Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 152. We had 15 entries this 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 151 Judge’s Pick, Alysia Ascovani, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
First, I am often a highly indecisive person, and, as a result, it was difficult for me to decide which stories deserved awards. Although there were only 15 entries, I felt that every single entry was of high quality both in terms of writing conventions and of story content. I found myself with about 7 stories to choose from when determining the Judge’s Pick and all of the other awards.
Also, while I do read frequently, this is the first time I have not known the author beforehand. The name of an author may seem innocuous, but now, I believe that it is just as important as the title in determining whether or not one wishes to read something. Some of these stories were not in genres or topics in which I would usually have an interest, yet due to the anonymity, I could not judge them until I had read them. As it turns out, we truly do judge books by their covers.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – I begin scratching my head, but all I do is cause a bit of brain bleeding.
Steve Lodge – Just go away and shiver your bones out somewhere public.
Johanna – A man and his machine. Both dead.
Leslie Turrell – He tramps back to the cerulean washed wooden cabin.
Angelique Pacheco – We should have known that man’s greed would surpass convenience […] Tim Hayes – ‘I am merely resting between jobs. A quite natural state of affairs.’
Geoff Le Pard – He sat on the ground, gathering his thoughts and wondering if he had imagined, poking from the earth, a man’s skeletal hands holding a skull out to him as if offering him a lucky charm.
Deanna Salser – Swift retribution as his unfeeling body hung together momentarily before slowly sliding apart, hitting the ground with a series of thuds.
Flora Mack – Next time you see a herd of wild horses look for the horse with a long brown mane and a glint in her eye.
Muskan Dhiman – I long for Death to take me into her arms and rock me to eternal sleep.
Arianna Hammond – “Liar. You have more to say than a drunk comedian.”
David Lewis Pogson – But even if I had joined them, it cannot be treasonous to defend your own country against invaders.
Vicente L Ruiz – Disoriented. I feel disoriented.
Matilda Rice – Hurt anything enough and it will hurt you back.
Geoff Holme – His features crumpled, his body seemed to shrink; I felt real bad I’d called him on his daydreams.
Tim Hayes – Merely Resting
A good laugh with the banter between the actor and the agent. Told entirely in dialogue, yet it is still easy to imagine the two characters and their expressions as the conversation unfolds.
Flora Mack – Lily
I confess, horses are my absolute favorite animal, and that may have biased me towards this story a little. However, I also loved how the author turned a normal story into what felt like a fairy tale or a legend at the end.
Johanna – Fatal Freedom
Though this story is 300 words, it felt much shorter. A good story that left me wanting to know more about the character and his dream.
Matilda Rice – A Dying Planet
Although not much actually happens in this story, as it is just a description of the narrator’s world, it felt like the reader had been there to see the planet’s downfall. I especially loved how parts of it read as if they could be applied to the current state of Earth as well.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 152.
(insert drumroll here)
Matilda Rice – A Dying Planet
Strong-willed Woman; Frozen Planet; Tragedy
I was born on a planet that was dying. My entire life was spent watching the numbers on the thermometer slowly rise, an ever-present promise of destruction. I saw peoples’ indolence and placidity slowly destroy everything mankind touched, and I looked on, horrified, as society turned their backs on the trail of devastation that they left behind. I saw them watch the world crumble and burn and still choose to do nothing. Back then, I prayed for change. Now I wish I hadn’t.
Hurt anything enough and it will hurt you back.
When temperatures began to fall, nobody really noticed. In the first year it was barely detectable, a mere millionth of a degree. But that was just the beginning. Each year temperatures fell by more, little by little, until they began to plummet. But even then people didn’t listen. We were so foolish, so naive. It had just seemed so right, this redress of natural balance. Most embraced the change, called it a miracle. Little did we know it was anything but.
The snow began to fall in December. It seemed normal at first, soft white sheets that gently covered the earth. But soon, it changed. It became something new, different. Darker and unnatural. It fell ceaselessly, blanketing the entire planet. Fields of crops were buried beneath it, smothered by the foreign frozen wasteland it created. Famine spread across the globe like fire, wiping mankind from the earth.
The world fell apart.
If you’ve never seen a world collapse then you cannot truly understand the chaos that followed. The pain, the destruction, the fear – it was everywhere. I tried to stay strong, refusing to give up, waiting for it all to end. But it never did. I don’t think it ever will.
Never try to kill a planet.
Muskan Dhiman – I Had Promised Her
Right from the first line, this story made me feel as if I was there. But, what really pushed me to choose this story out of all the other good stories between which I was trying to decide, is how the author made me forget that the setting was World War I. Until I reached the very end, I felt the narrator’s love for Ellie and the serenity of his home, which was expertly leading up to the tragic ending. Out of all the stories with Tragedy as the genre this week, this story truly felt like a Tragedy, and not just a story with tragic elements, or a tragic ending.
Farm Boy; World War I France; Tragedy
I sink to my knees. All around me, I see blurs of khaki, firing machine guns, fighting until Death beckons them. But I can no longer do this. Every inch of my body aches. I long for Death to take me into her arms and rock me to eternal sleep.
I think of home, of the smell of the freshly-ploughed cornfields, of the peace of the countryside.
I think of Ellie.
Her honey-coloured hair, fluttering in the breeze. Her beautiful eyes, warm and brown. Her smile, enough to light up my day. Her clear, ringing laughter.
I think of those days. Working at the farm throughout the day. Going for walks along the winding country roads, hand in hand with Ellie. The movies we saw at the cinema, followed, always, by ice cream at Billy’s. The countless evenings we spent by the river, surrounded by tall grass, the occasional dragonfly fluttering by.
I yearn for home, for my Ellie. I yearn for Peace.
“I know that you’ll give your best,” she’d said, taking my hand. The setting sun had dyed the whole sky orange, and Ellie seemed to glow in the warm hue, looking like a goddess. A faint breeze blew, rustling the grass. A dragonfly settled on her hand, flying away when Ellie reached out to touch it.
That was the last time we’d met.
“I know that you’ll give your best,” she’d said.
I’d promised her that I would.
I wanted to fly into the void, just like a dragonfly, but I’d promised her.
I get into position, but just before I fire, a hand grenade lands right next to me.
I hear Ellie’s laughter just behind me, but when I turn, all I see is Darkness.
I’d promised her, but alas, I couldn’t fulfill it.
Congratulations, Muskan. 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!