Eilish McNulty / Flash Fiction / Gideon O'Faolain / Impartials and Immortals / Irish History / Write at the Merge / Writing

Write At the Merge: Week 22

Note: I swear, next week I’ll have an actual schedule for the prompt responses. Really.

Anyways! This is a response to this Write at the Merge prompt, which gave us a song and an image and told us to use either one or both to write a maximum of five hundred words. I’m highly amused to say I hit the nail exactly on the head and have five hundred words  here. This continues from where Gideon and Eilish’s little serial story–starting here and continuing here–last left off: armed rebellion!

Six days had never seemed so long. Not since he’d first arrived in Dublin did Gideon think he’d seen the city so changed. Shelling from British guns had left Liberty Hall and the General Post Office as hollowed out shells of their former selves; the GPO was unrecognizable now, notable only as the source of one of the larger towers of smoke billowing over Dublin. Storefront windows were shattered, glass crunched underfoot by looters. Rebels throughout the city had laid down their arms, and the remainder of the garrison from the General Post Office—now slumped and defeated, no longer proud and singing a soldier’s song as they had in the beginning—were crowded together in the grounds of the Rotunda Hospital under guard.

He had survived longer without taking energy, with little sleep, food, or water, but something about this defeat seemed to have reached further and stolen something vital. He wasn’t sure how he had marched to the Rotunda, how air moved to and from his lungs when his throat felt blistered by smoke, how he had not simply laid himself down in the street with their surrendered arms.

His senses too dull to do anything more than perceive—barely—what was in front of him, Gideon watched as some men were taken to the maternity hospital’s front steps and stripped. A dark-haired man, muscles tense, clenched his fists and bared his teeth in a cruel grin at a British soldier who recoiled a moment before sneering at him.

Good on you, boyo, Gideon thought, nodding in approval while the man beside him groaned and rubbed a muscle cramp in his leg.

Over the next twelve hours of inactivity on the hospital grounds, his body too weary even for sleep, the thoughts he’d banished over Easter Week crept back in. He did his best to convince himself that the house still stood, that Eilish would have put a bullet hole in any British soldier who tried to take away what had become a home he hadn’t intended to give her.

He’d known very well she didn’t have one of her own; it was a requirement for his staff. Still, most had seemed to lament it, whereas she had tilted her chin up and taken pride in it. The image of it stuck in his memory despite his knowledge that eventually time would wear it away.

“You have no family to miss you?”

Her wide mouth twisted bitterly. “All due respect, I haven’t much of one left. My mam was a Brennan from the west counties, a sonsy lady you’d say. Whatever she expected marrying my da, I doubt it was two surviving daughters of six, a husband dead in a farming accident, and dead herself of a ‘previously unheard of’ strain of consumption by age forty. Not for all the faery gold in Ireland would I go back to that.”

His lip twitched. “Faery gold,” Gideon murmured distantly as his body finally, thankfully, gave in to sleep.

No historical note this time except that yes, that was how the surrendered rebels were treated. Also, “sonsy” is a word that means comely, lively. 

Oh, and if you’re interested in Gideon and his fellow characters, please go vote on a character HERE! He’s getting tired of being alone in the limelight. 😉




12 thoughts on “Write At the Merge: Week 22

  1. The stark cruelty of the present is nicely contrasted with the memory of Gideon’s conversation with Eilish. She brings a lightness to the scene.

    • Thank you. It’s not the lightest of conversations, but it’s still better than the current situation, I imagine.

    • It’s generally agreed by those who know me that I was born in the wrong century. 😉 Thanks so much, that’s high praise! And no problem. 🙂

    • Thank you! In the nearly five years I’ve had him as a character, Gideon’s never shared so much of his past, so this is fun for me, too. 🙂

  2. “the GPO was unrecognizable now, notable only as the source of one of the larger towers of smoke billowing over Dublin.” <— love this description

    "how he had not simply laid himself down in the street with their surrendered arms." <— my favorite metaphor. SO good.

    Your descriptions are so detailed that you made me exhausted just reading it. I'm glad I'm sitting down.

    • Thanks so much for reading, Cheryl! I love knowing what specific bits people enjoyed, so your comment made me all kinds of giddy.

      They can’t be that detailed… There WAS a word limit after all. 😉

      Stick close, Gideon’s backstory continues this week! 🙂

      • You have such a skill with words.
        The word limit was imposed to torture us; I love your writing 🙂
        I will most definitely be following his story.

      • You’re flattering me, you know that? *hides a blush* This week’s will hopefully be up tonight (she says, crossing her fingers surreptitiously) and the second prompt–up by Thursday at the latest–will be for Alesander. 🙂

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