What Pegman Saw: A flare in the lens

Image: Google Street View

In the beginning they were just an irritation, like lens flare or a scratched negative.

But he began to see them everywhere in his footage, among the Beng trees of Cambodia, in the dust and scrub of the Golan Heights, studying the murals on the Falls Road.

His hands would shake in the sick red glow of the darkroom as he reached for his magnifier, searching the prints before they dried.

Always the same blond and dark heads, close as if in conversation, the arms round each other, feet in step. Sometimes they were blurred, distant, part hidden behind a lamp post or car, but always the swept back hair, the holiday smiles.

His editor laughed, said they were his signature, better than a monogram. He smiled, nodded, all the while wondering how he’d learn who they were.

Then one dank night driving home on the coast road, he found out.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its jumping off point. This week we are in Cardenas, Cuba.

My story is actually inspired by the Google Street View itself. You see, I kept seeing the same woman and child, in similar poses, arms round each other, presumably tagging along behind the camera operator. I just wondered what if they weren’t known by the photographer? What if their appearance was as much of a surprise to the person who took the images as it was to us?

To learn more about Cambodia, the Golan Heights and the Falls Road, just click

13 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw: A flare in the lens

  1. Oh, you have certainly jumped straight into dense inspiration with this. Wow! That’s really imaginative. Reading it, I was part-expecting the people seen to be ET type aliens.

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  2. You do such a wonderful job setting up the suspense in the first few lines before I even know what he’s seeing in the photos. And then — shiver — to learn what it is. How did he not notice them when he was taking the shots? What suspicious magic is this? Great premise for the horror story hinted at in the last line!

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    1. Thank you so much, Joy! Glad you felt the suspense built well. It’s tough to do in flash but it’s something I like to do, so glad it came through ok. My thinking was that he didn’t see them when he took the pics, that they only appear during the developing process, a couple of holiday makers that, perhaps, he is destined to meet. Thank you so much for reading and the kind comment

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      1. It’s very tough to do in flash, I know! And even better if he didn’t notice them when he took the shots. That would really unnerve me — how didn’t I notice?!?

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  3. This is just super. I was reminded of Sean Flynn, son of Errol, who was an accomplished combat photographer in Vietnam before disappearing into the Cambodian jungles. Well done.

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    1. Thanks so much, Josh. I liked the idea of the combat photographer capturing these two in his lens, a hint perhaps that there’s a link between the violence he’s witnessed and the fate of the two women. Thanks so much for reading and for the mention of Sean Flynn – I’ll take a look at his work

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  4. What a great story–I love where you took this. The tension and timing is exquisite. Now I MUST know who they are! You better get writing, my friend 😉

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  5. That’s a fabulous story, Lynn! I’m not usually spooked by a ghost story, but that one had the hairs on my neck prickling. Great writing – some of your best!

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    1. Aw, thank you so much Penny. Just flicking through those pics and seeing the same mum and daughter pairing repeated, it just led my mind to dark places – of course! Thank you so much for your kind feedback and for reading

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