Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 160. We had 13 entries this time. A warm welcome to first-time entrants JANE and GlitterintheStars.
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 159 Judge’s Pick, Stephen Shirres, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what he had to say:
I tweeted on Friday that I felt like a small boy before Christmas who knew were his unwrapped Christmas presents were. I’m so glad I didn’t peak. As always the standard was superb and I enjoyed reading the dystopian totalitarian states and West Indian romances which came my way.
To everyone who entered, thank you for letting me read your stories; if anyone wants more in-depth, hit me up on Twitter: @The_Red_Fleece.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – I never saw him in the glow of anything resembling the brightness, the warmth of the sun.
Nicola – …I moved into the camp with my trolley full of dreams and fantastical places. Some of them were blank.
Storm Jarvis – His heart is open until it all unfolds.
Geoff Le Pard – Duty is a strange master, its urgings compelling where logic stayed a hand.
Ellen Grace – ‘Your life has been requisitioned for not being lived in the right way. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.’
JANE – He moved ghost-like through the city, like a low-lying fog…
Angelique Pacheco – Rusted window panes and a forlorn bench completed the picture.
Holly Geely – Starvation was indeed a problem among the common folk. He had been meaning to do something about that, but he hadn’t found the time.
Ted Young – …when the white man lands on a country or region, his primary necessity is to ‘civilise’ it, which means all the beautiful traditions have to go;
Alysia Ascovani – Across the open water, the sky burned with blood, a dusting of clouds smattered about the horizon.
Tim Hayes – Just ponder the fact that toilet paper was advertised as being splinter-free right up until the nineteen thirties.
Deanna Salser – …she crept out of the nursery and headed for the stables, almost swimming through the moist summer night.
GlitterintheStars – The two sat down, scattering buckets and plastic building tools out. “You’re serious builders!”
Holly Geely – Vive La Revolucion
I loved the barbed wit of this tale and the way the dialogue told the reader about the characters and the world they lived in.
Geoff Le Pard – Paving the Way with Good Intentions
The title sums up the whole tale. I got a real sense of the characters’ lives and relationship. I was completely surprised by the twist but, like all good twists, it made the story better on its second read.
Deanna Salser – Forbidden Fruit
A great example of flash fiction writing, using only 300 words to tell a story which could be a novel, with a nice twist at the end.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 160.
(insert drumroll here)
Community Pick AND Judge’s Pick
Alysia Ascovani – Let Me Go
For me, the best flash fiction has both plot which leaves you with the right kind of questions and a sense of beauty of description. This is a beautiful tale full of mystery and atmosphere which provides both. It has that special something that draws you to a piece of writing and won’t let you go — ironically! When I finished reading it for the first time, it soared to the top of the list where it stayed throughout the judging process.
Librarian; New Jersey; Drama
The wind whistled as it buffeted her body. She clung to the rail, dizzy, as she watched the waves crash onto the rocks far below. Across the open water, the sky burned with blood, a dusting of clouds smattered about the horizon. Slicing through the crimson, a single crow captured her eyes.
Behind her, the light began to spin in circles, adding a ghostly cast to the evening’s gloaming. In shaking hands, she stroked the book for which she gave up her dream job. The binding was worn almost through, yet the pages were still somehow in near pristine condition. She could never go back now, not since she’d made the stupid decision to become a thief.
Slamming her fist onto the metal railing, she felt tears come to her eyes as she cradled her hand. In her other hand, the book thrummed to the beat of her heart. Unbidden, she felt herself move as if to take a step closer to the open sky.
Dimly, she knew she did not want to move at all, but yet, she could not stop her body from twitching in its eagerness to respond to the urge. Frantic, her eyes searched the sky for answers even as it taunted her. From the corner of her eyesight, the looping font on the cover of the book, dona mihi animam, drew her in further. Not quite a title, she thought, it was too beautiful, too awe-inspiring for that.
The thrum turned to a roar that buried her senses beneath its lull. At times, she thought she could hear voices calling to her, but there was no one anywhere nearby. Standing on the railing now, she joined the crow, her flight far more graceful.
Water droplets sprayed upwards.
The book lay still, but for its heartbeat.
Congratulations on the double whammy, Alysia! As Community Pick AND Judge’s Pick, you are more or less obliged to be judge of the next round of Microcosms this coming weekend. Please click HERE to let us know whether or not you are interested!