What Pegman Saw – The Crossing

“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 Tolchester Beach, Maryland, USA.

WPS - The Crossing 200125

The crossing

Jim drove towards the water, parked and sat in darkness. The far side of the estuary was spangled with lights.

He gulped bourbon from his flask, then stripped, folding his clothes neatly onto the seat. “See, Mom?” he slurred, not knowing whether it was a sneer or a lament.

Then he waded into the water and swam towards the far shore.

It’s five kilometres and he was not a strong swimmer. He would swim until exhausted and then quietly let himself slide under…

The water wasn’t cold, not at first anyway, not as cold as his loss. He swam steadily, his mind floating free. This wasn’t such a bad way to go.

A slap of water roused him. His limbs were shuddering, but still moving. Orange street lights! Close!

His left leg cramped.

Only one hundred yards to go.

His head was submerging.

Every stroke was agony.

He made it.

13 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw – The Crossing

  1. Ooh, so close there. Left me wondering if he wanted to die, if he was just crossing, if he was in two minds, wondering himself if it was his time, whether the moment would be decided for him, by his own lack of strength.
    Super writing, Penny

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn
      Thank you for reading and commenting. What a super comment! The questions you ask are just the ones I hoped the story would prompt. When he set off, I have little doubt that he intended to die. But did he intend to live, when he fought so hard to avoid drowning in the last hundred yards? I’m really not sure!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My reading is he wanted to die until the last moment, then having decided he wanted to live, thankfully he made it to the other side. Hopefully his realisation will help him turn his life around and recover from the loss.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Changed his mind halfway across, it seems — lucky for him he’s a better swimmer than he realized! Maybe this experience will be just what he needed to scare himself out of slipping down that dangerous spiral and climbing back up again. The emotions here felt really true to life, to me. Nice job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Joy
      Thank you for reading and for your sensitive comments. I’m glad – kind of – that the emotions felt true to life. I was in that dark place myself some 20 years ago, but – Praise God! – I received unstinting support and expert care to become the person I am now. I give thanks every day because I’m alive and joyful, and life is good!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m so sorry that you went through something like that, Penny. I’ve been there too, and wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I find that there’s something very empowering about having been at the bottom of the barrel: that whenever things are bad now, I can remember back when it was worse, when I thought nothing would ever get better — but it did then, and now I know that it will again. ❤

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    • Dear Na’ama
      Thank you for reading and commenting. You’re right that the will to live can overcome the desire to end pain. It seems to me that the will to live is essentially independent of conscious decisions about taking one’s own life. What do you think?
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think that many times it is independent because it is a drive that precedes ‘higher’ cognitive processes … It is a primal thing, to fight to live. That said, the way one thinks/feels/believes can certainly sometimes override it.. We see it in suicide. We see it in traditions where one can ‘stop living’ if they believe they deserve it or have been cursed with it. I wonder if that requires some altered state to allow the shutting off of the survival reflex. But, yes, anyone in their right mind would have their survival reflex – and sometimes their need to save others – override other worries. At least that’s what my sense is, unscientifically …

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