The Secret Door; Facing Fears

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Each Week TerribleMinds Chuck Wendig has a Flash Fiction writing challenge for us.
This week it was a Secret Door Challenge.  Simply to follow the link through the Secret door and it will take you some place. Write about that place in no more than 1,000 words.

The Secret Door: – It took me to a swinging bridge overlooking the Grand Canyon

The Secret Door

The Secret Door is presented by Safestyle UK

My knuckles were turning white and hurting. I was grasping so hard to the wood railing. Knowing, fearing deep inside that at any moment the bridge was going to snap and leave me dangling above the mouth of the roaring river below. There was no one here to save me if it did happen. There was no one here to encourage me to keep going that it would be ok.

I thought about Jake. He would push me. He would encourage me if he could. But right now it was my job to push through my fear. It was the only way that Jake would survive. I had to make it across the bridge and back down to find help. Jake was lying helpless, broken, on a boulder at the base of one of the canyons.

We had spent last night camping out, snuggling under a warm blanket by the campfire and watching the stars as they filled the sky. There were no distractions from lights of the big city out here. When night fell the sky overhead filled with thousands of stars. It was like being in the middle of nowhere.

Right now I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere and alone. The bridge still loomed ahead of me. I was no more than 4 or 5 steps onto it. When we had crossed this bridge yesterday I had held on to Jake’s hand and closed my eyes as he guided me to the other side. He was my hero and I was going to be his wife. He had asked me just last night as we sat and watched the shooting stars across the sky.

Panic coursed through me and caused a tremble that shook the entire bridge. What if he didn’t survive? I had to get to help. I had to get to the other side of this bridge to do that. I slid my hand along the wood railing a few inches, closed my eyes and started to walk slowly. The ground under me shook, rocked actually in the wind and from the movements I was making as I crossed. I kept my eyes closed and put one foot after the next. Step after step, I knew I had to be almost across the bridge so I opened my eyes to find out. I was in the middle, too far to turn around and go back and not close enough to the other side to feel freedom.

A large bird flew down from his perch and landed on the railing a few feet in front of me. Just the landing of the bird caused the bridge to sway. Panic and fear took over and I fell to my knees, my legs too shaky to stand. There were wood planks along the bottom of the bridge and I grabbed onto them as I began to crawl on my hands and knees. One slow crawl after the next. I made the mistake of looking through the plank on the bottom and down into the raging river that ran beneath me. The fear was overwhelming now as I had let the panic take pure hold of me. I sat unmoving for what seemed like hours but was probably only minutes.

I relived our moments last night. The fire was crackling in front of us and we were huddled together fighting off the chill that the canyon brought with it. Jake had acted like he was going to get us a soda out of the cooler but instead he pulled out a wine bottle and two glasses. I had done most of the packing for the trip so I didn’t know how he managed to sneak that in.

He sat the bottle between us and I read the label. It had cursive writing all over it and it was written in multiple languages. The bottle was filled with words but they only said one thing over and over, “I love you Clara, will you marry me?” My heart was filled with Joy. I had never had someone love me as much as Jake loved me. I had never loved someone that much. And now our future was uncertain. If I could not bring myself to cross this bridge and get him help then certainly he would die and my heart and life would die with him.

I could do this for him, for us, for our future. It was time. I took a few deep breaths and opened my eyes. I stood very slowly pulling myself up and steadying myself in the center of the bridge. I kept my eyes open this time. I was pulling my strength from Jake right now I was walking towards our future. Step after step after step I was putting distance between Jake and I but I was bringing us closer to a future.

When my feet finally touched the dirt path on the other side of the bridge I crumbled to my knees in relief. I had made it. I knelt only moments in the dirt before I stood and took off down the canyon for help.

(c) April 2013 – Shelly Tennyson Taylor

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