25 March, 2021

Under the Bridge

In anticipation of my #AtoZChallenge of Flash Fiction, I am getting myself ready by finding or creating random prompts. In this case "under the bridge" as a location prompt. I hope you'll come back in April to offer a prompt of your own.

Lou was confused. He looked around at the paving stones between the street and the river. There wasn't a lot of room for mistakes. Bertie had definitely said, "under the bridge."

The bridge passed over the street and the wide river, and a narrow patch of impassable land on the other side. It had to be this side of the bridge, but where was everyone? There wasn't a lot of traffic, but there was no room on the other side of the street here, as he looked at the sloped pavement leading up to support the base of the bridge.

He pulled out his phone. The location pin showed he was in the same place Bertie had named. 

"Shit." Lou prided himself on getting places with no help. Bertie had invited him to the bash under the bridge, and he said he'd be there. He made sure he was fashionably late, so there should be a crowd by now. Or at least a small collection of people. Who knew what passed for a "bash" in Bertie's brain.

There was nothing for it. He texted Bertie.

I'm here. Where U?

Nah, man, U came? a beat, while the dots bounced on the screen showing another message was coming. Hang tight. Coming up.

Up? Up from where? They were under a bridge over a river. Lou crossed to the river's edge and peered down for a hidden stairway. It was a dark night. Few headlights illuminated the street behind him, and no lights hung directly under the bridge, certainly nothing at this edge of the water. Where was Bertie?

Leaning over the railing, and swaying side to side to catch any movement in the gloom, Lou almost fell in when he felt a tap on his shoulder.

"Lou! Babe!"

"The hell?" Lou spun around, arms wheeling in surprise, ready to fight. "Bertie. What's going on? Where'd you come from?" There was no evidence of Bertie's emergence. He might have popped out of thin air.

Bertie grinned his dopey grin and squished his eyes shut in what he thought was an endearing wink. "Come on." He giggled as he led his friend across the street.

Lou stayed a few paces behind him. They weren't such very-close friends, and Bertie seemed squirrely-er than usual. Like he was on something. Across the street, Bertie leaned against one of the concrete panels, pressing it all the way down even as he looked behind to find Lou. "Hurry! I can't hold it for long!"

Seeing gaping blackness beyond the panel, Lou surprised himself by speeding across in time to lean with Bertie, who said, "Let yourself go!" and let go of the panel, launching himself down into the darkness before Lou could think. Feeling the panel rising back towards it's original position, Lou made a quick decision and pushed off, falling down a slide, swirling through the terrifying pitch blackness until he suddenly emerged into glowing, dancing neon lights, almost on top of the ludicrously grinning Bertie. 

"Come on, let me show you around!" 

Bass was pounding from somewhere as the neon lights continued to flash, illuminating impossibly bright patches of white graffiti amidst the wash of colors painting the walls of... "What is this place?"

"I told you! Under the Bridge!" was the only explanation he got. 

During April's #AtoZChallenge, I'll use prompts from readers as much as possible to inspire these flash fiction stories. This prompt came from my own mind as I drove over a bridge in a major city the other day. I always give credit where credit is due, with a link to the blogger with the prompt. Hope to see you then! 

(Or now. I can build a repertoire of prompts in advance, too.)


  1. So they were really under the bridge. Wow.

    Oh, I can come up with a prompt if you wish. Today I was reminded of a YouTube video I'm obsessed with. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYf595EJAc4 That's a prompt. Kind of.

    1. Well thanks for that! I just subscribed to her channel. Very cool stuff.
      As a prompt, I could take it a million ways - the tune, the multiple personalities, life as a musician. Actually it reminds of a movie we watched this winter...Nocturne... very dark and weird. Not about cellos at all.


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