creative writing fiction

D//E Fiction: Johnny The Coal Boy


The following story was written purposely for inclusion in the January D//E creative writing section. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.

     I have shared this story with visitors upon arriving at this mansion, for many years; for it reminds us and them of the awareness of safety. This house has a dark presence and let it be known, that this presence exists purely to remind us of the past. The house, with a superb architecture and well-preserved original interiors, was among the most lavish and sophisticated back in its day.

    Many years ago, a distant relative who once owned these very grounds, passed this story on from Victorian times. It’s one my family have striven to pass on over the years, from generation to generation. His name was Johnny, he was the 3 year old son of a coal factory owner. This house was very different back then, but the basement as you see it today remains as it did. The sub terrains of the building held mounds of coal and there was a direct shoot that led down beneath the house to where it required manually shovelling it into a slag heap. Usually an outbuilding with a single story was used for shelter or storage, but the owner of the factory was too driven by his own greed and wealth, to fully care about not bringing his work home with him. For him, nothing was ever enough to satisfy and so it caused resentment within the family, and with it came his constant desire to never truly feel fulfilled in his life. He refused to pay for childcare or anyone to adequately look after his son Johnny.

   The child was simply left to roam day by day the vast grounds of this mansion by himself. The factory owner even manipulated Johnny’s mother into convincing her she was suffering from mental issues, he never once visited her while she was in hospital. One day while the mother was inside hospital, one of the workers had left the basement door open the Friday before. The owner was in the bedroom with the house maid, whilst a loud crashing sound came from downstairs in the basement. That morning Johnny was wearing a pair of blue dungarees, with a matching vest. Meanwhile the two continued their frolicking around in the bedroom. Johnny had crawled down the stairs while the maid took her break, into the coal room and into the shafts. His neck snapped, when the maid found him he was covered in coal, for the once blue outfit he’d been wearing was no longer visible because of the coal and he’d even been eating it, as the child was actually starving.

    The mother never left the hospital upon receiving news of her son Johnny. Coupled with everything else it was too much for her to live with. The father never spoke about little Johnny, he covered the whole thing up telling the local constabulary that the child had been abducted. Sometimes some people can live with guilt too well, for they are the ones who have fun and live recklessly without a care in the world for anyone but themselves. He did however die one day in his home, not too many years later. The coroner could only determine the cause of death as heart failure.

    When leaving the mansion grounds after the weekend stay, one of the guests left a note with the lady on reception and was adamant that it should be given to the lady doing the tour of the house when arriving. The receptionist, a little perplexed, confirmed no-one had been on duty and never had been that weekend, or providing any sort of tours and that the guests are always left to their own devices upon arrival.

© 2014 R.S / Destroy//Exist.

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