Microcosms 51

Merry Christmas, everyone. Welcome to Microcosms 51.

There’s no contest this week. This is the first of two ‘just for fun’ posts to bring 2016 to a close. There is simply a photo prompt below – no character, setting and genre elements and no slot machine. Let your image run wild – although not too wild, as the usual maximum of 300 words applies But the challenge is open until midnight, Thursday, 29-DEC 2016 (EST). (The countdown clock will still show 24 hours , because I don’t have the technology to adjust it…)


Vertical Stairs at Machu Picchu, Peru
Vertical Stairs at Machu Picchu, Peru
Microcosms 52

11 thoughts on “Microcosms 51

  1. Word count: 295

    Stairway to heaven.

    “I’ve had enough,” I thought, as I stomped away from Eric. “Who does he think he is, pretending to give a shit about me?” I had read the texts from his secretary, Marcy, at work. He couldn’t just expect me to believe that they were innocent. Then he had the gall to tell me I was overreacting. He was ruining this South American adventure for us. A ten year wedding anniversary gift that was turning into a lump of coal in my stocking. I began to walk towards the vertical staircase.

    I didn’t see the small pebble that began to shift the ground under my feet. I started to free fall, not touching the stairs. I could see the horrified looks of other tourists as I cascaded, my hair whipping my face. I could hear Eric screaming in panic and I began to feel sorry that I had been so sharp with him. When you are about to die, your life really does flash before your eyes. It was all the good parts of my life with Eric. When we met, our first apartment, our wedding, the births of our three daughters, my parents, who were watching our children as we vacationed. I remembered the little things. Eric’s manners, his strong presence whenever he walked into a room, his gentleness with small creatures. It’s amazing how slow time goes as you fall to your death. I was calm. I was ready. Eric would have me in our girls. He would be fine.

    Tears streamed down Eric’s face as he bent down in apparent grief. He slipped the marble back in his pocket as he smiled a small smile to himself. “Good riddance to bad rubbish,” he thought as people clamored around him to offer comfort.

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  2. Alva Holland
    300 words

    Stairway to Certain Death

    ‘It’s fourteen steps, Alva. Not Machu Picchu, not Everest, not the Himalayas, not even the Sugar Loaf, it’s fourteen steps. You ran up here, you can surely go back down.’
    Yes, I had climbed the fourteen open steps to join my two sisters in a small alcove cut into the derelict walls of Ross Castle, not wanting to be left out of a photo which was about to be taken by our 90-year-old mother from below.
    Running up was no problem, squeezing between them was no problem. Down was a problem. Looking down was hell itself. I was in the middle hanging on for dear life, couldn’t look right nor left, straight ahead made me dizzy.
    ‘We have to get you down from here,’ said my sisters.
    ‘Not happening,’ I said. ‘Can’t move.’
    ‘Turn around,’ they said, as if it were the easiest thing in the world.
    ‘Turn around?’ I gasped. ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. Moving is a problem, turning around is impossible.’
    The two girls looked around in desperation. Mum stood below, now oblivious to what was going on fourteen steps above. She was chatting to a tourist. Jesus, Mum, I’m dying here and you’re chatting to a tourist!
    ‘Need any help there?’ a warm American voice wafted up from the chasm below (fourteen steps).
    ‘YES,’ my two sisters shouted in unison. ‘She can’t move.’
    Within seconds, a rather large American gent was standing on the top step. ‘Of course you can move, honey.’
    Believe me, I was nobody’s honey.
    ‘Take my hand, turn around with your back to the drop, I’m outside you, I’ll walk you down step by step.’
    He did. I moved. We got down. My sisters pealed into laughter. I sat on the ground, shivering. Mum was still chatting with the tourist.

    1. If we had genres this week, Alva, I assume that this would be MEMOIR… or possibly HORROR. 🙁
      Sorry to “put the heart sideways” in you with this vertiginous photo prompt.
      Well done for facing your demons. I hope that this has been a cathartic experience for you!

      1. HaHa! Geoff, you’re not going to forget that ‘heart sideways in me’ for a while.
        I think there might be a smidgen of forgiveness left in me for you. When I find it, I’ll pass it on.
        In the meantime, I am practising breathing.

  3. @GeoffHolme
    300 words

    Die Nasty

    “It won’t work… I’m leaving,” said Gloria, my latest bride.

    Similar words had ended five previous marriages; this time, the flame of wedded bliss was guttering during the reception!

    Gloria’s palatial home had plunged into darkness. I’d fumbled to the enormous staircase and fought my way – against a cascade of terror-stricken guests – to Gloria’s bedroom where she’d retreated with a headache. Opening the door just as the lights were restored, I heard sounds of passion. They came from my wife… and my best man.

    I’d been stung for alimony five times. My lawyer drew up a prenup.

    However, my brother Jonah was my lawyer… and my best man. He would’ve devised some way for Gloria to breach the ‘watertight’ contract. Clearly, the ill-feeling Jonah had towards me when I’d inherited Dad’s oil empire hadn’t dissipated after he’d built up his own law firm.

    The lights had failed because Gloria’s father – multimillionaire media mogul, Antosh Hertzig – had succumbed to his peccadillo: a teenage reception waiter had been lured into a “playroom” in the basement. Hertzig suffered a pre-orgasmic heart attack and slumped lifeless to the floor. The teenager panicked and fled, pulling up his pants. Trying not to trip, he’d ruptured a cable, blowing the fuse box.

    From the drive, I watched Gloria and Jonah get into his Maserati. He gunned the engine, but didn’t slow at the bend. The car plowed into the pyrotechnic display and was engulfed in a fireball, settling to a dazzling blaze.

    I turned away, horrified. Gloria’s sister stood before me, flames dancing in her eyes.

    “You deserve better. You’ll find your true life-partner.”

    My head fell in desolation. I glimpsed a dark stain on her bridesmaid’s dress. “No, Stella. No more marriages for me.”

    She leaned closer, whispering, “Until next time.”

    I smelled brake fluid.

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