Thank you to everyone who applied quill to parchment in Microcosms 48. We had another great turn-out – 21 entries in all, including one from the judge who, for once, was not reading blind.
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.
MICROCOSMS EXPRESS : Advance Passenger Announcement
Change to normal service during the holiday period
In order to give the hard-working staff (Bob Cratchit and myself) at Microcosms Inc. a Christmas break, there will be no contest post in week 51 and 52. Instead, to avoid withdrawal symptoms from going ‘cold turkey’, there will be a simple photo prompt to fire your fervent imaginations in a ‘just-for-fun’ challenge, should the festive entertainments begin to cloy.
Many thanks to Nthato Morakabi for judging MC 48 – and submitting his own entry. Here’s what he had to say:
It is one thing to be a hopeful participant in Microcosms, where the words you are so proud of are left to public scrutiny and hopeful selection by the week’s judge. It is completely the opposite when you’re not tinged by the desire to win against the amazing talent that continues to contribute to this growing flash fiction challenge.
Sitting at the judge’s table allowed me a fresh perspective on the entrants. No longer rivals, I was struck by an even greater appreciation of their writing skills as I chuckled, snorted, gasped, shivered and enjoyed each of the submissions.
It doesn’t help that I know so many of the participants too. Being objective has never been so handy.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – Well, you wake up one day don’t you and you know with a smug spinster teacher’s certainty that you are either going to spend your life in the gutter…
Alva Holland – Two wretched girls linked by tenuous bone and sinew lines weaving through rough hems.
John Herbert – Justice Crike described Ladbroke as ‘a fallen gentlewoman lulled by the siren call of anarchism’.
Steve Lodge – I was round at me Mum’s in Bethnal Green, having a cup of rosy, when me mate, Vic, comes in looking like death warmed up.
Angelique Pacheco – She would always leave me to tend to my baby sisters while she teetered off into the cavernous night, hunting for love, like prey.
Ronel Janse Van Vuuren – Sometimes it was better to hide the unsightly with shiny things than to try and fix it.
Steph Ellis – And your tears will not be enough, Not enough, Never enough, To wash my sins away
Christelle Bloem – One day she would walk in here, and someone would be waiting for her, and it would be the end of it all.
Nicolette Stephens – I’d inherited the shop second-hand from the murdered previous owner, little realising when he’d surprised me stealing from him, that Cupid was a tailor of love, not just expensive jewelled clothing.
Nicola Tapson – “Oh no, I better get out of here before the cops arrive,” thought Detective Nod. “Oh wait I am a cop.”
Holly Geely – His boss was displeased that he was unable to meet that year’s baby quota, and he fired the fairy, who lived miserably ever after as an alcoholic.
A J Walker – It was all part of her act, Jenny was in fact a cunning genius with a needle and thread and an eye to bend time and space within the smooth lining of clothes.
Sian Brighal – And despite tears frozen to their lids, they slept a little warmer.
Geoff Le Pard – Kevin was surprised; he said he thought Grant showed concrete promise. Or was it promise as concrete? I do get muddled.
A V Laidlaw – Second-hand clothes hung from the rails like commuters on the Northern Line, threadbare and empty inside.
Sal Page – He wanted his scissors back. She gave them to him. Straight through the heart.
Vibha – She mostly sings songs about death.
Angelique Pacheco – I was unfortunate to have a bucket of waste dumped all over me, but I smiled. It was the last time I would take shit from anyone.
Elliot P. McGee – Fresh scuff marks appeared in the thick carpet of dust, distinctly in the shape of two sets of footprints.
Carin Marais – Then she saw the symbols on the woman’s clothes and her blood ran cold. “I only do it to give them some hope, you see.”
John Herbert – A Tear in the Fabric
Thanks for the laugh! Imagine the humiliation incurred in unintentional public exposure of a third party.
Honorable / Honourable Mention
Steph Ellis – Exterminating Angel
Poetry, a serial killer and not enough tears to wash away sins. This poem surprised me in a good way, with a unique cadence and wonderful ending.
Geoff Le Pard – What’s in a Name?
A haunting perspective of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist and although we never see the petrifying brother Fagin, we get enough of his presence to know he’s one bad son of a gun. Wonderfully written with choice words in there.
Holly Geely – NO TITLE
I was actually looking up Rumpelstiltskin for my own entry and was pleasantly taken aback as I read this tribute to the old fairy tale, with a crude twist. Not straw into gold but animal droppings into garden ornaments.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 48.
(insert drumroll here)
Community Pick AND Judge’s Pick
Alva Holland – A Double Seam
I read this piece a number of times. Initially it was going to be a runner-up, but the more I read it, the more I saw, the more I understood. Not only is the writing well-articulated, with my favourite line – Two wretched girls linked by tenuous bone and sinew lines weaving through rough hems – it is also concluded with a bittersweet ending. A wonderfully written tale.
Seamstress / Second-Hand Shop / Crime
These greys and browns may have a brighter future – reds and blues, perhaps. But not in my lifetime. My strand ends are tattered and fraying as the conclusion to my short life beckons. What of my young cousin? My single bloodline fibre. Will her life also end brutally? What evidence then that we ever existed? Two wretched girls linked by tenuous bone and sinew lines weaving through rough hems.
I should never have told him about her. But, what can he do? He will die with me – we are destined for the same guillotine. Class aside, his blood with mine on a blade edge.
He is not who he says. Why would he give his life, the ultimate sacrifice, for another?
Threads of love I will never know. What crime is this they speak about? Love for my country? I sew cloth so it can be sold, old as new. Will anyone remember this poor peasant, thrown into the company of a learned man willing to die for his wealthy friend?
I know, you see. His friend’s face is etched in my memory. This is not him. This man will die as Charles so that the real Charles may live out a better life, in freedom.
A better life. The afterlife. Didn’t give it much thought until now. Will we all be equal? This educated man is comforting me as we journey to the gallows. He looks afraid, regretting his decision perhaps? I’m not afraid if my death makes a difference. My dying wish is that someone will make me matter. Is it too much to hope that someone will write my story, short as it is?
He’s kissing me. His last act on this earth. I’m taken first. Let him be there when this is over.
Double congratulations, Alva. As the Community Pick AND Judge’s Pick, you are invited to judge the next round of Microcosms. Please let me know whether or not you are interested ASAP!