Latent defect

Inspired by Lynn Love’s tremendous piece of flash fiction, I thought I’d have a go at Crimson’s Creative Challenge too. The springboard is this photograph.

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It seemed perfect. Rehabilitated churches were so cool—pricey, and you had to be prepared to spend a fortune on restructuring the interior, but the result could be stunning. Saint Peter’s had been mucked about with over the centuries. The foundations were thirteenth century, but Henry VIII had hammered it, then Cromwell. It was burnt down during a factory revolt in the nineteenth century and bombed in the Second World War. When the congregation dwindled to nothing, the diocese decided to sell it.

Steve and Lucy decided to go for it, signed up the architect, swooned over the plans. Then the priest came for the de-consecration. It should have been done before the sale, but somehow it had been overlooked, he explained with an unctuous smile.

With a few words of release, he broke the bonds of eight hundred years, and all the nightmares came to stay.

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.

29 thoughts on “Latent defect”

  1. Some of those old churches are so gorgeous, even if they’re in bad shape, that I can well imagine wanting to turn them into homes or businesses (like the restaurant in a former church in the next city over from me). But yes, the de-consecration might lead to problems, with all that bloody history captured within the walls… At least it would in my world of Eneana!

  2. I love your take on the prompt. Particularly since I’m keen on our medieval history. Sorry the reply has taken so long. And case of kidnapping by the ever-hungry spam-bin. 🙂

    1. And I’m sorry to be late replying. Our internet connection is atrocious and we lose it for days on end. I’m frantically trying to catch up with comments while the juice lasts. Glad you liked the piece 🙂

      1. Oh, you too? Today and yesterday have been abysmal, though I don’t tend to lose it for days on end. It’s often a matter of jumping in when it’s there. So I can sympathise.

      2. It’s rural minimum service. Internet provider blames the phone line, telephone company blames the internet provider. There’s a showdown on Tuesday when they both turn up together. It’s going to be like the OK Corral here.

      3. Gosh, wish I could witness. Likewise my provider blames the phone lines, and the telephone company won’t do anthing cos I don’t use the internet services. But I’m not rural. Not unless the very edge of the North Sea counts, But I am guessing our wiring is naff, old, worn, outdated. Another five users, all with the same provider, connect to the wires. So… not unusual for the service to develop hiccups.

      4. It’s a similar problem here. The telephone company that used to be the national company has never swallowed the loss of its monopoly. It’s obstructive, and if you’re not one of its internet customers, your line just never gets a once over.

      5. This house is a barn with farm labourers quarters under the hay loft. We were smiten by it because it hadn’t changed in centuries. More fool us. When the telephone man came in his suit and smart shoes and his dinky little phone plug he was not prepared for climbing into the hay loft to pass the wire through the roof than down into the study. Consequence the plug just dangles in the air. Said he couldn’t get in into the wall. The wattle and daub wouldn’t take it…

      6. But at least that’s within your memory. My place was built 1603 as a merchant’s warehouse. Later (18th century) it became offices… and so remained until 2002. So you can bet the telephones were installed at the earliest availability. And has anyone checked the wiring since? I only rent the building, not my place to kick up a fuss.

      7. True. That’s one of the big gripes of the old ex-monopolies like the railways and the electricity company, that the competition doesn’t have the infrastructures to maintain. To even things up, they don’t do any maintenance either.

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