Thanks to all of you who brought Microcosms Y2Q1 to a close by submitted a story to Round 65; and a warm welcome to first-timers: Fatima Okhuosami, L. Meadow and Michael Emerson. We had a total of 13 entries this week.
A big THANK YOU to everyone who contributed during this quarter, especially to Angelique Pacheco and Bill Engleson who both submitted entries every week throughout the quarter – respect!
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 Firdaus Parvez for judging MC 65. Here’s what she had to say:
Wow, what a great bunch of entries! I was actually wishing for just one piece to stick out from the rest to make my job easy; but no, you folk just keep churning out fabulous stories week after week. That’s the reason I dread being a judge – it’s not an easy job, but it’s such an honour. Thank you.
So, between my dog being sick and his whining for attention and other mundane household chores, I managed to read, reread and read again and again, because I could not make up my mind. There’s very little that separates the entries given commendations and the ones I left out. I applaud all of you.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – Clem Zinger felt fierce artistic urges while still in the womb.
Alva Holland – ‘Darling, you can and you will, both write it and be on your own.’
Steve Lodge – He did nothing but drain her funds, had saddled her with a ridiculous surname and was rubbish in bed.
L. Meadow – She trailed scarves and cigarette smoke in her wake.
Sian Brighal – I’ll read until she returns to fly us out of here for the last time.
Kelly Griffiths – …both just stood there like time was a DVD, paused.
Nicola Tapson – But it was too late; I was looking down the barrel of a gun.
Michael Emerson – …the first sneeze hit; eyes streaming, snot dribbling, Edward was off.
Steph Ellis – …snuffing him out like a candle, muffling his screams to a whisper.
Angelique Pacheco – …we laid them out on the floor like meat puzzles waiting to be put back together.
Stella Turner – She sounded like the blurb on a poorly-managed job site.
Fatima Okhuosami – “Who reads a book inside a bus in this heat?”
Steve Shirres – Despite the morning chorus of gunfire, he greets everyone with good humour…
Bill Engleson – W(art) and All
I enjoyed reading this very much. It read like a Historical romance novel in fast forward mode. So much in so few words. Well done!
Steve Lodge – Circle of Death
This was tragically comic. It reminded me of the domino effect where one takes down the other till they end up where they started. Loved it.
Honourable / Honorable Mentions
L. Meadow – At Any Cost
Well, this had me giggling. It was very visual and what a scene at the end; the jockey ended up riding the poor lady! Thanks for the laugh.
Steph Ellis – Jeremiah’s Birthday
It was a really creepy tale. The build up was great and a terrifying twist towards the end. Good job.
Michael Emerson – Winning Streak
This was a sweet and funny tale. I really felt sorry for the poor MC and the twist at the end was heartbreaking. So good.
Kelly Griffiths – Metamorphosis
What a dark tale. Initially I was thinking where this was heading and then the disturbing twist. Some really good lines. Could make a great psychological thriller.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 65.
(insert drumroll here)
Bill Engleson – W(art) and All
Artist; World War 1 France; Tragi-Comedy
Clem Zinger felt fierce artistic urges while still in the womb. His first effort, a series of murals that captured birth from the fetuses perspective, was completed by the time he was six. Womb to Breathe impressed grade one teacher Yvette D’Andre. She encouraged Clem’s vision and became a mentor.
Sadly, Clem’s parents, Zeke and Anastasia Zinger were crushed to death when the statue of Confederate General Beauregard Blessington toppled over during the 1908 Fourth of July celebrations in Louisville.
Though a subsequent inquiry determined that faulty marble had been used, the final report, borrowing from the words of Leonardo da Vinci, said, “Life, much like art, is never finished, only abandoned.”
This brought little comfort to both the Zinger clan and Anastasia’s extended family, the Bolts.
Making the best of a tragic, albeit artistic, accident, one with no appreciable compensation, Clem went to live with paternal grandparents, Abe and Maude Zinger in Atlanta.
Heartbroken at the poignant turn of events in Clem’s life, Yvette returned to Reims, France.
By 1914, Clem was a strapping young American artist. Adolescent and artistic urges rumbled through his body. More importantly, he and Yvette had engaged in a lengthy correspondence. Though several of years his senior, and mindful if somewhat careless with propriety, distance and camaraderie led Yvette and Clem down a classic road to euphoria.
Then came WW 1.
And the bombardment of Reims.
“I will come to you,” Clem wrote.
“NO, I will come to you,” Yvette wrote back.
“One of us must come to the other,” Clem replied.
Yvette did not write back.
“I must find her, grandfather,” Clem told Abe. “And paint this awful war.”
Clem set sail on a tramp steamer in December 1914.
It sunk two-hours short of Marseille.
Somewhat optimistically, family lore proclaims Clem swam ashore.
Sian Brighal – Just One More Chapter
Wow! This was such a unique take on the prompt elements. All the elements were used to perfection. A truly heartbreaking story. Fantastic writing. Well done!
Driver; Field Hospital; Tragedy
Samantha (via ECN)
4th rotation: 1 hour: 22 minutes (Earth Time Standard: 23:22)
Date sent (Earth Standard): 31-03-2117
Subject: No Subject
[Corrupted file: text translation/read only]
I know you’re angry with me for staying when the other pilots evacuated; I couldn’t leave the patients. I can’t let them die alone. They need someone human holding their hands.
The raids are getting more intense, and I want you to know, I never joined to spite your faith in ‘big planet government’.
…even now I’m trying to get you to understand. But it doesn’t matter. The war is well under way and there will be a definitive outcome one way or—another raid! I love you, Da—
(Shouting. Indistinct noises. Explosions. Screams)
[Recording interrupted: 23:37]
[Recording resumed: 02:17]
I’m sorry to inform you, sir, but your daughter has passed away. A section of bulkhead had—we tried to lift it, but all effort proved unsuccessful.
I was with her until the end, holding her hand. There was absolutely no pain.
Your daughter is—
(Muffled sounds. Whining. Cough)
She was one of the best pilots, flying us to safety between the field hospital and neutral space around Ceres. It must have hurt not being allowed to fly us out, being soldiers for planetary unification: the enemy.
It doesn’t matter now. The last transport ship has left, and there’s a few of us left from both sides…brothers at the last before life-supports fails. She was reading to us: The Happy Foreigner. Her favourite. I’ve requested that it be returned to you, sir.
A few of us have gathered to keep warm, and they want to find out how it ends. I’ll read until she returns to fly us out of here for the last time.
[Transmission ends: 03:52]
Congratulations, Sian. As this week’s Judge’s Pick, you are invited to judge the first contest in Y2Q2 – Microcosms 66! Please let us know whether or not you are interested ASAP!