What Pegman Saw : Parallel Worlds



It’s only after thirty years away, I see how idyllic my childhood home is and I have the strangest feeling of seeing two parallel worlds, as if each eye is imprinted with a different image, my brain struggling to reconcile the two.

There is the picture window gazing onto the endless ocean, a porch swing wide enough for two, a spotless white picket fence.

Blink and I see the other world …

… six years old, paint brush falling from my hand as a boot kicks me from behind. The graze on my temple from the fence  …

… shivering on the porch swing as the dark creeps in, as wild things snuffle closer, as the shouting from inside turns to screams …

… banging at the picture window as my mother walks away, never turning, never looking back …

Tugging my collar against the wind, I’m glad of its beauty.

It means it will sell quickly.

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt inspired by Google Street View. This week we are on Mackinac Island, Michigan. See here to join in and to read the other stories.






30 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw : Parallel Worlds

  1. You tell that story superbly, Lynn, making full use of the “Parallel Worlds” concept. I hope the sale of the childhood home will bring closure for the narrator.


    1. Thank you very much Penny. Yes, a break with the past may help to leave all that unpleasant history behind. Let’s hope so. Thank you for reading


  2. The word “idyllic” sets us up for a smooth, comfortable ride, and you give us a roller coaster! Humble and unassuming, your prose digs up a frightful past and then allows the sea to wash over her pain, filling in the sand hole, erasing it, as if it were never there.


  3. I can almost feel the chill breeze passing over the property, and the narrator as you change the tone in your descriptive “snapshots” Lynn, there’s a bittersweet sense of perspective here, someone reliving in order to let go. Masterful. 🙂


    1. Thank you Crispina. I’m glad you felt it worked. I think I would have made it more sophisticated, less blunt if I’d had more words. But hey-ho, lesson learned. Thank you again

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a story, Lynn. You tell it perfectly. The outer beauty of the home that is in reality filled with sadness and pain.
    May she sell it and move forward.


      1. I’m beginning to see this as one of the key differences between YA and adult writing. YA isn’t supposed to work on suggestion. The ‘villain’ has to be real with big sharp teeth, the hero/ine has to be ‘good’ and upright. No nuance, and nothing merely suggested.


      2. Definitely things have to be spelled out more clearly in YA, as you say, no suggestion, just telling. I have read some YA (I’m thinking of Patrick Ness in particularly) where some of the heroes do some very bad/stupid things, though I guess they’re at heart good people. A good thing to show young people that even the good can be led astray – as in fiction so in life


      3. I couldn’t make up my mind about the Knife of whatsit. I loved the first book, thought the ending was a cop out, and in between, I wasn’t convinced by his hero being a monster then a good guy. Refreshingly bloody though.


      4. Yes, all true. I do love Ness, but I’ve read the first two of those books and have stalled reading the third – maybe I’m just not into YA enough anymore


  5. I’m left wondering what horrors your protagonist suffered in order to survive. She instantly became real to me, and yet, in one of your comments you claim that writing succinctly is not one of your strengths.



    1. Ah, thank you Jane. Succinct writing is something I’ve had to practice – writing prompts are great for that. I’m glad she felt real to you – being a fearful child and surviving can often make a brave adult I think x

      Liked by 1 person

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