Archive for the ‘What Pegman Saw’ Category

Today Pegman took us to Coniston Water, Lake District, England. I took a stroll around and found this picture. Thanks, Karen and Josh, for providing another great idea for a 150-word challenge.

As children, my sisters and I danced among these stones, singing the praises of gods we did not know while wondering why anyone should be guided by spirits they could not see.

Rayana, the eldest. A beauty with a voice filled with the music of one-hundred crystalline bells.
And a mind that held world-knowledge that surpassed each of our elders.
Oh, her many qualities swayed armies.

Clarene, the brave. Villagers compared her strength to that of our most powerful axman. Her gentleness to the heart of a dove.
When war broke out, she was our fiercest defender and most compassionate healer.

What were my qualities? Selfishness. Anger. Revenge. All wrapped up in ocean-blue eyes and golden hair. As were we all.

So, I warn you, the next time you sit, mead in hand, do not ask our elders how the village survived for lies will drip from their tongues.

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Ghosts

Posted: June 16, 2018 in What Pegman Saw
Tags: , , , ,

Today Pegman took us to Taşlıçay, Ağrı, Turkey. I scrolled around pictures for a while before finding this wonderful picture of blowing snow.

The old people say there are no ghosts left
that they disappeared after the great famine
took more than half the population of the village.
They are wrong.

On the edge of fields
I see ghosts
dancing in clothes so bright
they put the sun to shame.

Or, I hear them in the barn
telling jokes and laughing
until I think their sides might split.
If only they still had sides.
If only.

Sometimes these fragile ghosts
sit at my kitchen table.
I drink tea while listening to their stories.
Often I reach out to touch them.
Futile, I know.
I need no reminder.

They leave notes
We love you
Kindness is the root of happiness
Go to bed early
Feed the dog

I no longer have a dog.
But my children don’t know that.
Their memories are
from the times before
the soldiers came,
starving and mean.

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Today Pegman took us to Armenia. I got lost in the beautiful photographs of the country then absorbed by the sad history.

You assumed I died in the Sheykhalan fire.
No.
I am still here.
And so are you for I recorded your stories
of hatred and stored them in my memory boxes,
each marked with a name.

Aslan (Lion): Broke into our home to slit the throats of our men.
Erol (Courage): Coward. Stuck my father’s head on a spike beside our kitchen door.
Tutku (Desire): Raped my mother and me then forced us to walk naked under the Mesopotamian sun.
Haluk (Happy): When we cried out for water, you gave us vinegar instead.

I stored thousands of your hate-stories but now, for balance, I must pull out a few of our own.

Aeron: Danced across the sand in silvery moonlight until we clapped and began to sing.
Havik: Sheltered the smallest of us within his enormous, naked shadow.
Poghos: Threw me out the window and saved me from the flames.

 

Today Pegman took our merry band of flash fiction writers to Gwynedd, Wales. Thanks, Karen, for taking me up on my suggestion! A couple of weeks ago a picture of Gwynedd was the wallpaper on my computer and I thought it looked fascinating. I’ve gone over my word-count by one after whittling fifteen words out of the story (sorry).

Had you been lucky, you would have seen
nineteen barefoot girls slip into the glen,
flowers in hand, hearts full of joy.

Perhaps you would have averted your eyes
as they removed blouses and corsets
before lacing the hems
of their striped linen skirts
over rabbit skin belts round their waists.

Without a doubt
the desire
to gently touch a shoulder or knee,
would have overwhelmed you
for their skin glistened
whiter than the inside of an oyster shell
dropped upon the sand.

And your heart would have soared
when the glen filled with laughter
as the girls braided ferns
through silken blonde hair,
their own or that of their sisters’.

One step closer
you could have admired
the silver-blue fire of their wide-set eyes.
Now it’s too late,
that color is lost to the world.

What a day you missed
simply because you were
too many centuries away.

Today, on Cinco de Mayo, Pegman took us to Tulum, Mexico where I discovered a lagune. While wading, I met Carmen who told me her story. Thanks, Karen, for posting another good idea for a 150-word tall tale.

Two-hundred years have passed since Carmen was nominated “Keeper-of-Souls.”
Oh, how she rues the day,
for now, time moves so slowly she can divide seconds into quarter segments
then each of those into thirds.

The Not-Dead don’t realize that
the Truly-Dead are an unruly bunch.
All day, Abuela Maria fights with Tío Ricardo.
Gato Isabella continually tries to re-kill Tortuga Mateo.
The Gemelos, Poco and Pica, are weary of their conjoined hips
and often draw knives from the shadows.

Solace comes on Día de Muertos when every soul is required to spend the day with the living.
Carmen doesn’t care if they visit people they loved or people they despised
as long as every abuela, gato, tio, twin, and tortuga disappear.

Then, very quietly, she removes her dress,
pours a glass of chilled wine and
slips into the soothing waters of her secret cave
and screams until her throat goes dry.


This week Pegman took us to the Great Wall of China. What a fascinating place! Thanks, K. Rawson, for leading us here.

A brave man, strong and wise, I was a soldier.

Thought to be a mere peasant, I am clever. Two years ago I was raising Emperor Qin Shihuang’s ninety-nine Silkie chickens. Not one died.

I was a stealer of bread. Who can blame me? My children were starving. Perhaps they are dead.

Bravest and cleverest of all, I am a rebel. Qin Shihuang shall not rule long, for the people shall unite to take back their lives.

A whip cracks, thoughts fly from the mind of every man digging sand, loading kilns, stoking fires, hauling bricks and stumbling. Each knows there is no hope of freedom here. No rest until death helps one’s soul become one with the wall.
So, they bend their backs and think a new thought, one they are told to remember each and every day.

You belong to the Son of Heaven. You are nothing.

 

Silkie Chickens – aren’t they cute?

Image result for silkie chickens

Today Pegman took us to Billinudgel, NSW, Australia. Many of the pictures I found were of floods, and of course many weren’t, but that’s what caught my eye. Thanks to Karen Rawson for providing the Pegman gang a chance to write another 150-word story.

She hoped the water would keep him away, after all, his boat sank, cars couldn’t get up or down the street, and he couldn’t swim to save his own miserable life.
Maybe he’d drowned when the dam broke. She could hope for that too.

She’d hoped for a few things before. Nothing big. Just kindness topped with a gentle touch and a sweet word.
Instead, he’d delivered anger, solid punches and so many threats she lost track.
So, it was often a surprise when he shredded her dresses or dumped ants in the molasses or . . .

No more surprises. None. It was her turn to win.
She waded through the gasoline-slicked flood water warping her cheap vinyl floors to nail plywood over the windows and boards across the doors.
Humming “Freedom” under her breath, she lit a match, kissed the flame and dropped it on the rainbow ribbons of fuel.

(149-words)

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