No Creepy Gargoyles- Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge asks us to write a piece of fiction from the photo prompt provided in around 100- 150 words – give or take 25 words. It encourages participants to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the link in the title of PJ’s, blog: Beautiful Words to see what to do. The challenge runs from Wednesday to Wednesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, kindly provided by Priceless Joy . . .

wpid-photo-20150524135809869

For this story, I’ve resurrected a couple of North of England-type characters from a piece I wrote a while ago for Monday’s Finish the Story entitled, Wine and Women. Harry has now happily returned from his little trip in the spacecraft.

So here is this week’s story . . .

Fred stood beside his best mate, squinting up at the new church atop the hill on the edge of town, trying to decide whether he liked it or not.

‘What d’yer make of this new church then, Harry? It’s a bit different, in’it?’

Harry nodded. ‘I s’pose it’s different t’ old one in town centre. But it’s kinda neat and clean-looking.’

‘But it ha’n’t got a steeple… or a tower! Churches are s’posed to have ’em, to reach up t’Heaven or summat. There’s none of them ugly things round the top, either.’

‘Why the heck would you want gargoyles?’

‘Fred shrugged. ‘Give me the creeps, they do …but it don’t look like a church without them.’

‘Course it does, yer moron! It’s got a bell, han’t it… and a Cross on top? And arched windows and –’

‘Not stained-glass ones, though.’

Harry sighed and tried one last tactic. ‘I heard the new vicar’s a woman … quite dishy, un’ all!’

Fred’s face lit up. ‘Fancy coming t’ Sunday Service wi’ us next week…?’

Word Count: 175

*

If you’d like to view other entries, click the little blue frog:

 

For anyone interested, I’ve put together a short piece about gargoyles and what they actually were, mostly from Wikipedia:

In architecture, a gorgoyle is a carved grotesque (an ugly or comically distorted figure or image) with a spout designed to convey water from the roof away from the sides of the building. A trough is cut into the back of the gargoyle and rainwater exits through the open mouth.  The length of the gargoyle determines how far water is thrown from the wall.

Canaleta (8381247424)

By Juanedc from Zaragoza, España (Canaleta Uploaded by juanedc). Wikimedia Commons

We often think of gargoyles as being medieval, but they have been used throughout history as a means of water diversion when not conveyed in gutters:

First century, Hellenistic gargoyle representing a comical cook slave from Al Khanoum, Afghanistsan. Guimet Museum. Personal photograph 2006. Commons

First century, Hellenistic gargoyle representing a comical cook slave from Al Khanoum, Afghanistsan. Guimet Museum. Personal photograph 2006. Commons

Gargoyles were viewed in two ways by the Church throughout history:

1. To convey the concept of evil – especially useful in sending a stark message to the common people, most of whom were illiterate.

2. They were also said to scare evil spirits away from the church, thus assuring the congregation that evil was kept outside the church walls.

Here are a few more images of gargoyles:

Gargoyle in form of a lion Cathedral Saint-Etienne de Meaux. Author: Vassil. Wikimedia Commons

Gargoyle in form of a lion Cathedral Saint-Etienne de Meaux. Author: Vassil.
Wikimedia Commons

Paisley Abbey Gargoyle. Author: Colin. Wikimedia Commons

Paisley Abbey Gargoyle. Author: Colin. Wikimedia Commons

Gargoyle representing a comical demon at the base of a pinnacle with two smaller gargoyles, Visby, Sweden. Author: Alexandru Baboş  Albabo . Commons

Gargoyle representing a comical demon at the base of a pinnacle with two smaller gargoyles, Visby, Sweden. Author: Alexandru Baboş
Albabo . Commons

Another form of grotesque is the chimera. These were similarly distorted faces and figures to the gargoyles, but without the water spout and used mostly as decoration. Here are a couple from the little village church a hundred yards from my house. They were taken by my daughter, Louise (afairymind) for one of her posts a while ago:

Sleeping chimera. Copyright Louise Bunting

Sleeping chimera.
Copyright Louise Bunting

Awake chimera. Copyright Louise Bunting

Chimera awake. Copyright Louise Bunting

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About milliethom

I am a reader and writer of historical fiction with a keen interest in the Earth's history and all it involves, both physically and socially. I like nothing better than to be outdoors, especially in faraway places, and baking is something I do when my eyes need respite from my computer screen.
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56 Responses to No Creepy Gargoyles- Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

  1. Sonya says:

    Excellent! I remember Fred and Harry from their last cameo, and I’ve enjoyed their conversation again. I’m quite partial to gargoyles, as well. Great stuff 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      Thanks, Sonya. I’m always worried when I do this sort of dialect that people from around the world will find it gobbledegook. I could make it even more broad, but it probably wouldn’t be wise. Glad you remembered Fred and Harry. At least they’re sober this time! ❤

  2. Loved the story and the dialect Milllie. Fred really made me laugh. He was all for going to church when he found out it was led by a beautiful woman! Haha! I just found out yesterday that Louise is your daughter. I was thrilled to know that. She is so sweet and helpful to me.

    • milliethom says:

      Thanks, PJ. Yes, Fred and Harry both like the women. I’m not sure that a woman vicar would like them too much, though! 🙂
      Louise and I started our blogs at the same time. She manages to post a lot more than I do because she isn’t trying to get a book written at the moment! She has plans for dozens in future, though. Lou also does a lot of photography posts – something I’m hopeless at. 🙂

      • I have tried my hand at photography and I really enjoy it but I need to take classes before I do much more than what I have already done. Plus, although I really like my camera, it doesn’t do fancy stuff like macro. That is great that Louise plans on writing some books. That is very ambitious (as you already know). I’m reading your book right now Millie. So far, I really like it! My problem is the way that I read is rather strange. When I start reading I read voraciously and then I burn out and don’t read for quite awhile (until the bug hits me again). When the bug hits me, I read voraciously. I’m in the “in-between” stage right now. I really enjoyed your story Millie- those guys are quite the characters. 😀

      • milliethom says:

        All I can say, is thank you so much for reading it! 🙂 Some people do find the Anglo-Saxon names difficult at first, but I think the names become easier later on. I keep having to tell people that I can’t change historical names. That’s what those characters were called, so I have to go with it. As for Lou, she’s a fantasy person, so that’s what her planned books will be…eventually. ❤

      • I’m glad to hear that because the names are difficult for me. I understand that they are historical names and cannot be changed. I think this is going to be a very good novel though! Do any of your other children write?

      • milliethom says:

        My eldest daughter has a book based on archaeology to write (she’s an archaeologist). But it will be fiction. Goodness knows when she’ll get round to it, though. None of my four sons write – it seems to be just us women!

      • Oh, then you have another daughter that also writes. Sounds like Lou is going to write a very interesting book based on archeology.

      • milliethom says:

        It’s my eldest daughter, Nicola, who’s the archaeologist. Lou’s the one on the blog who writed fantasy. I know, it gets confusing. I’m like the old woman who lived in the shoe – too many children and didn’t know what to do! I’ve been like that for years! 🙂

      • LOL! You are so funny. You don’t have too many children. You have a wonderful family of 6 children! I think I have it straight now. Your oldest daughter is the archaeologist and writer and Lou is the fantasy writer.

      • milliethom says:

        Right! Nicola started a book a few years ago, then decided to do a PhD. Now she’s a Doctor of Chemistry as well! But she really wants to finish her book. We’ll see… I can’t see her having the time just yet. Well, enough about my tribe! Lovely to chat to you, PJ. ❤

      • Lovely to chat with you too Mille.

  3. Loved it….well done Millie. Now I know good story telling runs in the family.

  4. OldenGray says:

    What a delightful read Millie! I love the plain language used. That gave it a special touch and made the story believable. So, this is what Flash Fiction is! Now I know. Maybe one day I will try my hand at this format! :o)

    • milliethom says:

      You’d be great at it! There’s only me does the extra info at the end, as a rule. I don’t do that every time, but because my blog is ‘Bringing History to Life’ I like to add a little bit of history sometimes. There’s a poetry challenge on a Wednesday that might suit you, too. I’ve seen several of my followers doing that one. Anyway, thank you for liking my story. I’m quite fond of Fred and Harry. 🙂

      • OldenGray says:

        I forgot to mention the extra read. So much I did not know about gargoyles that you pointed out. Thank you for sharing that as well.
        I will look into them as I am back to normal on my alphabet. I am short one “h” as I had to return it to a good friend! :o)

      • milliethom says:

        I’m sure the said good friend appreciated that. I’ll try to find you another ‘h’ sometime. 😀

      • OldenGray says:

        If that said good friend were to take a peek in “Humour Loves You” she may find it tucked away in great fun :o)

  5. A wonderful story! I do enjoy how you add your research into your fiction, very unique and interesting. I love gargoyles! The ones on Notre Dame Cathedral are amazing 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you! I’m glad you liked my story. Some gargoyles are really freaky, aren’t they? But I do find them fascinating – a lot of work making them, though, for just a water spout! 🙂

      • Some gargoyles are definitely freaking. Before I knew about them, I always thought that they were to ward of evil in a church! They make a piece of architecture very ornate 🙂

  6. HumaAq says:

    Yes those pictures are freaky, it was a little hard for me to understand that language but I understood the story 🙂

  7. Francesca Smith says:

    That dialect is great! It added to the realism and I could hear their voices while reading.
    Gargoyles are fascinating little or big things, and the history you attached is very interesting.
    I enjoyed this!

    • milliethom says:

      Thanks Francesca. I can’t help dabbling in dialects. I find them really fascinating. I can do the northern ones easily because I’m northern myself, but I like to have a go at others now and then. Cockney is an interesting one. 🙂

  8. scrapydotwo says:

    Interesting story and way of speaking. It is not that strange with a bit of imagination one knows what is happening. Love the extra information. Now I know why those “sculptures” are there.

  9. exiledprospero says:

    Love the accents, Millie.

  10. mandibelle16 says:

    Interesting piece I enjoyed your characters. Also, thank you for the explanations at the bottom they were very helpful.

  11. luckyjc007 says:

    Funny…just the mention of a “interesting woman!” …and Fred gave up any concern of what the church looked like!

  12. Bekki Hill says:

    Good old Fred and Harry, Nice to see their return. Made me laugh. Great pictures of gargoyles. Made me think how tame guttering and downpipes are. We should all have gargoyles! 😉

    • milliethom says:

      Thanks, Bekki. I’m quite fond of Fred and Harry myself! And I agree, gargoyles are great. I hope to photograph some fantastic ones on Cologne Cathedral if we make it to the Chrismas market there this year, as planned. 😀

  13. What a good idea to continue with the same characters 😉 I’d never heard of chimera before – those last two photos (eyes shut and open) are pretty creepy!!! (in an interesting way – why don’t they do things like that anymore in architecture?! For decoration, I mean)

    • milliethom says:

      I adore old-style architecture, especially medieval churches and cathedrals. Nowadays buildings go up so quickly and decoration is probably the last thing on the builders’ minds. We have boring box-shapes now – with a few exceptions here and there. 😦 Thank you for reading both of my stories! 🙂 I wanted to do the dialect, so Fred and Harry seemed the perfect choice.

  14. John Yeo says:

    Great amalgamation Millie! Your wonderful characters brought your story to life~ Fred is a brilliantly drawn personality. 🙂

  15. I enjoyed the voice in this but even more, the comments that followed!

    • milliethom says:

      Ah, so you like gargoyles? I find them fascinating – in a creepy sort of way. They were a great way of keeping water away from the walls. Thanks, Dawn! 🙂

  16. Brilliant dialogue, (and dialect) …hahahaha. I could just hear them. I laughed so much I have a belly-ache Millie. And thank you for the extra. The gargoyles are fascinating.

  17. Ellespeth says:

    Harry and Fred are so amusing. You’ve developed their characters so well, Millie! Great way to get Fred to Sunday church 😛 Love it when you do dialect.
    I like gargoyles. There are some on the outside of old buildings around my hometown. They aren’t a scary ast the Church ones.
    Ellespeth

    • milliethom says:

      Thanks, Ellespeth. I’m fascinated by gargoyles. they’re so darned ugly, yet so cleverly designed. lol As for Fred and Harry… I thought it was time I brought them to life again. I like to play around with dialects now and then, too. 🙂

  18. Susan Langer says:

    Sorry I’m so late reading your story. It’s been a hectic week. I loved the voices of Harry and Fred and their dialect is great. I remember them with the flying saucers in the Monday challenge. 🙂

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