Microcosms 90

Hi all! And welcome to Microcosms 90! Craziness. Okay, let’s get started!

Today is Native American Day in the US. The history of the establishment of the US, particularly in regards to the treatment of Native Americans, is quite storied, indeed. Much of what happened is quite sad, but I’ll let you research that on your own.

It seems like almost everyone I meet in America is 1/16th Cherokee, lol, and I am no exception. So, I thought we’d use Native American fairy tales as a prompt. At any rate, I hope you enjoy this week’s options, most of which have been inspired by this collection of folklore.

I’ve include the “Your Choice” option once again. If you do use/choose the “Your Choice” option, please specify what it is that you’ve chosen.

KM

 

(If YOU have an idea for a future contest and would like to be guest host, please contact us.)

 

Our contest this week begins with THREE things: character, setting and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are – character: Thief, setting: Mountains, and genre: Historical.


Write a story using those OR feel free to click on the “Spin!” button, and the slot machine will come up with a new set – character, setting and genre. You can keep clicking until you have a set of elements that inspires you.

*** HEY! Remember to include which THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry ***

*** NO FAN-FICTION, PLEASE, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS ***


  • Hunter
  • Chief
  • Orphan
  • Coyote
  • Cougar
  • Bear
  • Bat
  • Spirit
  • Bird
  • Warrior
  • Suitor
  • Monster
  • A Lazy Person
  • Witch
  • Runner
  • Giant
  • Fairy
  • Buffalo
  • Storyteller
  • Hare
  • Thief
  • Tarantula
  • Spider
  • Skeleton
  • Magician
  • Shapeshifter
  • Rattlesnake
  • Wizard
  • Prince
  • Your Choice!
  • Great Lake
  • Wigwam
  • River
  • Mountains
  • Moon
  • Village
  • Prairie
  • Forest
  • Desert
  • The Afterlife
  • Island
  • Your Choice!
  • Horror
  • Memoir
  • Sci-Fi
  • Crime
  • Steampunk
  • Comedy
  • Poetry
  • Western
  • Post-Apocalyptic
  • Historical
  • Drama
  • Alternate History
  • Fairy Tale
  • Your Choice!

Spin!

This week’s judge is MC 89 Judge’s Pick Steve Lodge.

All submissions should be a maximum of 300 words in length. You have until midnight, New York time (EDT) to submit.

*** If you are new to Microcosms, remember to check out the full submission guidelines. ***

All being well, results will be posted on Monday.

Results Delayed
Microcosms 89
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29 comments for “Microcosms 90

  1. 22 September 2017 at 1:26 am

    A lazy person; moon; humour
    @billmelaterplea
    300 walks in the moonlight

    The Man Who Walked Under The Moon

    I am Thunder Thighs, son of Blunder Thighs. My father is a gawky man. He cannot walk a straight line. He’s tried. Many times. Daytime isn’t his friend. The sun is too intense. It blinds him, befuddles his mind from the heat of the rays.

    As a child, I wanted to follow him whenever he would go into the forest. After a few feet, I would tire. I did not like walking and it isn’t that interesting to follow a man who cannot walk a straight line.

    It should be. There is some minor amusement but in short order a man who cannot navigate a straight line will walk into trees, trip on bramble, fall into holes.

    No son likes to se his father falling into holes.

    Maybe once. But not all the time.

    My father, after many such accidents, falling into holes, walking into trees, tripping on bramble, began to walk in the moonlight.

    “They will not laugh at me if they cannot see me,” he told my mother.

    After he left that first time for a walk in the moonlight, my mother told me, “I’m afraid, my son, that your father is a crazy man.”

    I of course wanted to defend my father.

    I could not.

    But it all changed.

    He was proven right in one significant regard. The people of our village stopped laughing. In our culture, madness is worshipped. He was no longer Blunder Thighs; Instead, he became revered as The Man Who Walks Under The Moon.

    In time, many in the village took to walking with my father. He could still not walk in a straight line but this was seen as a sign of his wisdom, his madness.

    I was renamed Son of the Man Who Walks Under The Moon.

    I still hate walking.

    7+
    • Sian Brighal
      24 September 2017 at 6:10 am

      Brilliant! The last line is just fantastic. I love the whole story, too

      1+
  2. 22 September 2017 at 9:10 am

    thief/mountains/historical
    199 words
    @GriffithsKL

    1 Thessalonians 5:2

    Charles Floyd began dying the night of the buffalo. Seaman was hailed a hero, and the whole Corps of Discovery was giddy over the near miss: how the Newfoundland kept the buffalo from trampling the officers’ tent. No one was hurt, not even Charles. Still, death had settled upon him like the dreaded foxtail seeds.

    Charles’ talisman went missing that night.

    At the last encampment, Charles noted an Ottowa youth slavering over it. The brute had offered to trade, and Charles waved him off derisively. Ever since, Charles felt watched. His skin crawled each time he opened his diary and brought out the gilded page. He couldn’t take the whole volume, and by now Mother knew he’d ripped Psalm 23 out of the family tome.

    And now it was ripped from him.

    Sometime later, Charles’ stomach turned against him. A fire inside set all his fluids to defecting. Eventually, Charles collapsed. From the bluff, he had a panoramic view of the valley they’d just traversed. A fitting last sight.

    Charles tore his gaze away, and with longing for the land he’d not be meeting– said to Clark, “I am going away. I want you to write me a letter.”

    1+
    • 22 September 2017 at 2:14 pm

      So marvelous to feel that I have stepped into some ancient journal…so much before has occurred, so much more to come…

      1+
      • 22 September 2017 at 3:21 pm

        Awww… thanks, Bill. I learned a lot writing it. Only made up the thieving part.

        1+
    • Sian Brighal
      24 September 2017 at 6:13 am

      This is fantastic and mysterious. Lovely read.

      1+
      • 24 September 2017 at 2:17 pm

        Thanks, Sian! I am in awe of how you pour into others.

        0
  3. Profile gravatar of Jeff Messick
    22 September 2017 at 10:48 am

    The Purchase
    288 words
    Thief, Mountains, Historical

    The elder sat under the tree at the top of the mountain, gazing eastward into the rising sun. He frowned as a coyote padded upward toward him to sit beside him.

    “10 of their ‘muskets.’ Said Coyote. “For the land.”

    The elder nodded. “And clothing, metals, and tools. We trade for usage, but they consider the land theirs now. They will take it for their own.”

    Coyote chuckled. “They will take everything, all across the nations. Your people will be rounded up and placed in specific areas, reserved for your tribes.”

    The elder nodded again, a tear tracing his face. “They will steal this land from us?”

    Coyote laughed. “No, they will conquer it, and you. You will be set aside and be considered less than a man to them. Eventually, you will build again, but never to regain what was lost.”

    “That is as it should be then. We will accept it.”

    Coyote scoffed and pawed at the dirt. “How can you accept it? How can you allow these men to enslave you?”

    The elder slowly turned to Coyote and smiled. “We will be conquered, set aside, enslaved, but we will remain alive. How many nations slaughter those that stand before them without a second thought? How many nations allow a conquered people to own land, even if the land is not productive?”

    Coyote shivered. “Conquerors take, conquered are ground into dust.”

    The elder smiled again, a tired, resigned smile. “Yet, this dust we will be ground into will allow us to live. Perhaps, one day, we will teach these newcomers the ways of this world. We may never be equal in their eyes, but their sight will still hold a remnant of our people within them.”

    3+
    • Sian Brighal
      24 September 2017 at 6:16 am

      Interesting story….powerful and sad. I really like the end concept.

      1+
  4. Profile gravatar of JK
    JK
    22 September 2017 at 11:22 am

    Prompts:
    Thief
    Mountains
    Historical

    Word count: 295

    The Tribe Made of Rocks and Watchful Spirits

    Little Wolf was a scared, young man looking for answers and redemption for his tribe. The Timbisha tribe was burnt down and most people were killed brutally, without a second thought. Including his mother, father, and older brother.

    He travelled back to the Panamint Mountains of Death Valley where he would help build Scotty’s Castle. Albert Mussey Johnson pushed for the castle’s completion and talked about reuniting the Timbisha and local tribes. Little Wolf, his uncle, and several other men worked day and night on building the castle in the hopes of completing it in 1 year. The tribe finished just short of 1 year. The tribe was elated by their accomplishment and having a place to call their own.

    Little Wolf was on a long, hot walk on his way to the spring he used to visit with his mother, Hehewuti (warrior mother spirit). Looking down into the water he saw a reflection of his mother for the first time. He always felt her presence, but never seen her until now. She told him his uncle, her own brother, Hehewuti also known as snake and Albert could not be trusted. They were killers and thieves. Years ago they killed off most of the tribe including Little Wolf’s family. They were planning to kill the rest of the tribe and charge visitors for staying at the castle while they collected the earnings.

    He quickly returned to the tribe and told the men he trusted about this news. They traveled to the top of the mountain, bow and arrows in tow, and killed off their traitors. He faced off with Hehewuti and condemned him to a spiritually, cursed prison. From that point forward Little Wolf was renamed Askuwheteau and would forever keep watch of the Timbisha tribe.

    0
    • Sian Brighal
      24 September 2017 at 6:24 am

      Nice story…got the feel of being part of a greater story. I must admit, I got a bit confused with who was who, but that could be me.

      1+
      • Profile gravatar of JK
        JK
        25 September 2017 at 3:55 pm

        Thank you, Sian. After reading I can see where it may be confusing on who is who. Thank you for your feedback.

        0
  5. Eloise
    22 September 2017 at 11:45 am

    Bear/ River/ Fairy Tale
    Word count: 299

    Mikwa and the rainbow salmon

    “Hey come back here” screamed Mikwa as he chased the butterfly through the dew-sprinkled grass. Just as his paw was about to swipe at the butterfly again, he got distracted. In the corner of his eye he saw the river glistening. Not it’s usually shades of blue and green. This time it was iridescent. Mikwa bolted down to get a closer look. What was happening in the river? As he got closer he saw the colors jump out of the water and forming a rainbow. They were little fish. “WOW!” thought Mikwa as his tummy grumbled “Those fish look mighty delicious”. He move up the river where it bent slight and there was a branch which hovered above the water. Mikwa edged along the branch. . He swiped at them. Suddenly one got nicked by his paw. Mikwa leaned closer. He almost got one.

    “WHO DARES TO CATCH MY FISH? IF YOU CATCH ONE THERE WILL BE HELL TO PAY” boomed a voice from the river.

    Mikwa jumped back, shook his head. “What was that?” he wondered. His tummy grumbled. These fish were too good to give up. He caught one. While he was munching on it. A lightening bolt hit the fish. “I TOLD YOU NOT TO EAT MY FISH” boomed the voice. Mikwa shrunk a bit but continued to eat it. He hadn’t had a meal in a long time. Lightening striked again. This time it hit Mikwa.
    “What’s happening?” thought Mikwa. He looked down to where his paws were and they had started to get purple scales. He was turning into a fish. Mikwa flipped and flopped on the bank until he got to the river. Now he needed to find way back to being a bear.

    3+
    • Sian Brighal
      24 September 2017 at 6:26 am

      oh…very nicely written fable. Loved it!

      1+
  6. Profile gravatar of Angelique Pacheco
    22 September 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Spirit/Village/Fairy Tale

    Word Count: 284

    The Spirit and the Thief

    This tale goes back to many moons ago, when the spirits lived on earth with the people. Spirits dwelled in villages and you were never sure if the person who lived nearby was real or just a wisp of memory. It was said that if you upset a spirit you would die instantly and become trapped in another time.

    A man of ignoble character roamed the villages looking for things to steal. Too lazy to work for his food, he sneaked about in the dark, taking was did not belong to him. Because he was without roots, he never learned of the spirits of the village and happened upon the house of a spirit one night.

    He crept in through the window and admired what lay before him. A house filled with beautiful things, such that he had never seen before. He could not fill his pockets fast enough. They overflowed. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up. He turned around to find the most beautiful woman standing there. She was luminous in beauty and he just wanted to hold her. She took his soul and trapped him thinking he would be tortured for eternity.
    He continued to be. He had been alone for most of his life and did not realize he was just a spirit now. She was confused. Never before had someone not been regretful of their fate. Could this man have been so lonely in life that he had not noticed his demise? She too was lonely.

    That village still stands though no one can see it. There is a house in the forest where a once-before man exists with a beautiful spirit and they are happy.

    2+
    • Sian Brighal
      24 September 2017 at 10:58 am

      A lovely tale. Wonderful read.

      0
  7. Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
    22 September 2017 at 3:34 pm

    @el_Stevie
    299 words
    Elements: Hunter, Lake, Horror

    Mercury Rising

    “Tear Drop Lake,” said the guide. “Formed from the tears of my people.”

    The hunter stared at the mirrored expanse, ignored the myth behind its origin. Still and silent, nothing rippled on its surface, it showed no sign of sustaining any sort of life in its depths. Yet appearances could be deceptive. Tom prepared his line.

    “You won’t catch anything that way,” said the guide, handing over a small spear. This is how it’s done. Try it.”

    “It’s too deep,” said Tom.

    “No, look again. Can you see how the incline makes it shallow along this shore? My people ate well here.”

    My people. The man certainly had his faux Native American Indian act down to a tee. He even claimed they were following the Trail of Tears, the forced march where over four thousand had died.

    Tom walked towards the water’s edge. The spear felt light and flimsy. “You sure this is up to the job?” he called. But he was speaking to thin air. He shrugged. The lake was beautiful, peaceful; just him and Nature. He waded in, splintering the glassy surface. The water lapped at the intruder, turning its attention from the shore. Soft slivers crawled over his trousers, mercury rising. Tom did not notice, too busy trying to see the fish he had been promised. A shadow moved. He readied himself.

    Somewhere, someone was sobbing but that too he dismissed, a bird perhaps. He refused to break concentration. The mercury climbed higher until—too late—he noticed the cold creeping over him, the wavelets becoming tendrils as they pulled him down, his screams muffled by unbodied lamentations.

    His guide watched from the shore. Others had joined him. They cast their lines to reel Tom in. After all, he had said his people ate well here.

    4+
    • Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
      22 September 2017 at 3:36 pm

      oops horror!

      0
    • Sian Brighal
      24 September 2017 at 11:01 am

      Tasty piece. Great read

      0
  8. Profile gravatar of Liz Elliott
    22 September 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Twitter: @lizzynim
    Prompts: Thief, Great Lake, Fairy Tale
    Words: 300

    The Water Fairy

    At the bottom of the Great Mountain Lake grew a flower. It was said that whoever could take the flower would be the next great Chieftain. Many tried, but the flower was protected by a fierce Water Fairy who drowned anyone who dared to even touch it.

    One day a young brave canoed out onto the lake to fish. Peering into the blue-green depths, he could see the flower below, glowing with an inner light. He cast his net, but when he pulled it in, he found a strange creature trapped inside it; one with scales, a fish-like tail but a human-like torso. It glared at him and demanded to be released. He realised that this must be the Water Fairy – and saw an opportunity.

    “I will release you, but only if you let me take the flower.”

    The fairy shook her head vehemently. “No, never!”

    “Well then,” he said, and hauled the net, with her still trapped inside, into his canoe. Then he dived into the water, swam down and plucked the flower from the lake bed. He returned to the canoe, triumphant. But the Water Fairy had turned pale.

    “You can take that flower,” she said. “But understand that without it, I will die.”

    He looked at the flower, then to the shore, where the teepees of his tribe could be seen. He could be Chieftain… but no, not like this. He pulled the netting away from the Water Fairy, and gave her the flower. There was a bright light, and he had to shield his eyes. When he looked again, a beautiful maiden sat in his canoe, holding the flower.

    “Thank you for breaking the curse that has been on me for so long. Now let us return to your tribe – they need to see their new Chieftain.”

    3+
    • Sian Brighal
      24 September 2017 at 11:02 am

      Nice ending and lovely writing.

      0
  9. Profile gravatar of Dave Allen
    22 September 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Chief/Wigwam/Memoir
    Word Count: 297
    Visions of a Former Chief

    I entered the traditional sweat lodge of my people, for the first time as Chief I was going to start a vision quest to commune with my spirit guide on a new world. I had prepared the traditional pipe of peyote to smoke as the steam surrounded me during this ritual.

    I struck a match and brought it to the bowl of my churchwarden, yes not the type of pipe that most would associate with an ancient ritual but the designs of those old pipes have been lost to time. I slowly began to draw on the stem, the smoke played over my tongue and I inhaled deeply. The heat from the steam complimented the taste of the peyote as I entered the trance-like state.

    I saw many things while trying to contact my animal guide. The arrival of a new threat to my people, the deaths of many of our tribe and the war that claimed the lives of many of our brothers from other parts of the world. Disturbing scenes played across my mind, yet I could never find my animal guide to help me make sense of the visions I was having.

    I exited the wigwam with an air of concern, it was the only time I had left a vision quest without having gained insight from my animal guide. I was concerned for the future of my people who were counting on me to glean insight from these visions and lead our tribe into the future. How could I even accomplish this? I had been abandoned by my most trusted advisor, friend and confessor.

    “I had no visions,” I told my people, “it is time to elect a new Chief.”

    I can only hope that the visions I saw were not true.

    0
  10. Valita Suzanne
    22 September 2017 at 9:42 pm

    Inyan

    Spirit, Mountains, Drama

    It was raining. Nevermind her freshly sprained ankle, it just had to be raining.
    Not for the first time, Suzanna found herself regretting the sudden decision to trek into the mountains on her own.
    “You need to get away, Suzy,” Doctor Means said, after the second unsuccessful rehabilitation. “Travel can be very liberating. Maybe it can even help you get away from David.”
    David was the name they had come to use for cocaine, after the pop singer David Bowie.
    But Suzanna was not as young as she once was, and the strain of this venture seemed as likely to kill her as the life she was leaving behind.
    Dark spots dotted her vision, and her head began to swim. It wasn’t long before she lost her footing.
    She reached out a hand to catch herself, but only succeeded in dislodging a sizable chunk of rock, which clattered down into some unseen canyon far below.
    Suzanna fell.
    Rainwater filled her mouth, tasting of minerals and defeat.
    She heaved the backpack off her shoulders with a sob and crawled to the nearby ledge, peering down into the abyss, which yawned invitingly back at her. There was a place where rain and tears and David Bowie couldn’t reach her.
    “It is beautiful.” Came a voice.
    Suzanna gasped.
    An old man with long grey hair worn in braids stood beside her, gazing into the horizon.
    “W-who are you?” She stammered.
    The old man smiled, his windburned skin wrinkling in a thousand places. He offered a dark calloused hand, and Suzanna found herself taking it, stepping away from the ledge.
    “Look. Is the valley not beautiful?”
    Suzanna let her eyes fall over sea of green in the distance, and the mountains painted pink by the setting sun, and wondered when the rain had stopped.

    0
    • Valita Suzanne
      22 September 2017 at 9:47 pm

      Sorry, forgot the word count. It’s 300.

      0
    • Sian Brighal
      24 September 2017 at 11:05 am

      Lovely uplifting story.

      0
  11. Caleb Echterling
    22 September 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Buffalo/Afterlife/Comedy
    299 words
    @CalebEchterling
    Spending Eternity with the Genus Bubalus

    The maitre-d’ wore a white tux that gleamed brighter than a toothpaste ad. “Welcome to Buffalo Heaven, Mr. … ah.” He traced his finger down a spiral notebook. “Ah yes. Mr. B. Bison.”

    Mr. B. Bison’s winter coat shook as he stomped his hooves. “Dammit, I’m Bison bison. I’m the animal so nice, they named me twice. What I am not is a buffalo. I will not allow you to buffalo me into a heaven with those freaks from the rice paddies.”

    The maitre-d’ bowed. “Heartfelt apologies, sir. But your name is on this list. A transfer to a different heaven will take a number of days. Perhaps if you sampled the offerings of Buffalo Heaven, you might change your mind.”

    Steam billowed from Mr. B. Bison’s flashy nostrils. “Do you treat European bison this shabbily?”

    The maitre-d’s eyes darted about the cloud-furnished waiting room. “It’s never come up. Your Eurasian cousins tend to lead less than exemplary lives.” The maitre-d’ cleared his throat and adjusted his rhinestone-encrusted bow tie. “Besides ‘bison’ and ‘buffalo’ are both derived from words meaning ox-like. ‘Buffalo’ has a longer historical pedigree of describing North American bovines. So there’s no need to be so snooty.”

    “Fine. Show me around. But no promises.”

    The maitre-d’ unlooped pearly chain link from a pearly fencepost, and pulled open the pearly cattle gate. “You’ll find we have every Buffalo-related amenity you could think of. I think you’ll be quite happy here.” A broad vista of prairie opened behind the gate. Towering piles of reddish-brown chicken wings spiked from the waving grass. Vats of bleu cheese dressing bubbled on the horizon.

    “What the hell is this?” Mr. B. Bison snorted.

    The maitre-d’ shrugged. “You say buffalo, I say Buffalo. We’re still working out some kinks in the populating algorithm.”

    2+
    • Caleb Echterling
      22 September 2017 at 10:41 pm

      Bubalus in the title should be italicized. I can’t figure out how to do that.

      0
    • Sian Brighal
      24 September 2017 at 11:07 am

      Excellent! Fantastic read, great tone and descriptions.

      0

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