Thanks to everyone who submitted a story to Microcosms 99. There were 14 entries this week.
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 98 Judge’s Pick, Sian Brighal kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
It’s great to see so many entries, and they were all wonderful reads. I will always be amazed at how diverse the outcomes from the three elements can be. It made judging one of the best and the worst things, but it’s always a pleasure. I loved the range of genres; you’re a crazy wonderful bunch of writers. Thanks to Geoff for the round-up of events and the prompts, and thanks for the stories.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Alva Holland – Turns out the food is off, passengers are sick, would-be murderers haven’t the strength, the Marshall is murdered by a feather-wielding matron of honour, the cocaine gets flushed, the businessman saves himself by knifing the Russian, while the fed-up purser plans a future with the flight engineer.
So many fantastic lines in this, but I had to pick this sweet round-up of every nefarious plan and outcome.
Eloise – It says ‘Now your Goose is cooked’.
After reading the story, this sentence popped back. Does it suggest a deeper relationship? It became a very intriguing line.
Bill Engleson – The highway teases. None of us drives anymore.
There were many beautiful sentences in this, but this one really hooked me. The sense of things moving, destinations and ways to freedom, to escape, to life and adventure…all ended with the knowledge that they can no longer drive.
Nthato Morakabi – In the parking lot, I step into the white Datsun waiting for me.
This line puts conspiracy firmly back into the story.
Mark Sadler – “Then I posted a few unfortunate comments on social media that resulted in Ellis putting me on their ‘no fly’ list.”
Geoff Le Pard – It was the least the wall could do.
Brilliantly gives a frame of reference.
Kelly Griffiths – Finally, when Bentley finished unloading every awesome facet of himself with the exception of his name, he extended his hand for a shake. “Bentley,” he said. “Ferguson.”
An amazing set up for the next line. Brilliant!
Angelique Pacheco – When the mist finally settled, rose-tinted bodies could be seen sleeping peacefully, arms and legs entwined like lovers.
Such a powerful line.
JK – Sometimes my life felt like a dream, other times my dreams felt like life.
This is a beautiful opening line.
Nancy Chenier – Immigrant bodies dissolve after three days, unlike the earlier human versions.
This line offers greater clues to what’s going on, giving some context to time period, the crimes committed, some evolutionary process, maybe some engineering.
Dana Faletti – Special welcome to celebrity guest – Jared Johnson – author of Iced Love – acclaimed romance series. I believe his real name’s Horace?”
The turning point of the story. A great line.
Nicolette Stephens – He wasn’t very good at dealing with customer complaints, not since people started expecting stuff for nothing, but Marge had practiced complaining on me for thirty-five years.
A brilliant observation and line.
Steve Lodge – He said he went out for groceries. So where were they?
A clever line, creating doubt, implying guilt.
Caleb Echterling – But you are free to read your statement, provided you remove your clothes and work in the weather report somehow.
A brilliant line, especially in combination with the closing lines.
Bill Engleson – Look! I Was Out of My Mind! I See That Now! But, Holy Hannah, It Was as Sweet as Drinking Cold Mountain Spring Water
Not only does this have the best title (which just makes you want to know what that one grand adventure was) but it’s full of these lovely little insights and keen observations: ‘The highway teases. None of us drives anymore’, for example, and ‘…gawking robotically out the windows at the manicured lawn that rolls down to the freeway.’ It’s a rich and beautiful read. Thank you.
Honorable / Honourable Mention
Alva Holland – Trip Advisor
I loved the manic pace of this, the sheer number of nefarious evildoers and the wicked plans all waiting to be unleashed. The descriptions of the characters were exceptionally wry and fun, and the summary at the end an ironic treat to read. A fun read. Thank you.
Angelique Pacheco – Rose-tinted War
The way the author creates this image of a young woman, defiant and mindful of her dress and her role as inspiration—to the point that she can order the others with a glance—was stunning. And then! Then, the last paragraph hits you, and the woman lies dead. But even in that, she and the other women cannot be beaten, as they lie in calm repose, to sleep peacefully. The use of rose-tinted was a nice touch, not only creating a sense of what stains the scene, but also to the allusion of seeing things as you wish rather than as they are. A great story. Thank you.
Geoff Le Pard – In Its Shadow
I loved the descriptive quality, the heaviness of it and the strong language outlining the scene and the motives pushing the family onwards, and how viciously they had been used. It’s a gut-wrenching story of hope and desperation being manipulated. The last paragraph was beautifully written, showing that some care and respect exists in the world, even if it comes too late. The last line is crushing. A brilliant story. Thank you.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 95.
(insert drumroll here)
Alva Holland – Trip Advisor
Author; Airplane; Crime
The skinny guy with the wannabe beard in seat 11B is about to be murdered by persons unknown – the occupiers of seats 12B and 12C who are in cahoots with the floozies unashamedly flaunting their wares in Row 34, partners in crime deliberately selecting seats as far away from each other as possible so no-one makes the connection, like the blue-rinse brigade in Row 35, all aspiring Jessica Fletchers, intent on solving a murder, maybe even preventing it, having convinced themselves of their superiority in the fields of observation and detection.
The clucking hen party spreading their feathers over Rows 10 to 15 inclusive have no clue about what’s in store for them when the incognito Marshall in 16A discovers their secret stash of cocaine, and radios ahead, arranging for their detention on arrival, thereby obliterating months of careful wedding planning as a cover for their illegal courier trade.
Slick businessman in his $2,000 Armani suit would be ill-advised to attempt conversation with the burly Russian-disguised-as-an-American-bouncer, for his expensive threads will be shredded mid-flight and his body stuffed between the flush button and the paper towel dispenser behind the locked toilet door.
Suspicious-looking crew, all furtive and yet full of feigned efficiency. For one of them, this will be their last flight. Which one? Near-retirement captain perhaps, nothing to lose except his wife and family when they hear about his covert operations with the female purser who tires of his promises and ruins his tropical-island-cocktail-umbrella dreams.
Turns out the food is off, passengers are sick, would-be murderers haven’t the strength, the Marshall is murdered by a feather-wielding matron of honour, the cocaine gets flushed, the businessman saves himself by knifing the Russian, while the fed-up purser plans a future with the flight engineer.
Time for Chapter Two.
Nancy Chenier – Asperges Me
I admit that I couldn’t quite grasp what was happening in this story, but the language, the incorporation of religious concepts, the descriptive detail, the flow of it, the conversation between the two officers as they dealt with something horrific just swept me off my feet. The title and the last line worked together brilliantly, as though the officer had doubts over the nature of the righteousness of his role. Excellent story.Thank you.
Policeman; Texas; Crime
At least ten pieces, it’s whispered, otherwise they’ll keep coming after you. I’ve processed enough of these scenes to know the Immigrants don’t have zombie powers. But my testimony counts for nothing.
The truth will set you free.
—That’s just your opinion!—
The exposed innards always smell like flowers. This one, like hyssop and roses. My eyes burn.
“Hey, Merill, what are three things you’re thankful for?” Ryan’s flashlight beam plays over the quivering bits that litter the dust. He’s been on the force ten years. Too short to know what it was like before the Immigrants. Too long to lose his lunch over another decimated one. He drops markers like breadcrumbs.
“That you’re not my regular partner,” I say crouching by the Immigrant’s translation pod. Figure they ripped that part out first.
—Their siren song will lure you into sin!—
Let he who is without sin… I start on the string, strands from the CPU (the heart) to the components (her dismembered body parts). Good folk believe themselves akin to Beloved John, who stuck through the cruelty of the crucifixion. I used to believe it too.
“Two more thankfuls,” Ryan goads. We could feed every pigeon in the county with as many breadcrumb markers he’s laid. I’m going to need more string. I always need more string.
“They aren’t gods,” I mutter. What you do to the least of these…
“Like Osiris cut into pieces?” Ryan snorts. “So, what’s the third?”
“We don’t have to bury them.” Immigrant bodies dissolve after three days, unlike the earlier human versions.
Ryan nods. “Better than rotting meat.”
“Get a warrant for Ben’s truck,” I say.
Ryan nearly steps on a glob. “Serious? Judge’s not going to grant it.”
I don’t care. I shall be washed. “On record. Request it.”
Congratulations, Nancy. As 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!