Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Bridge

flash fiction prompt copyright KS Brooks wheeling susp bridge
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Use the photograph above as the inspiration for your flash fiction story. Write whatever comes to mind (no sexual, political, or religious stories, jokes, or commentary, please) and after you PROOFREAD it, submit it as your entry in the comments section below. There will be no written prompt.

Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture at left. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. No political or religious entries, please. Need help getting started? Read this article on how to write flash fiction.

On Wednesday, we will open voting to the public with an online poll so they may choose the winner. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday. On Saturday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature.

Once a month, the admins will announce the Editors’ Choice winners. Those stories will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted. See HERE for additional information and terms. Please note the rule changes for 2016.

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14 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Bridge”

  1. Twisted Whimsy

    By Annette Rey

    As he positioned his cellophane-taped glasses on the bridge of his whiskey-red nose, he slurred an attempt to bridge a gap between himself and his wife.

    “Would you like to s_it with me and watch Bridge on the River Kwai?”

    She told him she’d rather jump off the nearest bridge and headed for the Londonderry Bridge to meet her younger and sober lover.

  2. “It’s no good, Alexa.”
    She heard the desperation in his voice. She had heard it before—many times—and it never ended well, not for him nor for her.
    She could hear the sound of a fog horn in the background. Ships’ horns, too.
    “Where are you, Tony?”
    “What does it matter?” His words were slurred. He had been drinking.
    He burst into tears. “God knows I’ve tried, Alexa . . . I’ve tried so hard. Not only for you, but for me, too. I think of what we had and what could have been, and—”
    His voice dissolved into sobs, some so deep and powerful his entire body shook violently.
    The line went silent.
    “Tony? Tony!” she yelled in desperation. “Don’t do it!”
    “What difference would it make? It’s always the same old story . . . everything’s fine for a little while after rehab, and then, something goes wrong, and it’s only the drugs that seem to make it all better. But it doesn’t, and before you know it, we’re right back to where we started . . . more rehab, more drugs, and then, back into rehab again. It just never ends.”
    She said nothing for several seconds
    “But now, I’m putting an end to the pain,” he said quietly.
    “No, Tony, don’t do it! Whatever it is, don’t do it! Think of the children! What will be do without you?”
    “You should have thought of that, Alexa, when you couldn’t kick your heroin habit.”

  3. The more Detective Underhill listened to Jack Pirper, the madder his testimony sounded. Underhill rephrased the suspect’s words, “You said: I followed her half way across Gravestone Bridge before I made her disappear… Is that correct?”

    Jack looked up from his blood stained hands, and shook his head side to side, “No! That’s not what I said! I wasn’t near her when the bridge swallowed her!”

    Frustrated, Underhill slammed his fist on the table, insisting, “Come on, give me a break! Fess up! Why were you so brutal when you killed her? Why did you ever cut off her hand and just leave it there? Where’s her body, Jack?

    Exhausted Jack replied, “The bridge took her. No one was there except the bridge. No one saw it happen. I felt a low rumble through my legs and heard a groan like moan from it! I saw a … a hole open up beneath her feet. She screamed as she was sucked downward into the pavement. I ran to the spot, and there was no hole in the pavement. I grabbed the purse with her severed hand still grasping it. I’m telling you the bridge ate her! Why don’t you believe me?”

    Underhill in disbelief, “Jack, everything you did to her, and I do mean everything, was captured on the bridge security camera. What do you say to that Jack?”

    Jack said nothing more because he realized somehow the bridge framed him … and would kill again.

  4. Charlie’s mother wished Charlie was more like other 9-year-olds. Less talk about the physics of bridge-building and more playing with other kids. But that wasn’t in Charlie’s nature. Charlie was a happy, perpetually optimistic boy with a fascination for engineering. The cable problem with suspension bridges had bothered engineers for decades, and Charlie was thrilled that he had found the perfect solution. He was busy building it with his Erector set when his mother sent him to bed. She sounded angry, but not with him. His father was late getting home. Again. Charlie scooted off to bed, knowing it would not be wise to delay or to argue. With no time to put the Erector away, Jimmy left the light on so his father wouldn’t trip over it when he came home. Annoyed, his mother flipped the lights off and went to bed herself. Several hours later, Jimmy and his mother were awakened by maniacal yelling and unidentifiable noises. Charlie’s father had stepped right into the middle of his engineering experiment and proceeded to kick it to shreds. The following day, Charlie quietly went out to play with the next door neighbor. His Erector set was gone, the metal girders bent, the cables torn, the whole assortment in the trash. And so were Charlie’s chances of ever becoming an engineer. Instead, this happy, perpetually optimistic boy became a top-notch anger management specialist, incidentally with quite a few patents in innovative bridge design.

  5. It hardly seemed like 60 years had passed. A blink of the eye, as they say. Yet, as he stood near the water’s edge under the Manhattan Bridge, it could just as well have been that July night so very long ago when he and Dino Luberto, his best friend, went skinny dipping in the East River off the piers at what now is Main Street Park.

    “Come on, Frankie,” his friend had called as Dino stepped out of his pants, and, throwing them into the air with a flourish, jumped into the chilly waters as the tide swept everything in its path out the sea. “Or are you scared?!”

    They’d left Dino’s father’s red, ’56 Chevy convertible—the pride of the Luberto family—parked near the corner of Adams and John Streets, it’s gleaming hood and large chrome bumpers shining in the moonlight. Life was good. School was out, they’d just dropped off their dates, by day they worked at Coney Island, and, well, what more could you ask for?

    His friend’s taunt still rang in his ears. “Are you kidding,” Frankie had yelled back. “I wouldn’t miss this for anything.”

    In an instant, he, too, was in the water, diving to the bottom, only to surface and splash his friend, who, no slouch he, returned fire in kind, forcing Frankie to turn his back.

    Then, the deluge stopped, and Dino was gone, swept away by the current.

    Frankie still can hear him calling on that night in July.

  6. He started photographing bridges years ago during a tour of New England. The ancient covered bridges complemented the autumn foliage perfectly.

    After that trip he focused his camera on every bridge he encountered in his travels. There were the famous ones. In Venice he clicked the shutter on the Rialto Bridge as the gondolier poled beneath it. In Sydney he first climbed the Harbour Bridge, then photographed it from all angles.

    He captured the London Tower Bridge just as it opened for a passing ship, a fairly rare occurrence according to the tour guide. He even carried his camera gear with him as he trod across the precariously swinging Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver.

    His photo collection also included unknown bridges – some beautiful, some ugly, some aging and deteriorating. Over the years he’d learned that many bridges needed extensive repairs.

    So today he pays close attention as he drives across the crumbling old bridge spanning the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania. Suddenly, he hears three thunderous cracks, but the blue sky reveals no storm. The roadway shudders beneath him.

    Even as he applies the brakes, the irony is not lost on him. He sees the car ahead plunge downward. As gravity grabs his own vehicle and hurtles him toward the water below, he hopes someone is capturing this photo.

  7. Tagged

    I painted my name on a bridge today.

    Tagging, they call it, a young man’s game that guys of fifty-something years probably shouldn’t play.

    I decided to autograph the railroad bridge where each day for fifteen years I’ve rat-raced beneath “Bobby & Lou ’72.” Forty-some years of notoriety seems like a lifetime to a guy who life tagged in black, white and gray too long ago.

    Lately, I’ve begun seeing old classmates’ obituaries in the paper. They’d all experienced some success in their lives.

    What had I accomplished? Since the 1970s, when I began my career as a writer, a civil servant no less, I’ve produced nothing but gray government cheese.

    So I wrote this little haiku on an index card:
    “Once anonymous
    You will never forget us —
    My poem, my name.

    Tonight I got the courage to do the deed. Holding the outside of the overpass with my left hand, I reached for my index card with my right. Suddenly, I realized that I couldn’t hold the card, the bridge, my breath and still exhale urban art out a can with only two hands.

    One tractor trailer blow-by later, I was without my poem.

    Instead, in a panic of writer’s block I painted:
    “Jo-Ho wAs heRe.”

    Tomorrow, I’ll see it and know I did it. Everyone going to work on that highway for the next twenty-eight years will see it. I’d finally left my mark.

    So, Tag, Life. Who’s It now?

  8. Of all the luck—subways are down, busses are crowded, traffic, as usual, is a nightmare. Once again I am hoofing over the bridge to get to my office. At least it isn’t snowing. In fact, this is probably the perfect weather for a winter walk, such as it is. This isn’t a leisurely stroll through the woods, but the little bit of snow dusting the surfaces and the gray sky makes me feel like I’m living in a black-and-white movie.

    Like all great movie heroines, I straighten my spine and walk with a determined purpose. My mind takes in the details, since I don’t know what scene is being filmed. As I approach the tower, the low cables gracefully soaring to its top, I can feel the adventure. Approaching a gate to an old fortress, am I entering a castle to be welcomed as visiting royalty or to be swept directly to the dungeon to meet my fate?

    I stop, in awe of the cables holding up this mammoth structure. Who were the minds that designed this? The workers who erected it? How can I complain of inconvenience when these men created such a magnificent structure without the benefit of OSHA to protect them?

    I sigh, continuing across, focusing on my workday ahead. Just like them, I am doing my little part to make connections and bridge gaps. Maybe not quite as elegantly, but I owe it to my worker-bee ancestors to do my best no matter what.

  9. “How kind of you to honor this opening,” Signore Contino said, bowing, as he greeted the chief magistrate of Venice.

    “How could I not? It would be a sin to miss this auspicious event,” he replied. “Just look at this magnificense.”

    Tears of awe filled their eyes as they gazed at the beauty of the bridge spanning the Palazzo River, its arching, white Istrian stone gleaming in the sunlight. It was only thirty-six feet long, but such inspiring detail.

    “Just look at the different expressions on those faces carved into the base of the bridge. So fitting. So beautiful. You did a masterful job designing this masterpiece,” the magistrate praised, patting Contino’s back.

    They heard the moans and woeful sighs of the first batch of condemned prisoners getting their last view of Venice through the stone-barred windows as they crossed the bridge that connected the interrogation rooms in the doge’s Palazzo Ducale, to the new prison.

    “May I suggest a name for this beauty, which, I am sure, will soon become a world-famous landmark,” the magistrate asked Contino?

    “You would honor me, sir,” he replied.

    Another batch of weeping prisoners crossed the bridge.

    “Let’s call it il Ponte dei Sospiri,” he offered, “the Bridge of Sighs.”

    “Oh. Si. Yes,” Contino happily agreed.

    They embraced and parted.

    A gondola glided under the bridge, the gondolier crooning an Italian love song to his enraptured passengers, while the bells of St. Mark’s Basilica rang out, granting them eternal love.

  10. The snow was melting with soggy clumps clinging to the stone facade of the old bridge. I think it was a replica of some famous bridge. The walk was usually nasty in the winter, but it started raining minutes before turning the commute into a miserable, sloshy slog. I wasn’t supposed to go to work today, but I always cave in when the boss asks; I just know if I refuse, he’ll fire me and hire someone else.
    I was about half way across the bridge, where the waters below are the most dangerous when I saw a figure ahead standing at the edge of the bridge walk. Once closer, It was clearly a man no the wrong side of the rail facing the river and holding on with an uneasy grip. It all shook me from my winter funk.
    “Hey!” I shouted.
    The man turned his head slowly to my voice. I stopped. I froze. He looked just like me. His head cocked to one side, face expressionless. Not only did he look like me but I quickly saw we wore the same clothes and hairstyle. He was me. He then smiled and jumped.
    A sharp pain shot through my skull. I clenched my teeth tight and slammed my eyes closed to put out the pain.
    The snow was melting with soggy clumps clinging to the stone facade of the old bridge.

  11. “Quiet!” hissed the librarian. Quinn’s eyes rolled synchronizing with a sigh and theatrical turn. She never liked the old troll at the Wolfcott High Library, always seeming to hide under the books and popping out to ruin someone’s fun. “Diapers must be in her hundreds,” Quinn snarked, employing a typical sentiment and borrowing a brutal nickname from Jimmy Mckinney.

    Quinn repelled to the deepest corner of the library where she buried herself in Steinbeck’s Of Mice And Men, leaving irritation on ground level. When Mr. Rosinthal assigned the book for an English report, Quinn was relieved it was short. But after starting it, every page she turned was a step into a riveting story. She fell in love with Lennie, and hoped quietly for a happy ending. It never came.

    When the book concluded, it was as if she had crossed a bridge. The land she found herself in was different than the one she left. She was still in the corner of the Wolfcott Library, but, Quinn felt changed, sobered by a new perspective. A tear rolled for Lennie as the intercom clicked on and echoed through her dazed mind, “The Library will be closing in 15 minutes.”

    With a pensive brow, and book clutched, Quinn drifted toward the exit. Upon passing the circulation desk, she curled a soft smile for the librarian and offered kind eyes.

    “Good night, Ms. Von.”


    Etched into a copper sign at the entrance read, “Every book is a bridge. Every bridge counts.”

  12. Robinson became impatient. The faculty-team might arrive any moment at their computer lab.

    ‘Hurry, John! Madam called me and confirm this address. They’re just a mile away!’
    ‘Oh no, graphics aren’t optimized yet!’
    ‘Do it anyway, else, none could save us’
    ‘Just a minute, bro, I got a saviour …’
    ‘Who’s that?’
    ‘The bridge! Bridge will save us’

    Exam-team’s brand new SUV was coming like a spacecraft. While yards short of the bridge they got John’s call.
    ‘Madam, can I speak to the driver please? It’s urgent message…’

    Vehicle stopped emergently.
    ‘…Yes? Speaking…’
    ‘Sir you must avoid the river-bridge! Just now an inspection team reported a crack therein’
    ‘But we’re already on the bridge and didn’t notice any such alert’
    ‘What! Oh my God! Just now we saw the report in a local newscast!’
    ‘Oh; okay, okay I’m taking U-turn. Thank you very much son!’
    ‘Welcome sir. Take the safe route, right turn before the bridge’

    At their lab, relaxed John, ‘So, we have at least an hour more’
    Robinson’s eyes were bulging in surprise— what a genius his friend was!

    A shrewd-looking gentleman:
    ‘Hello boys! I’m Professor Allen. Can I come in?’
    ‘Yes. How could we help you sir?’
    ‘I live nearby. Madam Theresa is still on the way, so she asked me to bridge the time gap. Let’s start the scrutiny of your project?’

  13. Bridges
    by Jack Spies

    The bomb was set. They had to go, but where was her dog Sylvia? Sylvia, her comrade, who had been her guide and savior on most missions, was missing. She was too well trained to have wandered off for no reason. Something or someone must have compelled her attention, or there could have been an accident. She called to her, “Syl, Syl … where are you, Syl?” Oh, it was hopeless here on the edge of the woods, she thought. The light would be gone soon, and then only the starlight against the moonless sky would remain. There was no choice but to stay here, next to the bomb, until morning, and hope that Syl would return: a wager against the inevitable.

    She was also well trained and didn’t panic. She called again, one more time, “Syl, Syl. Sylviaaaa.” And then whispered, “Be safe, Syl. Be safe.”

    In the morning, she was roused by thunderous explosions. In the distance, smoke – sketching on an otherwise cloudless sky – filtered the coming light, and birds took flight toward tamer lands. She did what she could to find Sylvia, but found no trace. Her other comrades, people who depended on her, were calling, and she must answer as she knew Syl would if she were able. She crossed over the bridge and lit the bomb’s fuse, sketching her own little cameo on the morning sky, and added another voice to a bridgeless chasm.

  14. The Man

    The clunker sputtered towards the bridge. The car skid over the ice formed from the freezing rain the night before. Berchwald braced himself; but not because of the ice. Soon his father Hunfrid would tell the tired story of how the bridge almost claimed his brother’s life on a dreary day like this.

    “Son, have I told you zee shtory of how your Unkle Frantz fell off zee bridge?” Right on cue, thought Berchwald. “Some say he vas drunk and zat he fell asleep behind the veel. Ozers beliefed his shtory to be true. Vell as it goes it vas gettink dark ven your Unkle Frantz vas drifink through the bridge. At the end he saw a man holdink a sign. It had to hafe been a ghost he reasoned later because it vas cold to zee bone and no man could shtand zere too long. He squinted to make out zee sign ven the car slid ofer black ice and plunged into zee freezink vaters below. Frantz broke open his vindow barely escapink an icy grafe. Ven he got to zee schore and up zee bridge to vere the man had been, to Frantz’ disbelief, the man vas novere to be found but zee sign vas shtill zere. Zee sign read: KEEP YOUR EYES ON ZEE ROAD.”

    Hunfrid turned to Berchwald. The car veered to the right across a patch of ice on the bridge. Berchwald cringed.

    “Vorry not son, I have not been drinkink! Ha-ha.” *Hiccup*

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