The Wrath of the Gods – Prologue

ReadersYour boobs have angered mountain gods in the UK will probably be aware of the recent exploits of a student backpacker called Eleanor Hawkins. For those not in the know, Miss Hawkins, along with several travellers of other nationalities, found herself in hot water after stripping naked atop a mountain summit in Malaysia. It seems that the immodest act not only incensed the mountain’s mortal residents, but also angered the local god, who expressed his displeasure with an earthquake a few days later. Miss Hawkins potentially faced some serious jail time, but happily was set free after paying a fine, and is now back with her family in England.

The following story is not about Miss Hawkins or any of her fellow travellers, nor is it specifically set in Malaysia, but it is inspired by said events. It’s also my first fiction writing in half a year, so I’m a bit rusty.

“This is an outrage, a disgrace! Completely unacceptable!” Tessa Montague-Fawkes ranted as she paced up and down the narrow gap between the pair of bunk beds (as best as one could pace in such a confined space). “What makes them think they have the right?”

Stretched out on her hard, narrow matress, Sarah Steadman sighed as she surveyed a spider at work in the springs of the above bunk. “Who knows what got into them? Maybe being the police in this area makes them think they have the right to, uh… police things?”

“Well wait til my daddy gets here. Then we’ll see who polices who.” Tessa picked up an earthenware drinking vessel from a squat table between the bunks. “PLEUGH!!” She spat through rasped lips. “This water is warm!” She marched to the cell door. “Room service!”, she called sharply. “Hello, anyone there? ROOM SERVICE!!”

Sarah cringed. “Tess, this is a prison, not the Ritz. Be thankful that your human rights are being respected… unlike those of most visitors to the UK.”

Tessa harrumphed. “It must be against my human rights to have to wear rubbish like this”, she complained, scratching at her hessian prison uniform.

Tessa, 18 years old, stood six feet tall with a large yet lean frame – attributes that had served her well in the rowing team of her Surrey girls’ school – and an ample endowment in the chest department. Straight, flaxen hair flowed from a centre parting down to her mid-torso, framing a face that still bore week-old sunburn. She had wide-set blue eyes, a small, hawkish nose, and full pouting lips. The daughter of businessman and Tory MP Sir Stanley Montague-Fawkes, Tessa was using her father’s money to “see the world” before commencing a course in business and management at the University of Exeter.

Sarah, a prospective linguistics student at UCL, was also 18, but that was where similarity with Tessa ended. The daughter of a couple of leftist academics, she had been raised in West London on a stodgy diet of neo-Marxist theory, washed down with Palestinian olive oil. But for all her proletarian bluster, Sarah’s family were in fact even wealthier than Tessa’s – something neither of them liked to acknowledge. Shorter than Tessa but taller than the female average, Sarah had a leggy figure and a modest but perky bust. Her face was a pleasing heart shape, blessed with high cheekbones and beset with deep chestnut eyes, and her brunette hair was styled in an unfussy shoulder-length cut.

Rain lashed against the prison walls, now a barely-noticed background noise after several days of incessant downpour. A fine mist wafted through a small, barred window, delivering the fresh fragrance of sodden vegetation as a welcome counterpoint to the jail stench. Intently watching the moonsoonesque deluge were the emerald eyes of Imogen Fraser. The 19 year-old possessed an exquisite petiteness and baby-face that necessitated her carrying proof of age wherever she went, though the subtle signs of womanhood were there to be seen by anyone who perused her figure. As she knelt on her bunk beside the window, her curly flame-red hair draped down over back, ending just shy of her tight and tiny bum. Hailing from the Isle of Skye, Imogen was lined up to study English Lit at St Andrews after her gap year.

“Fer the rain it raineth every day”, she brooded.

However, it was not supposed to rain every day in this part of the world. Not like this. And herein lay the girls’ troubles.

A gong sounded from somewhere inside the jail, marking the hour with three dull chimes.

“That’s one hundred hours”, came the voice of the room’s fourth occupant, Laura Johnson, who was languishing on the bunk below Imogen.

“Ye what?”, asked Imogen.

“We’ve been incarcerated for one hundred hours”, Laura replied. “Or four days four hours, if you prefer.” She paused. “Or nine and a half Saturnian days. Or 295 half-lives of carbon-11…”

At 22 years old, Laura was the eldest of the improbable group. Having already obtained a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge, she was taking some time out to travel before starting a PhD at CERN. In principle, she could have kept a responsible eye on her younger companions, but in practice she was too absorbed in a world of facts and figures, which she could recall and compute with astonishing speed. A dark-skinned afro-brit from Birmingham, Laura was 5 feet 8 tall and had a healthily curvy figure. Her long black hair was braided, and true to her geek persona she wore a pair of unfashionably large, round spectacles.

“…Or eighteen million strokes of a hummingbird’s wings.”

“It’s TOO BLOODY LONG, that’s what it is!”, barked Tessa, marching back to the door. It was at that moment that the door groaned open and Tessa found herself nearly colliding with a burly guard.

“Room service at last!” Tessa ranted. “Look at this water – it’s warm! What do you think you’re playing at!?”

The impassive jailer made no acknowledgement of Tessa’s existence, but instead ushered two visitors into the cell. The first was a wiry Caucasian man in a checkered shirt and khaki shorts, looking like he’d stepped out of a colonial timewarp. A shock of grey hair, roughly brushed into a side parting, sat above a sun-addled face, the centrepiece of which was a moustache that must have had hours of twizzling in the making. Behind him stepped a diminutive woman, scarcely reaching five feet, bearing the darker skin-tone and Asiatic facial features typical of the local population. A pinstripe skirt-suit clad her tight body, and her black hair was cut into a short style that bordered on the severe at the back and sides, but was tempered by a feminine quiff at the front.

“Good afternoon, Ladies”, the man spoke in a classic tea-and-tiffin accent. “I’m Lionel Fairfax, from the British Consulate. And this is my personal assistant, Miss Ann Chung.”

Fairfax bent over and kissed each prisoner’s hand in turn – much to Sarah’s chagrin – and Chung followed up with a surprisingly steely handshake for such a slight woman. The prisoners had initially gauged her to be thirty, but a closer inspection of her youthful visage betrayed that she was barely older than themselves.

“Have you come to free us?”, demanded Tessa. “About time!”

Fairfax regarded Tessa with a crooked smirk beneath his twizzled moustache. “I must say, Miss Montague-Fawkes, you’ve grown into a big girl since your christening.”

“You were at my christening?! So you know Daddy?”

“Why of course – I fagged for Monty at Eton”, Fairfax revealed with a mixture of embarrassment and pride.

“Is he at the consulate? Can’t wait to see him!”, beamed Tessa. “Hope you have the Bolly on ice!”

“Your father isn’t in the country”, said Chung coldly, in an RP accent as clipped and crisp as Fairfax’s. “And I wouldn’t count on leaving this jail any time soon.”

Fairfax nodded grimly. “You ladies have got yourselves into a nasty spot of bother with your mischief.”

“Give me a break”, huffed Tessa. “All we did was flash our bits at some old monument.”

“Aye, ye see lasses wi less on fer a night oot in Glasgy”, added Imogen.

“It wasn’t ‘some old monument'”. Chung fixed Tessa with icy contempt. “You desecrated the temple of Wam-pie-goo, one of our most sacred sites.”

“Indeed”, nodded Fairfax. “And I’m afraid the priests took a rather dim view of your behaviour.”

“Those patriarchs?”, snorted Sarah. “Must feel threatened by the female form if you ask me.”

“Yeah, who cares what a few old beardy-wierdies think?”, chimed in Tessa.

“Unfortunately, it’s a bit more serious than that”, said Fairfax, gesturing to the meagre window. “See this weather? Most untypical for the time of year. It’s flooding homes and playing havoc with the crops. And the locals blame you for it.”

“Huh?” Four jaws dropped simultaneously.

“They believe that your actions have angered the god, er… what’s his name again?”

“Wam-pie-goo”, Chung filled in. “This rain is his retribution for your immodesty. Water is a speciality of his, you see.”

“But that’s ridiculous!”, piped up Laura. “Don’t the locals realise that the anomalous precipitation we are presently experiencing is caused by a low-pressure vortex interacting with an occluded front?”

“No, they don’t”, replied Fairfax, who evidently didn’t either.

“I guess if we cause offense in other countries we stand to be judged by their belief systems”, reflected Sarah. “Are we looking at jail time?”

Fairfax scratched his chin and looked at the floor. “In your case, Miss Steadman…”

“Ms Steadman.”

“… and also in yours, Miss Fraser and Miss Johnson, a likely sentence is two years. Eighteen months if you’re lucky.”

There were gasps from the trio. Imogen began quietly weeping.

“Only for those three? So I’m getting off with it?”, grinned Tessa. “I knew Daddy would sort it out. So long, suckers!”

“Not so fast, Miss Montague-Fawkes”, said Fairfax. “Your companions only exposed their upper halves, whereas you went the whole hog, as it were. That’s a far more serious crime, and carries a much stiffer sentence.”

“What?” Tessa’s grin evaporated. “How long?”

“I hope you don’t have plans for your twenties”, Chung simpered.

Tessa was shell-shocked. “This can’t be happening!” She resumed her pacing of the cell. “This can’t happen. Not to a British person!” She turned angrily on Fairfax. “What’s Cameron doing about this? Daddy needs to get onto him to take action!”

“Unfortunately, we’re outside of British jurisdiction, so there’s not much the PM can do”, Fairfax informed her.

“This is a sovereign nation, Tess”, added Sarah.

“Nonsense! Send in the RAF and we’ll see who’s boss!”, Tessa ranted. “Give ’em twenty-four hours to release me or we nuke the place!”

“Erm, wouldn’t that kill you?”, frowned Laura.

“Ladies, let’s not get carried away!”, said Fairfax. “Luckily there is an alternative to jail, as Miss Chung will explain.”

“I’ve been in discussions with the priests and they are willing to pardon you”, said Chung, “so long as you revisit the temple and each perform an act of penance to Wam-pie-goo.”

The news brought much cheer to the despondent girls. “Why didnae ye tell us that before?!”, cried Imogen.

“Whatever, I’ll do it”, Tessa nodded.

“Jolly good!”, smiled Fairfax. “Then if we’re all agreed, Miss Chung will arrange for the penances to be performed tomorrow.”

“Wait, I’m an atheist”, said Sarah. “As much as I respect their beliefs, it’s against my principles to take part in organised religion.”

“Suit yourself, Steadperson”, shrugged Tessa. “If you want to spend a couple of years in a jail cell with only your principles for company, that’s your call. As for me, I’m doing this silly penance thing and getting the hell out of this tin-pot country.”

“But we don’t know what the penances actually entail”, Laura pointed out.

The four looked expectantly to Chung.

“The exact nature of your penance will be decided on a individual basis by the priests. But let me warn you: it won’t be as easy as saying a few prayers.”

“This isn’t good old C of E, I’m afraid”, Fairfax chipped in.

Chung continued. “The penances are designed to teach humility, and you will duly find yourselves… how shall I say, publicly humbled by the experience.”

“Publicly humbled? How exactly?”, asked Sarah warily. “Can you give a specific example?”

“Maybe a demonstration would be best.” Chung battled to contain a smirk. “With your permission, Mr Fairfax?”

“By all means, Ann”, nodded Fairfax.

Chung spoke with the jailer in their native language, then turned back to the prisoners. “Follow me.”

The four girls followed Chung and the guard down the corridor, until they came to a door leading out to the muddy courtyard, the opposite side of which was barely visible due to the driving rain. Chung stood to one side of the door. She motioned Tessa, who was first in line, to step through.

A gust of wind caught a sheet of the rain and blew it inwards at Tessa, causing her to flinch as it wetted her front and face. “Go out there? Not bloody likely!”

“You don’t have an option.” Chung shoved Tessa through the doorway, again showing surprising strength for her size. Tessa bleated in indignation as her feet splashed in the mud. The full force of the rain beat down upon her head and torso. In quick succession, Chung cajoled Tessa’s three companions through the doorway.

“What the fuck ye dain?”, exclaimed Imogen, as the girls turned round to see the door slam behind them. Within seconds they were soaked. The rain blasted their hair against their scalps, flattening Imogen’s curls, weighing down Laura’s braids, plastering Sarah’s bob against her face, and turning Tessa’s wheatfield locks a dull woody brown. The rough hessian uniforms imbibed the rainwater like sponges, hanging uncomfortably against the girls’ bodies, and threatening to slip off completely.

“Let us in! How dare you! YOU BITCH! LET US IN!”, Tessa hollered and pounded on the door. Laura, Sarah and Imogen resigned themselves to their soggy fate and huddled together as best they could protect themselves in the barren courtyard. Within half a minute, all were fully saturated, yet the ordeal wore on. The barrage from the heavens almost seemed to force its way through their skin.

Whether minutes or hours later (actually, Laura timed it to 5 minutes 21 seconds), the door finally reopened. The bedraggled prisoners squelched their way inside, their shoulders remaining reflexively hunched as they sought refuge in the dry. Water ran from their prison uniforms in rivers. By this time, even Tessa had lost the will to speak, and the four stood staring at Chung in shocked silence.

“What th… what the hell did you do that for!?”, Sarah eventually spluttered.

“I thought you were going to demonstrate a typical penance.” Laura shivered, removing her glasses.

“But I did”, said Chung with mock surprise.

“That wa’ the penance?”, frowned Imogen. “The penance is to stand aroond gettin’ drenched?”

“Not exactly”, smirked Chung. “The penance is likely to involve something more… substantial. Consider this a taster. Now, back to your cell. Hope it doesn’t take too long to dry off.”

Imogen, Laura and Sarah were too incredulous – not to mention bedraggled – to argue, and waddled off obediently with the guard escorting them. As usual, it was Tessa who stayed behind to pick a fight.

“That your idea of a joke?”, Tessa hissed, rainwater continuing to drip from her hair and her nose as she accosted Chung in the doorway. “Who the hell do you think you are?”

“No who the hell do you think you are?”, Chung rejoined. “Half of my consular work is cleaning up after loutish tourists. Smarmy, spoilt, boozed-up brats who think the rest of the world is their urinal to piss all over. But you – you put the rest of them in the shade, Miss Monty. You think the whole world revolves around you. Well guess what? Tomorrow it will, but you’re not going to like it. All of the world’s media will be at the temple tomorrow, and I’m going to make sure you get a worse punishment than the other three girls combined. You’re going to get the humiliation you deserve, Miss Monty, and there ain’t nothing ‘Daddy’ can do about it.”

“Why you little bitch!”, growled Tessa, barely able to believe her ears. “Let’s see how you like being shoved out in the rain!” Tessa grabbed Chung by the lapels of her suit and made to push her through the doorway. But the Asian wouldn’t budge. Despite Tessa’s considerable size advantage – and all that rowing training – her petite adversary remained rooted to the spot. This made Tessa even more furious, and she shouted and swore as she ineffectually threw her weight against Chung.

Chung didn’t break a sweat. “You want to be careful”, she purred. “You might slip and get a faceful of mud.”

Tessa felt her legs being kicked out from beneath her, and began to fall fowards against Chung. Chung leapt to one side, leaving Tessa with a clear trajectory through the doorway, and then gave Tessa a shove for good measure. Time slowed down for Tessa as the slick of light, clayish mud that coated the courtyard loomed up towards her. There was nothing she could do; she was going down. She opened her mouth to scream…

SPLUT!! Tessa’s slo-mo descent came to an abrupt end with a wet, cloying slap to her face and front. The mud flowed into her open mouth and obscured her eyes. She could feel it permeate her already sodden hair and flow inside her uniform, oozing along her cleavage.

“GREEEUUUUGH!!!” Brown-faced and mortified, Tessa staggered to her feet, spitting out the rank muck. Between the mud in her eyes and the lashing rain, she couldn’t see a thing. She felt a draught around her legs and realised that her trousers had slipped down to her ankles. Cursing as she spat, she began to bend over to pull them up…

THWWACKKK! A sharp blow was delivered to Tessa’s chest, sending her sprawling backwards. She landed in angel formation, sending mud splurting in all directions.

“EUUGHHH!” Tessa slowly levered herself up through the rain. Her hair, back and legs were completely coated.

“Having fun down there?”, Chung’s smug voice chimed somewhere above Tessa.

“YOU EVIL, WICKED BITCH!”, roared Tessa. “Wait til I get my hands on you!”

“Oh, you want some more do you?”, retorted Chung.

Floundering in the mud and rain, Tessa managed to manoeuvre herself into a squatting position. BOPPP! Chung’s foot connected hard with Tessa’s backside. Tessa jolted forwards and landed once more on her front in the mud, aquaplaning across the courtyard. The sopping, cloying mud washed over her face and hair, and piled up in what remained of her clothing.

“What’s all this commotion?”, Fairfax’s voice approached. “Oh my golly gosh!”

“She tried to escape, but she slipped over”, explained Chung, “I do hope she hasn’t hurt herself!”

“Miss Montague-Fawkes, behave yourself!” exclaimed Fairfax. “Playing silly beggars isn’t going to help your case!”

Tessa raised her face from the morass. “She’s lying!”, she spluttered. “The bitch is lying! SHE DID THIS TO ME!”

“That’s quite enough, Miss Montague-Fawkes. You expect me to believe that a tiny lady like Miss Chung could do that to a big girl like you? Pipe down at once and return to your cell… or I shall have to have words with your father.”

Fairfax’s closing threat seemed to have a pacifying effect on Tessa, who meekly crawled out of the rain and staggered to her feet. Chung and the prison guard regarded the soaked, mud-caked girl with amusement, exchanging wisecracks in their native language. Tessa turned to stare daggers at Chung, but then did a double take; Chung had not a single drop of mud or water on her. Not one fleck. Her pinstripe suit was spotless, her tights were bone dry, her shoes gleamed like mirrors.

How could this possible if Chung had been out there mauling her in the mud? Had it been someone else? But Tessa was convinced that it was Chung’s voice she had heard towering over her.

Chung smiled sweetly as Tessa’s eyes swept incredulously over her petite figure. “See you tomorrow for your penance, Miss Montague-Fawkes. I’m looking forward to it.”


About TG

Hunter of WAM media, author of WAM fiction, founder and administrator of the independent and community-led blog
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16 Responses to The Wrath of the Gods – Prologue

  1. terroristpie says:

    Well this sounds like fun…


  2. wolf324 says:

    Nice to see you back writing TG, and despite the sabbatical you don’t appear to have lost your touch. This prologue sets up the scenario and introduces the cast nicely. A little bit of a Summer School vibe in this part which was nice. I enjoyed seeing Tessa getting the mud; loved your descriptions, and she makes a good foil for the rest of the cast.


    • TG says:

      Certainly there are parallels with Summer School as the story opens on a similar premise – numerous girls with somewhat clashing personalities facing messy atonement for a misdemeanor – but I hope to avoid producing a carbon copy of Summer School. I should also say that I took some inspiration from your stories The Dancer and Into the Mud when writing the mud scene, so you share the credit for that.

      It’s interesting that you view Tessa as a foil to let the other characters shine – I was worried that she dominates the plot too much and crowds them out.


  3. terroristpie says:

    Just to let you know, this is missing from the story archive


    • TG says:

      Thanks, but the story archive doesn’t automatically update, and I no longer have the user privileges to add the story myself. Looks like someone has taken your hint though.


  4. fendermike says:

    Agreed, no signs of rust here. I LOLed to the name Wam-pie-goo, and nice mix of humor elsewhere. I’m looking forward to the remaining chapters, and based upon the god’s name, I suspect we’ll be getting a mix of goodies on the girls. 🙂


  5. circushorse says:

    This is outstanding. It’s been ages since I’ve had the time to devote to any of these stories, but it’s ones like this that really spark the inclination to make the time.
    The concept is excellent; a functional premise, but tied to the sort of outlandish plot-details that, personally I think, really heighten the comedy and keep the story from feeling like inevitable-mess for inevitable-mess’ sake. And to top it off, the details are wonderfully realized, from the setting to the characters, which, aside from making the outrageous aspects go down easier, really adds a sensory layer to the story. Needless to (further) say, I too am looking forward to seeing where this goes. Well done.


    • TG says:

      Well thanks. As someone who enjoys (sometimes) the writing process, I’m keen to invest in the plot, characters, humour etc, and not just do mess for mess’ sake, as you put it. And I really appreciate readers who appreciate that. But I hope that I can balance this with sufficient WAM material, with a healthy dollop of mess in each chapter!


  6. TripleWAM says:

    Just got round to reading this, Outstanding as always TG. I’m intrigued to see where this goes. You always seem to set up great characters that I can’t wait to see get their comeuppance. I look forward to the rest of the series!


  7. yuck53 says:

    😆 Oh, how time changes things.

    Apart from continued female nudity related scandals that appear to be more serious yet have received less media coverage these photo has just been published in articles such as this:

    Yup, Rihanna, a big celebrity no less, has gone off to a party in her native country and made a complete mess of herself.

    All of a sudden these girls are in very good company.

    Maybe I should put these in finds but this feels more fun.


  8. yuck53 says:

    This is starting to become a strange yet infectious story for me. I’m becoming wary about reading on lest it become too dark for me too quickly yet at the same time I’m struggling to get it out of my head. There are doubts and questions about this set up that I have and the level of potential fun is also playing on my mind.

    So I have decided, in an attempt to address all this before moving on, to write my first ‘Wreview’. I don’t think I’ve reviewed a WAM story like this before, I tend to just throw out unconsidered initial comments and reactions. Hopefully this will be a better job. Hopefully I’ll be better at reviewing than actually writing anyway. The wreview is split into six sections making my observations on the main idea of the story (and information from the comments on it) and the five main characters that it appears to have.

    I can’t help thinking that this won’t be superb but hopefully it’ll make my own reservations and concerns clear even while they may look a little off because I’m sometimes a touch slow on things like this but I just feel that there are some points I’m unsure about that are pretty important. I should also reiterate I’ve not read any further into this series so as not to undermine the position of this review so any references to later editions are unintended and should be taken as reading the story cues somewhat correctly.

    1. Set-up/Plot

    The set up, as explained by TellyGunge in the introduction, is based on the real news story of a British backpacker who got in a pinch in Malaysia. The story was resolved happily but TG saw the potential for mischief in such a story and so do I. I just worry our ideas of mischief may be somewhat different.

    For this review I decided it might me pertinent to read back about what happened to Miss Hawkins to get a better understanding of the situation and the various attitudes around it. I also felt it might increase the fun. It certainly did that. I also suspect TG may have done the same for the purposes of his own research. The first article I read was from the Telegraph and I produce a link to it below:

    I think the sixth paragraph (I think, it’s hard to tell how to count them) is particularly pertinent. In case you can’t find it, are unsure or the article vanishes from the web the relevant passage reads:

    “The whole point of backpacking, especially when you’re in your twenties like Hawkins, is to experience life to the fullest… the goal is to push yourself out of your comfort zone.”

    Well, both in reality and in the story, these girls have certainly managed that.

    Ultimately, Eleanor pleaded guilty to an “obscene act”, indecency basically, and so far as I can tell the supernatural angle wasn’t given any real consideration by the courts.

    In TG’s story we have four characters in all who have committed the self same “obscene act”. I am finding it hard to know what to make of them but I can see that the format of the story gives plenty of scope for potential focus on each of them later. At the moment I’m struggling to work out if they’re friends or just people who’ve developed a slight history over the time they’ve been incarcerated together for the same offense. The strongest detail we get from these poor girls, the thing that they have most in common: they’re clearly terrified.

    One thing that caught my thought was the question of whether or not we’ll find out why the decided to strip off in the sacred site. In reality no one felt the need to explain why Eleanor did what she did beyond perhaps peer pressure (or similar). In the story, while it wouldn’t be fatal if it wasn’t explained, it would help characterization immensely if we knew why these four made the decisions they did.

    Unfortunately the story does still leave me with the impression currently that these four are still going to jail. The set up seems to be that their release is conditional on them learning humility. Unfortunately, at present it seems, you’d have a better chance teaching a lion to be a vegetarian.

    So the characters:


    In one of his comments on the story TG expressed concern that Tessa crowds out the other characters. To respond to this it is my feeling that the answer to this observation is both ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Tessa is of a certain mould, she forces herself on situations and circumstances and her dominance is part of her character; it wouldn’t be consistent for her to be otherwise (such are characters, maybe I’ve misunderstood the concern). She has to be like she’s written here to be the type of character she is to make characters in stories entirely equal would probably be very artificial. That’s the ‘no’. Here’s the ‘yes’.

    Tessa seems to be the type of character that comes straight out of the stock room. Conceited, entitled, discourteous the sort of things you expect from any character that is supposed to be from an aristocratic background with a history of being spoiled. All this is fine, standard WAM fodder, build her up, knock her down, hilarity ensues, easy, right? Not really, because these sort of characters do not exist or if they do they’re presumably underdeveloped. People are so much more complicated than that, it’s why I struggle to write any.

    Now, on its own this isn’t a problem at all, as mentioned above the basic chain is simple enough and understood by any reader with the minimal amount of competence, though whether they agree with it is another matter, but here we have TG expressing his concern over the nature of the character coupled with another comment where he says he’s “keen to invest in the plot, characters, humour. It cannot stop there, not if that statement is true and it looks very true. So I’m led to expect development further down the line which means it’s actually impossible to decide whether Tessa crowds other characters out at this point in the tale. But at this point in the story I feel I can deconstruct Tessa this way.

    Tessa Montague-Fawkes, we learn, is the daughter of Tory MP Stanley Montague-Fawkes, I suspect humour there; who would ever let anyone named Fawkes near Parliament?, and is planning on going to the University of Exeter to study business and management, which sounds rather like irony now she’s fallen into the hands on Ann Chung, who’s decided to make it her business to manage Tessa’s fate.

    But, as mentioned above, despite her attitude and awkwardness my perception is that she’s terrified. All her pacing complaining and answering back are simply expressions of her anxiety designed to distract her. All the girls are doing it and they’re all doing it differently, well such is my understanding, even Tessa jumping on the idea she might actually be getting off when she knows she’s committed a bigger offense, – in the real story only the men did what Tessa is meant to have done, the all the females only went topless – because she must have been told already, is a manifestation of her going and trying to clutch any small hope she can because it’s better than admitting her fear. As soon as the bubble bursts she starts pacing and whining again, a cue I very much like. Maybe she thinks she can dig her way out by wearing a tunnel in the floor. I like this part of the story its very strongly suggestive of this perception and well written. Unless I’ve misread it then I don’t know what to think. But this is still, technically, speculative. It’s currently unconfirmed and unless it is Tessa remains in her stockroom format.

    So, the denouement of the chapter, when the girls are taken for a ‘taster’ of their “silly penance thing” Tessa’s description, sounding rather like something else she can cling to as much to be preferred over spending decade or so in prison. And the bit where Tessa and Ann fall out big time and, I can’t help imagining though could easily be wrong, one of those bits where if TG is worrying he’s overusing Tessa it might be worth considering cutting down, and maybe it was. Except that it’s also a very important part of the story.

    Most of this sequence has more pertinence later in the review, Tessa’s challenge “who the hell do you think you are?”, when she finally regains her briefly lost voice, and why she has trouble believing her ears are very prescient pieces of content to be kept back for later.
    As is the mystery of Chung’s ventriloquism and why Tessa can hear anything at all over the din of the weather out there.

    In reality, sometimes the stories that this event has produced seem rather contradictory. This article includes the story that the released nudists were supposedly all set to be put up in a five star hotel on the night of their release (Tessa would like that) but were denied because their release papers weren’t filled out in time and they had to spend their last night in jail (another article that may be used later builds on this).


    Ah, the sensible one. Or so she seems to want everyone to think. The prospective linguistics student at UCL doesn’t seem very lingual. I hope she wasn’t planning on learning the native language while she was here she doesn’t seem to have gotten very far. I’ve either misunderstood the use of the term ‘prospective’ for students or that should be ‘for UCL’. Until I read this story I’d have thought so. I would have thought students who are actually ‘at’ university are all either prospective or being asked to reconsider there place there. I hope Ms. Steadman won’t be asked to reconsider anything in light of this escapade. So it’s probably the former choice (I’ve misunderstood) although people speak very strangely sometimes

    As mentioned Sarah appears the sensible, rational one. The considerate character who recognizes that she’s done wrong and appears ready to take the consequences and trying to patiently diffuse the increasingly nervous Tessa. Although the chastisement”Be thankful that your human rights are being respected” does sound like famous last words. Although while they’re being thankful, they should perhaps be thankful they have beds. Apparently Eleanor Hawkins was looking at potential jail time that including sleeping on the floor so by comparison these conditions are swish.

    Sarah, you might be tempted to think, would be the one most easily ready to learn her lesson in humility. All fair and honest about the fact they have done wrong in the land they’ve found themselves in. Ready to accept her punishment do her penance and move on. Right up until she discovers what that penance is. Because she’s an atheist and it’s against her principles to take part in organized religion… Yeah, I don’t think she really gets the point of the penance. I’m fairly sure no one expects her to believe in any of their deities, quite obviously. The point is simply for her show contrition before those she’s offended. Which is mainly the temple priests in this case. People who, despite Sarah’s claims of respect, she has words like ‘patriarchs’ kept in her vocabulary purely for disparaging purposes. Well, at least she isn’t the worse hypocrite in the story.

    And again, in fact, she’s just scared. Kind of the opposite of Tessa, who’s distracting herself by working herself up, Sarah is trying to quell her fear by attempting to persuade herself that everything that’s happening to her is perfectly restrained and reasonable. She can’t entirely believe that though, surely, the concepts behind the objections are alien to her and her experience.

    There seems to be an article for every character (though I may be straining a bit) this one compares the religion of the Malaysians to our own and what the price of atheists (as part of the article is framed) deciding they don’t have to respect them.


    Imogen Fraser, the poet from the Isle of Skye. The quietest of the group, so far as I can tell, though I’m really not entirely sure because sometimes I’m struggling to make out ‘At see say? This is clearly one of the strangest writing ideas I’ve come across, not just here, and I imagine writers, not just TG, consider carefully before adding in material that is presumably supposed to represent a realistic dialect but if, like me, the reader can’t read it, just comes across like they’re bitten their tongue. It usually interesting for a bit but gets tiresome as soon as I start struggling to work out what they’re saying. Although I only do that once here (I think I finally got everything) it always feels like I’ve missed something important when it happens. The upshot is that we have a girl who’s supposed to be going to study English Lit. if she ever gets home, and she seems more like she should be taking English Language first and I can’t decide whether or not that’s the joke. I can’t even decide how much of this is affectation brought on because of Imogen’s fear, and I’m sure some is, and how much is just Imogen being Imogen it makes her the hardest character for me to come to any conclusions about. She’s afraid but she also seems to show her feelings most readily, at the same time when she tries to hide them she hides the more effectively too.

    One conclusion I can make is that, if the story is meant to have any inspired link to the reality on which it is based then the whole group may be ruing baby-faced Imogen’s difficulties with challenge 18 and the need to take ID wherever she goes because in another article about Eleanor:

    we can learn that:

    “Police were able to identify the former head girl, of Draycott, Derbys, because she gave a copy of her passport to guides before going on the mountain.”

    I’m sure she probably had to but 😆

    Actually I’m not sure at all. What’s a copy of her passport? She’s only allowed one passport at a time isn’t she? It’s a legal form of identity which she can’t duplicate for security reasons. Still, I’ve no reason to see why anyone would lie about this.

    So if we can imagine these girls’ had a similar experience to Eleanor, Imogen may not be the most popular member of the group at the moment.

    That article is mainly about Eleanor’s ‘jerk’ of a fellow prisoner, Malaysian prisons seem strange Tessa may actually want to swap places with this guy. 😆

    Still what the tribal leaders were asking from these guys according to the article makes the events of this story sound almost normal.

    That’s a nice article actually, Eleanor took some nice shots of Malaysia.


    Rounding off the group of miscreants is Laura Johnson, older by 3-4 years and very geeky and, to me unfortunately, and I hate saying this, unnervingly token.

    She’s a ‘geek’ so she wears spectacles and she black so she an “Afro-Brit”. Is that a real word (not according to the dictionary) and what’s it supposed it supposed to mean if it is? I don’t know if she’s mixed race or born in Britain to parents who emigrated to the UK in the generation before she was born. Because if she was born in Britain to British parents, even black ones, she’s British. Or so I’ve been led to believe, political correctness is a minefield which is why I get really worried when I try to understand this part of the story. I just don’t know what it says or what it’s supposed to be telling me. Gah!

    Anyway geek she is and as per the rest of the group a very scared geek who distraction of choice appears to be to speak entirely in scientific jargon and try to ignore the situation they’ve got themselves into. Her attempt to explain the weather almost certainly being a case of panic (and I’m sure occluded front is a pun – and that WAM-pie-goo is actually creasing up. The rain in this case being tears of laughter). The only exception to this is when she points out to Tessa that nuking the area would get them all killed, a situation she no doubt finds more frightening then the one they currently find themselves in.

    At the top of the wreview I noted it might be of benefit for the story to explain how these women ended up striping in or around a temple in some far off land because while the story explains that as the oldest she perhaps should have reigned in her companions but didn’t it does little to explain why she, herself, would do likewise when she seems more interested in the assets of the Higgs Boson particle than her own.

    Her final main action (if it can be described as such) in this story is timing the girls spell in the company of the occluded front… to a very precise five minutes and twenty one seconds. Now I know humans generally can’t do this, not so precisely and less effectively under stress, I also know that this is fiction. So I now have to decide whether to put this in the box marked ‘deferred incredulity’ or to class it as a further expression of Laura’s anxiety, distracting herself by trying to time how long they’re in the rain even though she can’t actually do it. I prefer the second by a long way because it gives so much more information, but that doesn’t make it right.

    So that article about the last night I mentioned earlier. It also contains details of the degree of destruction the earthquake actually executed hence why it is here – the technical part.


    It always speaks volumes when the most interesting character in a story is the villain. Especially when the heroes are so unheroic. A villain hardly seems necessary then but the villain in this case is clearly Ann Chung.

    Obviously, she doesn’t walk in the room laughing maniacally and rubbing her hands together in the sort of malicious glee that would betray her vindictiveness. She’s introduced as a deputy and thus doesn’t give the immediate impression of being particularly important at all so this makes her among the best coups in the story. The only clue immediately given is an immediate distaste for a group of girls who she’s never previously met, which is actually a big problem but we’ll come to that.

    Ann though, deputy though she is, is the one that knows her stuff and, if I’ve read the story right, has an accent that hides her roots although I can’t currently think what ‘RP’ stands for which doesn’t help. She shows no hesitation in crushing all Tessa’s hopes of seeing her father since he hasn’t bothered to come when she may have expected him to come (I’m not entirely convinced that even Tessa believes anything she says), inviting all sorts of questions, and she shows no more faith in her ability to learn her lesson than I do. Which is more than a bit worrying.

    Chung’s role really starts to become pronounced when she explains that she’s the one who’s petitioned the priests on their behalf in order to obtain their pardon in return for their acts of penance decided on an “individual basis by the priests” (not that individual, of course, or the story wouldn’t work). Which is all good, it’s what she should do, it’s just a shame she doesn’t explain it better. It’s pretty rare in modern countries for priests to be identical with the police of that country, and I suspect that’s true in Malaysia where Eleanor got in trouble.

    Ann explains WAM-pie-goo’s indignation, which I still suspect is hilarity. Humans do this, misunderstand circumstances. In the real story the natives of Malaysia got angry when 18 climbers died in an earthquake a week after the ‘offending’ incident and a small amount of time after Eleanor was arrested. Strange thinking of course that I’ve never known how people justify no matter how religious they may be, they may or may not understand geology or the climate but surely you’d have thought they’d have enough awareness of their god or gods to think they’d be able to get the right people. Even the “good old C of E” God, tends to get the guilty parties, however dramatic you may or may not think the response is. If Eleanor Hawkins and her ilk in that photo were all dead now, or otherwise victims of strange mishaps or accidents we’d probably be taking a very different view of this.

    As it is Ann Chung begins to demonstrate herself to be the, perhaps, most undiplomatic diplomat you could ever have the misfortune to have appointed to your case. Simpering and fighting an apparent losing battle not to smirk (which as far I can tell is almost the same thing) And then when they are taken to the “demonstration” of their prospective penances she really brings out her inner bully telling the protesting Tessa, untruthfully on the basis of the prior information, that she has “no option” but to go out in the rain when quite clearly she has the following two alternatives available to her:

    a. I think I’ll just go to prison. (x)
    b. I don’t think I need a demonstration I’ll wait and find out what’s happening tomorrow if it’s all the same to you. (|/)

    After all she said she was going to do it without any need of further prompting.

    So to the demonstration. Of course to be honest for any normal person this would be as bad as it gets; being caught in a cold, violent and somewhat painful storm cannot be bested by any degree of playfully inflicted indignity – it just can’t, this should be the worse thing that’s going to happen to them. Of course, with their attitude and for the purposes of enjoying the story, we ( inclusive ‘we’) accept it’s not and allow the idea that terms like “typical” and “substantial” are meaningful.

    And then the tone drops as Ann and Tessa (mainly Tessa) fall out. I mentioned earlier we’d come back to this at the end because it’s the point when Ann becomes distinctly unpleasant to all parties (though Tessa especially, of course) who are now drenched and the “dry off” quip is clearly ironic, no wonder Tessa hangs back… of course it does not go well

    What Ann then says to Tessa is more than a bit concerning claiming she’s going to go out of her way to organize the most extreme humiliation for the client she refers to as “Miss. Monty” is a huge dereliction of her duty. While there may be a degree of truth in her resentment there are huge difficulties here above and beyond the inherent moral ones. First it would seem to be interfering with the priests judgement and thus undermining the justice (if it can be thus described) of the circumstances. It seems pretty clear from the circumstances that very little nudging should be required to get that result which just makes her medling sound sinister. (In the real story while the priests were clearly annoyed it was a park ranger who actually first reported the ‘offense’ that had been committed by the group touched on above but detailed in this article, I think:


    And then, of course, there’s the not insignificant matter that despite Ann’s moaning about having to rescue Tessa and her cellmates… that’s her job. It’s what she chose and trained for. She didn’t just fall into it. To make complaints of the type she does is the most unreasonable statement she can make. I can understand some people she has to help might rub her up the wrong way. And that Tessa might be a strong example of that but I’d have expected this isn’t the sort of job you go for if you actively don’t like helping the sort of people you’re likely to run into, if you just don’t like helping people, if you have so little compassion and tolerance, then this may not be the job for you. As it is I would advise this woman to seriously consider her career path if she really doesn’t like helping the likes of Tessa because they’re gonna keep coming and in all likelihood drive her insane.

    But irregardless of Ann’s motives she does chastise Tessa and Tessa, from what I can tell by the speed everything happens, tries to give Ann a taste of her own medicine, and finds she can’t budge the woman. At at this point, this isn’t that problematic, there’s certainly countless types of training Ann could put herself through in order to resist the effects of someone as clumsy and undisciplined as Tessa, no matter how much of a “tiny lady” she might be, and so Miss Monty quickly finds herself taking a mud bath. Well, at least it’s probably the first one she hasn’t had to pay for.

    And Ann then proceeds to bully Tessa mercilessly, or does she? The mystery element here of how Ann manages to apparently sling Tessa around the courtyard without stepping into it is rather compounded (for me) by the fact the Tessa’s highly active imagination makes the courtyard suddenly sound like a desert. All of which adding to the strangeness of a mystery that must be going somewhere and is certainly welcome in this sort of story but hopefully doesn’t write it into a corner.

    And what is Ann’s explanation for how this happened? Tessa tried to escape. Yeah, not really the best explanation going. If there was actually any danger of any of these girls escaping they’d never have been put out there and they’d certainly never have shut the doors on them or they’d have been gone. All things considered though given the state Tessa’s ended up there’s suddenly a real possibility her fellow prisoners could now object (quietly) that they were rather short changed on the demonstration of their fate.

    The fate that Ann is gleefully “looking forward to.” Tut, tut, tut. The fact is that Ann is stepping so far out of her bounds here it’s shocking. Her job is to guide her clients and advise them of their options. Not to tell them they have no option or to order them around. She is not the boss, they are and if they don’t like how she behaves they can tell her to p*ss off. Obviously if they do they’re screwed but they could and normally would. If this is how she normally behaves around clients she probably won’t last in the job.

    As it is, I suspect that Tessa probably does deserve her appointment with abasement but that doesn’t seem to be clearly represented in the story. At the moment Ann is organizing it more simply to be an appointment with abuse and that is very scary. So how do we reconcile Ann’s behaviour with the fact she has chosen this job, trained for it and, on evidence, was previously found suitable for it. My best guess; her job is to save these idiot who have no idea how to co-operate and look very likely to fail. There’s every chance she’s quite scared too.


    There’s also a male character one Lionel Fairfax who “fagged” with Stanley Montague-Fawkes, what the hell does that mean?

    Quote Of The Day:

    “Miss Montague-Fawkes behave yourself! Playing silly beggers isn’t going to help your case.”

    Oh, I’m sorry, really? Well they may as well knuckle down for prison then. I thought that was exactly what they were going to try and do.

    So I wrap up this Wreview with a source I found that’s meant to wrap up the story it contains most of the key elements listed above wrapped up in one article. If you’ve reached this far you’ve probably got a lot of patience or are this you should make it your business to actually finish reading this dubious work of mine. I hope it’s satisfactory I do really like the story and so you need to remember that, as envisaged, this review contains no complaints only concerns.


    • TG says:

      Well thanks for your comments Yuck. I’m glad that you’ve seen fit to delve so deeply into this story. Certainly it keeps me on my toes as a writer knowing that my work is under such scrutiny.

      I do hope you’ll see fit to keep reading. There are two more parts ready for you to read and hopefully more before too long, and they should clear up some of the questions you’re mulling over. I should warn you though, if there’s one attribute that doesn’t apply to this story, it’s realism. So you may be barking up the wrong tree by trying to tally everything with reality.

      You’ve made some good insights here, but one thing you’ve misinterpreted is thinking that the girls are behaving the way they are because they’re scared. To the contrary, they’re behaving that way because that’s the way they actually are. Laura is a borderline savant, Imogen is a brooding literary romanticist, Sarah is tediously pedantic in her political correctness, and Tessa is a spoilt daddy’s girl. Yes, the characters are extreme and one-dimensional – they’re caricatures. Not particularly realistic, but as I said, realism is not a feature of this story.

      When I say that Laura is an “afro-brit”, I mean that she is British born and bred, and of African ethnicity. I have no idea whether this is the “correct” way to state these things. As much as I love using black girls in my stories, I always find them a bit tricky to introduce. Writing “Laura was black” seems a bit blunt and singles the character out, as if to say everyone is white by default unless stated otherwise. Which I suppose they are, in the UK, but I find it a bit awkward when trying to write a smooth introduction.

      Here’s a glossary for the terms you were unclear about:

      “Fagging” – a practice at public schools whereby a junior boy takes the role of servant/slave/plaything to a senior boy.

      RP – “received pronunciation”, also known as “Oxford English” or “BBC English” – the “proper” way of speaking. In case you’re interested, Chung speaks that way because she was educated at an English-speaking private school.

      And yes, Chung doesn’t fulfil her job description very well. But she’s able to wrap Fairfax – who fell into his post via the old school tie and is not the smartest or most observant chap – around her little finger.

      And I hope you don’t mind me issuing a spoiler, but you seem rather worried. The girls will not end up doing jail time. This is a WAM story; all traumas are superficial and transient.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. yuck53 says:

    Thanks, very much. Tallying everything with reality wasn’t the point, really it was simply an attempt to broaden the horizons of the story.

    I’m fully aware of that the moment I accept the premise of the story, ie a real choice between trading years of jail time for a day of debasement really doesn’t have legs in reality. More’s the pity, perhaps.

    That said there’s realism and there’s realism. If your story was entirely realistic it wouldn’t work, but a worlds have to have a degree of identifiable logic. The audience need to be able to bring somethings the recognize and understand from reality to the world of the story or it won’t make any sense.

    I admit the suggestion that the girls were representing the way they were due to fear was a big punt on my part again for depth. Plus the fact that given the conditions they’re in they must be feeling fear or the offer wouldn’t work yet there’s very little evidence of it in the story.

    I’m really going to struggle with the one dimensional concept, it’s easy to claim but harder to back up, readers can end up projecting stuff like this on to the story, you see? I also continue to find it entirely with claims that you’ve given thought to these characters. How do you give thought to characters you’ve extracted from the big book of stock characters which is what you seem to be suggesting when you say that.

    Ah, Queen’s English then.

    Hmm, while I do get that Fairfax isn’t too bright that doesn’t change the fact that Ann is breaking every rule in the book. Even if she can pull the wool over his time after time doesn’t change the fact that most of her clients should be on it know their rights enough that she”ll struggle to get away with it very long. I mean she does absolutely everything wrong. Everything.

    I was actually joking about the jail time, just. I can’t close the door on the idea entirely based on this part though because Ann seems so vindictive that I wouldn’t put it past her to renege of the deal at the drop of a hat just to hurt them, which she seems to take pleasure in doing.

    No, the real issue lies in where we draw the line over what constitutes ‘superficial’ and ‘transient’. It’s easy to agree on the principle but becomes trickier when you try to put it into practice. All girl that ends up in tears, which I have read does in stories occasionally is something I find hard to write off as superficial. And that’s just the overt example.

    You pointed out in your commentary on NHP recently, that your WAM interest sometimes comes across as mean-spirited and if I understood correctly implied you find this surprising. The reference it’s seeming to be based on the TV Tropes comment you’ve got reproduced on the right hand side of the site.

    The danger is that when you put things in the public domain they always get taken out of your hands. You just can’t trust your audience to necessarily see your characters the way you do (pesky audiences). My perception of their characterisations being expressions of fear (which they must have) is just one example.

    If people find good stories that they invest their imagination in they are liable to add to the story rather then take away from it. And suddenly your one dimensional characters who have shorter memories than the proverbial goldfish suddenly become rich developed humans who can actually feel pain.

    This is what worries me because silly as it sounds these sort of incidents can be painful for me to read. If they get like that I really do find the work very uncomfortable and so my trepidation. And Ann’s bullying seems to make this a high likelihood seeing is we imagine the bullying is meaningful or what’s the point?

    Of course, this is a one day reply so it’s less considered than the original post. It could also be based on mistaken meanings of various content I’ve seen. But my potential feelings I have past experience of and I’m wary of repeating such experiences.


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