FFfAW : A single man who can sew

 

This week’s photo prompt is provided by artycaptures.wordpress.com. Thank you artycaptures!


 

Stanley pulls back the curtain, allowing summer to flood the room and his instinct is to close it again. The light’s too harsh, unforgivingly revealing the intimacies of pallid skin and hair. A respectable man would look away, but there’s little about him most people would class respectable.

The body can wait for now. He turns to examine the room.

It’s neat, floor and grate swept, mantel uncluttered of ornament save a carriage clock. A pair of trousers with worn hems lie over the back of a chair, braces still attached. A shirt flung over them shows a neat repair on the shoulder seam. Stanley darns his own socks – he’s not surprised by a single man who can sew.

A rumble of voices out on the landing tells him Inspector Gordon has arrived. He nods to Stanley as he enters the room.

‘Another?’ Gordon averts his eyes from the bed. For a large man he’s squeamish of the dead.

‘Another,’ nods Stanley. His eyes settle on the scarlet cord.

 


Written for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Authors. See the pic and write a tale. Yesterday I created Gordon and Stanley from nowhere and today they’ve crept back into my head, two Edwardian policemen who want to be heard. See here for their first outing, The Scarlet Net.

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40 thoughts on “FFfAW : A single man who can sew

  1. Very atmospheric piece this one is, Lynn. Packed with details within few lines. This has potential to be developed into a longer tale. Well done.

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    1. Ah, thanks Iain. Funny how the tow just appeared yesterday. Not quite fully formed, but part formed at least. And I do keep scribbling thriller flashes – perhaps one day they will lead to something bigger. Thanks for the encouragement and for reading 🙂

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  2. This is so atmospheric but part of me still said, in a macabre voice: “No more twist” by the end of it. I love the attention to detail, it’s quite cinematic but lived in. The fact that the cord is ‘scarlet’ not red, is also such a deft way of adding to the period feel. Definitely not mere floss. 🙂

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    1. Thanks Pola! So glad you liked it. I rather enjoy these little forays into the past. If I ever think of a plot to put these characters in, I’ll be away 🙂

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      1. Very true. A nice bit of research would get the brain cells ticking over. I liked the thought of exploring the problems of being a gay police officer during the Edwardian era – the need for secrecy, to repress yourself for the sake of your career.

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      2. Ooh that sounds good. Reminds me of that poor court clerk in Taboo, that show we fangirled over. Or in your case, you fan-woman… Molly houses aplenty although they might not be called that by the Edwardian era. Get your fangs into some research and just fall in love with the period, free write and edit later. Don’t put too much stress on yourself. That’s my tuppence.

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      3. Yes, thst was fascinating, wasn’t it, the Molly house phenomenon, though you’re right I think they’d vanished by the Edwardian period. Did you hear there will be a second series of Taboo? Exciting stuff if you like your heroes in the anti camp! Sound advice there – thanks for the tuppence.

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  3. Very interesting direction you went with this prompt — the hand looks much more gruesome in retrospect. Great characters, and as always, wonderful images — unforgiving light on pallid skin, ouch; I think I’d look away too.

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      1. I think you’re right; people get used to whatever level of gore and filth is normal for their time and place. It’s fascinating to think about how future generations will look back and be disgusted or amazed at things that we think are totally normal.

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      2. I remember reading once we’d be amazed at how physically brave our ancestors were compared to us. We are used to the concept of trying to preserve ourselves, of staying out of trouble if possible. Past peoples had different priorities that meant that wasn’t always possible. Sobering stuff

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      3. Good point – we have such a zero-tolerance policy for death and dismemberment, but they didn’t have that luxury. I have a fascinating history book on family in the middle ages in Europe, and apparently it was common not to name a baby until it survived its first year or two, and even to name multiple sons after the father to help ensure one would survive.

        The big difference that always gets to me is privacy norms. People across most of history would think we were *bizarre* in expecting nobody to see us in the bathroom or bedroom.

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      4. Very true, Joy. Right up until the Victorian era, families sometimes didn’t name their kids for a few years, a way to try to keep some emotional distance, perhaps, for a child that was likely to die before it left infancy. Yes, privacy is a funny one. Still in the nineteenth century you’d find outside privys with more than one seat, so you could chat to your neighbour while going about your business. Times have changed

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      5. So I’ve been led to believe, though I’ve not done any scholarly research on the subject and I’m sure that would it would have been those living in city slums with the highest infant mortality rates that kept the practice going the longest. It’s all so frightening close in time too – just a few generations ago.

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