For this weeks Flash Friday we had 310 words to write about the following:
Bridge girl. Photo by Scott Liddell.
With Correct Payment
The first thing she noticed was the silence. There was no wind, no rustling leaves, no birds calling, just the faint gurgle of distant running water. She glanced around for her parents, but they were nowhere to be found. Her chest clenched with the childish fear of being alone. She fought the feeling and reminded herself she was six, almost seven. She peered into the distance but found her view obscured by a dense fog. The only outline was a bridge. She set off in search of an adult.
She was tired from the journey but couldn’t remember how far she had come. It felt like a long way. It was time to rest. Something about the bridge pulled her forwards, each step lightening her burden. There was nothing behind her, just a thick grey blanket that followed on her footsteps.
As she crossed the bridge a building came into view. She approached carefully and jumped when a hooded figure stepped out of the shadows. She put on her polite voice reserved for strangers, “excuse me sir, I am lost.”
His voice was deep, “We are all lost here my child. The answers you seek lay beyond this gate.”
“May I pass?”
“With correct payment.”
He gestured to a box in front of him which contained a simple slot. After a moment of panic she checked her pockets and was surprised to find a silver coin. She placed it carefully into the slot and waited. The figure examined her carefully before opening the gate. As she stepped into the unknown the fog dissipated and her eyes grew wide.
Far below, Charon the ferryman watched the young girl cross the newly constructed toll bridge. He dipped his oar deep into the river Styx and paddled for home, muttering to himself, “Those bastards are going to put me right out of business!”