RESULTS – Microcosms 7

Wow! You guys are amazing. I know both judges had a really hard time choosing this week. Craig said, “Fantastic work by everyone this week, so many great stories to choose from!” And Firdaus said, “I had no idea how difficult it is to judge. I must say, all the entries were unique and I loved them all. I kept jumping back and forth between them. I wish I could give everyone a gold star. You folk rock!”

A HUGE thanks to both of them, btw, Craig A and Firdaus Parvez.

All right. Let’s get to it. 🙂

Honorable Mentions

Holly Geely – Wedding Killer

This story was picked by both judges. Great job!

Comments from Craig A: This story played with our expectations from the prompt to introduce a really fun twist. I immediately assumed some depraved act of cannibalism, but of course it’s just Ronald going to town on the meat buffet. The punch line is saved for the very end, flipping the story from menacing to hilarious in a heartbeat.

Comments from Firdaus: Murderated! Murder plus ate. What a combo. Fantabulous!

Sal Page – Bless Him

Comments from Craig A: I loved this story of the considerate serial killer, he sounds like a really great husband apart from all the secret murdering! It’s a great reminder that your ‘villains’ don’t always have to be moustache twirling sociopaths.

Avalina Kreska – A Cutting Remark

Comments from Craig A: I really enjoyed the idea of Serial Killers Anonymous, can you imagine the annual BBQ party! This was another story that kept the twist until the last line and it immediately made me want to read the story again.

Daisy Warwick – Trade Hazzards

Comments from Firdaus: This had me choking with laughter. Obnoxiously funny. Well done!

Carlos – Little Girl’s Dreams

Comments from Firdaus: The language was so beautiful. The analogy of a gory scene with flowers was genius. Lovely!

Steph Ellis – My Memorial Diamond

Comments from Firdaus: An intriguing story, starting off so sweetly and ending in horror. Great writing!

Voima Oy – My Gothic Valentine

Comments from Firdaus: There’s only one word for it-beautiful! Black roses, white dress, drops of red pearls, pipe organ playing-a crescendo. This is poetry. Wow!

Runners Up

Brady Koch – Wedding Day Tradition

This story was chosen by both judges. Well done!

Comments from Craig A: Brady found a unique hook for his story, twisting the old wedding traditions of something old, new, borrowed and blue from the point of view of a couple of serial killers. This was a great way to trivialize the very brutal acts described into a simple shopping list. These terrible deeds are mentioned in such a casual way, which helps to show just how far gone our soon to be newlyweds are, for example Something old. . .The locket from the dead waitress in Des Moines. Check. This total lack of empathy is further emphasized when our lead realizes they are still missing something blue. Poor Elvis doesn’t stand a chance.

Comments from Firdaus: The checklist was awesome gruesome! A wedding definitely fit for serial killers. A well written piece. Loved it.

Steph Ellis – My Memorial Diamond

Comments from Craig A: I really enjoyed Stepahnies story, based on a spin of jeweller, flower shop, horror. There’s some great language at play here. the blush he had cultivated creeping readily over her is a good example, on first read it sounds innocent enough, almost sweet, but once you know his intentions it becomes far more sinister. The turning point in the middle also came as a complete shock, I naively thought that Maria was going to be the recipient of the afore mentioned jewel, not the key ingredient!

Favorite Lines

Before we get to our winners, here are Craig’s favorite lines from this week. 🙂

Plotting, scheming and murder can be…murder on your health – Bill Engleson

The groom fell on his side, and the petals pooled on the floor around him – Carlos

Sure, he killed twenty-three women but he’s always treated me like a Queen, bless him – Sal Page

The need to rend flesh bubbled up somewhere between “Do you” and “I do.” – Holly Geely

Remember, if you dream of someone, if your pulse quickens when you see them smile, call our hotline now – A V Laidlaw

“Wh-why’re they called waiters? We do the bloody waiting!” – Geoff Holme

Dave was urgently trying to recall whether he’d dropped some acid the night before – A J Walker

I cradled her soft in my toffeed arms, recollected her droll pre-bonbon charms. – Bill Engleson

The thorns stab my fingers, drops of red pearls – Voima Oy

Ninety minutes for a human to be turned to ash, he thought, nine months to birth a jewel – Stephanie Ellis

No one remotely religious in his family unless you counted Uncle Bob who always called on God when he placed a bet – Stella Turner

‘My names Ted; I’m a serial killer, it’s been five years since I last killed someone.’ – Avalina Kreska

He supposed his fiance’s blood-flecked pumps from the massacre in Tulsa were loaners – Brady Koch

The troll cocked his head as the camel farted – Daisy Warwick

The moment he found the perfect booger, he heard someone scream – Dana Faletti

And now, without further ado, I present to you the winners of Microcosms 7.

(insert drumroll here)

Community Pick

Sal Page – Bless Him

This story was also chosen by one of our judges – awesome! We’ll let you read it below. 🙂

Judges’ Picks

Bill Engleson – Wedded Miss

Comments from Craig A: This story had me chuckling right out of the gate. Rhyming sonnets can be really hard to pull off, often the story suffers at the expense of finding two words that rhyme and jamming them in, but I never felt that way with Bill’s story. You could just as easily rearrange this one into paragraphs and it would still tell a great story.

The first line is a solid start and sets up the premise and the tone really nicely. From there the catastrophe unfolds, with some really fun couplets. Three hundred pounds of chocolate fudge, had buried her deep in soggy cake sludge and I scraped the goop from her fudgied face, her dress tarnished tan, such pleasing white lace are both great examples of lines that pull double duty, making you laugh while also progressing this murder mystery. Fudgied face, toffeed arms and pre-bonbon charm paint such a vivid picture of the gruesome incident, yet maintain the playful tone. Bill does a wonderful job of balancing these contrasting elements and mixing them into a delicious batter.

The ending is the icing on the cake, with the cops busting in to shut the party down. Their lines are dry and matter of fact, a subtle change of pace to let the reader know that the fun is over. Am i the only one hoping they won’t catch the killer? Sounds like such a delicious way to go!

Wedded Miss- A Sonnet of Sorts

On the day I was to finally wed,
my stunning bride turned up awfully dead,

flattened like glass by our wedding cake,
a tad under cooked, an immense mistake.

Three hundred pounds of chocolate fudge,
had buried her deep in soggy cake sludge.

As I scrambled to be close to her side,
the breath gurgled from my dear dying bride.

I scraped the goop from her fudgied face,
her dress tarnished tan, such pleasing white lace.

I cradled her soft in my toffeed arms,
recollected her droll pre-bonbon charms.

The cops swooped in, said, “Tough luck, old bean,
Please leave the room. This is our crime scene.”

107 moments of love tragically underbaked and overwrought
Groom; crime scene; poem

Sal Page – Bless Him

Comments from Firdaus: This was sweet, funny and had me reading it again and again. Despite his ‘profession’ the MC was just a regular guy, infact a sweet and considerate one. Fantastic take on the prompt. Great job!

Bless Him

He got down on one knee. My heart leapt. But it wasn’t a proposal. His shoelace was undone. He stood up, realised just from looking at my face, then knelt back down and asked. Bless him. Our wedding was a month later.
So considerate. When he comes in late he’s careful not to wake me. He puts his clothes in the machine, remembers to buy flowers on our anniversary. Fifty years today.
I had no idea what he was up to. A complete surprise. Of course I visit. Got to send a Valentine’s this weekend.
Sure, he killed twenty-three women but he’s always treated me like a Queen, bless him.

Serial killer – wedding – comedy
110 Words

Congratulations! Each of you will receive:

Additionally, you are both invited to judge the next round of Microcosms. Please let me know if you are interested!

RESULTS - Microcosms 8
RESULTS - Microcosms 6

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15 comments for “Welcome to Microcosms!

  1. zwoodle
    26 December 2015 at 4:15 pm

    We’re going to do a soft launch on 1 January. We’ll be e-mailing everyone shortly. Stay tuned!

  2. 12 September 2019 at 5:20 pm

    What’s happened to all the stories from last week’s competition?

    • KM Zafari
      12 September 2019 at 6:31 pm

      They’re all still in the system but not displaying on the front end. Part of the glitch I’m trying to resolve. :/

  3. 13 September 2019 at 6:37 am

    Who is Stoner, please?

  4. 13 September 2019 at 11:20 am

    Ghost; Haunted House; Comedy
    298 words

    The Gang, Fifty Years On

    “Hey guys, it’s our anniversary. It’s fifty years since we got together and solved our first case.”

    “That’s right. Why don’t we do something to celebrate? We could stay the night in the old, haunted house.”

    “I’m not really sure. None of us are as young as we used to be, we’re all in our late sixties now.”

    “Yeah, and I’m not sure that I want to stay up past my bedtime.”

    “Oh, go on, it’ll be a bit of fun. It’s not as though any of us get much of that anymore.”

    “It just won’t be the same without the dog.”

    “You’re right about missing the dog. I even miss that annoying little one that accompanied us on some of our later adventures.”

    “OK, it’s a date then. We just need someone to drive us out there before it gets dark.”

    “I’ll organise some supplies. Some drinks, a snack, spare walking sticks, and a flashlight for each of us.”

    “I’m not sure that I see the point. We never managed to find any real ghosts or monsters, never in our entire career. It was always a scam of some sort, and always one carried out by ordinary, everyday losers dressed up in costume.”

    The overnight stay was uneventful until just before dawn when they heard someone moving about downstairs. Silently they crept down the stairs only to find a fat balding man dressed up in a sheet going, “Woo… woo…” As it was obvious something untoward was going on, they phoned for the police. When they arrived a few minutes later the police arrested the would-be ghost. As he was taken away the last thing the gang heard him say was, “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for those pesky pensioners!”

  5. Geoff
    13 September 2019 at 7:32 pm

    Stoner, haunted house, drama
    295 words
    ‘Hi Pete. How’s it trucking?’’
    Pete blinked, hoping his neighbour was another bad trip.
    ‘Garden’s looking great. Not many weeds. Ho!’
    Pete sucked in air, disorientated by the lack of smoke. I need to cut back oxygen. ‘Hi Greg. You after a packet?’
    ‘I was just wondering how you get them so… leafy?’
    Pete licked the paper. ‘You planning your own? Take some seeds, man.’ He sealed another joint, willing him to go.
    ‘I don’t think so. What’s the secret?’
    Pete looked at the soil at his feet. ‘Peace and love, man.’
    ‘Seriously. We grew cannabis at college but that was inside in Cheltenham. You manage outdoors, in Scotland in January…’
    ‘I rely on my relatives.’ He kicked the dirt, exposing the head of a femur. ‘That’s Auntie Jane. The plants love her.’
    Greg’s eyes widened. ‘That’s your aunt?’
    ‘Think so. Hang on.’ Pete put down the Rizzla packet and bent to the bone. ‘Yeah? You sure? Right ho.’ He looked up. ‘Uncle Portius. They look the same at that age, don’t they?’
    Greg rubbed his eyes. ‘I must be passive smoking your product. Did you just talk to a bone?’
    Pete laughed. ‘Course not. Bone’s don’t talk…’
    ‘They’re ghosts. I you like I can do you some Mexican spicy and my second cousin’s torso as a starter kit…’
    Greg backed away. ‘Maybe later.’
    Pete started another joint and covered the bone. He’d need another dozen for the school run. ‘Thanks Ponti, I’ll get you that pint of Ruddles later.’ He looked down the rows of fecund and fullsome plants to a slightly saggy group by the hedge. ‘And I’ll pick up some dubonnet and lemon for Granny Emmaline. Wouldn’t do to let her crop get peaky, what with festival season nearly upon us.’

  6. 13 September 2019 at 10:25 pm
    300 words
    Stoner; Ghost Ship; Comedy

    That’s Some Spooky Shit, Man–Sailing the Silvery Seas with Long Joint Spliffer

    Man, I had more wobbles than a bobblehead.


    Bubblehead for sure.

    Or Stubble head?

    Like man, that cat had a gnarly beard. Facial hair all wiry and dense. I could feel it, man. Spikes shooting out of his face like fireworks.

    Bazooka hookahs, man!

    Reefer creepers!

    Maybe it was the Maui-Zowie? Or the BC Bud? Or, get this, the Alberta Muerta?

    Made that up, man. Killer weed, though.

    Whatever it was, it was some magic shit. Maui Cowie poop, eh.

    Hah! I don’t know what that is.

    Anyway, I’d been up all night zinging in the shower, tingling in the tower, baying at the full moon, a giant silver dollar beauty, when I got the urge man to go down to the waterfront, watch the river flow.

    You ever done that, man? The river! Love the river. Like its dark, man, and late. The taverns have all closed. Streets littered with the soulful. Sky’s storm ready. Clouds gathering like jumbled sheets on a bed that’s never been made. Guess you know where that metaphor comes from. Anyways, you can feel it. Something’s gonna burst. So, I go down to the river and I see it through the thick fog. Like its out of the movies, man, full masted, skull and crossbones flapping in the night wind, and that ain’t no Errol Flynn standing at the helm. Not on your booty. Its someone eerie as hell, with some yo ho hoing and a bottle of bong…and I’m thinking, Bong? James Bong?

    There I am, staring at this vessel, double o sevening away, and this dude starts walking the plank and says, “Sorry Mate, no gambling tonight. The Jolly Better’s closed tight. City ordinance.”

    “Bummer, man” I bleat, “and me with the munchies and a pocket full of pieces of eight.”

  7. Angelique Pacheco
    14 September 2019 at 4:56 am

    Stoner; Ghost Ship; Comedy
    135 words

    Green Boo-ty

    I saw through the haze
    A ghost ship’s hallways
    Twisting and turning
    The maze was daunting

    A ghostly dancer beckoned
    “Get naked,” she reckoned
    My mind said, “Okay!”
    My body said, “Let’s play!”
    The scene was rearranged
    And the actors were exchanged.

    The captain wore coat tails
    He clung onto the rails
    He shouted for pirates
    And called us bandits
    Zombies took me to the ledge
    To walk the plank to the edge.

    When I came down
    We were back in Cape Town
    I found myself at the pool
    Standing starkers like a fool

    The mystical dancer
    Was a Trans performer
    Security was cuffing me
    No zombies could I see.

    Don’t ever take the green stuff
    It can be quite rough
    Make sure you buy local
    Not pirated forms of diabolical.

  8. 14 September 2019 at 6:19 am

    stoner/ghost ship/comedy
    WC: 365

    One More Sausage

    Fred was hungry. It was his semi-permanent state. Always eating; yet as thin as a rake that had been split in two–his acquaintances assumed he was looking after some tape worms. His best buddy, Havant, had just as voracious an appetite. Being a dog it was expected.
    Their holiday to France wasn’t going well. The language was unfamiliar and the food was not as good as anticipated. It was four days before Fred discovered that they were in Hamburg. And, whilst it was just two letters shy of his favourite word, it wasn’t in France.

    Things began to look up when they went for a couple of currywurst after a big breakfast. They got chatting to a groovy guy by the wurst-stand about all things sausage related ,which had got them a) excited and b) hungry again. Being at the wurst-stand that had been easy to deal with. There was always room for one more sausage.

    They shared a funny cigarette with Groovyman, which made them giggle. He said he’d never seen a dog smoke before. Fred said it happened regularly, usually when he’d spilt cooking oil on Havant.

    Groovyman enquired why he was called Havant. Fred explained that it was short for Havant A. which left him none the wiser. He then told them about the sausage barge, where the price for a four hour trip includes an ‘All That You Can Eat’ buffet. They weren’t going to miss this opportunity, so they heading down to the docks with big loping strides and stupid grins.

    At the docks everything was a bit blurry. Clearly they were in danger of fainting from hunger. So they got onboard the SS Hamburger with expectant bellies and an aim to make the buffet their home. Havant A. realised something was amiss when their boat passed through a series of locks without the gates opening. The lack of taste to the buffet wasn’t an issue, but the lack of substance was. When the captain turned up minus his head even Fred thought something was amiss.

    Then they smelled the Sausage Cruise pass in the other direction. It was a good job Havant could swim and Fred could float.

  9. Diego Piselli
    14 September 2019 at 5:04 pm

    Stoner, Ghost Ship, Comedy
    282 words
    The rumor had spread with lightning speed, fuelled by media coverage.
    A mahogany barge, loaded with Lebanese weed was floating somewhere in Amsterdam canals, unattended
    Smokers in coffee shops hotly debated the matter. Abe swore he saw it moored near Singel canal; Alwine claimed to be certain that the ship was far in the harbor; Rastafarian waiters fabled about an Iranian merchant, owner of the barge tugged along his princely yacht, vanished with a Circassian beauty.
    Eventually, on a warm summer Saturday night, the Quest had its beginning.
    Hordes of stoners, old hippies and weirdos of all kinds gathered in Dam square and started scouring all the canals, walking on the banks, boating or paddling in muddy waters: braver and youngsters went so far as to swim in the smelly current.
    The Quest was unsuccessful, but Saturday phantom barge hunting became a fixed meeting. If interest decreased, the press reported a new sighting and people got back to the endless hunting. Hunters set up groups and association named by famous weed smokers of the past. Each group had a leader, a hymn, a flag.
    And every Saturday evening Mr. Janssen, managing editor of “Amsterdam Today”, savored happily the silence of his flat in Central Amsterdam, a little nest in a medieval alley crowded with coffee shops. No more yelling, no more stoners’ noise. No more frantic strolling of excited people along the cobblestone street.
    All the smokers had gone away, searching for the barge.
    His little article full of question marks and drop hints about a mysterious barge had proved useful, and he could eventually savor domestic pleasures in peace. “Marijuana enthusiasts are like children,” he said to himself “they believe anything”.

  10. 14 September 2019 at 7:44 pm

    stoner/ghost ship/comedy
    Word Count – 260

    Clang! Clang! Clang!
    The sound reminded Midshipman Smythe of the death march if it was played badly by a toddler on kitchen pans. What was scarier was the lack of bodily panic symptoms. His heart hadn’t tried to explode. His stomach hadn’t emptied like a freshly flushed toilet. Nothing was doing nothing in fact. Peter, the welcome guy, had warned him about this but it took some getting use to.
    “Is that her Midshipman?” His Captain pointed at the blue haired girl hitting the ships pipes.
    “Yes Sir.”
    “Madam.” The captain pulled herself to the full height of her tall frame. “How did you get on board?”
    “I don’t know man.” She didn’t look at the captain. Instead she gazed off to the left, as if following an excitable fly.
    “Madam, I am very much not a man.”
    She blinked three times, each time she forced her eyes as wide as she could. “You are so pale…wo-man. Did I get that right? Wo-man.”
    She giggled to herself.
    The Captain did not see the funny side. “Madam! How did you get on board this ship?”
    “Space cakes.” Her hand becomes a rocket which follows the same trajectory as her imagined fly. She takes the same level of interest.
    The Captain groans. “Midshipman?”
    “Yes Captain.” He clips his heels together, disappointed at the lack of noise. Another thing he has to get use to.
    “Go find the Chaplin. Tell him to prepare for a bio-exorcism. I won’t have a breather on my ghost ship.”

  11. 14 September 2019 at 10:09 pm

    150 Words
    Unmasked Villain; Spooky Location; Drama


    Flames flickered in the oppressive darkness, solitary among thousands. A tall woman strode around them, her high-necked red dress flowing dangerously close to the light. Watching her, bathed in the shadows, were hundreds of people, their breathing heavy in the air of anticipation.

    She spun to face them, her eyes flashing as they reflected the flames. Her voice thundered through the deadened space. Disdain blanketed the group, suffocating even the bravest of her followers.

    Weakness was unacceptable, this they knew, but they had still managed to disappoint her. All fell to their knees, bowing their heads to the shame brought on by her piercing glare.

    She reached down to grab one of the candles, holding it in such a way that her face was cast in a ghostly light. Swiftly, her fingers were enveloped in the burning wax. Everyone else hissed, shocked, yet impressed by her stoicism.

    Flames smoldered still.

  12. Lindsey P
    16 September 2019 at 9:48 am

    I guess mine didn’t get saved…oh well.

    • Lindsey Pittenger
      16 September 2019 at 9:51 am

      298 Words

      Bookworm; Mine; Mystery

      The Case of the Canned Canaries

      As they ventured further down the dimly lit tunnel, Miranda pulled her book closer to her face, squinting to make out the words, comparing them to her surroundings. Everything seemed to be just as she’d expected. The construction of the mine shaft seemed stable and matched the text, which eased her growing sense of claustrophobia, but there was something that still just didn’t seem right. She hadn’t noticed that she’d slowed to a stop until the man behind her nearly knocked her over.

      “Oomf—sorry about that. Need to watch where I’m going a bit more,” he said with a sheepish grin.

      “I’m fine,” she said, clutching the book to herself and waving him away. Ignoring the dismissal, he pointed at her treasured cargo.

      “So what are you reading down here that’s so important to gum up the traffic?” he asked jovially, lowering his pickaxe from his shoulder.

      “Oh, this?” She held up the book. “It’s just an old book about mines. I figured I’d bring it along for some good-natured analysis. This mine seems similar to the one in the book, but the thing that’s been concerning me the most is the canaries.”

      “Canaries?” he asked, confused, briefly glancing around the shaft as though he’d missed something.

      “There aren’t any,” she said matter-of-factly, reopening her book, “Here, they use canaries as a warning system for noxious gases to keep people from dying, but this whole time we’ve been here, I haven’t seen a single one.” The look on her face fell as he burst into laughter.

      “I’m sorry,” he said, pointing to a box on the wall. “I think this sensor is that canary you’re looking for. Don’t worry, we are monitoring the safety of the air down here. At any rate, hope you’re enjoying your tour!”


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