What Pegman Saw: Walking in shadows

Image: Google Streetview

‘The lady stayed in the shadows, mostly.’

‘Particular shadows? Particular places?’

‘I saw her in the park . On days when men came round and I had to leave the flat. The lady would be under the trees, waiting for me.’

‘When else?’

‘At school before I was excluded. In the flat too.’

‘Was that when your mum was taking drugs?’

‘Yeah. We had a cupboard in the hall. When Mum came back from her dealer, the lady would be in the cupboard.’

‘How do you know she was there? Did you see her?’

‘I heard her. She had a way of breathing.’

‘Can you describe it? This way of breathing?’

‘No.’

‘Do you still see her?’

‘Only when I’m off my meds.’

‘Like last week?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Did you really forget to take your medication, like you told the police?’

‘No.’

‘Then why -‘

‘Because I missed her.’

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we visit Providence, Rhode Island. See here to join in.

Friday Fictioneers: Trophies

PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Wayne Fields

I’ll admit, I was jealous of my brother. While my life was unremarkable, his was extraordinary.

Beautiful girlfriends. A house in Kensington. Holidays to Tonga, Maui, Cambodia.

He lived in the house ten years, but as I walk the rooms, my footsteps echoing, the place feels like a feature in a style magazine. No photographs of family on the mantelpiece. No scrappy school paintings pinned to the fridge or toys on the floor. Not even a dog basket cluttering the hall.

I cuff my cheeks dry. The man had so many trophies and won nothing.

***

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the prompt picture and let your imagination fly. See here to join in.

What Pegman Saw: A cosmic levelling

Image: Google Street View

The call came just after eleven pm. She let it go to voicemail.

‘… I wasn’t able to get to a phone before now. You know how it is…’

The table was still set for two, the candles burned to black grease. At least the wine hadn’t gone to waste. She teetered out onto the veranda, glass in one hand, cigarette smouldering in the other.

She’d never liked sharing, not since she was a little girl. Back then it had been dolls and slices of black cake she’d kept to herself. Perhaps this was payback for her childish greed, a cosmic levelling.

Sipping her wine, she watched the flames enveloped the house they’d both loved, the house he’d want for his next family.

Never was good at sharing.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we visit the Dominican Republic. See here to join in.

NB

Black cake is a Caribbean recipe I’ve never tried but that sounds rather amazing.

Friday Fictioneers: Fallen

PHOTO PROMPT © C.E.Ayr

The fall felt sudden when it came, the troops marching along the avenues, the army encampment in the shadow of the tower, everywhere red, white and black.

Others went before us, but trouble had seemed so distant, another man’s worry. And in the meantime there had been meals to cook, clothes to launder, work and school, the thousand small things that make a life.

Now liberty sleeps, the days have taken on a darker hue and that other life has faded to a distant point on the horizon that remains just a point, no matter the miles travelled.

***

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the prompt pic and have a go. See here to join in.

Apologies for the slow response to comments. I’ve dived into writing another novel and am finding hard to clamber out!

What Pegman Saw: Death of a swimmer

Image: Google Street View

Charles swam every morning, whether the sea was ruffled by breeze or chopped to spiky breakers, baby-bath warm or prickling with ice.

A veteran, some said, though there seemed little evidence for that aside from his upright bearing and buffed shoes.

He rarely spoke, would only nod at the post mistress and the baker, Gerard, though neither knew what they had done to deserve the honour.

During the years he lived in Roscanvel, Charles held no more than ten conversations and afterwards, no-one could agree on whether he lisped or if his false teeth clicked when he spoke.

When Simone found his body on the shingle one late-frost morning in May, she was disturbed enough to shake as she described the scene. But not enough to cry without imagining her own mother’s death.

All the residents were at a loss at to why anyone would murder Charles.

All, except one.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week, we visit Roscanvel in Brittany. See here to join in.

Friday Fictioneers: A little piece of heaven

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

The door squeaked open. Kurt stepped out onto the tenement roof and propped the door open with an old metal chair he’d saved from a skip. He felt in the brick planter – no plants, just bricks – and fished out his tobacco wallet.

The cigarette paper slipped easily through his practiced fingers, flakes of tobacco tamed into a tube. The lighter flared, clicked shut.

The lead roof was still hot, petrol fumes dissipating a little as day gave way to night.

Laney’s voice reached him up the stairwell. ‘Kurt! Dinner.’

Downstairs the baby was giggling, hiccuping, giggling.

Not a bad life.

***

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the picture and write along. See here to join in the fun.

A taste of freedom

Image: Pixabay

The way down from the cliffs was a struggle, the boulders less even than they looked from a distance. The bladder wrack was still wet, slippery under her heels and she had to use one hand to hold her skirts up – she could just imagine how much trouble she’d be in if her only black dress was marked with slime and seawater.

‘Wait for me,’ she called.

Charlie was already a way ahead, striding from rock to rock. His trousers wore twin stripes down the hips, brown and green where he’d carelessly wiped his hands. His patent boots were muddy to the ankle.

Every part of her life felt shackled – working at the big house, the housekeeper with her sharp black eyes, the mistress running pudgy fingers over every mantel and sill. Free time was rare and even then she was not permitted to walk along the Front or go to the music hall or the fair, only to Church or on ‘improving walks’.

How she envied him those boots, those trousers.

She closed her eyes, breathed in the salt tang. Her corset pinched at the waist, on her lower ribs, cut under her arms. Even her breathing wasn’t free.

This was the closest she came, though.

If they sneaked down the beach, out of sight of the Grange, in the shelter of the boulders, there was privacy of a sort. The wind whipped sand in her face, tugged hair from its pins so it caught in her mouth, flicked against her cheeks – she loved it all.

Gulls soared overhead, hovering, wheeling, calling her to join them, mocking when she couldn’t.

‘Come on!’

Charlie had made it to the mouth of the cove. He sat on the sand, peeling off his boots and socks, turning up his trouser legs. He wriggled his toes in the sand like a little boy.

The closest thing to freedom.

***

The image is of Seafield House in Westward Ho!, UK. My current obsession.