Microcosms 10

March is National Women’s History Month. Woo hoo!

I thought we’d use famous women in history as our inspiration this week. To offer more flexibility, I decided to use what they are known for, rather than their proper names.

If you’d like to use the historical figures themselves, you can use this list of famous women in history that I referenced.

As usual, our contest will begin with three things: character, setting, and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are character: journalist, setting: the White House, and genre: horror.

It is not required, but you are challenged to make your main character a female.

Feel free to write a story using those or spin a new set of your own. Be sure to include which three elements you’re using.

  • warrior
  • queen
  • Native American princess
  • political leader
  • civil rights activist
  • suffragette
  • nurse
  • freedom fighter
  • writer
  • cowgirl/sharpshooter
  • chemist
  • painter
  • pilot
  • psychologist
  • nun
  • athlete
  • judge
  • explorer
  • journalist
  • celebrity
  • billionaire
  • teenage girl
  • factory worker
  • 15th Century France
  • deserted island
  • Britain
  • 15th Century Spain
  • wartime, any country
  • pre-Civil War USA
  • plane
  • laboratory
  • post-Civil War USA
  • concentration camp
  • courtroom
  • newsroom
  • TV studio
  • parliament/congress
  • the White House
  • at a desk
  • factory
  • horror
  • sci-fi
  • steam punk
  • mystery
  • fantasy
  • romance
  • drama
  • comedy
  • poem


Judging this week is yours truly, along with one of last week’s winners, Brian S Creek. 🙂

All submissions should be 100 words in length, give or take 10 words (90 – 110 words). You have until midnight, New York time to submit.

Winners will receive a copy of the Kindle version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin: With 66 Illustrations and a Free Online Audio File. Plus a History of Slavery (currently available in the US, the UK, Australia, and other territories), or a similarly priced book of their choosing; alternatively, winners may elect to have the monetary equivalent donated to World Reader or another literacy-related charity.

If you like, you may incorporate the following photo prompt (not required).

Photo by M. Marshall - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain
Photo by M. Marshall – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain

Microcosms 11
Microcosms 9

25 thoughts on “Microcosms 10

  1. The Red Rose

    “Margaret Chase Smith has the killer instinct of a yellow journalist, Joe. Facts, bloody facts all the time. Can’t be trusted.”

    “I know. Give a woman a pen and they’ll poison you with truth. Still, she has…whadaya call them… principles. They’re in bloody short supply here in Washington.”

    “With good reason. And now she’s a Senator. Back in ’45, she opposed HUAC becoming a permanent committee, Joe. If she gets a chance, she’ll make mincemeat out of your commie purging. She has crazy notions, Joe. Believes in protesting, holding unpopular thoughts. A commie through and though.”

    “May even try to be President someday.”

    “Now that would be a horror show.”

    110 declarations of conscience

    White House

    1. Great take, Bill, avoiding the more obvious political wranglings.
      [ Do I detect a punning title… Red = Communist, Rose = increased in rank? Hats off to you, sir. 🙂 ]

      1. Perhaps a pun. In researching Mrs. Chase, I read that she wore a red rose every day.

        I was taken aback that in later years she apparently wanted to nuke Khrushchev.

        Well, as I’m sure we all discover, no politician is perfect.

  2. Nothing to See Here
    109 words
    reporter/ White House / horror (and s-f)

    “Your credentials are in order Mira. They will get you into the White House. You know what to do.”

    Mira studied the press ID. “Why couldn’t I be prettier?”

    “You’ll pass for human,” her superior smiled. “Invisibility is your ally.”

    The Press Room was crowded with reporters. Men and women pushed each other for a place at the front of the podium.

    The new President entered. Even without the glasses, Mira could see it was not human–the hate and bigotry, the smugness wrapped in the enormous ego.

    “Ow, my eyes. Get that ugly girl out of here.”

    “No!” Mira held out the erasure pen. “This timeline cannot continue.”

    1. “…the hate and bigotry, the smugness wrapped in the enormous ego”. Who could posdibly imagine a President like that? Good work, Voima.
      [ I thought “erasure pen” didn’t sound anywhere near as cool as MIB’s “neuralyzer” – but then The Doctor had a “sonic screwdriver”, so what do I know? 🙂 ]

      1. Thank you, Geoff–Yes, the horror! You’re right about the erasure pen, a much more clever weapon is needed—MIB or Dr. who had way better…

  3. The Last Laugh
    110 words
    Elements: Journalist, the White House, horror

    “Ms. President, what are the ghost’s intentions?”

    “I believe she wants to take over the world.”

    Lisa laughed with the other journalists. Sure, it was mean, but the president of the United States had announced that the White House was haunted. She was obviously loopy.

    The president pointed to another raised hand. A pale woman in a white dress stood up. Lisa was right beside her, but she hadn’t noticed her until now.

    “That’s exactly right,” the woman said.

    “Oh my God,” Lisa said. “I can see through her!”

    “Boo!” said the ghost.

    Lisa believed in ghosts for the rest of her life (which, unfortunately, was only five more minutes).

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    1. “I believe she wants to take over the world.” Well done, Holly. You accepted the challenge to make your main character a female by changing Family Guy’s Stewie Griffin into a megalomaniac female ghost!

      I love the last line ― it reminds me of Terry Pratchett’s “Give a man a fire and he’s warm for a day, but set fire to him and he’s warm for the rest of his life.”

  4. Tamara Shoemaker
    Word Count: 100
    Three Elements: Character = Journalist, Setting = White House, Genre = Horror

    Coming Soon

    “It’s not a matter of leaving,” he said in the shadows of the Oval Office, “of uprooting and shifting home and position.”

    “What is it a matter of?” She perched like a bird on the sofa edge, her eyes on the screen. Her nails clicked the keys with surgical precision, never pausing.


    The horror that shadowed the White House terrified him. It would creep through the halls of this great home and into this very office, darkening the history inherent.

    It wilted the edges of the White House lawn, and he was powerless to stop it.

    Report user
  5. @geofflepard
    Elements: journalist/white house/horror
    110 words
    President Madison anxiously scanned the horizon. A rider galloped up; sentries raised muskets but Madison waved them away. ‘Sir, what news?’
    ‘The British have entered Washington.’
    Madison blanched. ‘Dear God.’
    ‘The White House burns.’
    Madison sank to his knees, holding his chest.
    ‘The town is sacked. The British are intent on desecration. But we saved Washington.’
    ‘His monument stands?’
    ‘His portrait sir.’
    Madison could hardly breathe, the full horror laid out in front of him. ‘The Capitol is gone and you tell me you have saved a painting?’
    ‘Yes sir.’
    ‘Dear God. It’s a copy. Is that to be my legacy? The press will crucify me.’
    ‘Sir, I’ve already filed.’

  6. @AvLaidlaw
    108 Words
    Journalist / White House /Horror

    All The President’s Men

    You’ve got to dig. That’s what a good newshound does. Keeps digging through the fetid earth, the sewerage of the White House, Capitol Hill, the whole stinking swamp of Washington DC. You got to dig up those graves…

    “A monster?” The new President says at his first press conference. “A Frankenstein’s monster?” He talks with a dead poet’s tongue, smiles with the mouth of a dead film star, stitched together by the moneymen, the warmongers, the corporates to a design supplied by the pollsters and the focus groups. He stares with the eyes of an executed murderer.

    You’ve got to dig, even if it is your own grave.

  7. In Plain Sight
    A.J. Walker

    Twenty minutes in and the wardrobe was getting claustrophobic. A thin line of light into the President’s bedroom gave some comfort for one eye at a time. I was desperate to break an explosive exclusive. I was hoping to catch this most weird of men in an uncompromising position.

    Then in walked President Drumpf. Bald as a coot. With his dressing gown open I was torn between laughter and nausea.

    He opened the door to the adjoining room. There was a high pitch ruckus as a mob of ginger Tribble like aliens jockeyed for position. One flew straight on to Drumpf’s head. Our president controlled by aliens; explained a lot.

    WC: 110
    Journalist/ White House/ horror

    1. Going for the ultimate nightmare, AJ? Let’s laugh while we can… Good stuff.
      [ “I was desperate to break an explosive exclusive…” Sounds like flatulence to me! Is a Trump in the White House inevitable? There would be hell toupee 🙁 ]

  8. Pray

    105 words
    Elements: nun, wartime, poem


    Mother, do you hear them cry
    Beneath the siren’s wail?

    Hush, Sister, pray for them,

    Mother, I have no words
    That can drown the sound
    Of Death’s screech owl,
    The symphony of pain,
    The orchestration of fear
    As it crucifies those outside our walls.
    We must open our doors
    Proclaim sanctuary for all

    No, Sister, you can only pray for them

    Mother, do you hear the silence?
    There is no one left
    Beyond our church,
    The bombs and guns
    Have done their work
    And only we remain,
    Mother, do you hear me now?
    Mother …
    Oh my God …
    Mother, who will pray for us?

  9. @WarwickDaisy
    Freedom Fighter/ At a Desk/ Mystery
    Words – 110
    Built up Resentment

    I once wrote to Father Christmas and asked him for a remote-controlled, inflatable dinosaur like my brother’s. Instead I received a purple, plastic pony. I’ve written to him many times over the years, asking for micro-machines, football stickers, a pellet gun, for many of the things that my brother had. But, I soon realised that Father Christmas only wanted to gift me girly toys that were less challenging and therefore less fun. I believe he did it to other little girls as well.
    He doesn’t any more because I’m in charge now. But he often likes to write and tell me about the good old days, as he sees them.

    Report user
  10. Nasty Little Problem
    110 words, billionaire/plane/horror
    Dave @ParkInkSpot
    The tiny knife hissed by Anastasia’s right eye and tinked off her headset. She swore softly and backhanded the malicious doll into the cockpit glass. The meurtre effigy sprang up and resumed threatening with its tiny sickle arms.

    “It can’t harm us as long as the sun’s up,” she reassured her pilot.

    Her private Citation X thundered west of NOLA at 618 knots.

    “Ease a few points north. Every degree of latitude reduces the necessary airspeed and buys us more time. This little bastard is weakening, it should lose animation soon.”

    “Damn my Aunt Cassy and her hostile voodoo takeovers. I’m gratified she’s never learned to anticipate a technological response.”

    1. Steep learning curve this week, Dave – couldn’t find “meurtre effigy” as a phrase in a Google search, but once I unravelled ‘Citation X’ and ‘NOLA’, and linked it to the voodoo reference, all became clear.

      Unorthodox takeover strategy, but as I frequently say, it’s tough at the top.

  11. @firdausp
    (99 words)
    Painter/concentration camp/sci-fi
    The Doll

    She had the DNA of a painter and that’s what she loved doing–painting!
    Her fingers itched to hold a paintbrush all day while she worked.
    They thought it unbecoming of a metal doll.
    She’d dream about the lovely landscapes she would love to paint, as men tossed her about. Pain was only a word for her, she felt nothing.
    They’d allowed her to keep her paints and brushes a week before the inevitable. The night before, she painted the walls of her cell with trees and birds from her dreams.
    At sunrise they took her to the furnace to remould her.

  12. @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 100
    factory worker / factory / fantasy

    Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You…

    “But don’t you find the work tiring, dirty… unfeminine?” the reporter asked Rosemary, as she took a short break from her work in the aircraft factory.

    She wiped the sweat from her brow, and looked directly at the lens. “Not at all. Everyone has to pull together to make the nation whole.”

    Her appearance on the newsreel proved to other women – and the entire country – that they could do a “man’s job”, and do it well. She was an inspiration to a generation of women.

    Rosie de Rivetta became the first black, openly lesbian woman to occupy The Oval Office.

    1. Sorry my entry is quite late in the day this week. When I read that the challenge was to make the main character female, I had to spend some time studying gender reassignment surgical techniques. 😀

    2. No-one wrote about the first aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic? No chance for me to reply with my ancient SPAM haiku (SPAMku):

      June ’37:
      SPAMelia Earhart proves
      That pigs cannot fly.

      1. It seems you found sufficient time , Geoff. There is, to my way of thinking, always time for haiku.

        Writers wind us up,
        weld wise words that rivet us,
        light a torch for thought.

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