What Pegman Saw – The Poacher

“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 Bamboi, Northern Region, Ghana.

WPS - The poacher elephant 180915

The Poacher

Yes. It is he. The one who used his distant-death against Kmmbwla-Mera. He is alone, sitting by a fire in front of his canvas house. He’s drinking that-which-maddens from a metal flask.

I remember the day Kmmbwla-Mera fell. It was bright and the leaves on the burkea trees tasted moist and refreshing. We grazed and paid little heed to the jeep and its passengers.

Kmmbwla-Mera noticed first. A man was standing, pointing his distant-death in our direction. Kmmbwla-Mera was a great bull, a brave bull. He trumpeted an alarm and ran full-tilt at the man.

The man’s distant-death shouted. Kmmbwla-Mera stumbled. I heard his dying gasp; I felt him die.

We ran.

Later, I went back.

Kmmbwla-Mera’s corpse; they had mutilated it; they had cut out his tusks. There are no words bad enough to describe such desecration.

Tonight, your murderer will face justice my love, my husband, my Kmmbwla-Mera.

28 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw – The Poacher

  1. Oh dear Penny, I must admit that I cried when I read this heart-wrenching story, I know I’m an old softie, but your story touched me deeply, so, so, sad, and I’m afraid it’s awful truth of your story, that tore at my heart-strings……

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Righteousbruin,
      Thank you for reading and commenting. There is no doubt that the poacher deserves to die. Elephants are wonderful creatures with abilities to communicate and plan that we are only just beginning to learn about.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Rochelle
      Thank you for reading and for your very kind comments. From what I’ve seen on videos, one thing we can be pretty sure about is that elephants grieve when a member of the herd dies.
      I know what you mean about anthropomorphic stories – they can be terribly twee. I’m glad to have avoided that trap!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You do an excellent job getting into the elephant’s POV in a way that isn’t intrusive and feels authentic. This is accomplished both with her noble tone, and her perceptions of human trappings like distant-death and that-which-maddens. Elephants are intelligent and emotional creatures with strong family bonds, and I have no trouble believing every word of this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Karen
      Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful and insightful comments. I’m really pleased that you liked her tone, and her perceptions of human artefacts. And how kind of you to say you have no trouble believing the story! Thank you so much!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  3. nice choice of image for this peace – and such a sad vibe, but needs to be brought up – and nice elephant POV.

    Side note – one of my favorite yoga teacher loves elephants and so I get her some items now and then. Over the summer I found this book and I did not realize it was “poo paper” until I got home – I just thought homemade.
    Here is a photo – it was really funny

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Yvette
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad you liked the image and the elephant POV. It’s not really that different from human POV; a little slower and more rumbly, but also more alert to their surroundings; and with many of the same emotions as us. Mind you, immersing myself in trying to think like an elephant did alert me to one thing. When I as a human, see a photograph of an elephant whose tusks have been removed, I’m sad and angry, upset. When, in the persona of the narrator, I looked at Kmmbwla-Mera’s corpse, minus its tusks, I was appalled, outraged. It was like looking at a blasphemy; worse, it was like conniving in a blasphemy by the act of looking at my mutilated beloved. It was a shocking experience.
      Enough of such grim musings! I love the gift you found for your Yoga teacher; a perfect book for her!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • well thanks for the reply –
        and I feel better about something now.
        Last year – my son (son-1) moved out of a college duplex-campy- kind of place he had lived in for two years – long story on how he felt the need to feel free as he exited – but he left all these items – actually what is funny is he brought me all the vitamins and said, “Hey mom. I brought you these” and with a sense of joy he put them down knowing I’d value them (and i sorta did – but some needed to be tossed).
        But my heart sank and my first comment was “what about the art.”
        His friend was there and looked totally puzzled.
        My son paused, “Oh – I left it all – and gave some boxes away.”
        I composed myself immediately – it is just stuff.
        but one item was a signed (and framed) photo print I ordered from a blogger a few years ago.
        A painting he just asked for that summer – it was for someone else but he seemed to value it – (cost 100 bucks and it did bring him joy). Then there were misc trinkets – giant monopoly car, giant chess piece – but I digress.
        The most valuable item was this old small box that had elephant ivory – it was appraised years ago for a few thousand –
        and I wrestled with the worth of that – and the sentiments of the other.
        I also was awed and inspired by his loose hand with possessions – he did bring home a couple boxes – books, a flag, and many items –
        but it was what he left.
        I detached and remembered it all goes back in the box at some point.


        anyhow, all that to say maybe this post completely released me of that loss.
        don’t want anything around here that has “mutilated” parts…

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Francine
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I, too, abhor poaching and the ivory trade in particular. To write from the elephant’s point of view, I tried to imagine the senses and emotions of the narrator elephant. When I saw the body of Kmmbwla-Mera with the tusks hacked out, I was stunned by the intensity of the outrage I felt. It’s bad enough seeing such images as a human, but as an elephant it was appalling, an abomination, a blasphemy.
      If you wish, I’d be very happy if you thought it appropriate to reblog this story.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes Penny, because the power of your story might touch people who ignore the whole elephant poaching business. I heard a news item recently which said that behind the actual poachers there’s a huge criminal syndicate, hence the scale of the killing, fuelled by demand for ivory products in some Asian countries.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the way you invite us in to this world with a voice full of pride and love, how it all sound very tribal orforeign, but human, until the moment when they begin eating leaves (but dont indigenous people in south America eat coca leaves, i think to myself) but the word grazed is rarely applied to people. So it was not until the gune was raised and the herd was in the line of fire that i realized they were elephants in danger, and then the great pull fell.

    I too “felt him die.”

    Powerful stuff Penny!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Kelvin
      Thank you for reading and commenting – I’m sorry to have been so slow in responding.
      To write the story, I tried to experience the world like the narrator elephant. I was astonished at the intensity of emotion associated with seeing Kmmbwla-Mera’s corpse with the tusks removed. It was different from the sadness and anger I feel as a human when I see such images; it was more profound, more visceral and at the same time a sight of extreme spiritual dereliction. I think you will probably understand the experience.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

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