What Pegman Saw: Walking in shadows

Image: Google Streetview

‘The lady stayed in the shadows, mostly.’

‘Particular shadows? Particular places?’

‘I saw her in the park . On days when men came round and I had to leave the flat. The lady would be under the trees, waiting for me.’

‘When else?’

‘At school before I was excluded. In the flat too.’

‘Was that when your mum was taking drugs?’

‘Yeah. We had a cupboard in the hall. When Mum came back from her dealer, the lady would be in the cupboard.’

‘How do you know she was there? Did you see her?’

‘I heard her. She had a way of breathing.’

‘Can you describe it? This way of breathing?’

‘No.’

‘Do you still see her?’

‘Only when I’m off my meds.’

‘Like last week?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Did you really forget to take your medication, like you told the police?’

‘No.’

‘Then why -‘

‘Because I missed her.’

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we visit Providence, Rhode Island. See here to join in.

What Pegman Saw: A cosmic levelling

Image: Google Street View

The call came just after eleven pm. She let it go to voicemail.

‘… I wasn’t able to get to a phone before now. You know how it is…’

The table was still set for two, the candles burned to black grease. At least the wine hadn’t gone to waste. She teetered out onto the veranda, glass in one hand, cigarette smouldering in the other.

She’d never liked sharing, not since she was a little girl. Back then it had been dolls and slices of black cake she’d kept to herself. Perhaps this was payback for her childish greed, a cosmic levelling.

Sipping her wine, she watched the flames enveloped the house they’d both loved, the house he’d want for his next family.

Never was good at sharing.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we visit the Dominican Republic. See here to join in.

NB

Black cake is a Caribbean recipe I’ve never tried but that sounds rather amazing.

What Pegman Saw: Six Days

What we’d thought would be three days walking turned to five then six.

The smaller children suffered worst, those too young to understand the cold, the heat and pain it brings. The small ones added to the sound of those days – the crunch of ice underfoot, the soughing wind, children’s sobs collapsing into whimpers.

The land was a series of low hills and promontories, leading to great expanses of shale, glacial cliffs.

Those that fell – infants, the elderly, the sick – were left unburied, wrapped only in the clothes they wore. The earth too hard to dig. No spare blankets to act as winding sheets.

I think of them sometimes, pared by the ice, weathered to the colour of rock, another low hill eroded by the wind.

***

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

What Pegman Saw: Death of a swimmer

Image: Google Street View

Charles swam every morning, whether the sea was ruffled by breeze or chopped to spiky breakers, baby-bath warm or prickling with ice.

A veteran, some said, though there seemed little evidence for that aside from his upright bearing and buffed shoes.

He rarely spoke, would only nod at the post mistress and the baker, Gerard, though neither knew what they had done to deserve the honour.

During the years he lived in Roscanvel, Charles held no more than ten conversations and afterwards, no-one could agree on whether he lisped or if his false teeth clicked when he spoke.

When Simone found his body on the shingle one late-frost morning in May, she was disturbed enough to shake as she described the scene. But not enough to cry without imagining her own mother’s death.

All the residents were at a loss at to why anyone would murder Charles.

All, except one.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week, we visit Roscanvel in Brittany. See here to join in.

What Pegman Saw: A way of seeing

Image: Google Earth

Hanna woke early, pushed her feet in to her sheep skin slippers, soft against her bunions.

On the stairs she always came down backwards now, since the fall.

At the kitchen counter, she rested her forefinger on the edge of the loaf, using the digit as a measure. She’d hook a finger over the rim of her coffee cup too, stop pouring when the heat reached her nail. Damn cataract operation couldn’t come soon enough.

After breakfast she walked to the lake, her stick sinking into the mud, grit rolling under her boots. At the mud flats she stopped, looked over the water, breathed in the day.

She missed the details, but she knew the sun twinkled like fairy lights on the water, that the birds sang out, defending territory and new broods.

Spring was on its way and it was going to be a good one.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View for inspiration. This week we are in Polanczyk, Poland. See here to join in.

What Pegman Saw: Dust and Ashes

Image: Google Earth

There were the remnants of a fire, set in a dip overlooking the canyon. Pike scuffed the blackened ironwood with his boot, kicking up dust and ashes.

‘She was here.’

Root stood silhouetted against the ripening sunset, one foot up on a rock, thumbs hooked in his trouser pockets. He raised an eyebrow.

‘Smart enough to make a fire out of nothing,’ said Pike. ‘Stupid enough not to think we’d find it.’

Root nodded, chewed a fragment of nail from his index finger, spat it into the drop below. ‘Which way?’

Pike pointed down the canyon. ‘She wouldn’t last long out here and she knows it. She’ll head for people, hope she can get a lift someplace.’

Root nodded, heading back towards the Jeep.

Pike smiled to himself. The least he could do was give her a head start.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we visit Happy Jack, Arizona. See here to join in and have fun.

What Pegman Saw: A little spare

Image: Google Earth

A group of boys were hanging out in the shelter of the bridge. Twelve to fourteen years old, skinny backsides slipping out of baggy jeans and cargo pants. They weren’t up to much – drinking, smoking, tossing rubbish and rocks in the lake. Old enough to get into trouble.

Maybe that’s where her Gabino would be in ten years time, hanging out with his cousins, boys from the neighbourhood. Boys with connections.

Marcia shivered, lit the second cigarette of her rest break. She was lucky. Her job was better paid than many, meant she had a little money spare each month as long a no extra expenses came up. If mother could only stay well enough to care for Gabino while Marcia worked, their little family might stand a chance.

She dropped her cigarette stub on the foreshore, pressed the final light from the ash as the phone in her pocket vibrated.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Earth as its prompt. See here to join in.

What Pegman Saw: Folly

Image: Google Earth

‘What’s the point of it?’

The tower was five storeys high – bruised white washed walls, red corner stones, an onion dome roof.

Steph shook her head. ‘No point. Just a wealthy man showing off. That’s why they call them follies.’

Up close what had looked like a wooden door was just painted plaster, the grain worked in with a fine brush. It was cold under his hand, the surface slightly damp.

‘So, are there rooms inside?’ he said.

Steph peered at her guidebook. ‘Says here – the brick and plaster construction was thought to be solid until 1996 when a scan revealed a hollow chamber inside.’

Dai’s fringe flopped over his eyes. He gave her a lopsided smiled. ‘Like a burial chamber?’

Steph rested her hand on his, fingers curling round his. ‘Like a prison,’ she whispered.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its jumping off point. This week we visit French Polynesia. See here to join in.

What Pegman Saw: Madam Light (Post number 1,000)

Image: Google Street View

To the Bobbies she’d give the names Molly Brand, Moll Prate, Maggie Gardener, according to her whim. But to us of the rookery she was always Madam Lighthouse – Light if she looked on you kindly.

It was Light who used the cabbies, the bill posters, the street sweepers and hawkers as her eyes and ears, gave protection in exchange for all they knew.

It was Light who warned us of fresh-faced beat coppers out for an easy collar, of gangs bringing their own toms and dippers into our patch. And when sober requests to move on were rebuffed, it was Madam Light’s boys who did what had to be done.

She shined bright, steady as Dover’s white cliffs, for twenty glorious years.

Until this morning.

She was found in her chair, boots on the grate, pipe hanging slack from her lips.

Light snuffed out.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as inspiration. This week we visit Silver Bay, Minnesota. See here to join in.

NB

Rookery – dense collection of houses, especially slums.

Bobbies/coppers – policemen (I would say ‘police officers’ but in the Victorian period in which this story is based, there were only male officers).

Toms – prostitutes.

Dippers – pickpockets.

Last month was Word Shamble’s fifth anniversary and this is my 1,000th blog post.

The blog has developed over time – I’ve tried humour, book-based posts, a serial and now mainly write flash fiction. I’ve had a lot of fun and ‘met’ a lot of lovely people – both in the UK and abroad.

Thanks to all who’ve read and commented over the last 1,000 posts, my WP family. Hope you can hang around for the next 1,000.

What Pegman Saw

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Another share of the cracking writing prompt, What Pegman Saw which this week visits Silver Bay Minnesota. I’ll be joining in tomorrow, but in the meantime, why don’t you run along ahead, take a look around and see what you can find. Visit HERE to join in.

Today Pegman finds himself in the once-great forests of Minnesota in the American Midwest.  Your mission is to wander around using the google photosphere until something inspires you to write 150 words. When you’re satisfied, post your link to this week’s InLinkz site to share with your fellow participants. Remember, reading and commenting on other stories is part of the fun.