Lost Soul

It was here that Sarah, barely a woman, never a lady, had screamed, at first in pleasure and later in terror. It was through those windows that she fled that final night, stumbling across the lawn, her bared feet tangling in the dew-soaked hem of her nightdress. Just beyond the furthest tree is where she found freedom at last in the dark recesses of a moonlit lake.

It was here too that Marigold found her peace, in the arms of another woman, even as war ravaged the men in Europe. And here that the voiceless boy had been hidden from view, alone amongst his toys, while beyond locked doors the house reverberated to the noisy extravagance of a party.

That fireplace holds the charred remains of a map that might have revealed the dark secrets below, and it was sitting in that chair that Mrs Frobisher discovered her only child was a killer. 

There was a cat that lived here once; a mysterious cat that would vanish into thin air whenever the wind turned East, or at least that’s what the maids would claim. Out there, are the lawns where Tommy met the last warlocks of Org and beyond the trees to the right lies the half-dismantled folly that framed the final gateway to their other world.

And that paint, wretchedly peeling, calmly belies the arsenic and lead that leached slow poison into the damp air and engulfed the old man as he huddled at his desk in fingerless gloves.

A crow with a single white feather visited this room. When the air was fresh, which was not often enough, it would fly through the open windows to make mischief with the inkpot, before settling at last on the old man’s shoulder. When the windows were closed against the autumn chill, it would still appear, sidling up to the glass and demanding admittance. Tip tip tap, tip tip tap, until at last distracted, the old man would drag his stiffened body to the doors and edge them open to admit his brazen companion. 

Who has not stood upon this floor? Generals, cowboys, the haunted spectres of a darker past and the last survivors of the lost tribe of Imboko. There was an elephant too once, ridden all the way from Scotland by the circus boy who stole him.

They have all visited: Kings, empresses, explorers and dignitaries from across the ages. And amongst the great, the ordinary too. The little girl who knew too much, the maid who scrubbed th...

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Rod Webb
Feb 5 2021

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Loved this piece. Captured the atmosphere of the painting. It held me throughout.

Eileen O'Reilly
Apr 3 2021

A lovely tapestry of themes and characters with an unexpected zinger at the end. The descriptive middle part had an Alice In Wonderland quality of unlikely ideas described with conviction. Well constructed and written and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Katherine Horejsi
Mar 29 2021

Very thought-provoking with great imagery

Janette Ostle
Mar 19 2021

So many short stories wrapped up into one (room!). Certainly no apathy or disinterest on this side of the screen!

Paul Sterlini
Feb 11 2021

Rich with ideas, pictures and memories.
I absolutely loved: “ A thousand dreams that bloomed into kaleidoscopic life as the old man released his soul onto empty pages”.

Nonita Thomas
Feb 7 2021