RESULTS – Microcosms 136

Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 136. We had a select 11 entries this time. A warm welcome to first-time entrant, Johanna.

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 135 Judge’s Pick, Deanna Salser, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:

Well, to tell you the truth, this has been immensely challenging. I learn something every week I enter this contest, but I have to say, when you judge other people’s creative offspring, it’s a bit like spanking the rump of a sleeping bull and then hightailing it out of there before he sees it was you, who slapped him. Only this time it’s the other way around. I’m the bull, swinging my head up in surprise to see who’s had the temerity to enter my pen.

I’m happy to report that the corral was so crowded, I merely stood, dumbfounded while you all played tag around me. It took me the better part of the day to compose my spinning head enough to choose a favorite to chase around the fence.

Thanks, guys, for the experience. I think it makes me a better writer in the long run, even if I don’t get to spank the bull this week.

Deanna

 

Favourite / Favorite Lines

Bill Engleson – I gotta say, in the middle of a World War, you need romance.
Johanna – When he squeezed his eyes just a little bit, it was exactly the same shade as Maureen’s hair.
Mileva Anastasiadou – Small unfulfilled wishes you neglected come haunting you, reminding you of all those moments you imagined you’d live, yet you didn’t.
Tim Hayes – She had a fearsome temper and if you crossed her you’d get more than a mouthful in return.
Geoff Le Pard – Junior.’ Buttling for a movie mogul twice his age and he had to use such an inapposite diminutive.
Angelique Pacheco – The moors are always just out of sight, streaming mist making the shape of the earth shimmer.
Justin J. Conidaris – “Wow, talk about a dead crowd tonight. Might as well be talking to a bunch of stiffs.”
Ariana Hammond – Each one had been personally stabbed by at least one of her hurtful words torpedoes.
Nikky Olivier – Margret stood at the window, surveying the land that had once been part of her estate, basking in the last rays of sunset as she readied herself for the nightmare that was to play out yet again.
Arthur Unk – I woke up dead / The color removed from the world
Stephen Shirres – I half expected to bump into Little Red Riding Hood waving goodbye to her grandmother as we entered.

 

Special Mention

Bill Engleson – What Do You Do When All the Really Good Men Are in Jersey?

For the best title in the place; not to mention the nostalgic history I can nearly taste in the scene depicted. I can almost guess who this is because your titles are legen- wait for it- dary.

Arthur Unk – Choices of the Dead

This piece is truly dark; if that’s what you were going for, writer, you nailed it. It was reminiscent of Poe, in that I wanted to comfort you, and draw you back away from the abyss you seemed to be standing before. Drew me right in and concerned me, all at the same time.

 

Honorable/Honourable Mention

Nikky Olivier – Shattered Dreams, Shattered Minds

This little drama conjured up a scene in my mind of heartbreak and broken dreams, even more tragic for the character forced to continually re-enact her final scene. This one stuck with me as my mind saw her hair streaming back behind her as she ran to stop what she knew would not be stopped.

 

Runner-up

Stephen Shirres – Faerie Stories

I was devastated when the forest burned with all the nests, and I wondered how Terri’s head felt after they made it out of the trees. That was one that made my creative juices flow as I itched to take the story further in my mind. Thank you for that bit of teleportation, writer!

 

And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 136.

 

(insert drumroll here)

 

Community Pick

Nikky Olivier – Shattered Dreams, Shattered Minds

300 words
Fiery Redhead; Highland Estate; Tragedy

“Did you hear about the ghost? I’m so happy we decided to book this tour!” Eleanor squealed.
“I think it’s all a hoax. Just designed to drum up some business for the failing B & B,” scoffed Peter. “I mean, how can they claim that this estate is actually haunted when no-one ever sees the ghost?”
“But the guide says that you can hear her running down the hall and, if you go up to the turret room, they say that you can hear her unearthly wails.”
“Probably just the wind, but whatever, at least we don’t have to spend another four hours on the road.”
“Well, I don’t care what you do, but after dinner I’m going up to that tower to see if I can hear her for myself.”

Margret stood at the window, surveying the land that had once been part of her estate, basking in the last rays of sunset as she readied herself for the nightmare that was to play out yet again.
She cocked her head to the side as she heard the Duke calling for her but, before she could reply, she overheard her sister speaking.
“She’s gone,” Aileen sniped. “Father sold her to the Viscount. You know he’s always admired her red hair and fiery temper. It may take him a while to break her.”
“I’ll kill him,” growled Duke Kincaid as he took off at a run.
…Margret dreaded what was to come next but was helpless to resist the memories…
She ran after the Duke into the turret room, just in time to see her love flung from the window by the Viscount Warwick.
Too late!
Her screams of despair echoed through the castle as, night after night, she was forced to relive her curse and fall deeper into madness.

 

Judge’s Pick

Johanna – Flowers

I had to go back and read this one again because I went through it so fast the first time, I missed the nuances. It flowed so well, that I was there with Richard as I woke in the drafty house and searched it for my wife. In my mind, he found the open window later and went to investigate the color outside the window. I loved how you left it up to the reader whether it was her or not. I can feel Richard’s anxiety as the well-meaning police condescend to him on the phone. The whole thing felt black and white with just that bit of red for color.

Thank you for that momentary escape into another world!

300 words
Fiery Redhead; Highland Estate; Tragedy

A new patch of flowers was blooming fiery red just outside the window. Richard noticed it while talking to the police on the telephone. Maureen must have planted the flowers yesterday when she was working in the garden. She always worked in the garden on Fridays. On Saturdays, she cleaned the many windows of their extensive estate.

Richard used to help Maureen with the domestic work, but his worsening short-sightedness made him less helpful and more of a nuisance. So, after lunch, Maureen put him lovingly but insistently in a chair by the fireplace while she bustled about the house. Richard heard her rattle up the stairs to the topmost floor of the northern wing before his eyes closed and he fell asleep.

He was woken up by the howling and screaming highland winds making the doors bang and the glasses sing inside the cabinets. He immediately called for his wife, but she didn’t respond. Worried, Richard searched the house. Maureen, however, was nowhere to be found. She must have left while he was fast asleep.

“Surely she had to run an errand,” he told himself, slowly growing more anxious. Usually, Maureen would notify him before leaving the house. She wasn’t one for surprises. Except for that one time, when she had come home from the hairdresser, her greying hair suddenly red like a firetruck. “Now you can always see me!” she had announced happily.

When Maureen wasn’t back at dinnertime, Richard called the police. The officers were very friendly and told him to call again in 48 hours if Maureen hadn’t come home by then. Richard put the receiver down. The small red blotch outside the window moved in the wind. When he squeezed his eyes just a little bit, it was exactly the same shade as Maureen’s hair.

 

Congratulations, Johanna. 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!

RESULTS - Microcosms 137
RESULTS - Microcosms 135

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1 comment for “RESULTS – Microcosms 136

  1. 21 August 2018 at 4:18 am

    Hey, thank you so much. 😀 I was a bit late with checking the results, but send you a message today. I’m looking forward to judge the next contest.

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