Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Life Sentence

Taşlıçay, Ağrı, Turkey © Google Maps

Baba and Uncle Ham talked, the smoke from their cigarettes braiding with the steam from their coffee.

“It will save her honor,” Uncle Ham said.

My honor was all anyone had talked about since the incident. Büyük Mahamad had been escorted to jail, his handcuffs loose, the officer’s arm on his shoulder as if to say Don’t worry, this will all be taken care of. I’d been taken to my room, where I’d stayed while the men decided my fate.

Baba was less sure. He stared into the blackness of his cup.

“It’s the only way I tell you,” Uncle Ham continued. “He gets out of jail, she gets her reputation back, and you’ve got one less mouth to feed.”

“She’s only fourteen. The legal age is sixteen.”

“A simple matter to fix.” Uncle Ham waved a hand. “Give me her birth certificate and I change that.”

147 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.

To read more about the inspiration for this possibly mystifying story, read I was a Turkish child bride. We need to be protected from rapists, not married to them

One Fresh Breeze

Juniper Trail – Manic Exploration.com © Chris Katie Google Maps

It wasn’t the act that Lorena so much objected to, as it was the filth and stench of some of the clientele. Though sporting could be fine thing with a man as handsome as Jake Spoon. It could be an unexpected thrill with a man as considerate as Gus. Sporting kept her in pretty dresses and French perfume. No, sporting was not the problem.

Lorena walked to the window and hoisted it as far as it would go. She lowered her face in front of it, closing her eyes; waiting. Waiting for anything…for something cool and fresh to blow the dust from this one-cattle-company town. It was hot enough to melt the shoes off a bay mare. By the time she opened her eyes, she decided. She’d trade all of it: the liberty, the freedom—even the celebrity and the fat wad of bills.

She’d trade it all for one fresh breeze.

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.  Apologies to any Lonesome Dove fans out there. Apologies to anyone who hasn’t read/seen Lonesome Dove (who are no doubt mystified by this story). Also apologies for winding up further away than the location (Amarillo), which I didn’t realize until after I’d finished my story.

The Jewel

Ghalun Bus Stop, Kangra Valley, India ©  Anil Kumar, Google Maps

“The bus is going to be here any minute.”

He was ignoring her. He scooted to the water’s edge, dropping to his knees to peer into the depths.

“You’re going to get your uniform dirty.”

He flattened on his belly and reached one arm into frigid pond, keeping his face turned to one side.

She stomped over to the boulder beside him. “Will. You. Stop. You’ll miss the bus.”

“I’ve almost got it,” he grunted, pressing his cheek tight against the stone to extend his reach.

Curious, she tipped her head to see what was so interesting down there. She gasped. A cut stone of brilliant blue rested at the edge of a stone shelf three feet underwater. One wrong move and the gem would tumble into unknowable depths. Tugging her thermos strap from her shoulder, she dumped her lunch on the shore. “Hold on. I’ve got an idea.”

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lost Cache of the Emperor’s Gold

PHOTO PROMPT © Connie Gayer

“What does Google say?”

He flattened the old coin against his palm and curled his fingers around it, not wanting to say. Not wanting her to get another look at the laurel-wreathed profile on one side, or the cryptic lettering on other. “It’s probably just a kiddie coin.”

“Were there any more of them?”

“No,” he said.

This time it wasn’t a lie. After all, he had no way of knowing if the hard clunk his shovel made was not  just a garden rock. His heart raced the possibilities. “So how soon will you be leaving for your mum’s?”

99 words

This has been an edition of Friday Fictioneers. Thanks to Rochelle for hosting this prompt and thanks to Connie Gayer for this week’s photo. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.

The Mad King and the Saint

Khor Virab, Armenia © Vahagn Mosinyan. Google Maps

Darkness crept back into the cracks of the castle as dawn vaulted over the windowsills. The dream remained. She sat up, hand clutched to her chest, remembering the angel and his instructions.

Only Gregory could relieve the king’s madness.

Gregory, a man long dead to the dungeons at Khor Virap. Everyone knew that. But it had seemed so real.

The king now roamed the forest as a boar, his madness so profound it had caused his teeth to grow into tusks and his skin to sprout bristles.

She got up, covering her chemise with a wrap. This time she’d relay no one else the angel’s message. She left for the forest alone.

“Tiridates,” she called out. Every twenty paces she called his name to the sun dappled woods.

She froze at the sound of a grunt. She turned around. “Tiridates, it is Gregory who can free you from madness.”

150 words

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

This is inspired by the real life history of Tiridates III of Armenia. It occurred in the fourth century AD.

When reading such accounts, I always marvel when I come across things that are hard to reconcile with facts as we know them now–such as what is a madness that causes one to rip off their clothes and run and live in the forest… where they sprout tusks and grow bristles all over their bodies? Strange days indeed.

The Ones That Last: The Floating Islands of the Uru

Floating Island, Lake Titicaca ©  D. Alexander Flores, Google Maps

“Oh my gawd. Oh my gawd.” The woman held her arms out as she wobbled over a springy spot in the totora reeds.

Quereche’s dark eyes slid to Michu, amused. A smile dimpled Michu’s check, but she kept her eyes on her stitching. Los turistas were comical, if nothing else: from their first gasps when they stepped upon the floating island, to their wide eyes when they realized that the huts had electricity generated from solar panels, to their open mouths when they heard the radio station broadcasting the afternoon musica to all the Uru’s floating sister islands. They would cup their hands and whisper How strange.

This always made Quereche smile even more. Though the solar panels and radio station were new, her people had survived on this lake for millennia. They’d watched the Inca come and go; then the conquistadores. It would be no different with these people.

150 words

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

To read more about the Uru people of Lake Titicaca and their floating islands, watch the video below or  visit Atlas Obscura.

The Changeling

Uwchmynydd, Wales,  ©  Dan Boyington, Google Maps

 

She was doing it again. My wife stood at the kitchen window, elbow deep in sink water, even though the frothy suds had long since flattened to a greasy film.

I cleared my throat so as not to startle her. Mary turned. “You’ve got to believe me,” she said.

Ever since the trip to Gwynedd she’d been this way. I nodded at the window where our daughter played outside. She was weaving a crown from a handful of daisies she’d plucked from the garden. “She’s fine, love. She’s the same as ever.”

Mary glared distrustfully at the girl and walked toward me. “I’ve been doing some research. They’re called the Twylwyth Teg. They take a human child, and in its place—”

“Darling, stop.”

I hardly knew what to say to her anymore. Our daughter was the same bright child she’d always been.

Mary was the one who had changed.

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.

Sorry for the delayed post! This week and last week have been deadline-o-rama, what with one short story, two articles, and a submission package (for an anthology) due. Plus the daily 1000-word slog on my WIP. And in bouts of insomnia and you get one tired writer. By the time I got to Pegman, my creative juices ran dry.