Fifteen Minute Fiction Challenge (Silent Bridge) – Writing Challenge

By Andy Wright, D.C. Ward and Chris Wright

Sentient Ink Logo-01One random genre, one random title, 15 minutes to plan and write some flash fiction. Read on to see how we got on in the third Fifteen Minute of Fiction Challenge. Once you have read our attempts feel free to like, comment and even vote for your favourite. You can even have a go yourself using our generated genre/title and let us know how you got on. So, without further ado, here’s ours our entries…

Random Genre: Horror

Random Title: Silent Bridge

*

Silent Bridge by Andy Wright

Laura slowed her pace as her foot landed on the decrepit stone bridge for the first time. She had spent the previous eight hours travelling, first by car and then on the train, and for every minute her heart quickened in anticipation. But her eagerness became tinged with apprehension as she willed herself not to look to the crashing waters far beneath her feet. The air around her seemed thin and she was struggling for breath by the time she reached the end of the silent bridge. Because it was silent, she realised, even the wind, which had moments ago been howling and screeching, had died to an icy cold breeze.

She wanted to go home. For weeks, this job had been all she could think about, but with every step her desire to run from the looming building in front of her increased. She knocked on the door automatically and it was answered within seconds. Laura initially took the woman to be in her sixties or even seventies, but upon closer inspection she thought she could just as easily have been forty.

“Oh good, you’re here,” the haggard woman said in a shrill voice. “The children will be ever so happy to meet you.”

Laura did her best to smile but could not chase off a shiver as she entered the ancient house. The first thing she noticed was the quiet; nothing like the lively halls of the last orphanage she had worked in.

“Janice,” the woman called out. “Come meet your new matron.”

A girl of perhaps twelve years old exited what looked to be the kitchen. She was gaunt and pale but smiled wide-eyed at Laura. Laura did not smile back. “Hello matron Harris,” Janice chanted. “I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun. You look a lot nicer than the last matron.”

“Now, now dear,” the woman interjected. “We don’t talk about Mrs Lowecroft, not after what she did to Arthur.”

*

Silent Bridge by D. C. Ward

The sharp brush tormented her naked ankles, and the leafless, gangrel trees moaned their warnings as she passed. She could not hear them, for again she had sleepwalked into the shaded dell that called to her in her dreams, whispering their promises. Was it the forested darkness that seduced her closed eyes and absent mind, or the figures that danced behind the thickets, iridescent flickers with voices so soft. Their dead words soothed her, keeping her from opening her mind to see what her eyes begged her to see, for the bridge was nearing.

The bridge of old stone, so ancient and shrouded with fog, glitched like the beings that called her. As she neared their voices rose like a quickening drum, restless and hungry, but today she did not wake, she was too close. She dragged her feet over the fallen barbed wires, past the signs of warning and through the broken fence. The cliff now loomed. Hundreds of feet it fell to a black ocean and rocks like the sharpest of teeth. Her foot tried to find the bridge, but there was only a dense mist and the memory of long lost stone. The voices had won. She fell.

*

Silent Bridge by Chris Wright

It stretched out before her forever and ever, the other side lost to the depths of the night. No. Please. Please don’t make me. A sudden, sharp gust of icy wind and the whole thing shook, swaying in front of her in a scornful dance. She felt the loose gravel move beneath her foot as it started to slide forward. Please! No, please. I won’t tell. I promise I won’t. She tugged back at her leg, clawing at the naked skin, tearing into her flesh, but still it moved forward. Still it dragged her on.

I won’t tell. I won’t tell. Please. Still it moved on, still it dragged her forward, and now her left foot was moving too. She let out a sob. It wouldn’t listen, it paid no heed to cries or pleas. It gave no quarter to mercy. The tears clung icily to her wind streaked-cheeks and her shrieks echoed emptily through the silent bridge.

She was moving quickly now, faster and faster. She threw herself backwards out of sheer desperation and she landed hand on the rough concrete. It did no good. Still her legs hauled her, still she moved forward. She dragged and pulled at the thorny road, her fingers drew blood, her torso cut and tore but still she went on. The wind whipped at her hair and bit at her skin. She screamed. It cut through the night like a banshee’s call, but no one would hear it. Inexorably on, she was pulled and pulled. Further and onwards across the silent bridge.

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If you enjoyed a little taste of horror, why not give a full, terrifying short story a read – Guilty: A newly widowed woman blames herself for her husband’s death, and, it would seem, he does too… Read it here.

Or you can see the rest of our challenges here.

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