Monday, March 25, 2013

A Span Of Sorrow...A Short Story

Inangahua Junction bridge after the 1968 earthquake

 The Weekly Flash Fiction Photo Prompt

I usually get right on these little writing exercises. Especially this week because the photo is such a great one. But, it's been a crazy week so I'm writing my story with one day to spare.

Here's the rules:
1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less. 
3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post. 
4) Copy the link to your blog and enter it under the "Add you link" button at Nicole, Carrie, Tena, and/or Leanne's websites. 
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.
Photo information can be found: HERE.

Here are this week's five words:

Here's my attempt. Enjoy!

A Span Of Sorrow

Margret parked the car just before the road left its earthly foundation and ventured across the lazy river below. She had a thing about parking on bridges...unfounded and irrational, she knew. She began walking over the bridge as gravity gently pulled the azure carpet of liquid away from the span leaving the water to slowly snake through the lower valleys. It was April 16th, day the she returns...

'It's always colder on the bridge,' Margret thought as she gathered her jacket around her frail shoulders in an attempt to retain as much body heat as possible. Today proved cooler than most April 16th's. Like her spirits the depressing pale of winter lingered. Farmers worried about their crops. Residents cursed the cold and wished for the comfort only an accommodating sun can provide.

She slowed as she approached the exact spot of the accident. Her feet turned to lead but the need to reach the same section of bridge drove her forward. Finally, she stopped and a tsunami of emotions flooded her brain with painful memories she had tried for decades to train her mind to block. Sometimes she overcame the demons...sometimes not. 

The solitary figure stood at the edge of the road as cars, trucks and semis whizzed past. On more than one occasion well-wishing citizen stopped to ask the downhearted woman if everything was okay, the concerned motorists hoping her standing on a bridge did not signal the prelude to a disaster. Little did they know the disaster happened 27 years ago.

27 years. Had it been that long? Margret couldn't believe it. That meant her son would be...she did the math in her head...34-years old in three weeks. She fought the urge to dwell on the memory of the tired but kind police officer knocking on her door those many years ago. She tried to block the sound in his voice as he calmly, but with true compassion, told her of the accident when her son's car slid on a patch of black ice covering the bridge (it's always colder on the bridge...) and how he apparently over-corrected and sent his car over the guardrail and into the cold water below.

'No!' she thought. Not this year. This year she would think of her son, not as she saw him, a soulless form in the morgue, but as a handsome man. Would he tower over her petite frame the way her ex-husband did? He was still growing when he died. Would he continue telling his stupid puns that only he seemed to fully appreciate? Would he find a nice local girl and marry early, or would he have gone away to college like he talked about?  If so, would he move away and see her only once or twice a year? The silent water moving below her feet failed to answer her questions. Only a pain remained, a pain she would again bury, at least, for another year.

Word Count:494


  1. Heavy, Scott! You surprised me with that. I did not expect it to be about the loss of her child. Having a teenage son myself, it hit the right strings and forced me to breathe deep. Nice work, my friend. Uncommonly dark for you... I like the change-up ... caught me swinging early.


  2. Wow. This was so sad. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child (my children in particular), but you conveyed the heavy and long-term emotion in a way that I could feel it, Scott.

    I loved the story, and I loved even more the way you used the words: azure carpet of liquid; leaving the water to snake through the valleys; tsunami of emotions. So creative!