What Pegman Saw : The many in the one

 

I tell Mammy, “The church speaks to me.”

I don’t expect tears of joy, the kisses and blessings. I don’t expect to be trussed in my coat, my hat with the ear flaps, my scarf, my mittens and heavy boots until I’m muffled and leaden, a deep sea diver wading among the coral.

Mammy’s heels clip-clop on the cobbles, the sound echoing between staring houses.

It speaks again as we enter the churchyard. At first it’s like one voice, a wind sighing through narrow gaps. But then I hear the many in the one – crying, whispering, calling for help that never comes.

The rectory door bell rings. I shuffle on the step, aching to run but held by Mammy’s joy, her fierce pride that the Lord has chosen to speak to me.

The door swings wide. There’s the black shirt, the white collar.

One look and it’s clear – he knows.


Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we are in Stockholm, Sweden. See here to join in, to share, read and comment.

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FFfAW : Digging the Dirt

This week’s photo prompt is provided by wildverbs. Thank you wildverbs!


 

Everyone on the little cul-de-sac of sooty terraced houses said what a good neighbour Beryl was.

When Mary at number 5 was laid up with a broken hip, it was Beryl who fed her budgie, put the ancient Hoover through its paces. And when Fred and Sylvie’s son died in a car crash, it was Beryl who organised the wake, made the beef paste sandwiches, kept the mourners topped up with tea and sweet sherry.

On the day she passed away there were many tears shed. By the next day – when her diaries were found – there were no more tears.

There was a diary entry about the baby Mary had given up for adoption when she was fourteen, a sad little snapshot of the golden haired baby boy – the only picture Mary had of him.

There were newspaper clippings of Fred and Mary’s son taped on one page, about the trouble he’d got into in Exeter with that young typist and the reason he drank.

Only the vicar attended Beryl’s funeral.


Written for FFfAW. See the picture, write a tale, share, read and comment – here.

Yes, I’ve gone a little left field. I struggled to begin with but once the title phrase blipped into my head, the rest came easily.

What Pegman Saw : Take me to the water

 

 

The faithful lined the banks of the river all year, churning the water to a thick brown soup of mud and prayer leaves.

The winters were the busiest now, as if God was more likely to grant relief from pain and suffering if the pilgrim had to crunch barefoot through frosted grass and stiff fringes of reed.

Prime didn’t want to believe in a god like that, but then he knew the secret. He knew the discarded crutches, the lives reborn, renewed, weren’t due to God at all.

Sometimes the knowledge made him flinch under the grateful tears, the blessings of the cured as he helped them, sodden, from the water.

He would lie awake wondering – did it matter? Was a cure any less a cure, however it happened?

Still, he crept to the water under cover of night to feed Them, to hear Their true voices.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the grand writing prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we’re in the Grand Canyon, Arizona. See here to join in, to share, read and comment.

A JUSTIFIED STATE – BOOK LAUNCH

Today is the official launch of Iain Kelly’s thriller, A Justified State. As a fellow Friday Fictioneer, I can happily enthuse about the quality of Iain’s writing – I believe I was the first to buy a paper back copy of the book, that’s how eager I was to read it! Do pop along to Amazon and order your own and jump over to Iain’s blog to learn more.

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My first novel – ‘A Justified State’ – is now available to buy!

‘A Justified State’ is a thriller set in an imagined city of the future. The State is ruled by the socially reformist Central Party Alliance. Poverty and homelessness have been eradicated, but overpopulation, an energy crisis and an ongoing overseas war are threatening the stability of the country.

When a local politician is assassinated, Detective Danny Samson finds himself thrust into the middle of the investigation. Still grieving for his dead wife and children, Danny tracks down the assassin, an ex-military sniper called Gabriella, only to discover she may not be the real villain.

The secret behind the murder of one politician may bring down the entire ruling Party, and Danny soon learns those in power will go to any lengths to protect The State. Joining forces with Gabriella and the mysterious government agent Phillips, Danny must unearth…

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What Pegman Saw: The one who made it home

 

 

He was one of the displaced after the war, I think.

Just one of thousands forced to flee along the river bank, pushed on by the stink of burning and blood, outpaced by the corpses floating downstream.

I don’t know why he stopped here. Perhaps he finally felt safe. Or he just couldn’t walk anymore.

Did he imagine getting old like this, sleeping on a palette bed by the river, earning a few riel carrying sacks of rice and bales of cane, arthritic joints growing gnarly as kapok tree roots? Nothing to his name other than one set of clothes, a string hammock, a battered water carrier.

As I take his wrist, check for a pulse I won’t find, I think how at peace he looks, how the young man he was still peeks from behind that old man’s death mask.

Perhaps he finally made it home.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Street View as it’s inspiration. This week we visit Cambodia. See here to join in, share and comment.

Cambodia has had a traumatic past, years of war followed by atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge. To learn more about the war, see here and see here to read about the reign of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.

 

 

 

 

Three Line Tales: Now the colours are wrong

 

three line tales, week 144: people on a bath through fields of red bushes

photo by Andre Benz via Unsplash


When he dreamed of home the colours were wrong – the cool jade shrubs turned lurid magenta, wisps of ochre cirrus floating in a scorched sienna sky.

He’d wake sweating, reaching blindly for a hand no longer there.

There was no home left. No love to comfort him, no eyes to cry for all he’d lost. One night of flame had ended him.


Written for Three Lines Tales. See here to join in and share.

FFfAW : The beat of a tin heart

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Jade M. Wong. Thank you Jade!


 

She’s there again, the bobbin head at the window, slashes of blonde hair warping with the faults in the window pane. Her face is a pale oval, the grey of over-washed sheets.

As I mount the steps of the smoky block that was once our home, I sense her approach the glass, peer at my crunching path along the shingle drive. I listen for the tap of her nails – tick-tick, tick-tick, like a tiny metal heart beat – but it doesn’t come. There is only the wind soughing in my ears and the groan of the door swinging wide.

‘Daddy’s home,’ I call.

But she won’t come down from her attic room. She’ll stay at the window, with her grey face paling, her mouth a blur of silent pleas and prayers, hoping that someone will come.

Someone who isn’t me.

 


Written for FFfAW. See the pic and share a tale.

As it’s the eve of Halloween and Jade’s photograph took me in that direction, I thought a tale of ghostly presences and seen things that aren’t quite seen would be fitting.