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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Haaninin’s Friend

crow

© Sue Vincent

For many years, Franklin Long took morning walks along the river. When he was young, his walks were runs, even in the winter when it snowed. As he got older, the runs slowed to walks. Finally, in his twilight years, he started using a long stick to support himself and he rarely walks alone anymore.

“What’s that over there, Grandpa?” Franklin’s youngest grandson, twelve-year-old Foster pointed away from the river bank, just a few hundred feet ahead of them.

“We must wait, Foster. This is a solemn ceremony.”

“But Grandpa, they’re birds.”

“No, Foster. They are crows.”

They both watched with interest, though Foster’s hands and feet were starting to get cold.

“There must be a hundred of them in that circle. Aren’t groups of crows called a ‘murder’?”

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Grandmother Spider

spider web

© Victor and Sarah Potter

“Grandfather, you let that creepy spider build her web in your kitchen?”

“Charlotte, don’t be unkind. Grandmother Spider is very important here.”

“But Grandfather, what if the spider tries to crawl on me?” The nine-year-old girl hadn’t visited Grandfather in years and didn’t remember spiders being in his house.

“She is very kind and keeps all manner of pests out of my house. Besides, she’s very old.”

“Will she die soon?”

“I hope not. She brings a very warm light into my house and into my world, just like you do. Now let’s see what we can make for dinner.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge for 12 January 2018 (although she put “2017” in the title). The idea is to use the image above to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

The spider and vintage lighting fixtures reminded me both of an older person’s home and “house spider” myths. Supposedly, you’re not supposed to kill the house spider (though my wife has me do so on a regular basis), but a quick Google search didn’t yield any specifics. Finally, I looked up Spider Mythology and Folklore.

There are any number of legends that depict spiders in a positive light including this one:

Cherokee (Native American): A popular Cherokee tale credits Grandmother Spider with bringing light to the world. According to legend, in the early times everything was dark and no one could see at all because the sun was on the other side of the world. The animals agreed that someone must go and steal some light and bring the sun back so people could see. Possum and Buzzard both gave it a shot, but failed – and ended up with a burned tail and burned feathers, respectively. Finally, Grandmother Spider said she would try to capture the light. She made a bowl of clay, and using her eight legs, rolled it to where the sun sat, weaving a web as she traveled. Gently, she took the sun and placed it in the clay bowl, and rolled it home, following her web. She traveled from east to west, bringing light with her as she came, and brought the sun to the people.

The Hopi legends also attribute the creation of humanity to the Spider Woman and Sun god.

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

The Woman in Blue

blue light

© Sue Vincent

Obe was tending the fire on the shore by the bay. The sun had set to his right hours ago and most of the clan slept. Their tiny settlement was young and night predators hunted nearby so he kept watch, though the fire and the scent of the men should keep them away.

The moon shone blue through the clouds illuminating the water before him and the island beyond. Other clans of their tribe occupied the land across the bay to the south and east, but Nakuma’s people hoped to make the northlands their home.

Like most young men, waiting alone bored him and with the passing minutes, he became drowsy. He wrapped his blanket, woven by his sisters, tighter around him and with the fire, he felt warm. If his father found him sleeping, he would be struck and shamed in front of the other hunters, so he forced his eyes open. He heard her before he actually could see her.

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Ghost Dance

keystone leak

This aerial photo shows spills from TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone pipeline, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, that leaked an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil onto agricultural land in northeastern South Dakota – Credit: AP.

“You gotta get up off that grey line…I’ll guarantee they’ll fall in line…”

A federal agency says a leak in TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone oil pipeline in South Dakota likely was caused by damage during construction in 2008.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a corrective action report Tuesday on the estimated 5,000 barrels (795,000 litres) of oil that spilled. The report says a weight installed on the pipeline nearly a decade ago may have damaged the pipeline and coating.

According to the report, weights are placed on the pipeline in areas “where water could potentially result in buoyancy concerns.”

Keystone pipeline leak in South Dakota likely caused by 2008 damage: report
28 November 2017 - The Associated Press

A Native American tribe in South Dakota is on edge following a large oil leak from TransCanada's Keystone pipeline.

TransCanada said in a statement Thursday 795,000 litres of oil leaked from an underground section of its Keystone pipeline near Amherst, S.D., about 64 kilometres west from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation.

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribal chairman David Flute said his community is concerned the leak, the largest by the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota to date, could pollute the area's aquifer and waterways.

"We are keeping a watchful eye and an open ear," said Flute.

"The concern is at a high level, but there is really nothing we can do."

Native American tribe bracing for Keystone pipeline leak impact
16 November 2017 - by Jorge Barrera, CBC News

Wovoka called them together, the great spirits of his people, of all those who had lived in this land before the white men came. Only a few answered his plea at first. They were hesitant. The last time any of them had been among the living, they had been dying, by disease, by gunshot, by alcoholism, their women raped and murdered, their children starved, all brought about by the European invaders, their children, and their children’s children.

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The Colonials

pictograph

© @any1mark66

“Wallace, I’ve seen your evidence and the supporting papers, but they don’t explain one critical piece of information.”

“Like if the Chinese had visited America frequently and in numbers from 1,300 BC until 500 AD, why didn’t they colonize, right Hendricks?”

This was a frequent argument between the British and Native American archeologists, however Hendricks had a point. Pictographic evidence of extended Chinese visits to North America included numerous artifacts in Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. So why did they stop?

“I’ve already introduced Dr. Christina Esquivel, Hendricks.”

“Charmed,” though the older man’s tone indicated he wasn’t. “What’s a geneticist have to do with archeology, Wallace?”

Christina looked forward to deflating this air bag. “I’ve just finished a five-year comparative genetic analysis between various Native American peoples and those from the Hubei, Hunan, and Yunnan regions of China. DNA markers are too similar to be the result of chance.

Meaning?” Hendricks’s voice was laced with anticipation and dread.

“Meaning,” Wallace continued, “that the Chinese did colonize America. Indigenous people like Christina and I are their descendants.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge of the Week of November 14, 2017. The idea is to use the image above to inspire writing a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

The pictograph reminded me of articles I’ve read suggesting that the Chinese rather than Columbus or any other European or people from across the Atlantic, “discovered” America, perhaps sometime between 1,300 BC and 1,421 AD depending on which source you consider. Granted the information is highly speculative, but it makes a good basis for a story. The suggestion that there could be a genetic similarity between the Chinese people and Native Americans was also briefly mentioned in my source. To read more, go to DailyMail.com.

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