Future winners announcements will not be this lengthy. I promise! But it’s the very first one, so kindly forgive me any wordiness or sentiment.
All I can say is… WOW. You guys really blew me away. I knew our community was awesome, but I never expected such a wonderful level of enthusiasm and support. To borrow a term from our English friends, I would have been “chuffed to bits” with three submissions – and we received nineteen!
I know that would not have been possible without the amazing support of the Flash Dogs, so I extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone at Flash Dogs HQ – especially Mark, who did a bit of emotional hand holding during the lengthy setup process. 🙂
And the quality… there was sooo much good stuff – clever puns on names, haunting prose, poems that read as if they carried a melody, and more. What an honor and a delight it was to read everyone’s submissions.
All right, first things first.
To be clear, it is by no means required for you to register with the site – you are perfectly welcome to continue just commenting. If you do choose to register, however, I’d like to offer all of you who entered the inaugural Microcosms contest this awesome badge as a special thank you.
No one else gets one – not even me! (I’m a little jelly, tbh.)
“Why an alien?” you ask. Um, because they’re awesome. That’s why. 🙂 And what better image for colonizing a new universe?
In addition, I would like to invite everyone who entered this time around to be part of our upcoming anthology. This is a privilege usually reserved for contest winners, and extending this offer to everyone is in no way intended to minimize the winners’ accomplishments. But you are all pioneers, and I think you deserve to be recognized. (You are welcome to enter the story you wrote here or write a new one. Your choice.)
A quick note about voting: I will try my best to make sure the community votes are checked right at the cutoff time, but there’s a chance there could be a discrepancy, as I’ve no way to cut off the “likes” by time.
Nor do I want to. In the future, if you guys come across a story you like on an older contest, go ahead and show it some love! The sidebar (over yonder –>) has a list of the most popular comments of all time. But I will ask that, if possible, you please refrain from voting on Sundays. And if you forget, don’t worry. This won’t be an exact science.
Also, I am planning some scheduled maintenance tomorrow to work on a few things. I have some fun stuff in the works, along with a few bugs that I’m trying to resolve.
And I could really use some additional volunteers to help run the contest. Please let me know if you can help. I’ll try to make it as painless as possible.
All right, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
CR Smith – Tangled
Sweet and imaginative. Charming. Evokes a sense of wonder.
Sonya – What’s Next – Flowers?
This one made me laugh out loud. And it makes such great commentary on our society, both on the contemporary retelling of stories and the future interaction with technology. So well done.
Clive – When A Dragon’s Work Is Done
Not only did this make me laugh, it left me with an overwhelming sense of anxiety. Nice job.
dazmb – untitled
To borrow Voima Oy’s words (who, so awesomely, commented on everyone’s entries – thank you!), this poem is a stunning piece. The imagery is beautiful and the emotions stay with you long after reading it.
Stephanie Ellis – Death of a Story
This story has so much going for it. It’s just incredibly well written.
“But he was an old man and terror devoured his thoughts as easily as a shark shreds a marlin and so he sat, an empty line on the ship’s last page.” – Stephanie Ellis
“Light fragmented, catching in the drops of falling rain, showering them both in dancing reflections.” – CR Smith
“Within words, we are our art.” – Catherine Connolly
“Through the window Ieuen observed the tiny cacti planted outside between rain droplets racing down the glass.” – Santino Prinzi
“I wonder if they know I am watching, if they pray to me to avoid their fate.” – AV Laidlaw
“The rain, the unrelenting rain splatters down cruelly,
floods the drenched furrows of my brow.” – Bill Engleson
“Flashlights revealed walls covered with paintings—red ochre and charcoal from ancient fires.” – Voima Oy
“And the less said about the merpeople erotica, the better.” – Sonya
“Jessica’s skin prickled with heat and the burnt-toast smell.” – Liz Hedgecock
“From the beginning, Grace knew what would kill her.
But she has three lines left to write.
Three lines left, to fall in love
With the thing that will kill her.” – dazmb
“Rebekah: This is David’s borrowed ale?” – Geoff Holme
“Please, children, look about you very carefully and watch where you step.” – Dave Park
” A breeze on her face, the soft prickle of rain on her arms, and all around her the defiant green shout of nature.” – Alex Brightsmith
“Arbaleq looked round the empty cave with growing horror.” – Clive
“He felt the mud in his fingers, concentrating on its feel. He’d check later, but he was sure it was a silty loam.” – AJ Walker
“Down on the lab floor, something slithered.” – Karl A Russell
“If this falls into the wrong hands, it will be abused. Instead of prolonging brilliant minds, it will keep supermodels perky.” – Craig A
“When she turns, there’s a man beside Grace. Black, scruffy, and yet, to Grace’s eye, with the face of God. A serious expression eclipses his smile.” – Ed Broom
“A fat raindrop followed the water-worn path from fingertip to the wrist and the large keloid scar that encircled it.” – Brady Koch
And now, without further ado, I present to you the winners of Microcosms 1.
(insert drumroll here)
Death of a Story
Elements: a poet/on a fishing boat/drama
He had brought nothing with him except a notebook, empty lines to be filled with the majesty of the sea; a haiku perhaps or an ambitious villanelle. Yet he experienced only a dreary monotony, failed to register the monstrous shape that shadowed their voyage – until it attacked.
The crew fought long and hard to regain control, ignoring Ernest. There was no poetry in his predicament although he did have a story, if he lived.
But he was an old man and terror devoured his thoughts as easily as a shark shreds a marlin and so he sat, an empty line on the ship’s last page.
I was really torn between my three favorites. In the end, I gave the nod to AV Laidlaw, who delivered something entirely unexpected and made a god of a scientist. I never thought I’d feel emotion for amoebae before, but I nearly had an existential crisis reading this story. Great job.
Biologist / Rainy Day / Drama
A God’s Idle Afternoon
Raindrops swell and fall onto the dirt, each one a microscopic universe of wakening spores, the sleeping spirits that have waited so long for life. I lean a little closer to watch them. They are fecund. They spread. The hunters appear, protozoa darting among the algae with whip-tails and amoebae engulfing prey with the patience of death itself. They grow. The drama of their minute lives unfolds under my unflinching, scientific gaze. I wonder if they know I am watching, if they pray to me to avoid their fate. There is nothing to be done. Soon it will stop raining and again their lives will turn to dust.
- A winner’s badge on the site
- An invitation for inclusion in the anthology (with a note that your story was selected as a winner)
- A Kindle copy of Flashdogs: An Anthology. If you already have the book, you are free to choose another book of similar value or donate the cost of the book to a literacy charity, such as World Reader. Please contact me with the e-mail address you’d like me to send the Kindle book to.
Additionally, you are both invited to judge the next round of Microcosms. Please let me know if you are interested!