What Pegman Saw – Served Cold

“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 Brasilia, Brazil.

Note: There are more technical holes in this piece than in a fishing net; I hope you will excuse them!

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Served cold

There would have been a snap as the frayed cord sheared. The airfoil would have puckered, gone slack, wrapped itself around him. Christopher would have known immediately there was no chance; he would tumble five hundred feet to his death below, the nylon wings his shroud.

The image wouldn’t leave me.

There was no evidence of sabotage. That doesn’t mean there was no sabotage.

I didn’t give up the sport, not with the World Championships in Brasilia coming up. I teamed up with Donald, almost as strong a flyer as Christopher. We worked like demons to improve our skills.

“For Chris,” as Donald repeatedly said, until I wanted to beat his face to a pulp,

The first day of the Championships was perfect. We caught a cloud street at one thousand feet.

Behind Donald, I said quietly, “I know what you did. I loved Chris, you know?” – and cut the cord.

 

What Pegman Saw – Some days are good

“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 Taunoa, French Polynesia.

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Some days are good

Some days are good, some bad. Paul was such a big part of my life. I sigh and put away the nail polish. I can’t be bothered. Perhaps I shouldn’t have bothered with a vacation either; September will always be tainted by the memory of those last days as Paul fought for life.

But I did bother, and it’s a pleasant resort, and a gal’s gotta eat. That waterfront fish restaurant tonight, I think, only I mustn’t feel melancholy as the sun sets.

“Bonsoir, Henri!”

“Madame!” Professionally charming. “We ‘ave lovely mullet tonight. ‘ere, I give you a seat by the water!”

The sky is azure, the light crystal sharp. It is a courageous sky.

I am so lost in my thoughts, that at first I don’t hear him.

“May I join you?”

Silver hair but unlined face, gentle and scholarly, a quiet smile.

I smile back.

“Please do.”

Inlinkz – click here to join in the fun!

 

What Pegman Saw – Happy Anniversary

“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 Silver Bay, Minnesota.

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Happy Anniversary

“Gotta stop a minute, take off this jacket.”

Dave nodded but didn’t copy. He felt chilled despite the knitted sweater under his wind-cheater.

Colin eyed him. “Sure you’re up to this?”

Dave pushed past and walked on. Colin shrugged.

The woods were full of birdsong.

“Saw a bald eagle once, hereabouts.” Dave tossed the remark over his shoulder.

“Mm-hm?”

“Don’t believe me, huh? Well, I know what I saw. A bald eagle.”

Dave stopped at the foot of a rough stone stairway.

“Catch my breath, boy,” he said.

“I’ll be right behind you, case you fall.”

Dave straightened his back, drew himself up and climbed the stairway without stopping. The waterfall roared a welcome. He looked down. The river bank below was full of holidaymakers enjoying the first sunshine of spring. Dave pointed at them.

“Seventy years ago today, from up here, I saw your Grandma for the first time.

What Pegman Saw – Desert Vigil

“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 Wadi ad-Dawasir.

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Desert Vigil

“God is great!”

I gaze up at the stars. The beauty of the night sky cuts me like a sword. I am caught up in the purity of the desert, overwhelmed by awe and gratitude. Here the division of life from death is sharp and immediate. I yearn to remain.

“God is great!”

I smell stone, dry, unblessed by water. Mercy can sometimes be harsh like stone, like sand, like the desert, a mercy that purges, that strengthens, that forces a man’s courage and endurance to grow in response to the will of God.

“God is great!”

I hear the whisper of the night air, the siffle of shifting sand, the creaking of the cooling world.

Sound in silence.

Meaning in stillness.

Tiny grains cohering into a ripple, a dune, a ridge, a desert: a community, a nation, the umma.

“God is great!”

I dedicate myself to martyrdom.

What Pegman Saw – After Eden

“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 Hadera, Israel.

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After Eden

Hannah smiled.

“I love the flowers here.”

Aaron smiled back.

“The Stream Park is a beautiful place – but not as beautiful as you are.”

Hannah’s smile faded.

“We need to talk seriously. My mother asked me straight out today if I was meeting you.”

“What did you say?”

“I said ‘Yes’, of course! I’m not a liar.” She clutched her handbag in her lap. “The thing is there’s something I must tell you. About myself. And I’m afraid I may lose you.”

“I shall never leave you!”

“Aaron.” Hannah swallowed hard. “Do you believe what they teach us in synagogue?”

“Of course. I mean there are bits I take with a pinch of salt…”

Hannah spoke across him. “You see, I don’t, Aaron. So I can never be a proper mother to the children of someone who believes.”

The couple stared at each other, a world of loss in their eyes.

What Pegman Saw – Peak Performance

“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 Vanuatu.

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Peak Performance

I woke up grumpy.

I tried not to show it, but as we finished breakfast Sarah said, “You’re bored, Michael, and it’s only the third morning of our holiday. You promised me a fortnight without moaning.”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m sorry.” Truth was, I’m not very keen on scuba diving – I mean when you’ve seen one coral reef, you’ve seen ‘em all.

Sarah laid one hand on mine.

“Why don’t you go climb Mount Tabwemasana?”

I gaped. How did she know the name of the highest peak on Vanuatu?

“Sure?”

“Sure. Go and enjoy yourself, and I’ll see you in a week.”

Enjoy myself?

I travelled by boat (I’m a poor sailor) and an old 4×4 with solid wooden seats. The vegetation cut back by the guides left a thousand scratches on my arms and legs. I had a dose of the trots.

We made the peak!

Yeah, I enjoyed myself.

What Pegman Saw – A Wish Granted

“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 Menorca, Spain

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Image by Matt Gribbon from Pixabay

A wish granted

The black horse struts downhill, groomed sleek and with scarlet ribbons plaited through his mane and tail for the festival. Marc, one of the caixers, rides him like a king, tall and stern-faced. His black hair is trimmed short like a warrior, and his eyes are dark and commanding. Every few metres he makes the horse rear and people scurry beneath to touch its heart for good luck.

I watch how Marc controls the horse, and my heart yearns for him.

The horse rises, and I step forward, reaching for the beast’s heart. I touch it! Perhaps my dream will come true!

I sprint down the street to the town square, and greet Marc when he arrives.

“Alejandro!” he says.

“May I squire for you in the jousting tomorrow?”

He frowns.

“I have my brother…” he says, and then smiles. “I’m sure we can find something for you to do!”

 

What Pegman Saw – Integrity

 “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 Xinhua, China

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Note

On June 4th 1989 the Chinese Army stormed the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square and its environs. Official figures say hundreds were killed. Unofficial figures say thousands. The casualties were not all among protestors and bystanders; the army lost at least a dozen, dragged from their vehicles and beaten to death. Scores of military vehicles were destroyed.

Integrity

My editor at Xinhua News was sleek and plump, his office newly-painted.

“Feng, what is the directive for coverage of the riots in Tiananmen Square?” he demanded.

“They are a false ideology intended to undermine the stability of our great nation.”

He waved a piece of paper in front of me.

“Then why this?”

“Sir, I’m a journalist. I try to be truthful. Dozens of protestors have told me that this is a non-violent action. They’re looking for reform, not revolution.”

“Take it away, and write something suitable.” He rammed it into my hand. I bowed. He was a greedy political appointee, but he was my boss.

That evening I was seized by police. After weeks of interrogation I was released when I agreed to be re-educated by working on a farm for five years.

It could have been worse. I might have been in the Square on June 4th.

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.

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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.

What Pegman Saw – Mandela Dances

“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 Free State, South Africa.

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Mandela Dances

“I saw Mandela dance,” said Johnny Kwele, gesturing at the screen behind the bar. “I was there. Look at that joy! He was a god! Apartheid was over.” He sipped his scotch.

“I was a subsistence farmer in Free State. The goldmines paid better, but, well, you know.” I nodded. My recent retirement had taught me the value of freedom.

“One day an ANC boss came from Pretoria, a local boy. They were planning a dairy farm, he said. If we signed up, we’d have a stake, run it as a co-operative. They were going to fly us to India for training.”

He laughed, shook his head.

“Nothing happened. The money disappeared. This country makes a lot of money and none of it reaches the poor.”

“Your leaders are corrupt?”

Johnny glared.

“If you want to know where the money goes, ask your pension fund!”

The image of Mandela danced on.