The Lady with the Lamp – A Short Something

Wow, I really ought to find a better name for this piece of writing than ‘a short something’. But it’s a bit complicated! You see, it’s much too short to be a story, it’s more of a scene, or a sketch, or a snapshot. But I’m not entirely sure if either of those titles work with what this… thing… is. 😀 What do you guys think? Can you figure out what this piece of writing should properly be called?

Well, I suppose you should read this piece first, before you give me ideas for what it should officially be called. I wrote this a couple weeks back for school, at about 10:30 at night, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Somehow I always end up writing late at night – it seems to be when the inspiration strikes for me. 😀 So without further rambling, let’s get onto the actual piece! Oh yes, I must add for clarification that it is based off of the story of Florence Nightingale – the famous English nurse during the Crimean War. I hope you enjoy!

~

 

All was dark within the wards.

The wind howled without, whisking cold drafts through cracks in the window panes and across the bare floors.

Row upon row of cots stretched out, filling the room nigh onto bursting. Men lay across those cots, men scarred more deeply than even their mangled limbs.

 Their troubled brows and laboured breathing gave clues to their inner torment. Some were damp with chills and shivered under their thin blankets, pulling them close to ward off the wind that whined around them.

 Others were dry and burning with fever, thrashing out in distressed dreams, trying to remove their coverings – or perhaps they were actually the bodies of enemy soldiers… One never knew what reality was really when the fever struck.

Darkness lay heavy, along with unrelenting pain and fevered nightmares.

Night wore on, and the men lay in the wards.

Some were now awake, barred from the blissful unconsciousness of sleep by the dull stabbing of wounds and the stark absence of limbs that still shot shooting pains throughout the body.

Restlessness pervaded the darkness, the smell of sickness and death rose dankly from the cots.

But then, as the wind whistled, and the men lay helpless, a breath of something fresh floated across the ward.

The smell of a clean body, the faint smell of lilies and linen, the smell of home.

A light flickered far away across the ward. It bobbed up and down, and moved slowly, steadily onwards.

 A wistful whisper of longing rose in the hearts of all who saw it.  Some that were able rose up in their cots to better see the light.

 Slowly, the faint outline of a person could be seen, the figure of a woman holding a lamp in her hand. She walked quietly, gracefully, with a strong, yet gentle stride. She paused often, bending down to some soldier boy, brushing the hair back from his face, murmuring a soft word.

Then she moved on.

Always steadily on, through the ward, through the many multitudes of suffering men.

The light threw a soft, bright circle wherever it turned, shedding warmth into weary, wounded hearts.

The whisper floated between the cots, from one man to another.

“The Lady is coming.”

“The Lady is coming.”

“She is coming.”

She smiled as she heard the whispers, striding onwards with her lamp.

Slowly, surely the lady with the lamp moved through the ward. The whispers rose and fell, like autumn leaves rising and falling on a crisp breeze

“The Lady with the lamp.”

“She is here.”

As she came to the end of the long ward, she stopped. Turned. Raised her lamp high. Surveying the ward.

She looked like a queen looking out over her realm. A priest giving a benediction. A mother bidding goodnight to her child.

She smiled, creases wrinkling around her kind eyes.

“Goodnight.” came her low murmur.

The lady and the lamp disappeared around the corner in a rustle of skirts.

Darkness closed in once more, but now there was a quiet, a peace. The memory of the light of the lady’s lamp nestled warm in the hearts of the men.

 Peace would come one day soon. And home was waiting.

~

So any ideas what this thing should actually be called? A snapshot? A scene? Something else? Let me know in the comments down below if you have any ideas! 😀 And I shall see you back here next week

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6 thoughts on “The Lady with the Lamp – A Short Something

  1. This would make a beautiful children’s picture book! It’s prose, but with a poetry feel. Almost like a memoir . . . definitely worthy of publication, Hannah! Do you have access to a list of children’s Middle Grade publications you could submit this to? Even a homeschooling magazine would appreciate its value. Well done!

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    • Thank you so much for your encouragement, Mrs Del Boccio! It’s lovely to hear that you think it worthy of publication. 🙂 I can’t say that I do have access to any type of Middle Grade Publications… Do you have any suggestions of places to look?

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  2. Your “snapshot” of this scene was very engaging, Hannah. Could picture well the men in agony on their cots and the compassion of the lady with the lamp. How ’bout: “The Lady with the Lamp – a Warm, Brief, Night Visit”. Could leave off “night” or “warm”.

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