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Literary Maneuvers November 2021: Sign of the Times (1 Viewer)


Staff member
Senior Mentor
Literary Maneuvers Competition

for November 2021

The prompt is: Sign of the Times


Word limit: 650

Begins Monday, November 1
Closes Monday, November 15th

2359hrs GMT

The stories you submit for the

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

Here are THE RULES

Your Awesome
November Judges

Thank you all!

Critiques from Judges due to SueC
(please and thank you)

No later than Tuesday, November 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). J

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 Tuesday, November 30th (or sooner), 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:
Monday, November 15 at 2359hrs, GMT (not BST), on the dot.
Please note any time differences where you
are and be mindful of daylight savings time.

Last edited by a moderator:


Senior Member
Hi SueC. I would like to post a story. Was getting worried I missed the deadline, but I have a few days left so I can patch it up a little.
Will copy and paste it here a little later.


Senior Member
Somebody Knew Too Much

Senior Detective Onderka eyed the faded photograph found on the shot suspect. A young man was squatting next to a sign that had some text in Samralese script and under it "DANGER KEEP AWAY" in English. He was looking up into the camera with a bright smile. About two meters behind him, the ground ended. One could faintly make out some buildings far away and below the edge.

A sign of the times long past, Onderka reflected. Today you won't see much English in Samral. Nor Western tourists.

He tore his eyes loose from the picture and skimmed the report on his desk once more. In the vicinity of the house belonging to the recently murdered Anton Szar... failed to obey the order to stop... died on the way to hospital... about twenty years old, not yet identified...

When he raised his eyes, Detective Krukovski said: "Taseva was able to identify the script on the photo as Samralese. The man is almost certainly Anton Szar."

Onderka nodded.

"Sir, it's strange the unidentified man had the picture in his possession. This might have some significance in the Szar murder case."

"Do you think he had been sent to steal the photo from the house?"

Krukovski looked confused. "I don't know, sir."

When Onderka didn't say anything further, Krukovski went on. "We didn't even know that Szar had ever visited Samral. It's hard to imagine that it could have happened under the current regime, so it must have been at least thirty years ago."

"That's about how old he looks on the photo."

"Precisely, sir. I think we still have a chance to find out whom he was traveling with. Possibly there's someone among them who doesn't want it to be known that he was acquainted with Szar. Maybe that's why somebody thought the photo was important."

Onderka didn't reply. Why steal the picture? In an album among the others, it would have been very unlikely to attract attention. So what did the thief need it for? Blackmail?

"Sir, I propose I go to Szar's house right away with Kolata and Taseva to see if we can find any other clues we might have overlooked earlier."

Onderka looked at his watch. Damned meeting! The Police Commissioner himself was coming. Not attending was unthinkable.

Well, couldn't be helped. And it was Krukovski's case anyway. He handed the photo and the report back to his subordinate. "Go ahead. And keep me informed."

"Yes, sir!"

Barely ten minutes lates, the Senior Detective was awoken from his musings by a resolute knock on the door. It was opened before he had a chance to say "Enter." Bewildered Onderka jumped to attention and saluted when he recognized Commissioner Stroligo. The important guest was followed by Detective Krukovski and Junior Detective Taseva. Onderka almost smiled, but then checked himself. Was it his imagination or was she looking at him with sadness? Or even pity?

Stroligo nodded to Krukovski who spoke, staring intensely at Onderka:

"Sir, you suggested the suspicious man who was accidentally shot dead earlier today might have been sent by someone to steal the old photograph from the late Anton Szar's house. But why did you assume right away the photo had been in that house? Maybe he was bringing the picture into the house, possibly to substitute it for another? Maybe he was accidentally in the area? Maybe the photo was meant to be found on his person as a subtle message to someone? There are so many possibilities."

Onderka felt his heart pounding. Standing up as he was, might he still have a chance to reach the drawer with his gun quickly enough? When would be the right moment to make a grab for it?

His eyes must have moved, for while he was still hesitating, Taseva leapt to this side of his desk.

"No, sir," she said softly.


Senior Member
The Sound of Silence

I've told you before, this is not how to do it,” she said.
You should listen. Pay more attention,” another said.
Are you listening? Are any of my words filtering into that thick head of yours? Come on! Hurry up,” he said.


I sat by the window. The generous morning sun radiated in, warming my tired mind. This blue book rested beside to me. A small hardback set neatly on the edge of table, beside a black pen and a white lamp. She laid asleep in bed, curled up. Her hands wrapped against her knees, tucked tightly to her chest, under this thin white sheet on a large double bed. She's been so tired of late.

“What are you doing?” a large tattooed man shouted, outside, topless and laughing.

I closed my eyes to erase the image from my mind. Listening to peoples' complaints each day and every night, we are filled with the bad, the ugly, with opinions dividing the good and many.

You are wrong. This is right. Listen. You're so stubborn, you pile of ... No one cares.”


The warm rays tapped softly on my back. Its gentle glow soothing the stresses of my mind, about this world, an angry world, full of the self catering, full of the 'I am the greatest.' I slowly peeled open my eyes, towards the outside and back inside, to the girl who had gone through so much for one so young. I wished I could tell her that life was not so hard, that there are good, that we can hold onto the memories, to build a happy collection, to keep forever, that no one can take away.

I hoped off the windowsill onto the white table, landing onto the floor. I walked carefully to the bottom of bed, jumping up onto the soft mattress, looking at her closed eyes, happy the strain is slowly drifting away.

“Meow, Little Kat,” I said.

I wanted to snuggle next to her, rub my face against hers, lick her rosy red cheeks to say I am here, if you need, but I sat watching over her, letting Quiet take over us, not to let anyone break the precious seal cocooning us in this tranquil bubble.

A van passed by, its noisy, dying engine rattling along the main road when the front door opened. I walked out the bedroom, into the open living room kitchen to greet the friend entering our world. He placed some hot drinks and some sandwiches onto the coffee table, stroking my head as he walked into Kat's room. I followed him, watching him sit by the desk, on the left, drawing the curtains closer together, watching him, watch her.

He sat in silence, rubbing his eyes a few times, in the quiet still of our world. He smiled at me. A gentle smile, the smile of want, the smile of need, the need of help, the want for answers. He looked down at his clasped hands, his thumbs running over each other, his eyes just staring. I walked up to him, sitting by his feet, looking up to catch his smiling eyes.

You are no good,” one said.
You disappoint me,” another said.
Bloody awful. Just get out. I can't stand the sight of you today,” the last one said.

He smiled, picking me up stroking my head and body.

You idiot, you useless fool,” they said.

I looked at the man. His soft eyes quivering, haunting as he touched my nose. I wanted to tell him it's okay too, not worry as well, but let him kiss my head as we watched Kat sleep in the peaceful lull.

He looked at me, stroking my back.

It's the Sound of Silence,” I told him, “it's the Sign of the Times.”