A work, it may be progress.

Now, I have in my past enjoyed the colourful writings of such luminaries as Tolkien and Peake, indeed, the stories from Gormenghast are almost Dickens like in their rambling descriptive nature. So, below is perhaps (or perhaps not) the beginning of a short story in the vein of aforesaid towering castle of happenings.


Dr Henry Leviticus Pinchpart leant back in his surgery chair as he had done countless times before. Today had been a successful day and he wanted to celebrate. The door was slightly ajar and drawing in a deep and fulfilling breath, he summoned his assistant.

‘MAUDE!’ he bellowed. ‘MAUDE!’. All the loose fittings in the room rattled at his outburst.

Somewhere beyond the sumptuous oak panelled confines of the musty cave he called home, a teacup shivered in it’s saucer then fell to the floor, slipping from the fragile old hand that had held it. The crash as porcelain scattered in every direction on a diminishing wave of hot tea filled the silent gap as the Doctor refreshed his capacious lungs ready for another go.

A small nervous head eased itself around the door, furtive eyes darting all around like a mouse searching out a safe route.

‘Ah Maude, there you are. Be a dear and fetch my pen would you. I have a letter to write’.

She scuttled over to the desk, fiddling with a lock of her once glorious golden hair as she went. The pen, resplendent on a green velvet lined pen stand, reflected light from the glass oil lamp that hung from an ornate ceiling rose in it’s finely engraved gold detailing. Maude offered the pen that was already within his reach to the good Doctor, eyes downcast.

With a flourish not unlike that of a magician, the Doctor extended his arms before him, letting his perfect white cuffs have their moment in the light to show off the gold and ruby links that kept them suitably together.

He took the pen without a word, took an age to unscrew the cap and waited, pen poised over the velum on the desk. Maude hovered just in sight of the doctor, unsure of whether she was still needed or most likely unwanted, like a spec of dust on a picture.

For what seemed like an age, the doctor held his position, the gold nib of the pen floating just above the page, waiting to spew it’s cargo of unformed words. The doctor coughed politely. Maude, sensing that indeed her services were no longer required moved to the door without looking back. She fumbled with the polished brass knob before closing it behind her.

Still the doctor waited, until…

‘Maude!’. He knew, as he always did, that Maude was just behind the door, hands wringing with anxiety. Maybe it was the anticipation of the day when she would be summarily dismissed, although there was no good reason for the doctor to do so, after all, like her mother before her, Maude had given many years of subservient obediency.

Pinchpart heard her move away, heard the sound of her umbrella slide from the elephant’s leg stand near the outer door and the sound of her turning the handle with a rattle of nerves.

‘BANG!’. The door closed behind her, then the slight pause and the dull thud of the heavy brass knocker falling home.

Peace at last. The anticipation of the letter to come had been to much for the delicate ink duct of the pen, in fact it completely failed to release a single sans serif character. After the trials of the day it was all the jolly good doctor could do to contain his frustrations. With an inspired idea he put the entire pen head into his fleshy maw and sucked.

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