Flash! Friday # 49

CLOSED! whew. And no offense, y’all, but I think next time I’ll take the stairs…. 😀  Results Sunday!

FRIDAY’S HEEEEEEEEERE!  and I couldn’t be more tickled seeing your shiny faces again. I hope you’ve all had a spectacular start to your November, no matter where you are on your writing journey. As for me, I’m in the middle of Draft # 3 of my WIP and am trying a little snowflake method this time around, just for fun. Please tweet the gang @FlashFridayFic to share if you’ve tried snowflaking, and how it worked for you–we’d love to know!

NANOWRIMO NOTE: Story excerpts will be permitted for the month of November. The scene must still incorporate the prompt and offer closure, but it does not need to tell a complete story.
(Find the diamond winged contest rules here.)

This week’s ethereal stories will be judged by NaNoWriMo veteran and SVW member Kinza Carpenter Shores, who is craziest about stories that make a person think or feel. Be sure to check out her judge page to find out more.

And now:

Word limit: 150-word story (NO leeway) based on the photo prompt.

* How: Post your story here in the comments. Include your word count (150 words exactly, exclusive of title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one. 

* Deadline: 11:59pm ET tonight (be sure to check the world clock; Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time and is currently on Daylight Savings Time–one hour earlier.)

Winners: will post SUNDAY.  

Prize: A stony yet magical e-trophy e-dragon e-badge, a majestically cavernous winner’s page here at FF, an echoing (echoing, echoing) 60-second interview feature next Wednesday, and YOUR NAME in mysterious Chinese characters painted in spectacular calligraphy across the bridges of the world (so to speak). NOTE: Winning and non-winning stories alike remain eligible for selection for Monday’s as-often-as-I-can-get-to-it Flash Points. 

* Follow @FlashFridayFic on Twitter for up-to-date news/announcements/tips on how to help a dragon overcome its fear of heights.  And now for your prompt:

Fairy walking bridge, Huangshang, China. Photo by Jesse Varner.

Fairy walking bridge, Huangshang, China. Photo by Jesse Varner.

134 thoughts on “Flash! Friday # 49

  1. It’s the first block that’s the most important. You get that right, you can build anything. You get that wrong, doesn’t matter if you’re stacking toys in a kid’s nursery.

    I always got the first block right. That’s why the king called me first. Others were cheaper. Others were faster. Others were dead.

    They called the chasm bottomless, but it wasn’t. None of them were. Just a term to impress the weak-minded. But if you fell, no one was going to go after you.

    My wife asked me why they needed these bridges. What was so important, she wondered, about getting from one hole in the rock to another?

    I’d never asked the king. For me, it wasn’t about why. It was about that first block.

    The trick – the trick no one save me knew – the trick was that the first block was the one in the middle.

    150 words


  2. Worthy of the Gods
    150 words

    The Emperors aide had perfected masking befuddlement with an encouraging smile, which was why his head was still attached to his body. Still, even he had his limits. He could feel the corners of his mouth twitch as the Emperor described his latest scheme.
    “I’m sorry your highness, it is an excellent idea but I am a simple mortal and require greater explanation. Why would we not build your castle out of stone?”
    The Emperor waved dismissively, “Stones are weak. I need a castle worthy of the Gods. They made the mountains, I shall shape one into my new home. Fetch me ten thousand sculptors.”
    “Of course at once, although this may take some time.”
    The Emperor scoffed, “Fool, I am immortal, time is of no concern.”
    The aide bowed deeply, grateful to keep his head for one more day. Now where was he going to find ten thousand chisels?


  3. Sacrifice (NaNo excerpt)
    150 words

    Leah stared into the abyss below Fairy Walking Bridge, and gasped. The guide had told her to find the hole in the world, and she knew she had. This is where it began and if she were lucky, it would end here as well.

    She offered up a simple prayer and found it answered in the form of the prophecy.

    Look for the sign, ‘neath the bone white tree
    Follow the path to the seam
    Seek out the heart of the ancient tomb
    And keep to the sign of three.
    Secret wishes falling true
    The death that follows the chosen one
    And the darkness rising with no regret,
    Casting its shadow on the barrow down
    Look for the signs and pray
    Pray for the souls of the departed ones
    And keep them bound to the barrow down.

    Leah began to weep as she prayed, her sorrow setting the spirit free.


  4. The Bridge – 150 words
    Ian Martyn @IBMartyn

    In the valley they told of the bridge the ancients had built. The why had been lost but the wonder remained. Carved from the same rock as the chasm it spanned, legend was that it kept apart the two sides that had fought and split and were now striving to rejoin their battle. A long climb, but almost there, round the final corner. Standing on the parapet was a girl staring down at the scarred rock. His first thought was to call out, but that might disturb her perfect balance. She seemed relaxed, bare toes curled, gripping the edge, blonde hair hiding her face. He slowed his pace and his breathing so as not to frighten her.

    ‘Please don’t,’ he said.

    She turned. Skin so white, eyes so blue. She smiled, shook her head and spread her arms. He glanced down, her feet were not touching the stone.


  5. Wrong Turnings
    by A J Walker @zevonesque
    (150 words)

    ‘Sometimes wrong turnings turn out to be the right ones,’ Sara said.

    ‘Okay, I like exploring let’s have another five minutes and see what we find,’ Jon said.

    ‘Then we’ll turn back,’ said Sara.

    The children came to the edge of great fracture through the rock. It was starkly beautiful, impassably wide. They threw pebbles down it and judged it to be bottomless.

    They walked along it for a while, marveling at its form. Then they saw the bridge, it was stocky yet ornate. They couldn’t see where it came from on their side of the fracture, but could see a gateway on the other side.

    They looked at it for a while, both wondering who built it and where it went to.

    ‘That’s a faerie bridge,’ Sara said confidently.

    ‘That’s not no faerie bridge,’ Jon said as the sound of marching echoed ever louder through the crevasse becoming thunder.


  6. Mending
    (150 words)

    ‘Will you stop making a fuss!’ Sergeant said. Her wing was torn in several places. ‘Just patch me up.’

    Medic produced a shiny, slender piece of metal. Before threading it, she placed a tiny monocle to her eye. ‘When we are back at Base, Chief Seamstress will look at you. For now, it’ll be the Healing Yarn. You’ve taken quite a hit.’

    ‘Oh, you’re such an Old Woman! Get me sewn up and we can get this Bridge from HEER to THARE.’

    The last stitch was looped. Sergeant stood up, and without hesitation, launched from the ledge directly to The Bridge.

    ‘The sun will be up soon. I’ll do the Safety checks, then we’re done! ‘ Sergeant called. ‘Perhaps HEER will make it to THARE’S Bower tonight! A Royal Baby’s what’s needed to end this feud!’

    Her troops laughed.

    Satisfied, Sergeant ordered The Fairy Peace Corps to pack up their tools.


  7. The spacing is a little wonky in this. Any possibility a Dragon Wand could sort the spacing in the first half. Some of the direct speech is separated too far apart. I would much appreciate it!


  8. 荣誉

    She stood quietly in the small cave by the entrance to the bridge, watching as the tourists gasped and shrieked before tentatively leaning over the balustrade and wondering what or who could have plummeted down there in times gone by. She knew. She knew exactly what was down there. But who was she to ask? A frail old woman, an invisible local, the lines enfolding her face, scars of a tormented life. The marvelling tourists captured it all on their video recorders but nobody had been there that day. The bridge had been empty except for him and her. Together they had declared their love and lost it in a moment. Slowly she made her way to the edge of the bridge and, for the first time, peered over into the abyss below. Through the mist she saw her shame. She saw her baby; their baby. A sacrifice to honour.

    Sarah Miles
    150 words


  9. Echo
    (150 Words)

    Nezarre looked down into the abyss.

    The ancient waterfalls were no more. A stone dam had been laid across the Henabron River a half mile above, a thing of necessary evil in the dark times ahead. This had been the King’s wish, a way of halting the main water supply to Festborough’s southern lands.

    ‘What have the people of Dornaday done to deserve such unprovoked attacks?’ the old monarch had cried out from his gilded throne.

    History was not kind. Nezarre feared similar past acts – suppressed knowledge about the Old Kingdom – had ruined the land, destroying Nature’s balance. The bemoaning cries of the spirits, both water and wood, still haunted his people; Festborough’s subjects suffered naught, more in tune with the roaming, sprawling wilds.

    ‘But violence begets violence, or so the seers say.’ He sighed and stretched out a hand, caressing a memory. The sensation was bitter indeed.


  10. Jeridel
    (150 words)
    “I See”

    “What’s this?” A painted fingernail entered my view, and the Fairy Walking Bridge disappeared. I pried the stubborn finger from the photograph.

    “It’s just a photo.” I smiled at Carol. Her brown eyes searched my face. The corner of my mouth turned down. Pouty lips smirked at me.

    “You see something.” Her voice dropped. “You always see something.”

    And my best friend was right. One touch, and the object’s history inserted itself into my brain.

    Carol leaned on her hands, making the café table creak. “Tell me already.” Her expectant eyes, small nose, and thick lips urged me. My stomach was the only protester.

    But my lips weren’t connected to my stomach.

    “If this is the Fairy Walking Bridge,” I said, placing the photograph between us, “why do little demons walk this bridge? And why do they all say the same thing?” My voice became a whisper.

    “Yes, Master Carol.”


  11. “My Faith is my Shield” by Mary Cain (I don’t know what’s with the title, it’s all I could come up with. Word Count: 150)

    The stench of rotten flesh followed Roe as she sprinted down the tunnel. The cool air brushed against her skin and she followed it towards the light. As she left the darkness behind her, she skidded to a halt as more of the undead stood before her, fresh wounds leaking blood and pus, hollow or black eyes staring straight into hers.

    The groans behind her made her turn around as the undead stepped onto the bridge. Roe climbed up the small stone rail, doing her best to maintain balance. A gust of wind blew and she flailed her arms, struggling to stay up. Then, a strange pulse began to throb in her necklace.

    “Give up the stone, half-elf!” The ringleader ordered.

    Roe only smiled and stared back at the dead before her.

    “Aey.” She leaned back and fell into the abyss as the dragon’s calls echoed across all of Riverra.


  12. Offering
    150 Words – @CultoftheWeek

    A gentle breeze sifted through rock crevasses; cooled Chu Kuo’s face; and, drifting idly on this balmy day, belied the seriousness of his duty.

    “Stay close, Si,” he reproved. Though this was a tourist destination, the roads were treacherous to an animated, vigorous boy and Kuo did not need to draw attention. The sanctified chasm of Lei Gong was just ahead and its bridge was guarded against their ancient practice.

    For two hundred years a sacred bond bound the Chu family to their god, Lei Gong. He had promised Kuo’s ancestors a prosperous and favored lineage. His demand was a yearly offering.

    But Si was Kuo’s only child. The Chu heritage would end here unless Lei Gong would work.

    Grasping Si’s hand feverishly, Kuo inconspicuously stepped onto the bridge. On the precipice now, a hand drove into his shoulder, a whispery voice in his ear, “Lei Gong has provided.”


  13. Belief Rewarded

    Brightwing realized she would be punished, perhaps severely, for violating one of the most sacred of her people’s laws, and yet she could not have done differently in bringing her new friend, Mary Margaret, to the very gates of the Hidden Kingdom. A soul so wondrous and special, residing in a body so frail and neglected, deserved so much better than she had known in her brief life.

    No matter how many times her mother was too intoxicated to feed or care for her, the child still dreamed of fantastical things. No matter how many times her father stayed out all night, carousing and gambling away his meager earnings, the girl never ceased to believe that mythical beings imbued with Magic were real.

    And so, regardless of the consequences, Brightwing decided Mary Margaret deserved to see that all the things she could only dream of were, in fact, quite real.

    150 words @klingorengi


  14. “This Isn’t a Fairy Tale”
    Margaret Locke (@Margaret_Locke)
    150 words

    Nobody knew how the bridge had gotten there, how whoever built it had managed to lay the stones without falling into the abyss below. Maybe they had. Nobody knew who’d built it, even – Slaves? An army? Merchants desperate to spread trading routes? Nobody knew when it had been built. It seemed timeless, eternal in its stone-faced presence. Nobody knew its secrets.

    I knew one, though. I knew, as I watched from my narrow window in this tall tower, that no one would ever rescue me. I’d watched them try – watched them storm out of the blackness of that cave, all mad fury and hopeful hungering, only to be stopped time and again by the flames from the dragon’s mouth. I’d heard them wailing as they fell, burning, to their deaths. I knew. I knew this bridge connects nothing but men to failure, and I to lifetimes of solitude.

    (Sorry if this posts twice – I thought I posted it, but I don’t see it when I go back and reload the page, so trying again. In a returned-from-London fog.)


  15. “Holy Mother of Aedrick!”

    “Oh, it’s not that high.”

    “Easy for you to say, Nerva, you’re a faerie!”

    “And to think, they still call you Thokrun the Ravager,” Nerva snickered.

    It was true, too. What they did not call him was Thokrun the Mountain Goat, and the bridge was REALLY high!

    “Make yourself useful and just hocus pocus me over there,” the barbarian suggested
    Nerva asked, “How long have we travelled together now?”

    “At least 27 moons.”

    “Then you know the answer. Besides, it’s solid stone.”

    “Stupid code of ethics!” Thokrun bellowed.

    The warrior took a cautious step, his knuckles chalk-white from gripping the rails.

    Seeing the man who’d terrorized so many kingdoms paralyzed by fear was too much for Nerva.

    “Watch out!” she yelled.

    Thokrun spun, tripped, and ended up flat on his back.

    “You’ll get yours, Nerva!”

    Just as soon as he found the courage to stand up.

    The Bridge
    150 words


  16. Maybe

    “We’re supposed to see a sign!” he said, angrily. “A sign, that tells us you’ve been cured!”

    He stared down blackly into the emptiness of the chasm. “I’m sorry, Brenda. We were desperate fools, for ever believing.”

    Brenda smiled, leaning on the bridge wall.

    “Listen, Frank,” she said, gently. “Maybe the healing that people are supposed to experience by coming up here is only- well, spiritual healing. Maybe, I’m supposed to just draw strength, from seeing this incredible divide being so impossibly, beautifully bridged.”

    She took her husband’s arm. “And the fact that I even got up here in my condition shows us some hope!”

    Frank was silent. Brenda sighed.

    “Frank, let’s just enjoy absorbing every detail about being in this amazing place, while we can.”

    They stood gazing at the towering precipice walls.

    “Those plants, growing right out of the rock,” Frank said. “I didn’t notice them, before.”

    150 words



    Huangshang, China
    I’ve had some strange consultations, but none like this one. I stood on the narrow wooden bridge laid over a stone arch. High in the mountains it spanned a narrow, steep crevasse between two large blocks of stone. The stone was dark gray, spotted with green wherever plants could gain a foothold.
    I carefully touched the sides and lowered my shields. Information poured in as I unleashed my Talent. Psychic power flared.
    “It’s definitely haunted.”
    “Can you tell me how old it is” My client asked eagerly.
    “Around three thousand years.”
    “Who built it?”
    “A group of Fairies trying to escape an evil Sorcerer.”
    “But Fairies can fly!” He objected.
    “Not when their wings have been stolen magically.”
    “Why bdid they build it?”
    “They created the bridge to escape him.”
    “Whsat happened?”
    “They threw him over the side. His body was never recovered. The wind carries his screams.”

    150 words @EmilyKarn!


  18. Once upon a time, a stone fell in love with another stone. Through the days and nights for many millennia, the stone sat and pined and wished and its insides felt heavy and dark.

    One day, it called out across the crevasse, a long, sad call of loneliness. That day lasted for 400 years.

    And then, several centuries later, came the reply. A cry of recognition, of no longer being alone.

    They would be together.

    The two stones reached for each other, laying down millimeter after millimeter of wet granite, arranging every granule with care and beauty and symmetry, each bit of effort leaving a progressively bigger hole in the side of each stone.

    Until one day, many thousands of years later, finally they touched.

    Now they held hands, their hearts open, their insides visible to each other, washed by the rain and the cold persistent wind.

    150 words


  19. Value
    150 words exactly

    “… and we remind all visitors that Earth is a Galactic Preservation Site. The use of personal jetpacks and antigravity sleds is forbidden.”

    The tour guide waited until the automated message stopped, then addressed her charges. “Here we have one of the few structures to have survived the Great Scourge of 2216, due to its location in this deep crevasse. Note the craftsmanship from the height of Earth’s culture, especially the arch construction and fine detail.”

    The tourists from seventeen human colonies dutifully recorded the sight in their iMADs (individual memory augmentation devices).

    After a short pause, the guide said, “If you’ll follow me, it’s a ten-kilometer hike so we can view this ancient marvel from the other side.”

    “Can’t we just walk across it?” asked one of the tourists.

    One in every crowd, the guide mused sourly. “Sir, this bridge is an interstellar treasure. Why would we *walk* on it?”


  20. The Rising

    The trustworthy Giant was always quick to lend a hand! Kids weren’t afraid of his massive chest and his colossal legs. They played on his wide shoulders, hoping to cross the bridge that the Giant held firmly between his legs. The King had never found a builder he could trust to erect the bridge leading to his hidden treasure.

    The enemies came in the dark one night with the weaponry neither the king nor the giant could have imagined. They sliced the Giant’s body with magic saws, but couldn’t loosen his grip on the bridge. He valiantly shielded the side of the bridge with his bruised thigh. Frustrated, the enemies retreated.

    Centuries passed. You can still see the brutal scars on the Giant’s body. A few tiny patches of green are emerging through the scars. The legend has it that once the vegetation covers him, the Giant will rise again.

    150 words


  21. Burning Your Bridges Behind You

    James traveled to the site, examined the bridge and prepared his report.

    “The stamp on the cornerstone indicates it was built by Emperor Jiang Huan. The three symbols on the sides mean faith, hope and love, The words come from the Bible. The Emperor used them like a motto for his monarchy.” he began.

    “If the symbols were so simple, why don’t we recognize them?”

    “Language changes with time, the symbols were much more complicated eight centuries ago.”

    “Why would a secret route to The Emperor’s Retreat have these words on them?”

    “This region was a stronghold for Christianity at that time. Many speculate Jiang Huan was Christian. His name, often translated ‘happy river’, at the time would have been more accurately ‘river of life.’ ”

    The officials stormed out. James knew they would change the bridge. Preparing to leave, he quietly collected the best pictures. He hoped no one noticed.

    @CharlesWShort http://www.charleswshort.com
    150 words

    (A small word of caution, the place Emperor’s Retreat, the person Jiang Huan, and the timing of 800 years ago are all fiction. Only truth is China was once a stronghold for Christianity but I am not enough of a church historian to know the times, people or places.)


  22. Friction
    150 words

    They began their trip madly in love.

    Now, three weeks later, and having traveled halfway across China, Fox and Coyote weren’t sure how they felt.

    “Can we just stop for a second, please?” Fox said.

    Coyote leaned over the railing of the bridge and spit. He watched his saliva drop into the seemingly endless abyss below. When he didn’t answer, Fox sat down and started untying her shoes.

    “My feet are killing me.”

    Coyote thought about saying her constant whining was killing him, but caught himself. He turned and stared at her sitting in the middle of the small bridge. The small velvet box in his bag weighed heavy on his mind. A thick liquid seeped from a popped blister on the back of her ankle. Kneeling down, he started rifling through his pack.

    “I think I have a bandage in here somewhere,” he said. “Hold on, I’ll find it.”


  23. Away With The Fairies
    No Twitter (sorry)
    143 words

    They emerge from the tunnel and hover above the bridge, tiny wings almost invisible in their humming-bird-like speed.

    For winged these fairies are, and so there should be as much chance of them using this bridge as there is of a goldfish walking across the little one in his tank.

    Yet they do land on the bridge. They look at each other, count to three, then each of them throws a twig over the side.

    They rise and hover again, resting on the sky as they wait for the twigs to reach the river far beneath, on the floor of the dark chasm. Then they dive, in synchronisation and a long wheeeee of delight, down, down to the water’s edge to watch the race and to each cheer on their own entrant.

    It’s the most fun game of Pooh-sticks that there’s ever been.


  24. The Faerie Bridge


    “Hurry!” Mu shouted over his shoulder, as he ran along the tunnel.

    Breathing in ragged gasps, Mei stooped forward and clutched her knees. “Just a moment.”

    “We may not have a moment” replied Kun gruffly, adjusting the heavy bundle slung over his shoulder as he emerged from the shadows behind her. “We need to move, now.”

    With a deep sigh the girl rolled her eyes, stood up straight and jogged after her little brother.

    Soon they reached the faerie bridge, high above the narrow crevasse that separated this world from their own. No sooner had Mu set foot on it however than the trio heard a distant buzzing, as if of a swarm of angry hornets.

    In moments, the rapidly approaching cloud of tiny bodies revealed itself to be a vast army of faerie soldiers, their engraved armour and sharp looking weapons glittering in the bright sunlight.

    “Run!” Mu shouted.



    @ifemmanuel (150 words)

    Standing on the edge of the short bridge that connects the colonies of Elmuri, you brood on the question every fairy asks the moment they know the use of the translucent flaps on their backs, why walk when you can fly?

    The wind tickles the freckles on your face and you hesitate for a moment before surrendering yourself to gravity, then you unfurl your wings and ascend the bald sides of the mountains.

    You marvel at the cloudy beauty that surrounds you, and then notice that silent whisper you heard at the base of the bridge has been growing loud and was now strong enough to make your wings vibrate in resonance. Then you see it…

    A white fairy with dark eyes that run through its ginormous body and long stiff wings that hold small barrels moves towards you at blinding speed. Then you realise, this is why you walk.


  26. Chase

    Tatiana darted through the tunnel and out over the bridge, her wings flapping as she tried to keep ahead of her younger sister. “No fair, Tati!” Galina yelled as Tatiana soared up into the canyon above the bridge.

    Galina stamped her foot as she watched her sister soar above her. Her wings weren’t strong enough to support her yet for sustained flight and she envied her sister.

    Gliding down, Tatiana landed just out of reach. “Run, Galina, and I’ll chase you.

    “But no flying. It’s not fair.”

    “No flying,” Tatiana promised.

    Galina studied her sister for a minute. Taking off with a hop and skip herself, she flew a few scant inches above the ground and towards the cave on the opposite side of the bridge. She didn’t get more than a few feet before she had to touch down again. “It’s not fair!”

    “You’ll get there,” Tatiana assured her.


  27. Once A Knight…

    150 words

    No sunlight reaches down into this narrow cleft between the mountains. It’s dark and cold, nothing to write home about. Yet the ancient stones of the bridge seem to glow with some indefinable power. I fleetingly wonder how it was built in the first place. But that doesn’t matter.
    What matters is on the other side.

    My team are watching me, apprehensive and tense. I know how they feel.

    A deep breath doesn’t help, so I stare at the bridge. Finding it took a decade of research. I’ve mortgaged everything I own to fund this trip.

    I adjust my camera and smile widely.

    “One small step, huh?”

    I’m not surprised that the camera fails as I step on the bridge. Neither am I surprised to find an armoured knight sitting at a round table on the other side.

    “Welcome, Brother,” he smiles. “We’ve been waiting for you. Please, join us.”


  28. Kingdom Come
    (150 words)

    The sound of footsteps pulled the spirit from her slumber and she peered down at the weary traveller trudging across her bridge. The man’s head was bowed, shoulders bent beneath the weight of his load and she could almost taste his fatigue on the air.

    The traveler didn’t know that the road, which he travelled, had once been the gateway to a great kingdom. He couldn’t hear the laughter of children and the roars of the trumpets nor could he smell the rivers of blood that had been shed in an effort to protect this place but she could.

    She could see it, flickering like a mirage before her eyes. A castle made from glass and jewels, rising out of the very mountains that surrounded it.

    Soon the traveler vanished leaving an echoing loneliness in his stead.

    But the queen wouldn’t weep, for her kingdom wasn’t dead.

    It merely slept.


  29. Apparent

    “Between a rock and a hard place between a rock and a hard place,” echoes like yodels in a canyon, thumping within her; ceaseless pulsating.

    But for clicks of her heels on pavement, outside seethes darkness, silence.

    Whose eyes would accuse?

    Choice was a gift with no apparent right. Wrong was right and right was wrong.

    Time couldn’t be reversed. Touch raged to spoil would never become esteem; no apologies left, no corroboration sought.

    Desertion begets destruction begets desperation.

    Whose heart would be broken?

    Naive kisses couldn’t be unkissed. Poor choices couldn’t be unmade. There existed no answer without cost.

    No consideration for cleanliness determined, save for antiseptic sting. The night is dark, the table is cold, and the light is dim.

    No questions. No commiseration. No words. No consideration. No answers.

    Vodka to each applied, within and without, she bleeds to death by drunken hanger, cavernous secret dead, too.

    @KimJGaneWCPosse (Google Apparent on Vimeo for a beautiful tribute to single mothers)


    • Really sad and lovely.

      Your punctuation and sentence structure flows like phantasmagoria or bad dream.

      I particularly like the cadence of “Desertion begets destruction begets desperation” and “No questions. No commiseration. No words. No consideration. No answers.” (just to pick the few that are set-off, there’s a lot of nice inner-line work going on all over). That “begets” is also a really nice bit of foreshadowing that resonates without drawing attention to itself.


  30. Scott L Vannatter
    “A Take on ‘A Bridge Too Far'”
    150 Words

    Jalinth found a small handhold in the cliff’s nearly sheer side and pulled himself up another foot. He then lodged his foot in a crevice to give his hand and arms some relief. He had been doing this over and over for hours now, trying to gain access to the bridge path near the half-way point of the mountain.
    His arms and legs ached and he felt so near the point of exhaustion that his breathing would hitch every few intakes. His mind whirled and he started the ordeal again.
    With herculean effort, he pulled himself up to where his eyes cleared the edge. Not daring to smile lest the energy sap him completely and he fall to his death, he swung over and onto the two-foot wide ledge at the bridge. He translated the Chinese lettering on the pass itself, written in bold red strokes:
    Bridge Out
    He cried.


  31. @NadaNightStar
    150 Words exactly
    The Bridge

    “To the bridge in the mountains’ midst, you must go,
    In the invisible river, you must swim with the flow,
    To become the long lost hero in this land between lands,
    For the fate of the world shall rest in that hero’s hands.”

    The words were written in golden ink in an ancient book Ria had come across in the National Library.
    ‘I doubt they’ll notice your absence,’ she thought. ‘They’re closing down certain sections after all.’
    The book was hidden under tons of dust.
    Whether or not the tale was true, that book had come to her. Ria did not believe in coincidences; no witch ever did.

    Quickly, she shrunk it, placed it in her bag, and left.

    Opening the massive volume again, she found that a picture of a bridge hidden in the mountains had appeared below the passage.

    ‘Magic finds magic,’ she thought aloud, ‘Magic begets magic.’

    (Hope I managed to squeeze this in)


  32. @GordonBWhite
    150 Words
    A Very Odd Story

    Hiking was Jeff’s idea. I wanted something cosmopolitan, but he kept complaining and it is -was?- his honeymoon, too. I guess.

    “It’s like that experiment with the monkeys typing Shakespeare-” What? Yes, I know it wasn’t a real experiment. I’m not stupid. I’m telling you what he said when he saw it.

    “There are hundreds of mountains in this range, thousands across the world! They’ve stood for tens of millions of years, through hundreds of millions of storms, billions of gusts of wind!”

    He walked out onto the bridge, tenuously, but then bolder. He beckoned, but I was scared.

    “What are the odds that everything would combine to make a perfect replica? What are the odds that they-”

    And then he was gone. The bridge, too.

    Whatever the odds of forming a bridge, the odds of a stable bridge must be lower.

    What are the odds that you believe me?


  33. The Last Bridge (148 Words)

    Galen reached the bridge, but his pursuers now approached him from both directions. He glanced at the deep chasm below. Not impossible, but he had no inclination to jump. He needed to cross into the Waste Lands.

    She was there.

    The glint of armor roused him. Only ten men on either side, and they believed they trapped him.

    “Surrender, and we’ll give you a quick death,” a burly captain said, stepping forward with sword in hand.

    “Do you not recognize what I am?” The elf threw back his hood, exposing his silver hair and pale blue skin. “I am Galen of the Immortal Brotherhood.”

    “Me arse,” someone said, and Galen heard the twang of a bowstring.

    The arrow tickled his ribs and dried like dust.

    Galen pulled out his long knives. “Have at me, my good sirs.”

    Ten minutes later Galen raced across the bridge. His love waited.


  34. Reflections

    Suspended in time and spanning the great inky chasm of NeverWas, Lauren stood on the Bridge of Fleeting Moments. Behind her, Lauren’s Past rippled in a silver pool of light. Reflected in its surface were her triumphs, her failures, and the bittersweet memory of lost love. Ahead of her, a golden pool churned; its surface was a featureless glow reflecting the limitless potential of Lauren’s unwritten Future.

    Seduced by the nostalgia of bygone days, Lauren longed to return to familiar times and reclaim her wasted happiness.

    She moved toward the silvery echo of yesteryear.

    Gold deepened to amber. Amber to copper. Copper to rust.

    The bridge shuddered; heavy slabs of stone plummeted into the NeverWas. Lauren cast an uneasy glance across the dissolving bridge to her vanishing future. A single focus still pulsed with golden promise.

    She hesitated.

    Forward? Back? Or into the abyss?

    Lauren closed her eyes and leapt.

    150 words


    • Very nice!

      One stylistic choice I really like is capitalizing “NeverWas” and “Lauren’s Past” – making them place names, not just abstractions. Small touch, but it makes it concrete.

      Also, the progression of metals is a lovely visual element, but also the cohesiveness of your metaphors really makes it sing.


  35. Flight Plan

    She should jump.

    The darkened crevice yawned before her, trembling under the weight of her pursuers’ pounding progress. In the distance, a carved bridge mocked her with its illusion of proffered safety. But she knew where it led.

    At the very least, falling into the jagged void offered her an instant – of flight, of safety.

    Of freedom.

    An instant, before unforgiving stone tore her flesh, relishing the taste of blood that would feed the flecks of living greens. A gust of warmth blew over her, fluttering the tatters hanging from her frame.

    Staring into the hungry depth, she could feel their mindless approach, inching closer to surround her, blocking any other chance of escape.

    It was the crevice, or nothing. Worse than nothing – a future back in his hands.

    His minions advanced slowly, certain she wouldn’t risk plummeting to an inevitable death.

    But she could jump.

    And she could survive.

    (150 words; @AriaGlazki)


  36. Meetings at Moonlight
    (150 words)

    Sunset had been hours ago and a half moon sent weak moon beams down into the deep crevice.

    A golden glow emanated from the tunnel and three symbols engraved in the side of the granite bridge glowed a dull red as the light caressed the pale stone.

    Musical speech echoed from the tunnel mouth. A sharp word caused the symbols to flare an emerald green.

    Smoothly, floating over the stones, five figures exited onto the bridge, as light banter passed between them.

    They froze as a dark figure appeared upon the opposite entrance, shadows clinging like a lover.

    The lead figure snarled a phrase, anger contorting his features, hand on a sword.

    The shadowed one made a gesture; spoke a single word.

    The green glow winked out. With a scream, the five plummet through the now incorporeal bridge into the crevice.

    The shadowed figure relaxed in relief, the clan protected.


  37. Passage
    (150 Words)
    By Kate Curtis @WillWallyWonder

    She walked with her hand wrapped in her father’s fingers unable to see beyond the other waists and legs moving with them between the parapets. She pressed herself to his side, the sword sheathed on her father’s back nudging her as he strode – one pace to her three. No one spoke. A distant drum kept the march steady, to belie the panic they carried with them like a silent scream.

    They entered the mountain’s wall and muttered whispers echoed down the tunnel as the last of the survivors jostled towards the promising light.

    She could smell urine and something else that replaced her hunger with nausea. Trees lay crudely hacked for their timber. People gathered around makeshift tents. Some carried water, some tended those on stretchers. Some slept in rows, others wept at their side.

    The drum fell quiet.

    ‘Sanctuary’ they called it. Her father called it ‘home now’.


  38. Bridges of Love
    (150 words)
    The Rogue Tinker

    Long ago, there were two people with love so bright that the Gods above shaded their eyes. One God, jealous, saw them in the mountains. Slashing his sword, he sundered the ground. When the dust settled, a crevice divided them, too wide to cross. They searched, but the cleft had no end. Dejected, they begged the Gods to undo his actions.

    An Earth spirit woke with the devastation, and heard them. Her stony heart was moved by their love. Stretching her arms out, she bridged the gap and created stairways leading to her by singing the song of the rock. The God was enraged by the Spirit. He froze her in place and gave her song to the wind.

    The lovers fled, and the Spirit remains to this day, waiting for the Gods to grow old and feeble, for then she shall be free to sing her own song again.


  39. The cherry blossoms swirled through the fragrant air of morning, their pink blooms covering the bridge on which we stood like a beautiful carpet. Asiko brushed a lock of my hair back from my face with a gentle touch.
    “My Nakima…” The way my name rolled off his tongue made me shiver inwardly. “You are all I have ever wanted in this life.”
    He put a strong hand on my cheek, rubbing his thumb lovingly across my skin. A warmth spread throughout my entire being, and I couldn’t help but smile. I cupped my hand against his.
    Asiko gently tilted my face to meet his own and kissed me softly. Pressing his forehead against mine, he whispered, “I must go.”
    He turned from me after one last kiss and walked away, looking back a final time before heading down the stairs carved into the very rock that protected our prosperous, hidden city.

    150 words


  40. The cherry blossoms swirled through the fragrant air of morning, their pink blooms covering the bridge on which we stood like a beautiful carpet. Asiko brushed a lock of hair back from my face with a gentle touch.
    “My Nakima…” The way my name rolled off his tongue made me shiver inwardly. “You are all I have ever wanted in this life.”
    He put a strong hand on my cheek, rubbing his thumb lovingly across my skin. A warmth spread throughout my entire being, and I couldn’t help but smile. I cupped my hand against his.
    Asiko tilted my face to meet his own and kissed me softly. Pressing his forehead against mine, he whispered, “I must go.”
    He turned from me after one last kiss and walked away, looking back a final time before heading down the stairs carved into the very rock that protected our hidden city.

    Accidentally added a word when I should have subtracted. Sorry!
    150 words


  41. Bottleneck
    150 words

    The battle had raged for hours, but the small defensive force had brought the invading army to a halt. For three hours Daniel and his men held their ground. Shoulder to shoulder, they blocked every attempt to take the bridge.

    The narrow space had forced the Khan’s men to fight in small groups, rendering their superior numbers useless. There was no going around the bridge and no way of reaching the ravine below other than falling.

    Daniel had chosen the defenders’ position well. As the fight continued, the Kahn signaled for his archers. There was more than one way to take out a soldier, no matter whose god was on their side.

    One volley was all it took.

    The Kahn was about to begin his triumphant march into the city when a booming voice echoed across the chasm.

    “Danny, it’s time to put your Legos away and go to bed.”


  42. Great Shot
    (150 words)

    Chet Lansling was the 1983 and 1997 “Goodboys’ Links Champion”, Arkansas’s 47th ranked golfer, and the 1,209th nationwide. And he was damn proud of it.

    Timothy Casey was eight years old, winner of a contest to play a round of miniature golf against the best golfer KPPL Radio could coddle into participating. (They got Chet, their last choice.)

    Thus on a sunny Saturday, everyone gathered at Billy Ballworthy’s miniature golf course. Billy had oiled his windmill, polished his rearing bear, and populated his little pools with honest-to-goodness frogs.

    At the eighteenth Chet showed old magic by getting a hole-in-one. He smirked for the cameras, then scowled as Timothy teed off.

    Bystanders cheered, watching Timothy’s ball rattle through Billy’s model of a mountain bridge network.

    Before his ball crossed the final bridge Chet pulled a revolver and blasted it away.

    Billy spun to him. “This event is for charity, you maniac!”


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