Microcosms 107

Greetings, everyone, and welcome to Microcosms 107 – at last. Abject apologies for last week’s no-show. We hope it hasn’t put you off and that you will be energised and raring to take on the challenge.

In this round, Steph Ellis has valiantly responded to my last-minute plea for help, and acts as guest host. Take it away, Steph…

This week I have had a wonderful time opening boxes and boxes of books. At the start of this term, I moved out of classroom support and back into the school library.

When I first started working in secondary school, it was as an assistant librarian and then I became a Teaching Assistant. Now, at my current school, I have returned to the library but not just as the librarian: my focus is also on improving student’s literacy. Because our old librarian had been off for some time it meant a lot of the budget hadn’t been spent – but I changed all that!

This brings me to the subject of this week’s post, the world of children’s books and Young Adult (YA) fiction. What were your favourites as a child, what grabbed you as a teen? Today a student asked for something humorous that was a bit more adult than ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ and I gave him ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, one of my precious new books.

I remember reading this when I was 12, and it was the first book that ever made me laugh out loud, the actual phrase which prompted this outburst being a bizarre title for a poem – ‘Ode To A Lump of Green Putty I Found In My Armpit’.  I loved Slartibartfarst too and the squiggly bits of the fjords.

YA Fiction is something I am looking forward to returning to. I read and recommended ‘The Hunger Games’ trilogy before it became a film, promoted ‘The Morganville Vampires’, enjoyed ‘The Maze Runner’ and found the world of writing for teenagers was alive and well.

So for this week’s contest, I invite you into the world of YA Fiction.

For those unsure about the Dark Fantasy genre, it tends to be about glittery vampires, fallen angels or the non-decomposing dead.

The characters are all different ‘types’ of teen you might find in the pages of a YA book.



(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: character, location and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are – character: Arrogant Teen, Location: Rock Concert, and genre: Dark Fantasy.

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, location 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 (if you select [Your Choice], please specify exactly what your choice is) AND a title for your entry – not included in the word count.

  • Isolated Teen
  • Homeless Teen
  • Arrogant Teen
  • Young Carer
  • Addict
  • Young Offender
  • Shopping Mall
  • Rock Concert
  • Cinema
  • Derelict Warehouse
  • Ball
  • Barren Wasteland
  • Dark Fantasy
  • Romance
  • Humour
  • Horror
  • Crime
  • Sci-Fi


Judge’s Pick in MC 106, Vicente L Ruiz, has kindly agreed to act as judge this time round.


Let me reiterate: all submissions should be a maximum of 300 words in length. You have 24 hours until midnight, today (Friday) New York time (EST) to submit.

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

All being well, results will be posted next Monday.

Microcosms 108
Microcosms 106

45 comments for “Microcosms 107

  1. 26 January 2018 at 2:50 am

    Arrogant Teen/ Rock Concert/ Dark Fantasy
    Word count: 300

    Mythos Pathos

    “Imagine “them” picking me.” I smoothed a tuft of hair that had become loose and stuck my hands in my pockets, turning this way then that, making sure that everything was in order so that I would be noticed at the concert.

    It wasn’t just any concert. It was “Mythos” the only concert in the galaxy that was open to all mythical creatures except for humans. I walked proud, head held high, but couldn’t stop my jaw from dropping at the sights around me. Fairies were wearing fins, pretending to be fish. Fish bounced past on their tails, wearing wings. Even Neptune was there looking for his rather slutty daughters who had been grounded the week before. All were make-upped and done-up for the concert. Not all that different from us humans, really.

    The concert was about to begin. A hush fell over the crowd. Cell phones were taken out and began recording. I giggled. Apparently we weren’t the only ones obsessed with technology. A big superhero type security guard made his way to me. “Are you the human with the VIP pass?” I puffed out my chest and nodded. “Come this way.” He said, sounding bored. Whispers began and spread among the crowd. I was noticed to be sure!

    The guard grabbed me around the waist and plopped me on stage. The crowd began to shriek with excitement and I turned around to see the band. They motioned me over and the lead guitarist whispered, “Just go with it.” I smiled. They tied me up, lifted me by the feet and suspended me over a giant vat of water. I could see all cameras were on me. Even Neptune paused and smiled. He tapped his watch with his finger. They lowered me in. All cameras were still on me.


    • Eloise
      26 January 2018 at 10:00 am

      Loved your descriptions and the twist in the tale 🙂


    • Sian Brighal
      28 January 2018 at 10:09 am

      Lovely descriptions. The end seems rather ominous, blinded as she is by the cameras and the atmosphere.


  2. 26 January 2018 at 3:19 am

    300 words
    Isolated Teen; Ball; Sci-Fi

    Danse Macabre

    Lights flickered on in the empty hall. Old Classical music started playing as couples entered through the large doors. Long dresses swished and swayed as a waltz played and the dancers started moving across the polished floor simultaneously.
    Marian watched from the side of the room, her eyes following the dancers. She smoothed a frail hand over the fabric of the now too heavy dress and felt her eyes burn as she watched the dancers turn and sway. With a push of a button the orchestra appeared at the end of the hall – she knew she’d forgotten something. She placed the controller down and slowly walked to the centre of the room as the hologram couples danced around her.
    This had always been her favourite piece of music – one of the old classical pieces from the home planet that was now so far away. It was only fitting she relived her favourite memory on board the ship.
    The taste of the last food ration coated her mouth – some sweet concoction she had kept exactly for this day if help did not come. She wiped at her eyes, leaving behind smeared makeup. Her final entry in the ship’s log had been in her own, shaky voice. Words she had thought about for weeks had evaporated as she spoke and cried into the microphone.
    “Marian Smith, 16,” she said. “I am the last survivor of Eden.” She still wondered if anyone would find the message – if it would maybe reach back even to Earth. It had been too late when they found the carrier of the illness. “They call me Typhoid Mary in the files.” Her voice broke.
    A new song started playing. The couples paused for a second before continuing their dance. Marian closed her eyes and swayed to the music.


    • Eloise
      26 January 2018 at 10:03 am

      Lovely story 🙂


    • Sian Brighal
      28 January 2018 at 10:12 am

      Love that beautiful, romantic start, the lovely descriptions. Really offsets well the tragic and horrific ending.


  3. 26 January 2018 at 8:35 am

    Isolated teen, derelict Warehouse, Horror
    Word count 299

    Into the nightmare

    The floorboards creaked under Tom´s feet as he made his way to the firmer ground of the concrete floor just a few steps away. His knees shook, not just because it felt like the half rotten wood under him could give way any second, also from running from the gang that had been pestering him. He was now trying to find shelter in this godforsaken place.

    There were stories about it, people going missing here, screams heard in the night. Faced with the two choices of being beaten into a pulp by his adversaries and taking his chance with potential monsters, he chose the latter.
    Standing still for a short while, he listened for sounds giving possible chasers away, but the only sound he could catch came from in front of him.

    Heading towards a steel staircase, he drew a deep breath as he realised that it was hanging from the wall on shaky bolts. Against better judgement, he made his way down, hoping to find another way out, far from his tormentors who surely would be waiting outside.
    A movement somewhere, and then; the kind of scream that had been known to echo from the warehouse at night. He moved towards the door, no longer quite attached to its hinges, and looked in.

    Tom could never have anticipated the sight that met him. In the middle of the room, a table on which a human was strapped, woman or man was no longer possible to tell. Hunched over it, with a knife in its hand, ready to carve away, was more of a being than a man of any kind Tom had ever seen. As Tom tried to backtrack towards the door, he knocked over metal tray loaded with instruments. The being turned around and looked at him..


    • Sian Brighal
      28 January 2018 at 10:15 am

      That tension increases throughout, and there’s an ever present dread from all angles: behind, up ahead and where he is. Got to feel sorry for him. Great ending.


  4. 26 January 2018 at 8:55 am

    Arthur Unk
    Twitter: @ArthurUnkTweets
    Web: http://www.arthurunk.com
    Word Count: 240
    Theme: Arrogant Teen, Rock Concert, Dark Fantasy
    Title: Reign in Blood

    Sam stood on one side of the wall of death, Ben on the other. An outsider would think this to be a macabre version of Red Rover Red Rover. The end result was always the same, someone was going to get hurt. The first notes of Reign in Blood from the guitar of Kerry King hit with hurricane strength. The two sides of the wall transformed into crazed Viking warriors and they charged into battle. Each side demonstrated ferocity with the tempo and rhythm of the song. Fists flew. Heads banged. Blood poured. Sam and Ben survived the first wave and joined the whirlpool of bodies that formed soon after. Each one sought victory over the others who were battling this day. Ben was the first to fall. He thought himself invincible whilst the music occupied all five of his senses. The press of bodies all around triggered his asthma and reality. He faded out of consciousness with a smile on his face. Sam continued the fight with renewed vigor. A pause between songs gave him a second wind and a chance to celebrate victory among his veterans of the pit. The second song began and the battlefield came alive once more to be bathed in sweat and blood. They were united one and all under the influence of the music and it was glorious.


    • Eloise
      26 January 2018 at 10:10 am

      Interesting story. Sounded like you were writing about a moshpit. I really liked this descriptive phrase “with hurricane strength”.


    • 26 January 2018 at 10:44 am

      Love the descriptiveness of the piece. It really carries the whole tone and heightened aggression of a mosh.


    • 26 January 2018 at 4:51 pm

      It’s loosely based on the first time I saw Slayer in concert. I thought I was young, invincible. Alas, I got a black eye and several bruised ribs. 10 out of 10 would do again 🙂


    • Sian Brighal
      28 January 2018 at 10:19 am

      Excellent story with potent imagery. It’s visceral and bloody. Goes right to the hindbrain.


  5. Eloise
    26 January 2018 at 9:58 am

    Old love ignited
    Word count: 275
    Young carer/ Cinema/ Sci-fi

    Steve was a carer of souls. He worked at the Olive Branch retirement home. His job. Entertainment. He loved the new cinema that was donated by Mr Cash in his will. It had the latest cinematic technology available. The best thing was the virtual reality(VR) devices. He had donated 10. They would take you to another dimension.

    One day, Steve was setting up the cinema. He was excited to try the VR devices. The company had said that it would take the user to another dimension they just needed to think about it. Steve greeted the occupants of Olive Branch.
    “Hi Mr Grum, welcome”
    “Hi sonny. What new fandangled contraption do you have for us today?”
    “VR devices sir.”
    “VR devices?” smirked Grum.
    “Yes, they make you part of your own movie, Mr Grum”.
    Mr Grum hmmphed. He shuffled to his chair. He laid his walking stick on the ground and flipped up the end of his chair. “OK. I am ready for the VR device”.
    Steve contacted Mr Grum to the device. “Which type of movie would you like to see Mr Grum? We have war, romance, action?”
    “Yes, sonny boy. I wasn’t always a grumpy old man.”
    Steve loaded the romance movie. Mr Grum lay very still. Then Steve watched as his hand stretched out and gently stroked the air. He saw tears slide of the old man’s creased cheek. Suddenly there was yell. “NO! Don’t leave me again! No this time I come with you”. Mr Grum’s body slumped. Steve rushed over. He felt Mr Grum’s throat. There was no pulse. He had returned to his love.


  6. 26 January 2018 at 10:41 am

    Arrogant teen/ Rock concert/ Dark fantasy

    Word Count: 296

    Seattle slaughter

    Seattle Times Headline – Saturday, August 22, 2015
    The Raven Lunatics sweeping world tour has reached our shores at last. The teens have taken the world by storm since appearing on the music scene only a few short months ago with their no.1 single, Bleed Out.
    Their short career has already been plagued with controversy, with parents, religious-rights groups and schools up in arms over their alleged vampire-like habits.
    It is rumoured that the teenage foursome are using the band as a front to lure unsuspecting victims to their deaths, a rumour that is fuelled by a string of disappearances.
    A source inside the investigation is quoted as saying: “At this point, there are several leads we are following, but none of the evidence can be linked to the band, The Raven Lunatics.”
    But, while speculation is rife, it has not stopped thousands of Seattle teens from flocking to the City Theatre tonight.

    Seattle Times Headline – Monday, August 24, 2015
    Thousands are in mourning today as the news broke in the early hours that the teen rock band, The Raven Lunatics, were found dead in their hotel room.
    Mrs Consuela Hernandez, who discovered the gruesome scene, is noted as saying that each member of the band was found with a wooden stake through the heart.
    The most baffling aspect of the whole scene however, is the matter of the several female fans that were found, deceased and drained of blood.
    Investigators are currently interested in locating two individuals who were seen entering the victims hotel room, they are Mr Eric Brooks (a.k.a. Blade) and miss Vanessa Helsing. The two are rumoured to be working together as a team of supposed “vampire hunters”.
    The investigation is on-going.


    • 26 January 2018 at 4:52 pm

      Always good to have a follow up in the same story. Bravo!


    • Sian Brighal
      28 January 2018 at 10:25 am

      Excellent presentation…the newspaper reports. Allows for a very engaging tone. Great story.


  7. Alva Holland
    26 January 2018 at 11:46 am

    Alva Holland
    296 words
    Arrogant Teen/Barren Wasteland/Humour (went with humour because story didn’t remotely fit into any other genre)

    Growing Up

    ‘I’m going out! Don’t look for me. Don’t call me. I don’t need you guys.’
    ‘What did we do now?’
    ‘Nothing more than we didn’t do yesterday or the day before. Leave him be, he’ll come round.’
    ‘You sure he’ll be ok out there.’
    ‘He’ll be fine, come back when he’s hungry. They all do.’


    ‘C’mon ya stubborn sod, what the hell’s the matter? I’m here now amn’t I? Impossible to get away from those two, always fussing, doubting me, wondering what I’m up to. Out here is the only place I can breathe. I’ve followed all the instructions, did exactly what it said on the box, why aren’t you doing anything? It’s bloody freezing out here. Not even sure why I’m doing this. Oh, fine then, be like that. I’ll be back tomorrow.

    ‘Mornin’ son, where’re you off to today? Didn’t hear you comin’ in last night. That was a late one. Try to keep the music down early hours eh, you know your mother and her headaches.’

    ‘Mind your own. I’m going out.’


    ‘I’m here again and you’re still not doing anything. It rained last night. That should have helped. It’s time now. I really need you to show up. I’m running out of reasons to be out. Hey, omigod, I see you, you’re the tiniest tip of a thing but you’re there. Lemme get the box. Yeah, it says green tips will show first. Hey, well done. I’m proud of you. No, I’m proud of me. That’ll show ‘em. They know nothing. I knew I’d get something to grow here. Barren wasteland they said. They think they know everything. I’m gonna do this and I’m gonna do it right. Damn them.

    ‘Hey, son.’

    ‘Hey, Dad. You know what. There’s this thing.’


    • Sian Brighal
      28 January 2018 at 10:29 am

      Lovely story. Great writing to inspire surly mystery leading up to that revelation. It’s a lovely image in so many ways.


      • Alva Holland
        28 January 2018 at 12:40 pm

        Thanks so much, Sian. You read the intention exactly.


  8. 26 January 2018 at 11:54 am

    300 (thousand? Words simply can’t explain)
    Arrogant teen; rock concert; humour, with a slight tough of crime


    Would Stock?

    This then is it. Don’t bloody know how it came to be. I’m flashing my fine thumb in a thunderstorm out on the super highway entrance, trying to get home before I become some drowned ratface slickster. None of the moms and pops in sensible Minivans or the cavalcade of grand mamma’s and grand pappy’s in Silver and Gold SUV’s are giving me a glance from their old yellow eyeballs.

    Now I’m looking button-downed, being high-end private school material and all so this momentary misfortune of having to beg these lesser is embarrassing.

    And not very successful.

    Anyway, some ancient flower-splattered VW bus comes tootling along and I can see it has two relic hippies smiling like the world’s a happy place. Apparently, they are wrinkled representatives of the two least interesting sexes, and both well past their prime. Just my luck they’re the ones who pull over.

    I almost shoo them along, but I take pity.

    I climb in the back with a goat and a dog, or maybe it was two goats.

    One of the oldsters then says, “Boot it, Starshine,” and the VW Bus starts speeding like a rocket. The other one says, “We’ll make ‘er this time, babe. We’ve got youth in the back. Right kiddo?”

    I start reaching for the door. I’m ready to bail.

    That’s when it happens. Something smacks my brain. One of the ancient’s yells, “holy, Toledo, it’s happening, Mama.”

    Then it’s crazy topsy-turvy. We flip over a barrier and crash into a gully.

    Only me and the goats survive.

    On the stretcher, I hear, “another time-zone buffering, Woodstock fantasy kidnapping, eh Sammy?”

    “Frigging epidemic. Third one this month. Old Hippies who never went to Woodstock…Sad to see.”

    Me, you ask?

    The folks buy me an electric car.

    I retire my thumb.


  9. steve lodge
    26 January 2018 at 12:03 pm

    Because The Night
    by Steve Lodge
    275 words
    Homeless teen/cinema/crime

    There were a few of them, actually. Homeless, but lived in this derelict cinema on Hendricks Road. Some hustled at the railway station , others swiped food from the little stores. I only knew one of them by name. Jimmy Fallon. He’d come down from Glasgow after another belting from his dad. Thought he’d get a job down here. Well that wasn’t easy. Dossing anywhere he could. Helped out at The Throbbing Buttock at chucking out time, but the landlord caught him dipping his hand in the till. Gave him another belting. Fallon often joined us when we were interviewed by the police. Local cops got to calling him Felon.

    He played in our band for a while. I’ve told you about The Strange Band before, right? He could belt out a song. Unreliable, see. Often on the afternoon before a gig we’d have to go looking for him, and there he’d be in that old cinema asleep cuddling a 2 litre plastic bottle of cheap beer he’d probably nicked from Burki’s down the Whitechapel Road. We tried to dry him out. He even stayed on the sofa of our drummer, Keefy, for a while. Just to get him a bit straight, like, but he was always ducking out and sometimes we’d find him after he’d taken a right beating.

    Then we heard he’d got involved with a dangerous sort down Bethnal Green. No one knew the guys name but people called him Baron Wasteland. We lost touch after that. Someone told us, it may have been Alfie, that they’d found Jimmy’s body in that old cinema the night of the shoot-out at The Statellite Club.


    • Sian Brighal
      28 January 2018 at 10:32 am

      Poignant piece. Beautiful writing. Even though the overall ending was hinted at, it still got me.


  10. 26 January 2018 at 1:23 pm

    For the record, I made some edits.

    300 (thousand? Words simply can’t explain)
    Arrogant teen; rock concert; humour, with a slight touch of crime

    Would Stock?

    This then is it. Don’t bloody know how it came to be. I’m flashing my fine thumb in a thunderstorm out on the super highway entrance, trying to get home before I become some drowned ratface slickster. None of the moms and pops in sensible Minivans or the cavalcade of grand mamma’s and grand pappy’s in Silver and Gold SUV’s are giving me a glance from their old yellow eyeballs.

    Now, I’m looking button-downed, being high-end private school material and all, so this momentary misfortune of having to beg these lesser types is embarrassing.

    And not very successful.

    Anyway, some ancient flower-splattered VW bus comes tootling along. I can see it has two relic hippies smiling like the worlds a happy place. Apparently they are wrinkled representatives of the two least interesting sexes, and both well past their prime. Just my luck they’re the ones who pull over. I almost shoo them along, but I take pity.

    I climb in the back with a goat and a dog, or maybe it was two goats.

    One of the oldsters then says, “Boot it, Starshine,” and the VW Bus starts speeding like a rocket. The other one says, “We’ll make ‘er this time, babe. We’ve got youth in the back. Right kiddo?”

    I start reaching for the door. I’m ready to bail.

    That’s when it happens. Something smacks my brain. One of the ancients’ yells, “Holy, Toledo, it’s happening, Mama.”

    Then it’s crazy topsy-turvy. We flip over a barrier and crash into a gully.

    Only me and the goats survive.

    On the stretcher, I hear, “another time-zone buffering, Woodstock fantasy kidnapping, eh Sammy?”

    “Frigging epidemic. Third one this month. Old Hippies who never went to Woodstock…Sad to see.”

    Me, you ask?

    The folks buy me an electric car.

    I retire my thumb.


    • 27 January 2018 at 8:01 am

      For the record, Bill, it’s always the best policy to ask the administrator to make amendments, rather than creating a new entry; or, if the the changes are extensive, add the new version as a comment to the original, and I will use that to replace the original entry and delete your comment containing the new version… Even I’m getting confused with this explanation!
      At the time of writing this comment, you have 3 votes for your original version and 2 votes for this amended version! There is no way to discover whether these are 5 separate votes, or two people voting again for the the new version, or some other combination, otherwise I would delete the original entry and try to adjust the votes accordingly.
      As it stands, people reading through the entries to cast a vote may vote for your original version before discovering the amended one. They may decide to vote for the amended version as well … or not!
      Thus you are potentially diluting your votes towards the Community Pick award.
      (I’ll amend the original to add a note that it has been superceded by this version.)


      • 27 January 2018 at 1:00 pm

        Thanks Geoff,

        I will suffer the consequences in silence, and await my fate. Nature has punished me with a sloping driveway of unexpected snow. My shovel, or my slothful inclination, awaits.


    • Sian Brighal
      28 January 2018 at 10:38 am

      Fascinating concept and story. I really like the easy flow of his musings, and his tone of voice really enhanced the story. Love the descriptions of the would-be drivers and the hippies.


  11. 26 January 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Getting In Isn’t The Difficult Part
    Arrogant Teen: Rock Concert: Horror
    @geofflepard 300 words
    ‘Where have you been?” Strang bit his lip, slurping noisily.
    ‘Haven’t you eaten?’
    ‘I am eating. Have you got the tickets?’
    Boid waved the stubs in Strang’s dripping face. ‘We’re going to see Type A and your spleen will eeeexperloooode, man.’
    Strang checked the tickets and grimaced. ‘Man, these are for the spectres’ pit not the solids section.’
    ‘Chill, bro.’ Boid wiped blood off his friend’s chin with a swish of his tongue. ‘You taste good, dude. I know a man who knows that Banshee on the door. She used to scream for my mum – Tuesdays – when the house needed exorcising. She still thinks I’m cute. She’ll slip us into the VIP-Zoms section.’ He picked at Strang’s face. ‘You’re clotting, bro.’
    ‘No one is letting teen-vamps in with Zoms. You’re mental.’
    Boid refluffed hair. ‘I’m killing, man. Nothing’s stopping us. Front seats, transfusions on tap, and a light show that will melt your face. You wait.’
    Strang felt wired; he chewed his bicep nervously as they approached the Spirit on the door. She nodded at Boid. ‘Your dad said you’d be here. Through there.’
    Boid strutted ahead with a still disbelieving Strang behind. ‘You did it! Amaz…’
    Strang’s eyes shrank and slipped out of their sockets as he entered behind Boid. This was no Zom section; this was the Pit and a multitude of horrendous poltergeists, undead and other unwordly ghouls turned on them. ‘Oh man, we shouldn’t be here.’
    But Boid was already being absorbed by a bipedal apparition. The only thing suggesting he was still Boid was his eyes. Strang sighed. In moments he too would be haunted and made to dance and scream and generally become an embarrassment, courtesy of his parasitic spook. If any of their crew saw them, then they’re dead. In every sense.


    • Sian Brighal
      28 January 2018 at 10:42 am

      This is great! I really liked the language and accent of the two zombies and how they interacted, and the whole idea of the undead nightclub is brill!


  12. NC
    26 January 2018 at 2:18 pm

    Third Time’s a Charm
    by Nancy Chenier
    298 words
    Isolated Teen/Shopping Mall/Dark Fantasy

    The first time you promised me eternal life, it was next to the kiosks (two-for-one sale on sunglasses). I couldn’t tell if it was a pick up line or not. I haven’t been on the receiving end of flirting enough for comparison. Romance novelists spend lots of words on eyes like yours. My blushing reflection stood alone in mirrored lenses. I scowled, hugged my books into my chest, and hurried toward the food-court crowds.

    The second time, it was in front of the Body Care shop. You caught me by the hand. The scent of fake pomegranate wafted into the atrium. You would welcome me into your eternal clan, you assured me. A ready-made family to replace the indifferent one I was born into. Judging by the cool disinterest of your wingman, I suspected the clan not much of an improvement. I pulled away, but my palm tingled for a week.

    The third time, it was outside the cinema. The marquee boasting coming-soons washed the side of your face in scarlet light. Some remake of a Grimm tale. Your breath spread warmth across my cheek. I let you lead me into the darkness of the theater. Way in the back, where the screen was incidental as a lava lamp, you burned my lips with a first kiss. I wondered how often you’d used this script. Solitary teen, longing for significance in a mundane world. Movie explosions drowned out my sigh as you slid a claw down my neck. Drowned out the pistol shot, too. A silver-coated sliver of a projectile lodged in your heart.

    I gazed into those romance-novel eyes and whispered thank you.

    My black clothes hiding the stains, I slipped out the emergency exit with the confidence of a girl who knows her significance in the world.


    • Sian Brighal
      28 January 2018 at 10:46 am

      Excellent! Love the details and descriptions. Was there some significance in three encounters before the end…or was that just coincidence? It felt when reading that there was some purpose to the waiting.


  13. 26 January 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Marsha Adams
    Twitter: @marshawritesmut
    Word count: 299
    Arrogant teen, Rock concert, Dark fantasy

    ‘King Nothing’

    “You don’t get to be King Tut without knowing how to party, kid.”

    ‘King Tut’, like we weren’t friends since elementary school and I don’t know his name’s Simon. Like we could party at all without me. I maintain the generator, I keep the lights on, I run the juice to the amps, I make sure the strays can plug in their guitars. This is my show. Sure, His Majesty and the rest of the team took the mall but it’s me that makes everything possible. I keep the night out.

    The shows were his idea, though. No way I’d have come up with it, I’m ‘weak’ according to Simon. He isn’t. He’s ruthless. It’s a big mall, there’s plenty of food, but it won’t last forever so he chooses. If strays make it here, they get let in but Simon decides who stays. The rest get thrown back into the dark, back to whatever hole they crawled out of. I tried telling him we’re just handing over recruits to the ghouls but he thinks this place is a fortress.

    He’s got one rule: if you want to stay, you have to play. Simon’s a Metallica fan so that’s what we get. Every night. It’s surprising how fast people can learn new songs if their lives depend on it. Tonight’s band is four of the group that came in this morning. All musicians, they said. The couple at least hold their guitars like they’ve held one before. There’s some old lady on drums, looking like she knows she’s leaving. And a super hot girl on bass; I really hope she can play it. Or at least fake it good.

    They’re awful. Even her. Especially her. She gets to stay anyway. Simon’s happy and nothing else matters.


    • Sian Brighal
      28 January 2018 at 10:51 am

      Great read! Love that despairing henchman lament.


  14. A.J. Walker
    26 January 2018 at 4:19 pm

    The Chosen One
    A.J. Walker

    When the lights faded completely Sass became invisible in her black skirt and blouse, with her long black hair and her matte black make-up. Her first gig and she was loving it. The first thing that glinted when the lights began to pulse were her glossy black nails; her one concession to glamour. Cheryl – the self-elected Goth in Chief – always looked down on Sass for that varnish. ‘Matte, it needs to be matte. You’re not trying to attract boys.’

    ‘It’s still black,’ said Sass, painfully aware she wasn’t going to win.

    Sass liked all the other girls, they exuded perfectly their practiced air of being different – though she admitted privately that it was odd to be in such a supportive group trying so hard to look like they didn’t belong – but Cheryl, she was an arrogant bitch. Sass was sure she spent hours trying to look effortlessly perfect. To be fair she was good looking. She could probably lord it with the in-crowd rather than hanging about with them. Sass wished she would.

    The Glamps came on to a death march before launching into her favourite song: ‘The Night They Drowned Old Pixie Brown.’ She wasn’t sure if they really were Vampires, but they were Glamorous.

    Her girls danced like they weren’t being watched; most of them weren’t.

    Sass was excited when Del announced during the encore that they always chose someone to come on stage at the end. She almost swooned when he looked towards her, but then he pointed at Cheryl!

    The bitch looked back at them as she walked up, as if to say “well of course it’s me.”

    As the encore crescendoed and Cheryl’s neck was used like a deep red water fountain Sass conceded that The Glamps had chosen the right girl.

    WC: 300
    Arrogant Teen/ Rock Gig/ Dark Fantasy


  15. 26 January 2018 at 5:36 pm

    287 words
    Arrogant Teen; Rock Concert; Horror

    Fürchtet Euch

    He saw them looking. Eyes flicking in his direction. Small smiles. Wanting to be noticed, to become the One. Jay suppressed a self-satisfied smirk. Attention was a small price to pay for a free ticket to see his favourite band; the girls had invited him. He didn’t notice Fran standing at the back of the group. He certainly didn’t remember how he’d humiliated her, the pretend date, the shared photos of her alone at the diner. His attention was on the stage. The countdown began.
    Jay watched the lead singer, noted moves he could copy.
    Fran moved closer.
    Torches flamed against the backdrop. Jay ignored those around him.
    Fran took another the step. The girls around her followed, giggling. A coven.
    The drums rolled thunder, drew him in further. Jay was the lead singer, the girls his backing band.
    They were behind him now.
    Flame erupted from keyboards, guitars, drums.
    The girls fanned out around him.
    No longer present, Jay allowed the pounding metal to take him away from everything.
    Fran whispered something in his ear.
    Jay felt a light fluttering at his cheek. Ignored it.
    The circle was complete. Fran spoke and the others responded. Call and response, each time with fire as their backdrop.
    Fire soared over the crowd. Jay looked on in awe.
    Fran ignited her own flame.
    Guitars scraped through him, their jagged edge commanding his attention.
    The coven took Fran’s fire, spread it between them.
    On stage, glittery embers started to shower down from above. Jay yearned to be up there, absorbed by flame.
    Fran read his mind. Saw his dreams. She was only too happy to comply, to fulfil his wish.


  16. 26 January 2018 at 5:39 pm

    Susi J Smith
    Twitter: @Susi_Moff
    Word Count: 300
    Spinner Selection: Addict / Derelict Warehouse / Genre: Humour

    The Purchase:

    I rub my arm, picking the scabs.

    Terry laughs. His crooked yellow teeth harbour an impressive collection of corn and spinach. Maybe it’s green beans. I’m not planning on checking. Well, not unless it’ll give me what I want. What I need.

    “You got it or not?” Blood slithers down my arm.

    “Not on me. I’ll meet you at the derelict warehouse tomorrow.”

    I nod. “What’ll it cost me?”

    “10 large.”

    “What! I can’t get that.”

    Terry shrugs. “If you don’t want it-“

    “No, I’ll get it…somehow.”

    Terry grins. It’s green beans, definitely green beans. At the corner of his mouth I can make out a piece of carrot. I am never getting braces.

    The night passes quickly as I beg my way to the target. I now owe my kid sister three months allowance, and Ruth my babysitter three packs of smokes and a cover story to allow her to go make out with her boyfriend. Not to mention all the extra homework I’ve got to do over the next year.

    By midnight have the 10 large and am thankful that my mum has no interest in me. She thought I was in the bathroom all that time; she spent an hour walking around spraying air freshener while holding her nose and scowling.

    I meet Terry at two. My arms now covered in unraveling bandages. Maybe Brown Owl was right to withhold my first aid badge. Wish I’d known that before I set fire to her house.

    Terry stands leaning against the derelict warehouse, hands deep in his pockets. I hand over my scruffy carrier bag. He checks over his haul then heads for a crate in the corner. It seems like hours and then I have it; a first edition Pokemon, and all for just ten large Hatchimals.


  17. 26 January 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Vampires Don’t
    by @The_Red_Fleece
    A 291 word Dark Fantasy tale about an Arrogant Teen at a Rock Concert.

    The stage flashes into life. Four black haired, corpse skinny boy-men stand in front of microphones. Guitars hang from their thin shoulders. Behind them a mirror image sits at a drum set.
    “We are The Vampire Lovers,” one of them mouths into his microphone. 
    The teen beside me bashes me in the ribs. “They are the modern vampires.”
    My raised eyebrow disappears in the concert’s darkness. They all have the same moon white skin but none of them has the presence of a vampire.
    “They have everything you could want from a vampire without the boring stuff from last century. The best Vampire rock band in the business!” They are more metal than rock. The band’s screaming distorts into the bass. Still vampire rock? His words are as offense as the cross. Words I want to back away from. Hiss at. 
    “They catch the vampire’s sparkle brilliantly.”
    The teen laughs. “I mean their skin.”
    I look and see the horror. The stage light show creates a night time of stars across their skin. Vampires, even modern ones, don’t sparkle. The hiss starts inside me. The offense aimed at a people. I promised I wouldn’t tonight but sparkles destroy my control. The band is too far away. he isn’t.
    I smile and flick my head to the side. He follows the way humanity has always followed, with bounce and excitement. Outside I guide him past the poison puffers to a corner of darkness. A kiss of his lips, his cheek, his neck. My teeth bite in, blood smears them red.
    I drop him from my grip. Let the concrete take away his fight. Make him easier to feed off.
    The final thing he hears, “We don’t sparkle!” 


  18. Michael Pickard
    26 January 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Starting out
    Arrogant teen / Rock concert / Dark fantasy
    (297 words)

    As the lights dimmed and the band took to the stage, a hooded figure entered the hall. Red and blue spotlights lit up the crowd as anticipation was replaced by excitement as the heavy rhythm of thrash metal spilled out of the speakers dotted around the venue. The man stood at the back of the room, furthest from the stage. Dark eyes and pale skin peeked out from behind his black hood as he scanned the room, looking for his contact. When their eyes met across the hall, he put his hands in his jacket pockets and began to weave slowly through the crowds, the oblivious dancers parting unconsciously to allow him to pass.

    When he reached the side of the hall, standing next to the only person he recognised, he turned to survey the crowd. At times the throng appeared to move as one, heads rising up and down in unison, long hair waving back and forth towards the stage from where the pulsating soundtrack originated.

    “When does it begin?”

    “There’s a signal. You’ll know it when you see it.”

    He hadn’t noticed it at first but looking beyond the audience to the edges of the rectangular hallway, the room was now lined with people all wearing black, hoods up, faces hidden by the loose material concealing their features. Until now, he hadn’t wanted to face the truth about who he really was, scared of being alone and isolated, an outcast. Now he realised the truth, that he was one of many and that his power was untold, unlimited. He felt unstoppable.

    Then it came. The lights went down, pitching the room into complete darkness. The stewards surrounding the room withdrew their hoods, ivory white fangs forming in the corners of their mouths. The feast began.


  19. Sian Brighal
    26 January 2018 at 9:27 pm

    Sian Brighal
    265 words
    Isolated Teenager / Shopping Mall / Dark Fantasy

    Personal Shopper

    Things like to fit in. Everything has its place, its niche, and strives to occupy that place for as long and as well as it can. Humans play around with idea, take it to new heights, have bred greed and envy, despair and artificial enrichment in this pursuit…whole new areas of emotional pressure and personal affirmation. She liked to think she was above all that, but no. Times like this, she despaired of being a teenager. The pressure to fit in was self-inflicted…unnecessary, but fit in, she must! This was more than just dying to find the right outfit.

    Window shopping was fine; so many juicy things were to be found in the shopping centre, and she invariably found something that caught her eye and whetted her appetite. But clothes…well, that was problematic. She could never tell what looked good on her. She valued a second a pair of eyes, someone to help her decide.

    Her helper today was being most helpful, her form and face so like her own. Currently in one of the changing rooms, she was half-in and half-out of some very skinny jeans, her breath coming in short bursts as she tugged them on. So nice of her to do all the legwork. When done, she looked in the mirror and gave a slow spin.

    In the food court, the teenaged creature nodded appreciatively: the whole ensemble was perfect, from the jeans to the t-shirt to the long neck. She’d take the lot! Clothes shopping was always so much better and more satisfying with a personal shopper when you were a vampire.


  20. Cassandra
    26 January 2018 at 10:09 pm

    274 words
    Young Offender; Ball; Romance

    Window to my Heart

    Light from the chandelier glinted off the swirling finery of the dancing men and women. The ladies dressed head to toe in cascading frou-frou, the gentlemen were debonair in their waistcoats and cravats. A sigh escaped my lips, fogging the window pane. Hastily, I pulled my tattered sleeve and wiped the glass, widening my eyes in an attempt to see better. As I pushed my forehead to the glass she came into view: she was tall, graceful, and dark curls tumbled down onto the porcelain skin of her bare shoulders. Sarah Philips was every bit a high-born lady of quality. Mother told me to stay away from her, low class boys of ten and five have no business drooling over rich ladies. But the whole power of my being drew me to her side. Nothing could keep me from her; no danger, no tradition, no castle could hinder my love. I drew sudden strength from my passion and jumped away from the window. I must do something to prove my love and worthiness. I picked up a rock, cold and smooth in my determined hands. My heart trembled with the thought of seeing her face. I raised my arm over my head and heaved the rock with all my might. The sound of breaking glass pierced into the night’s heavy stillness. I stood stunned for a moment, my hopeful upturned face staring at the window. A commotion stirred from within; the ladies shrieked as astonished lords and ladies rushed to the window. With sudden fear I took to my heels and fled into the night. Will she ever know the depths of my affection?


  21. Minhee H.
    29 January 2018 at 2:34 am

    285 words
    Isolated teenager, Isolated teen, derelict warehouse, horror.
    The Night I Committed Suicide

    I closed my eyes and puffed at my cigar. The black smoke inflated, and I inhaled it, letting its heavy metallic scent fill my lungs.

    Slowly, I walked into the warehouse. It was empty and rundown – barely more than a ruin. It had been abandoned and forgotten a long time ago.
    A bit like me.
    This was the perfect place. Nobody could find me. Nobody went here.

    What if I regretted this? What if I was just being overdramatic and this was just something all teenagers went through?

    My heart began to pulse faster, and I felt my fingers dampen with sweat.
    Calm down, Emily.
    I relighted my cigar and took a big puff. It immediately calmed me.

    It’s okay. I had nobody and nothing to live for. My parents had both died in the car crash when I was thirteen. I had no living relatives, and my only home was the orphanage. I had no money, and after my parent’s death had stopped going to school. I had no friends – I was ugly and twisted. Who could blame me, looking at my past? I was bullied – everybody, even the orphanage workers, hated me.

    There was no future for me. I had been abandoned by every single foster parent I ever had. On my eighteenth birthday, the orphanage workers would kick me out, and I’d be alone, with no money, no family, nothing, forced to live on the streets and beg for food, like so many other orphans.

    I took the bottle from my pocket. It was deadly – I knew it. It would kill me in seconds with just one sip.

    I removed the cork.
    I closed my eyes.
    This was the moment.

    I drunk.


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