Microcosms 91

Friday: flash fiction aficionados favourite day of the week… or at least certainly in their top seven. Welcome to Microcosms 91.

*** Let’s try not to have any late entries this week, folks. ***

This post is scheduled for release at the usual time of 00.00, Friday, New York (EDT) time. You have just 24 hours until midnight, today (Friday) New York time (EDT) to submit.

Here’s the deal:

For some time, I’ve been attempting to finish reading ‘Mary Barton’, Elizabeth Gaskell‘s first novel, published in 1848. Set in Manchester, it’s a saga of the difficulties faced by the  Victorian working classes, proving the old adage – “It’s grim oop North”.

I had been finding the depiction of grinding poverty more than a little depressing, so I put it to one side for a long time.

On picking it up again, I found it almost instantly gripping: someone is murdered and all the evidence points to the culprit being someone who is innocent. Mary must find the one person who can provide an alibi, with only a few days before the trial begins. Chapter after chapter relates the drama of the chase, and then the tension of not knowing if the witness will make it on time… and the trial due to start first thing the next morning <gasp!>

I eagerly turn the page and read the chapter heading: “XXXII. THE TRIAL AND VERDICT – “NOT GUILTY.”

Thanks a bunch, Lizzy! Never heard of spoiler alerts?!

Miffed, I put the book down to concentrate on finding a theme for this week’s contest by doing my customary last-minute trawl through events,  births and deaths, only to find that Elizabeth Gaskell was born on this very day in 1810!

Her later novels ‘North and South’ and ‘Cranford’ have both been given the BBC adaptation to successful TV period drama series.

Today is also the anniversary of the birth in 1547 of another literary star – Miguel de Cervantes. He’s best known, of course, for ‘Don Quixote’ – considered to be the first modern novel.

And another inspiration to writers commemorated today is László József Bíró, inventor of the ballpoint pen! In Argentina – the country he moved to in 1943 to escape the Nazis – today is celebrated as Inventor’s Day.



(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, location and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are – character: Inventor, location: Jail, and genre: Comedy.

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 – character, setting and genre. You can keep clicking until you have a set of elements that inspires you.

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


  • Worker
  • Seamstress
  • Gossiping Biddy
  • Knight Errant
  • Tax Collector
  • Inventor
  • Cotton Mill
  • Big City
  • Rural Village
  • Spain
  • Jail
  • International Fair
  • Horror
  • Comedy
  • Sci-Fi
  • Crime
  • Memoir
  • Thriller



*** DON’T FORGET to tell us your chosen elements AND to give your entry a title ***



Due to the very late posting of last week’s results, I have to hope that the Judge’s Pick, Steph Ellis, will agree to act as this week’s judge.


Let me reiterate: all submissions should be a maximum of 300 words in length. You have 24 hours until midnight, today (Friday) 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 92
Results Delayed

43 comments for “Microcosms 91

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.