Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 151. We had 16 entries this time. A warm welcome to first-time entrants Florence, Osiris Rhodes and Emaly Hart.
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 150 Judge’s Pick, Vicente L Ruiz, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what he had to say:
OK, so here I am, judging Microcosms again. I have to confess that, on Friday morning morning, as I was going to catch my bus, I forgot I was doing the judging and almost looked at the site. Luckily I remembered in time and left it, only to be rewarded by the Thriller theme when I received the file containing the anonymized entries. The first thing I thought was that I’d have loved to have taken part this week!
Judging has always been difficult, and this time was no different, though I have to say that it’s because of the zombies. For some reason, I don’t like zombies as a concept, and here were oh so many of them. So, I tried to put my zombie dislike aside and judge the entries regardless of the undead presence in them (or not). I hope I did well.
Finally, I’ve previously chosen several honourable mentions and runners-up. This time, I felt like exercising some restrain.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – “Sunshine, we’re gonna raise the dead.”
Alva Holland – You’ll be running out of umbrellas soon.
Johanna – I’m as dry as Spongebob after a visit to the solarium.
Florence – Wouldn’t it make them middle-aged for real?
Steve Lodge – He was well connected within the Russian ballet, but that would turn out to be bolshoi.
Tim Hayes – That most peculiar of rituals, the dance floor.
Osiris Rhodes – “Well, master, I guess it’s time to end this.”
Alysia Ascovani – Under the crescent moon, seven crows danced, hidden but for their soft silver glow.
Emaly Hart – She slowly turned around to face a man, cloaked in crimson.
Stephanie Cornelius – They say the bass guitarist always gets the girls but, in reality, just being a member of the band gets you the girls.
Angelique Pacheco – He was smart, good with his hands and “good with his hands”, if you know what I mean.
Nikky Olivier – Alexa gave a saccharine smile and wandered off in the direction of the bar.
Arianna Hammond – He grins and his glasses glint in the dingy club light.
Nicolette Stephens – I’d longed for one more day with my wife.
Deanna Salser – Feeling around with both hands brought her to the paralyzing realization that she was in a coffin.
Maya Levine – Tell me everything! Our readers demand it!
Alva Holland – Play It, Sam
For best integration of song titles into the narrative. I found myself smiling every time a song crept up!
Johanna – Dibs
Because I’m still laughing!
Stephanie Cornelius – There Once Was a Man From…
Well… just read the story. I’m not sure it fully qualifies as Crime; dark-humoured crime, maybe? Anyway, I loved it.
Deanna Salser – Dying to Dance
Loved this story. It’s really, really clever in the way it inserts that dance we all know so well. But also, it’s Horror, but the horror is felt by the (un)dead character. Brilliant.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 151.
(insert drumroll here)
Johanna – Dibs
Love Rivals; Nightclub; Comedy
“Yo, bro.” Mike elbowed his brother in the ribs. “Look. At the bar. In the blue dress!”
“I call dibs!” Bill shouted over the nightclub music without even turning around.
“You haven’t even seen who that is.”
“That’s my next ex-girlfriend, that’s who,” Bill exclaimed and scanned the crowd at the bar.
“That one?” he asked, pointing at a woman who had her back turned to them. “Well, that’s a fine behind, and I’ve always wanted to be an ass-tronaut.”
He laughed at his own joke.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Mike cautioned.
“Don’t care, bro. I’m as dry as Spongebob after a visit to the solarium, and I need to get laid as much as Squidward needs some peace and quiet. Besides, I called dibs first, so stand back and watch an expert in action.”
He pushed his brother out of the way, walked up to the woman in the blue dress and tipped her on the shoulder. Mike followed him closely.
“Yo, baby,” Bill shouted loud enough to be heard over the music, “Nice dress you have there. Would look great on my bedroom floor!”
The woman turned around. Bill’s smug grin froze on his face.
Mike snorted. “Expert in putting your foot in your mouth, that’s what you are. What you really need is some brains in your skull and you need them just as much as Patrick Star.”
He turned to the woman. “Hi, great-auntie Jean!”
Alysia Ascovani – Mad Heaven
Somehow, I couldn’t take myself from the spell of this story. Almost nothing really happens, yet the imagery that the delicate words evokes is beautiful and creepy — so powerful.
I’ve found out I’m quite visual when I write: in my mind I usually see the story developing as if it were a film, and then I try to translate that into words. That’s why, conversely, I can’t resist a story that provokes strong images in me. With this entry, I could easily imagine illustrations by Victoria Francés as an accompaniment to the story. I reread it and see those images again and again.
What a fabulous piece of fiction this is!
Pleasure Seeker; Graveyard; Drama
Her footsteps crunched on the frozen ground as she stalked through the headstones. The deep violet train of her gown billowed behind her as it caressed all those she passed. Under the crescent moon, seven crows danced, hidden but for their soft silver glow. She paused, hearing the soft beat of their wings, and lifted her head til her face caught the light, blood dripping from her lips.
Eyes alight with manic fury, she laughed an exaltation. Her luscious voice swirled through the dusty air, breathing life into the desolate dead. High above, the clouds were unable to resist the storm of her delirium.
From within the new-found gale, her hair revelled in her revelation. Her laughter began to subside, yet the echoes still rang throughout the graveyard, never to die. She closed her eyes, her chest heaving in the throes of her hypnotic passion.
Her dress swirled around her ankles as she continued her stately prowl. A slight waver in stride, and she had a white rose tucked behind her ear, a gift from death.
As she went, she ran long, slender fingers over the top of each headstone. At the end of each row, she brought her fingers to her lips and licked them clean of the layers of dirt they had accumulated.
Far off in the distance, she could see faint glimmers of the dawn rising above the horizon. As the moon faded from the sky, she reluctantly moved towards the graveyard gate. Tears shone on her cheeks, though she knew she would return the next night, as she always did.
As she always would.
She turned back as she neared the gate, her skirts embracing a crumbling headstone. Her lips brushed the faint name reverently.
She rose rapturously, for a night amongst the dead…
Congratulations, Alysia. 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!