Gibbous House

By Ewan Lawrie

Nicholas Nickleby meets Psycho in a gothic, 19th-century noir

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


[image showed the definition of guilt in an old dictionary, scanned by somebody or other who didn't bother to say who they were]


Yes! I feel guilty. I haven't posted anything here for a few days. Nevertheless, the campaign continues, if not in the manner of a snowball down a steep hill, in the manner of chinese water torture, dripping away. We are at 84% as I write, only 16% to go. Well done to everyone reading this.

Anyhow, what follows is a flash-fiction piece on 'Guilt', I hope you enjoy reading it.


I am the oldest woman for 100 miles. My papers say I am 96. That is wrong by a decade, but none will believe it. Papers have power. Young people – I meet them from time to time – say the web is more powerful, but I disagree. A piece of paper washed the blackest character clean, more than half my lifetime ago. Paper condemned 6,000,000 to death in a few short years. Have you seen it? I’m sure it’s reproduced in facsimile in that Great Nowhere that is on-line: a very boring document. Banal, you might say, although someone already has.

My papers are a construct, as am I. A social construct: society believes that Rosie Guildenstern exists, that the ‘I’ that I ‘therefore am’ is a 96-year-old resident of Golders Green of Sudeten Deutsch extraction. A lie: the construct does not mention the Sudetenland – it no longer exists. The papers say Czech-German. Rosie Guildenstern was on other papers, a long time ago. On a list in fact. Lists are dangerous things. Lists of names can be fatal. Your name on a list could mean torture, death or experiments, once upon a time, not so long ago and not so far away.

A young Doctor made a list in that not so long ago time. She played the woman in the Gingerbread House for many young girls and boys with dark hair and bold noses in their wide-eyed faces. There were no breadcrumbs in the Polish forests and there were no woodcutters, not for these children. No, I did not feel sorry for them. I wish we could have published the findings. Our reports would have advanced medical science at ten times the rate. Besides, nothing to show for children that their grandparents must have missed, I suppose. No paper for the theory, just the lists for the practical experiments. So it was not science: no paper, no proof.

The paper chart at the end of my bed is annotated ‘GPO’ and ‘CTD’. I do not think they believe I worked for the Post Office many years ago. However, I do not think that any of my body parts would save anyone. As for the other, I have been circling the drain for the past year. I wish the water would leave the tub faster.

Six months ago I wrote to the Center in New York. They have a web-site and e-mails: the research students explain these things to Rosie Guildenstern when they are sent by the University. I tell them my family was not ‘frumm’ – which is true since we came from Sudeten – echt Deutsch. I do not know if Rosie Guildenstern, her twin boys or her Oma, Opa and husband were ‘frumm’. But my construct is not ‘frumm’, I have never entered the synagogue and never will. I told the students I had to write a letter to the Wiesenthal, that there had to be papers.

The letter contains everything. All there is to know about another construct called ‘Dr Ilse’. Some of the science too. That is why I wrote to them, to explain. It was science – medical science. I feel guilty because I ran away. I still feel guilty that I could not tell them at Nürnberg. About the science.


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Jack O'Donnell
 Jack O'Donnell says:

interesting post, sounds like a true story, which is always a good fiction, like your post.

posted 22nd October 2014

Annabel Gaskell
 Annabel Gaskell says:

Creepy! What inspired the piece?

posted 22nd October 2014

Ewan Lawrie
 Ewan Lawrie says:

Thanks, Jack!
This was inspired by Holocaust Memorial Day, Annabel

posted 22nd October 2014

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