What Pegman Saw : Second smile

Image : Google Street View

Dari and Purl’s first kiss was under those trees, the New Year’s Eve Purl was sixteen. Their last was two or more years later under the same trees, sun blazing down, pricking the sweat from Purl’s skin like she’d been caught in a storm. She was crying that time.

This was where Sunny learned to ride pillion and where he got that scar like a second smile on his chin. Fell off the back of the Honda. Told Dari not to try wheelies.

It’s where we smoked – away from our parents, too far into the maze of tenements for the police to find us, to quiet for the gangs to bother.

It’s where they found Purl the New Year’s Day she would have been nineteen. Lying on her back, staring up through those self same trees, her throat cut like a second smile. And she had a lovely smile.

I wonder where Dari is now.

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Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Street View. This week, we visit Mumbai. See here to join in.

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Friday Fictioneers: The Paper Trail Jar


PHOTO PROMPT © Priya Bajpal

Meg invented the Paper Trail jar when we first moved in together.

I’d come home from work to find a confetti of candy coloured paper folds leading me to it. I’d stoop, snatch up each slip in turn –

Welcome home, love … You’re my star … You warm me … Never leave.

This morning when I woke, mouth sour and gummy from last night, her side of the bed was cold, empty aside from the jar. I tipped the contents on the sheet.

Your sadness stifles me … You don’t see me anymore … You’ve murdered my love for you … I’m leaving.

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Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

FFfAW: Bittersweet


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

‘What about this one, Gamma?’ Solly held out a glossy red berry.

Tan looked up from her own basket of fruit. ‘Bittersweet. Eat a handful of those and you’ll be running to the privy for a night and a day.’

Solly let the baubles fall, crushing them with the toe of her boot.

The sun was high, heat building under Tan’s arms, gathering in the channel of her spine. She closed her eyes for a moment, focused on the breeze, how it carried the scent of the distant shore, the quarrel of gulls.

The lights went out twenty years ago today. How had anyone survived those early days? How had she? The loss of all they’d known, all the comforts they’d taken for granted …

‘This is a funny one, Gamma – all spiky.’

She opened her eyes to find another berry under her nose, Solly’s eyes sparkling like fireworks.

After all they’d suffered, here was her silver lining.

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Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

Bittersweet is a member of the nightshade family with glossy red berries that can cause sickness or even death.

Three Line Tales: Artist unknown

three line tales, week 153: a lot of paintings

photo by Beata Ratuszniak via Unsplash

All day he crouched, limbs folded tight as a disused easel, eyes on the cobbles, on scuffed work boots and tightly tied Oxfords with leather slick and shiny as glass.

I never saw him look up, never saw him sell a painting or the configuration of brightly coloured canvases change.

He’s gone but the canvases remain, peeled and paled, the gallery of an unknown, unknowable artist.

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Written for Three Line Tales. See the pic and write a tale. See here to join in.

What Pegman Saw: On top of Broun Mam

Image: Google Maps

Nat kept his promise.

Every week he’d slip and scurry to the top of Broun Mam and leave something for Peggy in the disused nesting box.

Sometimes it might only be an unripe beech bud or a sprig of Hawthorne blossom. When he could steal the time alone it would be a note, scribbled in pencil on a page he’d torn from last year’s almanac. I still listen for the waves or When I eat apples I save the pips for you. Things only significant to her, to them.

What she left in return made his hands shake for her. A peach stone sucked clean of flesh; a triangle of lace snipped from her clothing, from somewhere covered, close to her skin. The thought of these items passing through her hands, over her tongue made him shiver …

Until they stopped appearing and he saw them for what they were – things she had discarded.

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Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as it starting point. This week we are in St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cuna. See here to join in.

Notes.

Broun is the Middle English word for brown.

Mam is an English dialect word for Mother.

The name of my mountain was inspired by Mam Tor (Mother Hill) which is near Castleton, Derbyshire near where I grew up.

Friday Fictioneers : The Hollow Girl


PHOTO PROMPT © Russell Gayer

‘How long has she been missing?’ Papa pulled on his boots, his braces still hanging loose, bouncing at his thighs.

‘An hour ago.’ But I was reading up in the attic before that, hiding from my sister, avoiding the grief that hung about her like a shadow. I stared up the hill, towards the foot of the glacier. ‘She wouldn’t go up there alone.’

The old Nancy wouldn’t, but this hollow girl that had replaced her, who drifted like mist through the house since the accident … Maybe.

‘If I’m not back by nightfall …’ The door slammed behind Papa’s back.

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Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See here to join in, read and comment.

What a happy place to be, back on Friday Fictioneers. And what a cracking, inspiring photo too. Thanks Russell.

What Pegman Saw : Midday on the highway

By midday we’d reached the highway.

The rain that had soaked us through in the night had stopped by then, but still the road was slick with runoff, every passing truck throwing up a mist browned with mud and grease until our clothes were heavy once again.

After an hour of waiting for someone to pull over, the children were restless, tired of an ‘adventure’ that never ceased, of rest that never came.

‘There are too many of us,’ muttered Rudo, kicking at an empty soda can. ‘No one will stop for eight.’ His voice lowered further as he cast me a dark look, but the words arrived sharp and bright as lightning in my ear. ‘No one will take that child.’

Danai wriggled in her sling, sticky warm on my back, milky breath against my ear.

My child would never be part of this world.

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Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View. This week, we visit Harare, Zimbabwe. See here to join in and to read and comment.