Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 26

I tracked this week's photo prompt down to being taken by Niki Feijen, a male Dutch photographer. The Internet says it is an abandoned chateau in Belgium, but I can't confirm that, or, if it was, which chateau it was taken in. Such a shame.

As soon as I looked at this picture I saw these two characters sitting in the chairs, but what were they saying? And what was their story? So I wrote it to find out. What will you see?

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Country Pile

“It had strong foundations, don’t you think, Payton?”

“It did that, Roderick, it did that.”

The two men nodded as they surveyed their surroundings from their armchairs: the majestic arches rising to the ornate ceilings, the large dramatic windows overlooking the acres of once manicured gardens. They sat as kings in their own palace.

“If only we could have saved it from falling into the hands of the Sackville’s we might have had a chance.”

“Yes, they were conniving. Bronte - that’s where it all began.” Just saying her name Payton looked like he’d tasted something nasty.

Roderick sighed. “Yes. She knew how to entrap her victims. Those beguiling eyes. She entranced us. Had she not attended the Opening Ball when father had finished refurbishing the house, we might still be here.”

“Or at least our family line might be.”

“Yes. But she knew how to pit brothers against each other. It was clearly a dance she had been trained to lead.”

“Her father set her up to it; he admitted as much the night of our fight.” Payton gave an abashed glance at his brother.

Roderick’s eyes grew round. “Really? Now that is news to my ears.”

“Well yes, it would be, our fight was fatal for you. I’ve never forgiven myself.”

“Now, now, we were both enraged that night. She played us for fools.”

“Indeed. And mother never recovered from the scandal, and without her father couldn’t manage it all alone. The downfall began – both financially and socially.”

“Yes, but had you managed to sire just one child with her it would have been worth it.”

“Excuse me? How dare you!”

“Brother dear, we are long past recriminations, it’s just a fact.”

“But Roderick, what you miss is that she didn’t want to sire my children. Why do you think I am here?”

“I seem to miss your meaning ...?”

“She was in love with Mortimer all along. I was just a financial conquest for her to gain favour with him. Bronte was clever with chemicals and biology. She pretended grief at my death because she had been the cause.”

“Payton, dear brother, you mean she murdered you?”

“Yes. Mother might not have had strong genes, but father did. I’d never been sick a day in my life until I married her.”

“Did you know?”

“I had an inkling, but she made sure I didn’t have the strength to investigate further.”

“A sorry tale, brother.”

“It is indeed. And the house reflects it.” Payton waved what was left of their family estate.


  1. I don't get here as often as I should, but I managed to jot down a quick one for week 26. It's called Musical Chairs.

    1. Great story. I love the last line. Very poignant. Thankings for joining.

  2. I know. I know. I'm late. As usual. But, at least I wrote something. :)

    The Beginning

    1. I like the line "the machine nodded." Most wouldn't think to have a machine respond this way! Interesting!