Paradise Lost – Friday Fictioneers

Copyright David Stewart

It’s a typical English village, all duck-ponds, rose-clad cottages and cricket pitches.

But Nick has a gift for scything through respectable facades.

Nick has a nose for human frailties; he inhales the  ghetto surrounding him.

The vicar, who has lost his faith, takes nightly refuge in the whisky bottle.

His daughter, the so-called village virgin, is lusting after the mayor, who’s been helping himself to the town tax-receipts to meet the blackmail demands of the local police constable.

The local schoolmaster… Hell’s teeth!

“Now here,” thinks old Nick, strolling down the street, “is a place I can do business.”


Raining heavily here in France, as tropical storm Henri blows itself out, with winds approaching 100kph forecast for today.  Moored up at Gray in NE France, time to hunker down,  check the ropes and plunder our limited broadband connection.  😦   Thanks to Rochelle, la capitaine of the Friday Fictioneers port for her continued selfless application to the activities of our dedicated crew of writers.

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

83 Responses to Paradise Lost – Friday Fictioneers

  1. Dear Sandra,

    I can see Old Nick, clad in back hooded cape with his scythe, patrolling the village for souls. Hell’s teeth, I might have had that one for a teacher at some point. 😉 Well written and evocative. I read it twice just for the shear pleasure of it.




  2. Nice. It leaves me wondering what Nick’s business is.


  3. micklively says:

    I love your cynicism.
    Good piece.


  4. misskzebra says:

    There are so many phrases here that I really like, the second and third lines in particular.


  5. Ira PT says:

    He certainly has some hidden agendas… really want to know his nxt move…


  6. Kir Piccini says:

    Oh yes, a story inside a story. Love all those complex , complicated people.


  7. Old Nick can always find places that he is welcome and perhaps where he is seen as the lesser evil. Good story. Stay safe in the storm.


  8. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    I know who Nick is. (“I know you,” says Billy Markham, “from many a dark and funky place,
    But you always spoke in a different voice and wore a different face.
    While me, I’ve gambled here on Music Row with hustlers and with whores,
    And, Hell, I ain’t afraid to roll them devilish dice of yours.”)

    What an absolutely perfect story, Sandra. Keep dry and warm and safe and above all, keep writing. (And keep watching the lochs for me.)

    Love and Aloha,



    • Sandra says:

      Thanks for reminding me of that piece, reviewed by the NY Post with the description “jokes coming Faust and furious”. 🙂 And thank you for visiting again, I’ve been to yours and as ever it’s left me thinking. Keeping a watch out for you. Take care.


  9. Love it. I recognise all those characters. Rich pickings for old Nick.


  10. That ‘Ole Nick is a bit of a devil! Fortunately, this village is nothing like any that neighbour me here on the Sussex coast (where the rain is also relentless)
    Rosey Pinkerton’s blog


  11. paulmclem says:

    Old Nick or Little Saint? Guessing the former. Lol.


  12. Scything facades. Very nice.


  13. k rawson says:

    That is a wicked delight. Mesmerizing!


  14. Margaret says:

    Fantastic. What great characters, and how skilfully you’ve woven the backstories together. I love it.


  15. This is a truly inspired, brilliant, creative, imaginative post! Terse and spare sentences, brilliant single-sentence character and story details and a great protagonist in old Nick the devil.


  16. Joy Pixley says:

    How fun! It reminded me of some of the Agatha Christie mysteries –set in some perfectly normal, peaceful seeming small town, harboring all kinds of questionable behavior!


  17. plaridel says:

    it’s a place that needs Christmas. way to go old st. nick.


  18. This seems so real, in a fantastical sort of way.


  19. Just in time for Halloween and the evil that some do. Nick is a very rich man. Needful Things, the temptations, and those who never refuse. Wonderful story!


  20. ceayr says:

    Great stuff.
    This made me chuckle quite a bit.
    Reminiscent of the fabulous sketch towards the end of Monty Python’s Meaning of Life.


  21. Bastet says:

    Excellent ending and a great read!


  22. rgayer55 says:

    Made me chuckle too. Nothing is hidden from Old Nick. He’s capitalized on my frailties a few times too.


  23. gahlearner says:

    Wonderful. You make the sad truth behind the pretty facade interesting and Old Nick an intriguing protagonist.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. liz young says:

    I’ve just moved back to an English village – I hope you’re wrong!


  25. Francesca Smith says:

    I can imagine an episode of Midsummer Murders taking place here. Brilliantly woven!


  26. What a wonderful portrayal of human nature.


  27. Sandra, this sounds like quite the dysfunctional town, so much so it would make a great novel or movie. I think it sounds like the perfect place for Old Nick.


  28. draliman says:

    The truth behind the façade! I’ll need to keep a closer eye on the people in my village in case Old Nick is hanging around here too 🙂 Great story!


  29. Jan Brown says:

    Sandra, I love your writing. “He inhales the ghetto surrounding him.” Brilliant!


  30. Lynda says:

    Sandra, no doubt about who Nick is, but I have never heard him called by that name. So much information packed into your story! You certainly have a way with words.


  31. MythRider says:

    You did a great job setting the tone of this village. So sad that there really are places like this.


  32. Such a tight, edgy, unnerving piece, Sandra. You, at your best!
    Stay warm, dry and safe… wishing your blue skies soon. xox


  33. Sandra, I’m so glad you had a connection so you could post this. Old Nick is walking around everywhere and you caught a moment of his destructive life perfectly. On a happier note, I hope the weather has gotten better. But if not, batten down the hatches, eat, drink, and be merry. 🙂



  34. Nick sounds like a scoundrel!!! Great post!


  35. Amy Reese says:

    Wonderful writing, Sandra. I loved how your set up the scene for Old Nick. He sounds like he doesn’t play nice. Keep safe and warm!


  36. erinleary says:

    Nick is someone we all know but often choose not to recognize. Hope you survived the storm!


  37. This is very well written, you concealed Nick’s identity nicely but then on a second reading words like “Scythed” and “Hell’s teeth” make me wonder how i missed it! Nicely done.


  38. Great story, being a village girl by birth I can relate to some of the characters!


  39. subroto says:

    Devil of a good idea that, I might just nick it. Beautifully done as always.


  40. Oliana says:

    Great story! This could be a vignette for “Needful Things” by Stephen King. Of course that character was actually the devil.


  41. Good story, Sandra. This sounds like one of the English villages Agatha Christie wrote about. Her detectives were like Old Nick. They could always discover the evil. Well written as always. 🙂 — Suzanne


  42. Dee says:

    Great story Sandra, well written as always.


  43. i b arora says:

    clever of you to leave somethings unsaid, wonder what Nick has in his mind


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