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