The Sons of Mutineers


© Google 2017

Daniel McCoy stood on the rocks and cast his line again into the Pacific. No matter how chaotic other parts of his life became, fishing was his refuge of peace. He knew they would be waiting for him when he got back home. He would go peacefully. After all, he deserved this. But he needed to spend one more hour in heavenly solitude before facing the consequences of his acts.

Daniel McCoy, like the other inhabitants of Pitcairn Island, was the descendant of the nine Bounty mutineers. Their reputation had been romanticized over the centuries, but not so the crimes nearly a third of the modern male population of the island would be found guilty of. From mutineers to sexual predators. Their ancestors would be ashamed.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw photo writing challenge. The idea is to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long using the photo prompt above. My word count is 126. Today, thanks to Google maps, we are taken to the Pitcairn Islands which have a rather colorful history, both ancient and modern.

I took the name “Daniel McCoy” from one of the Second Generation of the Bounty mutineers living on Pitcairn. As for the rest, it’s all true. You can read about how the current population of Pitcairn was founded, and then the sexual assault trials of 2004.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to

Vultan’s Aerie

burj khalifa

© Google – May 2013

The two friends, veterans of many battles, stood at the foot of the glass tower upon a strangely deserted street.

“We defeated Baron Dak-Tula and the Skorpi menace Flash, but at the cost of Mongo’s biosphere. Fortunately, Earth’s biosphere survived, though sadly, your race of humans were wiped out by a Skorpi induced plague. To our benefit, Zarkov created a space going ark to bring representatives of our races to your world in safety, though barely in time.”

“Thanks to you Prince Vultan, and your race of Hawkmen, we were victorious. It’s only fitting that, on behalf of Earth, I extend every courtesy to your Hawkmen and the rest of the brave races that survived Mongo. What is your wish?”

“Actually, this Burj Khalifa tower here in Dubai would make us a fine Aerie, Flash Gordon.”

I wrote this tale for the What Pegman Saw challenge. Thanks to Google maps, this week’s destination is the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai. The idea is to use the photo prompt above to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 136.

Originally, I was going to write about a group of robotic AI window washers forming a union to fight for better working conditions at their jobs cleaning Burj Khalifa, but then my wife sent me to the store and while driving, I started getting another idea.

Yes, I read the Flash Gordon comic strip every Sunday. They’re repeats and as far as I know, no new comic strips are being created for this franchise.

I had to look up the history of Flash Gordon at Wikipedia, which is where I learned that in his later history, Flash became an interstellar hero fighting the shape shifting Skorpi race. I created a situation where Mongo’s biosphere is ruined forcing a remnant of its many peoples to flee aboard a space ark built by Dr. Zarkov. They arrive on Earth, and while our world’s biosphere is intact, the Skorpi wiped out the human population with a plague. The disease has since run its course, so our planet is now the new world of the Mongoese refugees. Flash Gordon, Dale Arden, and Dr. Hans Zarkov are the only human beings left alive.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to

Juan’s Prayer

Plaza España

Plaza España at night, found at Wikipedia

Rosita had been sitting at the edge of Plaza España in Guatemala City for hours. It was night, but she was oblivious to the passing cars or the bright neon lights which, to everyone else, were so festive.

The earthquake caused his beloved church to collapse on Juan during his prayers, though why he would be praying at such a strange hour was a mystery.

“Oh my dear husband, what will I do without you? How can I go back to our home in San Sebastian alone?”

“You won’t have to, sister. He prayed for me to watch over you.”

Written for What Pegman Saw. Thanks to Google maps, this week we are taken to Guatemala City. The idea is to use the prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 100.

I did some “Googling” and found that there had been a severe earthquake there just a few days ago. A man had been killed in neighboring San Sebastian when a church collapsed on him at about 1:30 a.m. Since the prompt was specifically Guatemala City, I set the scene with his widow at the Plaza España (keep in mind that Rosita and Juan are fictitious) where she had been staying with relatives. I’ve implied that Juan knew he was going to die and was praying for his dear wife to be cared for. His prayer was answered.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to

For the Love of Marilag

fort san pedro drive in

Fort San Pedro Drive In, taken from their Facebook page.

He sat eating his Ang Chicken Inasal and sipping a Red Horse while watching “The Chosen Band’s” female lead singer. Benjie didn’t really care for their music, but Marilag was beautiful. He came every Tuesday night to see her while everyone else was listening to what they were playing. He knew when the band arrived, how long it took them to set up, the amount of time each performance lasted, and especially when Marilag took her breaks.

Benjie finished eating and opened his backpack. The gag, rope, chloroform, and everything else he needed for the kidnapping was there. Tonight, Marilag would he his.

Written for the What Pegman Saw photo writing challenge. This week, we are taken to Cebu City in the Phillipines via Google maps and particularly to the Fort San Pedro Drive In. The idea is to use the prompt to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is a modest 103.

I looked up the drive in and found its Facebook page which is where I got my photo prompt and the rest of the information I needed to write my wee tale. The idea to have Benjie kidnap Marilag (which means “beautiful” in Tagalog) came from a plot point in the 2016 film Deadpool.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to

The Name on the Gravestone


Found at

“No one even knew his first name, just the initial A.”

“It’s okay, Bubbe. It took a long time, but we finally found your Dad.”

Esther Rosenberg Katz had been waiting for this day since she was old enough to understand her precious Abba was lost in the war. She grew up with her mother, two brothers, numerous uncles, aunts, and cousins but she was always without her Tateshi.

Thanks to years of research and her computer savvy granddaughter, Esther finally found him.

“Are you going to have him exhumed so he can be buried in Israel?”

“No, Elisheva. We’ll leave him here with his comrades. Hashem will restore him to Israel in His time.

Esther reached into her handbag, opened the small container inside, took out the soil she’d brought from the Holy Land and sprinkled it on Abraham Rosenberg’s grave in her final duty as his daughter.

Today at “What Pegman Saw” we are taken to Kanchanaburi, Thailand and specifically to the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. I found the image above when doing a google search and found it and the cemetery’s history fascinating.

The idea is to use the Pegman Google image to create a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 149. I’ve added some links in the body of the story to explain certain words and concept that might not be readily apparent to all readers.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to

The Hunter Goes North

portal, nd

© Google 2014

There’s not much in Portal, North Dakota. The population is a little over a hundred, but it’s one of three ports of entry from Canada. It’s also in the Bakken Oil Field region, which makes it expensive as hell to live here. Fortunately, I’m only visiting.

I found his hiding place in an oversized load on the back of a flatbed on Railway Avenue. It’s just after dawn, so I know it’s safe to approach him. His wealthy mother hired me to find him after she discovered what happened. Being a vampire hunter isn’t much different from being a private eye, except the weapons are different. I’ll dispatch him, provide photographic proof for my client, collect a nice fat fee, and remind myself that I’m also doing a public service taking another bloodsucker off the streets.

I wrote this for the “What Pegman Saw” photo prompt writing challenge, which this week takes us to Portal, North Dakota thanks to Google Maps street view.

The idea is to use the photo as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 137.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to

Just Another Monday in Chicago


Michigan Avenue in Chicago

Walking down Michigan Avenue, Johnny remembered the meme, “Come to Chicago for the food, stay because you got murdered,” yet all he saw was another “hustle bustle” Monday morning in a big city.

Naturally he came prepared. This was mostly a vacation trip, but he did have one bit of business to attend to. There she was just ahead of him, about to cross the DuSable Bridge. It would be touchy in broad daylight, but with these crowds, he was confident he’d get away with it.

He slipped the small .22 out of his sleeve into his palm just as he caught up with her. He shoved the barrel into her back and fired, then kept walking. She collapsed against the bridge railing and then onto the sidewalk.

Another successful hit, this time on an NBC news exec. Now to lunch. He’d heard “The Purple Pig” had a great wine list.

Written for What Pegman Saw. The idea is to use the Google Maps photo prompt above to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is exactly 150.

To read more stories inspired by the prompt, go to



© Steve Withers – Google Maps

The block in downtown Christchurch was being demolished. The buildings around the public parking lot had been abandoned for a decade. Anyone who wanted, could indulge themselves with cans of spray paint. Some graffiti was elementary, other projects were expertly artistic. A shame the heavy equipment would destroy the good with the bad.

The indigenous Māori people thrived in New Zealand until the arrival of Europeans. To this day, they suffer the fate of indigenous populations all over the world.

It looked like a clown’s face, a fearsome one. Wairua or spirit was from the old Polynesian beliefs, and the art gave it a form with which to act. Wairua would turn the Māori away from Presbyterian, Mormon, and Islam faiths and back to the old ways. Wairua would teach them tapu, noa, and mana again, to preserve who they were, who they are, who they will be one day.

I wrote this in response to J. Hardy Carroll’s What Pegman Saw photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the photo above, taken from Google Maps, as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

I’m playing fast and loose with the history of Christchurch and of the Māori people, so don’t look too closely for reality or historic accuracy.

I considered making the spirit vengeful, but as I recall, I already wrote a story about that. Instead, I decided to incite a revival among the Māori people, a return to their original spiritual beliefs, a reunification with who they were before the Europeans arrived. So many indigenous people all over the world have had their cultures, their languages, their spiritual beliefs destroyed by colonizers. I thought it was time some of them got all that back, at least in fiction.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to

Time’s Window

gale crater

Gale Crater – Mars

“Temporal Shift Unit is powered up, Commander Sharp.” Physicist Jamie Benjamin and her team had spent a week assembling the complex machinery in Gale Crater, which was believed to be one of Mars’ long dried up lakes.

“If this device works as well as it did in the tests on Earth, we could very well see what this crater looked like over three billion years in the past, Benjamin.”

“I suggest we all anchor ourselves to a specific spot, Commander.” She was speaking to the entire team who had been living out of their twin solar-powered rovers for the past ten days. “When the unit activates, it will seem like we’re 5,000 meters underwater.”


“Activating projector…now.”

The thin air around them rippled and twisted, and then it was as if they were at the bottom of the ocean, which was expected. The true marvel was that they weren’t alone.


The What Pegman Saw flash fiction writing challenge was an unusual one this week. Normally, writers are prompted to craft a story no more than 150 words long based on some Google Maps view on Earth. Today, J. Hardy Carroll uses a virtual reality tour to take us to the planet Mars. I ended up somewhere in Gale Crater, scanning a 360 degree view provided by the Curiosity Rover.

Approximately 3.5 billion years ago, it is strongly believed the crater was a water-filled lake. I decided to manufacture a little “virtual reality” of my own to give astronauts a look at what the crater was like all those billions of years in the past. As you can see, they found something startling and wonderful.

To read other stories inspired by this prompt, go to My story is 150 words long.

The Seventy Year Cycle Killer


© Google Maps – July 2016

Kal Thompson knew he was very unpopular with the passengers and crew of the cruise ship Norwegian Gem. It couldn’t be helped.

Another gorgeous Summer day in Nassau, but the yellow crime scene tape wasn’t part of the tourist attraction. It prevented the contamination of his murder investigation. The murderer had to be on board.

The victim had been a young local women. The manner of her death was particularly gruesome. She was cut in half at the waist and her body was totally drained of blood. She was found nude, posed with her hands above her head, and the corners of her mouth literally sliced ear to ear.

He had read about a case such as her’s but it couldn’t be the same killer could it? After all, the Black Dahlia had been murdered in Los Angeles in 1947. How could the killer strike again seventy years later?

I wrote this in response to J. Hardy Carroll’s What Pegman Saw photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the Google Maps image above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. Mine is exactly 148.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to

When I looked around the Google Maps image, I saw the yellow tape and imagined a crime scene, but I needed something unusual. I looked up famous unsolved murders, and the mystery of the Black Dahlia became my template.