Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 126. We had 17 entries this time.
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.
One of the two MC 125 Community Picks, Carin Marais, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
Wow, with seventeen entries, you guys really didn’t want to make it easy for me! I truly enjoyed seeing the different interpretations of the prompts and especially liked all the folkloric elements that the writers employed this time around.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – I’d just carve away, and he’d be saturating the wood chips.
Stephanie Cornelius– Heaven forbid you say it’s chemistry. Then it’s time for the straitjacket and mind-altering drugs.
Angelique Pacheco– How she would step over a crack so as to not break her mother’s back.
Marsha Adams– And it’s difficult to make waves when you’re comfortable.
Ted Young – As usual when disaster strikes and no-one quite expects it, / Common sense and manners failed as they rushed to the exit.
Tim Hayes – It just goes to prove the truth of those old proverbs that we learn as a child, in this case: many Hans make light work.
Harrietbelle – She has wisdom on every subject / From child-birth to death, / And once she’s started holding forth / She does not stop for breath.
Vicente L Ruiz – It stopped midway up, water already oozing from whatever it was that lay hidden under the tarpaulin covering on the platform.
Holly Geely – He knew all about a balanced diet, and “balance” wasn’t just holding a ripe human in each hand.
Nicolette Stephens – I sit back and let them squabble about the remaining townsfolk in the cages, reaching into the pantry for the succulent bit of roast damsel I’d been keeping aside for this moment.
Geoff Le Pard – The Deacon’s evil little smile made Pearl wonder if it might be in need of exorcising.
Jcat41753 – When you are tired of being alone and want someone to enjoy some vino with
Nikky Olivier – Big business was running this, and the dairy cows were turning into cash cows.
Arianna Hammond – I guess we cry together too.
Sian Brighal – The poor widow waved her hand graciously, thanking them for their efforts, but it was the bowl that had done her husband in, where she’d repainted the china with exotic ink.
Caleb Echterling – The arm rattled off ingredients at side-effects-at-the-end-of-a-drug-ad speed.
Deanna Salser – It had been so long, he was shaking with need.
Special Mention : For the cutest idea
Ted Young – Thereby Hangs a Tails
Vicente L Ruiz – Finally, Success
Tim Hayes – How Many… Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb
Geoff Le Pard – In Which No Crows Were Harmed
Sian Brighal – Cooking Up a Treat
Ha! I had a good laugh at this over-the-top rendition of the classic whodunit tale. Very well executed (lame pun intended).
Arianna Hammond – Online
I liked how the outcasts were humanised by the main character in a way that is consistent. It is not a happily-ever-after story by any means, but that does give insight into the character’s world and struggles which is truly poignant. The last sentence is quite heart-breaking.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 126.
(insert drumroll here)
It’s possible that some votes went missing as there was a very low poll; but, on the votes showing… it’s another tie!
Ted Young – Thereby Hangs a Tails
Birds of a feather flock together.
When the world was five years old, the dogs all got together
To party in a nice warm shack, avoiding inclement weather.
But wagging tails caused excessive draught, or knocked things to the floor.
They voted then, to take them off and hang ‘em by the door.
The plan was implemented as ‘Committee’ had decided;
Names clearly written on a tag and hung on hooks provided.
Two old friends began to jive, a Spaniel and a Whippet,
Each just as daft without a tail as other dogs are with it.
Oh, they had excessive fun; more joy than they could handle.
These loonies with their frolicking dislodged a burning candle.
Very soon a blaze took hold, engulfed the timber shack;
Primal fear of fire and smoke spread terror through the pack.
As usual when disaster strikes and no-one quite expects it,
Common sense and manners failed as they rushed to the exit.
In their panic, some forgot their tails until outside,
And tried to barge back in again against the canine tide.
Then, of course, the timid ones, unable to compete,
Grabbed any tail from off a hook and galloped off tout de suite.
Returning home and taking stock, they slowly realised
The tails they had, although not bad, were wrongly shaped and sized.
Pity the sad Doberman who, because he was delayed,
Found no tail upon the hooks, therefore had none to trade.
I think you’ll find ‘contented’ dogs are those correctly tailed;
The angry or frustrated hound is one whose search has failed.
So this is why, when dog meets dog, whenever they are able,
They’ll lift a tail up with their nose so they can read the label.
Harrietbelle – Mrs Nosey-Parker
Two heads are better than one.
Mrs Nosey-Parker sets out into the day
To stick her nose in everything
And make sure she has her say.
She listens to conversations,
And if they have a theme
That Mrs Nosey knows about
She has to intervene!
The mothers in the bus queue
Having their morning chatter,
Do not know the woman behind them
But hey, that does not matter!
As they discuss their babies
(Absolutely no business of hers!)
She twitches for opportunity
To stick her nose in theirs!
She has wisdom on every subject
From childbirth to death,
And once she’s started holding forth
She does not stop for breath.
She talks as if she’s an expert
Her knowledge quite profound,
And if someone tries to argue the case,
She will always stand her ground.
From gardening to child-care
From bunions to cancer,
She knows the score on everything
And always has the answer.
If anything is private,
Or not for Nosey’s ears,
She feels quite frustrated,
Because she always fears
That if it’s not her they are asking,
How on earth will they sort it out?
For only she can tell them
What life is all about!
Deanna Salser – Hitchhiker
I really enjoyed this chilling tale. While the reader gets a creepy feeling from almost the start (how often does a hitchhiker story end well…), it is the problematic ethics that makes it truly memorable. It’s that moment’s relief that he’s going to leave the two women alone followed by the sickening thought that it means the hitchhiker will suffer… The reader is confronted by an impossible choice – who would you rather see suffer at the hands of Jasper?
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
The guy looked sufficiently vulnerable to Jasper, so he pulled his car over on the lonely stretch of two-lane highway, and stopped on the shoulder with his hazard lights on. He could see the guy in his rearview mirror, picking up his stuff and running toward the car, so he unlocked the doors. He wondered how the guy had ended up out here, so far from any houses or farms but was not inclined to look a gift horse in the mouth. The door opened, admitting the chill night air as well as the man who eased himself into the passenger seat, throwing a knapsack onto the floor near his feet.
“Thank you so much!” The man exclaimed. “I thought I was going to be out there forever!” He closed the door and sat back against the seat, leaning his head back and sighing in apparent relief. Jasper nodded, pulling out.
“Mmhmm,” he responded, a man of few words. The guy squinted curiously at the side of his face and thrust out his hand in Jasper’s direction.
“Name’s Gus.” He said shortly. Jasper glanced at him before looking back at the road. He was already regretting the stop. Some people had no instincts at all.
“Jasper,” he said, ignoring the hand. The guy shrugged and they drove on in silence for a few minutes. Jasper thought he would wait for a turn-off, and then he would pull over and do it. It had been so long, he was shaking with need. They passed two women walking and Jasper slowed the car, passing them slowly. They were women, easier probably, but he already had this guy in the car. He drove on. The guy was gonna be suspicious if he didn’t say something.
“So where you headed?” he asked.
Congratulations, Deanna. 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!