Wow, although we didn’t receive as many entries as usual this week, we sure received some great ones! You guys always manage to impress me. You should be proud.
A HUGE thanks to Brian S Creek for helping me judge this week.
Here’s what he had to say. 🙂
It feels good to be judging again. I haven’t done it since September last year, back when Micro
Bookends was . . . was . . . oh, never mind. It’s still too painful to talk about.
Everyone threw down some great stories this week and I was impressed at how horror wasn’t always taken literally as a genre. Horror isn’t always a bogeyman. Fear doesn’t always mean you’re being chased. Sometimes real things can scare us.
Like Donald Drumpf.
Seriously. The Horror!!!
Anyway, onto the judging.
All right, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
Geoff Lepard – Untitled
Comments from Brian: The pace of this story is great; zippy without feeling rushed. And I love the dialogue; one line in particular that was easily my favourite line of the week (see favourite lines).
Daisy Warwick – Built Up Resentment
Comments from Brian: This highlights an issue that has been (and unfortunately will continue) going on for ages with the definition of gender dictated from such an early age through toys. And while we all know who gets the blame (parents, toy companies), it’s nice to see someone going after the real culprit.
Bill Engleson – The Red Rose
Comments from KM: Interesting take that the main character (female) doesn’t really appear in the story, but she is certainly the one being talked about. “Give a woman a pen and they’ll poison you with truth.” Love this line.
Steph Ellis – Pray
Comments from KM: There’s something very existential in this poem. It is timely, beautifully written, and reminds me of the quote by Pastor Martin Niemoller. A chilling reminder of what has been and what could be.
Holly Geely – The Last Laugh
Comments from Brian: Not only did this have me chuckling (even with a genre like Horror, Holly has to put smiles on faces), I liked seeing the crazy person not being crazy, and the non-believers getting their comeuppance. Now we need the obligatory prequel to explore the ghost’s history. It’s what Hollywood would do.
AJ Walker – In Plain Sight
Comments from Brian: Maybe this called out to me because of all the Drumpf crap in the news recently. Or perhaps it was because I’d just finished watching Star Trek: The Motion Picture before getting stuck into judging. Who knows. But I loved how, even when the character gets a hell of a lot more than they bargained for (scope of the year!), they still take it so matter-of-factly. “Explained a lot”. Sure, hindsight’s a wonderful thing. Brilliant.
Comments from KM: Oh, wow. What can I say? This is just all kinds of awesome. I’m left a little speechless. lol
Voima Oy – Nothing to See Here
Comments from KM: This story elicited multiple snickers from me. “Why couldn’t I be prettier?” … “Ow, my eyes. Get that ugly girl out of here.” These lines really made me laugh. But I really went on a roller coaster ride of emotions – joy, anxiety, fear, and the ever elusive (or, rather, the rarely admitted to) smugness. Oh, man. That last line kills me.
Before we get to our winners, here are Brian’s favorite lines from this week. (Thanks, Brian!)
“Still, she has . . . whadaya call them . . . principles.” – Bill Engleson
Mira studied the press ID. “Why couldn’t I be prettier?” – Voima Oy
“I believe she wants to take over the world.” – Holly Geely
The horror that shadowed the White House terrified him. – Tamara Shoemaker
“The Capitol is gone and you tell me you have saved a painting?” – Geoff Lepard
He stares with the eyes of an executed murderer. – A V Laidlaw
With his dressing gown open I was torn between laughter and nausea. – A J Walker
Mother, do you hear the silence? There is no one left beyond our Church – Stephanie Ellis
He doesn’t anymore because I’m in charge. – Daisy Warwick
“Damn my Aunt Cassy and her hostile voodoo takeovers.” – D E Park
They thought it unbecoming of a metal doll. – Firdaus Parvez
She wiped the sweat from her brow, and looked directly at the lens. – Geoff Holme
And now, without further ado, I present to you the winners of Microcosms 10.
(insert drumroll here)
AJ Walker – In Plain Sight
In Plain Sight
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.
Journalist/ White House/ horror
DE Park – Nasty Little Problem
Comments from Brian: For my second read though of this week’s stories, this was the one I kept comparing all others too. This piece screamed Twilight Zone and the writing was detailed, yet tight. So much in so few words. In fact, I had to check the word count because it felt three or four times longer than it’s 110. That’s good writing.
Nasty Little Problem
110 words, billionaire/plane/horror
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.”
Firdaus Parvez – The Doll
Comments from KM: There were some really strong contenders this week. And ah, man, was it difficult to judge. In the end, I used my pick for Firdaus’s highly unsettling story “The Doll”. It fit all of the elements to perfection, and left me with a sick feeling in my stomach. Well done.
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.
- 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 Uncle Tom’s Cabin: With 66 Illustrations and a Free Online Audio File. Plus a History of Slavery. 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 are both invited to judge the next round of Microcosms. Please let me know if you are interested!