What Pegman Saw – The final hymn

“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 Gwynedd, Wales, UK.

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Caernarfon Castle, Gwynedd, © Wales Wane Law, Google Maps

The final hymn

“’Jesu, lover of my soul’,” thought Dafydd, as he creaked up the steep hill on his old bicycle, “a fine hymn and Aberystwyth is a glorious tune. Now, shall I end the last verse in E major, or E minor?”

A thin drizzle engulfed the hillside, forming tiny droplets on Dafydd’s spectacles and obscuring his view of the Ebenezer Chapel where he was to play the organ.

“You alright, Dai?” enquired the Minister as he arrived.

Dafydd shrugged. “I’m not getting any younger.”

Despite feeling weak he played with crisp precision and the congregation sang lustily. Dafydd was relieved when the final hymn came. “Aberystwyth truly is a marvellous tune,” he thought. “Now, E major or E minor?”

The cloud outside cleared, and a beam of sunshine illuminated Dafydd’s hymnbook. He smiled.

“E major.”

He played the last chord. His eyes closed.

Peacefully, with no fuss, his heart stopped.

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What Pegman Saw – The Great Fish

“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 Tulum, Mexico.

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Playa Maya, © Tulum, Mexico

Notes

The name Itzamatul is used by indigenous people of Mayan descent. It means ‘one who has the grace of the sky’.

A ‘bacha’ is a marijuana cigarette, a joint.

The great fish

Mingling smells of diesel and fish reassured Itzamatul as he manhandled his small boat into the sea. This was his place. He lit a bacha and inhaled deeply. Waves slapped the sides of the boat as it puttered along the silver path laid by the moon.

Itzamatul threw baited lines over the stern. Whenever he felt a struggling fish, he pulled it in and tossed it into a bucket. The spirits of his forefathers were with him.

Storm-clouds were massing on the horizon – but wait! What was this?

One line was so taut it was tilting the boat. Itzamatul hauled on it and rejoiced to see a great silver fish.

“Set brother fish free,” said his forefathers.

“It will sell for a fine price!” he protested, but they were implacable.

Sighing, he severed the line and the fish swam free. The storm-driven waters rose and bore Itzamatul safe to shore.

What Pegman Saw – The Perfectionist

“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 Great Wall of China.

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Great Wall of China, © Sébastien Laading, Google Maps

The Perfectionist

Meng Li slipped a slice of bark between the stones of the wall and scowled at the craftsmen who had laid them.

“Look here!” he hissed. “Gaps! There must be no gaps. Put it right, or I shall have you flogged.”

Wang Chao and Chen Susu bowed repeatedly. They knew that the wall was built on the bones of its builders.

Meng Li rolled a pottery ball along each drainage channel to check the gradient. He measured the pitch of each of the many steps with his graduated rod. Where mortar had been used, he probed its strength with a dagger point.

Everywhere he left men pale-faced, struggling to correct tiny errors.

That night, the Emperor sent for him.

“You are too demanding,” said the Emperor. “You are delaying completion of my wall.”

“But, my Lord…”

Quality, in the person of Meng Li, became a part of the wall’s foundations.

What Pegman Saw – A good brother

“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 Botswana.

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© Google Maps

A good brother

“Hold Akashinga’s hand, Maffy. He will look after you until you get to mummy in South Africa.”

Mafirakureva took her thumb out of her mouth and, slipping her sticky fingers into her brother’s hand, she smiled up at her grandma.

Ten-year-old Akashinga stood as tall as he could. He had a backpack containing water and a few sandwiches but his responsibility felt heavier than the pack.

“Climb in,” said the driver to Akashinga. “Put her on your lap.” Akashinga squeezed in beside a plump girl.

They drove for hours across Zimbabwe to the Botswana border. Akashinga watched their driver joking with the border guards as they checked documents.

They’d only travelled a little further when they were stopped at a police checkpoint. The driver swore.

“Everybody sit tight. I’ll talk us through.”

Akashinga put his arms around Maffy.

“Don’t be afraid. I will keep you safe,” he promised.

What Pegman Saw – The End

“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 Mdina, Malta. The city has been fought over for millenia, which, together with today’s news, prompted this very dark story.

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Mdina, Malta © Steven Tilly, Google Maps

The End

Eve had buried her third child earlier that week.

She trudged through the streets of Mdina, the silent city.

What had gone wrong with the world? Violence had spread like gangrene.

She paused outside St Paul’s Cathedral.

“Where were you, God?” she screamed.

The hot, dusty silence swallowed up the echoes.

One by one, states had crumbled into anarchy.

Women organised against the strife. “There is a better way” they said, but men found the lure of power too intoxicating.

Eve walked on until she stood on the ramparts.

After threats of nuclear strikes, broadcasts ceased. Static crackled from radios.

Resources had been scarce. Women tried to share; men fought.

Finally, there had just been the three of them – until yesterday, when the stranger came and killed her husband.

“You’re mine now,” he had gloated.

Eve grieved for her husband, grieved for her children, and stepped off the ramparts.

What Pegman Saw – Coming of Age

“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 Billinudgel Hotel, NSW, Australia.

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Billinudgel Hotel, Billinudgel, NSW, Australia, © Cube Online Services Google Maps

Coming of age

The big screen lounge in the Billinudgel Hotel was booked solid throughout the Sydney Olympics.

“Hey, Blue! Sell us your ticket?”

“Not on your life.”

“What’s a wimp like you want with a ticket anyway?”

His dad had said much the same.

“Something to do with your writing? You’ll never make a living at it.”

On October 1st, he was in the lounge with hours to spare. He drank slowly. “Afraid you’ll be caught drunk in charge of a pencil?” jeered his mates.

There was a rousing cheer as the closing ceremony started.

In Blue’s thoughts, words describing the event coalesced into sentences, into paragraphs, and he knew; this is what he was born to do.

The closing concert began, and a tsunami of triumphant emotion swept out from the stadium, around the world, lifting the hearts of billions. The headline flashed into Blue’s head.

“Australia, you’ve come of age!”

What Pegman Saw – The rains have come

“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 Gurara Waterfalls, Nigeria.

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Gurara Waterfalls © Samson Rohan Google Maps

The rains have come

When the storm clouds mass, when the rains come, the river rises. The pure, clear water that chuckles between the rocks becomes a milky brown torrent, sweeping boulders out of its path.

It’s been twelve months since terrorists snatched our daughters. The government has done nothing. We have waited long enough.

“Come, Numilekunoluwa! We must arm the villages. We must find our children and bring them back before it is too late!”

“There are many terrorists. We wouldn’t stand a chance.”

“There are many? We could be more! We must at least try.”

And Numilekunoluwa spoke to Abidugun, and Abidugun spoke to Mobo, and Mobo went to the next village and spoke to them.

And the villages armed themselves, for defence, and to seek for our girls.

Two hundred of us are going into the forest tomorrow.

The storm clouds have massed. The rains have come. The river is rising.