What Pegman saw : A shrinking box of light


Google Street View of Edinburgh


Alice sat in the golden square of streetlight that fell through the tiny window. The window was high, too high to see through, though Sam had said they wouldn’t miss the view – the council flats, the carpark with its rank of wheelie bins, its tumbling litter, its flock of crows with their bright, oil slick wings.

Their building was old grey stone, austere pediments the only decoration. It used to be a workhouse – that’s what the estate agent had said – for beggars, the sick and poor who would otherwise starve outside its cold, forbidding walls.

To Alice, the flat’s veneer of plaster and steel, LED lights and LCD screens was just a mask, a sterile attempt to hide the building’s true, brutish nature. Sam had called the flat a sanctuary. Alice called it a prison.

The box of light shrank around her.


Written for What Pegman Saw, a weekly prompt using Google street view images. This week the image is from Giles Street in Edinburgh. From here, if you turn the corner onto Henderson Street, you see the front of this grey stone building, the inspiration for this story. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

41 thoughts on “What Pegman saw : A shrinking box of light

      1. Thanks Lynn. I find google maps so inspiring. I even got the idea for a whole book once. I’m glad you find them inspiring too. Love your writing.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. When I looked round that old, grey stone building, it looked so much like a workhouse / prison that had been converted into apartments – I wondered how the residents felt about that. We had friends who lived in a flat based on the site of an old mental asylum, all the roads named after notable psychiatrists – that was a bit weird. Great prompt and lots of fun to take part in

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Joy. A sad, pressed in life she leads. Hope you had a good Christmas and New Year. Looking forward to getting back into a writing regime – how I’ve missed my laptop 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve been having a great vacation but, alas, gotten no writing in and hardly any reading while I’ve been away. My sister and I have just now finished cleaning up after last night’s New Year’s eve bash. We were wise not to plan any other activities today except “recover from party” because I think that will take us all day!

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      2. Haha! Yes, we were up until 3 am on New Year’s Eve and though not really hungover, we certainly spent yesterday exhausted, slumped over board games and TV! Looking forward to eating huge plates of salad and reacquainting myself with WP and my stories. A happy and productive 2017, Joy

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      3. I was up until 3 am too, much to my surprise, and the last of the party was still going when I gave up the ghost! We did a lot of lounging yesterday too, and I took my last opportunity to cook in their lovely large kitchen, combining the leftover appetizers and dips into pasta dishes for lunch and dinner so that they didn’t go to waste (yes, this counts as fun for me, lol). It’s been a wonderful break, but I’m looking forward to getting home today and reacquainting myself with normal life again. Happy writing in the new year!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rochelle. Would love to write a story about the workhouse system one of these days – a last resort for many, places of harsh treatment and prejudice. Fascinating and frightening at the same time. Thanks so much for reading and a Happy New Year to you too. 🙂


      1. Ooh, you have to love a good thick Scotch mist 🙂 Too cold for a sassenach like me though. I’ll hunch down here in the West Country, where spring comes early and the winds are kinder

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  1. Oh my gosh, did you see what is in the street? Check out that Google link to the map again. Sorry if there are typos here. I am talking to my phone and I still can’t see what I write to you in this box. It’s the weirdest thing because your blog is the only one this happens with period

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sooooooo….I guess I’m a bit warped since it made me laugh aloud! 😉 (can you imagine if it were actually real and it happened to get caught on camera? !)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That should have said, “…almost everything except the period.” 🙂 (The first comment above, I spoke the word for the punctuation and it showed up as a word…the second time, it showed up as punctuation.) I’m writing this one on my computer so I can see what I’m writing here. Anyway, if you haven’t already, go back to the Google map link and angle down to look at the street. I laughed aloud. If Google comes near my house, I will totally be doing something similar. Can you see it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I saw it – isn’t it weird? The main thing I thought was – do people get warning of when Google are coming through? Because it looks like they needed some planning to get that set up – don’t know about you, but I don’t have a dummy hanging round the house I can use to set up a murder scene. 🙂 What would you do if they did come round?

      Liked by 1 person

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