Playa Maya.Google maps

Tulum, Mexico via Google Maps

The piled beach rocks might have been child’s play, but I could read the Keepers’ code.  “In death, freedom.”  A command to me.  A threat to my family if I disobeyed.

The Keepers thought me a greedy noble: naïve, helpless, easily cowed.  I’d played my part well.

My public life was over, but I’d learned much. My secret life would sustain me.

What luck, that my betrayer was my size.

Dressed in my clothes and jewels, she lay crumpled on the rocks beneath the cliff, her face bashed beyond recognition. One limp arm danced lazily in the tide.

I rearranged the rocks: “In death, forgiveness.”

Later, I let myself be seen sneaking out of town, disguised as her.

With one last glance toward home, I whispered love to my sister. She would have to believe me dead, for her safety.

What luck, that she was neither greedy nor naïve herself.

Word count: 150.  Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw challenge.  This is a fun one, I definitely recommend checking it out: each week there’s a new Google Maps image of a location somewhere interesting, all over the world.  You’re encouraged to zoom around the map — or even grab other photos of the location — whatever inspires you to write your particular story.

World building note: Not much space to explain this, but hopefully it’s clear enough: the Keepers are a politics-oriented mafia who operate in Pyann.  They do a lot of high-level scheming, and disappearances like this are distressingly common.


19 thoughts on “Unkept

    • Thanks, Karen, glad you enjoyed it! Not a whole novel, surely, but perhaps an interesting hint of one. Oh no, now you’ve got me thinking about what the rest of the story might be, and the *last* thing I need right now is more ideas for novels! Well, worth writing up and putting into the Idea file at least. Thanks for the inspiration!

      Liked by 3 people

  1. This is a very tantalising fragment! I want to know what the MC has been doing, how she will support herself in her new life, whether she will ever see her sister again. Oh, I can hardly begin to enumerate what I want to know! Result, eh, Joy?!
    You’ve written it well, with plenty of description. I particularly noted that The Keepers’ Code borrows very sinister undertones from the Nazi’s ‘Arbeit macht frei’ (Work sets you free). Good story, Joy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Penny, I’m so pleased to have inspired that reaction! And what great questions; I’ll remember those if I ever do write this up as a longer story. I hadn’t thought about the Nazi saying but wow, that certainly *is* a sinister comparison.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. “In death, freedom.” Thank goodness it didn’t have to be the main character’s death. This truly is a tantalizing snippet of a short story or novel. Definitely worth jotting down and sticking in the “someday” file.


    • Thanks Alicia! Well, the Keepers did intend for it to be her death. And if her ruse works, they’ll think that it was — but I’m glad it didn’t have to be her, too. I’ve put some notes about this one into my (ever growing) “ideas” list for longer stories and novels, so who knows?


    • Thanks, what a great comment! I’m glad this one generated so much interest. It’s so cool how much world building gets inspired by these photo prompts! I’d love to write more about her, but I’ll have to wait until I dig myself out of the current pile of writing and other obligations I’m buried under.

      Liked by 1 person

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