Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 147. We had 18 entries this time. A warm welcome to Kate Cassidy and Marie.
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 146 Community Pick, Nikky Olivier, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
Judging microcosms is not an easy task; neither is finding the right words to describe the emotions that some of these excellent stories evoke in me. This week was particularly difficult as there were a number of stories that stood out for various reasons.
The ones that I’ve named below are there because, while the calibre of writing in Microcosms is always high, there is a certain amount of connection that needs to occur with the reader to really make a story exceptional, as opposed to just ‘good’.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – The thirties were littered with storms.
Stephanie Cornelius – A young girl of about 10 is wheeled into the room, her skin ashen, the colour of a bad heart.
Leslie Turrell – ‘In my view, if it’s designed to explode, then it’s a bomb.
Tim Hayes – For once his wife had trusted him enough to send him to the shopping mall on his own.
Kate Cassidy – My crime is that I helped her spread her wings.
Vicente L Ruiz – The ghost of my father visited me last night, and he kept me awake.
Angelique Pacheco – He told her to hush and took out the heart.
Alysia Ascovani – I sigh as the wind brushes through my hair, a crisp chill embracing my soul.
Johanna – Those bloody robots just can’t get the corners clean!
Holly Geely – …most of his insides were replaced with fancy women’s underwear!
Geoff Le Pard – I sigh as the wind brushes through my hair, a crisp chill embracing my soul.
Donald Pearl – The doctor decides to stay here since this life is the one he wants!
Muskan Dhiman – Do they not realize that I’m not the culprit, but the victim?
Deanna Salser – Doctor, I’ve already told you, you can’t do that.
Marie – But I missed one thing, and it was everything.
David Lewis Pogson – Tears trickled down from beneath his blindfold.
Matilda Rice – More blood swells to the surface, as if drawn by the monitor’s song.
Mileva Anastasiadou – My supervisor gently advised me to give up and choose a less stressful specialty.
Tim Hayes – On a Mission for M
This story captivated me from the start. The clarity of thought and the wonderful way in which it describes the characters daydreams made this a really enjoyable read.
Holly Geely – Fancy Murder
While a bit shorter than the others, the length serves this story well and helps to emphasise the unexpectedness of the last line. More comedy/ parody than drama, it still made my top picks for the unusual way it delivered the punchline.
Matilda Rice – Music of Life
Beautifully written and poetic.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 147.
(insert drumroll here)
Matilda Rice – Music of Life
Surgeon; Operating Theatre; Drama
The monitor beeps, each steady beat the perfect note in an endless composition. On the screen, a green line dances, leaping and falling to the constant rhythm. A slow duet of sound and light, music and dance.
I let it guide me.
The scalpel lands, parting the skin beneath it. Blood trickles upwards, tentative at first, a timid beast afraid of the unknown, but the monitor’s melody draws it out. With each rhythmic beat, more blood pulses to the surface, swelling in time with the music.
I cut deeper.
For one moment, the monitor’s music wavers: a single beat falls out of place, a single jump travels too high. My attention wavers, but the rhythm has already returned, the dance is once again flawless. I turn my thoughts away, telling myself it’s no need for concern. Just an anomaly.
I cut deeper.
More blood swells to the surface, as if drawn by the monitor’s song. With each note, blood seems to rise faster, frantically scrambling to leave the body, join the rhythm. I pull away, watching as the monitor’s steady beat soothes it, lulling it back into submission. I wait until it’s peaceful again.
I cut deeper.
Then something changes. I can feel it, sense it. Something is wrong. I look on, horrified, as the monitor’s tempo rises, switching from calm to wild, controlled to dangerous. I watch as the green line surges, soaring and plummeting faster and faster, its dance more frantic with each beat, the erratic melody spiraling out of control. Panic overcomes. I search for a solution, desperate.
But it’s too late. Instead of a beat, I hear a single tone. Instead of a leaping dance, I see a flat line.
The finale is over. The curtains close. Come the end, there is no applause.
Johanna – At Loss
This story stood head and shoulders above the others for one simple reason – the depth of character. The poor surgeon searching high and low for the missing hand and the janitor, obviously at his wits end, devising an ingenious plan. The dramatic flair with which it was delivered placed it well within the prompts used.
Surgeon; Courtroom; Drama
“Dr. Thurber please tell us about the surgery you performed on 2nd of November.”
“It was an amputation. The patient was a severe smoker and had irreparable nerve damage in his right hand. A fairly routine procedure. It went well.”
“What happened with the severed hand after the surgery?”
“It was placed on a tray. Then I wanted to take it down to the basement for cremation.”
“You say ‘you wanted to’. Why didn’t you?”
“When I was outside I realized that I had forgotten my watch in the sterilization room. I put the tray aside and went back inside. When I came back out, the hand was gone.”
“How did you proceed?”
“I looked everywhere. Then I reported the loss to my supervisor. We thought some younger patients might have taken it. Kind of a delayed Halloween joke. We told the nurses to keep an eye out for it.”
“So one could say, you lost that hand by your own fault and didn’t do anything to retrieve it?”
“Well, I really wouldn’t…”
“Thank you. No further questions. The prosecution can proceed.”
“Dr. Thurber could you please identify the man in the dock?”
“That’s Mr. Putzen, our janitor.”
“Thank you. Could you now tell us about the incident that occurred the day after the surgery?”
“Well. There was a roomba driving down the hallway. The hospital bought some a while ago. At first it looked like there was something stuck to it. But then one of the nurses started screaming. And that’s when I saw it.”
“The thing that was stuck to the roomba… was the missing hand. And it was holding a duster.”
The janitor burst into tears.
“The corners!” he sobbed. “It was because of the corners! Those bloody robots just can’t get the corners clean!”
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!