Detskiy dom № 8

St. Petersburg, Russia
© Google Maps

“So what did they tell you? How much do you know?” he asked as she climbed into the back of the cab.

She reached to tuck a strand of hair behind one ear. “They said they found me at an orphanage. Detkiy dom Number 8.”

Sergei laughed. “That place, eh?”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“That place hasn’t been an orphanage in thirty years.”

The young woman sighed. “I thought you said you could help me find my birth parents.”

“I can. And I will. But forget everything you heard about your story.”

“But my birth mother was 21, a Ukrainian. A college student, studying in St. Petersburg. It was in the dossier.”

Sergei laughed, took a drag from his thick cigar, and let the ashes fall to the floor of the cab. “The first thing you’re going to learn here, is that everything is a lie.”

– –

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, or to submit your own, click here.



  1. Everything here… everything there… everything everywhere…. lies are so powerful yet so pathetic. A society based on them, as if it were a game, will form the basis of a good read. Thanks for sharing, Karen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is the truth Kelvin! One of the few truths out there these days, it seems. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is superb. The frustration and disappointment make an excellent contrast to the jaded cynicism. This is a textbook example of “showing, not telling” too.


    1. Thanks J. Hardy. You are so very kind.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. lavmuses

    Such a poignant story with a healthy dose of reality. The disappointment at the end is touching! Great write.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If everything she knows about herself is a lie, I have a feeling the truth is going to be pretty disappointing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Super writing; you’ve handled the dialogue really well. And you conjure up the circumstances of the meeting beautifully, the back of the cab, the cigar ash on the floor; I can practically smell the claustrophobia…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Penny!


  6. I felt her confusion. And somehow that cigar smoke made it worse. If everything is a lie how does one find any truth?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder that all the time! 😉 thank you for reading.


  7. Dear Karen,

    How disheartening for this poor woman. Whom shall she trust and what is the truth? Well written.



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rochelle, thanks for reading 🙂


  8. Okay, but if it wasn’t really an orphanage, what was it? That’s what’s giving me chills. What did they do to her there? And what is the code word to activate the, “sleeper agent.” Whatever she finds out, I’m sure she’s not going to like it. Great one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh I nominate you to write the next episode. I like where you’re taking this!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice mystery. Where did she really come from? The unwanted child of a top diplomat, or the unwitting product of a top secret brain-washing programme…? Is it better that she never knows?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Your attention to detail is what makes this rather regular scene a class act. Well written, K.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. peterkirsch

    OUCH. SO depressing. So heart-wrenching. So truthful.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. So sad….
    A beautiful story…you have conveyed the sad truth of our world with these bunch of lies…Till some point of time, we all are as naive and believing as her, till one day the curtains fall and we realize that the world is murkier than we think…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said, Ritika. Thanks for reading.


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