What Pegman Saw: Best Watchtower on the Wall


Gregor had scavenged blankets and sheep skins, even a couple of ex-military sleeping bags from when army patrols still made it as far as the Wall. Improvised wooden shutters and squares of tarpaulin kept out the worst of the knife cold wind.

‘Home sweet home,’ he’d said, blind eye shining pale in the torchlight. ‘You’re lucky to have been posted here, man,’ he said. ‘Best watchtower on the Wall.’

That night he showed me how to operate the night vision camera, what to look for in the grainy green image.

‘Always scan the ground,’ he said, drawing deep on a roll-up. ‘They try to dodge the cameras by keeping low.’

A flicker of fear bumped in my chest. ‘They’re clever enough to avoid the camera?’

He flashed a jagged smile. ‘Don’t believe what they teach you at school, Con. These mutts are smart.’


Written for What Pegman Saw, the inspirational prompt that uses Google Street View as its source. This week, we’re in China at the Great Wall. Be inspired, share, read and comment here.




24 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw: Best Watchtower on the Wall

  1. A macabre twist on the shaggy dog story, and like all good jokes — even those steeped in black humour — it the one-two combo that does it: the skillfully told preamble followed by the punchline you weren’t anticipating. Superb, as always.


    1. Ah, thanks Lish. Yes, recently I’ve been writing flashes that feel like they’ve been taken from larger stories, even novels. If only I had the ideas for the novels themselves! Thank you for the kind words


  2. This seems to be post-apocalyptic where apocalypse was a whimper rather than a bang (the diminishing number of army patrols, for example). I love your line ‘A flicker of fear bumped in my chest’. And the idea that it could be dogs who are the enemy – well, I can believe it. Like everybody else, I want to know more!


    1. Thank you Penny. Yes, I think you’re right, this is a gradual erosion of society and culture rather than something explosive. And mutts, well they don’t have to be dogs, could be a nickname for something … other. Thank you so much for reading and your kind comments

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Made me shiver – you create the sense of the remote outpost so strongly, and Gregor with his jagged smile. Even the best watchtower cant keep out Con’s fear. Wonderfully done Lynne.


  4. Oh you! Mutts could represent anything. Love that you describe such a banal-seeming job then add that hint of sinister…


  5. Dear Lynn,

    As always your descriptions put me in the moment and leave me wanting to know more. Well done. Let me know when you publish a novel, I’ll be sure to snap it up. πŸ˜‰




  6. What a sinister plot you have begun to unfold… can’t get the image of that movie “The Maze Runner” outa my head as I read this. Or, even the “Hunger Games” where they’re entrapped within… Wonder who your wall is imprisoning….


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