Continuing the edits I am making to my short story (London Bridge is) “Falling Down,” I have been working in the layer of singing. Another very important element I was missing from the version I sent for critique was my protagonist only sings the little song she makes up (my version of this origin story for the nursery rhyme) at the very end. I realized having her start singing just “London Bridge” over and over earlier in the story both shows her mental state better and also helps me add the “falling down” after her nightmare and the “lock her up” after she is locked up in the end. Again, it’s a small change, it’s just a few paragraphs I’ve added, but it’s pulling a lot of weight in the story. Edit, edit, edit, my friends. It’s worth it. Enjoy the process!
During their next walk she held the parasol low in an attempt to shut out the buzzing. The people spoke too loud. They smiled too brightly. They walked too close to her.
Margaret had asked her something. In the pause of Margaret’s constant ramblings, she spoke. “Crowded.”
Margaret’s expression flashed confusion. “Of course the streets are crowded. Many have traveled from all over the lands to see the spectacular London Bridge. Your husband’s finest design.”
“Can we see?” Her own voice irked her.
Margaret laughed. It may have sounded pleasant to those who passed by, but she heard the frenzied edge. Margaret was growing tired of her duty.
They walked still further, away from the bridge, though she ached.
“They are all staring at me,” she whispered.
Margaret huffed. “Nonsense. No one even knows who you are. No one knows you …” She cut off her words abruptly.
But the further she walked, the more she became aware of their stares. Some with sympathy, some with shock, but most with mockery.
“Oh, do stop singing!” Margaret nearly shouted.
Margaret’s eyes flew wide as she abandoned her pretense of friendliness. She spun on her heel and nearly dragged her charge back towards her home.
She walked mechanically and without resistance. She thought of the bridge. She longed to see it.
Margaret pinched her. “Stop singing,” she hissed. “You sound like a witch just chanting ‘London Bridge’ over and over like that.”