Microcosms 72

Hello, everyone! And welcome to Microcosms 72. Today’s theme comes from fellow writer Michael Emerson. And I think it’s such a cool idea, that we’ll probably make this a special series. Enjoy!

Mythology, from the Greek ‘mythos’ meaning story-of-the-people, and ‘logos’ for word or speech, the spoken story of a people, is a collection of often sacred tales or fables of a culture that deal with being human. Good, evil, our origins, life, death, the afterlife, the underworld, and the gods. Whatever the subject, Myths express the beliefs and values about these ideas held by a culture.

We have explored our world through myths and legends, we still do, our Fantasy worlds bring elements, themes, and discussions from the real world into a new context, one where every voice can be treated as equal. It is our way of being able to explore topics that normally we cannot truly express in our societies or cultures. This is the magic of Fantasy, of Myths, of Legends.



For this week’s contest, I’ve decided to focus on Greek mythology. The characters and settings will be strongly influenced by stories from ancient Greece. (A future contest will likely focus on another culture’s stories.) And since we are dealing with myths, I’ve also included a special challenge. I won’t be judging, so I can’t promise any brownie points for completing the challenge, but feel free to use it if it inspires you.



(If YOU have an idea for a future contest and would like to be guest host, please contact us.)


Our contest this week begins with THREE things: character, setting and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are – character: Nymph, setting: The Underworld, and genre: (coincidentally) Myth.

Write a story using those OR feel free to click on the “Spin!” button, and the slot machine will come up with a new set – you can keep clicking until you have a set of elements that inspires you.

Special Challenge
Create a new “myth” and use your story to explain one of the following topics:
Our origins
The afterlife
The underworld

If you complete the special challenge, please indicate so and which topic you are exploring. Then, our judge can decide if she wants to take it into consideration or not.

*** HEY! Remember to include which THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry ***

  • Kidnap Victim
  • Farmer
  • God of the Underworld
  • Half Human, Half…?
  • Cursed King
  • Sailor
  • Hero (with a Weakness?)
  • Gorgon
  • Cyclops
  • Nymph
  • Flying Man
  • Inventor
  • A “Pandora” Figure
  • A Demigod
  • A Poet or Musician
  • A Soldier
  • Forest
  • Mountain or Mt. Olympus
  • Battlefield
  • Riverside
  • Flying
  • Castle
  • Cave
  • Sailing the Seas
  • Falling Through the Sky
  • In a Labyrinth
  • The Underworld
  • Crime
  • Romance
  • Fantasy
  • Comedy
  • Memoir
  • Horror
  • Drama
  • Mystery/Noir
  • Poem
  • Science Fiction
  • Myth


Our judge this week is Microcosms 71 community pick Angelique Pacheco. 🙂

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

*** If you are new to Microcosms, remember to check out the full submission guidelines. ***

All being well, results will be posted on Monday.

Microcosms 73
Microcosms 71

51 thoughts on “Microcosms 72

  1. Kidnap victim; underworld; mystery noir
    300 gobs of godly mess

    Merle the Mule Cooper; Private Dick to the Lesser Gods. The Case of the Missing Virgin

    When they’ve run out of respectable options, that’s when they come a knockin’ on my door. Merle, the Mule Cooper, Private Dick to the Lesser Gods.

    You gotta specialize. But there’s a price to be paid. In my case, it was having to tolerate smarmy Priapus, a nasty gluten-free glop of gaudy Godness if there ever was.

    Didn’t help I was on retainer. There was no handy way out. I’d already been paid.

    Priapus popped in Friday night, just as I was closing up and heading out to a little rendezvous down the coast. His very appearance put me off the dinner I had yet to order.

    “Don’t look at me, Shamus. I can smell your disgust.”

    “Got strong eyes, Buddy. They can handle ungodly sights. Whaddayawant?”

    He thrust a polaroid my way. She was a kicker, a flame-haired knockout of the first order.”

    “Sweet,” I said. “Who is she?”

    “Hestia. Zeus’ kid sister. And I’ve got a hankering for her.”

    “She in the mood for you?” I asked, thinking, not in this lifetime.

    “Don’t matter if she is or she isn’t,” he flipped back in a cocky god-punkish way. “I’ve staked my claim but she’s been kidnapped.”

    “Then it’s a matter for the Feds,” I spun back at his purulent puss.

    “It’s a ruse. A fake shanghai. That gangster Hades is hiding her deep in the city. I want you to find her and snatch her back. She’s destined to be mine.”

    I was listening to his babble but the putrid smarminess that oozed from him like pigeon poop gave me the heebie geebies. I knew of Hestia. No way she’d want this goober mauling her.

    “I’ll start looking,” I lied. “May take a while.”

    “You’re my last hope, Cooper.”

    Then, I thought, you got no hope left, Priapus.

  2. Onward Flies The Wind Of Hope
    300 words
    by Steve Lodge
    Nymph/The Underworld/Myth

    A myriad of homeless, desperate people camp outside the grounds of an old wooden church in the hills of Souvlaki Dolmados near the town of Yawn in the Greek countryside of Greece. Nowadays there is also a satay and coffee stall.

    Inside the courtyard of the church, stands a fountain of mythological significance. A diminutive nymph statue is poised like a ballerina atop the fountain. One arm is outstretched, pointing. Here begins the myth that will free modern Greece from their financial woes.

    It is said that “when the nymph shall fall from the fountain and her outstretched finger hits the ground, so will she cry the golden tears that will light a burning path.” The route will lead to the Cosmetics mountains, through the tunnel of Breakwind Passage to the underground lake of the legend. Here echoes lie dormant, waiting for their twins.

    Beside the lake in this underworld, is said to be the statue of another nymph, not unlike the one above ground. She sits, holding in her hands the Casket Of Illumination, containing the Ekonomonia Scroll, from which, the key to Financial Enlightenment can be extracted (along with some ancient Greek recipes, possibly involving vine leaves). The party who reach the nymph and take the Casket must be prepared, because the myth continues. Once the Casket leaves the netherworld nymph, she will come to life and take the hand of one of the party, singing to him, “Let us swim forever in the sea of our embrace.” Then they jump into the underground lake, never to be seen again.

    Greek philosophers have long speculated that, should the nymph of the fountain fall, discoveries within the Ekonomonia Scroll may lead to Ayuzedran consequences. Only the breezes will be heard but the tremours could be felt across the world.

    1. I like how you set up the myth. Very believable. It made me want to google search to see if any of it was true.

  3. Nymph, Underworld, Myth
    Word Count: 151
    by Damhnait Monaghan

    I Was A Teenage River Nymph

    The sisterhood is a myth. Any nymph will tell you that.
    Persephone was back from the Underworld and Helios was working flat out pulling his yellow load across the sky. We lay near the river, languid and louche, loosening our garments and splashing each other when the heat grew too much.
    A chill rose like a wraith from the ground and we heard the low growl of Cerberus. The Dark One rode his chariot into our bower. I shadowed in the ferns, but his black eyes fell on me.

    Persephone gets all the sympathy. Any nymph will tell you that.
    But when she found out what happened she lashed out at me, not the Dark One. She turned me into a plant to be trampled on until the end of time. Even today, the modern maidens drink their Mojitos and stab me with their stir-sticks, raising a glass to Persephone.

  4. Nymph / Underworld / Myth : Special Challenge: Love
    Words: 298
    Persephone’s Myth
    Persephone stood at the entrance to her chambers. The walls of the underworld filled with spirits of those trapped in the minds of their past lives. Hades walked toward her and her heart lept for her husband, everyone knew the stories of her abduction and they had accepted their fates. Her father would never have let her leave Olympus to be with her one true love.
    Persephone had met Hades at the annual meeting of the Gods. She was drawn instantly to his stern and powerful demeanour and thus their beautiful romance began to blossom. Zues knew that once Hades had left the underworld for a fourth time that month that something was amiss and Persephone had a decision to make.
    Her entire life had been lived under the label that she was Zues’s daughter when she wanted to be so much more. She wanted to be loved and cherished, she wanted her name to mean something more than what she was. Hades saw that, he was drawn to her the moment they locked eyes.
    Persephone had made her decision to run away to the underworld but the moment they left, Olympus was in a frenzy. Her father did not accept their love and could not believe that his little princess was “lost”. So an alternate story was created to appease the Gods.
    Persephone waited as Hades took her in his arms and felt everything melt away. They could condemn us to the shadows but they will never break our love.
    Hades kissed his wife and remembered a time before her. A lonely dark time when the souls were the only ones who mattered and now looking down he saw his life in her eyes. Hades finally understood the torture he felt in the souls ripped from their loved ones.

  5. @Nthito
    Nymph / Underworld / Myth – Death
    299 Words
    The Daughters of Nereus

    Within the depths of the great ocean lay a vessel of stone and wood and metal. As ancient as time. A primordial husk borne of demise. Upon the splintered furrows etched into the wood, emblazoned in gold aged and weathered, remained a single word that spoke of times past: Nereus.
    From the hollows of the great sunken ark, worn trembling fingers wound gleaming gears onto the bosom of coral shaped as one of human descent.
    “Ne’er shall ye taste the bitter elixir of death.” The voice rumbled. Creatures of the sea squiggled away from the words. Fearing entrapment. The old fingers slid the final piece into place, a soft caress and an ancient chant of a forgotten tongue sealing the alabaster skin of the slumbering creation.
    She gasped to life with a flurry of froth and foam and the quiet tick of clockwork. Spiralling lashes fluttered open to reveal dark orbs reminiscent of Hade’s realm.
    “Bring me souls dear one. Forty-nine more. The surface shall know our woe. This domain shall be Sheol to them.”
    The young creature of the sea swam from within the dark abyss to the bright cerulean waters above. To the passing ships and echoing shouts of passing sailors. One of which gazed upon the waters to see a creature of immense beauty. Long dark tresses flowing down bare shoulders. Pink pouting lips whispering promises of love and pleasure.
    Unperturbed, he dove to the waters and let the creature drag him into the watery depths. Death clawing at his lungs and throat until it seeped into him and faded into darkness.
    She brought the sailor to her father Nereus. The ark thrumming with life as yet another coral-created form waited for the sailor’s soul.
    “My daughters… no my Nereids. Long shall ye live with me.”

  6. Alva Holland
    297 words
    Nymph/The Underworld/Myth

    It’s My River and I’ll Stare If I Want To

    ‘It’s all Greek to me,’ Echo muttered furiously as she pushed her way through the glens.

    ‘If Ovid was going to write about us, he might at least have got it right. He decides to change not only the entire premise of the tale but he pushes me into the middle of this ridiculous charade. Who does Narcissus think he is anyway? Me, fall for him? I’d rather fall into the Styx with my nymph hands tied behind my back. Never liked vanity in a man.

    Now, Aminias had him worked out. He knew what he needed. But was Narcissus brave enough? No, of course not and to make it worse he gave Aminias the sword with which the final deed was done. Such cruelty!’

    There he is now, admiring himself in the river. He’ll meet his maker one day and the river will be the death of him, you mark my words. Liriope slipped up there. She should have put her nymph foot down and not given in to Cephisus. That boy needed a firm hand. Nymphs rule but Liriope skipped the parenting class – thought she knew it all. No wonder the boy thinks he’s God’s gift. Apollo doted on him. What chance had he?’

    Apparently, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but what happens when the beholder is also the subject? It’s narcissistic, that’s what it is. Who loves a narcissist? Himself/herself of course. Where’s the fun in that? I’d hate to be a narcissistic nymph.’

    Echo trips on a trailing ivy, ending up face down flat on the riverbank, her reflection staring back at her.

    ‘Oh! You beautiful thing! I’m in love. How can I love another?
    Narcissus! You’re a genius. Narcissism – a gorgeous trait for beautiful me. I’m a Goddess.’

  7. Kidnap victim/ forest/ crime
    Word count: 262

    Sugar is bad for you

    I had dropped the crumbs all the way from the car. I hope they will still be there when I figure a way out. That old hag had shoved me into a metal cage and muttered something about me being tasty. Luckily she let my sister work for her. The lazy old hag. The dust and dirt really affect my allergies. While she was taking her afternoon nap, we had come up with a plan. It involved boiling water.

    “Stick out your finger Sonny,” she asked with a grin curling up on her face. I pushed the small twig through the bars.
    “Dammit, you are still a skinny little runt, but never mind you will add great flavour to my soup” and she licked her lips. Her eye twitched on her foot.
    I trembled but my eyes twinkled when I saw my sister with the key. She had removed it while the hag was testing if I was ready to be eaten.

    “Madam, would you mind check the soup for me? I hope I made it to your liking,” quivered my sister.
    The hag edged closer and grabbed the ladle. She slurped from it. Her eye widened. “That is magnificent, it just is missing the taste of boy”. As the hag reached for her key, my sister pushed the boiling pot over and the hot water splashed all the over the hag. My sister slid the key to me. The hag was spluttering and jumping around. We ran for our lives. The forest was dark but much safer than the sugar candy house.

  8. @CarinMarais
    Words: 300
    Used: Nymph, Underworld, Myth

    The Sisters’ Oath

    It was the day of the solstice. Like countless years before, the people of the villages around the mountain braced themselves for the opening of the Underworld and the taking of the Chosen Dead. A rumbling came from within the mountain when day dawned and the two wardens of the entrance to the Underworld waded through the icy cold streams of the River of the Dead to open the great stone gates that barred the land of the dead from that of the living. Between them stood the barefoot nymph they simply knew as Summer. She was pale after the long time she had been kept away from the land of the living, but today she would step out into the world once more and people would rejoice. In her place would come Summer’s sister, Winter; the oath the sisters had sworn an age ago to keep their beloveds safe still ongoing.
    The gates swung open to reveal a world in the grip of cold and mourning. Those who had been chosen to die during the year were slowly making their way up the mountain, wearing the brightest clothes they owned, carrying the branches of evergreen trees and humming an ancient hymn of which most words had been forgotten with time. Leading them was Winter herself.
    The sisters saw each other only in a tearful passing, the guards pushing Summer into the world and taking Winter prisoner once more. As the Chosen Dead walked through the gates into the underworld a light started to shine from within them until they seemed to glow with a golden light.

    Summer stood between the dropped evergreen branches and, as the tears dropped from her eyes onto the ground, she saw the first sprouts of spring starting to emerge. A new year had come.

    1. Lovely description of the upsurge of life and the changing of the seasons. I like how you add a bittersweet hint to the story.

  9. Orphne’s Lament
    298 words,
    Nymph/The Underworld/Myth
    Special Challenge: Gods

    It is not over the Styx which the dead pass, ferried to and fro. Styx is a goddess for the oaths of gods and their hatred. She knows no pity. Her sons and daughters stand at the side of Zeus, their traits of victory, rivalry, force, and strength praised as his own. Rarely do we gods truly weep as I have for my son, as once wandering Demeter wept and mourned for a lost daughter.

    Demeter has other daughter and sons. I had only my son. It is in such pain that my lover names himself Acheron, once he had another, one that now no one remembers. Not even I. In my pain I have forgotten my parents, remembering only and anyways my son is Ascalaphus.

    He once worked happily among the pomegranate orchard which had burst from boulders after witnessing the beauty of Side’s tears as she awaited her husband Orion. A husband who some may claim hunts for her still, fruitlessly amongst the starry heavens. Hera had thrown her below and her daughters above.

    Kore, Demeter’s daughter, asked of my son the secret to beauty and the heart of her son. He only answered, that was all, the answer a story the gods below do not tell the gods above. It was a answer that pleased the plans of Aphrodite and Hera, to be rid of Kore by another marriage but she…it enraged she who crushed my son beneath a boulder. Some say it was Demeter, but I know better.

    She will never forget the secret and so can never forgive. It is a secret Adonis knew and Psyche sought. Heracles tried to free him for Dionysus, but she threw the burning water of Phlegethon upon my son turning him into a owl ever asking who.

  10. Kingdom of Fire and Darkness

    297 words
    Elements: half-human, half-?; labyrinth; myth

    Special challenge: underworld


    Half-flesh, he crawled through dead tunnels. The skin of him, albino patches splintered by bone. Blind eyes bleeding tears of despair as fingers tore at rock, guided old roots of ancient trees into a mouth forever hungry. Exhausted, he collapsed and once more allowed himself to remember.

    “Creatures move beneath our land,” had said the Elders as the ground opened to swallow the year’s harvest. “We need a warrior to go down into the dark, destroy those who seek to destroy us.”

    Erebus had volunteered, entering the belly of the mountain with eyes wide open only to close them as he starved and found his nails picking at the meat of himself, making him lesser. His mind began to wander and his mutterings echoed along tunnels, crept out across the valley, disturbing those who had long since given him up for dead. The lands had been quiet since Erebus had gone into the below world.

    But then he returned. Half-man, half-abomination he crawled out of the dark, slithered amongst villagers frozen in horror, wrenched a child from its mother’s arms, dragged it back into the tunnels from which he came. There he showed it the lakes of fire, the bodies of others, strangers he had captured, taught the child his ways.

    “This is my kingdom,” he rasped. “I will let you return above but you must tell them of the fires that await them, tell them of this world of the dead, tell them to send me their madmen and murderers. If you do not, I will come for you.”

    So the child, now a youth, returned to the light; told of the inferno below, spread the story of Erebus, travelled far and wide until all knew of the horrors of the Kingdom of Fire and Darkness.

    1. Definitely has the style of a myth, and shows the birth of one. Great writing. Thank you 🙂

  11. Title: Origin of Death

    Prompt: Hero, Flying, Crime


    Words: 299

    Special Challenge: Death

    For a long time, which felt like an eternity, everything just went on and on. Nothing ever came to an end. The Gods frolicked in Elysium Fields drinking nectar and doing God-like things. And it was BORING! There are only so many parties, so many nymphs, so many wars, and so many tricks to play on unsuspecting humans.

    “I’m bored,” Zeus announced for the umpteenth time. One of the nymphs giggled, the last time Zeus had been bored he had deflowered her repeatedly for a week. “What we need,” said Zeus, “is for all of this-” he waved his hand languidly-” to come to an end.”

    “What do you mean, ‘end’?” asked Hera.

    “Well,” said Zeus. “You know how the day ends and becomes night and then night ends and becomes day? What if other things also ended?”

    “You mean like stopped?”

    “Yes. Stopped. And then other new things start.” Zeus scratched his chin, “Chronos always hinted that eternity wasn’t all there was. He had a box he kept hidden. Would never open it. I have to wonder …”

    Hermes istened, and, also being bored, decided to steal Chronos’ box. It didn’t take him long. It wasn’t well hidden, and Chronos, like all the Gods, took long afternoon naps. Hermes flew back to Zeus. “I have the box,” Hermes exclaimed. Everyone grew excited, this was the most fun they had had in years.

    Zeus raised the lid of the box, and looked inside. “There is nothing here.” As he spoke, the flowers at his feet dried up and died. As the Gods watched everything in sight ended, everything except them. Zeus nudged a dead flower with his foot. “Interesting,” he said. Far below humans died as death flowed from Olympus. The Gods watched and made amusing plans involving death.

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  12. The Lure of the Nymph
    A.J. Walker

    “Hello Sailor!”



    “You okay?”

    “Oh yeah baby! Wanna play hide the sausage?”


    “Come on look at you all butter wouldn’t melt.”


    “You can hide the sausage anywhere baby!”

    “You’re a lady of the night, aren’t you?”

    “Hey, I’m not a lady in the day and definitely not in the night.”

    “Come again?”

    “Ideally. Once would be a change.”

    “You’re really quite randy. You a nymph?”


    “Great job choice.”

    “Seemed natural. Come on, I know a place and I reckon you know a few yourself.”

    “Pour some cold water on yourself.”

    “Will that help you?”

    “Not me. Maybe you.”

    “Aww come on. I’m raring to go. How about I give you a freebie?”

    “I like a bargain. But no.”

    “Hey, don’t ya like whatcha see? What’s wrong with me? I’m a catch.”

    “I’d catch something.”


    “Nothing. What’s your name?”

    “Natalie. It’s Old Etonian for insatiable.”

    “Really? I’m Roger.”

    “You’re funny.”

    “Don’t blow smoke up my arse.”

    “Is that a thing? Do you want me to?”

    “No. And no!”

    “Look I’m off to the Underworld. Wanna come?”

    “Is that a club?”

    “I suppose it is.”

    “Sounds familiar. Is that on Dale Street?”

    “There are entrances everywhere when you know where to look. You coming? Fnarr.”

    “Go on then. Is it a big place, popular? ”

    “Packed and it’d take a lifetime to walk it. But you’ll have the time.”

    “Sounds like fire regs might be an issue.”

    “They kinda ignore them. Flagrantly.”


    “They like that sort of thing. Here we go.”

    “Woah! It is massive and HOT!”


    “Bloody hell there’s no stopping you.”

    “Hey, this is my brother.”


    “Roger the Sailor.”

    “Oh sis’, thanks!”

    “That’s his name, not a verb.”


    “Fancy coming around the back entrance?”

    “Oh, I see it’s a genetic thing.”

    WC 300
    Nymph/ Underworld/ myth

  13. Title – The True Tales of The Nemean Lion
    Word Count – 298
    Prompt – A Demigod, Memoir, Cave
    Special Prompt – Good vs. Evil

    This story isn’t like the one you know, where good ol’ Hercules saves the day. That tale is a lie! Hercules a hero? Pha! That man is a thief, a trickster and a fraud! Skinned with my own claw?

    Anyhow and Anyhoo there I was, doing nothing much, a little grooming when in he storms; a wild man, all hair and unwashed armpits… he waved a bow around, almost shooting himself in the foot, before he has the nerve, the cheek to demand my life. For what I do not know, I told where he could stick it, this didn’t please him a bit. Off he went, the sound of him thinking scared the deer away and I went hungry that night… which if I am honest did not improve my mood. But then the little thief did steal back into my cave while I was asleep and shaved every single hair from my flowing mane to glue to a flea riddled hide he bought in the local market! The nerve, the cheek! Then off he goes and tells the king that I am dead, strangle and skinned with my own claw! Slander I call to the world but none is listening, caught by his glowing smile. Charm should be a sin.

    Now I am not a violent creature, but such utter evil had to have some end, who knows who would have been his next victim if his crimes had gone unchecked? So yes I went I, sought him out and brought him before the courts of life and the jury was unanimous, off with his head! So off it went and home I turned to write this tale, someone has to put the truth out there after all. Good cannot let such lawlessness go unchecked.

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    1. I knew there had to be more to the story of that golden fleece, I mean who on earth would kill and skin a sheep who grew golden wool? No, you’d leave the thing alive to keep growing more.

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  14. Sian Brighal
    300 words
    God of the Underworld / Sailing the Seas / Memoir

    Endlessly Seeking Autumn

    You ask why I do this?


    He’d pulled me from the sea. He could’ve sailed past. I know he wishes he had. But he rescued me. I have vague recollections from my delirium of him shifting between an old wiry sailor and…something else. A being wrapped in darkness, serpents of fire licking at his skin like doting pets, and eyes deeper than the ocean.

    When I’d recovered, he was uncompanionable; out of frustration, I’d asked why he’d bothered.

    “Neglect is a demeaning death no one deserves.”

    “But you wish you hadn’t?”

    He refused to speak much after that. He fed me beans and tinned peaches, but he never ate as far as I could tell. And he forbade me from taking food from one crate.

    When I got sick of the sea and the unending humidity under constant clouds, I asked when we’d dock.

    “So much ocean now; not enough land,” he replied in way of an answer. Since the poles melted, far too much.

    Then I broke his rule. I was tired of beans and peaches, so I opened the crate. Inside were round, smooth red-skinned fruit, and within, ruby droplets of such sweetness it made me cry. I ate two before he found me. He’d glared at my stained fingers as though I’d slaughtered something.

    The next morning, we docked; when I tried to apologise, he just grinned horribly.

    “In your greed, mortals flooded my rivers, rusted shut the doors, locked her out. You deserve to suffer her mother’s unending, radiant joy.” And he threw the crate on the floor at my feet. “Eat the rest and be damned.”


    This is why I keep coming to the quay. I offer to replace what was stolen, praying he’ll collect and finally make a mother grieve so this Summer ends.

  15. Final crime

    The pines swayed beneath the speckled night. The lights from the trillions of suns and galaxies shimmered like the tears in his eyes.
    “I’m sorry. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. You weren’t supposed to be in that car.”
    The little girl stared at him, but said nothing. He pointed the gun at her, his arm trembling. He raised his left hand to the weapon to steady it. The girl’s eyes gleamed in the starlight. She smirked. He fired.
    The tree trunks lit up with a flash. The man let out a groan and fell forward. The little girl walked over to the man and knelt beside his convulsing body. She plucked the gun from his hand and tossed it on the dark forest floor.
    The man looked at her, but could no longer make out the features on her face. Without the starlight, her face was only a dark shadow.

    The little girl stroked his hair as he bled to death. Many of the man’s victims had died in this same forest much more ruthlessly, but Karma was always sweet with her victims. She made them feel loved before she devoured their souls.

    kidnap victim, forest, crime
    195 words

  16. Dancing the Night Away is a 277 word Noir tale of a Musician in a Cave written to the soundtrack of Irish Folk. While it doesn’t explain death it gives an idea of what might happen when we meet the black hooded gentleman.

    Dancing the Night Away
    by Stephen Shirres (@The_Red_Fleece)
    I’ve played gigs in the crummiest of places and tonight wasn’t much better but that wasn’t the point. I was here to find him and my fiddle was the only way in. The cold tried it’s best to make me forgot but what do you expect from a cave. Colder than the dinner when my Da discovered about Ma’s night with Lauren. My Da on his deathbed as well.
    Calling this place The Cave was a little dull. Putting a ‘the’ in front of something doesn’t the thing any more exciting. Least they could save money on a sign. Instead a brown skinned woman with fir green hair the consistence of moss stood outside. She showed me to my soil stage and watched me tune. No chance to search the place.
    I haven’t thought of a lie a woman hasn’t seen through so I nodded and hoped I’d see him on the dance floor. My audience didn’t look ready though. Death looked warmer and happier. I stuck up my strings anyway with a slow one, a wee waltz to see who could move. They all stepped up to the beat so faster I went and they kept up. The game continued for the rest of the song till they were dancing like young lovers. Happiness lifted their features and ages. On my final note they collapsed into their partners except one. For a moment I didn’t recognise him, his illness lifted to reveal the young man underneath. Yet still had a grip death cold grip.
    “Well done lass.”
    “Da? What are you doing here?”
    “Dancing my final dance so get playing like I know you can.”

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  17. Nymph, The Underworld, Myth, The Afterlife
    287 words

    The Afterlife is Rent Controlled
    Bill Bibo Jr

    A young wood nymph rolled from the arms of her human lover. She sat beside him and covering herself against the morning chill in a blanket of moss and flowers, ran her fingers through his graying hair.

    “Why must you get old?”

    “It’s a reminder that I, unlike you, am only here for a handful of moments. That I must appreciate my life, my time with you, to its fullest before my soul moves on.”

    He reached over and tickled a delicate spot behind her knee and her laughter brought a grove of lilacs to full bloom. She pushed his hand away.

    “But that means you must die.”

    “Think of it more as moving to a new apartment building. If I have lived a good and kind life, and I hope I have.” She nodded in agreement. “I will be given the penthouse apartment. I will want nothing for everything will be given to me. The gardens will be endless and filled with every variety of flower and plant. From there the view will be amazing in its beauty. I could see mountains and valleys, rivers and oceans. I could see all of eternity and reach out and touch it.

    “But if it is deemed my nature and my life was evil, I will be cast down to The Underworld and given a windowless subterranean apartment with Hades, the grumpy superintendent, on one side and the boiler, a merciless noisy mechanical beast, on the other to live forever in darkness and despair.”

    “How horrible. How cruel.”

    He took her hand and eased her to the ground beside him. She pushed him back, her beautiful face clouded and confused.

    “I do have one question. What’s an apartment building?”

    [I’m back! Sorry to have missed the last week. And now we’re off to visit the in-laws this weekend so won’t be able to vote but will try to read everything and leave a comment or two when we return. ]

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  18. Caleb Echterling
    Poet, Mount Olympus, Comedy
    Special Challenge: Evil
    300 words

    Title: Roses are red / Yeah, don’t you know it / Our world’s full of evil / Thanks to some poet

    Hesiod cursed the day he agreed to be president of the Amalgamated Poets’ Union. He had assumed his main duties would be drinking wine at poetry contests, writing poetry about wine contests, and naked cavorting – in the name of research – under the perpetual sunrise slash sunset that bathed their idyllic paradise. But when membership voted to send a diplomatic mission to the gods, everyone was suddenly too drunk or too naked to climb up Mount Olympus. So it fell to Hesiod.

    When Hesiod knocked on the Olympian door, Hermes answered. “Can it wait? You know how Zeus goes to Earth in an animal form to seduce women? Now he’s plastered on ambrosia and trying to seduce animals.”

    “My message cannot wait. It’s from the poets.”

    “Poets, eh? Can you juggle and tell jokes? The last thing we need is more centaurs.”

    “You seem to have poets confused with jesters.”

    “Whatever. Just distract him.”

    Zeus’s head popped up from a hay bale. “What mortal approaches the king of gods?”

    “A message from the poets, sire. While we appreciate the earthly Elysium you created for humankind, there cannot be true beauty without ugliness, nor joy without sorrow. And so on.”

    Zeus’s head tilted like a labrador contemplating infinity. “Are you not pleased with the wine geysers?”

    “Oh, we enjoy those very much.”

    “Is the centaur wait staff polite and accommodating?”

    “Impeccably so. But we’ve run out of poems about how great everything is. We feel we could kick our game to the next level if you threw some despair into the world.”

    ”Would that mean I could smite my subjects? My friends in other pantheons get a big kick out of smiting.”

    “In an imperfect world, there’s always room for smiting.”

    “So be it.” A thunderbolt rattled the sky. “Enjoy your evil.”

  19. Unrequited Love’s Consequence
    The nymphs, they know everything. They’ve bled into the earth and been a part of your sweat and toil. They’ve flown fluid across lands, gorging treasures and precious things. They hold tales of time itself. They tell their children and their children’s children of the beginning of the underworld. That all tragedies begin with a love affair.
    The pale one was named Hades and he was shunned quietly by his brothers. The endless sigh, the afterthought, a deep sadness trailed behind him that left his sister concerned. Hera alone threw heed to his silences and coaxed out his essence from a throat obstructed for years. Compassion can easily be confused for love and Hades had become a dam that burst. They weren’t meant to be together but Hades, he didn’t understand.
    For the longest time, his attention was consumed by the war. The battle for Olympus raged and Hades saw hope for the first time. He helped his siblings defeat his father, not for power or peace (although he was promised both), but for the desire to belong. The day the kingdoms were allotted, was the day Hades tasted betrayal for the first and last time. He was disregarded by Zeus (again) and Hera, two people who he loved the most – now married.
    Pain turned to wrath that destroyed all that came in his path. It was a terrible thing to behold. It was Zeus who threw him into the abyss, along with the souls of martyrs and foes. There, in darkness, he swore loneliness and collected all that breathed their last. There, his kingdom of sorrow grew. But for Hera, his final dedication, was an abode that knew only happiness and peace, far from the darkness. He never visited that haven.

  20. Words: 298
    Title: A Reasonable Sorta Nymph
    character: Nymph
    setting: The Underworld
    genre: Myth

    I’m a reasonable sorta nymph who enjoys talking about serious stuff with other nymphs as long as they’re reasonable, too. I don’t expect us to always agree but let’s keep the talk sensible and not get caught up in the thinking that our individual opinions are the only ones that matter.

    What I don’t like are those sorts of other world critters who will not under any circumstances allow for different opinions to exist. Those types can really piss me off. Like, for example, the other morning when I was up at the state park doing a little fishing from the river bank.

    I saw this feller coming across from the Oklahoma side of the river, heading straight towards me on the Texas side. Ugly sorta dude, you’ve seen the type, with this grey skin like a long dead carp.

    Sure enough, he cut the engine on his John boat as he pulled up alongside the bank near me.

    “Watch out for my lines there, man. Wouldn’t want you to mess up my tackle.” He frowned like I’d made an unreasonable request. Then he spoke.

    “You the nymph named Sue?”

    “Who wants to know?”

    He said his name was Sharon or something girly-like. I don’t laugh at a man’s name – even when I should – because – like his looks – that ain’t his fault. Know what I mean?

    “I know you’re Sue. Now, I need you to get in this here boat.”

    The writer speaks. “Wrap? I’ve got the human done with makeup, waiting on set. And there’s all the jokes about Oklahoma being the underworld. And all the supernatural weather stuff.”

    “That’s not very reasonable.”


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