What Pegman Saw – My enemy’s enemy

“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 Goizueta, Navarre, Spain.

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Goizueta, Navarre | © Google Maps

My enemy’s enemy

Abarran had watched as the legions tramped towards the mountain pass, the thud of their feet filling the valley. He had seen their armour, their broad-bladed swords, their spear-tips more numerous than the stars. They would massacre any army he could raise. He had moved swiftly to order his people to co-operate; to give willingly what was asked rather than fight and have everything taken with only death as their reward.

And now the legions were at the gates of his city.

His chieftains were muttering. This morning, one had gone so far as to draw blade against him. He had left his own weapons sheathed and stared the man down, but he could no longer count on unquestioning loyalty.

The gates of the city creaked open and Abarran walked out.

It was time to see whether he could persuade these foreigners to make alliance with him against the Celtiberians.

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What Pegman Saw – The Poacher

“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 Bamboi, Northern Region, Ghana.

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The Poacher

Yes. It is he. The one who used his distant-death against Kmmbwla-Mera. He is alone, sitting by a fire in front of his canvas house. He’s drinking that-which-maddens from a metal flask.

I remember the day Kmmbwla-Mera fell. It was bright and the leaves on the burkea trees tasted moist and refreshing. We grazed and paid little heed to the jeep and its passengers.

Kmmbwla-Mera noticed first. A man was standing, pointing his distant-death in our direction. Kmmbwla-Mera was a great bull, a brave bull. He trumpeted an alarm and ran full-tilt at the man.

The man’s distant-death shouted. Kmmbwla-Mera stumbled. I heard his dying gasp; I felt him die.

We ran.

Later, I went back.

Kmmbwla-Mera’s corpse; they had mutilated it; they had cut out his tusks. There are no words bad enough to describe such desecration.

Tonight, your murderer will face justice my love, my husband, my Kmmbwla-Mera.

What Pegman Saw – A big ask

“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 Hanoi, Vietnam.

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Hanoi, Vietnam | © Wonov.com, Google Maps

A big ask

Nguyen Anh Dung was nervous. The table was covered with small dishes of food, spicy prawns, savoury meat, crisp vegetables, tangy fruits. He hoped the American would enjoy it. Perhaps at last his daughter would marry.

The American, Matt, was working in Hanoi despite his memories of imprisonment and torture twenty-five years earlier. He found himself liking the Vietnamese – one of them in particular. Thirty years old, not beautiful but with a quirk to her lips when she smiled that he found irresistible, Nguyen Co^ng won Matt’s heart.

Soon, she took him to her father’s apartment.

The eyes of the two men met; they froze. Then Anh Dung bowed deeply.

“I once did you great wrong,” he said. “Nothing I do now can atone for that. Can you forgive the father’s evil for the sake of his daughter?”

Slowly, Matt unclenched his teeth.

“I guess I can try,” he said.

What Pegman Saw – Guard of Honor

“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 The Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan, USA.

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Mackinac Island, Grand Hotel, Michigan | Google Maps

Guard of Honor

“We’ll hold the next Homeland Security meeting on Mackinac Island,” pronounced the President.

The VP shook his head but stayed silent.

“We’ll fly in. Airforce One will wow them!”

“Runway’s too short, Mr President. We’ll have to use a small plane. You’ll be escorted by F-35 Lightnings, though. They’re the best!”

The President rubbed his little hands together.

“And we drive to the hotel in The Beast.”

“No, sir. Cars haven’t been allowed on the island for a hundred years.”

“The Beast ain’t a car. It’s security. Make it happen.”

“Yes, Mr President.”

“And I’m to be met at the hotel by an honor guard.”

And so, two weeks later, the President arrived in The Beast at the Grand Hotel. He stared at the uniformed children lining the steps.

“Where’s my honor guard?”

“It’s how things are done here, Mr President. The honor guard is always drawn from the scout troop.”

What Pegman Saw – The Mountie

“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 Resolute, Canada, which is located in the High Arctic.

“What Pegman Saw” is a terrific challenge because the modest amount of research you need to do will broaden your understanding of how people react under all sorts of circumstances. And that, of course, is the life blood of any writer! If you haven’t tried it, do give it a go!

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Resolute, NU, Canada | © Google Maps

The Mountie

The school building stood in a grey, gritty landscape by a grey, gritty road. The July sun did little to dispel the cold.

Ross Gibson, formerly of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and now Resolute’s schoolteacher, glanced up at his class working studiously at their desks. Immediately a pupil raised his hand.

“Sir, may I go to the lavatory?”

Craig. It would be. It always was.

Ross gestured and Craig left the classroom, a smirk on his face. Ross followed him silently. Cigarette smoke crept pungent under the toilet door. As Craig emerged, Ross held out his hand. Craig scowled and handed over a packet of cigarettes.

“You ever been seal hunting?” asked Ross.

“No, Sir.”

“Come with me this Saturday.”

Craig looked startled, then nodded. He stopped slouching and stood taller.

Ross grinned to himself. The Mountie always got his man – but it took the teacher to reform him!

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.

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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.”

What Pegman Saw – Disappeared

“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 Montevideo, Uruguay.

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Aeropuerto de Carrasco – Montevideo Uruguay | Google Maps

Genre: Historical fiction

Word count: 149

Disappeared

The car hummed south from Montevideo.

“They pulled another body out of the river this morning, a woman,” said Mateo.

“I heard the plane,” replied Jorge. “Heartless bastards those Argentinians. We should pray for her.”

I had been on that plane.

With forty others I had sat on the plane’s hard metal floor for perhaps an hour. I wasn’t afraid; after months of being beaten, or burned with electricity I saved terror for the torture cell.

A man in a white coat moved down the plane injecting each of us.

A door opened to the sky. Soldiers picked me up.

“Madre de Dios! This one’s awake!”

“Who cares? Toss her out!”

I plunged, until the thunder of air was replaced by the explosion of water and the shattering of my bones.

“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Author’s Notes

This story is essentially true.

From 1974 – 1983 the Argentinian government conducted a campaign of terror, the ‘Dirty War’, against those of its citizens who held contrary political views. Thousands of people were kidnapped, tortured and their bodies disposed of; they became known as ‘los desaparecidos’, or ‘the disappeared’. Sedating them and throwing them (alive) from aircraft was one of the ways they were ‘disappeared’. Many were dropped into the River Plate and some washed up in Uruguay, near Montevideo.

Wikipedia, as always, has a good deal of information.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_War

The novel ‘The Memory Stones’ by Caroline Brothers tells the story of how the dirty war affected one Argentinian family. It’s very powerful, in fact it’s painful to read, but it’s extremely well written. Her website can be found at http://www.carolinebrothers.com/index.php/books/the-memory-stones/80-the-memory-stones