What Pegman saw – Top predator

“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 Pripyat, Ukraine.

WPS - Back to nature 180818

Pripyat, Ukraine | Nickolay Omelchenko, Google Maps

Top predator

The babushka held out her glass and I filled it with vodka.

“I knew it was bad,” she said, “when I heard the sirens, and I feared the worst when I saw the soldiers herding people onto buses.”

She was dressed all in shabby black and smelled stale.

“I don’t like soldiers. And I’m old. If my time has come, so be it. You won’t catch me on any buses. I walked away and kept walking.”

She chuckled. “I soon learned the places to avoid.”

“How?” I interrupted.

She shrugged. “Where there were no birds, I got sick.”

“What did you eat?” I asked.

She looked at me in astonishment.

“I was in a forest! The forest is full of things to eat. Berries, roots, birds, even wolf.”

She tapped her glass. I shrugged and handed her the bottle. She poured and slurred, “It’s a pity people are coming back.”

Friday Fictioneers – Pan’s Pipes

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 - Pan's pipes 180801

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

Pan’s pipes

Pan took his pipes from his lips. Nature shuddered. Bees that had bumbled in wildflowers vanished from meadows; birds no longer sang evensong in woodlands; lions were forced by lack of prey to scavenge carrion.

But men.

Men had ignored Pan for decades. They had burned fossil fuels to keep him at bay, to be safe. They worshipped the car; television; money. They had beaten Pan.

In the Arctic, methane seeped from previously frozen tundra, and the ice burned.

In the Antarctic, a billion-tonne iceberg calved from an ice-sheet.

Pan propped his pipes against a fence, sighed, and departed.

 

Neil Macdonald, a writer whose opinion I value highly, has suggested that the story would be better if it were less declamatory. I think he’s probably right. So here’s a revised version!

I’d be fascinated to know what others think, and whether this second version is an improvement!

Pan’s pipes (version 2)

Pan took his pipes from his lips. Nature shuddered. Bees that had bumbled in wildflowers vanished from meadows, birds no longer sang evensong in woodlands, and lions were forced by lack of prey to scavenge carrion.

Men, though, were different.

Fearing Pan, they had forced him out of their lives, burning fossil fuels ever faster as they rushed about in planes and cars, or numbed themselves with the flickering images of television. They overwhelmed him, until ice burned in the Arctic and billion-tonne icebergs calved from ice-sheets in the Antarctic.

Pan propped his pipes against a fence, sighed, and departed.