Microcosms 197+ The Karen Cox Prize for Entertaining Short Fiction

Greetings, flash fictioneering friends, and welcome to Microcosms 197!

This week, we are pleased to continue with “The Karen Cox Prize for Entertaining Short Fiction”, brought to you by Alert Terminal Warehouse.

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Microcosms 197

Psychic / Subway / Mystery
Mothman / Used Car Lot / Romance

$25 prize (free to enter)!

Come write a story in 300 words or fewer. Fun and free!

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Start here if you’re new or haven’t been here in a while. Click each tab to learn more.

To qualify for the cash prize, must MUST:

  • ***Submit your story as a comment below. ***
  • Story must fit within the contest criteria, including word count guidelines, and be on time. (A few minutes is okay; contact us if there are technical issues preventing you from submitting more than 5 minutes past midnight, PT.)
  • Include the prompts used. (You can use the ones we spun for or spin your own from the current or default spinner, but it must be clear what you used.)
  • Vote AND leave a comment on at least one other story for the week that is not your own (doesn’t have to be the same story).
  • Share a link to the contest on social media, if you have one. (I.e., if you include a social media handle in your submission to promote yourself, please extend the same courtesy in return.)
  • Acknowledge that the decision of the judge(s) is/are final.

Please kindly use this format, then copy/paste your response as a comment on this post.

(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 (how you'd like to be credited as if your story is selected)
(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. 
<a href="https://twitter.com/MicrocosmsFic">https://twitter.com/MicrocosmsFic</a>

You can also use it to do italics or bold text.
<i>text you want to be italicized goes here</i>
<b>text you want to be bolded goes here</b>

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.


  • You have ONE WEEK (Sunday – Saturday, midnight – midnight) Los Angeles Time (PST/PDT) to submit your masterpiece.
  • All submissions must be no more than 300 words in length (excluding the title and other header info).
  • We enjoy fan fiction! Just not for this contest. NO FAN-FICTION, please, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS for this contest.
  • Include: word count, the THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry (see format guide below).
  • If you are new to Microcosms, please check out the full submissions guidelines on our FAQs page.
  • I feel like this should go without saying, but just in case – absolutely no AI submissions.
  • Constructive feedback is fine, but all comments should be made in the spirit of kindness. Determination of what that means and if there are any consequences (such as warning or banning) is at my sole discretion. This is a safe space. Racism, homophobia, transphobia, or anti-Semitism, etc. (including “dog whistles”), will not be tolerated. This has never really been an issue, and we generally have a very nice community here – let’s keep it that way.
  • You retain all rights to your story, except otherwise noted and unless otherwise agreed upon in advance (e.g., if selected for inclusion in an anthology, a contract will be sent with details). By submitting your story to this contest, you are granting us worldwide, non-exclusive, perpetual, royalty-free rights to display it on our website (and store it, as needed).

Here’s a brief rundown of changes we have made (details can be found on our FAQs page):

  • Weekly contest runs Sunday – Saturday.
  • New! Judge’s pick winner gets a $25 USD prize. (Default is by PayPal; other options available.) Contest is still free to enter!
  • Community pick winner(s) for fun and bragging rights!
  • We 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 using the Pacific Time (PDT/PST, as applicable – Los Angeles time).

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This Week’s Prompts

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

We spun, and our three elements are:

Psychic (or Reader) / Subway (or Tube) / Mystery


Mothman / Used Car Lot / Romance

Context for uninitiated:
Read more about Mothman on Wikipedia or watch this Buzzfeed Unsolved Video on YouTube.

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.)




  • Butterfly
  • Passenger
  • Mothman
  • Tourist
  • Ballerina
  • Overslept
  • Psychic/Reader
  • Used Car Salesman
  • Meadow
  • Subway/Tube
  • Bridge
  • Foreign Country
  • Performance
  • Time Jump
  • Séance
  • Used Car Lot
  • Drama
  • Romance
  • Sci-Fi
  • Action
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Poem
  • Comedy
  • Mystery
  • Steampunk
  • Western


NEW! We have a new 100-word contest coming up! Small entry fee and $100 for Judge’s Pick. Details coming this week!

We have some exciting projects in the works. Please register with the site here: https://microcosmsfic.com/register/

As a new bonus for entering, we’d love to help promote your work – for free! Promo page forthcoming. 🙂 Anyone who has ever entered one of our contests is eligible to apply! Submit your book here for consideration: https://microcosmsfic.com/book-submissions/

Helping judge this week is MC 194 winner Laura Cooney! Please be sure to thank them on their social media of choice (if applicable).

Don’t forget to vote for your favorites from last week and this week, too. All being well, MC 196 Community Pick(s) will be announced at the end of the week, along with the Judge’s Pick, who will win $25!

Happy writing!


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. If you have an idea for a future contest and/or would like to be a guest judge, please contact us.

MC 195 Winners!

We’ve moved our Winners Announcements to their own posts! You can find the winners of MC 195 here: https://microcosmsfic.com/2023/06/24/results-mc-195/

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Microcosms 196 + The Karen Cox Prize for Entertaining Short Fiction

26 thoughts on “Microcosms 197+ The Karen Cox Prize for Entertaining Short Fiction

  1. The Cassandra Complex
    299 words
    Galen Gower

    Yes, I am open to derivative works including a role-playing game with unique dice-rolling mechanics.

    One of the people on the train was going to die. Cassandra scanned the faces of the people around her, trying to find the man from her dream. No one met her eye, faces in their phones, earbuds in. Earbuds. The world has never been more connected, and everyone looks lonely.

    She could never see faces, but the rest of the dream was etched clearly in her mind’s eye.

    Redline to Grant Street Station, there on the platform. A red sweater. No one else will notice until the scream, but by then it’s too late.

    She used to try the police, but they never believed. “Dreams,” they scoffed. Their faces changed. Their posture became dismissal, anger, derision. There were people still alive because of her. Loved ones, enemies, triumphs and disappointments would continue thanks to Cassandra.

    She never saw their faces, but she knew her counterpart was out there, stalking. Her opposite, the one who ended dreams, removed frustrations, and cut lives short. There is some design, circling each other from afar. Too close to see the shape of the puzzle, but they follow its contours in waking life.

    Grant Street Station. She’s just another anonymous, disconnected commuter. She scans the platform, stays moving. Where’s the red sweater?

    “Oh, ‘scuse,” she says to the jostle at her elbow. They touch. Electricity. She turns, eyes wide, and sees her own face looking back at her. Their meeting is here, now.

    She feels a punch and an exhale, like she’s just run up some stairs. She wants a lie down. The other woman with her face screams, people rush over, and she slips away through the gathering crowd. Cassandra sees the knife in her side. She just feels tired. Her sweater is soaking in her blood. Wicking it up. Turning red.

    Report user
    1. I love the twist! Prompts like this are great because there are always variable ways to interpret the future. I also like the flow and writing of this piece. The shorter sentences towards the end really drive the point home. (Pun fully intended)

    300 words
    By Steve Lodge
    Twitter:- steveweave71
    Instagram:- steveweave_cheese

    I left the food court below the shopping mall, removing sauce from my moustache with the sleeve of my jacket. I could still taste the delicious…

    “Hi, Mr Henderson,” a lady across the parking lot hailed me and intercepted me before I reached my truck.

    “Do I know you, lady?” I asked politely. “How do you know my name?”

    “Never mind that,” she said “Did you enjoy your Meatball Sub?”

    “Wait…what? Do I have me a stalker or..or.. are you just like a psychic or something? Either way, you are spooky.”

    “You are right. I am a psychic. My name is Zuza and I know where your wife is. Can I call you Joe?”

    “Not sure about your psychic skills, ma’am, ‘cos my name is Ronald. But you say you know where my missing wife is?”


    The area of Willing is beautiful, but lonely and inaccessible. My wife, Clarissa, had gone out for ingredients to make her famous Renaissance Stew five days ago.

    When I can’t get to town due to the snows, local winter fruits keep me going. I can pick flundermokers and red limp near the house. At Wasted Yawn there is a frozen lake where flen wibble grows to an enormous height.

    Later, I’ll use the phone at Barney’s place near the disused forest. I should report Clarissa missing. Police will start at Vincent’s place, where she stayed last winter, while seeking comfort and solace, presumably two main ingredients for her stew.

    But first, I need to take my truck back to the edge of the frozen lake at Wasted Yawn. I can’t take the chance that psychic really does know where Clarissa is, so I’ll just use the same area of thin, cracked ice to drop Zuza through and they can share a watery grave.

  3. My ears will be ringing for days, my heart will race and I’m not going to get on a subway, ever.Don’t Come Back
    201 words
    Psychic / Subway / Mystery
    Boyd Miles
    Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via email.


    I’m sitting in a subway car. Sure that is a simple statement of fact in most cases but for now it is not so simple. I don’t know how I got here, what I am doing or where, other than a subway car, I am.
    A spray of hot wet hits my face and I close my eyes.
    I hear nothing but a muffled tone, like cicadas, if you were underwater and there were a lot of them.
    I turn to my right, I have no idea why right not left but I think that is the source of the spray. I vaguely see something black that turns to a round ball of white and yellow light.
    With a start I jump up from my chair, knocking my table, my crystal balls rolls toward a man in a suit. He catches it and looks at me, his badge holder swings in slow motion as I try to come back to the here and now.
    “Well, anything?”
    “Nothing but two more dead on the subway. Don’t come back. Please, just don’t.”

  4. Where Is That Italian?
    300 words
    Psychic / Subway / Mystery
    A.J. Walker
    Twitter/Spoutible: @zevonesque
    Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via one of the above channels for more information.


    ‘Communication is all, dear.’ Mystic Gina said, gesturing for Carla to sit down beside her.

    Communication and money thought Carla, having just paid for the sitting. She’d heard nothing but good things though about Gina’s talents. She’d foretold new relationships and their breakdowns, accidents & illnesses, births and deaths. If Auntie Annie was right, Gina’s record was second to none in the state. Though Annie was a trifle gullible.

    Carla put her hands into Gina’s. She felt a tingle and wondered if she’d picked up static from the carpet.

    ‘Ah! I see your questions are about your near future. Oh yes, very clearly. I see it.’

    Carla said nothing. Not wanting to direct the answers at all. She wanted to hear the future from Gina’s abilities, not from mirroring her hopes.

    ‘Nice. I foresee an Italian. Do you know any?’

    ‘I don’t think so. Even the guy who runs the pizza place was born on my street.’

    ‘You definitely have an Italian in your future. And your love will be total. Brown skinned and six foot.’

    ‘Sounds interesting! Where will we meet?’

    ‘The subway.’

    ‘Oh dear. How will I know? I mean that’s a hectic place to bump into someone.’

    ‘You’ll know.’

    Weeks passed without any love interest. Carla almost forgot the prediction after deciding it was all just a parlour game.

    It was only sighing out loud whilst she was eating a Meatball Marinara that she decided that Gina had almost perfectly predicted it. She loved that filling on a 6” Hearty Italian and it was a Subway. Perhaps Gina had simply mixed her feet and inches. That would explain how she hadn’t met the Italian man yet: there wasn’t one. As she chewed the last of the sub she decided that was the only 6”s she needed anyway.

  5. Thoughts Derailed
    by Angelique Pacheco
    300 words

    Maggie stepped onto the train just as the doors were closing. She flopped down on a seat at the rear and closed her eyes as she inhaled the aroma of the coffee she had bought a few moments before.The psychic images that Maggie had had since she was a child began straight away.

    A toddler sat in a pram and tossed a book down onto the floor with glee while his tired mother picked it up and handed it back to him for what must have been the umpteenth time. An elderly couple sat further along holding hands. The bags at their feet suggested they had been shopping for groceries. Two teenagers stood holding the rail sharing airpods. She saw the pram tip over and the mother reach out to her child, the elderly couple were upside down, almost floating among their groceries and the couple was pinned against the train doors. The train she was on was being thrown from side to side crashing into the walls that encased the train as it drove through underground.

    Maggie opened her eyes and scanned the train. The child and his mother were there, the elderly couple holding hands, the young teens with their music. Maggie got such a fright she dropped her coffee. The passengers looked at her as she jumped up and opened the emergency glass door and pulled the emergency brake. As she did this, the train pulled up causing the wheels to lift off the tracks. Maggie saw everything unfold as she had predicted.

    “Police are still baffled by the mysterious happenings that surrounded the subway train to derail last week. A camera on the train shows a woman jump up and pull the emergency brake for no apparent reason. More to follow on this story shortly.”

    Report user
  6. The Future Bender
    300 words
    Psychic / Subway / Mystery
    Deanna Salser
    I am open to the words flowing from betwixt your fingers. You may kiss my ring.


    Carla stood on the platform, eyes wide, absorbing a stream of events no one else could perceive. She was vaguely aware of passersby; some stopped and stared, while others laughed or took videos on their phones, but she could do nothing. She was frozen while the universe gave her yet another glimpse behind the curtain. When it was over, she crumpled, exhausted, and a quick young man seizing her elbow was the only thing between her and a very nasty fall onto the tracks. She thanked him, and looking up into his face, recognized him, unconsciously clutching his arm as he steadied her.
    Michael sighed as his vision began to unfold. The hot dog guy called out first. Then the girl with the guitar smiled at him as she sang with her case open on the ground. Then the train whined to a halt, loudly discharging a blast of air as the doors opened. He watched the small crowd gathering around a frail form and, shouldering through them, grabbed the woman’s arm just in time, feeling as if he were caught in some inevitable tidal flow. But then she grasped his arm. He was so surprised, he almost dropped her. He hadn’t seen this part. How had she been able to alter events? He had tried so many times and failed. He realized he was still holding onto her, and abruptly let go.
    She seemed to stay close as they boarded, slipping into the seat next to his. He formed and discarded twenty things to say to her. She remained silent, waiting. He turned to her, eyes pleading. Hers were serene as she took the weapon from his unresisting hands.
    Carla winced and swallowed. They were always grateful. But, as usual, their gratitude left a sour taste in her mouth.

    1. That’s a cool take on the prompt! Looks like the psychic portion of this week’s is turning out some cool stories!

      1. Thanks man! Getting even one comment is Success in my book. Yours made my day.

  7. Not Ready

    295 words
    Stephanie Ellis

    Twitter: @el_Stevie
    Website: https://stephanieellis.org

    Gloria was never fazed by the walk through the subway, discordant though the music had become over the years. A favourite spot of buskers, it seemed to remain their ‘pitch’ after they passed. Now, the living strummed their guitars or blew their trumpets alongside the dead, providing an increasingly broad orchestra. Today she wasn’t alone, her friend Maisie at her side.

    “You sure, Glo?” asked Maisie, peering into the tunnel with its flickering light and equally flickering ghosts.

    “Nothin’ to hurt us in there,” she said, patting Maisie’s arm and pulling her along, into the gloom.

    “Apart from that old bloke’s godawful howling,” muttered Maisie.

    “We all have to make a living somehow.”

    Even the dead couldn’t let that go, she thought as “Bridge over Troubled Water” reached her ears, knowing that Maisie could hear nothing except the sound of the one flesh and blood busker she’d spotted. Gloria walked slowly, allowed herself to enjoy it before moving further. Knowing as she did it would be drowned out by the “Baker Street” saxophonist next to him.

    “Can’t we walk a bit faster, Glo?” Maisie peered at her, then looked around. “Wait, doesn’t that young grandson of yours do a turn down here? Are we waiting for him to show up? Good voice, he has. Remember when he sang ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’? Damn near had me in tears.”

    As if on cue, Thelma heard the melody drifting her way, clear, perfect. She swallowed, turned abruptly and started to walk back the way they had come. Maisie trotting after her.
    “Glo, Glo, where we going? Don’t you want to wait for him? I’m sure he’ll be here soon.”

    Gloria said nothing. If she avoided the subway, she wouldn’t know. Not yet. Not until she was ready.

  8. The Light Attraction Effect
    299 lightbulbs, glowsticks, and fairy lights
    Mothman / Used Car Lot / Romance
    Sophie H. Sigrafys
    I’m open to derivative works and can provide contact information to those interested

    “Mom, seriously, cut it out! I look like a freakin’ chandelier!”

    “Just a few more! I’m almost finished. You’re going to be so bright no one will be able to take their eyes off you!”

    “Nobody will see at all if you add one more LED! I’m supposed to be a wisp, not a floodlight.” Willow lightly slapped her mother’s hand away as she tried to add another light-up pin.
    “No more! I’m late already!”

    “But wait! Pictures!”

    – – –

    Willow sprinted past the entry of Stanley O’Hara’s usually empty used car lot, now bustling with teenagers attending the Point Roberts Home School Dance. Theme: Cryptids and Creatures. Emily waved at her from the refreshments table, arms and legs clad in white, yeti-like fur. She handed Willow a punch cup, yelling loudly,

    “Let’s dance all night!”

    Three cups of punch later, Willow watched Emily swing her twenty-something-eth dance partner around the asphalt. Though she shed dozens of strings of fairy lights, her luminosity continued to deter prolonged social interaction. Scanning the lot, she noticed someone also sitting it out, decked out in black; baseball cap, Mothman t-shirt, sunglasses, and all. He nodded his head to the music, glancing Willow’s way occasionally. Willow tossed her cup and marched over to tap him on the shoulder.

    “I’m Willow. Wanna dance?”

    “I’m Matt. Uh…Okay?”

    She grabbed his hand and pulled him into the mash pit of hooting and hollering youth. As they danced, Matt never once looked away, though those around shaded their eyes.

    “Thanks for putting up with my monstrosity of a costume. You’ve made my night!”

    Matt laughed, “Are you kidding? You’ve made MY night!” He pulled off his sunglasses. “I’m almost completely blind. You are the only person I can see. And man, do you look amazing!”

  9. Moth man/used car lot/romance
    295 words

    Monty Wellbeloved ran a hand over the 1968 E-type. The red paintwork mirrored a Burnett moth’s spots, while the leather seats spoke of a copper underwing.
    ‘Mr Wellbeloved?’ The moustachioed man in a green jacket, unconsciously paying homage to a merveille de jour and oxford bags hinting at the yellow of the tiger moth approached. ‘Mr Wellbeloved? Percy Oncebitten.’
    ‘What a beauty. Monty.’
    Percy didn’t do small talk. ‘Now you’ve booked the E-type for six hours, but you don’t want to take her anywhere?’
    ‘That’s right.’ Monty opened the rear doors of his van. ‘I’ll fill her up and call Bounty.’ He heaved four crates out of the back.
    Percy didn’t like anything manual, but he had to help the customer. As he hefted a crate, he asked, ‘what do we have here?’
    ‘Acherontia Atropos. I’ve breed some real beauties.’
    Percy, about to pick up a second crate, stopped. ‘Breed?’
    ‘Sorry, I’m such a smart-arse lepidopterist. The death’s head hawk moth.’
    Percy took two quick steps back. ‘You what?’
    Monty laughed. ‘They’re harmless. And beautiful.’ He dug into the nearest crate. Percy took two further steps back. Monty followed him. ‘See the skull on its thorax? Hence the name. Biggest British moth with a unique skill.’
    Percy imagined being ripped apart by a flock of moths. ‘Lovely. Why bring them here?’
    ‘I’m going to fill the car. When Bounty opens the door – she’s a bit of a petrol head – the moths will fly out squeaking…’
    ‘I bet she will.’
    ‘The moths. I’ve trained them to fly in a spiral while squeaking the wedding march. She’ll be so surprised, don’t you think?’
    Not as surprised as Percy, his mind on this monstrous flock of moths. He squeaked and slumped to the tarmac.

  10. Love at First Flight
    300 hairy children
    Mothman/Used Car Lot/Romance
    Molly Bilbey
    No, I am not open to derivative works at this time, thank you.
    It happened at work. I was closing the deal on an old Jeep when I saw him. He was next in line. I hurried through the paperwork and sped back to the counter.
    “I’ll handle this one,” I said to Sarah. She backed away, seemingly horrified, though I’m not sure why. I turned and attempted to greet him, but I couldn’t make a sound. There was just something special about him. Maybe it was his skin, so pale it was practically translucent. Maybe it was his arms, so frail yet so hairy. Maybe it was his papery wings that looked like they were already decomposing. Or maybe it was the glint in his beady red eyes when he flashed his inhuman smile. Whatever it was, it made me start to picture our life together. Our first date, we would get dinner at H&M, then he would take me to see his favorite lamp, and we would stare together into its gleaming depths. He would later propose in front of that lamp. I pictured him playing with our hairy children, their throaty giggles echoing through the house. I imagined those children graduating, every pointed tooth prominent, just like their father’s. I ponder-
    “Excuse me,” he said. “Do you have any convertibles?” I didn’t know what to say. My eyes widened as I realized the significance of this moment. I had to make the perfect first impression. My entire future depended on it. But how could I make the perfect first impression if I didn’t even know him? It was absolutely hopeless. I’d been standing silently for far too long. If I ran away then I never would have stood a chance. So I stood my ground. I looked him straight in his beautiful, beady, red eyes and said, “Yes we do.”

  11. Billy Finn Isn’t A Ghost
    297 words
    Mothman/Used Car Lot/Romance
    Jaime Bree
    Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via one of the above channels for more information.

    The sighting of the ‘huge bird man’ got people riled. Little did they know, it was just me.


    Skinny, spotty, really not that interesting, me.

    I couldn’t take the costume off you see. Best Hallowe’en ever. Never got so much attention. I think it was the piercing red eyes that did it. Girls cooed at my athletic tree climbing. For once I was turning heads and stealing hearts amongst whispers of ‘Is it real?’

    What’s an unpopular kid supposed to do? Lie?

    Well yeah.

    Without a word I fled from the baying crowds to hide in the shadows of the used car lot at the end of the street.

    Belonged to my Uncle Stan. Perfect place to lay low. His business was about as lucrative as the marked-down price tags on his cars. No one went there.

    Until that night.

    They came with their spray cans, flames and smokes chanting ‘Mothman, Mothman’, like a weird, ritualistic cult.

    This had gone too far.

    The moment had come to make a break or die. I grabbed a set of keys and ran, but the creaking door into the back office where I was hiding, stopped me in my tracks.

    ‘Stop! Please don’t hurt me.’ I cowered even before I knew their intention, waiting for something hard to be brought down on my head.

    ‘Billy Finn, is that you?’

    I knew that voice. The girl that had walked past me without a glance a hundred million times in the school halls like I was a ghost.

    ‘Yeah’, I sighed, exhausted. I pulled the mask off slowly. Red-faced from embarrassment and sweat.

    Our eyes met. The stare lingered and all I could do was focus on her smile and the two love life-changing words that left her lips.

    ‘I’m impressed.’

  12. His Brother’s Wings
    300 words
    Butterfly / Bridge / Action
    Eden Solera
    Twitter: @EdenSolera
    Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via one of the above channels for more information.


    A young boy sits on a half-rotten bridge over the river. A blue butterfly alights on the rail just out of reach, and he extends one hand, the other pressing down on the wooden planks. Too rotten to bear his weight, they crumble, and he plummets into the rapids.

    The butterfly watches as he is swept over the waterfall.

    Another young boy falls weeping to his knees beside the broken bridge, and at the bottom of the falls, the first boy lies still, head wreathed in crimson.

    A day later, he is found, nursed back from the brink to become the son of those who saved him. And as he grows, a butterfly always follows.

    The boy, now a young man, lives in the city just outside the woods. He is the Butterfly Knight, named thus for the blue butterfly on his armour and the matching clip in his blond hair. Laughter heralds his passing, and no one has ever seen his face.

    A decade passes, and the city burns. A score of knights defend their king’s escape, but only three remain at the bridge, rebuilt after the tragic loss of the young prince nearly thirty years before. There, the Butterfly Knight pauses, declares he shall hold the bridge alone, but the king refuses his sacrifice.

    Remembering what they both lost, the Butterfly Knight removes his helm, revealing his face, features twisted on the right side by his scar. Even so, it is the king’s face. He presses his hair clip into the king’s shaking hand. “Go, brother. Take my wings, and fly.”

    Drawn by his other two knights, the king runs, but looks back as he goes. In the centre of the bridge, the Butterfly Knight stands tall, sword raised.

    Beside him, a blue butterfly alights on the rail.

  13. Intruder
    300 words
    Psychic / Subway / Mystery
    Stephanie Mordi
    Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via email.


    Who are you?

    I’m someone who cares

    That’s funny, do you care about me or them?

    I’m only here to help

    Evading the question?

    Harry, I really am just here to help


    If you’d turn—

    You’re scared of me

    I’m not scared

    Why are you hiding?

    I’m not. I’m right here, Harry



    Then why can’t I reach you

    I don’t know

    Come closer

    I can’t

    Why not?

    I just — can’t

    You lied


    You lied! You’re scared!

    I-I’m not!

    Your voice, it’s trembling. I can feel you shaking. You’re hiding from me. You’re afraid of me.

    I’m not afraid of you, Harry. You’re the one scared to open up when I just want to help.

    I’m not scared

    Then why won’t you let me? I care about you, Harry. No one should ever have to go through the things you did. That’s why I want to help you, but I can’t help you if you won’t let me.

    How, can I help?

    Just open up to me, open up your mind and let it all go, your anxiety, your fears, everything keeping you locked in. Open up the door, Harry. Allow peace in. Allow me in.

    I. Allow.

    Very good, Harry. Now hand me the keys, I’ll make sure no one hurts you ever again.


    I’m a friend. I’ll aways be on your side. Now the keys, Harry. I’ll take care of everything.

    “Where is he?”

    “Blueline, car 5, into Baltimore. He should be unconscious”


    “He’s wearing it”


    “Sergeant, Miss?”


    “Maybe be kinder with him?”

    She stops, gestures for the other policemen to exit, before speaking, “The human mind is a dangerous place, you should understand this best. Your job is to intrude minds, don’t ever play it the other way around”

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