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Literary Maneuvers for Sept. 2021: Write a story that starts and ends . . . (2 Viewers)


Staff member
Senior Mentor
Literary Maneuvers Competition

for September 2021
The prompt is …………….

Word limit: 650

Begins Wednesday, September 1
Closes Wednesday, September 15th

2359hrs GMT

The stories you submit for the

September 2021 Literary Maneuvers Comp
must adhere to 650 words, not including the title.

Here are THE RULES

Your Awesome
September Judges
Robert n 51

Thank you all!

Critiques from Judges due to SueC
(please and thank you)
No later than
Thursday, September 30th

Introduction to the Competition

Pick your own title, write about whatever you want,
as long as it relates to the prompt in some determinable way.
If you win,
you'll get a badge pinned to your profile
plus an invitation to submit a story for our annual

Grand Fiction Challenge
Which carries cash prizes. Pretty neat, eh?
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.

Additional Info
There are three ways to post your entry
  • Cut and paste your story here in this thread. It will be visible to the public and considered “published.” This you can do yourself.
  • Cut and paste your story in the Challenge Workshop, which is a secure thread for LM entries, and will not be visible to the public, and you will retain your first rights. This you can do yourself. ***See Note below.
  • Cut and paste your story into a PM and send to SueC, if you wish to post your story both anonymously and in the secure thread. Any entry sent to me will automatically be posted anonymously. Your name will be revealed when the scores are posted at the end of the month.
***Note: If you do post it in the Challenge Workshop, you must post a link
to it here in this thread. Otherwise your story may not be read or counted.

For anyone new to this process
and needing some guidance,
please PM me (SueC).

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 reacting to an
entry until the scores are posted.

: In the tradition of LM competitions of yore, if you could send the scores no later than Thursday, September 30th, it will ensure a timely release of results. Much later than that and I will have to post 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:
Wednesday, September 15 at 2359hrs, GMT (not BST), on the dot.

Please note any time differences where you
are and be mindful of daylight savings time.​


Senior Member
"The little white house in La Unión."


"El Salvador. That cute house without security grilles. Don't tell me you don't remember."

"Wait, Marion, you lost me now. You said how it's strange there are so few passengers at this hour."

"Yes, and when the train came out of the tunnel, I saw a banged-up white car that was missing the grille and it reminded me of that house."

Their first romantic walk together. Martin remembered it very well. The house was the only one in the neighborhood without burglar bars outside the ground floor windows. Marion eyed it absent-mindedly and he had to pull her away from the path of an approaching motorcycle. And then he didn't let go right away. Or maybe she didn't.

"That's where it all started," said Marion nostalgically.


"What is wrong?"

"It started when you got off the bus."

Marion shook her head, bewildered. "Now you lost me."

"When you arrived from San Salvador."

"But that was before we first met!"

"Not quite. I walked behind you all the way to your hostel."

Marion was used to Martin's cock-and-bull stories, mostly amusing, sometimes irritating, but this didn't sound like one of those.

"You were there when my bus arrived, and then you followed me?" she asked cautiously.


"Why?" she forced herself to say.

"Because I couldn't let anything happen to you." Martin's voice had completely changed. He sounded like a teenager whose date wanted to know what he felt about her.

Marion stared at him intensely. "You don't mean..."

"I saw you get off the San Salvador bus and I was shocked when I realized you were headed God knows where all alone."

Marion was at loss for words, as well as fascinated by the display of honest emotions she got to see rather rarely.

Martin went on: "I had no idea what I would have done if you had been assaulted. I just knew I couldn't leave you alone like that."

He turned away to look out the window. Had he tears in his eyes? Marion wasn't sure.

"I wish you had been there the next morning." She tried to sound normal. "There was that weird beggar who began walking next to me, talking in Spanish so unclearly I couldn't understand anything. I just ran off." She touched Martin's arm. "I guess that's why I freaked out after what you just said. I'm sorry."

Martin turned to look at her. "I'm sorry I didn't follow you into the hostel and through the night and the next day," he said with faked utter tenderness.

Marion smiled and rolled her eyes. He had returned to normal. But it had been fun to see him strip his soul naked for a minute.

"So you saw me safely to the hostel and then you just left and came back the next afternoon to find me?"

"I couldn't hang about. I was running very late."

Martin barely heard Marion's next words "I was so naïve." She had traveled all the way to Central America just to see the place where her late mother had been born. She hadn't even known that El Salvador had the highest murder rate in the world. Although Martin told her it wasn't that bad. He had lived there for almost a year without any serious trouble.

That had been reassuring to hear. It was several days before they saw a man on the sidewalk who had been shot dead.

Martin swallowed a smutty remark about naiveté when he noticed the look on Marion's face.

Outside the train windows, the apartment blocks had been replaced by trees.

"How did we end up talking about the old times all of a sudden?" Martin wondered.

"Weren't you listening? The car without a grille reminded me of it."


"The little white house in La Unión."