What Pegman Saw on St. Helena Island

“What Pegman Saw” is a weekly writing challenge based on the photo(s) of a specific location.  The story needs to contain no more than 150 words.  This week’s location is St. Helena Island.


Sixty-nine, seventy.  Madison counted the steps of this interminable volcano staircase.  She had been on St. Helena Island for seven days, and she was bored to tears.

Eighty-five. The island’s website boasted that there were many activities for visitors: walking, hiking, and rambling.  Did those idiots not realize these are all synonyms?

It was Nick’s fault.   “Come with me to this island paradise,” he had said.  “You can relax while I work.”

They had just started dating when he received the funding for his research on St. Helena.  Madison did not understand Nick’s work—something about biodiversity–but she liked the idea of sunning herself on pristine, white beaches. Instead, she was stuck on a pile of black rocks that looked like hand-me-downs from Mars.

One hundred twenty-four.  She reached the top.  She was breathless, but she could see clearly.  It was over with Nick.


Word count: 146

Author: DebraB

I am a Professor of English at Concordia University-St. Paul. I have a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My research interests include American literature, contemporary literature, Middle Eastern literature, African literature and feminist theory.

6 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw on St. Helena Island”

  1. Clever!! I am so glad you set this on to Jacobs Ladder.. What a work out huh? No real beaches on St Helena Try Ascension… hahahah I read so much about the Islands I could be a travel agent at this point. Excellent write!

  2. So many great lines in this. Love the wit of your narrator. My favorite: “Did those idiots not realize these are all synonyms?”

    Seems like she’s come to a valid conclusion about her and Nick.

  3. Oh no, another sad tale of two people without enough in common. At least she gave it a shot, following him to this island — to hike, walk, and ramble (she’s right, those ARE all the same thing) to her heart’s content. Which is not much, it seems! Great ending.

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