Next to Godliness #janedoughtery # microfiction #flashfiction

Jane Doughtery’s prompt comes with this pciture


Francesca Skylark spent her whole life fighting disease. As a girl she nursed her twin sister back to health through, first, scarlet fever and, later, measles. At 15 she watched helplessly as her father contracted dysentery and her mother a nasty virus common in the south-eastern Punjab. Womanhood came and she joined a troop supporting the British forces as they expanded the Empire across the globe, working feverishly to keep the mainly male teams fit and well. It seemed obvious to her, long before it became common practice, to ensure a high level of personal hygiene.

But such dedication took its toll. Gradually while her strength continued to astonish, her mental health suffered and her dedication to cleanliness became an obsession that impeded the progress of the adventures her superiors were charged with undertaking. Many had cause to thank her for saving their lives but at a terrible cost. When eventually she could no longer separate her nightmares from reality she began to wander around the camps and outposts where she was taken, ceaselessly washing her hands in the way she had designed to ensure each wrinkle and crevice was free of germs before any operations commenced. Eventually she died and it is said you can see her ghost, on still nights, walking the wards, washing her hands and encouraging all to better, healthier ways.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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16 Responses to Next to Godliness #janedoughtery # microfiction #flashfiction

  1. It’s true! That gesture, the way she’s holding out her hands, it’s as if she’s holding them in the hot air from a hand-drier.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ritu says:

    Love your take!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Annecdotist says:

    Fascinating story and a most imaginative interpretation of the image.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jan says:

    If you must be a ghost with a message that’s a good one to have.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Charli Mills says:

    What makes me sad about the ghostly far is that one’s personal tragedy never again is at rest. Nice response!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Eileen says:

    Too much of a good thing……humanity seldom avoids taking perfectly good ideas to warped extremes.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I couldn’t help but smile at the image of a ghost constantly washing her hands 🙂


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