Microcosms 143

Feeling fit for a Friday flash fiction frolic? Welcome to Microcosms 143 — the first post of the final quarter of the year.

Many thanks to Angelique Pachecho who submitted an entry to all 13 contests in the last quarter; to Bill Engleson and Tim Hayes who submitted an entry to 12 contests and judged one contest, and to Arianna Hammond who submitted an entry to 11 contests and judged two contests.

Your attention is drawn to item 4 in the “REMEMBER” section below.

 

*** Please read the instructions carefully – ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE NEW TO MICROCOSMS ***

As is customary on the cusp of a new quarter, I’ve been looking back at the Results posts during the previous quarter. I’ve selected one of the favourite / favorite lines chosen by the judge in each of the 13 contests.

There’s no “slot machine” of elements in this round. Your task is simply to select just ONE or TWO –DEFINITELY NO MORE! —  of these lines and incorporate it/them into your entry:

 

130 – She was scared… very scared. I know that.

131 – I mean, who sets out to be a porn star?

132 – It’s easy being compassionate and loving, as long as you get the largest piece of the cake.

133 – ‘Please, no, not that. I wanted to live; surviving is not enough.’

134 – Alfonzo’s pocket erupted with a dance party.

135 – Hopefully, this time she wouldn’t hurt anyone.

136 – I woke up dead, the color removed from the world.

137 – Much like myself, she felt that romance is a waste of energy.

138 – No one has power without being first influenced.

139 – There were so many things to do, to see, to be.

140 – We let you live so you could see what you’d done. We warned you…

141 – I do believe that she is chasing me in search of romantic involvement.

142 – Enamel mugs will burn you out of spite.

 

*** DO NOT USE THE CHOSEN LINE AS THE TITLE OF YOUR ENTRY ***

*** Incorporate it somewhere in your story / poem ***

 

* You may change the chosen line(s) slightly – names, gender, tense, punctuation, etc. – but it must still be fairly recognisable. 

* Please tell us the word count and the favourite / favorite line(s) you have chosen.

* There’s no need to specify character, location and genre this time round — you have free rein.

* Don’t forget to give your entry a title — and DON’T end the title with a full stop/period OR put quotation marks round it, but please begin each major word with a capital Letter (e.g. The Title of My Story).

 

Geoff

 
Last week’s Community Pick, Vicente L Ruiz, has kindly agreed to act as judge this time round.

 

REMEMBER:

(1) You have just 24 hours until midnight TODAY (Friday, 05-OCT), New York time (EDT) to write and submit your masterpiece.
(2) All submissions should be a maximum of 300 words in length (excluding the title).
(3) NO FAN-FICTION, PLEASE, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS
(4) Entries are judged BLIND – stripped of identifying details & emailed to the judge who does not look at the contest post. So please don’t give details of you entry on social media, your blog, etc. until the Results Post is live!
(5) If you are new to Microcosms, remember to check out the full submission guidelines.

 

All being well, results will be posted on Monday.

Microcosms 144
Microcosms 142

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51 comments for “Microcosms 143

  1. Alva Holland
    5 October 2018 at 1:24 am

    @Alva1206
    300 words
    141 — I do believe that she is chasing me in search of romantic involvement.

    Hedging Her Bets

    Marcus stirred his morning coffee.

    ‘I do believe she’s chasing me in search of romantic involvement,’ he said with a grimace.

    ‘Get a life, Marcus. She’s at least 70 years old. Who do you think you are? Who do you think she is – Mrs. Robinson?’

    ‘Who?’

    ‘Oh, forget it! She probably just wants her hedge trimmed. She sees you out there with your sculpting shears every weekend. I know you think you’re a budding Aidan Turner but believe me, you’re far from it.’

    ‘I’m telling you, she’s after something, or someone. Aren’t you even a little worried?’

    ‘About you running off with Mrs. Robinson? Chance would be a fine thing. I’m off to work.’

    Marcus peered through the window behind his laptop. Another day of writing, another day of avoiding her next door. A movement over the top of his sculpted hedge catches his eye.

    A balloon?

    What the heck?

    He ducks down, watches the red balloon rise and stop. There’s something written on it.

    ‘Forever Love’.

    Marcus has had enough.

    ‘Now, listen here, Mrs. Robins… I mean Mrs. Slattery, we can’t be having this. We can’t be having this at all.’

    ‘Morning, Mr. Noble. Writing again, are we? Would you like to write a story about Sacky?’

    ‘Who?’

    ‘Sacky, my dachshund. He passed away last month. I’ve buried him by your hedge, on my side. Surely you’ve heard me talking to him?’

    ‘Eh, yes of course, Mrs. Slattery. Um, sorry about Sacky.’

    ‘Thanks, Mr. Noble. May I call you Marcus? That’s quite the sculpting shears you have. Reminds me of your man on TV – you know the one with the scythe and the rippling muscles, oozes sex appeal he does. You know who I mean?’

    ‘Um, yea, Mrs. Slattery. I know who you mean. Would you like a coffee?’

    7+
    • Alva Holland
      5 October 2018 at 1:32 am

      Geoff, I realised after submitting that Aidan Turner spells his name with a second ‘a’, not an ‘e’. Can you correct for me please? Many thanks.

      0
      • Geoff Holme
        5 October 2018 at 4:30 pm

        Done. Wouldn’t want to annoy yer man, Aidan, now would we?

        1+
    • Alva Holland
      5 October 2018 at 7:46 am

      Someone has just sent me a DM to say their vote for my story didn’t register. It doesn’t matter a great deal but I’m just letting you know, Geoff. I’ve successfully voted for the other stories here so it’s not an overall problem. 🙂

      0
      • Geoff Holme
        5 October 2018 at 4:29 pm

        How odd! Bill reported the same problem. What’s the chances of this happening twice for the same entry? Or maybe Bill is not so discreet as you…
        See my reply to Bill on this “problem”: If he thought that your name is ‘Alma’, maybe he simply pressed the wrong button. [ We’ve all done it — after a certain age. 🙁 ]

        1+
    • Laura Besley
      5 October 2018 at 8:46 am

      Good one, Alva!

      1+
      • Alva Holland
        5 October 2018 at 11:29 am

        Thanks, Laura.

        1+
    • 5 October 2018 at 11:34 am

      A delightful domestic tale, Alva. However, and I certainly don’t mean to embarrass you, but sometimes words have more than one meaning. You very likely know this. I would refer you to the urban dictionary to examine this ostensibly innocent line of yours. “She probably just wants her hedge trimmed.” If this racy double entendre was your intent…kudos. If not, kudos as well. Oh, and I tried to vote and it seemed not to succeed. Geoff, please add my vote to Alva’s story.

      1+
      • Alva Holland
        5 October 2018 at 11:58 am

        Many thanks, Bill, for your vote and your comments on the story. I laughed out loud when I read this. After I had submitted the story, I read it again and realised that my chosen phrase (innocently written) could be a clanger of a double entendre, but you know what, I take both your kudos, with gratitude!

        1+
      • Geoff Holme
        5 October 2018 at 3:42 pm

        I don’t know what happened to prevent you voting, Bill. To get round this, I’ve voted for Alma’s… sorry, Alva’s story on your behalf.

        2+
  2. 5 October 2018 at 2:14 am

    http://www.engleson.ca
    @billmelaterplea
    300 words
    134 – Alfonzo’s pocket erupted with a dance party.
    136 – I woke up dead, the color removed from the world.

    On the Verge of Everything Good: Then…

    You go to bed one night. You’re feeling pretty chipper, you know. Everything’s going your way. You’ve got the world by the tail…
    Okay. Had enough of this tripe? You get my point. I knew you would.

    Life was as slick as an oil spill…without all those birds getting greased up, flopping and dying on the beach.

    But maybe I was expecting too much. Maybe Roxie was not all that I thought she was. We’d been together six months. Had a small circle of friends.

    Mine mostly.

    I was working for an investment firm when we met. A Boiler Room, actually. Strictly on the up and up. Scouts honor.

    She was a Corporate Event Planner. Corporations hired her to plan parties, social events. Whatever the customer wanted.

    That’s how we met. Alfonzo Ziegler, my numero uno, hired her to throw a feast for the boys. We’d moved more stock than the Chicago Stock Yards. Not exactly pump and dump. More like Primp and Skimp. Anyways, we were flying, and Alfonzo’s pocket erupted with a party.

    Like I said, once we hooked up, I had the world by the tail. Love was in the air.

    After three months though, Roxie began to have quibbles.

    “You’re making money off of poor people,” she said one night. “My parents were destroyed by a Ponzi scheme.”

    “Baby,” I said. “Two different things entirely,” and I thought that was the end of it.

    I should’ve seen the warning.

    But I was blissfully in love.

    Greedy with love.

    I was getting everything that I needed.

    Even things I didn’t need.

    Money to burn the candle at both ends, eh!

    So, like I said, I went to bed one night.

    And I woke up dead, the color removed from the world.

    Pumped and dumped.

    Dead and broke.

    4+
  3. Steve Lodge
    5 October 2018 at 2:43 am

    @steveweave71
    300 words
    137 – Much like myself, she felt that romance is a waste of energy.

    Don’t Shout at Me, Minstrel

    We’d been invited to play at the Luxembourg Soft Cheese And Jazz Festival. Silas, Peter and me made up the band, Running Over Rooftops. We ran through our playlist over the soft cheese, in the hotel restaurant. Our after-dinner speeches were slurred and laced with wind from both ends.

    The following morning between Jazz and English breakfast, I discovered a passion for ketchup on my cereal. The bread roll looked quite poorly and the omelette hadn’t aged well. We saw no sign of Peter.

    Silas was headed to the beach, until I told him Luxembourg had no beach. So we went into the bar and he ordered his favourite cocktail, “Frenching Distant Relatives”.

    Later, at a nearby café, I met Shireen, a chicken stripper from Workington on a factory outing, who’d got on the wrong train. A lovely lass, only later I learned she could swear like a highwayman and once ended a street fight using only an ornamental dagger no bigger than a letter opener.

    I began scribbling haphazard jottings on a serviette while we drank latte. This random scrawl ended up being “Beam Over Moonbeam Street” – a haunting melody which would become a jazz standard, earning our band a place in Luxembourg folklore. I called Shireen “mon tapioca pernisse” – my little inspiration.

    Much like myself, she felt that romance is a waste of energy. We stayed together, though. Friends with benefits. I did insist she wore rubber gloves at all times, especially during sex, so that the smell of her chicken-stripping days wouldn’t assassinate any feelings of excitement that I liked to share with her body. But when she was mad at me or not in the mood, she’d tie me to the bed and smear my ample stomach with the truly-revolting marmalade her Mum made.

    3+
    • 5 October 2018 at 1:44 pm

      Love that marmalade, Steve. Especially Mum’s chicken ooze infused variety.

      0
  4. Laura Besley
    5 October 2018 at 5:25 am

    @laurabesley
    288 words
    137 – Much like myself, she felt that romance is a waste of energy.

    Sour Gooseberry

    Much like myself, Isabelle felt that romance was a waste of energy. As children we were too busy playing, then too busy playing at being grown-ups. After university (we both read English Literature at Cambridge and both got Firsts), we moved to a small flat in London. Neither of us were earning much, or in our dream jobs, but there was plenty of time for that.

    The second spring in London, when the longer evenings gave me energy and there was nothing on TV, I decided to write a book. Every evening after dinner, I would write for at least an hour. Sometimes I’d work on it at the weekend too. My guilt at ignoring Isabelle was initially quelled by her announcement that she’d joined an Am Dram group and they were going to start rehearsing for a modern version of Othello. She was playing Desdemona.

    She met a boy. Why hadn’t I foreseen that? I’m loath to call him a man, although he is of age, because that would make it sound more serious. A dalliance with a boy is fine, but getting serious about a man is definitely not fine. But to show willing I met up with them. I would like to say I was on my best behaviour, but hindsight has allowed me to concede that Isabelle was right when she said I was “mean and bitchy” and “trying to come between them”.

    And that’s how it all started: with me having notions of writing a book. Now, I don’t have to feel guilty about writing in the evenings because she’s not here. Maybe it’s the shorter evenings, or maybe it’s because winter TV is better, but I just don’t feel like writing anymore.

    2+
  5. 5 October 2018 at 6:30 am

    @CarinMarais
    http://www.maraiscarin.com
    299 words
    136 – I woke up dead, the colour removed from the world.

    Red

    I woke up dead, the colour removed from the world.
    Not again.
    I willed my body to stay still, but the fear overwhelmed whatever courage I still had left to keep playing dead. Beside me, I heard the high-pitched scream of electricity waiting to be set loose.
    I rolled my head to the left. He always stood to my left.
    “I thought you’d left this time.” He was sobbing. He clicked the machine off and the electric scream stopped.
    “I got you your favourite cake.” He made me sat up, put flowers in my hair like when we were young. They, too, were grey. I looked down at my grey dress. Once it had been blue and red, I remember. Yes. I wore it on my…
    “Happy birthday, darling.”
    I didn’t turn my head fast enough and his cold lips met mine. I pulled away.
    “You remember? Birthdays? You used to love them.”
    I shook my head.
    He grabbed my arm, yanked me to my feet and dragged me up the narrow staircase that led from the cellar.
    I sat down at the kitchen table. Chocolate cake. I’ve always hated chocolate cake.
    We ate and he spoke and I nodded and the shadows in the room slowly lengthened and he switched on the light and started making dinner.
    “Bathroom,” he said. “You stay here.”
    I got up the moment he left the room, opened the drawer where he kept the gun. It was empty. I heard his laugh, picked up the kitchen knife and slashed down my arms, spilling grey blood.
    #
    I woke up dead, the colour removed from the world and sighed.
    #
    “Bathroom,” he said. “Stay.”
    I took the knife, waited until he came back. And lunged at him.
    Red blood stained my dress.

    5+
    • Stephanie Cornelius
      5 October 2018 at 9:53 am

      OMG!!! Carin! This… *brain explodes* love, love, love this!!

      0
      • 5 October 2018 at 11:22 am

        Teeheehee, thanks!

        0
  6. Stephanie Cornelius
    5 October 2018 at 7:57 am

    @Ravenangel888
    300 words
    135 – Hopefully, this time she wouldn’t hurt anyone.

    Genius is the Flip Side of Crazy

    She looked down the hall to the Rec Room, if you could call a large open-plan room with 1 TV, a few couches, 1 easel and a table with chairs where the inmates could play some chess or cards or checkers. Not that the table ever got used for anything other than sitting and staring into nothingness. She thought that might be the curse of a Nut House. Especially this one, where every inmate was involuntarily being “looked after”. None of them was actually crazy, so the drugs actually dulled their minds to the point of catatonia. Not her, half the time her mind was still as sharp as the tacks that inmates weren’t allowed to handle.

    She wasn’t quite sure what that said about her. Maybe she was as crazy as her brother had said she was when he sent her here just after their parents died? Maybe she had been the one who started the fire that killed them and almost killed her and her brother. He got away with some smoke inhalation, while she suffered a burn to her face. She looked at him, sitting in front of her, speaking of all the ways he was going to expand “their” empire now that he had access to all the millions their parents had accrued. At that moment, she knew that she had never set that fire. She would never have taken the chance that someone might have survived. She was just precise like that. Hopefully, she wouldn’t have just hurt anyone. To inherit, she would have made damn sure they were all dead. That was her brother’s failing. Although, she had to give him credit for how gracefully he had got her out of his way when he failed to kill her. It was pure, crazy genius.

    2+
    • Stephanie Cornelius
      5 October 2018 at 9:46 am

      @Geoff, I noticed in my last paragraph, Sentence 9, it should say “Hopefully, she wouldn’t have just hurt anyone” and my last line should be “It was pure, crazy genius.” I thought I had amended my draft before I submitted, but, apparently I didn’t! Oops. Could you please be an angel and change those 2 sentences for me?

      0
      • Geoff Holme
        5 October 2018 at 1:20 pm

        Done. Does that make me Ravenangel889? 😉

        1+
  7. 5 October 2018 at 9:42 am

    300 words
    139 – There were so many things to do, to see, to be.

    Freaks

    Easing the shutter she looked down from the window onto the gas-lit street to check if they had been followed. The dwarf paid the driver and the hansom cab moved off, the horse’s hooves clattering on the cobbles as it disappeared into the damp London night. The street was silent and empty again.

    ‘Thanks for helping,’ she said as he entered the room.

    The dwarf lit the candle on the mantelpiece and then the fire.

    ‘They may come looking for you. Where will you go?’

    ‘There are so many things to do, to see, to be. Southampton and from there by steerage to New York. Isn’t that where all the misfits go?’ She was lying. She’d catch the Bucharest train and disappear into the remoter parts to find the family that she’d been snatched from as a child. She felt bad about lying but she knew that they would beat the information out of him eventually. ‘Come with me?’

    ‘There’s no point. You can conceal your looks but I can’t hide my size no matter where I go.’

    The room was warming up. She stripped off her damp coat, hung it over a chair and moved it towards the fire. Then, unpinning her hat, she sat down on the edge of the bed.

    ‘How can I ever repay you?’

    ‘Well, there is one thing.’

    She smiled knowingly. All men wanted the same thing. But he’d helped her. What was one more after so many? Her hand moved to unfasten the clasp at the collar of her blouse.

    He guessed what she was thinking.

    ‘No, not that. When you get there, when you meet someone you can trust. Send me a photograph. One of you with your wings unfurled. So that I can remember you as you were meant to be.’

    7+
  8. 5 October 2018 at 9:42 am

    300 words
    142 – Enamel mugs will burn you out of spite.

    The Perversity of the Inanimate

    Never underestimate the innate hostility of inanimate objects. An observation not to be toyed with by those in search of an easy, and painless, life. All I can say is thank goodness that animate objects are so much more better behaved.

    Walking through a furnished room can be akin to crossing a minefield or negotiating an obstacle course. Chair legs will leap upon your ankles with joyous glee. Tables have four corners, each of which is always on the lookout for that unwary passing hip.

    Plumbing can be particularly vicious. Stepping into the shower and turning it on results in an unwanted drenching in freezing water before it behaves itself and settles at a comfortable temperature. Conversely, one turns on the hot tap only to find it running cold then, by the time you’ve picked up the soap, it decides to scald your hand.

    Clothing can be troublesome. That first glove one attempts to put on is inevitably the wrong one whilst pullovers have the uncanny ability to rotate themselves through one-hundred and eighty degrees as you put them on, resulting in you putting them on the wrong way round.

    The kitchen can be a challenging place at times. Enamel mugs will burn you out of spite. At breakfast, a dropped slice of toast will always land butter-side down. Seemingly at odds with the way that dropped objects usually end up a surprising distance from where they are first dropped or in the place most inaccessible for retrieval. That recalcitrant cutlery drawer that stubbornly sticks, only to let go suddenly, leading to knives and forks being scattered all over.

    And what is it with lost or misplaced inanimate objects? How come you only ever find them in the last place that you think of looking?

    5+
    • Stephanie Cornelius
      5 October 2018 at 9:52 am

      I loved this. And the last sentence is one I use often 🙂 An ex-friend used to always say to me, that it has to be in the last place you look, since you’re not going to continue to look for something you’ve already found. Totally missing the point of the phrase entirely lol

      0
  9. Fatima Sa'eed
    5 October 2018 at 11:27 am

    @fatimaokhuosami
    299 words
    139 – There were so many things to do, to see, to be.

    Heartbroken

    The woman who sat pen in hand, staring into space wearing a look of immense sadness was a slim, middle-aged beauty. She was dressed in an ordinary fashion; tank-top on tight-fitting denim pants and slender feet housed in blue slippers. The black shawl hanging loose from her left shoulder showed plans to leave the house had been changed at the dying minute. Some seconds passed and she winced as if recalling a painful memory. Getting up from a rather stiff chair, she stretched out both legs and frowned; “Of course, he must be with her. I’m not stupid.”

    Her toe struck against something hard, and big blue eyes fell confusedly to the obstacle. “My jewelry box…who placed it here?”

    “But she was suffocating him and he wanted me. He needed me. There were so many things to do, to see, to be. For six months, he loved me. I was his salvation.”

    She cracked her forefingers, and once again bit that sultry lower lip as a faraway look clouded her eyes. “He was cupid’s arrow through a disillusioned heart. He was the happy cry of a new-born. He was scented grains of sand after the rain. He damned me even as he saved me.
    “No, she may have papers and the law but I have his heart and soul.”

    Her lips could barely co-ordinate the questions spilling from her brain. She asked and begged no-one in particular. “Are we not to have our dream house? Have you forgotten the twins; Alexis and Athena with your full eyebrows and my brown eyes? What say you, husband? Why do you not rush to my side?”

    “I shall bury this body inside the belly of the earth. Even there, I’d love you as I did above. Ours is a story without an end.”

    1+
  10. Eloise Tapson
    5 October 2018 at 11:48 am

    286 words
    134 – Alfonzo’s pocket erupted with a dance party.

    Herman’s Adventure

    WHIRR, WHIRR. the wheel whistled as Herman ran. He had been in the cage a while. Alfonzo was writing exams. Herman only saw him for food and fresh water. WHIRR WHIRR. The whistling grew louder. Herman watched as Alfonzo turned up the dial on the funny device in his ears. WHIRR WHIRR. Alfonzo’s head sunk. He rose and walked towards Herman’s cage. Herman scampered to the edge and pushed his head against the bars. Alfonzo scratched his head.

    “Hey my little one, do you want to come out to play?” Herman jumped up and down.

    “OK, but not long; I have to go write my exam in a few hours.” Alfonzo dipped his hand into the cage and took Herman out. Herman ran up and down Alfonzo’s arm. Alfonzo put Herman down on the desk and continued to study.

    As Alfonzo was studying, Herman decided to go venturing into his pocket. There were always interesting treats lurking in his pocket. Yip. A yummy cracker from breakfast. Herman nibbled on it and started snoozing. A few moments later, Herman felt jiggling. What was happening? Suddenly, he felt something hard being shoved next to him. He looked at it.

    “Oh this was that funny device Alfonzo’s always using,” thought Herman.

    The jiggling stopped and Herman heard a booming voice shout out instructions and then it went silent. Only a scratching sound could be heard.
    Herman stuck his head out, but they weren’t at home. This was a strange place. Herman started playing with the device. All of a sudden, Alfonzo’s pocket erupted with a dance party. Rapidly, Alfonzo pushed his hand in his pocket. He felt something fluffy. HERMAN! This was not turning out to be good day.

    2+
  11. 5 October 2018 at 12:23 pm

    @alysia_ascovani
    300 words
    Line 138 – No one has power without being first influenced.

    Judgement Day

    No one can have power without first being influenced.

    Her blood-red gown billowed behind her as she strode through the silent hall. Dozens of people lined the edges, pushing to get a glimpse, yet were held back by armored guards. As she reached the dais, her foot on the first step, she looked up to the portrait above the throne. Her eyes sparkled sadly as she bowed her head to her mother’s memory.

    A moment longer she stood, before ascending the remaining stairs and turning to face the crowd. “My mother was undeserving of her death. She built this kingdom up from nothing, gave us all a reason to live.”

    Her hair fell beside her face in long black waves. Her hands shook as her eyes turned to steel. “I killed her. I wanted the respect she had from all of you. I wanted to be loved.”

    She refused to weep, to show weakness, as she faced the faceless crowd.

    No one can lead without first acknowledging one’s faults.

    Falling to her knees on the dais, her voice wavered as she removed the black jeweled power from her brow. “I do not deserve this crown. I am far from a good person, and even farther from a good queen.”

    Her eyes found another portrait at the end of the hall, her mother’s eyes soft as her gentle smile. The crown clattered down the steps in the silent hall.

    In a voice barely more than a whisper, she spoke, “I’m sorry, mother. I love you, and I fear I will be seeing you soon. I cannot bear knowing I have failed you so deeply.”

    Her tone became cold, harsh, as she addressed the crowd before her. “Do with me what you will. I will not fight your judgement.”

    So it fell.

    2+
    • 5 October 2018 at 12:27 pm

      In the 4th paragraph, the first word of the first sentence should be “hair” not “her”.

      0
      • Geoff Holme
        5 October 2018 at 6:22 pm

        In the second sentence I put the hyphen in the compound adjective ‘blood-red’; this freed up a word, so I made it ‘Her hair…’
        (I hope that’s OK with you, Alysia.)

        1+
  12. Angelique Pacheco
    5 October 2018 at 1:11 pm

    @angs_pacheco
    300 words
    #142 – Enamel mugs will burn you out of spite.

    Gold!

    Enamel mugs will burn you out of spite, but a woman’s wrath will shrivel you up like a raisin in the sun.

    He chuckled as he thought back to how Maisie Rae had chased him with a broom and thwacked him on the head repeatedly. Daggers had flown from her eyes as he tried to calm her down with sweet talk. She was having none of that. She kept harping on about him using her egg money to stake his claim. He couldn’t really blame her though. They’d seen many families lose everything when the husband got “gold fever”. That wouldn’t be him though.

    He chucked the rest of the coffee in the fire and rinsed his mug out. He went to his spot and started panning. He had already found enough gold today alone to see out his life. He would keep on panning throughout the night. No use in sleeping now; he’d sleep when he was dead. He also didn’t want anyone walking in on him during the daylight and causing pandemonium when they saw the amount of gold in this river.

    He’d seen this spot months ago, when the Gold Rush had just started. Back then, he worked for Old Man Bridges. He did horse runs for him. Standing on the top of Fisher’s Hill, he looked at the river below and it gleamed almost magically. For weeks he dreamed about this spot until he had to see it. He knew at once that this river contained more gold than the entire state. He saved up and finally, this morning, after taking Maisie’s money, he went to the town council to stake his claim. They laughed at him. They should have tasted their words first, now they would have to eat them. Maisie would smile soon.

    4+
    • Geoff Holme
      5 October 2018 at 6:52 pm

      Is ‘egg money’ another way of saying ‘nest egg’? Or is it money raised from selling eggs?
      (There’s a line from the classic UK radio comedy sketch programme, ‘Take It From Here’: “Oh, the shame! Oh, the egg money!”)
      ‘…this river contained more gold than the entire state.’ I’d like to see the Venn diagram for that statement… 😀
      [ Would you like me to add you Twitter ID at the top of your entry, Angelique? ]

      1+
      • Angelique Pacheco
        6 October 2018 at 1:35 am

        Yes please Geoff! wouldn’t it be lovely to find lots of gold? Egg money is the money raised from eggs she was well within her rights to clout him…

        0
  13. Muskan Dhiman
    5 October 2018 at 1:16 pm

    252 words
    Line 139 – There were so many things to do, to see, to be.

    Wishing for a Miracle

    It happened for the first time when she was in the queue at the billing counter of the only supermarket in our small town. She was as healthy as ever but had suddenly fainted. At that time, we had all attributed it to fatigue. I knew that what she needed more than anything else was a vacation. But of course, I didn’t mention it – we could barely make both ends meet, and a vacation seemed like a distant dream.

    That incident was quickly forgotten. But it happened four times that week. That is when we realized that it could no longer be dismissed with a wave of the hand. After a series of scary-sounding tests at the big city hospital, it was revealed that she had last-stage blood cancer. The doctor grimly told us that nothing could really be done.

    That was a month ago.

    She was cremated yesterday. No miracles here—even though I was desperately wishing for one. Life isn’t, after all, a fairy tale. No Genies or Fairy Godmothers appeared. No wishes granted. She just died peacefully in her sleep.

    The night before she died, she held my hand and told me that she had no regrets. “You know very well that I never really wanted to live to a ripe old age”, she said. Well, that was true. But still, there were so many things for her to do, to see, to be.

    Circumstances might have matured her, but my daughter was, after all, just twelve years old.

    4+
    • Diana L James
      5 October 2018 at 4:13 pm

      This brought tears to my eyes.

      1+
      • Muskan Dhiman
        9 October 2018 at 8:57 am

        Well, if a story that I wrote managed to make someone cry, I feel that I did my job well enough. (Does that make me sound sadistic?)

        0
    • Arianna Hammond
      6 October 2018 at 11:37 am

      Tears to my eyes too. Beautiful job.

      1+
      • Muskan Dhiman
        9 October 2018 at 8:59 am

        Thank you, Arianna!

        0
  14. 5 October 2018 at 3:23 pm

    @el_Stevie
    100 words
    132 – “It’s easy being compassionate and loving, as long as you get the largest piece of the cake”

    Sage

    “It’s easy being compassionate and loving, as long as you get the largest piece of the cake.” She had seen through his hypocrisy, and spoken his truth.

    He took the best of everything, the best chair, the best job, the best slice of life. Why have burger when you had steak at home? He ran his hand over her thigh, Rubenesque, flesh perfectly marbled. Like butter. Thigh or breast man? He was both and she couldn’t argue. Her head on the platter remained gratifyingly silent. She was stuffed, though sage no more, but he still had some way to go.

    1+
  15. 5 October 2018 at 3:29 pm

    @geofflepard geofflepard.com
    300 words
    135 – Hopefully, this time, she wouldn’t hurt anyone

    In Which A Mother Becomes Upset When Her Son Is Criticized

    ‘Mrs. Spindle? A moment?’
    Celeste Spindle, aka Suction-Woman, jumped. She managed to catch her breath before she pulled the Headmistress, Magnificat Jameson, aka Weave-Wonder, off her feet. ‘Sorry. Miles away.’
    ‘It’s Horace. I felt we needed a word.’
    Celeste’s second heart sank, pulling her first out of kilter. ‘Yes?’
    ‘He’s being rather disruptive.’
    ‘Really?’ Though Celeste wasn’t surprised. ‘Are his powers not developing?’
    ‘It’s not that. We all feel he has the makings of a fine superhero. It’s just recently he’s away in this dream world…’
    ‘Dream world?’
    ‘Take yesterday. He told Marvelette there’s a planet full of people without superpowers and they use machines.’
    ‘No!’ Celeste covered her mouth as the Head ducked, narrowly avoiding some flying garbage.
    ‘Careful, dear. Now, are there problems at home? How’s Gerald’s job hunt?’
    Celeste frowned. ‘It’s hard. Super-strength isn’t enough these days. He needs finesse. He’ll have to retrain.’
    ‘I just wondered. Do you think he’s watching something, erm, inappropriate that Horace might have seen?’
    Celeste felt her face burn. ‘What do you mean?’
    ‘I’ve heard there this new download — Life on Dull — full of graphic images of men using lawn-cutting machines and women in a box, making food. Has he…’ Mrs. Jameson goggled as Celeste sucked in a large breath, ripping a climbing frame from its moorings and sending it bouncing towards the sandpit.
    ‘How dare you!’ Celeste gasped and sent the rocking crocodile spiraling past the soccer nets.
    Mrs. Jameson sighed. This always happened on Tuesdays. Waving to the Head of Maths, aka Gag-o-God, they contained Celeste’s rippling lips and wove her a protective net. ‘Put her in Lost Parents, please. Horace can collect her after school. He can use that wheeled thing he brought.’ She smiled at her colleague. ‘Hopefully, next time she sounds off, she won’t hurt anyone.’

    1+
  16. Diana L James
    5 October 2018 at 3:44 pm

    299 words
    132 – It’s easy being compassionate and loving, as long as you get the largest piece of the cake.

    A Father’s Agony

    The journalist looked through the reinforced window, silently waiting for the inmate to answer her question. A decade of field experience had taught Auburn that patience during interviews was often both the hardest-learned skill of a good reporter, and the most valuable. She pushed her notebook to the side and shifted in the increasingly uncomfortable visitor’s chair, without breaking eye contact with the prisoner.

    “Am I making you uncomfortable, miss?” the man teased. His bald head suited the grizzled look he had taken on since being imprisoned. If his gray-blue eyes had ever been kind, they had lost that glow long ago.

    “Not at all, Mr. Hartwell,” Auburn replied. The added static of the phone receiver made it feel as though his raspy words were reverberating directly into her soul. The feeling was unnerving, though she knew better than to show it.

    “Have you developed any remorse regarding the dozen lives you took three years ago?”

    The smile faded from the convicted murderer’s face and sadness mixed with an almost pained anger took its place. Auburn could see the man’s grip tighten on the phone as he leaned toward her. Mirroring him, she leaned in, anxious to hear whatever he was ready to divulge.

    “You don’t look like you got kids, miss, so I don’t expect you’d truly understand. It wasn’t my boy’s fault we had no money, but them classmates of his didn’t care. He had a scholarship and all, but it wasn’t enough for them. None of them people gave a damn about my son when they tormented him until he took his own life. People want to know where my compassion was that day? Let me tell you, miss, it’s easy being compassionate and loving, as long as you get the largest piece of the cake.”

    1+
  17. 5 October 2018 at 3:53 pm

    @crazywriterguy
    284 words
    142 – Enamel mugs will burn you out of spite.

    Amanda

    Toby Miks groaned as he came to, surrounded by a wrecked couch, a hole in his ceiling, and his expensive business suit (why was he wearing that? He couldn’t remember) shredded.

    “What the hell did she do last night?”

    He sat up, debris falling from his chest. He was greeted by his cracked reflection in a broken mirror, blinking red eyes. He rubbed them, groaning again. “Where is…”

    He stood up, wincing as pain shot up his leg. Right, she stabbed me in the leg with a spork last night.

    At least there wasn’t any blood, just pain. He could handle pain. “I need coffee,” he decided. “I hope my kitchen is in one piece.”

    He walked through his home, feeling like he was in the remains of a war zone. “Oh, thank god, she didn’t wreck my kitchen. Where’s my coffee?”

    He grabbed the first enamel mug he saw, only to yelp and drop it to the counter again. It was hot!

    It was then that he realised one very important thing.

    “Sometimes, enamel mugs will burn you out of spite,” he muttered. “Ow.”

    And then she tackled him from the side. “Hi Toby!” Amanda Unsen said cheerfully. “Last night was awesome!”

    Toby groaned in pain. “Hi Amanda. At least you’re still dressed this time.”

    Amanda pouted. “Oh come on, I only woke you up naked once.”

    “Uh…it would be way less awkward if you weren’t like a sister to me,” Toby said. “…can you let me up now? I need coffee.”

    Amanda blinked. “Oh, you don’t have any. I had to feed it to the plants.”

    Toby very much wanted to be hit by a truck at that moment.

    1+
    • Geoff Holme
      5 October 2018 at 5:07 pm

      Good to see you back here, Justin. Looks like I chose the wrong week to send you a DM…

      You need to supply:

      your Twitter ID (optional)
      word count (xxx words)
      favourite line(s) you are using as prompts

      0
      • 6 October 2018 at 12:28 am

        In my defense, it was late when I wrote that and I was falling asleep. I KNOW I put the word count in the document I used to write this. Bah, let me rectify that now:

        Words: 284

        Line used as prompt: “142 – Enamel mugs will burn you out of spite.”

        And, sure, why not subject more people to my inane blathering on Twitter? (I’m joking!): https://twitter.com/CrazyWriterGuy

        0
  18. Deanna Salser
    5 October 2018 at 3:56 pm

    @beadanna7
    300 words
    136 – I woke up dead, the color removed from the world

    A Matter of Acceptance

    I screamed and pushed at the monster’s head. The skin of my belly stretching as its teeth remained firmly entrenched in my flesh. I bashed at it with the handle of my blade, but I couldn’t get good leverage from this angle to stab it. I sobbed, shoving weakly at it, and clanking the knife against its skull. It was bigger than me, and still somewhat fresh, meaning it still had strength. Strength I didn’t have, because all I did was run, and hide, and run some more. I hadn’t had a decent meal in weeks, food was hard to come by. I kicked out, my knee catching its jaw and breaking its grip. It tumbled clumsily to the ground, and I scrambled quickly away, clutching my torn belly through my shirt. I could feel blood soaking the wadded cloth in my hand and spreading outward, and knew I was out of time. They would smell it. I needed to get under cover, and fast. I ran to the nearest car and tried the handle. No go. I kept moving, even though my whole body had begun to tingle and my mind raced with hopeless fear. The third door opened and I dragged myself inside and slammed the door, just as a heavy weight hit it from the other side.
    ~
    I peeled up my shirt, dislodging the tentative clot my body had produced, causing a gush of blood and lymph to leak out. I wiped it off, trying to get a better look. Morbid curiosity I guess, everyone knows a bite is a death sentence. There’s nothing I can do about it now, except try and make myself comfortable until it’s over.
    ~
    Acceptance brings a peace of sorts, and sleep.
    ~
    I woke up dead, the color removed from the world.

    1+
  19. Nikky Olivier
    5 October 2018 at 4:40 pm

    294 words
    135 – Hopefully, this time she wouldn’t hurt anyone.

    Obsession

    It started with a blind date.

    That my sister set up for me.

    With someone she’d only met online.

    “Oh, come on! Steve, you’ll love her,” Samantha nagged down the line. “You two will have so much in common.”

    I finally gave in, if only to get her to shut up about the whole thing.

    “One date,” I agreed. “If I don’t like her, you have to promise to butt out of my love life forever.”

    “Yay!” She squealed her excitement down the line in deafening little-sister style.

    I had a feeling there was some ulterior motive for her sudden interest in my love life, but I really didn’t think too much of it until I arrived at the restaurant to meet Mindy. One look and I understood, this wasn’t a date, it was a trap. Turns out ‘Mindy’ was just my ex’s way to get me into the same room as her again.

    “Hello, Melissa.” I said as calmly as I could. “What are you doing here?”

    “I came to find you, silly. I heard you were dating again and I though we could start over, just like when we met that first night,” she said with a girlish giggle.

    I was really petrified now.

    “Mel. You know about the restraining order…”

    “Oh, that thing. I won’t let it bother me as long as you don’t let it bother you.”

    I had to think quickly, so I excused myself to the bathrooms and shot off a quick text to her shrink, to let him know where we were and to contact the authorities.

    While I sat, and spoke, and shivered with fear, and waited for help to arrive – all I could think was, Hopefully, this time she doesn’t hurt anyone too badly.

    6+
  20. Arianna Hammond
    5 October 2018 at 8:34 pm

    300 words
    133 – Please, no, not this. I want to live; surviving is not enough.
    135 – Hopefully, this time I wouldn’t hurt anyone.

    City Sounds

    The street is dark.
    Faded city sounds echo down the pavement to my ears.

    I toss the roses at the wall, dejected, and let out a sob.
    Heartbreak is messy.
    Especially when it’s new.

    Me.
    Seventeen.
    “Just a babe,” Mama said.
    “Not fully developed,” Daddy echoed.
    “You aren’t worth it,” Julian spat.

    Julian.

    I hate you, Julian.

    Turning a corner, I run into a body. The sudden change startles me, and I whip my head up.

    A man.

    A man with a knife.

    I attempt to turn but he grabs my upper arm, shoving me to the dark side of the alley. Before I can scream, his knife is at my throat. His breath, hot against my face. “What would a pretty thing like you be doing alone out here, huh?”

    I keep my mouth clamped shut.

    “Well, it’s alright you don’t talk, ’cause no one needs to know about this, sweetheart.
    I’m gonna say how things are gonna be and you’re going to cooperate if you wanna survive.” He smiles wickedly. “Get my drift?”

    The blade presses harder on my flesh.
    I flinch.
    My attacker backs up a step from my body, and unzips his jacket. All the while keeping one eye and the knife pointed on me.
    After his jacket is removed, his hands go lower.

    And I know.

    Lord, please, no, not this. I want to live; surviving is not enough.

    Worries crowd the inner soul of my mind.
    I can hear my heartbeat.
    Fear.
    A reality.

    The man stops what he is doing, whipping his full attention on me. Confusion marks his face.
    I see it.
    My reflection in his eyes.
    My eyes are glowing, a light purple radiates from the sockets.

    ##

    ZAAAPPPPPP!

    ##

    He jerks on the ground.
    I shake.
    But I run the hell out of this place.
    Too much hurt tonight.
    Hopefully, this time I wouldn’t hurt anyone.
    Again.
    Like Julian.
    Like the attacker.

    2+
    • Geoff Holme
      5 October 2018 at 11:07 pm

      Good use of the prompt lines, Arianna.
      [ You need to supply the word count though. ]

      0
      • Arianna Hammond
        6 October 2018 at 8:25 am

        Oops! Sorry. It’s 300 words. Thanks, I completely forgot. 🙂

        0
  21. Geoff Holme
    5 October 2018 at 10:32 pm

    @GeoffHolme
    58 words
    142 – Enamel mugs will burn you out of spite.

    The “Gold Deluxe” ® Thermometer

    Enamel mugs will burn you out of spite?
    Well, we all can be wise with hindsight!
    For lip blister prevention
    Try our latest invention —
    The temperature’s always… JUST RIGHT!

    William S. — ”As I quilled my ‘Twelfth Night’,
    Scalding coffee was always a blight
    Until I used my noddle
    And acquired this new model.”

    Now in Celsius OR Fahrenheit.

    2+
  22. Alfredo
    5 October 2018 at 11:56 pm

    275 words
    130 She was scared… very scared. I know that.

    The Change

    I was scared the first time it happened to me. I was twelve years old back then– that is to say, three years ago, when the change happened. I know it was coming, the change. Mother had told me about it before the townsfolk burned her. They didn’t know it was Mother they killed. She didn’t hurt no one. She only killed animals like pigs and chickens.

    I was watching behind a tree when Mother howled in pain as the fire consumed her.

    I remember the faces of those people who gathered around, rejoicing as they burned Mother.

    And I know what I have to do.

    It was the man named Lucas I killed first when the change happened. He was the one who threw the torch on Mother’s body. I killed ten more people after that.

    I told Meme about the change. Meme is my younger sister. I don’t want her to be scared.

    “I don’t want to be a werewolf,” said she. She’s turning twelve in two week’s time, which happens to be a full moon.

    “I didn’t want to be a werewolf too,” I said. “But it’s in our blood. And you know that we have to Take vengeance for Mother on the people who killed her.”

    She nodded. I told her what really had happened to our mother. Not the story I made up about her going away. Meme wouldn’t understand anyway. Not back then.

    “We have to avenge Mother. And I need your help.”
    She nodded. “What if they know about us?” She was scared… very scared. I knew that. I was scared too.

    “We just have to be careful.”

    3+
  23. Alfredo
    6 October 2018 at 12:18 am

    In a haste to submit my entry, having a few minutes remaining, I wasn’t able to check my grammar properly. So pardon me. I think it’s a total chaos to my story.

    0
    • Geoff Holme
      6 October 2018 at 12:46 am

      Welcome to Microcosms, Alfredo!
      Don’t worry about the grammar – I took the liberty of tidying it up as best I could.
      If/when you enter a future contest, you can always request amendments – providing the request is before the closing deadline.
      [ The trick is not to leave it to the last moment to submit! 😉 ]

      0

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