What Pegman Saw: Leaving Chechnya (a draft)

Ulitsa Chernyshevskogo
Grozny, Chechnya | Google Maps

He felt the thud of the hatchway as it closed and released a long breath. It felt as if he hadn’t breathed since that moment at security, the guard’s frown as he perused his passport and boarding pass and handed it back. The flight attendant smiled on her way past and he realized it was the first time he breathed—really breathed—in years.

Out the window, a row of beech trees darkened the horizon. As they taxied down the runway, he remembered his grandmother’s place in rolling hills of Vedensky.  He might never see her again. He might never eat her chepalgash, or stroll the grounds outside of Serdtse Chechni, or let his feet dangle from the bench swings at Ulitsa Chernyshevskogo.

What he would do was as uncertain as [and here the author makes a brilliant observation]. The only thing certain was life.

145 words or so

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

Inspired by ‘Welcome to Chechnya’ Trailer Highlights Hidden Gay Atrocities.

A note: I wrote this story meaning to edit it sometime before it went live this morning. Then, I forgot about it.

Once I was able to get into my wordpress editor, I pasted in the original draft, which I am really unhappy with, but in the spirit of releasing perfectionism, I’m putting this out anyway.


  1. lillmcgill

    Karen, I really liked the combination of hopes and regrets.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much!


  2. I love the oblique way this is written. We can guess he’s reckoning on leaving permanently, but we don’t know why. I like the last sentence, that the only thing certain was life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Penny. I was inspired by the trailer in the link. I can’t imagine what it would be like to leave behind your homeland, especially when it’s a matter of survival… but I was trying to capture it!


  3. I love it, especially the wry comment. It crackles with tension.


  4. hehehe, if you find the wry comment entertaining, you should read one of my manuscript drafts. They’re full of them. Thanks for reading.


  5. peterkirsch

    An excellent exercise in “just getting it out.”

    I’m proud of you for forging ahead. I need to take a page outta your book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kudos, Peter. You definitely need to work on that perfectionism thing!


  6. A thoughtful piece that includes so many tastes and reflections of Chechnya. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great read! Chechnya is a place i really want to visit to see what it’s like compared to what the media portrays it as

    Liked by 1 person

  8. hi – just wanted to say thanks again for hosting – really apprtrvate the time that you and J invested in this and still think of you both now and then – 🙂
    hope you are both doing well

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, your kind words mean a lot! I hope you are well too. I think of all the Pegmaners and places often!


    2. hehe BTW it is me, k. rawson. Had to change my name for my other blog.


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