Category Archives: Flash Fiction

What Pegman Saw: Exile

shoreline in cuba

La Bajada, Cuba | Eleonora Vendetta, Google Maps


“I have a map, I’ll show it to you.”

While Mama ran to Father’s study, the girls eyed one another. It was Raquelin who spoke. “What will we do without them?”

Ana pressed her lips tight. With Father facing decades in prison, and Mama going into hiding, it was the only way. To keep the family together, they must first be wrenched apart.

She did not want to live somewhere else. She wanted to swim in the ocean, to feel the sea breeze. Cuba was her heart—its ocean, her soul. It was the first thing she saw when she flung open her shutters in the morning, and the last thing she heard at night.

When mama brought the map, Ana traced a finger around the shape of this ‘Iowa.’ There was no ocean there. There was no sea within a thousand kilometers.

How was a girl to live?

150 words

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

Inspired by the story of Cuban-born artist Ana Mendietawho was sent to live an an Iowa orphanage at age 12, following her father’s involvement in the Bay of Pigs.

Related image Mendieta said: “My exploration through my art of the relationship between myself and nature has been a clear result of my having been torn from my homeland during my adolescence. The making of my silueta in nature keeps (make) the transition between my homeland and my new home. It is a way of reclaiming my roots and becoming one with nature. Although the culture in which I live is part of me, my roots and cultural identity are a result of my Cuban heritage.


Let Nothing Come Between Us

Church in Santa Ana El Salvador

Santa Ana, El Salvador | Lopez Lopez, Google Maps

It was here we prayed. Rosibel held the infant, while the boy clung to my chest. The older children sat solemn upon the bench.

We’d come so far, but there were miles more to go. Miles of jungle, of desert, of plain. Catching trains when we were able, walking when we couldn’t, and every day facing bottomless hunger, endless thirst, and the banditos that preyed upon the desperate such as we were.

It was still better than what we risked by staying in San Salvador. Ivanito shifted in my lap. He was but three, but he would never know a gang initiation, or to have to murder another man just to stay alive. Our kids would live a good life.

We were hard workers, Rosibel and I. We’d keep them safe. I breathed the scent of Ivanito’s hair and pressed my lips to his head.

Let nothing come between us.

150 words

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

The Smallest of Things

Waikiki Beach, Cape Disappointment } Erik Sundell, Google Maps

They weren’t just whales. That was the first thing she would let them know in her speech today. They had cultures: distinct ways of socializing and hunting. They had their own languages and each pod had a distinct accent.

They were individuals.

They were Granny, a twenty-one foot female with a frayed tail that watched over her daughters’ young like a midwife, and once took on a trio of great whites like a gladiator. They were Tika, a large male with a gnawed dorsal fin, who was known for trailing sailors around the cape to play in their wake.

They had personalities. They felt joy, they felt sorrow, they felt love.

She had to let them know this—and everything about them—and how very much it mattered. Because if she couldn’t save them—these whales—these great and magnificent creatures—what hope was there for the smallest of things?

150 words

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

Today (June 15, 2019) is Orca Day in Cape Disappointment State Park, so if you’re in the area, head on over! Cape Disappointment hosts inaugural ‘Orca Day’

At present, there are 76 southern resident orcas. With such low numbers, orcas face extinction within 100 years.

The One Where Harry and Hermione Save the Muggles

House Guard Parades, London | Google Maps

“Harry, could I speak to you?”

“Why of course, Minister.”

Hermione let the door fall closed behind her. “Please. Let go the formality.”

“What is it?” Harry motioned to the chair in front of his Auror’s desk.

She blew a strand of fuzzy hair from her forehead. “I’m worried. I’m wondering if you recall what it was like—way back to when Voldemort first came back. Do you remember?”

Harry brought a hand up and rubbed his forehead reflexively. It had been paining him more and more of late. “No, why?”

“Now that we’ve eliminated all the pro-pureblood laws, I’ve had more time to monitor the Muggle situation. And I’m worried. I believe certain politicians are acting under the Imperious Curse.”

“How can that be?”

“Think about it. Rising intolerance. Increase of fascism. Brexit.”

Harry sat back, nodding thoughtfully. “What do you think we should do?”

Hermione smiled. “Fix it. Don’t you think? We’ve fixed worse problems, you and I.”

160 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here. My apologies for going over the 150-word limit. I couldn’t resist this bit of fan fiction. Now I see why the later Harry Potter books turned into massive epic sagas. I found it hard to trim words!


What Pegman Saw: What For?

Balbulol Dive Resort, Indonesia | Lera 76, Google Maps

Mr. Vanadel called my papa lazy, and it was true he was no fisher anymore. Instead he sat on our slant porch carving rosewood into asmat. When Mr. Vanadel said he should take them down to shore to sell them to the tourists, Papa just said, “What for?”

It was the same thing with everything. Him, so many times going out to sea, putting gas in the boat, then fourteen-hour days, earning pennies on the pound. He’d come back poorer than when he left. And if the rains fell, or the tides turned swell, or the winds blew in from the south, no man among us could break even. Which to me is why he said it, why I heard it more and more, and why I got to wondering if it made any difference if I finished school. Because the thing I had to ask myself, was: What for?

150 words

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

This seemed like such an idyllic place when I picked it, but I didn’t read far before I learned about the wrenching poverty suffered by most of the population. To learn more: Behind the beauty of Indonesia’s Raja Ampat islands lie poverty and neglect

What Pegman Saw: A Second Opinion

Kumiko Guest House, Varanasi | Martin Yao, Google Maps

“They say he is the best astrologer in all of Varanasi. In all of India, perhaps.”

The politician let out an exasperated breath and stared up the long flight of stairs. The astrologer’s office waited at the top. “But is he better?” he growled. “Better than all the rest?”

They both knew what the other astrologers were saying: that the only thing certain in the upcoming elections was change.

“You can always choose to ignore them, Narendra. Many of the youth say it’s time to leave the old ways behind. Chart our own course.”

“Nonsense.” He’d relied on astrologers in developing policy decisions from terrorism to Pakistan. The fact that he’d aspired to office at all was due to chance reading as a boy. He grumbled, leaning on his cane as he and started up the stairs. “I just need an astrologer to give me better news.”

147 words

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

Inspired by: Varanasi astrologers predict instability in politics and this awesome photograph I uncovered at

Source: University of Hawaii at Manoa Library,

You May Choose

Selma, Alabama | Google Maps

You may choose
To sleep in on a Tuesday
Roll late out of bed when you hear your sister call,
saying what you doing girl—don’t you know what’s on about?
you may never get to say no
you may have yourself a daddy-man
you may be sick, you may be poor
you may have nothing left to give, and still you have to give it all
it ain’t up to you.
Only thing you got, Child
is one day to use your voice
better use it while you can.
Raise your voice.
Catch a ride uptown
or even take the bus
or walk it, if you must,
even barefoot and pregnant, with a child on each arm.
Send them to wait in the vestibule
while you do it.
Then you go inside
sign your name and show your picture
and walk into the voting both where
You. May. Choose.

150 words

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

As of today’s writing, women in Alabama can still vote.