A Fresh Cadaver – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge asks us to write a piece of fiction from the photo prompt provided in around 100- 150 words – give or take 25 words. It encourages participants to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the link to see what to do. The challenge runs from Wednesday to Wednesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, kindly provided by Sonya:

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. . . and this is my story:

A pale moon cast just enough light to stop Charlie from tripping over Bert’s feet as they traipsed along the narrow path through Lord Harcourt’s estate. Why he’d let himself be talked into this, he didn’t know. It had seemed a good idea at the time – after a few pints at the ‘Duck and Goose’.

‘Light the lamp,’ Bert hissed over his shoulder. ‘We’re almost there.’

The lamplight threw an eerie glow over the small graveyard as they dug rapidly down to the coffin of his Lordship’s recently interred son. Charlie’s heart pounded as he thought of the consequences of being caught in the act of body snatching. Imprisonment would likely be the death of him.

‘Let’s hope old Jacob’s still awake,’ Bert whispered, as they lugged the body back to the horse and cart on the nearby lane. ‘We paid him enough to keep watch, for Gawd’s sake.’

‘Evening, gents’, one of the blue-clad Peelers intoned as they reached the lane. ‘Pleasant night for a spot of digging.’

Word Count: 170

Note: ‘Peelers’ was the name given to the earliest policemen in the U.K. The name comes from that of Robert Peel, the person responsible for the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829  which provided permanently appointed and paid Constables to protect London as part of the Metropolitan Police Force. The earliest ‘Peelers’ wore blue tail-coats and top hats and each carried a truncheon, handcuffs and a rattle to raise the alarm. Rattles were later replaced by whistles. Later on the Peelers’ nickname was replaced by ‘bobbies’ – the shortened name/nickname for Robert.

If you’d like to view other entries, click the blue frog below:

For anyone interested, here’s some information I put together about body snatching, mostly from Wikipedia:

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Body snatchers at work – painting on the wall of the Old Crown Inn, Pinicuik, Midlothian, Scotland. Author: Kim Traynor. Commons

Body snatching is the secret disinterment of corpses from graveyards. The people who practised body snatching were often called ‘resurrectionists’ or ‘resurrection men’, and in the UK  during the 18th and 19th centuries, they were commonly employed by anatomists to exhume bodies of the recently dead for either dissection or use in anatomy lectures in medical schools.

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Tom Nero’s body is dissected after her has been hanged. Author: William Hogarth, 1697-1764. Public Domain

Before the Anatomy Act of 1832, the only legal supply of corpses for anatomical purposes were the bodies of those condemned to death and dissection by the courts. Those sentenced to dissection were often guilty of harsher crimes. Such sentences did not provide enough corpses for medical purposes, and with the expansion of medical schools at least 500 cadavers were needed yearly.

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Burke was hanged for mudering the poor, lost and lame of Edinburgh and supplying their bodies to anatomists for dissection. Credit: Wellcome images (operated by the Wellcome Trust, UK). Commons

Interfering with a grave was classed as misdemeanour at common law – not a felony, so only punishable with a fine and imprisonment, rather than transportation or execution. It was a lucrative enough business to counter the risks of detection. Burke was hanged because he actually murdered his victims.

Body snatching became so frequent that many relatives and friends of the deceased kept watch over the body before and after burial to stop it being violated. Sometimes, graves were protected by a framework of iron bars, or iron and stone devices, called mortsafes.

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One of two specimens of mortsafe in Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh. Author: Kim Taylor. Commons
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A motsafe near Aberdeen, Scotland. Author: Parrot of Doom. Commons

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The Pearl Diver – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge asks us to write a piece of fiction from the photo prompt provided in around 100- 150 words – give or take 25 words. It encourages participants to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the link in the title of PJ’s, blog: Beautiful Words to see what to do. The challenge runs from Wednesday to Wednesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, kindly provided by Sonya:

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. . . and this is my story:

At fifteen, Baktu was the best pearl diver in the village. Everyone said so. He loved the ocean, and once submerged, he became one with its cushioning depths. He could hold his breath far longer than the other boys, and knew exactly where to search for the pearl oysters his people craved …

‘Look, Grandpa,’ Joti said proudly, rousing Baktu from his memories as he surfaced and dropped his harvest into the bucket hung over the side of the little boat. ‘It’s almost full!’

Baktu smiled, and the boy dived again into the shallow water, landside of the reef. Edible oyster beds were plentiful here, and there was little threat of sharks – unlike beyond the reef where village boys still dived for pearl oysters in the deeper waters. Just as Baktu had once done …

‘Shark, Baktu!’

Baktu grabbed the side of the boat, but too late…

He was eighteen when the shark had taken his right leg, ending his diving days. But Baktu would never forget the sensation of the ocean’s cushioning embrace.

Word Count: 175

If you’d like to view other entries, click the little blue frog below:

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For anyone interested, here are a few points about oysters, pearls and pearl diving from several sources including Wikipedia:

Oysters are bivalve molluscs found in temperate and warm coastal waters in all oceans. But not all species of oysters produce the shiny, costly pearls. True oysters are found naturally in shallower waters, very close to the coast, and have been cultivated for food for over 2,000 years. Pearl oysters are found in deeper water. Pearls form inside oysters from the accumulation of nacre (mother of pearl) the material lining the oyster shell. Pearls formed inside edible oysters are lustreless and of no value.

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Inside shell of Pinctada margaritifera. Two views of the same shell. Photographer: Didier Descouens. Commons

Many thousands of years ago, humans probably discovered the first pearls along the seashore, while they were searching for food. It is also probable that they wouldn’t have taken long to realise that the gems had come from the sea.

Before the beginning of the 20th century, the only way of obtaining pearls was by divers gathering large numbers of pearl oysters or mussels from the ocean floor, lake or river bed. These were brought to the surface, opened up and the tissue searched. More than a ton of them were searched in order to find 3-4 pearls. Pearl divers were trained to stay under water for at least 90 seconds, often descending to depths of over 125 feet in a single breath.  Many tied baskets or nets to their bodies to collect their harvest.

Pearl diving has been practised for over 4,000 years, from the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea and the Sea of Japan. Native Americans also harvested freshwater pearls from lakes and rivers like the Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi, while others obtained them from the Caribbean and waters along Central and South America. In the time of colonial slavery in northern South America (along the coasts of Columbia and Venezuela) an occupation among slaves was that of pearl diving. In shark-infested waters this was extremely perilous, but any slave who discovered an extra large pearl could buy his freedom.

In Japan, pearl divers were traditionally women called Ama, which means ‘sea women’. Women are considered better pearl divers by many because they conserve heat better in the severe cold of the ocean.

In the early 1900s as pearls became harder to find, new pearl diving techniques were developed. Diving suits and breathing apparatus allowed for deeper and longer dives. It is estimated that 2000 people worked as pearl divers at this time.

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Old Kuwaiti dress used during pearl diving. Author: Kuwaitsoccer. Commons

Mother of pearl was used to make buttons for shirts.

Today, pearl diving has largely been replaced by cultivated pearl farms, although a few island nations undoubtedly still continue the practice.

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It Happened Like This – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge asks us to write a piece of fiction from the photo prompt provided in around 100- 150 words – give or take 25 words. It encourages participants to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the link in the title of PJ’s, blog: Beautiful Words to see what to do. The challenge runs from Wednesday to Wednesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, kindly provided by Ellespeth’s friend:

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. . . and this is my story:

Hot sun, golden sand, warm sea…  What more could a guy want for a week with a gorgeous blonde who just oozed sex appeal? Those curves were enough to send any man crazy.

And ‘crazy’ just grabbed hold of me – and I grabbed Doreen a little too amorously as we frolicked in the surf.  Her bikini top somehow came undone, and pink polka-dots were suddenly floating out to sea.

Doreen’s shrieked profanities needed no amplifier and, not satisfied with that, she proceeded to hammer me with her fists!

Jeers and hoots halted her swings. Belatedly overcome with modesty, Doreen bobbed down, neck-deep beneath the brine. I stared at the group of school lads, their muscles flexed, mocking our one-sided brawl.  But their eyes were fixed on Doreen, waiting to ogle her wading to shore.

Realising her predicament, Doreen’s rage soared. Another swipe knocked me senseless before she swam after her polka-dot top.

The lads were my saviours that day – and I never saw Doreen again.

My bruises faded in a couple of weeks.

Word Count: 175

 If you’d like to view other entries, click the little blue frog below:

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For any one interested, here are a few facts I found ( mostly from Wikipedia) about the bikini:

A bikini is a woman’s two-piece swimsuit. The design is simple: two triangles of fabric for the top and two triangles for the bottom. The size of the bikini can range from full pelvic coverage to a revealing thong or g-string design.

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Although we think of the bikini as a relatively recent design,  two-piece swimsuits actually existed in classical antiquity:

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Bikini girls mosaic, Villa del Casale, Piazza Armerina, Sicily, Italy. 4th century CE. Author unknown. Photographer Yann Forget. (Considered the most valuable image on Commons)

The modern design first attracted public attention in Paris in 1946, although a fuller, two-piece swimsuit was not completely unheard of prior to this time:

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Jayne Wyman in 1935. Los Angeles Times. Public Domain

The actual term, bikini, was coined by Lois Réard, a Parisian mechanical engineer who took over his mother’s lingerie business. He named it after Bikini Atoll, where the testing of atom bombs was taking place. Due to the controversial design, the bikini was slow to be adopted in many countries and was banned from beaches and public places. The Holy See declared the design sinful, but it became part of popular culture when film stars like Brigitte Bardot, Raquel Welsh and Ursula Andress began wearing them on beaches and film sets. I’m sure most of us know of, or have seen, Raquel Welch in One Million Years BC and Ursuala Andress in the James Bond movie, Dr. No.

OCT 9 1977, MAR 21 1980, JUL 23 1995 Below, Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello as they were during the Beach Party era. Right, Elleen Mintz, one of seven Annette look-alike contestants, screams as the audience votes her the winner.
Frankie Avalon and Annette Furnicello at Beach Party in the 1960’s. Annette Furnicello was not permitted to show her navel. Public Domain.

By the 1960s, the bikini design had become common in most western countries as beachwear, swimwear and underwear. By the late 20th century it was also used as sportswear, e.g. in beach volleyball and body building.

Semi final of Women's beach volleyball at the Beijing Olympics. Author Craig Maccubin. Commons
Semi final of Women’s beach volleyball at the Beijing Olympics. Author Craig Maccubin. Commons

Various styles are common today, from skimpy thong designs to fuller, skirted ones. It’s not unusual on beaches worldwide to see women wearing them with pride – whatever their size.

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Strutting: Women on the beach in bikinis. Author: Priomos, Sydney, Australia. Creative Commons

No Creepy Gargoyles- Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge asks us to write a piece of fiction from the photo prompt provided in around 100- 150 words – give or take 25 words. It encourages participants to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the link in the title of PJ’s, blog: Beautiful Words to see what to do. The challenge runs from Wednesday to Wednesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, kindly provided by Priceless Joy . . .

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For this story, I’ve resurrected a couple of North of England-type characters from a piece I wrote a while ago for Monday’s Finish the Story entitled, Wine and Women. Harry has now happily returned from his little trip in the spacecraft.

So here is this week’s story . . .

Fred stood beside his best mate, squinting up at the new church atop the hill on the edge of town, trying to decide whether he liked it or not.

‘What d’yer make of this new church then, Harry? It’s a bit different, in’it?’

Harry nodded. ‘I s’pose it’s different t’ old one in town centre. But it’s kinda neat and clean-looking.’

‘But it ha’n’t got a steeple… or a tower! Churches are s’posed to have ’em, to reach up t’Heaven or summat. There’s none of them ugly things round the top, either.’

‘Why the heck would you want gargoyles?’

‘Fred shrugged. ‘Give me the creeps, they do …but it don’t look like a church without them.’

‘Course it does, yer moron! It’s got a bell, han’t it… and a Cross on top? And arched windows and –’

‘Not stained-glass ones, though.’

Harry sighed and tried one last tactic. ‘I heard the new vicar’s a woman … quite dishy, un’ all!’

Fred’s face lit up. ‘Fancy coming t’ Sunday Service wi’ us next week…?’

Word Count: 175

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If you’d like to view other entries, click the little blue frog:

 

For anyone interested, I’ve put together a short piece about gargoyles and what they actually were, mostly from Wikipedia:

In architecture, a gorgoyle is a carved grotesque (an ugly or comically distorted figure or image) with a spout designed to convey water from the roof away from the sides of the building. A trough is cut into the back of the gargoyle and rainwater exits through the open mouth.  The length of the gargoyle determines how far water is thrown from the wall.

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By Juanedc from Zaragoza, España (Canaleta Uploaded by juanedc). Wikimedia Commons
We often think of gargoyles as being medieval, but they have been used throughout history as a means of water diversion when not conveyed in gutters:

First century, Hellenistic gargoyle representing a comical cook slave from Al Khanoum, Afghanistsan. Guimet Museum. Personal photograph 2006. Commons
First century, Hellenistic gargoyle representing a comical cook slave from Al Khanoum, Afghanistsan. Guimet Museum. Personal photograph 2006. Commons

Gargoyles were viewed in two ways by the Church throughout history:

1. To convey the concept of evil – especially useful in sending a stark message to the common people, most of whom were illiterate.

2. They were also said to scare evil spirits away from the church, thus assuring the congregation that evil was kept outside the church walls.

Here are a few more images of gargoyles:

Gargoyle in form of a lion Cathedral Saint-Etienne de Meaux. Author: Vassil. Wikimedia Commons
Gargoyle in form of a lion Cathedral Saint-Etienne de Meaux. Author: Vassil.
Wikimedia Commons
Paisley Abbey Gargoyle. Author: Colin. Wikimedia Commons
Paisley Abbey Gargoyle. Author: Colin. Wikimedia Commons
Gargoyle representing a comical demon at the base of a pinnacle with two smaller gargoyles, Visby, Sweden. Author: Alexandru Baboş  Albabo . Commons
Gargoyle representing a comical demon at the base of a pinnacle with two smaller gargoyles, Visby, Sweden. Author: Alexandru Baboş
Albabo . Commons

Another form of grotesque is the chimera. These were similarly distorted faces and figures to the gargoyles, but without the water spout and used mostly as decoration. Here are a couple from the little village church a hundred yards from my house. They were taken by my daughter, Louise (afairymind) for one of her posts a while ago:

Sleeping chimera. Copyright Louise Bunting
Sleeping chimera.
Copyright Louise Bunting
Awake chimera. Copyright Louise Bunting
Chimera awake. Copyright Louise Bunting

The Summerhouse – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge asks us to write a piece of fiction from the photo prompt provided in around 100- 150 words – give or take 25 words. It encourages participants to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the link in the title of PJ’s, blog: Beautiful Words to see what to do. The challenge runs from Wednesday to Wednesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, kindly provided by Dawn M. Miller :

wpid-photo-20150519080132329. . . and this is my story:

‘Marry me, Jen…’ Mark grinned at his fiancée puzzled face as they hurried into the old summerhouse out of the cold, November rain. ‘Let’s get married now instead of waiting until spring.’

Jenny waited for the Spitfires to pass over before speaking. Life was so different since war had been declared two months ago. ‘But what will people think …? Don’t answer that, I already know.’

Mark pulled her close and rested his face against her auburn curls. ‘They’ll understand when they know…’

‘When they know what?’

‘I’ve had my call-up papers, love.’

*

Ninety-five-year old Jenny roused from her daydream as her daughter halted her wheelchair beside the gazebo. The old summerhouse had long since gone, yet another casualty of wartime bombs, unlike her memories…

Three short years after that day in 1939, Mark had been killed in action, leaving her alone and pregnant. They’d had so little time together.

Still, Susan had been a wonderful daughter, and she’d be with Mark again soon enough. And this time it would be forever.

Word Count: 175

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If you’d like to view other entries, click here.

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A little bit of info

Whilst I was writing this piece, I started wondering about the differences between a gazebo, a summerhouse, and a pavilion, and whether the names could be used interchangeably. I know this may sound like mere trivia, but I delight in trivialities. So this is what I found, from various sources:

A gazebo is a timber structure with a roof that gives shelter and shade. It is not a completely enclosed building. Many gazebos have no side panels at all, whilst others are half-panelled or completely panelled in parts. Some gazebos have trellis panelling so that plants can be trained to grow up and around the structure. Unlike a summerhouse, a gazebo has no door or fitted windows and is often hexagonal in shape.

Gazebo in Sam Houston Park, Houston, Texas, USA. Author: i_am_jim.  Creative Commons
Gazebo in Sam Houston Park, Houston, Texas, USA. Author: i_am_jim. Creative Commons

Modern summerhouses are generally wooden buildings that have a complete roof, sides and an entrance door. Most have windows to allow plenty of light into the building. So, the main difference between a gazebo and a summerhouse seems to be that once inside a summerhouse it will feel as though you are indoors, whereas you will always feel as though you are outdoors in a gazebo. In the past many ornamental summerhouses were stone. Some old, stone summerhouses still stand today, as the image above shows. I found thisGothic styled one while looking for one to put on my post:

Ilford Manor Summerhouse, UK. Author: Neosnaps. originally uploaded on Flckr.  Wikimedia Commons
Ilford Manor Summerhouse, UK. Author: Neosnaps. originally uploaded on Flckr. Wikimedia Commons

This is one person’s view I found of the differences between a gazebo and summerhouse:

As far as I can tell there isn’t a great deal of difference between summerhouse and a gazebo except perhaps the shape. Most gazebos do tend to be hexagonal in shape. To me, summerhouses seem to be like glorified sheds with windows, whereas gazebos seem to be more attractive in shape and design.” (Source: Successful Garden design)

So what is a pavilion?

A pavilion may be a small outbuilding, similar to a summerhouse. Pavilions were particularly popular in the 18th century and often resembled small classical temples and follies. A pool house by a swimming pool, for example, may have enough character and charm to be called a pavilion. But a free-standing pavilion can also be a far larger building such as the Royal Pavilion at Brighton (UK), which is a large oriental style palace.

A sports pavilion is usually a building next to a sports ground used as a changing room and a place providing refreshments. Often there will be a veranda. We have a (wooden) cricket pavilion in the next village to us. The term pavilion is also used for stadiums/stadia such as baseball parks. Of course, most modern pavilions are built of wood.

It seems to me that the main differences stem from the uses of these buildings. The gazebo is the odd one out because it is generally open to the elements.  Summerhouses and pavilions are closer in design because they are enclosed.

Still confused? Me too – mostly because there are many of these structures that don’t fit neatly into these descriptions For example, here are two structures described as summerhouses I found on Wikimedia Commons – both with open sides!:

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Tremosna Summerhouse, Czech Republic. Author: Wikipedia User
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Tring Park Summerhouse, Hertfordshire England. Author: D Royal

 

Refs to information:  Jack’s Garden Store, Successful Garden Design and Wikipedia.

The Village Pond – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge, kindly hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge asks us to write a piece of fiction from the photo prompt provided in around 100- 150 words – give or take 25 words. It encourages participants to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the link in the title of PJ’s, blog: Beautiful Words to see what to do. The challenge runs from Wednesday to Wednesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, provided by Priceless Joy:

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. . . and this is my story:

As a girl I would dance at the edge of the pond, laughing at the ducks waddling along the grassy bank and sliding into the water. When I was grown and wed, I would scrub Tom’s tunics in that water till my hands were almost raw.

Tom worked hard on our farm and I contented myself with my chores. I tended my herbs and earned a little coin selling cures for ailments -chamomile to erase weariness and feverfew for headaches and fever…

But I couldn’t save Tom from the plague.

I kept the farm going after he’d passed, and continued to sell my herbs. And the company of my cats kept me from being lonely.

Then, in 1646, the Puritans came with their henchman.

The villagers jeered … called me ‘witch’… as my tortured body was dragged to the ducking stool. Three times I survived the ducking, but my fate was already sealed. I can never forget the pain of the flames …

I come here sometimes to watch the ducks waddling along the banks.

Word Count: 175

If you’d like to view other entries, click here.

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For anyone interested, here is a little piece I’ve put together (from various sources) by way of explanation about witchcraft and the use of the ducking stool.

Cucking_stool

The main period of witch-hunts in Europe and North America was between 1450 and 1750, the last recorded execution of people convicted as witches being in the 18th century.

For many years, magic had been part of everyday life, and was only considered wrong if it worked effectively – but for the wrong reasons. Witches were often called on to help church ministers with illnesses, or to help deliver a baby. If anything went wrong, people would question whether the witch had made a pact with the devil. Witches were handled cruelly, often being subjected to awful tortures in order to exact a confession and the names of others involved in their craft. Thumb screws and leg irons were common – the great pain of which usually resulted in confession.

In 1645-6, a short period of ‘witch fever’ gripped England. Renowned witch finder, Matthew Hopkins, had 68 people from Bury St. Edmunds and 19 people from Chelmsford put to death in a single day. His main tool to discover witches was a ‘needle’, used to poke/prod a wart, mole or insect bite to see if the woman felt any pain. If she did not, she was a witch. It is believed that the needle was a 3 inch spike that retracted into a spring-loaded handle so that the witch felt nothing!

The most likely women to be targeted as witches were widows, who managed to keep a household going alone. No woman was believed to be that strong – unless she had help from the devil. Those who offered/sold cures for illnesses and those who kept cats also came under suspicion. A cat (typically a black one) was said to be the witch’s ‘familiar’ or ‘familiar spirit’ – a supernatural being that helped and supported her evil work.

The ducking stool had long been a common punishment to inflict upon women, though some men were also subjected to it (e.g. dishonest tradesmen). It was generally used on prostitutes, scolds (women who nagged their husbands, or gossiped too much) and women accused of witchcraft. If the ‘witch’ survived the ducking, she was said to have been saved by the devil, so she was executed anyway – either hung or burnt at the stake.

The ducking stool tended to be replaced simply by the ‘swimming test’ in many places. The woman was tossed into the water with her thumbs tied to opposite toes. If she floated she was a witch, therefore executed. If she sank and drowned she was innocent! Either way, she couldn’t win.

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Ducking Stool. Wikimedia Commons

Lunch Dates – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge, kindly hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge asks us to write a piece of fiction from the photo prompt provided in around 100- 150 words – give or take 25 words. It encourages participants to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the link tabove to see what to do. The challenge runs from Wednesday to Wednesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, kindly supplied by Vanessa Rodriguez:

wpid-photo-20150422065241749   . . . and this is my story:

Every Wednesday, on her day off, Margaret took the 6.15 am train to visit her mother at the Nursing Home on Morecambe Promenade. It was a grand old building, with excellent staff, and views right across Morecambe Bay to the Lake District mountains beyond.

The train was already five minutes late. Still, it gave her time to contemplate the day ahead. After visiting Mum, she would hurry to the restaurant for lunch with Peter, the lovely man she’d met at the Nursing Home a few weeks ago.

In fifteen years of marriage, Margaret had never been unfaithful to Jack, despite his numerous affairs and drunken rages. So far, meetings with Peter had been innocent. But last week, Peter had hinted at taking their relationship further. And why not? Jack wouldn’t care, even if he knew.

As the train hissed to a stop, Margaret smiled. A little hanky-panky would improve her life tremendously. Besides, Jack’s advancing cirrhosis meant he’d be gone before long. And, if she played her cards right, Peter would be waiting…

Word Count: 173

If you’d like to view other entries, click the blue frog below:

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A little note about Morecambe (pronounced Morcum).

Morecambe was once a thriving seaside town in North-West England. Like so many British seaside resorts, Morecambe’s heyday has long since passed as many Brits fly off in search of sunnier climes for their hols. It’s sad to see so many lovely old Victorian resorts sink into decline.

Morecambe’s most famous celebrity was Eric Morecambe. (He took his stage name from the town in which he was born.) He was one half of the 1960s comedy duo, Eric and Ernie. There’s a statue of him on Morecambe Promenade, which was, sadly vandalised not long ago by idiots with nothing better to do! I believe it has now been repaired.

These photos were taken three years ago, one evening when we passed through the town. My grandson was twelve at the time, and we had a bit of fun next to Eric’s statue. He definitely got the pose better than I did!

morcambemorecambe 2

Diary of John Henry – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge, kindly hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge asks us to write a piece of fiction from the photo prompt provided in around 100- 150 words – give or take 25 words. It encourages participants to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the link in the title of PJ’s, blog: Beautiful Words to see what to do. The challenge runs from Wednesday to Wednesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, courtesy of Pixabay.com . . .

wpid-photo-20150414165334759

. . . and this is my story (genre: historical fiction):

In the autumn of 1842, I secured passage on a sailing ship bound for the East Indies out of Southampton. My aim was to indulge my passion for sketching rare seabirds … and to forget the girl who had broken my heart. By the time we rounded the Cape, the abundance of seabirds raised me from my moping self-pity and I exulted in the daily filling of my sketchpad.

Three days from the Cape an angry storm swept in, whipping the sea into a frenzy. In earnest I prayed for our lives and, although we were blown considerably off course, our ship survived unscathed. A heavy mist the following morning dissipated to reveal a small, green-swathed isle portside. I was delighted when the captain ordered his crew to make for the shore.

Albatross Isle has been my home these past thirty years. I found great peace amongst the islanders … and a loving wife who has borne me four sturdy children. I have many sketches of seabirds that soar in the vast blue expanse above.

Word Count: 175

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I’ve been concentrating on writing my book a lot this week, and I can’t seem to get my head out of historical fiction. I’ve also allowed myself to go to the word limit of 175, when I’m normally quite strict with myself and keep to 150. I just found I needed a few more words to tell this story.

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The Best Clown Ever – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge, kindly hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge asks us to write a piece of fiction from the photo prompt provided in around 100- 150 words – give or take 25 words. It encourages participants to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the link in the title of PJ’s, blog: Beautiful Words to see what to do. The challenge runs from Wednesday to Wednesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt . . .

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. . . and this is my story:

Marvin stared at the mirror, considering his hollow cheeks, the deep lines about his sunken eyes. Gambling had brought him to this: a sad excuse for a man.

Jobless and penniless, scorned by his long-suffering wife, Marvin had taken the only job to come along. The Circus had come to town.

‘On in twenty, Marv, after the sea lions,’ the stable lad called, rapping at the caravan door.

Marvin applied foundation to brighten his skin, topped by vivid lines of coloured paint and a red horn nose. His ginger wig, chequered suit and oversized shoes completed the look.

His act had the audience enthralled. He juggled and cavorted and honked his big red nose. He laughed and applauded as much as they …

As he left the Big Top, a woman and two small boys stepped into his path. ‘I’m proud of you, Marvin,’ Susan said. ‘You make the best clown ever.’

Rivulets of tears streaked Marvin’s carefully painted face. But then he smiled.

‘Yes, I do, don’t I?’

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One Whole Year – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge, kindly hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge asks us to write a piece of fiction from the photo prompt provided in around 100- 150 words – give or take 25 words. It encourages participants to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the link in the title of PJ’s, blog: Beautiful Words to see what to do. The challenge runs from Wednesday to Wednesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt . . .

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. . . and this is my story:

I cannot see you, but I know you are there, your lovely face hidden by the flimsy curtainsacross the second floor window. The heat of your stare sears through … and right to my heart.

Last time we met I could not speak for grief.  You called to me as I walked through the cemetery gates. Now you don’t answer my calls; my letters return unread. So I must come to you …

I press the bell for Apartment 3b and focus on my worn leather shoes, wondering what you will say.

The door swings back and you are in my arms.

‘A whole year, Dad?’ you say, stepping back to scrutinise my dishevelled appearance. ‘Where have you been?’

I shake my head. ‘Couldn’t face the world without your mother …’

My daughter’s smile is full of understanding. ‘We’ll visit Mum’s grave together from now on, if you like.’

Word Count: 150

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