Microcosms 187

Greetings, flash fictioneering friends, and welcome to Microcosms 187!

We do have some exciting news coming up! Keep an eye on this spot over the next week or try for more information.

Here’s a brief rundown of changes we have made (details can be found on our FAQs page):

  • Weekly contest runs Sunday – Saturday.
  • Community pick winner(s).
  • 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!
  • We’re now using the Pacific Time


  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. We enjoy fan fiction! Just not for this contest. 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 on this post. (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.)

Set brain to random again. If you don’t like the prompts, try the spinner! We have some fun options. 🙂

Also, it’s time to announce the Community Pick(s) for Microcosms 185.

Huge congrats to:

  • Steve Lodge

Don’t forget to vote for your favorites from last week and this week, too. All being well, MC 186 Community Pick(s) will be announced at the end of the week.

Happy writing!


(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:

Internet Addict / Winery or Vineyard / Horror

Also, April 17th is Bat Appreciation Day! Not required, but I would love if you would also share an interesting fact about these incredibly helpful but often misunderstood creatures. (Could be part of the story or just in the header info or as a comment or whatever!)

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.)

  • Sommelier
  • Whale
  • Skydiver
  • Reporter
  • Groundskeeper
  • Internet Addict
  • Street Vendor
  • Alien
  • Winery/Vineyard
  • Ocean
  • Sky/Airplane
  • Live TV
  • Secret Room
  • Online
  • City Street
  • Space
  • 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 188
Microcosms 186

11 thoughts on “Microcosms 187

  1. To Die For
    300 words
    Internet Addict / Winery or Vineyard / Horror
    Cay Macres
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alienoftheweek/


    Overlapping rows of vines passing in the window formed a line pointing to the stone castle. Metal gates parted. Alma’s Toyota rolled forward. In the corner of her eye, she watched TikToks of blonde women boast about thousand-dollar day trips to Napa Valley.

    “We ended our day at French Laundry. The caviar is to die for!”

    Alma locked her phone and stepped out of the car. She plucked a plum from a tree and strolled towards the entrance while she snacked.

    “Hello, are you open?”

    “I’m surprised someone’s here for a tasting during the off season.” The host’s lips curled upwards. Her eyes crinkled without wrinkling her stiff skin. “Would you like a tour?”

    All the videos Alma mindlessly scrolled through showed women peering over the valley, white wine swirling in their hands. Instead, Alma plodded through mud and wiry brambles, following shallow high heel prints in the soft winter soil.

    Charred spots on the ground caught Alma’s attention. “Was there a fire?”


    Head spinning, Alma tried to keep her glass steady as she walked, but the crimson liquid spilled. Dead grape vines hung from wooden stakes, forming cross shapes. The rows of crosses resembled a graveyard.

    The host stopped at an old barn. When she opened the door, a bat flew out.

    “He gets rid of our pests.”

    Inside were shelves of oak barrels. Venturing deeper inside, Alma noticed the barrels became longer and more rectangular.

    “They look like coffins,” Alma slurred her words.

    “You can pick yours if you’d like.”

    Alma’s glass shattered as she fell to the floor. Her blood swirled into the wine. The host crouched next to her, a finger scraping up the mixed substance on the floor. She licked it, eyes rolling back in her head. “Mmm… Bitter with a hint of plum.”

    1. This is epic! I love it. What a twist, and the bitter with a hint of plum is a great end line!

  2. Reconnecting with nature
    300 words
    Internet Addict / Winery or Vineyard / Horror
    Eryn McConnell
    Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via one of the above channels for more information

    Reconnecting with Nature
    Her fingers flew over the keys, eyes absorbed. I shook my head, exasperated. She couldn’t get off that damn phone. “Lyra, look at that view!”
    I waved toward the breathtaking vista of orange and green, the mixture of fall trees trailing down the mountain. “Can’t you just…. you know. Disconnect for a while?”
    “Just one second,” she murmured, glued.
    I sighed again, adjusting the camera bag on my hip. I was only here because Lyra had been sent here to try out the wines, but I had hoped to connect with her more on the trip. There had to something under the perfectly coiffed Instagram influencer, surely? I was starting to wonder.
    I walked out towards the rows of plants, seeing grapes nestle underneath. The light was warm, as you would expect when golden hour approached. I knew I would get the great shots later, Lyra in white, against that backdrop, glass of wine in hand. Not that she would drink it. Too many calories.
    There were a few people milling around so I decided to take some shots before I was needed for the proper shots. The air was fragrant and still. This place was perfect. I felt as if I was home. Even the air was quiet. I turned to call Lyra again but I couldn’t see her, lost in the vines. So was I. Surrounding me were great, curving vines, embracing me. Embracing. I felt a panic. The vines grew closer. I heard a shriek, and my head snapped round in time to see her being pulled into the vines, as they swarmed around her, her hand letting go of the precious phone, sliding into the mud.
    And I missed Golden Hour, I thought, as the vines covered my mouth, pulling me into the rich earth.

  3. Ruby Cabernet
    300 words
    Internet Addict / Vineyard / Horror
    Laura Cooney
    Optional: Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via one of the above channels for more information.

    Ruby Cabernet
    The thing was, she really didn’t see it coming.
    She should probably have seen it coming, if this had been a movie, we’d all have seen it coming, there would’ve been a music change, the camera would’ve panned in that way it does and we’d have felt it. But she had her nose in her phone and was totally absorbed.
    How many social sites are there anyway? Most people can sustain two. She had six, all six of the main sites and she was NEVER off them. Sometimes she’d be talking to the same people on two of them simultaneously, it was that bad.
    It was the fourth day of the holiday and the photos she took made it look like it was her ideal, but, if she was being honest, she wasn’t really enjoying it. Her husband Craig was avidly listening to this dude talking about Cabernet grapes and how hardy and blendable they were.…boring and pointless. It was pissing her off, though it was an Insta post waiting to happen!
    Last night he bored her ‘to death’ in the vineyard restaurant, acting like he had a clue about the wine. It was wet, it was red, that was all that mattered.
    The server had clearly noticed her, she’d liked that. Exciting! She wondered if it would lead anywhere. Tonight perhaps?
    What she hadn’t noticed, on account of the phone, was that he had followed them there. He liked the way she brushed the hair from the nape of her neck just a bit too much. Shockingly brazen, he covered her mouth and pulled her back into the vines while stabbing her in deep in her exposed belly. Looking down at the blood, he smiled. It was wet, it was red, that was all that mattered.

  4. Closed for Private Function
    299 words
    Internet Addict / Winery or Vineyard / Horror
    Galen Gower
    Yes, I’m open to derivative works, up to and including a plush figure that says things when you squeeze its foot.

    Sadie Collings took her final selfie in the wine cellar at Old Vintages Vineyard. The stairwell had been chained off with a sign that read ‘Closed for Private Function’, but Sadie never paid attention to that kind of thing. You don’t amass over three hundred thousand followers paying attention to other people’s rules, and besides, they should be thanking her for using their wine house or whatever as the setting anyway.
    She checked the angle under the one light in the room, but she didn’t like the way it made the bottom left side of her chin look too pale, so she looked around. There was a small doorway in the corner that opened into another little alcove, and she ducked through. The light in this room was better. She never stopped checking herself in the phone’s camera display as she walked. The flickering orange light in here really made her contours pop. This would be perfect. She fixed her hair and made her trademark look, then took a quick fifteen selfies. She scrolled until she found the best one. She had a stray eyelash in the one she really wanted, but EyeMax wouldn’t want their sponsored influencer showing an imperfect lash. She posted and watched her screen intently. The chimes and whooshes sounded and her brain secreted a little serotonin in response to each one. Sadie almost relaxed a little as she scanned the comments pouring in.

    DonkeyBallSack69: Cool pentagram in the background!
    BabyDoll626: those robes look sooo cheap OMGGGG!!!
    MssGrlz<3: why r those guys in your backgrnd, grl?/??
    DarkLordCthulu76: We will all serve the sunken one
    Anna2290323: u look poor….and fat.
    Prpldrnk: Want to lose 30 lbs fast?! Click here!
    Pumprdink: Is that knife real????
    dthSMCHR: she gonna b dead
    SadieFan11: <3 <3 <3 RIP

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