Greetings, flash fictioneering friends! We are pleased to announce the winner(s) of Microcosms 195!
This week, we are pleased to continue with “The Karen Cox Prize for Entertaining Short Fiction”, brought to you by Alert Terminal Warehouse.
We have another cool special announcement coming up. Check out MC 197 for deets!
MC 195 Winners!
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… Without further ado, it’s time to announce the winner(s) of MC 195!
It’s a tie! Huge congrats (and bragging rights) go to our Community Picks:
- Galen Gower
- Laura Cooney
Great job, Galen and Laura!
Community Pick Entries
As a reminder, here are the stories that won over our community!
The Dead Who Live in the Depths
Delivery Driver/ Another Time/Horror
Yes, I am open to derivative works, including macaroni art.
George watched from behind a crate as his father loaded the wagon. The parcels were long and unevenly wrapped in canvas and rope. His father grunted as the one he was loading shifted.
“Come, give us a famble, lad,” he said over his shoulder to George, though his voice was deep in his throat and gurgled. George, ever obedient, rushed over and grabbed the opposite end of the oblong parcel.
“What is it, papa?” George asked as he strained to lift his end high enough. The tarp was loose and dripped on his pants leg.
“Cnawdy y meirw sydd yn byw yn y dyfinder,” he replied, gurgling. A red-tinged bubble emerged from between his lips. As George watched, the bubble burst and coated his father’s chin.
The tarp on George’s end of the parcel unwrapped and a rough-soled foot emerged. A ragged wound leaked ichor and filth. A bite? George held his breath as it dripped on his pants leg again. His shoes were covered in the foul-smelling black mess. His father grabbed him by the shoulder.
“Into the wagon with it,” he hissed. George watched his faher’s face droop and slide with terrible fascination. This thing clamping down on his shoulder wore his father’s skin and as he gazed in mute terror, the flesh beneath the face slid and pulsed. Many eyes rolled and stared at him from under his father’s loose face.
George screamed and tore at the hand. The skin tore easily, revealing wet flesh covered in still more searching eyes underneath. George ran, still screaming, and blind in his panic until he ran into another adult. George looked up, panting, as the man’s face slid and drooped, and many eyes peered around from under it.
“Amser I ymuno a’r plantyn dyfnder,” it said.
Wants and Wishes, 2033
Delivery Driver /Another Time/Horror
Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via one of the above channels for more information. Thank You.
I can’t tell you how often things get returned when I deliver them. Pure greed orders more than it needs. Instant regret equals instant reject. At the door. It’s work for me, but I’m pragmatic, it’s the job.
I am just the delivery driver. I deliver, I process, I return.
But you see folks, I am not just anything.
I have a gift.
Sometimes, with your order, you get a little extra.
I choose 4 lucky souls a day a day and 1, well, not so much. It’s completely arbitrary. Though the rejectors almost always fall candidate for “the one.”
“The four.” get a wish. Admittedly its not perfect as, unknowing, they get the very next thing they wish for. So if someone thinks:
“I wish I had scissors handy.” they have scissors, to hand, for life.
“Oh I wish you’d shut the fuck up.” that’s a bad one.
Sometimes you get a lucky soul that waits for what they actually want; time-travel, a suitcase of money. But we’re very literal here, it’s dicey.
Sometimes all five die. It’s not ideal, just the bargain you strike with consumerism. Wants and wishes.
“The one,” Never a grey area.
Last one told me to go back to where I’d come from after I politely refused. Bosses orders
Go back I did. Hell in a handcart and I returned with my hell hound. When that dog got caught under the ladders and Brian decapitated himself with the electric shears we all knew someday, the guy his wife was fucking would wish a replacement with the ones in my van. But I can wait.
Brian’s blood spurt means a hose is more the order of the day anyway.
Listen, that’s my beeper. Gotta dash back to 2023. These deliveries don’t make themselves.
And the Judge’s Pick, and winner of this week’s $25 Karen Cox Prize for Entertaining Short Fiction, is:
Congrats, Cay! Please contact us for instructions on how to accept your prize and also let us know if you’d like to judge MC 198!
Here’s what judge Sal Page had to say:
First, a special mention for the story that taught me what a TSA Agent is. Tree Scampi Aquatics. Of course. I should’ve guessed that.
After considering several horrifying delivery drivers, I chose Submerged. Action-wise, it hits the ground running & never lets up. I liked female & fearless main character Kanna. The quality of the writing effortlessly took me into this woman’s world; always showing, never stopping to tell. I loved the Red Dwarf reminiscent humour of ‘Whatever this thing was, it probably didn’t use hairspray’. The ending shows we’re only experiencing a snippet of Kanna’s working life and we’re left speculating about what happens next.
HUGE thanks to Sal for judging this week!
Judge’s Pick Entry
As a reminder, here is the story that won over our judge!
TSA Agent / Ocean Depths / Action
Yes, I am open to derivative works.
Through the murky water, all Kanna could see was the glow of bioluminescent aliens with their wing-like fins and scaled beaks. Kanna’s breath fogged up the bubble around her head. Her tough suit numbed her hands from the metal rope. Using the line to tow her body through the deep, thick liquid, she finally arrived at the submarine. It was human-made. The hatch was open, so she climbed inside.
Thick algae already grew on the walls and lit up the sub. If the submarine was abandoned how had it driven itself back to the underwater port? She postponed the question and did her job, scanning the sub for any TSA violations.
Then, one hit her right in the head. Just like the scanners in the underwater submarine port, alarms went off in Kanna’s head. She turned, as fast as she could in the clunky suit. Oily aerosol leaked out of the hairspray can in brown bubbles. In front of Kanna the sonar dome that resembled a giant wiffle ball pulsed. Wrapped around it, there was an alien with striped tentacles and curled antlers. Whatever that thing was, it probably didn’t use hairspray. So, what had happened to the humans? Karma for sneaking that past TSA, Kanna thought.
Kanna dodged a tentacle reaching for her face. Suction cups attached themselves to her right foot. The pulse, which made a whale-like noise, was not coming from the sonar, but from the alien. As Kanna struggled, the creature reeled her in. Another echolocation pulse rippled through the water. This one carried a message.
“Abandoned. Answers. Come with me.”
Kanna kicked her foot free and swam towards the door. Then she stopped. “Fine. But if my supervisor asks me where I went, I’m saying it was an alien abduction.”
The submarine lurched forward.