We’re excited to announce the shortlist for the latest Monthly Micro Fiction competition – well done to everyone whose story appears below! The winner will be decided by public vote, so scroll down to the bottom of this post to vote for your favourite. We’ll announce the results on 27th October, so there’s a week to have your say…
Good luck everyone!
Please also take part in the poll about how this competition continues.
A Dead Man’s Thesaurus
I thought the word for buried inside a wall – Poe horror stuff – was immolated. Sounds right.
Immersed? Immured? Immured in a book?
I’m stuck. Literally. Figuratively. I’m dead to the world (Asleep? Hardly). I’m suffocating in inept plastic sheeting and duct-tape. Holed up. A murdered cliché.
Yet my spirit’s agitating.
I mentally hammer on the concrete as people pass by, ignoring my silence.
I strain to breathe the names of my killers and despair as they dissolve, trickling down glass, unheeded. I’m impotent.
Eventually some pathologist will be immersed in my remains.
Immured. That’s it. I’m immured.
So what’s immolated?
Four Second Shots
What happens next?
Who enters, who lingers on, who exits, who hugs with endless love, who kisses like breeze melting on the veins of dry leaves on a hot summer day, who pushes someone away as if this whole planet hasn’t enough space for them?
When does the frame freeze and dissolve?
Where would this fit in?
Camera lenses never betrayed me, though I knew my eyes were much smarter.
Now they’re trapped in a body that doesn’t budge.
They see lenses and apertures where others see broken windows.
Four-second slices of life beckon me, as random people walking by.
It’s your idea to flip a coin. Heads we go to town, tails we play computer games.
The coin spins in a dazzling silver arc, infinite possibilities flashing before me. Then it slides off my palm and rolls into the disused Ferry Inn pub. I follow.
It lands beneath the window.
“Heads!” I call through the broken pane. And there we are, walking past. Other-me and you.
Other-me hasn’t seen the oncoming bus. My silent scream fades away with him.
In rolls another coin, pirouetting and landing heads-up. It winks at me as the clatter of other-me’s footsteps echoes closer.
You hated geometry at school. Calculus, more so.
You loved your gold braided, forest green blazer with the inside pocket. The hunky maths teacher, more so.
His garlic breath was unexpected as he closed in to guide you through complex calculations. His hairy-backed hand closing over your slender pale one didn’t give you the buzz you’d anticipated. How he managed to slip the note into your inside pocket will always be a mystery. Why you didn’t shiver as his hand brushed your left breast, more so.
Shoeboxes full of love notes, great for your memoirs. But fiction, more so.
You walked past me today but didn’t notice.
I don’t want anyone to see me, especially not you. Through the oculus window, you appeared magnified, as though I was seeing you through a fish-eyed lens.
My doctor says I should report you. She’s probably right.
Trying to ignore my distorted reflection in the mirror, I strain until my jaw aches to make my drooping mouth smile and my eyebrow raise. Nothing happens. My nerves are too chobbled-up.
Every night, tears stream silently out of my giant, unblinking eye. In my ear, the white noise roars like a grieving lion.
The chair wobbled as she sat, and Catherine closed her eyes against the heave of the world. Garrett nudged seafood pizza towards her, four steaming quadrants mirrored the window and greasy aromas stung like sea spray. Catherine’s stomach lurched.
‘Seasick,’ she said, eyes fish-bright, pointing at the porthole, where a silent grey world rippled past cataract-cloudy glass. The hospital no longer visible.
‘A concrete sea.’ Garrett’s attempt at buoyancy.
Portholes. The entry points, the exits. Holding back, letting go. Lost overboard, amniotic fluid flooding.
Catherine looked at pink, foetal-curled prawns. Brief hope had glimmered.
Now waves of salt tears crash.
Sirens scream by. Voices echo along the street, the night air carrying them through broken glass.
Damp beads on the wall, floor littered with empty cans.
There was a poster, pinned to a noticeboard in the market. His photo in black and white, a name he hasn’t heard spoken out loud for months.
He stared at it for a long time, the words blurring, taking on shapes as frightening as his memories.
He stared at it until a security guard told him to leave.
He stared at it while a dozen people walked past and pretended they didn’t see.
Snapshots of Monochrome
- The clutching pain that washes the colour out of the world and leaves me gasping.
- The malignant black mass in a sea of grey.
- The pallor of your face when I share the news you’re dreading.
- The colour of facts, life and death.
- The presence of mind, cast onto dark, deep waters, no sign of shore.
- The shadow that falls on the white walls, the shade drawn down in the room.
- The white of the lights, fade to black.
- The dream of white roses on a field of black.
- The colours you’re soaked in when I see your joyous smile.
The Whole Picture
“This is how it is,” I’m told, as I’m encouraged to watch the World View.
This isn’t a window you look through. This is a window that you look at, and listen to, and believe what it tells you.
At first it’s all lines; this is how it is, this is why it works, this is you. Trust us.
I realise in time the view is just colourful words, obscuring truths and emboldening lies; clouded like judgement, ghosted like responsibility, hidden like bias. When I finally see through it the frosted vision breaks and beyond, the real world lays waiting.