microfiction · wording

Microfiction – Baroque

Thu, 19 Nov 2009 00:51:08 +0000


No-one really knows Mister Claypole’s first name. If you asked anyone who works under him in the theatre, any of his managers of patrons or whores, they might scratch their heads and speculate.  George?  Andrew?  Donald?  For some reason they will all give you the names of saints, and they will all forget to ask him if they are right.  It’s been so long since Claypole has had anyone use his name that when he reads old love letters from his first and second wives (which he does instead of attending church), he always sees it with a tiny bit of surprise.

Madlan Goring will someday be a staunch, respectable woman.  She will have steely grey hair and speak sternly to her servants, and she will be adored and only a little resented by her children.  And scandal will not touch her, and gossip will roll from her, because she will have pride.  Pride is your backbone, her father told her.  And as she pulls her laces loose, as she watches her petticoat crumple to the floor and hears the gasp from the bed behind her, her back straitens.   She keeps pride in her backbone, and compromises everything else.

When they were little, Lowri and her brother Daffydd found a cave.  A little pregnant ewe led them to it, and it was just big enough to crawl inside, and it was nice and cool that blistering summer.  And now they’re in London with it’s bewildering strangeness, still looking for a place to hide.  All they have to crawl inside is one another.

There are men in Gianni’s camp that had never heard the word ‘Giacomo’ before they knew him.  He uses it daily, to excuse himself or to protest his sincerity, or any of the thousand things that beg for his pontification.   And to be a fool is a great and heavy thing, but it’s better than being a sinner.

There was a plague that went through London, and Emm still remembers the twisted faces, the crowded graves, the plague masks in some dark corner of her mind. Very little matters to her nowadays, she finds it hard to convert her indifference into reform.  Lime and sand and the dead cover her in her nightmares, and the panting bodies of two brothers in her dreams.

Knives and forks have been the fashion for how long now?  But old and tried works best; Jim Holly still eats with his fingers and his knife.  His teeth are sharp, his eyes are sharper, and his mind has a jagged, brutal edge.   His knife is the only thing he carries, and the only thing he makes up stories about.