“When you intuition says something’s wrong, it probably it!”
I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
FOWC with Fandango — Field
Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge — Teeth – Gel – Stain
Authorworld — Picture – The Bridge
Your Daily Word — Bristly
Ragtag Daily Prompt — Scattered
Bridge of Terror
‘I must ask everyone to remain calm,’ began Mayor Stillwell with his gel-slickened hair, bristly chin, and thick glasses. A field of reporters jostled before him desperate to catch his every word. ‘The reports of a possible terrorist attack were lies. There is no danger and everyone is free to have a good evening.’
Paramedic Gavin Hayes watched that speech on TV last night. Now, it reverberated from his Citroen’s radio as he drove to work. He couldn’t put a reason on it, but he just knew Stillwell was wrong. A warning klaxon echoed in his mind as he drove on through the morning fog.
Making a right turn, he followed the dual carriageway. The road ascended ahead of him as he drove onto the Clifton City suspension bridge. A marvel of architecture, three sets of white towers rose out of the riverbed and loomed high above the roadway. Miles of taught steel cables hung like a designer pyramid from those towers. They alone kept the road suspended and allowed people to cross the river.
Gavin took a deep breath as he passed the first of the towers. The fog was so thick on the river that it obscured both banks within moments. That’s klaxon went off in his mind again. Something was still wrong this morning.
At 4 AM the bridge held few vehicles making the crossing. If it wasn’t for the fog it would have been quite tranquil passing over the river on the quiet road.
Gavin gazed through his windscreen, almost mesmerised by the cables passing by with perfect symmetry. He glanced at the central towers high above him and swore.
A shudder ran through the car, shaking the steering wheel in his hands.
Five deep booms reverberated through the concrete structure.
“Shit! Those were explo —” Gavin stamped on the brakes, sending his car slewing sideways into the barrier with an explosion of glass.
The road ahead, crumbled and dropped into the river taking a van with it. Worse the steel cables failed and swung about like giant cheese wires.
A look at the other carriageway revealed a white soft-top car screeching to a halt. Its front wheels came to rest hanging off the road. By then the remains of the structure was rumbling.
Bang! An enormous lump of white concrete smashed down in front of Gavin’s car. The force was so great it pitched the back wheels into the air.
Gavin’s head hit the airbag which had detonated against his nose with the power of a shotgun. He always thought it humorous that these things saved your life by punching you in the face.
Reeling from a broken nose and dazed, he heard masonry crashing down all around him. Throwing open the door, he climbed out into a growing shadow. Swearing, he dived away and covered his head.
The top of the tower pancaked the remains of his car, as it smashed through the road and hit the river with an almighty splash.
Gavin climbed to his feet as a vibration in the road came to an end. The fog had been joined by thick smoke and dust now. A look above him revealed that one of the two towers had partially detonated. The other so far appeared undamaged. A wave of apprehension set his heart hammering in his chest. He could taste iron from his bloodied nose beginning to stain his teeth.
“Shit, Shit, Shit!” he yelled as he vaulted the median barrier. “Bloody terrorists!”
In the other lane, he ran to the stricken car. Even as he approached, he watched it teetering at the edge of the destroyed road. Chunks of tarmac continued to break off around it like eroding cliffs.
“Hello, is anyone in —”
Something caught the light as it whipped through the fog.
Gavin hit the deck.
A steel cable lashed over the car and shot above his head. Its tension released like a cowboys whip it crashed into the damaged tower in an explosion of concrete.
Turning away from the architectural carnage, Gavin reached the car. He pulled open the driver’s door revealing a single occupant. A lady in a smart trouser suit, cowering behind the wheel.
The windshield had been smashed by debris. Flying glass had lacerated her hands and face.
“Madam, we have to move, right now!” Gavin reached over her and released her seatbelt.
“H-Hi, what the hell happened?” she asked in a trembling voice.
“No time, let’s go!” Taking hold of her arm in a gentle but forceful way, he levered her from the car. At the same time, his left foot plunged through the road surface.
The lady screamed.
Gavin grabbed the car door. Gravity hauled it downwards as the road failed beneath.
Sweating, he propelled the lady ahead of him and leapt after her. They barely cleared the back of the car before it vanished into the fog and splashed into the river below.
“My precious car!” she wailed.
“I’m sorry,” Gavin kept her moving, running back towards the remaining strong tower. Even then, the structure held an ominous feeling.
“What are you looking at?” she asked.
“Mayor Stillwell said there would be no terrorist attack last night. He was wrong. Bombs just annihilated the towers on this bridge.” Gavin glanced about him wishing the fog would dissipate. It was so thick, he had no idea what was going on beyond the remains of the bridge. “The only reason we’re still alive is that the devices in this tower didn’t detonate.”
“Oh my gosh! So, this tower could still —”
“I’m afraid so. I’m Gavin by the way. I promise to do all I can to get us out of this alive, but you have to trust me.”
“I’m Claudia. I’m glad you are here with me. I’d already be dead without you.”
“Nice to meet you, Claudia.” Gavin led the way through the scattered rubble of the remains of the left tower. His eyes flicking to the right, looking for signs of it collapsing.
“You as well, but …”
“The road’s gone this way too. We’re trapped on this concrete island laden with unexploded bombs, aren’t we?”
Gavin nodded. “Yup, we have a wonderful island of white sandy beaches, coconut palms, and gunpowder margaritas to enjoy over here.”
“How can you joke at a time like this,” Claudia gave him an incredulous look.
“I can run around screaming and panicking as you prefer?” Gavin reached the wall of the intact tower. The great cables hung limply from it like a giant’s electrical box after an explosion. He moved along to the railing and peered down towards the water.
“No, staying calm is good, thank you. You’re not planning to jump, are you?”
“We can’t. We’ll be just as dead in the current down there as with staying up here.”
“Then what are we —”
The whirring engine was a helicopter split the silence.
Gavin spun around in time to see the yellow air ambulance punch through the fog. “Down here!” he screamed while waving his arms.
The pilot waved through the glass and beckoned them toward him.
It was then another explosion rocked the remains of the bridge.
“No, no!” Claudia screamed.
Gavin was already in motion. He grabbed her arm and ran as the good tower began to disintegrate.
Rubble pounded the remains of the road all around them as they sprinted toward the hovering chopper.
The yellow sliding door opened on their last chance of salvation.
Gavin leapt the median barrier like an Olympic hurdler.
Claudia tried but snagged her feet and crashed to the tarmac with a sickening crack. “My legs broken, Leave me!” She said her face that grey colour of defeat in the face of death.
Gavin shook his head and flinched. A chunk of the tower smashed straight through the road. The whole surface lurched down towards the river but held.
He scooped Claudia into his arms and ran on. Three feet from the chopper, he felt the road slipping away. Powering Claudia above his head, he hurled her forward with every ounce of muscle he could muster. He managed one more step and jumped.
Claudia slammed down into the back of the chopper as he rolled on top of her.
The pilot immediately banked away from the carnage.
Behind the aircraft, the remains of the bridge crumpled into the churning river.
“Haha! We made it!” Gavin yelled over the rumbling engine.
“Yeah, now I owe you a real trip to a paradise island to say thank you,” Claudia said as the flying paramedic began to check them over.
Gavin grinned, “So, long as we don’t have to cross any bridges, I’m in!”
Thanks for reading my friends.
Have a great day!