To celebrate the coming of spring (and with apologies to readers presently languishing under a carpet of unseasonal snow) here’s a snippet from my historical short story Jack in the Green, set around May Day in the 1920s:
As Arthur exited the garage, a gaggle of young women dressed in simple, workaday fashion crossed his path. Two of them carried baskets laden with primroses, cowslips, and violets, and a third—Lily Ives, Arthur realised as they drew nearer—had her arms full of boughs of flowering hawthorn. He wondered that she didn’t prick herself. They looked at Arthur, and at the garage, and at one another. And then they burst into peals of laughter that echoed up and down the lane as Arthur walked stiffly back to the inn.
Arthur didn’t visit the tap room that evening. He remained in his room, listening to the sounds of conviviality that filtered up from below, and tried not to think of dark eyes, sturdy limbs and a roguish smile.
Did everyone in this unsettling place know everything about his business?
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Stranded in a remote country village in 1920s England by his car breaking down, shy young Arthur finds himself drawn to the rough mechanic who comes to his aid, Bob Goodman. Forced to stay until the May Day holiday is over, Arthur makes the best of it, enjoying the village procession and fete.
But the villagers seem to know more about him than they should, and there’s a second, darker, May celebration that starts when the sun’s gone down. In the drunken revelry that follows, Arthur is whisked off in a wild dance by Goodman, who plays the part of Jack in the Green, the spirit of the greenwood.
Dancing turns to loving, but is everything what it seems? And is one night all Arthur can have?
Poor Arthur, I feel so sorry for him when those women burst out laughing at him.
Poor lamb. He needs a good cuddle.
Spoilers: he gets one in the end. 😉
LOL, no need for spoilers. Rest assured, I’ve read it! 🙂
Aw poor Arthur
Love that last sentence. It gives such a great feel for what a village can be like.
Ah, poor Arthur! Such laughter is never reassuring.
Yeah, and he’s a sensitive soul, too!
I feel for him. And I’m intrigued about why he finds the town “unsettling.”
I can almost smell those spring flowers! 🙂
I love spring. Was out in the woods with the bluebells again today. 🙂
I love mythical/pagan England come to life…:D
Poor Arthur, it’s awful when a group of people laugh at you.
Small town and village life where everyone knows everything.
I like the details of the May Day celebrations and all of the ways in which you show how Arthur feels excluded.
Why are they laughing at him? I’m not sure I like this village.
Poor Arthur. I feel so bad for him.