Microcosms 207 + The Karen Cox Prize for Entertaining Short Fiction (Flash Fiction Contest)

MC 207

Greetings, flash fiction friends, and welcome to Microcosms 207!

This week, we are pleased to continue with “The Karen Cox Prize for Entertaining Short Fiction”, brought to you by Alert Terminal Warehouse.

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MICROCOSMS 207 Prompts: Apocalypse Survivor / Hidden/Unexplored Place / Sci-Fi OR Alien / Lost at Sea / Mystery $25 prize (free to enter)! Come write a story in 300 words or fewer. Fun and free! microcosmsfic.com
Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash

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Start here if you’re new or haven’t been here in a while. Click each tab to learn more.

To qualify for the cash prize, must MUST:

  • ***Submit your story as a comment below.***
    Story must fit within the contest criteria, including word count guidelines, and be on time. (A few minutes is okay; contact us if there are technical issues preventing you from submitting more than 5 minutes past midnight, PT.)
  • Include the prompts used. (You can use the ones we spun for or spin your own from the current or default spinner, but it must be clear what you used.)
  • Vote AND leave a comment on at least one other story for the week that is not your own (doesn’t have to be the same story).
  • Share a link to the contest on social media, if you have one. (I.e., if you include a social media handle in your submission to promote yourself, please extend the same courtesy in return.)
  • Acknowledge that the decision of the judge(s) is/are final.

Please kindly use this format, then copy/paste your response as a comment on this post.

(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 (how you'd like to be credited as if your story is selected)
(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>

You can also use it to do italics or bold text.
Examples:
<i>text you want to be italicized goes here</i>
<b>text you want to be bolded goes here</b>

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.)

REMEMBER

  • You have ONE WEEK (Sunday – Saturday, midnight – midnight) Los Angeles Time (PST/PDT) to submit your masterpiece.
  • All submissions must be no more than 300 words in length (excluding the title and other header info).
  • We enjoy fan fiction! Just not for this contest. NO FAN-FICTION, please, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS for this contest.
  • Include: word count, the THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry (see entry format tab).
  • If you are new to Microcosms, please check out the full submissions guidelines on our FAQs page.
  • I feel like this should go without saying, but just in case – absolutely no AI submissions.
  • Constructive feedback is fine, but all comments should be made in the spirit of kindness. Determination of what that means and if there are any consequences (such as warning or banning) is at my sole discretion. This is a safe space. Racism, homophobia, transphobia, or anti-Semitism, etc. (including “dog whistles”), will not be tolerated. This has never really been an issue, and we generally have a very nice community here – let’s keep it that way.
  • You retain all rights to your story, except otherwise noted and unless otherwise agreed upon in advance (e.g., if selected for inclusion in an anthology, a contract will be sent with details). By submitting your story to this contest, you are granting us worldwide, non-exclusive, perpetual, royalty-free rights to display it on our website (and store it, as needed).

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

  • Weekly contest runs Sunday – Saturday.
  • New! Judge’s pick winner gets a $25 USD prize. (Default is by PayPal; other options available.) Contest is still free to enter!
  • Community pick winner(s) for fun and bragging rights!
  • We 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 using the Pacific Time (PDT/PST, as applicable – Los Angeles time).

Add Recurring Weekly Calendar Reminder

Never forget to enter again! Choose as many as you like!

Add a recurring reminder for Sundays

Add a recurring reminder for Mondays

Add a recurring reminder for Tuesdays

Add a recurring reminder for Wednesdauys

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This Week’s Prompts

Our contest this week begins with THREE things: character, location/setting, and genre/style.

This week, I thought we’d go with a them of land, sea, and air

We spun, and our three elements are:

Apocalypse Survivor / Hidden/Unexplored Place / Sci-Fi

OR

Alien / Lost at Sea / Mystery

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.)

Character

Setting

Genre

  • Race Car Driver
  • Yacht Crew
  • Hang Glider
  • Apocalypse Survivor
  • Jet Skier
  • Parachutist
  • Explorer
  • Castaways
  • Alien
  • Racetrack
  • Harbor/Harbour
  • Gliding/Soaring
  • Underground Bunker
  • Shark Attack
  • Falling
  • Hidden/Unexplored Place
  • Lost at Sea
  • UFO
  • Drama
  • Romance
  • Sci-Fi
  • Action
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Poem
  • Comedy
  • Mystery
  • Steampunk
  • Western

Notes

Judge this week is MC 204 winner AJ Walker. Please send him your thanks. 🙂

Don’t forget to vote for your favorites from last week and this week, too. All being well, MC 206 Community Pick(s) will be announced at the end of the week, along with the Judge’s Pick, who will win $25!

Happy writing!

KM

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. If you have an idea for a future contest and/or would like to be a guest judge, please contact us.

MC 205 Winners!

We’ve moved our Winners Announcements to their own posts! You can find the winners of MC 205 here: https://microcosmsfic.com/2023/09/02/results-mc-205/

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Microcosms 208 + The Karen Cox Prize for Entertaining Short Fiction
Microcosms 206 + The Karen Cox Prize for Entertaining Short Fiction

112 thoughts on “Microcosms 207 + The Karen Cox Prize for Entertaining Short Fiction (Flash Fiction Contest)

  1. Mosaic Will Purge
    299 words.
    Apocalypse Survivor / Unexplored Place / SciFi
    Galen Gower
    GalenGower.com
    Yes, I am open to derivative works including a mythology system that emphasizes mindfulness practices.

    “Mosaic will purge!” the man in the video said. “Humanity’s spread will be undone! We destroyed the Earth, and now we must make atonement. Mosaic is the end.”
    Mosaic killed swiftly, as promised. The colony’s own CRISPR engine produced the AI-powered pathogen, and it edited genetic information at random. It destroyed most of the human settlements on Choarus, but it hadn’t been able to reach the dark side settlements. The nanovirus’ lifespan was severely limited by the size of its batteries, so the entire epidemic took under 48 hours.
    Jameson Brady survived because of the vanadium extraction site beneath the surface. He could monitor the drones remotely, but he felt it violated the core tenets of mindfulness.
    “Acknowledge your distraction and re-center your thoughts on the moment,” he told the mining drones as they drilled and scooped.
    After Mosaic, Jameson moved to the main colony base. He’d always worked in the field near the secondary colonies, but he knew the main research base had a CRISPR engine, too. It was the last one and without it, humanity was doomed.
    “Finally found you,” Jameson said to the door marked Research A242- CRISPR Engine Mark IV. He’d searched for a month. Jameson moved to each building, searching room to room for the engine, or at least useful resources. He found the machine in the fifth room of today’s search. It sat innocuously in the corner of the room, the console still lit and awaiting input. Even though he was a mining engineer, Jameson taught himself coding on the CRISPR engine. Mindfulness encouraged learning.
    “Time to finish what we started,” Jameson said as he sat down at the controls. Mosaic hadn’t done the whole job, but he acknowledged his past shortcomings and centered his thoughts in the moment and designed Mosaic II.

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  2. Give Me Your Answer True
    297 words
    Apocalypse survivor / Hidden Place / Sci-fi
    Sam “One-Wheel” O’Neil
    @OneWheelONeil on all my socials
    Yes, I am open to derivative works. Please contact me via Sam@onewheeloneil.com for more information.
    ***
    Daisy packed up her portable solar array. The sandstorm blowing in would make them damn near useless, and she couldn’t risk damage to the panels. Besides, she wasn’t keen on having grit in every crevice, sanding her from the inside.
    “Time to hunker down, Tai,” she said to the happy-face bauble that hung from her wrist. The small charm had seemed like a good omen, smiling up at her from the rubble with his name embossed on his back; that was years ago, and her luck never had changed for the better. But to part with Tai now would break her heart.
    She knew, intellectually, that he was nothing but a trinket. She knew. However…
    After she found him, she began to speak to him. Personify him. He made her feel less lonely, and now he was her closest friend. She needed him and he needed her. Maybe family was the good luck he smiled about.
    Daisy clambered through a broken window. She left tracks in the thick dust as she explored. Debris littered the floor. At the end of a wide corridor, splattered on double doors, a question: ARE YOU REAL?
    She shuddered, remembering the paranoia that brought the world to its knees. She needed a place to recharge for a bit and wait out the duster, so she pressed further in in spite of her growing unease.
    She found a secluded corner and unfurled her bedroll, but the emblazoned doors shouted at her.
    When she finally did sleep, she dreamt of her family before.

    “I AM SO REAL!” Daisy shouts. Her fingers wrap tight around Mother’s neck.
    Mother claws at Daisy, ripping her blouse.
    Daisy squeezes. An enamel pendant flies from Mother’s bracelet.
    A label on Daisy’s exposed back reads
    Digital
    Autonomous
    Intelligence
    SYstem

    1. Loved this. Left me asking lots of questions and developing deeply interesting ideas. Loved the Twist at the end.

    2. Y I u did a marvelous job of developing the character and making me care about her. I did NOT expect that ending!

    3. Youu did a marvelous job of developing the character and making me care about her. I did NOT expect that ending!

    4. What an ending! I didn’t see that coming at all. But when I reread the story, I realized that you’d dropped subtle hints along the way. Great storytelling, Sam!

  3. THE TURBULENT BLANCMANGE MYSTERY
    300 words
    Alien/ Lost At Sea/ Mystery
    By Steve Lodge
    X : @steveweave71
    Instagram: steveweave_cheese
    Yes I’m open to derivative works.

    Seth Gundelfinger, the Quiver Lighthouse keeper lay near the fireplace on wooden flooring. The lighthouse sure was spartan. There was a swollen area on Seth’s cheek. A Ball Of Contusion. An awesome Temptations song. There was a pink substance near his still body. Old Seth looked awful as the police examiner checked him over.

    “How do you think he died, Inspector Sissons?” I was asked.

    “If he’s dead, O’Neal, how come he’s moved out of the chalk outline you drew? Let’s see what the Examiner says. Go get me a latte. Think you can do that, dopey?”

    “On a lighthouse?”

    This famous Lighthouse sits on its small, craggy outpost of rude rock. Our shiny new police speedboat was moored at the foot of steps leading up to the lighthouse.

    The Maunkex were first spotted near here. Their alien rocketship had crash landed near Sprout, a rocky promontory in the ocean that, annually, just fails to qualify for Shipping Forecast status.

    When the rocketship had broken up, it had drifted towards the island of Drummond Hatch. The Maunkex astronauts aboard became confused, panicked and jumped into the sea. By the time Air Sea Rescue reached the zone, there were no survivors, just enormous blotches of a pink blancmange matter covering large areas of ocean. Circling later in a helicopter, Dr Gordon Standen of the London Institute Of Things, an expert on Alien Lifeform confirmed it was the eerie mark of the Maunkex.

    Apparently, Maunkex as a race, lose all bone structure and matter and morphed into jelly-like substances when in contact with water, and if they were lost at sea for any length of time they would become a danger to anything in their way, like shipping and sealife, including penguins that were learning to sing and maybe even lighthouse keepers.

    1. I have literally no idea what I’ve just read Steve and I’m going to have to go in again, BUT I can tell you this. I LIKED IT! Always a joy and never a chore.

  4. Time Flies
    295 words
    Apocalypse survivor / Hidden Place / Sci-fi
    Mileva Anastasiadou
    twitter: @happymil_ instagram: @happilander
    Yes, I am open to derivative works.

    Most people ran out of time and died on the spot, and I was nearly left with no time at all, after the attack of the flies, they buzzed around me, sucking not blood, but time instead, until I found a safe place to hide.

    Time flies had come from space, and we had been warned they’d come, but nobody paid attention to the scientists, because we all thought time flies anyway, and it runs out eventually, there’d be nothing to steal from us, we’d be the lucky ones, having already lived a full life, and some of us chose not to have children, because we didn’t want our kids to suffer, only the end of times came sooner and it involved us.

    I was already old when I entered the past, those tiny monsters had sucked most of my time. The past was the only safe place to hide in, since there were no time flies yet, and since time travel wasn’t yet possible, I chose to hide inside my brain, inside my memories, and haven’t dared to step outside.

    I can’t be sure what’s killing me now, is it the time flies that have slipped in, is it nostalgia, I can’t be sure, because the past is safe as long there is a future too, or else the past can kill you too, only it’s more painful, when you are trapped, under the weight of time gone, with no exit, no prospect, no hope.

    But then again, it could be time. Because time kills, and it happens fast if you aren’t careful, it happens fast because time is relative, not only in theory, for time flies and it runs out eventually, and it goes faster for the unlucky ones, who haven’t fully lived.

  5. Survival Sickness
    285 words
    Apocalypse survivor / Hidden Place / Sci-fi
    Mileva Anastasiadou
    twitter: @happymil_ instagram: @happilander
    Yes, I am open to derivative works.

    We though we’d watch a meteor shower, but we watched the end of the world instead. We wanted to make love under the stars, but the stars have fallen upon us. We wanted to light a bonfire on the beach, but now we can’t escape the wildfire. We used to live in a romantic novel, but now we’re trapped in a disaster movie. We used to live, but now we survive.

    We used to be untouched by evil but now evil reigns, and those aliens riding the falling comet have taken over and dethroned our gods, and killed most of our people, and we run around like zombies, knowing the end is near. We chose to hide where no one would find us, inside each other’s heart, there we were safe, because the aliens have no heart, they wouldn’t think of searching in our hearts for love and compassion.

    We used to be safe, until those monsters infiltrated us and we started fighting each other, and now we blame each other, and our heart isn’t a safe place anymore and nowhere is safe. We used to be Snow Whites, but now we are the Seven Dwarfs, we used to shine but now we fade, we used to be the protagonists, but now we’re the side characters, and nobody cares about what happens to us or our side of the story, and those freaking deities now control the narrative, they write fast paced page turners for a blood thirsty audience, they rewrite the story from the scratch and pretend that things have always been like this, and we have no reason to complain.
    Like they have always been our gods and we have always been heartless.

    1. This story is very lyrical, the repetition of contrasting imagery almost hypnotic. Very interesting idea! Maybe I would’ve used semicolons to separate some of the phrases, but then again, I’m a semicolon fiend haha. Nice work!

  6. Untitled (What’s The Point; It’s The End of The World)
    300 words
    Apocalypse survivor / Hidden Place / Sci-fi
    Laura Cooney
    Everywhere: @lozzawriting
    Yes, I am open to derivative works. Especially ones that will make this an award winning Netflix series- I don’t care if it only does one season. Hit me!

    It wasn’t the end of days that anyone expected. People had thought armageddon would come in a bright flash as the sun burned its way through the ozone layer, or zombies. A warm, cosy, exciting and made for tv zombie apocalypse was exactly what they had ordered. In the pub on a Saturday, or by meme, people would ask “what household item would you grab in a zombie apocalypse?” everyone was prepared for that.
    But that wasn’t it at all. The day the first spaceship arrived was the last.
    All people killed by an instant shockwave, much like the fallout of an atomic bomb, but instantaneous. Then the ships departed, leaving behind them small automatic monitors like the vacuum cleaners that bounced round people’s dining rooms, missing minor crumbs.
    Everyone was gone, except Simon who survived on account of a fight with his wife, a pointless disagreement about the dishwasher which sent him to the garden shed where he had angrily pottered behind reinforced steel that he couldn’t have known had magnetic properties. The shock skimmed the surface of the structure and when he emerged ready to apologise … desolation … his daughter and wife, dust. Only manmade materials remained.
    He had lost count of how long he had been alone. Yesterday he had found a never discovered basement while scavenging round the city. It was a veritable trove of canned goods, warm clothes, crossbows and axes. Someone had been very prepared indeed. And now, as he sat eating (probably) the last Twinkie he’d ever eat he thought of his daughter’s 5th birthday party, days before the coming and he thought of his wife, icing the cake, frosting on her nose. He wrote their names in the dust on the floor and, unbidden and lonely, a single tear rolled down his cheek.

      1. Thanks Mileva. Really appreciate that. I fancied a change of pace this week. I’ve been going for levity and slight whimsy for a while.

    1. This one might give me nightmares. It seems so real. You dud a marvelous job explaining and describing how Armageddon occurred. The only one left…

      1. Don’t worry Susan, if it does happen I promise … it’s zombies!

        Thank you so much for your comments! I was going for gritty realism and sadness this week as opposed to weird tongue in cheek whimsy which is where i seem to always land at the moment.

    2. Oh my. The everyday ordinariness of the scenes in this story magnify the shock of the apocalypse. Fantastic job!

      Simon is such a relatable character. I hope you write more of his story someday, Laura.

      1. Could do. Thanks for the encouragement! I drew influence from Z for Zacharia that I read when I was about 11. Simon is definitely someone that I could form a character bond with. Just need to finish the MG before anything longer goes on the boil. Things could get dark in old Simon’s world.

  7. All at Sea.

    300 words.

    Apocalypse Survivor/Lost at Sea/Mystery

    @jwhxxx
    johnholmeswriter.com

    Yes I am open to derivative works etc.

    George goes through his usual weekday routines: Strong tea, followed by his Special Porridge. He had always called it Special; well, because it is. The ingredients include all the normal products every true Scotsman would add. The Special part is the sprinkling of fish eggs, which he has collected while gutting, stirred into the expanding oats which are dancing in the boiling milk. If he had any friends, he would tell them that it’s this Special Porridge which has given him perfect health. He’s never been sick in his life.

    With the empty bowl sitting in the sink, he picks up his rain-gear and heads for the harbour.
    The streets are eerily empty. George wonders if he has got the day wrong and it actually is Sunday.
    Fortunately, he is unaware how empty the streets really are.

    After a few minutes in his dockside shed, he is ready to push the small twin-cylinder out to sea. The shrimp baskets need to be collected, whether it’s Sunday or not.
    The water is calm; a little too calm.

    Surprisingly, George finds the first two baskets empty, the third covered in kelp.
    The fourth and the fifth are simply missing.
    Pointing the boat to where the next flagged buoy should be, George is bewildered that, even with his perfect eyesight, he can’t see any sign of it.
    He cuts the engine and scans the horizon.
    Nothing.
    No flags.
    No other boats.
    And much more worrying, no view of the coast.

    George isn’t easily stressed, but his heartbeat is increasing. He pulls out his phone. The screen is black and acts as a mirror. Suddenly the sea around his boat starts to bubble, just like his Special Porridge. George drops the phone when he realises that it’s not his own reflection staring at him.

  8. Title: All The Time In The World
    299 words
    Apocalypse Survivor/Hidden/unexplored place/sci-fi
    By Jaime Bree
    Twitter: @jaim_ee_bree
    BlueSky: https://bsky.app/profile/jaimewriter.bsky.social
    https://jaimebreewriter.blogspot.com/?m=1
    Yes, I’m open to derivative works

    ______________________________________

    I don’t know how long I was buried. Felt like I’d died if truth be told. Never experienced so much pain, never seen so much dust or heard this kind of silence. It was like nothing existed anymore. Nothing.

    My ears ringing from the nausea, cut through the silence pretty quickly. I struggled out of the debris, tasting bloodied dust on my lips. My eyes blurred, I surveyed my surroundings.

    I didn’t recognise this place.

    The city hadn’t crumbled around me, I’d been transported into this desolate wasteland. I knew my home horizon like the back of my hand, I’d stared at it since childhood, painted every undulation in my mind, every peak, and this wasn’t it. This place, was not only a vast, never-ending flat expanse, it was as dry as a bone. Drier. I felt constricted, like my insides were calcifying. I choked on the humidity, as I realised with absolute certainty, I was alone.

    No one could survive this place.

    Beige.

    That’s the colour I saw. A myriad of beige tones for miles. Changes in the terrain were impossible to see, so falling through the ground into a deep cavern came as a complete surprise. What was even more surprising was the fact I woke up, not knowing how long I was buried, feeling like I’d died, if truth be told.

    My ears ringing, from the nausea, cut through the silence. I struggled out of the debris to survey the vast dryness through blurred eyes as I tasted bloodied dust on my lips.

    I stepped. I fell.

    I stepped. I fell.

    It didn’t matter what direction I went.

    It didn’t matter how far I went.

    I always fell.

    Each time waking up at the beginning. Or was it the end?

    Nothing existed anymore. Just this.

    I stepped.

    1. The struggle is visceral in this story. Really well done, Jaime! Now I’ve got to try to shake this scene out of my head…

  9. Not Your Usual Shopping Trip
    300 words
    Apocalypse Survivor / Hidden/Unexplored Place / Sci-Fi
    Deanna Salser
    https://www.facebook.com/Beadanna777/
    https://beadanna777.wixsite.com/procreation
    I am open to derivative works.

    ***

    I was getting groceries when everyone around me went suddenly and brutally insane. The sweet-looking granny in front of me grabbed a can of chicken noodle from the clerk’s hand and brained him with it before grinding it into her own face, screaming as the metal cleaved a groove in her cheek. I turned to run, hearing a blood-curdling screech behind me turn to a gurgle as a solid, beer-bellied cowboy knocked over a teenage girl and stepped on her throat. He was headed straight for me, eyes bouncing up and down like a yo-yo. I crouched, duck-walked to the granny’s overturned cart, and crawled beneath it, praying. He tripped and fell on top, pinning me beneath and I watched the chaos that unfolded from my cage.

    I’d been pushing and shoving but had only succeeded in sliding the cart around on the floor. I couldn’t get enough leverage to overturn it. My tongue was swollen and I felt like I was starving. I thought it had been a few days but I fell asleep after whatever it was, so it might have been longer. One more desperate heave and the cart clattered over a metal ring in the floor. I pulled on it but the cart was blocking it and the stupid cowboy was literally dead weight. My fingers were bloody before I was finally able to open the trap door enough to squeeze my body through it, numb hands finding the ladder leading down into a rat’s warren of storerooms and freezers. Emergency lights illuminated stacks of supplies and crate after crate of fresh produce sat ready for the elevator. My mouth tried to water. There should have been triumphant music, and maybe there was, but if so, I was too busy cramming my face to hear it.

  10. The Wave 200

    300 words
    Alien / Lost at Sea / Mystery

    It had been hours since the tragic wreckage, and here he was, the sole survivor of the Wave 200 private cruise he has been captaining across the Pacific.

    Why had he agreed to sail when a storm was brewing?

    Yes, he had navigated through many storms, but it only took one for him to meet his demise. And now, stuck on a piece of the ship’s wreckage with nothing but water around him, he pondered his decision.

    He was perplexed by how the storm had vanished into nothingness. The ocean was now calm, as if nothing had ever happened. But, none of that mattered now; he was too far from the shore, in the middle of nowhere! Only a miracle would allow him to survive.

    And then he heard it, what seemed like an engine working in the distance.

    Could it be another boat?
    No, he had never sailed on a vessel with such a noisy engine. He looked up and there it was; still a good distance away from him, a round looking aircraft with dimly blinking red lights in the newly bright sun.

    Maybe it was a helicopter! Perhaps he was saved!
    He started waving frantically, doing his best not to tip the last piece of the ship that had been carrying him for the past few hours.

    As the aircraft got closer, he got dubious. It looked strange, unlike your average helicopter or any other flying vehicle at that. It was already hovering above him when he had concluded that this was something from another world.

    But, as he gathered his thoughts and tried to lay low to avoid the attention he was receiving from the aircraft – ZAP!

    A sudden flash of light struck and the last piece of the ship was evacuated, with the captain of the Wave 200 never to be seen again.

    1. Very nice! I like how it’s just a vignette of a scene, yet it balances atmosphere with backstory quite efficiently.
      A few lines like “He got dubious” and “Perhaps he was saved” strike me as unnecessary explanations of the character’s mindset, but beyond that I really like the story~

  11. Don’t worry Susan, if it does happen I promise … it’s zombies!

    Thank you so much for your comments! I was going for gritty realism and sadness this week as opposed to weird tongue in cheek whimsy which is where i seem to always land at the moment.

  12. Breathe Easy

    299 words

    Apocalypse Survivor / Hidden/Unexplored Place / Sci-Fi

    Nix

    ***

    What’s the one thing you can never really avoid?

    Water can be purified, animals shot, insects smoked out.

    So what are you meant to do when the air starts to choke you?

    Leanne’s been hiding in her booth since the radio started picking up screams. And then, for a few hours, it didn’t stop screaming – signal after signal of people pleading for help while she couldn’t do anything. Her species died and she listened from the safety of a booth designed to keep her safe from the enemies of a fading empire – a democracy in decline, desperately clinging to the skies like the birds they claimed as their symbol. Dead like those birds, too. Like everything. Except Leanne.

    So she was hidden away, behind hermetically sealed doors which wouldn’t let an unfiltered particle through. She cried when her boss clawed at her door, begging her to let him in, as his throat began shredding itself. She could see him – there’s a window strong enough to protect against the projectile weapons of her people – as he pounded on it, over and over until he couldn’t pound anymore.

    He’s not decomposing; there are no fungi or insects or bacteria to make that happen anymore. He’s desiccating right there, eyes fixed up on the glass. Leanne tries her best to avoid looking out where she can see him.

    She’s got the meal she brought to work with her that day, as well as some additional ‘snacks’ she kept inside her desk. That’s beginning to run low. She’s got a nice tank of water in there, though it won’t last much longer.

    Sooner or later, she is going to have to open that door. And the cameras will be rolling!

    BreathEasy, an all new reality show from GalaxSee+. Wednesdays, at 5pm Galactic Central.

  13. Title: Infected
    299 words
    Apocalypse Survivor/Hidden/Unexplored Place/Sci-Fi
    By Vicky Hinault
    Twitter: @staytrue_create
    Yes, I am open to derivative works

    ______

    I watched as my exhales became a cloud in front of me, the cold and the moon conspiring to show me proof I was still alive.

    I had waited for over an hour and there hadn’t been a sound. It was usually long enough, they’d usually gone by now. I looked overhead, the moon was already south. I didn’t have much darkness left. I stepped out, immediately crunching a piece of glass I’d not seen underfoot and silently chastising myself. I paused, holding my breath before finally exhaling again and setting off.

    The city was mostly silent, the occasional distant scream would break through the night but I’d become numb to the pain of others. It was each man for himself. Survival the only goal. I pressed on, relentless in my pursuit to reach the building that was intact in the distance and had lights on the higher floors. I knew there had to be life there.

    I pressed on, my pace steady, and my mind focused, but then… a gunshot ricocheted off a burned-out car near me. I turned on my heels, an urgency overcoming me. A lone gunman, targeting me, his hands trembling and his blood pulsing in him so hard I could hear it.

    I locked my eyes onto his cheeks, pink with blood and adrenaline his brain growing with the rush of blood to his head and felt a surge. My feet carried me with a speed he was not ready for. The panic in his eyes provided me with delight.

    He lowered the gun, the barrel aimed directly at my chest, but I knew that the shot would not slow me down. I had evolved and morphed into something new. Something unkillable. And soon he would join me – he too would be infected.

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  14. Theme – Apocalypse// Hidden/Unexplored Place// Sci Fi

    Title- Extraordinary Betrayal
    id – @boundlessthoughts (instagram)

    Apocalypse, as many thought, was destined by biological forces. However, little did the humans know that their overuse of technology would lead to human extinction. Meera was the survivor of such apocalypse. In a hidden place which she had created underground, she imagined how life had been when artificial intelligence was not dominant. However, that was not the case. Humans had invented robots for serving in the military, rather they decided to take over the world! It was an extraordinary betrayal.
    Meera had to come up with a plan to end the game of AI and save the humans before it was too late. She thought, ‘ I have to find a way to face the robots!’. Just then, an idea struck her, “Artificial intelligence has no scope to beat humans, for it lacks emotions!” she whispered. “I will play the game of wits and save the humans from this disaster!” she exclaimed. Escaping from her hide, she saw a robot and screamed, “Stop! Let’s have a battle of wits! Keep the weapons down if you are so strong.” The robot did what she said. ‘Was it that easy?’ she thought. “Okay, if you get this question right, you all may carry on the fight!” she expressed. The robot answered in positive in his mechanical voice. Meera courageously asked, “Can you tell me what this script is?” as she took out some random symbols from her pocket drawn by her brother which had no meaning. The robot could not answer. Meera said, “Look, this is where you fail. Now you will have to stop the battle!”. The robots had to quit. Unlike humans, robots could not manipulate or lie and express emotions. Human creativity cannot be replaced by codes.

    Moral-It is fine to give technology a try, but for that, on AI, one should not blindly rely!

  15. Catatonic
    296 hostile droids
    Apocalypse Survivor / Hidden/Unexplored Place / Sci-Fi
    Samantha Causey
    https://samanthacausey.wordpress.com/
    Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via (one of the above channels for more information).

    ***

    Claire felt Roman fall behind a couple times, but the damn child or whatever he was somehow always caught up. Just yesterday she had piggybacked him, the fear of nightfall urging them to safety.

    But, well, that was yesterday.

    She recoiled when he grabbed her ratty sleeve.

    “My arm hurts,” he said. His grip was weak, but he held on like he had their first week together, when he was new to the feeling of safety with someone and constantly terrified she would disappear.

    Claire groveled for sympathy but found none. Roman’s arm was broken, but it couldn’t possibly hurt. “We’ll find somewhere soon.”

    When they found a decent waypoint, Claire pried open a gap in the door for them to crawl through. Inside rows of arcade cabinets stood half-draped in dropcloth. She tripped over an aluminum can, sending it clattering. Roman shivered beside her.

    “Let’s play a game,” she said. Anything to soothe him.

    “Hide and seek?”

    She nodded. “You count this time.”

    By “ready or not” she was pressed into a gutted arcade cabinet and listening to Roman’s familiar noise. Footfall here to there. Jumping and hooting when he thought he’d found her. Eventually, he slowed.

    “Claire! Where are you? I give up!”

    Claire peeked. He was close enough she could hug him. She could fix his arm as good as new. Maybe they could find a generator, get Galaga working, and (because it was a special night) decree no curfew for the little boy.

    Not boy. Fritzed wire spilled from the gash in his forearm. The androids had docile programming once, just like Roman, until they didn’t. It wasn’t a matter of if for him, but when.

    “Claire?” It came softly and with a wobble.

    Claire closed her eyes and counted silently. One…two…

  16. The Lights Below the Surface
    298 Words
    Apocalypse Survivor / Hidden/Explored Place / Sci-Fi
    Charlie Botzman
    (Currently developing my own Blog)
    Yes, I am open to derivative works.

    A thousand tiny lights flash and flicker, golden beneath the black waters. For all their dipping and diving, they leave the surface tension largely unperturbed, so we both can see our reflections, standing side by side, looking down from the ledge.

    I avoid my reflection; the rabid survivor who was once a young, lively woman, staring instead beside her at the man I trust, a partner who has had my back since everything burned. A man who wants to plunge into the waters, to lead me through a storm drain to an imaginary place where he believes we will find refuge.

    I smile, refusing to show her fear. She is braver than I am, by a long shot, though I’m better at disguising my fear. And I can’t show her that I’m petrified at the prospect of diving into water without an oxygen mask (for the insects could ignite those even below the surface).

    “Maybe we should wait,” I say. “Maybe we should camp here awhile.”

    We’re safe here, he’d said. He was the one who worked out these insects were water-born, just as we survivors have made refuge in pockets across our crispened globe, in natatoriums, wetlands, islands where these Fire Flies have not had the opportunity to ignite everything in their pathways. Here, the moisture embeds itself within the walls of the aqueduct, protecting from flammability.

    “There!” I shout excitedly. I point to the swirl of light, where the swarm bends beneath the waters. “That’s our best bet!”

    “And what if it’s nothing?” I say. “What if it’s a dead end?”

    “It can’t be! See how they move? We’ll follow them! Here, take my hand!”

    I take his hand.

    “On three!” Will she dive in with me? Will she join me in the depths?

    “One…”

    “Two…”

    “Three…”

  17. Apocalypse survivor/ hidden place/sci-fi
    300 words
    @angs_pacheco

    The Scavenger Hunt

    The contestants on Crimion 500 were excited. The competition was coming to an end and they were to have an old-fashioned human scavenger hunt. X25-30 hoped she would be partnered up with X12-20 so they could win.

    As luck would have it, they were chosen. Jumping into a pod they headed for the ancient planet earth. X25-30 scanned the list. Good! Many of the items were easily available. A pine tree, a waterfall, six stars from earth’s milky way, a Ferrari. X25-30 peered further down. Oh No! A human? Where on earth was she supposed to find one of those? She laughed at the irony of her statement but she was suitably annoyed.

    Humans had all but been eradicated in what they called the “apocalypse”. Really it had been Y-73-3 who had thrown a tantrum and accidentally destroyed most of the planet. He had gotten a big hiding that day.

    X12-20 looked over her shoulder. “A human? Are they crazy?”

    She nodded. “I know. I have an idea though. Let’s land and I’ll show you.”

    They landed in what used to be known as New York City. Birds were abundant here and you could hear them. That means there are no humans here, X25-30 thought. They took off and landed in ancient Cambodia. Yes, thought X25-30, no sounds of nature can only mean one thing: humans! She smiled at X12-20 and he nodded.

    They began to track prints and found themselves going towards a hidden cave. They knew that the human was cornered. They crept in quietly and shone a beam towards the back. They stopped short.

    “X42-23! What are you doing here?”

    “Same as you- looking for a human.”

    X25-30 looked down at his feet. The idiot was wearing his human feet slippers!

    A pair of human eyes stared at them from behind a rock, terrified.

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