What Pegman Saw : An end to Evil

 

Freya’s cottage was easy to find – black and squat as a toad with a beetling turf roof and runes painted in spidery white around the door.

As we drew near, the clean smells of lake water and freshly caught herring were swallowed by others – burnt bone; rotten meat; urine strong enough to make me squint.

Fell dropped back a step, clamping a hand to his nose. He was too young to remember that same stench in our own village, but still fear clouded his eyes.

His brother Kari – older by five years, taller by a foot – twitched but kept pace with me. He remembered.

At the door Kari nodded – as the eldest to bear a loss this was my privilege, my burden. The wood shuddered under my fist.

‘Come out, witch,’ I called. ‘It’s time.’

Soon there would be chains and rising lake water and an end to the Evil.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its source. This week we are in the Faroe Islands.

On a little wander I found this cottage and couldn’t help but be reminded of a fairy tale – a witch’s cottage, perhaps . A quick internet search and I discovered Norse witches – the vǫlur – who might travel from village to village wherever they were called upon and could control a man’s movements in battle. The vǫlur were not always beneficial and after Christianisation, practitioners could be executed.

Advertisements

What Pegman Saw: Ahriman snips away the world

 

 

The cafe lights bleached the night, washing colour from the hoardings, turning people to cut outs.

Ahriman imagined taking sharp scissors, snipping away plastic chairs and litter bins, sycamore trees and scraps of discarded samusa, leaving only the figures behind, their legs bent in mid step, lifting cups of black tea to puckered lips. He saw the paper people stacked like plates, shuffled like playing cards, packed away when he tired of them.

He used to love humanity, its endless capacity for greed and hatred, its skill at weaving lies, glittering webs to trap the innocent before the fatal strike.

Now he walked among these flimsy beings, sharing the fragile beat of their hearts, the flicker of pulse so easy to snuff out.

Passing the fountain, a cool mist played across his skin, damping his hair.

Life had been better when he was a god.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Streetview as its starting point. Today we visit Tehran in Iran. See here to share, read and comment.

Notes

Ahriman is another name for Angra Mainyu, a destructive spirit in Zoroastrianism. Many believe Angra Mainyu will ultimately be destroyed, his power quenched. I imagined him passing into human form, becoming obsolete.

Samusa are pastries filled with spicy meat and vegetables. See here to discover more delicious Iranian food.

 

 

 

What Pegman Saw : What remained

 

‘Ever feel you’re being watched?’ said Rudy.

The path ahead was quiet except for the papery rustle of leaves, the creak and batter of crows in the dark canopy.

Dom leaned his rifle on a mossy wall, reached for his tobacco pouch. ‘Who’d you think’s watching?’ A spark, a pop of gas, a pool of light cupped in his palms.

Rudy shrugged, staring at the ground.

The kid had been quiet since illness struck the town, since the night of the pyre and the burying of what remained. Little wonder – the stink had caught in their clothes, formed a greasy coating on their skin. He’d feared it might never wash off.

‘There’s no one watching,’ he flicked the spent butt over the wall into the lake, ‘cos there ain’t no one left ‘cept you and me.’

Dom took up his rifle, cradling it close on the trudge home.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the cracking writing prompt using Google Street View as its jumping off point. Today we are at Coniston Water in the Lake District. See here to join in, to read and comment.

 

 

 

 

 

What Pegman Saw : Take me with you

 

‘What do you remember, Casey?’ asked Donaldson.

A bluebottle tapped at the blanked-out window, tangling in the curtain. Decorating the facility like a home had been Donaldson’s idea – better for the children, she thought – but the recycled air still smelt like plastic and singed hair.

Casey smoothed her doll’s skirt, straightened the plaits of golden wool. ‘A stone path,’ she said, ‘the colour of dirty sand. It’s bendy.’ She made a shape in the air with her hand. ‘The trees are black with branches like fingers.’

Zeb’s description had been identical. And Sunny Lo’s.

‘And it smells funny,’ said the little girl frowning. ‘Of the Big River after the flood. And of the day my bunny died.’

Donaldson crouched down, took the doll from Casey’s unwilling hands. ‘Can you go back?’ she said, eyes flicking to the surveillance camera.

The girl nodded.

‘Next time, take me with you.’

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View. This week, we visit Texas, I’ve used a photo sphere of Wildcat Bluff Nature Centre. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

 

 

 

 

What Pegman Saw : When the wind speaks

‘Mountains and mist, that’s all Father left. Mountains and mist.’ Mathys slashed out with his sword, a rope of prayer flags fluttering to the ground like wounded birds. His bitter tone crossed the valley, sending a quarrel of flycatchers into the grey.

Gaétan watched the little birds dart away, waited for the hush to resettle. Mathys had always been a restless soul, quick to anger, first to a fight where Gaétan had been happy to watch the trees grow, hear what the wind had to say.

True, their Father had bequeathed them nothing but crags and snow and fog thick as fallen cloud. But Gaétan had listened as the voices grew until every stalking wildcat, every vole shivering in its fusty burrow, every pin-eyed windhover – even the rocks themselves – spoke with one tongue.

She comes.

Over Blackheart Mountain a thunderhead gathered.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street view as it jumping off point. This week we visit Kangra Valley, India. See here to join in, share, read and comment.

 

 

 

 

What Pegman Saw : To rest among the gravestones

 

‘Can you do it?’ said Connor.

Sonny looked up from tying her laces, lights in her trainers winking in the sunset. ‘You know I can,’ she said.

Her hair was tied in a tangled pony tail, Hello Kitty tee shirt smudged with yesterday’s breakfast beans, eaten cold from the can.

Foot swinging, heel tapping on a slumped gravestone, his sister looked the eight-year-old she was. Not for long, he thought.

A blanket was already spread in the shadow of the archway. Sonny positioned herself on it and lay down, head pointing towards the tumbledown church, toes to the sweeping valley below. Her eyes closed, hands folding neatly on her chest.

He watched, though he hated to see the moment the little girl in her slipped away.

Silence.

Then her face convulsed, rearranged, settled into new folds.

‘Connor?’ said Sonny in a voice that wasn’t hers.

 


This piece of fantastical fiction was written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. See the pic and write a story, see here to do just that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Pegman Saw : The road less travelled

 

My breath is coming fast and hot. The road is grit shifting over baked mud, tearing at the soles of my feet.

I hear them behind me, boots thudding – relentless. I’m unarmed, barefoot – they’ll catch me soon and they know it. Two choices, then – jungle or river.

The jungle would seem the sane prospect – plenty of cover, trees to climb, bush meat and berries to eat. I could pick off my pursuers in traps made from creepers and sharpened branches, right? Only, I’m a fisherman, not a soldier, and the jungle terrifies me – the dissonant harmony of the animals, the unsettling stink of growth and rot.

But the river … The water is blue as the sky, flat as my palm, the slightest wrinkling in the wind. I know its monsters.

I swerve left, pump my legs, kick hard at the bank, a moment of silence, then …

 


This fantastical flash of fiction was written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt inspired by Google Street View. This week we visit Bolivia. See here to share and read other stories.

 

Note

The title is a famous misquote of the Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken. See here to read the poem and for a very interesting interpretation of it’s meaning – you may be surprised.