Before we launch into CR Smith’s results for this week’s contest, I would just like to extend a huge thank you to Sal Page for her thoroughly entertaining posting this week. If anyone else would like to contribute a post, please get in touch, and now over to our judge …
You’ve given me a right headache this week. All the stories submitted were of a very high standard. I think it’s all down to Sal’s fantastic choice of prompts and the fact you’re all such great writers. The extended word count has allowed you to add a little more depth to your stories, I think. I’ve enjoyed reading them all — several times. It was so hard to choose, but, after much thought, this is what I’ve decided upon…
Geoff Holme – Fisherman’s Friend
Marvellous idea to have a fisherman who’s not very confident in the water. I think there could be more to this story, I see them sailing off into the sunset together.
Emily Clayton – Steps from the Edge
I thought this tale contained some super descriptions, particularly the likening of his wrinkled skin to an apple left out in the sun; delightful.
Geoff – Spag Bog
I had an idea where this was going, but still laughed at the ending; well paced, good story.
2nd Runner Up
Stella Turner – What’s for Lunch?
Telling part of the story from the spiders POV was a great twist. I liked that the spider was wary of the girl’s reaction to him and unsure if his missing leg would ever grow back.
1st Runner Up
Bill Engleson – The Protector
Love the gripping narrative of this poem.The rhyme scheme reminds me of the movement of waves; nicely done.
Before we get to our winners, here are my favorite/favourite lines from this week.
He’s motionless, except for his eyes. They’re rolling, dancing, fighting a battle no one else can see. Emily Clayton
Travel the world by iceberg, he said and make friends with sea creatures, while relaxing away from the bustle of city-life. – Leara Morris-Clark
How ironic to survive all those trips in the North Sea, only to succumb to the water in my local pool. – Geoff Holme
Plunging to the depths of our watery grave/Drowning in the choke of a water-logged wave. – Bill Engleson
You have to be mega rich to buy them, but then they are the ultimate floral status symbol. – A.J. Walker
Under the searing heat, the garden that nearly crossed the sea to bring hope to the lost lands quickly melted away and turned to smoke. – Brian Creek
What looked like a giant wasp was flying towards her, but where its stinger should’ve been was a camera lens – Santino Prinzi
The cloudless blue sky after a storm was but an interlude between the next big rain. – Voima Oy
The entire parlour was covered in a carpet of lettuce; shredded, diced and torn – Meg Kovalik
He used a large pan. A very large pan. He said he lent it to you. – Geoff
He’d lost a leg last week in a skirmish and as it was his first loss wasn’t sure if it was true about legs growing back. – Stella Turner
We sent sparks flying as we rubbed shoulders, lighting up the sky – Firdaus Parvez
Carcer continued towards the compost heap, allowed his mind to wander until a distant rumble drew his attention back to the slate battalions advancing overhead. – Steph Ellis
And now, without further ado, I present to you the winners of Microcosms 24.
(insert drumroll here)
A.J. Walker – A Rose-Tinted Spectacle
Florist; iceberg; mystery
Rose Petal is the ultimate poster girl for nominative determinism. Of course she’s famous the world over for her unique floral emporium. You’ll all have seen the photographs, of course. Those bright perfect delicate flowers set against the blue-white ice of the iceberg Rose lives and works on.
It’s a mystery where she gets the flowers. No-one has ever documented any deliveries to the floating florist.
She claims she grows them all herself. Though as she lives and works on the iceberg, which has no soil of its own it is hard to see how.
Some say that off course icebergs are three quarters hidden, and that she has a submarine compartment beneath the waves where she lives and grows her perfect specimens. And it seems a reasonable assumption without anything at the surface or being transported to her.
Her clients are the mega rich, who have to find her themselves as she floats at the mercy of ocean currents. They arrive in ships and helicopters. Happy to pay the fantastic premiums for Rose’s creations. You have to be mega rich to buy them, but then they are the ultimate floral status symbol.
And so Rose grows rich as well as flowers. If the iceberg was a state the GDP would be limitless as the “Ice Maiden” lives alone. We think. Who knows what or who lies beneath the ice?
Some say Rose Petal is a metaphor, but I can’t recall for what. Some say she’s an alien; the first of an invasion. It would seem the oddest of vanguards though.
Personally I’d like not to learn the truth. The mystery is as beautiful as her iceberg. As perfect as her flowers. Let the mystery float on.
In these hardest of times, just stop and smell the roses.
Voima Oy – South Water Street
The plumbing business was good in New Providence. Every time it rained, the streets flooded and the drains backed up. It seemed to rain more and more often these days. The cloudless blue sky after a storm was but an interlude between the next big rain.
Now the sky was blue, and the plumbers were busy. Jerry Waterson, the son of Waterson & Son Plumbing Company, had been on calls all morning.
His next call was on South Water Street. This was in the lower part of town, a run-down neighborhood by the docks and warehouses. White vans of rival plumbing companies were parked in front of the gray stone six flats and frame houses. Jerry checked the address again. Yes, it was at the end of the block, an old Victorian house with a sagging front porch. There was ivy climbing the walls and violets growing in the cracks of the sidewalk.
He rang the bell. An old woman in a tattered gray pullover opened the door.
“Well, come in,” she said. “Aren’t you handsome. Mind the cats.”
It was dark and cool inside. A large gray cat regarded him from an armchair. A smaller gray cat rubbed against his legs.
“I’m so glad you could come. Would you like some coffee?”
“No thanks, what seems to be the problem?”
“It’s the bathtub. There’s something in it.”
She hesitated, opened the door. The bathroom was covered with foul-smelling muck, as if a pipe exploded. The bathtub was filled with writhing tentacles.
“It’s hungry,” she said, and closed the door.
Emily Clayton – Steps from the Edge
weather forecaster, toilet, fantasy
“There’s a world in my toilet bowl. Right there, can’t you see?” Clive’s hazel eyes are large and pleading, as if his sanity, the pride of his life he’s been losing slowly the past three years, will be confirmed if only I can agree.
I humour him. “Yes. Stormy skies, right?”
Clive wiggles his eyebrows at me, a rare lucid moment, as he tugs off his red wool socks. “Don’t be silly. Sunny skies. I’ll be on the six o’clock news tonight; you’ll watch, won’t you?” And there’s the drop again.
I nod obligingly and help him into the shower, settling him gently on the bath bench. His wrinkled skin reminds me of an apple left too long in the sun: brown, haggard, and soft.
He emits a shriek on the drying cycle, high-pitched, like a rabbit caught in a coyote’s locked jaws.
“Clive?” He’s motionless, except for his eyes. They’re rolling, dancing, fighting a battle no one else can see.
Then I see the water.
All around his feet, splashing down, rotating from the toilet like a torrent, the water is black and putrid.
“It’s backed up!” I shriek.
His vision clears, as does the water. I gape at the floor, at my dry socks.
“Amazing,” he says. “You were right about the storm clouds.”
The next day I enter his home. Water everywhere, with the deepest levels near the bathroom. “Clive!” I yell, as I race from room to room. “Where are you?”
Phone in hand, I remember the previous day’s events. I inch to the bathroom, to the toilet, gazing down into the bowl.
I see a world, zoomed in to a tiny town. A thick red sock, matted from rain, lies discarded on the road.
I know the police will never find him.
Firdaus Parvez – Language of Flowers
All the stories are excellent so I had to sleep on it before coming to a decision. This story, however, kept replaying in my head, much like an ear worm.The personification of the weather has sown the seeds for some great lines; a lovely story, beautifully written.
I had heard rumours, the wind had blown it in from a town. It is said that the florist of that town understands the language of flowers. She can hear and talk to them. I don’t usually believe in rumours but this bit got me interested. So as I jostled alongside my brothers towards the town, I was excited. Droplets of anticipation bobbed in my belly as I growled along.
The wind carried us rapidly towards the town. We sent sparks flying as we rubbed shoulders, lighting up the sky. The sound we made was thunderous.
I looked around for the florist’s shop, because that’s where I wanted to drop. The town was dotted with quaint cottages, some modern buildings and a Main Street. Nothing extraordinary about it, just like any other town we had drenched, flooded or destroyed. Today we just carried enough for a light morning shower. I spotted the florist shop on the Main Street and positioned myself over it.
As we blotted out the sun, an ominous shadow crept over the town. I felt the nudge from my brothers, a signal to fall. And so we did, in a light drizzle.
I splattered on the windowpanes of the shop and slowly slid to the ground. I caught sight of a grey haired old woman, arranging a bunch of daisies near the window.
She flung open the window and took in a deep breath. The heady scent of petrichor wafted in.
“Ah! Isn’t that lovely,” she exclaimed to the daisies.
“What is that horrible rumbling noise?” they squeaked.
“Oh that is just some rain clouds playing around, don’t you worry,” she comforted them.
I smiled as I got absorbed into the ground. The rumours were true, I should always believe the wise old wind.
Additionally, you are invited to judge the next round of Microcosms. Please let me know if you are interested!