Deer Haven, Badlands, South Dakota | Darius Nabors, Google Maps

The bouncing jeep headed down a faint dirt roadway towards the rocky outline of the Badlands.

A half mile later, a more unexpected and disconcerting thing happened. A horizontal split wrenched across the landscape–dividing the world into two distinct views. Above was the world he knew: pinnacles, hoodoos and mesas. Beneath, lay a city, both ancient-looking and impossibly new.

It wasn’t as if the split had just happened, perhaps it had always been this way. Tom had never actually been way out here. No one really did. As they drove down a slope and into the gap, he watched the familiar features of the Badlands evaporate overhead. From here, it was evident that this part of the landscape was only a projection over the city that lay below. He turned to the woman, astounded.

“Holographic camouflage,” she said, pointing up. “It’s a mirage, essentially.”

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

Two things:

  1. Sorry for being so late to the party. A family trip and a fallen tree had me playing catch-up these past few days.
  2. I owe you an explanation on the story–it’s actually an excerpt from the first novel I ever wrote. I started it in August of 2011 following a family trip to the Black Hills. It’s my write-er-versary. The book was called Panacea, the story of a young man who finds himself in a secret compound in the Badlands, where science and magic collide.


  1. That is an interesting scenario; I can imagine how a holographic view might be used to hide all manner of blots on the landscape… used to sweep the dirt under the carpet, as the old saying goes. Hidden, not removed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Holographic camouflage does exist! Although it’s generally used to hide objects much smaller than entire cities. I had fun researching present science and taking it to the next step.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You aced it. Much like. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Karen,

    Intriguing story. The novel sounds fascinating.

    I hope all is taken care of with family and fallen tree. I’m pedaling hard to catch up this week in FF as I’ve only been back home from NC for a couple of days. Family’s so important.

    Thank you for this challenge, I understand what it takes. 😉 Happy Write-a-versary.



    Liked by 1 person

    1. My prompt is a walk in the park compared with the Friday Fictioneers! I don’t know how you do it. I’m so glad you found time time to stop by Pegman this week. Hope your hubby had fun in Sturgis and you’re getting caught up.


  3. Hey Karen, you having trouble with trees too?

    No worries on being late, first in and last in are always the ones you remember, so my Dad used say.

    I love this story. And I love the sound of your first 2011 novel. I would certainly purchase it and recommend it on the strength or this and your writing.

    Good luck.


    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh no, what sort of trouble are you having with trees? We had a big which dropped a walnut branch on the garage. No real damage, it just took some time breaking up the branches for the city to pick up.

      I never heard that saying your dad spoke of. That’s too funny.

      Very kind of you to say that about my novel! Who knows, maybe someday I will revive it. I’m at work on my 5th novel right now.


      1. Ahh sounds awkward but manageable. My trees needed felling years ago due to height and closeness to our house and blocking neighbours vies up up up above me. No pressure or nastiness from them though. It just takes time as I handsaw and chop and chainsaw trunks to use as firewood for us and pensioners in the village during those cold cold winter months. I was on track last year with harvesting them until illness hospitalised me. A year later they are still trying to understand what is ailing me. Last week I had an endoscopy. Never again!! I hope. 🙏

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh no, sorry to hear about your test. Hope they get to the bottom of what is going on with you (pun intended).


      3. Best comeback ever


      4. Five novels. Wow. Would love to read those. Unpublished warts n all. 😇

        Liked by 1 person

      5. What a nice thing to say! That would be such an honor. Some I plan to revise, some I need to polish. And the one I’m working now, I need to finish. Hopefully soon!


  4. lillmcgill

    Intriguing. I always wished you had continued that first book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe I will–one of these days. It’s not going anywhere 🙂


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