Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 107 – especially first-timers Camilla Johannson, Marsha Adams and Michael Pickard. There were 19 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 106 Judge’s Pick, Vicente L Ruiz, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what he had to say:
It’s the first time that I have acted as judge here, but I do have some experience since I host the weekly writing exercise we have at the Writers’ Discussion Group community on Google Plus. However, over there the results are always decided by popular vote, and all I have to do occasionally is break a tie.
Judging here has been much harder, with such a lot of fantastic entries! All along I kept thinking I would have had a difficult time writing my own entry, yet I was gifted with one great story after another. It seems that the proposed elements, and the ones chosen by others, inspired you immensely.
I’m happy because I’ve realized acting as a judge is also helping me notice what I like to see in flash fiction, both in terms of style and plot. So thank you all for your great stories, and thanks to Microcosms for giving me this chance.
In the end, I simply picked the stories that I liked most, and as you can see I chose a lot of them! But there can be only one winner…
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Angelique Pacheco – Even Neptune was there, looking for his rather slutty daughters who had been grounded the week before.
Carin Marais – “Marian Smith, 16,” she said. “I am the last survivor of Eden.”
Camilla Johansson – Faced with the two choices of being beaten into a pulp by his adversaries and taking his chance with potential monsters, he chose the latter.
Arthur Unk – Each side demonstrated ferocity with the tempo and rhythm of the song.
Eloise – I wasn’t always a grumpy old man.
Nikky Olivier – The most baffling aspect of the whole scene however, is the matter of the several female fans that were found, deceased and drained of blood.
Alva Holland – They know nothing.
Bill Engleson – Apparently they are wrinkled representatives of the two least interesting sexes, and both well past their prime.
Steve Lodge – Often on the afternoon before a gig we’d have to go looking for him, and there he’d be in that old cinema asleep cuddling a 2 litre plastic bottle of cheap beer he’d probably nicked from Burki’s down the Whitechapel Road.
Geoff Le Pard – ‘No one is letting teen-vamps in with Zoms. You’re mental.’
Nancy Chenier – The scent of fake pomegranate wafted into the atrium
Marsha Adams – This is my show.
A J Walker – She wasn’t sure if they really were Vampires, but they were Glamorous.
Steph Ellis – He certainly didn’t remember how he’d humiliated her, the pretend date, the shared photos of her alone at the diner.
Susi J Smith – I am never getting braces.
Stephen Shirres – Vampires, even modern ones, don’t sparkle.
Michael Pickard – Now he realised the truth, that he was one of many and that his power was untold, unlimited.
Sian Brighal – Currently in one of the changing rooms, she was half-in and half-out of some very skinny jeans, her breath coming in short bursts as she tugged them on.
Cassandra – Mother told me to stay away from her, low class boys of ten and five have no business drooling over rich ladies.
Cassandra – Window to my Heart
Chose another set of elements and took them in a completely different direction.
Stephen Shirres – Vampires Don’t
Vampires. Don’t. Sparkle. And I don’t have anything else to add to that. 🙂 Well, yes. I loved the character’s point of view.
Susi J Smith – The Purchase
I didn’t know which kind of Addict I was going to meet… and the surprise was well worth it.
Nikky Olivier – Seattle Slaughter
Loving a piece of originally crafted fan-fiction!
Geoff Le Pard – Getting In Isn’t The Difficult Part
Such a great world-building here, sporting a full cast of supernatural creatures, and teens behaving like teens, vampires or not. I especially like the humour here!
A J Walker – The Chosen One.
One of several tales of retribution… I liked that the Arrogant Teen is obviously there, but she’s not really the main character. I like the way the descriptions flow. And then… I loved the dark humour throughout, and especially in that last sentence. I didn’t choose that sentence as my favourite because that would mean a spoiler!
Bill Engleson – Would Stock?
Ah, love the imagination in this one. A trippy offering. A story that is completely different to any of the others, where you don’t know what’s real and what’s not. Really well done.
Nancy Chenier – Third Time’s a Charm
The surprise. It’s the surprise. This story fooled me: I thought it was going one direction and then – wham! – it smacked me in my face and took a completely unexpected turn. Lovely descriptions, both of mundane facts and supernatural feats. And finally, a bad-ass protagonist that left me wanting more.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 107.
(insert drumroll here)
Carin Marais – Danse Macabre
Isolated Teen; Ball; Sci-Fi
Lights flickered on in the empty hall. Old Classical music started playing as couples entered through the large doors. Long dresses swished and swayed as a waltz played and the dancers started moving across the polished floor simultaneously.
Marian watched from the side of the room, her eyes following the dancers. She smoothed a frail hand over the fabric of the now too heavy dress and felt her eyes burn as she watched the dancers turn and sway. With a push of a button the orchestra appeared at the end of the hall – she knew she’d forgotten something. She placed the controller down and slowly walked to the centre of the room as the hologram couples danced around her.
This had always been her favourite piece of music – one of the old classical pieces from the home planet that was now so far away. It was only fitting she relived her favourite memory on board the ship.
The taste of the last food ration coated her mouth – some sweet concoction she had kept exactly for this day if help did not come. She wiped at her eyes, leaving behind smeared makeup. Her final entry in the ship’s log had been in her own, shaky voice. Words she had thought about for weeks had evaporated as she spoke and cried into the microphone.
“Marian Smith, 16,” she said. “I am the last survivor of Eden.” She still wondered if anyone would find the message – if it would maybe reach back even to Earth. It had been too late when they found the carrier of the illness. “They call me Typhoid Mary in the files.” Her voice broke.
A new song started playing. The couples paused for a second before continuing their dance. Marian closed her eyes and swayed to the music.
Steph Ellis – Fürchtet Euch
The translated title means “Be Afraid”, but Jay doesn’t speak German, it seems. The story is magnificent, a tale of deserved retribution… nah, this is vengeance. The rhythm is impressive, marked by the count that instead of reaching Ten gets to “Out”: the tension builds and builds, step by step. We know Jay is doomed, but how will it happen? And then bang, we’re surprised. Truly fantastic!
Arrogant Teen; Rock Concert; Horror
He saw them looking. Eyes flicking in his direction. Small smiles. Wanting to be noticed, to become the One. Jay suppressed a self-satisfied smirk. Attention was a small price to pay for a free ticket to see his favourite band; the girls had invited him. He didn’t notice Fran standing at the back of the group. He certainly didn’t remember how he’d humiliated her, the pretend date, the shared photos of her alone at the diner. His attention was on the stage. The countdown began.
Jay watched the lead singer, noted moves he could copy.
Fran moved closer.
Torches flamed against the backdrop. Jay ignored those around him.
Fran took another the step. The girls around her followed, giggling. A coven.
The drums rolled thunder, drew him in further. Jay was the lead singer, the girls his backing band.
They were behind him now.
Flame erupted from keyboards, guitars, drums.
The girls fanned out around him.
No longer present, Jay allowed the pounding metal to take him away from everything.
Fran whispered something in his ear.
Jay felt a light fluttering at his cheek. Ignored it.
The circle was complete. Fran spoke and the others responded. Call and response, each time with fire as their backdrop.
Fire soared over the crowd. Jay looked on in awe.
Fran ignited her own flame.
Guitars scraped through him, their jagged edge commanding his attention.
The coven took Fran’s fire, spread it between them.
On stage, glittery embers started to shower down from above. Jay yearned to be up there, absorbed by flame.
Fran read his mind. Saw his dreams. She was only too happy to comply, to fulfil his wish.
Congratulations, Steph. 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!