Microcosms 166

Greetings, flash fictioneers, and welcome to Microcosms 166.

 

REMEMBER!

(1) You have just 48 hours until midnight, tomorrow (Saturday) New York time (EST) to write and submit your masterpiece.
(2) All submissions must be no more than 300 words in length (excluding the title)
(3) NO FAN-FICTION, please, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS
(4) Include: word count, the THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry
(5) Do NOT give details of your entry on social media, your blog, etc. until the Results post is live
(6) If you are new to Microcosms, PLEASE check out the full submission guidelines 

We have a guest host this week! Our prompts come courtesy of Matilda Rice. Here’s what she had to say. 🙂

Hello everyone. The theme this week is climate change. July this year was the hottest month in recorded history; a major milestone that proves just how serious climate change is becoming.

I am sure that you have all heard of Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old Swedish teenager who has, in my opinion, revolutionised the way that we as a society view the climate crisis. She has taught teenagers such as myself that you are never too young to take action, and that message is an extremely powerful one that is changing the world for the better.

That is why this week I have decided to create a climate change themed prompt. In the words of Ms Thunberg:

“You are never too small to make a difference”

Matilda

 

(If YOU have an idea for a future contest and would like to be a guest host, please contact us.)

 

Our contest this week begins with THREE things: character, location and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are:

CEO; Skyscraper; Diary Entry

Sounds interesting! Write a story using those OR feel free to click on the “Spin!” button below, and the slot machine will come up with a new set – character, location and genre. You can keep clicking until you have a set of elements that inspires you.

 

  • Politician
  • Teenage Activist
  • Protester
  • Scientist
  • Climate Change Sceptic/Skeptic
  • CEO
  • Journalist
  • Parliament
  • Laboratory
  • Office
  • Desert
  • Press Conference
  • Boat
  • Skyscraper
  • Speech
  • Drama
  • Tragedy
  • Dystopian
  • Memoir
  • Diary Entry
  • Newspaper Article

 

Spin!

Last week’s Judge’s Pick, Eden Solera, has kindly agreed to act as the judge this time around.

 

All being well, results will be posted next Monday. 🙂

Microcosms 167
Microcosms 165

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11 comments for “Microcosms 166

  1. 9 August 2019 at 2:23 am

    http://www.engleson.ca
    @billmelaterplea
    300 words
    CEO; Skyscraper; Diary Entry
    A Sky Full of Sun

    August 8, 2019

    An obscure albeit prescient author has issued a call for the survival of mankind. In part, she announced that, “July this year was the hottest month in recorded history; a major milestone, that proves just how serious climate change is becoming.”

    The world has taken notice and projects to ensure mankind’s survival are popping up everywhere.

    Around the world, skyscraper projects are stretching the boundaries of construction heavenward. The Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia promises to be the tallest ever at 3307 feet.

    I propose a complete universe in one 10,000-foot-tall structure.

    They think me mad.

    But what if it works?

    August 8, 2034

    Fifteen years we’ve been at it. We should be close to completion. There are many problems but few solutions.

    Breathing at this altitude is impossible.

    Workers are tumbling to earth.

    August 8, 2037
    I have no choice. I must take the blame. I was so sure it could be done. The air had become so foul. The seas were rising at a remarkable rate. The weather had become so unpredictable. Something had to be done. Something extraordinary. Daring.

    Milligan’s Core Belief Consortium had burrowed down into the catacombs of inner earth. “There will be an infinite well spring of water there,” they proposed. “We will be safe from the lethal rays of an unfettered sun.”

    The Pang Project, under Professor Stewart Rettiger, argued the imminent failure of earth as we knew it. They built a fleet of Arks, gathered representatives from every country of the world, and blasted off into the heavens. Rettiger was a fool and had watched When Worlds Collude one too many times.

    It has been years since we have heard a peep from either.

    One cannot help but be disheartened.

    Have I proven to be any better than they?

    4+
  2. 9 August 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Scientist; Press Conference; Newspaper Article
    300 words

    Salvation Through Piracy

    Breaking News: Scientist claims cure for climate change is in sight!

    Acclaimed climate scientist, Professor Henry Morgan, announced at a press conference earlier today that he believes there is an easily attainable cure for global warming. The Professor, a recent convert to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, points to one of the church’s main tenets as holding the solution. The church holds that there is an inverse correlation between the falling number of pirates in the world and the increase in global warming.

    Back in the sixteen-hundreds, in the heyday of the Golden Age of Piracy, pirates were the scourge of the Caribbean. This was a time when both CO2 emissions and global temperatures were stable. Over the intervening years, as piracy has diminished, there has been a marked increase in carbon dioxide levels and a correspondingly warming world. The attached graph shows that the shrinking number of pirates directly correlates to the climate change we are currently experiencing. As an aside the Professor notes that there can be no coincidence that modern day Somalia has the highest number of pirates and the lowest carbon emissions of any country in the world.

    The Professor who made it known that he’d rather be referred to as Captain Morgan, has commissioned a ship on which he intends to sail the seven seas and embark on a new campaign of piracy in an effort to bring climate change to an end. His ship will be crewed by graduate students from his former university. He hopes that more like-minded people will take to the high seas and join him in his attempt to rid the world of the existential threat of global warming.

    The Captain concluded by saying, ‘Aargh, sign up today, become a pirate and help save the world.’

    4+
  3. 9 August 2019 at 2:51 pm

    @graythebruce
    http://hemicyon.wordpress.com
    Protester; Desert; Dystopian
    300 words

    Salt Epoch

    He drags the cart over the rubble of a parched and dessicated landscape. Potholes in asphalt. Emaciated carrion birds. Crumbling homes and hotels. Cracked hulls that once were swimming pools, gaping footprints of an age with water. Dust everywhere. In everything.

    This realm once was desert, became tamed, is now desert again.

    Soon, though: the taste of brine on air, of rotting blubber and seaweed. He crosses lots and fields, cuts through a corpse of a shopping mall. Cart wheels twist and bark protests.

    He reaches the rising coast, draws as close as the stench allows. Close enough to hear waves crush houses to shrapnel, watch riptides haul flotsam away on rivers through the foam, squint at soaring citadels silhouetted before the setting sun.

    He heaves a rug from the top of his cart. Underneath, a bedroll, mismatched shoes, flashlight, batteries. Also: a sign, hammer, nails, fencepost. Hammering and sometimes cursing, he mounts sign to post. Then he hikes to a bluff high over the relentless sea, dragging the sign, holding hat to head, shield against the unveiled sun.

    Stands on the bluff, sign brandished at the citadels by hungry, quaking arms.

    When night falls, the man holds himself against the chill. Rubbernecks at baying things that run in packs through the dark. Come dawn, he lifts the sign again. Misspelled, unreadable anyway from the citadels and the communities within. Hours pass. He rests his arms, feels the sting of salt in his throat. Raises the sign again.

    Midmorning.

    Dark arrowheads rip toward the coast, furrows in the mist behind them. Angle toward him. The citadels still depend on what they cannot see. Ever have work for him to do.

    As the Collectors draw near, he leans forward. Gazes into choppy water below. Lets himself fall. Leaves the sign behind.

    1+
  4. Angelique Pacheco
    9 August 2019 at 5:03 pm

    299 words
    CEO; Skyscraper; Diary Entry

    Dear Diary,

    I’ve done it. My firm has built the last skyscraper in the city. I was so proud to cut the ribbon at the opening today and the best part is that I got the penthouse to live in. I have loved views since I was a little girl. My father was an explorer and he took me with him everywhere. From the tops of mountains, I saw lush green valleys, flowing rivers and glaciers all teeming with wildlife. My mother died giving birth to me, but I somehow didn’t mind. If not for that, I would never have experienced life the way I did.

    When I got home this afternoon, I was feeling buzzed. I thought from excitement, but it was more likely the champagne that had been flowing freely at the launch party. I stumbled up to see the first sun set from my new place. I had smuggled a bottle of champagne which I popped open and drank straight from the bottle. I grabbed a chair and moved to the balcony. I could hear the city sounds; the squealing of brakes, the revving of engines and hooters blaring. All sounds I was accustomed to. People who visit here often say that the noise never stops but that has never bothered me…until today. That was when I realized that I heard no natural sounds. No birds, no rustling of leaves from trees, even the breeze seemed to have deserted this place. And no wonder. I built the last skyscraper of the city on the last patch of grass. People protested and rescued the lawn, taking it to some farm upstate. I laughed then, but now I shivered. Not from cold but from fear. The air seems thicker now, I am struggling to breathe, I don’t know….

    3+
  5. 9 August 2019 at 5:05 pm

    @ellengwriter
    http://www.nowmywingsfit.wordpress.com
    Politician; Skyscraper; Newspaper Article
    300 words

    The Avocado: London’s Front Line in the War on Climate Change

    In my campaign to become a Member of Parliament, I promised that London would be the cutting edge of eco-infrastructure. Now, sitting on the top floor of London’s newest skyscraper, the Avocado, I consider myself one of the fortunate few who has had the chance to see their dream become a reality.

    The Avocado has been built with recycled scrap metal and glass. Everything inside the building has been made as eco-friendly as it possibly can, which includes the installation of the latest eco technology. The roof is home to a wildflower garden full of the most butterfly- and bee-friendly plants, and these gardens also abseil down the exterior walls as vertical gardens.

    Obviously, we still have a long way to go. Hopefully, these changes can be rolled out across London and then across the country. From my new office in the Avocado, I hope to make that too a reality. I cannot thank my constituents enough for their continued support and faith in me. Without them, I would not be where I am today.

    The Avocado is due to open officially next Saturday, and I am thrilled that I will be the one to cut the big red ribbon – made of rice paper, of course. Once the building has been officially opened, it will be the beating heart of London. Replacing City Hall further down the River, the Avocado is in a prime position to serve the City and its inhabitants and to make London not only our capital but also this country’s hub of environmental policymaking.

    The Avocado will stand as a monument to the possibilities of sustainable building in our wonderful capital and inspire my colleagues in the Commons to take the same kinds of chances in their own constituencies. I only hope our River’s Beluga approves.

    1+
  6. Jody Kish
    9 August 2019 at 11:55 pm

    295 words
    Scientist; Desert; Tragedy

    The Beginning of the End

    It began in the small town of Fort Davis, Texas. Greg’s computers sited a large meteor that crashed into Earth’s atmosphere, creating a massive fireball upon impact. Monitors signaled ear-piercing screams, shattering the quiet of his lab.
    Remnants of the meteor showered the barren landscape, dissipating amidst shrubs and cacti; wild desert creatures were the only other witnesses.

    Greg hopped into his unmarked vehicle from McDonald Observatory and under the cover of the frigid night, he located the desert floor most riddled with space debris.
    Slipping his grey hazmat suit on over his clothes, his breath echoed around him in the claustrophobic gear.
    The tedious task began of scooping up, labeling, and quarantining his findings in a sealed metal box; the veteran scientist shivering with anticipation at his discovery.

    ***

    Driving to the lab, a subtle tickle crept into Greg’s throat.
    His body convulsed. Groping for breath, he swerved off the road colliding into one of many massive pecan trees that lined the narrow road.
    Dazed, Greg brought his injured arm to his throbbing head. Blood trickled its way into creases of his tanned face, his other hand grabbed his aching chest. A wracking of intense pain continued assaulting his tall thin frame. And then he became motionless.

    An elderly man discovered a red-stained lifeless body the following morning; unbeknownst to anyone that an alien virus had attached itself to the space rock and found its way into a minuscule tear in Greg’s suit; the first of many hosts spreading the deadly strain.

    ***

    A crimson hue enveloped a dying expanse. The virus quickly spread; its aim to survive long after the last humans dropped to their knees.

    Do you have an itch? Do you feel a creeping under your skin?

    You may be next.

    2+
  7. Eloise
    10 August 2019 at 2:16 am

    155 words
    CEO; Skyscraper; Diary entry

    The Tsunami of 2025

    12-09-2025

    “The view out today is beautiful. I watched the speck of people playing in the park. My little Johnny in his sunflower yellow coat was running up and down the new obstacle course we had donated. Ah the joy of the child. I wish I had more time. But this project will revolutionise our planet. We won’t have to live in free of the tsunami which may one day engulf our seaside village. Wait why is the sky darkening?”

    Jacob shouts out to his secretary: Sarah! Please open the curtains again. I want to look at the view.
    Sarah: Sir. I didn’t close the curtains.

    Jacob looks up from his screen. There before him he sees a wall of water charging towards his building. He dives under his desk with his laptop and continues his diary entry.

    “If you are reading this entry then my laptop survived the greatest Tsunami of 2025.”

    0
  8. 10 August 2019 at 5:25 pm

    @The_Red_Fleece
    http://www.theredfleece.co.uk
    242 words
    CEO; Skyscraper; Diary Entry

    Twenty-Three Words

    You have taught many people
    and given strength to feeble hands.
    When someone stumbled, weak and tired,
    your words encouraged him to stand.
    (Job 4:3-4)

    Those twenty-three words have informed everything I’ve done, ever since I heard them at Sunday school. Not consciously at first. Martha was the one who made the connection. I miss her.
    Today the words haunt me. My to-do list is basically one thing. Make a phone call. Yes, there are other things below the instruction underlined in red but nothing compares. Below me is a skyscraper of people I’ve picked, encouraged and given strength to. Yet today, more than ever before, their fate is in my hands.
    The call should make them all rich. Give them the money I’ve only ever promised them. Yet I pause. Every time I go to pick up the phone I pause.
    Trust is the main reason I think. The buyers seem nice yet something nibbles away at me. They are your run of the mill corporate types. Grey men in grey suits saying all the right things. Promises, they could deliver. No firings or efficiency savings.
    Why does it matter to me? I’ll be gone. Mortgage paid off and the chance to start something new. I don’t even need to look back. Physically or metaphorically. I can move to a new city, a new country even.
    Yet those twenty three words haunt me every time I reach for the phone.

    1+
  9. Deanna Salser
    10 August 2019 at 11:47 pm

    @beadanna7
    300 words
    CEO; Skyscraper; Memoir

    One Last Thought

    September 11, 2001
    Despite the fire burning just below me, it’s awfully cold up here. The plane opened this floor up like a can of beans, peeling back the roof and walls, exposing this place to the elements. I can feel the whole building swaying beneath me and I know it’s only a matter of time until it too succumbs to the immense forces pulling it to the ground. I just watched the other tower slip away out of my sight, disappearing like a bad magician’s trick. I can’t see anything in that direction because of all the dust billowing in the air around where it stood only moments ago. One minute I was sitting at my desk, having a perfectly normal workday. A scream, a crash and suddenly my reality is completely different. It all seems so surreal, the sounds of sirens and screams are small and far away. I can hear the plane’s engine whining as it runs down, dying as the fuel from the plane rushes out of the rip in the side of the fuselage, spilling out and down, and feeding the fire I can hear crackling in the distance, and by whose light I am writing this, the last thoughts I will ever have, down on paper.
    I remember yesterday, we were all joking around by the copier, and I said how boring and sedentary life had gotten since I had made it to the top of the ladder. It got quiet and everyone was looking at each other and not at me. I realized that I was no longer one of them and it made me sad. But I see that my elevated status didn’t get me out of dying. Something is happening, the floor is sagging and the wind is roaring in my-

    3+
    • 11 August 2019 at 3:23 pm

      A quite potent piece of writing. Nicely conceived. nicely rendered.

      1+
      • Deanna Doreen Salser
        11 August 2019 at 8:36 pm

        Thank you! Coming from you, that is a real compliment!

        1+

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