What Pegman Saw: Forever Change

Image: Google Street View

The island speaks of forever.

Rock the colour of a whale’s back. A fathomless sea that leaps into the sky, swallowing the horizon .

Everything is as it has always has been and I want to be part of it, lie in the waves, let the barnacles clump my skin, the worms burrow into the warren of my bones.

A dash of red draws my eye, the colour so bright it hurts. The colour of pillar boxes, of telephone kiosks and buses, of change.

I want to be alone with the sea, but the colour grows, becomes a girl in a red dress. She battles her hair, the skirt that tangles round her calves. She bends, plucks shells from the whale’s back, tucks the stolen treasures in her pocket.

She smiles as she passes, the shells jingling, that smile pulling me back to life, the possibility of change.


Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View. This week we visit Guyana. See here to join in – it’s a fantastic prompt, so do come along.


Friday Fictioneers: For stony limits cannot hold love out*


PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Marler Morrill

PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Marler Morrill


‘Can you climb?’ says Rami, mischief sparkling in his eyes.

Clarrie stares up the drainpipe, at him, at the soft brown curls that cluster around his temples. ‘I can climb,’ she says, tying her jacket round her waist.

At the top, she smiles, breathless.

He reaches to pull her onto the balcony. ‘We must be quiet,’ he whispers.

He smells of hibiscus tea and cigarettes, hands warm but dry, dark against her pale arms.

‘I’ll be deported if we’re caught,’ she says. Not a complaint, just a fact.

His fingers stroke her cheek. ‘They have to catch us first.’


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s  Friday Fictioneers. See the photo and write a 100 word story to accompany it. See here for full Ts and Cs.

*From Act Two, Scene Two (The Balcony Scene) Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.


#tuesdayuseitinasentence: What remains.

Sleigh bells

Image: Pixabay

Tennis shoes: the blackened toes say they were well used and they were, though often for mooching to the corner shop for pints of milk.

Your DVD collection: anything with CGI, car chases,  explosions. Though the copy of It’s a Wonderful Life was yours. Every time a bell rings …*

Lead guitar and amp: barely used.

Set of weights: used, but only to prop open that swinging door.

Rowing machine: you tried but stopped as your strength waned. Amazing how quickly the dust has gathered.

Medication: so many different pills. I forget what they were all for. I should give them to the pharmacist. But not today.

Your pillow: the smell of you.

Your voice: in my head as I sleep, fading when I open my eyes.




Written for Stephanie at Word Adventure’s #tuesdayuseitinasentence. Take the word – today it’s REMAIN / REMAINS – and use it in a post.

*In the last scene of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, Zuzu Bailey says, ‘Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.’

Lost and Found


The ring hung from Grace’s finger, clashing, overlapping with her own rings. The problem was money. If only they had more money, she would never have found it.

If Simon’s salary was higher, she would have gone straight out somewhere swish and stylish like Liberty or Biba and bought herself a new winter coat. She could have donated the old one to the Salvation Army or to Mrs Bloom a few doors down. It might have been too small but with eight children and a runaway husband, her neighbour couldn’t afford to be picky.

But although the coat was drab, the cut five years out of date, it was serviceable. So when Grace found the pocket lining had come apart, her heart sank. Make do and mend.

Grace had pushed her hand through the split seam, the frayed silky edge tickling her wrist as she felt for lost pennies. There was definitely something, round and solid- but she couldn’t tell what it was. As she opened her fist, the dull gold had glowed in the light. Her stomach jerked.

Simon’s ring.

He’d never worn a wedding ring, said he wasn’t ‘the type’. But she’d wanted something for him, something he could wear next to his skin. Something he could look at and think only of her.

Grace had bought it from Mrs Bloom with money scraped from the housekeeping. It had belonged to Mr Bloom- a gambling debt repaid in jewellery. One of the only times he’d actually won, apparently. It was the stone Grace was drawn to, the flash of blue. Mrs Bloom had wanted more for it, but she had that lean, hungry look common just after the war, when rationing had cut bone deep. In the end, they’d agreed three shillings.

And Simon had loved it- Grace had known from the heat in his eyes. He’d never taken it off.

Then it vanished.

He’d tried to make a joke of it, of what a dolt he was- not to be trusted with anything. But Grace was devastated. How could he be so careless? Did he know how hard she’d saved, how much she’d gone without? She’d thrown the teapot, taken a nick out of the cupboard door. She’d known she was being unreasonable, that the loss was no reflection on how much he loved her. But once she’d started to cry, to shout, something hot and painful was unleased. It was as if a reservoir of grief was tapped- unceasing, constantly replenished- and she couldn’t find the way to dam it.

Then one day, Simon returned with a bunch of roses- the palest pink, with soft, fleshy petals. A few days later had come a new teapot and not a heavy, brown-glazed one, but bone china with trails of ivy painted on the handle. She hadn’t dared to ask where the money had come from.

But there were other things. His face softened when she talked about her day and when she spoke- even if it was only about the price of fish, or how cheeky the new bread boy was- he folded his paper, turned down the radio and she basked in his attention, sparkling like sunlight in a pool.

And now she’d found the ring.

She could show him. He might smile, laugh, pull her to him and kiss her cheek. He might.

The front door banged.

‘Grace? Where are you?’

Grace opened her underwear draw, slid the ring between a blue petticoat and a pink. She thought of his hand, sliding over the slippery fabric and smiled.

‘Coming!’ she called and headed for the stairs.

Today’s Prompt: Imagine you had a job in which you had to sift through forgotten or lost belongings. Describe a day in which you come upon something peculiar, or tell a story about something interesting you find in a pile.

This is linked to Writing 101 Days Four and Thirteen- Lost and Found– and imagines Grace (the old woman with dementia in the previous posts) as a young woman.

Summon the Nine Dancers


Thanks to Jane at Making it Write for nominating me for this challenge.

I wait and watch for her.

The cotton-grass fights the wind, bending its tresses to tangle with the heather.  The cold is pitiless as the night rises: it swells my fingers. There’s the blue-grey dash of a wheatear in the grass; one flick of his tail and he vanishes as if he was never there.  If I had been one of the Nine Dancers, villagers turned to blocks of stone for their sin, I could have watched the moor change from brown to purple to silver-frost until Judgement Day and I would never have caught her eye.

But instead I wait for her and I pray she doesn’t come… and I pray harder that she does.


I first saw her shoe: grey kid with a pinked trim. The girls I know wear bulled leather on their feet, proofed against farmyard muck and bog water. I glimpsed her skirt next; a pale blue ground sprigged with red roses, like a garden growing in a clear sky. I believed myself already in love.

Then her face appeared from behind the Priest- the broadest of the Dancers. One look from her grey eyes and I was lost. She was hiding from my sister Anne, the two of them playing hide-and-seek like they were children again. The girl with the sky-blue dress caught my eye. She smiled; she shook her head and held a finger to her lips to seal a promise. I nodded, blushing with pleasure to be her accomplice.

She had me then, with one look, one finger, her lips curled in a smile.


She watched me over the edge of the box pew. Even though my back was turned I felt her eyes burn through my collar stud, heating the skin beneath until I flushed and my neck grew damp. I didn’t hear a word of the sermon.

In the churchyard afterwards she stooped to tie her lace, leaning against a headstone cracked by frost and rain. Shaded by a bough of yew she sank into a tangle of ivy, crunching fallen epitaphs underfoot. She was blinkered by the wings of her bonnet and couldn’t see me. I thought to speak, but my tongue felt swollen, trapped behind my teeth, so instead I passed by, her skirts brushing against my legs. A sudden wind tangled me in petticoats; I stumbled free, leaving her to stand alone.

I thought of that moment often; the brush of her poplin dress on the back of my hand and the smell of lilac and skin.

I knew she was not human the first day she took my hand.

It was May Day. The sun was so hot that we tied wet kerchiefs round our necks to cool us. The fiddler stood beneath the market cross, his foot keeping time. I do not dance, but she took my hand anyway. I followed like a sheep follows the lead ewe even though it can hear a blade on the whetstone. Her bones were so slight that I daren’t close my fingers around her hand in case I crushed her. Her skin felt cool but my palm burned. She smiled. I couldn’t.

The music ended and the fiddler sank to the grass to drink his ale. I was left gasping. She walked away, stealing one backward glance.


There were other times: her hair twisted around my fingers: the touch of her lips on my neck: her smell that lingered on my shirt. There was a time in the darkness, the scratch of hay against my arms. That day her skin burned me again and on coming away I felt scarred down to the bone.

There were other times: watching her turn away when I tried to catch her eye: her cheek flushing under another man’s gaze: waiting alone in the dark, not knowing if she would come, my fists bruised on the wall.


By the time my skin turned cold under her touch it was too late for us both. A worm had burrowed inside me, leaving me hollow; each wink she threw made me shiver, every stroke of her finger was like the scratch of a nail. I would check myself for wounds and was surprised when I found none.

I was cruel. But that was when she loved me best.


Last night we were together by the Dancers. It was dark when we arrived. It grew darker still; the only light the moon and its reflection in a blade.

Now I can feel myself growing solid again, the hollows in my body filled. My toes are planted in the shallow soil and soon bog moss and sundew will grow around my ankles. I am turning to rock, but the change from flesh to stone doesn’t hurt me. All my pain has vanished and the burning of my skin has eased. My heart slows; I can feel the pulse through my arms, in my head, but soon it will stop. My skin will turn grey-green like the other Dancers and I will swell their ranks: the Priest, the Surgeon, the Midwife, the Blacksmith, the Brewer, the Thatcher, the Dame, the Fiddler and the Hound. And beside them, us: the Lovers. We are drawn, one to the other, the damned to the damned.

Something moves, like the sun has risen from behind the moor… like a garden of roses planted in a blue sky.

She takes my hand.

First published on the Everyday Fiction website.

The Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge rules require you to post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. I have chosen to use photographs from Pixabay as I’m terrible at taking them myself! It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or simply a short paragraph – it’s entirely up to you.

Then each day, nominate another blogger to carry on this challenge.

Accepting the challenge is entirely up to the person nominated, it is not a command. Today, I’m inviting Susieshy 45 to join the challenge.