Arrowslit is a writephoto prompt from January 23. We haven’t heard from KL Caley for a while, and I hope all is well with her and her family. Sending love, KL. I’m back in the Realms, picking up on the mystery of Castle Wash’s disappearing causeway–and worse. It’s just under 800 words.


“I see what you mean, Hunston.” Prince Engineer George leant through the arrowslit in the round tower and looked down on the water lapping at the castle’s foundations. 

King Hunston of Castle Wash relaxed his shoulders. One should never say a king sagged, as it would imply he was not in control. “I couldn’t think of anyone else to contact about it. I’ve had masons look it over when they were on the way to fix your gargoyle issue, but they never came up with anything more than ‘raise the causeway’ which as you can see, we’ve already done. Three times now.” 

“Yes… How fast is the high water mark rising?”

“I’ll show you when the tide gets lower, we have a set of steps we’ve been marking up to keep a record.”

George nodded. “So it’s also inside the castle?”

It was Hunston’s turn to nod. “First it was damp dungeons, but you know the problem there—the deepest Marsh ones are the same. Good for storing wet goods in casks that like a steady temperature…”

“Like your wine?”

“Yes, although the wine last year wasn’t so good. One of the experts said they seemed to be taking in salty water.”

George looked out of the other arrowslit in the direction of Hunston’s prized vineyard, now seven years old, and producing quite nice wines—up till now, at any rate.

“You could try digging a moat around the vineyard, plant saltmarsh reeds in, see if that filters the salt out and lets the good water get to the vines.”

Hunston perked up. “That’s a great idea, thanks. I suppose you have to do that sort of thing at Marsh?”

“Only when we get one of those high tide storms which let a little seawater through the sluice-gates. But we don’t have anything like this. I’ve been monitoring our water levels ever since your causeway first went under water.”

“And that must be eight or nine years ago.” Hunston gazed gloomily at the water lapping at his castle walls. 

“Fred and I have talked about it, of course.”

“Ah, the great thinker of our time!” Hunston straightened up. Fred would surely have the answer.

“He asked me to get some more data from you, and gave me a list. Here.” George produced a folded piece of paper from the bag he generally wore slung over his shoulder when travelling. From the noises inside it, several pencils were loose at the bottom.

Hunston looked at the paper. “Come on, let’s have a bit of lunch and I’ll get someone on to this.”

‘A bit of lunch’ turned out to be three courses, an after-lunch snooze, a slice of carrot cake with peppermint tea, and Hunston sending for his record keeper when George started to look restless.

“Sorry,” George said when the messenger departed. “I can fly in the dark, and I have landing lights, too, but Fred gets a bit anxious if I’m flying solo. But… why do you think this water level is rising, Hunston? What do your chaps say when it’s off the record?”

“The only thing they’ve come up with is that our castle and the land around it is sinking. It can’t be rising sea levels, or you’d surely have noticed.”

George gave a sigh. “I confess it’s the only thing I’ve thought of, too. I did once think your castle might be too heavy for the ground around it, but why would the causeway go too? And the vines, they’re relatively new.”

“Too heavy for the ground? It’s been here for centuries.”

“I can tell by its style. Arrowslits haven’t been built into any of the later castles. We don’t have them, nor does Dimerie, or Fortune, although it used to, and of course Buckmore is relatively modern in its redesign. I think they got rid of their original castle several centuries ago — about the time the tunnel system was built.”

“Have you been looking into this or something?”

“Fred was looking at castle history. He had an idea. Maybe …”

He was interrupted by the return of the messenger, carrying Fred’s piece of paper, now covered in new figures and dates, on a silver salver.

George accepted it and thanked the messenger, who looked surprised to be noticed. “Well, I’ll be off and get Fred to work his own magic on this. If I can find anyone who knows about rebuilding castles, I’ll send them to you.”

“Rebuilding castles,” Hunston muttered as he waved George off in his flying machine. 

Several hours later he sent a message to King Miles of Fortune, asking him how he had gone about rebuilding his castle. George was right, they certainly didn’t have arrowslits there any more.

© J M Pett 2024


Arrowslit | #writephoto Flash Fiction
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One thought on “Arrowslit | #writephoto Flash Fiction

  • 27 February, 2024 at 10:49 am

    Hmm… have they been pumping out the ground water? Good story, or teaser of a bigger story.


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