Stone Snitch

Childhood memories often come complete with a hazy, nurturing comfort, but even the best ones carry a burdensome, bittersweet aftertaste.
I’d forgotten all about that summer in Kent at the Bloemfontein House, and the foul drinking water. What I do recall is Rex Bloemfontein’s diaries. Slick, greasy things bound in a cheap, ersatz leather; wild cursive loops and bowls exalting his strange beliefs on stonemasonry.

And other “wisdom”:

“When stone achieves a certain age, it becomes self-aware (and, it seems, spiteful),” went one such treatise.

In Bloemfontein House, mundane things became fantastical in my child’s mind: the trio of wych elms standing on the expansive lawns, more Boer defenders than trees (or, perhaps crosses atop Golgotha is more apt); the purple stains of laurel on the concrete of the garden’s colonnade, after falling prey to blackbirds (or my nine year old feet); the inspiring crenellations, cupolas and gables that turned Bloemfontein’s stately pleasure dome into a wizard’s castle.

Not that I’ll ever be asked back, bearing in mind what happened to old Rex’s carved portrait atop the portico’s lintel…

The carving was a monstrous thing, berating me whenever I passed underneath.
‘Bed-wetter!’ it once shrieked at me, when Ma and I returned from a Broadstairs trip.
‘I know who broke the sherry glasses!’ it screamed another time.
Once, Bloemfontein’s stone face stretched down to bite at my hair, interrogating me through gritted teeth whilst I dangled inches from the porch flagstones.
‘Shall I tell them, O, Thomas? Shall I tell them why the water’s foul?’

But Rex’s portico forgot: we can put the likeness of men on pedestals, but statues fall. A child’s hammer is enough to obliterate even granite…

Yet still, I hear it scream in my mind to this day.


Stone Snitch
Article Name
Stone Snitch
Free weird speculative flash fiction from Beanwriting

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