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 : Odd Fish

PHOTO PROMPT © Randy Mazie

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‘Odd Fish.’

The old women whispered as he passed the yard, rocking in their chairs, fanning damp faces with crimped newspaper. Samuel dipped his head, avoiding their dry, puckered gaze.

Clouds of dust rose as he crossed to the cemetery. Passing sharp, white headstones he reached a wooden cross in the shade. Taking out a well-thumbed book, he peered closely at the text.

‘Here’s the book I was telling you about, Mama.’

Clearing his throat, he read, ‘If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born …’

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

I’ve been away for a while and what a joy to be back in my blogging home.

Note – Samuel is reading the opening lines of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.

What Pegman Saw : Always so cold …

Image : Google Street View 

‘They can’t be grave markers.’ Dr Stephanie Grayling crouched by the nearest stone.

‘Nonsense,’ said Professor Hill. ‘How many burial sites have you excavated in Ethiopia with the same style of carving, the same themes of weaponry and plant life?’ 

Grayling ran a finger over the grainy stone, felt the grooves mesh with the whorls in her skin. Always so cold, even on the hottest days … 

Hill must have heard the rumours circulating the dig team, but she’d worked with him often enough to know he never listened to chatter, only ever focusing on the facts as they presented themselves.

She stood beside him. ‘There are just too many, Craig.’ Thousands of markers sticking from the scrubby grass, accusing fingers of stone in every direction. She tried to fight off the panic, the feeling some had subtly shifted position since the day before.

‘We should never have come here.’

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Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Street View as a jumping off point. This week we visit a fascinating archaeological site in Ethiopia. See here to join in, share, read and comment.

What Pegman Saw : Ghost girl

‘Why did we have to meet here?’

The leaves have long fallen, the creek’s fringed with ice. A wind cuts along the path, sneaking beneath my sweater, raising my skin to pimples.

‘You know why,’ snaps Flick, checking her phone signal.

There are still ribbons of police tape further along the track, tangled in the twigs like black and yellow bunting, the only sign remaining that anything happened here.

Madison and Lily are silent, Lily trailing behind as always. Madison’s gained weight since we last met – she always eats when she’s worried. And Lily … she’s a ghost girl. Silent, bony, big eyes staring like she’s seeing things that aren’t there. Maybe she’s sneaking some of her mom’s sleeping pills. I’m old enough to buy my own.

We’re together in this, a bond unbreakable.

Though I wish with all my heart I never had to lay eyes on these bitches again.

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Written for What Pegman Saw, the fantastic prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. Today, we are at Bridal Veil Falls, Utah. See here to join in, share, read and comment on others.

What Pegman Saw : Where did you sleep last night?

 

‘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 Pegman Saw : Four brothers

‘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.

 

Friday Fictioneers : One tear lost in the river

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.