Greetings, flash fiction friends! We are pleased to announce the winner(s) of Microcosms 207!
Because we had so many great entries, our judge this week chose a few runners up. So don’t just skim for the pic – be sure to read the judge’s comments!
This week, we are pleased to continue with “The Karen Cox Prize for Entertaining Short Fiction”, brought to you by Alert Terminal Warehouse.
Be sure to check out MC 100micro1 – our first ever quarterly contest! Submissions are open through 30 September 2023.
MC 207 Winners!
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… Without further ado, it’s time to announce the winner(s) of MC 207!
It’s a tie! Huge congrats (and bragging rights) go to our Community Picks:
Great job, Sam and Laura!
Community Pick Entries
As a reminder, here are the stories that won over our community – they both received our highest votes ever!
Give Me Your Answer True
Apocalypse survivor / Hidden Place / Sci-fi
Sam “One-Wheel” O’Neil
@OneWheelONeil on all my socials
Yes, I am open to derivative works. Please contact me via Sam@onewheeloneil.com for more information.
Daisy packed up her portable solar array. The sandstorm blowing in would make them damn near useless, and she couldn’t risk damage to the panels. Besides, she wasn’t keen on having grit in every crevice, sanding her from the inside.
“Time to hunker down, Tai,” she said to the happy-face bauble that hung from her wrist. The small charm had seemed like a good omen, smiling up at her from the rubble with his name embossed on his back; that was years ago, and her luck never had changed for the better. But to part with Tai now would break her heart.
She knew, intellectually, that he was nothing but a trinket. She knew. However…
After she found him, she began to speak to him. Personify him. He made her feel less lonely, and now he was her closest friend. She needed him and he needed her. Maybe family was the good luck he smiled about.
Daisy clambered through a broken window. She left tracks in the thick dust as she explored. Debris littered the floor. At the end of a wide corridor, splattered on double doors, a question: ARE YOU REAL?
She shuddered, remembering the paranoia that brought the world to its knees. She needed a place to recharge for a bit and wait out the duster, so she pressed further in in spite of her growing unease.
She found a secluded corner and unfurled her bedroll, but the emblazoned doors shouted at her.
When she finally did sleep, she dreamt of her family before.
“I AM SO REAL!” Daisy shouts. Her fingers wrap tight around Mother’s neck.
Mother claws at Daisy, ripping her blouse.
Daisy squeezes. An enamel pendant flies from Mother’s bracelet.
A label on Daisy’s exposed back reads
Untitled (What’s The Point; It’s The End of The World)
Apocalypse survivor / Hidden Place / Sci-fi
Yes, I am open to derivative works. Especially ones that will make this an award winning Netflix series- I don’t care if it only does one season. Hit me!
It wasn’t the end of days that anyone expected. People had thought armageddon would come in a bright flash as the sun burned its way through the ozone layer, or zombies. A warm, cosy, exciting and made for tv zombie apocalypse was exactly what they had ordered. In the pub on a Saturday, or by meme, people would ask “what household item would you grab in a zombie apocalypse?” everyone was prepared for that.
But that wasn’t it at all. The day the first spaceship arrived was the last.
All people killed by an instant shockwave, much like the fallout of an atomic bomb, but instantaneous. Then the ships departed, leaving behind them small automatic monitors like the vacuum cleaners that bounced round people’s dining rooms, missing minor crumbs.
Everyone was gone, except Simon who survived on account of a fight with his wife, a pointless disagreement about the dishwasher which sent him to the garden shed where he had angrily pottered behind reinforced steel that he couldn’t have known had magnetic properties. The shock skimmed the surface of the structure and when he emerged ready to apologise … desolation … his daughter and wife, dust. Only manmade materials remained.
He had lost count of how long he had been alone. Yesterday he had found a never discovered basement while scavenging round the city. It was a veritable trove of canned goods, warm clothes, crossbows and axes. Someone had been very prepared indeed. And now, as he sat eating (probably) the last Twinkie he’d ever eat he thought of his daughter’s 5th birthday party, days before the coming and he thought of his wife, icing the cake, frosting on her nose. He wrote their names in the dust on the floor and, unbidden and lonely, a single tear rolled down his cheek.
And the Judge’s Pick, and winner of this week’s $25 Karen Cox Prize for Entertaining Short Fiction, is:
Congrats, Vicky! Please contact us for instructions on how to accept your prize and also let us know if you’d like to judge MC 211!
Here’s what judge AJ Walker had to say:
It was nice to be asked to judge again this week, but flippin’ ‘eck I was not expecting so many great stories. Great to see more people getting the weekly Microcosms bug. Nice prompts this week too. I’d have enjoyed this week myself. I’d have picked the first option (Apocalypse Survivor/Unexplored or Hidden Place/SciFi) and out of the 17 entrants 14 chose this too. Two went of the Alien/Lost at Sea/Mystery option and one person span the wheel of story potentials.
There are definitely a few fans of zombies and the Last of Us amongst us it appears. Charlton Heston could have led the action sequences in several of them. It took me a few reads to select my top stories, and then plenty more to pick my eventual winner after I got to my top four.
And my Top 4 stories were…: ‘Give Me Your Answer True’, ‘Infected’, ‘What Remains’, and ‘Catatonic’.
My mind took a while to be made up as it flipped between one story then another. They were all excellent. It always amazes me what people can do with just 300 words, or fewer. But there has to be winner in the end so drum roll please: in fourth place was ‘What Remains’ Handy to know where you’ve helped build a bunker. I’m not sure how I’d deal with living alone in the world with only a ginger cat for company. Maybe I’d finally become a cat person (just as likely I’d become the Mad Cat Man). In third place was ‘Catatonic’, really hope Roman acted well for a good few years before finally dismissing Claire from the world, she truly deserves it. In second place was ‘Give Me Your Answer True’ really loved this take on a very much Blade Runner theme. Poor Daisy. Sure, not sure.
Well of course that means the one story left is the winner, and that was ‘Infected’ it was brilliantly constructed and I was inevitably supporting the character who turned out to maybe not be the hero you first thought he was. A zombie story told from the point of view from an Infected person rather than a survivor. Lovely stuff.
Well done to everyone (not just the four I’ve mentioned). It was a great week of stories.
HUGE thanks to Andy for judging this week – and happy birthday!!
Judge’s Pick Entry
As a reminder, here is the story that won over our judge!
Apocalypse Survivor/Hidden/Unexplored Place/Sci-Fi
By Vicky Hinault
Yes, I am open to derivative works
I watched as my exhales became a cloud in front of me, the cold and the moon conspiring to show me proof I was still alive.
I had waited for over an hour and there hadn’t been a sound. It was usually long enough, they’d usually gone by now. I looked overhead, the moon was already south. I didn’t have much darkness left. I stepped out, immediately crunching a piece of glass I’d not seen underfoot and silently chastising myself. I paused, holding my breath before finally exhaling again and setting off.
The city was mostly silent, the occasional distant scream would break through the night but I’d become numb to the pain of others. It was each man for himself. Survival the only goal. I pressed on, relentless in my pursuit to reach the building that was intact in the distance and had lights on the higher floors. I knew there had to be life there.
I pressed on, my pace steady, and my mind focused, but then… a gunshot ricocheted off a burned-out car near me. I turned on my heels, an urgency overcoming me. A lone gunman, targeting me, his hands trembling and his blood pulsing in him so hard I could hear it.
I locked my eyes onto his cheeks, pink with blood and adrenaline his brain growing with the rush of blood to his head and felt a surge. My feet carried me with a speed he was not ready for. The panic in his eyes provided me with delight.
He lowered the gun, the barrel aimed directly at my chest, but I knew that the shot would not slow me down. I had evolved and morphed into something new. Something unkillable. And soon he would join me – he too would be infected.
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See you for MC 209, coming right up!
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