Written for Alastair’s Photo Fiction. A bit of loose literary liberty taken with heraldic meanings. Story begins after the photo.
Word Count: 204
Recently, I was lucky to visit historical sites with my friend, Ethan Hatton, an expert on medieval history. While touring one building in Wales, I noticed an interesting gargoyle holding a heraldic shield.
“You know,” commented Ethan. “Heraldry can be read much like hieroglyphs to convey simple messages.”
“What does this one say?”
“It says, ‘Wouldst thou steppeth upon mine brother’s face?‘ ”
I looked at Ethan. “Is that typical?”
“No. It’s most unusual.”
I looked back. The shield had changed! “Look Ethan. It’s different now.”
“Good lord! I’m sure that’s impossible, but there it is. Now it says, ‘Thou smothereth him beneath thine boot.‘ ”
“Weird. How could it change like that?” I said.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. Ah! It’s changed again. It says, ‘Woe to my kindred who lay trampled under foot.‘ ”
“Hmm. There seems to be a common theme here.” I looked down and realized I was standing on a gargoyle relief sculpture set into the floor. I stepped back reflexively, unaware I had trampled upon a piece of history. “Look Ethan. It was telling us to get off the other one’s face.”
“Ridiculous!” scoffed Ethan.
“It makes sense doesn’t it? What does the shield say now?”
“It says, ‘Bloody tourists!‘ ”
Each week, Alastair Forbes presents one of his own photos as a writing prompt for flash fiction between 100 and 200 words long (400 words if the muse demands). Here’s this week’s original prompt: http://alastairsphotofiction.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/photo-fiction-october-20th-2013/