Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 133. We had 12 entries this time.
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.
Harrietbelle kindly agreed to stand in for her other half, Ted Young, as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
This is a strange and different situation for the judge of microcosms to be in and would make quite a story in itself… But don’t worry, I know this is not my turn for story-writing. So, just in brief explanation: because the witty winner of Microcosms 132 got himself hospitalised between one round and the next, and because promises I made 13 years ago give me a certain obligation to him, I am taking up the mantle and attempting to do as good — if not better — a job as he would do!
I must say ‘thank you’ to all those who entered. Apart from the usual good standard of the writing, engaging in this process has given me something beyond the week’s happenings to think about and kept me up late at night, filling my mind and imagination with all the kinds of amazing possibilities good fiction takes us into.
It has also been extremely difficult to choose a winner because they all deserve an accolade, and as a writer of a certain style myself, it has been truly enlightening to have to read pieces I would not normally engage with and find myself really appreciating them and gaining a new interest for the genre in which they are written.
So, before I get further carried away with expressing my own opinions, I will come to the point and give you the results!
No time for a drum roll… just blow a blast on a trumpet if it helps!!
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – I watched their…familiarity. She was with child. Their future grew inside her.
Steve Lodge – During his time in Paris, … according to colleagues, he could also see a frisky rhino.’
John Herbert – And here I am, exiled, still spinning, twisted like my knee, dreams skewered on a snapped blade.
Tim Hayes – ‘The odds of there being two serial killers in the same car are just too slim to be worth considering’
Geoff Le Pard – ‘Please, no, not that. I wanted to live; surviving is not enough.’
Arianna Hammond – I would have answered, if I hadn’t been hanging from the bridge for the past six minutes.
Angelique Pacheco – He pushed the button on the detonator and watched the ball of fire spread across the sky.
Mileva Anastasiadou – I still wonder whether it was the gun or despair that killed him.
M. Levi – She was lovely, she had charisma that nothing could cover up, and she had several deadly holes in her torso.
Sian Brighal – …the river ran carefree and wild for another two miles before Paris stretched and sprawled and knocked things out of the way.
Deanna Salser – Sleep is a curious thing. The vulnerability of it is alarming, especially for those who sleep deeply.
Mpart – She simply hadn’t known that while her world was now filled with more than warm colours, the cold ones had started to leak in too.
Deanna Salser – Sleep is a Curious Thing
To the first writer who has got me reading a piece of Sci-fi and not only understanding it but enjoying it and quietly wishing, in my insomniac hours, that some little Android with ‘large liquid eyes’ would come and take me to that wonderful place where ‘Oolong is the favourite drink’!!
Mileva Anastasiadou – Bullet with Butterfly Wings
This beautiful but tragic love story really touched my heart and I loved the way the writing conveyed a very real sense of hopeless destiny from the start, with the phrase ‘Impossible, yet inevitable’ in the first sentence.
Lovely phrases like; ‘There’s a war on’ he said. ‘I don’t have time for us’
‘Then, what are we fighting for?’ succinctly conveyed the ‘love versus war’ theme that weaved throughout.
And, in the final sentence, the perfect ending for any psychological drama… to make it work better than it did in reality!
Excellent title too!
Mpart- Bursts of Colour
A good story with clever use of colours to subtly move it away from the obvious so that the reader is surprised by it’s intensity.
Starting off as a bright and sunny love story it rapidly changes as possibilities of something darker are hinted at and played out with the changing colours.
Love story turns thriller!….A great achievement in 299 words!
Angelique Pacheco – Bombs Away
This story held my attention to the end…and I so wanted a different end! But this is not a fairy tale and tragedy is certainly the right word for it! Beautifully written and a full story in 300 words!
It truly is a very close runner up to the winner and very difficult to choose
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 133.
(insert drumroll here)
Angelique Pacheco – Bombs Away
Figure skater; Paris Suburb; Tragedy
She twirls and jumps, her hair whips backwards, past her ears. Her cheeks are rosy from the exercise and she feels joy as she cuts across the ice, as graceful as a swan. People watch her from the sides and as much as she hates that, she loves the freedom of figure skating.
She was ecstatic when the open-air rink in the town centre opened. Imagine skating with the Eiffel tower for a view. Marvelous! Every day, she would throw her bags down when she got home from school and rush out with her skates, blowing a kiss to Maman as she left. Her brother Jean-Pierre never seemed thrilled to see her anyways.
Jean-Pierre was sullen and moody these days. He no longer had time for his little sister since he started at the university. Now everything made him angry. The government, the store clerks and everyone in between. He wasn’t fun anymore. C’est la vie.
He was home today waiting for Marie to give her instructions. He tried not to feel shame at how her eyes lit up when he chatted to her. He hadn’t meant to overlook his family the last few months. After today, it would be over. He had to perform his duty and then he would be free. He missed Marie. They had been close once.
“Just once more around,” Marie thought as her skates swished on the ice. Jean-Pierre had told her to leave at precisely three o’clock. It was three o’clock now. She would leave at five minutes past, and run like hell to meet him at the tower.
He looked at his watch. One minute past three. Marie would be safely out of harm’s way. He pushed the button on the detonator and watched the ball of fire spread across the sky.
Arianna Hammond – Before
I found this a very powerful piece of writing that could have come straight from the ‘Samaritans’ archives.
The writer managed to convey the whole picture of a life in those few lines;
‘Everything seemed full of colour whilst I am a true shade of grey…..
…… I realise that most people feel a wave of darkness sometime in their life. Seems to me I’m caught in the riptide’
The writer allows the character to tell their story so that we are in no doubt as to how they got to this tragic point in their life. It feels as if we are privy to a deep and personal moment shared with another human being in the tragedy of a life.
Thank you for writing so movingly, I, for one, really appreciated that!
Suicide; Bridge; Tragedy
Surprisingly, looking down from the bridge doesn’t make my stomach drop. Perhaps because I’ve been thinking too much about it to care.
Why should I care?
And why did I care?
Everything seemed full of color, whilst I’m a true shade of gray.
I thought about the city across from where I stood, bursting with life, sounds, supportive communities….
What was needed to create smiles.
Minus my frown, who’s space was a defunct apartment with no connections.
It falls apart. I realize that most people feel a wave of darkness sometime in their life.
Seems I’m caught in the riptide.
Five minutes ago, a mother pushing a stroller containing a grumpy yet rosy child, crossed my path.
Neither of us made eye contact.
They reminded me of a past life I had- one where my mother got up early so she could stroll in the cool of the morning.
I would be all bundled up and tucked into a stroller.
Thinking back to it made me believe I wore the same expression that child had.
That expression was better than the future.
My mother disowning me because I threw my life away, stung so bad. After that, it became a downward spiral.
Late fees, break-ups, break-ins, losing jobs…
All that without even my mother to talk to.
Then, somehow, I hear it.
The answering machine.
“It’s– it’s mom. I know it’s been a while– I realize–” She starts crying.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Can we talk soon? I– I miss– I miss…sorry.
The line went dead.
An invisible tear crosses my ghostly complexion.
I would have answered the phone, for I missed her too.
I would have answered, if I hadn’t been hanging from the bridge for the past six minutes.
Congratulations, Arianna. 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!