What Pegman Saw – I had, in any case

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is Fukushima, Japan.

WPS - I had, in any case 171202

Genre: Historical fiction

Word count: 151

Owatatsumi is one name for the Shinto god of the sea.

kami is a generic name for a Shinto god.

I had, in any case

I had, in any case, been intending to leave Fukushima.

There were only two sources of work there; agriculture or the nuclear plant. Neither appealed. I wanted a creative life. I envied those few Westerners I had met. They travelled, they drank a stronger wine and sang a gayer song.

Then one day Owatatsumi was angered. He beat the sea higher and higher until it overwhelmed us. We were powerless as it tore down our buildings, as it snatched babe from mother, husband from wife, into the finality of death, and poured relentlessly on, and on, and on, into the nuclear plant, where panic-stricken engineers fought frantically to avert catastrophe.

The fierce kami of radiation burst out like devouring dragons, poisoning land and water, driving us from our homes for ever.

The government evacuated us, exiled us. I’m in Kyoto now.

I had, in any case, been intending to leave Fukushima.

30 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw – I had, in any case

  1. Dear Penny

    I feel the narrator would not have left Fukushima had it not been for the incident Perhaps, in Kyoto, he can turn his creativeness into art, or haiku, or something else culturally risk. I feel he could. Lovely understated story, Penny, more sustaining than my full on action-packed one!

    Joy and love

    Kelvin

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Kelvin
      To be wished ‘Joy!’ on a Sunday morning is uplifting! Thank you so much. And, thank you, too, for reading and commenting.
      I’m glad the narrator has piqued your curiosity. Like you, I think he will probably be a creative person; I suggest as well that he might sublimate his grief and loss into his art, and be a more profound artist as a result.
      I disagree with you on one point though; I don’t feel that my story is more sustaining than your action-packed one. You have made use of an archetype, and done so very powerfully. The image of your hero winding shut the emergency door with his dying strength will stay with me for a long time.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rochelle
      Thank you for reading, and for your lovely comment. You’re right; it is a matter-of-fact voice, but it’s also the voice of someone who can still hardly believe what he saw. The meat of the description is a single sentence, 43 words long, and this is meant to mimic both the water pouring in, and the narrator’s awe/grief/horror pouring out.
      Shalom, shalom
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked the pairing of spiritual beliefs – the god of the ocean with the matter of fact voice. The magical within the every day works very well. Lovely use of language and imagery and that paired opening and last line, bookends to the horror. Excellent

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn
      Thank you for reading and commenting. The pairing of spiritual beliefs with the matter of fact voice came about through my holiday in Japan earlier this year. I learned that Shinto-Buddhism was still central to the lives of the Japanese, in a way that Christianity in the UK simply hasn’t been during my lifetime. I think that many Japanese would think about the disaster in spiritual terms as well as practical terms. I probably haven’t got the detail right, but in outline I felt it’s not unrealistic.
      And I’m so pleased you liked the language; thank you for saying so!
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Ali
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. Thank you, too, for the comment about the repetition of the first sentence at the end – it’s always helpful to know when a particular technical device has worked (And even more when it hasn’t, of course!).
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

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