Microcosms 87

Welcome, everyone, to Microcosms 85! Ready to stretch your flash fiction muscles? This week’s guest host is Stephen Shirres, who may just be a little too busy to enter this time. Over to you, Stephen.

Today, I’m moving house, and I thought I’d share the pain with all you wonderful flash fiction writers. Everyone has moved house at some point, so you can see the great storytelling opportunities such days create – whether it is an arguing couple, excitement or dread of a new home, etc.
In one wee change to the usual format, there is no Character element this week. Instead, we have Item of Furniture: from beds to wardrobes, and not forgetting the kitchen sink! Also, since the process of moving house necessarily involves TWO locations, the chosen element can be either FROM or TO.
If I were judging, I’d of course include extra marks for any stories about moving house. [Good point, Stephen! GH] Just think: it can’t go any worse than it did for poor Stan and Ollie in their 1932 Oscar-winning short, The Music Box… (Check it out HERE.)

Stephen

 

(If YOU have an idea for a future contest and would like to be guest host, please contact us.)

 

Our contest this week begins with THREE things: item of furniture, location and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are – item of furniture: Bed, location: Lighthouse, and genre: Comedy.


Write a story using those OR feel free to click on the “Spin!” button, and the slot machine will come up with a new set – character, setting and genre. You can keep clicking until you have a set of elements that inspires you.

*** HEY! Remember to include which THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry ***

*** NO FAN-FICTION, PLEASE, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS ***


  • Bed
  • Wardrobe
  • Sofa
  • Cooker
  • Washing Machine
  • Fridge/Freezer
  • Piano
  • Kitchen Sink
  • Flat/Apartment
  • Lighthouse
  • Castle
  • Semi-detatched House
  • Town House
  • Bungalow
  • Cottage
  • Hunting Lodge
  • Horror
  • Comedy
  • Steam Punk
  • Sci-Fi
  • Crime
  • Memoir
  • Thriller
  • Poetry

Spin!


Judging this week is MC 86 Judge’s Pick, Bill Engleson.

All submissions should be a maximum of 300 words in length. You have 24 hours until midnight, New York time (EDT) to submit.

*** If you are new to Microcosms, remember to check out the full submission guidelines. ***

All being well, results will be posted on Monday.

Microcosms 88
Microcosms 86
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28 comments for “Microcosms 87

  1. 1 September 2017 at 1:17 am

    Jimmy, Marcel and the Second Best Bed

    300 words
    To the lighthouse/bed/comedy of errors

    Is this thing recording, Magnus? Get off the bed you foolish creature. Now let me see … The needle there is moving right enough, so I suppose we must be set … Here goes.

    Once upon a time, and a very good time it was there was a man who nigh on broke his back, shifting his wife’s second best bed up a never ending twist of bloody stairs, Magnus, while she, the snooty Moocow, stayed in her damned Martello Tower in our best bed, knocking off that suave Marcel with his waistcoats and his madeleines and his champagne. Visiting writer programme. Would you believe it? Marital disruption programme more like. Didn’t think he was the type, Magnus. Appearances can be deceptive and so I told her straight. ‘Nora,’ I said, ‘it’s me or the dandy.’ The dandy won.

    This place sounded ideal. ‘Lighthouse keeper wanted’, the ad said. ‘Must like solitude. Free rent.’ I was surprised there wasn’t a queue from here to Dublin of men waiting with typewriters, craving the job. If it’s good enough for Woolf, I thought, I’ll head to the lighthouse, escape herself and her dalliances with dilettantes, come down to the dunes and the snotgreen sea and write.

    
What your ad didn’t mention is that you can’t get a removal van to a lighthouse and I’ve crippled myself lugging the bloody bed and the books and the typewriter up here, so, Magnus O’Puss, that I’m only fit for burbling into this contraption and recording myself and the shift of my thoughts.

    It’s an idea though … A book for voices …

    The weather’s awful though and I miss my girl, lovely as your purring is, Magnus. Would she have me back, I wonder, if we made a break of it, headed somewhere new?

    Trieste is cheap I hear …

    2+
  2. Profile gravatar of Meadow337
    1 September 2017 at 1:58 am

    kitchen sink, cottage, thriller
    @meadow337
    278 words

    The Kitchen Sink

    I packed everything including the kitchen sink. Now I know I was not supposed to take the sink, and it did take me a considerable amount of time detaching it from the wall, but I had a good reason.

    When I moved into this cottage I was delighted with its rustic charm, the blowzy roses over the door, the low beams in the upstairs bedroom, the leaky tap in the bath that dripped all night (it kept me up at first, but later became a metronomic counterpoint to my nightly activities), and of course the cat from next door that caught mice and left them on my doorstep; but the delight soon faded. I grew tired of banging my head on the beam, the rose petals blew indoors and scented the cottage with their overblown sweetness, I much preferred other odours, which brings me to the kitchen sink.

    I washed my dishes in that sink. I washed my hands in it, after gardening, especially after planting those special plants. I am attached to my sink; too attached – I suspect that my gardening has left too much evidence in that sink, and so when I came to leave this delightful place, having planted all I can in its small garden, I cleaned thoroughly, washing the last of my tools in the sink, when I found myself staring thoughtfully into its depths. As the last of the blood swirled down the drain, I thought I could not leave it. I must take it with me. Perhaps I shall install it in the small cottage I have found in Portsmouth, I am sure that I shall be gardening there too.

    7+
  3. Profile gravatar of Danny Beusch
    1 September 2017 at 4:26 am

    Bed, Flat, Memoir
    220 words
    @OhDannyBoyShhh

    Powder your Nose

    Rehab: the hardest thing I’ve ever done. After we got clean, my parents were so happy that they paid the deposit on our new flat. A fresh start, for both of us. Fair play, as they’d never liked Lucy: a bad influence on their kind-hearted-but easily-corruptible son.

    ‘The print from Amsterdam would look so good above the headboard,’ said Lucy shortly after moving in. I checked the tenancy agreement. It clearly stated that pictures must not be hung on the walls. ‘Everyone breaks that rule,’ she said. I was always useless at saying no to her; my downfall on so many occasions.

    There was something satisfying – and distracting – about playing home. I drilled the hole, assuming that the white dust was plaster, cursing myself for not covering the mattress. Then I noticed a chemical smell, like nail-polish remover. The reaction in Lucy was instant, her eyes ablaze, her body on edge and ready. We pulled a sickie for a week and stayed in bed, binging greedily on the cocaine, like we used to.

    When it was gone I put up the print. Normality resumed; we were stronger than before.

    But then one evening, watching the box, there was frantic banging on the front door followed by a gruff, urgent, 40-a-day voice. ‘It’s your landlord. I’ve come to inspect the flat.’

    5+
  4. Louise Hopewell
    1 September 2017 at 7:34 am

    Bed/Lighthouse/Comedy
    299 words
    Hope Shines

    Cape Disappointment was not ironically named. Even the whales steered a wide berth around that bleak rocky outcrop.

    Damon had grown up on that miserable peninsula, his father the lighthouse keeper before him. He’d been homeschooled, only moving away for three years in his 20s to study meteorology. That was when he decided he needed someone to share his bed and wooed Hope electronically across the country. In the twenty years since, she’d often wondered whether he’d paid someone to compose those witty, chatty, flirty emails. In reality Damon was as disappointing as the Cape, his conversation consisting mainly of wind and grunts. Throughout their marriage, Hope took extra-precautions to avoid creating another disappointing and disappointed generation.

    Hope escaped disappointment once a month, bumping 60 k’s to the nearest town. Sunshine was ironically named, a dusty town with more shops boarded up than open. Despite twenty years of government promises, there was still no internet at Cape Disappointment, so collecting her mail from Sunshine Post Office was a highlight for Hope.

    One day, Hope picked up an envelope that changed her life. Lighthouse automation had been crawling along the coast as fast as the taxpayers’ dollars allowed, but Hope had given up hope it’d ever arrive. But this letter provided a date, plus a calculation of Damon’s (not at all disappointing) redundancy payout. Hope’s thoughts turned to her husband. This news will kill him. She tucked the letter down her bra. What a good idea.

    ***

    ‘I’m sorry my husband’s not here to assist.’ Hope watched the engineers unload; so many boxes and cables just to replace Damon. ‘He departed yesterday.’ She glanced out at black ocean, then slung her suitcase into the car.
    ‘Where ya headed, ma’am?’
    ‘To sunshine.’ After all, where there was sunshine, there was hope.

    5+
    • 1 September 2017 at 8:40 am

      Oh love it! Well written 🙂

      2+
    • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
      1 September 2017 at 9:49 am

      Clever stuff, well-written and funny, great location and character-building. What’s not to like?

      [ Welcome to Microcosms, Louise. Hope we’ll see more of you here. (See what I did there?) ]

      1+
    • Profile gravatar of Danny Beusch
      2 September 2017 at 10:50 am

      Dark and light – loved it 🙂

      0
  5. 1 September 2017 at 8:19 am

    @carolrosalind
    296 Words
    Wardrobe; Town House; Comedy

    Always Measure First

    “Don’t touch,” shouted Jill. “It’s still tacky. I haven’t spent weeks sanding, painting and stencilling for you to smudge the final coat.”

    “Does that mean you’re finally moving it?” said Tom.

    “I’ve told you, I needed space to move around. You and Dad can take it upstairs once it’s dry.”

    Before Jill left for work, she rang Bob, reminding him to move the wardrobe upstairs. “I’ve emptied out the old one; you need to take it apart. Put the bits in the yard. Tom can help. I’ll hang up the clothes when I get in.”

    ***

    “Come on, let’s get this sorted,” sighed Bob. ”Then we can watch the game in peace. At least we won’t have to peer around that blooming thing anymore!”

    After doing as Jill instructed, they manoeuvred the wardrobe to the foot of the stairs.

    “It’s not going to fit,” said Bob, after numerous attempts. “There’s not enough room to lift it around the corner. Blooming town houses!”

    “But we’ve just broken up the old one! And kick-off’s in an hour.”

    “Always measure first,” muttered Bob, walking towards the garage. “Plug this in,” he said on his return.

    “Dad! you can’t…”

    “I can. Hold it still.”

    Using the circular saw, Bob cut straight down the middle. Once divided, the wardrobe easily fitted up the stairs, where Bob glued and braced it back together.

    ***

    Jill opened the front door and, hearing football commentary, headed straight upstairs to inspect her handiwork. Hanging up the clothes she wondered why she could smell glue. Then she joined her husband and son in front of the TV. As she sank into the chair, an almighty crash shook the ceiling, setting the light shade swinging.

    Bob looked at Tom. Tom looked at Bob. Jill looked for an explanation.

    6+
  6. 1 September 2017 at 8:33 am

    @Nthito
    Bed | Flat/Apartment | Horror
    Words: 300
    The Bed

    The bed sighs softly before the familiar squeak echoes through the emptiness. I sigh too, settling under the duvet and hearing another protest under my weight. It is my last night in this place I once called home. The emptiness feels foreign and my eyes rove about the room slowly. Without my little writer’s desk in the corner, and the wobbling bookshelf beside the door, the room no longer feels like home. It’s colder too.
    Sleep doesn’t come easy. Every movement brings a squeal of protest and I feel a spring poke my kidneys. I sigh. To think I’d be moving back to that woman who claims to be my mother but treats me like a bad rash.
    “Why couldn’t you have found a real job like your sister.” She’d said on the phone. I’d wanted to tell her I wasn’t my sister. Instead I said,
    “You’re one to talk.”
    “I actually have published works, Nathan. Bestsellers. What do you have?”
    “I’ll be moving back next week okay.”
    “I think Mary-Anne needs someone at her pharmacy. I’ll get you a job there.”
    Sigh
    “Oh and burn that stupid bed. Its filthy and old. I’ll get you a new one.”
    Rather than protest I’d ended the call. That woman. I’d had this bed since I was a child and I felt torn about getting rid of it. It was why it remained while everything else was home.
    “Are you getting rid of me?” A voice asks. I shift my weight and another squeal fills the room.
    “Let me sleep.”
    “I promise you’ll write better stories if you keep me.”
    I shut the voice out and let its earthy scent fill my nostrils. I feel a story coming in dark images of blood and gore.
    “Fine.”
    The bed may still be useful.

    4+
    • Eloise
      1 September 2017 at 11:18 am

      loved the little twist in the tale 🙂

      1+
  7. Eloise
    1 September 2017 at 11:16 am

    Washing machine/ hunting lodge/ steam punk
    Word: 178

    Hidden evidence

    “Arghh, there was a bloody hunt again. Why can’t they just wear disposable clothes when the hunt” whined Priscilla as she was being stuffed with the dirty clothes from the most recent hunt. “But it is always fun to see what they hunted. Let’s see what we have. Impala, Zebra, Kudu and human. Human?” Priscilla started to sputter.
    “Hey, Edwin, what is going on with your washing machine?”
    “Hmm…I am not sure. She is quite old. Still uses steam to operate. Let me check the coal situation.”
    “Hey, Prissy, what’s the problem? Did we put too many clothes in you?”
    Suddenly the door swung open and the offending piece of cloth shot out. Edwin caught it.
    “What is this?”
    He balled it up and tried to put it back in the wash. Priscilla kept her door tightly shut.
    “Come on, Prissy. Stop it” Edwin kicked the machine and it opened up. Edwin stuffed the shirt back. Thankful that machine opened up else they would have found out about how the hunter of the lion had passed on.

    4+
  8. Profile gravatar of Dave Allen
    1 September 2017 at 1:46 pm

    fridge/freezer/hunting lodge/crime
    300 words
    Murder at the Horn and Hoof

    I had just moved up to Lake Kamonna Wana Kisya to take over the Horn and Hoof Lodge. I had just gotten in the door from my old place with the last of my things, when there was a knock at my front door.
    “FBI, I’m Agent Morgan, this is my partner Agent Chase.” the tallest of the two men at my door said, “We are here to investigate the strange goings on at this lodge.”
    “We have a warrant to search your lodge.” said Agent Chase.
    I looked at them dumbfounded, I had only been here for 3 weeks and aside from a early morning hunting trip yesterday, I hadn’t left the property. I looked at the warrant, which seemed to be in order and let the men in.
    “What is it that you are looking for?” I asked.
    Agent Morgan proceeded to tell me that in the last 3 months the FBI had been getting reports of strange men wandering the property, but what had brought them here was the report of a possible murder committed in the early hours of the morning yesterday.
    Agent Chase had gone to an out-building, “Morgan, you had better get out here.” he called, his voice dripping with disgust.
    Agent Morgan ushered me into the out-building. He looked around at the aftermath of what appeared to be a bloody massacre. Agent Chase had opened up a large chest freezer to reveal frozen meat.
    “Care to explain.” Agent Morgan asked.
    “Certainly,” I said, “Agent Chase would you kindly move the tarp your standing beside?”
    Agent Chase did as I asked, once moved the tarp revealed the head of the ten point buck I had bagged the day before. Both men looked at it, then me.
    “Yes Agents, meat is murder, tasty, tasty, murder.”

    2+
  9. M. Levi
    1 September 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Kitchen Sink/Hunting Lodge/Crime
    Words: 298
    The Laundress

    He hauled in the bloody clothes while Elaine was making stew and she yelped. “Mike, clean up somewhere else!”

    “Sorry,” he laughed carelessly. “We can’t do it in the river this time.”

    Bile rose in Elaine’s throat as she realized what he had been doing. “Maybe stop playing your psychopathic games,” she growled. “That’ll get you less laundry to do.” But despite her words, Mike turned on the hot water and dumped the bloody clothes into the sink. The water bubbled up red. Elaine put down the spoon, suddenly having lost all appetite.

    “Psychopathic?” Mike repeated. “That’s not very kind.”

    Elaine scoffed in disgust and guilt, wishing that she knew how to please him.

    “Hey. We’re in this together, honey. You can’t give out on me now. Wash it, would you? I’ll deal with the body, I promise. If anyone knocks, call me and I’ll deal with it.”

    He left again, leaving her alone with the bloody clothes and a half-cooked stew and a blindingly steamy kitchen. Elaine wondered where the body was and eyed the phone on the wall. She could call the police. She needed to call the police. But it had been five years and at least three murders too long and she’d be held as an accessory. Besides, she couldn’t betray him. He was everything. He was all she had.

    The water felt like it was boiling, but Elaine put her hands in anyway and began to scrub the bloody clothes. She pretended that Mike would thank her, appreciate her for a job well done, maybe even drive the two of them into town for a little human contact. She pretended that the water could burn away some of her sins, or maybe just her whole being, until she was back home and young again.

    2+
  10. Profile gravatar of JK
    JK
    1 September 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Sofa, Cottage, Poetry
    Word count: 179

    Memories on Isabelle Lane

    She was a girlie girl for the most part
    Loved her platinum plated hand mirror with the filigree designs
    She loved when I brushed her hair and gave her big soft curls
    Adored our bonding time and songs we would sing together
    Our first home the cottage on Isabelle Lane, we will always cherish
    Pushing her on the tire swing as her big curls flowed behind her
    Baking and eating fattening butter cookies until we couldn’t move
    She loved playing house and all her dolls
    Her favorite thing was the red velvet sofa in her vintage style dollhouse
    She would play house with all of us for hours
    Big sis, dad, poppy
    She would make believe she was a mother, wife, daughter, successful career woman
    Her dreams that occurred over tea on that little red velvet sofa were so big and contagious
    All the memories of my baby girl in our first home
    Moving on is never easy
    Pictures spark memories of events long ago
    My mind and heart will forever be full of those memories on Isabelle Lane

    2+
  11. Profile gravatar of Angelique Pacheco
    1 September 2017 at 4:17 pm

    300 words
    Bed; Flat; Memoir

    The Unexpected Gift

    My grandparents left the Congo in 1959, young and spirited, in search of thrilling adventure. And if you believe that, you’re daft. There’s nothing adventurous about leaving in the dead of night, your sleepy children yawning as they tumble into the car, unaware that they are never coming back and they probably should have grabbed that favorite toy on their way out. Adventure stops being adventure when the danger is real.

    After travelling for a week, they arrived in the town that would become home. The van had given up, the hotels were full and Jean and Ernestine spoke almost no English. A strange little man with beady eyes watched them from a distance and, being a good judge of character, he decided to help.

    In broken English, they dined at Mr. Zeidel’s home, on a grilled fillet of salmon with mushroom ragout. The French wasn’t lost on my grandparents. Mr. Zeidel was a property mogul who owned various homes and flats in the town. He discovered that my grandfather was an engineer who had left Belgium after the war to settle in the Congo. Until that too, went to pot. Steering him to the nearest firm, he offered my grandparents a flat, rent free for the first month. My grandfather would pay him with his first month’s cheque.

    Mr. Zeidel accompanied Jean and Ernestine to the flat, and opened the door. It was small but clean. Ernestine smiled for the first time in weeks. They stopped at the bedroom. A double bed, with a pull-out at the bottom that would accommodate my mother and uncle, was there, still wrapped in plastic. Ernestine looked at Mr. Zeidel. He spluttered and mumbled something about the previous people leaving it there. My grandmother planted a kiss on his cheek. He blushed beet-red.

    3+
    • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
      2 September 2017 at 8:05 am

      Wonderful, Angelica. This had the feel of a real memoir, with lots of anecdotal detail; but the generational gap to the narrator implied that it was fictional. Either way, I enjoyed it a lot. Everyone should run into a Mr Zeidel when in a crisis. 🙂

      [ I may have mentioned this before, to you or to someone else, but titles (stories or books), chapter headings and newspaper headlines all share the same attributes: they don’t have full stops/periods and they are capitalised. It was a fairly easy to distinguish your title – ‘The unexpected gift.’ – from the story itself, but sometimes it’s not so obvious. I took the liberty of amending it. 😉 ]

      1+
  12. Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
    1 September 2017 at 6:03 pm

    @el_Stevie
    299 words
    Bed; Flat/Apartment; Horror

    Dead to the World

    The bed had refused to move. So it had been left behind, stained mattress, corroded metalwork and all.

    “Ugh,” said Diane. “It can’t stay here. God knows what’s living inside it.”

    Gregg sighed. It would be up to him to start shifting the thing. But he couldn’t moan too much: the flat had been a bargain, despite the junk left by the previous tenants.

    “Just vanished,” said the landlord, with a shrug. “Not even behind with the rent.”

    Their neighbour hovered in the doorway. “I give you a month,” he said, as they moved in. “Then you’ll disappear, just like everyone else.”

    Gregg ignored him. The flat was a dream come true … apart from the bed. He looked at it and yawned.

    “No,” said Diane. But her tone was uncertain, her eyelids fighting to stay open.

    The couple stared at the mattress, becoming oblivious to its filth, seeing only its invitation. Without further argument, they threw a blanket on the bed and lay down, not feeling the bones rattling beneath them.

    The children were awake.

    “They seem nice. Can we keep them, Bobby? I’d like to have a mummy and daddy again. I always sleep better with someone to cuddle.”

    “Okay, Tilly. But don’t get too attached. You know they don’t last long.”

    The blanket rippled in the moonlight as small arms pushed up through the mattress, wrapped themselves tightly around the bodies.

    “It’s going to be different this time,” said Tilly, pulling them down through the foam, the coils snaring their flesh as she did so. “I’m never going to let go. Little children should never be left on their own.”

    Steel pierced skin and new stains formed on the mattress. It had been a long day and both Gregg and Diane were dead to the world.

    5+
    • Eloise
      2 September 2017 at 2:24 am

      Very horrorific 🙂 but I enjoyed your tale. Well written.

      1+
    • Profile gravatar of Danny Beusch
      2 September 2017 at 10:58 am

      Really creepy. I know that tale is going to stick with me. Great work 🙂

      1+
  13. Profile gravatar of Dave Allen
    1 September 2017 at 8:19 pm

    292 words
    Wardrobe; Lighthouse; Thriller

    Lighthouse Obsession

    It was late, and I sat staring at the wardrobe in what used to be our bedroom. She had moved out and I was waiting to see if I heard it again.

    I thought I was losing my mind. When we had been living hear life had been good; the best I’d ever known. We went out whenever possible, loved life and each other.

    Then one summer we took vacation near the lake and everything changed. She had become obsessed with the lighthouse overlooking the lake and the hunky owner. It wasn’t long until she had left me here in our old love nest to move on with the man whom she thought was the one. Now all I do is sit in the darkness of our old bedroom thinking of the past.

    I heard it, faint but there it was, her voice clear and coming out of our old wardrobe. I couldn’t help myself; I looked inside and confirm my decent into madness. To my surprise there were clean clothes in the wardrobe; her clothes. I crawled in and took a good look, yes these were her clothes and I was no longer in our old place.

    I peaked out of what was a closet door, to see that I was now in a bedroom. It was their room, they were there sleeping.

    I took a harpoon that was gracing the wall(he thought it was a cool decoration), and viciously drove it into his chest.

    I ran back to the closet and went through the passage between her place and mine. I closed the wardrobe, found an axe and hacked it to pieces.

    I awoke in the morning wondering if it had all been a dream. I guess I’ll never know.

    3+
  14. Caleb Echterling
    1 September 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Piano/Lighthouse/Comedy
    293 words
    @CalebEchterling

    Songs of the Sea

    A rusty spiral staircase creaked under the combined weight of Janice and Tameka, who creaked under the combined weight of a player piano and 200 rolls of music. “Sonofabitch, this thing is heavy. Why can’t we leave it on the first floor, and pump the sound up with speakers?”

    “Nautical tradition,” Tameka said. “If you’re turning a lighthouse into a player-pianohouse, you’ve got to use the same room.” Warped floorboards danced the Charleston as Janice and Tameka sloughed the piano off their shoulders.

    Tameka slapped a three-ring binder the size of the Oxford Dictionary of Internet Memes (Unabridged) into Janice’s midsection. “Here’s your audio semiphore handbook. Which tunes to play as alerts for different kinds of weather. Rhapsody in Blue for winds between 10 and 15 knots, Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major for aggressive ducks in mating season. And so forth.”

    Janice collapsed to the floor. She opened the binder, and sobbed. “There’s no way I can learn all this.”

    Tameka waved as she marched down the steps. “Get cracking. Sunset’s in four hours.”

    *******

    Strains of My Boyfriend’s Back blasted from speakers clinging to the former lighthouse exterior. Janice dashed between the portable weather observatory, the portable amorous waterfowl observatory, and the piano. Sweat trickled from every pore, smudging the shorthand crib notes she had written on her hands, arms, and abdomen.

    Janice ignored the banging from the front door for five minutes. When her irritation at the incessant pounding swamped her irritation at the ever-shifting demands on a player-pianohouse keeper, she let fly a string of top-shelf swear words, and yanked the knob hard enough to grate sparks from the hinges. A gaggle of sailors tumbled through the opening. “We heard you playing YMCA. Where’s the free Jell-O shooters?”

    2+
  15. Valita Suzanne
    1 September 2017 at 11:30 pm

    297 words
    Wardrobe; Cottage; Memoir

    The Wardrobe

    It was an oak wardrobe, old and respectable like a wealthy aristocrat who had attained a great age, and yet looked the same at eighty as he had at forty. Its home was at Hiraeth cottage in Tír na hóige, where it had stood proudly in the master bedroom since the house was built.

    It was a tall wardrobe, though narrow, carved to depict scenes of battle and festival, moments of grief and terror and great joy. What craftsman had taken it upon himself to shape it from the tree, no one knew, not even the wardrobe itself. It had only ever known the cottage.

    It had been there when its first master found a lady who suited him, had stored her fine dresses for a time, before she sold all but one when the master died.

    It had been a hiding place for the son that came after, a skinny boy with a dimple in his left cheek. He had carved his name on the inside of the wardrobe with a knife he’d stolen from the kitchen. The boy was fond of singing, but only ever did so behind the safety of the oak door, not knowing that his mother would sometimes slip off her shoes, and tiptoe to the side of the wardrobe to listen.

    The wardrobe was sad in its way when the boy left home. His mother never wailed or wept, nor had she done so when the master died. But some nights she would sit inside the wardrobe and hum her boy’s songs quietly to herself before bed. Eventually she stopped coming. Eventually, the cottage was silent.

    The wardrobe waited long before the boy returned, now a man, with a baby girl in his arms, whom he sang to sleep every night.

    4+
    • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
      2 September 2017 at 6:35 am

      Beautifully poignant piece, Valita, with a very clever take on the theme and the elements: the ebb and flow of people from the cottage from the point of view of the wardrobe that does not move house at all! Loved it. 🙂

      0
  16. Profile gravatar of Gabrielle
    3 September 2017 at 10:27 pm

    268 words
    Bed/Castle/Horror

    Off Limits

    Princess Thaliana was always a very picky child; more so when it came to what she slept on. She had a particular obsession with one bed; a stained broken basic bed. She refused to sleep on anything else, staying up for weeks on end when traveling the land. Her parents were worried, for no human should go on that little sleep.

    Thaliana ordered her parents to never go to her room, and being the kindest people, they listened. Curiosity edged on the staff, who were also told the room was off limits. Maid Mary was not one for rules and the curiosity edged her on. Mary snuck into the princess’s room, in the middle of the day when the young girl was in lessons.

    The room appeared normal at first glance, so normal that Mary thought she should leave. The room was perfectly neat, without a speck of dust or an item out of place. Mary turned toward the door, just about to leave.

    “Where do you think you’re going?” A raspy voiced rang out in the total silence. Mary took a step back, stumbling. She thought she was alone.

    Mary turned her head, gasped and gaped. A figure stood before her, a wispy shadow that mirrored Princess Thaliana. The figure hovered closer and glared with blood red eyes.

    “W-what?”

    “Just leave,” The figure rasped, turning around briskly, heading back towards the bed. Mary noticed the figure had a stab wound. Curious, Mary followed the figure to the bed.

    Maid Mary yelped and knew one thing.

    Princess Thaliana was dead, and she didn’t know for how long.

    1+
  17. Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
    4 September 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks for the submission, Gabrielle.
    Unfortunately, it was too late for the contest: Microcosms contests are (normally) posted at 00:00 on FRIDAY EDT/EST (New York Time). You have only 24 hours until 23:59 FRIDAY EDT/EST to write and submit an entry.
    If you are not sure about what time it is in New York, the countdown clock – on the right of the screen, if you are using a computer, rather than a tablet or a smartphone – is set to show how much time you have left to submit, if the contest is still active; once the contest is closed, it shows how long is left until the next contest starts.
    I hope this is not too much of a disappointment for you, and that you will submit further stories in the future.
    Just remember : it’s FRIDAY for FLASH FICTION here at Microcosms!

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