Apologies for the delay. The family emergency I had really threw things off.
Thanks to everyone who entered this week. We had 11 awesome entries this week and great community engagement. Keep it up! 🙂
Please keep returning to Microcosms, and retweet / spread the word about this contest among your followers and friends.
Don’t forget that Microcosms exists primarily to provide a platform for the flash fiction community to hone their skills, and secondarily to give entrants a chance of receiving an accolade from that week’s judge. We also have the vote button for anyone – not just fellow entrants – to register their favourite/favorite(s) and thus establish a Community Pick.
Remember, you can reply with a comment to any and all of the entries AT ANY TIME: It’s good to have feedback.
Thanks again to Michael Emerson for this week’s prompt.
Huge thanks to Steve Lodge for judging MC 90 (and for his patience). Here’s what he had to say:
Many thanks for the opportunity to judge this competition and to read an excellent bunch of stories based around Native American Day and, as a perhaps surprising link to this prompt, here in Singapore, I go under the name of Otis Cochise when I do standup comedy/improv.
Anyway, a big thank-you to the authors of these 11 fine stories.
It is many moons since I last judged, and I hope it goes something like this.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – “They will not laugh at me if they cannot see me…”
Kelly Griffiths – Still, death had settled upon him like the dreaded foxtail seeds.
Jeff Messick – Perhaps, one day, we will teach these newcomers the ways of this world.
JK – Looking down in the water he saw a reflection of his mother for the first time.
Eloise – He looked down to where his paws were and they had started to get purple scales.
Angelique Pacheco – That village still stands, though no one can see it.
Steph Ellils – The water lapped at the intruder, turning its attention from the shore.
Liz Elliot – He looked at the flower, then to the shore, where the teepees of his tribe could be seen.
Dave Allen – I can only hope the visions I saw were not true.
Valita Suzanne – Rainwater filled her mouth, tasting of minerals and defeat.
Caleb Echterling – A broad vista of prairie opened behind the gate.
Honourable / Honorable Mentions
Jeff Messick – The Purchase
Well written. I particularly liked the way the sad inevitability was tempered with a determined defiance.
Kelly Griffiths – 1 Thessalonians 5:2
Liked the use of a Bible verse as the title. I had a lovely warm feeling like I was drinking cafe latte in The Green Lotus Club, while reading a few pages from a lost journal.
Liz Elliott – The Water Fairy
As neat a fairy tale as you could ask for and I love a happy ending.
Bill Engleson – The Man Who Walked Under the Moon
Loved the story of our crab-like hero and the inspirational idea to only go out at night. The names are classic, both before and after the changes. If only the directional difficulties of The Man Who Walks Under The Moon could have been incorporated into the screenplay of Dances With Wolves.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 90.
(insert drumroll here)
Bill Engleson – The Man Who Walked Under The Moon
300 walks in the moonlight
A Lazy Person / Moon / Humour
The Man Who Walked Under The Moon
I am Thunder Thighs, son of Blunder Thighs. My father is a gawky man. He cannot walk a straight line. He’s tried. Many times. Daytime isn’t his friend. The sun is too intense. It blinds him, befuddles his mind from the heat of the rays.
As a child, I wanted to follow him whenever he would go into the forest. After a few feet, I would tire. I did not like walking and it isn’t that interesting to follow a man who cannot walk a straight line.
It should be. There is some minor amusement but in short order a man who cannot navigate a straight line will walk into trees, trip on bramble, fall into holes.
No son likes to se his father falling into holes.
Maybe once. But not all the time.
My father, after many such accidents, falling into holes, walking into trees, tripping on bramble, began to walk in the moonlight.
“They will not laugh at me if they cannot see me,” he told my mother.
After he left that first time for a walk in the moonlight, my mother told me, “I’m afraid, my son, that your father is a crazy man.”
I of course wanted to defend my father.
I could not.
But it all changed.
He was proven right in one significant regard. The people of our village stopped laughing. In our culture, madness is worshipped. He was no longer Blunder Thighs; Instead, he became revered as The Man Who Walks Under The Moon.
In time, many in the village took to walking with my father. He could still not walk in a straight line but this was seen as a sign of his wisdom, his madness.
I was renamed Son of the Man Who Walks Under The Moon.
I still hate walking.
Steph Ellis – Mercury Rising
This was delicious. As delicious as the hunter? Not sure about that. Edgy? Definitely. Tear Drop Lake and the Trail Of Tears, evocative names. So many great lines, I found it difficult to choose just one. Loved it.
Hunter / Lake / Horror
“Tear Drop Lake,” said the guide. “Formed from the tears of my people.”
The hunter stared at the mirrored expanse, ignored the myth behind its origin. Still and silent, nothing rippled on its surface, it showed no sign of sustaining any sort of life in its depths. Yet appearances could be deceptive. Tom prepared his line.
“You won’t catch anything that way,” said the guide, handing over a small spear. This is how it’s done. Try it.”
“It’s too deep,” said Tom.
“No, look again. Can you see how the incline makes it shallow along this shore? My people ate well here.”
My people. The man certainly had his faux Native American Indian act down to a tee. He even claimed they were following the Trail of Tears, the forced march where over four thousand had died.
Tom walked towards the water’s edge. The spear felt light and flimsy. “You sure this is up to the job?” he called. But he was speaking to thin air. He shrugged. The lake was beautiful, peaceful; just him and Nature. He waded in, splintering the glassy surface. The water lapped at the intruder, turning its attention from the shore. Soft slivers crawled over his trousers, mercury rising. Tom did not notice, too busy trying to see the fish he had been promised. A shadow moved. He readied himself.
Somewhere, someone was sobbing but that too he dismissed, a bird perhaps. He refused to break concentration. The mercury climbed higher until—too late—he noticed the cold creeping over him, the wavelets becoming tendrils as they pulled him down, his screams muffled by unbodied lamentations.
His guide watched from the shore. Others had joined him. They cast their lines to reel Tom in. After all, he had said his people ate well here.
Congratulations, Steph. Please let us know if you’d like to judge the next go round!