Greetings, flash fiction friends! We are pleased to announce the winner(s) of Microcosms 208!
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 208 Flash Fiction Winners!
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… Without further ado, it’s time to announce the winner(s) of MC 208!
It’s a tie! (Technically, one did edge out the other, but that one was over the word count, so I thought it only fair to make it a double winner.)
Huge congrats (and bragging rights) go to our Community Picks:
Great job, Laura and Steve!
Community Pick Entries
As a reminder, here are the stories that won over our community!
Don’t Get Wound Up (This Story Is Only Loosely Based On The Spun Prompt And Doesn’t Even Live In The Same Street As The Original Either.)
330 words (I KNOW!!!)
Computer Programmer /Technology Gone Awry / Steampunk
(((((Just to say the one think I love about this competition and prompt is the way it really stretches your comfort zone. I expressed an interest in knowing more about streampunk and while in a Twitter chat someone said Victoriana and gears together and somehow it made a bit more sense. So I wrote this with only the words Victoriana, gears and Steampunk in my head. I DONT EXPECT TO WIN with this, it’s just for fun but I wanted to stretch myself, in real life it is already 500 words long, and so I cut it for ya. I write comedy more now because of this thing and so now I want to write steampunk. I don’t have time to write much more this week so this is it. As I say, just for fun. It’s kind of computer programming of its time and it’s not quite right is it? But really? ))))
Belle, tired from her journey, cocked her head somewhat stiffly to one side and listened, the whirring of gears and creaking of cogs was getting louder the further she walked into the building, an old careworn castle with tapestries from floor to ceiling.
Her taffeta lined gown of silver brocade swished gently on the steps as she climbed to the great hall. With an angular wrist and a quick, forceful, though graceful, tap she opened the strong wooden door of the hall. Inside it was not at all as expected. The stair was medieval but in here, a room of the times. A grandfather clock stood imposing its presence, pendulum clicking to and fro. The echoing clunking of miniature horses galloping round the base of mantle clocks resonated in her ears. Perhaps this was the sound she had heard, the noise travelling in the air.
She began to feel faint, for the third time today. Seeking a chair by the fireplace she gratefully sat down and closed her ey …
“Ey, m’lord, that’s the most magnificent thing I ‘as ever see’.” Baxter broke the silence in the room, now the gears were still.
Lawrence smoothed her skirts and stroked her pale face,
“She is a masterpiece Baxter, now I just need her to move for longer. Ten minutes is most little time for the Exposition to feel her glory,” he turned the screwdriver thrice on the small panel on her back.
“Let’s see now,” he said.
When Belle awoke she felt confused. It seemed hours had passed. The light above the mantle was lit and had not been before. The sound of gears was still loud, but now slower, she relaxed. Perhaps she would get used to the sounds here. Wherever this was. She was startled by the men looking at her, one pocketing a small brass key.
“Hello dear Belle, my name is Dr Lawrence. So pleased to make your acquaintance. You must be tired after a long journey.” He smiled.
And the Judge’s Pick, and winner of this week’s $25 Karen Cox Prize for Entertaining Short Fiction, is:
Congrats, Geoff! Please contact us for instructions on how to accept your prize and also let us know if you’d like to judge MC 212!
Here’s what judge Eryn McConnell had to say:
I struggled to choose this week, as both prompts had such merit. By a whisker I preferred the perfumist and languages one, but they were both so damn delectable.
I also struggled to choose a final winner as the ones I particularly loved tickled me in different ways. Do I reward the funny one or the disturbing one? What about the dramatic one? Very difficult.
So first my honourable mentions. [note from KM: Click each name to read their story]
Don’t get Wound Up (Laura Cooney)
I loved this, the idea of the MC being the puppet, the doll, perhaps. And I loved the idea of her slipping in and out of clockwork consciousness!
Microcosms (Lily Finch)
I really enjoyed the hubbub of chatter here that I think you would find at an airport. Each person thinking and saying something different. Very fun.
More Than A Channel Apart (Geoff Le Pard) absolutely tickled my funny bone, it was so much fun. I do love French, and hearing the aggravated perfumist Jacques tangle with Arthur was just priceless.
A Translation of Love (Melissa Rotert) was fascinating. How would it feel to smell words? As a perfume geek, I appreciated the detailed nod to the notes.
Manual Deterioration Complete’ (Jaime Bree) was terribly clever. I loved the switch in perspective at the end.
So, to announce a winner.
I had to go for Arthur and Jacques. Sacre Bleu!!
Thanks for letting me judge and enjoy these wonderful stories!
HUGE thanks to Eryn for judging this week!
Judge’s Pick Entry
As a reminder, here is the story that won over our judge!
More Than A Channel Apart
Geoff Le Pard
Arthur Shave had tried so very hard to remain inconspicuous, but at Maison du Parfum he always seemed to cross paths with the soon to be retired chief perfumist, Jacques Eetin. His non-existent French and M. Eetin’s refusal to speak English eventually led to Arthur’s demise.
Arthur had just replaced a fuse in the lift and was testing the repair when it stopped on level one and in stepped Jacques.
‘Hel.. Bonj…’ The glare froze Arthur into silence.
Le Nez Exceptionnel wrinkled. ‘Qu’est-ce que c’est? Ordure?’
Arthur, unused to any sort of acknowledgement stuttered. ‘Odour? Oh yes, very nice. I was saying to Doreen, the smells here…’
Jacques held up a hand and pointed at Arthur’s feet.
‘My feet.’ Arthur was affronted. ‘They were clean on this morning.’
Jacques shook the regal tete. ‘Non. Souliers.’
‘Look, I know you’re a big cheese an’ all, but my name’s Arthur. Not Sue-Lee. She’s in accounts. Though she does smell a bit ripe.’
Jacques’ brow beetled. ‘Votre souliers. Mais si!’
‘Maisie? Look Mr Eetin, I know you’re very modern an’ all, but I’m just a bloke. Not Sue-Lee, not Maisie. Arthur.’ He blanched. ‘This isn’t one of them come ons, is it?’ He would have stepped back, if the lift car had been bigger.
Jacques meanwhile appeared determined to find out what was on Arthur’s shoes. He began to squat as he moved forward, muttering ‘souliers.’
In one way, Arthur’s misunderstanding at to his intentions was reasonable, given his perspective. Determined to defend his fly at all costs, he lifted his foot. As he did so and the small dog turd became visible, Jacques rocked back, just as the lift door opened. Out rolled Jacques, next to the CEO. There was only one conclusion: Arthur had kicked him out so they reciprocated.
PS any errors of French are entirely the responsibility of Mr Taylor whose inability to instil in me the slightest interest in the language was a reflection of his poor teaching and not my teenage stubbornness.
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See you for MC 210, coming right up!
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