Detective Hansen hunts down a missing word.
|Why no Wimple?
Hansen stood in the pouring rain, studying the etched inscription on the eroded gravestone before him. The words made no sense to the private detective and left him at a loss to follow his case further.
There had to be a meaning to the words. Why else would they be inscribed on a headstone? He continued to stare at them, oblivious to the water that streamed off his hat and from his sleeves.
He ran through the alphabet and realised that one rhyme had been omitted. Wimple, the linen head wrapping of married women in the Middle Ages. Why leave it out of this short list of rhyming words? And why include those that made the grade? Rimple was just another word for wrinkle. Dimple was a depression in the skin, pimple a type of pustule, almost the opposite of a dimple. And simple was too easy to define. Apart from the rhyme, what had they in common?
Hansen turned to the vicar standing next to him, umbrella held above his head. “Why just this?” he asked. For answer, the vicar bent down and pointed at the fine, jagged lines in the stone that indicated that flakes had been sheared off the original inscription It seemed that these words were all that remained of a much longer sentence. The coincidence that all the surviving words rhymed was not lost on him but, for the moment, he ignored it. Now he had something to take him further.
A week later his researches had taken him to the reading room of the British Library. On the table before him rested a thick, dusty tome in gothic script, open at a page of medieval nursery rhymes. For the fifth time, Hansen read the ditty at the top of the page.
O, my lady, your fairest wimple
Be covered in a stain and rimple
I’ll not smile to show my dimple
I leave that for yon Simon Simple
The lad with the enormous pimple!
So, the gravestone preserved the rhyming words of a long forgotten childrens’ chant. But why would anyone want such a thing on their gravestone? It was ridiculous. Hansen mused again on the rhyming words listed so coincidentally one over the other.
Without thinking he spoke the words out loud. “Wimple, rimple, dimple, simple, pimple.”
As if from far away, he heard a noise like stone grating against stone and then there was a flash and a vision appeared before him. Hansen staggered back as a towering, green-skinned and obviously furious demon thrust its ugly face at him.
“Yes?” said the demon.
Hansen had no idea what to say. “I - I - I don’t know what you mean,” he spluttered.
The demon glowered. “What do you want? Call me from my slumber and then tell me it’s for no reason? Why, I ought to… In fact, I think I will.”
It reached out and took Hansen’s head in its crushing grip and popped it like a pimple.
Word Count: 498
For SCREAMS!!!, October 04 2020
Prompt: a terrifying flash-flash tale of up to 500 words including the following: RIMPLE, DIMPLE, SIMPLE, PIMPLE.