#writephoto: The Stone

For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto challenge. Gothic again.

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 15.46.44

He thought he had got rid of the unsightly obstruction, hadn’t thought about the stone once since the house was built. He had had far too much on his mind since then to worry about where the thing had gone. There had been the fire, and the winter wind had been full of voices. The winter had lasted longer than usual that year; the cold had bit deeper. Misery lurked in heaps of rags at the corner of every street.

He had not wanted the deaths. Why did they not understand that it was not in his interest to kill off his workforce, and if an arrangement could have been found that avoided deaths he would have accepted it? But it hadn’t been possible. How could it have been? In a mill there are always workers, and in a fire, there are always those who can’t get out in time.

The house had never been easy. Stones and paint have no souls, no hearts. There is nothing in the construction of a building that can bear a grudge. And yet, and yet, the house had never been easy. Cecilia had encouraged it, nurtured the grudge. She was part of it, born with rancour in her blood. He should never have married her.

But he had, and she had brought his nemesis into the heart of his household, his castle. She had called back the stone, the vengeful mother, and he could see it from his bedroom window. Even though the curtains were drawn, even though the winter night was shut outside, he could feel the stone eyes blazing. He could smell the scorching of plush velvet, hear the small crickle crackle sounds of a blaze at its beginning.

The sounds of running feet and shouts of alarm came to him, but they seemed far away, too far to be of any help. The door to his bedroom was locked. He could try to break it down but all the other doors would be locked too. The casements wouldn’t open; the glass, he had tried already, wouldn’t break.

Flames now, frank and open, no more pretence that something had been left to catch in the kitchen, a scalding iron, a batch of bread. Red and roaring they raced up the plush, that dripped to the ground in a cascade of flame, baring the window glass, revealing the night sky, and silhouetted against the stars, the Stone.

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.

25 thoughts on “#writephoto: The Stone”

  1. Gothic vengeance. So wicked and so cool. Cold, in fact–well, except that it’s a fire. The stones and she claim their own and take their own. So much for empire-building and the strategy that lives lost in the process are acceptable. Just the kind of attitude to destroy, thanks.

    1. The same sort of thing happens today, but it’s harder to pin blame down to one person. It’s always a ‘board’ a ‘committee’ and nobody really knows what was going on—so they say.

      1. I remember that story…and time spent in the park which was on the way home from school if I walked it to save the busfare for more interesting things 😉

      2. We used to get into the top of the park from the end of Brookroyd lane and use it as a short cut to my Grandma’s on Ealand Road. The top of the park beyond the museum was a bit of a wilderness. I’d never have dared go through it alone.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s