Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 118. We had 19 entries this time. Welcome to first-time entrants, Sophie Watson and ThatLanguageGuy.
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 117 Judge’s Pick, Ted Young, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what he had to say:
It’s always a pleasure to read the Microcosm stories — and I do, addictively, every week. With the added impetus of expected opinion, all senses are at MAX. This week it seems that there are a lot of symbolic references to current world events. Thanks for the great and exciting reading experience.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Beckham Lawre – “That . . . that doesn’t even make sense in this context.”
Bill Engleson – Those blue eyes, glinting like stolen sapphires, that fiery red hair that flowed like raspberry syrup on pancakes, legs so long that they would make a giraffe envious.
Steve Lodge – “So, I’m to call you Roland Butter, Uncle. Got it.”
Angelique Pacheco – Skin is weird. [ As I can’t include the whole piece – Ted ]
Stephanie Cornelius – After all, it was their duty to prevent the suns from colliding in the sky.
Nicolette Stephens – …an attempt by the caretakers to impose some semblance of civilisation on an ill-mannered wilderness.
Tim Hayes – The words flowed on to the page the way treacle flows onto porridge, slowly.
Marsha Adams – We should have been pals forever, old men sitting on a park bench throwing stones at pigeons.
Justin J. – One flash, and the world of man knew now more. Into the silence, a Madman laughed.
Paul Nevin – Each unaware that the other was describing what they could really see through the patio door when grandpa was with them.
Vicente L Ruiz – “Don’t you ‘Now’ me! Look around you! This is madness!”
Sophie Watson – …his mouth open as if she is the answer to a question unasked.
Arthur Unk – A band of heroes was sent to escort the stranger back to whence he came…
Nikky Olivier – …take her bony hand in theirs and mutter the usual funeral platitudes…
Geoff Le Pard – ‘…and get me something to drink that doesn’t clot.’
Harrietbelle – ‘Bullying… A Crime That Must Stop!’
ThatLanguageGuy – Neither blood nor mud dared mar her visage or clean, shining armor.
Ray Alicea – Making its way downstairs to the den, it climbed into the fireplace, then up the chimney. There it would lurk until nightfall when all are asleep.
Kate Giffin – The ballad twines itself around the pillars of the porch, weaving in and out of music-polished bones.
Beckham Lawre – Every Time I Write
I bet many of us feel this way as we press the ‘gone’ key. It’s more responsibility than I’m equipped for. Had there been half a bottle of rum attached…. Who knows?
ThatLanguageGuy – The Field
I love the imagery, really stirring.
Nicolette Stephens – The Crocodile
Danger and innocence, beautifully brought together.
Justin J. – Stormbreak
It says so much about our times and world leaders.
Harrietbelle – A Crime That Must Stop!
In the end, bullies must be exposed. The pen is good for that.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 118.
(insert drumroll here)
Nicolette Stephens – The Crocodile
“Big Magic” – Elizabeth Gilbert
Tiny feet left imprints in the dew-laden grass. Early morning sunlight shone on golden curls framing a delicate face which held more laughter than sadness, more innocence than cynicism.
Posy, the youngest daughter of the Whiteheads, was on her way down to play at the edge of the river that separated the lawn from the rest of the bush. She had snuck out of the house, already bored by the lack of company from parents who were content to laze in bed for a few more hours.
She loved their holiday home in the middle of the African bush, surrounded by animals that would stroll casually across the lawns – an attempt by the caretakers to impose some semblance of civilisation on an ill-mannered wilderness.
At four, she had been warned not to go into the river, for the crocodiles there would sooner make a meal of her than not, but young Posy saw no harm in playing in the sand on the banks of the river. After all, she would not be in the water.
Pulled from her world in the sand by the frantic yells of her parents, Posy looked up into the eye of a rather large croc. She blinked. No one had told her the reptile could come out of the water.
“Hello,” Posy held her hand out to the animal, its long snout, lined with vicious teeth, level with her face. “You’re big magic.” She smiled when the croc seemed to wink at her, but a sudden loud bang behind her made her jump.
Sand sprayed as the bullet drove into the ground near the croc, which whirled and fled into the water.
Her mother and father were clutching her while all three cried; Posy because she felt as though she’d just lost a friend.
Kate Giffin – Southern Comfort
So many great lines and images. As a gigging musician for more than 60 years, this magical piece brought me countless memories of band-mates and circuit buddies. Thank you.
“The Opposite of Loneliness” – Marina Keegan
The traveler asks you why small towns are so friendly. You give a gentle Southern laugh and swirl the tea in your glass, watching the ice cubes float like freckles on a face. “I guess it’s ’cause we’re never lonely!”
He’s charmed by this answer. “Well,” he replies, in a Northern accent full of splinters, “you’ll just have to teach me your secrets.”
Your eyes go wide inadvertently. The glass in your hand slips just a bit, the sweat of the tea mingling with your own. Some things aren’t meant to be shared. Bless his heart.
But he doesn’t notice, and you finish telling him the history of the bottle tree.
That night, as the gravestones in your front yard shift, your mind turns back to the traveler. You hope that he realized there weren’t any motels here on purpose. You hope he moved on. His thick brown eyes were nice enough; no reason for him to linger in some sleepy Southern town.
You shake any thought of the traveler out of your head and grab your fiddle. They are waiting on the porch, as always, instruments waving. Even Grandaddy Zeb, whose arm had been sawn off at Gettsyburg, managed to find himself a jug.
A firefly pulses against the velvet darkness, and you begin to sing. The ballad twines itself around the pillars of the porch, weaving in and out of music-polished bones.
Soon the floorboards whine in rhythm, and the ghost band howls louder. Your heart pounds to match the tempo, your bow flashes like a needle through the fabric of time. The Earth hears each harmony and is grateful for her sacrifice.
Congratulations, Kate. 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!