Microcosms 186

Greetings, flash fictioneering friends, and welcome to Microcosms 186!

We *might* have a special announcement coming up soon, so stay tuned!

Before we get into the prompt, we have some changes for you this year! Here’s a brief rundown (details can be found on our FAQs page):

  • Weekly contest runs Sunday – Saturday.
  • Community pick winner(s).
  • We also have a default spinner you can use now if you don’t like the prompt(s) offered. Enter as many times as you like!
  • We’re now using the Pacific Time


  1. You have ONE WEEK (Sunday – Saturday, midnight – midnight) Los Angeles Time (PST/PDT) to submit your masterpiece.
  2. All submissions must be no more than 300 words in length (excluding the title and other header info)
  3. NO FAN-FICTION, please, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS for this contest.
  4. Include: word count, the THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry
  5. If you are new to Microcosms, please check out the full submissions guidelines on our FAQs page.

Please use the following format when submitting your entries (feel free to copy/paste and edit or save a copy of the Google Doc linked below):

My Amazing Story Title
XXX words
Element / Element / Element
My Preferred Name
Optional: website or social media link 1 (please include full URL)
Optional: website or social media link 2 (please include full URL)
Optional: Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via one of the above channels for more information. /// OR /// No, I am not open to derivative works at this time, thank you.


My amazing story content goes here.

You can use HTML to add a link. Example:
<a href="https://twitter.com/MicrocosmsFic">https://twitter.com/MicrocosmsFic</a>

Please kindly use this format, then copy/paste your response as a comment on this post. (It’s totally fine to be creative with the “words” part, like “253 ripe bananas”, as we’ve seen some people do in the past.) Not using this format with NOT disqualify you. But it will help us out if you do use it.

We have prepared a free and easy-to-use, pre-formatted document in Google Docs to help simplify things. Just save your own copy and then replace the content with your own. (Sometimes, adding links will get your comment flagged by the spam filter. If you think that happened, please contact us for assistance.)

Went random again – just whatever floated through the old noggin’ (and with a little help from my daughter). Let’s see what you do!

Also, it’s time to announce the Community Pick(s) for Microcosms 183 & 184.

Huge congrats to:

  • Steve Lodge (MC 183)
  • AJ Walker (MC 183 & MC 184 – narrowed out the competition to be a double dipper!)

Don’t forget to vote for your favorites from last week and this week, too. All being well, MC 185 Community Pick(s) will be announced at the end of the week.

Happy writing!


(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/setting, and genre/style.

We spun, and our three elements are (Ha! Good luck):

Beekeeper / Underwater Cave / Drama

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. (Don’t like any of these? Try our default spinner.)

  • Sloth
  • Beekeeper
  • Grave Digger
  • Paleontologist
  • Scuba Diver
  • Secret Identity
  • Mayor
  • Heart Surgeon
  • Jungle
  • Apiary
  • Cemetery
  • Museum
  • Underwater Cave
  • Secret Lair
  • Ceremony
  • Operating Room
  • Drama
  • Romance
  • Sci-Fi
  • Action
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Poem
  • Comedy

We are always and forever in need of assistance. If you have any spare time to help, we will happily accept. Even something as little as 5-10 minutes a week would be amazing. (You have no idea.) To find out how you can help, please visit our volunteers page.

Microcosms 187
Microcosms 185

6 thoughts on “Microcosms 186

    294 Words
    Beekeeper/Underwater Cave/ Drama
    Steve Lodge
    Twitter:- @steveweave71
    Instagram:- steveweave_cheese

    I moved to Treasure Bay a few months ago. Witness Protection found this isolated cottage for me high on the cliffs above the bay. There would be any number of good walks, I’d be breathing in fresh sea air and hopefully recuperating from my injuries. Oh, yes, I’m Tommy Nash. Shots fired. Two hit me. I got in the way of a bank robbery.

    Well, at least now I am walking better but I seem to have the lung capacity of a flea. Doc O’Leary said give it time. Just take it easy. Fine by me.

    Two of the bank robbers are still at large. O’Neil and Moncur. Tommy Nash, the hero, is now called Eric Cirrus. Pleased to meet you.

    I’m still coming to terms with being Eric. My backstory is I am a semi-retired beekeeper, recovering after a car accident and wanting to start a new life. Most of it’s all true….except the car accident… and the beekeeper business, but I do want to start a new life.

    I don’t know what I was doing wrong, but a bee escaped one morning. I thought I’d better follow it and bring it on home. I don’t move fast anymore but I kept up. Then down near the bay itself, it flew into some cave. It was seriously dark but I heard the bee so I followed. Down, down. Then….I reached what I knew to be the fabled underground lake of the legend.

    “You followed our robotic bee well, Tommy. Here, put this on.” Moncur emerged from the dark with an aqualung. He passed it to me. All three of us were ready in minutes.

    O’Neil coughed up some phlegm. “We buried the money in the undersea cave. Hope you can swim, Tommy boy.”

  2. Long Live the Queen
    300 words
    Beekeeper / Underwater Cave / Drama
    Deanna Salser
    I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via one of the above channels for more information.


    Tia sat up and shivered, coughing up seawater. She looked around. She was on a rock shelf beside a deep pool that moved as if it were breathing. Curved stone walls rose to impressive heights on all sides and ambient light cast flickering reflections over every surface. What the…?! The last thing she recalled, she was hunting an errant hive. She gasped as she remembered her tiny captive. Checking the delicate cage at her side she found it crushed and empty. She took a deep breath, her memory serving her an image of the trusting creature alighting on her hand. Brushing away a tear, she stood and made her way along the edge of the lagoon, wondering if there was any way out that didn’t involve going back underwater. It would take time, not to mention skill and patience to coax her bees back without a new queen. It had already taken half the day to find and catch this one. A bark of demented laughter echoed around the cavern. From the cave to her left came the diminutive figure of Gertrude, her rival. She had bought the old Johnson place last year and started growing sugarcane.
    “No one will ever find you”, she purred. “No honey, more money for me.” She flapped over to the water in her scuba gear and pulling her mask down, she jumped in and vanished. Tia stared at the water in disbelief. She turned and looked at the dark entrance leading further into the cave. She slumped to the ground, defeated. People got lost in these caves every year. A tickle on her wrist made her look up in time to see a fuzz of black and yellow careening toward the darkness to her right. She smiled. There would still be honey, after all.

  3. A Golden Harvest
    300 words
    Bee Keeper / Underwater Cave / Drama
    A.J. Walker
    Twitter/Spoutible: @zevonesque
    Website: https://awalker.org


    Kaax considered himself blessed. His land provided the best bounty in the valley, and his beautiful wife, Akna, gave him such a loving home. He felt he earned more than he deserved. As the years past by though Akna grew despondent as the farm’s bounty failed to be matched in their life. She’d lost three children before ever getting to meet them. Sadness engulfed her. Kaax was at his wits end not knowing what to do. He’d told her he’d be happy to live without a child if the gods were so inclined. Akna didn’t believe him, or didn’t care. She wanted a child; their child – or her life would not be complete.

    His mother said that maybe there was a way. She told him of the Golden Cenote. And that a gift of gold to Ixchel may be all that was needed to bless them. Kaax laughed. His farm was productive, but the village was poor. What gold did he have to give the gods? ‘But your bees?’ Said his mother. ‘Honey. Give the gods your honey. What could be more golden?’

    And so he collected a precious urn from his mother’s and over the summer filled it. He didn’t tell Akna of his plans. He didn’t want her to know, to believe, to throw more hope her way – lest it be dashed.

    Later in the year he rode on his brother’s donkey to the cenote in hope, not expectation. He prayed at the edge of the deep drop into the watery cave below before presenting the urn to the gods. He threw it into the depths and quickly turned away before returning home to his beloved Akna. Nine months later their life was complete beyond all hope when Yolotli arrived.

    Kaax always sings to, and thanks, the bees.

  4. Lives Spent Living Episode 236: Forbidden loves
    296 words
    Beekeeper / Underwater Cave / Drama
    Galen Gower
    Yes, I am open to derivative works including audio productions. Please contact me via email for more info.
    (Interior, underwater cave, daytime)
    The sun glows softly on the sand of the underwater cave as Alejandro and Sofia embrace.
    Alejandro: Mi amor, I must be with you!
    Sofia: But Alejandro, our love is forbidden! If my father knew I was meeting you in this underwater cave, he’d banish both of us.
    Alejandro (mustache quivering with passion): I may be a simple beekeeper, Sofia, but our love can no longer be contained in our secret meeting place! I want the world to know Alejandro Jr. and Alejandra are my children, not that swineherd of a husband of yours!
    Sofia (overcome): Oh, Alejandro, we’ll finally be together!
    Fade to black.
    (Interior, office, daytime)
    The sun glows softly on the desk as Ibrahim, Sofia’s father, reviews photos. His private investigator, Carl, looks on.
    Carl: It’s like I said boss, they’ve been meeting in that underwater cave for years. There are snack cake wrappers and sandwich crusts everywhere, plus, you know…
    Carl stands on one foot and claps frenetically while making barking noises.
    Ibrahim: Treachery! I warned them what would happen if I ever found out they were in love!
    Zoom to the photograph in his hand. It’s Alejandro and Sofia in the underwater cave, eating sandwiches. Fade out.
    (Interior, barn, daytime)
    Fade in to a closeup of Mina, Alejandro Jr.’s tutor and Olly, Sofia’s husband. They are embracing in a hayloft. The sun glows softly on the hay.
    Mina: I may be blind, Olly, but I can see how much your love for me burns.
    Olly: It’s true! I will hire you to teach me how to love again, my love. You make my heart whole.
    Mina: That’s so lovely!
    Olly: It’s true! I will tell Sofia today and then, we can begin our lessons… together.
    Fade out.

  5. A tale to tell the bees
    296 words
    Beekeeper / Underwater / Drama
    Eryn McCee
    Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via one of the above channels for more information.

    Grace strapped on the equipment carefully, watching the guide. Her fingers were nervous, scrambling at the buckles. But it was exciting.
    I can’t wait to tell the bees when I get back. They’ll love this!
    And they would. They enjoyed a good story, settling in on her shoulders, arms and head when she sat down to tell them about her day. That was why she had landed here, having booked the first vacation in years, ready to try scuba diving. She needed adventure stories for the bees.
    They dived, one by one, swooping into the sparkling ocean. She gasped and followed. The sky disappeared as her face broke the surface, emerging into a new world. The guide gestured, graceful fins flowing, and they followed, brushing past vines, curious fish and looming rocks. She swam closer, bumping into one of the other swimmers. They turned, giving a thumbs up.
    The cave approached, a great dark open mouth. It was huge. For a moment fear rose. What was in there? Could she do this? But the others slipped inside and so did she, concentrating on her breaths, on her movements.
    The cave was deeper than she expected, opening into a great cavern with halls, walls and pillars. In awe, she traced her fingers over the walls, wondering. What kind of people had seen this? They were moving on, the divers, and she hurried, not wishing to be trapped here. The cave grew narrower, darker. She swam on, at the back of the flock.
    At last, they reached it. Great underwater flowers, blooming in the dark, petals waving. Here and there the divers flew, touching, one, then the other. Just like underwater bees, she realised. She touched the flowers reverently. What a tale she had for her own hive!

  6. My Amazing Story
    Title: Plan Bee
    words: 297
    Beekeeper / underwater cave/ drama

    Jaime Bree

    (Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via the above.)

    The day the final bee dropped was the day the end began.

    We took to the water thinking it would save us but the longer it took to find it the more despondent and angry people became They’d destroy themselves long before the world died. We were literally teetering on the brink.

    Stella put her finger to her earpiece.

    ‘How did the drilling go today?’

    ‘Made a little headway. Look, are we really sure about this?’ The reply came through static transmission.

    She ran her finger over the pearl inlayed ring she was wearing, a bee beautifully carved into it. Her father’s gift on his death bed. It had always intrigued her.

    He’d tried for years to save the bees. He was renowned for his knowledge but by the end his rantings about how they communicated with him wasn’t well received. He was quickly discredited. Stella knew this had led to his demise. She also knew he never lied.

    At least this is what she hoped as she read over the coordinates again to the crew. The bees knew how we could survive. They’d found a place for us to restart. That’s what her father had told her. She was probably as crazy as he was to believe it but what choice did they have?

    ‘We’re running out of time. They’ll shut us down when they find us. Then it’s over.’

    A distorted scream screeched into her Comms. She grimaced at the sound, but the screams soon turned to roars and cheers.

    ‘You need to get down here, Stella. I think your dad was right. You did it. You only went and found the bloody cave.’

    Emotion swept over her ahe took a breath. She ran her finger over the pearl inlayed ring.

    The carved bee shimmered.

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