Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Run to the Jungle

Port Kaituma, Guyana | Martin Samaroo, Google Maps

There are moments that unfold like hours, and then there are those that hold a lifetime.

“Get in the jungle,” her father screamed from the stairs of the plane.

She looked down. Her mother’s body lay lifeless on the tarmac, a pool of blood where her trademark dandelion puff of blond hair should be. Her mother; a deck of images flashed through Tracy’s mind: the church in Charleston, the lemon cake Mom made for birthdays, her singing hush, little baby; her mother, gone. The men and their guns out of sight for now.

“Run.” His face was frantic. She turned. Her sister was running into the thick of it—the jungle that had seemed so frightening when they got there—the jungle full of centipedes and snakes and jaguars. The jungle as thick with danger as it was with darkness—even during the day.

It was the safest place to be.

151 words

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

Inspired by Childhood Jonestown Survivor Recounts Desperate Escape into the Jungle as Cult’s Mass Suicide Killed Over 900

Fate and Faith

Barkal Mountains & pyramid | Jiří Chaloupka, Google Maps

“This is as far as I take you, brother.”

He had learned not to try to bargain with the Alodians. One trying to knock a few coins from the cost of an escort would find themselves paying double by the time negotiations were done. “I thank you for your service,” he said.

The Alodian had been a good guide and a loyal guard on the road to Egypt. He was grateful to have made it this far with provisions intact.

The guide squinted at him, his face as weathered at the stones of ancient Memphis. “How will you make it across the Nubian? It is said there are no oases.”

He stared into the distance to where the sun was veiled in a scrim of dust. His bride was out there, on the other side of this endless ocean of sand.

His fate was with the gods now.

148 words

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

Gaslit

Overbrook Lunatic Asylum, Cedar Grove, New Jersey | Google Maps

“You drove the car in the lake, darling. Don’t you remember?”

“I did?”

“You did.”

She looked down at her hands, her fingers tangled in her lap. It was so hard to keep straight anymore—these things he was telling her. The electroshock hadn’t helped like they’d promised. She’d no sooner make her way through the fog of it and it would be time for another session. She couldn’t even remember getting behind the wheel that night.

“And Amelia rescued the children?”

“That’s right, dear.”

It was so hard to wrap her head around it, all those things he said she’d done. And then to realize she’d imagined the part about walking in on him and the nanny.

He patted her leg. His hand felt cool, even through the thin fabric of her hospital gown. “Don’t worry darling. Amelia will take care of everything while you’re gone.”

147 words

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

The Girl on the Bike

Sixt rent a car Ljubljana | Slovenia 360, Google Maps

Sixt rent a car Ljubljana
| Slovenia 360, Google Maps

He’d missed her again
just like every day the week before
The girl, on the bike
with the sweep of lemon hair caught in a low ponytail
messenger bag swung over one shoulder
The girl who had so unexpectedly
on a cloudy November day
eight days ago
rode up on the bike
and lifted a parcel
from the basket in back
and then stood waiting
watching through the stream of Tuesday commuters
past the south platform to the window
where he sat
on on a north-going train
at him
and smiled
And then just as quickly
turned and shouldered her bag
boarding the train
leaving the bike
but taking his heart with her

113 words

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

He’d Promised Her

Arlington National Cemetery, Washington D.C., USA | Marcel Wirtz, Google Maps

Arlington National Cemetery, Washington D.C., USA | Marcel Wirtz, Google Maps

They sat side by side on his mom’s couch, legs not quite touching. Sue Ellen twisted her hands in her lap when the announcer came on. Jimmy reached for her, but her eyes were fixed on the television.

“Let’s just watch.”

He swallowed. He’d promised to marry her next June. He’d promised her they wouldn’t bring back the draft, he promised her everything would work out okay. But now, instead of watching Mayberry RFD, or cruising Shoreline Drive, or necking out at the Point, they were here, doing this.

The congressman stepped up to the jar and pulled out the first capsule. Once in hand, he offered it to the official. The pair hardly dared to breathe as the capsule was opened, the strip of paper unwound from its case.

“September 14…September 14 is 001.”

Her breath caught; his head fell.

Of all the things they could have done instead.

150 words

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

To learn more about the 1969 Vietnam Draft Lottery, click here.

The Eagle Hunter

Jalman Meadows Wilderness Camp, Mongolia | Batdorj Oyun-Erdene, Google Maps

We made night-fire. Poppa was quiet as we passed the spit of roasted meat. He’d been quiet all day—ever since elder-son had told him he would not be an eagle hunter. He was going to the capital for second-school. Poppa had wished him well, but I knew the news unsettled him.

For four generations our people had been eagle hunters, a tradition passed down from father to son. But elder-son was the only son; around our fire were only girls.

“What about me?” I blurted.

In the still, I swallowed, hardly believing I had dared to ask. The heart-hope had beat in my chest for so long, unsaid. And now it was loose, like a stallion across the plains.

Poppa stared off, his eyes fixed on the vast expanse of our Wanderlands.

“I can learn, Poppa.”

He turned; he nodded. And in that instant, my heart began to soar.

150 words

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

Adelheide

The hills above Maienfeld, Switzerland | Nicolai Stotz, Google Maps

The hills above Maienfeld, Switzerland | Nicolai Stotz, Google Maps

When she last came here, she was not the one in the wheelchair.

She was abloom then—just like the alpine slopes blooming still. Back then, her heart beat mighty in her chest. Back then, she was the one racing up to the high meadows.

She remembered her first day, fresh-cheeked girl she was, filling her apron with flowers until it could hold no more—only to find them withered by the time she returned to the cottage.

“Grandma, look.”

The breathless girl had returned. In one chubby fist, she held out a fresh-picked bouquet.

Adelaide took the flowers. She was an old woman now, her own hand withered, a thorny crown of vein upon its bird-bone architecture.

An age had passed. A hundred civilizations had risen and fallen, and all that comprised the world of ago had been reinvented four times over.

And yet somehow, still—the mountain remained.

150 words

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

What Pegman Saw: Churchill Falls

Churchill Falls, Newfoundland & Labrador | Larry Flemming, Google Maps

“Where’s the falls?”

Larry eyed the man who stood on the other side of the station counter, in his cargo pants and tan vest with its abundance of pockets. They didn’t get many strangers around here, even in spite of the fact the Trans-Labrador Highway was the only highway in the whole of the province. “What falls?”

“Churchill Falls.”

Larry leaned back, grinning. “Well you’ve found it then, man. You’re here. This Churchill Falls.”

The man turned over his shoulder, confused as he eyed the long rows of flat-topped buildings. He cleared his throat. “I meant the water falls.”

“Oh,” Larry said. For Churchill Falls had housing and shopping and stores. It had an army of steel lattice soldiers stringing cable from the power plant to every corner of the region. But the one thing they did not have was a waterfall. Not anymore.

150 words

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

My apologies for being late to my very own party. I’ve been fighting a virus.

Churchill Falls is a company town, however he Falls for which the town is named were dammed up in 1970.

Special thanks to Google contributor Larry Flemming, who took many of the wonderful photospheres of this region. Thanks to Larry we all got to see and learn more about this lovely region of the world.

It Be Truth

Rasgado’s Jazz Club, Baía Farta, Angola | Claudio González Jorge, Google Maps

“What do you call it?”

“Jazz.”

Razi leaned back in his chair, puffing his cigar as the trio of musicians packed their instruments. This was not jazz. He knew jazz. He’d spent his greening years in New Orleans—the very birthplace of jazz. This was no Congo Square swing—all blare and brass. It wasn’t even the rhythmic roots of it, which owed its soul to the brothers and sisters sold from these shores. No, this was something different.

As a boy he’d played a game they called ‘telephone’, where the children sat in a circle. One child would whisper something—sometimes a secret—but usually a lie. Each child would whisper to the next, passing the lie from ear to mouth until it became something else entirely—something bigger and brighter and more fabulous. And sometimes, by the time it made it back, it be truth.

147 words

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

 

 

Employment at Will

86 Serangoon Rd
Singapore | Google Maps

It was seven floors down the fire escape, a 15-foot drop, and then 11 blocks to a shelter for girls like her. Girls who had believed the agents’ lies.

She’d been there 8 months, but had barely made a dent in the fees: the visa, the papers, the travel, the commission. The earnings to send back to her family were a dimly remembered dream.

She touched the bruise on her cheek. The swelling from her last beating had gone down enough that her vision was restored. If she stayed, there would be more of this.

She thought of her family back home in Myanmar, of their scant rice and the thin soup. If she ran away, there would even less to go around. It would fall on them to pay the agent’s fee.

She stared out at the stairs, the street, the moonlight—then closed the blinds and turned inside.

150 words

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

Inspired by From Myanmar to Singapore: Why the maid trafficking continues.