Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives… and I will be picking two posts from the blogs of those participating from the first six months of 2020. If you don’t mind me rifling through your archives… just let me know in the comments or you can find out the full scope: Posts from Your Archives – Pot Luck – 2020
This is the second post from author Janet Gogerty and this week I have selected a flash fiction piece from January 2020 when Brexit was looming and we thought that was all we had to worry about.. until March came rollicking in….
Friday Flash Fiction 575 – Bonfire by Janet Gogerty
I walked down the hill to Tuckton Village and passed boarded up shops; as I rounded the bend I saw the guards at the bridge over the River Stour turning people away; it was true, we still had twelve hours before we left the European Union, but Remainer movement was restricted more each day. There was still a chance; I slipped past the ruins of Tuckton Tea Gardens and joined a straggle of people wandering aimlessly, their eyes darting to the river. One man suddenly dashed to an empty boat, struggling to untie the mooring, a shot rang out and the rest of us dived for cover. Round the bend we kept to the trees, it was quiet, we all had the same goal.
‘Fifteen pounds each, this is my last trip!’ whispered the Wick ferryman.
I was the last to squeeze on board, we lay low in the water. I proffered two notes, my last cash now the dispensers were gone. I doubted I would need them; no annual literary dinner now all the Christchurch hotels were commandeered; our writers’ group was unlikely to last another four weeks. As we landed across the river I scrambled to get off, whilst others struggled to get on. They looked desperate, carrying as many belongings as possible, waving wads of money; the only words on their lips ‘Isle of Wight’. I watched as the little boat set off down river, things were worse than I thought. My fears were confirmed when I heard the bell of the Priory tolling. Many people were still around, madness in the air; we surged towards the high street and saw a spiral of smoke rising up.
Brexit Extreme had grown in power, disconcerting the respectable conservative Brexiteers, confounding the confused abstainers and putting terror in the hearts of Remainers. Hiding amongst the crowds, I made my way towards a bonfire in the centre of the road. The rabble were rushing out of the Regent Centre tossing paintings on the fire. Outside the tourist office a guard urged people to destroy the seditious pamphlets inside.
As I edged along the pavement towards the library, guards and civilians came out carrying piles of books, throwing them gleefully on to the blaze. Anything that smacked of elitism or liberalism was being destroyed. I looked up, from an open window fluttered white sheets of paper, the precious work of our writers’ group. I tried to catch them.
A guard spoke gruffly to me ‘You don’t belong to the writers’ group do you?’
‘No, No of course not’ I stuttered, moving on.
Someone fleeing from the library, shielding their eyes from the glare, shouted to me.
‘Aren’t you from the writers’ group?’
‘No, you must be thinking of someone else.’
I tucked my blue scarf with its gold stars deeper under my collar and fled into Saxon Square away from the heat; coming towards me were two members of my writing group; I put my collar up, turned and slipped back into the crowds. I heard a cheer go up, someone was coming out of the Regent Centre carrying aloft the Wooden Quill Poetry Award; he tossed it into the flames. I patted my pocket, inside was the memory stick with all my writing on; was I too late to get to the Isle of Wight?
©Janet Gogerty 2020
About Janet Gogerty
I have been writing frantically for 12 years and still enjoy being part of two writing groups. I am inspired by anything and everything and enjoy writing about ordinary people; but usually they find themselves experiencing strange events!
When I was encouraged to tackle a novel my daughter suggested I use my short story ‘Brief Encounters of the Third Kind’ as she wanted to know what happened to Emma, whose fate had been left in the air at the end of the story. The novel became a trilogy, Three Ages of Man and finally Lives of Anna Alsop, published in March 2015.
Quarter Acre Block was inspired by my family’s emmigration to Australia.
My new novel is called At The Seaside Nobody Hears You Scream. When Toby Channing’s girlfriend disappeared without trace he was the last person to see her…
I enjoy writing fiction of any length and have had many short stories published online.
Books by Janet Gogerty
One of the recent reviews for At The Seaside Nobody Hears You Scream.
This work is a series of short stories on the theme of ‘missing persons’ linked by the central character, Toby who is an amateur detective, himself attempting to find a missing girlfriend. The settings and characters are reminiscent of seaside postcards and evoke a bygone England of conventional households and family relationships. Most of the stories were gentle mysteries and there are references to familiar pub chains and English tourist destinations. The only parts that jarred for me were the elements containing a robot and one with a ghost, both of which were implausible in the context of the other stories.
Thank you for dropping by today and Janet would love to read your feedback and if you would like to participate in this series here is the link again: Posts from Your Archives – Pot Luck – 2020