Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 158. We had a very pleasing 20 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.
MC 157 Judge’s Pick, Sian Brighal, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
It’s both good and scary to be back judging, but as always, it was a joy. There was a great mix of romance, humour and drama. I still find it amazing how diverse the responses are, and each piece was wonderfully rich and well-written. It was challenging to differentiate between the stories in order to pick winners at the end of the reading.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – A square little room. A moving room. Up! Down! No bloody windows. Thinking about it and I was as drenched as a waterfall.
Steve Lodge – I gritted my teeth, trying to be fearless too, but every time a lion roared or we heard a frisky rhino or maniacal drumming somewhere close to the clearing, I started to shake, shiver and soil myself.
Holly Kilmister – Mum brought breakfast, so that is one less worry.
Nicola – She held a tomato sauce bottle over my dissertation. “OK! OK! I will go to the ball with you.”
Tim Hayes – I would conduct casual clinics, looking after the health of the many runaways attracted to the city’s vibrant alternative scene.
Ellen Grace – She sank into the violent river, her parachute spread out on the surface of the water behind her like a target.
Ted Young – The antidote to uncertainty is courage….
Emaly Hart – The message had been heard, a new world would ensue. Her job was done.
Geoff Le Pard – Worried she may know something.
Richard Edenfield – The same celebration glued to her expression under canopy of illumination.
Deanna Salser – Regardless, I claim these lands in the name of Britain.
Flora Mack – “Who are you?!” she screamed at the man. He took off his mask. “My husband,” Melinda whispered.
Nikky Olivier – I love her and I want to marry her… I kind of need her around if I’m going to do that,” said Michael with a shrug.
Angelique Pacheco – Sometimes, healing doesn’t happen in a hospital.
Kevin Curtis – “You jump, I jump, remember?” She wiped her nose on her sleeve rebelliously.
Stephen Shirres – All I shall say is it is an island, unseen by man, according to the man in the Dover hostelry who described it to me.
Geoff Le Pard – And in those quiet moments of repose, between debating and proselytising, he composed his weekly poetry output, taking time to include, expressly or obliquely, that love in his homages to his Golden City, the place that had accepted a broken, bereft loner, embraced him, fed him and given him hope.
Alysia Ascovani – She surrendered to them.
David Lewis Pogson – It was unfortunate that the tree-branch that I was chained to had snapped off and the weight had crushed him as the local Constabulary tried to remove me.
Geoff Holme – “You idiot, Luke! I said I wanted a… ‘JUMP’ BASS LESS-O-O-ON!!”
Stephen Shirres – The Journal of the Empire’s Most Beloved and Extraordinary Explorer, Reginald P. Smythe
The title is perfect, and if titles could smile fondly at their story and its main character, then this one most certainly does. The writing style was a joy to read, the tone and language pitched perfectly.
Holly Kilmister – First Explorations
The journal format was a clever device, as it added to the piece’s overall charm. Clever presentation and flow with wonderful descriptions building the scene and the mood made this an engaging and heart-warming read. Great write!
Steve Lodge – Death Walks Behind Us
The story was rich and fast-paced, packed with great description and hinted at dread and a jungle that was most probably laughing at them. Wonderful story.
Deanna Salser – Captain’s Log, the Resolution
I enjoyed how the writing style and language matched the period, and the way in which it layered syrupy sweet over the themes within the piece. The closing line was a fantastic bitter cherry on the top. It was a great read, offering dry humour, lovely detail and strong imagery, which all added to make that last line sink in all the deeper.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 158.
(insert drumroll here)
Nikky Olivier – Saving Angels
Physician; San Francisco; Romance
Michael Adams whistled as he pushed his walker down the hallway to room 212.
“I’ve got a date with an angel.”
He was only a few doors away when he felt the building begin to shake. Bracing himself in the nearest doorway until the quake had subsided, he was just about to check up on the other residents when he heard the emergency alarm sounding from directly ahead.
Within seconds, nurses and orderlies rushed into room 212.
Throwing his walker aside, Michael hobbled as fast as his frail legs would carry him. Bursting past the crowds he fell to his knees beside the prone figure on the floor.
His mind, still sharp at 85, assessed the situation in fractions of a second, and he allowed years of training to take over as he began to bark orders at those around him.
“Stethoscope,” Michael demanded of the orderly kneeling beside him, as he felt for a pulse.
“Who knows CPR? You? Good. Get started on compressions. Has anyone called an ambulance?”
Adrenalin pumped through his veins and he suddenly felt 30 years younger. This was what he lived for – saving lives!
The ambulance arrived and, having given a brief summary of what happened, Michael was standing quietly to one side while Angela was assessed and loaded into the ambulance, when a paramedic approached him.
“Thank you, sir. Your quick thinking has just saved this lady’s life.”
“Oh, Dr. Adams is an excellent physician,” a nurse chimed in.
“And naturally I had to save Angela’s life. I love her and I want to marry her… I kind of need her around if I’m going to do that,” said Michael with a shrug.
Geoff Le Pard – Tales From The City
This was beautifully written and elegantly describes the love and affection a man has towards his city, where he immerses himself fully into all aspects, accepting happily what some call flaws as well as the refined features people aspire to enjoy. It’s a wonderful love story. The melding of prose and poetry from street corners and social media as the professor expresses his devotion and gratitude and help others feel the same is a lovely theme.
Professor; San Francisco; Romance
Maybe it was the wild hair, the half-moon glasses or the piercing stare that got him his moniker: the Professor. He was a fixture here, just as much as the vertiginous Russian Hill, the Presidio, that bridge, Ghiradelli’s and Boudin’s sourdough. He sat at the top of Lombard Street every Monday giving motorists advice in haiku form as they eased their hired cars down the impossible hairpin. Tuesdays and he took a spot in the shadow of the iconic Coit tower, where he serenaded visitors with a set of tankas set to Music that eulogised the union labour that inspired its creation. The rest of the week was variously spent: in Haight-Ashbury celebrating diversity through sonnets; Chinatown and the power of multiculturalism via rhyming limericks; and Union Square and the dissonance of capitalist consumerism through blank verse.
No one knew where he went at weekends. Rough guides, who spoke of catching the Professor as a local character much like any attraction, were equally clueless.
What they didn’t realise, what no one knew was how the Professor changed. From the bodily odiferous shabby hobo, he morphed into James Pattison, clean-cut, grey-suited and passionate cheerleader for all things San Frankie. He attended town meetings, appeared on local TV, wrote blogs, rallied and protested and tweeted and posted. He loved his city, the City like no other, before or since. And in those quiet moments of repose, between debating and proselytising, he composed his weekly poetry output, taking time to include, expressly or obliquely, that love in his homages to his Golden City, the place that had accepted a broken, bereft loner, embraced him, fed him and given him hope.
His job was indeed as a Professor – a professor of Adoration to this great conurbation, his Olympus.
Congratulations, Geoff. 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!