Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 117. We had a very pleasing turnout of 22 entries this time. Welcome to first-time entrants Beckham Lawre, Pauline Emmylou Florsch, Rae Morgan and Stephanie Cornelius.
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 116 Judge’s Pick, Geoff Le Pard, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what he had to say:
With a couple of exceptions, this week’s stories had a significant tinge of the dark about them. Each one was written to a high standard (as is usually the case) with a fair sprinkling of horror and several verging on the dystopian. Post Easter blues? Too much chocolate? (Is that even a thing?)
Thank you for letting me read your stories and doing my best to sift out a winner. You guys do make it hard.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – I finally made the obits…
Gabe – I wear mine to conceal the monster that I am.
Steve Lodge – The economy of this land seems based on revenge, goats and fear.
Carin Marais – He cleared his throat in an effort to harden his heart.
Stephanie Cornelius – However, the truly disastrous detail remained. I was male!
Angelique Pacheco – Stupid human, you will never know.
Rae Morgan – They’ll hide their many stories / On dusty, creaking shelves
Ted Young – Please look up, / before your lovely race becomes / a blob of flesh, one eye, a face, / a rectum and two thumbs.
Eloise – As I tied my sneakers, my pup would bounce like he had stolen another energy drink from the fridge.
Holly Kilmister – She descended to the end with a smile, embraced by the moonlit sea.
Helen Buckroyd – As he turned to face the bed, all visions of abroad and escape disappeared brutally.
Nikky Olivier – “Don’t you think that the orange scarf would work better?”
Vicente L Ruiz – “So, kid, You tell me now. How is this going to go?”
Tim Hayes – People sat in their stationary vehicles, dreaming of a time when personal mobility had freed the imagination.
Marsha Adams – All we need to do is hide in plain sight, lie to one another, paint smiles over our pain and pretend that all is well.
Harrietbelle – Riding on the morning / With the golden wings of dawn…
Stephen Shirres – I measured time in cigarettes.
Michelle Way DaSilva – A black cloud materializes from the trees, and they emerge. It’s too late.
Michael Pickard – The realisation hit her like an anvil dropped from a seventh-storey window…
Pauline Emmylou Florsch – I slowly rise into the ashen air…
Rey Alicea – Thousands of drones fly overhead, recording and televising to the non-existent.
Beckham Lawre – The eyes are the window to the soul, and the soul is immaterial.
Bill Engleson – Blue Skies! I’m Tired of Blue Skies. Gimme Angry Black Clouds and a Full Bottle
I really enjoyed the phrasing here: ‘A friggin’ fingerling’, ‘They had baby Cronkites to burn’.
Rey Alicea – Empathy
Deadly and sad and weirdly entertaining.
Stephen Shirres – A Simple Plan
I’m not entirely sure I got all of this one, but I loved the imagery.
Steve Lodge – Undiscovered Destinations #17: Ezrgrad, Belzonia
Lovely end to a tale of growing despair; a good breakfast makes all the difference.
Carin Marais – Broken
A very poignant story, well told that had me from the first line.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 117.
(insert drumroll here)
Nikky Olivier – Crazy and Haunted
#114 – She just floated along in her bubble.
Lucy was a bit of a dreamer. She floated through life in her own little bubble, not caring a whit what the rest of the world thought.
“I think today we’ll match the red socks with a blue scarf,” she giggled to the reflection in her bedroom mirror, holding the questionable items up for closer inspection.
“Don’t you think that the orange scarf would work better?” the mirror-Lucy asked. “After all, it is a very special day today.”
“Oh yes, I almost forgot!” Real-Lucy’s hands began to tremble slightly, and her eyes began to dart from side to side.
“Calm down!” her mirror-self instructed. “We’ll never get to see him if you keep this up. You remember what happened last time, don’t you?”
The threat of going back to the institute was enough to snap Lucy out of her agitation.
With a flourish, she draped the end of the bright orange scarf over the shoulder of her garish purple sweater, gave a final wave to mirror-Lucy, who happily replied with a wink, and waltzed down the stairs to her front door.
Still singing happily, she danced her way down the sidewalk, the gun in her handbag bumping against her leg with every step.
Later, it would be said, in rumour and conjecture, that after the shooting of the librarian and Lucy’s subsequent suicide, the police had tried to sort through the mess of books and magazines on every counter and surface – a real hoarder, they said – but the only piece of clear floor was in her bedroom, in front of an old, gilt-framed mirror. Still no-one could ever explain how a set of handprints, matching Lucy’s, had been found on the inside of the glass.
Ted Young – So Long and Thanks for the Mince Pies
This was a hoot; a lovely blend of the surreal and the absurd with a modern universal truth woven into it. Oh that we learn to rid ourselves of pervasive technology!
#105 – Some people wore masks to cover their hurt broken lives.
As this is the last Earth month of my assignment, I will throw caution to the wind.
My name is ^[}∆≤, (pronounced Grajk), a benign, alien observer, from ±∆¶√π≠, (pronounced Jzic°teg).
My brief, for the last fifty years, has been to report on the progress or decline of the human race. I have grown to love your creativity, the way you interpret information, gathered from five organic senses, your strange mating and social practices.
When one knocks you down, two pick you up… You are terrific!!
The march of technology — discarded by Jzic°teg eons ago — has affected this wonderful planet, distorting the senses of many.
May I give a recent example?
My trip on the Coastliner bus — once a companionable experience, now, sadly, a large mobile tin of hostility — was enhanced by a vision through a window.
Five swans appeared in V-formation, radiant in the morning sunrise, coming to land, on the calm, turquoise sea, with dramatic precision, spray and plumage joining in a kaleidoscope of rainbow colours.
I looked around to see who had shared this magnificent display… Nobody.
Once, some people wore masks to cover their hurt, broken lives; now they wear smartphones and earpieces.
I am not permitted to give advice, under the constitution I must follow, but permit me an observation.
Please look up,
before your lovely race becomes
a blob of flesh, one eye, a face,
a rectum and two thumbs.
I’ll leave you now.
Peace and Love,
Congratulations, Ted. 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!