Saturday, 29 September 2018
Tales From The Bogside - Flash Fiction
The Iron Age woman preserved perfect but leathery in the peat bog, now lay preternaturally mute on the temperature controlled examination table. Yet it was peremptorily determined she had to be the bearer of a story, so the reconstruction bard with a scalpel for pen, was charged with divulging it. To unfold the telltale signs of her composition. The graphology of her biography; her story; her history; his version of herstory. Using his nuclear tools to penetrate her unclear make-up.
Her tattoos professedly painted her an aristocrat, so she was dubbed a princess. An anthropological one rather than one borne of fairy tale, though no less mythic. A carbon-dated apologue from modern science’s non-apologists. Her backstory back-dated 28 centuries to compound the public’s interest. The voice from and of the past, the mother of the nation, itself bogged down by present day economic realities.
The hempen ligature around her neck excited proclamations of a summary execution. The expostulations centring on whether she had been dispatched as a human sacrifice, renouncing her life to put the tribe in good odour with the gods, or as mere criminal, which would give the lie to the previous cast of her caste. Less a matriarchal figurehead, more a primordial victim of domestic abuse. Competing modern day fablers speaking for her in a myriad tongues, when she herself possessed none; it having been removed around the time of her death, so she could not report from the afterlife and cavil with either god or carnal authority.
Her tattoos were, in actuality, geometric. Imparting as much narrative delineation as the chance creases and folds of her flesh under the force of the fusty water. Though the bog had held decay at bay, the word in today’s parlance comes to stand for baulking progress. As has become the word ‘story’. (S-)tale.