Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 170. We had 14 entries this time. Thanks again for participating! And your patience is appreciated. 🙂
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 170 Judge’s Pick, Ellen Grace, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what they had to say:
This week’s entries were spooky, funny, and included memorable characters. I thoroughly enjoyed looking through all of your pieces and experiencing the worlds you have created!
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Eden Solera – At All Costs: “Ranks of guards all trained their guns on her form as she strode to the center of the ornate room.”
Stephen Shirres – One Last Time: ““Sorry bud.” Bram taps the metal sign with the cable cars operating times. “I’m afraid we aren’t open yet.”
Tim Hayes – In Search of the Lost Supermarket: “One thing is for sure, we need never fear starvation however long this exploration takes.”
Lynda Kirby – The Vampire Doctor: “He’d heard their logic: it’s not natural, Vampires are supposed to drink blood as much as stay out of the sun.”
Steve Lodge – Only the Voices Remain: “I had fainted from blood loss and she’d been carried off to the inevitable castle by Count Rafis”
Deanna Salser – Two of a Kind: “She ended his dilemma with her lips and their teeth fit perfectly together.”
David Lewis Pogson – Close Relations: “‘Yeah, all apart from your Dad. They were good company. They’ve all loosened up a lot since he walked out.’”
Dana Faletti – An Unexpected Dinner: “As if his steel-toed boots aren’t a calling card of his brand of assassin.”
AJ Walker – Light Reflection: “Maybe she’d fold in the next ten years or so.”
Bill Engleson – In the Market for a Wiseguy Investment: “He came recommended by people I don’t want to name.”
Ted Young – Sunset Pullivard: “He made his nightly sojourn to visit his blood relations and his dedicated fang club.”
Angelique Pacheco – Fire in her Soul: “Table Mountain’s cable car”
Diego Piselli – The Commuter: “Years later, the clerk, now retired, read a strange story: “in Milan, decades ago, a waitress had committed suicide jumping under a metro train. Her corpse couldn’t ever be found””
Phillip Stephens – Late Night Romance, Cross-Continental: “The California Zephyr’s dining car at the witching hour.”
Phillip Stephens – Late Night Romance, Cross-Continental
A fantastic opening line and a good use of scientific knowledge to enhance the narrative.
Stephen Shirres – One Last Time
Particular mention has to be made for this piece for the masterful character (and pun) that is Bram.
AJ Walker – Light Reflection
An amusing take on relationships with unusual longevity.
Tim Hayes – In Search of the Lost Supermarket
A cleverly written piece which would not look out of place in a serious travelogue. The care taken over this piece is obvious and has resulted in an amusing narrative.
Steve Lodge – Only the Voices Remain
This piece is wonderfully written. I am particularly intrigued by the name changes throughout the narrative – is the narrator having misremembering a single person, or do they merely have a penchant for women with similar names?
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 170.
(insert drumroll here)
Bill Engleson – In the Market for a Wiseguy Investment
Assassin; Bowling Alley; Comedy
I met Willie the Briefcase Muckle a couple of years ago. He came recommended by people I don’t want to name. Respectable people. Money people.
You understand, a guy in my line of work, it’s a very particular profession I’m in. Not a lot of opportunity to chinwag about investments.
I’d tried sockin’ away a little extra after every contract. Wasn’t having much luck. Easy come, easy go down the toilet. Flush one day; empty bucket the next.
I was in crisis …’til I met Willie.
“You can trust him,” these respectable people I don’t want to name said. “He’ll do right by your dough. Help you plan.”
Right off, Willie hit the nail on the hammer. Right away, he says, “You got no visible means…Say the Government hauls you in, puts you under the lights, demands to know where did all your jack come from? Whaddaya gonna say. Oh, I hit people. Yeah, that’s gonna go over like a ton of petunias.”
So, he comes up with this business plan. “You gotta buy a business.”
I’m thinkin’, oh, great, what kinda business does an assassin own? My first thought? Taxis. Willie kyboshed that. “Nah, Ubers gonna rule. No, its gotta be somethin’ you’re nuts about, that really turns you on.
“Weeds legal,” I suggested. Willie initially thought that might work but then backtracked. “It’s a maybe at best…still dicey. Come on! Think! Whaddaya really love?”
That got me all teary-eyed, took me back to when I was a kid. Twice a week, bowling at the Pins and Needles.
“A BOWLING ALLEY?” Willie shouted. “They still do that?”
He checked. Yup. Folks still bowled.
These days, in between hits, I am the new kingpin of the recharged Pins and Needles Lanes.
Life’s a bowling alley of cherries.
The perfect game!
Dana Faletti – An Unexpected Dinner
This piece is so poetic. Having the narrative told in three POVs works so well with the narrative and the details are delivered to the reader in a tantalising why. With every word you want to read more, but the ending is not unsatisfying. I’m curious as to the identity of the voyeur, but also feel that we got just the right amount of information about them. The characters are beautifully developed in such little space. A fantastic entry!
She looks like an angel. Except for the trace blood beneath her fingernail. A clue.
Not that I need one. I’m the best. I can’t deny my calling.
I edge beside her in the vestibule, allowing my cheek to brush her ebony hair. Her breasts heave when she catches my scent. Her lips tremble. It’s like watching a magnolia open slowly, its carnal craving for air, sunlight.
She craves me.
The foretaste of my flesh drifts around her like an amuse-bouche.
It’s too easy.
“I’m Cecily,” she offers, her eyes devouring me.
“Sam,” I say. “Dinner? Cabin three?”
He takes me for a fool.
As if I’ve never been prey, only predator.
As if his steel-toed boots aren’t a calling card of his brand of assassin.
I cannot help what I am.
I can only be the best of my breed.
Like he is, I suspect.
His blood will stain my chin tonight.
I will never become dust in his hands.
The peephole’s dime-size, but it’s worth the strain.
She’s pristine. Every curve, brushed porcelain.
He’s lost in her hair, her body.
I can’t help what I am – a watcher.
I watch him caress her arm, fingers dancing down her side, slipping into his pocket.
I watch him remove a wooden cross, spear-like on top.
I watch her kiss his neck, tongue flicking and sucking, tasting the flesh behind his ear. My mouth waters as her jaw unhinges.
I watch man and woman freeze. There’s something in the pause I cannot see, a choice, perhaps. Their chests deflate in rhythm. He pockets the cross. She closes her mouth, buries her face in his shoulder.
As they make love with the abandon of two people who’ve dodged death and found Heaven.
Congratulations, Dana. 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! (We also have some judging guidelines, if needed.)