RESULTS – Microcosms 18

I’m really, really sorry about the delay, guys. It’s been one heck of a week.

Wow, you guys are insanely clever and talented. SO difficult to choose this week. I know I left out some worthy ones, but I’ve had a rough week. So, please take no offense if I didn’t list it. All of the stories were awesome!

A HUGE thanks to CR Smith for helping me judge.

Here’s what she had to say:

It takes skill to write a story in around a hundred words. To be honest, it’s probably one of the hardest forms of flash to master. But you lovely people manage to write great stories week in, week out. The only downside is you make judging really hard. All the stories have been read blind so as I write this even I don’t know who’s won. What I can tell you is I’ve enjoyed reading every single one of them; keep up the good work.

Honorable/Honourable Mentions

Steph Ellis – Reclamation

Comments from CR: I could just picture the indestructible maggot following behind. And, of course, well done for slipping in komorebi.

Daisy Warwick – Minutes of meeting 77: Negotiations between the Carpenter’s Guild and the National Tree Party

Comments from CR: Nice wood references. Being fantasy, I imagined a zoo consisting of wood-like creatures.

DE Park – Johnny Appalling

Comments from CR: I like the notion of a plant hunting by surprise. Nice take on Arbour Day.

Comments from KM: This was nicely written. And how scary – plants attacking people? You wouldn’t feel safe anywhere.

Daisy Warwick – Going Up in the World

Comments from KM: This is a tightly written little story with a lot of expert world building.

Brady Koch – Featured Exhibits

Comments from KM: I’m a vegan, so part of me wanted to dislike this story, lol, but I know there are people out there like this. Lots of people searching for fame.

Runners Up

Voima Oy – Forbidden Love

Comments from CR: Lovely tale, beautifully told. So much story in so few words.

Firdaus Parvez – Make Believe

Comments from CR: Great idea to replace all the animals with holograms. Last line made me chuckle.

Geoff Holme – Rara Avis

Comments from CR: Very creative use of the special challenge words; nicely inserted.

Steph Ellis – Reclamation

Comments from KM: Wow! This was so well written. When it began, you had one expectation. Then, it quickly and quietly changed into something sinister. I also found it interesting that the main character has respect for some life but not all, and that may come back to bite him (so to speak). Gorgeous. I love it.

Leara Morris-Clark – Epicurean

Comments from KM: So fun and clever. I could totally picture this as an episode of American Dad. Love the touristy aspect of it all. I definitely wouldn’t have thought of this. (And I do want one of those shirts!)

Favorite/Favourite Lines

Before we get to our winners, here are CR’s favorite/favourite lines from this week.

Ugh, people; smelly, fleshy, people. – Ashley Gardana

Spoiled Rotten, but Not Forgotten! – Holly Geely

A Kardashian buttock and Parton breast. – Geoff Lepard

I’ll never be as old as you are, Mommy. – Bill Engleson

When writers tell their tales well, they do not dwell on slight misspells. – Bill Engleson

Flynn nursed his morning coffee, enjoying the komorebi as it danced across his face. – Steph Ellis

Hey, top dog! Mind your hot dog! – Emily Clayton

He’d replaced every zoo animals he’d liberated with taxidermies from bankrupt museums. – Brady Koch

John Aperlo is the molecular geneticist who gene spliced the species in 2025. – DE Park

…during which I snacked on Parakeets and stuffed a Macaw in my knapsack. – Leara Morris-Clark

…holding out his bark-covered hand for confirmation. – Daisy Warwick

Both human and feline, where was her place in this world? – Voima Oy

He’d written all of his reports on time, despite being hassled by chimps throwing poo at his desk. – Daisy Warwick

That is when he noticed that its stripes were all wrong. – Firdaus Parvez

The latter is recently data deficient. – Geoff Holme

And now, without further ado, I present to you the winners of Microcosms 18.

(insert drumroll here)

Community Pick

Steph Ellis – Reclamation


107 words
Elements: conservationist, restaurant, horror
Special challenge: komorebi


Flynn nursed his morning coffee, enjoying the komorebi as it danced across his face. The view from the restaurant balcony was breathtaking. Today he could rest, celebrate the business venture that would draw tourists and not poachers. Land once polluted by hazardous toxins had been returned to nature.

He idly scratched at his arm, flicked something small and white from his skin. It wriggled briefly on the floor and then squirmed back towards him. Irritated, Flynn ground it into a pulp with his heel and walked away. He did not see the maggot flesh reform, inflate, into a heaving mass and crawl blindly, determinedly in his footsteps.

Judges’ Picks

Leara Morris-Clark – Epicurean

Comments from CR: This story creates such a wonderful picture of an incognito alien. Too many good bits to choose from; enjoyed it all from beginning to end.

WC 110

I arrived at the zoo, incognito, and followed signs to the aviary. The staff escorted me into the enclosure for the Arbor Day event. A conservation group organized it to raise awareness about humanity’s impact on Earth.

The itchy wig was necessary. My favorite diva-shades helped disguise large almond-shaped eyes, and the “Keep the planet clean, it’s not Uranus!” t-shirt was sure to avert suspicion.

A lecture about responsibility to the planet and its animal inhabitants preceded a meditative time to commune with nature, during which I snacked on Parakeets and stuffed a Macaw in my knapsack.

Being a celebrity on my planet afforded me exotic experiences, including cosmic delicacies.

Leara Morris-Clark

Geoff Holme – Rara Avis

Comments from KM: Such a tight race this week. There were so many good ones, and I just couldn’t decide! In the end, I gave the nod to Geoff for rising up to meet the special challenge in such a clever way. Well done!

Word Count: 110
Conservationist / Zoo / Romance
Special Challenge accepted: all three – hidden!

Rara Avis

“Sally! Come in.”

“Happy birthday, Ed. Oh… you’re packing.”

“Yeah. I’m… leaving the zoo. Finally got another conservation job. Don’t want to end up just a footnote: OSWALD, E. in Sam Keithley’s ‘Ornithological Crises’.”

“Where are you going?”

“New Zealand. Two endangered forest birds, same genus – one North Island, the other South. The latter is recently data deficient.”


“They haven’t been spotted for a while; possibly extinct.”

“What are they called?”

“Kōkako: more birds are needed to take them off the critical list.”

“Looks like this is a farewell present: one of your favourite Japanese comic books.”

“Manga? Ta!”

“I’ll… miss you.”

“Hey, don’t cry, Sally… Come with me!”

Congratulations! Each of you will receive:

  • 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 Walden (Illustrated by Clifton Johnson). 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 each invited to judge the next round of Microcosms. Please let me know if you are interested!

RESULTS - Microcosms 19
RESULTS - Microcosms 17

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