The Journey: Microfiction





Ailise hugged and kissed her children goodnight, knowing she might never perform this bedtime ritual again. She sat watching them through the night and thinking of their dire situation. Her husband had vanished, one of the many who had disappeared. She had no idea if he was still alive. Since The Leader had taken control of their country, life had become ever more difficult for them and other Jantos. They were disparaged as tree worshipers. The Leader had made them scapegoats, arguing that they were the cause of all the nation’s problems, real and imagined. His pronouncements made those who were disenchanted with their current way of life feel better. The Tree Worshippers were taking their jobs, the Leader said, and polluting their pure Mountain Worshipping country with foreign ideas and dissolute practices.

Now, all Jantos were being forced to register. There were rumors of work camps where they would be sent. When news came—carried secretly, told in hushed whispers—that the famous flutist, Raoul Sendler, was saving Janot children, Ailise felt both fear and joy. Could her babies be saved? Could she let them go?

Raoul Sendler, known for multi-colored costumes, as well as his musical ability, was so popular that his concerts were usually sold-out months in advance. His skill was legendary; his playing mesmerizing. It was said that people would follow the sound of his flute anywhere. Even The Leader had attended his performances.

Through a network, Sendler had obtained fake papers for Janot children showing they were citizens of his country, Bragnaw. Some children, he would claim, were his students or performers in his show. Other children would appear to be the offspring of those who worked with him. After he performed his final concert at the Grand Academy, Sendler would take the children to Bragnaw, where they would be away from danger. They’d be placed in foster homes until they could return home safely.

In the morning, Ailes gathered the papers that had been given to her. She hugged and kissed her daughter and son one last time—and then she let them go.


This story is for Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge. The prompt was the painting above. I’ve copied it from Jane’s post, so I’m not sure where it came from.  When I saw it, I thought, the Pied Piper and the Kindertransport.  Yeah, that’s the way my mind works.  My pied piper is named for Raoul Wallenberg And Irene Sendler , but I think of all the heroes who have fought against injustice.

I may have to write a second tale that does justice to this lovely illustration.


28 thoughts on “The Journey: Microfiction

  1. The kindertransport was a beautiful heroic gesture. I met people who had been on one of them, still living with their adoptive families because of course there was no other to go back to after the war. Lovely story, Merril, but a parent’s nightmare.

  2. Thankfully there are people of conscience who will try their best, at the risk of their own life and liberty, to save the children from despots. If only we didn’t have the need to.
    xxx Massive Hugs Merril and Nadolig Llawen xxx

  3. I always enjoy the imaginings of your fertile mind – and the photos that illustrate them. You mentioned how you come up with the names on this micro-fiction blog post, but did you every make them up on other posts? If so, how do they come to you?

    • Thank you, Marian. The name Ailise just came to me. (I see I spelled it two different ways. UGH.) I wanted something that wouldn’t identify her as being from any particular country, and the character just told me that was her name. 🙂 It often works that way. If I decide the character is from a particular country, I usually try to match the name, and often the character just lets me know what it should be.

  4. This is always such a tough decision, even if fiction I felt the mother’s sorrow, Merril.
    Nicely written and such great details of the imaginary situation, too.
    My friend, Bill, had his mother a Native American tell him a few times her story of being sent off to a “white” family to be a student and helper around their house. She felt grateful for the education and also, sad about losing her childhood.

    • Thank you, Robin. That’s a sad story about your friend’s mother. There were many Native American children who were sent off to schools where they weren’t allowed to speak their native languages, and many also died because the conditions were horrible. I’m glad your friend’s mother’s situation was not as bad.

  5. Pingback: Microfiction challenge A Journey: the entries – Jane Dougherty Writes

  6. Your intriguing story is not too far fetched from what our “brilliant” president elect threatened to do while he was still campaigning — to deport children and place all Muslim on a mandatory registry. I shudder at his tyrannical mind.

    What an amazing imagination you possess!

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