What Pegman Saw: Cisco’s mission

Image : Google Street View

Every day Cisco sat in the Plaza De Armas, overlooked by the Cathedral and the Jesuit Iglesia.

When drizzle speckled his lashes he pulled up his hood. When the sun blazed he did the same, ignoring the children selling day trips to the mountains or alpaca wool hats. The young hawkers would stare with their deep, curious eyes before scurrying after tourists with deep pockets.

All the while, he’d try to keep the same scene running through his mind and when his rumbling stomach or stiff limbs distracted him, guilt would descend like a cloud. Because how else would God know what he wanted – what his family needed – if he couldn’t keep the image clear in his head?

The kitchen at home. Mama at the stove. The scent of chilli chicken.

Papa walking in through the back door, face wide with a smile.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its jumping off point. See here to join in and to read other tales.

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Friday Fictioneers: In the flat below


PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Johannes was already awake when the baby in the flat below started crying.

He’d passed the mother once, short skirt above skinny legs, jacket too thin to keep out the cold. The baby was pale and slender as she was, spider fingers grabbing for a half empty bottle of milk.

It was 2 a.m. when the mother’s sobs began – deep, shuddering sobs. He got up, hobbled to his kitchen.

At Johannes’ knock, her door opened. Her red eyes narrowed, suspicious of the old man holding a box of eggs, a half loaf of bread.

‘Too early for breakfast?’ he asked.

***

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the pic, write a tale and don’t forget to share and read the others.

Not sure if it’s because I haven’t taken part for a few weeks or because it’s Easter Sunday, but for a change I didn’t kill anyone, nothing nasty is going to happen to my characters. Just one human being reaching out to another in need.

Happy Easter everyone.

Friday Fictioneers: The simplest act


PHOTO PROMPT© Sandra Crook

There lies Fournier the weaver.

His head is bare, curled wig lost to the Thames. The coral pink silk stockings of which he was so proud are torn and muddied, rucked at the ankle.

The constable will seek answers, question the Spitalfields’ innkeepers and lightermen, turn beady eyes on fellow weavers, those resentful of this recent miasma of incomers.

But murder is often the simplest act.

There lies a bloated panderer who plucked a goose too close to home, turned those clever fingers to a guild man’s daughter.

A sharp knife and the river remedy all.

***

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Write a tale and join in here.

Notes

Spitalfields is part of the East End in London, once well known for its silk weavers and a refuge for French Huguenots fleeing religious intolerance in their own country.

Fournier is one of these Huguenot weavers, Calvinist Protestants who made their home in the East End during the eighteenth century. They were not always welcomed by the English, especially by native weavers who saw them as a threat to their trade.

Lightermen where boatmen who ferried goods in flat bottomed barges along the Thames.

What Pegman Saw: The only honest soul

Image : Google Street View

Maria was the town’s scarlet woman, though she didn’t help herself.

Well into middle age her hair changed with the seasons – auburn, black, white blond, gold – while the wives of the village turned a respectable steel grey. And while the Mamas went to market in buttoned up dresses and skirts to their thick calves, Maria’s cleavage was always golden in the sun, a camelia nestled in the chasm.

Her neighbour Dorothea would tut over shared cups of black sweet tea and hand rolled cigarettes. ‘Got to play the game, girl. Whole town’s built on lies – why’d you have to be the only honest soul?’

When Maria died her memorial was there among the others, jostling with the Mamas who’d feared her, the Papas who’d loved her. And though she had no family and Dorothea had already passed, there was always a freshly picked camelia tucked by her smiling image.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we are in Patagonia, Chile.

As it’s Mother’s Day here in the UK this weekend, I have a very busy week ahead, so please forgive me if it takes a few days for me to reply to your comments. Normal-ish service will be resumed soon.

Friday Fictioneers: Easy Pickings


PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Pinkie waits by the big wheel.

The rink is closed for the night, the wind cutting across the ice, bringing winter with it. Fairy lights shiver in the black fingered trees, the smell of fried onions from the food stall reminds him of summer and richer pickings, long nights of beer and open jackets and easily lifted wallets.

‘Alright, Pinkie.’ Rose is smiling, a soft, wet-eyed smile that makes him want to punch her. Her hand in his is cold, slightly damp. Like a dead man’s.

‘The wheel is it?’ he says. It’s high up there. High and windy.

***

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See here to join in and to write your own tale.

Apologies, but due to a heavy workload this week I won’t be reading as many FFs as usual, though be sure if you read and comment on my story, I will reciprocate … eventually!

Fairgrounds and seasides always have a darker side for me. On the surface it’s all family fun and bright lights and loud music, beneath there’s grime and dirt, rather like the rides themselves. Perhaps it’s all those holidaymakers with money in their pockets that attract folk wishing to have a slice of that money and not always legitimately.

Anyway, for some reason the image reminded me of Graham Greene’s novel Brighton Rock, the tale of the sociopathic teenage killer Pinkie Brown. There’s death and violence, sex and Catholicism, all mixed together in a rather distasteful brew – or at least I found it so when I read it as a teen. For those unfamiliar with the novel, look here.

In my story, I picture Pinkie meeting Rose, his girlfriend later wife who is oblivious to the extent of her spouse’s depths …

What Pegman Saw : The drowned man of Ram’s Island

Image: Google Streetview

The thing that upset Ma most was not having Uncle Niall’s body.

When family die, there’s a way things go, you know? The women wash and dress the dead fella, lay him in his box on a table in the parlour. There’ll be the uncles with their greased down hair and card collars, gripping pints of plain. There’ll be the aunties with their washed-out faces, fingers crimped round tea not drunk, wake cake not eaten.

But from the day Niall was found floating face down near the hide, the questions started. A poacher with no traps or snares. A smoker with no tobacco pouch, no matches. A married man with his ring finger cut clean off at the knuckle.

Time’s passed and more folk have vanished. Now Ram’s Island’s left to the heron’s and the coots, the mute mouthed salmon.

But as Ma says, ‘Some bastard knows, don’t they?’

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, a prompt that uses Google Street View at it’s jumping off point. This week ,we are at Ram’s Island, Northern Island.

Why did that nature lover’s hide prompt me to write a murder mystery? It looks pretty isolated, pretty lonely out in the water, the perfect place for bad things to happen. It could also be the overhanging Brexit negotiations that threaten the peace in Ireland, the recent parcel bombs that have been claimed by the IRA. Whatever inspired this tale, it seems trouble is never far away.

Friday Fictioneers: Miss Bucher’s legacy


PHOTO PROMPT © Anshu Bhojnagarwala

The Bosendorfer piano sat drunkenly on Alexandre Frick’s lawn, rain splashing on the pared keys.

The instrument once belonged to his tutor, Miss Bucher, the woman who had convinced him he could be a classical pianist. The plan had been to restore it, but moth grubs had eaten the felt and woodworm was turning the frame to powder.

Alexandre’s wife Sofia stood beside him, huddling under her umbrella. ‘I have an idea,’ she said.

Four months later, geraniums shone scarlet from the frame, purple campanula and lobelia tumbled over the keyboard, blooming just as Alexandre had thanks to Miss Bucher.

***

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the photo to become inspired and write a tale of your own. See here to join in.