Thanks to all who participated in Microcosms 93. There were a goodly 19 entries this week. Welcome back to long-lost friends, Alva Holland, Dana M Faletti, Richard Edenfield and, last seen in round 58, Nancy Chenier.
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.
MC 92 Community Pick, M. Levi kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
This is my first time judging Microcosms, and I was not disappointed. There’s a lot of talent compressed into just 300 words, and it made judging really difficult. There are so many different styles of writing and types of stories, but I did my best to determine which stood out above the others to me. Thank you to everyone who submitted for a really enjoyable reading experience.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
David Creighton – “That makes no sense,” he said in response, “Matadors fight bulls, they don’t clean up after them.”
Bill Engleson – And our eyes met/and darkness flashed/all over her face/all over her loverly face.
Steve Lodge – On the beach the raiding party awaits gentler seas before attempting to salvage treasure from the wreck.
Alva Holland – Gregg was smitten, once again.
Elliot P. McGee – We crest a rise, a soldier to my left retches at the sight.
Dana M Faletti – But she knew he would only find more; his need was all powerful, his selfishness too thick.
Nancy M Beach – She loved to throw parties, especially this one because she could show off her newly remodeled kitchen.
Eloise – “When did this turn on a personal attack on you?”
Geoff Holme – She’d eventually discovered the only things he invented were excuses to avoid work.
Bill Engleson – “Who are you?” he asked and I reminded him that we now cohabited.
JK – You looked in the mirror and saw and felt it…
Angelique Pacheco – Every fibre of my being buzzed as I was sure I’d found the perfect place.
Steph Ellis – Only when the clockwork finally wound down could the dancer see her audience.
Jeff Messick – The general thoughtfully scratched his chin. “You’re fighting for the right of people to live in freedom.”
Liz Elliott – “Well, whenever you’re ready,” the waitress said.
Richard Edenfield – I heard screaming and then nothing. I sat down and finished her very simple pasta.
Nancy Chenier – So why do you feel more chagrin over the sandwiches?
Sian Brighal – There was something about that kid, each sip would say.
Paula Nutt – “I’m Danielle now. And you’re not Gregorio Chance. What game are you playing, Carlos?”
Most Sci-Fi: Elliot P McGee – Blood Wolves, Hope of the Empire
Most Surreal: Steve Lodge – Quicksilver Moon Over Barnstorm
Honorable / Honourable Mentions
Liz Elliott – Roadside Café
This story used 6 of the quotes and still managed to establish its own plot and firm characters for Gregg, Diane and the waitress.
Bill Engleson – CAT-A-TONIC
Funniest, most satirical story. The writer has a very distinct and enjoyable voice.
Dana M Faletti – Act Two
Combines poetry and prose in a beautiful and slightly surreal way. What is happening in the story is clear, but there are a lot of loose ends left untied, which I appreciate.
Steph Ellis – The Butterfly Collector
Word choice is excellent, and we get a good grasp on who the water and the devil are despite having only a few sentences devoted to them. A very creepy story overall.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 91.
(insert drumroll here)
Alva Holland – Some Things Are Meant To Be
#87 It had been a long day and Gregg and Diane were dead to the world
It had been a long day and both Gregg and Diane were dead to the world.
It had started quite positively in the circumstances. Neighbours they might be; but friends? Not possible. Diane was of good stock, hailing from a well-to-do family on the Northside, whereas Gregg was a scrapper, a fighter, a barterer with street smarts. Oh, he had his good traits but they were scarce.
Gregg pursued Diane, relentlessly. He ignored her fussy attitude, her hi-falutin’ ways, her snobby nose, her glinting eyes. Did I mention he was also a small fry? He was nothing but persistent though – he followed her when she left the house each morning. She found ways to avoid him but he cut her off. She stayed home some days but Gregg just waited. Can’t stay in there forever, Princess. I’ll be here.
She emerged, exasperated, head in the air, pink scarf around her neck, its tasselled end billowing in the breeze. Gregg was smitten, once again. He had no sooner edged his way to the gate when he saw him – Harry from across the road, at Diane’s side in a split-second. And in the same split-second Harry had run off with Diane’s scarf. Diane froze. Gregg knew what he had to do. Taking off after Harry, he leapt Mr. Corcoran’s hydrangea-covered wall and sprawled Harry to the ground, ripped the scarf from his clutches and ran back to where Diane remained, scared stiff.
Gregg looked sheepishly at Diane who returned his gaze with an understanding gulp, whipped the scarf from him, circled him a few times, unnerving the poor chap, and ran off into the park. Gregg spent the rest of the day looking for her.
That night, Gregg and Diane were found together in Gregg’s kennel. It was meant to be.
Nancy Chenier – Propriety
This story requires a few reads. The first time, it’s beautifully worded but the plot isn’t quite obvious. However, after the wham lines, everything falls into place and the perspective character comes into focus. The second person POV and the jerky sentence structure are much appreciated.
#83 – One guest didn’t move, having been dead for almost an hour.
Silver spoons whirl steam off gilt-rimmed teacups. You used to savor the rosy scent. Now it cloys the back of your throat.
Conversations lisp, just this side of a whisper. You’ve yet to get the hang of the prim softness. Speech like a dove-colored duvet wrapped around a flaying knife.
Each guest occupies her place with breezy certainty. For them, there’s no question of deserving that place, whether in your home or on this planet. One guest—the wrong guest—doesn’t move, having been dead for almost an hour.
You wonder when the others will notice. Gwendolyn, the nonagenarian, has (had) a tendency to nod off. Politesse demands we do not embarrass the elderly.
The target guest still holds her regal place. Victoria. Even after ten years, she fits your house better than you do—and knows it. She drops a comment over the sliver of crust still attached to the hors d’oeuvres, how it’s a pity you didn’t realize that finger sandwiches properly served should be unmarred.
The prissy sips of tea around the room veil delicate smiles of derision.
White triangle sandwiches. Pearly as Victoria’s teeth flashing behind pink-peach lipstick, the same shade she wore to welcome you to the neighborhood. To declare how lucky you are to have created your own success rather than be burdened with the expectations associated with old money. To suggest your daughter might fare better in a less prestigious preschool. Her frosty gaze ever gainsaying the warm-colored lips.
Lips that by all rights should be stiffening across a rictus grin.
Instead, your lone ally, too old to put up with peach-lipped pretensions, sags into herself, pearls sinking into the deepening folds of her neck. The guilty tea glistens on her chin.
So why do you feel more chagrin over the sandwiches?
Congratulations, Nancy. As Judge’s Pick, you are invited to judge the next round of Microcosms. Please click HERE to let us know whether or not you are interested!