Greetings, flash fictioneering friends! We are pleased to announce the winners of Microcosms 199!
This week, we are pleased to continue with “The Karen Cox Prize for Entertaining Short Fiction”, brought to you by Alert Terminal Warehouse.
Be sure to check out MC 100micro1 – our first ever quarterly contest! Submissions are open through 30 September 2023.
MC 199 Winners!
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… Without further ado, it’s time to announce the winner(s) of MC 199!
It’s a tie! Huge congrats (and bragging rights) go to our Community Pick:
Great job, Laura!
Community Pick Entries
As a reminder, here is the story that won over our community!
The LAST Thing You Want Is To Be Stuck In A Confined Space With A Glaswegian Fishwife Of Any Lineage.
This was all Helena needed, tonight was the event of the year and here she was stuck in a lift. Her Manolo Blahniks, unboxed, her little black dress Gucci, and hardly there.
All of London society would be in City Hall, including the rich desperate old men and the rich, naive, young men, both equalling perfect pickings. And… Here. She. Was. Stuck, in a fucking lift!
She pressed the button, expecting a voice. But not this one, it crackled like nicotine throat on a pensioner outside A and E.
“Whit?” The grainy, electronic and certainly Glaswegian voice spat from the control panel.
“Aw right, is this a London lift hen? We’ve been having proablims, hang oan and I’ll git the right programme.”
There was momentary static and then the voice rasped again.
“That isnae workin’, yer stuck wi me doll. Whits the problem? Ye stuck?”
Helena looked at the panel- Liftatron 3000, she’d heard of these in a blog somewhere. The A.I system that controlled them was ancient and there had been these glitchy faults developing. People had been stuck for days and when they did get out they were…changed. She’d thought it was a lot of attention seeking nonsense, but now she wasn’t so sure.
“Sorry fir afore, I’m having an awfie night of it here. Ma brothers wife just left her and the three weans. Ma man has been at the bookies since 2pm yisterday an-all, no seen him since.”
Helena had heard that when they got stuck on Fishwife Mode there was nothing you could do to make them stop talking. Faults? This one was having a breakdown. Now it was depressive and talking about it’s loose dentures. Helena sat down, slipping off her heels, this was going to be a long night.
And the Judge’s Pick, and winner of this week’s $50 (doubled by the judge!) Karen Cox Prize for Entertaining Short Fiction, is:
- Galen Gower
Congrats, Galen! Please contact us for instructions on how to accept your prize and also let us know if you’d like to judge MC 202!
Here’s what judge Sophie H. Sigrafys had to say:
I was impressed and overwhelmed by the abundance of imagination in this competition. After much careful consideration and re-reading all these wonderful stories, I’ve chosen “Montgomery” as the winner. From the moment it opened and throughout the story I felt like I was pulled into a present moment and living it rather than reading it. So much emotion evoked in so few words is truly a talent, and I loved its portrayal of the empathy we can still have with people long in the past combined with the bleakness we also feel looking back. Overall, it was a very human story and I would 100% read more if it was a snippet in a book.
As for special mentions, I’d like to bring up “Career Killer” and “The LAST Thing You Want Is To Be Stuck In A Confined Space With a Glaswegian Fishwife of Any Lineage.” The first was delightfully witty and I enjoyed the dialogue. As for the second, I could already tell it was a great story from the title! (Very Riordan-esque). I could clearly hear the Glaswegian dialect in my head and Helena’s acceptance of the ordeal at the end solidified my liking of her character.
All of the stories for this section of the competition were fantastic! For those I didn’t mention, I still enjoyed reading them and laughed out loud to a few. Everyone did an amazing job!
HUGE thanks to Sophie for judging – and also for paying forward their winnings to double the prize for this week!
Judge’s Pick Entry
As a reminder, here is the story that won over our judge!
Journalist / City Street / SciFi
Yes, I am open to derivative works, including shadows on a cave wall and the ensuing debate about the nature of reality relative to our ability to understand it.
Everyone is dead.
The whole street is choked with cars, but they are all silent. After clearing enough dirt to see inside the first few, I stopped looking. What am I going to do for them? They’ve been dead.
“Hello?” The echo of my question reverberates. I hear it again and again.
I spent the first hour finding the bus, and then I started wandering aimlessly. Martin has been climbing to get establishing shots. I didn’t think it would be this eerie. I feel on guard, though I already know there’s nothing here.
I walk and Martin lands on my shoulder without slowing his rotors. He chirps as the transfer completes and he’s off again, getting more video. He swoops and dives between the cars. I’ll review his video later. The somber quiet makes me pensive.
I’ll use AR to add in the people. A bustling metropolis. The struggle and promise of an equal future.
I’ll have to get Martin to research the styles and speech patterns. Realism. Verisimilitude. The facts are important. I’d really like to hear their voices myself, but not even temporal shielding changes anything.
“The past is always dead,” I say. This time there’s no echo.
Records indicate this period of American history was one of dissent. Turmoil. Tumultuous social upheaval. People died to be seen as whole. Human.
We started this project thinking we could just step into their reality and interact with them, but they’ve been dead. The past stays dead no matter where you step into it.
On a whim, I pushed the door of the bus open and sat down next to her. I imagined the driver’s outrage. She must have been scared. I would have held her hand.
I wish I could say things have changed.