Mercy is not a Daffodil

This is a partial scene from Gothwrecked, which still doesn’t have a proper title. Mercy has just come home from uni for the summer, visiting her dads’ cliffside mansion for the first time, and meeting the neighbours.

The next day, Mercy met Miss Nancarrow — Branok’s great-aunt — a spinster who had lived with her dear friend, Miss Pengelly for over forty years. She brought biscuits and scones, and insisted that Mercy would look marvellous in yellow.

No thanks, lady. “I’m not a daffodil.”

The old woman tittered. “You’re a funny one. Branok would love you.”

“That doesn’t seem likely,” Mercy said, feeling guilty when Delphi caught her waspish tone.

Miss Nancarrow didn’t seem to notice, and mentioned at least five times that Branok was Mercy’s age, as if that were enough to forge even a friendship let alone what Miss Nancarrow was suggesting by the final mention, which appeared to be marriage. And you would think Miss Nancarrow would’ve figured out, given her own living situation — which she lived in denial of like it was the 1930s — that her great-nephew was in an entirely different department.

“I’m not getting married,” Mercy told her.

“You’ll change your mind when you meet the right man,” the woman insisted. “He’ll sweep you right off your feet.”

“I’d take his eyes out.”

Miss Nancarrow tittered again. “You’ll see.”

Mercy hated this. She wanted to tell the woman she’d get married when Miss Nancarrow made an honest woman of Miss Pengelly, but her dads would never forgive her.

Instead, she said, “The only thing I’ll be marrying is my work.”

“Your fathers tell me you’re going into medicine.”

“Forensic pathology,” she corrected.

“So, the work you’ll be marrying is…” She nodded and gulped a couple of times waiting for Mercy to confirm her suspicions.

“Dead people,” Mercy said with a smile. “I want to work with dead people.”

“Oh, would ya look at the time.” Miss Nancarrow pushed to her feet.

If Mercy had known it would be that easy to get the woman to leave, she would’ve wheeled out the cadavers sooner.

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Dewi Hargreaves

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