Genre Challenge – An Angel among Devils – Part Two

A Year ago I wrote a short story for the Haunted Wordsmiths Genre Challenge called An Angel Among Devils, see the link below:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2020/05/19/an-angel-among-devils-a-short-story/

I reposted this post this morning and so I thought I would share some more with you. So, here is part two.

 

Chapter Two:

After telling him to follow, the ugly brute walked towards what appeared to be a plain wall, decorated with the same muck the rest of the walls seemed to be coated in.

Inspector Tanner glanced back towards the main bar, no one was looking their way, but he knew that though everyone appeared ambivalent, it was deliberate. They were all looking towards where the smartly dressed guy had gone, running out the front door, they now pointedly ignored him and you could cut the atmosphere with a blunt vibroblade.

“Are you coming or what? If you want to stay and get yourself killed, that’s fine by me. I’ll deal with whoever they get to fill your shoes.”

The man with the snake tattoo looked back at him and where there had been plain, gut splattered wall before, there was now an open door.

Inspector Tanner stood up and followed the man through the door and into a dingy back alley.

The man then pressed something in his pocket and the door was replaced again by a solid wall.

“Look, who are you?” Inspector Tanner asked.

“We can’t talk now. That other guy, he’s gone to fetch his gang, we have to be as far away from here as possible. Follow me and keep your head down. I know a safe place.”

You didn’t get far in his line of work without developing an instinct to know who to trust, well he had to admit, his instinct had let him down by approaching the wrong guy earlier, but now he was sure, in order to get out here with his life, he had to follow this man, regardless of how he looked, but it still felt like he being rash.

After taking so many twists and turns along the dark back alleys of the most dangerous district in town, they finally came to a halt in front of another concrete wall.

Again, the man pressed something in his pocket and a blue light flashed down the side of the wall and it twisted to form an opening.

“Quick, in here,” he said.

Ducking through the doorway, Inspector Tanner found himself in a kitchen, pots and pans hang on hooks from a metal rack suspended from the ceiling and a delicious smell of cooking filled the air along with the steam.

Almost hidden, he noticed a woman standing in the corner stirring a large pot with a wooden spoon.

The big man sat down at a metal table and grinned, baring his mouth of gold fillings and missing teeth.

“Now we can talk. Sit” he said pointing to a chair opposite him.

As inspector Tanner took his seat, the woman walked over and ran a gentle hand against the ugly man’s face, a look of adoration in her eyes, made him gasp with surprise.

‘What could such a beautiful lady see in this brute?’ The inspector thought.

Instead, he asked the same question he had asked earlier, “Who are you?”

“I am the man you were supposed to meet, the one who has been passing information to you for the past two years.”

“You’re ‘Fallen Angel’? You can’t be, surely?” The inspector responded sceptically.

The man the unbuttoned the front of his denim shirt and displayed another tattoo painted over his bulging chest muscles of a figure, with horns coming out of a head bowed, and two wings spread either side of him. It was a contrast to the brightly coloured snake tattoo on his arm, this was painted in pale colours that seemed to shimmer in the dingy light of the steamy kitchen, strangely understated.

“This is the Fallen Angel,” He said grinning. “It is who some of us worship here in Hells Campus. Well, those of us who want a better life for ourselves and our people. The Fallen Angel is a symbol of redemption for us. That no matter how bad our crimes, we can put them in the past and work towards something better.”

The Lady brought over a bowl of soup and placed it on the table, again that look of deep love crossed her face. She had large brown eyes, set wide and slightly tilted, her dark chestnut hair covered the left side of her face and then nearly reached her slim waist. Her dress was plain and dark with a touch of black lace around the collar. Her lips were full and bright red but seemed at purse into a petulant scowl when she caught the Inspector looking at her.

The man calling himself Fallen Angel must have also seen him, because he said: “This is Marita, she is my wife.”

Changing the subject, Inspector Tanner asked about the other man, the smartly dressed one who he’d mistakenly thought was his informant.

“He is known as the Accountant. He likes to count things, a toe, an ear, that sort of thing, usually when he is cutting them off his victims. He is not a nice man. Even here, in a district where most people have had to do unpleasant things to survive, he stands out as evil.”

Marita pulled back the hair to expose a scar where her left ear should have been. It spoke far more than words would have done.

Inspector Tanner kept the shock he’d felt out of his voice and calmly asked, “And he works for the Armstrong Gang who’s been responsible for the recent murders?”

“The Armstrong gang are small fry, they are yesterday’s men. It’s true they used to run things down here, but that was before another group came along, bringing with them a new religion. I said some of us worshipped the Fallen Angel. Well, some believe that we have nothing left but to embrace the darkness. this new gang Diablo De La Muerte, they worship Santa Muerte, the lord of murder and death.”

“I did not realise that religion was to blame for all the recent killing,” Inspector Tanner said.

“Hasn’t religion been behind most of the killing in History?” The man responded. He had a look of a religious zealot himself. A look of Marvellous ecstasy in his eyes. This man was as much a fundamentalist as the people he opposed. However, he seemed like the lesser of two evils in this case.

“Tell me everything” Inspector Tanner said, pulling out his recording crystal.

 

***

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 26/April/2019 

 

This story also contains the following Word Prompts:

 

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/04/26/rdp-friday-rash/

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/04/26/marvelous/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/04/26/your-daily-word-prompt-worship-april-26-2019/

FOWC with Fandango — Lady

https://lightmotifs.wordpress.com/2019/04/25/three-things-challenge-pl71/

Today’s prompt: accountant, toe, lace

 

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2020/05/19/understated/

FOWC with Fandango — Ambivalent

 

 

 

 

 

An Angel among Devils – Chapter one, A Quick Getaway.

I wrote this story about a year ago for a challenge hosted by Teresa Grabs, whose blog was the Haunted Wordsmith.

I thought it was time to share it again. The Word of the Day is Quick

woman with snake on her wrist
Photo by Kuya Yus on Pexels.com

This story was written for The Haunted Wordsmith’s Genre Challenge, click on the link below to see the post:

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2019/04/21/genre-writing-challenge-april-21/

Today’s genre and image: Crime Thriller/Suspense

 

This was not the kind of place Inspector Tanner usually frequented. In a city renowned for it’s high level of crime, this district was particularly notorious. It was funny how things had changed so dramatically in just over two decades. This area was once a prestigious university but now, crime gangs roamed the campus and the university building itself had long since been burned to the ground. Arson was a common here as thievery. In the centre of the old university grounds was the Black Jack tavern. It was said that you could find out anything there, who murdered who, who had stolen what, for the right price.

Inspector Tanner was dressed as inconspicuously as possible. Rather than his usual smart trench coat and trilby, he now wore a rather shabby afghan coat over a pair of denim jeans. He was here to meet an informant, but not someone he had ever met in person before.

As the inspector pushed open the black painted door, the fumes of smoke emerged in fine tendrils into the clear night air. Not tobacco smoke, the smell was far too pungent for that, not even pipe smoke was that foul. The tavern was not particularly well lit. Electric lights buzzed and flickered from various points around the room, making pools of light that the many bodies standing around seemed to avoid, preferring to linger in the dark recesses and corners instead.

Through the haze, he could see the bar and the barman. The man was tall and thin, with lank dark hair that fell to his shoulders, yet the crown of his head was bare. He wore no shirt, but a black leather vest, unbuttoned showing a hairy chest with more grey in it than it’s original black. His bare arms were covered in tattoos, mainly flaming skulls. He knew of the barman by reputation, they had a file three inches thick on him back at the station. Jack Peel had a record of petty larceny and aggravated assault with intent to cause harm. He used to like collecting ears too, an unpleasant habit that had sent him to prison for twelve years. On his release he had opened this establishment, which had hardly given much assurance that he had decided to go straight, but they had not been able to catch him at anything lately.

He was told to buy a drink and then walk over to the pool table. Grasping the bottle of beer, he wandered over to find two people sitting by the pool table. In one corner, a small, smartly dressed man, in a striped suit and blue tie, with mousy blond hair neatly trimmed. He had black round rimmed spectacles. As he looked in his direction, the man smiled slightly, his eyes remained devoid of emotion. In the other corner sat a large ugly man. His face was covered in small scars, a nose that looked like it had been broken several times sat above a grimacing mouth filled with gold fillings. This man was dressed in denim, head to toe, but his left sleeve appeared to have been ripped away, displaying an arm that was decorated with a snake tattoo that wound around it from his shoulder, with the snakes head, complete with fangs, tattooed on the back of his hand.

The Inspector turned back to the suited man and sat next to him.

The man smiled again and leaned towards him. “Can I help you?” he whispered.

This had to be who he was sent to speak to. “I understand you can tell me about the recent murders in Market Street. Was it the Armstrong gang?”

The man jumped up and practically ran out of the bar.

Suddenly, he felt a tap on his shoulder. The ugly brute of a man was sitting close enough for him to smell his after shave and his foul breath.

“Why did you speak to him for? He’s the man I was going to tell you about. He’s probably gone to tell his boss you’re here now. You had better follow me, if you value your life, quick, out the back way.”

 

I have included the following word prompts:

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/04/21/ugly/

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/04/21/rdp-sunday-snake/

https://lightmotifs.wordpress.com/2019/04/20/three-things-challenge-pl66/

Today’s prompt: campus, pipe, haze

 

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2020/05/18/quick/

 

 

The Ballad of Ted and Flo – A Raunchier Genre Challenge

broken heart love sad
Photo by burak kostak on Pexels.com

This poem was written for the Genre Challenge:

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/genre-writing-challenge-april-5/

Today’s genre and image:

Spicy: a romance in which married characters work to resolve their problems.

 

I have also included the following Word Prompts:

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/collar/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/your-daily-word-prompt-plenty-april-5-2019/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/your-daily-word-prompt-flurry-april-4-2019/

FOWC with Fandango — Condone

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/rdp-friday-laundry/

 

The Ballad of Ted and Flo

Florence and Ted

Were happily wed

But something had gone off the boil

So, one day they decided

And to me, confided

to start rubbing each other in oil.

 

Now I don’t usually condone,

This new raunchier tone,

But there’s a lesson to be learned in all this.

For while there is fun and surprises

In wearing disguises

It doesn’t always end in connubial bliss.

 

Flo told me then

It had all gone wrong when

Ted had suggested they try some role-play

She played a laundress

But it caused much distress

Doing nothing but laundry day after day.

 

Then apparently Ted

Suggestively said

That Flo fitted him with a tight collar

This caused a flurry

And Flo had to hurry

When Ted turned bright red and started to Holler.

 

Now there’s plenty to be said

For trying fun in bed,

But be sure you choose the right way

For Ted and poor Flo

This just wasn’t so

And Flo moved in with me yesterday.

 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 05/April/2019

 

I hope you enjoyed this light-hearted poem. 🙂

Genre Challenge – To Whistle and Blow

This story was written for The Haunted Wordsmith’s Genre Challenge:

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2019/05/16/prompt-may-16/

Prompt A (genre challenge): hard-boiled mystery

Prompt B (sentence starter): “I told you not to spoil.”

Prompt C (photo)

 

He sat in his office puffing on his third cigarette and looking out of the window.

The grimy alleyway below hadn’t changed in all the years he’d been there. He’d lost track of the number of dead bodies found hunched behind the trash cans down there. Taunting him in a way. He was a private detective after all, but he didn’t work for free. Let the police hunt around for the killers of those poor tramps and vagabonds, not him.

He saw her get out of the taxi and pay the driver. As he waited for her to climb the stairs up to the office he reached out and poured himself a scotch on the rocks.

She didn’t knock. After all, this was as much her patch as it was his, although she had left seeking fame and fortune and had been gone for years. She stood there, just like she used to, one hand on her right hip and her long hair hanging over her left eye. She’d gotten older, sure, but she was still gorgeous.

“I told you not to spoil,” he said, in his sandpaper voice.

“Have you looked in a mirror lately?” she responded whip-crack fast.

They just stared at each other for what seemed like an age. Then he said the thing that he’d promised himself not to ask. “What made you come back?”

“I heard your whistle, Steve, and like a good girl, I came.”

Just like that, the spell was broken. He leaned back and smiled, the light from the torch glistened off his gold filling.

“Just in time too. I’ve just got a new commission. There’s a new kingpin in town and he wants us to find out who killed his best informant. Ready for a trip to the docks?”

“You always take me to the nicest places, Steve. OK, let’s blow.”

 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 16/May/2019

 

I have also included the following word prompts:

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/05/16/vagabond/

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/05/16/rdp-thursday-fame/

A list of regrets – A poem

 

This poem was written for The Haunted Wordsmith’s Genre Challenge,

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/genre-writing-challenge-april-24/

Today’s challenge was to write a list poem.

I have also included the following word prompts:

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/delayed/

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/rdp-wednesday-book/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/your-daily-word-prompt-renew-april-24-2019/

FOWC with Fandango — Extra

 

A List of Regrets

I picked up the book you kept by your bed

I turned to the page, the last that you’d read,

I saw that you’d written a word on that page

I wish I’d not let the sun set on our rage.

The word that you’d written, next to the crease,

Was something you longed for, the simple word ‘Peace’.

Now I gather together the last of your things,

The book by the bed, your watch and some rings.

I realise with regret and remorse, I delayed,

Signing the treaty of peace that you’d made.

I wish I could call extra time on the past

And renew the love between us we thought that would last.

Now I sit here and list all the things in my head

Things that I’ll remember now that you’re dead.

 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 24/April/2019

Genre Challenge – Penitent Hostage.

This story was written for the Genre Challenge: Romantic Thriller

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/genre-writing-challenge-april-3/

 

Rosalie stepped out of the shower and wrapped herself up in a soft towel.

Something instinctively told her that she was not alone in the flat.

The hairs on the back of her neck started to rise.

She should be alone. Her husband was at work and she had the flat to herself for a few hours. That was why she decided to have a nice long shower. There was something about letting the water drench you, that usually calmed and relaxed her. She had been very tense of late.

She just finished drying herself off and put on a loose tracksuit when her instincts told her to move away from the door just as it burst open and two men wearing black from head to toe stormed in.

She screamed but one of the men forced a leather-clad hand over her mouth. She kicked out, hitting the other man in the neck with her foot. Then she felt something heavy hit her on the head and then nothing but darkness.

When she regained consciousness, her head was still sore, and waves of nausea nearly caused her to regurgitate her breakfast.

Her hand and feet were bound together tightly and a gag was tied over her mouth. She lay on the floor of a dimly lit cell.

She started going over things in her head, reciting poetry that she’d learned at school, reciting Shakespeare plays. This was part of her training to keep her mind active in situations like these.

Just as she finished re-enacting Julius Caesar and was about to start The Merchant of Venice, the door to her cell opened and two more black-clad louts came in, possibly the same ones.

They roughly picked her up and carried her out of the room.

She let her head and body go limp but carefully tried to catch a glimpse of something that would give her a clue to where she was. The corridor was long with a handful of empty cells leading off it. Only dim electric lights provided any illumination.

At the end of the corridor, they climbed up several flights of steps, then emerged into a large room, with white walls and smooth floors.

She lost track of the turns they then took, down several corridors, three rights, then a left, followed by several more stairs.

Finally, they dumped her body into a chair, removed her gag and left her.

Then a bright light shone in her face, blinding her.

From beyond this light, a voice came, rough but with a certain sarcastic tone to it.

“You are Mrs Maxwell, I take it? Wife of Jonathan Maxwell the Spy?”

She said nothing.

“Your husband has been giving us quite a bit of trouble recently, Mrs Maxwell. Preventing our shipments going through. I am hoping that you will provide the leverage to get him to stop. It is imperative that our operations continue. I have prepared a ransom note, and to add that touch of authenticity, I’d like you to sign it yourself.”

“What if I don’t?” her voice did not betray any of the fear that she felt inside. She was proud of that.

The voice laughed, “Oh, Mrs Maxwell, you don’t want us to get nasty, believe me. If you cooperate, there is no reason why you cannot survive this and in time be reunited with your husband.”

Suddenly the door burst off its hinges and several armed men ran in, wearing SAS uniforms. A man dressed all in black, his head obscured by a balaclava sauntered in and walked up to two SAS soldiers who were holding a smartly dressed man, dripping in gold.

The man in black then punched her former interrogator in the stomach and he doubled over grunting.

“Take him away,” he said, pulling off his balaclava.

She glared at him and said “I can’t articulate how mad I am with you at this moment! What kept you?”

He laughed “I’m sorry, Darling, I couldn’t act as quickly as I wanted to, my contacts at the SAS took a while to pull strings. I hope they didn’t hurt you. I assure you I am most penitent. How can I make it up to you?”

He untied her bound feet and arms then pulled her into his arms.

“Oh, I suppose a trip to the Bahamas might just do the trick,” she said as they kissed passionately.

“I have to admit, that was an excellent plan, you made the perfect bait, my darling”.

 

The End.

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 03/April/2019

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/rdp-wednesday-articulate/

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/penitent/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/your-daily-word-prompt-drench-april-3-2019/

FOWC with Fandango — Contacts

 

Genre Challenge – A lonely existence.

This story was written for The Haunted Wordsmith’s Genre Challenge:

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2019/04/02/genre-writing-challenge-april-2/

Today’s genre is VAMPIRE.

 

People thought that living alone in a drafty castle was just an idiosyncrasy, as was wearing velvet robes with flowing white linen shirts.

They thought he modelled his appearance on the portraits of his ancestors that littered the dusty walls.

The upshot of his weird behaviour was that practically nobody disturbed him. In the past that would have caused him great distress, as he would have no victims on which to feed. Nowadays that was no problem, he could order what he required online and it was delivered fresh. AB negative was his favourite flavour, slightly sweeter and less metallic tasting than other types. He avoided O Positive unless he was desperate, it just tasted inferior and often gave him terrible reflux.

The fact that he was a Vampire just didn’t enter into people’s minds, not with any stretch of their imagination. These things were just not believed anymore. He had Hollywood to thank for that. They had all been exposed to such drivel from the movies, which at first had filled him with absolute dread that people would suddenly realise what he was. Instead, it made them less suspicious.

They didn’t believe that most of these family portraits were actually of him, in times gone by when he had bothered to keep up with the latest fashion trends. He didn’t miss the wigs at all. He just combed his sleek black hair back into a ponytail nowadays.

As he sat at the dinner table, surrounded by silverware that glinted in the candlelight, he smiled as he took a sip from his goblet.

To tell the absolute truth, he was rather lonely. He contemplated shutting up the castle and going on holiday somewhere. His uncle had had a wonderful time in Whitby, in England, a couple of centuries before, he raved about the place, until they’d managed to put that steak through his heart.

He put that thought out of his mind again. Even he had nobody to talk to, there was an upside. He was never visited by the taxman or any religious nuts.

He stood up from the table and strode from the room, his deep red velvet robes billowing behind him. Then he flopped into his leather armchair by the fire and turned on his television. He never liked to miss an episode of The Waltons.

 

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/04/02/upside/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/04/02/your-daily-word-prompt-absolute-april-2-2019/

FOWC with Fandango — Idiosyncrasy

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/04/02/rdp-tuesday-stretch/

 

A Foolish Murder Mystery – A Poem written for the Genre Challenge.

 

This poem was written for the Haunted Wordsmith’s Genre Challenge.

Todays Genre is: Locked Room — a mystery in which the crime is apparently committed under impossible circumstances (but eventually elicits a rational explanation).

I have also included the following Word Prompts:

https://lightmotifs.wordpress.com/2019/03/31/three-things-challenge-pl46/

Today’s prompt: gizmo, champion, parrot

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/down/

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/rdp-monday-fool/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/your-daily-word-prompt-fool-april-1-2019/

FOWC with Fandango — Fool

Which was made easier because three chose the same word: FOOL.

 

A Foolish Murder Mystery

 

The room was locked

That was for sure,

and so, I charged

and broke down the door.

The body lay

Against the fender,

The wound was bloody,

Red and tender.

Who could have killed

This dear old man?

He was all alone

And so, I began

To search for clues

To find the truth,

I became a champion,

I became the sleuth.

I searched around

Both high and low

And then I found

A strange gizmo.

I picked it up

Then heard a squawk

I saw a Parrot

That began to talk.

“Who’s a fool? You’re a fool!

It clearly said

Then I saw the blood

From the old man’s head.

My fingerprints

Were now upon

The object that was

The murder weapon.

I realised late

Why the Parrot exclaimed.

I was a fool

And I’d been framed.

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 01/April/2019

scarlet macaw
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

Slaying the Dragon – A Haiku

Sometimes the Dragon

You have to slay, is your own

lack of self esteem.

 

This Haiku was written for The Haunted Wordsmith’s Genre Challenge:

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2019/03/31/genre-writing-challenge-28/

and also includes Shery’s ‘Your Daily Word Prompt’: Dragon

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/03/31/your-daily-word-prompt-dragon-march-31-2019/

Letters from India – A multiple word prompt story.

brown ganesha figurine
Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

 

This story was written for Teresa, The Haunted Wordsmith’s Genre Challenge:

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2019/03/28/genre-writing-challenge-25/

Today’s Genre is Epistolary Fiction
(stories constructed as a series of letters exchanged between characters)

I have also included the following word prompts:

Word of the Day: Mea Culpa

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/03/28/mea-culpa/#like-1164

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Weasel

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/03/28/rdp-thursday-weasel/

Your Daily Word Prompt: Talisman

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/03/28/your-daily-word-prompt-talisman-march-28-2019/

FOWC with Fandango: Amicable

FOWC with Fandango — Amicable

Three Things Challenge: salon, mystery, elephant

https://lightmotifs.wordpress.com/2019/03/27/three-things-challenge-pl42/

 

Letters from India

It was several months after they had parted that she received his first letter.

She had been annoyed at his sudden departure. They had been engaged to be married and yet he had developed a sudden passion to travel and see the world. Outwardly, it had been an amicable parting, but inside she still seethed with feelings of rejection.

She lounged on the silk tasselled settee in her salon and gazed at the photograph of her ex-fiancé.

Arthur was dressed smartly in a dark suit, looking every bit the Victorian gentleman. Under his nose, he sported a large bushy moustache that he was most proud of. She thought it looked like a stuffed weasel. Despite that, he was from noble stock, his father was a Baronet and his uncle was Bishop of Leeds. A good match for the youngest daughter of a silk merchant. Her family had money, but they lacked social status and a marriage to the son of a Baronet was just what they needed. She did rather like him, despite the weasely moustache. Until, of course, he became gripped with his insatiable desire to visit India.

Queen Victoria had just been crowned Empress of India and this had sparked an explosion of interest in all things Indian. To her, India was just where her father imported his silks from, but to many people, it had become an exotic land of adventure.

The letter began rather formally, as was fit and proper.

“My Dear Miss Florence,

I hope this letter finds you well and recovered from our last little contretemps. I know you did not understand my compulsion to visit India, but I hope you will forgive my mea culpa. This land is indeed a land of colour and vibrancy. The smells and odours that assault the nostrils in every street are totally different from anything you could experience in England.

I have now made it as far as Bombay, which is a bustling city but almost every other face you see in the street is an English one. I want to see the real India, not this rather Anglified version.

I have been speaking to several people who have promised to take me to see some authentic Indian culture. They are going to hire a caravan that will be travelling to some of the more remote villages.

The caravan is made up of Elephants! I can’t wait to have my first ride on an Elephant.

I keep your handkerchief, the one you hand embroidered for me with my initials, next to my heart. It is my talisman. With it, I have no fear. I know that I will one day return to you.

I hope that when I do, you will have forgiven me for leaving and consent again to become my wife.

With Sincere Regards

Arthur Worthington. “

 

He had given his address as the Bombay Star Hotel and so she decided to write back. Looking at the date of his letter, it had taken three weeks to reach her. “So much for modern Victorian efficiency!” She thought to herself.

Picking up her pen she began to write.

 

“My Dear Arthur,

Why, I was very surprised to have received your letter and the words of affection that you had expressed in it. I had been given to understand that you were not happy at the prospect of marrying me and as such wanted to get as far away from me as possible.

It is with that understanding in mind that I have begun seeing Freddy Armitage, who, I am sure you remember is a man of the most steady and reliable nature.

However, if you should decide to return before I have entered into any firm relationship with Freddy, I will, of course, consider your proposal.

I would not be at all disappointed to hear again from you. It is interesting to hear of your adventures and I would very much like to know that you have gotten your fascination of that country out of your system and have decided to return home.

Yours Sincerely,

Miss Florence Clegg”

 

She walked to the post box and posted her letter. Coincidentally, Freddy Armitage walked past and nodded to her. He had just begun walking out with her Sister Isabel. She blushed to think of the liberties she had taken with his name, in her letter. She hoped her sister would never find out.

Nearly two months passed before she heard anything more. The house was in a great upheaval planning for Isabel and Freddy’s wedding in the front Parlour in a fortnight’s time.

 

She took the bulky letter from the tray in the hall and ran upstairs to her salon to read it.

She did not recognise the writing on the envelope.

 

She began to read.

“Dear Miss Florence Clegg.

 

I hope you do not mind my taking this liberty of writing to you concerning a great mystery.

Our patrols recently found this handkerchief and a letter from you, both of which I have enclosed.

I would not distress you by describing in too much detail, the circumstances with which these items were discovered, but I regret to inform you that the bearer of these is now, deceased.

I would be grateful if you could let me know the details of his next of kin, to which I will in future write to spare you any further distress.

Yours Sincerely,

Captain George Pengelly-Jones.”

 

Grasping the handkerchief in her hands, it was only when she cried out his name, “Arthur” and began sobbing inconsolably that she realised that she had loved him very much.

The End

 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 28/March/2019