RESULTS – Microcosms 84

Thanks to everyone who entered! We had 11 awesome entries this week and great engagement. One of my favorite things about doing this is seeing how supportive and helpful the community is. I love it.

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 Sian Brighal for judging MC 84. She was a complete rock star and got the judging done in a swift manner. Here’s what she had to say:

So much steampunk…and science, crime and horror! Reading the stories was an utter delight. Judging was hard work. I am, again, amazed at the range of concepts and plots the prompts generate. I loved how the authors drew on events and themes to flesh out their plots to write these beautifully phrased stories. Steampunk, although not exclusively, calls into my mind the use of elegant effusive and flowing prose, which the writers gave me in spades…and you can’t go wrong adding in Sherlock Holmes in my book. Thank you Ell Meadow for the great prompt idea and theme, and to KM and Geoff for giving these wonderful stories a home. And thank you for the wonderful stories.

Sian

 

 Favourite / Favorite Lines

Bill Engleson – Two Floors Down and a Lifetime of Travel Back: Old baggage that weighs them down like a block of cement you might tie around the ankles of an old friend you want to see the last of.

Great line, conveying just how heavy and dangerous that baggage is.

Steph Ellis – Fire and Fury: The executioner stared at him. “140 characters only,” he said maliciously.

I can feel the depths of the rage and bitterness with this line, and also the harsh satisfaction that he only has, in defence, the same number of characters he had to condemn with, knowing it could never be enough.

Carin Marais – Eisen’s Soul Capturing and Inspection Device: Eisen had no way to protect himself from the bullet fired point-blank at his chest and could only watch helplessly from the glass globe as the workshop was set alight around him.

Lovely line to end on, full of shock and despair and horror at the ages ahead, locked in that device.

Nthato Morakabi – In the name of science!: It is then that my tangible body drips over him link (like) ink on paper.

This is such a lovely image.

mirandats – My Doctor: The boy gave a strangled yelp and tripped backwards into his mother’s arm as a giant eye blinked at him then disappeared in a haze of ink.

This line was a wonderful surprise. It changed the scene, adding a wonderful element to the story.

Jeff Messick – The Body on the Platform: He had traveled in more than space, no one could have found him so easily, not even…Him.

After reading the story, this line leapt out. It adds a new dimension—no pun intended—to the story, and why would he want to hide from…Him? Makes me want to read more.

Dave Allen – A Stitch in Time: As we remove the time machine and Tempus, all I could think was what a paradoxical shift this had been. At least we put a stitch in time.

Time travel makes my head hurt, and this brilliant line was a thought-twister. It turned the lovely story into a theoretical physics and ethics debate.

Angelique Pacheco – Winding down: Molly took the small key hanging from a gold chain and inserted it into the space above her heart and began to wind.

Lovely line and ending. I wonder what will happen once she’s wound up?

Eloise – Frankenwolf: There were carcasses of clocks strewn on the floor.

This created a great image. I liked the semblance to something having lived and the violence that had befallen them.

JK – Tail of All Time: By 5 am she had given birth to a human baby; only catch was he had a tail, a clock for a heart, and glowing green eyes.

Great unexpected ending.

Ell Meadow – The Mysterious Death of Lord Butterworth: Footsteps echoed against the indifferent walls turning deaf ears to the sounds of death approaching.

Lovely, elegant line to draw you in.

 

Honourable / Honorable Mention

mirandats – My Doctor

I enjoyed the subtle setting of the environment using the view out of the window and that combination of Victorian luxury and science fiction which comes so easily to mind when thinking of steampunk. The title cleverly outlines the relationship of the two travellers which gives the reader a great framework to think within. For me, the text and the title created a wonderfully conflicted idea of that pairing: what had he made her? Did this have something to do with why they sought saftey? It also built an underlying sense of drama and danger, a friction between those of flesh and gears. Lovely story, thank you.

 

 

Runner-up

Nthato Morakabi – In the Name of Science

I enjoyed the language in this piece. There is a breathless, desperate quality to it, combining technology and mysticism, and then the ending, suggesting the completion of a task that has haunted them both for many years. Is this a bid for redemption? Beautiful and elegant writing. Thank you.

 

And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 84.

 

(insert drumroll here)

 

 

Community Pick

It was so, so close. And we still wound up with a tie!

Bill Engleson – Two Floors Down and a Lifetime of Travel Back
300 Steps Into Oblivion
Detective / Time Machine / Humour/Alternate Reality

Gilroy’s Tavern was two stories down from Delacroix Street. Its in the old section of town. I think maybe I’ve had enough of old. Most of the people who come to me, what you might call my clientele, everything about them reeks of old. Old loves! Old crimes! Old baggage that weighs them down like a block of cement you might tie around the ankles of an old friend you want to see the last of.

The message had been brief: “Gilroy’s! Midnight! It’ll be worth your while.”

It’d been a few months since my while had been worth a second thought.

Every crowded stone step down into the bowels of Gilroy’s was clammier than the one before. Pipes reached out from the crumbling walls. Every step of the way down, blood-rusty sewage cascaded into the void. A stench of vomit and rot swirled in the stagnant air.

Drunks descending: Devils Ascending. The foot traffic would clog a giant commode.

By the time I stepped into Gilroy’s, I needed a good stiff drink.

Three drummers and a Calliope player were aerating the room. Three hundred partiers were sweating, drinking, drooling, and yelling away.

Twenty-four clocks fired away above the one-hundred-foot bar.

One of the clocks clanged twelve.

I ordered a Midnight Cocktail. The bartender had it ready.

“Good service,” I said.

“You were expected.”

“I guess I was,” I quipped. “You leave the message?”

“I did. Are you up for an adventure?”

“I thought I was having one.”

“You are, detective. In a few minutes, we will arrive in the Washington of 1841.”

I smiled at the crazy man serving me drinks and nonsense.

He persevered. “Old Tippecanoe died on April 4th that year. The country has never been right.”

“This is a joke, right?”

The booze-slinger was not smiling.

 
Dave Allen – A Stitch in Time
294 words
Scientist / Time Machine / Crime

It had been a long road getting to the truth of this case. Through some perseverance and outside help, I was able to track down the facts in this case. We were about to put an end to the strange happenings that had gripped this city.

We entered the Temporal Mechanics wing of the Feynman Institute of Science, and made our way to lab 201. As we approached I could hear an excited voice speaking.

“It’s finished!, Now for the test run that will change the world!” said the voice as we knocked on the door.

The door cracked open to reveal a diminutive, bespectacled scientist with wild hair that reminded you of those pictures of Einstein. He looked at us in bewilderment, he had had no reason to expect a visit from the police.

“Professor Burlinghoff Tempus?” I asked, the man nodded, “we have a warrant for your arrest for numerous crimes beginning with the Manny Graves incident and ending with the murder of Rasmussen Fugit.” He took the warrant from me with a confused look as I ordered the rest of the officers to collect the evidence the warrant specified.

Tempus opened his mouth to protest. “I understand your confusion,” I interrupted, “we are aware you have an alibi for every crime listed, we were confused to. A consulting group pointed out a pattern and advised us that once you eliminate the impossible, what ever remains, however improbable must be the truth.”

I explained, “We realized that time travel was the only explanation; this badge found at the murder scene lead us to you.”

As we remove the time machine and Tempus, all I could think was what a paradoxical shift this had been. At least we put a stitch in time.

 

Judge’s Pick

Steph Ellis – Fire and Fury

Beautifully written piece, full of the scars of terror, bitterness and retribution. I enjoyed the linking with Odin and his ravens, and the disparity between the hanging of Odin and the traveller on the train’s was a great set-up. One sought enlightenment and understanding alone through sacrifice, while the other gained nothing whilst surrouding himself with advisors. One was rewarded for his sacrifice, the other punished for what he thoughtlessly sacrificed. I loved the introduction of the two clockwork birds, chirping out a moocking…accusation, maybe, at this point. Adding in Twitter was a brilliant and clever touch. Well done and thank you.

300 words
Politician / Steamtrain / Post-Apocalyptic

“He wants to stop here? But why?” The aide peered through the ash-covered window. Beyond lay splintered high-rises and fragmented office-blocks, everything blackened, rusted and long-abandoned.

The guard shrugged. “Wants to speak to the people.”

“What people?” asked the aide, staring at the emptiness. “No. I know we were told to play along but we are not stopping.”

“It was so much easier in the days of twitter,” muttered the man. “I could reach so many people and now …” He picked up two clockwork birds and wound them up. The birds began to trill ‘fire and fury’ with repetitive monotony.

“If I didn’t know it was already the end of the line for our guest, I’d strangle him myself,” said the guard. “He told me Odin had two ravens which perched on his shoulder as he hung on the Gallows Tree. Kept him in touch with the world – like twitter.” The guard spat.

“Huginn and Munin, thought and wisdom. Not quite the same,” said the aide, “If only …”

The train left the destroyed city, started up the hill. Now they saw movement, a mass of distorted humanity crawling out of blasted shelters, following the train to its final destination.

“Doesn’t he realise?” asked the guard as their prisoner strode purposefully to the tree, allowed the noose to be slipped over his neck, the two little clockwork birds placed on his shoulder.

“God complex,” said the aide.

“I wish to speak,” said the prisoner, “as a part of the government …”

The executioner stared at him. “140 characters only,” he said maliciously.

Yet even as the condemned started to count on his fingers, the trapdoor opened. And it was a man who swung there, not a God. Just a man. One who had gifted Death millions of followers.

 

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

RESULTS - Microcosms 85
RESULTS - Microcosms 83

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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!”

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