Flash! Friday week 40

Prompt: http://flashfriday.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/flash-friday-40/

The caw of a crow was followed by another, and then another, the air around Eliza filling with the noise of a thousand cries, but she heard none. For her there was nothing but the bridge. On the other side of the bridge was death, the camps where so many of her people had been sent and from which they would never return, and on this side of the bridge was death, a suffusion of war and famine and pestilence. The soldiers behind her were barking out their orders in their pidgin version of her language, but she heard them no more than the crows. For her there was nothing but the bridge.

Eliza’s nerves tingled at the sensation of stepping onto the bridge, the slight give of the wood, the awareness of being so far above the ground. She placed on hand on the railing, polished smooth from ten thousand other journeys. She could picture them in her mind, terrified, crying, defiant, their attitude not mattering at all once they set foot on the rock at the far side. Her fingers found a rough spot on the underside of the railing, and she played with the texture, thinking of the living thing that gave its life to be this bridge, leaves reaching into the sky until being toppled over by men with axes and saws and thick hemp ropes.

The movement of the bridge maximized as she reached the middle, diminishing as she made her way to the end. Her toes, bruised and battered, but not numb, caressed the wood as the hands of the men who first laid this bridge must have, testing for the strength needed to support itself for centuries to come. The last step lay ahead, but she didn’t see it. For her there was nothing but the bridge.

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