RESULTS – Microcosms 70

Thanks to everyone who entered and put your twist on Cinco de Mayo!

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.

And a huge thanks to our judge, Kelly Griffiths. Here’s what she had to say:

I love judging because it inspires me! I learn much about the craft of writing because judging forces an even deeper look at the many personalities represented here– and it’s great fun! Thanks for the opportunity.

I see how subjective is this judging business! 🙂 Among many truly great pieces, I ended up picking the stories that embodied my personal preferences.

Kelly

 

 Favourite / Favorite Lines

 

Bill Engleson – Ottawa Release: November 11, 1964 – My eyes go to his hands. His hand. He has only one. The other’s a hook affair.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren – The Death Dance – She knew that once she stopped, she’d join the numerous dead.

Angelique Pacheco – Sere-ious – They half waved at him, grinning, and all you could see were pearly whites through the black paint on their faces.

Fatimah Okhuosami – A Lifetime of Love – The mini-mart has swallowed the bar.

Angelique Pacheco – Dancerella – Her dark hair flows freely as he guides her body to his bidding.

Jeff Messick – An Accounting – The dancer turned again, her lithe legs almost locked together, arms raised above her, reaching for the heavens.

Stephen John Lodge -The Mystery of the Kite Traps – The making of “The Mystery Of The Kite Traps” (1941), however, was marred by disunity and squabbling between Golem and the star of the picture, George Pants, culminating in Uwe beating his star rather badly with a pair of trousers.

Frank Key – We Are Not Afraid Today – Weaponized pellets of rain penetrated the umbrellas of their matronly guardians and the tutus of the young dancers.

Alva Holland – The Weather Forecast is Always Important to Farmers – If his commanding officer could see him now, hurtling through black hole after black hole, rifle and bayonet miraculously still firmly attached to his uniform, tight black belt keeping his core together, his extremities battling to remain part of the picture, gleaming black boots spinning wildly at the end of his flailing legs, lobbing erratic space rocks into infinity, he wouldn’t be calling him wimpy. No Sir!

Dana Faletti – Missing – We watch from our twelfth story window, as lightning bolts connect the sea and sky.

Christina Dalcher – The King Requests the Pleasure of Your Company – From the gilded dais that evening, Rex watched with his ghost-queen as the children of the north — the seed of Grant and Lincoln — whirled endlessly, their bodies drenched and convulsing, until, on the stroke of midnight, the gowns and tuxedo tails erupted into fire — dancing, licking flames that shone like blood, that burned as brightly as Sherman on his own parade to the sea.

Stephanie Ellis – The Whistles Blew – The memory thawed the ache in his bones a little, and he felt his own lips stretch into the ghost of a smile, muscles aching slightly as they settled into this long-forgotten position.

Sian Brighal – Peace is the Hardest War – Not understanding that the man who left
Is still scattered and lost, not yet returned
And you’re as widows, hurting and bereft
Grieving for us dead yet to be interred

Bill Bibo – A Home is What You Make It – Cold fluorescent lights flickered alive, illuminating a horrific scene.

Amelia Sachs – My Exotic Lover – My eyes grew blurry as I fell to the floor, her musical laughter filling my ears.

 

 

Honourable / Honorable Mentions

Bill Engleson – Ottawa Release: November 11, 1964

This one grew on me. Deep and complex narrator.

 

Angelique Pacheco – Dancerella

I like the tone on this. Sassy in places, meek in others, the happy ending is lovely.

 

Jeff Messick – An Accounting

Exciting, scary, haunting imagery and creepy tone throughout.

 

 

Runners-up

Frank Key – We Are Not Afraid Today

Dense, yet accessible prose. Several awesome sentences, vivid and unnerving scenes.

 

Alva Holland – The Weather Forecast is Always Important to Farmers

Title is incredible, and gets better after reading the piece. Funny! The voice is strong with personality and likeable.

 

 

And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 70.

 

(insert drumroll here)

 

 

Community Pick

Bill Bibo – A Home is What You Make It

298 words
Dancer / Parade / Horror

A Home Is What You Make It

Tiffany and Brad were in the market for a new home. They had been looking for some time but never found the perfect house. One was too small, another too big, another had none of the amenities they were hoping for. This weekend was the Parade of Homes. Every year local contractors displayed their best ideas. Maybe they would find the perfect home there.

Unfortunately, hundreds more had the same idea. Parking was scarce, lines were long, and none of the houses were close to what they wanted. These houses were big, flashy, each shouting “Look at me! Look at me!”.
Driving home Tiffany spotted a hand printed sign, “Parade of Homes – Alternative”. It was the desperate look in her eyes that made Brad agree to stop.

The house was far from distinctive. If this house shouted anything, you immediately forgot what it was as soon as you drove by. Inside was like a thousand homes in a thousand neighborhoods. It was so normal it set Tiffany’s teeth chattering.

No salesman was there, just a business card on the kitchen table, “Fred Thomas, Diabolist/ Contractor”. A mournful melody drew them into the next room. There a child’s music box played as a tiny figurine of a pretty ballerina danced around and round. When the music ended a panel in the wall slid open revealing a stairway down into darkness. Tiffany grabbed Brad’s hand and headed down the stairs.

Cold fluorescent lights flickered alive, illuminating a horrific scene. On the wall opposite were manacles and chains. To the left a gruesome display of knives, saws, and scalpels. To the right a garden hose and a drain to wash down the scene. It was a room meant for one cruel purpose.

Tiffany turned to her husband. “Let’s take it.”

 

 

Judge’s Pick

Sian Brighal – Peace is the Hardest War

I do love a great poem. THIS is gorgeous. At first I thought it would be blithe, but it turned on me. Unexpected. The lines are haunting and memorable.
Kelly

258 words
Soldier / Pub / Poem

Kept me going through it; the thought of this.
Not a screaming sergeant nor dreams of home
Nor thoughts of sweethearts with their sweeter kiss,
But this here pint with its head of white foam.

A much-needed anchor in stormy seas
Undemanding comfort in this unease

Some may whisper with a sneer bitterly
That something nobler must run through these veins
That have bled so quick for sweet liberty,
But after that—the pain, woes—what remains

After the million little deaths inside
For sanity’s sake what was sacrificed

Are those simple things, small enough to hide,
Kept away from war’s constant swinging scythes
Because at the end, not enough survived.
For war takes much more than just time and lives.

And that battlefield holds our shattered bones
While we mourned, knelt, at our future’s headstones

And the scars that paid for those safe returns
Become unfamiliar territory
That our loved ones no longer can traverse
But they strive, recalling a memory

Cos it’s all changed now and that life once known
Seems so distant, fleeting, a life on loan

Not understanding that the man who left
Is still scattered and lost, not yet returned
And you’re as widows, hurting and bereft
Grieving for us dead yet to be interred

And I get the pain, the feeling of hurt
That this life isn’t what we should have earnt

So this is why this cold pint gets me through
Because I’ve already lost this peacetime
Seems this is my wake, a last manoeuvre
And my last mission is just killing time

 

 

Congratulations, Sian. As this week’s Judge’s Pick, you are invited to judge Microcosms 71. Please let us know whether or not you are interested ASAP!

RESULTS - Microcosms 71
RESULTS - Microcosms 69
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6 comments for “RESULTS – Microcosms 70

  1. Sian Brighal
    9 May 2017 at 5:52 am

    Congratulations! Thanks for judging, Kelly. Thanks for the prompts–brilliant theme. And thanks everyone for the superb stories. I love this group

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  2. 9 May 2017 at 8:52 am

    Congratulations, everyone! What a nice way to welcome the new guy.
    Sian, excellent poem. I tried poetry once, there were no survivors. 🙂
    I’ll be spreading the word this week and will read you all again on the weekend. Thanks

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  3. 9 May 2017 at 11:23 am

    Amazing work this past week! Congratulations to Sian for a killer of a poem, Bill for his first Microcosms success, and all the others!

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  4. Alva Holland
    9 May 2017 at 5:31 pm

    Wonderful win for Sian whose poem blew everyone away. Way to go, Bill for making your first visit to Microcosms Fiction a Community Pick success! Well done to all the winners here.

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  5. 9 May 2017 at 9:13 pm

    Thanks for making my job REALLY hard! Amazing stories. 🙂

    1+

  6. 10 May 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Another enjoyable outing into Flash Fiction Country.

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