Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 141. We had 14 entries this time. A warm welcome to first-time entrants Lesley Turrell and Alysia Ascovani.
Apologies for the late posting this week. The judge got her deliberations back to me very early; the blame lies with your host who had a very hectic day taking up precious 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.
MC 140 Community Pick, Alva Holland, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
It was a lovely surprise to be asked to judge the competition this week. A huge thank you to the readers who voted for my story last week, giving me joint Community Pick.
It’s always a pleasure to see the different ways Microcosms writers tackle and interpret the elements. It’s particularly enlightening to see a few writers take the same three elements and create such a variety of tales. Well done to all participants. Thank you for entertaining me with your words. As I’ve said before, usually one story jumps out at me on first reading. This week, two stories jumped and I had difficulty choosing my Judge’s Pick. Both the runner-up and the winner are splendid pieces.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – Larry loved that my old man would take the two of us fishing on the Blackfoot and climbing mountains like the Rattlesnake on weekends.
Stephanie Cornelius – When weather is interesting just because of who is speaking of it, you just know!
Steve Lodge – Occasionally I cough over the desserts to give the impression I have TB.
Vicente L Ruiz – He had produced his trademark mini-spanner (how many of those he had, she wondered) and was rummaging inside the mechanical man.
Nikky Olivier – Michael stared wistfully after Daisy as she walked, skirts swishing, down the dusty streets of their small suburb.
Lesley Turrell – ‘It may be a short life, but it will be a merry one.’
Tim Hayes – I do believe that she is chasing me in search of romantic involvement.
Laura Besley – I’m extremely proud of Hannah for being brave enough to move to an unknown suburb, in an unknown city, in an unknown country, and selfless enough to do volunteer work.
Arianna Hammond – Her pretty lips seem to brighten, as she says, “Welcome! And no, I’m not Bree. Anika.”
Angelique Pacheco – “Everyone knows that men give their wheels women’s names and treat them like goddesses.”
Alysia Ascovani – People leaned into one another, heads rested on the shoulders of strangers, fingers tightly interlaced themselves as the world faded to a seductive blur.
Deanna Salser – With Max firmly fastened into the special harness on his newly-designed dog-walking bike, he started off slowly to give Max a head start.
Caleb Echterling – “What invention can possibly be better than burritos?”
Mpart – “One would think a dinner party would have dinner.”
Steve Lodge – Heimlich Manoeuvres in the Park
For a truly excellent title, the perfect play on words which brought me humming back to 1978’s ‘Enola Gay’ and it’s distinctive introduction beat.
Nikky Olivier – It Takes Two
I loved the simplicity of this tale, the initial request, Daisy’s condition of acceptance, and Michael’s uncomplicated solution.
Alysia Ascovani – Apotheosis
This is gorgeous and was pipped to the post by the winner by a very small margin indeed. The build-up was cleverly managed, the imagery seductive, and the result elicited a smile.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 141.
(insert drumroll here)
Nikky Olivier – It Takes Two
Bicycle Engineer; Suburb; Romance
“Daisy, will you allow me to escort you to the dance next week?” Michael asked, his hopeful tone and puppy-dog eyes giving her pause.
“I’d love to Michael, but how shall we get there? You pedal around on that bicycle of yours all day. I’ll not be climbing onto those handle bars in my new dress. Maybe old Mr. Wilkins will let you borrow his horse and cart for the night?”
“No, he’s already promised them to Thomas and Daniel. If there were space for us, I’d happily ride along, but they’ve promised every empty seat already.”
“Let me know if you can make arrangements and I’d be happy to be escorted by you. Have a good day.”
Michael stared wistfully after Daisy as she walked, skirts swishing, down the dusty streets of their small suburb. Then a sudden idea struck him; off he ran and immediately bolted himself behind the closed doors of his workshop.
The following days were filled with an awful cacophony of bangs and clanking metal, broken occasionally by the huff of bellows as the forge-fire was stoked. Michael opened the doors only once, and then only to have young Jimmy Anderson deliver word to Daisy Bell that she would be travelling to the dance in spectacular style.
Finally, when the day of the dance arrived, Daisy waited nervously for Michael to call. As the knock finally sounded at her door, she raced to open it, eager to see what stylish manner of transport Michael had found.
She stopped short at the sight before her.
“Michael! What is that monstrosity?” she demanded.
“Why, Daisy,” Michael proudly answered, “this way you’ll never have to sit on uncomfortable handlebars ever again… I’ve built the new ‘Bicycle Made for Two’.”
Arianna Hammond – Draped in Love
There was something special about the way this story unfolded, from the first line through to the last, with its layers of mystery, yet an enviable simplicity in the telling. The description of the room was enthralling and a little cryptic. I was drawn through each person’s introduction knowing there was a purpose which revealed itself at the end. A truly well-told tale.
Apprentice; Drapery Bazaar; Romance
A small bell attached to the handle of the door, rings as I pushed it open. It’s silver metal clinking on the brass.
‘Drapery Bazar’ the faded sign had read. I am in the right place. Gripping my folder with the acceptance form inside, I sidle into the room.
Dust stings my eyes, and my nostrils burn with the change of scent. Coughing, I squint through the watery view. Curtains line the walls in a stylish fashion. While the room is long and well lit, it is obvious not many have set foot here in some time.
Shaking my head, I walk to the dark counter. An old register, measuring tape, book of samples, and a random Snickers bar wrapper, decorate the surface.
“Morning! You lost?”
I jump, startled.
A woman smiles at me.
She is beautiful.
“N-no. I am the…apprentice. Are you Bree?”
Her pretty lips seem to brighten, as she says, “Welcome! And no, I’m not Bree. Anika.” She reaches out her hand to shake.
“Alice,” I reply.
We stand looking at each other, with an unexplainable connection.
“Ahem. Hi, can I help you?”
Anika and I let go.
Another woman stands next to me. She, older with graying hair.
“Yes,” I say “are you Bree?”
“Yes I am. Are you Alice?”
“That’s me!” I cheerfully state.
“Wonderful. I see you’ve already met Anika. The others will be here soon.”
“Others?” I ask, stupidly. Of course there are others.
“Mmhmm. Zack, Avery and Raven.”
“Okay. Great! Oh, here’s the letter.”
Fifteen minutes later, we are all standing by the counter. Zack, a rustic beauty, is giving a summary about this place.
“..and after all that, if things work out, you can help run this joint.”
Raven pipes up, “what about her initial? Is it–?”
“Yup,” says Bree. “B-A-Z-A-A-R.” Right next to Anika.
Anika smiles, I feel warm.
I can’t wait to start.
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!