This is part of a series of (very) short stories that I publish here on the blog. This one I wrote is a historical fiction scene! Flash fiction is a story under 1,500 words. It’s very short and gives a brief flash of narrative. It’s not elaborated on and stands on its own. In my case, this is very much fast fiction as well as flash fiction. This piece was generated from a prompt and written in under twenty minutes. My story is transcribed as written. (With some minor spelling changes.) Other then that, everything remains the same as when I first wrote it.
I wrote this short piece at my writing group. Our prompt: your character is away from home for a period of time and when they return, things are not as they left them. I’ve included some thoughts on the prompt at the end of the piece. Enjoy!
Lord George Brookstone ambles up the drive after a Hellish day. First thing this morning, the wheel of his carriage broke, leaving him to ride on
At the door to his family home, he pushes it open to see that no candles have been lite for the night. The twilight barley illuminates the hall. It’s eerily quiet as George calls to the butler.
“Edward?” A muffle sounds just ahead and George walks slowly towards it. Dust particles, disturbed by his heavy boots, float in the gray air. A moan echos from under the grand staircase. A chair is propped against the door knob of the closet door, jamming it. George jerks his dining room chair away and swings the door open, on edge. There his butler stands gagged with his hands bound behind his back. George sighs helping his servant out of the closet and into the chair that had been used to wedge the door. Poor chap, Lord Brookstone thinks, helping his butler, old enough to be his grandfather, out of his awkward position below the shelves and next to the coats.
Lord Brookstone unties the gag and the rope from his hands.
“Are you alright there Edward?”
“Oh, just a bit stiff, sir.” As the butler proceeds to rub his back and neck.
“Here, let me get you some brandy.” George goes to the drawing room to see all the furniture overturned, some vases broken, and the portrait of his late mother gone. George’s shock is quickly dismissed by his practicality. Nothing I can do about it now, he reasons. He gets a glass and the brandy, taking a swig straight from the bottle before pouring some for Edward.
Back in the hall, Edward hasn’t moved from the chair, now rubbing his temples. George shoves the glass in his hand and watches the old man drink. He waits for him to finish before inquiring again,
“Are you positive you are alright?”
“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.”
“Then what the Hell happened!” Lord Brookstone exclaims.
“I’m not exactly certain, sir.”
“Not certain,” George erupts, impatient after an already trying day. “You must have seen the bastard that tied you up.” There the butler goes red. Not white with fear but flush with embarrassment.
“You see, sir,” Edward starts, “it wasn’t a man that broke in, but a woman.”
Like other scenes I’ve written, I think this one would be fun to expand into a novel or short story. But either way, it’s a fun way to explore character, conflict, and setting.
This was semi-inspired by Lord John Grey of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Especially, the eighteenth century standards and lack of security. I just love a good estate or mansion. Those landed gentry homes have such appeal to me. And so many things that could go missing!