Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 112. We had 17 entries this time. Welcome to first-time entrants, Harrietbelle and Helen Buckroyd.
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 111 Judge’s Pick, Vicente L Ruiz, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. When it came to it, he had to deal with being unwell, plus email problems, so a huge round of applause to Vicente! Here’s what he had to say:
Short and sweet: I’m not feeling well. I have vertigo. So judging these has been a chore this week, and I’m sorry because there are so many great stories! I decided to read them all and choose my favourites in one single go. No re-reading, just going with my gut. I cannot do anything more this time.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – There’s something deadly about that first morning chill.
Carin Marais – He was much older than she remembered, his eyes no longer dancing, but scarred from years spent behind bars.
Justin J. – Shadows stirred; a pair of silver, goat-like eyes followed the thief.
Steve Lodge – We had necessarily been disguised as wandering minstrels and Squalid carried a goat.
Eloise – “A treasure trove of adventures and dalliances.”
Geoff Le Pard – Soon either he’d have to release the pressure or physics would do it for him.
Harrietbelle – Maybe we were chosen for the job we do, like Judas?
Marsha Adams – She slowly raised the heavy layers of cloth, letting him see it.
Steph Ellis – Still with a smile on his face, he swung round, pulling out a knife in one smooth movement.
Arthur Unk – In space, no one can hear you scream; on a space station, every noise echoes off the walls.
Ted Young – All humans are assigned a voice of conscience and an opposing tempting spirit to accompany them through life; Daryl’s demon died of boredom.
Angelique Pacheco – His art was so life-like; it was as though life had breathed through them.
Harrietbelle – She remembered it clearly now and allowed the pain of the memories to scrape across her like a grater on her dried up soul.
Ivan Budanov – Jerry floated in his astronaut suit like a hyper little boy.
Ivan Budanov – She lay there, already sprawled out in the puddle of her own scarlet blood.
M. Levi – Lauren had lived for basking in its glow from the sides of the hallway back in high school.
Helen Buckroyd – The church can no longer welcome a creature such as I.
Most Surreal Entry: Steve Lodge – All Bound For Silvertown Many Miles Away
Just read it. It speaks for itself!
Steph Ellis – Poppy
The way the elements are woven into the story is excellent: the drug addict, the romance, Victorian London all mingle together and add a layer of crime. Fantastic!
Helen Buckroyd – Death of a Doyen of the London Art World
I couldn’t let this one pass. It’s a fabulous homage to Oscar Wilde!
Arthur Unk – Shadows From Beyond Planet X
A brilliantly paced story. It just makes me want to keep reading about this anti-hero!
Marsha Adams – Gone With The Aether
The aesthetic is captured perfectly, and then we have the added bonus of the spicy extra layer of misunderstandings and clever wordplay. A fantastic story!
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 112.
(insert drumroll here)
Carin Marais – This Time, It’s Forever
Criminal; Library; Romance
“Where were you?” the voice asked from the ether before the figure of a woman materialised, her fingertips dancing along the spines of the library books on the shelf next to her.
“They caught me,” the man whispered, “locked me up for twenty-five years for killing your ex.” He was much older than she remembered, his eyes no longer dancing, but scarred from years spent behind bars. “You said they wouldn’t.”
The woman reached out, brushing a tear from his cheek and for a moment he closed his eyes, his features relaxing.
“But now we can truly be together,” she said. “You still love me, don’t you?”
The man nodded, didn’t answer. Then, hand shaking, he reached into his pocket and took out a pistol. The ghost smiled.
“We’ll be together forever now,” she said with a smile as he pointed the barrel at his temple.
The shot echoed through the library, leaving people scattered, running for the doors and for cover. After a few minutes’ silence fell once more.
Angelique Pacheco – Exquisite Corpse D’art
Simply perfect. Using the story element of an Art Collector to explain the motivations of Jack the Ripper is a masterful stroke. I also loved the use of language here. As soon as I read it, I knew I had a winner. Congratulations!
Art collector; Victorian London; Mystery
Tall and reed-like, he wore tails every day. Pale icy eyes stuck in a sharp angular face with an equally sharp hooked nose to hold his glasses in place. A medical student of good standing who had lost his place at University only due to a lack of funds his father had drunk away. He still kept up with the medicine though. Yet, he wasn’t quite dashing enough. Women did not titter over him in corners at the society balls.
He was an art collector now. He acquired pieces from all over London. He only took those he absolutely needed. Some, he left behind. Those were not perfect. Not essential to his collection. A slight imperfection here and there would render the piece useless. Some were really quite exquisite. Smoothly-sculptured alabaster forms with shapely contours free from any wrinkles. Others showed life’s battering in an assemblage of crushing oppression and poverty. The pieces were sometimes a stark contrast to one another. Any exposure would alter the art, sometimes creating something better, and other times not. He even created his own art. Expressionism, he thought. Collages mostly. Or meat puzzles if you will.
Yes, Jack was quite the collector. His art was so life-like; it was as though life had breathed through them. Which, he supposed, they had at one time or another, before life had sullied them and they had given up the same in favour of being filthy whores.
Let the police keep the ones he doesn’t want. What do they know about art anyway?
Congratulations, Angelique. 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!