Microcosms 62

Welcome back, flash fictionistas. This week, it’s Microcosms 62. Read on for details of your mission, should you wish to accept it!

 

*** ALWAYS REMEMBER AND NEVER FORGET ***

Include which THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry. 

 

A whole host of American actors were born on this day, March 10. The elements in this week’s contest are derived from films in which a selection of these actors appeared:

 

Sam Jaffe (b. 1891) – “The Asphalt Jungle” (1950)

Chuck Norris (b. 1940) – ”Firewalker” (1986)

Katharine Houghton (b. 1945) – “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” (1967)

Sharon Stone (b. 1958) – “The Quick and The Dead” (1995)

Jon Hamm (b.1971) – “Minions” (2015)

Olivia Wilde (b. 1984) –  “The Lazarus Effect” (2015)

 

Geoff

 

(If YOU have an idea for a future contest and would like to be guest host, please contact me.)

 

Our contest this week begins with THREE things: character, location and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are – character: Inventor, setting: Laboratory, and genre: Fable.


Write a story using those OR feel free to click on the “Spin!” button, and the slot machine will come up with a new set – you can keep clicking until you have a set of elements that inspires you.

 

*** Once again, be sure to include which THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry. ***



  • Criminal Mastermind
  • Soldier of Fortune
  • Fiancé
  • Gunfighter
  • Inventor
  • Medical Researcher
  • Jewelry Heist
  • Mexican Bar
  • Dinner Party
  • Wild West
  • London
  • Laboratory
  • Comedy
  • Horror
  • Crime
  • Fable
  • Romance
  • Memoir

Spin!


Judging this week is Microcosms 61 Community Pick, Nicola Tapson.

All submissions should be a maximum of 300 words in length. You have until midnight, New York time (EST) to submit.

*** If you are new to Microcosms, remember to check out the full submission guidelines. ***

All being well, results will be posted on Monday.

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Microcosms 63
Microcosms 61

58 comments for “Microcosms 62

  1. 10 March 2017 at 1:28 am

    Criminal Mastermind; Jewelry Heist; memoir
    300 guys who aren’t on the up and up
    @billmelaterplea
    http://www.engleson.ca

    Apparently I Know a Guy Who Maybe Knows a Guy

    “Stonewall Consolidated Insurance has our own in-house dicks,” Meeker told me, adding “they’ve dragged their soft corporate asses for two years and turned up zilch. We need new eyes,”

    Or a harder ass, I thought.

    Meeker had a disconcerting handle. The VP of Lost Causes.

    I didn’t know if his title referred to me or the stolen ice.

    Frankly, I didn’t care.

    “You remember the case, I assume?” he asked right off the bat.

    “I remember,” I told him. “A gang of schlubs if there ever were. I thought the cops got them all?”

    “Except for the brain. And the boodle.”

    “And none of the gang gave him up?”

    “They claimed they never met him. Frankly, they’re such an unappealing trio that I could appreciate not wanted to socialize with them.”

    “So, I’ve heard,” I admitted. “What makes you think I’ll have any more luck?”

    That was my trick question. I knew bloody well why Meeker and his toney Insurance company had reached out to me. But I wanted to see him squirm.

    “Well,” he began to twist his tighties tighter then a noose, “word is…”

    “Word?”

    “Yes. Word is you have a familiarity with some of the darker recesses.”

    “You make me sound like an insulation installer.”

    “Can I be frank?” he asked.

    “You can be Jesse,” I fired back.

    He shook his head. So much for James Boys humour.

    “Yeah. Frank’s good,” I allowed.

    “Okay. We believe you travel in unsavory circles. We’re talking $20,000,000.00 in stolen diamonds. Even the Kardashian heist in Paris last year didn’t top the Vogt Calhern Collection. We’ll pay 50 cents on the dollar if you can retrieve them.”

    I whistled. I could almost see easy street.

    “I’ll do what I can,” I said.

    I’d be smiling all the way to the bank.

    5+
    • Sian Brighal
      11 March 2017 at 7:19 am

      Great story! Am I right in thinking that he stole the diamonds in the first place?

      1+
      • 11 March 2017 at 12:07 pm

        Hi Sian, that would be the impression I was subtly trying to leave.

        0
    • Alva Holland
      11 March 2017 at 2:34 pm

      Love, love the language in this, Bill. Great story.

      1+
    • Profile gravatar of Dave James Ashton
      12 March 2017 at 8:56 am

      I loved the back and forth banter in this

      1+
  2. 10 March 2017 at 1:33 am

    (a) @uttleysz
    (b) word count – 177
    (c) inventor, laboratory, fable
    (d) entry title (not included in word count): An Early Articulating Spindle

    It was not so very long ago now as it might seem, when inventors various were kept by kings.

    Is it one of these, then, which we spy – so oddly lit – by both wall-sconce and heat lightning strobing in through high, barred window?

    No, it cannot be, for some subtleties of mien and garb show us as we grow closer that this figure hunched over part- and tool-strewn workbench is female. And young – perhaps not yet in her teens.

    How lively the little hands, brushing strong glue to affix cloth to wood, mounting wood to metal with brilliant little screws, adding a swivel, a pulley, a hinge… sitting back now on her stool, she seems finished. But what can it be?

    Oh, I see! Once she loads her spindle with twine as she’s doing, she’ll have a gadget to help with rough sewing. Yes, yes, there she goes, stitching perforated leather to burlap at top speed.

    Here, she’s made a smart little shoulder sack already, and she’s off the stool.

    Gizmo in purse, she’s gone.

    1+
    • Alva Holland
      11 March 2017 at 2:37 pm

      You paint a lovely picture here, Eugene. ‘…subtleties of mien and garb…’ – love it!

      1+
  3. Christelle Bloem
    10 March 2017 at 3:43 am

    @Stellieb3
    Title: Solitary
    Word Count: 300
    Elements: Fiance, Laboratory, Memoir

    Day 114
    I beat my cell mate today. I really didn’t mean for it to go so far, but I just couldn’t take her constant humming anymore. I know it sounds like a stupid reason to hurt her, but I just couldn’t push it aside anymore. I don’t know what came over me, but it felt like I was watching a movie of someone else losing it and freaking out.
    The warden put me into 30 days solitary confinement, and it was the first bit of piece I had since coming to this hellhole. Now, my thoughts were starting to eat me up inside.
    The warden sent me to the psychologist, and he wants me to write down what happened to Heinrich in the fire. I just can’t do it. I picked up m pen now and started writing, because I can get another 10 days in Solitary for not listening to that idiot, but I just can’t write anything.
    What am I supposed to say? I killed my Fiancé and I am in prison for the next 15 years to pay for it.
    The formula had never reacted so violently before, and Heinrich had only pushed me away to protect me from the explosion. I saw his body lying on the floor and…
    I can’t do this.
    I don’t even know how this is going to help me. Why must I relive this nightmare over and over again after I hit someone for humming?
    Yes, I know, I just answered my own question, but I hurt people that don’t deserve it all the time, right? Isn’t that what happened to Heinrich? All I do is hurt people.
    I can finally be alone in here, and I will enjoy every second of this time to the full.
    Hope you’re happy

    4+
    • Alva Holland
      11 March 2017 at 2:39 pm

      A grim, steely tale, cleverly told, Christelle.

      0
  4. Profile gravatar of Angelique Pacheco
    10 March 2017 at 3:53 am

    Criminal Mastermind/Dinner Party/Crime

    Word Count: 300

    Step-Lovers

    The dinner bell rang and everyone moved to the great dining room. Everything was exquisite. The glass chandelier gleamed like stars. The tablecloths were whiter than milk and the flowers so fresh the smell permeated the air like a thick blanket. The clinking of glasses mingled with the classical quartet in the corner and the humming of voices all created an atmosphere of expectant delight.

    Mr. Jones was celebrating his 40th birthday and it seemed like the entire village had been invited to the great house on the hill. I chatted to Rebecca Jones, Mr. Jones’s only daughter until the dinner bell rang.

    It was simply splendid! I savored the exquisite food while I observed my surroundings. Rebecca’s stepmother was wearing a red feather in her hair, against the deep crimson and black of her velvet bodice dress and it made her look rather like a plump rooster. Rebecca and her friends were giggling like school girls. It was no secret that Rebecca and Alice did not favor one another and would often trade barbs at the other’s expense. Everyone had seen it.

    Mr. Jones raised his glass to toast once again, when he stopped, looked rather surprised and fell forwards, face first, into his bowl of soup. Everything came to a standstill. Several women fainted and had to be carried upstairs for a lie down. The police was called and everyone was interviewed. They went to look for Rebecca and her stepmother to question them, but they were nowhere to be found. Their rooms were empty of personal belongings and a car was missing from the old carriage house.

    Two women are driving along the coastline, their hair blowing wildly in the wind, without a care in the world. They hold hands comfortably, like lovers of old, and smile.

    2+
  5. Profile gravatar of Angelique Pacheco
    10 March 2017 at 3:57 am

    Fiancé/ Wild West/ Memoir

    Word count: 300

    Far Out Destiny

    The sun beat down on her, causing droplets of moisture to run down her neck. She gently touched her handkerchief to her brow and hoped she would not embarrass herself by fainting from the heat. The old train rattled and shook and smelled awful and she had developed a splitting headache about three days ago.

    I had been a school teacher back home and it had been the best time of my life, until an advert placed in the local paper had advertised for single ladies to come out west and be married to various tradesmen there. The families of these single ladies would be well compensated. My father took no time in deciding that this would be my fate. I cried for days and pleaded with him to reconsider, but to no avail. I was packed up and chucked onto this train to fulfill a new destiny, one I didn’t want.

    I got off the train in the town of Dustings. Dust was right, for as far as my eyes could see the terrain was nothing more than a dust bowl. I trudged along the lane with my suitcase and made my way into town where I would report to the Sheriff’s office.

    I walked up the steps and wiped my feet. I stepped inside. Something was off. A wild haired man that stank of bourbon stood with his back to me. He held a gun to the sheriff. Honestly, I didn’t have time for this. I grabbed a paperweight from the desk and swung with all my might. The wild man dropped like a stone. I stepped over him and addressed the Sheriff. “I’m Amy, reporting for wedding duty.” He began laughing and replied,” I need a deputy. There will be no wedding you today, or any other day.”

    3+
    • Alva Holland
      11 March 2017 at 2:40 pm

      Love the twist in this, Angelique. There’s a bigger story here. Hope you continue with it!

      0
  6. 10 March 2017 at 4:02 am

    @Nthito
    290 words
    Inventor/Laboratory/Fable
    The Man and the Mice

    A Man sought to build a machine, to cure an illness that beset his child. He dug a hole as big as a room below his house and turned it into a laboratory.

    Many days and nights he spent there. Toiling away in the hopes of finding a cure. Yet when he finally concocted one, he feared it would kill his child if untested.

    He noticed then, many Mice that roamed about the laboratory in search of food.
    “Mice. Pray I ask thee a favour.”
    The Mice, having seen the man’s compassion for his child, approached the Man without fear,
    “Man, what asketh thee?”
    “Merely of your labour as my assistants. My child is sick and I require your tenacious perseverance to find a cure.”
    “And what shall be our fee?”
    “I will build for thee a house of glass, where I shall feed you, provide water, and build you a wheel for leisure. You shall want for nothing.”
    “That would please us greatly.” The Mice replied, feeling pleased at having to no longer scrounge for food.

    The Man made true on his promise, and built a large house of glass with bowls filled with food, and bowls filled with water. Wheels and tunnels traversed the house where the Mice roamed freely. Beds of hay allowed the mice to repose without fear.

    Then, the time came for the Mice to assist the Man, and aghast they watched a fellow Mouse pulled from the bottom of the cage, for that is what is was, and onto a metal platform to be punctured by a needle full of the supposed cure.

    The Mouse died in agony. When the Mice complained, the Man replied

    “Sometimes you must sacrifice the many, for the one.”

    8+
    • Christelle Bloem
      10 March 2017 at 4:10 am

      Wow Nthato! I love your story! Your characteristic shock in the form of a fable is delightful!

      1+
    • Sian Brighal
      11 March 2017 at 7:28 am

      Excellent story.

      1+
    • Alva Holland
      11 March 2017 at 2:42 pm

      A story of mice and men! Excellently done, Nthato.

      1+
    • Profile gravatar of Dave James Ashton
      12 March 2017 at 8:57 am

      This was really well done, very enjoyable

      1+
  7. steve lodge
    10 March 2017 at 8:29 am

    Storm Warning
    by Steve Lodge
    @steveweave71
    300 words
    Soldier of fortune/London/Romance

    They were a couple madly in love. I’d never seen him happier, except on a night raid in enemy territory. His brother, Squalid, told me that Jobby had said that Madeleine made his groin smile, but that may have been a poor translation from Cockney English. The affair was like a juggernaut ploughing through the snow without brakes. Unstoppable. Then, one night…..it stopped.

    He took her to a traditional Belzon Restaurant in Hendricks Road in London’s East End. Jobby Dobbs is a notorious food shoveller and great lover of Belzon cuisine. Madeleine’s love had waned before the second course. Jobby took control of the menu and was relentless. For starters, Shakespeare Stutter and rind, blemished cholitango, grilled finger of Kaka Maka then onto fried buattonhole. This was followed by steamed octopus and cobra serum with winterfruits, Red Limp and Geeghe, drizzled with wounded flen and then beaten with the ugly stick.

    A particular favourite of Jobbys followed, onions and spring steens in porridge laced with vanilla pod ice cream. Next came a platter of interesting cheeses, some turning green and spotty as she watched. One or two of them seemed to have a pulse. He ate voraciously, not even noticing when she ordered a cab and went off alone into the night.

    Even when he read her note, he returned to the next dish, eelectrified cobalt muth with mashed konjeel and dancing podlu beans. Dipping bread into the grey sauce, he saw it turn pink and sizzle like a firework, burning off one of his eyebrows.

    A heartbroken Jobby and brother Squalid, joined a band of mercenaries the very next day. It became their signature force, The Third Rifles Starmy. Their motto “Rincomaelium” means “cobalt muth makes a man think stronger.” It actually sounds better played on a silent harmonica.

    2+
    • Sian Brighal
      11 March 2017 at 7:32 am

      Fascinating story and descriptions. I have some cheeses like that somewhere.

      0
    • Alva Holland
      11 March 2017 at 2:43 pm

      My favourite line of many – ‘eelectrified cobalt muth.’ Steve, your ability to entertain is eternal!

      0
  8. A.J. Walker
    10 March 2017 at 9:10 am

    The Not At All Famous Invisible Immortal Inventor
    A.J. Walker

    Beneath the unlikely English mansion, which stood above an isolated innocuous village in the Carpathian foothills, strange things were afoot. They usually were. In the middle of this dark winter’s night a smile grew like a dawn across Petr Rasmussen’s normally cool face as he realised he was a short step away from reaching his goal. Sigurdsson had just left, extremely richer, having delivered on his quest to find the priceless drops of the sweat of a particular luminous tree frog that lived beneath just one waterfall in the all but inaccessible Peruvian jungle.

    Janette Bummbelbahn, Petr’s housekeeper, had never seen anything like it… Petr had left his roast dinner untouched and only drunk one cup of tea from the pot! She’d normally think about calling for an undertaker, but for the singing and exultation coming from the subterranean laboratory.

    “Eureka! At fookin’ last. I can do it! My name will go down in history. The Invisible Man!” He put two drops of the precious frog sweat into the existing potion. “So many things I will be able to do. With impunity! Without fear!!”

    And so Rasmussen took the potion – and it worked. And the potion had an even more fantastical side effect; it made Petr immortal.

    Immortal AND invisible. So why have you not heard of him? This fantabulous potion?

    Well, Bummbelbahn had crept into the laboratory to see about all the commotion. Her invisible boss took the opportunity to scare the bejesus out of her. She fell into the door, the only door into the laboratory; which locked from the outside.

    So Petr is still there beneath the old mansion ruins trapped by his own brilliance and stupidity. No one knows of it and the village has long since gone. That’s why no-one has heard of him.

    ____
    WC: 300
    @zevonesque
    Inventor / Laboratory / Fable

    7+
    • Sian Brighal
      11 March 2017 at 7:34 am

      That was really fun! Great story.

      0
    • Alva Holland
      11 March 2017 at 2:44 pm

      I absolutely love the end of this, which means I loved the whole build-up. Fantastic, AJ.

      0
    • Profile gravatar of Dave James Ashton
      12 March 2017 at 8:59 am

      A most enjoyable tale

      0
    • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
      13 March 2017 at 7:21 am

      Even better than normal, AJ. Ripping yarn!

      0
  9. 10 March 2017 at 9:23 am

    Inventor/Laboratory/Fable
    @GriffithsKL
    282 words

    A Jungle Fable

    On a dismal November day an election was held to determine who would rule the jungle. This jungle was, in fact, a great laboratory in which a grand experiment was taking place. Only two animals ever got traction as rulers: the donkeys or the elephants. This went on and on in a sort of power tug-of-war.

    The elephants were colossal, fat beings that could and would crush small creatures. Laws annoyed them, for they got in the way. The donkeys, preferring not to be called asses, were burdened creatures. They carried around other people’s treasure, redistributing it and enacting lots and lots of laws to legalize their ends. As often happens in contests, winning and holding power became more important than governing the jungle. So many promises the elephants and donkeys made… so many broken.

    Ticked off and exasperated beyond belief, the animals panted for something heretofore… insane. An animal unlike the donkey or elephant, wily, vicious, depraved but powerful: a businessman. He swept into the jungle on storms of discontent provided by the donkey-elephant wars and made a great, great victory, a huge victory. He said he was an elephant, but no one believed him or gave a rip. Only a donkey or an elephant could wear the crown. Some rules must be followed. Others broken. A businessman knows this.

    Into the jungle he came roaring. And tweeting. Donkeys and elephants alike underestimated him, and this gave him an edge. The businessman wouldn’t read their scripts, wouldn’t play by the jungle rules. He invented new rules and resonated with scores of jungle animals.

    A businessman-elephant presides over the jungle now.

    The moral of the story: Morals are for chumps, not Trumps.

    4+
    • 10 March 2017 at 6:16 pm

      This is what happens when I get interrupted. It should be business elephant, as Trump is a republican. Gar…

      0
      • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
        11 March 2017 at 5:56 am

        I amended it to ‘businessman-elephant’, Kelly, rather than ‘business elephant’ as you requested; I assume it was the ‘donkey’ whose time was up, rather than the ‘businessman-donkey’ hybrid. Is this OK?

        This seems like one elephant in the room that no-one has a problem talking about!

        Great take on the fable genre, Kelly.

        [ I also amended ‘He said he was a donkey’ to ‘He said he was an elephant’. Hope that’s fine with you. Looks like the jungle has been overrun by fake gnus this week. 😀 ]

        0
        • 11 March 2017 at 7:34 am

          Thanks, Geoff. I’m so glad you knew what I meant! 🙂

          0
        • 11 March 2017 at 8:31 am

          Apologies on the share, Geoff! I’m sure I read the rules the first time, but since forgotten. Thanks for your graceful reminder… won’t happen again. 🙂

          0
          • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
            11 March 2017 at 9:41 pm

            I wouldn’t have thought there would be any harm done, but it’s a good chance to remind everyone not to tweet or make a post in a blog about an entry in a Microcosms contest until the results are posted as judging is usually done blind.

            1+
    • Sian Brighal
      11 March 2017 at 7:37 am

      Great fable! See what happens to jungle…

      1+
    • Alva Holland
      11 March 2017 at 2:47 pm

      We can only hope the jungle will swallow the presiding chump. Great story, Kelly.

      0
      • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
        13 March 2017 at 7:25 am

        …Or that he’ll be swallowed by a giant fruit!
        [ That’s me making a very obscure pun on ‘impeached’, by the way. ]

        0
  10. Profile gravatar of Holly Geely
    10 March 2017 at 10:03 am

    Roast Pheasant
    @hollygeely
    184 words
    Soldier of fortune, dinner party, romance

    Marvellous the Wizard had known Buff for years, and though the mercenary was intimidating, he’d never said anything so terrifying.

    “What do you mean, you’re in love?”

    Buff crossed bulging, veiny arms over a solidly swollen chest. Buff frowned.

    Marvellous took an involuntary step back.

    “I don’t mean to offend, I just didn’t realize you had feelings,” Marvellous said.

    “Of course I have feelings,” said Buff, in his gravelly monotone. “Mercenaries are people too, you know.”

    Marvellous assumed Buff’s time was divided evenly between the battlefield and the gym. When had he found the time to meet someone?

    “Where did you meet?” Marvellous asked.

    “At a dinner party,” Buff said.

    “A… dinner party?”

    “Prince Sibulant invited me after I won his war and dethroned his older brother,” Buff said.

    “Sure,” Marvellous said.

    “We fell in love over the roast pheasant. She’s a barbarian from the south. We’re getting married.”

    “Why… Why are you telling me this?” Marvellous asked.

    “I want you to be the best man,” Buff said.

    “I don’t…”

    Buff frowned again.

    “I’d be honoured,” Marvellous said.

    Buff’s smile was much worse than his frown.

    2+
    • Alva Holland
      11 March 2017 at 2:48 pm

      Your character names had me grinning from start to finish on this one, Holly. Nice one!

      0
    • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
      13 March 2017 at 7:40 am

      You had me fooled, Holly. I thought this was shaping up to be one of your bromances…
      And no ‘THE END’ at the… er… end. Is this Episode One of a sequel?

      0
  11. Profile gravatar of Dave James Ashton
    10 March 2017 at 10:29 am

    Craftmanship

    The sole illumination to the dingy room emanated from dying embers of the forge, yet it was enough for Dr. Lermk to continue his work. In sooth, the physicker was so well versed in his arts that darkness hindered him naught. A final few stitches and he nodded to himself, setting down the needle. Next he took to fanning the flames with the bellows, and before long the crucible suspended over the heat bubbled and smoked. He waved the noxious fumes away, but not before they drew a ragged cough from deep within his chest.

    Frowning in concentration, he held a pipette aloft and began to recite the incantation. At the culmination of the ritual, he allowed three drops of glimmering liquid splash into the container, their impact accompanied by alarming sizzles and bangs. His concoction started to pulse with disconcerting colours that hurt the eye. Dr. Lermk allowed himself a tight smile of satisfaction. Taking up the tongs with hands that trembled with excitement, he lowered his fulsome experiment to his work bench.

    Dr. Lermk wadded up the scraps of tanned leather he had meticulously stitched together earlier, then dropped them into the seething potion. He leaned back with a groan, flexing his back. It was time to put away his tools. The digits he had inscribed upon the material would become his bank balance in the morning. They called him a mad scientist, but he took pride in his profession and knew that work is its own reward.

    Inventor/Laboratory/Fable
    249 words
    @davejamesashton

    2+
    • Alva Holland
      11 March 2017 at 2:50 pm

      Love the way anticipation builds here. I could almost feel the heat. Great story, Dave.

      0
  12. 10 March 2017 at 11:35 am

    THE OTHER SIDE
    @danafaletti
    Medical Researcher/London/Romance
    295 words

    I’m not supposed to believe in this kind of thing.
    My confidence should lie in proven truths alone, not in heartsick musings of an afterlife.
    I’ve placed all my bets up to now in science, not faith or hope or love’s promise of eternity.
    But at this moment, as I stare at my lover’s near translucent skin,
    Aching to kiss her rosebud lips that haven’t lost their crimson stain to the sickness that’s invaded her cells,
    What else can I cling to?

    Westminster is chiming eerily, telling me it is time.
    The Messiah calls to my beloved, but I am loathe to give her up.
    Handel looks down at me, laughing, as his music echoes into my laboratory,
    But here where the clock tower touches solid ground, I still have time to act.

    “Relax,” I murmur into the soft hidden fold behind my lover’s ear, letting my lips flutter against the most perfect flesh ever created.
    A wisp of bronze curl tickles my nose.
    Goosebumps tiptoe across my shoulders.
    I inhale the sweet bergamot smell of her.
    Even in near death, she makes me feel alive.

    I want to ravish her with caresses and fold myself into all of her empty spaces,
    But I must keep my wits in check. I must be scientist, not lover, in this moment.
    If we are to survive the constraints of this unfair existence, I must discover a way to find her in the next one.
    I check the monitors, recheck that each electrode is in place, that the wires are attached and without fray.
    And, as I push sleep’s cocktail into her veins,
    The chimes peal once more.
    Her eyes bend at the corners, revealing a small smile before closing.
    “See you on the other side,” she whispers.

    4+
    • Profile gravatar of Dave James Ashton
      12 March 2017 at 9:01 am

      You can feel the longing in this one

      1+
    • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
      13 March 2017 at 8:00 am

      Westminster? ‘See you on the other side’? Is this Theresa May defecting to the Labour Party?
      But seriously, Dana… This is a very sensuous tale of love transcending death. Well done.

      [ I won’t mention that her smell of bergamot portends the fact that she is destined for an Earl-y Grey-ve… ]

      1+
      • 13 March 2017 at 8:17 am

        Ha Geoff, I love how different folks interpret! I imagined the lab to be close to the Westminster chimes. The researcher mentions The Messiah – kind of a double meaning- the chime song and also God calling for the researcher’s lover to let go of life. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

        0
  13. Profile gravatar of Jeff Messick
    10 March 2017 at 12:24 pm

    BEAST
    @TXMacLeod
    Inventor/Laboratory/Fable

    300 words

    Maurice pulls the lever and winces at the steam and smoke erupting from the pipes and joints in his tiny laboratory. Vapor, steam, and whatever other harsh materials in the air take time to dissipate, with no amount of hand waving adding to the dispersal.
    Tubes, wires, and a host of mechanical gears and linkages run from the large circular box in the middle of the small room to nearly everywhere else, except Maurice, of course. The pipes hold and the box in the room is inundated with a carefully derived, if hastily thought up, mixture of chemicals and electricity.
    Maurice wrings his hands together, absently wondering if his old friend Victor would be proud of him, or even envious of his work. Victor had tried the same experiment, with less than optimal results. A flesh golem, really? Strong, yes, but abysmally slow and even a common stone had more intelligence. No, Maurice was on the verge of something much greater.
    A single burst from a tiny whistle at the top of the box shrilly announces the process complete. Maurice wrings his hands again, finding his breath coming in labored gasps, he really needed to have a doctor look at him. He rushes through the small space, throwing levers and twisting knobs as fast as his squat, portly body can go.
    With a loud hiss of steam, the door to the box cracks open and swings forth. Maurice holds his breath. A figure steps into the light and Maurice takes a step back. Victor’s corpse had stayed a corpse, in no way, a beauty. The figure before him steps forward again, sniffing the air with its elongated snout. Maurice knew beauty, his daughter was one. Victor’s golem was an abomination. Maurice’s achievement was better, and worse. It was a beast.

    2+
  14. Sian Brighal
    10 March 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Sian Brighal
    @sian_ink
    300 words

    Inventor / Laboratory / Memoir

    There’s A Reason Legends Die Young

    He was younger than I’d expected. Or maybe I just expected someone who had shot and killed to be older.

    There are many who, on reflection, wish I’d turned him away, but I didn’t, and I accept their condemnation: I am a murderer. But I needed the money, the chance to prove my technology, and with him sitting in my laboratory, even crippled as he was, I felt it unwise to refuse.

    It was the first, although I’d practised on lesser creatures, of course—I think there’s a horse still roaming the plains with an early version of a leg of mine. It was unique: an artificial hand with steel for bones, copper connecting wires, rubber tubing as thin as any vein for hydraulic movement, cogs to make a watchmaker sigh for fine control. An outer casing of ivory with brass spheres for knuckles and the finest waxed silk sealing the joints for waterproofing. And then my secret, my invention, to allow flesh and metal to fuse in a union befitting our modern age.

    It took time to calibrate the mechanism, but within a year he had a hand that could squeeze metal or catch a feather without putting a filament out of alignment. It was better than any evolutionary attempt: an inorganic revolution.

    And then he surprised me, showing a degree of foresight which, to my shame, I found thrilling. First his hand, then his arm…you follow the progression. I became his prisoner, tied to the workbench, perpetually working on making him the best…and only him. My dreams suffering to live and die again and again in the time it took to draw and fire. I heard their screams in each shot. When he asked me for a heart, well, I realised I had found mine. All gunfighters die young.

    2+
    • Alva Holland
      11 March 2017 at 2:53 pm

      A macabre shadow passes over this story while I’m reading it. Shivering as I vote ‘like’ – splendid, Sian.

      1+
      • Sian Brighal
        11 March 2017 at 4:27 pm

        Thank you, Alva.

        0
    • Profile gravatar of Dave James Ashton
      12 March 2017 at 9:02 am

      This was very enjoyable, loved the little details

      0
  15. Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
    10 March 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Family Dinner

    299 words
    Elements: inventor, jewellery heist, horror(ish)

    @el_Stevie

    My name is Igor, youngest son of Mr and Mrs Smith, late of Shoreditch. My older brothers – Frankenstein, Drac and Helsing – left home as soon as they could and changed their names to Tom, Dick and Harry. These days, I’d pass ’em in the street and they could be anyone.

    Our names were Dad’s idea. Loved horror stories, he did. And I’m still here because of him, because I listened to his bloody stupid stories about raising the dead … and decided to give it a go, spending hours in the garden shed practising with frogs from our neighbour’s pond. Dad was so proud, made me promise that when his and Mum’s time came, I would bring them back. And I did. Now they’ve been drooling and decomposing in the back room for a good ten years and I’ve had enough; I just need to find a decent care home – they’ll blend in well from what I’ve seen – but it’s going to cost an arm and a leg and sadly not the sort I’ve got in my freezer.

    Another knock on the door. It’s been like bleedin’ Piccadilly Circus tonight. Tom, Dick and Harry got into a bit of bother, knocked-off the jeweller’s in the High Street. Well, what can a brother do? I’ve hid ’em in the cellar. But it was only Daft Mary from next door with Tom’s holdall; silly sod had dropped it in her garden when he was running from the Old Bill. Once she’d gone, I looked inside and found the answer to my prayers. Diamond geezers, my brothers, I’m sure they’ll be generous. Only …

    it’s gone awfully quiet in the cellar.

    Did I …? Oh bugger, I forgot to feed the dogs.

    Didn’t tell you about the dogs, did I?

    4+
    • Sian Brighal
      11 March 2017 at 7:47 am

      Oh dear! But I guess he doesn’t have to share the loot now… 😀

      0
    • Alva Holland
      11 March 2017 at 2:54 pm

      You never fail to scare me, Steph! Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot! Wonderful story and a great ending.

      0
  16. Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
    10 March 2017 at 10:14 pm

    @GeoffHolme
    #FlashDog
    300 words
    Gunfighter; Wild West; Comedy

    Go West, Young Man

    “What we gonna do, Eli?”
    ”With them pesky injuns a-whoopin’ ‘n’ a-hollerin’, ‘n’ closin’ in on uz, ain’t but wun thing we kin do, Jeb: circle the goldurn wagons… agin!”
    “They sure is ornery! This be the fifth time they’s attacked in as many days. They don’ even rest up on the Sabbath.”
    “That be cuz they ain’t decent God-fearin’ folk like uz. They’s bloodthirsty savages who should be wiped frum the face of the earth!”
    “But don’ Jee-suz tell uz to show lurve to wun anuther?
    “I’ll show ‘em the lurve I got fer ‘em… with mah Colt 45!”
    “Yeah, but they’se only so mucha that sorta lurve you kin show, Eli… We’s runnin’ low on ammo!”
    “Gol-DURN-it! Them injuns sure is a wily bunch… We ain’t killed uz but a handful since they started wearing buffalo hides.”
    “Reverend Jedediah sez they’s bison, not buffalo.”
    “Reverend Jed- Shoot! He don’t no nuthin’ ‘cept the Good Book, ‘n’ there ain’t no such critters in the Bible, far as I recall. But them buffalo hides’re thicker’n a fence post… hep keep out harsh winter blizzards. Makes it hard to shoot through ‘em at any distance with jes’ a pistol.”
    “That be so? Then how’d them injuns git to kill a bison with jes’ bows ‘n’ arrows?”
    “They sets fires on the prairie… stampedes a whole herd over a cliff.”
    “Well Ah’ll be! Don’t wanna lose my scalp to them damned heathens… Lookit, Eli! They’s tirin’. Let’s try ‘n’ outrun ‘em.”

    ###

    “Seems they wuzn’t tirin’, Jeb; they musta know’d there be a cliff where we wuz headed. Lucky fer uz there wuz a river below.”
    “What we gonna do now, Eli?”
    “Ain’t nuthin’ fer it, Jeb, but to grab the biggest piece of lumber we kin… ‘n’ jes’ go with the flow!”

    2+
    • Alva Holland
      11 March 2017 at 2:55 pm

      I’m willing to bet your spellchecker exploded in exasperation with this story, Geoff! Love it!

      0
      • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
        11 March 2017 at 3:16 pm

        You should know by now, Alva: I’m my own spellchecker! Thanks for your comment – glad you enjoyed it.

        0
  17. Meg Kovalik
    10 March 2017 at 11:19 pm

    Yearning

    Inventor; Laboratory; Fable

    Long ago, when the world was young and full of fire, the Great Maker was restless. Her head felt tight and itchy, like something was scratching to get out.

    As always, she danced.

    The fire circle threw her shadows about the walls as she twirled and contorted, watching for the signs that would help her understand. For days she danced, never tiring, until her bones ached and her feet bled.

    And still, she danced.

    On the fourteenth day the shadows coalesced. “You are lonely,” they whispered. “Your children are too distant. Uninvolved. Meek.”

    With a sharp exhalation she collapsed, wilting like a sun-bleached flower, submitting to the truth as it washed over, filling her soul even as exhaustion claimed her body.

    She slept for many moons as the new reality settled. When she woke, she knew what had to be done.

    The itch that had consumed her was condensed, crystalline, pure. She reached into her head and coaxed it out, cooing and encouraging like a nursemaid. Once it was safe in her hands, she breathed deeply and crushed it until the embers seared her flesh.

    As the pain reached its zenith she clapped once; twice; three times, and cast the dust out across her vast laboratory, leaving comets and supernovas in its wake.

    On every planet, a seed was planted, infecting the universe of her creation with a similar itch; a lingering unease that encouraged ceaseless questioning and dissatisfaction with things as they were; a constant craving to expand and explore.

    The Great Creator smiled, and knew peace at last.

    260 Words
    @meg_mediocre

    3+
    • Alva Holland
      11 March 2017 at 2:58 pm

      A true storyteller can make a tale about anything at all into a gripping, entertaining story. You’ve built a wonderful series of scenes around a lingering itch, Meg. How clever!

      1+
    • Profile gravatar of Dave James Ashton
      12 March 2017 at 9:03 am

      Beautiful language in this story

      0

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