Microcosms 169

Greetings, flash fiction friends, and welcome to Microcosms 169! Woo hoo!

 

REMEMBER!

(1) You have just 48 hours until midnight, tomorrow (Saturday) New York time (EST) to write and submit your masterpiece.
(2) All submissions must be no more than 300 words in length (excluding the title)
(3) NO FAN-FICTION, please, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS
(4) Include: word count, the THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry
(5) Do NOT give details of your entry on social media, your blog, etc. until the Results post is live
(6) If you are new to Microcosms, PLEASE check out the full submission guidelines 

 

Takinig inspiration from history once again, as well as included some wildcards. There are tons to choose from this time. Let’s see what you do!

***Also! You should now see a small “edit” button next to the timestamp which, if all goes as planned, will allow you to edit your entry. This is a new feature, so please let me know if it works as planned!***

KM

 

(If YOU have an idea for a future contest and would like to be a guest host, please contact us.)

 

Our contest this week begins with THREE things: character, location/setting, and genre/style.

We spun, and our three elements are:

Revolutionary Fighter; Italy; Action

Write a story using those OR feel free to click on the “Spin!” button below, and the slot machine will come up with a new set – character, location and genre. You can keep clicking until you have a set of elements that inspires you.

 

  • Suicidal Queen
  • Colonizer
  • Painter
  • Revolutionary Fighter
  • Author
  • Lab Creation
  • Explorer
  • Native American
  • Slave
  • Race Car Driver
  • Inventor
  • Politician
  • Cartoonist
  • Skier
  • Spy
  • Matador
  • Jury Member
  • Kidnapper/Victim
  • Athlete
  • Civil Rights Leader
  • TV Host
  • Movie Director
  • Pilot
  • Ancient Egypt
  • A “New World”
  • Italy
  • Science Lab
  • Ship
  • Wilderness
  • Space/Another Planet
  • Early America (US)
  • World War I
  • Train
  • Film Festival/Theater
  • Island
  • Hurricane/Flood
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Deep Ocean
  • Shipwreck
  • Drama
  • Comedy
  • Romance
  • Action
  • Horror
  • Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  • Adventure
  • Poem
  • Blog Post
  • Epistolary

 

Spin!

 

Last week’s Judge’s Pick, Janelle Carson, has kindly agreed to act as the judge this time around.

 

All being well, results will be posted next Monday.

Microcosms 170
Microcosms 168
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11 comments for “Microcosms 169

  1. 30 August 2019 at 11:16 am

    http://www.engleson.ca
    @billmelaterplea
    299 words
    Spy; train; romance

    The Slow Train to Trieste

    It was the autumn of 1993. I had finished a modest assignment in Rijeka, identifying the route war profiteers were using to transport contraband weapons into Yugoslavia. I had a yen to stop over in Venice and caught the milk run train to Trieste. From there, a pleasant journey along the edge of the Adriatic to my favourite sinking city.

    There are easier ways to get out of Rijeka than by train. Bus travel, perhaps, if you fancy mountain highways and the prospect of sudden death.

    I chose reliable boredom.

    Professionally, that is always my target.

    The blond woman three seats down stood out the way a bright morning sun occupies the dawn. It had been raining in Rijeka and she wore a Burberry. Claire had had one for years. Whether she still had it was something I probably would never know.

    Strange how an item of clothing sets you off on a nostalgia flight. Claire would never have hopped about this cold cramped country train.
    “Rent a car,” she might have said. “Hire a limo. Something! What’s the matter with you?”

    And she’d be right.

    But Claire and I had rarely traveled. There were so few places I could go that were safe. And I was always away, travelling in the shadows of distant dark cities.

    Staying under the radar of life.

    Watching!

    “Excuse me,” she suddenly appeared, leaning forward, her bright yellow hair dangling inches from my face, the raincoat draped on her arm, dressed in a warm plaid skirt and blue blouse with ruffles, asking, “Do you have a light? My lighter isn’t working.”

    Claire had insisted I quit smoking.

    Again, she right.

    Claire was always right.

    Except, back then, I loved to smoke.

    “Of course,” I said, “I’ll join you,” and offered her my flame.

    1+
    • Diego Piselli
      31 August 2019 at 3:07 pm

      The Inspection
      Revolutionary Fighter: Italy: Action
      277 words

      Two revolutionaries, a man, and a woman were wandering around the main nave of an ancient Basilica in the center of Rome, pretending to be just a normal young middle-class couple of tourists.

      The official Communist Party had betrayed the working class forging an alliance with clerical groups and so the Armed People’s Organization had decided to murder Mr. R., a famous steel tycoon. It had to be the first step in the proletarian surge: the second “Risorgimento” as the Organization called it.

      The two fighters explored carefully the Church where the designated target said his prayers every morning: the capital punishment was planned for the day after, on the chime of the very first Mass bell.

      Mr. R. was praying near the Communion rail. He had just confessed and was whispering to God with his eyes closed. The command checked every hidden spot of the Church to make sure of the success of the project. In a dark corner of the “transetto” the man spotted two bodyguards he didn’t notice before and, nodding his head, pointed them to the woman: the watchdogs of the Class Enemy, traitors to the people.

      Acting like visitors, the couple got closer, to listen to the words of the watchmen, which were quietly discussing the weather and saying to one another that the spring was coming. “Swallows are coming back soon“ said one of the two, the classic Family Man.

      The very next morning the fake couple would have to kill the bodyguards. They couldn’t be spared: Class Justice and military necessity imposed their Holocaust. Anyway, swallows would have arrived soon in their nest hidden in the bell tower, not caring for Revolution.

      4+
  2. 30 August 2019 at 11:25 am

    n.b. Could not see the edit button. This is my revised story…

    http://www.engleson.ca
    @billmelaterplea
    300 words
    Spy; train; romance

    The Slow Train to Trieste

    It was the autumn of 1993. I had finished a modest assignment in Rijeka, identifying the route war profiteers were using to transport contraband weapons into Yugoslavia. I had a yen to stop over in Venice and caught the milk run train to Trieste. From there, a pleasant journey along the edge of the Adriatic to my favourite sinking city.

    There are easier ways to get out of Rijeka than by train. Bus travel, perhaps, if you fancy mountain highways and the prospect of sudden death.

    I chose reliable boredom.

    Professionally, that is always my target.

    The blond woman three seats down stood out the way a bright morning sun occupies the dawn. It had been raining in Rijeka and she wore a Burberry. Claire had had one for years. Whether she still had it was something I probably would never know.

    Strange how an item of clothing sets you off on a nostalgia flight. Claire would never have hopped about this cold cramped country train.
    “Rent a car,” she might have said. “Hire a cab. Something! What’s the matter with you?”

    And she’d be right.

    But Claire and I had rarely traveled. There were so few places I could go that were safe. And I was always away, travelling in the shadows of distant dark cities.

    Staying under the radar of life.

    Watching!

    “Excuse me,” she suddenly appeared, leaning forward, her bright yellow hair dangling inches from my face, the raincoat draped on her arm, dressed in a warm plaid skirt and blue blouse with ruffles, asking, “Do you have a light? My lighter isn’t working.”

    Claire had insisted I quit smoking.

    Again, she was right.

    Claire was always right.

    Except, back then, I loved to smoke.

    “Of course,” I said, “I’ll join you,” and offered her my flame.

    3+
  3. Lindsey Pittenger
    30 August 2019 at 4:03 pm

    297 words
    Suicidal Queen; Ancient Egypt; Drama

    Meet Me in the Afterlife

    He loved me, and I hated him for it.

    I hated the gentle whispers, the tender touch—his strong muscular build. His good looks, his gifts, his favor—I hated them all. I hated how he made me feel so good every time we were together. I hated how sincere he was.

    It made me sick.

    The mighty Pharaoh Yamanu—a warrior, a conqueror. He destroyed my family—everything I had known. He singled me out and made me his Queen—favored above all others. His one desire was for me to live and learn to love this new life with him.

    But my duty was to die.

    As his armies swept in and destroyed my people, my father, the chief, grabbed me and my sisters and swept us into the back of the house. He’d told me once that it was more honorable to die than to be taken captive. I could hear them pounding on the door. I saw the look in his eye as he screamed angrily, “YOU WILL NOT DEFILE MY FAMILY!”

    He ran my sisters through.
    The youngest didn’t see it coming.
    The oldest died in honor, thrusting herself forward onto his blade.

    I was frozen.

    As he turned toward me, the door behind him crashed down.
    My father’s head rolled on the floor.
    I was taken.

    Yamanu said he saved me from a wicked man—that man: my father.

    Yet, I know that my father loved me—and my sisters.
    I felt only guilt.
    I was a failure.
    Try though I might to join them, his Excellency would not let me die.
    What’s worse—I could feel myself giving way to his power.
    My feelings toward him growing—budding, blooming…

    So I killed him.
    As his queen, they’ll kill me too.

    5+
  4. 30 August 2019 at 4:22 pm

    Lab Creation; Science Lab; Comedy
    297 words

    Fiends Reunited

    It was social night at the laboratory and a few of the lab’s alumni were having a get together. They stood around in small groups discussing their various adventures since they’d last seen each other, talking about how life had been treating them. Igor busied himself handing out drinks and canapes.

    At some point, the topic of conversation turned to social media. A tall, bulky fellow started talking animatedly about his experiences trying to connect with his peers and make new friends.

    ‘When my father made me, he promised that I’d never want for admirers. I’ve always stood out from the crowd, what with my aristocratic height, my grey-tinged skin, the piebald effect of the many skin tones that make up my whole. I try to dress well, foregoing the more casual approach that is prevalent today in favour of classic, formal attire. Nevertheless, I’ve always had problems getting people to see past my exterior through to the real me. With the advent of mobile phones and the growth in social media I thought, “This is my chance, my chance to meet new people without being unfairly judged.” At first, I had problems given the small size of the phones and their dinky little keyboards. My hands were just too large to let me type with any accuracy, I was left feeling clumsy and ashamed. All I managed to accrue was a handful of friends.

    ‘Then, over time, things started to change. Touch screens and larger devices, devices more suitable to my size of hand, freed me up and let me communicate more widely. Before long I was picking up new friends with every post I made.

    ‘Today it’s a different story, I have nearly five-hundred followers… Unfortunately, they all seem to be carrying torches or pitchforks.’

    1+
  5. 30 August 2019 at 7:16 pm

    Revolutionary Fighter: Italy: Action
    285 words

    Kangaroo Court

    Trieste leapt from the wall into the rubble of the passage. The barricaded Colosseum made it easier to break-in despite the enhanced security. Her companions joined her in record time and they darted through the tunnels, their small but powerful torches lighting the depths. Through whispered words, Trieste learned that Dom was to be tried as a revolutionary: a kangaroo court –death.
    The four passed pillars primed to activate in ten minutes, the signal to fight. They dashed along the tunnel. Towards a stone stage and the fake court.
    At the end of the main tunnel, blocked by careless planks, light glimmered through the gaps. Mumbled words echoed in the dry space along with a rattle from chains, a clash of steel on steel. They dimmed their torches. Separated. Two crawled to the left, Trieste and her partner to the right.
    ‘The rebel will die by the sword. Tie him to the pillar.’
    Through the gap, Trieste watched as the slimy Secret Service boss, acting as judge, ran a finger over the gleaming metal of a sword. She gritted her teeth. Two guards grasped Dom’s arms.
    ‘Now,’ she mouthed and as one the rebels charged.
    Knives and daggers spun through the air. One hit the judge in the neck and he dropped. Trieste dug into his pockets. Found a key. The three cohorts and the guards lay dead or injured too. She met Dom halfway. Released him.
    Five minutes.
    Across the arena. Dodging fallen stone. Slipping through breached walls.
    ‘Hurry.’
    They exited. The van waited.
    One minute.
    The engine roared as they clambered into the back and sped along the deserted road before the doors closed.
    The explosion rocked the van. But they were free.

    1+
  6. 31 August 2019 at 6:17 am

    145 words
    Coloniser; A”New World”; Poem or
    Pilot; Space/Another Planet; Sci-fi/Fantasy

    Earth to Earth

    Earth was a beautiful planet,
    A jewel hanging in the black of space,
    Alone in all the galaxy
    A reflection of Man’s face.
    But now it is burnt and barren
    And no longer a welcoming place
    That Man has turned his back upon,
    The furthest planets to embrace.

    When my Ancestors left their Earth,
    As voyagers into that endless black,
    They’d never really doubted
    That one day they would go back.
    Now I make that journey for them,
    For the honour of their memory,
    Though the Earth that they remembered
    Is just a piece of space debris.

    I cannot feel their nostalgia.
    It was only ever a launching pad.
    They left to achieve salvation
    Though that leaving made them sad.
    So I am only visiting,
    Many generations down the line,
    For New Earth that I have come from
    Is the home that I call mine.

    1+
  7. Angelique Pacheco
    31 August 2019 at 9:14 am

    297 words
    Revolutionary fighter; Italy; Action

    Seven Thousand Miles on Foot

    The second world war placed me behind wire. For more than two years I was an Italian internee at the British camp at El Obeid. The British were savagely proper, and I was often told, “Maniscalco, you have no logic!” I jumped off the train at Asmara, hoping that freedom would come soon.

    Running into some friends, we dined on wine that night, talking, making plans. Carlo had a business, he said, and he wanted me to join. I laughed, thinking he was drunk, but he stared at me with the same drunken seriousness and said, “We will go tomorrow.”

    The next morning, I half expected the truck no to arrive, but hope made me stand on the curb, regardless. Carlo came trundling along in a truck with another passenger. Salvatore, a young Italian, grinned cheekily, the gap between his teeth very prominent now. I got in.
    “We will enter Abyssinia at the police block about 70 miles from here. Then we will venture into the highlands as far as the region of Adua.”

    We drove well past lunch and when Carlo declared that we were almost at the top I began to feel uneasy. The windscreen shattered from an explosion. Carlo yelled in astonishment as he slumped over the wheel. Another shot just missed my head. I yanked the door open and threw myself out. I glanced up to see Salvatore staring at me, trapped by fear before the car plunged over the side. I slid down the hill carefully until I stopped on a small ridge and lay motionless. After the sound of tearing metal, I heard nothing, but I lay there all day waiting for no sounds. When the moon rose, I stood up. I would walk to South Africa. I began my decent.

    3+
  8. 31 August 2019 at 6:10 pm

    http://www.nowmywingsfit.wordpress.com
    @ellengwriter
    300 words
    Painter; Italy; Action

    The Thousand Words A Picture Tells

    Cobblestone streets were not the best for running, especially in heels. Cynthia had known this before she started, but she hadn’t had much time to prepare.

    Sirens were following her as the summer sun beat down. Sweat gathered on her brow while police officers sat in their air-conditioned squad cars in hot pursuit.

    Cynthia’s brush was dripping. It had been dipped in red paint before she had had to make her daring escape, and now there was a trail following behind her like blood. “It isn’t mine,” she’d say – she’d always wanted to say that.

    She ducked down a side alley. Paused to catch her breath.

    She pulled a handkerchief out of her pocket; it had her mother’s initials embroidered in the corner. She wiped her brush clean on it. Her mother had died of cancer; now her handkerchief looked like it belonged to someone dying of consumption. Cynthia hoped that her mother’s high estimation of human nature was wrong and that no one would stop her to ask her if she needed any medical assistance.

    Cynthia’s dress didn’t have any pockets. Being on the run was made all the more difficult with only one hand free, but she wasn’t about to let go of her paintbrush. This thing had got her into all this trouble, and it was damn sure going to see her out of it again.

    Cynthia pocketed her mother’s handkerchief and left the alleyway the same way she had come. She hoped that she could get back to her workshop before the police realised she’d doubled back on herself.

    She had left her painting behind in her escape. The whispers had only got louder the further she had run. A prison cell wouldn’t stop her doing what it told her; only she could do that.

    1+
  9. 31 August 2019 at 9:07 pm

    @EdenSolera
    80 Words
    Suicidal Queen; Wilderness; Poem

    Amaranthine

    I
    As the dying sun’s rays
    Caress the tomb of discord
    One, alone, resolute
    Indulges in the fumes
    That linger atop the
    Bones of tragedy

    II
    Euphoria effervesces within
    Her as she breathes of
    Lifeblood wine, stolen,
    For she is unworthy
    To transcend the realm
    Of life, as only Death could

    III
    A glint of a gleam
    Catches the receding light,
    Illuminates the sorrows,
    Resplendent as they are
    Within the darkened depths
    Of her eyes, forsaken now

    IV
    And forever.

    3+
  10. 1 September 2019 at 10:48 am

    Note: I was not able to find the “submittal” place yesterday

    [email protected]
    Word count: 300
    Inventor; A new world; Epistolary

    Bug

    “Before I knew it, I’d swallowed it.”
    “Why didn’t you spit it out right away?”
    “I tried, but it slipped down before I knew it. It felt like a nickel going down too.”
    “What were you doing, yawning or something?”
    “No, I was just… I don’t even know, really. I was opening my car door and BAM. Right in and down the hatch. It was weird.”
    “Probably a bee, I bet. They can act pretty weird at this time of year.”
    “Yeah maybe, my luck. So what now, Doc?”
    “Well, nothing really, there’s not much we can do about it. Maybe pump your stomach, but that’s kind of drastic. We usually save that for emergencies—overdose or poisoning. Are you in pain? Any discomfort at all?”
    “No. I mean yes. I don’t like the whole idea of it. What if it starts crawling around in my stomach. I have a big meeting in the morning, and the last thing I want is a medical issue. How about if I go try to throw up again?”
    “You can try, but it’s probably dead by now. I wouldn’t worry about it. Your system will digest it.”
    “Okay, if you say so.”
    “What kind of meeting?”
    “Pompeo called us in—the entire staff. He doesn’t usually do that either—must have plans.”
    “Let me guess. Venezuela? Iran? The Saudis? How’m I doing, getting warm?”
    “Don’t even bother Doc. That’s all you’re getting. I gave you too much already. It feels big though.”

    ***
    In a far-away room, a technician followed a tiny green dot displayed on a computer screen and checked the words recorded before the men left the room.
    “It feels big though.”
    Then he finished an email:

    Device installed. System checked.
    Attached: Report, IP address, Sample audio.
    Agent: 11217.

    3+

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