What Pegman Saw – Cement factory Pujiang No. 2

“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. This week’s location is Songxicun in China. According to Google maps there is a cement factory just down the road from the village.

WPS - Cement Factory Pujian No2 190216

Songxicun, China | Gao Shian, Google Maps

Cement factory Pujiang No. 2

I don’t normally notice the smell of burning plastic in the village, but I’ve been shopping elsewhere and the smell seems strong when I return.

I prepare some broth and take it to my mother, who is sitting in bed with a threadbare blanket around her shoulders. Her skin is like crepe, her cheeks sunken. Her eyes, circled with purple rings like bruises, are shut as though they are hurt by even the dim light that creeps under the curtain. She coughs, violently. The sputum that dribbles down her chin is dark with blood.

“Mother, I have brought chicken broth with noodles. Your favourite!”

I sit close to her and sip by sip, spoon by spoon, I feed her until she moans, “Stop! No more. You’ll choke me.”

They say the cement factory Pujiang No. 2 is burning waste, and that the fumes cause cancer. Could that really be true?

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Friday Fictioneers – A life for a life

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - A life for a life 190213

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

A Life for a Life

Once they were past the entrance, only the flimsy door of the apartment kept the gang out.

Robin cowered, white faced in the corner. Magdala yelled down her phone to the police.

“They’re here! Be quick!”

The door burst inwards, hurling screws from its hinges like shrapnel.

Sunlight from the window flared from a knife. A man leapt at Robin.

With a shriek of defiance, Magdala threw herself in front of her lover and felt the blade bite deep into her chest.

“Stop!” called the gang leader. “Let him go. She’s paid. A life for a life is enough.”

What Pegman Saw – Tropical Paradise

“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. This week’s location is the British Virgin Islands, noted for sailing, watersports, luxury hotels and tax dodging.

WPS - Tropical Paradise 190209

Tropical Paradise

“Oh, stop pestering me! You know I hate tours. You go on your cruise and I’ll stay here and sunbathe.”

“And drink,” thought Roland, sourly. He gave Denise a peck on the cheek. “Okay. See you Thursday.” By the time he reached the quayside he was whistling cheerfully.

A dip in the pool. A gin. Lunch on the terrace followed by a pampering session in the spa. As Denise dressed for dinner, she felt toned and attractive. “Not bad for forty,” she commented, sidelong, to the mirror.

As Denise ordered a martini she smiled at Leo, immaculate in linen suit and lilac tie, who was sitting alone at the bar.

“Roland went on the tour then?” he asked.

“Oh, yes, And Helen?”

Leo nodded.

“Would you join me for dinner?” he suggested.

Meanwhile, Helen and Roland, close and intimate in a single berth, didn’t spare their spouses a second thought.

Friday Fictioneers – The Final Meal

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - The Final Meal 190206

PHOTO PROMPT © Anshu Bhojnagarwala

The final meal

The embers still glow, but the flames flicker and fade and there are no more logs. I swirl the cognac in my glass. Its bouquet is exquisite, its flavour majestic; a magnificent vintage. The unearthly shriek of a peacock rends the air.

It’s midnight. The bank now owns my restaurant. And my house. And my car. Damned if I wouldn’t have to ask my lawyer before I could be sure they don’t own my britches as well!

Gourmet meals served on the terrace under the stars had seemed like a great idea…

So, I was wrong.

But I’ll be back!

What Pegman Saw – Carpe Diem

“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.

WPS - Carpe Diem 190202

Carpe Diem

Inwood Hill Park may seem an odd place for a first date, but Mark and I both grew up in the country. We picnicked and agreed that, while this wasn’t countryside, you could at least smell the earth rather than gasoline.

I was thrilled by Mark’s job as a Wall Street trader, and he seemed fascinated by the celebs I interviewed for ‘Vogue’.

We were an ideal match. We soon married, and I went part-time to be a home-maker.

And it worked, it really did. For fifteen years we loved and cherished, and raised a couple of kids.

And then, abruptly, it didn’t work anymore. Was it really Mark’s affair that drove us apart? Was I really the ‘over-critical bitch from hell’? Whatever. We divorced.

I buried him last week. He was only fifty. How I wish we’d not chased the perfect but enjoyed the good while we had it.

Friday Fictioneers – Three’s a Crowd

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

ff - three's a crowd 190130

PHOTO PROMPT © Renee Heath

Three’s a crowd

I guess it’s easy when you know how. Jack, Joe and I didn’t. However, eventually the tepee was up, and only a little lopsided.

“Burgers, Abe? Jack?”

Joe was our cook that evening, and burgers was all he knew. Jack and I drank Bud and yarned, while Joe got smoke in his eyes and cussed when he burned his fingers on the barbecue.

Man, those burgers, with ketchup, onions, cheese and tomato, were awesome!

Afterwards, Joe and Jack held hands as the Milky Way brightened overhead. eBook on my lap, I nodded towards the tepee.

“If you guys want privacy…”

What Pegman Saw – Last Night Nerves

“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. As regards the link with the location, Tallinn has some very nice restaurants – sorry it’s so tenuous!

wps - last night nerves 190126

Talinn, Estonia | Daniel Pettersson, Google Maps

Last night nerves

She looked radiant. He was nervous, constantly rummaging in the pocket of his jacket. I gave them my best smile and a menu each.

He stammered while ordering, and checked repeatedly with the young woman exactly what she wanted.

“Would you like red wine with the duck, Margit? They would go well together. Or – how presumptuous of me to assume you want wine! – perhaps you would prefer something different altogether?”

“Red wine will be lovely, Andrus.”

She seemed to greatly enjoy her meal, but he picked at his, pushing it round his plate with his fork and leaving half of it.

“I’m sorry Andrus left so much,” said Margit as she paid. “He is ill – a brain tumour.”

Andrus pressed a 50 Euro note into my hand. “More use to you than me,” he said, white-faced.

They left.

The door had hardly closed behind them when two shots rang out.