All posts by k rawson

YA author, freelance writer, technoligista, mom

Don’t Be Koi

Songxicun, China | Gao Shian, Google Maps

The tea merchant’s daughter was as luminous as the full winter moon over Jade Dragon mountain, and one day, Lin Bao would marry her. This he decided when he saw her kneeling before the tranquil pool beneath the tea merchant’s shop. She was feeding a handful of sticky rice to the koi. She looked up, her dark eyes wide, her pink mouth abloom like an orchid.

“Oh,” he said. It was all he could think to say. He turned around and ran up the cobblestone street. His bare feet pounded fast as his heart as he hurried back to the two-room where he lived with his parents and brothers.

If he didn’t marry her, life wasn’t worth living. He smoothed his hair as he walked inside. There were so many things to do. To court, to woo, to win. And first of all, to learn her name.

148 words

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

That Clever Wasp

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

I had the dream again.

When was the last time I saw him, and did he bring my son? My son they thought I’d drowned, but didn’t.

Then it was tomorrow, then yesterday, then now, but the fog was so thick I could barely find the daylight. I made my way to the window, to place myself in Place, if I could not pin myself to time. Bedsheet around my neck.

I touched the glass, but didn’t feel it. On the other side, a hornet crawled my palm. My hand, that held the baby down.

That clever wasp was free.

100 words

Hello Fictioneers! It’s been awhile. I couldn’t resist some dark madness on this wintry morning when I saw this shot of an abandoned New Jersey mental hospital. If you’re familiar with the movie The Others, you’ll probably get where I was going with this. If you’re not familiar with it, you’ll probably think I’m mad. And you may be right 😉

Thanks to Rochelle for hosting this weekly party and thanks J Hardy for the inspiring photo. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, visit the links via the blue button below:

 

What I’m gonna leave and do?

Arron Glasgow, British Virgin Islands. BBC Interview https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-41218817


First came the wind
wasn’t no thing, but then,
the rain came blowing.
I was sleepin then my brother came running, say
we got to be closing up the blind.
But instead him and me just hanging. Him holding on to the window, and I just hold him.
Couple minutes later them winds come down, take my momma’s roof,
then mine, then the living room,
so we came running. Had to run.

Next day when the storm broke, this is what we see. This.
Now then, now then, look at me: couple shirt and a pants. This is all I have. This.
I think, look around, see. All I got is walls. This is what I have.

And so I say go. I say I wanna leave this place, I say want to give up and go.
But what I’m gonna leave and do?
Where I’m gonna go?


148 words

I can’t take the credit (or blame) for this story. I was deeply moved by this fellow’s interview, as he processed the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. The British Virgin Islands was devastated by Irma in 2017. The damage from this storm has often been described as “like Hiroshima,” but such a description lacks the human toll such a storm can take. It’s hard to pick up the pieces when there are no pieces left.

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw, and a really shitty attempt at writing a vacation story, which was what this was intended to be.

To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.

The Rewards of Persistence and the Benefits of Good Friends.

Brooklyn Bridge, New York | John Smith, Google Maps

“Just think. This time next year you’ll be in Iowa,” Charlie grinned. “I-o-wa,” he repeated, making it sound like a foreign country.

I hadn’t told him yet. The rejection from the Writers’ Workshop had come in the mail yesterday. I added it to my growing stack of MFA rejections. “I’ve been thinking it over. Maybe the world doesn’t need another New York City writer. Maybe I’ll just go back to the brokerage.”

“Brokerage,” he spat. “Are you crazy? You’ve got stories to tell.”

I kicked at the ground. “See, that’s the thing. Maybe all the stories have been told.”

“Nah. What’s that they say—that there are only six different plots.”

“Seven.”

“Seven, then. Only seven different plots and this world still hasn’t run out of ways of telling them.” He stepped closer, pressing a forefinger to my chest. “But there’s one way that’s missing.”

Beneath his finger, my heart beat on.

150 words

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

 

Revolution Songs

Tallinn Song Festival Grounds | Алекс Тевтонский Google Maps

We were young then. Idealistic. We were braver, we were better, we were united.

Jüri stood in the empty field, stiff wind ruffling his graying hair, his cigarette smoke swept east by the wind. East to Russia.

“It seems so empty now,” I said to fill the quiet. I remember when we came all those many years ago, the pair of us in his old VW, all the way from Võru.

Jüri turned to me and nodded.

Back then more than 300,000 had come to Tallinn Song Festival Grounds to sing. Journalists wrote, activists spoke, singers wrote songs, and by September 1988, a fifth of the nation came together to sing for Estonian values. The Singing Revolution, they called it. We made history together, Jüri and I.

But now the rumblings come again. To outsiders, Estonia is but a pawn on their strategic chessboard. They underestimate the power of our song.

149 words

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

If you’re interested in the real-life inspiration for this fictional story, you might enjoy 30 years since the most important Singing Revolution concert.

I apologize for being late to the party! Here in Iowa, we’ve been dealing with snowstorms and shoveling, school cancellations and polar vortexes. Only in Iowa does kids’ show choir go on while everything else is cancelled.

Bless Your Heart

Southern-style mansion with columns

My future mother-in-law showed up at the bridal salon forty minutes late, reeking of Blanton’s. Our eyes met in the paneled mirror of the dressing area: mine wide, hers red.

“You’re wearing white? Well bless your heart,” she said.

“So what did she say?” my fiancé asked that night in bed.

“Bless your heart,” I told him. “That’s good, isn’t it?”

It isn’t, I discovered when we moved to Georgia two years later. My mother-in-law now lived close enough to pop her head in my kitchen at will.

“Sweet potato pie,” she said, showing up drunk for dinner. Again. “Did you get that recipe online? Bless your heart.”

Two more years, three hundred recipes. I picked up the drawl, I mastered peach pie. I could brew a mint julep like Faulkner’s ghost.

I caught her in the kitchen pouring a fourth. I smirked. “Well, well. Enjoying my julep? Bless your heart.”

151 words

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

I have to confess this might be one of my least favorite stories. I wanted to have some fun with the iconic loaded southern saying “Bless your heart”, which more often than not means something very different than the words imply. I wasn’t sure how to get across the different nuances in such a short word count. I also have to confess that my head is deep in the revisions of my third novel and it was tough to shift gears. But here I am, and in the spirit of abandoning any pretense of good storytelling, I humbly offer my contribution to Pegman this week. Bless my heart.

But, I am looking forward to reading all of yours!

Cheers and thanks for reading.

The Stakeout

Janta Stores Bandra West, Mumbai, India | © Support Direct India Google Maps

Rehana smiled for the first time in seventeen days. It was him. She’d know him anywhere: the thin lips, the heavy brow, the eyes cold as kadappa stone.

He was standing outside the ATM vestibule, his eyes darting up and down the street. Not only was he back, he was setting a trap for another victim.

Her throat tightened as she remembered the day. What a nice man, she’d thought. That day, she left with a friendly wave. It wasn’t until she got to work she realized his friendliness was a ruse to lift ₹10,000 from her account.

No one scams Rehana Shaikh. At least not again.

She’d gone back to the store across from the ATM every day for seventeen days waiting for him. Waiting for justice. The police had merely shrugged at her initial report. “Nothing we can do.”

They wouldn’t be able to say that now.

149 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.

Inspired by real events: Mumbai woman visits same ATM everyday for 17 days, catches man who duped her