Immortal in Ice

sami

Nordic Sami (Saami) people in Sapmi (Lapland) – Taken between 1900 and 1920 by Granbergs Nya Aktiebolag – Public Domain

William Shaw wanted to be alone, which is why he had settled in Lapland for a time. Unfortunately, history once again worked against him. The Nazis invaded as part of their offensive against the Soviets. He escaped into the icy wilderness rather be captured. No one could know his secret.

He couldn’t really die, not from starvation or exposure. Wounds healed almost instantly. However he could feel pain. His extremities were frozen. He’d walked as far into the mountains as his body would allow. If not death, then a long winter’s nap would be as welcome.

Then men came. They said nothing, looking to be hunters of reindeer. Shaw was picked up and taken to their camp. It had been long since he had come this way, hundreds, maybe thousands of years prior. He had lived among the Sami before. Perhaps he used to be one of them.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw challenge. The idea is to take a Google Maps location and image and use them as a prompt for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 148.

Today, through something of a mishap, the Pegman takes us either to Northern Norway or Northern Finland. That’s a lot of territory to cover, but I picked Finland because I thought everybody else would pick Norway (the idea just popped into my head) and because it borders Russia, which could afford some interesting possibilities.

Since we’re talking northern Finland, the northern most portion is Lapland and man does it ever get cold there.

Of all the qualities this area possesses, I was drawn to the Regional Coat of Arms which depicts a traditional Wildman.

After doing a bit of reading, I found that the wildman is an iconic image associated with both northern Norway and Finland and possibly meant to depict an ancient member of the Sami people. The Sami are the only and northernmost indigenous people inhabiting areas of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. There are Sami who live along the coast and also the Mountain Sami who traditionally have hunted and also herded reindeer.

All of that is very interesting, but I needed a protagonist. I first considered a vampire, but then I recalled a character I created named William Shaw who I first introduced in January 2017 and reprised a few days later.

Shaw is an immortal or very-long-lived person, someone who has existed so long, he cannot remember where he came from originally or how old he really is. In my first story, I also made him a time traveler. He had met his love in early 20th century England, but then due to an argument, she left him. Unfortunately, it was to travel to America aboard the doomed RMS Titanic. Decades later, he was determined to use a time machine to go back and save her, but then there would be two identical immortals existing from April 1912 forward in time so I dropped the idea of expanding that story.

Here, we have Shaw still mourning his lost love, hiding in northern Finland. Sadly, his timing was off, because the Nazis invaded Finland including Lapland during World War Two as part of Operation Barbarossa, their plan to invade the Soviet Union.

So, not wishing to be captured and perhaps being discovered by the Nazis to be an immortal (if they tortured him, his wounds would heal almost immediately, which would certainly be noticed), he took the long trek north to meet his fate or at least to enter the next chapter of his life.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

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The Sculptor with a Long Memory

recycled dragons

© Enisa

“Dragons? Why?”

“A lad back at the shop makes them. Pretty good advertising, eh?”

Norstar Recyclers Director Paul Sweet was showing off the artwork to his neighbor Quentin Choi.

“I guess so, Paul. Seems bit fanciful. What else does he do?”

“Specializes in extinct beasts. Working on a Stegodon right now. Says it reminds him of home.”

“A what?”

“Extinct pygmy elephant I think.”

“Any chance I could meet him? I may want to commission him to make something for a client.”

“Dunno. He’s pretty shy.”

“Have a talk with him and see, will you?”

“Sure enough. Time to head back to the office. I’ll drop you on my way.”

Paul silently recalled the day he’d first met the strange creature while on a camping trip. He was terrified until the large reptile spoke. He’s very old and a long memory covering half a million years. The book he’s helping Paul write will revolutionize the knowledge of prehistoric Australia, though he could never tell anyone it came from a freakishly evolved Komodo dragon.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the week of 11-07-2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 174.

I had a tough time with this one until I Googled “australia dragons” and came up with this bit of history. Since the Live Science article mentioned the Stegodon, I thought I’d throw that in as well. The names I used have no relation to actual personnel at Norstar Steel Recyclers.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Meeting the Future Mrs. Shaw

London 1890

© London Stereoscopic Company/Getty Images – Found at NPR.org

William Shaw was stepping out of the pub on Northumberland Street near the Charing Cross railway station when he quite literally collided with his next wife. He’d been looking at his pocket watch and calculating how much time he had left to catch his train, and she had been rearranging the parcels she was carrying as they had begun to slip from her hands.

“Oh, I am terribly sorry, Sir. I didn’t mean to…”

“Think nothing of it.” He bent forward to retrieve the parcels that had fallen to the pavement when they ran into one another.

Handing them back, he executed a small bow. “Mr. William Shaw at your service.”

It was difficult for her to return the courtesy given she was once again laden with physical burdens. “Miss Julia Witherspoon, Sir. Thank you for returning my parcels to me.”

“Please, you seem to be having difficulty. May I assist you?”

The offer was generous, but she was hesitant to accept the help of an unknown gentleman, even one with such apparent good breeding. On the other hand, her employer wasn’t particularly forgiving and she was already late.

“Very kind of you sir. I’ve been purchasing provisions for my employer and must meet my train to return to his domicile.”

“I would be honored to carry your parcels to your train, Miss Witherspoon.”

Thus the immortal Mr. William Shaw, for that was the nom de voyage he used these days, accompanied his future wife to Charing Cross. She was unaware of this, of course, though she found him quite charming and amusing.

He, on the other hand, was absolutely sure they would wed before the year was out (and was satisfied he was missing his own train for the right reasons). He had buried twenty-one, or perhaps twenty-two brides since he began his long journey through the corridors of history, the last one a mere two decades ago.

The future Mrs. Shaw would make a comforting companion to share the next fifty or sixty years with. He had a feeling that the 20th century was about to begin on the right foot.

I’m leveraging characters I first introduced in the flash fiction piece Traveling the Road Back, a tale about an immortal named William Shaw who, a century prior, made the mistake of letting his wife and one true love Julia board the doomed HMS Titanic. It takes decades, but he finally invents a time machine so he can go back to the early 20th century and save her life.

I’ve gotten more than one request to expand their story, so I wrote this in an attempt to “try out” writing about turn-of-the-century (20th century, that is) London and the first meeting between William and Julia.

How did I do?

Traveling the Road Back

old car

© Al Forbes

William Shaw was pulling the modified 1902 Cadillac Runabout behind his SUV to an abandoned country road where he would be unobserved.

He’d purchased it from an elderly widow, her husband’s pride and joy, but the old man lacked stamina and finances to restore this beauty.

Shaw unloaded the Cadillac at his destination. Appropriately costumed, he got in and activated the controls. He’d spent a century building wealth and the time transmitter so he, an immortal, could go back and correct his worst mistake. This time, he’d arrive in Southampton and prevent his beloved wife Julia from boarding the Titanic.

I wrote this piece of flash fiction in response to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers challenge using the accompanying photo prompt, and attempting to write a complete story in 100 words or less. I managed exactly 100 words.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

I am somewhat manipulating the plot from the 1980 film Somewhere in Time starring the late Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.

In this case, William Shaw, an immortal, or at least very long-lived person, met and married a woman named Julia in the very early 20th century. They had a falling out for some reason, and she left him. She boarded the RMS Titanic at Southampton on April 10, 1912, and died when it sank early the morning of the 14th.

Shaw is an immortal, but he can’t go back in time. However being an immortal, he has nothing but time and patience in amassing wealth and eventually inventing a method of time travel that could be incorporated into a vintage automobile (no, he doesn’t have to travel eighty-eight miles per hour).

In the original history, Shaw didn’t go after Julia and she died. This time, he intends to prevent her from boarding the Titanic and save her life. They’ll spend however many years they can together, until enough time passes and she finally dies of old age.

He creates one critical problem, though. Now there are two of him in the world, and from 1912 on, there will always be two of him.

Night Reflections

reflections

© Anja Bührer

The night smelled of the autumn rain that had just ended, but Dawn still clung to her umbrella. Stephen came up from behind and they watched their reflection in the pond. Their’s was an eternal love story, though a cursed one. After all, Stephen had made Dawn a vampire nearly a century ago. Now, it was the only thing she could share with him or anyone.

Written in response to this week’s writing challenge/photo prompt from Mindlovemistry’s Menagerie.

Visit Blenza.com to see other writing submissions based on the photo at the top of this page.

Word count: 68.

The Undying

gunfight

From the film “Gunfight at Red Sands” (1963)

In the old west, there was always some punk kid who thought he could outdraw the local gunslinger and who didn’t live to regret it. That’s because the gunslinger was really good at what he did and punk kids are idiots.

I’m not a gunslinger anymore, but I’ve still got young punks lining up to try to take me out. The outcome is always the same.

My name is Samuel Kane. Well, that’s not the name I was born with, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve lost count of the number of names I’ve lived under over the years. I speak dozens of languages, many of them dead, have seen empires rise and fall, seen commoners become Kings, and Kings fall to ruins at the hands of barbarian hordes.

In other words, I’ve lived too long to be impressed by much anymore.

It’s that damn wizard’s fault. Actually it’s my fault, but I blame the wizard for actually giving me what I asked for. He should have just killed me. Instead he did the opposite, which is much worse.

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