Open Carriage, Open Hand (short story)


Wilson’s War #2

-When we last saw Wilson, he had woken up late after spending the night playing at being lord of the manor. Now, the real master returns-

“His Lordship’s on the drive. I can see him, Will.” Annie’s frail, high-pitched voice called up the stairs.

Wilson tugged the corners of the quilt to make it appear that the bed had never been slept in, drew all of the curtains and, in a moment of panic, flung the silver tray under the four-poster. Sparing the room only a brief glance to check that he had covered his tracks, he sprinted out of the room and stumbled down the wide, carpeted stairway.

He came to attention between Cookie and Annie next to the main door, the three servants standing in a line with their backs straight and their chests pushed out. Time seemed to slow down and Wilson grew restless. He desperately wanted to rush back upstairs and find a better place to hide the breakfast tray. His foot tapped a fast rhythm against the tiled floor and his fingers clenched and unclenched repetitively.

“Stop fidgeting, boy.” Cookie snapped.

“Sorry, Cookie. It’s just, what if he finds out?”

“Finds out about what?” She asked.

“That I was in the master bedroom.”

“You shouldn’t have let them eggs get cold. It’s not enough that I rustled up a hot supper for you and you slept in the nice bed? You got to have a lazy morning-in as well? Your cheek, boy, it’s something else.”

“So he’ll find out?” Wilson asked, trying to stop his voice from quavering.

“He hasn’t found out yet, so why should he now? But mind yourself in the future, no more of these lie-ins.”

As she gave this final warning, they heard the sound of the open carriage’s wheels scraping across the gravel driveway and the clopping of the horse’s hoofs. The folding steps snapped into place with a loud click and His Lordship’s booted feet arrived on his manor with a thud. Mr O’Riley swung the great oak doors open from the outside and bowed his master inside with a flourish.

Wilson caught sight of the familiar red face, white moustache, round belly and swirling black gown as His Lordship passed through the doorway. Before he knew what was happening, a fat, pale hand emerged from beneath the many folds of jet black material and cracked into the side of Wilson’s face. He fell hard onto the tiled floor. Annie cried out and covered her face, while Cookie merely flinched and shut her eyes.

“Mr O’Riley,” His Lordship boomed in his best courtroom voice, “remove that urchin from my property and see that he does not inflict his presence upon us ever again. Cookie, go prepare my dinner and take that girl with you, I find her incessant wailing offensive.”


Read more historical short fiction here.

Vikingra historical novel set on a Norse longboat, is available on Amazon Kindle.


3 thoughts on “Open Carriage, Open Hand (short story)

  1. His Lordship is a bit of jerk! My only writing feedback is to omit these two lines of dialogue:

    “Finds out about what?” She asked.
    “That I was in the master bedroom.”

    I think it would be obvious to Cookie what he’s on about.

    Liked by 1 person

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