Chavy watched the dusty streets of Phnom Penh gradually fade away behind him. The  brown water of the Mekong river disappeared to the east while the bus headed north.

The roads changed from tarmac to dust. The buildings from stone to wood. The beggars remained regardless.

The bus stopped.

‘Checkpoint,’ the young white man next to him said. ‘Just present your papers and stay calm. You’re on a pilgrimage to the Sambor Prei Kuk temple. You don’t know me.’

With that the man stood and pulled his own papers out. He walked forward waving them. ‘British diplomat. You see?’ The bewildered Khmer Rouge soldier shoved the man roughly off the bus.

As the bus pulled away, Chavy saw the man called Phillips arguing with four heavily armed men. Someone tapped his shoulder.

‘Don’t worry. He was the diversion. He’ll be okay. The main thing is we get you out.’


Written for ‘What Pegman Saw’, a weekly prompt based on a view from Google Maps. The idea is to write a piece of fiction of around 150 words based on the prompt. Full details can be found HERE. This week we’re off to Cambodia, the World Heritage site of the Sambor Prei Kuk temple and a glimpse of the past that still haunts the history of this country.

For more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

Read more stories featuring the British spy Phillips: THE PHILLIPS SPY STORIES.

32 responses to “INFORMANT”

  1. Great tension in this story. It’s like the first few paragraphs of a Graham Greene thriller.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Fantastic that’s where I was aiming this, glad you picked up on the Greene style. 🙂


  2. Wow, lots of suspense. I love the idea of these Google Maps prompts, it’s so interesting to write based on a setting.
    Kathrin —

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting Kathrin. They can be really challenging, especially when dropped in a country you know little about!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great spy thriller. Are you writing a novel?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gearing up to start one and the character of Phillips will feature, though perhaps not the central role. Thanks James.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Shehanne, hope you’re good 🙂


  4. You really took me there–immersive and tense, with a smart twist.

    So happy to see you Iain!


  5. Very clever. Diversions are an old technique in war and in the spy game. I’m sure this worked for real many times. Very nicely written!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, I can imagine it would be used a lot, simple and effective.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh! the mystery and diversion of it all. Love this take. Such a lovely surprise at the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yaaaassssss … I love a good twist that shows up in the final line. Well done, Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John, glad you liked this one.


  8. Nice story, Iain. I’m starting to like this Phillips guy!


  9. Dear Iain,

    Tense and suspenseful. Well done.



    Liked by 1 person

  10. Liked the believeability on your spin here. Good read! Oh, and I almost chose the same pic.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Atmosphere with smoke and a style from yesteryear that never grows old. Nice one, Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A great snapshot from a thriller, Iain – of course now I want to know who your man was and why he was important enough to risk two other lives … Great tale

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lynn. In true realistic spy writing (Le Carre, Deighton) I reckon he’s just some government official who’s been leaking intelligence to the west and was about to be discovered – or something like that 🙂


  13. Tense. I’m not entirely sure Phillips will be okay…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He’s survived situations like this before – in my head at least 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Woah! I could so picture this in my head. This is the best read in the series. Thanks for sharing.

    Click Here to see what Mrs. Dash Says

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much 🙂


  15. The old world spy style of writing came alive in this. Well written, Kelly. You have whetted my curiosity with this one.

    Liked by 1 person

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