Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 113. We had a goodly 22 entries this time. Welcome to first-time entrant Michelle Way DaSilva.
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 112 Judge’s Pick, Angelique Pacheco, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest.
(My bulging spreadsheet of Microcosms statistics tells me that, since her very first submission — way back in round 42 — Angelique has been an entrant in every single Contest round before this week’s, except for round 72; but that was the first time she acted as judge, having been awarded Community Pick the week before. A phenomenal achievement!)
Here’s what she had to say:
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to judge this week. Last week was my first “Judge’s Pick” win, and I was thrilled.
The stories this week were all of a high standard, and you pretty much made my life hell — thanks for that! I was impressed, to say the least, and a little intimidated. Bien fait à tous! Alors! Let’s get on with it!
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – My lonely old fossils, each one.
Nthato Morakabi – Human passions tend to burrow deeper for men of the cloth.
Vicente L Ruiz – The monk stopped by a wooden door studded with large nails, and produced a skeleton key from within the folds of his cassock.
Marsha Adams – She looked Mary in the eye, trying not to think about how the blue reminded her of the Aegean; of Anoxos; of being nineteen; of finding Melina; of finding herself.
Nikki Olivier – As I write this to you, my child, I understand that my broken body and beaten spirit will not survive the birth.
Paul Nevin – And too young, for here and for her.
Steve Lodge – The look of a gypsy king about him, though he couldn’t play a note.
Arthur Unk – Dusty tomes surrounded him as he toiled through the fragile pages.
Justin J. – With meat on her bones?
Tim Hayes – This rivalry had been fuelled by the intense fossil-finding competition between the two men that had become known as the Bone Wars.
Andrea Allison – The grumbles fill my stomach more and more these days but not enough to silence my poisoned thoughts.
Helen Buckroyd – ‘We’re at the arse-end of nowhere.
Geoff Le Pard – With a deliberation that characterised her life, she swallowed each gem and pill in turn.
Ted Young – At the great door, he fell weeping to his knees…the power of love, the spirit of loyalty, and the emptiness of separation had driven him back to his God.
Sal Page -I open my bag and take out full-fat milk, a crusty tiger loaf, a block of butter and a jar of chocolate spread.
Harrietbelle – Opening his hand he saw a small tattered star shape with the faded word ‘Jude’ written in black.
Nicolette Stephens – He leaned closer to whisper, and my heart skipped a beat.
Steph Ellis – A car revved in the distance, a muffled roar growing louder as it neared him, a desert lion ready to pounce although, in this case, the mouse was already dead.
Cassandra – The Father smiled as he drew the young man in to dress his wounds.
Caleb Echterling – Her hands mimicked the gratuitous stylings of a The Price Is Right model to deflect attention to a stack of disheveled National Geographic magazines — some sporting covers, some not.
Michelle Way DaSilva – As I drank the last of my crappy coffee, its bitterness reinforced my mood.
Jessica Franken – But the bones will tell us the truth.
Andrea Allison – She Took My Anorexia Away
A good twist, having a man suffering from anorexia.
Geoff Le Pard – Pearls Aren’t the Only Way to Wisdom
A well-told war story. I love strong old birds who want to go out on their terms.
Harrietbelle – Sanctuary
A lovely tale of a monk’s quest to do the right thing despite the fear of the cost if he were to be found out.
Michelle Way DaSilva – The Cruelest Disease
Great imagery in this tale. The sadness and futility were evident in the entire passage.
Bill Engleson – Back in the Daze, I was Quite Something – The Carl Mumford/Karl Heime Case
I love the title of this piece. This story is told mainly through dialogue which – I’m sure everyone will agree with me – is pretty hard to do. The story left me wanting more and had the great beginnings of a mystery novel.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 113.
(insert drumroll here)
Sal Page – You Must See It
Anorexic; University; Tragedy
‘You’ve lost more, Mum. You look really slim.’
Despite three t-shirts and two baggy jumpers, Emily’s shivering. I’d meant to visit earlier but, what with work and the kids, I’d been too busy. I’d thought she’d be fine going off to uni. But it was back. Like in year ten. The layered clothing didn’t fool me. The shivering, shadows under her eyes, bony wrists and sunken cheeks. And she was telling me I looked slim.
I’d lost six stone altogether. It was weird. Some days I could see it, other days I looked as fat as ever.
Emily’s friend had called; said she’d stopped going to seminars, wasn’t eating, spent all day in bed. I look in her cupboard; a tin of spaghetti, a bag of wrinkled apples. I drag her to her feet. She feels barely there. I’m scared I’ll break her. Before she left for uni, she must’ve been nearly nine stone. But had I missed the signs then?
I open the wardrobe door to reveal a full-length mirror.
‘Look at us together. I’ve lost six stone, Em. I reckon that’s what you weigh. You say I look slim. I’m still close to thirteen stone.’
‘You must see it. You must…’
I open my bag and take out full-fat milk, a crusty tiger loaf, a block of butter and a jar of chocolate spread. I grab a knife from the kitchenette drawer and plug the toaster in.
‘No, Mum. I can’t…’
‘You used to love this.’
‘I do… I just can’t. It’s too much fat.’
I laugh. I can’t help it.
‘I’m scared. Couldn’t you have got skimmed milk?’
The next time I see her, she’s in hospital, being fed by a drip. My bag is full of chocolate spread sandwiches.
Ted Young – Ties That Bind
This was the story that stood out for me. I’m all about the “feel” of a tale. Who doesn’t love a story about animals that show their absolute love and loyalty to their human friends? This was a well-crafted plot that took this reader on the same adventure as the characters in the story. Well done.
Émigré; Italian Monastery; Drama
They had shared years of travel, finding work on farms and orchards, and had formed a real bond. Rex watched his old friend change from the irresponsible, reckless companion of earlier adventures into the meditative paragon he’d become.
One cold, rainy, English day, Paulo was reunited with that tatty old Italian Bible that had lain happily undisturbed at the bottom of his beat-up suitcase…this was the reason for his wistfulness.
“I must return to Italy, my friend,” he said with a sad but resolute look into Rex’s eyes.
Within an hour Paulo was leaving.
The power of love, the spirit of loyalty, and the emptiness of separation drove Rex to follow at a distance, as Paulo made the relentless journey towards his goal.
Rex hid himself amongst deck cargo on ferries, concealed himself on trains, and walked scores of miles, unseen by his introspective friend.
Ten long weeks later, Paulo trudged a dusty path North of La Spezia, to the Monastero Santa Maria Del Mare. At the great door, he fell weeping to his knees…the power of love, the spirit of loyalty, and the emptiness of separation had driven him back to his God.
It was three more days until Rex was able to slip unnoticed through a briefly-unattended side gate into the beautiful gardens, where, at long last, he allowed himself to sleep in the shade of sweet-smelling bushes.
“Hey, brother Paulo,” the Abbot called softly, “there is a starving dog in the garden. Take him some food, my son.”
Congratulations, Ted. ( The cheque’s in the post! 😉 ) 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!