Thanks to everyone who entered into the realm of myth this week. We had 19 awesome entries this week!
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.
Thanks again to Michael Emerson for this week’s prompt.
And many thanks to Angelique Pacheco for judging MC 72. Here’s what she had to say:
Wow! You people blew my mind this week. There wasn’t a single story that I didn’t enjoy and I sobbed in despair, having to choose winners. Well done to all. When are we all collaborating on a book? 🙂
About that… I’m still planning to do an anthology of the winners and others. I will get around to it one of these days. We might do versions by years, but I’m open to suggestions. Regardless, if you were a former winner, would like to nominate a story that didn’t win but that you thought was really fabulous, or if you have a story you wrote for us that you’re just particularly proud of, winner or not, please let us know! (You would retain all rights, of course, aside from letting us publish it). Proceeds will benefit a literary charity.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – I was listening to his babble but the putrid smarminess that oozed from him like pigeon poop gave me the heebie geebies.
Steve Lodge – Only the breezes will be heard but the tremours could be felt across the world.
Damhnait Monaghan – I shadowed in the ferns, but his black eyes fell on me.
Storm Jarvis – The walls of the underworld filled with spirits of those trapped in the minds of their past lives.
Nthato Morakabi – A primordial husk borne of demise.
Alva Holland – Narcissism – a gorgeous trait for beautiful me.
Eloise – The lazy old hag. The dust and dirt really affect my allergies.
Carin Marais – The sisters saw each other only in a tearful passing, the guards pushing Summer into the world and taking Winter prisoner once more.
Serena Jenk – …but she threw the burning water of Phlegethon upon my son turning him into a owl ever asking who.
Steph Ellis – The skin of him, albino patches splintered by bone.
L. Meadow – One of the nymphs giggled, the last time Zeus had been bored he had deflowered her repeatedly for a week.
AJ Walker – “That’s his name, not a verb.”
Michael Emerson – Off he went, the sound of him thinking scared the deer away and I went hungry that night… which if I am honest did not improve my mood.
Sian Brighal – “In your greed, mortals flooded my rivers, rusted shut the doors, locked her out.”
Orozco – She made them feel loved before she devoured their souls.
Stephen Shirres – Death looked warmer and happier.
Bill Bibo – “It’s a reminder that I, unlike you, am only here for a handful of moments.
Caleb Echterling – “Now he’s plastered on ambrosia and trying to seduce animals.”
Amelia – They’ve bled into the earth and been a part of your sweat and toil.
Frank Key – Ugly sorta dude, you’ve seen the type, with this grey skin like a long dead carp.
Eloise – Sugar Is Bad for You
Hansel and Gretel were also part of the myth, fable type stories.
Honourable / Honorable Mentions
Orozco – Final Crime
Because I love creepy.
Bill Engleson – Merle the Mule Cooper; Private Dick to the Lesser Gods. The Case of the Missing Virgin
A modern detective story featuring greek gods. Great concept!
Alva Holland – It’s My River and I’ll Stare If I Want To
Love the humour, sarcasm and the gossip quality of this one.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 72.
(insert drumroll here)
Community Picks – Two of Them!
Normally, I would try to break the tie, but they were both just SO good! I couldn’t decide. Sorry. You’ll just have to share the title. 🙂
Nthato Morakabi – The Daughters of Nereus
Such a gorgeous use of the language, it makes me want to cry. Like Fatima said… this is beautiful!
Nymph / Underworld / Myth
Special Challenge: Death
Within the depths of the great ocean lay a vessel of stone and wood and metal. As ancient as time. A primordial husk borne of demise. Upon the splintered furrows etched into the wood, emblazoned in gold aged and weathered, remained a single word that spoke of times past: Nereus.
From the hollows of the great sunken ark, worn trembling fingers wound gleaming gears onto the bosom of coral shaped as one of human descent.
“Ne’er shall ye taste the bitter elixir of death.” The voice rumbled. Creatures of the sea squiggled away from the words. Fearing entrapment. The old fingers slid the final piece into place, a soft caress and an ancient chant of a forgotten tongue sealing the alabaster skin of the slumbering creation.
She gasped to life with a flurry of froth and foam and the quiet tick of clockwork. Spiralling lashes fluttered open to reveal dark orbs reminiscent of Hade’s realm.
“Bring me souls dear one. Forty-nine more. The surface shall know our woe. This domain shall be Sheol to them.”
The young creature of the sea swam from within the dark abyss to the bright cerulean waters above. To the passing ships and echoing shouts of passing sailors. One of which gazed upon the waters to see a creature of immense beauty. Long dark tresses flowing down bare shoulders. Pink pouting lips whispering promises of love and pleasure.
Unperturbed, he dove to the waters and let the creature drag him into the watery depths. Death clawing at his lungs and throat until it seeped into him and faded into darkness.
She brought the sailor to her father Nereus. The ark thrumming with life as yet another coral-created form waited for the sailor’s soul.
“My daughters… no my Nereids. Long shall ye live with me.”
Carin Marais – The Sisters’ Oath
Lovely imagery – I especially enjoyed the idea of the souls that had that year trudging their way up the mountain. Gentle and somber. And it definitely has a “mythy” feel.
Nymph / Underworld / Myth
It was the day of the solstice. Like countless years before, the people of the villages around the mountain braced themselves for the opening of the Underworld and the taking of the Chosen Dead. A rumbling came from within the mountain when day dawned and the two wardens of the entrance to the Underworld waded through the icy cold streams of the River of the Dead to open the great stone gates that barred the land of the dead from that of the living. Between them stood the barefoot nymph they simply knew as Summer. She was pale after the long time she had been kept away from the land of the living, but today she would step out into the world once more and people would rejoice. In her place would come Summer’s sister, Winter; the oath the sisters had sworn an age ago to keep their beloveds safe still ongoing.
The gates swung open to reveal a world in the grip of cold and mourning. Those who had been chosen to die during the year were slowly making their way up the mountain, wearing the brightest clothes they owned, carrying the branches of evergreen trees and humming an ancient hymn of which most words had been forgotten with time. Leading them was Winter herself.
The sisters saw each other only in a tearful passing, the guards pushing Summer into the world and taking Winter prisoner once more. As the Chosen Dead walked through the gates into the underworld a light started to shine from within them until they seemed to glow with a golden light.
Summer stood between the dropped evergreen branches and, as the tears dropped from her eyes onto the ground, she saw the first sprouts of spring starting to emerge. A new year had come.
Damhnait Monaghan – I Was A Teenage River Nymph
So much awesome packed into such a short story. Beautifully descriptive and to the point, you are immediately placed in the scene with the characters.
Nymph / Underworld / Myth
The sisterhood is a myth. Any nymph will tell you that.
Persephone was back from the Underworld and Helios was working flat out pulling his yellow load across the sky. We lay near the river, languid and louche, loosening our garments and splashing each other when the heat grew too much.
A chill rose like a wraith from the ground and we heard the low growl of Cerberus. The Dark One rode his chariot into our bower. I shadowed in the ferns, but his black eyes fell on me.
Persephone gets all the sympathy. Any nymph will tell you that.
But when she found out what happened she lashed out at me, not the Dark One. She turned me into a plant to be trampled on until the end of time. Even today, the modern maidens drink their Mojitos and stab me with their stir-sticks, raising a glass to Persephone.
Congratulations, Damhnait. Please let us know if you’d like to judge the next go round!