Automated Inquisition

The ringing of the bells is daily routine. While Friar Francisco y Campillo marched across the clock tower square back to the refectory, his right knee clicked annoyingly, creating a hitch in his normal stately march. Dry weather this week only made the condition worse.

He stopped for a moment to oil the sticking gear, and then whirred his way laboriously down the ancient torch lit staircase to the cell door.

Inside, a terrified young Portuguese girl cowered on the filthy, rat-infested hay. She screamed when the clockwork priest pointed a bronze finger at the stenciled sign reading: “Confess, Jew.”

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100 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Clock tower

How we arrived at this today’s tale is a kind of interesting mental connection journey.

I see ‘clock tower’, and a building that’s ‘a church’. Leading to “Priest”. “Clock tower” leads to “Clockwork”, then google produces an image of an automaton priest here. (Go look, he’s really creepy!) 16th century, really??

Oh yeah, creepy friar, 16th century, that’s totally Spanish Inquisition, right? The end of the Spanish Inquisiton and the early automatons actually overlap!! Wow. Oh yeah, this’ll be fun.

And, well, the Inquisition was much  less about Witches than it was about Crypto-Jews, and their expulsion from Spain. (Also some heretics and sodomists and assorted; plus a witch or two).

So yeah, that’s rather a lot of disparate elements to tie up in a hundred words but…

Here we are.



19 thoughts on “Automated Inquisition”

    1. I’d make a much longer story out of this, except I’m not sure I want to put in the research effort (= more than wikipedia) in order to get it “right”.

    1. I read somewhere you should always look for two things in every image. Those two things lead right to the ending, the story wrote itself, and the only hard part was re-writing it down for word length.

    1. Sometimes I surprise myself, with the odd connections I put together. Seems to make for a stronger tale when it happens(?)

  1. When you wrote: “to oil the sticking gear”, I knew he was a cyborg or robot.
    A unique take and the train of thought which led up to the story is very interesting. It is funny how one thing leads to another.

  2. Wow! This is really interesting and inventive. The combination of automatons and the Inquisition is compelling. I sometimes wonder that the priests of the inquisition were as soulless as any machine. This is a great story. I really enjoyed it.

    1. Well, from their POV it’s the soulless heretics that are the problem. You may thank Napoleon for getting rid of (mostly) those lunatics.

  3. That automaton priest is something from a Stephen King nightmare! Nice story! I had to read it twice to figure out what he was oiling. Nice background notes too. Fascinating in fact!

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