Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 165. We had 7 entries this time. Which, for a last-minute return, I was quite pleased with. We appreciate you spending your time with us!
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 164 Judge’s Pick, David Lewis Pogson, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what he had to say:
It was a small field, and that is only to be expected until the word spreads about Microcosmsfic returning, but it was a field of real quality and I enjoyed every story, each on its own merits. There was quite some variety too between the entries.
I always judge micro-fiction using the same criteria:
• Simple, old-fashioned story-telling with a beginning, a middle and an end; especially an end with a little twist.
• A strong central character
• Preferably a character that I can relate to emotionally.
I think pretty much everyone met these criteria so well done to all for making the selection difficult.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – “The Canadian state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation, Sir.”
Tim Hayes – – “For the military the consensus is the census makes no sense as we do not differentiate the status of the aliens based here …”
Angelique Pacheco – Tumbling black hair, violet eyes and a look that said, “I’m better than this.”
Eden Solera – So Death sang.
Emaly Heart – Black, deep-set eyes stare back at me and I find beauty in their lack of expression.
Deanna Salser – Max shifted positions again, easing his buttocks on the hard metal surface.
Stephen Shirres – The voice laughs. Each note bores into me. He won’t be laughing soon.
Stephen Shirres – Drone Racing
I’ve noticed during my relatively short involvement with this competition that there is one story each week that explores places that I would never reach in my mind on my own. This one took me to one of those places. Its bizarre setting with unusual competitors demonstrates the extent that the human mind can stretch to and so deserves special mention for that and more besides.
Tim Hayes – In the Realm of the Census
A clever and topical plot with a humorous ending including a neat twist that appealed to me. The military dialogue was particularly believable. I could picture this happening for real.
Deanna Salser – Water Weight
I find it hard to write comedy so I have to admire it when someone else pulls it off. This was both clever and funny; a comedy with a feminist slant and a moral message that made me laugh. Everyone (owners, bookies, trainers, jockeys) cheats in horseracing so why not the women too? And they all deserve to get caught – loved it.
And now, without further ado, we present the winner of Microcosms 165 (Forgive me for forgoing the community pick – it was a three-way tie!)
(insert drumroll here)
Eden Solera – Arise
This was top quality and met all my criteria. A moody, beautifully-descriptive, haunting piece set around a solo character, based on a simple idea within a brutal setting and with a killer final line. I found it fascinating as it drew me in. If the writer could match the narration to a suitable piece of violin music it would make a great subject for a video and I’d pay to enjoy it.
A Musician; Battlefield; Horror
Smoke rose across the field, the acrid smell mixing with that of decay. Sage strode amongst the embers, a mournful tune rising from her violin. Unbeknownst to her, each body she walked past jerked as her melody touched them.
Reaching a boulder that stood out amidst the desolate landscape, Sage sat down, her music resonating through the bones of the dead. As she continued to play, Sage closed her eyes, losing herself in the dark tone of her violin.
The sun began to slip beneath the horizon, an eerie glow framing the shadows as they grew to embrace the night. Her eyes still closed, Sage felt the wind shift, the formerly gentle breeze howling as it swept across the dirt. Grains of dust settled across her back as she continued to play, ignoring all but the feel of the strings beneath her fingers and the motion of the bow moving atop the violin.
Drunk on her haunting melody, Sage became aware of a spectral chorus singing along as she played. Dismissing the sound as a trick of the wind or even simply her imagination, she kept playing, her tempo increasing as the music pulled her farther out of touch with reality.
In the now dimly lit field, a crescent moon barely poking out from behind the rapidly thickening cloud cover, bones beaten and broken arose to the beat of Sage’s song. Unable to escape the lure of this siren song, all flocked to the lone boulder betwixt the smoldering grounds where flesh had been rent from bone earlier that day.
Sage herself swayed back and forth on her seat, lost within the harmonies she created, even as they grew more twisted. A skeletal hand laid itself atop her shoulder, another caressed her cheek.
A discordant shriek sounded.
So Death sang.
Congratulations, Eden. 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!