Word of the Day: Hempy

Word of the Day: Hempy

In this series, I will take the Word of the Day from Dictionary.com and craft a short piece of creative writing around it.  My goal is to embrace the meaning of the word in some unique way, all the while trying out different styles, rhythms and characterizations.  It is as much an exercise in creativity as it is an exploration of grammar. Enjoy!

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By Alex Seise

“They’re frequently hempy, the buggering little scoundrels.” Mrs. Lossiemouth continued to jiggle the tartan curtains. The breeze generated by the flapping sent a pile of papers perched on one of the hall tables scattering. “Bother.”

The young maid spoke quietly. “But, ma’am… There aren’t any rooms for the children in the manor. At least, none that I’ve seen…”

Mrs. Lossiemouth chuckled. “They don’t require bedrooms, my dear. There are other places for them to make their nests.” She pointed toward the cupboard under the stairs. “Make sure it’s free of cobwebs. Young Master Ciaran loathes spiders. He may be a scamp, but I won’t have him frightened.”

“The cupboard?” She did as she was told, peering inside the tiny space. It was barely large enough to comfortably house a cat, let alone a child. But it was free of arachnids, and so she closed the creaking door. “Do… Do they eat much, ma’am?”

Staring out the window, Mrs. Lossiemouth tightened her lips. “Their shares, yes.”

She didn’t dare tell the new maid that she would be the sixth in her position that month. No, Mrs. Lossiemouth would not stand for terrified children or terrified help. Her mind wandered to the tartan curtains that had taken days to clean after the last was dismissed in that peculiar manner…

Mrs. Lossiemouth shook her head. “Now, come with me.” She spun into the kitchen and strode past the brick oven, lighting her small oil lamp as she walked.

“Where are we going, ma’am?”

“The cellar.” The older woman opened the barred door at the back of the kitchen and indicated for the young woman to lead. “There’s something we must fetch.”

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