Friday Fictioneers – Who’s unclean?

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - Who's unclean - 200205

PHOTO PROMPT © TED STRUTZ

Who’s unclean?

“You shouldn’t be here! You gave birth four weeks ago and you haven’t been churched yet. Singing carols in the airport is an act of worship!”

Cathryn glared at Pastor Lucas.

“What nonsense! A woman isn’t unclean after giving birth!”

“Go home, Cathryn.” Pastor Lucas turned away and followed the choir.

He watched them in their white robes rising serenely up the escalator like angels, and his eyes lingered on young Beth, golden-haired, blue-eyed, the most angelic of all.

The singing was heavenly – but Cathryn was waiting by the exit.

“You do realise that the child is yours?” she snarled.

Inlinkz – click here to join in!

54 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Who’s unclean?

  1. I kind’a thought this was where it was going … oy vey. I’m thinking, the uncleanliness has an x+y chromosome in this tale. It is often the dogmatic, punitive, leering ones who pretend to have the absolute manual for doing ‘god’s work’ isn’t it?
    Well done, Penny! I hope she saves Beth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Na’ama
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Certainly it was the dogmatic pastor in this story who was making use of the ‘rule book’ to manipulate women to his own advantage. I was really thinking more generally, though. My first title for this story was ‘Smash the Patriarchy’ which probably gives a more accurate picture of how I was feeling!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • I thought you were thinking more generally … and it certainly fit a bigger picture. From the Catholic Church sexual abuses, to rape culture, to the casting couch and to the use of shaming and silencing in order to make the accused ‘become’ the ‘real victim.’
        I hear ya!
        Na’ama

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Iain
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I agree, it’s a very strange idea that reproduction and childbirth can be viewed as unclean, but it’s like that in many parts of the world.
      All the major Christian denominations have had ceremonies to welcome a woman back into the congregation after childbirth – although these were often much more positive than being about ritual pollution; they were often a celebration that the woman has come through childbirth safely. Also, the interval before the service was intended as a period of rest and recovery, and arrangements were made for others to look after the woman. And there was always debate as to the existence of any ritual impurity.
      But, in a way, the impurity element of the story has obscured what I was hoping to communicate which is the way men use ‘rule books’ to control women’s behaviour for their own advantage.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rochelle
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, the muse was feeling very indignant when she prompted me to write this! The initial title was ‘Smash the Patriarchy’, and, on reflection, that’s a better title than the one I eventually chose.
      Shalom
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Ted
      Thank you for reading and for your kind comment. It’s a good photo for a prompt – thank you! The fact that the choir’s surplices were dirty was probably a subconscious cue to write a story using impurity!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  2. Cleanliness indeed. Funny how the ones who “sully” the women are the ones who judge. I love how you had her snarl at him in the end – probably a small amount of the frustration she would rather be letting out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dale
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad you liked Cathryn ‘snarling’ at him in the end – I was a bit worried as to whether it might feel inappropriate. BTW my original title for this was ‘Smash the Patriarchy’, so you’ll probably see where it came from! I’m sure you’re right – Cathryn must have felt a great deal of frustration.
      With very best wishes
      Penny
      xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Ali
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m afraid the pastor is feeling tempted (again). I didn’t make it clear in my story that both Cathryn and Beth are over 18, and the sex between Cathryn and the pastor was consensual, and it took your comment to help me realise I should have done – so thank you for that!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear CE
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, a lecherous man of the church is hardly a surprise, I fear. They’re tempted like the rest of us, and sometimes they fall.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Brenda
      Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful comments. I’m afraid the pastor didn’t live up to his vocation it would seem. In my experience, most pastors/ministers/priests are good people – not devoid of human weakness, but trying very hard to live up to their calling. Pastor Lucas is a fictional construct designed so I could use the photoprompt to write a story about how women are controlled by the laws men make for them.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Penny, for noting the distinction. They do overall get a bad “rap.” Maybe because the expectations are so high, I don’t know. I do know several kind-hearted, compassionate priests and pastors as well. Your last sentence is sadly true, women worldwide are controlled by “the laws men make for them.”

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    • Dear Francine
      Thank you for reading and for your kind and thoughtful comments. I’m glad you feel the dialogue has energy, and that the last line was effective. Useful feedback – thank you! I share your amazement at the mindset of some men.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

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