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Second Place: "How Superconfederate Smashed Into the Side of Big Rock Mountain and Became Petrified" 

"Feeling Gravity's Pull"

Superconfederate wore a grey cotton uniform modified for flight. He added a cape of Stars and Bars and sewed a St. Andrew's Cross on his chest. Humble St. Andrew, legend has it, wished not to die on a + lest he be compared with the Savior, so his crucifiers agreed to tip him to the side. Superconfederate liked to fly in the morning. Mist and fog breathed through his strong Southern cotton as he surveyed the land. The Southern land. The land he was from and must protect from all invaders, usurpers and scalawags. Honor demanded as much. Superconfederate placed Southern honor above all else. By honor he lived and for it he would kill. He was an unnuanced man forever dressed in shades of grey.

The secret to flight is rebellion. Gravity must be defied. Superconfederate first flew when his horse was shot out from under him at First Manassas. No one else wanted the white palomino — never ride a white horse into battle — but Superconfederate saddled him up and charged. When the whinnies and whales keened and the great steed fell earthward, Superconfederate thrust his pistol toward heaven and fired. Somehow he followed his ball's trajectory up and away as men all around him dropped to their deaths.

"Maps and Legends"

Superconfederate gained his superpowers during a lightning storm. He'd camped alone in the woods one evening and was discovered by a small contingent of Union troops. They meant to sneak up and surround him, but the spectacled one's bundle of Natty Bumppo novels slipped from his sack and broke a twig alerting Superconfederate — who wasn't yet Super. The rain dissolved his gun powder like sugar into sweet tea so Regularconfederate fixed his bayonet just as lightning struck. He became an iron horse for electrons traveling from sky to ground, his grey figure illuminated amidst the dark. The Union men looked toward the light and fired. Their balls descended impotently. Not one could penetrate the force of grey. When the lightning stopped, Regularconfederate was now Super. The Union troops scattered from fright.

He spent the rest of the war fighting every battle he could get to. When he learned to fly he would soar from one front to another: Virginia to Tennessee, Mississippi to Georgia, wherever blue crossed grey. But his powers decreased the further he flew from home. In Gettysburg, they failed him completely and he had to retreat on foot like a great bird speckled by buckshot. He was Superconfederate, not Pennsylvaniapowerguy.

The South still lost. No one man can win a war. Not even a Super-man. War is won through hearts and minds and when too many hearts are broken the collective mind wanders. There are only so many piles of bloody grey and bluish-blood bodies the land can take before it becomes overfertalized. And who will remain to clear the field? The dead can't bury the dead. Let the graveyard remain fallow.

"Driver 8"

When the railroads were rebuilt spurned suitors began tying damsels to the tracks. Superconfederate didn't care for this line of heroism, but he'd scoop down and fly them away just in time. It all seemed beneath him. Like he was aiding the spurned villain's dishonor. To be alone in a land of war widows must eat at a man. Here he is in flesh and blood with a long, thin mustache for her to twirl if only she'd let the dead be forgotten. Instead he must find rope and rail and cackle and menace as she screams out for Superconfederate to hear. In impoverished gratitude they could offer only marriage which Superconfederate accepted. Ten women rescued and 10 marriages, but none lasting more than a year.

Superconfederate had amazing powers of secession. He divorced 10 times when even once was rare. Any union could be dissolved if either party wished to nullify. And it was always the wives that left, fed up by his late hours terrorizing black farmers and freedmen. "Can't you let them be? Must it matter whether the hands that till the land are shackled or free?" "This is not their land. It is the land of cotton. Pure and White. Thorny and hard to gin. Susceptible to infestations and the fashionable class's preference for silk." "Huh?" "I must do my duty." "Then I must leave."

"Life and How to Live It"

The Tradesman had pulled himself up from slavery. He learned masonry and engineering, architecture and accounting and enough reading and writing to continue self-educating all his life. He believed in work, industry, discipline and aspiration. It was an ideal good for himself and his people. And for all peoples. When a man learns a trade does not everyone benefit? When a whole race advances can't all see the progress? But here was this Super-tyrant knocking down his buildings and harassing all his students. Even the most practical aspirations were crushed. Something must be done.

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