Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Infamous - Prison Secrets - Part 1 of 2


The 26 eclectic-genre short stories for my #AtoZChallenge are excerpts from travelogue notes by
novel character Gahlen, who first appeared in SHARDS OF MEMORY – Oral History in a Heartbeat.

Each A-to-Z daily post is a stand-alone tale - partly true, partly fiction.

Part 1 of 2 (the only non-standalone tale)
Genre: Religious War
(363 words)

In the seaport city of LaRochelle, no amount of bicycling could conjure up connections to ancestors from the 17th century.
“What did you expect, Gahlen?” one sister asked in frustration. “A star ship to whisk you back to 1660?”
Oui, Gahlen,” rose a deep voice from behind us. “What have you envisioned as representation of your ancestors? Possibly, this lighthouse will hold meaning for you, assuming you have a knight lurking in your background as most people do.”
Stunned by the gentleman’s comments, I mumbled, “Pardon, vous m'avez eu?”
Oui. I address you, or another named Gahlen.”
“Are you suggesting LaRochelle still has something to offer those seeking ancestral ties?”
“I suggest the soil of this land holds many secrets,” came his cryptic response. “Residents during the 17th century were a proud people, caught up in religious wars, though resistant to change. But through long suffering and agony, the resistance collapsed and LaRochelle with it.”
“How does that offer a sense of connection to ancestors?”
“Maybe you ask too much of simple peasants, working to feed sick and dying families while rulers of kingdoms fought over the right to decide which religion would allow them into the kingdom of heaven.”
The man appeared out of place, certainly not a tour guide. “Why are you here?” I asked.
Pour quoi suis-je ici? I am here because this tower is here.” As he spoke, he pointed toward the bay encompassing the Port of LaRochelle.
The rounded structure with its towering steeple appeared to lack purpose, at least in the context of this unusual conversation. If there was a context. I had come to the uncomfortable conclusion that maybe the gentleman was mad.
“Ah,” he said, “you think I know not of what I speak. You may well be correct. I am the keeper of that once-infamous prison of condemned priests and other wrongdoers. The graffiti they carved into the walls would cause you young folk sleepless nights.”
The gentleman gestured for us to sit.
“Allow me to share with you a story about hidden treasure that you could not have imagined. My name is Paulus Villiers, a descendant of the keeper of much powerful knowledge.”

Part 2 of 2 tomorrow:



  1. Hello, fellow A-to-Zer! And I am definitely intrigued! Who doesn't like stories about hidden treasure?

  2. I agree, the temptation to learn of hidden treasure must be universal.
    Your mystery trope posts are keeping me entertained, also, Melanie.
    Thanks for visiting.

  3. Who doesn't love hidden treasure? I'm looking forward to part 2! Imagine You're on a Beach: Visualization

  4. Yes, especially when the hidden treasure could be worthwhile in an unusual way.

  5. Gail,

    Stories of long ago are indeed hidden treasures of the past intriguing the curious minded over time.

    Thank you for visiting yesterday's A2Z art sketch of an Intertidal Zone with Ariel & her prince washed on the beach from The Little Mermaid movie. Happy a2zing!

  6. Intriguing also is the human urge to relinquish all in search of the unknown. May we realize what we have found when we do find it. Thanks for visiting, Cathy.

  7. I'm late to this tour of the tower at La Rochelle - but keen to learn more from the knowledgeable keeper.


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