The Cloud of Unknowing

20110923-012527.jpg. There seems to be a plethora of books written at the moment with a supernatural theme. I say plethora but I am not complaining, I love anything to do do with ghosts, visions and things of that nature.
Even my own genre of choice has not escaped the trend and there are lots of titles being published with an ‘other wordly’ theme. Bring it on I say.

I dipped my toe into the world of ghosts as far back as 1980 when I wrote a story about a young woman being visited by her dead lover. It was all very highly sentimental and melodramatic but my excuse is that at twenty something and dealing with grief myself that’s how I felt at the time. However, I have matured, a little :-)) and I like to think that so to has my writing.

Back in February I had a few weeks of being on a ‘high’ (I have Bipolar 11 and very creative at these times :-)) and I developed what can only be described as a slight obsession with the chap in the photo above, Antony Woodville, Earl Rivers, brother-in-law of Edward 1V. To try and get him out of my system I decided to write a short story for my sister entitled The Cloud of Unknowing. I mentioned this in an earlier posting.
It has a ghost/vision theme and writing it was a joy, especially because I was writing it for someone who I knew would appreciate the little in jokes and the fact that it was in effect me and my sister but with different names.
Here is an extract from the story. To set the scene, Isobel & Phillipa are visiting Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire. They separate and Phil goes to sit quietly in the shade of some trees to rest her aching head. As her headache begins to recede she falls asleep;

“She did not know how long she had been asleep, but her awakening was sudden and abrupt as though she had been violently shaken. But there was not a soul to be seen either near her or in the immediate vicinity. She noticed too how eerily quiet it was, there was not the slightest sound, no voices of other visitors, no sound of distant traffic and even the pigeon had ceased it’s monotonous purring.
Odd too was the heavy and dreamlike quality of the atmosphere, and the faint but audible crackling of static. Oh God, she thought, there must be a storm brewing and I’m about to be struck by lightning. The thought terrified her and she tried to stand, but to her horror she could not move as much as a muscle, the very air seemed to be weighing her down and in her panic she thought Oh God help me, I’m having a stroke.
As she sat pinned to the ground,a movement across the green caught her eye and she tried to call out, but stopped, stunned into silence by the scene being played out barely fifty yards from where she sat.
For there, in the middle of the green was a bloodstained executioners block and kneeling before it was a man, head bowed and hands clasped in an attitude of prayer.
Phil’s breath caught in her throat when, like a spot light on a stage, a shaft of sunlight broke through the clouds, catching the man in it’s beam, highlighting the fairness of his hair and his thin handsome face, pale and impassive as he gently passed the beads he held through long slender fingers”

Phil realises that this is more than just a tourist attraction and utterly transfixed, she continues to watch as the unthinkable then happens. As the man finishes his prayer he crosses himself and bowing his head he rests his neck on the block;

“the executioner then held the blade against the exposed neck, marking his target, and then, raising his arms high he swung the axe, and as it flashed downward, Phil, shocked and sickened decided that she had seen enough and with a cry of something akin to pain she quickly turned away” .

And in case you are wondering, there is a somewhat tenuous gay link here as in a novel I was reading at the time, the author depicts Antony as having a male lover. (A Secret Alchemy by Emma Darwin)

Well enough of ghosties and ghouls.
Till next time.


Illustrations, Antony Woodville, second Earl Rivers & Pontefract Castle in 1630.

5 thoughts on “The Cloud of Unknowing

  1. Pingback: Somewhat Musing. (part one) | Defying Leviticus.

  2. zen and the art of borderline maintenance

    I’m hooked. “Oh God, she thought, there must be a storm brewing and I’m about to be struck by lightning.” Love that. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought it, but then, it is unfortunate that I have a stainless steel rod implanted next to my spine, which I fear someday will act as a lighting rod. Shivers!

    I want to do nothing but sit and read all of your posts, but no, I cannot NOW, for I must edit a paper, but I will be back, very soon. 🙂

    Your sentences are as smooth as glass! (unless it’s bumpy glass, in which case not!)

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