What Pegman Saw : Control

 

They were taken in front of us, that was the worst of it.

Not snatched in the melee of a fairground, under the sugary mist of cotton candy. Not lifted from their beds, parents too heavy with sleep to hear the creak of boards, the muffled cries.

The way they were taken was intentional – daytime, the family gathered to mourn as skinny arms reached out for Mama and Papa, the hope of rescue dying on tear-stained faces.

We control you, the gangs were saying, from the warped boards of your huts to your corn, your water, your women … your children.

Today they came again, greedy hands falling on my Bernicia’s slick of black hair, plucking at the folds of her dress, the shallow pit in her collarbone.

Strange, isn’t it, how the man who beats a dog never expects it to bite back?

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. See here to join in and to share your own story.

For reference, according to this site the name Bernicia means One who brings victory.

 

 

 

 

 

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Three Line Tales : No more trouble

three line tales week 94: old pots in a sink

photo by Scott Umstattd via Unsplash


 

‘And do you often let yourself into the flat without your tennant’s permission, Mr Scott?’

The landlord shuffled grubby slippers on the threadbare carpet. ‘Single parent families on benefits. Always trouble.’

Segeant Flynn thought of the bedroom with its peeling wallpaper, the wax like figures tucked neat and still as mannequins under the bedclothes. He shot the man a bitter smile. ‘Well, they won’t cause you any more trouble, will they?’

 


Written for Three Line Tales. See here to join in and to share a story of your own.

 

Friday Fictioneers : Bonfire

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll


 

The detective cradles the mug of tea in both hands. His fingers are red, sore at the tips where’s he’s gnawed the skin. The smell of bonfires that followed him in now fills the room.

‘Was your daughter at home all night?’ he says.

I hold his gaze. ‘She went upstairs after school and didn’t come down until dinner.’

He takes in my dishevelled hair, my own bitten nails that I sudden want to hide.

He nods. ‘We’ll need to talk to her.’

‘Of course,’ I say, knowing her suitcase is gone along with half her clothes.

Run, my love.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See here to join in the best prompt I know and to read the other stories.

What Pegman Saw : They’ll come


 

Shona drifts past another blank-eyed goddess.

She checks her watch. An hour until the coach collects them from the museum. Only mid-morning and her stomach’s rumbling.

Another gallery. The walls Pompeian red. In the centre of the room, a horse statue, on its back a child. The room is deserted, the air thick, steamy. Her pulse beats loud in her ears, breath coming fast –

Muscle moving beneath her, a jolt as the ground leaps up, falls away, rises again. Her arms scream, fingers white on the reins. She steals a look behind – no one. Tempted to slow, to ease the pain and the gasping, retching, but they’ll come, they’ll come, they’ll never stop and there’s only the horse between her and them and as long as she rides she’s safe. As long –

‘Miss?’

A concerned face swims into view, but she’s already running. She’ll always be running.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, a writing prompt using Google Streetview. See here to read the other stories and share one of your own.

Strangely, considering a location chock-a-block with history, I found inspiration hard to come by today. Until I ventured into the the Archaelogical Museum and discovered this amazing statue. The Jockey of Artemision is so dynamic, so different from those stiff, cool-eyed goddesses – so modern in a way – I was captivated.

Three Line Tales : The fire inside

three line tales week94: little red riding hood, a girl in a red parka on a beach

photo by Alex Iby via Unsplash


 

A strip of black, ashy sand, white breakers above – a grey sky, heavy with sea mist that rolls in and out of the shore like a living thing.

Many would be driven insane by my monochrome world, by the endless crash of the waves, the screaming dip and soar of the gulls – but not me.

Inside me burns a fire of anger so fierce it will turn the sand to glass, boil the seas until they vapourise, leaving nothing but a crust of salt behind. The world will know me.

 


Written for Sonya at Only 100 Words’ Three Line Tales. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

Friday Fictioneers : The Invisible Girl

PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Ann Hall


 

Frances nestled into her favourite spot behind the jardiniere, in the shade of the dining room curtains.

She liked it there. When she stood up, the fern fronds spilling from the pot tickled her cheeks, smelling of woodland. When she sat, legs tucked, she pulled the heavy velvet curtain to her, becoming invisible. Then she could listen to the parlour maids talk of Mother in sharp, hushed tones, watch Polly wipe her grubby hands on the table cloth.

Today, scuffing feet told her someone was coming. High and low whispers, a man and a woman.

Her mother.

Not her father.

 


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

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Pegman Saw : A wise form of madness*


 

They grew up in neighbouring blocks, in the stone-built houses left when the rich folk deserted the Old Town for the New, exchanged crumbling laurel swags and ballustrades for reinforced concrete and steel.

They went to the same school, though never met. She was bright enough, not brilliant but hardworking, while he spent the school day picking pockets, shoplifting, in juvenile court.

As she whispered with her friends over boy band singers, he was getting his first gang tattoo – a dagger on his right cheekbone, a symbol of belonging.

Then one day, she was walking along Rose Street, he coming the other way, trousers hanging low, body hunched as if the world had climbed on his narrow shoulders. His face was slim, brows in a tight frown. The kind of boy the nervous cross the street to avoid.

On impulse, she smiled

And his world opened.


 

Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Streetview as its starting point. See here to join the fun and to read the other stories.

The title comes from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Act One, Scene One.