What Pegman Saw – Most Precious

“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 Pico Duarte, Dominican Republic.

WPS - Most Precious 180120 02

Genre: Historical Fiction, c.1505 A.D.

Word count: 150

What Pegman Saw – Most Precious

I went by night to our chieftain. Like the Spaniards, his house was stone. It smelt odd.

“Sir, must you send Agueybana to work in the goldmine?”

I gave him my sweetest caresses, an evening of delights.

“I will speak to Don Ortiz. Agueybana will be fine. He’ll be back in a few weeks.”

Months passed. The King of Spain commanded that the best miners, Agueybana among them, were to work in the royal mine.

“Agueybana will be rewarded when his service is complete,” promised our chieftain.

I could bear our separation no longer. I set off by night, through trees. Creatures barked and howled and slithered in the darkness. I walked for seven days and nights, eating only fruit and drinking water from streams.

At last, scrambling over shattered rocks, I saw my beloved gazing out over the valley.

“Anacaona?” he gasped, and held me tightly in his arms.

39 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw – Most Precious

  1. This story has a novel’s worth of longing, romance, and intrigue!

    One question–where she “I gave him my sweetest caresses, an evening of delights”–was that the chieftain (to extract information), or Agueybana (as a flashback)? I wasn’t quite sure how to interpret it. I couldn’t even decide which way I liked it better, but I was curious.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Karen
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Feedback like yours is very helpful in improving my writing.
      I’ve tried to cram too much into this story!
      Anacaona was trying to use sexual favours to persuade the chieftain not to send Agueybana to the goldmine. Of course, she didn’t succeed!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I picked up on that. It’s hard to portray a complex story in so few words. I try always to put as many clues in as I can and generally avoid broad descriptions. It’s taken a while to get a feel for micro stories, though. I like this one a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Josh,
      Thank you for reading and for your kind comment.
      I was trying to squeeze in too much, I think. Before writing, I read a little about the Spanish system of ‘forced labour’ – I put it in inverted commas because it wasn’t entirely out and out coercion, and it certainly wasn’t slavery; the theory behind the system seemed to be mutual benefit, with the indigenous people being ‘civilised’. The Spaniards administered the system through the local chieftains. So I tried to convey a little of that by having the chieftain in a stone house, with a strange smell symbolising the change in the man, who is no longer embedded in the traditions of his people.
      I was over-ambitious, but what the heck! If you don’t try you’ll never know!
      Thanks once again
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Dale
      Thank you for reading and commenting – and especially for letting me know that you understood that she was giving favours for favours. You’re so right that the indigenous peoples never stood a chance.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I thought the Chieftain wouldnt be too keen on having Agueybana back. Or possibly he was the one who offered the information to the King about Agueybana being a good miner and had him sent away? Lot’s of possibilities here Penny! And loved the evocative descriptions of her travels through the jungle. But if i may add I did find it a bit odd that when she finds Agueybana he is gazing over the valley. I would have thought him to be hard at work underground and at night it would be too dark to see anything. But it’s just a thought 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dahlia
      Thank you for reading and commenting so carefully. You really thought about this story, and I’m so grateful. I had the same thoughts about the chieftain, but Anacaona only had her physical charm with which to bargain, so it was that or do nothing.
      I can see what you mean about Agueybana, but I had this image of him standing looking wistfully in the direction of home, thinking of Anacaona and missing her really intensely – and suddenly she’s there! I’ve looked into the night like that when I’ve been away on business; I just looked, saw nothing, but felt a lot.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rochelle,
      Thank you for spending so much time reading and commenting. I’m glad you felt it makes sense. It’s a lesson learned for me not to be over ambitious in a piece of flash fiction. I might have another try at the subject in a longer format.
      Thank you for being so generous with your constructive criticism.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  4. Oh how beautiful, and sweet, the trials she endured, the tortures he must have endured… brings to mind a quote from Maya Angelou: “Love recognises batters. It jumps all hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

    This story topped up my hope. For that, I thank you, Penny.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I read it that she was trying to win her lover’s freedom with her own body – and your story shows how much she loves him too, not only giving sexual favours but walking for so long, eating so littlem risking so much just to be with him. But what will they do now? Escape? Will she be forced to leave him or will she choose to stay and be by his side. A well written history lesson and a story of a huge love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Ali
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad the ‘happy’ ending was a surprise.
      The Spaniards used the local chieftains to control the indigenous population in something close to slavery.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Francine
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad that you found my story gripping. I was particularly pleased that you mentioned the description of the creatures by night. As you know, in flash fiction description is usually pared to a minimum to leave room for narrative – but in this story I was determined to include that description of the creatures. And you noticed – Yay!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

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