Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 163. We had 15 entries this time. Welcome to first-time entrants, James Christie and Saviour Eyo.
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 162 Judge’s Pick, Angelique Pacheco, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
I don’t often get a chance to judge, but when I do, I know that I’m in for a hell of a ride. This time was no different. You blew me away with your writing – the standard was impeccable, as always. I think that this platform is the greatest way to take a little “me” time at the end of a week. That being said, let’s get on with it.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – She took my intrusion in stride.
Steve Lodge – It should have read “You will enjoy the most fantastic luck,” and not what was printed.”
Lesley Turrell – It is warmer than usual for February and the early sun sparkles in the remaining water droplets on the moss in the rocky crevice.
Elizabeth Moura – The fox didn’t respond. Then he did.
Geoff Le Pard – ‘He said De’ath, but I guess that’s just pretentious.’
James Christie – John blinked his eyes open and scratched his beard, dislodging no small amount of sand.
Nicola – “Frog got your voice?” giggled Bluebird.
David Lewis Pogson – Rappers mangle the language with reinterpreted words (since when did ‘wicked’ become ‘brilliant’?)
Deanna Salser – After the first people through the doorways were struck by bullets from an unseen sniper, the crowd came back with a vengeance, and the screams of the trampled tore my heart, as well as my ears.
Ellen Grace – They just knew that they were on an island in the middle of nowhere while a pine tree was being molested(?) by some lunatic.
Kevin Curtis – “Amateur,” he said softly, and took a drink.
Ted Young – Talent does what it can… genius does what it must;
Kirsty Peto – At least that is what I tell myself as I pull trigger.
Alysia Ascovani – Her eyes were slits of deep violet, piercing in rarity.
Saviour Eyo – Three tricksters tried three tricks on three trees that tripped them for the tree times they tried. Now they tread through trees trading tricks for three tweets.
Special Mention: Best Title
Bill Engleson – The Desert is Bleeding Tonight
Honorable/Honourable Mentions: both for Creative Take on the Elements Given
I do feel that it is harder to write a microcosm when you use the elements given, rather than picking your own. These stories thought outside of the box and they were interesting.
Nicola – Sara’s Song
Ted Young – The Mighty Tumble
Kirsty Peto – Hitman With(out) a Heart
I enjoyed this tale of internal conflict. The hitman sounds clinical in his thinking, but you have to wonder whether he has compassion or a guilty conscience. Perhaps he simply justifies his life so that he can sleep at night. The story is well written and makes the reader ask questions.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 163.
(insert drumroll here)
David Lewis Pogson – The Music Lover
Hit Man; Rock Concert; Crime
I don’t normally work for free but this is personal. Usually my hits deserve their fate … criminals, corrupt politicians … but they don’t cause me any harm. So if they need eliminating then the client has to pay. However, for this latest one, I’m the client.
I’ll approach it in the usual way. Planning, preparation, professionalism and performance all have to combine for a successful hit. Getting into the stadium for the concert is a breeze. Security is focused on crowd control and drug abuse. They aren’t expecting a professional. I’ve lifted a security pass from a roadie’s jacket in one of the local bars. On the night I’ll dress like one of the crew, hide my weapon in a tool bag and settle onto a lighting gantry in the top of the stadium with a clear line of fire to the stage.
I detest rap. The lyrics aren’t even good poetry; the rhymes are strained. Rappers mangle the language with reinterpreted words (since when did ‘wicked’ become ‘brilliant’?) But worst of all, their tunes are just endless repetitive chanting or no tune at all.
My young daughters sing his stuff all the time. It really bugs me. He’s a bad influence singing about gangsters; killing, dealing drugs, denigrating women. He’s not even a real badass. The first thing he’d spent his royalties on was a big house outside his neighbourhood to escape the stuff that he glorified.
Using a silencer I’ll drop him with one shot in the middle of his big number. Everyone will focus on his collapse. As they try to work out what’s happening I’ll slip away.
This is a hit for posterity. The pity is that no-one can ever know. But if they did I’d probably be given an award for services to music.
Deanna Salser – Karma Meet Stalker, Stalker, You Better Run
This story stood out for me. It was fast-paced but complete. The story flowed well from beginning to end and drew me into the character’s world. I was there in the thick of it. A satisfying ending finished the story off and I was finally able to release the breath I had been holding. Nicely done.
Singer; Las Vegas; Adventure
I was in the middle of my set when there was a series of loud booming noises somewhere in the Palazzo, and the lights went out. Dropping my useless mike, I stumbled through the darkness, my hands held out in front of me as feelers, while the panic stricken crowd ran screaming toward the doors. After the first people through the doorways were struck by bullets from an unseen sniper, the crowd came back with a vengeance, and the screams of the trampled tore my heart, as well as my ears. Someone ran into me from behind, and we both went over in a tangle of limbs. I hit my head and stars began circling, bright points, swimming in a sea of dark confusion.
“Memphis!” someone shouted, sounding unhinged.
My heart filled with dread. He had found me.
I knew when I accepted this gig, it might happen, but I needed to work. The songs in my heart ached until I set them free.
I untangled myself and scrambled quickly toward the back door, slipping in with some of the other staff, trying to stay as small as possible. Someone grabbed my arm and I almost fainted in terror, the top of my head feeling like it was pulsing along with my heartbeat.
“Memphis! Over here.” The makeup girl pulled me away from the others just as another series of gunfire erupted in our midst. Several went down like dominoes, and I felt the wind as a bullet tore by my ear. We ducked behind a dumpster, hearing bullets slamming into the other side. Maniacal laughter was cut short abruptly, changing to a gurgle and then a harsh rattling. I stood up in time for him to glare at me before his eyes glazed over with the film of death.
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!