What Pegman Saw – Follower

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. Many thanks to Karen and Josh for organising this most stimulating prompt!

WPS - Follower 190601

Balbulol Dive Resort, Indonesia | Lera 76, Google Maps

Follower

He’s here again, not doing anything, just sitting and watching me.

At first he hid. He’s bolder now, in plain view.

I chant invocations as I shovel ash from a bonfire into a sack and put it into my outrigger. Nine and ninety days it has sat in sun and rain, and now it’s ready to bless the land and the sea.

I paddle hard for hours, and as I approach the atoll the sun is at its zenith. Has my pursuer had the stamina to keep up with me? I can’t see him. Perhaps the heat has overcome him? I shrug. If it has, he will not do.

I have been quick. The sun must be three-quarters through her journey before I scatter the ash. I eat and drink, and, behold, my hunter paddles slowly to the beach. His head droops.

He’ll do. I shall make him my apprentice.

25 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw – Follower

    • Dear Karen
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I don’t know whether there are actual rituals like this – it wouldn’t surprise me! The theme of the would-be apprentice stalking the shaman was suggested by an element of Hesse’s Glass Bead Game. The setting, with the shaman nurturing the reef environment by the careful administration of nutrients, is my own and original. When I was researching for the story, I came across references to these islands having the greatest marine biodiversity in the world, despite being relatively nutrient-poor. I wondered whether human intervention over centuries might have played a part.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Nice! It rings true to me as a way of testing someone (a follower) to see if they’re good enough to start training. I like how ambiguous it is early on, and that first hint of the truth with “if he has, he will not do.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Na’ama
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I think the relationship between shaman and apprentice would be a very close one. This would lead to some mutuality in the selection process, I think.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I would think at most often it would be a mutual kind of thing, to the extent the children had any real say or choice … but they probably had some ‘say’ in their actions and reactions. …

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Kelvin
      Thank you for reading and for your very kind comments. I’m interested that you feel it is a change of style. I’m not particularly aware of having a style, I just try to tell the story as clearly as I can! I’m very pleased that you found the reveal effective.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Ivor
      Thank you for reading and commenting. As you say, the apprentice is always being tested. I suspect that this shaman’s apprentice will face some fierce testing in the years ahead – but then, the tasks the shaman must do will take him into dangerous environments. Only the strongest will survive!
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  2. I love the feeling of the hunt, the hunter and the hunted, that comes through in this story. At first we think it may have a sinister outcome but what a great reveal when it’s clear this has been an initiation. Fab writing as always, heavy with atmosphere.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like he ides of a courtship too (read comments) and what brought this action forth with more flavor was some of the wording:
    “Nine and ninety”
    “And behold”
    Added to making it feel like a real account

    Liked by 1 person

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