50 Word Thursday #57 – The Old Devil of Thorneycroft

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And the words: “One of the hardest things for boys to learn is that a teacher is human. One of the hardest things for a teacher to learn is not to try and tell them.”
― Alan Bennett , The History Boys

 

Thorneycroft had been famous once, challenging other schools, like Rugby and Winchester for the honour of sending the most alumni to Oxford University. Unfortunately, times had changed and the school closed, leaving behind a wealth of objects to commemorate a century of learning. Now it was a museum, a monument to the past, open to the public for a negligible fee. One of the visitors shuffled along the forgotten corridors and breathed in the aromatic aroma of wood, polish and chalk dust. Heaving a nostalgic sigh, the man walked back into the main hall, filled with statues, his walking cane echoing around the hall and clicked against the marble tiles. Then he stopped and looked up at the statue of a man enrobed in black with a flat-topped mortarboard hat upon its head. The sculptor had excellently captured the bushy beard and even the foreboding glint in those eyes. He remembered that face all too well. He’d been a strict disciplinarian, a bit of a devil, but in an age where caning boys had been the norm, he’d never resorted to physical punishments. He’d been feared but nevertheless was the mainstay of the school. Recalling his last meeting with the man now immortalised aptly in stone, he’d asked him why he’d been so hard.

One of the hardest things for boys to learn is that a teacher is human. One of the hardest things for a teacher to learn is not to try and tell them,” he’d replied smiling.  

[250 Words]

This short story was written for the 50 Word Thursday challenge, click on the link below to see the post, it’s not too late to take part in this challenge, which finished on Wednesday.

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2020/01/30/50-word-thursday-57/

 

I have also included the following word prompts:

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/your-daily-word-prompt-mainstay-february-3-2020/

FOWC with Fandango — Century

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/rdp-monday-aromatic/

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/devil/

 

Talk of the Devil – A rebel call.

This is a poem/Song lyric, I wrote some time ago but it fitted this word prompt so well…

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/06/09/revel/

 

I keep hearing people say
I’ve gotta kill my wild ways
but I’m a wild kind of guy
with no chance to change
better keep outta my way
if you think me strange
I am what I am
and that’s the way I’ll stay.

Everywhere I go, I hear
Talk of the Devil
Wherever I appear
It’s Talk of the Devil
But I’m no satan’s spawn
I just won’t be a pawn
In this society.

People say I’m just so weird
My evil image means I’m feared
but see beneath the look
and I’m just as scared
Whatever I did or said
It’s hard when no one cared
I just couldn’t conform
and the crowds just jeered.

Everywhere I go, I hear
Talk of the Devil
Wherever I appear
It’s Talk of the Devil
But I’m no satan’s spawn
I just won’t be a pawn
In this society.

Let all the crowds jeer,
I don’t care anymore
Let them say what they say
I don’t care anymore
In all their gossip, I just revel.
I don’t care, let them say
Talk of the devil
But I’m no satan’s spawn
I just won’t be a pawn
In this society.

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty, written 26th March 2005.

 

Multiple Word Prompt Story – Resist the Devil.

This story was inspired by the Halloween season and the following prompts:

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/10/27/mephistophelian/

FOWC with Fandango — Adorable

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/10/27/rdp-saturday-drench/

 

Resist the Devil.

Mephistophelian, that devilish turn of phrase. When I learned the word, I never thought I’d ever come to use it. It was elaborate, over the top and rather sensationalist.

However, then I met David.

He was one of those guys that when he walked into a room, all eyes focused on him. People stopped what they were doing, ignored the person they were with and looked at him.

He wasn’t outstanding in any way. He was of average height and not particularly handsome, but there was something about his eyes that burned. He had an aura about him.

He walked over to the bar and ordered a long island iced tea. I have never seen the barman move so quickly. There were plenty of people at the bar vying for attention and waving their notes in their hands, but Dave got served first. He always did, I found out later.

What was this strange power that he had over people? I never really discovered it, or maybe I just didn’t want to believe it. He just held sway wherever he went.

He also had a way about him that made whoever he was talking to, whoever his attention fell upon, feel like the most important person on the earth. His eyes seemed to pour energy into you. You suddenly felt wonderful, adorable, perfect. You had to be for him to want to lavish so much attention on you, him who everyone wanted to be with.

It was magnetic. It was also quite frightening.

I never thought of myself as easily lead. I was never susceptible to hypnotism or peer pressure or mind tricks. I always had a strong personality, but I found myself affected by this guy, just like everyone else. When he’d gone and I was on my own, it used to irk me. Made me feel foolish like a sheep just going along with the herd.

He bought me a drink and we chatted, not about anything deep, just music I liked, things like that. When I asked him a question he batted it away and never gave a proper answer, he asked questions but never answered them. It added to his mystery, at least at first.

Why he’d come to that bar on that night, I never found out, but it was Friday the 13th and an omen if ever there was one.

At first, he was fascinating, but then I started to realise that weird things happened around him. Accidents happened. Unexplained things. People falling over and hitting their heads on the curb, bleeding to death. A car crash where he was the only survivor in the car and everyone else died. People falling out of windows, cutting themselves on their cutlery. I noticed that he would smile and laugh about the incidents. He seemed to derive pleasure from these mishaps that left people maimed or even killed.

I never told him where I lived, something told me that he wasn’t the kind of guy my family would approve of. Something also told me that he wasn’t the kind of person you invited in. He would always find me, whenever I went out to the local bar. He would walk in, smile and come over to me. I realised he seemed to find me fascinating too.

“Let’s go for a walk down to the river,” he said to me once. It was raining heavily outside and I wasn’t in the mood to be alone with him.

“What are you trying to do, drench me?” I responded. Something seemed to flash across his face, his eyes burned as he drew me close and whispered in my ear “Why must you always resist me?”

He walked away then, and I thought nothing more of it.

I often think back to that autumn and the guy who called himself David.

Instinctively, I knew he had another name.

I still wonder if it had been me who’d brought him to town. He’d arrived not long after my friends and I decided to have some fun with an Ouija. All those who’d had accidents and been killed, in the car crash, or from falling out of the window, they’d been with me that night when we thought it’d be so much fun to try a summoning.

They all died, except me.

I resisted.

 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 27/October/2018

 

The Final Unicorn – A short story.

They say that crossroads are gateways into another world. That is very true. Where two paths cross the veil that separates our world from the world of the dead is thin. When violence occurs at that point it rips the veil and allows travel between the two worlds to take place.

There has to be, however, balance. The rubric is that for something to pass one way across the void, something must pass the other way. A two-way exchange.

Somewhere deep in an ancient wood, there was such a crossroad. Two paths crossed in the middle of an ash grove. Ash groves are dark and sinister places, just as Oak groves are sacred and benign. Oak groves are home to beneficial spirits that nurture and guide, like Fairy godmothers. There was once a creature that dwelled in the wood, these creatures signified all the fine virtues but they had been reduced to just one, the final unicorn.

On one dark day, the last unicorn was killed by a Witch, at that crossroad in that ash grove. The violent act ripped apart the veil. Something was waiting on the other side. Something that had reached out to the Witch and promised her eternal youth and beauty if she carried out this terrible act. She was tricked, for with the veil ripped she was sucked into the world of the dead, allowing that something to pass the other way.

That was how the devil came into this world.

 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 25/September/2018

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/09/25/rubric/

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/09/25/three-things-challenge-25-sept-2018/

Today’s things are: unicorn, fairy, devil

The Wreck of the Shirley-Ann – Or ‘The Devil’s Bet’.

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This story was written in response to Laura M Bailey’s

Manic Mondays 3 Way Prompt

https://alltheshoesiwear.wordpress.com/2018/07/23/manic-mondays-3-way-prompt-wrecked/

and Fandango’s Word prompt: Compete.

FOWC with Fandango — Compete

The Wreck of the Shirley-Ann – OR ‘The Devil’s Bet’

The old shipwreck was a monument to folly. It had stood on the mudflats off of Rookstone head for as long as anyone could remember.

Wise old men and women used it to warn youngsters not to put good competition above good sense.

Old Stefan was the one who told the story best. He was an old fisherman himself but hadn’t put to sea for many a year now. He preferred standing at the bar of the Jolly Roger public house to standing at the prow of a ship nowadays. He was always there come Friday night, with his old blue woollen fisherman’s pullover, holes in various places. His skippers hat on his head and that old pipe in his mouth, spewing foul-smelling fumes.

He loved to spin a yarn or two to any visitors to the town or anyone who would listen, although the locals had learned not to, or they would end up wasting the best part of two hours.

On that particular evening he had a crowd of young sightseers sitting around him. He gave them a good show.

“Arr, you see that old ship that be stuck out across the bay? Wrecked, it was, back when my own Pa was a nipper. It belonged to a proud fisherman by the name of Mad Jack. The ship was called the Shirley-Ann after his beloved and betrothed. One day he was standing at this very bar, in this very spot and boasting as he always did. He swore that him and his crew could catch more fish than any other boat on any day they’d care to name. Two other captains took his wager, sick of his boasting they were. They each swore to give the winner half their years profits. Half their profits to the man who brought in the most fish. They chose the date, the first of October, and having shaken on the deal, none of them could turn back. Despite all their women folk begging them not to be such fools. Shirley-Ann begged her betrothed not to do it, but Jack laughed and said it was as sure as won, and he’d have enough money for them to be wed.

When the day dawned, the sky was beautifully clear and sea was as calm as a summer pond, only there were clouds on the horizon and they were bathed in red. Red sky in morning, sailors warning, and never was it truer than of that terrible day. The three boats each with their crew of six men went out on the morning tide to catch fish. By midday the sea had gone from calm to turbulent and the winds whipped around in the bay something fierce. By the mid-afternoon, the sky was blacker than night and the sea was like old Neptune himself was wrestling giant squid beneath the waves. The other two captains turned back to shore, no longer in the mood to compete, not if it meant risking their lives. Mad Jack laughed at them when they turned their boats to the shore, so the other captains said.

Well it was a mad folly for him to stay out there in that terrible storm, but so determined was he to win his bet,  he stayed too long in those treacherous waters. The boat was dashed against the black rocks of Rookstone head and Mad Jack and most of his crew were killed. Only one man survived, washed up on the shore, Tom Pruitt. He was a young man then, just twenty but already wed and with a nipper. He was my Grandpa.

The next day the wreck was found where it lies to this day, out on the mudflats. The bodies were all washed ashore. Poor Shirley-Ann never wed and died a poor spinster, wearing black in mourning until her dying day.

Let this be a lesson to ye, and learn it well. Competition is all well and good, but never put it over and above good sense. And never make a wager with your life on the line, that’s the Devil’s bet, they call it and he usually wins, because he always cheats.

Now who will stand me another Pint of the best, eh? My throats gone all parched with the telling.”

The End

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 23/07/2018

Free Again – My Attempt at a Horror Story.

My Friend at Fingers to Sky is taking part in a challenge competition and has thrown out the gauntlet for people to play along with her Prompt.

Genre: Horror

Location: Hill

Object: A Map.

NYC Midnight Challenge: Prompt 1

 

Well this was my attempt. Like my friend says about herself, I am not at all familiar with the genre. I never read horror books and I never watch horror films. I am scared stiff of them. I am therefore not a very good judge on whether this story I have written actually meets the requirements of being a Horror Story. Please let me know if you think it works.

 

Free Again

I found the map among my Aunts things. Mad Aunt Alice, she’d been cruelly called by my Father. Growing up it had just been my Father, Aunt Alice and me. Aunt Alice had looked after me tenderly, but she never spoke. My Father would order her about, shout at her and even hit her, but she never spoke.

My father always called her Mad. Said that she wasn’t ‘all there’. She’d been like that since a childhood game with an Ouija board had gone wrong. The Devil’s got her tongue and he won’t give it back. That was what my Father said. I never paid no mind to what he said though. He was drunk most of the time. Aunt Alice was always kind to me. She made me dinner and breakfast. Washed my clothes and made sure I went to school. Father went to work then came home and drank. His exercise usually involved smashing something or punching Aunt Alice. She never said a word.

Then one day Father grabbed me by the skirt and pulled me towards him. I screamed at him to let me go. Before I knew it, the Knife had appeared in Aunt Alice’s hand and my father’s head had rolled across the floor. I will never forget his eyes. They put Aunt Alice into one kind of institution and me into another.

Continue reading Free Again – My Attempt at a Horror Story.