Thanks to everyone who entered Microcosms 76 this week. We had 12 awesome entries this week! Apologies for the late posting.
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 many thanks to John Herbert for judging MC 76. Here’s what John had to say:
This was a tough one. Lots of interesting responses to the prompts and a good deal of poetry, not only as the form of a good number of entries but also in the guise of poets trapped in caves and in the wonderful imagery many of you employed. It was a pleasure to judge the entries and, as ever, to witness the invention and wit of so many fellow writers. Keep it up!
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Jeff Messick – “I was warned about those damned mushrooms.”
Angelique Pacheco – “I wouldn’t kill the anointed one.”
Bill Engleson – “Within hours, the poets of Calipher packed their meager possessions, and fled to the four winds.”
Bill Engleson – “Half way down the bottle, he told me his story.”
James – “He pulls out a knife, / And threatens her life,”
Alva Holland – “My silence is golden as I watch my son”
AJ Aguilar-Van Der Merwe – “Maria Elena was not one of those asking.”
Sian Brighal – “I remember when he came; it was the day I became an adulteress.”
Stephen Shirres – “The footprints dance and giggle like you’d expect young lovers to do.”
Michael Emerson – “A fisherman, / Weaving tales of the far off sea.”
Stephen John Lodge – “He looked ridiculous running in those slippers.”
Ezekiel O Tracy – “The sand moved under his sandals as he quickly stepped backwards knowing that the girl couldn’t follow him out of the cave.” (late entry, favorite line of KM. PS – love your imagery!)
Honourable / Honorable Mention
Angelique Pacheco – Sparing Saul
I loved the way you breathed new life into an old tale and the immediacy of the description. It was concrete, complete tale.
Bill Engleson – Sol of Zanzibar and the World
Both the dialogue and the construction of Sol’s character were excellent, as was the life-affirming ending of the piece.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 76.
(insert drumroll here)
Our community pick was also our judge’s pick! Wow!
Sian Brighal – Water Thieves
The opening line was fantastic and it had me hooked from that moment. The invention and beauty of the imagery were excellent and it was a profound, emotionally resonant small tale where you were brave enough to stray into abstraction and make it come alive. A great read.
Adviser / River / Memoir
I remember when he came; it was the day I became an adulteress.
The earth seemed to rain down her woes upon him, her breath stirring dead dust into towering testaments of wrongs done. He walked through her punishing accusation, one hand held up not to stay her wrath, but to feel it, know it. I think that, above all other acts and words, convinced us he was the one who would ease her pain and, as a consequence, our suffering.
He studied the dry channels where water once flowed, examined the scars left by a river’s betrayal, asked when it had left… if it returned. It did. It was like an errant husband, coming home from dalliances to a wife too needy to be anything other than grateful. But his gaze soon roamed, and he’d leave, leaving her desperate and thirsting. We hated our enslavement and dependence.
In the fourth week, he said he could make our river faithful again, and prophesied the day when he’d come home. I watched him ride away with his team until haze swallowed them whole. Amazing how quickly dry dust ousts the taste of promises and hope, and I doubted.
But true to his word, and almost to the day, children playing in the dead bed suddenly found their feet caked in cool mud, then shins caressed by silt-rich sludge… and then such whooping and yelling as knees fought against a growing river.
I can’t define our joy, but it poured out of us; we wept our own river. I wish we had. But I lie in this faithful river’s embrace — in this theft — relishing its touch, marvelling at our nourished crops, and I can’t regret it… won’t send him back. Won’t return what we have stolen… even if another land thirsts, and another’s bed lies dry and dead.
Congratulations, Sian. Please let us know if you’d like to judge the next go round!