Tuesday 5 January 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 181

This week's photo is from Bogdan Panait, a Croatian photographer. I have no idea of the location, but you wouldn't catch me on that bridge! 

This one is a little dark, but that's just I roll sometimes. 

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.


I’d reached the bridge. I was relieved, although from my prone position I couldn’t tell if it was intact. I just prayed it was, although if it wasn’t, death would be a better alternative to being caught again.

I pulled my broken body onto the first of the bridge’s slats, willing them to hold. In the damp misty air the ropes were wet - I just hoped they weren’t weak as well. The autumn leaves from the trees at the other end had blown onto it and were decaying; it would be slippery.

The bridge swayed under my weight, raising a creaking sound. I tried to still it; it would identify my location. Despite my eagerness, I had to slow down to kill the sound, and take this slat by slat. I didn’t want to think about what might be on the other side; what was ahead of me was enough for now.

As I lifted by body slightly and pulled, the swaying and the creaking began again. I wouldn’t be able to stop it if I was ever to make it across. I could only hope the fog would muffle the sound and not carry it to him.

He had to be hunting for me by now. He had to have known I’d escaped. He thought that hobbling my ankles would be enough to stop me, but he under estimated my endurance for pain. He’d kept me for so long he’d forgotten what I could tolerate.

He’d grown distracted, probably by the new ones he’d managed to snare. I heard them going through the earlier stages. I was long past that. It was what had escalated my desire to escape; listening to it. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t live with the despair it brought. I had to believe it would come to an end; that he would eventually get caught and not torment more women.

I focused my gaze on where I was going. I had to succeed in getting across this bridge. I had to succeed in finding help. I had to bring an end to this for all of us.

There was a rustle behind me. I didn’t want to turn and look. If it was him, I didn’t want to see; I didn’t want to know I had failed. My whole body was on the bridge now. I only had to twist to my left or right and I’d go into the ravine. Death might not be what I wanted, but if it was the only choice between that and going back to the hole underground and being used for his perverse pleasure, I’d welcome it.

I lay still and waited for his voice, his breathing, his skin-crawling touch. But nothing. Had it been an animal? Something in the underbrush? Was I still free? I didn’t want to turn and find out. Instead, I reached out my arm and grabbed the furthest slat, not caring about the sound or the swaying; just wanting to get on the other side.

Nothing stopped me; nothing broke my rhythm as I dragged my way across. I wouldn’t have stood even if I could. I’d have never managed to stay upright, not with my vertigo. I kept my eyes on the next goal and didn’t look down.

When the last slat came into view, driven into the ground on the other side, I dared to feel hopeful; I dared to believe I was on the home straight. I thought about breaking the bridge after me; stop him from being able to follow. But what if another managed to break free? What if another needed an exit route? I couldn’t do it.

As I pulled myself up to sitting on the solid ground on the other side, I looked back at the bridge, and there it was, the creature that had made the sound: a white dove. It was perched on the first post of the bridge on the other side. It eyed me through the swirling mist, and then took off, sweeping overhead into the woods I was about to enter.

I’d like to have taken it as a sign, but I didn’t trust them anymore, I didn’t trust anything – only my resilience; it was what had kept me alive, even on the days I’d wished I was dead, and had gotten me this far.

And if I could keep it going, I might not be the only one it saves.

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