[Chippendale desk]

The desk was exquisite: a thing of beauty. It was one of the few things in the house that I coveted.
While so many other things were in a state of disrepair (the curtains, the Afghans), he kept the desk in the most mint of conditions.
I would have loved to have a rummage around in his drawers, but he never left it unattended. It was almost as if he was frightened it would run off if it looked around and realised where it was.

Posted in 2011-10-24 to 2011-11-13 - In The Details | Comments Off

[two samplers]

Both the Gothic and the Cursive Alphabets lack the “E”.

Emily has repeatedly apologised for this, but nonetheless she has been banned from any further embroidering by Madame.

 

Posted in 2011-10-24 to 2011-11-13 - In The Details | Comments Off

[three needlework pictures]

Fine works; Madame is acknowledged to have exceptional skill with the needle. They are for Emily’s dowry, Madame says: “The Sleepy Cat”; “Girls Playing”. “A Forest Encounter”.

Emily tries to be grateful, truly, but she finds the pictures disturbing. In her eyes, they are subtly subversive: the Cat, seemingly dozing in the sun, appears dead to her. And what is that… thing… the Girls are so merrily throwing?

The forest thing, hiding in the tree branches, comes to her in her dreams. It is not a pleasant Encounter.

Posted in 2011-10-24 to 2011-11-13 - In The Details | Comments Off

[photographs]

Conrad and Julia Cuttner – straight-laced and narrow-toothed, just like Auntie Anne.

Richard and Robert Phillis-Smythe – specially scrubbed for this photo, no doubt, gleaming with gleeful guilt. In the background, Louis the Cat, petrified as per usual.

Gwynneth Smythe – perfect, polished and marketable. Madame simply adores this photograph.

There are no pictures of Emily, of course.

Posted in 2011-10-24 to 2011-11-13 - In The Details | Comments Off

[Victorian sofa]

I chose to remain standing rather than sit on the sofa. It’s not so much the uncomfortableness of it, more that dark patch at one end. Who knows what it is, or how long it’s been there.
Are those claw marks in the wood? My goodness.

Posted in 2011-10-24 to 2011-11-13 - In The Details | Comments Off

[satin-wood tables]

Made of exquisuite inlaid wood and always polished to a mirror-sheen: my grand parents brought them back from India in the 30′s. My brother, before he left, once said they were the only thing in this dreary house that he wanted to inherit.

Posted in 2011-10-24 to 2011-11-13 - In The Details | Comments Off

[Dresden shepherds and shepherdesses]

They were somewhat cracked and crumbled, much like the host.
The two figures shared three hands between them and the legs of the bases were broken: they listed towards each other like drunkards on a street corner on a Saturday night.

Posted in 2011-10-24 to 2011-11-13 - In The Details | Comments Off

[two samplers]

“ABCDEFGHIJKL
MNOPQRSTUVW
XYZ
abcdefghijkl
mnopqrstuvw
xyz
Erica Roberts
July, 1956″

How… unimaginative.

Posted in 2011-10-24 to 2011-11-13 - In The Details | Comments Off

[Dresden shepherds and shepherdesses]

Time and again they would hide like naughty school girls behind the ruins of local block houses and listen to the cavorting of the young shepherds and their companions in the night. They always guessed there was more to “Red at night”…

Posted in 2011-10-24 to 2011-11-13 - In The Details | Comments Off

[drawing room]

Not so in the years that the family gatherings happened. For some reason this was always their haven from Uncle John’s military style discipline. It was their place to build tents, play with Oupa’s pipes and listen to scratchy LPs.

Posted in 2011-10-24 to 2011-11-13 - In The Details | 1 Comment

[Chippendale desk]

[Chippendale desk] It was my mother’s special writing desk – bought, years before, to write her novel from. At fourteen I first managed to pick the lock of the bottom drawer: there was no secret manuscript, just some old passports and a dusty Anias Nin novel.

Posted in 2011-10-24 to 2011-11-13 - In The Details | Comments Off

[photographs]

Seventeen. The number of photos he had of his niece and two nephews was now seventeen.
The first few that went up felt like he was just the proud uncle. After the tenth one found its place on the the wall it started to become a little odd.
Then he started making ever more elaborate frames for them: card; tissue paper; buttons; glitter.
I suppose that’s why he was always hanging around Mrs Williams’ haberdashery as a boy.

Posted in 2011-10-24 to 2011-11-13 - In The Details | Comments Off

[mantelpiece]

If I hadn’t had to sit through hours of his blathering about it before he had it installed, I would have sworn that the mantelpiece was made of lino. Bargain bin cast offs at that.
As it was, I knew that he’d paid through the nose to have it imported from Balochistan. The stone itself wasn’t cheap, but the bribes for the Customs officials to turn a blind eye to the boys he was smuggling in with the stone had nearly bankrupted him.
“Worth every penny,” he had leered at me over a glass of port one night.

Posted in 2011-10-24 to 2011-11-13 - In The Details | Comments Off

[drawing room]

Despite its fancy name it was a small, poorly lit room and rather uninviting. It had once been the entrance hall before the estate was subdivided and the majestic driveway destroyed.

Posted in 2011-10-24 to 2011-11-13 - In The Details | 2 Comments

[three needlework pictures]

His gran had tried her best to teach him the finer details; but somehow he had never mastered the accuracy required to turn needlework into an art form. These were his pride and joy, brimming with his love for the nostalgia of days gone by, though the eclectic colouring was a bit too modern for the themes of the triple ducks flying by. Nobody blamed him for this conceit, since there is always a danger of things going astray if you are colour blind.

Posted in 2011-10-24 to 2011-11-13 - In The Details | 2 Comments

[Dresden shepherds and shepherdesses]

They were a wedding gift from a forgotten relation, placed safely out of reach in the room from which we children were forbidden. In my earliest memories I broke a shepherd’s crook and mended it with desperate, childish clumsiness.  The inevitable punishment never came – in all the intervening years the damage was never noticed.

Mother always hated those pale, pastel statues: perhaps that’s why father insisted they always be displayed.

Posted in 2011-10-24 to 2011-11-13 - In The Details, Uncategorized | Comments Off

[drawing-room]

It had not always been a drawing-room, though a new visitor would never notice this. Madame had ensured the transformation was complete: even the elaborate fireplace and bay window had been torn out and made unrecognisable through the skilful efforts of Mr French and his apprentices. Only the sofa, a Victorian monstrosity without charm or comfort, remained untouched, a jarring reminder of that fateful night.

Posted in 2011-10-24 to 2011-11-13 - In The Details | 1 Comment

[framed water-colours]

The frames at least matched the elegance of the furniture: rich, smooth, wood; crisp lines.
The paintings themselves were a different story. The scenes depicted were easily recognisable as various views from the gardens because the house itself was so striking.
The technique left something to be desired, however. The flat washes were heavy-handed and the wet in wet looked more like accidents than artistic endeavour.

Posted in 2011-10-24 to 2011-11-13 - In The Details | Comments Off

Superhero Origin Stories

Shazam!
Every superhero needs a good origin story.
Fictioneers can either write themselves a brand new superhero or rewrite the origin story of an existing superhero.
The world is your (mutant) oyster!

p.s. the Gamma Rays coming from your computer screen attract radioactive spiders: check yourself for bites!


Time: 2 weeks
Words: 300

Posted in 2011-10-10 to 2011-10-23 - Wassup, Pitches?, 2011-12-05 to 2011-12-18, Pitches | 2 Comments

Time, Travelling

Darkening Clockwork by matthileo on Flickr

[Image Darkening Clockwork by matthileo on Flickr]

A man walks into a shop in Greenwich and buys the finest clock that he can afford on his modest salary.
It is a gift for his as yet unborn daughter.
Our stories follow the clock as it passes down the generations, being fixed, reboxed, remade.

Posted in 2011-10-10 to 2011-10-23 - Wassup, Pitches?, Pitches | Comments Off