Monday, 30 March 2015

Overpass - Flash Fiction

As the barge puttered towards the bridge, those pedestrians stood upon it waved inanely at the pilot, who steadfastly refused to acknowledge their existence in any way. 

The men found the capes and cloaks of their fancy dress inhibitive as they tried to unfurl their protest banner and attach it to the railings of the bridge over the motorway. They had neither rights, nor a sufficiently sound grasp of physics, since none had calculated that the velocity of any travelling vehicles would prohibit the drivers from being able to read the words of their message.  

Stationed in the air within the glass observation deck, he espied the luggage cart plumb bisecting beneath him on its course towards the aircraft that was destined to carry away his daughter to the other side of the world. He fell forward and braced his arm against the glass to halt his stumble. A final perpendicularity, as his body buckled into his future unbuttressed loneliness.

The three boys had been bent double as they hauled the concrete slab up the metal stairs of the overhead footbridge. They resembled Macbeth’s three witches huddled over their cauldron as they cast for their augury. But now that the slab was balanced up on the guardrail, they straightened their backs and peered over the railway tracks. The slab would foretoken an exact future for the fate of the next train to come down the line. 

The Guards watched the prisoners expressionlessly from the ramparts as they filed underneath their steel gangways towards the gas chambers. The Jewish prisoners wondered how their god could just watch impassively from heaven’s cloud gantry; how instead of passing over their marked houses and sparing them as in ancient Egypt, now he seemed to be zeroing in on those barrack huts marked with the yellow star. 



Hawksword said...

Sad views from a bridge or two.

Chuck Allen said...

A very clever play on words, here - which you always do so well. The shift jolted me a bit, but that only served to enhance the point. Nice work!

Sonia Lal said...

A little confusing at the beginning, but so sad by the end.

Katherine Hajer said...

I love how you do these surveys of scenes all intersecting at a common object.

There's a similar scene in Old City Hall by Robert Rotenberg, where the main character tries to take his dad to a hockey game (dad is a huge Maple Leafs fan but only watches them on TV). They get as far as the stadium and then the tunnels leading to the seating start giving the dad flashbacks to the concentration camp he was in, and they have to turn around and go home.

Jon Jefferson said...

This brings to mind the history that passes underneath the bridges of the world. Imagine all that has passed under the oldest bridges, the ones that have existed longer than we have been alive.