Trifecta 83 – When The Boy Becomes The Man

t83p2With the day’s light dwindling the lamps glowed brightly in the windows of the Trawzelen miners’ cottages. Over at the tin mine all appeared quiet. Below ground shift boss Richard Dengarran struggled desperately to save his men. The seam above their heads was crumbling. Richard screamed for everybody to get out. One by one they scrambled past. He couldn’t hold back the creaking beams for much longer.

Of the 25 men on his shift 20 escaped. Five including Richard were lost. The collapse was so severe they are yet to recover the bodies. It is truly hoped that none of the five survived. Better dead than buried alive.

Maisie Dengarran still lives with her only son John in their miners cottage. No man has yet to replace her Richard. Some have tried but they soon realise there is no room in Maisie’s heart for anyone else.

Maisie misses the silly things. The rust coloured overalls Richard used to bring home. The stains they would leave in the sink when washed. The rusty puddles he’d make when he got home on a wet night. The iron in the mine discoloured everything. Her house is now spotless. Pristine. She is forever cleaning up.

John says his father comes and talks to him at night. Tells him to look after his mother. He is the man now. Maisie just smiles. She doesn’t believe him but she pretends that she does. Sees no harm in it.

One night Maisie listens in to John having one of his conversations. Two voices? One is Richards! It can’t be!

Maisie opens the door. It goes quiet. John looks at his mother.

“He doesn’t want you to see him. Not after all this time” says John.

“Where is he?”

John points to the open window.

Maisie rushes to look. Nothing. Of course nothing. As she steps back her heart shudders. Below the window sill. A wet, rusty footprint.

The bedroom candle flickers. The window crashes shut. John takes his mother’s hand.

These 333 words are my entry into the Trifecta Week 83 writing challenge. Have to say I really enjoyed writing this story today. I hope you like it! As an aside if you live in the UK and are interested in the history of the Cornish tin mining industry I beseech you to visit Geevor. A truly fascinating time capsule of an industry and way of life which has now disappeared. 


26 thoughts on “Trifecta 83 – When The Boy Becomes The Man

    1. paulmclem Post author

      Think this might be my first “wow”. Many thanks! The first draft was nearly 500 words so a fair bit of pruning was required. Sad to have taken a few of the descriptive structures out but hopefully there were enough left to paint a picture. As ever I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

    1. paulmclem Post author

      Thanks Barbara. Starting to feel that a simple story done well is the better path to take. In so few words people can easily get over ambitious and too much is left to the imagination. For me there is a balance to be found between what the writer writes and what the reader adds in. Think this piece tries to achieve that balance. Hope it succeeds. Thanks again for stopping by.

    1. paulmclem Post author

      Kind words Deana. I had fun putting this story together. Only been dabbling in creative fiction for three or four months and this story is probably one of my favourites so far. Just felt right as the words hit the screen. Really pleased it had an impact on you. Come again!

    1. paulmclem Post author

      Questions, questions 🙂

      I suppose he might not be dead. More likely ghosts can leave prints OR his son John has cracked and he makes the prints to convince himself his dad is alive. I quite like the last one but the ending is for the reader to decide I suppose.

  1. Joe Owens

    Masterful Paul, I am glad I cam looking this morning. Since we get a new prompt today most people are ready to move on, but this would have been a real shame to miss.


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