A few things I plan to work on when I’m finished with several things I’m already working on.
People have been falsely imprisoned. Some have been placed in psychiatric hospitals, although there was nothing wrong with them.
But, suppose the imprisoned life had been lived outside the walls, in an oversheltered household, the victim tethered there by gossip? Suppose the man who controlled the narrative was regarded by everyone a great scientist; the girl he called his daughter, a non-entity—spoken of, never spoken to…never, for many years, herself suspecting him? He tells her she is different, special; she feels his attention to be privilege. Knowledge of her circumstances’ breadth and sinister import comes late to her.
She knows others respond oddly to her conversation; she knows they shy from her overtures of friendship, but only now discovers they have been conditioned to view her abnormal, untrustworthy, incompetent to conduct her affairs independently; to view themselves charitable heroes. But to keep silence. To fear.
An Illustrated Reader
Selections from The History of the Franks
Saint Gregory, Bishop of Tours, (lifetime c. 538-594 AD), authored a number of texts, among them The History of the Franks.
My idea is to illustrate stories from this history, in the style above.
From the ninth book:
Rigunda, daughter of Chilperic, often made malicious charges against her mother and said that she was mistress and that her mother ought to serve her, and often attacked her with abuse and sometimes struck and slapped her, and her mother said to her: “Why do you annoy me, daughter? Come, take your father’s things that I have and do as you please with them.” And she went into the store-room and opened a chest quite full of necklaces and costly jewels. For a long time she took them out one by one and handed them to her daughter, but finally said: “I am tired; you put in your hand and take what you find.” And she thrust in her arm and was taking things from the chest when her mother seized the lid and slammed it down on her head. And she was holding it down firmly and the lower board was pressing against her daughter’s throat so that her eyes were actually ready to pop out when one of the maids who was within called loudly: “Run, I beg you, run; my mistress is being choked to death by her mother.” And those who were awaiting their coming outside rushed into the little room and saved the girl from threatening death and led her out. After that their enmity was more bitter and there were continual quarrels and fighting between them, above all because of the adulteries Rigunda was guilty of.
Source: translation of Ernest Brehaut, Ph.D., W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1969; published by arrangement with Columbia University Press.
A southern city, in the year 1931, its two populations existing mostly apart, intersecting in places.
As do the dead and the living. A matter of experiment in the house Charmante Demorest keeps for Mr. Rothesay. Two past tragedies are linked to the site of the old Dumain clinic, neither of them happenstance…and the deadly will of an old tyrant has made a way, returning.
“Ah. Dumain got in. That was apparently the case. Though his body was found well away from the blaze. The fire had burned, by way of the chimney, up into the bedroom above. But Dumain was down here…that is…out there, under the wall, shot in the head.”
This was quite a story Mr. Wright had never given her.
“But a suicide…”
“Well, there’s your mystery. It’s not been proved, so far as I’ve heard, whether he’d truly made his way indoors, committed arson…or had an accident, as the case might be. Came out after and did the deed. Or perhaps never went in at all. There was no note. Back door locked, front door unlocked. And you’ll appreciate, one can’t get to the garden wall, except by exiting the back way.”