The Praying Man

Gurara Waterfalls

Gurara Waterfalls © Samson Rohan Google Maps – 2017

“Daddy, who’s that man by the river? He looks strange.”

“Just some of the local color, Janet. Don’t pay attention to him. They all beg.”

“George, stop being racist. We’re here at Gurara Falls for a vacation. Nigeria is his country, not yours.”

George Dukes rolled his eyes. Thousands of miles from home and she was still nagging. He looked back and saw a couple walking toward the native. Probably felt sorry for him, the saps.

Buba the Hunter continued praying to his gods in this strange place as the two outsiders approached, a man and woman. The woman was speaking to him, but used the language so oddly.

“Please, you must come with us. You don’t belong here. We can take you home.”

He looked up. For two days, he had prayed to Gura and Rara for a way back to his village. Were these people their emissaries?

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps image and location as the prompt for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 149.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Gurara Waterfalls in Nigeria. I looked it up on Wikipedia and discovered the falls were thought to have been discovered in 1745 by a Gwari hunter named Buba. The falls and river are believed to have been named after the two deities Gura and Rara.

In keeping with my recent science fiction stories The Devil from the Fire and Blood Libel, I decided to dislocate Buba in time, though not in space.

Today, the falls are a tourist attraction complete with a resort boasting a recreation center and seven-star hotel. I populated that hotel with modern “ugly American” tourists, but also with physicist Everett Carson and his companion, historian and linguist Aiyana Zheutlin (originally a character from my “Time Traders” books, written as a homage to the works of Andre Norton [the late Alice Norton]). They’ve come to take Buba to the phenomenon (out of public view in this wee tale) and back home.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to

Rising of the Ancient



Adam and Sarah Hartley cautiously began their descent into the tomb. The illumination from their flashlights revealed the ancient stone steps leading down into the darkness and into history. They also believed they were being led downward into the ultimate enlightenment.

The Hartleys were the world’s most famous married Biblical Archeology team. Well regarded by both other archeologists and Christian researchers, they were credited with several important finds between 2020 and 2045, including the true burial-place of the Apostle Mark. It was long supposed that his body was stolen from Alexandria in a barrel of pork and was put to rest in the city of Venice, but the Hartleys discovered a codex that revealed this to be a ruse. The following year, they located the remains of Mark in his original tomb on the outskirts of the modern Egyptian city of Alexandria.

Now, Adam and Sarah are in Egypt again, this time investigating what could be the most important find of their careers. If the scroll they had discovered and translated last year was right, it would be the most significant discovery of the last two-thousand years: the true final resting place of Jesus Christ.

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