Population 0



“These farm towns always have the best restaurants,” he’d said.

It had seemed like a refreshing break from the freeway. All she’d wanted back then was an open-face sandwich like her gran used to make. But so far, they hadn’t found so much as an open gas station. The gas gauge hung an eyelash over empty.

“Maybe we should ask for directions.”

His jaw thrust out.  “I’m not lost.”

“No, I know you’re not. It’s just that—hey look, an antique shop.”

“Thought you were hungry,” he said.

She was hungry to see another living soul. “Just park,” she said.

As she walked up the quiet street, under the sagging awnings, to peer in the filthy window of the vacant shop, she started to realize: there was no one to ask. She turned around and noticed the film of dust layered on all the parked cars. “Does something seem wrong to you?”

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw, a new weekly 150-word fiction prompt based on Google Maps. To read more or to submit your own, click the froggy button:



  1. This is super spooky, like a Twilight Zone episode. I love the repeating “open” in the first part of the story. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Graham Lawrence

    Open Face sandwich is new to me. Love it. Then”gas gauge hung an eyelash over empty.” is a lovely line. Great story.
    Perhaps “to peered in the filthy window” might be a typo? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. On yes! Typo. Thank you

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Karen,

    This is so much like a TZ. You left me wanting to know more. I get the feeling someone’s watching them. Well done.



    Liked by 1 person

  4. Eeek! Creepy. Very effective at building suspense!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deebra! Thanks for reading.


  5. Love the feel of this – a deserted town covered in dust, cars parke as if everyone there just vanished … Lovely. Do you know what comes next? What has happened to them all? Intrigued to know. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not really sure. I’ve been watching The Leftovers and I think it’s having an effect. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve never seen it (it’s only aired on Sky Atlantic here which we don’t get) but Christoher Eccleston is fantastic, always. He’s from Manchester in the UK – what’s his (presumably American) accent like?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. He is excellent in this. And I had no idea he was British so he’s nailed the American accent.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Glad the local lad’s doing us proud! I noticed there were several other Brits in the cast list too, but then so many crop up on HBO and AMC series’ I’m surprised American Equity haven’t had something to say about it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Hey y’all can’t help it if you’re talented 😉

        I did notice that, but I have no complaints!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Haha! Weird, isn’t it? I think [erhaps because we’ve all grown up here with American TV, the accent creeps into the back of our heads without realising it. Or maybe we work for less money 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Something certainly seems wrong to me! “The gas gauge hung an eyelash over empty.” What a spectacular line. I suggest they get out while the gettin’s good. Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

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