False Lights – Magpie Tales

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We struggle for money, aye. It’s always hand to mouth and Mum says it was the same for her growing up, and for Granny and Grandad, and for their parents too, Old Sam Trelawney and his wife, Smiling Nell.

They called her Smiling Nell after the scar that pulled her mouth upwards into a grin. When she was just been married and carrying my Grandad in her belly, she tripped on a rope and cut her face on her filleting knife down at the wharf.

Dad didn’t want us to be short of money and didn’t see why we should just be poor. He always said that times needed to change.

Well, they have now, with him in a sailor’s uniform, firing cannon and all.

Thing is, we have even less than before – a sailor’s pay ain’t so grand, not even half he got for setting down to the shore with his men, waving his lights and pulling the boats on to the rocks. I followed them all, silent as a ghost, lying on the cliff top out of sight of the Wrecker’s Moon. Yes, he risked his life and liberty then, but the rewards were mighty fine. I still have a silk shawl to prove it – it smells of the sea.

Now he’s away, earning the King’s shilling, and he might never come back

Nan says he brought it on himself and he should be thankful he didn’t swing for it.

Nan’s not always right, just like Mum never wants to hear the truth. Wrecking is mighty exciting, I think. I’m going to be the best lady wrecker in all of Cornwall when I’m old enough.


Here’s my latest entry into Magpie Tales – I hope you enjoy it! If it feels like you’ve stepped part way into a story, you’ll be right! Here’s the first instalment submitted to VisDare, and then the second instalment submitted to Five Sentence Fiction.

This week, they are all told by the same young lady, and we are treated to her own firm but (probably) fair views on life, death, truths and falsehoods. I hope you enjoy the stories – please do visit Magpie Tales for more!

Mother Hen – Magpie Tales


Lor’! He were like a moth to a flame, that boy! I told him, I did, that it would come to a bad end, but would he listen? No, course he wouldn’t, he was blinded by her, that fancy piece and her airy ways!

I tell you though, he should’ve gone for my Lucy, he should. She had a steady job with prospects, she did. Safely settled at that Captain de Riviera’s town house, working hard as a lady’s maid. And most of all, she loved the bones of him, she really did.

P’shaw! Look what’s become of them all! That boy Kit wanderin’ the streets lighting lamps every night, talking to ‘isself like a madman, and that young lady, dead an’ all. She come to a bad end, she did, an’ I feel sorry for the Captain, rattlin’ around alone in that big old house of his, really I do.

But it’s my Lucy I worrit on, day and night. That boy can’t see how much she loves him. Always did an’ always will. How it hurt her to see him blinded by that fancy girl’s ways… I don’t know how she stood it all along…


Here’s my latest entry into Magpie Tales – I hope you enjoy it! If it feels like you’ve stepped part way into a story, you’ll be right! I wrote two tales yesterday for VisDare and Five Sentence Fiction, and thought it would be good to round them off with this little offering.

They are told from three different perspectives – firstly, that of Kit Roberts’ mysterious admirer, next Little Mo and finally, as told here, Lucy’s mother. Did something sinister happen? You betcha! Who played a foul game? That would be telling!