Lizzie Koch’s Picture Choice: Both
Title: Under The Bridge
‘I don’t ever wanna feel like I did that day’. . . . . The song played over and over in her head as she wandered through the night; barefoot in the cool, soft grass but it might as well have been shards of glass for all the comfort it brought. He promised to never sing that song, or at least the last verse, which was understandably hard for a tribute band, but she had her reasons and what’s more, he knew. He knew what happened under that bridge two years ago. He knew the loss she had suffered. He knew the deep meaning behind the lyrics and how they took her back to the degradation, isolation and loss fuelled by failure and guilt.
“Babe, it’s just a song. It’s been two years. Can’t you see it as therapy?” He placed a sweaty hand on her bare shoulder which she instantly swatted away like an annoying fly as her eyes splintered with tears.
Therapy! She trudged forward in an effort to release her fury with every stomp. Therapy! What did he think she’d been doing every Monday night, without fail for the past year and a half? It wasn’t some jolly tea party! Baring her soul to what were once complete strangers was not her idea of a fun night out! Now, she couldn’t live without them; they were her new addiction. The ones who really knew her suffering, her guilt she carried around with her like a loaded shot gun. And there he was, unleashing the torment.
“It’s the best song! The audience love it! I can’t ignore the fans babe!” He tried again with the hand, this time pushing away a random strand of her dark hair that always fell awkwardly over her face; she used to like him tucking it behind her ear but again, she swiped his hand away. “You have to move on Babe, with me. I need to move forward.” And that was the moment she knew it was over. She wasn’t ready to move forward. She knew he was protesting she stay; saw the strain on his tired face but all she heard was that song, every word causing her heart to tie itself up in a tight knot . . . ‘Under the bridge downtown’. . . creating an image in her mind like she was back there. . . . seeing the blood . . . . the convulsions . . . . the eyes rolling back . . . the chest stopping. . .
The rising sun began to reveal little by little, her whereabouts. Ribbons of morning red provided a backdrop to a forest that was beginning to come to life and then she noticed the gentle sound of running water. She’d walked all night, didn’t have a clue where she was but knew it made her feel peaceful. Knew she had been led here.
A bridge lay up ahead. It wasn’t pretty and certainly didn’t fit the surroundings with its chunky concrete blocks for walls and ugly pipes on show. But then neither did she. She didn’t fit in anywhere. She had tried and had failed. She peered over the edge. A sheer drop to the river below faced her. A way out. That was why she was here. She had been given a way out. It was more than coincidence. Fate had brought her here. The song had brought her here, to a bridge. Like her sister, two years ago, it would all end, under a bridge. Prettier surroundings than an inner city bridge where gangs loitered and junkies shot up their next or last fix. . . . unlike her sister . . . . her poor innocent younger sister . . . .who should not have followed her there . . .
“I’ll give you yours Megan, if you can do something for me,” teased Jazz as he toyed with her fix with one hand, unzipping his trousers with the other. Kneeling down in the wet, under the bridge where to anyone else the stench of urine would make you vomit violently, she took a deep breath.
“Megan!” She knew that voice! Why was Eliza here? Why had she come? Grabbing Megan’s arm, Eliza yanked her up. “You have to stop this Meg’s! Please! I don’t want to find my sister in the gutter with a needle sticking out of her arm.”
“Hey lady! This is between me and her!” Jazz shoved Eliza but Eliza stood her ground, even when Jazz pulled a knife, even when he threatened to finish them both. . . . . .
Megan took a deep breath as she stood on the edge of the bridge, unable to shift that night out of her mind but she knew she had to relive it before she. . . . .
. . . . .There was a gurgled scream as Eliza’s grip broke, clutching her throat in an instant as she slid to the floor, her hands now a rich red, dripping like paint from a brush, her eyes wide with shock. A bloodied hand reached out. . . . grasping Megan’s punctured , bruised arm. . . . before reaching up to wipe away tears that escaped from Megan’s sunken eyes. . . . Megan watched as her sister’s life seeped in a sea of red surrounding them both, as the tiniest of smiles appeared on Eliza’s lips. . . .
Megan looked up to the clear blue sky, to Eliza, knowing Eliza had been watching over her, knowing Eliza was at peace and knowing she would very soon find her own peace.
A rumbling echoed through the valley. Without hesitation, Megan stepped onto the track, feeling the vibrations of the oncoming train swell through her entire body. Closing her eyes, Megan stood firm, welcoming the train with open arms. Screeching consumed the valley followed by a sudden silence. Opening her eyes, she was greeted by the looming train, not more than five feet away where the driver sat on the step, wiping his brow, unable to speak.
“Sorry,” was all Megan could utter as she walked past him then stopped. Looking up at the side of the engine her mouth dried up at the big red swirly writing, “Eliza?” she barely whispered.
“All engines . . . . . have names . . . . . love,” he panted. “You’re lucky to still be . . . . . here.” Megan smiled and carried on walking, over the bridge, not once looking down under the bridge, knowing Eliza would always be near.
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I dream of sharing my work with the big wide world one day as a published author. Right now, I share flash fiction with a wonderful community of writers and friends. If you liked this story, then why not visit my blog at http://40somethingundomesticateddevil.blogspot.co.uk/ for more. Thank you. Love Lizzie x