Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Magpie Tales - Emma Barker

Okay, holiday over, my break from blogging offically ended as normality is back, and with it my temptation to look at the Magpie prompt this week in that mindset of I'll just have a quick look, and then before I knew it, I was typing on the keyboard not sure where the story was going, but I kept on going anyway.
So thanks again to Tess @ Magpie Tales for another great image prompt below.  For other tempted parties check out the great tales HERE

They say there was always something odd about her, being distant in the kind of way that made people suspicious.  She was a stranger to their ways alright, not being born in the land she came to live in, but there was more to it than that, a lot more.
She arrived at seventeen, the young bride of a local boy.  A boy she thought was a man, and whom she fell for in that way of young girls.  More fantasy than real love, but it was the closest Emma Barker had ever come to it, so you could easily forgive her for that mistake.  Not long after marriage, she was with child.  A buxom boy that many thought would ease whatever inward struggle seemed to haunt the girl, a struggle etched across her face as sure as day became night.

It wasn’t that she wanted to keep herself a stranger, but no matter how she thought about it, she never did fit in.  She wasn’t interested in the things that other women from the town were interested in, nor did she, after the first pangs of love or lust eased, feel any real interest in the man she married.
For his part, he had made a similar mistake to her, he had thought her to be someone else as well.  So as each year passed, and seasons changed, and her strangest was taken for stubborn awkwardness, or even worse confused with looking down on folk, in the end, she was ignored in the minds of others, someone who at best was considered odd, or at worst, mad.
The truth was she had been a happy child, but things changed, and reality wasn't always kind.  She buried her head in books, the type that brought her to places she could never dream of being.  The first book she read was given to her by an old aunt, a book of poetry that she read and reread.  It became like evening prayer, or the old blanket that her son found safety in.
The day they found her dead, there had been a storm brewing, the kind of storm that seemed like the end of life, and so it was for Emma Barker, hung from a tree shortly after her son was old enough to leave home, her goodbye letter between the pages of an old poetry book.


  1. Indeed, but there was just something foreboding about the image that grabbed me.

  2. very sad - the hardship of the outcast
    beautifully written

  3. Temptation! So glad you succumbed. This is wonderful!

  4. A stranger in a strange land...

  5. Great tale, loved the:
    It became like evening prayer, or the old blanket that her son found safety in.

    I found it provoked a dark image too, sad looking woman.

  6. Great last paragraph, and I love the comparison between the poetry book, evening parayers and old blanket too.

    The voice is wonderful, very distinct, (she never did fit in/folk/) as if its narrated by a southern, down to earth dame.

  7. Oh so sad - it sent a chill down my spine. Sometimes folk can never belong - however hard they try.

    Anna :o]

  8. "In that way of young girls"...and so fate is sealed. Excellent and chilling!

  9. This was a haunting read. Very creative use of the prompt. You looked into the soul of the woman in the image...and your creativity took over from there. Vb

  10. Wonderful storytelling, good piece.

  11. it gives you a great insight into the outcast, into the person that just doesnt belong. the way you wrote this really made us connect with her and sympathise her. great writing:)

  12. A wonderful piece - you've created an entire life from this painting and a few well chosen words. I love it.

  13. This is beautifully written and the content mind
    blowing. Not far from the truth for quite a few people I suspect, even in this day and age.

  14. Thanks everyone for your great comments.


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