Thanks to everyone who spun some tales of time travel this week. We had 16 awesome entries this week! As always, thank you for participating. That people keep showing up to write week after week is truly humbling.
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 Ell Meadow for this week’s prompt!
And many thanks to Kelly Griffiths for judging!. Here’s what she had to say:
The fairy tales were delightful to read. I often found myself smiling and sometimes laughing out loud. Five entries almost immediately stood out to me, for different reasons. Sometimes it’s the beauty and heaviness of the language. Sometimes the strength of the story, and sometimes just a preference of subject matter or style. Can’t take the subjectivity out of a reader! 🙂
Favourite / Favorite Lines
L. Meadow – Any way what we have here now is an impasse – you don’t have money and I don’t want to eat you, but I feel like I ought to.
Bill Engleson – When ordering the chair, Skedaddle had stated, in his most unappealing voice, primarily a squeak mixed ever so agonizingly with a squawk, “Simeon, no one expects a Troll to be comfortable in his own skin.
Angelique Pacheco – I whispered the only word I could, as the Spider Parsnip climbed out of my basket and ran off….”Fark!”
Jeff Messick – . I was staring death in the face, with its narrow face, striped visage, and eyes that carried the vertical slice of blackness that would be the doom of any that stared into them.
Geoff Le Pard – ‘Alright call the author. I’ll see if he’ll come up with something implausible but morally uplifting to get us out of this mess.
JK – Trevor is a smart but clumsy Griffin. Somehow he manages to turn all the objects in the room in to elves.
Fatimah Okhuosami – Gaze affixed at her oiled skin enveloped in a halo by the golden sun, Heliast’s lust flowed through him like tidal currents.
Michael Emerson – What use are knights if they aren’t going around getting eaten heroically?’
Eloise – Swirling in the air
Gliding left and right
Patrick Stahl – The words she spoke came from deep within her, deeper than she had reached in many years.
Nancy M. Beach – All I can tell you is that she goes in the cellar and comes back up with a jar of goop that smells tart like rotten spaghetti.
pegasusrider3484 – Legend has it, that one day, they will return and open the gates when humanity can open their hearts to magic once again.
Carlos Orozco – Pay no mind to the uneven exhalations and the drool on his chin.
Angela – On the floor was Mae’s daughter, perfectly still and crushed flat in places a human should not be flat.
Camden Geotz – The forest was calm, but when the boy closed his eyes and focused, he could hear its pulse: the cautious rustling of a squirrel stalking them, the babbling of an unnamed river- and, he could swear, giggling from some of the last forest faeries.
Kaylee Schuler – They hopped over the edge and plummeted toward the ground, pulling their translucent wings close to their bodies.
Eloise – Ruby Love
“Ruby Love.” The author of this poem achieves complexity in few words. Did the writer mean gold? Or truly a goat to eat? Poems are like archaeology sites. I can always find more if I search carefully. But even on the first several reads, the scene you called forth is lovely and has several possible truths. Does the dragon want to eat her heart or love her? The ambiguity is lovely, as is the rhythm.
Ell Meadow – It’s a Crime
Love the strong first-person voice, the humor, the word play with “impasse,” and the one-sided conversation. I like this dragon and could listen to him for 3000+ words! Should it read, “This is a straight stick up”? If so, you could take out one of your “yes’s” and you’d still be at 300 words.
Carlos Orozco – Fairy God Mother
The enormity of the evil alluded to in this piece really got to me. The idea of an abused child being exploited. Yes, we’ve seen it done with Hansel and Gretel, but over the years our senses dull to the horror. Thanks for bringing fresh serration to this plot. One-sided conversation was economical and added to the tension.
Patrick Stahl – Under Bendel’s Sway
This piece had me wishing for more! Gorgeously poetic. Solemn, dark tone. Many unanswered questions, but the beautiful writing forgives that. A word about my favorite sentence: I picked that sentence because, even though it’s made up of simple words, the whole is profound and emotive, the repetition striking.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 80.
(insert drumroll here)
We have two!
Ell Meadow – It’s a Crime
Dragon / Bridge / Crime
Yes, yes, yes, I know you expected a troll under the bridge, but these days with high unemployment rates and lack of jobs it’s hard for a dragon to add to his hoard.
What happened to the troll? Well I’m sorry to say that I ate him. Not very tasty, but again, with modern legislation about stealing livestock I can’t swoop down and pick out a tasty sheep or two anymore. Farmers want compensation these days; and did you ever hear of a dragon parting willingly with any of his gold?
So back to business – this is straight stick up. I leap out – like so – and you give me whatever gold you are carrying.
You aren’t carrying any gold? Only a credit card? Well what good is that? Do you know what the interest rates are on those things? No my son, you need to carry cash – preferably gold – it’s accepted by thieves and crooks everywhere. No problem with currency exchange rates either. Have you seen what the pound is doing? Any way what we have here now is an impasse – you don’t have money and I don’t want to eat you, but I feel like I ought to. It’s how this is supposed to work.
Three questions? What questions? Oh the troll always allowed three questions. Sorry no, I only have one question – give me your gold or …
You’d prefer not to be eaten? Well I’d prefer not to eat you, but you don’t have any gold, so again, we are at an impasse. I’m ‘im and you can’t pass.
You can do an EFT? What do you think I look like? The Bank of blinking Fairy Land? …
Oops sorry, I didn’t mean to incinerate you, but when I think of banks I get a little heated.
Angelique Pacheco – Fairy wishes and Elven dreams
Elf / Forest / Memoir
Armed with the “Big Book of Flowers for Dummy Elves”, I set off into the Fark Wood, so named by our previous headmaster who was a huge fan of the actual word. I had to brush up on magical potions. Mr. Lefleur was not impressed by my last grade.
I collected Silver Flower from the Treasure Garden, Bright Weed in the Sunny Corner, and Bone Ivy from the grave yard. The Tangled Tongue was rather rude and I got quite muddy chasing the Spider Parsnip. I was about to leave when I realized that someone was watching me. I whipped my head around. I couldn’t believe it! A unicorn stood between the shadows of the trees carrying the Fairy Princess Kylantha Aenelis. A Hate Privet glared at me while the Screaming Hemlock did just that. A Stinking Medlar tried to settle near a Flying Willow but she flew off in disgust. This all made the Fearful Aspen shake with fright. I whispered the only word I could, as the Spider Parsnip climbed out of my basket and ran off….”Fark!”
“She looked at me radiating sweet light and laughed. “Your basket is empty young elf. What were you collecting?” “H..h…h…herbs, your magical….er… your magnify…..your magestyness!” She looked at me, her violet eyes penetrating the depths of my soul. “May I join you? I get lonely up at the castle. Do you have brothers and sisters?” Not really,” I answered and she giggled again. She slid off the unicorn and held out her hand. I grinned and shook it, trying to still my fast beating heart. “Call me Kyla!” she yelled over her shoulder as she grabbed my basket and darted off after the Spider Parsnip that had escaped earlier. This was to be the beginning of a great friendship.
Nancy Beach – King Rifki’s Worst Enemy
Both beautiful language and amazing story-telling. Strong voice and clever use of the naiveté of the narrator to achieve this revelation: the king is morally unsound, and the elves take it upon themselves to cover it up. And the invisible elf isn’t what he seems to be either! Is anyone trustworthy in this world? I like the idea of things being not what they seem at the top, of many players striving to keep the ruler’s mask/image/mind in place. So much more here than is on the page. That’s why it was my first choice.
Elf / Castle / Memoir
So, here’s the truth. I’m not actually an invisible elf. I’m just a regular elf. Gramma Leojym has a magic concoction that she rubs on me each morning. I don’t know how she makes it. All I can tell you is that she goes in the cellar and comes back up with a jar of goop that smells tart like rotten spaghetti.
Anyway, I’m so excited to serve in the Legion of Loyalty. Ask no questions, tell no lies. That’s our motto. Our job is to protect the king.
Each day after Gramma rubs invisible lotion all over me, I slip into the palace when the shutters are unlocked.
My job is to stand still as a board and study King Rifki’s face. I have learned to recognize the look. As soon as I see the greedy look in his eyes, I scan the room for the red-headed woman. There is always a red-headed woman. As the king starts towards her, I shoot my bow and arrow at any part of his body as long as it is above his chest. He hardly notices. It’s a tiny arrow, really – especially compared to how big he is.
Barbu notices though. She always notices and gently guides the King away from the distraction and back to his work. The white dust having done its job – making him forget about the red-head.
I overheard Mama talking the other night. She said if not for us, the people would know who the king really was. Mama says we protect the king from no one but himself. I heard her call him a philanderer, whatever that is. All I know is I get an extra scoop of apple pie when I get home from the castle. And I like apple pie.
Congratulations, Nancy. Please let us know if you’d like to judge the next go round!