Not Guilty But… (Five Sentence Fiction, July 2012)

The prompt for Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction this week was the word ‘Scarlet’.

“Someone… in this school,” said the headmistress, pausing for effect and seeming to grow in height with each syllable “is a … thief.”

She spat the last word across the rows of girls sitting cross legged on the floor, neat and tidy in their navy uniforms, their shiny, freshly washed faces turning this way and that, as though a display of curiosity and horror could be construed as testament of innocence.

The teachers, sitting on comfortable chairs lining the sides of the hall, examined the faces of their charges with vigilance, their gaze lingering on the ‘usual suspects’ to determine any evidence of discomfort or guilt.

Shirley sat nervously biting at her lips, pleading with whatever part of her central nervous system was uncoiling itself deep within, threatening once more to launch itself, as if it had been programmed at birth to detect and respond to an inappropriate moment.

She was innocent; oh god she was sooo innocent yet, like clockwork, that overwhelming tide of scarlet begin creeping relentlessly up her neck and across her freckled cheeks, drawing the gaze of teachers and friends like a magnet.

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About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in By the Way ..., Just Sayin' and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Not Guilty But… (Five Sentence Fiction, July 2012)

  1. Erinleary says:

    Great story – each sentence packed a wallop.

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  2. Oh this is great! I am such am empath, that I get sweaty if a singer is off, or a stage actor isn’t convincing. I’ll bet my face reddens as well. This poor girl…guilty by reaction. What will happen next?

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    • Sandra says:

      Thank you! I went through a phase of this when I was a kid – it was a kind of ‘wouldn’t it be awful if I blushed/threw up/needed the loo (fill in the gaps as you like) and hey presto! I did. Thankfully I got over it. Phew! 🙂

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  3. I love that… I was that child…x

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  4. Beautifully crafted, each sentence building to a wonderful and humorous (though not for Shirley) climax. Very enjoyable use of the prompt Sandra.

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  5. ahblack57 says:

    A pleasure as always. I could see the strutting headmistress and hear the accusatory tone of voice. I could also clearly picture the innocent blushing girl whose color no doubt deepened as stares turned towards her. Great job.

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  6. Regina West says:

    I really liked this. I could feel the tense atmosphere in the school room. Nice post.

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  7. Ha ha, brilliant! Turning a shade of red right now thinking of the misdemeanors that weren’t my fault…Hmmmm… You stretched the tension so well!

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  8. From the dramatic opening sentence, you had me hanging on your every word… 🙂
    I really feel for the Shirleys of the world… it’s so unfair…
    And this sounds like the “headmistress-from-hell”… LOL!

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  9. Lizzie Koch says:

    You created such a tense atmosphere and poor Shirley . . obviously not guilty here but guilty about something . . . Well done!! xx

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  10. This is absolute excellence!!! That first sentence, I could see the woman rising up angry. Perfect images!!!! Amazing 🙂

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