Origins + Generations

"Daughters of the Northern Lights" - Artist: Gerhard Munthe. Woolen tapestry loosely based on Norse legends and mythology depicting three polar bears approaching three female figures with stylized flame-like blonde hair; stylized waves and mountains in background.
"Daughters of the Northern Lights" - Artist: Gerhard Munthe. Woolen tapestry loosely based on Norse legends and mythology depicting three polar bears approaching three female figures with stylized flame-like blonde hair; stylized waves and mountains in background.

California author Heather Bourbeau builds a bridge between myth and time in her latest sequence of 100-word stories.

I

Origins

There once was a polar bear who roamed the great north accompanied by the clouds, his closest friends. They would name floes and lakes and try to hide behind newly christened mountains. For a while, they searched for others who could speak their language, but the birds and whales ignored them. The polar bear would suggest a name and the clouds would talk amongst themselves before agreeing or counteroffering—until they had named everything except themselves. “What is my name?” “Brother Bear,” said the clouds. “And us?” “Sisters Skylake,” he smiled sadly at the end of this play, their covenant.

II

Generations

When it rained, she felt sorrow—not her own, but that of the skies. “You are a Skylake,” her grandmother explained. “We are tied to the clouds.” She dismissed these tales of her clan and the Bears. Reason taught her something else. It was pure coincidence that she found herself studying migrations and weather patterns. She was drawn to the science, she said unconvincingly. And while she loved a large, hairy man, he came from another land. (Though he spoke her language beautifully.) Then amid a summer storm, suddenly, she could hear the clouds’ pain, understand her denials, and cry.

Heather Bourbeau’s fiction and poetry have been published in 100 Word Story, Alaska Quarterly Review, Cleaver, Eleven Eleven, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, The Cardiff Review, and The Stockholm Review of Literature. She is the Chapman University Flash Fiction winner and has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her work has been featured in several anthologies, including America, We Call Your Name: Poems of Resistance and Resilience (Sixteen Rivers Press), and Respect: Poems About Detroit Music (Michigan State University Press). She has worked with various UN agencies, including the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia and UNICEF Somalia.

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