What Pegman Saw: On top of Broun Mam

Image: Google Maps

Nat kept his promise.

Every week he’d slip and scurry to the top of Broun Mam and leave something for Peggy in the disused nesting box.

Sometimes it might only be an unripe beech bud or a sprig of Hawthorne blossom. When he could steal the time alone it would be a note, scribbled in pencil on a page he’d torn from last year’s almanac. I still listen for the waves or When I eat apples I save the pips for you. Things only significant to her, to them.

What she left in return made his hands shake for her. A peach stone sucked clean of flesh; a triangle of lace snipped from her clothing, from somewhere covered, close to her skin. The thought of these items passing through her hands, over her tongue made him shiver …

Until they stopped appearing and he saw them for what they were – things she had discarded.

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Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as it starting point. This week we are in St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cuna. See here to join in.

Notes.

Broun is the Middle English word for brown.

Mam is an English dialect word for Mother.

The name of my mountain was inspired by Mam Tor (Mother Hill) which is near Castleton, Derbyshire near where I grew up.

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31 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw: On top of Broun Mam

    1. PS That picture rocks. There are Pegman locations where I struggle to find an inspiring view, but I think every single place I landed in St. Helena was inspiring in some way. This capture, though, is the finest I’ve seen.

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      1. It’s an interesting landscape, isn’t it, volcanic I’d guess from the almost black sand and the mountains. I wonder how Napoleon felt being shipped to that blank spot after being the centre of the buzz and glitter of Europe for so long? A great choice of location – nicely done Karen 🙂

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    2. Haha! It became a lot more steamy than I’d imagined at the start of writing! In the end the poor man is just another thing she discarded. Thanks so much for the kind comment Karen

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  1. Aw, poor chap at the end. And I ditto above regards sensuality. It seems to be a hallmark of yours, though not intended as sexual; more a feast of the senses. 🙂

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      1. Yea, cut those purple prose, keep it sharp, hammer the tension, bang, bang, bang. Well, that’s what the publishers like. But is it what the reader wants? If it was there would be no market for the literary novel which tends to move at a much slower pace, investigating otherwise ignored aspects of life.

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      2. I quite like a mixture of the two really. Literary novels that have a good strong plot/ beautifully written genre novels – there’s space for all of this, don’t you think? Sadly, so much is down to sales. Easier to market a badly written celebrity book over a beautifully written book by an unknown

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      3. Neatly summed up (at the cash register). But yea, just cos it’s genre fiction doesn’t mean you can jettison well-formed prose the play a symphony upon the senses. One of the best ‘craft’ books I’ve come across in that respite is *Between the Lines” by Jessica Page Morrell. She has much to say about foreshadowing, and laying in depth etc. But it’s the kind of book I can only dip into, rather than to read straight through. Published 2006, which is when I bought it, and I still dip into it.

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      4. So many novel writing guides out there, I always wondered which was the best, though I suspect many have good and bad points. I read a few early on that seemed to be no help whatsoever.

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      5. Well, if you come across this one, I would recommend it. It’s not like any other I’ve read. Though there are sections on what we might deem basics, for the most part its focus is Qualtity of Writing. The backcover strapline: Transform an ordinary story into a nuanced and memorable work of art. I think that says it all

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  2. Very sensual, as has been remarked, above.

    This sounds like the beginning of a longer piece, just enough to pique our interest, but…so many questions!
    With so little information, I imagine a young man, relatively naive, and a very sophisticated married woman, toying with him. But it begs the question: why did it end? And, was there ever an actual relationship, or was it just suggestive foreplay, and nothing more?

    Great work!

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    1. Thank you Andrea. I imagined them having to keep the affair secret, probably because one is deemed unsuitable in some way. But when it comes down to it, he likes her more than she likes him. She’s playing at it and soon moves on to someone else. Fickle, fickle girl. Thank you for your thoughtful comment and for taking the time to read the story

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  3. As Crispina says, another feast for the senses. I love the hope and exciting mystery of the secret place to exchange little gifts — what magic in that idea! And yet, I kept wondering why they had to be secret? What reality kept them apart? I decided she was married… and wondered if he’d misunderstood, that she stopped leaving items because something horrible happened to her. That would be doubly tragic: for her to be caught, maybe killed, and then for him to think she’d abandoned him.

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    1. It could be that. Or perhaps she’s just a shallow, thoughtless girl who enjoyed being his centre of attention for a while but has now moved on to another man. A ‘flighty piece’ as my nan might have said! Thanks so much for reading and commenting Joy

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      1. Well, I *do* tend to let my imagination go wild – or overthink things, perhaps, lol! I like the term “flighty piece.” Quite descriptive.

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      2. Nothing wrong with letting your imagination go wild – that’s kind of the point in what we do, isn’t it? Run wild and free, I say. There are many good English phrases for loose women – trollop is always a good sounding word, as is floosy;’no better than she ought to be’ I like but don’t fully understand! Funny how I can’t think of many male equivalents …

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    1. I’m guessing he’ll never find out what she really meant, or indeed what he meant to her. But then we never really know the content of someone else’s heart, do we? Thank you for reading Violet

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