Saturday 24 June 2017

'A Conversation between the Spice Trader’s Daughter and her Lover, a Fortnight after She Burned at the Stake' by Sophie van Llewyn

In the courtroom, the sound of what they wanted to hear was blinding. But not for me - I saw the Inquisitors for what they were, children with shiny scalps, overgrown beards and ill-fitting clothing. But nonetheless, I filled the silence with images from fairytales I had heard at filthy street corners, whispered in dubious inns and other open houses. I said that we made love in cemeteries at midnight and in secret clearings in the woods, bathed in the light of the full moon. But I lied. At night, ours was the horse stall, making the wet straw crackle with our fire. My father’s mare rustled my hair with her heavy breathing, while I was undoing the laces of your cape. I told them that I had been possessed. And that was true, in a way. I was another one of your possessions, held by you a bit above your fine laced corset, but nonetheless below your golden locket. In truth, that was where I wished to be — clinging at your breast. I told the inquisitors stories about blood and daggers, crucifixes and potions, brewed under the same starlight which had caressed our naked bodies. You were long dead before they killed you. I saw the desert spreading behind your eyes as I spoke. As many grains of sand as broken promises. I thought that I would be free of you, once your enticing body became cinders and charred bones. But the possession truly began afterwards. I now make my wife chew nutmeg, so that your taste would linger on my lips every time I kiss her. I carry a bone from your little finger in a red leather pouch around my neck. I stir every time I feel the smell of horse piss. I might have to become a sailor.


  1. This is a feverish, glowing with danger piece of flash, Sophie. I love it!

  2. Evocative historical flash! Love.

  3. Lovely to read this piece again.

  4. "I now make my wife chew nutmeg, so that your taste would linger on my lips every time I kiss her."

  5. Gillian Walker25 June 2017 at 12:22

    Such an atmospheric piece! Really intense, Sophie. I really love it.

  6. Lovely writing, Sophie. A ping in the heart!


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