last in Line (648w) - anon

    It smelled bad in that room, like mold and bowel movements. Darby knew the scent well because the entire nursing home smelled that way. It was the smell of decay.

    In his youth, Darby had feared death. The idea of being blinked into nonexistence absolutely terrified him. But that was eons ago, and he was another person back then. In the years since he had seen so many people die.

    There had been friends in the war; snuffed in their youth by a bullet or mortar. He had watched them writhe in agony, often begging God to help them before their maker seemingly turned a blind eye to them. Eventually the trauma would overwhelm them and they would lay silent in the commotion that was combat. Even now, he could remember that odd feeling that gripped him as he looked down at Hopkinsí face there in the mud. Still and silent, he almost seemed asleep. It all seemed so incongruent with the screaming and gunfire around them.

    In the years since, he had seen friends grow old and die. Then there had come the day when he watched his wife of forty-three years finally give up the fight as her hand became limp in his grasp. Like so many others he had witnessed, she had slipped into unconsciousness at the very end. After months of fighting the cancer that consumed her, it had almost seemed a relief for her when the battle was over. Darby had sat there for the longest time, watching her as she lay unmoving. The terror of her impending death was gone, the nausea and pain wiped from her face, and all that remained was the passive look of a woman at rest. He had run a hand through her hair fondly, as he had done in their younger days, but all the while he knew she was no longer there.
    There had been others as well. Darby knew he was the last in a long line of friends and family from his generation. He had seen them fall one by one. His parents, brothers, and sisters had all long since passed on. He had even seen one of his own children lay there with that still look on her face. Like her mother, she had fought the good fight right up until the end. But death does not negotiate. It is an unyielding force that takes you regardless of courage or worth. And eventually it takes us all.

    Laying there in that bed, Darby could hear the snippets of conversation around him. He had seen the doctor take his oldest son out into the hallway and speak earnestly to him about the grim outlook. While they had done it to spare him the grief, the old man knew what the conversation was about. More than once he had been in his sonís place at that very moment. He had listened to a physician explain patiently that there was nothing more that could be done, and that it was only a matter of time.

    But Darby no longer feared death. At his age, it was more of an old friend, something that had visited him many times. Although it took away so many of the people he loved, he had seen the serenity on their faces after they were gone. In his lifetime he had come to see that it was living that a person should be terrified about, not dying. It had taken him ninety years to finally see this truth.

    He knew there would be no dramatic ending. This was not Hollywood. As he felt his chest constrict, he realized that he would simply lose consciousness and never wake again. The fight long gone from him, he let the darkness wash over him. It had been a good run, but now it was time to join those who had gone before him.
    Last edited by velo; January 6th, 2020 at 06:46 PM.
    "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

  5. #5

    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
    Final Ride (Bevo 644 words)
    Responding to the call of a motorcycle accident, the dispatch said the rider was deceased. Urgency was reduced as I shut down my siren leaving my flashing lights on.
    Being the lead investigator, it was my case, my team would assist but I produced the final report. My first thoughts were a street racer kid or new rider on a powerful motorcycle. This area was known for its twisting roads through the California Canyons, he would not be the first or the last one.
    Near the top of the canyon I was directed down a quiet service road, here fire equipment was kept for the inevitable brush fires. In a precise row, fire trucks, service trucks and water trucks were backed in ready for immediate response. Service buildings were freshly painted and not a thing out of place except the ambulance and officers.
    Slowly approaching the scene, I saw the body covered and a large blood stain. Beyond him 30 feet away was the motorcycle, it had the front end crushed but overall looked in good shape. To our right was a cliff wall, 75 feet over our head was the canyon road. The impact site was identified by the tire marks, the body impact was identified by the helmet pieces and one glove.
    Removing the tarp, I did not know what to expect. Here was a middle age man with a clean hair cut, expensive leather racing gear and a very content expression, he looked at peace.
    The officer walked me through the accident, eyewitnesses saw the accident. Apparently, the witness was behind him. The report stated, they met at the bottom of the canyon and raced up together, each corner he had his knee on the ground, each straight away he spun the back tire leaving on one wheel. He did not understand why he crashed as he was clearly an expert, it looked like he just didn’t turn.
    Looking at his knee pucks, they had deep scratches from the road surface. As I then looked at the motorcycle, I saw the tires were new, but wear marks were to the edge. The motorcycle was a new Yamaha R1M, estimated value was $25,000. Without seeing the damage, I could clearly see this was a loved bike, the polish was there, the small scratches were covered up and many parts were not stock and color matched.
    Taking the victims information, I released the body and left the scene.
    Part of my job was the death announcement, not my favorite part but then again, nothing in my job was something to be enjoyed. Arriving at the home I saw it was well taken care of, two cars were in the driveway.
    Knocking on the door I saw a very relaxed middle-aged woman;she did not appear to be shocked to see me. Ms. Grant, I am with the highway patrol, your husband has been in an accident and did not survive it. Thank you, officer, please come in she said.
    Was this in the canyon? Yes, did he suffer? No, died on impact. Thank you she said.
    Taken back by her response I asked if she could explain why she was not surprised.
    3 months ago, Barry was told he had a rare cancer, he had 3 months to live. He bought the bike and even though he was weak he rode it every day. Today it took him 2 hours to get on it, before he left, he kissed me. He said today would be his last ride, deep down I knew I would not see him again.
    Back in the car I wrote accident under the cause, I signed and closed the file.
    In the distance I could see the canyon bathed in the sunset, the hills had an orange glow, it was beautiful.
    I now completely understood his last ride.

  7. #7

    A Door to Heaven (650 words)

    "You, you and you - out!"

    Marion sighed as she saw the commissar's hand unmistakably point at her and stood up along with two other women.

    "I guess this is it, dear friends," she turned to her cellmates for the last time, "Farewell, and let us meet in a better place soon."

    The rest of the prisoners only smiled sadly as they waved their last goodbyes. There was no point in crying or inspiring false hopes. Everyone knew that none called out by the commisar's grating voice ever came back.

    As the heavy steel door slammed shut behind her, Marion and the other two were taken over by a quartet of guards, the bayonets on their rifles pointed ready at the prisoners. One of them was a boy with barely a hair on his lip, perhaps involved with the Reds not even on his own accord, but simply for the extra food rations or to protect someone close, Marion thought. It was certainly not unheard of these days.

    The commissar and his guards escorted the women downstairs. They weren't bound in any way, for where would they run? The only way out was through a company's worth of armed Chekists and Red Guards, and starvation was as good shackles as any physical instrument of restraint. Indeed, famine had halved the number of captives in Marion's cell since the day she was brought in a month ago without any effort on her captors' part, and word was that it was even worse in the men's section where starvation was aided by typhus in thinning the prisoners' ranks. The guards did not bother feeding or treating their charges, and why would they - anyone who ended up arrested these days was as good as dead anyway.

    As the group walked on, they went past a quartet of cells in a dark hallway. Here, every inmate knew, the innocent willingly became guilty and confessed to every crime ranging from counter-revolutionary activism to spying for foreign imperialist powers. Right now, everything was quiet in these cells, but it wasn't always so, as the bruises, cuts and missing fingernails on many Marion's cellmates well attested. She felt fortunate to have been spared acquaintance with one of them.

    The guards led them past the torture cells in a hallway to the right, and ordered them inside an office room. Red banners festooned the walls, their slogans calling for destruction of the bourgeoisie and enemies of the proletariat. A trio of grim-faced commissars in their trademark black leather jackets already awaited at the desk in the center of the room.

    "Citizen Marion Sievers, you hereby stand accused of the crimes of counter-revolutionary activity, sympathizing with the enemies of the proletariat, and of being a member of a parasite class of reactionaries," the leading commissar began, "With your guilt proven beyond doubt by virtue of your class association, this People's Revolutionary Tribunal hereby sentences you to death, your execution to be carried out shortly. Next!"

    And that was it. Marion had not expected otherwise, and in fact felt almost relieved. Soon, the agony of hunger would be over, at least. After reading out the exact same sentence for the other two, the guards drove the women outside in the yard, where a set of bloody bullet-riddled doors leaned against the wall marked the place of execution.

    "Strip!" the escorting commissar ordered.

    "You can strip my corpse yourself!" Marion snapped back defiantly. Robbed of her rank, possessions and even name, baroness Gertrude Dorothea Marion von Sievers, once a renowned singer and patroness of arts, was not about to also be robbed of her last dignity.

    "Fine!" the commissar hesitantly grumbled, shoving Marion against the bloody door.

    "So this is what the door to heaven looks like..." she thought.

    Marion never heard the shot, her last thought being of the blood-stained door before a bullet swept her away into oblivion.

  8. #8
    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

  9. #9
    Member KHK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Three Days After
    648 words
    Explicit language, violence warning

  10. #10
    A Unit of Death: Ketan Desai

    “It will be only a few minutes, now”, I said. I wasn’t sure she heard a word, as she knelt over the prone figure of her husband of 55 years. Her gnarled hands clasped his tightly, trying to prove that death would not do them apart, with cascading white hair a veil over her face. Her gaze caressed his unseeing face.

    There were just the two of us with him in the Unit. George and Martha, my Presidential patients, I tagged them. They had one child who had died in a traffic accident years ago, and now he was all she had. But, George had long since gone. Alzheimer’s had robbed him of his mind years ago, and now the body was going. All life support measures had been turned off. No hissing of a breathing machine, no tubes to feed him, no drips to provide medicines to keep the body alive. Martha had struggled with that, though he willed it when sound of mind.

    “Are you sure he is not in any pain?” She still worried about him.

    “Yes, I’m sure”. I reassured. He really was brain dead, though she thought he could hear everything she said. George had long passed the point of feeling anything, painful or otherwise.

    We stood in silence, only the staccato beeps of the heart monitor echoing through the room. She was used to the silence. They lived in a remote area after he retired as a test pilot. He did not want to hear anything that reminded him of the roar of a jet engine, so they settled in a farm in rural Pennsylvania. Only the howling wind and the songs of the birds provided the acoustic entremets. She was concerned about the farm, with no one there to help her with it.
    I worried about her, though there was nothing I could do. Martha had already broken a hip after a fall, and now in her 70s, she was in no condition to manage a farm. She would a magnate for crooks trying to take advantage of a lonely old woman.

    “What will you do, after…………” my question trailed away. Social service had been in contact with her, but she was very independent, thinking she could take care of herself.

    “I’ll stay active in my Church”. Martha replied reluctantly. I kicked myself for having asked that question. This was not the time.

    The heart monitor began to beep erratically. She looked up at the screen.

    “This is expected”, I anticipated her question. It may have been better to have the monitor off, but Martha wanted to know the exact moment. It was hard to deny her that final request.

    Medical school had provided me with scientific knowledge and analytical skills. Skills on how to keep a person artificially alive, long after their time had come. But absolutely no skills on how to deal with death. This was learning, first hand. Perhaps it was good that I was a lowly intern, who could afford to make mistakes. But I felt as alone as she did.

    Suddenly, the beeping was replaced with a plaintive and primeval scream, and a long flat line raced across the screen.

    Martha did not ask this time. She knew. She held his hand and tears rolled down her cheeks. Silent sobs racked the bony and withered body.

    There was nothing a physician could do at that point. But there was something a man could. I reached out to her, and hugged her, her tears soaking through the white coat and onto the chest. Who was consoling whom, I don’t know. An unsure and somewhat scared intern with a lonely old woman who was now alone in the world.

    Not truly alone, at least not for a few moments as we held each other. Maybe death would teach something medical school did not – compassion, and how to live.

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