Thank you to all you superheros who submitted a story to Round 58, and saved Microcosms from extinction! We had an impressive 18 entries this week – plus a non-kosher, just-for-fun submission from your judge…
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.
A slap on the wrist for me, displaying such extreme tardiness in judging MC 58. Here’s what I belatedly have to say:
Given the superhero theme of this week’s contest, I’m so glad that the fan-fiction embargo was heeded (ahem… mostly, Stella…) and that no-one introduced The Flash into their flash fiction, risking the wrath of DC Comics!
As usual, some of you submitted entries faster than a speeding bullet, but Microcosms isn’t a ‘first past the post’ kind of event. So thanks, everyone, for taking the time to produce so many great stories. And thanks again for Stephen Shirres for hosting round 58.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – But his crimefighting ways are a little messy, criminals covered in sludge and gunk.
Ronel J. van Vuuren – The streets are safer, these lot are happy to have a look around my mansion, I’ve exceeded my exercise goals for the third week in a row…
Alva Holland – ‘…Goodnight, sir. Timmy Teddy is on your pillow. Cheerios for breakfast as usual?’
Nthato Morakabi – His laugh was a breathy, whistling sound from the constrictions in his body; an internal scar, and his arch nemesis’ greatest achievement.
Carin Marais – The latest medical advances and I still bore the tracings of lightning on my skin.
John Herbert – It perched in a precarious whirl atop his head resembling nothing so much as a Walnut Whip.
Christelle Bloem – Seriously? Which 30 year old goes to a superhero costume party?
Geoff Le Pard – That was granny’s best superpower back then: changing those bad memories into good ones.
Steve Lodge – Apparently in Belzon, it is an offence to wear a baseball cap on backwards and to show tattoos in public
Jen! – He crumpled and she quickly bound the criminal’s hand with her signature silk handkerchief.
Angelique Pacheco – Next, he appeared on the screen wearing a curtain for a cape and his specs.
A J Walker– Look obviously I haven’t had time to read it, but my researchers tell me it’s a damn good read.
Stella Turner – It was like Jackie Kennedy when she entered the White House on Jack’s arm. The world was in a frenzy due to the shape, colour and slant of that hat.
Stephen Shirres – The red of his anger almost burned through his orange tan.
Caleb Echterling – “Curse the day when that radioactive Oxford English Dictionary bit me…”
Nancy Chenier – It rumbles with a hunger that could swallow the moon.
Sian Brighal – there came the soft tinkle of breaking glass and the impression of black fabric dancing with diamond shards and silver dust motes as a caped figure burst through a window and landed before him.
Firdaus Parvez – At dawn she settled gently on every surface, corner and curve of the skyscraper and everything within, even on the man she loved.
Honorable / Honourable Mentions
Bill Engleson – Snowman, Oilbutt, Bleach Blanket Bunko and the Kangaroo King
Classic tale from the Canadian fount of humorous flash fiction. What a wonderful notion that provincial backwaters would have to advertise for and interview minor superheroes* to deal with their local crime waves.[ ‘Minor superheroes’? Sounds like a contradiction in terms – like ‘fun-size, giant Mars bars’. ]
Caleb Echterling – It Is an Honor to Come to the Defence of Akron’s Haberdasheries
This one had me laughing out loud. British English Speller, eschewing the spandex superhero costume in favour of a tweed suit, retrieving a cup of tea from a secret compartment in his vest (though I suspect that ought to be ‘waistcoat’), being bitten by a radioactive Oxford English Dictionary… Brilliant parody of the genre, Caleb.
Nancy Chenier – Plot Device
A story that delves into the tensions of the superhero / sidekick relationship.
I loved the line ‘Your shadow stretches into the warehouse’, evoking the exaggerated graphics of classic superhero comic books.
And now, without further ado, we present the winner of Microcosms 58.
(insert drumroll here)
Nthato Morakabi – The Birth of a Villain
Sarcastic Butler / Skyscraper / Memoir
The staples in his abdomen had ripped out again, this time purposefully. Master “Gestirn” Goldstein barely flinched as he removed blood-drenched, clear plastic bags from his bulging gut. The carpeted floor of the penthouse loft was covered in vital fluids. Schneider Skyscrapers were going to need a good clean-up crew. As a butler, I cringed.
“Pass me the tray,” he wheezed.
I of course obliged, manoeuvring past dead FBI agents strewn about the sparse room to the tray angled awkwardly in one man’s skull.
“Will you be serving me then, for once?”
Master Goldstein merely smiled, and watched amused as I struggled to remove the tray. It was difficult with all the blood. It was also lodged quite deep.
“I didn’t know you took drugs, Kristoff.”
“Only when you’re around, Sir. I may need some after this.”
“You’ll get used to it eventually.” Master Goldstein stood then, skin flapping over the spandex pants he wore – the only item of clothing on him. He had no intestines.
“Well yes, when you were a caped crusader for justice. Who are you now, Robbing Hood?”
He laughed as he casually removed the tray from the man’s skull. His laugh was a breathy, whistling sound from the constrictions in his body; an internal scar, and his arch nemesis’ greatest achievement.
“I’ve found other ways to make a living now. A new body with a new function. I’ve been brought back to life.”
“Well, that’s good for you, Master Franken-Stein.”
Master Goldstein placed the bags on the tray, crushed powder in some, pills in others.
“Franken-Stein. I like it.” He swept a gnarled hand through what was left of his golden mane. The charred scars of his face made him look like the monster he was becoming – or perhaps, had already become.
Geoff Le Pard – Supergran
This was a lovely, heart-warming story of Audrey whose unconventional fantasy lifestyle turning her into a superhero in the eyes of her eight-year-old granddaughter. Wonderful stuff, Geoff.
Arrogant superhero / secret lair / memoir
When I was 8, granny said her best superpower was blowing smoke rings. She blew one at the policewoman, WPC Ridsburn.
‘You know you can’t smoke here.’
‘Fascist.’ When granny used words like ‘fascist’ or ‘health nazi’ about anyone stopping her smoking indoors, they called her rude or arrogant.
The WPC knew granny. We often ended up in the police station back then. She wore the look like mum got when she said a migraine was coming on. ‘Audrey, why break into the petting farm? With your granddaughter?’
‘We needed to hide. They were after us.’
Granny gave me a nudge. Granny said it was where our new secret lair was and we needed to check it out. Finding secret lairs was another of granny’s superpowers. The last one, behind the rubbish bins at Sainsbury’s, had been boxed in after we were caught making a bonfire to cook the sausages. Granny’s cooking was not one of her superpowers.
‘Megan is 8. You know the social services will take an interest.’
‘Phooey. Intellectual Neanderthals.’ Back then granny said knowing long words was a superpower, but I think she enjoyed making others feel inferior.
We waited in reception for mum to collect us. I fingered the rip in my Pikachu bag, failing to stop the tears.
Granny said, ‘We’ll tell your mum you did that getting into the farm’ which would be another fib since it was the girls at school who did it, when they hit me. I didn’t understand why they hated me back then. They called us a ‘weird’ family.
She rubbed the tears away. ‘So how will you remember today?’
I managed a smile. ‘Breaking and entering.’
That was granny’s best superpower back then: changing those bad memories into good ones.
Congratulations, Geoff. As this week’s Judge’s Pick, you are invited to judge Microcosms 59. Please let me know whether or not you are interested ASAP!