What Pegman saw – Top predator

“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 Pripyat, Ukraine.

WPS - Back to nature 180818

Pripyat, Ukraine | Nickolay Omelchenko, Google Maps

Top predator

The babushka held out her glass and I filled it with vodka.

“I knew it was bad,” she said, “when I heard the sirens, and I feared the worst when I saw the soldiers herding people onto buses.”

She was dressed all in shabby black and smelled stale.

“I don’t like soldiers. And I’m old. If my time has come, so be it. You won’t catch me on any buses. I walked away and kept walking.”

She chuckled. “I soon learned the places to avoid.”

“How?” I interrupted.

She shrugged. “Where there were no birds, I got sick.”

“What did you eat?” I asked.

She looked at me in astonishment.

“I was in a forest! The forest is full of things to eat. Berries, roots, birds, even wolf.”

She tapped her glass. I shrugged and handed her the bottle. She poured and slurred, “It’s a pity people are coming back.”

15 thoughts on “What Pegman saw – Top predator

    • Dear Josh
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m delighted that you spotted her fierceness! I realised after I’d posted that I should have entitled the story ‘Top Predator’.
      With very best wishes

      Liked by 1 person

  1. love the “babushka ” and the ending – the solitude part – was a fun way to wrap it up.
    the story and image went so well together – I could imagine the glass of vodka sitting there
    Oh and I also thought of vodka when the prompt first came up –

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lish
      Thank you for reading and commenting. An alternate title for this story is “Top Predator”. All humans are dangerous; she was born human, therefore she’s dangerous. Since the zone was evacuated and human presence essentially excluded, the number of wolves has increased sevenfold.
      With very best wishes


  2. I didnt know that about the wolves! At least she(or they) wont go hungry. I too found your babushka character endearing.
    I was driving today and heard a program about a survivor of both the hiroshima and nagasaki blasts who miraculously lived to be 93 and had reasonably healthy kids ( some immune issues). One thing they said was that eating radioactive food is a surefire way to worsen your exposure so i hope her forest was far from the contaminated area. Very enjoyable piece, Penny!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Andi
    In fact, her area of forest was within 20 miles of the disaster. But even within so tight a radius, there are hot spots and small areas that are hardly affected; it depends on time, weather, water, terrain and dumb luck. Birds are particularly sensitive to radiation, hence their absence is a good indication that the area nearby is hazardous.
    When man isn’t present, wolves would be the top predator in that zone, which means that their health is a good measure of how hazardous the forest is. For that population of wolves it would seem that radiation is less harmful than human presence!
    With best wishes


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