Microcosms 17

My favorite number. Woo hoo! But seriously, wow. I can’t believe we’re here already! I’ll admit, it’s a struggle for me, at times, due to my schedule. But you guys have been awesome, and your continued participation makes it all worthwhile. <3

I was going to do something different today, but seeing as how we lost yet another musical icon today (I’m utterly heartbroken), I thought maybe we would honor both Prince and David Bowie, two artists who were definitely ahead of their time.

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

We spun, and our three elements are character: astronaut, setting: (purple) rain, and genre: drama. This is also National Poetry Month, so for those of you who have vowed not to spin (you know who you are! lol), feel free to select a poem, instead, if you are so inclined.

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.

  • alien
  • pop/rock star
  • astronaut
  • goblin king
  • prophet
  • duke
  • dove
  • scarecrow
  • store clerk
  • a prince
  • basketball player
  • person wearing a beret
  • someone with heterochromia
  • little red Corvette
  • Y2K (1999)
  • labyrinth
  • outer space
  • temple
  • (purple) rain
  • five and dime
  • Gotham (NYC)
  • courtyard
  • bathtub
  • club
  • concert
  • football game
  • an “erotic city”
  • a treasure room
  • spaceship
  • horror
  • sci-fi
  • steam punk
  • mystery
  • fantasy
  • romance
  • drama
  • comedy
  • poem


Judging this week are two of last week’s winners, AV Laidlaw and Steph Ellis. 🙂

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 David Bowie.: The Little Black Book (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 one (or both) of the following photo prompts (not required).

first quarter / half moon
Half Moon by Jim Frech
water droplets on a purple background
Violet Drops by Ja Ty

Microcosms 18
Microcosms 16

28 thoughts on “Microcosms 17

  1. The Traveller

    Is this the shape of it?
    The sorrow of it?
    Is it a surge of joy
    his crimson lungs
    taking the young,
    grasping their fear,
    screaming in the stratosphere,
    a storm of rain,
    of violets
    and violence
    and supple violins?

    I scramble along
    the parapet,
    afraid of falling.

    Is this what I see?
    A universe
    no longer
    pouring out its heart
    with poetry
    and body parts?

    Is this the shape of it?
    I can reach out
    and touch
    the fullest of moons,
    this night,
    reaching down,
    the emptiest of hearts.

    Is this the shape of it?

    105 words with space between
    astronaut, (purple) rain, poetic-drama

  2. WC 100 @carolrosalind
    Astronauts – (Purple) Reign – Drama

    What The Purple One Wants, The Purple One Gets

    O Purple One has spoken.
    She wasn’t impressed with the last interstellar miscellany. We need fresh blood. I’ve sent our astronauts to scour the universe.

    “O Purple Two, Sir, we’ve found the place by following the music, it’s drifting out. The planet rocks, there’s so much to choose from.”

    “Bring me a sample of each. Which species are they?”


    “Ahhhh! Known for amusing repartee, get me some humorists as well. But remember, non should be too old.”

    “Sir, It may take a while, we can only take one at a time. These people are worshiped. They will be missed.”

  3. I Could While Away the Hours
    Dave @ParkInkSpot
    108 words. Scarecrow/Outer space/Sci-fi

    There are response systems beyond my control. The reactor comes up to full power and the satellite begins broadcasting over a variety of frequencies, radar, lasers, even particle beams.

    Nineteen other satellites identical to this one link up an array and begin scanning the outer system for target locks. We’re prepared to aim barrels, open missile hatches, and simulate an orbital defensive position. That’s all ersatz, a sham.

    The primary race abandoned this system eons ago. My brothers and I are achingly lonely. Why did they think it necessary to install brains in their scarecrows?


    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    106 words (ignoring hyphens!)
    Astronaut / Rain / Drama

    * * *


    – – – mander Adam Parker, last remaining member of Crimson Mission Team. I’ve made it back to Outpost Delta 77 but the airlock is sealed. I’m trapped outside and it’s closing – – –

    – – –

    – – – Jackson was right; we should have stayed away. But I guess that’s not in our nature, is it? We poked around where we shouldn’t have and now it’s angry. It’s so very, very ang – – –

    – – – stay away. You have to stay – – –

    – – – Oh God it’s nearly here. It’s going to get me like it got the others. I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die. The rain is coming. I don’t want to – – –

    – – – END TRANSMISSION – – –

    1. – – – INCOMING COMMENT – – –

      – – – FIVE stars, Bri – – –

      – – –

      – – – pacing is brilliant. It’s so very, very TEN – – –

      – – – nearly pointed out that “Oh God” needs an exclamation mark, or at least a com – – –

      – – – don’t want you thinking I’m a JACK – – –

      – – – different from the home life of our own dear QUEEN! – – –

      – – – KING ACE! – – –

      – – – END COMMENT – – –

  5. Polycarbonate

    Behind this helmet of polycarbonate,
    each breath warms my face,
    the condensation bubbles like droplets,
    and I remember;
    I miss the rain.

    Beyond this helmet of polycarbonate,
    blue earth cuts the purple of space,
    I see more ocean than land
    and I remember;
    I miss the rain.

    Before this helmet of polycarbonate,
    early morning thunderstorms,
    and a window view aside a cup of tea,
    and I remember;
    I miss the rain.

    But for this helmet of polycarbonate,
    I would plunge from orbit,
    my life would slip by,
    and then maybe
    I would feel the rain.


    95 words

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  6. And I Quote
    110 words
    Astronaut, purple rain, drama (the personal kind)

    “One small step for man, one giant leap for – ”

    “Phelps! If you say that on one more planet, I’ll poke a hole in your oxygen tank,” growled Schlotzky.

    “C’mon, man.”

    “You’re not even human.”

    “Hey,” said Phelps. “My mom’s human. I’ve got half a right to quote human history.”

    Schlotzky hated Phelps, to a degree that only those trapped in close quarters can understand.

    Purple drops descended from clouds which, until now, had resembled Earth’s. Schlotzky collected some in a vial for testing.

    “What’s this? This planet’s supposed to be water-based,” he said.

    Phelps giggled. “We’re not in Kansas any – ”

    The court-martial was totally worth it.

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  7. The Life and Death of a Star
    @geofflepard 103 words pop/rockstar – bathtub – drama
    Tom Major wanted to be a famous rock star. He practised assiduously, but his nerves held him back.
    In private he was the best but on stage he crumbled. Desperate he began to medicate legally and then illegally. Finally, after spurning one opportunity too many, he returned to his seedy bedsit to end it all.
    He lay in the bath, depressing the needle with brown stained fingers and waited for the end. As he began to fade, something snagged his attention – music echoed from the plughole: a whole new undiscovered dimension to rock music. He died knowing he could have been a genius.

    1. “Tom Major”… HA! Nice one, Geoff. Tragic tale of unfulfilled talent – story of my life!
      [ “music echoed from the plughole” 🙂 : classical guitarist Richard Durrant talks about “The sonic properties of life. A piece of banana going up a hoover pipe, an osteopath coaxing a crack out of a backbone…” ]

  8. @stellakateT
    110 words
    Astronaut / Purple Rain / Drama

    Purple rain hit the windows with such force. Sam had seen nothing like it being his first stint in space. He wondered if he should mention it to the others but he didn’t want them to laugh at the newbie.

    The shade of purple reminded him of the purple wrapped sweets in a box of Roses. Hazelnut wrapped in caramel he felt a pang of homesickness; it was his mum’s favourite.

    If he’d have known this was going to be his last memory he probably would have gone for Leicester winning the league. Singing Purple Rain to Houston he’d left them with a conundrum, the last words from Gemini XIII.

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    1. The curse of the newbie. Nice one, Stella – fingers crossed for the Leicester “recollection”!

      [ “purple wrapped sweets in a box of Roses. Hazelnut wrapped in caramel…” Quality Street, my dear: nothing escapes the encyclopaedic knowledge of… The Pedant… BWA-HA-HA-HA!! ]

  9. Nautilus: Above and Below

    In her last video log for her daughter, Captain Darla remarked how cumulus clouds looked just like mashed potatoes from her vantage point on the space station. Underneath, bobbing on the ocean waves strapped into her emergency capsule, the clouds looked heavy; threatening to fall and crush her.

    She struggled against her harness, certain her femur had shattered with the impact. The captain felt what she most feared hit her cheek: a raindrop. The sprinkle accelerated into a downpour. Her safety belt was jammed. Panicked, Darla redoubled her efforts to escape from the safety device before the pod filled with water and dragged her to the bottom of the Pacific.

    110 words

  10. Emily Clayton
    someone with heterochromia/Y2K/sci-fi
    99 words

    “Hey, numbnuts, you know what tomorrow is, right?” His braying laugh reverberated through my sensitive ears.

    “Stop it!”

    “Fine. Freakazoid! You blue-eyed and green-eyed freakazoid!”

    I stood there hyperventilating, my tiny chest rising in faster sequences, my face flushing deeper than the deepest aubergine. I felt a tiny pop, then a scurrying through my skin. Odd.

    “You’re a freak with the Y2K virus. You’ll be dead tomorrow, your skin flayed and stinking!”

    Good guess.

    The next morning all that remained of my bully was a bloody, pulpy mess, his pajamas coated with traces of extraterrestrial gunk.

    Who’s laughing now?

  11. Purple & Red
    astronaut/purple rain/drama
    WC 110

    I took over the family business. Some think it’s morbid. I don’t see it that way. Everyone dies and for the dead it isn’t sad. We mourn their absence, and then I orchestrate the send-off.

    Since the first Mars Royal Colony, my family cared for the dead. Today, I will commit our departed Prince to the heavens.

    The prepared body is loaded into the chamber. I shuttle it into the atmosphere. The people gathered below appear as ants.

    I set the timer and pull the release launching the casket. The explosives detonate, and fireworks light up the dark of space.

    I watch purple rain shower down on the red planet.


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  12. @WarwickDaisy
    Prophet/ An ‘erotic city’/ Horror
    ‘A Trip’
    Words – 110

    ‘I’m hearing about an erotic city, but have I come to the right place? That’s why I’m in Amsterdam. Because of the erotica.’

    ‘I heard mention of cherries too, but I haven’t found any remarkable cherries yet.’


    ‘The song mentioned a purple life. But I thought orange was the colour representative of the Netherlands.’

    ‘The truffles will wear off in a few hours and the cherry I’ve got at the end of my fingertips right now is pretty special.’

    ‘I won’t be talking to my inner-prophet by Monday.’

    ‘Yes, I’ll stop advising myself by Monday. I should’ve escaped from this Van Gough by then.’

    ‘After all, Monday equals sobriety.’

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  13. The Fluid Mechanics of Rain in Zero Gravity

    The spheres were perfect floating in front of the crew’s faces. Other astronauts looked to the stars for proof of a higher power. Captain Darla found her creator in the flawlessness in these translucent orbs.

    Water had gone everywhere. Larger globules were the result of a friendly water fight celebrating their return to Earth after a grueling year in orbit. The smallest spheres: her tears in knowing she was never returning to space.

    The water shifted unnaturally, then accelerated uniformly toward her.

    “We’re gaining gravity!” She didn’t know who screamed, but someone seized her and threw her into the nearest escape pod as an electrical fire lit through the cabin.

    110 words

  14. Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

    Starman Rodgers climbed out of his mangled shuttle and surveyed the alien landscape before him. The moon’s gravitational pull was stronger than anticipated and he’d landed hard in a swamp of purple goo.

    The rocky landscape was unstable and he dodged and weaved between falling pebbles that set off even more purple explosions of rain everywhere he turned.

    Suddenly he froze. Sounds emanating from a nearby cave announced the approach of a large lifeform. His hand hovered above his pistol: would it be friendly or hostile?

    “NELSON! Just LOOK at the state of my kitchen! You’d better hope that paint doesn’t stain, young man.”

    “Sorry Mum.”

    Definitely hostile.

    108 words
    (With a nod to Bill Watterson)

    astronaut; (purple) rain; drama

  15. Nice Ride
    99 words
    alien / little red Corvette / horror

    The car looked like a little red Corvette. The driver looked convincingly human in a skin-tight leopard print jumpsuit and platform shoes.

    The dark clouds, too, appeared to be a supercell storm, disguising the mothership from radar.

    The driver waved to the young man by the side of the road.

    “Do you need a lift?” the driver said.

    “Hey, thanks. You’re all right. Nice ride.”

    The driver nodded, eyes behind mirror sunglasses.

    The first drops of rain began to fall, as the highway dissolved behind them. The little red car accelerated, lifted off and disappeared into the purple clouds.

  16. Space Launch Complex

    “Do I have to call you Captain here?”

    “No, you just call me Mom.”

    Darla’s knees hurt against the steel grid of the launch pad flooring. Her flight suit wasn’t made for saying good bye to five year olds. She stood back up and gave her husband a final kiss in the cheek. They’d said their goodbyes last night.

    Her daughter pointed at the thunderhead forming in the distance.

    “If it storms, can you still stay with me and Dad?”

    Darla bent and kissed her on the head one final time. It would need to last her a whole year.

    “Don’t worry, we’re going to beat the rain.”

    108 Words

  17. On Floating Bodies

    Archimedes danced in her head as the ocean surface rose above her. In these last moments, she only wanted her daughter, not the man whose laws were sending down into oblivion.

    The density of the escape pod wasn’t enough to counter the water weight it had taken on in the downpour overhead. Captain Darla fought against her safety harness. Amidst the chaos, an old pain formed in the astronaut’s knees.

    Eureka. A memory knocked out by the violent impact returned. Reaching between her knees she pulled the secondary release. The chair uncoupled sending away from Archimedes and toward the surface, rescue and ultimately her daughter.

    105 words

  18. @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 100
    person wearing a beret / (purple) rain / romance

    [ *** Late entry – just for fun *** ]

    Four Candles, Two Soups

    Brenda stands outside the antique shop, wearing her mustard-coloured beret. She looks around anxiously. Her friend is late.

    They’d met by accident in her favourite tea shop. Brenda had popped in for her usual – a nice cup of tea and a macaroon. They’d had to share a corner table since the place had been packed; it had been raining… just like today.

    At home, in Brenda’s bedsit, the table is elegantly set – best linen cloth, the candelabrum she’d inherited from her Auntie Gertie, soup plates.

    Feeling a tap on her shoulder, she pirouettes.

    “Oh, Kimberley! I’ve been looking for you.”

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