Tell A Tale in 500 Words

The Regime By Katherine Slater

The regime was work and home undivided for my copper haired sisters and I. We lay in darkness, imprisoned within the confined conditions of the cruel workhouse. Sometimes the wind would creep through narrow cracks in the rotting wooden walls; a beckoning call from a world outside of our own. Some of my friends were riddled with lice and ticks, but we were all prey to one parasite, who benefited from our expense.

I have since heard tales from an era gone by where times were hard and bleak, although we existed during a so called modern age. Yes, we existed, we did not live and did so with an unthinking acceptance.

Our master was a tall man with a heavy brow, which hung above his deep set eyes. He would lurch clumsily around the workhouse to collect what we had produced. Our master was not a kind man.

During one winter's day, which started as monotonously as any other, something happened. I heard a gnawing noise coming from the rotten wooden panel behind me. I turned my head to one side and peered through a slender gap. I saw a pair of amber eyes staring back at me, which caused me to jolt backwards. All of a sudden the wood splintered as the stranger tore a hole in the wall. My instinct told me to fear the stranger, but I lunged towards him into the blinding light of the world.

I looked back at the workhouse and saw the stranger furiously ripping more holes into the building. My friends burst out with a primitive fear and ran towards me.

We were all startled by an unexpected short loud sound, which echoed all around us. It was a sound we feared and had learnt to associate with the removal of one of the girls who had not produced enough, or one of our weary mother hens.

The stranger stood squarely and confidently in front of our enraged master. Master slowly lifted a smooth metal barrel. ‘Run’ barked the stranger. We instantly made our escape, but he did not join us.

Today I strut around freely and scratch the cool earth beneath my feet. I have been told that not all of the strangers kind are a heroic as he and that not all men are as terrible as our master. I often think of those still confined to the workhouses and hope that one day a change will appear for them too.


see more submissions for the Tell A Tale in 500 Words click here