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.

Friday Fictioneers – One Tide

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 on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - One Tide 200617

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

One Tide

Linda and Mark watched the waves pounding the sea-wall, hurling shingle across the promenade.

“I must go back,” sighed Linda.

Charlie, lying in his sick-bed, coughed. For a moment he was lucid. Linda could do better than Mark, he thought. Then the surging ocean carried him back sixty years to his first voyage in a three-master.

Linda looked at Charlie’s chest. Still breathing.

The sound of the surf faded. Charlie’s breathing became shallow.

Linda phoned Mark.

“I think he’s going. Will you come round?”

The couple sat hand in hand as Charlie’s tide ebbed.

“We can marry now,” said Linda.

Inlinkz – click here to join in the fun!

What Pegman Saw – The Marriage Deal

“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 Oman.

WPS - The Marriage Deal

The Marriage Deal

Adhara’s mother stood silent. She held her hands behind her back, hoping that no one would see the way she twisted the fabric of her abaya between her fingers. Her face, hidden by her hijab, was calm, solemn, a mask within a mask.

“The report of the matchmaker was satisfactory. Do you confirm, Basam, that in the event of marriage between our Jumah and your Adhara, your business will pass to our family on the day of your passing (may it be long delayed)?”

Jumah smirked as he looked at Adhara. Modestly clad though she was, Jumah remembered how pretty she had been as a child. He imagined the young woman’s body, its desirability enhanced by concealment.

“Alas, I have no sons to continue my business. It shall be as you say.”

“Then we have an agreement.”

The two men shook hands.

Behind her hijab, the tears rolled down Adhara’s cheeks.

 

Friday Fictioneers – Happy Birthday

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 on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - Happy Birthday - 200611

PHOTO PROMPT © RONDA DEL BOCCIO

Happy Birthday

“What are we going to give Mum for her birthday?” asked Sandra.

James shrugged.

“A brooch?”

“What good is that? She never wears a jacket.”

“I dunno. Helen’s your mum not mine.”

“We’ve got to think of something special. It’s her seventieth after all.”

“A track day in a supercar?” James ducked. “No! Only joking!”

By eight o’clock on her birthday Helen was looking down at Buckfast Abbey, all sharp-angled shadows in the sunshine. The hot air balloon carrying her drifted serenely over the Devon countryside. She sipped vintage champagne whose bubbles prickled her nose.

“What a birthday!” she murmured.

Inlinkz – click here to join the fun!

What Pegman Saw – Gay Terror

“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 Chechnya.

WPS - Gay Terror 200607

Gay Terror

I can’t tell anybody. They would kill me.

Adam was a pupil from my school, older than me.

He was lovely. Sometimes I used to follow him.

He used to meet a friend in the forest, another boy. I saw them kiss each other. I was jealous. I wanted him to kiss me.

They had a special place. I would hide in a nearby bush, right out of sight, and watch them.

One day his friend came with a gang. They had pick handles and baseball bats. Adam screamed as they beat him. I stuffed my hand in my mouth so as not to cry out.

When they had finished, they dug a grave and threw him in. They hit his friend then, several times, until he sobbed.

“If you ever kiss another man we’ll kill you, too,” said one of them.

Letter received by the Guardian newspaper March 2017

Author’s note

This is entirely fiction. Unfortunately, the actual situation in Chechnya is far worse.

Friday Fictioneers – Two Hander

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 on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - Two Hander 200603

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

Two Hander

“Fancy mixing up Pinter and Pirandello,” sneered Lucas.

Susan cringed.

“Look! Even the chip shop knows which of us is the intellectual!” Lucas flaunted the Times wrapping his fish dinner. Susan fumbled her Daily Mirror package, spilling chips onto the pavement. “Oh, I’m sorry. How stupid of me,” she wailed.

“An excellent newspaper the Times, with the good taste to employ me to supply them with chess puzzles!”

Susan pointed to Lucas’s parcel. “That’s the paper from March 21st, isn’t it? Wasn’t that the issue where you made a mistake and they had to print a correction?”

Inlinkz – click here to join the fun!

What Pegman Saw – Scoop!

“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 Panama.

WPS - Panama - 200531

Scoop!

The cable-tie bit into my wrists, stopping me saving myself when I stumbled. The FARC soldiers laughed.

“Not far now,” said one of them, “only another couple of hours!” They laughed uproariously.

Their camp in the jungle looked permanent. They shoved me, wrists still secured, into a cabin. It smelled stale.

In the conflict between pain and exhaustion, exhaustion won. I slept, until a boot in the ribs woke me. Groaning, I opened my eyes.

The girl carried a knife.

“Sit still. I’m not going to hurt you.”

Startled by her American accent, I looked again.

“Lucy! You’re Lucy Cullen the girl who was kidnapped!”

She drew a finger across her throat.

“Shh!”

Swiftly, she cut the cable-tie.

“Go west. You’re only five miles from the road.”

“You coming with me?”

She glared.

“You’re just Yankee shit. Rafael, the boss, is my man. He told me to kick you out.”

Friday Fictioneers – Taboo

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 on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - Taboo - 200527

PHOTO PROMPT © DAVID STEWART

Taboo

Stephanie sat outside the cafe, enjoying the evening and yet grieving for what had been lost during lockdown – spontaneous embraces, laughter for no reason other than joie de vivre.

She saw Michel, and waved. It was such a shame that lockdown came just as they were getting to know each other. He smiled, walked across, and sat down.

“Aren’t we supposed…?”

“You don’t mind…?”

They spoke simultaneously, and smiled.

“Sorry…”

“I beg your…”

This time they laughed.

“Would you have dinner with me?” asked Michel, taking Stephanie’s hand.

Her smile said yes. Her breath came fast at his forbidden touch.

Inlinkz – Click here to join in the fun!

Friday Fictioneers – Euphoria!

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 on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - Euphoria 200520

PHOTO PROMPT © C E Ayr

Euphoria

I’d heard the music from afar and its lure was irresistible.

The bass was growling a low E over which the harmony shifted chameleon-like and the lead guitar squealed. The rhythm of the drums was complex, built over a regular beat that had my feet skipping, my heart soaring.

Abruptly, the key changed to G major, bringing tears of delight. I felt myself rising. I spread my arms and flew, flew towards the band, lifted as though by the ocean towards fulfilment.

“Put her down!”

The security guards’ strong arms seized mine.

“Crowd surfing is banned – and so are you!”

Inlinkz – click here to join the fun!

What Pegman Saw – An Angel Unawares

“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 Rhode Island.

WPS - An angel unawares 200519

An Angel Unawares

“God’s world is beautiful, isn’t it?”

The word ‘God’ would normally make Ralph shy away, but there was something reassuring about the man on the bench next to him. He was at peace and his eyes held the echo of a smile.

“I was thinking,” explained Ralph.

“You study here at Brown University? They’re great thinkers.” He chuckled, then added, “No, really, they are. Eight Nobel prizes and counting, I believe.” He stretched. “Listen to those birds!”

“I have to make up my mind. My girl has another two years study here, and I’ve been offered a Gates scholarship to study in Cambridge.”

“Hmhm?”

“That’s a fast track to leadership.”

“Ah!”

“Well, it brings a lot of prestige! But I guess you wouldn’t know about that.”

“Who would you lead? Where would you lead them?”

The man stood.

“I’ll leave you to it,” he said. “Just remember – your choices matter.”