So many awesome stories this week! Agh! Why’d you guys have to make things so hard on us? lol
All right, let’s get down to it. Here we go.
A HUGE thanks to Stella Turner for helping me judge this week. 🙂
I could really use some additional volunteers to help run the contest. Please let me know if you can help. I’ll try to make it as painless as possible.
All right, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
A.J. Walker – After Bacon
Comments from Stella Turner: Micro chipped, everything recorded, it’s a crime or it isn’t, Judges no longer needed. A vision of a future we’re heading to? I think so.
Comments from KM Zafari: There’s something initially appealing and yet also horrifying in this idea. Freedoms lost in exchange for a supposedly healthier society. The characters seem to nostalgic for some parts of their old lives, but I don’t get the impression that it’s quite a dystopia. The morality of the micro-chipped (etc.) changes to this future world are ambiguous, which I rather enjoy, nicely contrasted to the world they actually live in.
D.E. Park – Scarlet Teacup
Comments from Stella Turner: Loved the dialogue in this, the confusion of time travel, not knowing when it is.
Comments from KM Zafari: This story is so well-built up in so few words. We assume he is just old and feeble. That twist, though! It leaves me feeling satisfied, yet I still want more.
Roya Carmelle – The First King of Crete
Comments from KM Zafari: I love stories that capture a moment frozen in time, and this one does that well. But I especially love the ending, Minos “drinking in the death” that was prayed for and judging the man’s memories. There are subtle clues that help build out this world and leave me wanting more.
Steph Ellis – Buddha’s Jewel
Comments from Stella Turner: Written and crafted so well, I felt I was standing in the airport sharing his emotions.
Sal Page – Decade After Decade
Comments from Stella Turner: A tale of two brothers, when Pete laughed as he took his last breath, I laughed too. Not sure I should have as he lay in a cowpat, his reward for years of self sacrifice.
Voima Oy – Years Like Snow
Comments from KM Zafari: Although written as prose, this story feels like a poem – beautiful and romantic, with so much inferred, rather than said. The last few lines swept me away, and I felt a mixture of emotion, ranging from love, sadness, loneliness, and something else that I can’t quite describe. It’s simply lovely.
AV Laidlaw – The Last Days of Rome
Comments from KM Zafari: The crude rules of this dystopian future where you have to fight for survival are pretty clear. This future seems quite bleak, and it left me feeling empty.
Before we get to our winners, here are some of our favorite lines from this week.
“No. A quick hearing; the sentence, as always, expiration.” – Bill Engleson
The fossil somehow managed to dodder his way into a booth. Margot’s approach confirmed her suspicion that the fetid stench arose from the cheek-sucking old invalid. – D.E. Park
His hand brushed hers, briefly, as her hair fell over the lines. – Voima Oy
And as silent as the men desire. – Cath Barton
Disease and hunger has claimed most of our organs, we’ve lost our skin, and use duct tape to keep what’s left from falling out. – Firdaus Parvez
He looks up into the dizzying sky,
a swathe of cloud, an aeroplane. – Sal Page
He sees the agony, the droplets of blood drawn back to the source. – Casey Rose Frank
No charge more serious; stealing the last blood drops of their tattered world. – A.V. Laidlaw
He smiles, a permanent sun
Against the grey frown
Of the runway – Steph Ellis
“Aye, crime was more complicated – grey. The chips stopped all crime. Black and white. It’s permitted or not. Recorded, downloaded.” – AJ Walker
Little did she know her fellow passengers had committed their own crime. – Emily Clayton
The horned creature watched as tires screamed, a man fell, a crack resounded, and blood pooled. – Roya
And Minos approached him, drinking in the death for which he prayed, judging the memories that he saw through the lonely eyes. – Roya
These meatbags are very good at deleting each other. – Craig A
And now, without further ado, I present to you the winners of Microcosms 6.
(insert drumroll here)
Looks like we have a tie this week!
Firdaus Parvez – Duct-taped
This story was also picked by our judges! Great job! We’ll let you read it below. 🙂
A.J. Walker – After Bacon
John could just make out the faded words on the sign ‘Ana’s Greasy Spoon’.
“It’d be illegal this place now. Fat, oil, carbohydrate. More fat. Bet it was lovely.”
Simon looked at his dad bemused. “It actually advertised having greasy spoons? Bizarre.”
John sighed. “Before everyone was chipped you wouldn’t believe what was acceptable.”
“Criminal. Killing people.”
“This place here’s a truck stop. Imagine that. How many gas guzzling giants passed through here? Killing people with their carcinogens.”
“Weren’t you a judge?”
“Aye, crime was more complicated – grey. The chips stopped all crime. Black and white. It’s permitted or not. Recorded, downloaded.”
“No judge required.”
“Maybe a bacon sandwich though.”
Craig A – Judgebot 3000
Comments from Stella Turner: This completely turned around the idea that Judges are impartial, wise and dispense justice. The twist when he brings down the hammer is brilliant.
These meatbags are very good at deleting each other.
This time it’s a dead trucker at some backwater truck stop. It has all the trademarks, the same rope fibres, similar victim, same time of day. It’s definitely the work of a serial killer.
I stare at the accused man before me and listen to his testimony. I parse out key phrases while performing voice stress analysis. There’s a 99.3% chance he’s innocent. Wrong place at the wrong time.
I bring down the hammer and pass my verdict.
“Guilty. Sentenced to death.”
He screams as they drag him away.
Between me and the serial killer, these meatbags don’t stand a chance.
Judge/Truck Stop/Sci Fi
Firdaus Parvez – Duct-taped
Comments from Stella Turner: The vision of bodies being held together by duct-tape is not my idea of immortality but pure horror, a great story.
Comments from KM Zafari: Echoing Stella’s comments. Also would like to note what a challenging spin that was. Firdaus fused the elements together seamlessly. It works so well and is unbelievably creepy.
As a translator of ancient scripts and maps, I accompanied a team searching for lost treasure. We didn’t find any, but we bathed in the spring of immortality, laughing at the myth.
Now two hundred years later, all twelve of us are the only ones alive on earth. Disease and hunger has claimed most of our organs, we’ve lost our skin, and use duct tape to keep what’s left from falling out. We wait for death but it never comes.
Hiding in this old mine from harsh elements, we stare at each other’s deformed bodies. Our tongues have dried. Silence is all we speak, and that doesn’t need a translator.
- A winner’s badge on the site
- An invitation for inclusion in the anthology (with a note that your story was selected as a winner)
- A Kindle copy of FlashDogs : Time: Volume III (which was just released TODAY in the US, the UK, Australia, and other territories). If you already have the book or don’t have a Kindle, etc., you are free to choose another book of similar value or donate the cost of the book to World Reader, The Book Bus, or another literacy-related charity. Please contact me with the country you live in and the e-mail address you’d like me to send the Kindle book to.
Additionally, you three are all invited to judge the next round of Microcosms. Please let me know if you are interested!