Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 159. We had 15 entries this time. Welcome back to long-lost pal, Sal Page.
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 158 Judge’s Pick, Geoff Le Pard, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what he had to say:
This week’s fifteen offerings gave us a lot of romance, a smattering of athletic prowess and a few laughs. A couple of entries, while hitting the maximum of 300 words, did so by the expedient of leaving out words* that even a grammar slob like me couldn’t ignore. Please don’t; at best it jars, at worst… well, it doesn’t fly. Those apart, the quality was — as usual — very high, with a mix of the light, the twisted, the fantastical and, oddly this week, the genitalial (if that is even a word). I had fun, so thank you for your pieces.
( * I had a lazy weekend, for once, and didn’t field them all… [GH] )
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Storm Jarvis – She raised a finger to my wound and collected the blood…
Bill Engleson – Never could figure out why someone would shoot up a place full of dead people.
Steve Lodge – Do you know I can’t cross my legs when I sit down?
Nicola – I stood in front of my wife and pulled the arrow.
David Lewis Pogson – She leant across, kissed him and said those three words that probably saved his life.
Ellen Grace – Look on the bright side: at least you don’t have to touch one at home.
Holly Geely – He could feel how she ached inside.
Sal Page – As a comedy actress, yes, not as a bottom.
Alysia Ascovani – True victory was the slaughter.
Frank Key – …and about five hundred more.
Tim Hayes – Murphy savoured the thought of the victorious kiss…
Stephen Shirres – I’m about getting better, not starting again…
Deanna Salser – Her heart skipped a beat, her scalp tingling.
Geoff Holme – “The thing is… I’m stuck in here! Can you come and get me out?”
Emaly Hart – Sullied by the crimson of the day’s events, I turned the television on.
Steve Lodge – Onward Flight of The Bird Of Hope
For random and surreal placement of testicles in a story, especially when used as space hoppers…
Storm Jarvis – The Girl On The Train
For the grossest, bloodiest, horror of the week, in all it’s bizarre yet compelling gory glory…
Geoff Holme – Don’t Leave Me Hanging On The Telephone
Unless you’ve lead the ultimate hermetic existence, you will have been cold-called; this was the perfect riposte to the notion that all strange calls should be ignored, and yet the best reason of them all to put that phone down.
Bill Engleson – Day 1: The Presidential Candidate Who Thought He Would Give It A Shot
A teasing piece this, perfectly structured as a piece of reportage that ultimately goes nowhere, much, I suspect like the candidate’s ambitions, but in amongst it a minor tour de force of the nutter world of would-be presidential candidates and those who seek to unpick their motivations.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 159.
(insert drumroll here)
Storm Jarvis – The Girl On The Train
Athlete; Train; Romance
We had met on the train to New York. She stood in the back of the train car, staring, and I knew she was dying to ask me why a healthy, successful 23-year-old athlete had left a fantastic sports career. As I looked up into her eyes, her lips curled up, and I was immediately drawn to her. I stood and walked over with confidence, knowing my body was still lean and defined from years of training. I took the seat next to her and began the game I knew all too well.
It was dark, and confusion set in as I recalled the pretty girl from the train. We talked, we laughed, and she invited me out for a drink. Other than the neon sign at the bar, I couldn’t remember anything else. As if on cue, the lights filled the room, blinding me as I tried to make out the figure coming towards me. It was her. She held a leather bag in her hands and silently laid it out in front of me. Tools of different kinds filled the small holders and panic set in. The game I had thought I was playing was hers. Her lips curled as she picked up the surgical knife and everything seemed insignificant as she trailed her blade along my skin. My screams went unheard as she pushed deeper, leaving a trail of blood along my chest. She raised a finger to my wound and collected the blood; she pushed her finger into her mouth, sucking it off.
This was the moment I realised that she was the one. We made love that night. Each game was going further than the last, and I wondered who we would be tomorrow, or if it would matter. My wife had become my greatest accomplishment.
Stephen Shirres – Dear John
It had to be romance this week, not sure why. This was the piece I had to go back to. There’s such a lot in it: the comparisons between the snow and the untouched page in the note book; the rhythm of the train and of the words that poured out; the juxtaposition between the Dear John on one side and the arguments on the other. Lovely…
Athlete; Train; Romance
The bitter irony doesn’t escape me. The first two words of my letter stake my thought process, scaring them into immobility. My train doesn’t have the same issue. With the soothing click-clack of metal wheels, it races through the Alpine mountains. Snow stereotypically falls across the peaks. My vision becomes my usual dream: me, with skis on my feet, criss-crossing the fresh layer of nature.
The whiteness of my blank page is less inviting. I want to blame the two dark words ruining its blanket freshness. The truth is much more emotional. Years of wasted love to add to all the others. I’m about getting better, not starting again yet I know it isn’t working. Hasn’t been for years.
Worse, it is getting in the way. Never of competitions but training. Missed sessions to keep him happy. Every one an added second to my time. Making the medals duller.
I shake my head as if it’ll shift the scramble of thoughts into an order which will flow through my pen easily. The pathway remains jammed. The two words still alone on the page.
I flick the page over. Time for a new approach. Onto the white, I scribe words. I don’t care about what they are or how they look, just what I feel about him. The good and the bad. Old arguments and past make ups. The page fills with them all to the rhythm of the train.
I rip the page from my notebook and place it beside my notebook, turned back to my two-word letter. A dozen next lines waiting to be picked. Yet, the two words stay alone on my beloved white. ‘Dear John’.
Congratulations, Stephen. 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!