RESULTS – Microcosms 97

There were a goodly 19 entries this week. Welcome to first-time entrants, Elizabeth Moura, Jane Lomas and Emily Pierce.


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.

We encourage everyone to reply with a positive comment to any and all of the entries AT ANY TIME: It’s good to have feedback.

MC 96 Judge’s Pick, Alva Holland kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:

Each time I write for or judge the Microcosms Fiction competitions, feelings of wonder and joy course through me as writers’ imaginations and creativity fill my screen. I shouldn’t be surprised at the ingenuity of writers, ever. This week you have all surpassed my growing expectations. Gorgeous writing from everyone. With enormous difficulty, I have chosen winners and mentions. Please continue to submit words to Microcosms Fiction.


 Favourite / Favorite Lines

Eloise – The crime: his prized roses had been eaten.
Nthato Morakabi – Calloused hands caressed bristles of grey along sharpened chin.
Mark Sadler – Clapps of Indiana was originally one of those out of the way places where lawbreakers went to lie low.
Elliot P. McGee -The sky is angry, and Camille has to fight through the gale, as if Mother Nature herself is passing judgment.
Steve Lodge – In the sea of his painting was the customary pink blancmange, the colour and shape of the sea creature.
Nicolette Stephens – The foundling child had been a mixed blessing.
Dana Faletti – With my dust cloth, I paint invisible stars along the coffee table until it gleams with lemony brightness.
Elizabeth Moura – Earl made a play for Robby by asking him if he wanted to see a grove of trees where bank robbers were gunned down in the 1930s and bullet casings could still be found.
Bill Engleson – He goes and takes Rudy under hoof the way all great ones are supposed to and they formed a special bond.
Angelique Pacheco – You can’t tell where the church begins and the trees end.
Frank Key – Earl had no plans to turn his back on the high life by losing all that he’d worked so diligently to gain.
Sian Brighal – An’ when the sky blinked, clouds danced in them glass panes.
Jane Lomas – But she missed the ocean with an ache that made her stomach tight.
AJ Walker – A few hours sleep, a bath, and maybe an early evening liaison with the voluptuous Mrs. Sedgewick and it could prove a most positive day.
JK – Well, sure I am, and I’ll teach you the tricks of the trade so you’ll never be poor either.’
Geoff Le Pard – Rupert returned to his own chosen specimen, turned up the drip-feeder and headed indoors.
Emily Pierce – His world faded in from white, muddy-coloured branches bristling his face.
Justin J. – He was old now, but safe in the knowledge that God had accepted his repentance and forgiven him his past sins.
Paula Nutt – I ignored the sobriquets as I prepared my toilet rooms for a very special visitor.


Special Mention

Geoff Le Pard – Hartley and Mrs Scroop: A Marrow Made In Heaven

For a laugh-out-loud title before I even read the story!

Honorable / Honourable Mentions

Nicolette Stephens – Found at the Fair

There’s a lurking poignancy to this tale. From the opening words of the rough truculent Da to the touching innocence of the boy, to the ultimate, ‘Call me Dad.’


Jane Lomas – A Place by the Sea

I love the ease with which this story flows. The normality of the wish to live by the sea, the few days away, the work to transform the back garden to a seascape, the crime, and the ultimate ‘couple of sand dunes.’ Nice work!



Justin J. – Sins of the Father

As much as I enjoy a complicated, puzzling story, a simple tale also tugs at my insides. This one fuels a desire to read more, for the story to be longer. I want to know the history, the crime, the backstory. Splendid writing.


And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 95.


(insert drumroll here)


Community Pick AND Judge’s Pick

Bill Engleson – Let me show you war in all its finery, / And then there’ll be no more, / And then there’ll be no more

This story is the one that made the initial jump off the page when I read all of the stories for the first time. I returned later looking for the quirky reindeer POV and revelled again in the adapted song lyrics which melted me on first read. We have Christmas, war, family (the reindeer sort) and the feel-good ending – continuity for Santa and his flying brigade. A terrific winning flash tale. Congratulations!

300 words
Reindeer; Battlefield; Memoir

We Reindeer simply do not show our age. Its just, one day, we know. It sneaks up on you and suddenly smacks you in the kisser. Time. Time’s the great equalizer. You know then that It’s done passed you by. You ain’t gonna fly no more.

Lucky. Now there was a skookum reindeer. And a poet. He was ready. Before my time, but we all know the story. Rudy joined up in nineteen and nine, just a few years before that terrible war. Lucky was a North Pole Vet even then. He goes and takes Rudy under hoof the way all the great ones are supposed to and they formed a special bond.

But that war. That was a doozy. The world had never seen anything like it. Flying that sleigh over all those guns, the mud, the blood, the dead and the dying, the skies exploding…first time war was fought in the skies as well. Made sleigh travel a little precarious.

Here and there that first war Christmas, the opposing armies held fire, sang carols, rested from the battle.

Lucky was impressed.

But in Christmas, nineteen and fifteen, the guns were not silent.
A stray bullet shot into Lucky’s breast…
He survived, but the heart went out of him.
That’s when he wrote new lyrics to that old spiritual song…

I’m gonna lay down my boots and sleigh
Down by the chimney side
Down by the chimney side
Down by the chimney side
I’m gonna lay down my boots and sleigh
Down by the chimney side,
Ain’t gonna fly Santa no more.

And that were it. Left a big hole but the old man, he was always on top of personnel issues. My granddaddy, Felix, he signed on and filled Lucky’s boots.

My family’s been flying ever since.



Congratulations, Bill  – a great tale for Remembrance weekend. As Community Pick AND Judge’s Pick, you are invited to judge the next round of Microcosms this coming weekend. Please click HERE to let us know whether or not you are interested!

RESULTS - Microcosms 98
RESULTS - Microcosms 96

7 thoughts on “RESULTS – Microcosms 97

  1. Congratulations, Bill, on a wonderful story and Justin, for your tale of forgiveness…fantastic reads. Congratulations to Nicolette and Jane for two stunning stories. Thanks, Alva, for judging, and thanks, Geoff, for the brilliant prompt this week. It was great fun researching, and all the stories were lovely to settle into in.

  2. Thanks to Alva for the Judges Pick and to the community of voters. And Geoff for the seriously great job of hosting and keeping the ball rolling. This may be more information than anyone wants but I wanted to describe some of my creative process this go-around. Thursday night (my time) I was watching a Rex Allen western called Colorado Sundown. (Rex is (or was) for those unfamiliar with him, a movie and tv star decades ago. He didn’t make great films but I am easily entertained. In this particular movie, there is a great flood and everyone is sandbagging away singing Down by the Riverside, an old spiritual but best known perhaps as an anti war song with the chorus ” I ain’t gonna study war no more
    Study war no more
    Ain’t gonna study war no more”

    In Rex’s version, the cowboys are singing “I ain’t gonna study work no more.”

    Long story short, I felt free to play with the lyrics and chorus. I should add that, according to Wikipedia, the song wasn’t published until 1918 so, for you purists, it would not be likely that a reindeer would be singing a variation during WW1. Anyways…thanks again. Sorry for running on.

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