Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 142. We had a satisfying 17 entries this time. A warm welcome to first-time entrants, Belladonna Grave and Andre N. Lepine, and welcome back to an old friend, Stella Turner.
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 141 Judge’s Pick, Arianna Hammond, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
It was a beautiful opportunity to play judge for this round. Thanks to you all for being here to push me to write. I feel like I don’t write as much without a goal – now I have one!
And so, here I sit in a coffee shop, sipping a drink and reading all of the wondrous stories on my laptop. I must say, you guys make this role so tricky because there isn’t a story I find uninteresting. These tales are amazing, and goodness there are so many excellent lines!
Thank you for these stunning works of art. You all did an amazing job and it’s hard to choose from the mix. And thanks for transporting me into your work; I have forgotten about my bitter hot chocolate and gotten lost within the flavors of your words.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – Anything with liver I’m your man.
Stephanie Cornelius – Goodness like his tends to freak nasty people out.
Tim Hayes – Music fashions may come and go but Metal seems to be always on the road.
Ted Young – “I’m a Roadie for a small town band. Four geezers and the gear in a Transit van.”
Geoff Le Pard – He looked in the mirror, coughed, straightening with a drumstick’s click.
Harrietbelle – So… why am I sitting on my own, complaining to my coffee cup, when the best solo artist agent has just walked in and sat down at the table next to me?
Vicente L Ruiz – Minutes later, Rochelle steps out, alone. She scratches a new tattoo on her right arm
Johanna – “A toast!” he exclaimed, addressing the worn-out face on the other side of the table.
Lesley Turrell – ‘If there were ghosts, who could they be?’
Angelique Pacheco – Enamel mugs will burn you out of spite.
Alysia Ascovani – The wild clamor dulled to a more soft murmur as she continued to speak.
Deanna Salser – Then Kyle’s eyelids opened, and his eyeballs rose up on stalks of grass, growing from his sockets.
Alva Holland – You can’t see the giant sequoia in my head.
Belladonna Grave – The food in his mouth spluttered all over the table, dribbled down his chin.
Stella Turner – The woman stirring the huge pot of baked beans smiled.
Steph Ellis – Skulls and stuff to tart up the stage, give the right ‘doom’ vibes.
Andre N. Lepine – That’s right: Thirty shows down and I’m still a fanboy.
Steph Ellis – Faeries Wear Boots
From the title alone, I was intrigued. I enjoyed the dark, somewhat pessimistic, scattered thoughts of the character. It really stuck out and held my attention. Well written and well done.
Harrietbelle – A Different Tune
The first line pulled me in with its honest scene, and it continued to pull me in as the story progressed. I liked picturing the main character as she sat with her cappuccino. This was truly a great build for a Roadie character, and I loved the ending very much, especially as a solo musician myself. Wonderful job, writer. 🙂
Deanna Salser – A Grassy Grave
Wow! This story was good! I loved how the sorrow was portrayed as it told the back-story, and gave an excellent picture. The ending was a true surprise, and it was very well delivered in a somewhat creepy, yet exciting way. Amazing!
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 142.
(insert drum roll here)
Vicente L Ruiz – Just Another Gig
Roadie; Pub; Adventure
“I hunt demons,” Rochelle says. She gulps her shot of tequila and pours herself another. She scratches a tattoo on her left forearm.
“I don’t believe you,” the girl giggles.
Rochelle fixes her gaze in her cleavage. For a second. Or two, perhaps. Then she taps her arm.
“This tattoo. See it? It’s new. Today’s. It binds the demon I hunted earlier.” One more glass.
“So you say!” God, she’s really pretty. And Rochelle hasn’t done it with a girl in quite some time. If only…
Outside, the band strikes their favourite song, a cover of Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop. Rochelle signs vaguely towards them.
“The band… I drive the van, help with the equipment. Mike works the electronics, they don’t need me when they play. And when they rehearse… I hunt.”
The girl leans closer. Rochelle smells her perfume. It’s driving her mad.
“I… can sense them.”
“The demons? How?”
“It depends. They hide as humans. I… sense them. Sometimes I even see them.” Rochelle shrugs and drinks again. “The guy this morning even wore a tie. Said he was a banker when I went after him. But today, I could see him.”
“What do you do to them?”
“Bind them. In a tattoo. There’s… a Spell. They cannot escape it.”
“This is exciting,” the girl says. She licks her lips. Her oh so nice red lips. “And… what if you make a mistake? If you bind a human?”
“The Spell doesn’t work on humans.”
“Wow,” the girl says. Rochelle drinks again as she stands. “Gonna powder my face,” she says. “Care to help me?”
Rochelle just growls and walks after her, towards the pub’s restrooms.
Minutes later, Rochelle steps out, alone. She scratches a new tattoo on her right arm.
“Succubi,” she mumbles. “They never learn.”
Johanna – My Only Friend
This one really surprised me – in a good way! I found myself being looked at strangely where I sat, because I had let out a pretty loud laugh, but this story totally merited it. The build-up was written smartly, yet honestly because of the situation. Everything about it was portrayed strategically, so the ending fit. It definitely fit great for the unexpected twist, and the dialogue worked so well. Thank you, writer, for the witty writing and the understanding laugh. Great job!
Roadie; Greasy Spoon Café; Soliloquy
In a dark corner of the Greasy Spoon Café, Ted raised his glass.
“A toast!” he exclaimed, addressing the worn-out face on the other side of the table.
“To you, my friend.” Glass clinked against glass.
“My only friend.” Ted gulped down half of his beer and set the glass forcefully down on the table. The man across from him followed suit.
“Twenny years of being a roadie,” Ted mumbled, slurring his words. “Twenny years. An’ what gotta show for it? Nuffing. No wife, no house, no money inna bank. Nuffing. Maybe, it’d be better to…” he let the sentence trail off.
Looking up, he met the eyes from the other side of the table. I hear what you are saying, their gaze said. And I know what you are thinking.
“Shit, you really are my only friend,” Ted muttered with tears in his eyes. He raised his glass again. “Skål!”
“Anything else, I can bring you?” A waitress appeared at the end of the table. Ted shook his head. His only friend did the same. The waitress shrugged and walked away.
Behind the counter, the cook threw her a questioning look.
“What’s that guy doing?” he asked, nodding in Ted’s direction. “Practicing a soliloquy or something?”
“Nah,” the waitress replied disinterestedly. “Just some drunk guy, talking to his reflection in a mirror.”
Congratulations, Johanna. 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!