Greetings, flash fictioneering friends, and welcome to Microcosms 176!

Before we get into the prompt, we have some changes for you this year! Here’s a brief rundown (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.)

Inspiration again comes primarily from history, with a coupe of outliers coming from another one of my favorite movies, Om Shanti Om.

Also, it’s time to announce the Community Pick for Microcosms 174.

Huge congrats to:

Don’t forget to vote for your favorites from last week and this week, too. MC 175Community Pick(s) will be announced at the end of the week.

Happy writing!

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:

Princess / Prison / Romance

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.)

  • Czar
  • General
  • Racecar Driver
  • Judge
  • Film Director
  • Princess
  • Someone Reincarnated
  • Actor
  • Arms Dealer
  • Writer
  • Ghost
  • Inventor
  • Outlaw
  • Scientist
  • Warship
  • Film Set
  • Natural Disaster
  • Space Shuttle
  • Funeral
  • Palace
  • Laboratory
  • Prison
  • War-Torn City
  • Courtroom
  • 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 177
Microcosms 175

7 responses to “Microcosms 176”

  1. Steve Lodge Avatar

    THE GREEN SOMBRERO
    298 words
    Princess / Prison / Romance
    Steve Lodge
    Twitter: @steveweave71
    Instagram: steveweave_cheese

    It had been a wonderful evening for we had eaten Shepherd’s Pie in a small restaurant on the Boulevard Of Heroes. We walked arm-in-arm to my favourite café, The Green Sombrero, by the river. Suddenly, Vincent stopped. He turned and looked up at me (I am quite tall for my height) and said “Princess Petunia, if there is ever a time in your life when you find overweight, middle-aged, slightly immature Englishmen with a lazy eye and a webbed foot, attractive, I hope you’ll call me.”

    “Well that’s not going to happen,” I replied. “And because I am a Princess, I’ve been told by my father, King Zlappy, that I’m not even allowed to spank you anymore.”

    Vincent sobbed. “But …the endless Shepherd’s Pie dinners. I did it all for you.”

    “Vincent,” I said “Listen to me, look at me… with the good eye…. ever since my father found out we were sharing Shepherd’s Pie dinners, he has been looking for a way to split us up. If you are arrested, you will not survive Minstralig Prison. They only serve fermented zilch to the inmates. No other food will pass your lips until they make you confess to something you didn’t do and behead you of your head.”

    “Elope with me, my Petunia. We are but forty miles from the border…” I raised my hand to stop his babble.

    “Just go,” I said firmly. “I cannot be romantically linked to a man from a country that refused my father, The King, a visa last year. And, now I think about it, I do not and probably never will find overweight, middle-aged, slightly immature Englishmen, attractive. But Shepherd’s Pies I will love forever. Do you have time for a latte before you go? We have reached The Green Sombrero.”

  2. A.J. Walker Avatar

    H.M.P. Love
    300 words
    Princess / Prison / Romance
    A.J. Walker
    Twitter: @zevonesque
    Website: https://awalker.org/

    ***

    It had been a sensation when Princess Sophia had been sent down for cruelty to the famous royal corgis. The press now loved to throw every little bit of imaginary tittle tattle into gigantic negative headlines lambasting the once adored princess. Her fall from grace was rapid and unique in modern times. And now she found herself shacked up in a prison about the same size as the palace she once had as a home. Being confined to a shared room without even an en-suite was though a little different and most the prison guards were not the least bit servant like – unless she paid.

    ‘It was a fabrication,’ Sophia said, to her newest roommate.

    Rachel nodded. ‘Of course.’

    Sophia smiled. ‘I know. No one here is guilty, not even you.’

    ‘To be fair, I was guilty. I even filmed myself doing it and posted it on the net. Bang to rights I was.’

    Sophia laughed. She knew the story. Rachel had cut off her rapists balls after doing her own private investigations into the dirty old fellow. He wouldn’t be doing his thing to anyone again. And Sophia, and most of the prisoners (and officers) felt she had done a good thing for the world – albeit being a bit beyond legal.

    In the months to come they became very close and eventually Sophia confided to Rachel that she fancied the hell out of her – and that the Family had sent to her prison as they did not want to be tarred, as they saw it, by her sexuality should the press find out. They’d fabricated the dog cruelty story, then kept feeding them more and more stories. They hadn’t thought it through. She got sent to a prison full of women. What did they thing would happen? Just love.

  3. Wilson Holmes Avatar
    Wilson Holmes

    At His Majesty’s Pleasure
    290 words
    Princess/Prison/Romance
    Wilson Holmes
    None of that

    The walls were bitter and damp, the air glossy with evil. He lay on his side, ears ringing with the howls of mad men, and stared at a speck in the pitch black. Tomorrow he would be free. He counted each second, which seemed to grow in distance as if trying to flee the crushing inevitability of time. He thought of the crime that had brought him to this place, and more than that, he thought of her.

    Born into poverty and destined to remain; chewed up and regurgitated until he broke, it was she who had set him on this path. He did not blame her, nor hate her, but he needed her and that had ultimately led him here. They’d met by chance and she had touched his hand and in that moment stole his soul. She’d warned him not to come too close, that they would stop him no matter what, but he believed love would overcome any obstacle.

    Her brother, the King, had seen them walking together in the gardens and demanded to know what he was doing there. The summoned guards had beaten him, bound his hands, while she screamed and cried for him and the birds had scattered into ash. The King took her by the wrist and swung a fist into her to bring her silence. He broke from the guard’s hold, a new energy engulfed him and he launched both feet into the chest of the supreme ruler, stumbling to his knees, he spat in the face of the fallen King. Then they had dragged him here.

    The seconds had been devoured by the hours, and soon he would be free; he hoped she would not have to witness his final moment.

    1. Vicente L Ruiz Avatar

      Ouch, the gut-wrenching last sentence.

  4. Vicente L Ruiz Avatar

    A Heist?
    298 words
    Princess / Prison / Romance
    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’re ready, Your Highness. They won’t know what hit them. I can’t wait to get my hands on that gold.” “Codenames only from now on, Hawk One. And… go.” The exchange sounded as if it had happened a lifetime ago, but Princess Miah knew it had only been ten minutes.

    She stopped. In the dim lights of the underground corridor, she could see the fuse box was exactly where it was supposed to. Miah grabbed the tiny explosive device from her belt, attached it to the box, picked the detonator from a pocket in her jacket, and joined them. One mic click.

    “Eagle ready.”

    The answers came immediately.

    “Hawk One, ready.”

    “Hawk Two ready.”

    “Hawk Three, ready.”

    Miah breathed deep once.

    “Execute.”

    Miah covered her eyes with her arm, looked away and closed them anyway, and pressed the button. There was a muffled bang, and the lights went out completely. Just a fraction of a second to make sure no alarm had gone off, and she donned her night-vision goggles.

    There. The trap door.

    If everything was going according to the plan, they must be distracted now. Expect the unexpected, however.

    That thought saved her, as one lonely guard heard her opening the trap door. She tased the guy, taking advantage of the darkness.

    Okay. Now the correct corridor, there. And the door. Now to open it. The good news was her pyrotechnics must have disabled the main locking mechanism together with the alarm… Yes. So, if the Hawk Team attack had succeeded, the backup lock must be off. Miah produced the laser cutter, applied it, and then just pulled on the handle.

    “Hawk One. We’ve hit gold, Eagle!”

    “Me too, Hawk.”

    He was lying there, asleep.

    “Hey, Prince!” Miah said out loud. He stirred.

    “What?”

    “Rescue’s here.”

  5. Vicente L Ruiz Avatar

    Hm. I did write and post a story on time, on Friday, but it’s gone? Mind you, I don’t mind about winning, what I’m trying to do is just getting back on (the writing) track. And it’s gone!

    1. microcosms Avatar
      microcosms

      Oh, no! It looks like it somehow got stuck in the approval queue!!! Let me fix this. Bear with me.

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