Sunday 21 September 2014

Short Fiction - A Letter from the Dead by Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson's story 'A Letter from the Dead' won third prize in November 2013's short fiction contest.

A Letter from the Dead by Ian Thompson

My dearest Jonathan,

I hope I find you in good health after your recent adventures.

May I firstly congratulate you upon your most meritorious marriage to Wilhelmina Murray. Whilst I felt a trifle disgruntled not to be invited to the celebration, I also understood your reasoning. Time has, as always, wafted that ire away. I hear little Quincy is growing up to be a feisty toddler. Your fighting spirit is a tribute to your lineage, and has obviously been inherited by the little fellow.

It was such a shame that our last meeting ended so abruptly, and most discourteous of Abraham. One day I will be forced to have words with him, as I cannot have my sisters being treated so. But that is for another day.

I have enclosed a painting for you, as I know how much you enjoyed watching the indigenous wildlife during your stay. It is a very rare bird from the crow family. So rare, in fact, that it only inhabits certain dwellings. Yet it is not the dwelling that it favours with its presence, more the occupier. This picture is of mine own bird, and I painted it whilst recuperating.

The feathery marvel is from mythology, and is an offshoot of an ancient Roman bird, namely the Caladrius. Now, myth holds the Caladrius to be a snow-white bird, but as you can observe, mine is blue. You see, whilst the original birds were able to take human sickness into themselves, and then fly away and disperse it; that was not quite enough for people like me. For we have our own peculiar needs and therefore we modified legend to make the birds our own.

I beseech you to understand that the upkeep of immortality demands more than mere chance. For around any given corner or alcove, there may be a shadow, lurking, waiting, to cut off your head, or worse; drive a stake through your heart. But you know all about those people.

The bird is thing of beauty do you not think? I re-named mine Lucy, recently. The bird did not seem to mind, and it gives me some fond memories. Lucy took an age to heal me. You did, after all, leave me for dust.

However, let’s let bygones be bygones. Do you like my new coffin? It’s made of stone, specifically a grey limestone from the mines of Govajdia. You probably do not like the carvings; after all, you never had a flair for the flamboyant. I cannot say the same for myself.

Well, this was just meant to be a short note, but I find myself rambling as usual. I must end now, to rest and continue my convalescence.

As soon as I am fully restored, I will be sure to drop by, as I miss both Mina and yourself.  And I find that I have a growing thirst to visit your shores, and London, once more.

Your friend,


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