Microfiction: Idyll

This is for the Friday Fictioneers. I ought to have a link button on here but haven’t got a clue how to get one, so I’m just linking ‘normally’.



The mill hadn’t functioned for years and had been converted, along with the little house where the miller had crammed his large family, to make a comfortable home. Only the pit wheel and shaft had been left as a feature. The result was idyllic, though Gilly sometimes found the noise of water rushing past the kitchen wall unsettling.

After they found the child’s skeleton in the millrace, rushing water became the background to the incomprehensible grinding of the pit wheel, night after night. When it was joined by the plaintive pleading of a small voice, the idyll turned to nightmare.


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.

40 thoughts on “Microfiction: Idyll”

  1. A horrifying ghost story. Very unnerving idea – that mix of water and wheel and weeping dead children. Truly creepy. Nicely done Jane

    1. When we were first house hunting we visited a house like that, described as a ‘manoir’. The river Oise roared past the back kitchen which was in total darkness. The house was gorgeous, with two towers so you had bedrooms with either little round shower rooms or sitting rooms. The noise of the river was infernal though, and it was so damp!

      1. Well, it is beautiful. Interesting topiary, too – looks like little mushroom clouds all along the back there. Could inspire some cracking tales … 🙂

    1. I get these little snippets of creepy like you get snippets of quirkiness in everyday life, but I don’t think I’d have the nerve to write anything longer. I’m very squeamish about scary. Not gore, but the paranormal stuff.

      1. Well, there was something about this particular short bit that really grabbed me, and I think, if I may tell you how to write your own work (!), it’s really a matter of fleshing out the bones of what you put here. Really, I do like this a lot.

      2. I might try to get a longer story from it, but I do have a very low fear threshold and things that go bump in the night or turn door knobs and turn lights off scare me rigid.

      3. There was a story in the local newspaper similar to this that marked me as a child. I remember it visually though obviously there weren’t any pictures in the paper. It’s stuck with me. I don’t like reading things like that even now. I don’t believe in it, but I don’t not believe either.

    1. Thanks Dale 🙂 When you’re outdoors, the sound of running water is soothing and peaceful, but when you’re indoors and you can hear a river racing just behind the wall, it’s terrifying.

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