JD’s Microfiction Challenge #10 far far away


Theodore Kittelsen

He stood, back to the viewer, in somber clothes, baggy pants tucked into rugged boots. One hand firmly gripped a walking stick fashioned into a spear. Slung over his back was a leather satchel straps too loose to be comfortable or secure. His yellow hair, barely visible between cap and collar, yellow, suggesting alpine or Nordic heritage.

The ground where he stood, rough with rock and short tough higher altitude plants brown from the weight of winter snow, or rusting in the last of autumn’s sun. The terrain ahead, distance and topography, was obscured by fog or swirl of snow from lowering clouds. A foreboding, barren patch.

On the horizon, beyond folded mountain keeps, was a city of gold – crystalline, kissed by sun or made of that precious metal. The landscape gave no sense to it’s scale nor grandeur. Just as the boy’s stance gave little clue as to his direction or feelings: joy at the end of a long and painful quest; foreboding at what lay in the valleys ahead; sadness to be leaving his beloved home; relief to have escaped it’s impossible oppression.

The image made me feel lonely, isolated, cut-off from what I knew and loved. Some days, it made it shudder with the sheer coldness of the scene, of the boy.

Usually I was alone in the gallery where it was housed, but today another viewer stood in my usual spot. A traveler, I supposed by his odd suitcase, coat and hat draped over the handle. He crooked a cane over his arm.

“Exquisite, isn’t it,” he remarked hearing the rustle of my skirts.

“Yes, I replied, “You are so drawn in, to take him out of his loneliness.”

“No doubt the isolation is of his own doing; it is his responsibility that makes the picture unique.”

“Responsibility?” I queried, surprised to find myself in such a conversation.

“He must blink away his golden city.”

“Pardon,” I asked making more space between myself and the strange man who softly whistled Shubert.

“Because it is not a city, Miss, but yet another snowy peak, turned golden in the single ray piercing the storm clouds. A blink, and it is gone.”

“My card, Miss, he said handing me a card cut out of vellum in the same shape of his baggage. “Young women read far too much into such things as art and literature – flights of fancy. Though there are uses for such whimsy’s. Please drop by Miss Cardigan.”

I looked down at the card: Dr. Teagarten, Imagineer on the Continuum. I turned to reproach him for his forwardness, and he was gone, only the sound of whistled Shubert remained.

The mysterious scientist, admirer of music and art, Dr. Teagarten, also appears in: Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction #4: Dr. Teagarten’s Exit and #6 Bigalo, the Sad Child.

Written for Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction #10, far far away


15 thoughts on “JD’s Microfiction Challenge #10 far far away

      • Kat Myrman August 25, 2016 / 1:50 pm

        Don’t ya love when that happens!? I find myself going back occasionally to tweak a story or poem even after I posted it and have had a good night’s sleep. :) Creating is so fun!


  1. memadtwo August 25, 2016 / 6:47 am

    Having the narrator contemplate the painting works really well. As to the good doctor…(K)


    • taleweavering August 25, 2016 / 1:51 pm

      Yes, the good doctor.
      Thanks, I’m glad the opening passages worked. Trying to link the two halves of the story.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. merrildsmith August 25, 2016 / 6:26 am

    But if I remember Dr. Teagarten correctly, I hope she doesn’t contact him.


  3. Jane Dougherty August 25, 2016 / 3:02 am

    I like this. You’re writing is very controlled and tight in this one. Just a few quick thoughts/suggestions:
    You could maybe tighten up some of the descriptive part which is very vivid and visual, but could be more concise, and add some more atmosphere, how the spectator feels about the mood, impressions etc.
    I thought to begin with we were with the boy on the mountain and it was a bit of a jolt to realise we were looking at a painting together. You maybe wanted to create that effect. If not, I’d say something like the boy *in the painting* at the beginning.
    I smiled at Dr Teagarten’s return. Such a creepy individual. It also caught me by surprise—I was expecting him to be the boy in the painting. Which brings me to the third point. I know Dr T but for someone reading this as a standalone piece, the significance would be lost. I’d be inclined to add a line that links him to the boy in the painting somehow. If it was my story I’d probably have him say something like ‘I could never make him believe me, silly boy.’
    That’s my two penn’orth anyway. Great little story :)


    • taleweavering August 31, 2016 / 7:18 pm

      For some reason, this landed in spam, and I’m just reading it. I agree with all your points. I have a habit of not repeating the backstory of a reoccurring character. Thanks so much for the helpful critique. If I’d known it was here, I would have revised accordingly!


I love dialogue. Do you?

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