What Pegman Saw : The many in the one


I tell Mammy, “The church speaks to me.”

I don’t expect tears of joy, the kisses and blessings. I don’t expect to be trussed in my coat, my hat with the ear flaps, my scarf, my mittens and heavy boots until I’m muffled and leaden, a deep sea diver wading among the coral.

Mammy’s heels clip-clop on the cobbles, the sound echoing between staring houses.

It speaks again as we enter the churchyard. At first it’s like one voice, a wind sighing through narrow gaps. But then I hear the many in the one – crying, whispering, calling for help that never comes.

The rectory door bell rings. I shuffle on the step, aching to run but held by Mammy’s joy, her fierce pride that the Lord has chosen to speak to me.

The door swings wide. There’s the black shirt, the white collar.

One look and it’s clear – he knows.

Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we are in Stockholm, Sweden. See here to join in, to share, read and comment.


41 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw : The many in the one

  1. Oh, that’s shiversome on so many levels. Mostly through the tentative additions of my own mind. But without your words, my mind wouldn’t provide those shiversome additions.
    A very long way of saying … Like.


    1. Thank you Crispina! Difficult with shorts sometimes to suggest enough without telling, hoping you’ve include the right level of detail for readers to deduce what’s going on. Seems like it may have worked this time πŸ™‚ Thank you for reading

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did, in a nervous way! It’s down to a childhood subjected to authoritan priests, nuns and Irish Christian Brothers…


  2. Im going to try to comment, though I can’t see the words I write…i like the way you play with words “the church speaks to me. “. At first i thought it was a calling like St Joan, a conviction that the child was born to a religious life. Clearly thats what the mother thought. Then as the neared the rectory, i considered that there might be actual voices of childre trapped there in the rectory. Then i considered they could beghosts of children past and that brought up all the shameful recent child abuse with the Catholic church. But the “he knew.” I dont know what to think of that. Otherworldly, to say the least.


    1. There are secrets in that church, that’s for certain – and you’re right, a supernatural edge was what I had in mind, whether the priest is guilty or just covering for someone else, I’m not sure. Thanks for reading Andrea

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Andrea. I’ve tried to tackle this before – checked settings, googled solutions etc and just couldn’t work out what the heck was happening. So, today I went onto themes and monkeyed around with my background colour and noticed the text changed from white to black depending on how deep the background colour was. Then it occurred to me – it couldn’t be something as simple as the fact that my text is white in a white comment box? Surely, WP would have considered that … Seems not. So, I’ve tweaked the background hue so the text has changed to black. Had to change the header image too as black text just didn’t show up on the books picture I had, but then it’s probably time for a change anyway, spruce things up – and I do love the sea! Have tried typing on my phone and the text shows up in the comment box for me – I hope it works for you too. Sorry about the frustration and I hope all is solved now πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Your writing…. jeez. beautifully done and ominous.

    What Andrea is saying is, if we try to reply with our phones, we can’t see the text we type. It’s like typing white on white… maybe you could look into your settings πŸ˜‰


    1. Hi Dale, take a look at the comment I left for Andrea – I hope I’ve solved it, fingers crossed. If not, I just don’t know what to do next. Thank you for your kind comment – very lovely πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hurray! Glad it works, though still mystified why WP didn’t spot the glitch when they designed the theme. Never mind, it works that’s the main thing πŸ™‚


  4. You really bring out the sinister aspect of churches. I guessed from the beginning that the child did not mean the the church speaking was not something to be pleased about, and you add several more layers to that initial unease. It makes me think of our youngest who was terrified of the cathedral which was smallish and very beautiful early Gothic. The others loved it, though for reasons I’m ashamed of nowβ€”they used to poke about everywhere, behind altars, in confessional boxes, up the pulpit…When she was a tot, she refused to be dragged past the door, just shook her head and dug her heels in.


    1. Thank you Jane. Well, they are intimidating – large, dark, funny smelling. And that’s without the peculiar carvings and faces staring at you from stained glass windows! I don’t blame your daughter at all. I love churches but only from an art history, architectural point. I want to go in and enjoy the history of the place, not the religion.


    1. Ah, that’s great! I just can’t believe that was the cause – the fact the blog text is white. Would have thought the WP programmers would have worked out that glitch. Never mind – really glad it’s solved. Thanks for continuing to leave comments if when you couldn’t read them πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The details about bundling the child up seemed superfluous but not in retrospect — they show how the mother is trying so hard to protect the boy, wrapping him in all these layers, but is she inadvertently wrapping him like a gift to be delivered into an evil plot? Nice twist, that the “church” talking to him doesn’t mean what his mother assumed. And that priest gives me the shivers. As you’ve said in other comments, maybe he isn’t the cause of the pleading voices, but he’s covering for something.


    1. Thanks Joy. Yes, I think he’s covering for someone, not necessarily the predatory religious man of recent disturbing history. As you say, she’d bundling the child, keeping them safe from the cold but exposing them to other things. Thank you for the thoughtful comment and for reading so carefully πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. There are even more layers to your story than those bundled round the child, Lynn, and so many little delights as well. I love the way the child is held still by ‘Mammy’s fierce pride’ – that is so very true and human. Even as adults, the pressure of opinion will hold us against our will and our better judgement.
    Lovely writing!


    1. Aw, thank you so much Penny. You’re so very kind. I remember that feeling as a small child, wanting to run but being held by parental expectation (not under such awful circumstances, I hasten to add!) It can be a powerful force parents hold over us, still making us feel five when we’re in middle age! Thank you for your kindness and I do hope NaNo has treated you well – nearly there!


      1. Ah, I’d love that! Weston is the easiest ‘beach’ for us to reach, but it isn’t even really the sea as it’s on the Severn Estuary and to be honest, it’s pretty naff – all arcades and kiss me quick hats. Somewhere more natural would be lovely. I’d love to live nearer the sea. I had the weirdest feeling when we were on holiday, taking a ferry to Brixham from Torquay. Part of me was thinking ‘this feels right, being on the sea, smelling these smells, feeling the salt spray gather on my face’. Though of course if the conditions had been rougher I might not have felt the same πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Shiver me timbers! Maybe you were a pirate in a previous life πŸ™‚

        I went to Weston when I was thirteen, on a rainy day. My friend and I bought a sneaky pack of number 10s and smoked them under a tarp covering a pile of deckchairs. the word ‘pointless’ comes to mind whenever I think of that place.


      3. Ha! Sadly, yes, it’s kind of sad and depressing, though it has a great burnt out old pier that my son and I enjoyed looking at last time we were there – a great setting for a ghosts story! πŸ™‚


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