‘Tell me again why you were here, Stephen,’ said Walker.
The kid’s preppy clothes were grubby, shirt cuff button missing. His knuckles were scuffed bloody, one cheek purpled by a bruise the size of an egg.
‘I said.’ Stephen sniffed, wiped his nose on his sleeve. ‘Everyone comes to Cedar Pond in the summer. We hang out.’
‘Yeah.’ Walker crossed his arms, leaned against the squad car. ‘I came here when I was your age. Swam. Smoked some blow. Were you guys smoking , Stephen?’
The kid’s head dipped, eyes on the ground.
‘Man, we used to get up to some stuff.’ Walker crouched beside the boy who winced as he took his hand. ‘Never ended up with knuckles like that though.’ He stared into the terrified eyes, then past him, across the wide glassy black of the lake. ‘My girlfriend never went missing either. Where is she? Where’s Jennifer?’
Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Streetview as its jumping off point. Do join in, share, read and comment on the other stories. See here to do just that.
I know the trees in the picture aren’t pines, but something about the area – and the dark tales surrounding Clinton Road – reminded me of ‘In the pines’ also called ‘Where did you sleep last night?’ I was familiar with the Nirvana Unplugged version and Kurt Cobain’s screaming last chorus (always makes my hair stand on end – in a good way) but I only today listened to an early Lead Belly recording. Equally magical.
‘What’s happening?’ Sweat stands in pimples on Dan’s top lip, darkens the collar of his shirt. No one answers.
Stevie stares out over the turgid brown river, over stained concrete and steel. He reminds me more of Dad every day – the silences, the sudden rage. Carl asked me to watch him ‘in case’, but I don’t know what I’m meant to do. No one could control Dad either.
Carl keeps trying the phone number, but no answer. He’s biting his lip and that’s more unsettling than losing the car, almost more than losing the bag.
‘We’re fucked. We’re just fucked.’
‘Shut up, Dan,’ Stevie grunts, a bear in chinos.
I know there’s going to be a row, but all I can do is watch Carl.
Finally, he smiles. They picked up. There’s a short conversation, then it’s over. His eyes are empty and I know.
For once, Dan’s right.
Written for What Pegman Saw, a writing prompt using Google Streetview. This week Pegman visited Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. To join in and share, see here.
PHOTO PROMPT © JS Brand
‘You sure this is the place?’ asked Valdez.
The hotel’s corrugated iron roof was rusted and dripping dingy rainwater into the river. A sign above the door was feathery with curling paint.
The boatman nodded, palm open.
At the reception desk stood an elderly lady, her grey hair whipped into a bun, head tilted towards a radio. A waltz crackled from the speaker.
‘Senora Martin? I’m a police officer. I need to speak to you about your son.’
She looked up, revealing one pearly cataract. ‘He’s dead?’ She smiled, a single tear falling from her blind eye.
Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the pic and write a tale and don’t forget to read and comment here.
What do we think Senora Martin’s son did to make her smile at his passing? Answers on a postcard please. Alternatively, you could just comment in the box below, which is a much better idea.
Water laps the shore, the wind rising up sharply as the sun is swallowed by distant crags. For a moment the lake shines gold, fingers of light shivering, reaching towards me. Then light snuffs out, the orange sky sliding through green to midnight blue. Cold rises from the lake, from the grit beneath my feet.
A hand grips my shoulder. ‘Come in the house now,’ he says.
For a second I pull against him but the fight in me quickly fades. I cannot stop this anymore than I could stop the sun from setting. He leads me inside.
Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Streetview. See the location and write a tale and don’t forget to share, read and comment. See here and click on the blue frog.
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 …
PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll
Mum lifts Danny onto the seat, the Umbrella car giddy under his weight.
‘Will you come?’ He isn’t scared, but Mum’s been sad for so long and fairground rides make everyone smile.
She shakes her head, tells him to hold the bar in front but he’s old enough to know that. The car moves – loud music shakes the air in his ears. Mum has already turned, her bubble gum pink coat a spot of colour growing smaller. When the ride has turned once, the pink has gone.
This is what Danny tells the police lady when she comes.
Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the picture and write a tale. Share yours and read others here.
On the fifth day, the first snows of winter fell, deadening Artur’s mood along with the city. The traffic grew muffled and sluggish along with the dark slick of river – even the smoke from the refinery’s chimney grew leaden with the cold, sitting hunched over the rooftops.
He spent the next three days anxiously watching the snow settle and harden, the ploughs turn the roads into grey-walled canyons. Then despite his careful planning, the promises he’d made to himself, the waiting became too much.
Buka darted ahead when he opened the apartment door, the little terrier leading the way, following his nose along the beaten snow path between lines of garages, until they reached the One. At the padlocked door, Buka held back, sniffing, cautious, fuzzy tail drooping.
For a moment, Artur paused, key in hand. Then he heard movement inside followed by wet cough.
On Saturday, Pegman wandered to Talnakh, in Krasonoyarsk Krai, Russia, where I found this little scene and wondered what was drawing that dog towards the locked hut …
Do join in if the Muse moves you – share a story and read others here.