RESULTS – Microcosms 74

Thanks to everyone who entered Microcosms 74 this week. We had 15 awesome entries this week, and the community engagement was fantastic! I love it. Keep it up!

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 Bill Bibo for judging MC 74. Here’s what Bill had to say:

First, let me say judging this week was extremely more difficult and thus more time consuming than I had anticipated. Everyone put in some great creative effort and the entries were all over the place in style and content.
I was disappointed that only one person used the original prompts, but then the rules do allow you to “spin again”. To me the challenge is coming up with something given constraints you might not like. It stretches the writer.
In my humble attempt in this my first judging effort I tried to be as completely objective as you can in a subjective contest. I created a quick point system (1-10) based on four elements: did the story meet the stated constraints, creativity, grammar, and in the most subjective way, how did I like it. Also being new to this group I don’t know if you included constructive criticism but decided to include some anyway. You can delete it if you want to.

Bill

 

I thought it was great that Bill was willing to offer feedback on everyone’s piece, so of course I wanted to share it. That being said, the format is slightly tweaked from the usual this week, with winners and selectees having their feedback appear with everyone else’s. 🙂

KM

 

 Favourite / Favorite Lines – and Feedback!

Jeff Messick – Mondays

Clever mix of pulp, noir, and myth but I felt it jumped between those too much for a flash piece.
A great set up that made me anxious to know more. Who are his superiors? Why are they watching movies?
Best line: Damn you, father. Why can’t you just ask to see your grand daughter?
(Here the twist is revealed that he is a demigod, too)

John Herbert – Amazon Prime

Was the author anxious to see “Wonder Woman”? My wife and I are as well.
Overall the setting was vividly described and easily imagined by the reader, though I felt some the vocabulary was slightly extravagant. I had to look up “benison” which I don’t mind in a longer piece, but in a flash piece takes away from the stories momentum.
A very nice, non traditional use of the Roc.
A few minor spelling and pronunciation errors.
Best line: the paragraph length “Among the crenellations and the towers, statuesque women had, of old, stood, clutching spears and shields, eyeing the horizon, past the gentle sweep of Thermodon’s meander, checking for the clouds of dust that betokened hoofprints and advancing enemies, or crowded at the gates, crouched to sweep forth in waves of conquest.

Carin Marais – Exploration Z-1925

The dialogue telling most of the story was very nice. It left the reader to fill in the scene with the few details provided.
Unfortunately simply naming the vehicle CA-melot didn’t work for me. I was expecting more when I read the constraints used.
Best line: “Another creak. A sound like a furnace igniting.” It sets up a wonderful sense of inevitable dread.

Storm Jarvis – Home

Lovely sentiment of loneliness and confinement. I have always felt sorry for the Jinn as commonly depicted. Confined to a lamp or some other container only to be released to serve a master. Never any time for themselves.
I don’t think you need the portions telling us it is excerpt 76 and when it ends. It takes away from the emotional flow of the poem. Perhaps if that had been a subtitle?
Best line: “So turn to me to dust and take me home, For the wind will carry me where I want to roam”

Bill Engleson – Up the Greek Without a Riddle

I do love me a good pun and this story is a cornucopia of fun.
I wanted to know more about the team. Who/what are they? Are they all sphinxes?
While Arcadia is a constraint, Thebes is the setting and Arcadia is a throw away line.
Negative for me, and it is only a personal preference, is the dropping of the F-Bomb. I try to never say or use it.
Best line: “Thick as Thebes.” made me laugh out loud.

Angelique Pacheco – Son of the nihontō

The opening line really grabbed my interest immediately. The grandfather’s tale was great but the transfer to present time was so abrupt I missed it the first couple of times I read the story.
What is the nihonto? A sword? It was unclear.
Best line: “When I saw the sword, a shimmer danced down the blade.”

Angelique Pacheco – Qilin

A very nice descriptive haiku.
Unfortunately when 15 words are in play against 300, it loses in getting the reader to fall into the story.
[has a week of haiku only been tried before?]
Best line: I will cheat and say the entire poem. “His form is that of dragon, Some say of giraffe, Protection and luck he brings.”

No, it hasn’t! If the Microcosms crowd is up for it, maybe we could give it a go, sometime! – KM

Stephen John Lodge – Unicorns of Speed

Wonderful imagery here, humorous and questioning.
I really liked the idea of being able to get a unicorn at a pet store.
Best line: “And wouldn’t take back my unicorn, Sid, Because he said it was used and soiled”. This contrast the legendary beauty of the animal. This guy does not know how to care for a unicorn.

Fatima Okhuosami – Jinns and Men

An interesting chosen format, more of a screen or stage play. I pictured it on the stage with all the characters running and bumping into one another as they ran about yelling “Help”
Comedy is tough and very subjective. I found this humorous but was hoping for a bit more in the dialogue.
Best line: “Your charge has done no evil in three months. Your credit is low.” Evil as a currency is great.

Alva Holland – Defence of the Kappa Kingdom

Beautiful. A sense of evil dread wrapped in a rhythmic language which only heightens the foreboding.
Best line: Difficult, but since I have to. “To end your life in a drowning trance Of flailing arms and gulping air Refilling my plate of moistness fair”

L. Meadow – Kitsune (Japanese name for the Jiuwei Hu)

A very atmospheric piece. Longing, desire, possession, all the elements for a tragic love story.
Though the language is wonderful and quite poetic, it didn’t read like a poem to me. Perhaps that is my ignorance with the format (one I will never try) showing.
Best line: “The pale glimmer of moonlight on her arms turned the drops that fell from her lips into shards of diamond.”

Eloise – Scarlet the Dragon

I loved the idea of a water dragon and a friendly one at that, with all the children playing around it. But if she was swimming int eh moat and everyone knew her, why didn’t eh soldiers? Though I like the scene where she is recognized? “Scarlet?”
Best line: “She loved to play in puddles and swim backstroke through the moat.” Gives a view into her peaceful and playful spirit.

Michael Emerson – Fame and Fortune

I loved the word play between the two main characters, Griffon and Gryphon, and even griffin. A mythical creature is always one to be reckoned with. But I felt the story tied up the ending a little too quickly.
Best line: “This griffin was smarter than it looked.” Danger, danger, Will Robinson!

Steph Ellis – Ghosts

A wintery tale much needed as I read this outside on the hottest day of the year, so far.
Great imagery of a ghostly frigid realm. The cold and snow can play tricks on a person.
Best line: “The storm had dropped and the horse led them on. It left no mark on the snow. And they left no footprints.”

Stella Turner – Planning a Journey

A truly horrific tale that subtly shows a woman longing for more in an unfulfilled relationship and finding an interesting way out.
I wish there had been a few more hints at the beginning that the creature was a unicorn and not a rhino or some singularly horned demon.
Best line: : “I wondered if it would have been more sensible to wrap it around its mouth and not my arm.” It shows the relationship the two creatures established.

 

Whew!
That was exhausting. Everyone should be very proud. The time constraint, along with everything else we have to do on a daily basis, to produce a story in one day is quite demanding. Having accomplished this, you are a better writer. And besides, challenge is quite fun.
And so… The envelope please….
Bill

Honourable / Honorable Mentions

Stephen John Lodge – Unicorns of Speed

Michael Emerson – Fame and Fortune

Steph Ellis – Ghosts

Bill Engleson – Up the Greek Without a Riddle
 

 

Runners-up

L. Meadow – Kitsune (Japanese name for the Jiuwei Hu)

Stella Turner – Planning a Journey

And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 74.

 

(insert drumroll here)

 

 

Community Picks

We have a tie again this week! -KM

Storm Jarvis – Home
108 words
Jinn / Mt. Fuji / Poem

The Diary of Jinn found at the bottom of Mt. Fuji.

Entry 76 – excerpt begins… “Home

The tides can take me, I no longer will be confined,
a life in the darkness to which I was assigned.
Wash me clean, oh ocean of the Earth,
let me feel the glory of your mirth.

Release the binds that continue to confine me.
Remove this darkness that tries to define me.
Too long I have wept in these shadowed halls,
let me respond to your bewitching calls.

So turn to me to dust and take me home,
For the wind will carry me where I want to roam.” excerpt ends.
 

Steph Ellis – Ghosts
108 words
Pegasus / Thule / Horror

“Land!”

Weary eyes followed the boy’s directions. A mass of white slowly loomed into focus, stark against the ink of night. The crew shrugged their shoulders and turned away. It was just another iceberg.

Only the Captain paid any attention. He had not quite given up. Slowly the ship drifted towards the frozen mound, the temperature dropping so that by the time they reached the hostile shoreline frost dusted his men, transformed them into ghosts.

“Thule, Captain.”

The mysterious island of the northern wastes. “Prepare to go ashore,” he ordered.

“But Captain, the stories …”

He looked sadly at his men, his ghosts. “We have no choice. No food, little water. Here—we might have a chance.” Then he looked back at the ocean, the never-ending emptiness and they saw it with him.

It was as bleak as expected, ice and barren rock, but they found an easy path leading them inland. Soon snow started to fall, obscured their vision. The group huddled together as the flurry became a blizzard.

“Did you see it?”

The Captain turned.

“A horse,” said the man, pointing. “I saw a horse!”

The Captain looked in the same direction. Could see a shape that might be a horse, might not. Might be false hope.

“A horse, Captain!” Others were pointing now and they could all clearly see the creature, whiter than anything they had ever seen before. “It must come from somewhere.”

Hope sparked dead eyes. Until the horse stretched out impossible wings.

“Pegasus,” said the crew, voices awed.

“We can never follow him,” said one sailor. “He belongs to the spirit world.”

But the Captain smiled. That was no longer a problem. The storm had dropped and the horse led them on. It left no mark on the snow. And they left no footprints.
 

Judge’s Pick

Winner, there can only be one, I guess… -Bill

Alva Holland – Defence of the Kappa Kingdom
156 words
Kappa / Arcadia / Poem

Defence of the Kappa Kingdom

Approach at your peril
This body of water – mine
For you know not the power
Hidden beneath the vine
Of tangled roots and watery shrines
To which you bow with trepidation – fear.

Presenting me with the deadly chance
To end your life in a drowning trance
Of flailing arms and gulping air
Refilling my plate of moistness fair.

The kappa rules this Arcadia found
By straying into its wilderness alone
And finding strength in the vast unknown
I claim the humans that bow and moan.

Drown you will in my shrine of death
No intruder will live while I draw a breath
In this deep dark pool where troubles abound
You fight until you hear the sound

Of my wrenched arm now useless and weak
A fragility exposed
You see a sliver of light.
Down your head goes
You think you can fight.

The kappa’s power is all-consuming
Concede, you weakling
There’s no escape from drowning.

 

Congratulations, Alva! Please let us know if you’d like to judge the next go round!

RESULTS - Microcosms 75
RESULTS - Microcosms 73

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17 comments for “Welcome to Microcosms!

  1. zwoodle
    26 December 2015 at 4:15 pm

    We’re going to do a soft launch on 1 January. We’ll be e-mailing everyone shortly. Stay tuned!

    1+
  2. 12 September 2019 at 5:20 pm

    What’s happened to all the stories from last week’s competition?

    0
    • KM Zafari
      12 September 2019 at 6:31 pm

      They’re all still in the system but not displaying on the front end. Part of the glitch I’m trying to resolve. :/

      0
  3. 13 September 2019 at 6:37 am

    Who is Stoner, please?

    1+
  4. 13 September 2019 at 11:20 am

    Ghost; Haunted House; Comedy
    298 words

    The Gang, Fifty Years On

    “Hey guys, it’s our anniversary. It’s fifty years since we got together and solved our first case.”

    “That’s right. Why don’t we do something to celebrate? We could stay the night in the old, haunted house.”

    “I’m not really sure. None of us are as young as we used to be, we’re all in our late sixties now.”

    “Yeah, and I’m not sure that I want to stay up past my bedtime.”

    “Oh, go on, it’ll be a bit of fun. It’s not as though any of us get much of that anymore.”

    “It just won’t be the same without the dog.”

    “You’re right about missing the dog. I even miss that annoying little one that accompanied us on some of our later adventures.”

    “OK, it’s a date then. We just need someone to drive us out there before it gets dark.”

    “I’ll organise some supplies. Some drinks, a snack, spare walking sticks, and a flashlight for each of us.”

    “I’m not sure that I see the point. We never managed to find any real ghosts or monsters, never in our entire career. It was always a scam of some sort, and always one carried out by ordinary, everyday losers dressed up in costume.”

    The overnight stay was uneventful until just before dawn when they heard someone moving about downstairs. Silently they crept down the stairs only to find a fat balding man dressed up in a sheet going, “Woo… woo…” As it was obvious something untoward was going on, they phoned for the police. When they arrived a few minutes later the police arrested the would-be ghost. As he was taken away the last thing the gang heard him say was, “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for those pesky pensioners!”

    2+
  5. 13 September 2019 at 11:52 am

    http://www.engleson.ca
    @billmelaterplea
    300 words
    Stoner; Ghost Ship; Comedy

    That’s Some Spooky Shit, Man–Sailing the Silvery Seas with Long Joint Spliffer

    Man, I had more wobbles than a bobblehead.

    Bobblehead?

    Bubblehead for sure.

    Or Stubble head.

    Like man, that cat had a gnarly beard. Facial hair all wiry and dense. I could feel it, man. Spikes shooting out of his face like fireworks.

    Bazooka hookahs, man!

    Reefer creepers!

    Maybe it was the Maui-Zowie? Or the BC Bud? Or, get this, the Alberta Muerta?

    Made that up, man. Killer weed, though.

    Whatever it was, it was some magic shit. Maui Cowie poop, eh.

    Hah! I don’t know what that is.

    Anyway, I’d been up all night zinging in the shower, tingling in the tower, baying at the full moon, a giant silver dollar beauty, when I got the urge man to go down to the waterfront, watch the river flow.

    You ever done that, man? The river! Love the river. Like its dark, man, and late. The taverns have all closed. Streets littered with the soulful. Sky’s storm ready. Clouds gathering like jumbled sheets on a bed that’s never been made. Guess you know where that metaphor comes from. Anyways, you can feel it. Something’s gonna burst. So, I go down to the river and I see it through the thick fog. Like its out of the movies, man, full masted, skull and crossbones flapping’ in the night wind, and that ain’t no Errol Flynn standing at the helm. Not on your booty. Its someone eerie as hell, with some yo ho hoing and a bottle of bong…and I’m thinking, Bong? James Bong?

    There I am, staring at this vessel, double o sevening away, and this dude starts walking the plank and says, “Sorry Mate, no gambling tonight. The Jolly Better’s closed tight. City ordinance.”

    “Bummer, man” I bleat, “and me with the munchies and a pocket full of pieces of eight.”

    0
  6. Geoff
    13 September 2019 at 7:32 pm

    Stoner, haunted house, drama
    295 words
    Gardening
    ‘Hi Pete. How’s it trucking?’’
    Pete blinked, hoping his neighbour was another bad trip.
    ‘Garden’s looking great. Not many weeds. Ho!’
    Pete sucked in air, disorientated by the lack of smoke. I need to cut back oxygen. ‘Hi Greg. You after a packet?’
    ‘I was just wondering how you get them so… leafy?’
    Pete licked the paper. ‘You planning your own? Take some seeds, man.’ He sealed another joint, willing him to go.
    ‘I don’t think so. What’s the secret?’
    Pete looked at the soil at his feet. ‘Peace and love, man.’
    ‘Seriously. We grew cannabis at college but that was inside in Cheltenham. You manage outdoors, in Scotland in January…’
    ‘I rely on my relatives.’ He kicked the dirt, exposing the head of a femur. ‘That’s Auntie Jane. The plants love her.’
    Greg’s eyes widened. ‘That’s your aunt?’
    ‘Think so. Hang on.’ Pete put down the Rizzla packet and bent to the bone. ‘Yeah? You sure? Right ho.’ He looked up. ‘Uncle Portius. They look the same at that age, don’t they?’
    Greg rubbed his eyes. ‘I must be passive smoking your product. Did you just talk to a bone?’
    Pete laughed. ‘Course not. Bone’s don’t talk…’
    ‘But…’
    ‘They’re ghosts. I you like I can do you some Mexican spicy and my second cousin’s torso as a starter kit…’
    Greg backed away. ‘Maybe later.’
    Pete started another joint and covered the bone. He’d need another dozen for the school run. ‘Thanks Ponti, I’ll get you that pint of Ruddles later.’ He looked down the rows of fecund and fullsome plants to a slightly saggy group by the hedge. ‘And I’ll pick up some dubonnet and lemon for Granny Emmaline. Wouldn’t do to let her crop get peaky, what with festival season nearly upon us.’

    2+
  7. 13 September 2019 at 10:25 pm

    http://www.engleson.ca
    @billmelaterplea
    300 words
    Stoner; Ghost Ship; Comedy

    That’s Some Spooky Shit, Man–Sailing the Silvery Seas with Long Joint Spliffer

    Man, I had more wobbles than a bobblehead.

    Bobblehead?

    Bubblehead for sure.

    Or Stubble head?

    Like man, that cat had a gnarly beard. Facial hair all wiry and dense. I could feel it, man. Spikes shooting out of his face like fireworks.

    Bazooka hookahs, man!

    Reefer creepers!

    Maybe it was the Maui-Zowie? Or the BC Bud? Or, get this, the Alberta Muerta?

    Made that up, man. Killer weed, though.

    Whatever it was, it was some magic shit. Maui Cowie poop, eh.

    Hah! I don’t know what that is.

    Anyway, I’d been up all night zinging in the shower, tingling in the tower, baying at the full moon, a giant silver dollar beauty, when I got the urge man to go down to the waterfront, watch the river flow.

    You ever done that, man? The river! Love the river. Like its dark, man, and late. The taverns have all closed. Streets littered with the soulful. Sky’s storm ready. Clouds gathering like jumbled sheets on a bed that’s never been made. Guess you know where that metaphor comes from. Anyways, you can feel it. Something’s gonna burst. So, I go down to the river and I see it through the thick fog. Like its out of the movies, man, full masted, skull and crossbones flapping in the night wind, and that ain’t no Errol Flynn standing at the helm. Not on your booty. Its someone eerie as hell, with some yo ho hoing and a bottle of bong…and I’m thinking, Bong? James Bong?

    There I am, staring at this vessel, double o sevening away, and this dude starts walking the plank and says, “Sorry Mate, no gambling tonight. The Jolly Better’s closed tight. City ordinance.”

    “Bummer, man” I bleat, “and me with the munchies and a pocket full of pieces of eight.”

    4+
  8. Angelique Pacheco
    14 September 2019 at 4:56 am

    Stoner; Ghost Ship; Comedy
    135 words

    Green Boo-ty

    I saw through the haze
    A ghost ship’s hallways
    Twisting and turning
    The maze was daunting

    A ghostly dancer beckoned
    “Get naked,” she reckoned
    My mind said, “Okay!”
    My body said, “Let’s play!”
    The scene was rearranged
    And the actors were exchanged.

    The captain wore coat tails
    He clung onto the rails
    He shouted for pirates
    And called us bandits
    Zombies took me to the ledge
    To walk the plank to the edge.

    When I came down
    We were back in Cape Town
    I found myself at the pool
    Standing starkers like a fool

    The mystical dancer
    Was a Trans performer
    Security was cuffing me
    No zombies could I see.

    Don’t ever take the green stuff
    It can be quite rough
    Make sure you buy local
    Not pirated forms of diabolical.

    4+
  9. 14 September 2019 at 6:19 am

    stoner/ghost ship/comedy
    WC: 365
    http://www.awalker.org
    @zevonesque

    One More Sausage

    Fred was hungry. It was his semi-permanent state. Always eating; yet as thin as a rake that had been split in two–his acquaintances assumed he was looking after some tape worms. His best buddy, Havant, had just as voracious an appetite. Being a dog it was expected.
    Their holiday to France wasn’t going well. The language was unfamiliar and the food was not as good as anticipated. It was four days before Fred discovered that they were in Hamburg. And, whilst it was just two letters shy of his favourite word, it wasn’t in France.

    Things began to look up when they went for a couple of currywurst after a big breakfast. They got chatting to a groovy guy by the wurst-stand about all things sausage related ,which had got them a) excited and b) hungry again. Being at the wurst-stand that had been easy to deal with. There was always room for one more sausage.

    They shared a funny cigarette with Groovyman, which made them giggle. He said he’d never seen a dog smoke before. Fred said it happened regularly, usually when he’d spilt cooking oil on Havant.

    Groovyman enquired why he was called Havant. Fred explained that it was short for Havant A. which left him none the wiser. He then told them about the sausage barge, where the price for a four hour trip includes an ‘All That You Can Eat’ buffet. They weren’t going to miss this opportunity, so they heading down to the docks with big loping strides and stupid grins.

    At the docks everything was a bit blurry. Clearly they were in danger of fainting from hunger. So they got onboard the SS Hamburger with expectant bellies and an aim to make the buffet their home. Havant A. realised something was amiss when their boat passed through a series of locks without the gates opening. The lack of taste to the buffet wasn’t an issue, but the lack of substance was. When the captain turned up minus his head even Fred thought something was amiss.

    Then they smelled the Sausage Cruise pass in the other direction. It was a good job Havant could swim and Fred could float.

    2+
  10. 14 September 2019 at 4:03 pm

    stoner; ghost ship; comedy
    287 words

    Oscar

    The USS Bronson departed the solar system on the first Wednesday in October, carrying 420 tons of prime marijuana for trade on the rim. Its wormhole jumps were automated.

    By the first jump, the crew, consisting of Oscar Slama, was baked. He sat in the captain’s chair with a bowl of chips in his lap.

    In front of him, he appeared.

    “Wha…?” he said.

    “Don’t freak out,” Oscar 4-6 said. “I’m just more you, in the fourth, fifth, and sixth dimensions.”

    “Whoa,” Oscar said.

    “Got a light?” asked Oscar 4-6.

    After a second wormhole jump, as the ship navigated n-space on its trip to the rim planets, Oscar 7-9 joined the others, who, using a bong, were now ozzy. He immediately commenced baking brownies, a smoking blunt held between his clenched teeth.

    Croned, the three talked about the meaning of life with others who joined them subsequently.

    “It definitely has something to do with this yup yup,” Oscar 64-66 said.

    “Dude, it’s like … like … life,” Oscar 90-92 said.

    “Having trouble finishing my sentenc… ” Oscar said. Oscar 99-101 refilled his bowl with organic, unsalted puffed peas.

    “How many are me?” Oscar said. “I mean, how many of dimensions of me are they …?”

    “Infinite,” said Oscar 19948892…

    More wormholes, more dank. Infinitely more Oscars, steetched.

    “Let’s all squeeze in together,” Oscar said. “Dudes, I am so fazed …”

    “Dude, not out here in n-space. You got to stay spread out in n-space.”

    “No, squeeze in,” Oscar said with the frown of the chonged.

    They burned the crops. They squeezed in, all infinity of them.

    The ship flew on, empty of Oscars and budda.

    The Oscars looked around.

    “Where are we?” they asked themself.

    “In this universe, we’re God,” said the part of Him most lit.

    “Dude!” they said.

    0
  11. Diego Piselli
    14 September 2019 at 5:04 pm

    THE BARGE
    Stoner, Ghost Ship, Comedy
    282 words
    The rumor had spread with lightning speed, fuelled by media coverage.
    A mahogany barge, loaded with Lebanese weed was floating somewhere in Amsterdam canals, unattended
    Smokers in coffee shops hotly debated the matter. Abe swore he saw it moored near Singel canal; Alwine claimed to be certain that the ship was far in the harbor; Rastafarian waiters fabled about an Iranian merchant, owner of the barge tugged along his princely yacht, vanished with a Circassian beauty.
    Eventually, on a warm summer Saturday night, the Quest had its beginning.
    Hordes of stoners, old hippies and weirdos of all kinds gathered in Dam square and started scouring all the canals, walking on the banks, boating or paddling in muddy waters: braver and youngsters went so far as to swim in the smelly current.
    The Quest was unsuccessful, but Saturday phantom barge hunting became a fixed meeting. If interest decreased, the press reported a new sighting and people got back to the endless hunting. Hunters set up groups and association named by famous weed smokers of the past. Each group had a leader, a hymn, a flag.
    And every Saturday evening Mr. Janssen, managing editor of “Amsterdam Today”, savored happily the silence of his flat in Central Amsterdam, a little nest in a medieval alley crowded with coffee shops. No more yelling, no more stoners’ noise. No more frantic strolling of excited people along the cobblestone street.
    All the smokers had gone away, searching for the barge.
    His little article full of question marks and drop hints about a mysterious barge had proved useful, and he could eventually savor domestic pleasures in peace. “Marijuana enthusiasts are like children,” he said to himself “they believe anything”.

    6+
  12. 14 September 2019 at 7:44 pm

    @the_red_fleece
    http://www.theredfleece.co.uk
    stoner/ghost ship/comedy
    Word Count – 260

    Clang! Clang! Clang!
    The sound reminded Midshipman Smythe of the death march if it was played badly by a toddler on kitchen pans. What was scarier was the lack of bodily panic symptoms. His heart hadn’t tried to explode. His stomach hadn’t emptied like a freshly flushed toilet. Nothing was doing nothing in fact. Peter, the welcome guy, had warned him about this but it took some getting use to.
    “Is that her Midshipman?” His Captain pointed at the blue haired girl hitting the ships pipes.
    “Yes Sir.”
    “Madam.” The captain pulled herself to the full height of her tall frame. “How did you get on board?”
    “I don’t know man.” She didn’t look at the captain. Instead she gazed off to the left, as if following an excitable fly.
    “Madam, I am very much not a man.”
    She blinked three times, each time she forced her eyes as wide as she could. “You are so pale…wo-man. Did I get that right? Wo-man.”
    She giggled to herself.
    The Captain did not see the funny side. “Madam! How did you get on board this ship?”
    “Space cakes.” Her hand becomes a rocket which follows the same trajectory as her imagined fly. She takes the same level of interest.
    The Captain groans. “Midshipman?”
    “Yes Captain.” He clips his heels together, disappointed at the lack of noise. Another thing he has to get use to.
    “Go find the Chaplin. Tell him to prepare for a bio-exorcism. I won’t have a breather on my ghost ship.”

    3+
  13. 14 September 2019 at 10:09 pm

    @EdenSolera
    150 Words
    Unmasked Villain; Spooky Location; Drama

    Inferno

    Flames flickered in the oppressive darkness, solitary among thousands. A tall woman strode around them, her high-necked red dress flowing dangerously close to the light. Watching her, bathed in the shadows, were hundreds of people, their breathing heavy in the air of anticipation.

    She spun to face them, her eyes flashing as they reflected the flames. Her voice thundered through the deadened space. Disdain blanketed the group, suffocating even the bravest of her followers.

    Weakness was unacceptable, this they knew, but they had still managed to disappoint her. All fell to their knees, bowing their heads to the shame brought on by her piercing glare.

    She reached down to grab one of the candles, holding it in such a way that her face was cast in a ghostly light. Swiftly, her fingers were enveloped in the burning wax. Everyone else hissed, shocked, yet impressed by her stoicism.

    Flames smoldered still.

    2+
  14. Lindsey P
    16 September 2019 at 9:48 am

    I guess mine didn’t get saved…oh well.

    1+
    • Lindsey Pittenger
      16 September 2019 at 9:51 am

      298 Words

      Bookworm; Mine; Mystery

      The Case of the Canned Canaries

      As they ventured further down the dimly lit tunnel, Miranda pulled her book closer to her face, squinting to make out the words, comparing them to her surroundings. Everything seemed to be just as she’d expected. The construction of the mine shaft seemed stable and matched the text, which eased her growing sense of claustrophobia, but there was something that still just didn’t seem right. She hadn’t noticed that she’d slowed to a stop until the man behind her nearly knocked her over.

      “Oomf—sorry about that. Need to watch where I’m going a bit more,” he said with a sheepish grin.

      “I’m fine,” she said, clutching the book to herself and waving him away. Ignoring the dismissal, he pointed at her treasured cargo.

      “So what are you reading down here that’s so important to gum up the traffic?” he asked jovially, lowering his pickaxe from his shoulder.

      “Oh, this?” She held up the book. “It’s just an old book about mines. I figured I’d bring it along for some good-natured analysis. This mine seems similar to the one in the book, but the thing that’s been concerning me the most is the canaries.”

      “Canaries?” he asked, confused, briefly glancing around the shaft as though he’d missed something.

      “There aren’t any,” she said matter-of-factly, reopening her book, “Here, they use canaries as a warning system for noxious gases to keep people from dying, but this whole time we’ve been here, I haven’t seen a single one.” The look on her face fell as he burst into laughter.

      “I’m sorry,” he said, pointing to a box on the wall. “I think this sensor is that canary you’re looking for. Don’t worry, we are monitoring the safety of the air down here. At any rate, hope you’re enjoying your tour!”

      0

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