Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 161. We had just 11 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 160 Judge’s Pick, Alysia Ascovani, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
As I usually neither read nor write comedy, judging this week’s batch of stories was quite difficult. However, I did thoroughly enjoy reading each of the eleven entries.
What is interesting about this week compared to the last time I judged, is how no one story instantly jumped out at me as the winner. I found myself spending a lot of time looking at the small details in order to separate the best stories from the batch of really good stories.
If I could, I would give every single story an award because they were all exceptional in their own way.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – Coffee, it seemed, smelled like roast pig.
David Lewis Pogson – Again, someone had thought to box a wooden casing around it like an upright sarcophagus.
Holly Geely – It was dark, thick sludge, and it took a few minutes to move to his mouth.
Nicola – They have stolen my coffee cherries.
Tim Hayes – ‘I don’t want to go to school, I want to stay at home and play superheroes.’
Muskan Dhiman – Tomorrow, I’ll become the first person to step out of our solar system.
Angelique Pacheco – They bulldozed through life like tweaked rats, scurrying from one fad to the next.
Emaly – She had forgotten that she was not in her own skin.
Matilda – Revulsion crashes over me in waves, leaving me fighting for control of my body.
Geoff Le Pard – You get peace-loving bipeds with low flatulence and good posture.
Deanna Salser – He had forgotten to buy milk, and detested drinking coffee without it, likening it to a cup of hot gasoline…
Bill Engleson – Bean There, Done That: The Space Travails of Glop
Loved how this story took the coffee-shop setting even further and made coffee the focus of the story. Engaging and very relatable for coffee lovers.
Muskan Dhiman – The Only Volunteers
A two-faced story that lulled me with the beginning sweetness, then shocked me by the unforeseen ambition that turned the ending dark.
Deanna Salser – Coffee With the Village People
I enjoyed how well this story made me feel the resignation of the characters as they realized they’d have to dance. Though a comedy, this story was also a bit of a sweet representation of how different kinds of people can be brought together, even momentarily.
Angelique Pacheco – Constructing New Traditions
This story was quite relatable with a well-done humorous twist in the unexpected ending. One of the few comedy stories to make me laugh out loud!
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 161.
(insert drumroll here)
Matilda Rice – It is Coming
Space Traveller; Post-apocalyptic Wasteland; Sci-Fi
The first thing that hits me is the smell. It’s menacing and ominous; dark and powerful in a land that destroys everything it touches. My eyes shift to the ground, fervently searching for its source. I find it almost instantly, half buried beneath a layer of dust. Its deep blue colour stands out boldly against the ashen sand, surreal in the barren wasteland. I turn towards it, entranced by the strangeness of its presence. My feet shift beneath me, slowly carrying me towards it, drawn by an invisible force. My muscles tighten as I approach, as if desperate to halt my progress, but I continue on my path. Curiosity, rooted deep within my gut, draws me closer and closer.
The smell grows stronger with every step, each breath filling my lungs with the repulsive stench. Revolution crashes over me in waves, leaving me fighting for control of my body. Shakily, I lower myself to my knees beside it. Brushing the dust away, I uncover a charred blue tarpaulin drawn tightly around a crooked mass. I reach for the corners, feeling the heat of the plastic sear my skin as I grasp the edges. I gently lift it upwards, twisting away as a rush of fetid air strikes my face. I gag, bile rising up my throat, as I bend to look beneath the rim. Shadows cloud my vision, but even the darkness cannot hide the horrors that lay before me. My eyes slowly reveal the details: bloodied clothes, shredded skin, and a face, frozen in a silent scream. The blood is still damp, recently spilt.
I stumble backwards, panic and dread engulfing my mind. How could I be such a fool?
Suddenly, behind me, the sand begins to crunch, shifting beneath a heavy weight. I freeze.
It is coming.
Tim Hayes – Time for School
This story pulled me right in with the detailed imagery of a typical child’s bedroom. The narrative continued to paint a rich picture of what was happening, but what got this story the win is the ending. I absolutely loved how the story had set up the reader to identify the characters in certain roles, only for the end to swap those roles. A great take on the idea of the not-so-inner ‘inner child’!
Superhero; Child’s Bedroom; Comedy
Although it was a child’s bedroom, you could have been forgiven for thinking it was some sort of post-apocalyptic wasteland. Toys were everywhere. Little figures representing spacemen, soldiers, pirates, aliens and more were scattered underfoot, making it difficult to negotiate the way from the door to the bed without treading on one.
I reached the bed without maiming my stockinged feet too badly and shook the reclining form, trying to bring it to life. The response was less than promising. A sleepy voice muttered something which might have been words were they not so muffled as to be incomprehensible. I tried again.
‘Come on, you’ll be late for school if you don’t hurry.’
It was like speaking to the dead. The body remained comatose. I gave it another shake and slowly an eye peeled open.
‘Wha’ time is it?’
‘Time for school.’
‘Again? I went only yesterday. You don’t expect me to go again so soon.’
‘Yes. Up. Now.’
Slowly the reluctant figure rose from the bed, searched around for some clothes and began to dress itself in a desultory manner.
‘I’ll be waiting for you downstairs with breakfast. Hurry up now.’
Actually, there were two of us waiting for him at the breakfast table, one of whom was ready and eager for school: our son…
‘Why doesn’t Daddy ever get up on time? He’s always making me late. He slept in my bed again last night too.’
‘I’m afraid Daddy doesn’t like school. He’d like to be a little boy again and not have all the responsibilities of being a teacher. That’s why he likes your room so much with all your toys.’
Eventually they were joined by a crying Daddy.
‘I don’t want to go to school, I want to stay at home and play superheroes.’
Congratulations, Tim. 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!