I’ve had a short story running around my head for a while, and thought I would give it a try. This is new ground for me, so your feedback, both complimentary and critical, would be very appreciated. Here is goes……jorc.
Double Metal Plates
She hated this bridge.
Oh sure, it had a beautiful view and all, and to zoom quickly over would be just fine. But every day, unless she was lucky at the light, she sat, bouncing and swaying, as the trucks rumbled by on the other side, and waited.
It’s not that she didn’t trust the technology, understand it even, but still, the feeling of concrete and steel moving so freely left her uneasy, heart beating just a little too fast.
She watched the light every day, waiting for it to change, getting a little impatient with the cars ahead. Why did they move so slowly? Wasn’t everyone as eager to get home (as eager to get off this damned bridge) as she was? Every day, as her wheels bounced over the double metal plates that joined earth to air, the bridge was forgotten as she made her way home.
Today the bridge didn’t bother her. Maybe her subconscious was still aware of it’s irritatingly bouncy habits, but the front of her mind was firmly focused on her boss’s parting words. “we’re going to have to let you go”. Her mind spun, landing on nothing, tears welling just below the surface. Numb.
The sound of screaming tires brought her back to the bridge. In split second time, her foot pressed harder on the brake, her body tensed, bracing itself for the impact that was coming. Her head shot up, eyes fixing on the rear view mirror to watch in horror as the car slammed into her, but the impact did not come.
The car behind her, sitting immobile as it too waited for the light, had not moved. Her eyes met the drivers and he was staring at her. No, through her. As the screaming grew louder, she looked forward in time to see the tractor trailer skew sideways, the back end impossibly catching up with the front. As the wheels began to climb the impossibly small concrete divider between north and south, her scream clashed chords with the scream of metal on concrete. As she watched, horrified, the screaming stopped. Everything stopped. The acrid smell of rubber and radiator fluid sucked into the ac vents. No explosion, no burst of flames, only silence.
Relief then moved her to action, yet even as she put her car in park, a new sound blasted her to her core. No sound she had ever heard, though she knew it instantly. The bullwhip sound the cable made as it snapped was followed by a whine as it receded into the sky, only to fall back almost instantly into the dark water below. The second crack froze her blood, and panic overwhelmed her senses, she had no where to go.
She squeezed her eyes tight and screamed again as the concrete below her dropped, then stopped. like a plane in a air pocket, the fall had been sharp, but short. Relief washed over her until she opened her eyes, uncomprehending as she gazed at the empty space beyond where the bridge had been. A large portion still hung vertically against the cliff beyond. She could clearly see the double metal plates that signaled safely and the light beyond, unconcerned, turning from red to green.
As the concrete began it’s sickening tilt, she was hit from behind even as she slid forward. Instinct had her legs jammed on the brakes, her arms stiff and hands gripping hard against the steering wheel to brace her fall, as the water came into view, hearing nothing but her own screams, her slide became a fall and the impact as her car hit the water knocked the breath from her body.
The impact of the car behind her forced her quickly below the surface of the river. The sunny summer day had turned dark and black and cold. Her electric windows would not work and the crush of the river would not let her open her door. She gulped great painful gasps of air as she tried to catch her breath, the icy water quickly taking it away again as it rushed in to surround her. Her chest hurt, there was something wrong with her legs, she could not feel them.
Even as she struggled, she knew she would have to wait. Wait until the pressure equalized. Wait till she could force the door open and swim to the surface. Calm washed over her, and warmth. It was easier now, easier to wait. She watched the water rise and waited.
The impatient blare of horns behind her brought her back. For a moment, she did not know where she was. Looking back, then up, she saw the bridge empty ahead, the light green and waiting. She waved an embarrassed little wave to the car behind her, and sped across the bridge, awash in relief as her wheels crossed the double metal plates, as she made her way home.