Friday Fictioneers: The activist

This short story (105 words) is for the Friday Fictioneers.

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

crook-building

Before the Revolution, it had been the home of the local ruling family. Now the main building housed the town hall and a hospital, and the private chapel was now the municipal library. Marianne looked down from a niche, that had once held the bust of some archbishop, on the steady stream of ordinary people on their way to register a birth, get a doctor’s appointment, visit a hospital patient or change their library books.

Time to put a stop to all that, thought the terrorist who called himself a traditional values activist, as he pulled on his balaclava and loaded a clip of ammunition.

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.

83 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers: The activist”

  1. I was dreaming of the library when I read the last line, Jane.
    Wish the terrorists would read some good books that would put some sense & leave our heritage sites & us alone…

  2. Heaven forbid we change the world for the better. Using an old building for so much good… Just not to be tolerated, eh? Bloody hell…
    Well done, Jane.

  3. Hmm….a home grown terrorist. We should be thankful that apart from the odd nutjob the traditional values activists are not picking up guns at the moment. It is a scary world right now.

    1. I don’t know where you are, but in Europe the far right is armed and their ‘traditional values’ start by targetting ‘untraditional’ immigrant groups. But as they are also linked to the religious right and the far right monarchist anti-republican groups, who knows where their delusions will take them?

      1. It’s not that bad here down under now but even here the extreme far right are those that want to take action against a number of issues, such as multiculturalism, immigration and religion as well.

  4. You’ve written a rather chilling little story of some of the worst of human nature. It’s cleverly written. The use of the word “Revolution” right at the start primes us to think of something violent. Then you show us all the good things that have come from the revolution; the Town Hall, the hospital, the library. “Phew!” We breathe again; great that people now have better facilities. They can get on with peaceful, fulfilling lives.
    Then you undermine that with a terrorist; and your priming with the word “Revolution” is justified.
    That’s very accomplished story telling, Jane. I enjoyed it.

    1. You credit me with too much skill, Penny! I’m writing from a French perspective, and Revolution means THE Revolution, the one and only French Revolution. Most French towns have these big handsome buildings that belong to the municipality since their previous owners were eased out of them. There is also a far right movement here, as everywhere in the world I imagine, that is anti-republican and would love to see a return to the good old days of serfdom. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Nicely constructed piece, except that I don’t understand how Marianne fits in.
    But I like how you point out that the idiots are not all on one side.

    1. Thank you! Terrorism is just an excuse for violence. I doubt any of them have a real ideological position.
      In every French Mairie there’s a bust of Marianne in a prominent place. The Republic taking the place of Jesus or the local baron.

    1. When men were men and women were at home in the kitchen and everyone in the world was a white Christian, the king was on his throne and God in his heaven. Good times!

  6. This is disturbing, Jane. Mainly because, this is just a small slice of what’s happening all over the world. Tradition, Religion, Beliefs they are good as long as they are not forced. But for every person with a progressive thought there are ten regressive ones.

    1. Exactly. What gives these people the right to dictate their cranky ideas on a society that has so clearly rejected them? It’s a form of megalomania, violent people looking for a justification for their violence.

    1. Thank you! It put me in mind of the commandos righting wrongs at abortion clinics in the US. As you imply, the Islamist nutters don’t have a monopoly on corrupt ideology violence.

  7. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. But they all use violence to try to get what they want. Tragic story and too close to our own times for comfort

      1. How very right you are Jane. Democracy often sucks (never let the British public vote on an important, Europe based referendum, for instance!) but what are the alternatives?

      2. There isn’t one that I know of. To work properly, democracy needs everyone to take part, to be informed and concerned about the outcome of elections. When too many people opt out, then you get problems.

      3. It’s the informed part too, isn’t it? I don’t like the idea of handing some decisions to those in power – they often make decisions based on budgets rather than what’s best for the majority. But with something like the Brexit referendum, it should have been left to MPs. The public were not well enough informed about the consequences of leaving the EU and the old boy network was too busy scoring points off each other to educate us properly. Now we’re in this mess for decades to come. Depressing

      4. I might be wrong but I had the impression that the whole Brexit fiasco was engineered by Cameron as a stunt to save his skin within his own party. He never expected to lose. It was a personal and purely selfish device, and it blew up in his face. There was never any intention of informing the public so they could make a sensible choice. I don’t suppose Cameron even considered that the public might be interested in knowing anything about it!

      5. I think you’re quite right. He bowed to pressure from right wingers drifting towards UKIP, thought he could steal back some of their following by proving he would listen to those unhappy with Europe and as you say, it blew up in his face. Then the coward ran away rather than dealing with the crap storm the vote caused. One of the (many) things that makes me furious about it is that 48% of us don’t want this – surely for such a momentous change to the entire fabric of our country, there should have been a threshold – say 65, 70% that the vote had to reach before it passed into law. And the referendum itself wasn’t even legally binding – at any point we could have stepped back and said, ‘wait a minute, are we sure this is right?’ Can’t tell you how depressing I find it all. Anymore room over their in La Belle France? 🙂

  8. Sad but well done. I was confused, however, when Marianne was looking down and then the terrorist was a he. Was it just a missing letter or did I miss something totally?

    1. It’s the bust of Marianne. I’m making the assumption that everyone knows how a French town hall is set up, and I shouldn’t. In the entrance or in a prominent place, there is always a bust of Marianne, the symbol of the Revolution. In the houses that were taken over as public buildings after the Revolution, Marianne would have been put in the place of a religious or aristocratic figure, so in the story, she would have been metaphorically watching the people coming and going.

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