A boy, a girl, and a bridge in two worlds. Drabbly.
A bridge is a quintessentially liminal thing, and it shares those qualities that characterize other things that delimit one state from another - doors, boundaries, the turning point of one day or year to the next - by being dangerous, enchanted, pregnant with a double-edged potential.
- Alby Stone
Bridges are strange things. They link places and worlds together - indeed, folkloric tradition is filled with stories of the bridge to another dimension, or of narrow escapes over rivers where spirits cannot follow - but belong to neither. Hovering perilously in-between this world and the next they take on their own rules and time, becoming a kind of no man's land where the laws of the material and immaterial planes are weak and flimsy at best. Bridges, in essence, have their own kind of magic.
They do not have to be special or elaborately decorated to hold considerable power. The little bridge over the ravine is slowly going to rot and ruin, garish red paint peeling off its softening boards in long, thin flakes, and yet it is more important to the girl than any other bridge in the whole wide world. She has tried to give it a fresh coat in the past, but for its own reasons the bridge rejected these new colours outright. The paint rolled off its balustrades into the dry riverbed below like bright blood /(like dragon's blood)/, until eventually the girl gave up trying to fix the cantankerous old thing and just left it alone. It seems happier this way somehow, allowed to age in relative peace.
She comes here whenever she gets a chance, to write or draw (carved his name into the wood, but cannot bring herself to utter it aloud) or just stare up at the sky with her hands firmly tucked behind her head, gazing up into the blue. At first her parents worry about all the time spent alone - shouldn't you join a club or go out with your little girl friends instead of playing in those abandoned buildings? You could get hurt; they're not very well-built, are they? - but when the girl is stubborn she is very stubborn, and few know this better than her parents. Eventually they give up their cajoling and she continues to go to her special place every day. On the bridge, where the fabric of things is paper-thin, she feels closer to them (and him) than anywhere else.
If her parents knew of the girl's habit of sneaking out late at night there would be more trouble, but she is quiet and stealthy and waits until they are fast asleep and snoring to make her exit. The darkened woods might scare some girls, as might the dusty tunnel with its hollow moonlit spaces, but they don't bother this one in the slightest. The further she goes the more comfortable she feels; by the time the field with its acres of softly billowing grass comes into view the girl is usually flat-out running, hoping for /something/. It has never happened yet, this mysterious change she wishes for night after night, but it will someday, of that the girl is certain. As surely as the sun rises in the east the change will come, if she just has patience and waits. The waters will roll in and there will be lights and noise and magic again, and a pair of pale arms waiting to embrace her.
But for now the dilapidated buildings remain dark and silent, inhabited only by crickets and racoons and all the skittering, creeping creatures of the country dusk. She sits in the middle of the bridge with her dusty, knobbly knees pulled up to her chin and watches the stars as they wheel in stately procession far above, wondering if somewhere on the other side of the rift someone dear to her watches them as well. The little purple hair-tie is clutched in her fist like a talisman, a connection to the world (and the boy) she cannot see but knows is there. She could almost reach out and touch it /(his hand; they are falling through the night sky but she is not afraid, because he will not let her fall)/, if only the veil would draw back for just a moment ...
And somewhere on the other side, where an ocean stretches to the horizon and lights glitter on every surface, the boy waits on a bridge, staring up at the heavens. He feels closer to the other side (and her) here than anywhere else, and so every night he comes to this place, and he watches, and he waits, biding his time. When the veil lifts again, for however ephemeral a time that may be, he will be through the curtain like water through a dyke, like a river bursting its dams. Dragons do not make false promises /(especially not to loved ones)/.
But for now he waits, ignoring the curious stares of gods and monsters as they pass by. He does not care (but he does, for her, deeply) if they stare, continuing his vigil long into the night.
And when they finally fall asleep, there on the bridge, both dream of a fair green land under a painfully blue sky. They run to each other across the field and, clutching each other's hands tightly, walk away towards the horizon together in friendly silence.