What Pegman Saw: Badlands

Image : Google Street View

On the horizon was a band of trees, quite black in the dying sun. It looked to Kitty like a great wave of night, threatening to overwhelm the plain.

Over the previous day, the party had been lashed by rain, pelted by hailstones the size of Kitty’s thumbnail, scarified by sun and a wind so strong it cut the canvas loose from the wagon, leaving it to slice the air like a loosed sail.

‘Badlands,’ Mama had muttered, face hidden by the wings of her bonnet. ‘That’s what they call them. That’s what they are.’

That night, Kitty and Jed were put to bed in the wagon early. Kitty lay on her back, watching the firelight dance on the canvas roof, listening to Jed’s slow, steady breathing as Mama sobbed over her coffee and Papa sung an old song about lost hearts and lost fortunes.


Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street view as its inspiration. This week, we visit the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The Black Hills were dubbed such by the Lakota Sioux because the trees gave them a dark appearance, so I thought I’d include this idea in my story. Part of the Black Hills is also known as the Badlands. See here to learn more.

8 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw: Badlands

  1. Dear Lynn,

    I’ve said it before and will say it again, you have a brilliant knack for description. I saw the light of the fire on the canvas and felt the pelting rain. Beautifully written.



    Liked by 1 person

  2. I especially love the last paragraph where the old song reminds us, that as they now suffer, so have their forefathers ever suffered. It puts their anguish in perspective and implicitly condemns our own soft, easy, modern lifestyle.


  3. In vivid detail, you have described many reasons I would have failed at pioneering. Brave souls, they were.
    “wind so strong it cut the canvas loose from the wagon, leaving it to slice the air like a loosed sail” ~ love this. Covered wagons were referred to as prairie schooners ~ you probably know that. Well done.


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