Flash! #4: The End of the Round-Up

Little Carl was just going on 9 but knew what his da did for a living; Big Carl was the encampment boss and Little Carl spent the summers with him there. He liked wandering the rows of cots where the natives stayed as they waited to be taken to the reservation. There was an old man at the back of the room who regarded him; Little Carl was afraid but felt drawn to him. He shuffled to his cot and stood before him, marveling at his deep-set eyes and leathery skin; there was an ancientness about him. He was the medicine man—Little Carl knew that from the looks of the sack he carried; he must have seen three or four that looked similar over the last four years of the round-up. The man smiled at Little Carl, who smiled back, suddenly calmed. He reached into his sack and produced the longest and most beautiful eagle feather Little Carl had ever seen. Little Carl’s eyes widened as the old medicine man gestured with sad eyes to the remaining handful of his people, who were all sick or dying. He handed the feather to Little Carl and said, “Remember.”

The idea for this 197-word piece came from Rana, who blogs at Virginia the Viruliferous. Here is her idea as offered in the Flash! You’re It! post from 13 May:

My idea:: The last words of an old medicine man, the last of his tribe, to a little boy, the child of the officer in charge of the encampment where the medicine man’s tribe is held.

Number of words:: Between 150-200
I am not aware of any specific rituals during which Native or Aboriginal People bestow the honor of the eagle feather to one outside their group, but the fictional significance of such a gesture toward Little Carl spoke to me and I hope it does not offend. To read more on the teaching of the feather, visit the Gathering of Nations website.
%d bloggers like this: