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

Happy Families – Finale

On Sunday I wrote a short story about the discovery of a secret from the past. This was the story:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/07/15/a-multi-prompt-short-story-happy-families/

and this is part two:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/07/16/happy-families-part-two/

This is the final part:

 

I flicked through that infernal diary.

No, no mention of her wedding, but I stopped at another entry.

January 7th, 1918

Edgar and Theodore have enlisted. Emma and I both cried and begged them not to go. They looked so solemn. They had to go, they said. Foolish Pride! We had had such a lovely Christmas together, just the four of us and then they had to spoil it but joining the army. The war has been going on in Europe for some time, but America only joined in last year. I never knew why they did. What do we care about Europe?

Flick, flick.

November 15th, 1918

The war has ended. Finally, we have heard that Theodore and Edgar are coming home. They were both injured in battle and have been recovering at a Hospital in London but they should be home soon. Neither of them wrote about their injuries at all.

Emma and I have been getting on fine, keeping house together. We haven’t had an argument or a fight once.

This should be the best Thanksgiving ever.

 

November 22nd, 1918

Both Edgar and Theodore are different now. The war has made them withdrawn. I can understand why Edgar might have been affected by it, he’s lost and eye. Theodore doesn’t seem much damaged, he’s walking awkwardly but I couldn’t detect any other sign of injury at all.

 

Flick

February 14th, 1919

After months of pain down below I finally went to see Doctor Chinnery. He told me what I had begun to fear. My womb is deformed and I will never be able to have children. He told me it was probably something that happened to me as a child. I suddenly remembered when Emma had pushed me out of that tree house all those years ago. It was all her fault. She told me about Theodore’s war injury the other night too. Apparently, he had been shot, in the groin. So at least Emma won’t be having any children either, I don’t think I could bear that!

 

I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I had gotten over how nasty and resentful Great Aunt Sally was coming across. She had always seemed such a sweet old lady, always handing out sweets to me and my brothers. Clearly, she had been quite different inside. The thing that had caused me to pause and reread that particular entry was the bit about not being able to have children. If neither of them could have children then how could my Mother have been born?

I thumbed my way past pages, ever forward, hoping to find some answers. I wish I had stopped there and not read further but I did.

It seemed that they lived together, in this house and been quite happy together. Even Great Aunt Sally’s rantings seemed to die down a bit. I skimmed over snippets of parties and gatherings, Christmases and thanksgivings. Great Grandmother had moved in and eventually died. The passing of years played out in monologue until I stopped at an entry that made me pause.

April 17th 1935

I had noticed something odd about Emma that was causing me to wonder. Since Christmas she seemed to be gaining a little weight around the middle. It was odd because we ate the same things. Neither of us had much of a sweet tooth. I noticed she had a kind of glow about her too. I challenged her about it and she admitted the truth. All those years stripped away and we were children screaming and shouting at each other, just like in that tree house. She told me she always knew I hated her and she hated me too. She admitted choosing Theodore because I had told her I loved him. Then she admitted that she and Edgar had been enjoying each other’s company. She was pregnant with Edgar’s child. I nearly killed her then. Only one thing stopped me. The thought of that little baby, that sweet innocent child. I decided that I would keep her secret for now. For the baby’s sake.

 

Then the final entry.

 

August 19th, 1935

The baby was born. A beautiful baby girl, we’ll call her Alice. Emma had managed to convince Theodore that he was the father. As if he could be capable of it with his manhood all withered, but I suppose love will make you believe anything. Edgar knew, of course, but he was keeping himself well out of it. I moved out of our double bedroom to that room at the end of the landing. I couldn’t sleep with him any longer knowing what he’d done. What Emma had made him do. Now the baby had been born safe, I didn’t wait another minute before I went and told Theodore the truth. He hadn’t wanted to believe me at first. Then he looked at me with dead eyes. How much he had changed from that handsome, blue eyed young man he’d been. The War had started it, but I had just finished it. He was dead on the inside now. Edgar was out in the barn chopping logs, making himself scarce. Theodore stood up and walked out of the house. I saw him through the window, go into the barn. I heard the gunshot too.

I went back upstairs to Emma. She was still sleeping softly. She’d had a hard time of it, but I’d helped her through. She begged me that if anything should happen to her, if she died in childbirth, that I would bring up her little girl. Of course, I would. That was all part of the plan. It was easy in the end, so easy. She always kept that gold locket around her neck. A quick pull was all it took really.

It’s the end now. All that Love and Hate, all those years. We had hated each other but now I was free. I will bury her outside under that tree that Theodore planted not long after we all moved in. Theodore will help me. We’ll bury Edgar too. I’ll lock this book up in the box that my sister loved so much and I’ll put the key in the locket around her neck and bury it with her. No one will know, but just for myself, I had to explain, why I killed my Sister today. I hated her, that’s why.

 

I looked down at the book. I had never felt so chilled in all my life. The Summer’s heat, it was 100 Fahrenheit in the shade, failed to dispel the sudden cold. I shivered uncontrollably.

I remember Grandfather had been a quiet man who barely spoke. He’d died when I was six or seven. My Mother had met and married my Daddy at college and he’d moved in to the family homestead and had me and my brothers. I remember it had been a happy home then, happy families. Mother and Father, Father’s brother, Uncle Peter and his wife Auntie Annie and their sons, my cousins, Bobby and Elwood. My brothers Denny and Will, and of course Great Aunt Sally. She seemed to love all the children running around. How could a woman who had shown them so much love have had such potential for hate?  They’d all gone; moved away or passed over. Looking back, that game of happy families seemed so shallow and empty now.

Coming back suddenly to the present, I decided that it was best that this secret died. I didn’t want my brothers reading it, or their children.

I worked with a single-minded purpose that I’d always had. I didn’t have trouble finding wood to burn, or kindling. The dry summer had provided plenty. I built a huge pile of logs over that body and I didn’t let myself think about who it was anymore. I took out a match and lit the pile. It caught straight away, the fire raging through that tinder dry kindling. I then threw the leather-bound diary into the heart of the flames. It seemed to act like a solvent, making the fire explode. Sparks flew up and landed on the timber roof tiles of our family house. Within seconds the house was on fire.

For just a moment I stood there open-mouthed as the flames licked along the roof and down the clapperboard facias. I thought I caught a glimpse of an old lady at the upstairs window, peering out through the lace curtains. Could it be Great-Aunt Sally?

Then I came back to reality. My Mother was in the house. The house was on fire. Quickly I ran into the house and up the stairs. My Mother was still on her bed at the other end of the house. She coughed then and started to stir slightly as I picked her up. She was so frail that I didn’t have much difficulty in holding her up and moving her towards the stairs. The smoke was building up now. I grabbed my handkerchief and put it over my mouth and managed to half-drag my mother down the stairs and out of the front door.

We both lay on the dry grass and watched as the family house burned. I hoped to God that the past would burn with it.

The End.

 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 17/July/2018

Word of the Day: Potential

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/07/17/potential/

FOWC with Fandango — Present

A Multi Prompt Short Story – Happy Families.

This story was written in response to the following word prompts.

Word of the Day: Woebegone

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/07/15/woebegone/

Shery’s One Daily Prompt: Scorn

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/07/15/your-daily-word-prompt-scorn-july-15th-2018/

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/07/15/three-things-challenge-15-july-2018/

Today’s things are: great-aunt, ant, plant

Happy Families

It had been a while since I’d been to the family homestead. It was a rambling clapperboard house that at one time housed two extended families. Now only Mother lived there all alone. Walking up the pathway I passed plant after plant that was withering and dying in that long hot summer. It had been months since we’d had any rain.

The door creaked just like it always did as I pulled it open and walked into the relative coolness of the dark hallway. It smelt of wood and beeswax. All the wooden furniture was polished to a high shine. I felt a bite on my ankle. Looking down I saw a solitary ant climbing my bare leg, which I promptly squashed beneath my fingertips. The long hot dry summer had brought out a lot of ants lately. God, how I’ve prayed for rain.

“Mama, where are you? It’s me Laura” I called out, my voice echoing around the practically empty dwelling.

“Laura, is that you? I’m upstairs dear, In Aunty’s room.”

There were a lot of bedrooms upstairs that were practically untouched, except for dusting, since the previous occupants had departed. Her Great-Aunt Sally had lived in the bedroom at the very end of the landing and for the last few years of her life had rarely left it. It was still full of all her knickknacks and memorabilia.

I walked in to find my Mother sitting on the bed crying. I sat next to her and put my arm around her.

“There, there Mama. Great Aunt Sally’s been dead twenty years, why are you carrying on so?”

“No, it’s not that. There was a storm last night and it blew over that old tree, the one that your Grandfather planted not long after he bought this place.”

I still couldn’t understand why she sounded so woebegone. All this fuss about a tree. I couldn’t help feeling some scorn. It was a lovely tree, but It was only seventy years or so old, not really that old as trees went. I gave Mama another hug, but she pushed me away.

“You don’t understand. There was a body buried there, under that tree. The storm brought it to the surface. It was wrapped in a tarpaulin, but it was unrecognisable. There was a locket with it and in it was this key.”

I looked down at the small, ornate brass key in my Mothers frail old hand.

“What was the key for? It’s too small to be for a door.”

“It was the key to this box. No one could open it when she died but we didn’t think there was anything important in it. Not enough to force it open.”

I remembered the beautiful small box, inlaid with scented sandalwood, that now lay on the floor, open.

Also, on the floor, lying as if it had just fallen from my Mothers hand, was a small leather-bound book. The kind used for keeping a diary or perhaps notes and recipes in.

I reached down and picked up the book. I recognised the highly ornate handwriting from birthday cards I had received as a young child. It was Great Aunt Sally’s writing.

She had written. ‘Why I killed my Sister today.’

The End.

 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 15/July/2018

A New Partnership – A story with some familiar faces.

A while ago I wrote my own Agatha Christie themed Murder Mystery, See here:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/04/27/death-of-a-notable-a-murder-mystery/

I wanted to revisit a few of the Characters in that story, but about twenty years later, so I wrote this story here:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/06/13/introducing-a-lady-short-story/

This is a continuation of it.

A New Partnership

Audrey Patterson was sitting in her favourite easy chair re-reading her favourite book by Agatha Christie, ‘A Murder is Announced’. She was just getting to a really good bit, when the doorbell rang. Tutting to herself, she tried to get back into the book. 

Times had improved for Audrey in the last twenty years. She still lived in the same house in Chelsea, a rambling Victorian town house, but twenty years ago finances couldn’t stretch as far as having any servants. Now she had a marvellous cook in the form of Mrs Buscombe and a maid in the less efficient form of Elsie. Her husband had wanted them to have a Butler too, but she detested Butlers. She always felt they looked down their noses at her in a rather snobbish superior way. Also, in reading a lot of classic crime fiction, the Butler was always a suspicious character. Although in Mrs Christie’s works she refrained from that particular cliché. Anyway, it was Elsie’s job to answer to doorbell, leaving Audrey to enjoy her book.

The doorbell rang out again. 

Continue reading A New Partnership – A story with some familiar faces.

My Music – A journey into the past.

Many of you will know that I am very old-fashioned and that is no more true than in my taste in music.

I love music, I passionately believe that it has such a valuable influence over our body and health and nothing can change a mood better than music.

However, if you mentioned to me a Music artist that has only been around in the last 10 years, chances are I wouldn’t have heard of him/her/them.

I can count on one hand the number of current songs I have heard on the radio that I have liked. The most recent one I can recall Is Pharrell Williams song ‘HAPPY’ I liked that.

I’ve just looked that up, and the most contemporary song I could think of was a hit in 2014, so already 4 years old.

I do own an I-pod, it is one of those smaller ones, a Nano. It is the same colour as my friends teenage daughter and we always used to joke about the shock she’d have if she picked up mine by mistake. Although despite all the rubbish she likes, she still loves Elvis, so Kudos there.

I thought I would share with you my ten most played popular music tracks (I’ve cut out the Classical stuff).

In reverse order:

At Number 10, we have:

Unforgettable by Nat King Cole

 

Number 9:

9 to 5 by Dolly Parton

 

Number 8:

Feeling Good by Nina Simone

 

Number 7:

Dream a little dream of me by Mama Cass Elliot

 

Number 6:

Annie’s Song by John Denver

 

Number 5:

Your Song by Elton John

 

Number 4:

Let your Love Flow by The Bellamy Brothers

 

Number 3:

Crazy by Patsy Cline

 

And in Second place,

we have

We’ve only just begun by the Carpenters.

 

And Finally,

 

In first place,

 

the most listened to Pop track on my I-pod is:

 

True Love Ways by Buddy Holly

 

 

So, I told you I was old fashioned. I wonder what else these songs say about me………?

Well I hope you like this post.

Let me know which of these you liked, which Golden oldies you like that weren’t on my list.

Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below.

🙂

 

My Aunt Irene – A list poem

This is a poem that I wrote as part of an exercise for my Creative Writing class.

The exercise was you had to imagine going down someones bag and picking out some objects you found in there. From those object, you then use them to build up a character.

I started listing certain things that I could imagine being in an elderly lady’s handbag.

I then found that my brain was making them rhyme, without any conscious decision to write a rhyme.

This is the poem. I hope you like it.

 

A bright lipstick of coral pink.

Powder compact, Chanel, I think.

 handkerchief; ostentatious lace.

A photograph of a man’s dark face.

Some metal buttons, tarnished brass.

A small round brooch of emerald glass.

Enamelled box, containing pills,

To alleviate my Auntie’s ills.

Something sweet, to make her feel better.

An envelope labelled “His Last Letter”.

My Aunt’s gone now, I miss her so,

together at last, with Uncle Joe.

 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 18/June/2018

 

FOWC with Fandango — Ostentatious

A few of my favourite films (movies if you prefer).

The Haunted Wordsmith has posted her a list of movies that she loves, see her post below:

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/06/06/movies-i-dont-want-to-live-without/

I thought I would share with you all a few of my favourites…Prepare for a trip down memory lane, because I like OLD FILMS 😉

In no particular order:

Gone with the Wind (1939)

Image result for scarlett o hara free picture

All about Eve (1950)

The Slipper and the Rose (1976)

Image result for Slipper and the rose free picture

The Amazing Mr. Blunden (1972)

The Princess Bride (1987)

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)

Death on the Nile (1978)

Murder on the Orient Express (The version with Albert Finney and Lauren Bacall in it) (1974)

Scrooge (the Alastair Sim version made in 1951)

Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)

Show Boat (two films versions, one in 1936 and another in 1951, both favourites)

Image result for Show Boat free picture

Image result for Show Boat free picture

Singing in the Rain (1952)

Paddington (2014)

Image result for Paddington free picture

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

There’s something about Mary (1998)

Image result for There;s something about mary free picture

 

That’s probably enough to be getting on with. Only four of these were made AFTER I was born. Can you guess which ones?

Any on here that you love too? Let me know.

🙂

 

3 Quotes, 3 Days Challenge (Song Lyric Style) – DAY THREE

The lovely and brilliant Ang4him has nominated me for this interesting challenge.

https://journeytoimperfectionblog.wordpress.com/author/ang4him/

Please visit their blog:

https://journeytoimperfectionblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/25/3-quotes-3-day-challenge-song-lyric-style-day-1/

the RULES:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Post 1 quote (song lyric) each day for 3 days
  3. Nominate 3 people

 

People who regularly visit my blog may have picked up on something about me…I am old fashioned and as such my music tastes are pretty 20th century, in fact I don’t think I have much music post 1990 on my i-Pod (but I’m not that bad really, I do have an I-pod).

So my old fashioned inspiring music quote of today is this one:

The original song “Spread a little happiness” Was written back in 1929 (told you I was old fashioned) but this version by Sting was a hit in the UK in 1982, when I was a wee nipper (5 Years Old). I remember it and I’ve always loved it. The Lyrics are below:

“I’ve got a creed for every need
So easy that it must succeed
I’ll set it down for you to read
So please, take heed
Keep out the gloom
Let in the sun
That’s my advice for everyone
It’s only once we pass this way
So day by day

Even when the darkest clouds are in the sky
You mustn’t sigh and you mustn’t cry
Spread a little happiness as you go by
Please try

What’s the use of worrying and feeling blue?
When days are long keep on smiling through
Spread a little happiness till dreams come true

Surely you’ll be wise to make the best of every blues day
Don’t you realise you’ll find next monday or next Tuesday
Your golden shoes day

Even when the darkest clouds are in the sky
You mustn’t sigh and you mustn’t cry
Spread a little happiness as you go by”

How’s that for inspiring lyrics? I try to live by them….Some days it is easier than others.

My Nominees are:

https://curioushart.wordpress.com/2018/05/25/quote-challenge-archaic/

Blogging Changes

You Make Me Simile

As I always say, do not feel any pressure to take part if you don’t want to, I just wanted to let you know I appreciate your blogs and the effort you go to. If you want to take part but not right away, then just save it up for when you have time.

I hope you all enjoyed my crazy old fashioned music choices and inspirational lyrics.

All the best

🙂

3 Quotes, 3 Days Challenge (Song Lyric Style) – DAY ONE

The lovely and brilliant Ang4him has nominated me for this interesting challenge.

https://journeytoimperfectionblog.wordpress.com/author/ang4him/

Please visit their blog:

https://journeytoimperfectionblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/25/3-quotes-3-day-challenge-song-lyric-style-day-1/

the RULES:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Post 1 quote (song lyric) each day for 3 days
  3. Nominate 3 people

 

People who regularly visit my blog may have picked up on something about me…I am old fashioned and as such my music tastes are pretty 20th century, in fact I don’t think I have much music post 1990 on my i-Pod (but I’m not that bad really, I do have an I-pod).

So my old fashioned inspiring music quote of today is this one:

 

“In every life we have some trouble,

When you worry you make it double.

Don’t Worry. Be Happy.”

 

My Nominees are:

https://bitchininthekitchen.org/

Attention: Community Pool

To the Daily Post Community: Thank You!

But you don’t have to do it right away if you’ve had one recently. Save it for when you feel like it.

Death of a Notable – Murder Mystery. AN EPILOGUE.

EPILOGUE

Mrs Audrey Patterson reclined deep in thought in her simply furnished living room. The dark solid parquet floor was covered with a Persian rug in colours of blue and green. The large padded sofa was upholstered in a dark green material, that matched the velvet curtains on the bay window that was letting in the light of the afternoon sun. It was her favourite place to come and read a book or have a good think. A well-worn copy of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express lay abandoned for the time being on the sofa next to her as she stretched out. Curled up beside her was her black and white tomcat, Sherlock. Audrey Patterson was gently stroking her cat and looking off into the far-off distance. Anyone who knew her would know her to be loquacious in the extreme. She only stopped talking during those rare moments when she was sleeping, eating or thinking. She kept going over and over in her head about the events that had happened the week before. The death of that young scientist, Dr Lancaster, still loomed largely in her mind. Of course, she had been spoken to by those rather intimidating young men. They had always been polite, but they still had an air of menace about them and the way they managed to force their way into the house still made her shiver. They had used all of those nice phrases, ‘a patriotic love of one’s own country’ and ‘a sense of national pride at carrying out an important duty’. It had all boiled down to one thing. She was to keep her mouth shut, or else. They had suggested that her husbands career as a top scientist working for the government, would be in jeopardy if she didn’t agree to their proposal. He had worked so hard to attain his current position, and to provide this lovely house and lifestyle, she couldn’t put that in danger. She loved him too much to bring him any harm. So, she had agreed. She wasn’t at all happy about it though. Justice mattered to her too much to be put so easily aside. The more she thought about it, the more she thought that ‘His Majesty’s secret service’ had missed something. Something vitally important.

Continue reading Death of a Notable – Murder Mystery. AN EPILOGUE.