Thanks if you submitted a story to Microcosms 106 – especially first-timers Nikky Olivier, Andrea Allison and Gina Headden – or even if you simply voted for your favourite. There were 15 finely-wrought entries this week.
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.
We encourage everyone to reply with a positive comment to any and all of the entries AT ANY TIME: It’s good to have feedback.
MC 105 Judge’s Pick, Kelly Griffiths, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
What I most appreciate from Microcosms is the opportunity to judge and be judged blind. It is more work for the good folks at Microcosms, but it adds credence to a win and allows for stress-free judging.
Often the deciding factor is an accessible storyline. Sometimes with flash, gorgeous images zozzle me, but the whole doesn’t hold together or what’s off the page is too obscure. The more often I judge, the more I’m convinced that understandability trumps cleverness. (Darn…I love to go for clever.)
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Alva Holland – ‘THE film – the one about the handsome rich guy and the who–. Ok better not say that in Economy Plus, the cheap-looking tart who dressed like a who–, god it’s hard being PC on a plane.’
Bill Engleson – “You’ve never been in my bed,” I said with some confidence.
Carin Marais – “Oooh, a new playmate,” she said in a deep, otherworldly voice, and stood in one swift movement.
Andrea Allison – His warm breath on my neck stopped my heart.
Angelique Pacheco – Sheer fear pumped adrenalin into her system, and all her senses were heightened.
Nikky Olivier – She awoke with a groan, lifting her hand to the sticky blood that had run down her temple.
Eloise – Frank got up from his seat, but as he made a move for the cockpit, an air hostess, who filled the aisle sufficiently, stood before him.
Steve Lodge – “…I’ve changed my name to Otis Cochise. I wanted to be less London, more transatlantic.”
A J Walker – You say a few words, someone films, puts it together, maybe puts another soundtrack – even another language on her – and then when the film came out, which could be weeks or months later, she was expected to go out and press the flesh and smile.
Paul Nevin – She plucked the cigarette from her mouth and stubbed it out, fanning the air like a teenager who’s just heard keys in the front door.
Steph Ellis – It skimmed [slimmed?] her figure, was slashed and plunged in all directions, exposed just the right amount of flesh.
Gina Headden – Uttering a simple prayer, she scattered Gloria’s ashes on the breeze, returning her beloved friend to her native soil.
Geoff Le Pard – ‘You can’t act happiness.’
Vicente L Ruiz – She motioned him closer. As he bent, Pablo stared at her hypnotic eyes.
Cassandra Day – The frightened and bedraggled couple stood not far from a huge burning plane wreck.
Honorable / Honourable Mentions
Carin Marais – The Exorcism of CJ
I applauded the scene-building and sheer creativity of this story.
Steve Lodge – Armed in Cochabamba
Funny! A satisfying story, filled out by a memorable character.
Steph Ellis – Complicit
I appreciated all the details. Well-written, memorable imagery (especially those eyes!) and horror tone is spot on. When Lauren licked her “bladed teeth,” I was broadsided, which is always nice.
Bill Engleson – A Flight Quite a Bit East
LOVE the narrator’s response to how safe one’s bed may be. You packed a ton of scene, story, and character in here. And for me, it was the narrator’s voice that made it stand out.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 106.
(insert drumroll here)
Nikky Olivier – Crash and Burn
Hollywood Actress; South America; Drama
She awoke with a groan, lifting her hand to the sticky blood that had run down her temple.
“What happened?” the muttered words barely out before she started registering her surroundings. In growing horror, she took in the broken shell of the small passenger plane, the limp, bloody body of the pilot, her childhood friend and the only reason she would ever consider flying in anything smaller than a 747.
Looking around, she realised that they were in a forest, and felt chilled when she recalled the last conversation they had shared.
“Look out the window.” She recalled the excitement in John’s voice as he got to show her the wonder that was the Amazon from the air. “The largest rainforest in the world…”
AND NOW SHE WAS LOST IN IT!
Visions of venomous snakes and spiders flew through her head as she recalled every bad thing she’d ever seen, read or heard about the rainforest.
Cannibalistic tribes, poisonous frogs, nests of ants that could eat you alive…
She curled into a tighter ball on the remains of her seat, whimpering and close to tears, her bruised, soot-stained face showing her shock…
“CUT! That’s a wrap, people!” The directors voice boomed through the set.
Righting herself and quickly marching off the sound stage, our heroine can be heard muttering, “That’s the last time I sign up for this type of drama.”
Vicente L Ruiz – Time Does Not Heal Everything
I was immediately drawn into this sultry scene. Pablo and the lady live for me. I felt her loneliness. I felt they had a connection right up until her confession (which was a jolt), and yet enjoyed that ambiguity. This polished flash is exemplary of showing, not telling.
Hollywood Actress, South America, Drama
Time Does Not Heal Everything
The lady took a last swig and laid her empty tumbler on the bar. She clinked a finely-manicured nail on it.
“Are you sure, señorita?”
She motioned him closer. As he bent, Pablo stared at her hypnotic eyes.
“I can hold my liquor better than you, Pablo,” she said.
“El cliente siempre tiene la razón,” he said.
“That’s it. I’m always right.”
Seconds later, she was sipping from her new drink.
“Have I ever told you how I came here, Pablo?”
“You’re going to close. Drink with me.”
Pablo nodded and made a sign to the other barman, who nodded back and went to the gate. Then he took a glass and a bottle, and poured himself a shot.
“I was an actress, in Hollywood,” she said.
“Yes. I even had two or three good movies in a row. But, you know… You know all the stories they tell about Hollywood?”
“They’re true. All of them,” she said, and sipped again. “The good, and the bad, and the ones in the middle. All of it.”
“Yes. Wow. Imagine being a young, reckless actress there.”
“You wanna know who’re the worst?”
“The… criminals? Mafia?”
She laughed. A clean, crystalline laughter.
“No, Pablo! The rich. The very rich. The ones who think they can buy everything. And everyone.”
“Oh. Did someone…?”
“I was found… in the company of a certain member of a certain family. In her bed. And they bought me out.”
“I don’t understand…”
“I was paid to disappear,” and she gulped her drink down. “And I took the money. Many years ago.”
Pablo drank in silence, and filled her glass again.
As a single tear streamed down her cheek.
Congratulations, Vicente. As Judge’s Pick, you are invited to judge the next round of Microcosms this coming weekend. Please click HERE to let us know whether or not you are interested!