What Pegman Saw: Her past beyond the curtain

Image: Google Street View

Mila peered through the mesh of net curtains, frustrated by the hazy view. If she pushed them aside she might see better, but then she risked being seen and the very thought made her forehead damp with anxiety.

‘Jaap?’ she called behind her.

A pan clattered in the kitchen out back. Jaap’s way of telling her he was too busy to come running.

‘Jaap, that child’s in the street again,’ she called.

A boy of around seven or eight years of age. Dusty red and blue striped tee shirt, skinny legs poking from wide shorts, the knees sticking out like knots in lengths of string. He’d come every day for a week, stood in the middle of the dirt road for an hour before leaving.

A cupboard door slammed. ‘What do you want me to do about it?’

‘Tell me it’s not him,’ she muttered.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting off point. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

10 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw: Her past beyond the curtain

  1. And so you leave it to us to fill in the blanks. And you know that we will. And yet there could be several answers here. Or maybe not; I’ve not done any research. Either way… neatly done

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Crispina. I suspect there’s a complex past here and not a pleasant one. Could be her ghosts returning to haunt her or could just be a boy taunting her for some reason. He’s got her spooked, either way. Thanks for reading

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Lovely details in this story. “Jaap’s way of telling her he was too busy to come running.” and “skinny legs poking from wide shorts, the knees in lengths of string.” are delightful. You’re very clever in how you leave us feeling convinced that both Jaap and Mila know the significance of the boy but are too frightened to say it out loud to each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Penny. Glad you loved the descriptions and felt they worked. I’m always working now in trying to stop, think, choose the right, fewest words. And I think you’re right, they both know who the bit is but perhaps Jaap doesn’t believe he’s returned and she does. Thanks for reading

      Like

  3. And whoops! I meant to quote “skinny legs poking from wide shorts, the knees sticking out like knots in lengths of string.” but it somehow got garbled. Sorry!

    Like

  4. I agree with Penny. Your description of the boy bring him to life. And you certainly do leave us feeling convinced that both Jaap and Mila know the significance of the boy but are too frightened to say it out loud to each other. Delightful little mystery, this.

    Like

  5. The “knees as knots in string” part is my latest favorite of your always-evocative descriptions. As Crispina said, you’ve left an awful lot to our interpretation — and yet, you’ve left cues as well. You say in an earlier comment that she’s spooked, but you portrayed the boy so realistically; he doesn’t seem a ghost to me. If the boy is standing there for so long every day, so many days in a row, it seems unlikely to be anything other than wanting to be noticed and recognized by someone inside. And if Mila wants Jaap to tell her the boy is not “him” then Jaap must know what “he” looks like. So why is Jaap refusing to come to the window to see the boy? My “fill in the blanks” guess would be that the boy is Jaap’s illegitimate son, coming back to be claimed, and Mila knows about it, but neither of them want to acknowledge him publicly and have the whole town know.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.