In which Pearl Barley embarks on a hair-raising adventure

Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt this week is

 Pearl Barley plucked at her hair with a comb. Immediately it began to scream. ‘Yes? What now?’

The quiff she had been trying to control stood erect, quivering with barely suppressed fury. ‘Why do you do that? You know I hate being raked awake.’

Exactly, thought Pearl. It’s the only way to control a double P – a personalised possession – making it suffer too.  While a double P was an occupational hazard for an Exorcist like Pearl, most were of a jolly if incorrigibly jokey disposition. Not Pearl’s; hers was from a right moody strand of spectral adhesion.

Pearl dropped her comb in her bag and checked she had everything. Astral charts, suppression potions, her scream capture flask, or ‘wail pail’ as it was known in the trade.

Her hair deliberately flopped over her eyes. ‘What’s on the agenda then?’ It couldn’t sound more bored.

‘A perm.’

She felt her scalp pull back hard and grabbed her ears to stop it ripping her forehead. ‘Joke. There’s another Corvus Dementicus to capture.’

‘What’s that?’ Her hair parted, a sure sign of interest even if the tone was as flat and lifeless as her fringe.

‘A mad crow possession. We’ve had a rash this month. Bloody annoying.’ Two strands curled round her ears making Pearl squirm. ‘Stop it. You’re tickling.’

‘Surely a crow is easy to exorcise. Though it might be beyond you.’

‘The Deacon wants examples, find out the cause. So we’ve got to catch it first.’

‘Bet I can help.’


Her hair streamed back, before French plaiting itself. ‘Watch and learn, biped.’

The rogue crow in question sat in the lower branches of an old and rather depressed oak, its leaves having not so much fallen as departed for a happier existence rotting into compost.

Pearl’s locks formed an unimpressed beehive. ‘Are you sure this is the one?’

‘We’ll try a nibble test.’ Pearl rummaged in her bag and tossed a crust onto the grass straight where the crow was looking. It followed the crust’s trajectory and sighed when it landed. Then it looked at Pearl and sighed again.

Pearl felt her follicles vibrate. ‘What are you doing? Are you self-scalping?’

‘Don’t be daft. That’s like suicide. No, you’ve proved your point. Now my turn.’

Pearl wished she could see what was happening. Whatever it was it was making a right mess of things. The next thing she knew, her hair was whistling. She looked around quickly, hoping there wasn’t anyone about. This was too much. Her mother had always said her hair was untameable but she’d never had to deal with a coiffured chorus-line.

Then, reluctantly at first the crow hopped along the  branch and onto Pearl’s shoulder. Before she had a chance to think the bird had nestled in her hair.

A twittering and a fibberatering broke out, which left Pearl with the distinct impression that her hair had developed an uncontrollable urge to hum the Hallelujah chorus. But when she went to ask her tresses to explain she was shushed and the bird enveloped in yet more strands. Finally a reedy voice said next to her ear. ‘It’s Jackdaw Syndrome. She’s been cursed so she only wants to collect things that sparkle. That’s why she won’t eat that bread. Seems a group of crows were on a hen do, only a group of hens were out for an evening’s crowing in the same Ash wood and, well, one thing led to another and the hens traded a few eggs for a packet of boil-in-a-bag harm-charms. It’ll be okay once it rains. Meantime she’d like to stay in the nest I’ve made, if that’s okay. ‘

Pearl gave it a moment’s thought. The Deacon would be pleased to have an answer. And while her hair might be a wingeing mop of moans, she was useful. ‘Alright.’

‘And about that perm…’

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. 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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19 Responses to In which Pearl Barley embarks on a hair-raising adventure

  1. Ritu says:

    Oh His Geoffleship!!! Too funny!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary Smith says:

    So funny, Geoff. From a pic of a crow on a tree to that – makes me wonder what the inside of your head is like!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Definitely a bad hair day

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Minnelied says:

    This is fantastic! Intelligent, articulate hair! I wish mine was :- )

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a fun story, Geoff, in fact, a rather hair-raising tale! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Iain Kelly says:

    Such a good laugh Geoff, very entertaining.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. JT Twissel says:

    Haha – reminds me of the time I went to sleep with my hair all puffed up and full of hairspray and woke up with all kinds of insects stuck in the web of goo that was my coif. (this was in Hawaii)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Photo prompt round up – Crow #writephoto | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

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