The Lantern


My heart was beating as I listened to my grandmother tell me about how for years she was secretly courted by a wealthy young man, despite his family being dead against their relationship.

During all those years that he and I snook away for romantic rendezvous…

We ne’er showed

Our secret code

At his abode

…to any other soul. It was a mysterious unspoken language between he and I. All those years when we were kept apart by the most miserable of circumstances, his rich aunt who detested that my father was a mere tradesman. She announced our union would be a disgrace to the noble bloodline from which she descended, and forbade him to see me.

However, with his encouragement Auntie would go away for the occasional trip to Lyme or the New Forest on one of her little vacations. My beloved would always hasten to give me that sign, so that I knew that apart from the servants, he would be alone at home and could receive me…

I’d see that light

That meant we might

Make love that night

…and I would rush down to the manor house, squeeze through the gap he had created in the perimeter walls and make my way through the pristine gardens. I had to climb the trellis erected for the wisteria, to reach his balcony. He would be there waiting to lift me over the stone balustrade.

It was terribly exciting, terribly romantic. He would kiss each one of the scratches I had incurred in my climb up over the gnarled twigs that scraped against my soft skin. He would hold me in his arms, whispering to me that it was agony not being allowed to see me.

Eventually your Grandfather spurned his rich aunt’s wishes in choosing to elope so he could marry me. In outrage, his aunt cut him out of her will. Your grandfather gave up his inheritance for me.

After his crabby aunt had passed away, he went to visit his second cousin who had received the inheritance and made just one request. Your grandfather asked for the lantern that hung in the porch on the south side of the house. His request was granted, and we fixed it up in the vestibule here at the cottage we raised our children in.

The lantern that for eight years proclaimed the message I was longing for:

“The coast is clear

You need not fear

Come in my dear”



This was my response to FANDANGO’S FLASH FICTION Challenge:

17 thoughts on “The Lantern”

    1. Don’t tell anyone…but I wanted to write a poem….and those little rhymes were the start of the poem. However, I was so sleepy, I knew I did not have the energy to write a poem. So…the narrative passages were what I came up with instead. But after I had finished, I decided I quite liked the end result!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Well done for getting your next book ready for Amazon publication! I’m keen to experiment with that avenue myself – how are you still able to edit new corrections into something available for pre-order?


    1. Thanks Tom!

      I have a friend who has helped me because I did find Amazon a little confusing. But I do know that Amazon makes it very easy to update your manuscript both before and after you have published.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for clarifying! πŸ™‚ What format did you choose for uploading so you could still make later edits – Word Doc or PDF? Does it resize your manuscript to fit an smaller-sized novel, or did A4 work for your previous books?


        1. Sooooo…I am a bit sketchy when it comes to technology. Paula Light gave me some very helpful information, but I still needed help! I wrote my manuscript in Microsoft Word. My friend downloaded some free software onto my computer called Kindle Create. But I am so hopeless I had to send the Microsoft Word file to my friend.
          He got me to watch him use it. Basically, when you use Kindle Create, you can upload your Microsoft Word document and it will convert it into a publishing friendly format.

          I have tried to play with little projects and I am getting used to how it works slowly slowly!

          Anyway…then when you publish with Amazon, it is better to upload the Kindle Create version. If you upload a Microsoft Word file, it does not look right at all!!! Margins are wrong, the table of chapters doesn’t seem to work properly. But Kindle Create does look right….which I guess is exactly what is designed for…to make self-publishing easy.

          It is easy with Amazon to publish your manuscript in either Kindle or Paperback.

          You can practice and make lots of changes…for as long as you want before you ever publish. You can change the cover, make corrections to your manuscript and all sorts before and after you publish.

          I wish I had more technical prowess…but it is all a bit confusing to me. What I do know is that it takes your scribblings and daydreams and makes them into a real and beautiful book which you can hold in your own hands and tell all your family and friends about!

          It is very rewarding to see your book become real….and it costs you nothing.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks for such in-depth advice, Mel! πŸ˜€ Had a few projects bouncing around on the back-burner – wasn’t sure which publishing platform to try out. Thanks for being so encouraging ❀


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