Thanks to all of you who were able to enter Round 73 – you lucky people! I wish I had been able to… And a warm welcome to first-timer, M. Irene Hill. We had an reasonable total of 18 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.
Many thanks to Damhnait Monaghan for judging MC 73. Here’s what she had to say:
I loved the prompt Geoff suggested for this contest as I use this technique in my own writing, although I delete the sentence once I’ve used it. And it was fun to see lines from books I’ve read (Foreign Fruit, Slaughterhouse Five, and The Picture of Dorian Grey) in the chosen prompts.
It was hard to whittle down the list with so many worthy entries. I don’t tend to read much horror or sci fi but found myself enjoying those entries as much as the others. I might have to broaden my reading list going forward!
Michael Emerson – It was a bit unfair: it wasn’t even like any of the buttons were labelled.
Storm Jarvis – A feeling of pain crept over him…
Kelly Griffiths – When silence was the reply, Hazel’s guts unspooled.
Eloise – My hands tinged crimson.
Eloise – I was the Pied Piper of Lost Souls.
Alva Holland – The guard’s badge reflects my wrinkles in a station of mirrors where my unlived life resides in the shininess of the tearoom siding, the guard’s shoes, his blazer buttons.
Jeff Messick – Alabaster skin, as if carved from snow, framed by hair the color of deepest regions of space.
CR Smith – It was stuck to a square of card and if you did not know better you would think it was nothing of consequence.
Steve Lodge – He had ginger hair, breath that smelled of broccoli and a knee that clicked loudly.
Bill Engleson – “I don’t think the horseshoe’s there anymore.”
Angelique Pacheco – She believed she was in the presence of pure evil disguised as half-witted parents.
Dave James Ashton – In my experience, rubes ain’t usually this flush with cash.
Anne Chowdhury – I am you. Soulless, and here to take you back to purgatory. Devil’s waiting.
Richard Edenfield – It moved slowly down his skin like a finger hesitant on a trigger.
Bill Bibo – Not one for prayers, he found one buried deep within his memory. He offered it up to anyone or anything that might be listening.
Sian Brighal – From the rabid, frothing sea rose a beast beyond cogent description. In his dream, obscured by fear and disbelief, he witnessed whipping tentacles, the width of a man’s height, fill the dark sky and beat against the waves, and at their junction, the fleeting glance of a jagged beak emerging from a puckered mouth.
M Irene Hill – I shook off the cobwebs of sleep
John Herbert – Our vans crouch low in the long grass, hidden.
Special Mention – for a title that made me swoon
Sian Brighal – Hope and Death Lie in the Stars
Angelique Pacheco – Lucky Feet
I liked the twists in this story. Initially child abuse is hinted at, but all is not as it seems. The idea of a couple of rabbits wreaking revenge on the boy is brilliant as is the suggestion that rabbits use human feet as lucky charms.
Steve Lodge – Born on the Misty Coasts
This story proved the old adage that “love is blind”. I enjoyed the gentle humour between this loved up couple, which suggested they were a good match. The word play (Paige Turner, abundance, a bun dance, etc) was also fun. It’s not always easy to do humour but this writer managed it well.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 73.
(insert drumroll here)
Eloise – Pied Piper of Lost Souls
The Devil Wears Prada (Lauren Weisberger) / Romance
I smiled and nodded. This was not the beginning of a beautiful love story. It was the start of a nightmare. Yes, of course it started with wining and dining, but it ended with tears each time. Tears which I stored and kept in a cupboard. I had labeled them with a photo of when they were happy to do my bidding. Each one had a sad story about how they were misunderstood. That is all you needed to do to get their trust was to understand. A sympathetic ear. Then looking at you with puppy dog eyes you could lead them anywhere – even to their demise. They would follow you even when you chased them away. I was the Pied Piper of Lost Souls.
Well, that was until last week. She was glamorous. Her hair cascaded down her back. Her eyes were the color of luxurious chocolate. She was dynamite. A sharp tongue and an even sharper mind. She saw my tricks before they came. I was caught. She would never become a bottle in my cupboard but a warrior bride in my heart.
Bill Bibo – Even in Darkness Truth Can Be Cruel
This one blew me away: the enigmatic title, phrases like “under a damaged moon”, and the dawning realisation that the danger isn’t outside the room but within. At first you think he’s protecting his daughter from someone or something outside the room, but you realise with horror that the danger is within the room. He cuts himself, the daughter’s voice changes, restraints are mentioned, and she can smell the blood. “He stood and faced his daughter.” It all pivots on that sentence. I’m still thinking about the two people in this room, wondering what will happen.
Slaughterhouse Five (Kurt Vonnegut) / Horror
He went into his daughter’s room.
Lit by a damaged moon, he could see her breathing was even, soft, untroubled. She was safe, for now.
He slid the desk, blocking the door, and pulled the curtains shut, careful not to step into the light, filling the room with a comforting darkness. He slipped to the floor, his back tight against the corner. The bread knife he had taken from the kitchen slipped from his sweating grasp and fell to the floor. Patting the carpet, he found it quickly though his hand closed on the wrong end. The cut went deep.
He quickly tore a strip from his shirt to slow the bleeding. He could hear his wife running up the stairs.
“Daddy?” said a child’s voice from the bed.
“Hush, go back to sleep. Everything’s fine,” he said.
She sat up pulling hard against the restraints, sniffing the air.
“Daddy?” she asked again, her voice now low, hungry, more of a growl than a question.
His eyes filling with tears, he stood and faced his daughter. Not one for prayers, he found one buried deep within his memory. He offered it up to anyone or anything that might be listening.
Congratulations, Bill Bibo. As this week’s Judge’s Pick, you are invited to judge Microcosms 74, let us know whether or not you are interested ASAP!