Microfiction: Sunday morning

I’m well over the suggested 200 word limit with this one, but just this once…


The Sunday morning air was brisk and cold. It suited her, she thought with pride—practical, upright, and not given to sentimental outbursts. The suburban street was quiet. She liked that too, the way their steps, hers and Bernhardt’s, rang out with authority. She stared, with the stare of one who has the right, into the Epelbaum’s front window, and would have stared them right in the eyes if one of them had been standing there, looking out onto her Christian Sunday morning. But of course there was no one about. She snorted to herself. Not surprising, after their Saturday night orgy. She wondered what they did with all the children they must have produced. Perhaps they used them in their bloodthirsty rites, but she had always imagined they needed Christian children for those. She had only ever seen two young Epelbaums, quiet, sedate, devious children who went to the local elementary school. Well, that would all be changing soon. She’d read it in the papers. No more soiling of the school benches with their presence.

The paper crackled gleefully in her hand. They were on her list. They might pretend to be Austrians, but she knew better, and she would give their names to the Bürgermeister with the others. After Mass, of course. Everything in the right order, she thought and took Bernhardt’s arm, squeezing it to get his attention. His expression remained serene and distant, but she refused to let her husband’s indiscretions disturb the placid flow of her existence. They all knew, he never made a secret of his tastes, but they would say nothing. Not now that he had been accepted back into the army. And with a Captain’s rank too. She clutched her list and Berhardt’s arm and marched with her head held high.

Somewhere, in a distant farmyard, a cock crowed once, twice, thrice. She sighed, and a beatific smile spread across her face. She recognized the omen. The Christ killers would be avenged.


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.

19 thoughts on “Microfiction: Sunday morning”

  1. What a dark tale. Wishing your neighbours away. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could say this kind of thing is behind us all, but all we need to do is look around to see the sad truth, that people still see others as inferior – as ‘other’. I hope the hypocritical old bag fails, that the Epelbaums escape unhurt.
    Great story Jane

    1. I hope they were some of the lucky few and I hope Bernhardt got sent to the Eastern Front. Being Austria, the evil baggage probably got some kind of good service award after the war…

      1. Chilling times and all the more so because people turned on folk they’d known for years, lived next to, worked with. The thin veneer of civilisation.

      2. It happened in Rwanda, it happened in Yugoslavia, it would happen anywhere there are tensions to be exploited. That’s why I find politicians like Trump so terrifying. They have the power to orchestrate that animosity and sense of grievance.

  2. How someone can write such a short thing that says so much I myself will never know and yet you do….
    Of course as with your other shorts, it leaves a myriad of questions! You tease!
    On a serious level, there’s a very disturbing and realistic undercurrent, we imagine this in truth and it is as you say, something that occurs over and over. Those who do not know history are bound to repeat it but even with that acknowledged it’s shocking how often, how obvious such repeated atrocity is. For those of us who seek to see patterns and behaviors there’s a quality of madness to it, as if even if they knew, they would still, slaughter, because it is their wont.
    I think you really bring up the darkness here and lay out the questions many of us have time and again. Brava!

    1. I don’t think there’s ever been anything to compare to the Nazi machine. Such cold, clinical butchery, but at the scale of a whole people, enshrined in ideology. That germ must be in so many other people waiting for circumstances to let it grow.

      1. Agreed. I think others have almost done as much, maybe literally speaking worse, though something about the way it’s documented for us to witness, is without compare. A recent libel suit in the UK stirred up controversy I read, because the defenders had to ‘prove’ the Holocaust happened, such is the burden of proof in UK libel, thus they did against a book published by Penguin which claimed the Holocaust had never happened. The ludicrous notion we can have ‘free speech’ only to publish a Holocaust denier, that’s PC gone mad. They’re making it into a film I heard, it gets my blood boiling.

      2. Holocaust deniers are the earth’s scum. It is a paradox that defenders of free speech defend the right of obscurantists who spread lies and incite hatred and violence. Just plain wrong-headed.

  3. Your word count maybe high but the relevance of your story being so close to The eleventh of the eleventh… lest we disgragefully forget. The unasked and answered questions the secret looks that speak volumes within your piece make it superb. I liked this a lot. 😇

    1. I told you, that woman really got up my nose. Add a wimple and that face could be a Medieval dowager or abbess, she could be a modern dictator, a landowner with starving peasants or serfs depending on her. Same expression.

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