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.

What Pegman Saw: The narrow path

Image: Google Street View

Adam stood at the boundary between wadi and desert, one boot dipping into the gritty sand, the other in the grass.

The view summed up his family.

There was the desert, the grey gold dunes, the lush but hardy date palms, that blend of beauty and toughness – that was his Saudi wife, Cala.

Then there was the agricultural land. The swathes of emerald grass, the sorghum and millet sprouting in the fields, the non-native trees that were scorched by the sun but wouldn’t survive at all without the wadi. That was him.

And the narrow path between them both, that was their daughter Bibi. She had a fall of black hair like her mother, his snub nose – though the crease between her eyes was all her own.

He wondered how long she could walk the narrow path between the two worlds.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we visit Wadi ad-Dawasir in Saudi Arabia. See here to join in.

Writing Prompts: What Pegman Saw

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What Pegman Saw is a great writing prompt, unique as far as I’m aware in that it uses Google Street View as a starting point.

The curators (Josh and Karen) suggest a venue each week but it’s up to the individual to choose a specific image to use as inspiration.

Why not give it a go here.

Today Pegman hitches up his camel for a trip deep into the Saudi Arabian desert, an oasis known as Wadi ad-Dawasir. There is no street view, but more than a few photospheres. Feel free to wander until you find something that appeals to you, then write up to 150 words about it. Sharing, reading, and commenting is the meat of a photo prompt, so please participate. If you enjoy yourself, please encourage others to join this community.

What Pegman Saw: Flash

Image: Google Street View

It was a forsaken place. Ten miles of scrub and baked grit between us and the nearest city, a scouring wind that carried nothing but silence. A stack of weathered concrete blocks had been dumped by the roadside, their hollows a haven for scorpions and vipers.

‘What do you think?’ Sol rested a boot on one of the blocks, slapped dust from his trousers. ‘Got some of the materials already. From the previous build, you know.’ He stared out over the site, hat flapping in his hand.

A heat haze of desperation rose off him. He stank of it. I would never have got the call if he hadn’t tried every other option first, not with our shared history.

He flashed me a grin, that might once have charmed, but I now saw it for what it was – flash.

I shrugged. ‘Nothing for me here,’ I said.

***

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

What Pegman Saw: Blackbirding

Image: Googgle Street View

Solomon crouched to the last snare. This was often the best place – dense shrubs in the lea of a tumbledown wall, the sound of waves crackling over the shingle beach below.

The blackbird eyed him. It lay on its side as if tipped by the wind, exhausted from fighting the snare. A young cock, strong, clean feathers. The scales on its left leg were torn away, bloodied, the foot nearly off where the wire had pulled tight.

The sun was almost up, the world all greys, the blackbird a scrap of night with a golden beak.

Solomon enclosed it in his hand, rubbing the soft head with his thumb. The bird was too tired to fight, breaths coming fast and shallow.

He’d always liked blackbirds – smart, handsome, harmless.

The neck broke easily with a twist of his fingers. He tossed the corpse into the sea.

Poor eating on a blackbird.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Streetview. This week we are in Vanuatu in the Solomon Islands.

On reading the history of the islands, I found they were a target for slavers seeking labour for sugar plantations. This practice was called ‘blackbirding’.