Friday Fictioneers : The Miller’s past wore heavy boots

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook


 

The mill smelled of aged wood, grain and hessian, a rich tang of oil from the mechanism. Good smells.

As the cogs clunked and groaned, the millstones chafed, as the flour stiffened his hair and gritted his skin, he felt … clean. Finally clean after forty-six years.

He’d shed his old life almost completely. Even the broken nose and the webbing of scars could be talked away – a miller’s life was hard. Only the sailor’s gait – still rolling with the ocean – remained.

His heart beat to the rhythms of the mill … Until the past trudged with heavy boots to find him.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the photo and write a tale of no more than 100 words. See here to join in and to read the other, wonderful stories.

What kind of life has my reformed sailor led, do you think? And what form does his past take, lumbering along the mill race to destroy the comfortable present? Any ideas? Do tell.

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48 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers : The Miller’s past wore heavy boots

  1. The way you right catches the sounds and sensations beautifully – the heavy boots of history, the gritty skin, it’s powerful and beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Land and sea, heaviness and movement are all themes here – he’s settled on land (immovable) but his gait secures him to his wandering past. Thanks so much – very much appreciated 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. This pic has the feel of below decks to me too, so I can see a sailor being comfortable there. And I think you’re right – a lot of blood involved I’m sure. Thanks Bjorn

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  2. Ship sails swapped for windmill sails? Ship’s decks exchanged for the mill’s floors? Shipmates now substituted with flour sacks? Perhaps a cheated colleague has discovered his bolthole because the clues are there …

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    1. Thank you Debra! I do love visiting the setting with the characters. I think you can convey a lot of story with place. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

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  3. When you first talk about this guy repairing and cleaning up this mill, it feels like its a new hope for this old sailor. But your last line is amazing. Very compelling as I instantly want to know what past this guy is running from, and whose boots?

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  4. What a wonderful read, Lynn. The descriptions are heavenly. I so hoped he had found peace at last but nay, ’twas not to be… you can only “hide” so long…

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  5. Wonderful immersive description of the smells and sensations and emotions of a man starting a new life. Funny how our lives are defined so much by such things — smells and sounds and textures. I keep trying to imagine what “past” is arriving in the end. The problem is that I so want the “heavy boots” to be metaphorical, yet all the characters I see showing up are burly men, either another sailor or some law-man. 😉 So twisting it as far in the other direction as I can… it could be his angry long-lost daughter, who he abandoned because of he’s wracked with guilt about what happened to her mother and who he thinks is better off without him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good call – even women wore heavy boots in those days! I kept thinking of a burly, scarred bruiser too. But perhaps the past has a more shapely form … Thanks for dwelling on it so deeply Joy

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right Dawn He’s tried to shake off the past, but can’t quite leave that bit behind. Now the rest is coming back to haunt him … Thanks so much for reading and commenting

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is so well constructed, from the use of senses to describe the present, to the subtle way you tell of his sailor past. Or hint at it anyway – what made him move on? What is his past? And how does it catch up with him? So many questions, a sign of good writing.
    My favourite this week I think

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank youso much! What a great comment. I think his past certainly involved violence – perhaps someone is seeking their own revenge on his past misdemeanors … Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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