Background / Flash Fiction / Gideon O'Faolain / Impartials and Immortals / Ryan McLaughlin / Trifecta / Writing

Trifecta Week 80: Freak

Welcome, all! I’m tired and need sleep, so let’s get right down to it. This week’s Trifecta word and its third definition were:


Now, y’all know I can work with that… so let’s get on with it!

Warning: This post contains swearing and some rather unpleasant accusations. Oh, and some very brief sex. (Something had to be sacrificed to pare this down to 333 words on the dot, okay?)

This is a continuation, by the way, of previous posts featuring Gideon during the events of the 1916 Rising and shortly thereafter. The other entries are here, here, and here. Right now, the setting is late August 1916, in Wales.

Yes, I said Wales. Carry on!

Eyes closed, Gideon licked dry lips, ignoring the noise of another man being brought into the infirmary to tally how long it had been since he’d been with a woman—Eilish, the morning of 24th April, when it all began. Six ineffable days of the Republic. Ten days in military barracks in Dublin, the cattle boat to the jail in Yorkshire where they’d spent three weeks in solitary confinement, the trip to Frongoch internment camp in Wales where they’d been for three months now.

He hadn’t entirely considered the energy part of his existence when resigning himself to prison.

“Right,” he heard a harsh voice say. “You’ll stay here, freak, until it’s sorted out what’s wrong with you.”

A rattling, whistling laugh answered, then a voice with traces of Northern Ireland. “Freak? Tisn’t me who lays hands and more on my niece.”

The sudden stillness predicting violence descended. Gideon opened his eyes. From their corners he could see the guard, turning purple with rage; and shaggy black hair around a pale, sweating face, a vicious leer that he somehow recognized through fever. The patient laughed again.

“I smell it on you. You’d know all about being wrong, wouldn’t you?”

Hand raised—


“Fucking Shinners,” spat the guard with a glance at the nurse as he left. She hurried over, clucking her tongue at the new arrival.

“I’m fine, love.” The grin stretched tight over a skull’s face. “Maybe see to my mate here, if you could?”

She turned, hesitated; fuelled by the energy of the room, Gideon didn’t think—sat up, lunged, bit, and lifted her over him, climaxing almost immediately when he took her. Over as soon as it began, but enough.


Over the dazed nurse’s shoulder he met the eyes of the dark-haired man from the Rotunda grounds.

“I need meat,” the man announced calmly. “Not animal.”

Gideon glanced deliberately after the guard, then met the other man’s eyes again with perfect understanding. “I think that can be arranged.”

Historical note: “Shinner” is a rather derogatory term for someone taken to be a part of the Sínn Féin [pronounced shin fayne] political party. Despite being non-militant, they were mistakenly blamed for the roots of the Rising in 1916, to the point that it was often referred to as the “Sínn Féin Rebellion.” I also took some liberties; by all the accounts I’ve found, the Welsh people responsible for the day to day running of the Frongoch camp were very kind to the Irish prisoners.



P.S. I’ll post my Write at the Merge response tomorrow, I promise.


10 thoughts on “Trifecta Week 80: Freak

    • Thank you! I was worried it made things too difficult to understand, but it seems to have worked out all right. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  1. I like the tense conversation between the guard and the new prisoner – it felt realistic. For me, the interaction with the nurse seemed sudden, and didn’t make me sympathetic to his lack of “relations.” Two seconds or twenty minutes, she wasn’t his to take 🙂

    • Thanks for reading, Janna. 🙂 Trust me, Gideon knows that–I’m hoping that what I’ve hinted at in the previous instalments will be clearer in the next few, depending on the prompt words of course. 😉

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