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The Vision

Story ID:7757
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Fiction
Location:Caldwell ID USA
Year:2012
Person:24-Hour Short Story Contest
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I wrote in the Writers Weekly 24-Hour Short Story contest.
I'm not too happy with this one, but you be the judge.

The topic I received yesterday was:
Blue ice stretched to the horizon, fading into the blinding rays of another waning spring sun.
She shivered violently as the shifting mass groaned under her feet. She instinctively glanced down,
looking for cracks under the transparent sheen. Yutu had been afloat for twenty suns. With little food,
her body was weak. Suddenly, she tensed and dropped to her knees. Desperately clawing at the ice, she
screamed


I had 24 hours to write something using 850 or less words.

Here's what I wrote:

The Vision

Native Point, a peninsula in the Kivalliq region of what would become Nunavut, Canada, was
the site of the annual sun festival in the year 1200 AD. Yutu sat with her mate Agloolik and their two
young daughters, Yotimo and Kirima, and watched Kaskae, the leader of the Sadlermiut culture, dance in
circles as other members sang and tapped elk on horns.

The eastern sky grew orange. At the peak of the long dance, the sun, not seen for many months,
breached the horizon and the entire group stood and cheered the ending of the dark season.

The sun slipped back below the horizon and the feast of was served. As they ate, the men
planned a hunt. Yutu, sitting off to the side, stared at the firelight reflecting off the icy side of her igloo.
The flames became a picture. She saw Agloolik, at the edge of the ice, attempt to spear a seal. He
slipped and he fell into the frigid water. With the heavy furs weighting him and the cold of the water
seizing his muscles, Agloolik slipped below the surface before his companions could reach him.

Yutu leapt to her feet and cried, “Agloolik, you must not hunt. There is danger this day.” She
ran to her mate, held him tight and begged him not to hunt this day.

“Yutu, get a hold of yourself. I have hunted all my life. There is no danger this day.”

“But there is!”

“How do you know this?”

“I had a vision. You will not return from this hunt.”

“Woman, you’re not talking sense. I will hunt this day, as all men do after the first sun.” Agloolik
held Yutu at arm’s length. “You need rest. Visions? Such nonsense. Everyone is staring at you.”

The men left on their hunt. Yutu kept busy with her girls and tried not to worry, but when the
men returned, Agloolik was not with them. They explain to Kaskae how Agloolik had fallen into the
water and slipped under before they could reach him.

Yutu overheard them and screamed with grief. “It is as I said it would be. Why did you go,
Agloolik?”

The other women took her away. Her two girls, not understanding what was happening,
followed. Kaskae stared after them. When the women were out of hearing, he spoke. “Yutu caused this.
She did not have a vision. She put a curse on this hunt.” There was a murmur of agreement from those
gathered. “Agloolik was a skilled hunter. He would never be so clumsy.”

“She must be punished!” several of the men called out.

“I must think!” Kaskae said. “When the sun crests the horizon tomorrow, bring Yutu to me.”

The sky began to grow light in the east when two men came to Yutu. “Kaskae, needs to
speak with you.”

“What does he want?”

“No questions. Come!”

Yutu rose to her feet and followed the men. The entire group had gathered. She stood in front
of Kaskae with the two men holding her arms. “Yutu, I have thought all night long. We elders have come
to a decision. We believe this vision you claim to have had is untrue. We believe …” He leaned forward.
“We believe you have evil spirits and used them to curse your mate.”

Those gathered nodded in agreement.

“But it is true! I had a vision.” Yutu cried. She turned to face the group. “You all know me. I loved
Agloolik. I would never cause him harm! Please!” she begged.

“Silence!” Kaskae shouted. “Yutu, it is the decision of the elders that you be banned from
this family. You must leave before your evil spirits cause more harm. Tomorrow, when the sun rises
again, you will be placed on the floating ice island to the east, never to return.”

Blue ice stretched to the horizon, fading into the blinding rays of another waning spring sun.
She shivered violently as the shifting mass groaned under her feet. She instinctively glanced down,
looking for cracks under the transparent sheen. Yutu had been afloat for twenty suns. With little food,
her body was weak. Suddenly, she tensed and dropped to her knees. Desperately clawing at the ice, she
screamed, “No!”

In the ice she saw a vision of the Tunit tribe to the west, attack her Sadlermiut settlement
in a dispute over hunting grounds. She saw Kaskae speared, woman beaten and all men and boys killed.
Yotimo and Kirima were herded with the other girls. They would be made to mate when they reached
age. Before them they would become slaves.

She scratched at the ice to erase the images. Waves of pain washed over Yutu and she knelt. She
didn’t feel the ice shudder or see the crack approaching as the ice island broke. The ice opened beneath
her. With her overpowering grief, she didn’t care as the freezing waters swallowed her. She didn’t
fight. She welcomed the cold watery tomb. As death came near, she said a prayer for her girls and
was no more.

Michael T. Smith