Tag Archives: Flash Fiction

What Pegman Saw: Hallo Schönheit

Image result for elvis in the army

“They’re here again.”

Private Smith eyed the gate. A dozen German girls twirled their skirts and stared back hopefully.

“C’mon Smitty. Let’s go down there.”

He shrugged. “They don’t wanna meet no ‘nobody’. They’re here to see him.”

Even Johnson couldn’t argue that. Wherever the Third Armored went, throngs of fans followed—but they were no fans of the soldiers. They were fans of Elvis Presley. Meanwhile, Elvis spent next to no time at the base. He was seven kilometers away in Bad Nauheim.

Still, it didn’t stop the girls from showing up. Elvis wasn’t even all that handsome, Smitty thought. He ran a hand over his buzz cut. He’d be handsome too, if he hadn’t had to buzz his hair to the pink of his scalp.

“Let’s go down there anyway,” Johnson said.

There were a lot of girls. “What are we going to say to them?”

Hallo Schönheit, hallo.”

151 words

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

This story was inspired by my dad, who was stationed in Germany with Elvis. He never met him, but said he was always surrounded by a crowd.

 

 

I Will Be Remembered Forever

Pripyat, Ukraine | © Krystian Machnik, Google Maps

“I got it,” he said.

She hurried back to the kitchen. He sat at the table, the paper trembling in his broad hands. He held it out like precious parchment and not the government-issue letterstock it was. She took it, eyes stitching the length of the letter. “Where will it be?”

“Across from the market. Between Residence Ten and Twelve. Everyone will see it when they go to market. Everyone.”

She sat down, letting the letter rest on the table. “Have you decided what it will be?”

He stared past the bare light fixture, far beyond the cracked ceiling, his chiseled jaw proud. “It must be something grand, of course. Something inspiring. It must memorialize our great men. Our noble history. Oh Oksana—everyone will see this work. I will be remembered forever.”

She leaned forward, her small hand shelled over his, her eyes tender. “You will, solnishko. You will.”

150 words

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

This week’s location (Chernobyl) was especially fascinating to me. I could easily lose a morning, a day, or even a weekend, just wandering the streets. There’s something about urban decay that really makes me think about the transient nature of art, and life, and well… everything.

Cut and Run

Rawson Lake, Alberta, Canada © Google Maps

“I say we try again.”

“All Trails said there were no bears.”

“Sorry, Stephen. It looks like maybe bears can’t read.”

They’d tried for the car twice already, only to find the trail blocked by a sizable grizzly.

“I’m going to call someone,” he announced, pulling out his phone. “This is a public place. They can’t just have bears roaming around. It’s not safe. We’ll call a ranger and they’ll come get us.”

She shook her head.

They couldn’t overnight here—not in these clothes—with the weather coming. He was making this so difficult. The whole trip had been frustrating—him slogging along, unable to put his phone down for five minutes and enjoy the moment.

He pouted as he swabbed at his phone. “There’s no signal.”

She snorted, one eye on the trail. It didn’t matter if the bear was still there. What mattered was who could run faster.

151 words

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

I think this is the second time a bear has made an appearance in one of my Pegman stories, but when I read the reviews of this trail on All Trails, and saw it had been closed several times this season due to bears, I couldn’t resist. That, and the fact that my trip to Yellowstone a decade ago was rife with grizzly encounters, which left me with the sense that anytime I wandered into the Rockies, the bears might find me.

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 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.

Her Need

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

She was in the bathroom, staring in the mirror, with that look she got sometimes. Like no amount of heat could make her warm.

I didn’t need this now. Not with the mother of all meetings tomorrow. The whole Cybertown deal rested on my presentation. I needed to sleep. I needed be sharp. I didn’t need her need.

I realized then I could turn around. She hadn’t seen me. I could slip back out, through the bedroom and down the hall. She could deal with this herself.

She was so very pale.

I walked up, touched her shoulder. “What’s wrong, dear?”

101 words

This story was inspired by a similar story which Brene Brown shares in one of her wonderful books, although I can’t recall which one because I’ve read and loved them all. I’ve taken some fictional liberties with the fictionalized account.

This has been an edition of Friday Fictioneers, hosted by the talented and generous Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s photo prompt courtesy Rochelle! To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.