Microcosms 26

Hi, folks!, It’s me, Geoff, looking after the shop. This week our guest host is Stephen Shirres. His inspiration has come from Lego, one of the most brilliant toys ever created, and also one of the most painful if you have ever trodden on one – at least online we’re safe from that. So, over to you, Stephen:


“Lego Dimensions smashed together a whole load of different franchises into one big interactive toy. Well, last week they announced the new franchises joining the game later this year with this trailer:

Why not take this bit of fun and try putting the Microcosms spin on it? So, without writing any fan fiction – we want to see new characters in new places – spin the spinner and see where you end up.”




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

We spun, and our three elements are character: DJ, setting: Chinese Restaurant, and genre: Romance.

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.


  • Superhero
  • Witch/Wizard
  • Ghost
  • DJ
  • Secret Agent
  • Dog
  • Alien
  • Hedgehog
  • Mercenary
  • Chinese Restaurant
  • Magical Hidden Street
  • Cave
  • New York City
  • Testing Facility
  • Alien World
  • horror
  • adventure
  • sci-fi
  • steam punk
  • mystery
  • fantasy
  • romance
  • drama
  • comedy
  • poem

Judging this week is Sal Page

All submissions should be a maximum of 300 words in length. You have until midnight, New York time to submit.


Microcosms 27
Microcosms 25

19 thoughts on “Microcosms 26

  1. Hogging the Action

    “Mr. Trump…you asked to be woken when there was news.”

    “What is it, Watkins?”

    “I’m afraid it isn’t good, sir. They’ve broken through the outer defences.”

    “How is that possible, Watkins? I assembled the wall myself. Brick on bloody brick. Tight as a drum.”

    “I know, sir. But they are wily foes.”

    “They’re as blind as Democrats. How do they even know where to go?”

    “Scent, maybe. Creepy little critters regardless, sir.”

    “The stuff of nightmares, Watkins. When I was a young Trumpet, my daddy would come into my bedroom, wriggle my toes and sing me a little song.

    They’re coming, they’re coming, the hedgehogs are coming,
    They’re prickly and they’re sickly and they’ll bite your toes.
    They’ll sneak into your bedroom and devour your clothes,
    They’ll crawl on top of your head and pick your nose…”

    “Your father was…eccentric…sir.”

    “He had his moment, Watkins. Many quite good. A few, not so great. And he couldn’t carry a tune. Suffice it to say though, Hedgehogs have been much with me all of my life.”

    “Is that why you are using them in such numbers to test the Lego Wall?”

    “I’ve taken a lot of vicious flack about my Mexico Wall, Watkins. We needed a 3D representation to prove a couple of points. A) That I could build the wall. Initially I wasn’t thinking Lego. Then the idea of a Giant Lego Wall manifested itself. I’ve never been more brilliant. Everybody likes Lego.”

    “And B)?”

    “Between you and me, Watkins…come closer and I’ll whisper it in your ear…good…my father scarred me. I am deathly afraid of Hedgehogs.”


    “Humour me, Watkins. Hedgehogs are terrorists…for me. We’ll need to rebuild the Lego Wall until the Hedgehog Invaders are repelled. Are you with me?”

    “To the last building block, sir.”

    “Good man.”

    Hedgehog; New York City; comedy
    298 quills

    1. Well of course there are a couple of errors…”When I was young Trumpet” should read “When I was a young Trumpet”

      and “They’ll crawl on top on your head and pick your nose” should read “They’ll crawl on top of your head and pick your nose”

      and thus there are 298 quills in the pouch.

  2. Witch/ wizard / New York City / Horror
    243 words

    Character Building

    New York City is a great vibrant place, I wouldn’t know, never been. I read the travel brochures and wonder where to go next. The place I’d like to see is Salem but I’ve been warned never to go, stir up old memories and someone might get hurt. It wouldn’t be me I’ve lived for donkey years trading on my wits. I visit people in the night and remind them of past misdeeds. That get so scared they pay me vast sums of money to make it all go away. Well not directly to me, they pay Ariadne. After the dream she lets them stew for a few days and then sends them a letter on best vellum. It’s amazing what they’ll agree to and if they don’t we set little traps and then bigger traps till they bend to our will.

    I decide to close my eyes and put a pin in the map, decision made. LegoLand in Windsor, isn’t that where the Queen of England lives? I remember visiting her uncle just before he abdicated; now that was profitable, some crown jewels changed hands. Ariadne wore the necklace in the bath for weeks before I made her fence it.

    Lego… now isn’t that little bricks you put together to build characters? Ariadne needs a character change; maybe I’ll get a bit of inspiration and turn her into Wonder Woman. She’s like an old crone now. Good job we men age better.


  3. Green Eyes

    300 words

    Elements: witch, cave, horror


    “Please,” said the voice.

    Goodman Richards paused briefly as he saw the girl’s pitiful green eyes pleading, begging. Then he thought of his Emily, he would never see her green eyes again. He pushed the rock into place, muffling the girl’s screams.

    “Master Richards,” Parson Matthews was making the sign of the cross over the cave’s now blocked entrance, “away now. The Devil will soon claim her and I do not want God-fearing folk to be around when he appears.”

    Goodman Richards allowed himself to be steered away from the lonely hillside, but he could not leave the memory of those green eyes behind.

    You condemned her but how did you know she was a witch?

    Guilt gnawed at him. He had denounced the girl when his daughter died. He had had to blame someone. But her eyes, so like Emily’s …

    He made his way to Emily’s grave, the soil not yet settled, and found himself digging, his hands scooping out the cold, clammy soil, until he finally reached her coffin; the cheap wood already splintered from the weight of earth.

    She was not there. His gaze turned back towards the hill, the cave. Emerald eyes glinted in the darkness. No!

    I have her, whispered a voice.

    Without thinking, Richards retraced his steps, found himself tearing the stones down, heart hammering as he thought of Emily trapped inside.


    Emily! She was here … but how. Confusion set in. No, it couldn’t be, this was the witch’s lair.

    Green eyes glimmered. Emily?

    “Daddy,” crooned a soft voice. A voice that wasn’t his daughter’s.

    Laughter echoed around the cavern. Deep and centuries-old.

    “She wasn’t calling for you,” mocked the voice. “But I was.”

    “The Devil …” said Richards.

    “Exactly,” said the voice as green eyes blocked the entrance once more.

  4. Emily Clayton
    208 words


    I say woof, but what I really mean is, you better bow now to this bow-wow.

    Did you get all that?

    Dark and dirty streets are my playground, and they have helped me hone my talent for talking tough and then disappearing like a fresh fart on the breeze.

    We’re in the big city now, boy. NYC. No time for games that lead nowhere. No time for anything like that caterwauling we hear on rickety fences down by the dumpling shops.

    Take this rambler, now approaching on the right. He’s sly, he is. Slinking in the shadows, putting one drunk foot before the other in a hopeless quest for silence. Doesn’t know how to play the true game. Doesn’t know how to keep it real.

    We’re showing him now, boy. Our bites are just as perilous as our barks, for we know what it takes to survive.

    Don’t forget the calling card, boy. Careful, you fool. It’s the blue brick with the eight raised bumps. One for each of the puncture marks on his chest, to instill fear and make them remember that we are the rulers in these parts.

    I’ll tell them all: Toy with me, and I’ll toy with you. We always win in this game.

    Report user
  5. Lost in a Cave
    300 words

    “Merlin’s beard!”

    “Yes?” the man grasped at his mane of white, wispy hair. He pulled it to his eye for inspection. “What about it?”

    My gaze was not the only one that moved towards him. I was the only one that stepped forward and asked the question we were all thinking. We were a lost tour group in a cave and there was a man perched behind the railing with a tall, triangular hat and billowing robes.

    “Is your name Merlin?” I ask.

    The man pulled a twisted pipe out of his chest pocket. “Sometimes.”

    “Can you help us get out of here?”

    He kicked away from the cavern and in two long paces he was leaning against the railing that kept us from the cave’s natural terrors. He leaned over so our eyes met. I wondered, briefly, if he was one of those terrors.

    “How old are you?” he asked, instead of answering my question.

    “What does that matter?”

    “You’re tiny, are you an undeveloped human or have I been here for longer than I thought?”

    “I’m not undeveloped, or whatever, I’m twelve!”

    “Well, that explains it them.”

    I wanted to kick him, but kicking people was not the way to get what I wanted. “We need help.”

    “So you’ve said,” his eyes narrowed, he blew a tendril of smoke into the space between us. “You’re very brave for asking.”

    I step back. “Why? Are you dangerous?”

    “Sometimes,” he winked then put his pipe back in his pocket and pulled out a long, long, wand, far too long to fit in a pocket. “But I will help you.”

    With a flick of his wand, the cave around us fell away. I flinched at the light, hand rising to my eye in instinct. When I lowered it, he was gone.

    Report user
  6. Special Day

    “Alright ladies and gentlemen, gals and ghouls, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. Please clear the floor for the Wedding Waltz!”

    As the guests moved aside and indulged in more yum cha, Ruby dimmed the lights. This was always her favourite part of the job: creating the perfect mood.

    She triggered the spotlights and set the music in motion.

    The bride and groom had gone for a Chinese Psychobilly theme. As they strutted toward each other in time to the vamping saxophones the groom’s coiff bobbed along, while the bride’s vibrant red cheongsam sparkled under the lights.

    I put a spell on you,
    Because you’re mine.

    The dance was choreographed to match the drama of Screamin’ Jay’s vocals. Their eyes remained locked throughout – seeming to bore into each other’s souls – as they swayed, twirled and tramped stylistically around the floor.

    Stop the things you do.
    Hoo-hoo-ha wassup! I ain’t lying.

    Ruby glanced around the audience: everyone was transfixed, dim sums and spring rolls lying neglected on each plate. She slowly added more red to the lighting and then, as the tortured sax solo took flight, set off the fog machine.

    I love you! I love you!
    I love you, anyhow!
    And I don’t care, if you don’t want me,
    I’m yours right now.

    The dance was almost uncomfortably intense now, the passion between the young couple so clearly on display that it almost felt invasive to watch. But in her years coordinating these events Ruby had learned one universal truth: there is no “right” way to publicly celebrate your love for each other, only the way that is most meaningful to you.

    “Best. Job. Ever!” she whispered.

    I put a spell on you,
    Because you’re mine! Mine!
    Oh! Woo! Yeah you’re mine…

    Cue glitter confetti.


    296 words

    DJ; Chinese restaurant; Romance

    1. Crap! Got some of the lyrics wrong there (mixed it up with the Manson version). The second quote should be:

      Stop the things you do.
      Hoo-hoo-ha wassup! I ain’t lying.

      Bringing the word count to 296.

  7. Planet of the Cat People
    287 words
    alien/alien world/romance

    It was an alien world, and he was an alien on it. Drake Gordon looked around at the paradise of green leaves. It was a ripe world, round as a fruit; he could almost taste it.

    Suddenly, he found himself surrounded by creatures. Lithe and graceful they were, with tufted ears and striped tails. Their eyes were large and round, with slit pupils, like the eyes of a cat. Come to think of it, they looked a bit like cats, if cats walked upright and had opposable thumbs.

    “I come in peace,” he said.

    The creatures regarded him with their unblinking eyes. Their ears twitched as if they were communicating, but Drake could only hear a faint rumbling sound.

    One of them approached him. Male or female, he could not tell.

    “I am both and neither, since you seem so curious,” the creature said. “Does it matter? Would it be easier for you if I were just one thing? Would you prefer me to be female?”

    “I…I don’t know.” Drake stammered. “How is it you speak my language?”

    “Quite simple,” she said. “You want me to.”

    “That’s not simple at all,” he protested.

    “Perhaps.” She smiled then, sharp white teeth. “Your grammar is complex, your words have many meanings. Tell me Drake Gordon, what is it you desire?”

    And that’s how it began, the first human contact with the cat people. Drake Gordon lived among them for many years and learned their ways. He called the young female Palatine, and they were happy together.

    One day, when he was very old, Drake asked her, “Is it true your people have nine lives?”

    “No, my love, only one, like you, but if you want, it could be forever.”

  8. @firdausp
    (268 words)

    The Taster

    She kept to the shadows. Quietly making her way towards the restaurant. Being a research scholar wasn’t an easy task at the Inter Galactic university. She had been asked to sample the food of this primitive species.
    Her purple scales glistened in the moonlight as she gracefully crossed the deserted street to the entrance of the restaurant. She looked through the glass door to find just a couple of customers finishing their meal. The restaurant was ready to close for the night.
    Perfect, she thought.
    She sent a pulse to the spaceship hovering invisibly on the horizon of a parallel universe. Her research partner sent a pulse back.
    Time to change, she smiled, her midnight eyes gleaming with anticipation.
    She scattered into tiny pieces on the sidewalk. The pieces then came together and she morphed into a female of the primitive species. It made her a little sad to lose her beautiful purple skin. Having just two eyes was also a little disconcerting, she couldn’t see behind her.
    They had not managed to get the voice quite right so she would have to play dumb.
    Entering the restaurant she took her place at a table. A waitress approached looking tired and irritable. She pointed to a random thing on the menu. It arrived rather quickly. She’d read about this.
    Noodles, she recalled.
    There was a little bottle with a red liquid in it.
    ‘Tabasco’ it read.
    She hadn’t a clue. It smelled queer but she sprinkled it liberally on the noodles.
    She picked up an odd shaped eating tool. Fork!
    She dug it in and took a mouthful.

    Alien/ Chinese restaurant/ sci-fi

    1. That should read Tabasco. Btw I’m aware it is not a Chinese sauce but in India we find it all the time at Chinese restaurants. We Indians are strange that way. 🙂

      1. Every nation has some convention around food that others find eccentric, Firdaus.
        [ Your eccentric spelling has been brought into line. 🙂 ]

  9. Remix

    After six months on tour, DJing by night and eating at the best international spots, Kwon-Ace wasn’t looking forward to a meal at his Mom’s restaurant. The Brooklyn locals all liked the cheap little Chinese take-out at Hunan IV, but he’d build his image on authenticity and Mom’s General Tso’s mystery meat were anything but.

    He still went though. He had to give his mom some love. But he made sure to dress down in case anyone saw him set food in the grungy dive.

    “What the-?” Kwon-Ace stopped dead. The line for Hunan IV was around the block. His heart dropped when he looked up at the new neon sign above the same tired entrance of the storefront. KWON-ACE ‘S CRATE SPACE.

    Elbowing his way in the door, he gasped. His treasure trove of vinyl records, laboriously curated, and scraped and scrimped to purchase lined every free square inch of the tiny dining space.

    “You like?” Mom’s voice was as small as she was.

    “Ma, my records. Those’re mint.”

    “They’re doing no good sitting in your room. “ She squeezed him and he remembered to hug her back.


    “Wait, order up,” Mom interrupted.

    She approached the order window and lifted up piled high with some sort of rice, fried pork and nondescript glaze coating the entire dish. He recognized she wasn’t serving the food on the classic Styrofoam plates of his youth. “My vinyl!”

    “Don’t worry I wash them.”

    “It’s not that, I need those.”

    She pushed the food away from the records label to see its title. “You aren’t even going to listen to Ali and His Gang Fight Mr. Tooth Decay.”

    “Geez. I may pull a sample from there.”

    “Just stream it.”

    He stood. Torn. He’d have to choose between the two loves of his life.

    300 words
    DJ/Chinese Restaurant/Romance

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