What Pegman Saw: Best Watchtower on the Wall

 

Gregor had scavenged blankets and sheep skins, even a couple of ex-military sleeping bags from when army patrols still made it as far as the Wall. Improvised wooden shutters and squares of tarpaulin kept out the worst of the knife cold wind.

‘Home sweet home,’ he’d said, blind eye shining pale in the torchlight. ‘You’re lucky to have been posted here, man,’ he said. ‘Best watchtower on the Wall.’

That night he showed me how to operate the night vision camera, what to look for in the grainy green image.

‘Always scan the ground,’ he said, drawing deep on a roll-up. ‘They try to dodge the cameras by keeping low.’

A flicker of fear bumped in my chest. ‘They’re clever enough to avoid the camera?’

He flashed a jagged smile. ‘Don’t believe what they teach you at school, Con. These mutts are smart.’

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the inspirational prompt that uses Google Street View as its source. This week, we’re in China at the Great Wall. Be inspired, share, read and comment here.

 

 

 

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Three Line Tales : Zero bars

 

three line tales week 117: don't text and drive

photo by Alexandre Boucher via Unsplash


 

It’s the end of the world. Love you, brother.

Denny had always been one for drama – every headache was a brain tumour, every stomach ache cancer. But something about the text  made Stuart swerve onto the hard shoulder amid the car horns and cursing. His call to Denny failed to connect, the same for their sister Clare. Panic mounted as every number he knew failed, as the bars on his phone dropped to zero.

He was staring at the blank screen as the first blast hit, as the nose to tail cars in front of him were flipped into the air, as the pressure wave disintegrated the windscreen.

Love you too, brother.

 


Written for Three Line Tales. Pop along here to join in.

 

What Pegman Saw : The Bone House

‘How long has he lived here?’ called Taylor.

Baruti shrugged, sandals slapping on leathery feet. His easy gait and slim frame made Taylor feel huge and awkward, an elephant beside a gazelle.

‘Could be an indicator of how far -‘

A hot wind blew up the valley and there it was – the same sound in Philadelphia, Bologna, Yekaterinburg. A wind chime made of bones.

‘There,’ said Baruti.

On top of the hill, a large hut on stilts.

‘Did he make that?’ said Taylor.

Forester had been an accountant, the least practical man Taylor ever met. But many of the sufferers had developed new skills. The virus’s capacity to construct new neural pathways in the brain was the reason he was there. One reason.

Baruti was already hurrying away, dust swallowing him.

Taylor checked the comforting swell of the Beretta under his jacket and pressed on.

 


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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Fictioneers : The silvering of clouds

PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

There’s a light you get at twilight, when the sun is tucked behind silvery clouds. The sky’s still blue, holding onto day, but the earth is draining of colour, already sliding into night.

It was like that twenty years ago. Day Zero we call it now, but really it was just another summer’s day, a day I have no memory of. Until the broadcast.

I remember Ma’s face as the news came buzzing and tinny over the radio. A sandcastle crumbling under waves. The radio has remained dumb since.

If you could see us all now, Ma, you’d weep.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Come on over, be inspired here, read and comment. It’s a joy.

 

 

Three Line Tales : His bloody mission

three line tales week 113: a close up of a road in Rome

photo by Vek Labs via Unsplash


 

‘Never stay anywhere more than one night. Never speak your real name, your real home town, your real destination. Lies are your only protection …’

Papa was long gone but his voice still circled Gordy’s brain. Each time someone was kind to him, each time he found more than a cold doorway to sleep in. Surely, the world was in too much disarray to notice one, lone man …

Still, Papa’s words stung him back to the cold road, to dew on his shoulders, to the familiar sting of blistered feet. His bloody mission.

 


Written for Three Line Tales. See here to join in.

I see a lone and lonely man, sore and wounded by his travels, yearning for another life, goaded by his father’s teachings. But what’s his bloody mission?

Suggestions please.

Three Line Tales : Just one step

photo by Samuel Wong via Unsplash


 

Every weekday he steps onto the escalator, blinks in the cold neon, shuffles to the right. It’s a conveyor, he thinks, sucking up human beings, churning out labourers, consumers, productive cogs.

Then one day he’s about to take that first step and his foot pauses as if caught on an unseen obstacle. There’s a tut and grumble from the commuter logjam building behind him, but now he’s unable to move. He once dreamed of flying in a rocket ship to the craggy face of the Moon, of chipping the old bones of a newly discovered dinosaur from the chalk. He once dreamed.

An impatient cough stirs him. Flushing, he takes a step and though inside he’s raging, wanting to turn and run, to fly a rocket, to name his dinosaur, he shuffles to the right, let’s the escalator carry him on and up.

This is not an age for dreamers.

 


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. See the pic and write a tale and pop along here to read and share.

What Pegman Saw : Mass Extinction Event

 

Alvarez brushed his hand down the tree trunk. The bark turned to ash under his touch, coating his glove, catching in his throat like hot wood smoke. There was that smell again – like oil on fire.

‘When did this happen?’

Matias spoke to the farmer in his singsong voice, a faint smile in his dark eyes. Thanks to him, all the locals they’d spoken to had stayed calm, reassured. Official policy was to skirt the truth without telling an outright lie, but if Matias’s hints at government compensation meant they got off the island without causing a riot, Alvarez was content to turn a deaf ear.

As they plodded back to the truck, worry peeled away his friend’s smile. ‘How can this happen overnight, jefe? And across the island?’

And in Siberia, along the Congo, Bolivia, France, Norway …

‘Beer, amigo,’ said Alvarez, as the engine growled to life. ‘We need beer.’

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Streetview as its cue. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

I saw one of the photospheres from the Dominican Republic this week and wondered what had caused this stand of trees to fail so dramatically. Naturally, my mind wandered to the end of life as we know it …