Microcosms 154

Merry Christmas, everyone! Welcome to Microcosms 154.

As last year, there are no contest posts in the holiday period. This is the first of two ‘just for fun’ posts to bring 2018 to a close. There is simply a photo prompt below; no character, setting and genre elements, and no slot machine. Let your imagination run wild — although not too wild, as the usual word count of 300 words maximum still applies, but the challenge is open for a whole week until midnight, Thursday, 27-DEC-2018 (EST).

*** PLEASE IGNORE THE COUNTDOWN CLOCK! ***

*** It will still show 24 hours, because it’s too much hassle to adjust it… ***

 

Image courtesy of Jessica-jil

Microcosms 155
Microcosms 104

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22 comments for “Microcosms 154

  1. 21 December 2018 at 12:15 am

    It’s been another fun year, Geoff…Thanks for all of your work. Have a grand holiday.

    2+
    • Geoff Holme
      21 December 2018 at 9:07 am

      Thanks, Bill. It’s you and all the other people who continue to support Microcosms that make it worthwhile.
      Best wishes to you.

      1+
  2. Storm
    21 December 2018 at 1:07 am

    “Come, let’s go this way,” her voice echoed in the forest. He was unable to forget Emma’s radiant smile yet the world continued around him, forgetting the girl gone missing in the forest. It had been years since that fateful day, yet Brian came back every year to walk the same path. He remembered Emma finding the cement bridge and her excitement at the strangeness of the structure. He ran his hands over the bottles embedded in the cement, and wondered what path her life would have followed.
    Brian awoke to a bird squawking overhead; the sun was setting in the distance and he realized that he had been asleep for a few hours. He stood and stretched feeling the ache in his bones from sleeping against the tree. The sun was setting fast as he headed back. Brian was so focused on keeping to the path that he did not see the woman standing in front of him. He stopped before she saw him. She was singing softly under her breath, a song long forgotten.
    Brian raised his head to see her standing over the bottled bridge, his eyes trying to make out her features. He stood frozen realizing that it was Emma; he could not forget that smile. Her eyes were glowing with life as he stood watching her sing around the bridge. Emma stopped and turned away, unaware of the man hiding in the shadows. Without a second thought, Brian rushed forward calling to her. She turned to him as he reached for her.
    She disappeared. It was just a dream.
    Brian took the gun from his pocket and buried it beneath the bridge.
    “Thank you, Emma.” He saw her happy, the guilt was gone. Now he too could forget the girl he drowned in the river.

    3+
  3. stephanie cornelius
    21 December 2018 at 2:32 am

    @Ravenangel888
    300 words

    Hoping for Bridges and Not Flames

    There is a phrase: “build a bridge and get over it”, and it had never seemed more apt than today. There were people I need to see, apologies I need to make, and the only way for that to happen is if I build bridges instead of burning them. I was stuck on who I should approach first. Should it be my Brother? I wonder whether he still has the ashes of the pet I ran over. My Aunt, if she can forgive me for breaking the Waterford Crystal vase in a brief spurt of rage? My parents? There are more things to apologise to them about than I think I can count.

    No, I think the first person should be my Sister. I heard that her divorce was finalised last week. The part I played in all of that deserves to be what I apologise about first. Her husband shares in the blame, but, I should never have slept with him. If I had been in my right mind, I would never have done it.

    My right mind? What is that exactly? There was a time where I thought I had everything figured out. That the people closest to me were just annoying buzzards, waiting for me to crash and burn so that they could pick my corpse clean. Of course, that was before. Before I caused the accident that killed my unborn Son. Before I realised what everyone had been telling me for years was actually true.

    I get out of rehab in a week. I hope they will all see me. That they will forgive me. Even if I can’t forgive myself.

    I push my list of confessions into the bottle set into the decorative bridge and walk back to my room. One week until I’m free.

    1+
  4. Nicolette Stephens
    21 December 2018 at 2:48 am

    @Rhapsody2312
    Empty

    They called it the Singing Bridge, the Bridge of Lament, the Bottle Bridge. There were less-flattering names for the concrete and glass sculpture that had once been a focal point of the neglected park – the Drunk’s Bridge, the Troll Bridge, the list went on. I thought of it simply as Regrets.

    It was old enough that weather and rebellious teens had taken their toll from it – the bottles paying the price with broken necks or shattering completely. When the wind blew in the right direction, it played an eerie song through the glass, and I imagined I could hear voices whispering to me from another time.

    *

    “Why, Peter? Why must you keep doing this?” Her eyes were no longer accusing, no longer angry. The stormy grey had given way to a calm silver that let nothing show – harder to meet with defiance.
    “I’m leaving, Peter. I can’t do this anymore. You’re drinking your life away. You’re not the man I married. I don’t know who you are now.”
    I turn away, throwing the empty bottle towards the overflowing trash can.

    *

    “How could you do this! You bastard! He was my son! He was just a boy! And you killed him! YOU KILLED MY BOY!”

    *

    “Peter, I know things haven’t been great since you got out, but you can’t keep doing this. You need to do something productive with your life. I heard about art classes at the community centre. You loved art… before. I’ve signed you up. You start on Thursday.”

    *

    “That’s a lot of bottles, friend. How many people collected them for you?”
    I put another folded message into a bottle filled with guilt and what-ifs, sealing it carefully before I look up at the man who is watching me with curiosity.
    “Just one.”

    2+
  5. Ted Young
    21 December 2018 at 4:56 am

    Random Ravings

    Uncle Henry liked a drink,
    “A drop of wine won’t hurt,” he said.
    At least that’s what he used to think,
    till a crate of it fell on his head.
    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

    “What would you like, sir?”
    the waiter said, pensively picking his nose.
    “A hard boiled egg and a bottle of wine please, waiter,
    you can’t get your fingers in those”.
    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

    “Are we there yet, Daddy?”
    “Not yet, love. Keep singing, the time will pass.”

    “Are we there yet, Daddy?”
    “No love!”

    “Are we there yet, Daddy?… this must be the longest trip ever!”
    “Maybe.”
    “Sing with me, Daddy.”
    “OK, sugar. All together.”
    “There’s nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine green bottles hanging on the wall.”
    “There’s…”

    1+
  6. Alva Holland
    21 December 2018 at 5:45 am

    @Alva1206

    More Than That

    So, we were asked to raise a glass to Geoff Holme who takes us on extraordinary journeys each week through Microcosms Fiction. Someone decided a glass was not enough so we all raised several bottles instead. We created art.
    Thanks, Geoff. See you in 2019.

    7+
  7. Steve Lodge
    21 December 2018 at 8:41 am

    Happy holidays, Geoff. Thanks for raising the bar every week. Belzon salutes you. Wishing you a healthy 2019.
    Keep well and keep smiling.

    2+
    • Geoff Holme
      21 December 2018 at 9:14 am

      “Raising the bar”? What a very Lodgean take on the photo prompt!
      Thanks, Steve, for your continuing, surreal presence. Holiday greetings right back atcha!

      1+
  8. 21 December 2018 at 8:48 am

    I came to this website late in the year and wish I’d found it earlier. It’s been great fun competing and judging. And I’ve read some excellent short stories along the way which have helped me to improve my efforts. Greatly appreciated Geoff. Thanks.

    1+
  9. 21 December 2018 at 11:10 am

    Thanks Geoff. It’s been a blast…

    0
  10. Prowlheart
    21 December 2018 at 1:49 pm

    “Flowers.”
    Eyes glinted in the darkness of the forest. Starlight filtered through branches, and the only sound to be heard was the occasional cry of an animal, long and mournful. A full moon licked a plank of wood, bathing it in light and warmth. But this wasn’t any normal plank of wood. The wood was tainted with holes and faults, and each divit large enough held a glass bottle. Nobody knew where it came from, or what was inside of it.

    Lonesome Flowers was a cat of adventure. She had found the bark long ago, pulled at it, scratched at it, and tried to tear the corks off the bottles. She knew something was inside of them, yet she had never found out what it was. Despite this, Flowers had never tried to go under the plank. Rumour had it that something was under there… something scary. Flowers scoffed. Rumours had never stopped her before, and never would. Fearlessly, she pranced under the plank, and everything went dark.

    Flowers had never felt this way before. No gentle breeze ruffled her pelt. No sounds split the air. No feelings crackled through her. It felt as if she was dead, but she knew her heart was beating. Suddenly, a blinding flash of light tore the darkness to dust. It flitted around her, and mist twined through her tail and paws. Sound radiated throughout the cavern. Welcome to the future, Flowers. It sang. For the first time, Flowers felt scared.

    Flowers, shaking, ran out of the light, and ran out from under the plank of wood. The corks of the bottles flew off and surged toward her. Flowers’ tail swished fearfully. Little did she know, she had run out on the opposite side of the wood plank.

    Ok, I’m really sorry that my story was so bad, but I’m only 12. I didn’t see any age limit…….. Anyways, hope you enjoy 😀

    3+
    • Flora Mack
      24 December 2018 at 11:45 am

      I’m only 11.

      0
    • Arianna Hammond
      26 December 2018 at 2:51 pm

      Hello,
      Wonderful stories. I very much enjoyed the styles.
      However, you should never post your age or any personal identification information about yourself on the internet. Especially if your are under 18. Keep sharing your great work, but please be more careful.

      1+
    • Harrietbelle
      28 December 2018 at 7:45 am

      This is soooo good! You are a writer of the future to take over from those of us who have lost our inspiration…and to inspire us to write again!!
      Only one thing by way of constructive criticism I think your final sentence needs to be stronger so that the reader wants more!

      0
    • Harrietbelle
      28 December 2018 at 7:49 am

      My first comment was for Prowlheart but it placed itself under ‘Flora Mack’!

      0
  11. Flora Mack
    24 December 2018 at 11:40 am

    Oh Susana
    298 words
    Bottles. Empty bottles. They lay across the dark wood, stained with the afterthought of madness. Susana’s heart thumped in her chest, beating against her raw skin.

    Susana remembered her father. The man who had loved her and cared for her no matter how much she shouted at him. But over the years people said he was mad. He would slink out at night, off to bars and pool parties he wasn’t invited to. The only thing that kept Susana sane was knowing that her father would always come home. Except for this time. This time he didn’t come home.
    Susana followed the trail of empty bottles along the river. To her, it seemed as if the bottles were positioned in a perfect line like dominos, not thrown over the shoulder of a drunk man. Susana wanted to cry. She wanted to let the tears flow down her pale cheeks and make the glistening stream overflow. But she didn’t. She clenched her fists and held in any emotion. She had learned a long time ago that if she showed emotion, daddy got mad. And when daddy got mad he started to hit things. No. Susana would bring back her father and things would go back to normal.
    Susana trudged through the thick underbrush. Her arms became tired of swiping away mosquitos and bees. Soon enough the sun began to set. The trail of bottles winded through the trees and seemed to go on forever. Just as Susana started to lose hope, she heard a whisper. ” It’s your fault.” It said, ” You did this to him.” She ignored the voice.
    The bottles led her to a clearing where to great oaks stood alone on their own little island of soil amidst the waves of grass. ” Oh, Susana.”

    2+
    • Harrietbelle
      28 December 2018 at 7:53 am

      This for Flora Mack!…Great writing I loved your phraseology! Very sad and dark though…but well expressed. Thank-you….Do hope we see more of your writings in the future.

      0
  12. Flora Mack
    25 December 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Empty
    300 words

    The ghost was eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Clarice stared. It must have been a ghost. What else could it be? A floating peanut butter and jelly sandwich was not normal, so it must be paranormal.
    Clarice just wanted one single normal stroll through the park. But nooo. She couldn’t go anywhere without seeing her ” great great great grandmother” or a mysterious floating object.
    Ever since some creepy old lady in a tent with a crystal ball had told her that the only person who could answer her questions about life was dead, Clarice got a creeping feeling that the floating lamp over her bed was not normal.
    As Clarice stood gawking at the sandwich it began to float away. Clarice was drawn toward the floating pieces of bread.
    Everybody was watching the 24-year old blonde woman sneaking into the bushes but nobody said anything. Clarice followed the ghost into a hidden clearing where a large tree had fallen over and it’s mighty corpse blocked the way to the other side of the clearing. Millions of closed bottles were stuck in little notches in the bark of the tree.
    ” Excuse me.” Clarice jumped. She had almost forgotten about the sandwich that she had followed to this place.
    ” Ummm… Yes?” A bite appeared out of the sandwich. ” Someone told me you were looking for answers.” said a light British accent that seemed to be coming from the sandwich. ” Isn’t everybody.” she muttered. The ghost ignored her. ” The bottles in this tree belong to every human on earth. Each one holds the answer to all their questions.”
    ” Which one’s mine?” asked Clarice. The ghost pointed to a small bottle in the center. Clarice opened the glass flask. It was empty. The ghost was gone.

    1+
  13. Deanna Salser
    26 December 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Pamela was delighted when she first found the doorway. It didn’t look like any kind of door she had ever seen before; it just looked like an arch, a unique arch, to be sure, but an arch all the same. She stopped on the path and regarded it, her eyes following the rows of bottles imbedded in the top. Fascinated, she approached and stepped carefully beneath it, fingers caressing the smooth clay. Immediately she felt a tingle and her vision blurred strangely. Jerking back from the construction, she stumbled and fell on her butt. Perplexed, she got up and dusted herself off, eyeing the arch as she did so. Now that she looked, there did seem to be a shimmer in the air beneath it. She sidled up to the arch and put her hand in the disturbance. The pins and needles travelled up her arm as she extended it further under the arch. Making a split decision, she darted quickly to the other side.
    Pam slowly turned in place, wondering if she could possibly be having a dream. On one side of the arch was the field behind the house she had just bought, and on the other, was a tiny deserted village, in the middle of a peaceful forest. It didn’t feel like a dream, though, it felt real. The air here was fresh, and filled with the scents of live things, and water, flowing close by. It caressed her skin, and lifted her hair as it flowed around her; bringing with it a plethora of olfactory sensation she had no words for. She closed her eyes to more fully enjoy it, feeling the peace of the place settle around her.
    When she opened her eyes, she gasped, her heart hammering in her chest. The arch was gone.

    0
  14. Kevin Curtis
    27 December 2018 at 10:41 am

    Justin thought being carjacked in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night was the strangest thing that had ever happened to him. He was so very wrong. Stepping into the bushes to pee was also a mistake. He got turned around and couldn’t find his way back to the road. A sudden illumination between the trees got his attention and he wandered toward it, hoping for rescue.
    Standing before what he guessed was some sort of sculpture, he wondered why it was way out here. It sent off a low vibration when he got closer, and he shook his head as it buzzed in his ears. Something inside the bottles was vibrating. Reaching up, he grasped one of the flasks sticking out of the top and pulled, but it was unmovable. He tried prying the cork, but it also resisted him. In fact, all of the corks he turned his efforts to remained firmly entrenched. Strangely compelled, he placed three fingers into the strange indentations in the clay. His other hand came up of its own accord and the first cork he grabbed came out easily. Before he could celebrate that tiny victory, he was overcome with a rush of air like a cloud, and when it cleared, he was standing on top of a snowy mountain, rows of peaks before him. Shock caused him to lose hold on the cork and in an instant he was back in the forest, snow falling from his hair. He watched his hand reach for another cork, and before he could blink, he was standing in a jungle thunderstorm. Glimmering jewels grew from the ground around his feet, sparkling from every nook and cranny. Justin’s fist tightened around the cork, he wouldn’t lose it before he was ready, this time.

    0
  15. 27 December 2018 at 5:16 pm

    I wanted to get a story done for this, but I’ve been so busy with the holidays that I haven’t had a chance. So, I’ll just say this: I’m really glad I discovered this website in the fall as it’s been super fun participating each week. I look forward to continuing to do so in 2019. I hope everyone has had/will have a wonderful holiday season!

    1+

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