What Pegman Saw – A Present for ISIL

“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 Tel Saki, Syria.

 WPS - A Present for ISIL 180106 - 02.jpg

WPS - A Present for ISIL 180106

A Present for ISIL

“Go kill me a terrorist,” said the armorer as he kissed the smart bomb.

Nizar watched his son, Hussain, as his football ricocheted off the bullet-pocked walls of their block of flats. His wife, Amena, had shooed them out while she fed the baby. Nizar glanced at the sky, clear, pale blue, and empty of warplanes.

He shuddered as he remembered last night’s encounter. He’d gone downstairs just as masked men with guns barged into the lobby. He’d tried to hide, but one of the men called, “Nizar. Say nothing of this. We know where you live.” Quaking, he had obeyed.

The warplane rocketed off the flight deck. Twenty minutes to target.

Nizar heard the plane.

“Hussain, come now!”

“Aw, Dad!”

Hussain turned away and chased his ball. Nazir followed.

“Now, Hussain!”

The rubble of their home pursued them as it collapsed under the shattering blow of the smart bomb.

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31 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw – A Present for ISIL

    • Dear Ivor
      Thank you for reading, and for your thoughtful comment. You’re right that it’s disturbing reading. I make no apology for that; it’s intended to disturb. Time and again in recent years, the USA and the UK have carried out air strikes against ISIL and others, with the inevitable civilian casualties.
      BTW I tag my blogpost ‘Dark Story’ or just ‘Dark’ when it deals with potentially distressing topics like this. If you look at the top left of this post you’ll see what I mean.
      Thank you once again for responding so thoughtfully.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  1. Horrifyingly true to life, Penny. The split between the family and the bomb / bomber’s eyeview works well, the contrast between ordinary family life and the blind, unthinking acts of war. Always someone caught in the cross fire, even with a ‘smart bomb’. Tragic, but beautifully done

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow. This is a horrifying story. Drones fly over to deal death from above, hovering and constant. It’s like a sniper having you in the crosshairs, with the added terror of taking out all who surround you. There are never ethics in war, but these days it’s become impersonal. All pretense at honor or legality are thrown to the winds. Nicely told, Penny.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Josh
      Thank you for reading and for your comments. It’s a horrifying story, and to all intents and purposes a true one. For the last couple of decades it’s been happening all over the Middle East with your nation and mine at the heart of the destruction.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lavanya
      Thank you for reading and commenting.
      I hope you don’t mind me clarifying a point. Nizar was not a terrorist at all. He was a decent man trying to provide food, shelter and safety for his family. When gunmen brought weapons to his block of flats, he was helpless. If he had tried to stop them he would have been shot. If he had betrayed them, his family would probably also have suffered. He took no active part in planning or carrying out violence, unlike the gunmen, and unlike the warplane and those who sent it.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear EagleAye
      Thank you for reading and for your kind comment.
      I’m not quite sure whether I wish them to have survived or not, since the other family members are certainly dead. If both survived, I guess positive. If only one – well, there’s always hope, but what an appalling situation to be in.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “Go kill me a terrorist,” said the armorer as he kissed the smart bomb.
    The rubble of their home pursued them as it collapsed under the shattering blow of the smart bomb.

    The balance and counter-balance of the first line and the last are just perfect. You caught war in the headlights. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Kelvin
      Thank you for reading and commenting so thoughtfully. It means a lot to me that you took the trouble to analyse what I was striving for in this story. As an aside, you mention ‘a happy picture of home life’. Syria is about as close to hell on earth as there is, and yet you’re right, people manage to be happy there.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  4. the last line surprised me that it went right into collapse – but it was a fitting end – and up until that you depicted how living in a war zone is mixed with – um – trying to live – i.e. feeding the baby – playing – etc.
    and my thoughts are for peace with Syria too – nice fictional piece for awareness
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Ali
      Thank you for reading and for your sensitive comment. Real life is indeed grim in Syria and Yemen, and other places, and yet human love persists. Babies are born and fed, and small boys play football in shattered streets.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Penny,
    I bounce around the blogosphere taking in a good deal of creative writing, and I can easily say that this is the strongest piece I have come across in quite a while. It belongs in a bound edition. I hope it finds its way into a collection on a shelf.
    Shaken AND stirred,
    Dan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dan
      Thank you for reading and commenting.
      I am enormously flattered by your kind remarks. I’m glad that you were shaken and stirred. If my story convinced even one person that war is always futile and must always be opposed, I would be more pleased than if it appeared in a bound edition.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

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