I warn you now, this week seems to be the week of bizarro fiction. Sure it started with the demon accountants on Friday. Well it carried over to today. This story started out innocently enough as a random song pick prompt. This isn’t new Chuck Wendig has done this prompt in the past on his Terribleminds blog.
The last time it happened I wrote the story Coin Operated Boy (found in Hate Candy). Well, this time something a bit different came out. The Song in Question is Across the Bridge from the band Sopor Aeternus and the Ensemble of Shadows (maybe the name itself lends to the realm this story came from).
Across the Bridge
Greens, reds, blues, the colors of spring exploded across the bridge. But they stopped, not at the halfway point. That would be too logical. Instead they stopped mere inches from this side of the bridge, the side without color.
Those colors there, they aren’t for us. Where they stop on the bridge is not an encouragement, but a torment. How often have I watched others try to break free of this colorless lifeless void only to be denied time and again.
On the last, that was when I lost my friend Jim. So close, he came so close. The black fires took him, you heard me. They took him. He continues to burn now within the black fires. They burn and feast, just as any other fire, but they never consume. Ya, poor Jim he will burn with no hope of death, the pain consuming him in madness.
Of course, it’s all part of the job really. I’m a watcher. I watch for the fools that approach the bridge. Sounds easy, but that isn’t the entire job. Sometimes I give them a nudge, just a little one. I push them toward the color and watch as they burst. The color rips them open from the inside out, dead just the same.
Other times, well other times I pull them back. Those are the lucky ones. I protect them from their own folly. Course, that means occasionally I have to give a few of them up, like Jim. Wasn’t personal, though he did deserve what he got. Just business, I have to maintain the status quo.
I don’t know if you can hear that. Kind of a loud clanging noise? Ya, that one, its the warning alarm letting everyone know that the colors are coming again. Still haven’t quite figured this part out yet, why they warn us. Seems to me they are hoping to see a swarm for the bridge. Pushing, fighting, the masses clawing for their chance at the color.
What’s that? My hand, the bandage you mean? Ya, I don’t like to talk about it too much. Old wound, with a story that isn’t pretty for some ears.
Really? Ok, fine, I’ll tell you then. It isn’t my proudest moment really. You see under all this gauze I have wounds that will never heal. You might want to avert your eyes for a minute or two as I unwrap this thing.
I know right, that color it’s a bit, blinding right? Happened when I pulled Jim back. He was on the verge, the verge. If I hadn’t been so quick we woulda lost him. So quick. Ya, not as quick as it would seem right?
I slipped. Fell to the ground inches from the edge. Well, I thought inches from the edge. That’s how it sucks you in really. Just a few nips at a time. Before you know it the whole thing takes you. My hand crossed the line, hasn’t been the same since.
New here aren’t you? You don’t feel the pull. Not like the ones who have been here ages already. Even before you touch the color, the pull to rush into it consumes you. It can drive you mad with the need to touch it, to be it.
Even now I can feel the pull. The alarms go off and my hand throbs with a need for more. The call fills my ears with a deafening crash. Can you feel that, the pull the need? Look at this glow. My hand glows with the swirl and play of the colors, taunting me to give in to the need.
I told you I’m a watcher right? My job is to keep others from walking into the colors. The job is never easy. The longer you stay on the verge, the longer you live on the edge the harder it is to hold back. The call of the colors fills your mind with the need to touch to embrace.
Hell, the colors almost got my friend Jim. I saved him. I pulled him back from the edge. It took everything I had. I heard he may one day be freed from the black fires.
I don’t know if you noticed this but we seem to have walked pretty close the the bridge. The alarms went off not too long ago, we shouldn’t be here. But if you listen, you can hear the call. You can hear it can’t you? The colors, they want to claim their own.
My hand hurts. The colors so bright, so strong, they dig through the flesh of my hand. A throbbing vibration, crazy right?
I have to go. Remember the watchers when I’m gone. They protect others from the colors on the bridge.
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