I’m in the middle of a large ,long-term project, and one of the problems I suffer from is staying in the zone for a long period of time. So in an experiment of dealing with this, I’ve decided that between large parts (The Techxorcist, my current main project is serialised into three sections), I’ll write a quickie story.
So many ideas, so little time
I keep a little moleskin that I fill with story ideas as and when they come to me. So yesterday, after completing the first large section of my main project, I decided to spend a couple of days immersed somewhere else. I chose Victorian England during the Gothic phase of literature; which was a very rich time for horror.
Golden era of Victorian Gothic-ness
I can’t tell you the destination of this story, only that it will be subbed out to a particular market. The influences for this story is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven’, Lord Byron’s various memoirs and the gothic tradition of grandiosity and scandal.
Byron, according to some, was a bit of a douche
In the spirit of sharing, here’s the few hundred words of a story I’ve titled
“For The Heart The Raven Serves“
Part 1: The Burning
Lord Byron did not win her heart, nor stimulate her mind, despite all expectations to the contrary. In fact, Katerina, the eldest of the Roeslling girls, found the slight fellow a swaggering braggart with barely the class of an East-end guttersnipe. And yet, he and his opium addled partner, a Mister Coleridge, demeaned her with lewd commentary about the various ways in which her generous bosom and behind travelled fore and aft as she negotiated her way through a maze of grabbing wet-hands at the stuffiest, and most insufferable of social affairs.
That she was forced to attend was contentious in of itself, but to be paraded in such a way by her father, in the aims of securing patronage for his plans to extend his businesses interests into a newly proposed single woman’s housing estate in the heart of Highgate was morally questionable. She was his daughter. Not a plaything. Nor a street tart to be rented out for favours from the gentry.
It was the fifth such event this year alone, and it was not yet summer.
Katerina’s patience hadn’t just worn thin, rather these gatherings rubbed it out of existence so now it only lived in her wildest imagination and taunted her from some far-off dream world.
She sucked in her breath. Tried to ease the aches in her face from all the faux smiling forced upon her by the gratuitous, overbearing, and pompous pimple-skinned cads that tried their luck in charming her from her underskirts.
“Push your chest out, girl. Let the corset make the most of your assets. This is for the family.” Her father grinned at a passing dandy; one of the many random handsomes sent to represent the interests of various wealthy London families. The event was nothing short of a peacock parade. Who had the finest silk; the most tightly curled wig; the most luxurious cummerbund. “And put away that damnable book. You’ll never catch the eye of an established fellow if he thinks you’re…bookish.”
“But you see, father, I am bookish.”
There you are, a little slice / a little tease of what is a very dark little tale indeed.