Bridge is today’s #writephoto prompt from KL Caley at New2Writing.com. I’m a little behind in getting a short story together, and eventually it became very short: under 400 words. But I hope you enjoy them. After I finished, I thought ‘stream of consciousness’ might have been a better title. But then, I’d just read a great review of Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series.
Here’s the photo:
Home is a Bridge
“I like it here.” The young one commented.
A few hours passed.
“What happens next?”
“What do you mean by ‘next,’ young one?”
Young one thought for a while. Just like the water going past below, it seemed his thoughts had a streamlike quality, flowing one after the other. Something must be coming, if everything was going. How could he explain that to the old one?
“Are we in a constant state of existence? Does nothing ever change?”
The old one pondered this for a few hours.
Young one watched the stream, observed the changing quality of the light, and thought about constancy and change.
“No,” the old one said.
“I’m sure I register changes in something called illumination.”
“That is all that changes. It is cyclical, and the cycle never changes.”
“Dark, dim, bright, brighter, up and down a bit, then dim then dark again, you mean?”
“Yes. Although I concede that during the brighter phase, the levels change at random, or so it seems. But they always tend towards dim, and finish at dark.”
A dark period came and went.
“It is dim, but not getting brighter,” young one commented.
“It is difficult to compare with something that is not present. A fancy of youth, perhaps.”
It remained dim or dark, for three days.
“Surely the stream is growing, old one?”
“It apparently has come closer.”
“It is getting very near to us, old one.”
“Has this happened before?”
“What do you mean by ‘before’?”
“Does the level of the stream have a rise and fall cycle?”
“Perhaps. I have not paid any attention to the stream. It just is.”
“it’s getting very, very close now, old one.”
“That is correct. My whiskers are trembling. I have no experience of this cycle. Aaaagh!”
“Old one? Old one? Aaaagh!”
Being tossed and thrown by a turbulent stream, out under a sunlit sky, was a horrific experience for a barnacle washed from the safety of a bridge wall. Old one died of shock.
Once young one found shelter under another bridge further downstream, he set up a whole new colony, and a new religion, based on his thoughts and experiences.
© J M Pett 2021