Crimson’s Creative Challenge: Fourth one along

cracked church window


‘Which one?’ I said.

The jailer’s cap was pulled down, his oily beard gingered with dropped snuff. He signalled with pinched fingers. ‘Fourth one along.’

The stench was unbearable, the path slurried with leaves, the emptying of slop buckets. I lifted my skirts to keep the hem free of filth. I stopped, called my love’s name.

A hand appeared between the bars, the wrist too slender to be his, the nails once trim now long, torn, black. A moan drifted on the wind, a sound that was almost my name.

I’d imagined him slender, grubby, downcast but still with shining eyes, still himself. The creature that clawed and thrashed at the stone was not him, not the him I wanted to remember. My basket fell to the ground, bread tumbling, bottle thudding to the muck.

I turned. I ran.


Written for Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge. Pop along here to join in.

14 thoughts on “Crimson’s Creative Challenge: Fourth one along

  1. Aw, poor prisoner, such a sight scared his goodies away. So now I wonder, was it the visitor’s father, or son, or lover? As usual, you’ve left me intrigued, with questions brimming.


    1. I imagined a brother or lover at various points in writing this, so it could be either. When it comes down to it, it would take a strong stomach to face what prisons were once like, what they were capable of reducing people too. Thanks as always Crispina for reading and for your comments

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Devastating, that sense of having lost what you held dear, and what individuals who’ve lost their partners or family members to dementia must sometimes feel. Powerful stuff, Lynn.


    1. Thank you Chris. Can’t imagine what it’s like to see someone you knew well reduced to that state, perhaps your own life and future shattered at the same time. Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ew! Very effective use of description to convey how dank and disgusting the place is. EWW, I say! And how awful for both of them. He must have been in there for quite a while, and endured a *great* deal, to have changed so horribly that she had that reaction.


    1. I can’t imagine what that kind of confinement does to people. I remember reading that when Oscar Wilde was sentenced to hard labour it altered him completely. A man who was used to writing all day, to a comfortable life, suddenly being locked up and made to work long, thankless shifts. In the long run it killed him. Thanks for reading Joy

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve read that about Wilde, too. And it’s not just the confinement and the hard labor, but the constant demeaning, being treated like you’re less than human, that you have no dignity or privacy, that you are worthless scum. Even a short time of that can affect someone, not to mention months or years.


      2. Poor man was publicly humiliated too as, of course, many people saw homosexuality as a perversion back then. While being transferred from one jail to another, a crowd gathered round him at Clapham Junction train station, jeering and spitting at him – it carried on for half an hour. Unimaginable the harm that could do to a person psychologically

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Terrible, I agree. And Oscar Wilde was a pretty confident man to start with. I can well understand why so many people chose to stay “in the closet” to try to avoid such treatment. How horrifying to think that’s still happening in many parts of the world.


      4. Sadly true. It never ceases to amaze me how interested people are in what happens in other people’s bedrooms. Really, why do we all care so much if no one is hurt in the process? Sadly, Oscar messed with the wrong family and lost

        Liked by 1 person

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