For context, I’ve had an idea for the set up a story where Kat either, like, breaks a leg on an adventure or gets sick or somehow otherwise ends up essentially bedridden for a sufficiently long time to need to find ways to stave off boredom and/or the onset of insanity.
At this point, the details don’t really matter and for the purposes of a daily writing exercise, having a developed background doesn’t really matter. The important part is the scene itself.
And, for a little more context, Bridgewalltonshire Priory (which has been mentioned a few times before now) is basically Realmgard’s equivalent of melodramatic British period TV programs like Downton Abbey and Poldark.
Amara comes to Kat’s bedside. She smiles broadly.
“I’ve brought just the thing to lift your spirits, Katherine,” Amara says, sitting down on Kat’s bed and reaching into her purse. “The very latest volume of Happenings at Bridgewalltonshire Priory, hot off the presses.” Amara cracks open the book. “Shall we?”
Kat shrugs noncommittally.
The Bridgewalltonshire Priory books are some of the stupidest things ever put down in print: stupid, trashy, melodramatic yarns about the unbearably elegant burden of being unbearably elegant and rich and beautiful. And then dying in some contrived, overwrought manner.
They’re trash. But just maybe, they’re actually starting to grow on her.
They’re trash. But Kat is starting to entertain the idea that they might just be glorious trash.
Of course, Kat would never admit that. Especially to Amara.
“Come now, Katherine,” Amara says. “Get comfortable. I’ll read to you.”
“Will you do the voices?” Kat asks sheepishly.
“Yes, Katherine. I’ll do the voices,” Amara answers.
When she finishes reading and closes the book, Amara looks up at Kat.
“Well, Katherine how did—” Her jaw drops. “My goodness. Katherine, are you crying?”
Kat wipes her eyes, sniffles, and nods.
“They’re dead, Amara. I just know it,” Kat sobs. “It took fifteen books. But Beatrix and Reginald finally got married. They finally got the cheesemonger’s blessing for their marriage. It’s just so beautiful. They’re so happy together! And Beatrix was so pretty in her wedding gown!”
She heaves a ragged sigh.
“And now they’re gonna die!”
Amara puts a gentle hand on her friend’s shoulder. “You don’t know that, Katherine,” she offers. “I’m sure Beatrix and Reginald will be fine.”
“But it always happens!” Kat insists. “No one in these stupid books is allowed to be happy. And once they finally catch a break — bam! — they get killed off!”
“I’m sure this time will be different,” Amara says.
“That’s what you said about Vice-Admiral Grimsby,” Kat counters tearfully.
“Yes, well, who could have foreseen that the vicarage would collapse like that?” Amara says. “I can hardly be blamed for not anticipating that the building inspector was a fraud.”
“And his dog.”
“He was faithful to his master to the very end, Katherine.”
“And the Comtesse-Dowager.”
“She was very old, Katherine.”
“Yes, Katherine. Thank you. Point taken,” Amara mutters.
“It’s not fair!” Kat sobs.
“There, there, Katherine,” Amara says, gently rubbing Kat’s back.
“What kind of heartless monster writes these stupid books?” Kat mutters.
At that very moment, within the sanctum of her study, the author of Bridgewallton Priory sits at her desk and thinks, pondering how to bring her next volume to its conclusion.
It has always struck her as rather churlish to treat her characters so cruelly, but her readers have always surprised her with their bloodthirstiness, seeming to clamour and cry for the heads of the residents of Bridgewallton Priory.
It feels equally churlish to deny her readers what they’ve come for.
She looks down at the page and continues to ponder.
Beatrix and Reginald retired to a small house in the mountains and —
She contemplates the fate in store for Beatrix and Reginald.
— were crushed by a sudden avalanche.
“No,” she decides.
— were run over by a runaway vegetable cart.
— went sailing and were subsequently lost at sea.
She writes words that she never imagined would ever apply her characters.
— they lived happily ever after.
Now, I will freely admit that the parody’s not very insightful. However, I’d like to point out that I’m going less for a particularly incisive or clever parody or satire of Downton Abbey and more deliberately exaggerating the (melo)drama for comedic effect.
Quick reminder: new chapter of The Valley of Appraisal tomorrow. You can find this weeks’ chapter here:
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