Microfiction: Lost temple I

I found this painting while I was looking for something completely different and started to write a story round it. I shall post it in dollops of 200 words because I can see it might be a long one.


They reached the place at the end of the ninth day despite the wall of resistance from the common people. Sullen looks welcomed them when they sought lodgings for the night and turned backs when they asked: how far, which way? But they persevered. It was their holy place, after all, torn from the grasp of barbarians at a terrible price.

On the evening of the ninth day they found it. Their horses refused to enter the trees, so they left them tethered in the lush grass. The beasts stood close together and watched them go, their ears twitching nervously.

A tangle of briar and thorny vegetation surrounded the site, as if protecting it from idle curiosity. By the time they reached the clearing, the monks’ robes were torn, their flesh scratched and bleeding.

β€œGod has kept it safe from the riff-raff,” said the older man, gazing in wonder at the ruins.

The acolyte nodded, his eyes too following the broken arches and buttresses that hung in the darkening air like jagged teeth. Enough of the massive structure remained to throw the marble pavement into deep shadow, and the ceiling was the black, star-studded mantle of the sky.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

30 thoughts on “Microfiction: Lost temple I”

  1. Enjoyed this immensely, Jane. Can’t wait to see where it’s going, knowing your strong views on religion! 😁 Beautiful atmospheric piece of writing.

    1. Between this painting, the book I’m reading with creepy labyrinths in it, and a scare just before bedtime, I had an awful anxiety dream that kept waking me up and carrying on when I went back to sleep. I feel like death this morning.

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