Apr 302015
 

Hello again. A fascinating story for you this week (thanks for the suggestion, Ed.)

A wild child (also known as a feral child or wolf child) is a human child that has been raised in the absence of normal family and social structures and behaviours. This is often a result of being confined by their own parents as a deliberate act of cruelty or as a rejection of a child’s mental or physical disability. Wild children are a common subject in folklore where they are often portrayed as being raised by animals – think Mowgli in The Jungle Book.

On this day in 1812, Kaspar Hauser, one of the most fascinating cases of wild children, was born. As a teenage boy he was found wandering the streets of Nuremberg, Germany, carrying a letter from a man claiming the boy was left in his care as an infant and he had raised him but never let him leave the house. Hauser was able to speak a few words (particularly “I want to be a cavalryman, as my father was” and “Horse! Horse!”) and write his name. When asked about his early life he spoke of a small, dark cell and being fed only bread and water. He became something of a curiosity in the town and was visited by many people who wanted to glimpse the wild child. Hauser died aged 21 from a stab wound. Many believe he was attempting to resurrect dwindling public interest towards him, but stabbed himself too deeply. In a twist worthy of Alexandre Dumas, some believed that Hauser was the hereditary Prince of Baden and was switched with a sickly child at birth to ensure the incumbent Duke had no male heir and the title would be inherited by his uncle.

Here is this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: Dan Markeye via CC.

Photo Credit: Dan Markeye via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is Ed Broom, winner of MB1.01 and MB1.28. Read his winning story, and what he has to say about flash fiction here.

What?

A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with WILD and ending with CHILD and incorporating the photo prompt.

Who?

Anyone, but especially you!

Why?

Why not! Because it’s fun. Because it’s a challenge. Because the winner will receive their own winner’s page, their story on the winning stories list, a ‘who is the the author’ feature to be posted next week, entry into the ‘Micro Bookend of the Year’ competition, and a copy of this year’s winning stories compilation.

When?

Now! Get your entry in BEFORE 5:00 am Friday (UK time: http://time.is/London).

Where?

Here!

How?

Post your story in the comments section. Include the word count and your Twitter username (if you’re Twitterized). Don’t forget to read the full rules before submitting your story.

Anything else?

Please give your story a title. It will not be included in the word count.

Please try to leave comments on a couple of other stories. It’s all part of the fun, and everyone likes feedback!

Remember, only stories that use the bookends exactly as supplied (punctuation is allowed) will be eligible to win.

  105 Responses to “Micro Bookends 1.29 – WILD [micro] CHILD”

  1. Copy
    110 words
    @elaine173marie

    ‘Wild Wolf and its miscalculations are behind us, ladies and gentlemen! We haven’t just improved, we have excelled ourselves.’
    ‘Even so. What about public perception? Issues of trust?’ said one investor.
    ‘A little rebranding, some big celebs’ kid gets one, and we have the biggest seller of all time. Let me demonstrate how far we have come.’
    ‘Hello, Ai-me.’
    The doll springs to life: ‘What would you like to play?’
    The investor again: ‘Nothing new there! What about-‘
    ‘Quite. But I will display where we have improved. Ai-me, tell everyone your number one directive.’

    ‘Even in Emulation Mode, never pull off the limbs of a human child.’

  2. Dreams Soaked in Gasoline
    (110 Words)
    @iskyhaggarty36

    Wild eyed and crazy-haired, she painted the perfect portrait of a damned revolutionary.
    She was destined to shine bright and intense
    and to burn out just as quickly.
    Sucking on the end of a stale cigarette
    with flowers in her hair
    And the words of dead poets circling inside her head,
    with a grimy reality stuck
    underneath bloodied fingernails,
    She told me that dark
    forgotten passageways
    contained hope’s light
    and that grandeur was an illusion.
    With dreams soaked in gasoline
    She lit the spark
    with her discarded smoke
    And left a spark
    With her discarded body.
    Wild eyed and crazy-haired,
    I can’t help but think
    She was only
    a child.

  3. June 1940.

    @geofflepard 109 words

    Wild thyme. The scent lingers like the residue of a dream. That summer, abandoned with Claude while parents and nations fought aimless wars. He found the tunnel – ‘sis, don’t be scared – just breathe’. Head spinning, dropping through space, holding my heart tight, landing in dust. ‘Our Odyssey, sis.’ Sharp light fighting the dark; bright white, suffocating rainbows.
    We ran, in and out, mimicking the planes above. He disappeared, hiding to scare me.
    We grew up there. He joined up, dipping and diving alone; disappearing one day, leaving only a residue.
    ‘This way out, sis.’ If only I could hold the dream as I held his hand as a child.

  4. Runaway
    @laurenegreene
    107 words

    Wild feelings flitted through Zoe’s mind as she walked through the ancient and abandoned sewer system. She stopped and stared up through one of the openings, the glare from the sun blinding her for just a minute. When she looked down black spots speckled her vision, and she thought she might faint.

    She’d show them. She’d never come back. She’d live in the woods for the rest of her life. She knew how to survive. A ladder at the end of the tunnel reached almost up to the sky. She would climb out from the darkness of the underground transformed into an adult, no longer a child.

  5. Flossie’s Day Out.
    @SoosieTweets
    110 words

    Wild horses couldn’t stop her from going down there. Grandma couldn’t entice her back out. Grandpa had gone to wait in the car.

    “Come on sweetie. We’ve been down here an hour now. Let’s go for an ice-cream. With sauce. And a flake.”

    “Don’t want one” Her words echoed back and Flossie chuckled “Grandma. Listen!”

    It went quiet and another group entered as the girl passed wind rather impressively for one so small.

    “Grandma! The room trumps back at you. Try it?” You could hardly make out her words through the giggles.

    “I’m sorry” Grandma blushed and explained as the smell lifted. “So very like her Mother as a child”

  6. Word Count – 101
    @susanOReilly3

    Inner Child

    Wild memories traversed her visage
    loving home a mirage
    through her mind she tunnels
    her self-esteem she pummels

    Fairytales were penned for her
    trying to heal her heart so sore
    a survivor
    no longer a dreamer

    Imagination has flown
    scarred to the bone
    existing without hope
    leads to the end of a rope

    I’d do anything to illuminate her eyes
    her smile a beguiling guise
    forever I have fallen
    her soul I am calling

    Caressing her with a loving touch
    she flinches it’s too soon, too much
    trying with actions mild
    to soothe the storm brewing in this child

  7. Set Free
    (102 words)

    Wild child left in the wild. That’s what the grown-ups did to him. They feared his fits and tantrums, the spitting and screaming. No one knew what to do with him in Jerusalem, so he was turned loose outside the walls. Whispered words of “demon spirit” justified their actions.

    A woman ventured out to leave food on occasion. Hurrying away before he got too close.

    The boy scrabbled away from the stranger. But the man’s eyes beckoned to him. And something in his voice pulled the boy out of his hiding place when he stretched forth his hand and simply said, “Child.”

  8. Foy S. Iver
    @fs_iver
    WC: 110

    Farewell

    Wild child you were.

    North and south bound in finite flesh.

    Life was beautiful, hateful.

    Jagged roots poked out of your heart, evidence of the past: the child forgotten in Catacombs; the teen raised by dealers; the man waking under a bus shelter.

    But you found your feet. Wrenching light from inner darkness, you gave joy to those who needed it less. I remember our first meeting; you spoke of recovery, Jesus, and pissing yourself. Nothing–not needles, or fifths, or false friends–could suck you down.

    Except you.

    When valley followed mountain, you were alone. Forgive us for we knew not what to do.

    You were a wild child.

  9. Thysdrus

    Wild animals… lions, tigers… kept in cages down here… sent up to rip the flesh of gladiators with long, pointy claws… eating Christians – ALIVE! – with huge teeth, sharp as needles!

    To Betsy, lions and tigers were warm, soft, cuddly toys. They didn’t have big, scary teeth, ready to gobble you up!

    She ran.

    The sun glared through holes in the tunnel roof. They were too high for her to escape.

    Her parents found her balled up in a recess, sobbing. They spoke soothing words to console her but they were angry with the guide. It was not the thing to say in front of a young, impressionable child.

    @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 108 words

  10. Back Outside

    Wild garlic below the window calls to me of outdoors. Once it’s warmer they’ll wheel me into the garden.

    Outside. Down the lane. Through the fields. Closing my eyes, I feel wet grass brush my ankles. Into the dark, exciting, chill-your-bones tunnel. I ran fast back then. Like flying. Didn’t realise for years that man was a flasher. I was five. Should’ve told Mum. Strange to think of him long dead. Back outside, the sun was extra warm. I told the time with dandy lion clocks and found three ladybirds.

    I’m lucky to be here. Can’t do anything for myself. Eight decades of adulthood and now I’m like a child.

    Sal Page
    @SalnPage
    110 words

  11. Foy S. Iver
    @fs_iver
    WC: 109

    Rat Child Found in The Dales. Chief Inspector to Investigate

    “Wild cave rats?”

    “Precisely, Sir. From what we can tell she was raised by them.”

    The Chief Inspector flipped through Constable Giles’ scratchpad.

    “Is she aware?”

    “That she was raised by cave rats?”

    Chief Inspector’s mustache twitched.

    “Is she cognizant, Giles. Can she speak?”

    Doctor’s orders were to keep stress to a minimum.

    “Oh, no, Sir. She makes a high squeaking sound and uses hand gestures frequently.”

    Another myocardial infarction would be the death of him. Chief Inspector returned the illegible notes.

    “So her communication skills are rudimentary.”

    “Quite, she gave Constable Kerry the birdie just moments ago.”

    His chest tightened. He needed a holiday.

    “Let’s see the child.”

  12. the spell
    (w/c 110)
    @koebnig

    Wild rose bushes clung to the thick walls of the ancient labyrinth like the suffocating moss which crept silently over the barren fields.
    There was talk of a legend, a spell – one which could only be broken if a child managed to access the labyrinth’s impenetrable skin.
    Many tried.
    Many failed.
    Then along came the girl.
    Everyone agreed she was different, special. Afterwards people spoke of a sweet warmth which seemed to surround her.
    No one was surprised when she made it inside just as no eye remained dry when fields filled immediately with vegetables.
    She had been the one.
    ‘The spell is broken,’ they cheered. ‘Long live the child!’

  13. Debated Bait (107 words)

    ‘Wild idea?’ Sam scowled – why did Rita keep doubting? ‘Risky, yeah. But too late now. Mandy?’ he whispered into the mike. ‘You know where to go. Don’t worry, we’re tracking every movement in the area.’
    They heard her breathing, quick and shallow. The soft tread of her feet on the gravel. Then a barely audible, ‘OK.’
    They scanned the screen, hearts pounding. Minutes passed. Silently, Rita pointed: an orange blob, creeping towards the smaller blob that was Mandy.
    ‘Bring her up! Move!’ Sam wiped the sweat from his forehead. ‘Got him! I knew the bastard wouldn’t resist. She’s too cute. But then, I’m biased. My own child…’

  14. Hidden Treasure
    Word count: 110
    http://www.realmommaramblings.wordpress.com

    “Wild and crazy ride, a great adventure!” That’s what he told me and I believed him. How could I have been so stupid?

    “Never take candy from a stranger,” momma always said. She never told me ’bout guys who would promise fun and thrills, enticing me with kisses so sweet they left me wanting more. Pure sugar. I had never experienced these feelings before. The rush of young love, or so that’s what I thought we had. Until his anger reared its ugly head, the monster inside him could no longer be contained. But I could, forced to live underground, his hidden “treasure”. I was nothing but a naïve child.

  15. First Time For Everything

    Wild purple flowers were the first thing she saw, climbing out into the sunshine. To her surprise, it felt warm. She wasn’t stupid, there were pictures of sun and flowers in the book. Mommy read it every night. But she didn’t expect the sun to feel warm.

    She panicked, where was the book? But then she saw a dog, and a policeman. They were in the book, too, but this dog was BIG! She started toward the dog, but Mommy held her tight.

    Mommy was crying. There were people everywhere, staring. She thought for a moment and realized, smiling, this must be the first time they have seen a child.

    (110 words)
    @fabuloushanny

    • I love this. So very clever. The child’s perspective gives the ending such ambiguity: who is really seeing what for the first time? (Can’t help think of the Fritzl family reading this.) Great work.

  16. I Trust Mommy
    110 words
    @sydney_writer

    Wild wind whips down the tunnel and stirs Ariane’s black hair. She tells herself, “Find Mommy.” Ariane wanted to see where the stairs went. It was a game, but bad men took Mommy away.

    “Mommy?” Dull thumping squeaks behind a dusty door half darkened by shadows. Ariane peeks through the open crack. Mommy’s eyes meet hers. There’s a string around Mommy’s throat—what game is that?
    Mommy’s eyes make Ariane’s belly feel sharp. Something isn’t right. Mommy hits the bad man on top of her.

    “Leave her alone!”

    Ariane runs. She doesn’t stop for years. It’s not easy to trust when you’ve watched Mommy strangled through eyes of a child.

  17. Cowboys
    (110 Words)
    @iskyhaggarty36

    “Wild West?” She asked, puckering as if the words tasted sour on her sweet little lips.
    They were his favorite types of movies; gunslingers, sheriffs, bandits, damsels in distress…
    the works.
    “Of course Wild West,” Jack answered, irritated, “Who doesn’t love a good ol’ Clint Eastwood?”
    “I don’t.”
    There was a silence. Not awkward, and not uncommon.
    Just bitter.
    “They’re fun.” He murmured feebly.
    They weren’t just action flicks; she would never understand. She would never understand how they would make him feel the hero, if only for a few hours, and she would never understand how much he needed that.
    She turned away.
    “Christ, Jack, you’re such a child.”

  18. 110 words

    Away Sweet Child, Ride Away

    “Wild thing, you make my …” The Troggs’ tune, barely perceptible over the whir of tires, crackled and popped from the front left of the new-to-her dark blue ’82 Datsun. The radio received one station: classic rock. The one working speaker, like her life, was shattered.

    But today, the lonely, abandoned, broken girl who sold five dollar handjobs on the subway would disappear forever.

    She wiped the dollar store makeup from her eyes then floored the gas. Hot desert wind blasted her face, baking her cheeks like sticky, fresh biscuit dough. Then she cranked the volume, tossed her head back and howled with Axl, “Woah, oh, oh, oh, sweet child …”

    • like it; love the imagery ‘baking her cheeks like sticky, fresh biscuit dough’ Never thought Wild Thing was the Troggs’ best (I’m a hopeless romantic so prefer Love is all Around) but this is the best use of it!

      • Thank you for commenting. Yesterday, because of this, I spent an inordinate amount of time on YouTube watching classic rock videos. I saw a lot of banjo covers. I always end up with the banjos.

  19. CHRIS AND MIKE vs DEJA VU

    Brian S Creek
    108 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    “Wild guess?” asked Mike.

    “No,” said Chris. “I’ve seen this tunnel before, in my dreams, back when I was in the institution.”

    “Like a premonition?”

    “Like a memory.”

    “So you’re saying this is the way out of the labyrinth? No more assassins? No more ghost knights? No more dragons?”

    “I think so,” said Chris.

    As Mike waited for his friend to recollect, he spotted a small boy watching them from a little way down the tunnel.

    “Um, Chris? We’re being watched.”

    Chris looked up as the boy turned and ran.

    “Let’s go,” said Chris.

    “We’re chasing him?”

    “We are,” said Chris. “That boy is me as a child.”

  20. An Exceptional Child
    A.J. Walker

    Wild disquieting screams and obnoxious filth began emanating from the vaulted catacombs beneath Claire’s dream home. She wished she’d visited during the hours of darkness before purchasing it; her life at night now a living hell.

    At the library she saw old maps showing foundations marked variously as ‘Olde Abbeye’ and ‘The Asylum’, but nothing more.

    Overhearing her enquiries one creepy local said the screams were from a poltergeist. Probably from a child who was born and died in the asylum.

    It proved to be her neighbour’s delinquent daughter, Ashleigh. Previously Sandra said she liked kids, but couldn’t eat a whole one; said she’d make an exception for that child.

    (110 words)
    @zevonesque

  21. @stellakateT
    110 words

    The Camera Never Lies

    “Wild Wombats” yelled Gareth

    He really was the oddest, geekiest boy I knew, living next door; he seemed to know everything about me. I was beginning to wonder if he had secret cameras installed in my house as he would suddenly repeat something I’d said to my Dad or my big sister Celia.

    I stopped swinging on the gate. At fourteen, I suppose I was too old to strain the hinges.

    “Remember the time we went down that old tunnel and you screamed like a baby and I took a picture of you”

    I nodded.

    “Its won a competition and I’m getting a hundred quid, you look such a child”

  22. Emily Clayton
    @emilyiswriting
    110 words

    Life, One Fungus at a Time

    “Wild mushrooms are evil.” Kaylie stands in military stance, fingers perched defiantly on hips. She steps towards the granite counter, peering up at me like a granny without her specs. Since when did I father an old woman?

    I laugh, the throaty rumble echoing around a mommy-deprived kitchen. Sun catchers, once hung all over the south-facing panes, now lean listlessly by the dust-filled spot. It is the spot. Her spot. Miranda.

    Kaylie huffs. “Daddy, you’re not listening.” She purses her lips, every inch of her face becoming Miranda. Too much. Too soon.

    “Sorry, Captain Kaylie. Proceed.”

    A somber nod. “Near the tunnel by the pines. The mushrooms ate a child.”

  23. Run of the Mill
    (110 Words)
    @iskyhaggarty36

    Wild wasn’t normally characterized as a dull, brown corridor.
    Well, until you went there and saw it yourself.
    Damp hallways, pleading, scared voices all speaking over each other, rising to a bubbling cacophony of gibberish.
    This is what psych wards were like, though.
    I was on my third round, making my way through the dusty, dingy halls; you don’t want an escapee in an asylum.
    Turning the corner, I stopped short.
    A little girl.
    Eyes empty, she mumbled incoherently, frantically scratching the walls.
    She set her sights on me.
    Nervous, I drew my revolver.
    She jerked suddenly.
    My finger did, too.
    But who would complain?
    She was just a child.

  24. Tricking the Trickster
    @hollygeely
    110 words

    Wild 7 was a trickster eager to trick. Its master believed it was too young. Wild 7 left through the magic tunnel anyway.

    “You will be banished if you fail,” its master shouted.

    Wild 7 chose two lovers and named the price for its favour: If they could not guess its true name in three nights they would relinquish their first-born. It was a deal created by Wild 7’s idol, the great Rumpelstiltskin.

    They read and signed the contract.

    “You’re leaving empty handed,” one human said.

    “You know my name?”

    “Nope. Read the fine print.”

    “So?”

    “We promised our joint, natural first-born. We’re both male. We can’t produce a child.”

  25. Listen Carefully
    A.J. Walker

    Wild whispering grasses tell tales with the wind you can’t quite hear – during the day. Snatches of lies and snippets of truths tantalise you; you at the edge of knowing.

    As the sun slips west the dark drifts through the house in an intelligent prying fog. The high pitch chatter of a girl playing echoes through all the rooms inescapable, echoing hollow – like conversations from a crypt. The laughs cut like death through the stillness evidence your gooseflesh the prickling hairs. You can see her when you close your eyes; her dress pretty, her eyes and mouth adits to hell. She’s with the devil – at once ancient and a child.

    (110 words)
    @zevonesque

  26. Beauty

    Wild with envy she stood perfectly still.
    She watched the girl.
    Did anyone ever follow up with Snow White? Ask her if she felt a twinge of sympathy for her stepmother when she was no longer the fairest one?
    The girl was fair, with fine blond hair, so fine that the wisps that strayed from the curve of her skull looked like filaments of light.
    But this was not the true source of envy.
    It was the look on the girl’s face.
    The bliss of truly seeing something for the first time.
    She had precious few of those gems of joy now.
    She was jealous of her own child.

    109 words
    @CaseyCaseRose

  27. For Brandon
    April 3, 2006 – April 8, 2006

    Wild she weaves by night and day
    In glowing threads of fire and gray
    A crown for Monday’s child

    Sweet she weaves by dark and noon
    In glyphs of gold, in silver rune
    A song for Tuesday’s child

    Dazed she weaves at dusk and dawn
    In wails of kit and cub and fawn
    A prayer for Wednesday’s child

    Bent she weaves along the road
    Bruised and bowed beneath her load
    A dirge for Thursday’s child

    Soft she weaves in streams of silk
    In holy scars, in sacred milk
    A dream of Friday’s child

    93 words
    @postupak

  28. Digger

    “Wild,” said Margaret as she looked up the hole.

    Margaret lived life underground as a Digger. Diggers did not know sunlight or rain. Diggers knew dirt.

    Margaret had had snuck out during hide and seek. While her playmates hid, she darted from one spot to another. The walls absorbed Jack’s “allie allie oxen free” before it reached her.

    Now, the brilliant blue of the April sky blinded her; the fresh air assaulted her with its unfamiliar smell.

    Now, as she looked up, she knew she was not a Digger.

    While still a young girl, Margaret was no longer a child.

    101 words
    @FictionAsLife

  29. Hope against hope (107 words)

    Wild, foolish hopes, they say, and tell me to let go, move on. As if I could. As if ‘moving on’ was an option when you’re with me still every day. You were a wild one too, roaming far and wide, too far too wide, that morning… And every passing year pushes you deeper into shadow, where hopes have no light to grow… Except sometimes, for no reason, in my mind’s eye you’ll step into the sun, look up, shielding your eyes, as if you’re calling, and I see you clearly and run to reach out. Come back to me please, my wild one, oh, my child.

  30. AS WE LIE DORMANT
    107 words
    @ecjlewis

    “Wild animals don’t exist anymore, my darling.”

    I stroke my son’s curls, his head resting on my stomach. I savour each strand of soft hair between my fingers: very soon he’ll become too old for the Mothers’ quarters, and I’ll go back alone to the breeding chambers.

    My boy will become a man, forgetting me.

    But for now, he still seeks my stories, asks me questions of the world above. A world I’ve never seen. The reports brought back by the men tell of barren lands, empty of the animals and plants that used to thrive there, generations ago.

    Is this all there is for my child?

  31. The Phone Call

    Wild dreams, or rather, nightmares of a little girl wandering through catacombs plagued her every night. Jordan would awake with her t-shirt and mini shorts drenched in sweat, and her racing heart beating the breath from her lungs. This is why she kept the glass of water next to her nightstand. Drinking the cool water helped ease her back to bed.

    After about a month, she decided to talk to her mother about this dream. She tapped through the menu and address book in her smartphone until she dialed her mom’s house. After too many rings, a stranger’s voice answered. “Your mother was in a car accident. I’m sorry child.”

    110 words
    @goldzco21

  32. Dashed Again
    @meg_mediocre
    109 words

    Wild whirligigs of wind and dust chased each other playfully down the passageway. Orion breathed deeply. It had been so long since the doors last opened! He ran through the halls, as ecstatic as the wind that whipped at his cloak.

    Father was sure to be happy this time.

    “Orion?” A voice boomed through the grate.

    “I am here, Father!” he panted, reaching arms through the gaps to flail at the mysterious body beyond.

    Strong hands inspected his arms and traced the markings on his palm. A dejected sigh cut through the boy’s heart.

    The words were barely audible as the door closed once more.

    “Maybe next time, child.”

  33. I’m not normally into poetry but this is just gorgeous. Well done!

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