Hello from the other side… of the bridge. Yes, we’ve safely landed at the end of this week’s QuickFic, and it was a hair-raising journey indeed. Although, actually, in the face of mortal peril – instead of, say, a lovely photo of a dog or a merry-go-round – you lot turned pretty damn chipper. Well, some of you, anyway…
As usual, a ton of brilliant stories. We had a great time.
Let’s have a read of the winners.
RUNNER-UP: Liz Hedgecock
He’d gone to a different secondary school, but I still remembered the day he jumped the bridge.
He was grumbling about carrying his bike up the railway bridge. ‘I could just ride across the old one.’ That was fifty yards down the road, closed a month before the middle splintered away.
‘You still could, if you went fast enough,’ said Darren. ‘Dare yer.’
Darren went with him so he didn’t chicken out. We gathered on the new bridge and stared at the gap. A shout, and he shot into view.
My memory’s in black and white; he hangs in the air like the ET kid, the train hoots, it fast-forwards to the landing. In reality there was no train and the gap was about a foot. But the image is stronger.
I sipped my sour wine and wondered how long I should give him. I was the only woman in the sports bar, and overdressed.
Perhaps it was fate that he’d popped up in my ‘people you may know’ list when I was feeling particularly stale. His profile was sparse. Mystery man, I thought.
‘Hey!’ Shaggy-haired, arm in a sling, wearing a surfer tee and cargo pants. ‘I’ll go get a beer.’
‘What happened to your arm?’
‘Bust it skateboarding.’ The cast was a multicolour scrawl.
‘Yeah.’ He leaned back, legs wide. ‘Adrenalin junkie. Remember when I jumped the bridge?’
‘Yes,’ I said, and calculated how long it would take to finish my wine.
WINNER: Alexis J Reed
The angel fell from the sky on fish finger Friday. We’d all known he was coming, all morning we were like crazed hyenas, caged behind colourful tables, looking skywards through misted classroom windows. The Angel on the Triumph Bonneville. We knew he would show us that ‘death,’ the thing adults all spoke of in hushed tones, was nothing but a myth, that we could transcend it, could stare it down, and look damn cool doing it.
We’d filed into the plastic dining hall and inhaled our fish fingers, leaving inert bits of breadcrumb and pallid, chip insides all over our plates. And we’d run through the corridors, heedless to the shouts of teachers. I’d run with the pack, the fresh air hitting me as we blasted through the doors onto the playground. And we’d run to the edge of the playing field, which backed onto the railway lines. It felt like the edge of the world. Every day at 12.33, the train would sweep past and we’d all scream ‘choo choo, choo choo.’ Today, we waited in silence, our noses poking through the chain link fence; I can still taste that metallic tang.
We heard the train, moving towards us like some asthmatic juggernaut and we all looked to the broken bridge, like meercats sensing a predator. The train rounded the bend and we all jiggled on the spot, waiting, always waiting. And then we heard the low rumble of the bike, the flap of an angel’s wings.
Congratulations, Liz and Alexis! And thanks to everyone who entered. See you all next week!
Happy writing, happy weekends.