Microcosms 11

Okay, so today is Johnny Appleseed Day. For those of you not in the US, he is a historical figure who famously introduced apple trees to a significant part of the United States. (You can read more about him here.) And I mean, come on, who doesn’t love apples?

Anyways, I thought we’d use apples as our inspiration today. How, you ask? By including characters often associated with apples. To make things flexible, I’ve made the characters generic, rather than specific. For example, “progenitor” takes the place of “Adam and Eve”.

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

We spun, and our three elements are character: shinigami, setting: luau, and genre: romance. Hahahahahaha Good luck.

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.

  • princess
  • progenitor
  • vampire
  • farmer
  • grocer
  • shinigami
  • CEO
  • snake
  • computer engineer
  • gardener
  • baker
  • archer
  • adulterer
  • physicist
  • teacher
  • doctor
  • pig
  • New York
  • office building
  • orchard
  • garden
  • Avalon
  • Halloween
  • Hawaii
  • castle
  • Forks, WA
  • farm
  • grocery store
  • bakery
  • school
  • hospital
  • under a tree
  • luau
  • motel
  • New Years
  • fair
  • horror
  • sci-fi
  • steam punk
  • mystery
  • fantasy
  • romance
  • drama
  • comedy
  • poem


Judging this week are two of last week’s winners, Firdaus Parvez and DE Park. 🙂

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 Snow White (Fairy eBooks) (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).

Irish Meadow by Brian Lary
Irish Meadow by Brian Lary

Microcosms 12
Microcosms 10

43 thoughts on “Microcosms 11

  1. Jolson

    Every day, blood drained from Jolson.

    He needed replenishing.

    “This town will suck you dry, my sweet,” she had said.

    “The KKK are merciless,” he had screamed. “They snipe, and say I am a traitor to my race. And then they strut and sneer and say, “What else would you expect?”

    “Well, I’m not the apple of their jaundiced hateful eyes, am I?”

    “But you are mine. Oh, do sing Avalon, please?”

    “I will. Touch up my blackface, I’m feeling drained.”

    “Strange, isn’t it, Asa? Murnau wants you to travel all the way to Europe to play Nosferatu. If he only knew of your Lithuanian roots, he would just die.”

    110 totally imaginative renderings of the great Al Jolson (The World’s Greatest Entertainer)
    Vampire; New York; Fantasy

    1. Yet another aspect of your encyclopaedic knowledge, Bill. Fantastic… literally!
      [ ‘Strange, isn’t IT, Asa?’ surely? But that would take your ‘totally imaginative renderings of the great Al Jolson (The World’s Greatest Entertainer)’ over the limit… Drat! 🙁 ]

    2. It has been brought to my attention in the best way possible that my last paragraphian sentence begins “Strange, isn’t Asa?” seems to have dropped “it.” “It” would thrust me over the 110 word threshold. If a kind host would consider adding “it” and , say, dropping “the” from the first sentence of this unworthy effort, thus transforming it to “Every day, blood drained from Jolson,” well that might do just fine. Thank you.

  2. @KreskaFiction
    farmer/orchard/romance (what an amazing coincidental spin!!!)
    109 beautiful round globes

    Title: Stupid Cupid?

    ‘These love trees are faulty,’ said Simon the Head Gardener from ‘Love Trees Are US’.
    ‘It’s the bees, they’re declining in numbers,’ said Evelyn the Company Secretary; who’d had a secret crush on Simon for years.
    ‘Pollination problems?’ said Frank, the Sales Manager who had fancied Evelyn ever since she wore that flimsy dress on ‘Open Day’.
    ‘Global dimming – it’s something I saw on TV. The Earth is actually cooling…’ said Lynette the Invoice Clerk, who’d asked Frank out on a date before realising he only had eyes for Evelyn.
    ‘Maybe the grafting went wrong?’ said Mark the Groundsman – who couldn’t work out if Simon was gay or not.

      1. ach!!!! I also have another spelling mistake – an added ‘he’ in line three…and a rogue semi-colon in line four after ‘Frank’ – oh boy – I promise to sweep ‘love petals’ into a pile forever…

      2. How about ‘…WHO’D asked Frank out…’ as well, Avalina. Convoluted love matrix playing havoc with your synapses? Great take.

        Are the capital letters in ‘Love Trees Are US’ meant to tie the story back to Johnny Appleseed? 🙂

      3. Done, done – and done! (Looking at Geoff’s comment, I assumed you’d probably want that one, as well.) Please let me know if it looks okay, now. 🙂

      4. Good idea of Geoff’s – can you change the other who’d too? My menopausal brain had paused this morning. If you’re gonna stick comma’s in after their names then I guess we’d better have them all matching!! Thanks ever so, don’t want to hog the show…

  3. Honeytrap Apples
    by @The_Red_Fleece
    I hate this part of my job. The ladyship doesn’t need her orchard protecting at night. She’s lost more gardeners than apples since the trees were planted ninety years ago. “But they keep me alive dear,” she says.
    A footstep on damn grass echoes through the darkness. I run after the noise. A short figure, hooded in black, is reaching towards one of the apples.
    “Stop. These apples are protected.” By me, I want to add but that isn’t much of a threat.
    The figure does as I ask before walking towards me. “I know dear. I’m not here for one of my apples. I’m here for you.”

    Word Count = 108

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  4. @danafaletti
    109 words
    Shinigami, Luau, Romance

    Eve’s Dark Desire

    You caught me by surprise this dewy morning in Luau garden.
    With crimson-tinged talons and rheumy eyes, you slid from behind the forbidden tree.
    “Delicious,” you hissed. “Just like you, Evie.”
    Blush burned my cheeks as my gaze fell from your velvet eyes to the blood-red fruit in your palm.
    Heart-shaped and glossy, it was as if you were offering a part of yourself.
    How could I have refused?
    I sank my teeth into its shiny flesh, imagining the taste of you.
    A pulsing sweetness flooded my senses.
    I gave myself over to your lusciousness, and, for just one moment in paradise, it felt sinfully good be bad.

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  5. Crackling

    Simon leant against the trunk, with Doris’s head in his lap. They’d spent many afternoons here at the end of the garden; from the blossom drifting like confetti to apples hanging ripe and heavy above them.
    He stroked her head. Simon adored Doris but soon they would part forever. His parents had organised wife and wedding. An apple crashed to the ground at his side and wondered whether his wife could make apple sauce.
    Doris nibbled the toggles on his duffle-coat and, grunting, nuzzled him with her snout. As his hand played up and down her beautiful broad back, Simon drooled a little at the thought of her crackling.

    110 words

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    1. There really should be a ‘he’ before ‘wondered’ in the second paragraph if it can be changed. Though I do like the concept of apples wondering anything. Do apples think about apple sauce? Probably not. Though who knows what goes on in the core of an apple’s being.

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      1. But, dear Sal, like Bill before you, you say your word count is already 110. Why not a full stop after ‘side’ then change ‘and wondered…’ to ‘He wondered…’? (Perhaps I should stop proof-reading and think about entering. 🙁 )
        [I’ve been veggie for since mid-1970s… Anyone beat that?]

      1. Thanks Bill. I haven’t eaten meat for nearly twenty years myself but I also know many people love pigs … especially eating them! 😉

  6. Lu-ouch
    110 words
    Shinigami, luau, romance

    “You’ll be gone soon. Tell her,” Bill urged me.

    “Even if I’ve got a chance, it’s too late,” I said.

    Bill put his heart into this luau-theme going away party. I’m not a party person, especially when there’s a pig with an apple in its mouth, but the dancing!

    That’s why I tripped.

    The dark figure laughs. “Burning coals? Really?”

    He has many names. I was an anime nerd in high school so I’ll call him “shinigami.”

    “There was a fire pit.”

    “Clumsy Lila.” He hands me a key. “This is your second chance,” he says.

    I wake up with Sylvie at my side.

    I promise I won’t waste it.

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  7. @WarwickDaisy
    Princess/ Motel/ Mystery
    Mirror Mirror…
    Words – 110

    Being inebriated, Alan didn’t instantly register that a woman wearing a wide-bottomed dress was stepping through the cracked mirror hanging on the back of his motel bedroom door.
    “Help!” she cried.
    “I’m not dreaming?” he gasped.
    “Help me!” she demanded.
    “With what?” he asked, rubbing his head and wondering if he’d locked the door. Maybe the ‘Princess’ was on a hen party, and lost?
    “Mother is at it again!” she cried.
    “Heh?” he said, pulling the sheets over his furry beer-gut.
    “Poisonous apples! Do I really have to explain?”
    “Um… Do you want a banana instead?” he said, pointing to the withered fruit sitting on top of his open suitcase.

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  8. Leilani
    109 words
    Shinigami, luau, romance
    (I run the site, so this is just for fun.)

    His leathery wings folded as he landed on the shore. These beaches were different than the starry sands of Okinawa – even his ancient feet could feel that. He buried his toes in their velvety softness before unfurling a small scroll.

    Yoshimoto-san: chokes on kalua pua’a, 7:37 p.m.

    Tourists filled their plates as Leilani took the stage. Hibiscus in her hair, enchanting smile. He watched, mesmerized by the sway of her hips…

    A butterfly fluttered by with a new scroll.

    “No…” He checked his watch. 7:38 p.m. “Please,” he pleaded. “Not this time.”

    Leilani: drowns in the ocean, 9:21 p.m.

    There were always consequences.

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  9. Love and Death on a Wet Friday in Droyslden
    A.J. Walker

    There had been an administrative cock-up. Stella, a Japanese death god, had arrived at the Frog & Bucket in Droylsden to lead old Mr Yashimoto to the next world.

    Geoff, a Hindu Love God (Tameside Branch), was also there to introduce Yash to an exciting new era in his life: Romance.

    The Bucket was mid luau party – which largely comprised Hawaiian shirts, lurid cocktails and culturally embarrassing music – so no-one noticed the two minor deities sat puzzling over their paperwork. After a jug of mojitos they eventually shook hands to their compromise deal.

    Yash’s body was to be found wearing only a flower garland and an insanely wide grin.


    1. You rose to the challenge of the tricky given elements wonderfully, AJ. But “Geoff” a Hindu Love God? Does not compute…

      Reading your title, I made a mental note to point out the typo, but you managed to spell ‘Droylsden’ correctly in the story. Nice bit of bathos there!

      (That name always takes me back to my childhood: my Auntie Olive had a ‘corner’ shop in the front room of her terraced house in Hindley Green. Robertson’s had their jam factory in Droylsden – before gollywogs became non-PC, it was in the address to which you had to send your collection of paper gollywogs (tucked in the label at the back of the jars) to get gollywog enamel badges and, later, pottery figurines… innocent times. 🙂 )

      1. @stellakateT
        109 words
        Princess/New York/ Horror

        Legacy of King Kong

        He’d followed her all day; he was good at this, with her cute English accent, tight blonde curls and lips you just wanted to kiss. Empire state building now, he could hear her telling her friends about King Kong scaling the heights seeking the blonde beauty and falling to his death. God she looked like Princess Di, but didn’t all British girls. He touched her arm and as she swung round he stabbed her with the thinnest sharpest stiletto he’d ever possessed. She hardly murmured, slumped gracefully against one of her friends, a tiny rivulet of rosy red blood staining the satin of her blouse. One classy dead girl.

  10. Spring Planting

    108 words
    elements: gardener, hospital, horror


    The sound of digging caught George’s attention. Trespassers were forbidden. He had only just finished tending the hospital’s memorial garden and now an intruder was crouching over his freshly-tilled beds. It was Matthew, the mortuary technician, the bane of his life.

    “You said you needed a hand,” he said.

    George moved nearer. Saw Matthew burying a severed arm in the soil. He grinned, the joke was good … but he knew a better one.

    “Actually,” he said. “What I really need are more bodies in the garden.”

    “Now that,” said Matthew, “may be difficult.”

    The tines on George’s pitchfork glinted in the dark. “Not at all,” he said.

  11. @carolrosalind WC 109 Vampire/Orchard/Horror

    Bloody Apples
    Something was wrong with him! He’d followed his training, seduced his victim, whisked her off to a secluded spot, only to find he couldn’t bring himself to drink her blood. The problem was the taste — he didn’t like it!

    But who could he tell? He’d be the butt of every joke. Vampires for Dummies was useless — as much good as telling Grandma how to bite eggs.

    Exiling himself to the orchard, he satisfied his natural inclination, biting into apple after apple. Until, just before dawn, a milk maid passed by. Sinking his teeth into her neck, he found thick, warm blood mixed with apple juice was a big improvement.

  12. @stellakateT
    109 words
    Princess/New York/ Horror

    Legacy of King Kong

    He’d followed her all day; he was good at this, with her cute English accent, tight blonde curls and lips you just wanted to kiss. Empire state building now, he could hear her telling her friends about King Kong scaling the heights seeking the blonde beauty and falling to his death. God she looked like Princess Di, but didn’t all British girls. He touched her arm and as she swung round he stabbed her with the thinnest sharpest stiletto he’d ever possessed. She hardly murmured, slumped gracefully against one of her friends, a tiny rivulet of rosy red blood staining the satin of her blouse. One classy dead girl.

  13. @meg_mediocre
    110 words
    Elements: shinigami; luau; romance

    Change of Heart

    The lore was clear: the crone had complied many times, whispering to the worst side of her victims until they drove themselves to suicide. She never questioned why.

    But this was too much.

    As she sailed through the vibrant cacophony of the farm-warming luau those she brushed against shivered and drew closer to the fire pit. She ignored them, consumed with horror for her intended victim.

    A baby.

    He looked into her soul and graspingly giggled his joyful exuberance.

    “No,” she wept, “not this time.”

    As she curled around his heart she vowed to whisper love, to be his lucky charm for a long and prosperous life.

    Lore be damned.

  14. Hot Date

    Mindy noticed a young man with his hood up in the corner. He had a slender build and a gothic vibe. Yummy!

    She glided across the dance floor, ignoring the traditional fire dance. It was pure fluff, meant for the tourists.

    As she got closer she glanced at his face, but the dancing shadows obscured her view. She’d just have to get closer.

    She sidled up next to him, “Hi there. Are you here with someone?”
    His voice was deep and hollow, “Actually, I came here to meet you.”

    Her heart beat faster. Then she saw the hollow eyes.

    She turned to run, but the flames were faster.

    108 words
    Elements: shinigami; luau; romance

  15. Mountain Path

    At this distance she could no longer hear the pulsing music from the luau below but could still see the fire dancers. The spinning flames circled around and around, reminding her of the wedding band on her finger.

    She turned back to the vague, thin man beckoning her up the mountain. Always far enough away to only make out his toothy grin. She walked farther up the hill, her husband’s ashes in their pouch bouncing against her thigh. She knew where the smiling guide was leading her. She was willing to go there. Up to the mouth of the volcano where she would join her husband in the next world.

    110 words
    Elements: shinigami; luau; romance

  16. Red Lacquers
    110 words

    Happy Samhain! Every inch of the school structure was festooned with facsimiles of an archaic pagan ritual. In every fourth entryway stood virtual apple-bobbing stations. Each apple was a perfect red, lacquered, replica of the other, suspended hypnotically in mid-air. Mar’Quan groaned inwardly as another upperclassman sailed by, smugly sporting the latest trend: a holographic whirl-a-matic that changed your All Hallow’s costume every hour, the whole span of a planetary rotation. To the tune of a circa 1980s song no less!

    Mar’quan imagined she wouldn’t detest this annual ritual if she possessed what every other cosseted teen citizen of this establishment did: an Exalted National’s line of gold. Unfortunately, only First Descendant children were entitled to this.

    Not Mar’Quan and her sad secondhand plastic apples.

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