RESULTS – Microcosms 100

Thanks to everyone who entered this week. We had 24 amazing entries this week – wow! We want you to know that we appreciate everyone so much.

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.

And many thanks to Nancy Chenier for judging MC 100. Here’s what she had to say:

A rollicking 100th go at Microcosms. Twenty-four flashes of nostalgia. I appreciate the stroll through the halls of flash-fiction contests past. Most of you have chosen to take up the special 100-word challenge, which means you don’t have to wait until Tuesday for me to get through judging. Lots of westerns with aliens–and who doesn’t like a good SF Western? Beans found their way into several stories (inspired by the Western theme, perhaps? There’s nothing like beans on the frontier?). Anyway, these were a lot of fun. It took ample effort to corral all the top doggies into the winner’s circle. Thank you, flash pardners, for a wild, wild read.

Nancy

 

 Favourite / Favorite Lines

John Herbert – The girl stared at the stack of plates, bean smears already hardening on the enamel.
Matthieu Cartron – When Rebekah leaned back to catch her breath, hatchet in hand, the horrid creature raised his pistol.
Bill Engleson – That Sunday, the sky exploded with light, a golden vessel shot down from the sun, and landed in the meadow adjoining the pool.
Alva Holland – David missed the days when his wastepaper basket overflowed with discarded brainwaves, first drafts and pitches.
Sian Brighal – She called it for love, and her old ocean eyes broke upon wrinkled cheeks.
Arthur Unk – If Tex Mahoney had dragged her a thousand light-years across the universe to die, she would kill him.
Angelique Pacheco – “Your face will stay that way if the wind changes,” I said.
Angelique Pacheco – The rhythmic stamping of feet rises to a crescendo and only the earth beneath his feet hears.
Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar – “I’m going straight to her to propose.” Steve says, red suffusing his close-shaven face.
Liz Elliott – Rebekah stared out the frosted window and saw only a void, with scattered points of light that watched her, unblinking and impassive.
Sal Page – Undead, one of her ears hanging off, a flap of shoulder skin sagging to reveal meat and bone below.
A.J. Walker – The fire flared and Drogon, her grand white horse, wafted her tail wildly and tried to edge upwind of the makeshift camp, finding it difficult with a tangled tether.
JK – The third memory was with her grandpa ten stitches and a told you so later after taking a spill on the cement.
Steph Ellis – Her golden curls tumbled across the pages as she devoured the story within but it left her hungry.
Eloise – The flower grimaced at me with crimson lips.
Stella Turner – It was tethered outside trying to neigh convincingly.
Vicente L Ruiz – She stretched her arm and touched an invisible wall.
Nicolette Stephens – In the desert heat, the alien craft provided shelter and sustenance for hoof-weary beasts.
Bill Engleson – The Banker on Wheels: He was also a bit of a wanker,/ Or so I have been told,/ And that assessment lingers/ As we approach the final road.
Geoff Le Pard – “Yeah. Noted. It was a rebarbative PND.”
Timothy nodded knowingly. “A Person Named David? Tricky one that. What was the filling?”
“Artichoke soup…”
Stephen Shirres – Rebekah watches the black arrowhead rise into the large yellow sun.
Geoff Holme – “One o’ these days, Jedediah, ah’ll cut you up ‘n’ feed yer flesh to the dawgs, you ornery varmint!”
Firdaus Parvez – Grabbing a curly noodle, I hooked it onto the edge of the bowl, pulling myself up.
Eilise Norris – All that corrugated iron propped together like a crumpled shirt for an outhouse.
 

Special Mentions

Bill Engleson – Troy Tipple-The Banker on Wheels

For giving us a song worthy of being sung in a home where the buffalo roam. Even though it didn’t have the Western as one of its elements, the language (“hanker”, “sly”) and rhythm gave it a genuine Western flavor.

 

Alva Holland – Pulp Fiction

For making me feel preemptive nostalgia. Parallel to the nostalgia of pen on paper, there’s a certain visceral satisfaction to crumpling up a page over failure–and now that you mention it, I do miss doing it.

 

 

Honourable / Honorable Mention

Eilise Norris– Untitled

Well-crafted imagery. I felt for the character here, the way the mentions of her domestic life gently reveal longing (the twist of the ring, finally being able to let the walls of her fortress down). Lots going on between the lines, leaving the reader more certain than POV character is that she’ll be trying out “the spaceship” soon.

 

Stella Turner – All That Glitters Isn’t Gold

I laughed out loud over the shape-shifted spaceship trying to convincingly neigh. Vivid language throughout–it was hard to choose my favorite line (A close second was: “the sound of spurs jingling like an orchestra of testosterone”.) I also appreciated the sly reveal of the last line.

 

 

Runner-up

Steph Ellis – Plot Deviation

I am a sucker for retold fairy tales and this one hit the sweet spot. Within the word count, we got seemingly disparate elements and a werewolfen twist on the Goldilocks tail. Loved the allusions to the fairy tale, many of which were smoothly transposed onto a slush pile. This book leaves her hungry, that one’s too hard; the enjoyment of the just-right one is likewise interrupted, but to a more dire ending than the original.

 

And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 100.

 

(insert drumroll here)

 

 

Community Picks

It’s a tie!

John Herbert – More Beans?
100 words
Rebekah / Spaceship / Western

The girl stared at the stack of plates, bean smears already hardening on the enamel.

Across the plains, beyond the undulation of the hills, she could still see the herd’s dust cloud. Geoff had insisted she stay ranch-bound, help the cook, K.M. ‘Droving’s men’s work,’ he’d said.

She sighed, went to pick the plates up when she sensed a stirring in the trees, felt as much as heard a hum of light. A craft hovered above, sleek and bullet-shaped, emitting a beam towards her.

‘Want a lift?’ a voice murmured.

Rebekah nodded and stepped into the light.

 

Alva Holland – Pulp Fiction
100 words
David / Publishing House / Drama

David missed the days when his wastepaper basket overflowed with discarded brainwaves, first drafts and pitches.

Whole manuscripts, opening chapters, synopses, with author insecurities oozing from every bled word, reduced to scrunched-up future-pulp lives.

For posterity, he kept one of the obsolete baskets in the office utility cupboard. In a moment of melancholy, he clicked Print on the latest disaster to hit his screen, watched the reams exit the printer, pulled the basket from the cupboard, balled up the sheets, tossing them one by one into the woven container.

Inexplicably, David began to cry, his tears pulping the discarded paper.

 

Judge’s Pick

Geoff Le Pard – In Which A Possessed Can Of Beans Explodes, Contributing To The Gaiety Of Nations

Yes, one of the bean-tales made it to the top. I couldn’t help thinking of Ghostbusters of the Canning Factory. The dialogue was appropriately snappy and rang true (to the world). I loved how the dialogue interwove shop talk with the task at hand. The result was hilarious. The use of the character element (Person Named ___) as names for the various haunts is brilliant.

294 words
Factory Worker / Your Choice (Unspecified) / Comedy

Timothy whistled. Not much of a tune and no real power but a definite whistle. Lori Perchance opened the Health & Safety box extracting the Rod and the Staff and headed for the shortbread tin. She caught a glimpse of Timothy holding a vibrating can.
“It’s a PNR. Boisterous too,” he hissed as his knuckles whitened.
“What’s in the can?”
“Beans; always causes the little buggers to conflagrate.”
“How long we got?”
Timothy held the can a little closer. “Five minutes.”
“Ok. Push it here.” Lori held the Rod and Staff over the can while Timothy moved a shortbread as close as he dared.
While they waited, Lori said, “Management say they’ll get the exorcists in. The last possession was a turning point.”
“Oh? Careful, the seam is splitting.”
“Yeah. Noted. It was a rebarbative PND.”
Timothy nodded knowingly. “A Person Named David? Tricky one that. What was the filling?”
“Artichoke soup. In under 100 words he evoked a flatulence reflux in the foreman. Poor love; it’s been Bovril and nettle poultices all week.”
The can had begun to dissolve. Lori started to incant while Timothy knelt down and pushed more shortbread at the ooze. In moments a spectral redhead, manically grinning and banshee wailing the Hills of Shenandoah flashed out of the sauce and grabbed a biscuit. Then a second.
Before the banshee could wail them to death, the controlling Rod and the elevating Staff enveloped the PNR. Still smoking and chewing on the shortbread the PNR was dragged away. As she left, Lori called back. “You hear about the Redditch factory? They had a Person Named Geoff last month.”
“Gosh. How’d they deal with him?”
“They let loose a couple of compound gerunds and didn’t know which way to turn. Utterly bemused.”

 

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

RESULTS - Microcosms 101
RESULTS - Microcosms 99
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