Consumed by the Moon Man

An Anasazi Story by Jeff Posey.

“Tell us a story about your grandfather,” said Sowi to Tuwa.

Tuwa fidgeted and looked into the fire.

“You knew Tuwa’s grandfather, didn’t you?” Sowi asked Choovio.

Choovio nodded and looked into the fire. “Sometimes he spoke like a man and sometimes he spoke like a spirit.”

“So tell us something you learned from the spirit grandfather,” said Sowi. “We can’t just stare at the fire all evening.”

Tuwa continued to stare at the fire and began speaking. “Grandfather pointed at the distant peak we could see from his circle of stones between the columns of the Twin War Gods and the hills to the left.

“He said we must travel to the hot springs at its feet, where he would soak his aching body, and that I must climb the mountain alone, without food, and return to tell him what I had seen.”

“I’ve been to those springs with my father,” said Choovio. “The old ones lie in the hot mud and the children play in the river where the springs warm the water.”

“So I took him there with Nuva, the albino woman, to look after him, and I set out to climb the peak that Grandfather called Pahu because it gives birth to all the world’s hot water.

“For three days I climbed. Pahu seemed to grow larger the higher I climbed. On the fourth day, starving and weak, I crawled up the steep ground and I finally reached the top, my knees and hands scratched and bleeding.

“The moment I arrived, the wind became calm and the last beam of light from the setting sun bathed me in orange glow and the world around me receded into gloom.

“That night, the mountain gods were angry with one another and threw lightning bolts that crashed all around me, and a cold rain soaked me. My teeth chattered and my arms and legs shook too violently to stand.

“Then the clouds opened and sucked me into the sky. I rode a bed of lightning bolts higher and higher until the world looked no larger than a grain of sand at my feet and the full moon took up the entire sky.

“The wandering stars gathered around and the long-haired stars wove a basket with the lightning bolts to hold me while the moon became a man with two eyes and a mouth but no nose.

“The Moon Man opened his mouth as if to speak, but my basket rose and tilted, spilling me into his mouth, and I struggled and fought, fearing the gnashing of his teeth.

“I slid and tumbled down the Moon Man’s throat, as rough as falling down a mountain of stones. I fell and fell and slid and tumbled until I finally landed on a bed of pine needles and soft, dry soil. Nearby, I saw the hot springs.

“Grandfather meditated over my story for an entire moon cycle. Finally, he said that I had faced the evil god of the South, Masaw, which mimics the face of the moon. And that even though Masaw consumed me, I survived, which showed that the god from the South has no power over me.”

Tuwa added nothing more to his story, and Sowi and Choovio were silent while the dying fire sighed and popped. Sowi reached his hand to Tuwa’s leg and touched it with his middle finger, then pressed the finger to his center place just beneath his sternum, a gesture of borrowing the spiritual qualities of another for oneself. Choovio quickly did likewise.

# # #

Note: The hot springs are those at Pagosa Springs, Colorado, and the mountain here called Pahu is Pagosa Peak. The Twin War Gods is the twin spires of Chimney Rock, Colorado, pictured in the header of this blog.

Did the dream sequence work for you, or is it kind of hokey? Take the poll:

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18 Comments

Filed under #FridayFlash, Anasazi, Ancient Americans, Chaco Canyon, Chimney Rock, Historial Fiction, Pagosa Springs

18 responses to “Consumed by the Moon Man

  1. Beautifully written tale. I too read this not as a dream sequence but as the passing along of folklore. I thought it worked well that way though. Either way it was a nice piece of prose.

  2. westdavies

    Thanks for sharing. Let me know if you would like to video one of your stories sometime. You can check out http://www.youtube.com/westdavies to see my Pagosa Springs videos, follow me on Twitter for Pagosa news and events and Facebook for Pagosa Springs photos.
    West

  3. I liked the tale. I think a differentiated style of prose and/or sentence structure would help make it more dream like. Perhaps longer, more descriptive sentences? Altered,changed,or shifting POV (risky, I know…but dreams are like that, nes pas?)

    You’ve established a strong, clear authorial voice through these stories I think you can afford to stretch stylistically and find an equally strong ‘dream’ style of prose.

  4. soesposito

    Beautiful prose. I didn’t read this as a dream sequence, but as Tuwa passing on a piece of folklore. There’s so much magic in this part of the story (ex: him tumbling down the moonman’s throat) not hokey at all! Two thumbs up, Storyteller. 🙂

  5. KjM

    I love the “spirit grandfather” name given to Tuwa’s grandfather. It’s a place he’s held in this unfolding story, more spirit and memory than man, and now he’s so named.

    And Tuwa is protected by prophesy – whether it’s to come true or not doesn’t matter. He will pursue his goal buoyed by belief – dangerous for any in his path.

    This unfolds beautifully – well done.

  6. shadowsinstone

    I used to read fable/myth books voraciously. Hoping I spelled that right. I like the settling of a legend-type atmosphere around my ears.

  7. I voted ‘worked well’ because I felt like I was in a dream when I read it. Your stories are very much in the moment and transport the reader to a time far away. Being Australian I don’t know too much about Native American folklore, mysticism, but, as others have said, that doesn’t really matter. And I love that you have a poll at the end of your story!

  8. This works well. On first read, I had inklings it was a dream sequence, but the poll clinched the suspicion.

    In context, based on your earlier posts, yeah, it works as a dream/vision. By itself, tough to know.

    But who cares? I’ll read every word you put out here, even if the word is kaka.

    Super stuff, Jeff. Peace, Linda

  9. You, sir are a thespian with words. Well done. Seriously, we all have heard throughout our lives about the Indian (Native American…but I’m a native American too…) Spirit walk. And their drug-induced dream sequences.
    You did it perfectly, and scenes like this belong in your story.

  10. So vivid… I love how both Choovio and Sowi wanted to borrow Tuwa’s “spirtual qualities”; I can’t help the grin on my face.

    You are such a great storyteller, and it’s so cool how you have other great storytellers within your stories. I think you should be careful though… you might be creating some sort of literary wormhole 😉

    Always a pleasure,
    ~2

    I am with Chance up there. When I saw the poll I too hadn’t thought of a dream sequence (although I voted it worked well). I just assumed it was some sort of spirtual enlightening.

  11. I thought it worked well, seems consistent with that style of story, and this was my first time to read one of yours. Great imagery!

  12. Good story, Jeff. Every time I read one of these I try to imagine that I’m a first time reader who knows nothing of the previous entries. I think this one worked pretty well in that regard. Fasting in the desert to gain enlightenment is sort of a universal theme everyone can identify with. Nice job.

    I took your poll, but I’ll never tell. 😉
    ~jon

  13. I went for the 3rd option too, for similar reason’s to Chance’s (presuming I understand his correctly!) : I saw it as a vision rather than a dream – and this may be my own personal semantics, but to me a vision is real in a way that a dream is not…

    Very much enjoyed your story (again… This is getting predictable), and especially Tuwa’s storytelling. Aside from the lovely imagery, I like the contrast of this with the casual dialogue in last Friday’s piece. They may be sat by the fire, among friends, but when something of import needs to be told, it needs to be told well.

    I was reminded a little of the scene in CS Lewis’s The Horse and His Boy, where Aravis and Hwin join Shasta and Bree:
    ‘ “Hush, Ma’am, hush,” said Bree, who was thoroughly enjoying the story. “She’s telling it in the grand Calormene manner and no story-teller in a Tisroc’s court could do it better. Pray go on, Tarkheena.” ‘

  14. I think it worked well. So much of Native American folklore is about dream sequence and spiritual journey, interpretations of such. Great installment!

  15. I voted “worked well”. I think Deirdre has a good point. I’m a fan of Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear and have read most of their books, as well as other Native American themed books so perhaps for me, having read in this genre, it is easier to pick up on some things.
    In any case, you have given us another fine installment. I look forward to the poll results.
    ~chris

  16. I voted that it worked well. And it did!

    As usual, your stories transport me to the wonderful world you have weaved.

    Well done.

  17. I voted “There was a dream sequence?”

    because it read to me more, that he was describing a spiritual event , maybe describing is the wrong word, more experiencing an event.

    I believe that he was indeed caught up in an argument with the war gods and indeed he was carried by the stars to the moon god.

    hope that kind of make sense, really like this world your stories are happening in

  18. I think this works well. It will, however, be interesting to see how people without a background in reading fantasy and ethnographies read it.

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