Greetings, flash fictioneering friends, and welcome to Microcosms 174!

Before we get into the prompt, here’s a quick review of the changes for this year! (Details can be found on our FAQs page):

  • Weekly and monthly contests! Weekly runs Sunday – Saturday. Monthly runs for the full month.
  • Weekly will have a community pick winner. Monthly will have both community pick and judge’s pick winner(s).
  • You can enter the same story from your weekly contest to the monthly one, if you like, or write something new. We also have a default spinner you can use now if you don’t like the prompt(s) offered. Enter as many times as you like!
  • Judging is “on your honor”, unless judges request blind entries.
  • We’re now using the Pacific Time

Remember:

  1. You have ONE WEEK (Sunday – Saturday, midnight – midnight) Los Angeles Time (PST/PDT) to submit your masterpiece.
  2. All submissions must be no more than 300 words in length (excluding the title and other header info)
  3. NO FAN-FICTION, please, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS for this contest.
  4. Include: word count, the THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry
  5. If you are new to Microcosms, please check out the full submissions guidelines on our FAQs page.

Please use the following format when submitting your entries (feel free to copy/paste and edit or save a copy of the Google Doc linked below):

My Amazing Story Title
XXX words
Element / Element / Element
My Preferred Name
Optional: website or social media link 1 (please include full URL)
Optional: website or social media link 2 (please include full URL)
Optional: Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via one of the above channels for more information. /// OR /// No, I am not open to derivative works at this time, thank you.

***

My amazing story content goes here.

You can use HTML to add a link. Example:
<a href="https://twitter.com/MicrocosmsFic">https://twitter.com/MicrocosmsFic</a>

Please kindly use this format, then copy/paste your response as a comment. (It’s totally fine to be creative with the “words” part, like “253 ripe bananas”, as we’ve seen some people do in the past.) Not using this format with NOT disqualify you. But it will help us out if you do use it.

We have prepared a free and easy-to-use, pre-formatted document in Google Docs to help simplify things. Just save your own copy and then replace the content with your own. (Sometimes, adding links will get your comment flagged by the spam filter. If you think that happened, please contact us for assistance.)

Keeping it short and sweet: this week’s prompts are based upon historical events.
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:

CEO / Protest / Horror

Haha good luck!

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. (Don’t like any of these? Try our default spinner.)

  • Princess
  • Politician
  • Astronaut
  • TV Host
  • CEO
  • Hostage
  • Boxer
  • Sailor
  • Suffragette
  • Clone
  • Alien
  • Ship
  • Protest
  • Factory
  • Natural Disaster
  • Radio Station
  • Plane or Crash
  • Bridge
  • War
  • Drama
  • Romance
  • Sci-Fi
  • Action
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Poem
  • Comedy

We are always and forever in need of assistance. If you have any spare time to help, we will happily accept. Even something as little as 5-10 minutes a week would be amazing. (You have no idea.) To find out how you can help, please visit our volunteers page.

Microcosms 175
Microcosms January 2022 (Monthly Contest)

6 responses to “Microcosms 174”

  1. Jaime Bree Avatar
    Jaime Bree

    Crowd Control
    300 words
    CEO / Protest / Horror
    Jaime Bree
    @jaim_ee_bree
    @jaimebreewriter

    The thing is, you don’t want to be too obvious and let a person know they’re in danger. They’d be sweating (sweat tastes disgusting), and that’s not helpful. Even though it’s exciting to see that glint of terror in their eye knowing you know what they don’t know.

    What you need to do is become the CEO of one of the most successful advertising tech companies.

    ‘Selling a thought through imagery. Giving a voice a statement.’

    Imagine being at a protest with your hand-drawn placard, impressive in its own way, it shows you’re dedicated to the cause, but who’s looking amongst the sea of similar, bland cardboard cut-out statements? Is it making an impact?

    That’s where I come in. My tech puts your voice so far out there it resonates through the crowd, bounces off buildings, leaves an echo that will linger in people’s minds.

    Manipulating.

    Hypnotising.

    Why do I do this? To feed of course. I can’t just grab someone and sink teeth into their necks, pull off flesh in a crowd. This isn’t The Lost Boys or World War Z. I’ve got to err on the side of caution, choose wisely, take when no one is looking and make sure they won’t be missed.

    I advocate division to groups who want to hate, who want to fight, protest about injustices. The more hate-fuelled the marketing the more intense the voice, the more accurate to human nature the assessment. It does the work – hunting, scanning for the best candidate.

    And then, while the crowd is in uproar and the message dumbs down the masses, the very placard you spent hundreds on, the very placard used to push your protest transports an unsuspecting victim right to me.

    And there I can feed in perfect comfort while the crowd marches on.

  2. A.J. Walker Avatar

    C.E.O. Recycled
    300 words
    C.E.O. / Protest / Horror
    A.J.Walker
    Twitter: @zevonesque
    Website: http://awalker.org

    ***

    It was long in the planning. But the effort paid off. The C.E.O. of VRG Vapes didn’t have a clue it was coming. He was currently tied to his chair by multiple pairs of stockings, which he’d initially thought meant he was on to a sure thing.
    Shannon was not to be his lover, she was to be his nemesis.
    ‘Why are you doing this?’ He exclaimed, whilst trying to break the hold of the stockings ‘I thought we worked well together.’
    ‘For fuck’s sake you’re older than my dad and twice the size. I’ll grant you you’re many times richer but you and your type are many times wrong.’
    ‘I just sell decent vapes for profit, that’s all.’
    ‘And fuck the planet, hey?’
    ‘What?’
    ‘Lithium. How many people die mining or living near your smelter for a product you sell to kids; which they throw away?’
    ‘I can’t stop littering.’
    ‘Maybe. But how about actually recycling metals’
    Derek paused. His brain failing to engage. ‘But we couldn’t make any money if we recycled.’
    ‘Exactly. You could recycle but your business model would’t work. So stop making and selling the shit.’
    Shannon opened the window. ‘Can you hear the noise? It’s for you.’
    Angry chanting surged through the window.
    There’s hundreds of people out there protesting. I’ve passed on information to the press. Tomorrow your company will be toast.’
    ‘What?’
    Shannon took out a knife and carved into his skin. On his forehead she scrawled ‘Lithium.’ She sketched the recycling logo across his chest. As he erratically bled out she began thrusting vapes up his nose, then smashed one into his chest. Countless others she thrust into orifices one by one as he screamed and evacuated.
    She threw his sad body down the waste chute: Recycling – to make a point.

  3. Sal Page Avatar
    Sal Page

    Kermit the Cutie at Kwalitee Kaykz
    300 words
    Alien / Factory / Comedy
    @SalnPage

    Christopher had been in charge of flour for twenty years. It was a source of great pride for him. Working there three days out of school, he’d several times been accused of ‘walking round like he owned the place’ by factory floor newbies. What did they know? The standard of Kwalitee Kaykz depended more than anything on the calibre of the flour.

    So it was the biggest drama in the factory for years – bigger even than the Brian Bolton, Brenda Burnley, wedding that ended in fisticuffs – when Christopher was replaced by a four-foot-nowt creature with an accent filled with burps, hiccups and clipped sneezes where important words (flour, grade, milligrams, accurate, weight & yummy) should be and a purple beanie unsuccessfully disguising two bumps (that weren’t Vienna Wheels) on the top of its head.

    Christopher helped with Buttonburg packing till his next role was announced but lunchtime rolled around and he found himself in the canteen, eyes rolling whenever he caught anyone else’s, munching on a cheese roll.

    He spent the afternoon sweeping coconut crumbs, face set, ears alert for gossip. The women on Accles Kaykz had christened the newbie Kermit the Cutie. Christopher was still Christopher. That lot, half of whom now wanted to be Miss Piggy to Kermit the Cutie, asked him for stuff so regularly he’d decided years ago his real name was Christopher Fetch-Me.

    But by half an hour to clocking out time, he was showing Kermit round, a job bestowed on him by Mrs Kwali herself. Kermit burped at his jokes and nodded understanding of manufacturing processes of jam torts, lemon dazzles and Virginia sponges. Christopher offered taste-test cubes but Kermit was only interested in a tub of chopped kale and pistachios he pulled from his pocket.

    No wonder he was so green.

  4. KM Zafari Avatar

    Generation “Z”
    300 words
    CEO / Protest / Horror
    KM Zafari
    https://twitter.com/thebatinthehat
    https://www.facebook.com/kmzafari
    Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via one of the above channels for more information.

    ***

    The thought had occurred to him years prior, but rumors reported on his favorite news channel during the pandemic reignited the idea.

    It seemed relatively harmless enough: generate a small cold – for which you have the cure – and trade pre-existing fears for a large fortune.

    Unfortunately, the virus mutated, and with… unexpected effects. Infected youth developed a hunger for human flesh.

    His head of R&D broke her nondisclosure agreement in a guilt-ridden suicide note. Tonight, he contemplated the same, but for very different reasons.

    The protests had begun as usual. Picketers surrounded the building, demanding his arrest.

    In truth, he didn’t entirely disagree and was willing to pay a fine.

    But the virus had mutated again, and these were no longer conscious human beings but creatures with insatiable cravings.

    Floor by floor, he’d heard them coming, and they were nearly here.

    The panicked screams of his security team had been terrifying; the subsequent silence even more so.

    He’d seen an attack on live TV, people clawing and biting, gnashing teeth tearing flesh from bone.

    The news station had sense enough to cut to black before they’d reached the eyes.

    Visuals returned a few moments later to a close-up of a young woman, bits of brain still dangling from bloodied lips that she slowly spread into a satiated smile.

    That was what haunted him most. She was content.

    ‘No,’ he thought. ‘I won’t give them that satisfaction.’

    The door handle of his office began to jiggle.

    He couldn’t control what they did with his corpse, but he could make the eating unpleasant by peppering his brains with lead.

    He hesitated upon seeing them, and that was his downfall.

    The horde descended upon him.

    They’d already made a meal of his staff, but with him, they’d be serving up just desserts.

  5. Vicente L Ruiz Avatar

    Final Meeting
    298 words
    CEO / Protest / Horror
    Vicente L Ruiz
    Twitter: @VicenteLRuiz
    Website: Vicente L Ruiz Writes
    Medium (free to read): https://medium.com/@vicentelruiz
    Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via one of the above channels for more information.

    ***

    “We shouldn’t have done it, Ma’am!” The man almost screams. Nobody almost screams in the meeting room of the company’s shareholders. Nobody even dares to almost scream at the all-powerful CEO.

    “Shut up. You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Edna Schwarz appears to be calm, yet she manages to edge her words with disdain. How could this stupid man become part of the management board?

    “Perhaps Smitty here doesn’t, but I do.” Edna hates Shadi Thrud. Mind you, Edna basically hates anyone in her company that isn’t herself, but Shadi has always been a pain in the ass. And she’s going on! “The risk was too high, and we knew it.”

    “There’s always a risk. Things may go wrong at any time.”

    “Yes, but not like this.”

    “They’re coming!” This is Clark. Clark is in charge of security. He’s holding a tablet in his hands, waving it around like mad.

    “Stop it,” Edna says. “Let me see.”

    “We still have cameras running outside, Ma’am, and when the batteries get dry we’ll spin up the generators…”

    “Let. Me. See.”

    The image on the tablet isn’t good. And it’s also black and white. Crappy black and white surveillance cameras? It shows the crowd, slowly advancing. The ragtag mob occupies the street, and they just move on, wave after wave, advancing, advancing towards their goal.

    The company building. And them.

    “The building is sealed, Ma’am.”

    “Can you hear that?” Smitty looks terrified.

    “The windows are soundproof…” Edna starts.

    “No, he’s right. ” Thrud touches the wall. “It comes through the wall!”

    The shattered window pane surprises them all.

    “Look out!”

    “How…?”

    “This high…!”

    And now they can hear it.

    Edna strides towards the window. She stares at the mindless horde below. And hears their chant.

    “Our money back! Our money back!”

  6. Blaine Avatar
    Blaine

    Just Desserts
    300 words
    CEO / Protest / Horror
    August Blaine Centauri
    Instagram: @hemlockrocksandsocks
    Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via one of the above channels for more information.

    ***

    Louie, local union rep at Boss Business Inc., stood in front of his fellow BBI employees. Still roiling inside, he didn’t bother looking at BBI CEO Preston Boss, who insisted everyone – including his wife and four children – defer to him as Mr. Boss. Louie sought out eye contact with the crowd instead. “Thank you everyone for coming,” his normally soft voice boomed around the lobby. Chatter instantly died down, waiting to hear the verdict.

    “As you may have guessed, Mr. Boss is refusing to meet any of our demands or even offer any compromises.” Instant anger flared throughout the room as employees booed the tall man in a too-expensive suit, tightly tied up at Louie’s feet. Louie shouted to be heard over the din. “He accepted a meeting with us simply to dish out threats!” The memory of the man’s audacity to roll his eyes as Louie outlined the employee’s demands for a living wage added fire to Louie’s voice. “As if he doesn’t already hold us hostage with unlivable wages, unreasonable demands, and healthcare that costs more than it provides!” Shouting broke out throughout the crowd. Employees shifted but waited patiently. “We cannot wait for karma to award just desserts!”

    There was cheering now. Thinking of his fellow workers, Louie simply scrunched up a hand through short, brown locks, and yanked out a handful. Mr. Boss screamed behind the gag and shook his head. Louie gave him no more mind. He raised his fist, clenching chunks of bloody hair, above his head. The crowd descended. Brass knuckles, knives, and even forks appeared throughout the crowd as workers took their due straight from Mr. Boss. Skin was stripped, muscle ground, viscera passed around. Bones broken down and blood smeared. Tonight, the workers would be heard and their voices would matter.

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