From the first submission on 31/05/2010 to the last on 21/06/2011, there were many fictions. And, goshdarnit, they were micro. And groovy.
As may have become obvious from the one or two cobwebs about the place *dust dust*, MicFic has come to a close.
Over 180 stories in 27 Themes, written by 7 people over 54 weeks.
We hope you enjoyed reading as much as we enjoyed writing.
A group creative writing thingy, with many similarities and many differences to MicFic, has begun over at Fictitious.co.za.
We’re still finding our feet, but we’re getting there. Come, join us.
She makes terrible coffee. It runs, heavy and choked, like muddy water through alluvial swamps. She cooks badly too – burnt offerings that bring the blessing of Chinese takeout. The gas flame on the hob, blue and flickering, endlessly fascinates her.
In the day, she paints her toenails electric blue and meanders through the city, weaving, circling, losing herself but never losing her way. She returns, fragile but triumphant, glowing with the setting sun on her back. At night, she curls into my arms.
My dreams light up with alien beauty I can never describe.
I should never have caught her.
Buckle the Shoe
See the Dark Door
All the Dead Sticks
The Path is Straight
Lock the Den
Counting, counting, it’s harder than it looks. What do you lose to suit the books? One word, two words, three words, eight? What do you add to make it straight?
Isn’t – is not, won’t – will not. Twist and turn the clause and phrase. You wrote it, you write it, it will behave.
But really what is a word or two, is it something you have to do? Well, to be honest… Yes.
In the dream the stopper to the bottle is a velvety stone sphere, veined in silver, heavy in my hand. Then I’m in a Paris sidewalk café eating a scoop of dark chocolate drizzled with pale sauce. I wake up hungry. The next night I look down through the manhole at the pale water as it trickles over the mud. Over my head, against the pallid sky, the moonlet rises, its myriad channels catching the alien sun.
It’s getting larger. Soon it will fill the horizon when I wake, and I will finally understand its hints. I am not afraid.
The pod burns through the sky: we must seem a blazing arc, a shooting star. The shaking and turbulence recede, the flames and glow dissipate. Through the porthole we can see land below us, growing, taking shape. This is the right place: there is the river, and now the delta, splayed like a hand through dark, rich alluvium.
Then it passes us, and we’re over the ocean; a harsh break as parachutes open. Quick descent, jarring impact.
Relief. It’s all over and we’re still safe. But we look at each other — soon we will have to venture out. This pod cannot remain our home for much longer.
After four volumes is there still water in the well? Little should be needed for a measly hundred words. But all I draw is dregs of micfic past: images that never floated, metaphors too mixed to rise from their ashes and similes like an old car with an unreliable ignition coil.
I touch things I threw back as too strange, too frail or too ugly: the drunken rambling without legs; that voiceless dialogue; the enlightened duck pie and most of all, the hive monologue on truth.
They mock me from their unwritten limbo.
Water enough for a nostalgic drabble?
I sit rigid at the simple steel table, sweaty palms making damp patches on it. That thin column of light in the far corner makes me nervous. I know how much it burns.
They say I’ve been testing for five years, but I can’t be sure. I stopped counting after the first few.
They say I’ve paid my debt.
They say that they’re going to take me home. I’m not sure if I can believe it. If it’s another test.
I still don’t know who they are.
God, I need a coffee.
It is always winter, now. The trees are a delicate tracery of twigs, black against the grey skies, and the rotted branches grasp me, clawlike, each step a battle. Frost crunches beneath my worn boots as I crest the rise. Below me lies the valley, indistinct in the dawn mists that rise from the river. The cold enters my lungs like martial steel. The ring stretches before me, a mile wide, cloudy circles retreating into darkness and unknown depths.
I wish I could say this was the only site. It doesn’t match the great ring at Auschwitz, twelve kilometres across, the weight of millions boring into the earth. In New York, 9/11’s cone punches the soil like a fist, concentric circles of horrified loss. This few hundred metres of psychic wound is a locus, I think; it stands for more than the sixty-two massacred, concentrating the atrocities across the province into one great wound in the earth.
A single bloody decade is memorialised here, as it wasn’t when it happened. The ones we can’t identify are worse – solemn, incomprehensible, mathematical mutilations that mark a magnitude of loss our history ignored, or can no longer recall.
We have given up trying to account for the rings. Like the winter, they pass on history an inscrutable moral judgement; we have been all too aware that the billions who starved have created no rings of their own. This disfigurement is of our own making. I do not know if the realisation is enough, but I hope. Like others before me, I will shortly walk down this slope to plunge into the cloudy, geometric depths – to fall, endlessly, appropriately, into dissolution.
None return from that journey. None deserve to. If all who survive sacrifice themselves, it will barely begin to ameliorate our crimes.
It would have been funny if it weren’t so tragic. The city spent billions of Rands on the stadium alone. I don’t even want to think about all the extra money that went into advertising, improving transport, and so on. But the alien invasion put a real spanner in the works. The world watched as we hung our heads in shame and admitted that the 2010 World Cup could not be held in South Africa. That Cairo would have to be Soccer City.
At first it seemed like the imported trees were just growing a bit faster, flowering a bit more than usual. So we just laid on extra landscaping staff; we’re always looking for job creation opportunities that don’t just mean another few hastily trained security guards. We joked that even the shrubs had caught Football Fever. We stopped joking after we lost the first highway. Cutting back the branches only gave a few hours grace. Crews would work through the night, hacking back enough to clear the whole road by rush hour the next morning. By noon the roads would be covered again. Thick, hard, branches with dark, sticky, fruit blocking the way. And always a few trapped bakkies: a few idiots thinking they could get through.
So then we called in the Volunteer Wildfire crews. They helped us plan and execute a controlled burn. That looked like it was going to work, for a day or two. Then the branches came back, thicker and stronger than before. Like they had learned something from the Fynbos about how to deal with fire.
Then, the stadium. We could probably have put up scaffolding or thrown new concrete slabs to fix the walls that were cracking and crumbling from the expanding vines, but there wasn’t a lot we could do about the tree growing in the centre of the pitch. It only took a week to cover the whole field. The botanist from UCT said that it should have taken hundreds of years to get that big.
The day after that, the flying saucer landed.
That’s when I quit.