Thanks to all who participated in Microcosms 94. There were a 12 entries this week, plus one entry after the closing deadline.
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 93 Judge’s Pick, Nancy Chenier kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
Vampires, presidents, and weddings—oh, my! It’s been ages since I flash-fictioned (yes, I just verbed a noun) and even longer since I put on a flash-fiction judging hat. It was a blast reading through this week’s entries. Thank you to the all the flashers for putting in the energy and creativity. Thank you to Geoff, too, for continuing to host this contest.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Alva Holland – I didn’t want my wedding to stand out, I wanted it to happen without a hitch. Apart from the intended hitch.
Eloise – They were slapping waitresses and downing beers quicker then a kayak going down a waterfall.
Nancy Beach – This day represents not only our wedding but the day Granddaddy Lincoln signed the Proclamation that set aside the last Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving.
Bill Engleson – “No, Mister Montenegro, it’s a little less catastrophic than those admittedly earth-shattering events…” (and the BS exchange)
Angelique Pacheco – She took it until lunchtime when, in front of the kitchen staff, she threw a plate at his head.
Steph Ellis – When the screams finally stopped, pink had turned crimson and rose petals glistened on the walls.
Geoff Le Pard – The girl, she’s a Lugosi isn’t she? Well bitten.
Elliot P. McGee – The young lady straightened out her skirts waiting with flushed cheeks for Casmus to catch his breath.
Dave Allen – He then muttered what sounded like a made-up word and a small flame appeared and ignited the substance.
M Levi – Her eyes went purple and unfocused as the spell hit her, the magic floating through the air like dust.
Richard Edenfield – He signed his name with the flick of his wrist like an accomplished magician and then she disappeared.
Steve Lodge – He loses his way (virginity) and can’t find the sheepcote. He fears he will perish among the pines (He hears night music of a thousand years). Sounds of laughter echo from within the nearby castle walls. (He can’t remember the name of the girl).
Sarah Minner – (This story was submitted after the deadline, so it wasn’t sent to the judge, but I still wanted to give it a favorite line. – KM) The wires working so delicately together, they’d be destroyed on the explosion.
Geoff Le Pard – Toothsome
For the gossipy humor of vampires paired with the surprise horror of a spray tan.
Alva Holland – I Don’t
For the clever manipulation of the “king” character into an Elvis playlist.
Steve Lodge – Fragmenta
I knew I was in for a fun read when I read the title. An inventive take on the prompt. The alternative translations made me laugh while adding a twist to the narrative. I particularly like the translations that add a layer to the piece (low point of his life = his 30s) or create surprising images that nonetheless work (heavily-bearded sheep) or say something about the imaginary language (that nervous = hungry, attack = shave). And now I simply must learn to read Belzonian so I can get the full Ghost Cheese experience closer to the source.
Richard Edenfield – Dracula at the Formosa Café
This one first hooked (and frustrated) me for having so many tasty lines that it was nearly impossible to choose one for the “Favorite Lines” part of the judging. Apart from the one listed above we got dozens more: “a wooden majesty of sheathed ambition”, “music separated the air”, “All the autographs he had given wallpapered the sky with the black ink of a desperate evening.” I adore how the environmental descriptions reflect the character’s internal landscape. Ending the story with the sensual image of lavender—representing grace and youth—contrasts with the dusty imagery that builds up before it, leaving us with a sense of what was lost, which makes the despair all the deeper.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 94.
(insert drumroll here)
Alva Holland – I Don’t
Everyone likes their wedding to stand out from the rest, to instil a memory, preferably fond, in those who attend.
I didn’t want my wedding to stand out, I wanted it to happen without a hitch. Apart from the intended hitch. Am I rambling? Not without cause. Here goes a summary of my recent ‘wedding.’
Who chose the hotel? Well, himself, thinking ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ was a comical place for the nuptials.
‘Don’t be cruel,’ I said as he insisted.
‘It can be our ‘Good Luck Charm,’ he said with a grin.
‘There’ll be ‘Crying in the Chapel,’ I gulped.
‘You’re a ‘Hard Headed Woman,’ he argued.
‘Don’t Cry, Daddy,’ I whimpered as he walked me up the aisle, fat tears rolling down his cheeks.
‘If I Can Dream,’ Dad whispered, ‘this is it.’
‘Suspicious Minds’ abounded among the guests. ‘Marie’s the Name,’ they giggled as they recalled his last girlfriend. It had me ‘All Shook Up.’
‘It’s Now or Never,’ droned the priest as my hapless ‘Teddy Bear’ stood waiting for me to arrive to the altar. ‘If there is anyone present with a reason why these two should not be joined in matrimony, please speak now or forever hold your peace.’
‘Angie! Don’t do it,’ someone screeched from the back. ‘You’re ‘Always on My Mind.’ ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ all over again as I watch you here.’
‘You never answered my ‘Love Letters’ I screeched back. ‘Marked ‘Return to Sender’ – every one.’
‘Wear my Ring Around Your Neck’ whispered my husband-to-be.’
Around my neck?
I didn’t go through with it. Maybe I have a ‘Wooden Heart’ but the truth is ‘I Just Can’t Help Believin’ there’s ‘A Big Hunk O’ Love’ out there. Was it a crime?
Welcome to the ‘Jailhouse Rock.’
M Levi – Or You’ll Sink Like A Stone
Amazingly full story in less than three hundred words, leaving me wanting more without feeling at all short-changed. The fairy magic and the reported appearance of the steamship wrap me up in the world. The writer also manages to drum up my sympathy for the characters in the limited span. My heart starts to twinge for June with the line, “Poor June still thought that she was discovering these things for the first time,” and carries through to the end. I feel, too, for Ms. Darsin, who must maintain a veil of simplicity in a world far vaster than June (or the reader) realizes. A well-crafted tale, indeed.
At 4:02 exactly, the cottage rumbled. The inhabitants of the house rode their way through it. Mrs. Darsin took a deep breath. “Time for your chores,” she told her children.
Loren and Tara obediently slid out of their chairs, closed their books, and went out to the barn. June stayed planted in her seat, kicking her feet and glaring at the wall.
“June,” Mrs. Darsin warned.
June rolled her eyes.
June finally turned to Mrs. Darsin. “I went outside yesterday, Mother. Four o’clock exactly. And do you know what I saw?”
Mrs. Darsin met her daughter’s gaze, refusing to panic. This happened every once in a while. Poor June still thought that she was discovering these things for the first time. Mrs. Darsin twisted her fingers behind her back, preparing the ritual and letting June have her moment.
“I saw the steamship!” June ranted. “It passed right above the birches! It was so low that I could see people through the bay doors! Mother, why didn’t you tell us?! Why do you act like everyone’s like us–just a bunch of stupid farmers?! Why do you–”
Mrs. Darsin spoke the word. June didn’t get the chance to finish her sentence.
Her eyes went purple and unfocused as the spell hit her, the magic floating through the air like dust. Mrs. Darsin nodded slightly. “June?”
June shook her head like she had water in her ears. “Mother? Did I go to sleep?”
“It’s chore time. The others are outside.”
“I’m sorry,” June said, dashing out of the house.
“No problem, dear!” Mrs. Darsin called after her.
Congratulations, M Levi. 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!