Well, not really, although I have been appreciating the joys of Spring on my government-approved exercise walks around the countryside where I live. Tree blossom has come and largely gone, and the bluebells are on the wane, bringing summer ever nearer.
As yesterday was May Day, it seems appropriate this week to share a snippet from my May-themed historical short story, Jack in the Green:
Here, my nervous (and necessarily closeted) protagonist Arthur is a fish out of water in a country village in the 1920s:
“Builds firm muscles, pulling pints,” a voice observed in Arthur’s ear.
“I, ah, really? I hadn’t noticed,” Arthur babbled, discovering to his discomfort that Bob Goodman was standing so close behind him he could feel the heat from the man’s skin.
Despite the mildness of the evening, there was a roaring fire in the grate, and the atmosphere in the tap room was hot and oppressive. Arthur felt a strong urge to mop his brow. Goodman grinned, giving his dark features a disturbingly devilish cast. “Course you had, sir. No sin in looking, that’s what I always say.”
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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?