Microcosms 92

Hi all! And welcome to Microcosms 92!

Today is Mad Hatter Day! Most of our options include people who wear hats or hat-like objects. (For you MC Colonists, you might remember this being similar to one of our original contests.)

Special challenge: In the spirit of the day, create something silly. It may or may not help you in the contest. I’m not the judge. 🙂

I’ve include the “Your Choice” option once again. If you do use/choose the “Your Choice” option, please specify what it is that you’ve chosen.



(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: Explorer, setting: Museum, and genre: Memoir.

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 ***


  • Graduate
  • Construction Worker
  • Thief
  • Sports Player
  • A Cat 😉
  • A Gentleman
  • Mardis Gras Participant
  • Witch
  • Religious Person
  • Royalty
  • Chef
  • Flight Attendant
  • Pilot
  • Cowboy
  • Military
  • Explorer
  • Jockey
  • Chauffeur
  • First Responder
  • Fast Food Worker
  • Gangster
  • Your Choice!
  • Ceremony
  • Construction Site
  • Game
  • Parade
  • Museum
  • House
  • Plane
  • Courtroom
  • Racetrack
  • Kitchen
  • Battlefield
  • Castle
  • Accident
  • Jungle/Safari
  • Your Choice!
  • Horror
  • Memoir
  • Sci-Fi
  • Crime
  • Steampunk
  • Comedy
  • Poetry
  • Western
  • Post-Apocalyptic
  • Historical
  • Drama
  • Alternate History
  • Fairy Tale
  • Your Choice!


Judging this week is MC 91 Judge’s Pick, Steve Lodge.

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 93
Microcosms 91

34 thoughts on “Microcosms 92

  1. Cowboy; Kitchen; Comedy
    300 bean dishes

    Beans there, done that.


    “Yup. Beans.”

    “Surely you know how to cook other things?”

    “Besides beans?”

    “That’s what I mean. Other things besides beans.”

    “Well, sure. I mean, I guess. I mean, I’ve seen it done.”

    “You’ve seen it done. That’s good. But the point, and I can’t emphasize this enough, is that if you are planning to change career horses in midstream, hang up that incredibly impressive ten-gallon bucket you are wearing on your finely chiseled head and replace it with a toque blanche, well, you will have to be proficient in more than just cooking beans.”

    “Ah shucks, I know that.”

    “Good. Because, for a moment there, I was under the distinct impression that all you knew how to cook was beans.”

    “There’s beans and then there’s beans. Right?”

    “You tell me, cowboy.”

    “Lance. Lance Buckright.”

    “I see that on your application. Look, Lance, from what I’ve read here, you’ve spent the last twelve years working for the River King Ranch. And during that time, you’ve done pretty much everything there is to do on a ranch…I don’t know, punching cows, branding cows, washing cows…”

    “We don’t actually wash them. Maybe hose them down every so often, but…”

    “My point, Lance, is that in all those dozen years of cowboying, it doesn’t appear…from your documentation that I’m holding here in my hand… that you’ve done any cooking. Is that correct?”

    “Mostly. Except, Old Lockjaw McQuaid, our Cookie…well, he taught me beans. Beans and Rice; Beef and Beans; Eggs and Beans; Bacon and Beans; Eggs and Bacon and Beans…”

    “Lance, I think I’ve had my fill of beans. Not everyone eats just beans. You know that, right?”

    “Yessir. I do. That’s why I want to cook…”

    “They have schools for that, Lance. I’m gonna steer you in that direction, okay?”

    “Yessir. Thanks.”

  2. Explorer, Museum, Memoir

    If You Want To Get A Head

    300 words @geofflepard

    Prendegast ap Tyrol stared at the diorama and fumed. How could they? They’d made a half-decent job of his face, with just the right depth of chin-dimple and rendering his cheekbones at an encouragingly rugged thirty degrees. And if his complexion was more Everglow than Everest, his nose was less the blob than reality.
    He tuned back into the curator, aware she had said his name with especial emphasis and essayed what he hoped was a winning, if enigmatic smile. Not that she deserved it. She seemed to be listing his latest feats – the 24 hour free dive, the runs up the top seven highest peaks without oxygen, the ultra-crawl across the Gobi desert drinking only his own urine. Someone sniggered; someone always sniggered.
    Prendegast shifted feet. He wasn’t used to standing still and his right buttock began to cramp. Had they cut off part of their own arse to survive, he pondered? Of course not; steatopygic to a man. He could live off them for weeks.
    He blinked back to the auditorium. The audience had fallen quiet. The presenter held the microphone towards him, clearly expecting him to reply to her remarks. They expected him to be grateful, to reciprocate her sentiments. After all they’d given him his own permanent display, in the Explorer’s gallery at the Achievers’ Museum, highlighting his many feats of endurance, pushing the boundaries, exploring man’s limits and then going beyond. Well, no. He knew he was part of the pantheon of greats and they done this to him. He’d overcome many setbacks, risked humiliation and death. But not this.
    Burton and Speke had their sola topis, Bleriot his aviator’s hat, even that upstart Fiennes had a bobble but what did they do to him? Give him a baseball cap. On backwards.

  3. Title – Graduation Day
    Prompts – Graduate/Ceremony/Horror
    Word Count – 299
    Twitter – @nancymbeach

    “That freakin’ bitch!”

    “Seriously, right? Like, I don’t even.

    “Valedictorian is mine. It’s mine, I tell you. I deserve it. Who does she think she is? Traipsing in here on my turf at the last second and stealing away my moment to shine, my scholarships, my graduation speech?”

    “Who is this Beatrice Bell anyway? I’ve never seen her around school? Has she been at any of the football games? Or the cross country meets? Or..wait, have you ever seen her in classes?”

    “Cami told me she skipped her junior year and is graduating early. She has taken every single class at the community college through dual enrollment and gotten all A’s. What is she going to say in her valedictorian speech? Thank you, Grove High teachers–for nothing?!”

    “This is freaking unfair. How can this shadow of a girl show up at the eleventh hour and snatch away my prize? I wish she were dead.”

    “If she were dead you’d be first again…”

    “If I ever saw her I’d slice her up into tiny little pieces. Let’s see her try and walk up on stage then.”

    “So, suppose I–just hypothetically speaking of course—no. Never mind.”

    “What? Come on, Ivy. You know I hate that. Now you have to tell me.”

    “So, what if she were—hypothetically speaking—gone?”

    “What are you saying? Gone? Like dead gone?”

    “I’m just saying, it might serve the bitch right. Stealing someone’s class ranking is a big deal—especially when it’s numero uno.”

    “I…I don’t know. Like, I think we would get caught or something.”

    “No, I was watching this youtube video, and I mean, come on. You can’t let her snatch your future from you. She deserves what’s coming to her. Here, just take a look at the video.”

  4. A gentleman/game/your-choice-sci-fi
    Word Count: 278
    A Three Of A Kind Ending

    How is that I got myself into this situation? I was minding my own business when I open a door for a lady when it all went wrong. I didn’t realize she had people for that, now I am in the strangest game ever and if I don’t win it’s off with my head!

    “Are you sure there isn’t anything else that I can do to apologize?” I asked.

    “No, just play my game,” she replied.

    I had a feeling the game was fixed so I would lose no matter what I tried, then it hit me, I could get out of this but only if I got out of this.

    “Royal Flush!!” the lady exclaimed and sure enough there on the table was a royal flush in hearts.

    “I guess you win,” I said folding my cards, “all I have are three of a kind.”

    Right on queue, two more men jumped out of hiding and took the lady hostage. I smiled at the look on her face. I could see the question and confusion in her eyes.

    “I couldn’t be sure until this moment but I thought that this world’s physics might bet the same as ours.” I started, “You see, in just a few moments I will go back in time.”

    “And create me,” said one of the men, “then, once we are through here, I’ll go back to the exact same point in time.”

    “And he will create me.” said the second newcomer.

    “He will continue on our journey, once we figure out how our time-machine brought us to this world, to begin with,” I said.

    “Damn you Wells!!” shouted the lady.

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  5. Prompt: you choose/ battlefield/ comedy
    Title: Dodging Bullet’s
    Word count: 292 words

    Shots rang through the arena as I dodged another bullet. My partner Emily stood in front of me, her gun shifting from left to right as we trudged through the forest. Suddenly a shot raced past us taking out one of our soldiers. We quickly ducked behind some trees trying to find cover from the ambush. BANG! One. BANG! Two. BANG! Three, another three men down. I began to take aim, quickly adjusting my position and fired. The enemy fell down in a single THUD. There weren’t any more opponents in our sights so we took the advantage and headed for their base. Emily was in the lead, guiding us through the twists and turns till we were in position. Then we attacked, both sides of the field firing at one another. As I scooted into position I noticed an enemy taking aim on Emily. As quickly as I could I shifted my gun over to him and fired, but it was too late. The bullet raced towards her, I jumped in front without a thought of hesitation, pushing Emily out of the way. The bullet’s strong force knocked me to the ground.

    “Jack! Oh, Jack, don’t worry you’re going to be fine,” she said reassuringly as I grasped the side of her face.

    “I always knew I would take a bullet for you,” I said as the pain spread through my body. She crouched beside me, clutching at my shirt. Tears threatening to fall from her beautiful emerald eyes. My eyelids began to grow heavy.

    “And I will always know that you would have taken a bullet for me if you had the chance,” I whispered and my eyes fell shut.

    “Would you two lover birds shut up?! It’s just paintball.”

  6. Chef/courtroom/memoir
    Word count:270
    The tomato wars

    I sat in the stand. Now was the time to defend the tomato; no-one else would. The prosecutor stalked around the courtroom eyeing me as he moved closer. He slammed the tomato sauce against the table. I shrunk in my seat. How dare he bring that putrid condiment into my midst.
    “Chef Giovanni, is this the tomato sauce from the night?” commanded the prosector.
    My lower lip quivered “Yes”.
    “Sorry. I didn’t hear you.” He said as he cupped his ear.
    “YES” I shouted. I need to get the condiment and run.
    People didn’t understand what they were doing. Didn’t they feel for the tomatoes? Could they not hear the soft cry of baby tomatoes as they lied in plastic containers to be consumed. Some would be mercilessly fried but others would not be that lucky. And there parents? They were shipped off to the condiment factory. There they jostled on long black sheets which slowly dropped them into a boiling pot and then smashed and all their blood was caught into glass jars for people to squirt over their food. Didn’t they know I had manage to get it banned in Chicago. It was the year 1950. The great tomato war was on and I was an advocate for the life of the tomato. It took three years. But tomato sauce was banned. Especially as a condiment on hot dogs. Relish and mustard were the only acceptable condiments for hotdog. I was still fighting for relish but that was a story for another day. Today I had rescue the tomato sauce from being used to ruin Spaghetti Bolognese.

  7. Cat/Own choice (Wild West)/Western
    Word count: 267


    Tumbleweeds rolled across the dusty road like a cliché of old. He surveyed the scene before him through the slits of his eyes. His town. The place where he had been born, the place he would die in. All his.

    Bart “the cowboy kid” Watson flew out of the saloon and landed, nose first into the ground. Missy Elliot laughed from behind the saloon doors. He groaned as he sat up, mildly dazed. He saw Jack staring at him, unblinking and sneered. “Whatcha looking at, huh?” Jack kept looking and stood his ground. It would seem that Bart never heard the proverb “Don’t mess with something that ain’t bothering you.” Bart staggered up to his knees, the stench of liquor oozing out of his body. He threw up on the dirt. How disgusting, Jack thought.

    Bart seemed to regain his equilibrium and slowly stood up. He put his hands on his knees and stood still for a moment. Then he stood up to his full height. He leaned back to let the sun catch his face in warmth. Jack had still not moved. Bart looked over in his direction and picked up a stone. He carefully aimed and flung it. It skipped past Jack and he turned slightly to catch Bart’s eye.

    He got up lazily and stretched. Keeping an eye on Bart, his tail swished in displeasure. “Stupid humans,” he thought. “They invade my town, sleep on my beds, gain the affections of my prostitutes and don’t even eat their own vomit. What a waste.” He turned around and swaggered off into the sunset. His sunset.

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  8. Pilot, plane, comedy
    Trouble on the plane
    I had been a pilot for about 1 month now. And it was my first time that I was tasked with flying a plane with actual people on it! Although it was a very short flight from Cleveland to New York City, I was very nervous and didn’t know what was gonna happen. I fumbled my words as I said through the loudspeaker
    “This is flight 756 Cleveland to New York City” I said as my voice cracked.
    “Well what are you waiting for? Let’s go!” the co-pilot said. I couldn’t go. All the buttons and controls looked like a puzzle to me.
    “You did get you pilots license right?” The co-pilot said jokingly.
    “I was supposed to get a license?” I said.
    “You didn’t get a pilots license?” The co-pilot said with a look of disgust on his face “Then how’d you get hired?” he asked.
    “I don’t know” I said “I saw you guys were hiring and I came down here for an interview and they hired me.”
    Then the co-pilot called security. They came and took me off the plane and threw me out the airport. “If we ever see you here again, We’ll have you arrested and thrown in jail!”they said as they walked away.
    “Oh well” I thought to myself on the drive home “At least now I know you need a license to be a pilot!”

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  9. Prompt: Cat, Construction Site, Crime
    Word count: 169
    Feisty Feline
    “See ya later Mr. Meow!” Jack shouted as he left to work.
    “How can this worthless human just leave me here with nothing to do? So despicable. I swear if I had the chance, I would get rid of this little-” The cat stopped. He remembered where Jack worked, and raced down the street as fast as his little paws could carry him. On his way to the construction site, Mr. meow thought, “No one will ever think its me. After all I am just a cat, right?
    Mr. Meow was rather psychotic for a little thing like him. He walked over to see Jack working inside of a large excavator. He stealthily snuck past the workers. He began nearing the excavator with a knife in his mouth. SPLAT.
    Jack arrived home very confused about the location of his cat. He swore he locked the door. Little did Jack know, that he killed his best friend who was also his worst enemy.

  10. Flight attendant/Accident/Your choice
    Title: The Crash
    Word count: 205

    The plane shuddered, and then spun. I found myself hurled against a wall. The plane was going down! I pushed myself up and hurried over to an old woman who had fallen over, “Are you alright, ma’am?”
    “Yes, yes,” she said, looking up at me, “Oh, dear me, you’re bleeding.” I reached my hand up to my head. I was bleeding.
    “Never mind that. Here, let me help you get to your seat,” I helped the woman up, accidently getting blood on her shawl. The plane shuddered again, and again, “Hurry ma’am.”
    “Settle down, I’m in my seat, see?”
    I didn’t bother to answer, I just hurried to the next person who was not in their seat. It was a little girl, “Sweetie, where’s your mother?” I asked.
    “Ower der.” She pointed a few rows ahead.
    “Okay.” I picked her up and rushed down the aisle. The plane spun again, which threw me and the little girl down the aisle.
    “Momma! Dadda!” The girl cried out.
    “Here,” I grabbed her hand, thrusting her into the row her parents were in. The mother gave me a thankful look. And that was the last thing I saw before the plane hurled itself into the icy waters below.

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  11. Explorer/museum/memoir/286 words

    Title: Concessions and Indiscretions

    I stand before the life-like wax figure of Amos Fidler, an officer of the Canadian fur trade. He is smiling, beaver pelt hat in one hand, long rifle in his other, attended by his Cree wives.
    Unlike most of society in 1766, Amos saw the value in polygamy and found Aboriginal women’s skills and contributions to the fur trade useful. It was a savage, new country to be explored and exploited, necessitating certain concessions and bending of laws. The women could skin and stretch buffalo hides, fillet fish, sew moccasins, craft snowshoes, and make pemmican better than any white woman could. There was the added benefit of alliances and trade with the country’s native inhabitants.
    Amos paid generous bride prices for his women: flint and steel, dry goods, rum, and horses. He treated his wives well and for this, he ate well and enjoyed good health during lean winter months when many men suffered scurvy or died from exposure. With five wives to cook, clean and warm his bedroll, Amos built his fur trade empire.
    His first wife once told me that she loved Amos more than 1000 salmon. She had long, shiny black hair like a raven’s wing. I wanted her. Being a cocky, young voyageur, I had taken her words as a challenge, and set out to make her my woman. I wooed her with gifts of porcupine quills, copper bracelets and silk ribbons. She took my gifts and laughed at me. Amos did not find the matter as amusing, however, and put two rounds in my chest.
    My wax sculpture is sprawled on the fake grass next to where Amos stands, but as you can see, it’s not a good likeness of me.

  12. Cat/House/Comedy
    222 Words

    The Monster from the Closet

    The creature roared as I scampered over to the corner. It was loud and ferocious, the sonic noise booming through my little ears. The thing held on to Andy’s arm, dragging her with it. I wanted desperately to comfort her since she’s the one who comforts me, but I felt so insignificant and fragile. The creature looked hard and strangely robotic. As it continued to scream and run around the room, growing closer to me. I leaped up, my claws spread out and ready to dig into the dangerous killer.

    Andy somehow managed to drag it away from the corner I was in. Taking the opportunity by the reins, I bolted for the couch. My paws sunk into the soft material, but I stayed alert. It was shocking that Andy could keep herself so calm as we were being attacked. She gave me hope that everything would turn out alright. The creature had circled around the room many times now, like a ghost in a haunted house. To my surprise, it began to slow down. The sound slowly shrunk to nothing at all. Andy walked over to me, but I refused to look away from the now quiet creature.

    “Don’t worry, Buttercup,” her gentle hand stroked through my fur, causing me to purr softly. “I’m done vacuuming now.”

  13. Royalty, castle, your choice
    Moving On

    I awoke overjoyed knowing that today I would become the ruler of my own kingdom. I couldn’t stop thinking about all the regulations I would revise. I was excited to start anew and get away from the stifling kingdom of my childhood. I quickly packed my belongings. Soon, I was prepared to be on my way.

    As I began to say my goodbyes, I thought of the grand experiences from my youth. Feast after feast. Many loving people around me. Everyone willing to help me. I hoped that one day I could have a kingdom as wonderful as this.

    I hugged my Mom and Dad goodbye. Then, I pulled away from the curb and headed off to college, glancing back one last time at the small, warm house I grew up in and loved.

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  14. A cat, your choice, historical
    I rolled over onto my back, but not because I was itchy. I had just gotten shot on the paw and I couldn’t stand on it. Instantly, James picked me up. Then I heard another shot fired, but this time, it was nowhere near us. Artillery started firing more shots miles away. I didn’t know why all these shots were booming around me, and my leg was practically killing me. I tried to tell James to go the opposite way of the guns, but as soon as I finish speaking he starts to move forward. Some days, I feel like he doesn’t even understand what I am saying.
    As we started forward, James said to me, “I have to capture that cannon up on that hill. I’m sorry I couldn’t spend more time with you.” At that he set me down. I started to tell him not to go.
    “Why do you pacifically have to go” I meow.
    He doesn’t seem to understand what I say, but he still says, “a bunch of us are going to take that hill and that cannon, I love you very much he says.”
    At that he charges up the hill yelling with a bunch of other men. I instantly follow, and I am somehow able to keep pace with him even though my injured paw hurts. We reach the top and I hear a shot ring out. It is almost as if it happens in slow motion. I see a ball dig through James hand and slightly into his shoulder. At that I meow in pain and fall on top of James. His comrades take the hill, and James gives me a hug. Then there is another shot and I feel a pain in my back and a ringing in my ears.

  15. Witch/Courtroom/Drama
    Title: The Gavel
    Words: 298

    The doors opened and Ryla entered the crowded courtroom, feeling eyes burning through her. She blinked hard, trying not to panic, resisting the urge to run away. Witches weren’t supposed to use their powers in front of anyone. Doing this trial went against better judgement. She took a deep breath. There were only the bright lights of the room and the watching eyes and the unanswered question.

    Ryla met the eyes of the defendant, who looked back at her, terrified. She sat down across from the woman accused of murder and took her hands. They were cold and clammy and shaking a bit. Ryla closed her eyes, trying to use her skills to divine whether the accused had actually killed her father. ‘I’m sorry,’ she thought, ‘I don’t know why I’m here, I’m such a bad witch, I don’t know how right I’ll even be and please don’t be a murderer…’ The eyes of everyone in the room bored into her.

    Thoughts washed over Ryla, terrified and jumbled. The woman was named Sabrina Davis and she was afraid of witches, but she was more afraid of heights and her father, and her favorite food was pineapple pizza and her favorite movie was Bladerunner. She hated the watching eyes and she hated Ryla and she hated herself and she hated her father, she once stood on the roof but never considered jumping, she had almost been married, though she had never told anyone–

    Ryla jerked her eyes open, knowing the answer, and Sabrina Davis stared back, her eyes screaming for Ryla to lie, to save her, but Ryla couldn’t, she could only sit frozen, there were only the thoughts of everyone in the room pounding at her and dragging her under like a riptide, and then the watchful eyes…

  16. 227 words
    Museum; Memoir; Explorer

    One Last Adventure

    I crept quietly through the jungle, my eyes scanning the trees for any signs of life. My ears tracked the sound of the Amazon river flowing nearby. Peering into the river I noticed an alligator lurking in the murky water. I almost didn’t see him he was lying so still. I marched determinedly on and after a while I began to hear sounds of civilization. I tipped toed toward the noise and peered into what seemed to be a Mayan encampment. Using my superior sneaking skills I walked by undetected. Soon the air began to feel colder and snow started to fall. I knelt in the snow and started my cooking fire. But before I could even begin to warm up I heard a huge noise coming from behind me. It was a stampede of woolly mammoths! I kicked snow over my fire (It always pays to be safe) and ran for my life. I ran as fast as my old legs could carry me. I stopped only when I was sure they were gone. I was leaning against a tree and trying to catch my breath(It’s extremely elusive ) when I found myself nose to nose with a huge lion! I let out a surprised yelp. Suddenly I felt something touch my arm.

    “Mr. Humphrey, I’m going to have to ask you to leave the Museum, we’re closing soon.”

  17. [construction worker, plane, poetry]
    I’m a construction worker, riding my private plane
    I have a pet dog. (He’s a great Dane)
    Whenever I look at the ocean, past the grass,
    it reminds me of my dark past.
    Read this poem out loud and you will see,
    that I have changed, 1, 2, 3.
    with the guidance of my close friends
    I’ll never look back, head for the end.
    back to construction, I have to go,
    but before i do, you need to know
    My great Dane is stuck on the top,
    got to save him, before he splot
    I hope you let me win
    so i won’t make another sin
    i’m sorry to say, i’ve gotta go,
    go away to bury my great Dane.
    [don’t forget to read out loud]

  18. [construction worker, plane, poetry]
    I’m a construction worker, on my private plane
    I had a dog (he was a Great Dane)
    I look at the ocean, past the grass.
    For it had remind me of my dark past.
    He was up there, at the top,
    I had to save him, but i chose not.
    He came flying down, I heard his spat
    At first it didn’t hurt me of his death
    Then it struck the heart, all the pain.
    came over me, like a wave.
    Read this out loud, and you will see
    I have not changed, surprisingly
    With flowers in my hand, i went to his grave
    all my good-byes i had to say.
    (Please forgive me, for i had lied
    i’m so happy my dog is alive.)
    Forget the parentheses, for all and one
    i’m sorry to say, we are all done

  19. Money for Old Rope

    288 words
    Elements: chauffeur, parade, horror


    Painted faces leered in at the window. Death masks marching to the distorted strains of a cornet, its plaintive wail clear over the noise of the crowd. It reminded him of … no, he would not remember.

    Charlie slowed the car to a crawl. His passenger, buried in the shadow of the limousine remained silent. It was as if they had entered a cave and he began to feel claustrophobic. He wound down the window, noticed how realistic the skeletal features of those who surrounded them were. A face stared at him, mouthed a word, murderer … no, he pushed the memory back.

    “A good turnout,” murmured his boss.

    Charlie’s eyes flicked to the rear view mirror. He could see nothing beyond the vaguest of shapes. Around the vehicle, the crowds shrouded them from sight. The engine cut out but impossibly they continued to move forward, carried along by the momentum of their deathly companions. Years of running from justice had forced him to take jobs like this. One day perhaps, it would stop.

    “This part of the journey is always my favourite,” said the voice in the back.
    Charlie gripped the wheel tighter. He hadn’t wanted to take this job, had never wanted to drive again but … he had a family to support. He thought of that other family, no. Sweat trickled down his back. In a way this was supposed to have been …

    “Money for old rope,” said the voice.

    On cue the crowds parted and Charlie saw they had cleared a path to a gallows on the edge of the silent bayou.

    “Some things you can escape from,” said his passenger, getting out of the car and opening Charlie’s door, “but not me.”

  20. Prompts: Witch, Racetrack, Comedy
    Words: 300
    Twitter: @lizzynim

    Broom Broom

    The rules: no flying above five feet off the ground; the winner is the first to complete ten laps of the circuit; losing one’s hat during the race means disqualification; use of magic, except that which keeps the racer’s broomstick aloft, is strictly forbidden!

    Milly stood, broomstick ready, in third place on the starting grid. Second on the grid was Gretna, and in pole position was Queenie, the reigning champion, whose racing overalls were covered in ‘Eye of Newt Oil’ sponsor logos.

    The starting lights winked out, and Milly shot after Gretna, hoping to cut her off at the first corner. But Gretna, in gunning for Queenie, almost crashed into her, then swerved right off the track. Milly swooped past, cackling with glee. But Queenie was pulling away now. Milly activated her hat’s DRS (Droop Readjustment System) and her hat became rigid and streamlined, giving her increased speed at the expense of reduced track-holding. But it was worth it. Soon she was right behind Queenie.

    On lap five, she made a pit stop. Her team gave her a cup of tea and a biscuit. Then she charged back onto the track for the final five laps. Riding Queenie’s slipstream, she bided her time. Queenie looked back, and Milly knew she was considering activating her broom’s KERS (Kick for Extra Racing Speed), but it carried the risk of the racer’s hat falling off in the sudden burst of acceleration.

    They rounded the final corner. Now! Milly activated her KERS, and her broom lurched, almost throwing her off it. But her hat, thankfully, stayed on. She shot past Queenie just as she activated her KERS too… but too late. Milly rocketed across the line in first place, and the crowd erupted.

    Queenie was furious. She had been hoping for a clean sweep…

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  21. Prompts: Museum, Memoir, Explorer

    Words: 299

    The Time I Played with Wax

    This was my third museum job. The same as the other locations, I was in charge of exploration and finding new items to be staged at the museum. I have staged it all dinosaur fossils, taxidermy, human anatomy exhibits, artifacts from all the over the world, and I was hoping to do something new for this museum.

    My first week at my new job was momentous. They had a great set up, items from the past, present, and future. I discovered some wax figures in the basement of my last job and they said it would be fine for me to take and display at my next location.
    Day one I learned the lay of the land and day two was dedicated to rearranging everything so I could make room for my new finds. I stayed there all night moving things around and cleaning. I was astonished by how heavy the wax figurines were. I got a dolly and wheeled those wax suckers around everywhere. I finally got them all arranged the celebrities, the kings and queens, the mad scientists.

    That night the museum got really hot so I lowered the air conditioning, significantly due to the abnormally warm summer weather. The AC was broke so I got fans and placed them in front of the wax exhibit, afraid everything would melt. Well, it did anyways and I was shocked at what was underneath. It looked like real skeletons just below the wax.

    The janitor caught me trying to scrape the melting wax off and called the police. Here he thought I killed people and covered my victims with wax. It took months to figure out who the skeletons were. It did not help things that one was my ex-wife. Now how the heck did she get in there?

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  22. Legacy Exhibition
    By Stephen Shirres (@The_Red_Fleece)
    A 298 word memoir about an explorer and a museum

    I always forget how grand the British Museum is. The grand columns never fail to impress. A monolith to the greatness of the British Empire.
    Through giant oak doors I entered the exhibition hall dedicated to my youthful adventures. I am greeted by a portrait of me: youthful and innocence, my pith helmet at a jaunty angle. Now the wrinkles and lines are hidden by white hair and beard. My walking stick tapped along the marble floor. The other patrons do not realise it is me.
    More pictures followed, paintings and maps I drew of Africa. Places no civilised man had seen before me. None of them match the grandeur of the real places, red soil as far as the eye could see. I sighed and moved on.
    In a case, half way down the main hall is what I was looking for. A single tribal hat in a glass case. The only one of its kind. It looked like a common pigeon painted with the brightest rainbow. Even under the weak sun strained through smogged museum windows the hat shone. I loved it yet I can not smile in its presence. A gift I repaid in gunpowder. Not at first, I can not remember what I offered in return but it was only the first part of a two part gift. The hat amazed every member of my club, the way it shone in the gas light. They begged me to take them to where I found it. Ego and naïvety made me agree.
    The hats are still in Africa, stripped of their diamonds, marking the graves of the tribe I condemned to extinction. A tear leaks down my cheek. I wipe it into my beard and apologised once again. As always I’m only answered by silence.

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  23. Prompt: Witch, Construction site, Horror
    Title: The Others
    Word count: 294

    I had to save my friends. The Others knew that I could protect myself. My friends on the other hand, not so much. I needed to get there faster. When I arrived, I crept around the construction site looking for my friends. I walked into a cold, dark building. When I did, I heard a spine-tingling scream. I jumped and started crawling on all fours against the wall. I turned the corner and I saw my friends tied up. I wanted to run up to them and free them, but something was stopping me. What was wrong with their faces? They had black and blue marks all over their faces. Oh no, it happened already. I was too late. The Others had turned them. I had lost my friends. I was holding back sobs as I stood up and started to run away. As I was exiting, The Others were standing there. Almost as if they were waiting for me. Soon, they slowly started to walk toward me. I had no other choice, but to fight. I gathered what energy I had left and put my hands up. I felt the electricity coursing through me. I could feel the power coming. I looked up and I saw my best friend, Henry. The electricity stopped. I could not hurt my best friend. How could I? I slowly started to back up into a corner. “Henry, please!” I sobbed. “Please do not do this!” They all kept getting closer and closer. I had lost control. I wanted to use my electricity, but I could not use it on my friends. I started shaking with fear. “I do not want to die!” I screamed. Henry looked at me with his cold, lifeless eyes and said, “Too bad.”

  24. thief\ house\ chose your own
    word count: 174
    title: Party Time

      Opening up the side door I crept into the house. Inside was cold and sent chills down my spine. Walking around the rooms I searched for things that might be of any value. Everything in that house sparkled and shone. This was my chance. I had soon collected many expensive electronics, flashy jewelry, and a wad of cash. looking around the house some more I swiftly turned a corner and froze in my tracks when a herd of people jumped out from every nook and cranny of the huge house yelling “Surprise!” Uh oh, I’m busted. I thought to myself. My hands holding the stolen items were shaking and I couldn’t move. I just stood there staring. Then I noticed the people’s eyes weren’t looking at me but they were on something to the right of me. Do they even know I’m here? Then a teenage girl ran up and embraced her friends and family in a hug. That answered my question. Quickly I  sliped out the front door with the stolen treasures, unseen.

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  25. Prompts: Construction Worker, Your Choice, Your Choice.

    Title: Frozen

    Brian starred at the hopeless little cat. The hot summer sun reflected off its fur and priced into Brian’s eyes. Brian stood there resting on his long and heavy shovel thinking about what it must feel like to not being able to move. there was nothing they could do now, the cement had hardened and the little cat was stuck right in the middle of the small sidewalk square. Not until the cat lost some weight it would be able to break free. Brian walked over to the cat and slowly crouched down beside it. the cat looked at him with its big black eyes and let out a quiet meow. he pet its shiny black fur and sat beside the small furry animal.

  26. 299 Words
    Jockey; Accident; Memoir

    RC’s Big Break

    Excerpt from Roberta C. Hornswoggle’s memoir:

    Well, they say it was the worst accident ever seen at the Kowbell Race Track in Mannsville, Texas. Like I really needed more notoriety. I mean, being the first award-winning, red-headed female jockey wasn’t enough?

    It was the day of the Sweepstakes Race. I was riding my favorite mount, a sweet little filly named Reverse Cowgirl –

    Hmm? Everybody always asks me that question! RC, as I liked to call her, came into the world ass-first so I guess it’s only fitting she went out ass-first.

    We were on our way to winning another close race, when RC spied something that stopped her in her tracks — a pink hat rimmed with rooster feathers and straw. I reckon that hat reminded RC of the one her mama used to wear down on the ranch cuz darned if she bang a uey right there. That’s when the accident happened. Haven’t seen a pile of horses that big since the Great Blizzard of ‘78!

    By the time the dust settled, six race horses had left this mortal vale. Both my legs wuz broke, too, so my career as the most superlative female jockey in history died right there on the home stretch.

    Needing a new way to keep some greenbacks in my Levi’s, I started my own company. And I’ve liked hats since I was knee-high to a fuzzy purple caterpillar!

    Now, RC’s Hats & Artisanal Jerky grosses, oh, more money than I can count on both hands and one foot. We stay busier than a one-legged man at a butt kickin’ contest! Just last year, we won Hat of the Year for ‘RC’s Rootin’-Tootin’-Cowboy-Boot-Scootin’-Bonnet-Extraordinaire,’ a glorious concoction made of pink leather, gold sequins, and three roadrunner feathers stuck proudly on the top.

    It’s reversible, too!

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  27. Construction worker, House, Horror
    Title: Nightmares

    I walked warily into the house, if this is what you would even call a house . Ugh, this creepy, old abandoned thing that sends you chills every time you step on a creaky board. The high-pitched squeak that echoes off the walls is a relief from the unbearable silence. Why did my boss have to assign me to tear down this accursed place? Throughout the years, neighbors have rumored about goblins living in the attic that devour anyone who comes near them, and about ghosts of murdered construction workers who tried demolishing this house. I fervently hoped they weren’t true.

    Tiptoeing, I made my way to what once was an infant’s room. The crib still sat in tact, corroded with rust. A baby doll lay on the mattress. A spotlessly clean doll, as if it was brand new … I froze, breaking into a cold sweat. Someone must have placed it there very recently. Finally, I began to inch toward the crib. But I couldn’t move, no matter how hard I tried. I gasped for air as cold, fleshy fingers enclosed around my neck. Crying for help, I mustered all my strength to punch the attacker. But I still couldn’t move. The grip suddenly tightened, and I writhed in agony, struggling to break free. My lungs screamed for air. Abruptly, the grip relaxed.

    I awoke, gasping for air.

  28. @GeoffHolme
    170 words
    My Choice: Bird / Jungle / Poetry
    (Special Challenge – create something silly – accepted!)

    Nonsense Verse

    The Zwoodle Bird, with pokled glee,
    Builds its nest in a slim flimflam tree;
    It’s well known that it dwells
    In remote scotious dells
    In the jungle near Knocknaheeney.

    The Zwoodle has wiry-haired knees
    That whistle and wheeze in the breeze.
    This may cause some disquiet,
    But Its principal diet
    Is baloney and tripe, served with peas.

    In the spring before it gets too late,
    The male Zwoodle, to increase the birthrate,
    Takes a brief flight of fancy
    In the hopes there’s a chance he
    May find a wyndiferous mate.

    The autumnous climate of late
    Has not left Zwoodle birds in a state;
    They are snug in all weathers
    In a fez of horse feathers
    Protecting their sleek, glabrous pate.

    As it says in my clympous guidebook:
    “In the brook known as Gobbledegook,
    You’ll spend many an hour
    Searching each jagrhine bower
    And spoonerous nanny and crook…

    In the tanquerine jimblewig mist,
    the Zwoodle Bird’s easily missed;
    There’s no knabrous mirage
    Or gandreeth camouflage,
    For the Zwoodle bird doesn’t exist.”

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