Flash fiction based on a photo.
Pretty sure this doesn’t work, but I thought I’d give it a shot, anyway.
“The bridges are down,” Sebae whispered, horrified.
I looked. The fog dispersed into a low-lying layer ahead of us. Over it I saw the Salt Island bridge– except it was no longer a bridge. On the eastward side of the River the upper deck had collapsed into the lower. Metal filaments and broken chunks of plasticrete alone remained of the towers that had supported it.
To the west, the bridge was simply gone. Water rushed about pilings and ruined pieces of bridge deck protruding from the water. Far beyond, I saw only a wrecked tracery of metal that had been the Tulland bridge.
“All gone,” Sebae said, still whispering, as if he could not believe it. “The settlements….”
He didn’t have to finish the thought. I leaned for a moment on my paddle. Five thousand years— that’s how long the bridges had stood– built by the Ancients to endure. And the Firebringer had destroyed them in a night, with less thought than a child might have for a toy they did not want.
“What do we do now?” Sebae said, sounding lost.
I breathed deep, put my paddle in the water again. “Row,” I said. “The messages won’t wait.”