Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 148. We had 18 entries this time. A warm welcome to first-time entrant, Rebecca Povall.
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 147 Judge’s Pick, Johanna, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
One of the things I really like about the Microcosm Contest is how subjective the judging is. Every week someone else gets to call the shots and all judgments are based purely on this person’s gut feeling.
This week, there were very many deeply emotional poems and stories. So, if your work of art didn’t get the praise it truly deserved, rest assured in the knowledge that it was only because I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – War is death.
Steve Lodge – One year, I accidentally created a stuffed broccoli and lime cheese premix that could be taken intravenously, while reciting Shakespeare from the viewpoint of Tybalt.
Vicente L Ruiz – To this day, I recall his face, the embers glinting off his pupils, the terror in his face as he told a child of five how he saw his comrades die around him.
Stephanie Cornelius – Usually, I wouldn’t have been within sniffing distance of them, but I go where I am needed.
Muskan Dhiman – Only if I hadn’t waited for him to come home this month before telling him.
Tim Hayes – War is hell for all involved.
Leslie Turrell – Is that why you hate cabbage so much?
Alysia Ascovani – Into the moonless terror that awaits
Angelique Pacheco – It was time to shake off my dusty heart and live out the rest of my life with all I had left to give.
Deanna Salser – I’m sorry, I’m a little out of it.
Geoff Le Pard – Martin was a sweet boy with ears like sails and teeth like granite chips.
Steph Ellis – You wear a poppy for me / And I am forgotten
David Lewis Pogson – You’ve kept it to yourself since the other kids laughed at you.
Arianna Hammond – While it doesn’t make an outright sound, I hear your intent.
Camilla Johansson – I struggle with the newspaper articles about what’s happening. I want to read them, and I want to avoid them.
Matilda Rice – I feel the warmth slowly trickle from my body, leaving me numb.
Rebecca Povall – His face is the first thing I notice; then the taste of blood, then the pain.
Arthur Unk – I use that memory as a reminder that tomorrow is not promised.
Matilda Rice – They Are Monsters
The parts that are not just the sentence “They are monsters.” are very well written and the ending pulls it nicely together.
Deanna Salser – Fentanyl Strikes Again
I’m a sucker for unusual and smart uses of the given elements, and this is surely the most interesting approach to the topic in this round. However, I strongly condemn drug abuse.
Angelique Pacheco – Old Woes and New Promises
I really felt with the poor, poor woman and the years of abuse she endured. Very real and very emotional.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 148.
(insert drumroll here)
Angelique Pacheco – Old Woes and New Promises
Nurse; Funeral; Memoir
I fell in love with him when I tended to him in the war. He was an enigmatic man even after his leg was amputated. We were married days after the war ended. Love ended on that day too. At first, we thought it was the aftereffects of war. He couldn’t sleep, and this made him a little grumpy at times. Then he stopped going out and I thought he was feeling a little down. When he started calling me names, I told myself that I should be more supportive of him and when he started to hit me, I thought it was because I deserved it.
Others saw but didn’t say anything. It wasn’t something we spoke about back then. But many women looked at me with tear filled eyes of sympathy as I struggled to keep my head up and tilted to the sky. As if I hoped the sun would kiss some of the pain away.
I stopped remembering and came back to the present. I looked around the chapel and saw many faces. But these faces were not here to celebrate him or his life. No, he had pushed everyone away. These people were here to celebrate my life. To say, “Well-done! We don’t know how you managed. Thank-you for marrying him and not making him one of our problems.”
I felt his presence before I saw him. The man who had many a time wiped the tears from my face. The doctor I had served with in the war had become my doctor years later. He sat next to me and his hand brushed mine softly. It was time to shake off my dusty heart and live out the rest of my life with all I had left to give. I smiled. Then I wept.
Tim Hayes – One Hundred Years On
Out of the many heart-wrenching war stories this week, this beautifully-written history lesson was the one that touched me the most.
Soldier; Battlefield; Eulogy
War is hell for all involved. From the raw recruit to the seasoned soldier. It starts at the training camp and continues through to the battlefield, to the trenches themselves. It also effects those left at home to worry and to grieve.
As time went by, it seemed there was no escape other than becoming an invalid, or through death. Some kept a diary, some wrote poems, memorialising the horrors of war. It was their way of trying to stay sane in an insane world.
The grim escape from the battlefield, via the field hospital and the rehabilitation centre, and finally to the street. They were the lucky ones. Few of those they left behind at the front received funerals, only death and oblivion.
Now, one hundred years on, there are no veterans left. No poets or nurses to tell of the suffering, no distraught wives, become widows. None left to tell of the suffering. Yet still we remember those who fought.
More than nine million soldiers lost their lives in this conflagration that introduced the world to war on an industrial scale. Many of the dead were never recovered, their bodies rent asunder and trampled in the mire.
This week’s newspapers are full of the armistice and the end of the Great War, their pages eulogizing a lost generation, a tragic lost generation. Yet conflict continues to pervade our world. Some lessons are never learned.
Congratulations, Tim. 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!