RESULTS – Microcosms 39

Thank you to all who submitted their RTA obituaries in Microcosms 39… Actually, there weren’t any of these, but it would have been an original take on the prompt! Please keep returning to Microcosms, and retweet / spread the word about this contest among your followers and friends.

Don’t forget that Microcosms exists primarily to provide a platform for the flash fiction community to hone their skills, and secondarily to give entrants a chance of receiving an accolade from that week’s judge. We also have the vote button for anyone, not just fellow entrants, to register their favourite/favorite(s) and thus establish a Community Pick.

Remember, you can reply with a comment to any and all of the entries AT ANY TIME: It’s good to have feedback.

Many thanks to Carlos Orozco for judging MC 39. Here’s what he had to say:

I really have a love-hate relationship with judging, but I can never turn down a chance at doing it. Being on the other side reminds me of the things I need to work on. My advice to anyone who hasn’t judged: do it. You will learn so much and grow as a writer. Having to describe why I liked story A more than story B opens my eyes to the small nuances that can make a good piece of writing that much better.

That being said, I really enjoyed all the stories. They all had elements to them that I will steal envied. On a different day, and with a different amount of gin in my system, I’m sure the order I put them in would be different. I know I am probably beating a dead horse by saying this, but judging is subjective. Every person has his/her preference in genre/style. Don’t be discouraged, or think you need to change your style because one ginned up judge didn’t choose your piece. Writing should be challenging but fulfilling. Don’t write something you think someone else will like, at the expense of torturing yourself to try and write it.

But I digress. Let me get to the lines I will definitely steal. Or as you all know them, Favourite / Favorite Lines…

Carlos

 

 Favourite / Favorite Lines

Bill Engleson – The sun’s shining, the birds are almost in tune. And we’re alive…which is more than we can say about this poor bugger up there.

Love that the birds are “almost” in tune.

Geoff Le Pard – ‘They won’t talk. They’ve pleaded the 452nd Amendment.

I am sure we will get to 452 sometime soon.

Steve Lodge – I feel that I and my fellow abductees are beginning to develop this awful breath too.

Awesome description for showing that the abductees have been there a while now.

Alva Holland – Our music was as different as chalk and cheese but, like all musicians, we shared a common thread – life on the road.

Love the rhythm in this one. The pauses and breaks really placed the emphasis where it needed to go.

WolfRich93 – I guess it takes a while for memory to cross the space between us.

This description is amazing. Wish I had written it.

Richard Edenfield – Your hand grasped the stem and held the bloom to the universe.

Another line I wish I had written.

Brian S Creek – I’d been at this for five months, and the military had been monkeys on my back the whole time.

Really like how the military is reduced to monkeys by the character.

Sal Page – I was drinking in those days and was ‘of no fixed abode’.

Will definitely steal this line sooner rather than later.

Meg Kovalik – It was the first time they’d experienced hope in generations and for now that was enough.

I really like the “for now that was enough” part. It balances the grandiose first part of that sentence.

Geoff Holme – She sees a red glow in the shadows, smells the smoke… the brand he uses.

This was one of the most vivid descriptions in my head.

Stephen Shirres – Each possible answer is cleaner than the last.

I like how the answers are described. Cleaner answers. Don’t mind if I steal this, do you?

 

 

Special Mentions

Best Title:

Bill Engleson – Either a Minor Case of Murder or a Very Complex Suicide at 1127 Walnut Avenue

I love a long title that flows. It is very poetic. This one fits the bill.

[ “Fits the bill“! Hur! Hur! And Carlos was judging blind! (GH) ]

 

Best Description:

Richard Edenfield – Bugatti Flowers

It was very hard to pick a best line from this one. So many good ones to choose from.

 

 

Honorable / Honourable Mentions

Brian S Creek – BIG WORDS

This one was simple, but had a very interesting premise. Even though I want to know more, it didn’t feel like an incomplete story. I wish the writer had more words to work with to add some more descriptions, but really I can’t complain. The plot won me over.

 

 

Runner-up 2 (Third Place)

WolfRich93 – The Biggest Blue(s) Star

The characters in this one really stand out. That is part of the great dialogue. It feels very natural, which makes both characters come to life. Just reading the last line alone, I get a feel for the true character of Ravin’ Walt Rayet. He doesn’t have to do a single thing, I just know who he is at that point.

 

Runner-up 1 (Second Place)

Sal Page – Singing the Blues

I enjoyed the descriptions in this one. For the most part, the descriptions move the story along, and do that thing writers are always told to do—“show don’t tell”. I also really liked the ending in this one, “with her scarf warming my neck and the mate who’d offered me his floor”. The contrast in this line sums up the final sentiments. The narrator felt like he had the world, even though he really didn’t have anything.

 

And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 39.

 

(insert drumroll here)

 

Community Pick

Sal Page – Singing the Blues

300 words
Blues Singer / Scarf / Memoir

I saw her in the early days. A tiny run-down club. Winter nineteen seventy or seventy-one, I’m hazy about dates. I was drinking in those days and was ‘of no fixed abode’. I walked around the city, relying on the kindness of strangers. It was icy cold outside, snow on the ground. I only went in because my teeth were chattering and my hands were turning blue. I checked my pocket for change. I needed a stiff drink or two.
She walked onto the stage, apologetic and giving the impression of not wanting to disturb us. All glass clinking and murmuring stopped when she opened her mouth to sing. It’s like we all knew, at that moment, who she was going to be.
She sang the blues. Her scarf, like iridescent parrot’s feathers, lifted and swelled in icy breezes creeping through gaps in the walls, and yet she appeared warm and relaxed in the electric blue spotlights. She sang of sky-baby blues, of fields of nodding cornflowers on summer days, of her lover’s periwinkle eyes & denim shirt and of her sadness at his parting.
Her epic song, of which I really only recall fragments, was packed with shining cyan pools, royal blood and glittering sapphires. She sang of swirling Prussian and cerulean starry nights, bright cobalt stained glass, sailor’s uniforms, lapis lazuli and turquoise scarabs. She ended with the aqua seas, azure skies and indigo mountains of home. During that final achingly sweet midnight-blue note, she slid the scarf from her neck, throwing it into the air for this lucky audience member to catch.
As I stepped back out into the cold, with her scarf warming my neck and the mate who’d offered me his floor for the night by my side, it felt like the world was wonderful.

 

Microcosms 39 Judge’s Pick

Geoff Holme – All or Nothing at All

I love me a well done dark story. This one fits the bill. The description of Leroy in the alley is chilling. The alliteration describing her onstage performance is fantastic. “Gold lamé dress sparkles, lip gloss shines, teeth gleam, eyes glint. Her hands glide slowly, sensuously, suggestively along the shaft of the microphone stand; her fingers linger lustfully.” Just read all those S’s G’s and L’s in there. That is sexy. It also doesn’t feel forced which is important. And that death: killed with something she loves, by someone who is supposed to love her. Is that not haunting? This is a well done story with excellent language.

256 words
Blues Singer / Scarf / Crime

The blues had become her salvation.

In the speakeasy, air filled with blue smoke and blue notes, she shimmers from the shadows of the small stage into the spotlight.

Gold lamé dress sparkles, lip gloss shines, teeth gleam, eyes glint. Her hands glide slowly, sensuously, suggestively along the shaft of the microphone stand; her fingers linger lustfully.

She arouses passion in men, envy in women… and seething jealousy in a figure standing in the veiled seclusion at the back of the auditorium.

#

After her set, she leaves by the stage door, standing in the twilight of the early hours, breathing in the relative freshness of the humid Harlem air.

She sees a red glow in the shadows, smells the smoke… the brand he uses. Her breath catches in her throat: how had he found her?

“Leroy?”

Discarding the cigarette, he takes a step into the light; another, and he’s standing in front of her.

“I thought I told you to get rid of this,” he whispers evenly.

He’d forbidden her to wear the cotton scarf, draped around her neck, that her sister had bought her, calling it cheap and tawdry. Cheap? yes… tawdry? perhaps… but it was more than Jasmine could afford, and for that reason, she loved it.

“Leroy, I…”

Her words are cut short as he takes the material in his hands and pulls it tight.

The blues had become her salvation, her escape from an abusive marriage. She had finally embraced life, but now she would never know the contentment of old age.

 
Thank you very much, Carlos! It’s a great honour but – at the same time – slightly embarrassing since I submitted the story after the deadline (with extenuating circumstances). I hope that no-one is aggrieved, especially Sal whose story was not only first runner-up, but also – deservedly – voted Community Pick…

No repeat of this situation next week, as I will be assuming the role of judge of Microcosms 40. (That’s my weekend schedule sorted out…)

RESULTS - Microcosms 40
RESULTS - Microcosms 38

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17 comments for “Welcome to Microcosms!

  1. zwoodle
    26 December 2015 at 4:15 pm

    We’re going to do a soft launch on 1 January. We’ll be e-mailing everyone shortly. Stay tuned!

    1+
  2. 12 September 2019 at 5:20 pm

    What’s happened to all the stories from last week’s competition?

    0
    • KM Zafari
      12 September 2019 at 6:31 pm

      They’re all still in the system but not displaying on the front end. Part of the glitch I’m trying to resolve. :/

      0
  3. 13 September 2019 at 6:37 am

    Who is Stoner, please?

    1+
  4. 13 September 2019 at 11:20 am

    Ghost; Haunted House; Comedy
    298 words

    The Gang, Fifty Years On

    “Hey guys, it’s our anniversary. It’s fifty years since we got together and solved our first case.”

    “That’s right. Why don’t we do something to celebrate? We could stay the night in the old, haunted house.”

    “I’m not really sure. None of us are as young as we used to be, we’re all in our late sixties now.”

    “Yeah, and I’m not sure that I want to stay up past my bedtime.”

    “Oh, go on, it’ll be a bit of fun. It’s not as though any of us get much of that anymore.”

    “It just won’t be the same without the dog.”

    “You’re right about missing the dog. I even miss that annoying little one that accompanied us on some of our later adventures.”

    “OK, it’s a date then. We just need someone to drive us out there before it gets dark.”

    “I’ll organise some supplies. Some drinks, a snack, spare walking sticks, and a flashlight for each of us.”

    “I’m not sure that I see the point. We never managed to find any real ghosts or monsters, never in our entire career. It was always a scam of some sort, and always one carried out by ordinary, everyday losers dressed up in costume.”

    The overnight stay was uneventful until just before dawn when they heard someone moving about downstairs. Silently they crept down the stairs only to find a fat balding man dressed up in a sheet going, “Woo… woo…” As it was obvious something untoward was going on, they phoned for the police. When they arrived a few minutes later the police arrested the would-be ghost. As he was taken away the last thing the gang heard him say was, “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for those pesky pensioners!”

    2+
  5. 13 September 2019 at 11:52 am

    http://www.engleson.ca
    @billmelaterplea
    300 words
    Stoner; Ghost Ship; Comedy

    That’s Some Spooky Shit, Man–Sailing the Silvery Seas with Long Joint Spliffer

    Man, I had more wobbles than a bobblehead.

    Bobblehead?

    Bubblehead for sure.

    Or Stubble head.

    Like man, that cat had a gnarly beard. Facial hair all wiry and dense. I could feel it, man. Spikes shooting out of his face like fireworks.

    Bazooka hookahs, man!

    Reefer creepers!

    Maybe it was the Maui-Zowie? Or the BC Bud? Or, get this, the Alberta Muerta?

    Made that up, man. Killer weed, though.

    Whatever it was, it was some magic shit. Maui Cowie poop, eh.

    Hah! I don’t know what that is.

    Anyway, I’d been up all night zinging in the shower, tingling in the tower, baying at the full moon, a giant silver dollar beauty, when I got the urge man to go down to the waterfront, watch the river flow.

    You ever done that, man? The river! Love the river. Like its dark, man, and late. The taverns have all closed. Streets littered with the soulful. Sky’s storm ready. Clouds gathering like jumbled sheets on a bed that’s never been made. Guess you know where that metaphor comes from. Anyways, you can feel it. Something’s gonna burst. So, I go down to the river and I see it through the thick fog. Like its out of the movies, man, full masted, skull and crossbones flapping’ in the night wind, and that ain’t no Errol Flynn standing at the helm. Not on your booty. Its someone eerie as hell, with some yo ho hoing and a bottle of bong…and I’m thinking, Bong? James Bong?

    There I am, staring at this vessel, double o sevening away, and this dude starts walking the plank and says, “Sorry Mate, no gambling tonight. The Jolly Better’s closed tight. City ordinance.”

    “Bummer, man” I bleat, “and me with the munchies and a pocket full of pieces of eight.”

    0
  6. Geoff
    13 September 2019 at 7:32 pm

    Stoner, haunted house, drama
    295 words
    Gardening
    ‘Hi Pete. How’s it trucking?’’
    Pete blinked, hoping his neighbour was another bad trip.
    ‘Garden’s looking great. Not many weeds. Ho!’
    Pete sucked in air, disorientated by the lack of smoke. I need to cut back oxygen. ‘Hi Greg. You after a packet?’
    ‘I was just wondering how you get them so… leafy?’
    Pete licked the paper. ‘You planning your own? Take some seeds, man.’ He sealed another joint, willing him to go.
    ‘I don’t think so. What’s the secret?’
    Pete looked at the soil at his feet. ‘Peace and love, man.’
    ‘Seriously. We grew cannabis at college but that was inside in Cheltenham. You manage outdoors, in Scotland in January…’
    ‘I rely on my relatives.’ He kicked the dirt, exposing the head of a femur. ‘That’s Auntie Jane. The plants love her.’
    Greg’s eyes widened. ‘That’s your aunt?’
    ‘Think so. Hang on.’ Pete put down the Rizzla packet and bent to the bone. ‘Yeah? You sure? Right ho.’ He looked up. ‘Uncle Portius. They look the same at that age, don’t they?’
    Greg rubbed his eyes. ‘I must be passive smoking your product. Did you just talk to a bone?’
    Pete laughed. ‘Course not. Bone’s don’t talk…’
    ‘But…’
    ‘They’re ghosts. I you like I can do you some Mexican spicy and my second cousin’s torso as a starter kit…’
    Greg backed away. ‘Maybe later.’
    Pete started another joint and covered the bone. He’d need another dozen for the school run. ‘Thanks Ponti, I’ll get you that pint of Ruddles later.’ He looked down the rows of fecund and fullsome plants to a slightly saggy group by the hedge. ‘And I’ll pick up some dubonnet and lemon for Granny Emmaline. Wouldn’t do to let her crop get peaky, what with festival season nearly upon us.’

    2+
  7. 13 September 2019 at 10:25 pm

    http://www.engleson.ca
    @billmelaterplea
    300 words
    Stoner; Ghost Ship; Comedy

    That’s Some Spooky Shit, Man–Sailing the Silvery Seas with Long Joint Spliffer

    Man, I had more wobbles than a bobblehead.

    Bobblehead?

    Bubblehead for sure.

    Or Stubble head?

    Like man, that cat had a gnarly beard. Facial hair all wiry and dense. I could feel it, man. Spikes shooting out of his face like fireworks.

    Bazooka hookahs, man!

    Reefer creepers!

    Maybe it was the Maui-Zowie? Or the BC Bud? Or, get this, the Alberta Muerta?

    Made that up, man. Killer weed, though.

    Whatever it was, it was some magic shit. Maui Cowie poop, eh.

    Hah! I don’t know what that is.

    Anyway, I’d been up all night zinging in the shower, tingling in the tower, baying at the full moon, a giant silver dollar beauty, when I got the urge man to go down to the waterfront, watch the river flow.

    You ever done that, man? The river! Love the river. Like its dark, man, and late. The taverns have all closed. Streets littered with the soulful. Sky’s storm ready. Clouds gathering like jumbled sheets on a bed that’s never been made. Guess you know where that metaphor comes from. Anyways, you can feel it. Something’s gonna burst. So, I go down to the river and I see it through the thick fog. Like its out of the movies, man, full masted, skull and crossbones flapping in the night wind, and that ain’t no Errol Flynn standing at the helm. Not on your booty. Its someone eerie as hell, with some yo ho hoing and a bottle of bong…and I’m thinking, Bong? James Bong?

    There I am, staring at this vessel, double o sevening away, and this dude starts walking the plank and says, “Sorry Mate, no gambling tonight. The Jolly Better’s closed tight. City ordinance.”

    “Bummer, man” I bleat, “and me with the munchies and a pocket full of pieces of eight.”

    4+
  8. Angelique Pacheco
    14 September 2019 at 4:56 am

    Stoner; Ghost Ship; Comedy
    135 words

    Green Boo-ty

    I saw through the haze
    A ghost ship’s hallways
    Twisting and turning
    The maze was daunting

    A ghostly dancer beckoned
    “Get naked,” she reckoned
    My mind said, “Okay!”
    My body said, “Let’s play!”
    The scene was rearranged
    And the actors were exchanged.

    The captain wore coat tails
    He clung onto the rails
    He shouted for pirates
    And called us bandits
    Zombies took me to the ledge
    To walk the plank to the edge.

    When I came down
    We were back in Cape Town
    I found myself at the pool
    Standing starkers like a fool

    The mystical dancer
    Was a Trans performer
    Security was cuffing me
    No zombies could I see.

    Don’t ever take the green stuff
    It can be quite rough
    Make sure you buy local
    Not pirated forms of diabolical.

    4+
  9. 14 September 2019 at 6:19 am

    stoner/ghost ship/comedy
    WC: 365
    http://www.awalker.org
    @zevonesque

    One More Sausage

    Fred was hungry. It was his semi-permanent state. Always eating; yet as thin as a rake that had been split in two–his acquaintances assumed he was looking after some tape worms. His best buddy, Havant, had just as voracious an appetite. Being a dog it was expected.
    Their holiday to France wasn’t going well. The language was unfamiliar and the food was not as good as anticipated. It was four days before Fred discovered that they were in Hamburg. And, whilst it was just two letters shy of his favourite word, it wasn’t in France.

    Things began to look up when they went for a couple of currywurst after a big breakfast. They got chatting to a groovy guy by the wurst-stand about all things sausage related ,which had got them a) excited and b) hungry again. Being at the wurst-stand that had been easy to deal with. There was always room for one more sausage.

    They shared a funny cigarette with Groovyman, which made them giggle. He said he’d never seen a dog smoke before. Fred said it happened regularly, usually when he’d spilt cooking oil on Havant.

    Groovyman enquired why he was called Havant. Fred explained that it was short for Havant A. which left him none the wiser. He then told them about the sausage barge, where the price for a four hour trip includes an ‘All That You Can Eat’ buffet. They weren’t going to miss this opportunity, so they heading down to the docks with big loping strides and stupid grins.

    At the docks everything was a bit blurry. Clearly they were in danger of fainting from hunger. So they got onboard the SS Hamburger with expectant bellies and an aim to make the buffet their home. Havant A. realised something was amiss when their boat passed through a series of locks without the gates opening. The lack of taste to the buffet wasn’t an issue, but the lack of substance was. When the captain turned up minus his head even Fred thought something was amiss.

    Then they smelled the Sausage Cruise pass in the other direction. It was a good job Havant could swim and Fred could float.

    2+
  10. 14 September 2019 at 4:03 pm

    stoner; ghost ship; comedy
    287 words

    Oscar

    The USS Bronson departed the solar system on the first Wednesday in October, carrying 420 tons of prime marijuana for trade on the rim. Its wormhole jumps were automated.

    By the first jump, the crew, consisting of Oscar Slama, was baked. He sat in the captain’s chair with a bowl of chips in his lap.

    In front of him, he appeared.

    “Wha…?” he said.

    “Don’t freak out,” Oscar 4-6 said. “I’m just more you, in the fourth, fifth, and sixth dimensions.”

    “Whoa,” Oscar said.

    “Got a light?” asked Oscar 4-6.

    After a second wormhole jump, as the ship navigated n-space on its trip to the rim planets, Oscar 7-9 joined the others, who, using a bong, were now ozzy. He immediately commenced baking brownies, a smoking blunt held between his clenched teeth.

    Croned, the three talked about the meaning of life with others who joined them subsequently.

    “It definitely has something to do with this yup yup,” Oscar 64-66 said.

    “Dude, it’s like … like … life,” Oscar 90-92 said.

    “Having trouble finishing my sentenc… ” Oscar said. Oscar 99-101 refilled his bowl with organic, unsalted puffed peas.

    “How many are me?” Oscar said. “I mean, how many of dimensions of me are they …?”

    “Infinite,” said Oscar 19948892…

    More wormholes, more dank. Infinitely more Oscars, steetched.

    “Let’s all squeeze in together,” Oscar said. “Dudes, I am so fazed …”

    “Dude, not out here in n-space. You got to stay spread out in n-space.”

    “No, squeeze in,” Oscar said with the frown of the chonged.

    They burned the crops. They squeezed in, all infinity of them.

    The ship flew on, empty of Oscars and budda.

    The Oscars looked around.

    “Where are we?” they asked themself.

    “In this universe, we’re God,” said the part of Him most lit.

    “Dude!” they said.

    0
  11. Diego Piselli
    14 September 2019 at 5:04 pm

    THE BARGE
    Stoner, Ghost Ship, Comedy
    282 words
    The rumor had spread with lightning speed, fuelled by media coverage.
    A mahogany barge, loaded with Lebanese weed was floating somewhere in Amsterdam canals, unattended
    Smokers in coffee shops hotly debated the matter. Abe swore he saw it moored near Singel canal; Alwine claimed to be certain that the ship was far in the harbor; Rastafarian waiters fabled about an Iranian merchant, owner of the barge tugged along his princely yacht, vanished with a Circassian beauty.
    Eventually, on a warm summer Saturday night, the Quest had its beginning.
    Hordes of stoners, old hippies and weirdos of all kinds gathered in Dam square and started scouring all the canals, walking on the banks, boating or paddling in muddy waters: braver and youngsters went so far as to swim in the smelly current.
    The Quest was unsuccessful, but Saturday phantom barge hunting became a fixed meeting. If interest decreased, the press reported a new sighting and people got back to the endless hunting. Hunters set up groups and association named by famous weed smokers of the past. Each group had a leader, a hymn, a flag.
    And every Saturday evening Mr. Janssen, managing editor of “Amsterdam Today”, savored happily the silence of his flat in Central Amsterdam, a little nest in a medieval alley crowded with coffee shops. No more yelling, no more stoners’ noise. No more frantic strolling of excited people along the cobblestone street.
    All the smokers had gone away, searching for the barge.
    His little article full of question marks and drop hints about a mysterious barge had proved useful, and he could eventually savor domestic pleasures in peace. “Marijuana enthusiasts are like children,” he said to himself “they believe anything”.

    6+
  12. 14 September 2019 at 7:44 pm

    @the_red_fleece
    http://www.theredfleece.co.uk
    stoner/ghost ship/comedy
    Word Count – 260

    Clang! Clang! Clang!
    The sound reminded Midshipman Smythe of the death march if it was played badly by a toddler on kitchen pans. What was scarier was the lack of bodily panic symptoms. His heart hadn’t tried to explode. His stomach hadn’t emptied like a freshly flushed toilet. Nothing was doing nothing in fact. Peter, the welcome guy, had warned him about this but it took some getting use to.
    “Is that her Midshipman?” His Captain pointed at the blue haired girl hitting the ships pipes.
    “Yes Sir.”
    “Madam.” The captain pulled herself to the full height of her tall frame. “How did you get on board?”
    “I don’t know man.” She didn’t look at the captain. Instead she gazed off to the left, as if following an excitable fly.
    “Madam, I am very much not a man.”
    She blinked three times, each time she forced her eyes as wide as she could. “You are so pale…wo-man. Did I get that right? Wo-man.”
    She giggled to herself.
    The Captain did not see the funny side. “Madam! How did you get on board this ship?”
    “Space cakes.” Her hand becomes a rocket which follows the same trajectory as her imagined fly. She takes the same level of interest.
    The Captain groans. “Midshipman?”
    “Yes Captain.” He clips his heels together, disappointed at the lack of noise. Another thing he has to get use to.
    “Go find the Chaplin. Tell him to prepare for a bio-exorcism. I won’t have a breather on my ghost ship.”

    3+
  13. 14 September 2019 at 10:09 pm

    @EdenSolera
    150 Words
    Unmasked Villain; Spooky Location; Drama

    Inferno

    Flames flickered in the oppressive darkness, solitary among thousands. A tall woman strode around them, her high-necked red dress flowing dangerously close to the light. Watching her, bathed in the shadows, were hundreds of people, their breathing heavy in the air of anticipation.

    She spun to face them, her eyes flashing as they reflected the flames. Her voice thundered through the deadened space. Disdain blanketed the group, suffocating even the bravest of her followers.

    Weakness was unacceptable, this they knew, but they had still managed to disappoint her. All fell to their knees, bowing their heads to the shame brought on by her piercing glare.

    She reached down to grab one of the candles, holding it in such a way that her face was cast in a ghostly light. Swiftly, her fingers were enveloped in the burning wax. Everyone else hissed, shocked, yet impressed by her stoicism.

    Flames smoldered still.

    2+
  14. Lindsey P
    16 September 2019 at 9:48 am

    I guess mine didn’t get saved…oh well.

    1+
    • Lindsey Pittenger
      16 September 2019 at 9:51 am

      298 Words

      Bookworm; Mine; Mystery

      The Case of the Canned Canaries

      As they ventured further down the dimly lit tunnel, Miranda pulled her book closer to her face, squinting to make out the words, comparing them to her surroundings. Everything seemed to be just as she’d expected. The construction of the mine shaft seemed stable and matched the text, which eased her growing sense of claustrophobia, but there was something that still just didn’t seem right. She hadn’t noticed that she’d slowed to a stop until the man behind her nearly knocked her over.

      “Oomf—sorry about that. Need to watch where I’m going a bit more,” he said with a sheepish grin.

      “I’m fine,” she said, clutching the book to herself and waving him away. Ignoring the dismissal, he pointed at her treasured cargo.

      “So what are you reading down here that’s so important to gum up the traffic?” he asked jovially, lowering his pickaxe from his shoulder.

      “Oh, this?” She held up the book. “It’s just an old book about mines. I figured I’d bring it along for some good-natured analysis. This mine seems similar to the one in the book, but the thing that’s been concerning me the most is the canaries.”

      “Canaries?” he asked, confused, briefly glancing around the shaft as though he’d missed something.

      “There aren’t any,” she said matter-of-factly, reopening her book, “Here, they use canaries as a warning system for noxious gases to keep people from dying, but this whole time we’ve been here, I haven’t seen a single one.” The look on her face fell as he burst into laughter.

      “I’m sorry,” he said, pointing to a box on the wall. “I think this sensor is that canary you’re looking for. Don’t worry, we are monitoring the safety of the air down here. At any rate, hope you’re enjoying your tour!”

      0

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