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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

What Pegman Saw : A loose thread

 

 

It was a pewter day. The sky was a seamless grey, the same colour as the lake, the water pleated by the wind. This country was flat, cut to shape by hedgerows and rivers, the occasional copse of trees, a shabby gathering of cottages.

‘No hills,’ Gideon muttered, pulling Tinker’s bridle.

Back home, they’d had the black mountains at their backs, an anchor dividing the air from the land.

Out in this wild place a ribbon of trees was all that separated the water from the fathomless sky. Unpick the green thread and the world might unravel. Could he make a life out here, in this unfinished place?

‘Come now, my brooding tailor.’

Kate was beside him. Her belly was showing now, hard and solid as the black mountains of home.

She smiled. ‘Almost there,’ she said, slipping her hand in his.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its source. See here to join in, share, read and comment.

What Pegman Saw : The Heard

 

‘Can you Hear them?’ Harriet’s face was pale but for twin spots of feverish colour on her cheekbones.

Lawrence nodded, unable to speak.

Hearing. That was what they called it at the facility known as the Farm. Though that was a misleading title as Lawrence’s experiences weren’t just about sound, they deluged every sense. Back when he was less experienced, he’d come close to disaster, the Heard possessing him, blocking out his reality, giving him their own. The Farm had taught him control – of himself, of the Hearing, of the Heard.

This place, though. There was more here than they’d been told in the briefing. Something older, something dark, it flickered on the edge of his vision, casting the blue sky grey, bleaching the grass, turning the sun to the colour of old bone. A thunderhead of pressure built behind his eyes

‘They’re here,’ he whispered.

 


This piece of fantastical flash fiction was written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt inspired by Google Streetview. Today we visit Tulum in Mexico. See here to join in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Pegman Saw: Best Watchtower on the Wall

 

Gregor had scavenged blankets and sheep skins, even a couple of ex-military sleeping bags from when army patrols still made it as far as the Wall. Improvised wooden shutters and squares of tarpaulin kept out the worst of the knife cold wind.

‘Home sweet home,’ he’d said, blind eye shining pale in the torchlight. ‘You’re lucky to have been posted here, man,’ he said. ‘Best watchtower on the Wall.’

That night he showed me how to operate the night vision camera, what to look for in the grainy green image.

‘Always scan the ground,’ he said, drawing deep on a roll-up. ‘They try to dodge the cameras by keeping low.’

A flicker of fear bumped in my chest. ‘They’re clever enough to avoid the camera?’

He flashed a jagged smile. ‘Don’t believe what they teach you at school, Con. These mutts are smart.’

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the inspirational prompt that uses Google Street View as its source. This week, we’re in China at the Great Wall. Be inspired, share, read and comment here.

 

 

 

What Pegman Saw : The Bone House

‘How long has he lived here?’ called Taylor.

Baruti shrugged, sandals slapping on leathery feet. His easy gait and slim frame made Taylor feel huge and awkward, an elephant beside a gazelle.

‘Could be an indicator of how far -‘

A hot wind blew up the valley and there it was – the same sound in Philadelphia, Bologna, Yekaterinburg. A wind chime made of bones.

‘There,’ said Baruti.

On top of the hill, a large hut on stilts.

‘Did he make that?’ said Taylor.

Forester had been an accountant, the least practical man Taylor ever met. But many of the sufferers had developed new skills. The virus’s capacity to construct new neural pathways in the brain was the reason he was there. One reason.

Baruti was already hurrying away, dust swallowing him.

Taylor checked the comforting swell of the Beretta under his jacket and pressed on.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Street View as its inspiration. This week, we’re in Botswana. See here to join in, share and comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Pegman Saw : Beyond the Pale

 

Indri was already running, sandals slapping flagstones. ‘I know where they’ll come out!’

His legs were longer than Pina’s and he’d soon rounded the corner of the alley, dodged a pomegranate seller, vaulted the legs of Zaru the beggar, careening into the opposite wall before stumbling on. Complaints rang around her.

‘That boy!’

‘Pina, tell your brother -‘

She yelled her apologies, tucked her head down and ran after him. ‘Indri! Where are we going?’

But soon the city gate was looming overhead and she knew – outside the wall.

‘The Pale?’ she yelled. ‘You think they’ll come out at the Pale?’

Outside the protection of the city walls, where traitors were executed, where outcasts cried and screamed for home.

Indri had stopped under the golden halo of the gate.

She came panting to his side. ‘What …?’

He pointed towards the baked earth of the Pale as it cracked open.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Stretview. See here to share, read and comment. Today, we visit Mdina in Malta.

So, what do you think is coming out of the earth? I have my own ideas, but I’d like to hear yours.

Notes

The Pale – a term borrowed from County Down, Ireland when governed by the English.

Beyond the pale – There were many ‘Pales’ (a term that signified home ground, being within paling, meaning fencing) and to be beyond it means going outside the confines of what is acceptable.