Microcosms 4

Omigosh, I cannot believe we are already on Microcosms 4! How did that happen? Time sure does seem to fly…

I’ve been thinking about that a lot, lately – partly because of the upcoming Flash Dogs anthology, entitled Time, which is soon to be released (shameless plug, preorder here: US, UK, Canada), and also because my own kids have grown up so unbelievably fast. It’s startling, wonderful, depressing, and exciting, all at the same time. My older daughter is in college, and my younger one will be there in a couple of years. I can’t wait to find out what the future has in store for them!

With that in mind, can you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up? (I mean when you were young and nothing seemed impossible.)

I thought we’d use common answers children give – both classic and contemporary examples – as our inspiration for this week. I’m anxious to see what you come up with!

As usual, our contest will begin with three things: character, setting, and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are character: princess, setting: New York City, and genre: horror. Um, good luck with that one. lol

Feel free to write a story using those or spin a new set of your own. Be sure to include which three elements you’re using.

  • astronaut
  • doctor
  • ballerina
  • princess
  • movie star
  • superhero
  • model
  • spy
  • cowboy
  • firefighter
  • police officer
  • teacher
  • reality TV star
  • lawyer
  • writer
  • rock star
  • athlete
  • space
  • hospital
  • stage
  • castle
  • New York City
  • photo shoot
  • London
  • the Old West
  • a burning building
  • a crime scene
  • school
  • mansion
  • movie/TV set
  • courtroom
  • library
  • arena/field
  • horror
  • sci-fi
  • steam punk
  • mystery
  • fantasy
  • romance
  • drama
  • comedy
  • poem


Judging this week are last week’s winners, Amy Wood and CR Smith. 🙂

All submissions should be 100 words in length, give or take 10 words (90 – 110 words). You have until midnight, New York time to submit.

Winners will receive a copy of the Kindle version of Getting Lucky by Craig Anderson, who has generously offered to donate it – thanks, Craig! Alternatively, winners may elect to have the monetary equivalent donated to World Reader, The Book Bus, or another literacy-related charity.

If you like, you may incorporate the following photo prompt (not required).

child reaching for a rainbow
Rainbow in Hand by Shannon Pifko

Microcosms 5
Microcosms 3

36 thoughts on “Microcosms 4


    There are no horses
    in my world,
    no boots, no saddles,
    no wide open spaces.
    I am four
    and I would have it
    no other way.

    Our cap guns blast the air,
    leaving a foul whiff
    of gunpowder paper,
    like burning hair,
    a swat of mother’s ladle
    swings out of the chowder
    she’s stirring on the wood stove.
    Flames flare up,
    alongside her swift rebuke.
    “Go outside and play,
    Range Rider and Dick West,
    You’re always in my hair.”

    We run out into the foot-high snow,
    and by forever excruciating chance,
    the flash fire dance,
    hear her screams,
    the explosion,
    her body,
    bubbling and burnt,

    110 infernos
    Cowboy/a burning building/poem

  2. Family Reunion
    100 words

    These are the moments training leads to. When the dark has ruptured and spilled violence across the city like a tidal wave of death.
    A second wave of soul-reavers screams down Fifth Avenue, weaving over, under, and through the abandoned vehicles. Spectral energy flows from my fingers, licking at the wraiths with power they cannot contain. The attack dissipates. Survivors flee back to the rift somewhere in Madison Square Gardens.
    I follow, seeking the source, the node of evil. She stands next to the ruins of the Flatiron: Tall, resplendent. The Queen of Evil.
    “Hello, Mother,” I say.

    Elements: Princess/New York/Horror

  3. Detention

    110 words
    Elements: teacher, arena/field, horror


    “Jordan, will you please leave David alone and take your place in goal.”

    “Jordan, first warning.”

    “Jordan, simple instruction, five, four, three …”

    “Jordan, second warning.”

    “Jordan, it will be detention and a phone call home.”

    “Jordan, your parents won’t be very happy.”

    “That’s it, Jordan. No more chances and as an added bonus, back here at the end of the day. Ten laps.”

    Jordan don’t, Jordan don’t, sneered the boy, she had still been trying to tell him what to do even as he had ripped out her heart, devoured her flesh.

    The moon was high above him.

    He hoped she hadn’t called home, he didn’t want to share.

  4. Lady Liberty

    She’d read about the hospital on Ellis Island, the infectious disease wards, the morgue and the furnace, where so many who made the perilous journey across the Atlantic met their ultimate fate.

    Doors were lined up like sentries on either side of her. A figure appeared in a doorway. A simple crown reflected the light from the lamp it carried. It was reciting something she couldn’t make out until the spectre got closer.

    “……. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me”

    The Princess of lost souls led her, like the others, through the diseased wards, the morgue and the newly lit furnace.

    109 Words
    Princess/New York/Horror

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  5. The fire alarm didn’t stop. The Intercom confirmed what all the production team already thought. “Fire. Please leave the building.”
    Everyone left in a single opening of the door except for Tom. He needed to make sure she was ok, his star of Celebrity House. He hadn’t heard of her when she’d entered the show. The first time she entered the hot tub in that bikini, he’d fallen in love with her. She was there now surrounded by her house mates, unaware of the fire in the next building. He had to know she was safe.
    Smoke started to creep in under the office door.
    Elements: Reality TV Star/Burning Building/Drama

  6. Parabolas
    @Voima Oy
    105 words

    The tether snapped; I watched it snake away, slowly turning with the station. I was adrift. Below me, the lights of earth, and out there in the black, the distant stars. I kept breathing in and out, thinking of parabolas, how I held rainbows in my hand. At flight school, I watched the rockets launch, their flights into the sky. The hiss of air escaping. Static on the radio. I was drifting away, the tether just out of reach. Most likely to walk on the moon, my crewmates said. I could see the moon, I was almost there.
    I could hold it in my fingers.

  7. Within Her Grasp

    Flames curled around Chrissie. Adrenalin pumping. Applause and whoops from the thousand-strong audience. Her mind flashed onto the day of the rainbow. She’d fallen. Dad put the plaster on her elbow, took a photo and said everything was within her grasp. It might make a great song.
    They saw her first memory too, above her head in the ceaseless flames. Scared now, Chrissie looked to the upper circle where Dad was. The smell of burning hair, her guitar so hot she flung it onto the stage. She knew she’d never write that song.
    Cheers and clapping gave way to screams as realisation hit that this wasn’t part of the act.

    Rock star – burning building – horror
    110 words

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  8. Sabotage

    It was slow work, but it was worth it.

    Every hair slide had to be filed just so, enough to break the skin, and every sharpened point had to be painted with the exact amount of acid. He didn’t want to actually hurt anyone – no movie was worth that, even if they did give that damn gorilla a lightsaber – but if he could get every pre-school princess in Manhattan seeing rainbows and upchucking all over their Elsa dresses, then the House of the Mouse would have to listen.

    He looked at the pile of tainted tiaras and wondered, for the first time, if he was taking this too far.


    110 words

  9. D’oh! Forgot to say, went with the chosen prompts – Princess, New York and (sort of) Horror, plus a sidelong glance at the photo.


  10. Avalina Kreska
    110 deviants


    Title: Shoot from the Hip

    ‘Thass’not what you say!’
    ‘Guns go – go -’
    ‘Guns go pow! I heard it once.’
    ‘So did!’
    Tom looked down, sure his father was right. His Dad had once pointed his gun at his mother and said ‘Pow!’
    ‘How do guns go then?’
    ‘Bang! Everyone knows that!’
    Tom remembered the day his Dad pulled up his sleeves and stood in front of Mum, her legs wrapped around his waist, the pair rocking to and fro. Tom never forgot it, him saying over and over: ‘Pow – Pow – Pow!’
    Tom frowned, wishing he hadn’t promised to be Dawn’s cowboy in the shady outbacks of the scout hut. Banging was boring.

  11. @WarwickDaisy
    Rock Star/ Courtroom/ Fantasy
    An Orc’s Trouble
    Words – 110

    “Mr Woabadug, sit down!” ordered the judge, banging his gavel to silence the uproar that had spread across the room.

    “Your Honour, I’m only trying to point out that band practice is hungry work,” protested the Orc.

    “I’m sure you would Mr Woabadug. But, I see plenty of ‘rock stars’ like yourself who are merely just legends in their own lunch time and believe they are above the Law. You cannot eat roadies!”

    “But I employed them to oversee the band tea breaks and…”

    “I sentence you to ten years without tea! Maybe you won’t feel like dunking bits of your crew then.”

    “Political correctness gone mad,” muttered the Orc.

    Report user
  12. Emergency Shop Stop
    A.J. Walker

    Princess Stereoke flounced off the plane at JFK. Her lady-in-waiting caught up on the runway whispering in her ear. “We’re on this evening’s plane home, ma-am.”

    The princess nodded. “I just need a few hours for fur and diamond essentials. Then we’ll leave this place before it all goes to shit.”

    “I’m flabbergasted about the result ma-am. President Trump was celebrating with that Palin character, downing tequila slammers and shouting that it would be the last tequila this country would ever see.”

    “He almost collapsed on the button. Even his unconscious decisions are dire.”

    “Palin’s angling for a vodka night next.”

    “Remember to get some caviar.”

    WC 110
    Princess/ New York/ Horror

  13. Jenny
    101 words
    Elements: princess, New York city, horror

    Jenny’s memories were loud and colourful. Present-day New York City was enveloped in a dark cloud of smog.

    “This place is a dump,” Mark345 said.

    “Humans are long gone. Why is it still polluted?” Jenny said.

    “Beats me, princess.”

    Something snarled in the shadows.

    “Run!” Mark345 screamed.

    A monster made of garbage devoured Mark345’s head.

    Jenny didn’t waste time crying; Mark345’s death meant Mark346’s awakening. She wouldn’t have to miss him.

    But she didn’t want to die.

    She didn’t know if the clones were really her or just her memories.

    I don’t want to…oh God, no!

    The seal broke on Jenny135.

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  14. @stellakateT
    Elements: Fire fighter, courtroom, fantasy.
    100 words

    The Luck of The Irish

    The courtroom echoed the sound of hilarious laughter. The Judge brought down the gravel to silence the uproar, puffing out his chest like a strutting turkey knowing that Christmas was long gone.

    The fire fighter stood proud in the dock he didn’t care that people laughed he knew it was the truth. She’d reached up to grab the rainbow and the crock of gold had fallen at his feet. They’d danced around the meadow, his daughter laughing her head off. Now that sound he loved.

    “No sir I didn’t steal the gold, go ask the Leprechauns?

    The courtroom erupted again.

    1. whoops extra R in gavel…. don’t think the Judge would be seen banging down a handful of gravel 🙂

  15. A Perfect Little Princess

    Nicole balanced her weight carefully on her heels, as she waited for her cotillion call to debut. Her family had presented themselves in New York City in 1954. They had been attendees ever since.

    “Ready, Princess?” Dan asked, grasping her gloved hand briefly.

    “More than,” Nicola said. “I’ve been working towards tonight for a while now.”

    “You’re perfect,” her date replied, taking in the elegant, floor length gown below her bare shoulders. “And you know it.”

    “Glad you noticed.” Nicole smiled, eyes downcast, reddened lips parted. “Sorry about that whole thing with Celeste. So sudden too.” She grimaced briefly.

    “Weird, you mean.”

    “They’re calling us,” Nicole said, breaking the silence.

    (110 words)


  16. @AvLaidlaw
    108 Words
    Princess / New York / Horror

    A Cold War

    Princess Anastasia came to the city that never sleeps to escape the ghosts. In a shabby apartment, she held a cup in a hand with skin translucent and old, and sipped tea from the battered samovar bought from a junk shop in Brighton Beach. You could find anything in New York. They would find her.

    Upstairs someone played a protest song from that boy who wore a Lenin cap. Flakes of snow swirled outside the dingy window. They were coming here on the Arctic winds: the night-hags, the blood-stained ghosts of the revolution and the Patriotic War, the ghosts of her family to ask why she alone survived.

  17. A Good Doorman – Priceless

    Camilla looks down on the masses shuffling along Fifth Avenue from her bedroom window. She doesn’t dare going out on the balcony – she’s seen them climb trees like chimps going after people in the park.

    The house phone rings.

    ‘Ms Vandenberg, Mr. Preston is here for you.’

    Camilla laughs at Colin’s formality. He’s the reason the residents haven’t been overrun, but he acts as if it was part of the job.

    ‘Did he bring the guns?’

    ‘He did indeed.’

    ‘Colin, will you not come upstairs?’

    ‘My place is by the door. We don’t want any undesirables coming in, do we?’
    100 words
    princess — NYC — horror

  18. Emily Clayton
    109 words
    writer /NYC/ fantasy

    Magic in the Garden

    “What happens next, dear?”

    I shifted focus, from the fragrant mint congregating by the Shakespeare Garden fence, to my grandmother’s eager face. Her hands were pressed in anticipation against deeply furrowed cheeks.

    “Cheeky Chipmunk scurried home, waved The Chipmunk Times, and shouted, “First prize! No one can beat me at woodworking!” His family gathered ’round as he pressed five chippy dollars into Mrs. Chipmunk’s hand…”

    A tiny snore. Grandma was asleep.

    Her frail chest rose softly, and her lips curled into a smile. As she dreamt, I turned my attention to the tulips and waved to the little chipmunk who had inspired my tale. He winked, and scurried away.

  19. — Spurs Nil —

    Clutching his gut, Bobby hugged the counter.


    “May I help?” beamed the crimson-bloused lady.

    Bobby groaned.

    “Goddam town. No doc. Need stitchin’-up know-how, fast.”

    She smiled.

    “Sorry, our medical textbooks are on loan.”

    Bobby sunk to his knees.

    “Unless you have a reservation?”

    “I don’t care for that word.”

    She towered over him.

    “Like you didn’t care for Mrs Cooper who tried to teach you to read? Those things you did, Bobby.”

    When his eyes met hers, she pressed an inked stamp hard on his forehead, again and again and again.

    “This is Boot Hill library, Bobby, and you’re overdue.”

    cowboy / library / horror
    108 words

  20. Chase the Rainbow

    It’s always been just outside my grasp, lingering over the horizon, taunting me. No matter how fast I ran, I could never catch it.

    That all changed today. I approach the creature cautiously, my hands out in front of me. He hisses as I get closer, crouching over the treasure.

    I speak slowly, “Is it true? Do I get the pot of gold?” I’m picturing the penthouse I can buy, overlooking Central Park.

    The creature tosses a glistening tiara at me, “why be rich when you can be a princess?”
    I laugh and place the crown upon my brow. It immediately sticks and the Leprechaun bows, “Welcome, Lady Luck.”

    109 words
    Princess — NYC — horror


    Weakened as I was, I shot awake when she slammed into the penthouse.

    “You can’t imagine how people trust royalty,” she said, dropping her new tokens. A necklace. A datebook. A shoe, still trickling blood.

    “It’s invisibility. Or immunity. Even rich people! I hunted on Wall Street and no one questioned me.”

    She threw a baguette to the floor, out of reach. This morning she spent four hours staring at me. Not speaking, just drinking something foul from a WORLD’S BEST DAD mug.

    “But not you, huh? Not you, garbage? You see my real face, don’t you?”

    I lunged against the chains, hatred blazing almost hot enough to melt steel.

    110 words
    Princess/New York City/horror

  22. The Courtship of Vernon

    “I haven’t opened any of them!” Vernon didn’t want to cry in front of his new girlfriend, but he was at the end of his rope. “I just give them to the couriers that show up.”

    “If even one is opened I will not be allowed to leave my country and be your princess.” Her connection at the internet café was clearer than some of his friends in a mile away in Brooklyn.

    His refrigerator was full of Styrofoam containers she mailed him from overseas. Vernon called her panicked after one tipped over, spilling its contents: three human eyeballs.

    Vernon wished he’d have left her email in his spam folder.

    110 words

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