What Pegman Saw, Writing

Gateway of India

gatewayofindia

Photo by Parth Vyas on Unsplash

Mumbai, India

“On the 2nd of December 1911, Queen Mary of England, the wife to King George V made her way through the Gateway of India for the first time. Today it stands as one of India’s most popular tourist attractions, affectionately known as the Taj Mahal of Mumbai.”

Marina Scott stared at her tour guide with intrigue as he regurgitated the same facts that he had many times previously. He was a handsome man – deep brown eyes and a smile that shone as he interacted with his audience. She was enthralled, not so much by the great history of Mumbai, but by the attractive stranger whom she knew only as ‘Rahul, your tour-guide for today’.

She attempted to catch his attention as the tour continued, through the gateway.

As she wiped the sweat off her brow, an elderly lady fell to the floor dramatically. She had succumbed to the heat, her presumed husband (just as elderly and infirm) flailed his arms around in panic. ‘Rahul’ attended to the patient immediately, calm and with confidence.

‘That’s it for today everybody’ he spoke, ending the tour on the spot. Marina took one last look at the best attraction on the tour before turning away from the unknowing man, back towards the city in which she was still a stranger.


Produced using a prompt from What Pegman Saw. Since I kinda missed the deadline on this one, I deviated from the word-count a little. Constructive criticism always welcome.

If you would like to read more of my work, please feel free to take a look at my latest piece: ‘Meet My Fiancée…Thank you for reading!

R.J. x

Standard
Writing, YeahWrite

Meet My Fiancée…

This evening was much like any other. I sat yawning at the dining table as Mother and my perfect little sister, Libby, discussed the wedding. I stress that this is definitely the wedding, and not just a wedding.

Oh no, Mother has gone out of her way to ensure that this is the social occasion of the year, the best day of her daughter’s life. Sixteen whole sides of freshly-smoked, Scottish salmon have been ordered for the wedding breakfast and the Vicar has been ordered not to trip over his words during the service at the expense of her family’s reputation – despite his years of experience.

In front of us sat a work of art, a common topic of conversation – the seating plan. I’ve heard six times this evening alone how Lady Bunty Larinstoff, the highly regarded President of the Lawn Tennis Association can not (NOT) possibly sit within two tables of Melissa Mcorkadale, or quite frankly, the whole day will be a total disaster. I sat dazed, until a shrill voice awoke me.

“And what about you, Sissy?” Libby, my perfect-in-every-way little sister asked smugly. “Have we got a name for your plus-one yet?” she smirked, pointing to the only blank space on the table plan, next to my name. “Who’s the lucky guy?”

What happened next, shouldn’t have happened, but it did. I don’t even know how it happened.

“I HAVE A FIANCÉE!” my mouth blared with the force of an opera singer. This revelation was met with two blank faces, who stared at each other for a moment. The room deathly quiet, my cheeks red with utter shock at what I had just said.

“YOU?” Libby exclaimed. “ENGAGED?”

Hysterical laughter followed from both my mother and my sister for what seemed like forever. Knee-slapping, snorting. Tears ran from Mother’s eyes.

“No, no, of course, Sissy!” Libby backtracked, fanning herself with her hand in an attempt to regain composure. “So when will we meet the lucky guy?”

“AT THE WEDDING!” I did it again. Why won’t I stop talking?

“Really?” both women asked in unison, still clearly baffled.

“YES. YES. YOU’LL SEE. BECAUSE I AM A CATCH” I attempted to string a sentence together as I swaggered towards the door, leaving the room and slamming the door behind me like a child.

Laughter continued.


It was the day of Libby’s wedding, and I was still a notorious singleton in my mid-thirties. I had approximately three hours and twenty eight minutes to find an utterly gorgeous man who I must convince to not only accompany me to a wedding full of people he has never met, but also to propose to me on the spot. What could possibly go wrong?

jose-martinez-776749-unsplash

Photo by Jose Martinez on Unsplash


It was time for the wedding reception, time for my family to meet my mystery man. I had bluffed my way through the service itself by pretending that my gorgeous Prince Charming had popped off to the the bathroom – what horrific timing! But I couldn’t avoid the truth for much longer.

As the party walked towards the marquee I spotted a young, awkward-looking man amongst the sea of people. Pale, red-haired, not at all muscular. Not my usual type, but needs must. I ran towards him, abandoning my heels in the process.

I grabbed him by the shoulder and smiled. “ME, YOUR GIRLFR-FIANCEE. WE’RE IN LOVE. CANTEXPLAINANYMOREIMSORRY” He stared back at me with an expression of confusion, shock, and also fear.

Predominantly fear.

As my sister approached me and my new-found beau (if only he knew), I glued a fake smile onto my face and clasped my arms around his body. He let out a small squeak.

“Here he is!” she squealed with excitement, an action I copied without really knowing why. “Lovely to meet you…” she trailed off, waiting for my future husband to reveal his identity as she shook his hand warmly.

“GEOFF…ERY” I screamed, before the poor man beside me had chance to reveal the truth. Libby staggered backwards at the volume of my introduction.

“Actually, my name’s M-Matthew” the red-haired stranger next to me stuttered. I froze in shock as he spoke “And I have no idea who this woman is. She’s unhinged!” He began to bawl his eyes out, clearly traumatised by this whirlwind romance.

He retreated, slowly.

“THAT’S IT, WALK AWAY. A REAL MAN WOULD RUN!” I rolled my eyes, met with a blank gaze by my sister, who was clearly trying to process what the hell had just happened.

Standard
Sunday Photo Fiction, Writing

A Distant Land

spf-12-9-18-fandango-3

Photo: Fandango

Towering skyscrapers and an expansive bridge, my view of ‘The City’ as its simply known by our kind is magnificent. Indeed, I have the best outlook in the entire ocean.

Day after day I sit and watch as the boats of its’ inhabitants invade our waters come sunrise. A number of vessels pass me by during the day, I wave as they go, but little response is given. I bow my head with sadness until the next guests come by my home.

Many curious items wash up during the day, although I am at a loss as to what they are. The dolphins once informed me of something called plastic, perhaps this is the mysterious creature itself.

It gets lonely out here, out on the rocks, exposed to mother nature’s violence – crashing waves and whipping winds. Especially at night, when all is quiet, but this is when The City is at its most beautiful.

A display of lights, slowly growing after sunset. The show fades as the day begins once more, restoring my optimum view of man’s civilisation.

The City is the sculpture that I’ve been blessed to view and I wouldn’t change that for the world, not any world.


This piece was produced using a writing prompt from Sunday Photo Fiction.

Constructive criticism is always welcome, thank you for reading!

R.J. x

Standard
creativewriting.ie, Writing

When We Were Young

I still remember that day. The day when I lost him.


Jamie and I would stay with our Aunt Isabelle every other weekend, we would watch old movies together whilst eating her famous sugar cookies. He would always have one too many, the greedy pig. Isabelle used to warn him about the ‘tummy tickles’ but he just couldn’t resist that sweet almond icing and those sprinkles. His bright blue eyes used to widen right up every time he saw ’em. I swear that lady must have had a whole pantry full of sprinkles as every visit they were made up differently, just for us.

The last time I tasted one of those cookies with my brother by my side was the day before it happened.

On that day, after all the biscuits had been devoured, we spotted a man stood out on Aunt Isabelle’s porch. She didn’t ever have a man round, heck, she didn’t ever have a woman round. In our minds, she waited thirteen days for our return and made more cookies in the meantime. The man seemed a little brutish to two small children. Large features, dark hair, built as big as they come. We never found out who he was, but I remember Aunt Isabelle screamin’ at him right to this day.

She shooed him outta the yard, down in to the distance through the dead, black trees. ‘Inquisitive’ children that we were, (Momma said we were ‘Royal pains in the butt!’ but Aunt Isabelle always had a better way with words) we followed the fighting, screaming adults out onto the porch so we could get a better view of the drama.

The skies were dark, it would soon be night-time, the cold told me so. Only in our comfy loungewear (made for eating junk and watching movies) the freezing air swept through our bodies as we watched the show unfold. It wasn’t long before the big, bad man had gone and Isabelle made her way back to the house, ushering us back inside towards the warm fire.

‘STUPID CHILDREN,’ she hollered, tears streaming down her face. ‘YOU ARE NOT TO BE OUTSIDE THIS TIME O’ NIGHT. YOU HEAR ME? YOU WILL CATCH YOUR DEATHS!’ she reaffirmed. This was the only time Aunt Isabelle would ever truly scare me and Jamie. I could feel him shaking beside me, wondering where his sugar-cookie baking fairy godmother had gone.

Looking back, I can see whatever happened to Aunt Isabelle that day with the strange man really hurt her deeply. I saw it right up until her death, some years later. Her warm heart had been thawed for some unknown reason. Of course, as a child I wasn’t quite so understanding.

That night, me and Jamie made an escape plan, to get back home to Mom and Dad. Never before had we wanted to go back home in our lives, I can assure you. I gathered essentials like my favourite Barbie whilst Jamie raided the kitchen for supplies. He returned with a box of pancake mix, half a loaf of bread and a spare cookie he must’ve had stashed somewhere.

We set off a few minutes later, towards the trees that were once black and dead. Perhaps they were still black and dead, but aside the night sky it was hard to tell.

What happened next is a little blurry to me, all I can say is that I lost my little brother that night, my Jamie. Never again would I tease him, cuddle him, or steal the last sweetie in the packet. I didn’t know until afterwards, but all of that’s pretty difficult to do when you’re dead.


Yes, my name was Caitlyn Marie Alaina and I died that night, aged nine, so my gravestone says anyhow. My family still visit sometimes, but I guess a lot of time has passed since then.

Aunt Isabelle has joined me since, and the visits from my Jamie become less and less frequent. I barely recognise him now, so muscular and so much facial hair. Why, he’s a man. Although, deep down I’m sure that he’s still the same seven-year-old sugar cookie guzzler that he always was.


Composed using a writing prompt from creativewriting.ie

Constructive criticism is always welcome. Thank you for reading! 

R.J. x

Standard
Writing, YeahWrite

Mirror, Mirror

Kenneth James was an ordinary man with an extraordinary ego. He had achieved many things in his seventy-two years of life. As he stood in the master bedroom of his estate, fire roaring and silk curtains blowing with the assistance of the violent wind, he recalled some of his life’s greatest moments.

He began with his takeover as the head of his father’s hedge fund management company after spending so many years as a party boy, finally to be taken seriously. He recalled the many family holidays abroad with his children aboard a private yacht. And how could he forget, three no-expense-spared weddings?

It was for his third marriage to Lady Eleanor (a small lady with undistinguished features and the voice of a mouse) that guests gathered outside in his ample garden this evening. It was their 30th wedding anniversary and the social event of the season. Notorious busybody Petunia Porter could be heard admiring Lady Eleanor’s singing begonias from the open window perhaps too enthusiastically whilst her husband started on the buffet. A selection comprising of homemade mini quiche and vol-au-vent’s, he gathered them into his gullet without hesitation.

Lord James was not the handsome bachelor he once was to the outside world, but he felt as youthful as ever. He wished more than anything to be the man he once was. After pouring himself a wee dram of whiskey, he sauntered over to the full length mirror in the corner of the room.

He stood before it.

Bringing up an aging hand up to his face, he examined his furrowed brow and facial wrinkles with his withered fingertips. Reflected in the now glowing mirror was an image of the past, a young Lord James – skin smooth and youthful. Muscular and athletic.

“Like what you see?” a deep, sonorous voice rang out across the room. His Lordship could do nothing but admire his new-found youth, nodding his head rapidly, his eyes wide in amazement.

“All you have to do is give me your body” the voice boomed once more. Oblivious to the events taking place in the master bedroom, the guests of the garden party began to dance to the tune of a brass band as they drank generous servings of rum punch.

Light poured out of the bedroom window, engulfing Lord James in the process. “Yes!” he affirmed “I want to be young again, I want to be beautiful!”.

“Your wish is my command!” the mysterious voice echoed out through the estate, instantaneously dragging Lord James towards the mirror. Within seconds His Lordship was no more, his body passing through the mirror, leaving nothing but a pile of tailored clothes and a smashed tumbler of whiskey on the floor before it. The fine crystal glass sat in smithereens on the floor, happily reflecting the light from the fire.

Maria Fernanda, the family’s maid for many a year passed the bedroom and spotted the glass on the floor. Tutting, she entered the room and swept up the glass with a dustpan and brush. She folded the clothes on the wooden floor and placed them neatly on the chair next to His Lordship’s bed.

“Maria!” a soft voice attempting to assert power beckoned her from outside. She left the room at once and returned to the garden party, serving Lady Eleanor’s guests until well past midnight.

Standard
creativewriting.ie, Writing

Vanity in Peach

My pale skin glimmers in the artificial light of the dressing room, mimicking the ivory tone of my vanity table. “Is this what beauty looks like?” I ask aloud, knowing perfectly well that no answer would be given. I was alone, my bare feet cold against the hardwood floors, but still beautiful. I gaze into my reflection, surely a distant cousin of Aphrodite herself. I pout my lips and ruffle my hair.

Perfection. 

Alexandria says my looks resemble those of a horse, but she is surely jealous. No horse has ever looked this stunning. And she – well she couldn’t pass for any better than a bloodhound. I smile at my twin, thrilled with my witty thoughts. “Hairspray, a lady’s BFF” speaking aloud once more, I spritz my newly curled locks with abundance. 

I feel the cool air from the window blow through my garments as I reach for an atomiser, delicately picking a bottle from my collection. A spray here, a spray there. The air now filled with a pleasant blend of bergamot and rose. “Maybe a touch more blush” I think aloud as I search through my makeup bag, an Aladdin’s cave of Dior and Estée. Miss Houndface herself could only dream of such class. I’m lost in my own beauty as I pat my cheeks with the lightness of a feather. 

A familiar hum awakens me from my trance. My rose-gold iPhone rings happily, the appearance of Alexandria’s name dimming my sparkle.

I hesitate for a moment. Compose myself. Flick my finger over the green icon. 

“Alex, darling!” I answer through gritted teeth. I reply to her continuous wittering with a series of polite noises. She goes on. Eventually I cut her off, bored of her self-centred attitude. Me, me, me. “Lovely to speak, Ciao!” I jab at my screen to end the call. I have better things to do, who does she think she is calling me at this time of day? She knows perfectly well that my meticulous beauty regime takes up hours of my day. It takes time to look this good, after all! 

I deposit my phone into the drawer of my vanity table, distractions banished, and set about preening the already-perfect image that sits before me. 

Composed using a writing prompt provided by creativewriting.ie

Constructive criticism welcome. 

 

Standard