Recently I have been working on a novella idea. I can now proudly say that I have completed the first draft of Amber Bridge: a psychological thriller philosophising about life stuck in neutral. It has been an interesting journey and a nice reprise while still working through my fantasy novel “Pawns of Time.” For lack of a better idea, I have decided to post an excerpt from the story for all of my lovely readers. Is your life like an Amber Bridge?
Embers, burning, burning, burning. Smoke, billowing in the night sky, desperately working to bring life into the shapeless black shadows. Below, the highway is almost dead, one odd car after the next — some crawling hopelessly, forward circling the drain of life, others racing like water trapped in a pressured pipe, seeking for spout’s escape — flying, or crawling, to some destination beyond the darkened horizon. Street lights cast fabled breath, life into the shadows — deceitful facades shining promises onto the tarmac, buzzing voices in the night whispering down life’s runway while cars pass, flying or crawling, reaching for the promises beyond those deceitful amber leads.
A man sucks in smoke, night air filtering through drug-soaked cigarette. Embers burn on its tip, one more fabled light casting promises, hope, into the dark. The ambers below are filled with life’s warnings — speed up or slow down for the lights? When will they turn red? — but the glowing smoke in this man’s hand has none to share. It glows hot against the crisp chill, like a final flame almost smothered by night’s coffin.
One long draw, one longer exhalation; the smoke swallows itself, slowly dying with each bright burning light, each smoke plume, each fire trying to break free of night’s chains.
The man squints, eyes strain to spot some light in the distance, that fabled story of old. Nothing but darkness speaks from that light-tunnel’s end below. The ambers draw closer, taunting left and right, dying on night’s horizon. That bridge seemingly leads into the void — one empty, black spot down the road. Some shamble, some race, but do any reach that light at tunnel’s end, that destination of life’s bridge? Or are the ambers coming together, a maw swallowing all in darkness, warning lights embraced for a final, endless, hopeless grave?
They say life flashes before your eyes, when death comes calling, when we reach that door at tunnel’s end, crack it open, let light spill onto the road. The man never sees those flashes, save for through windows when flying along the path — ambers buzzing, whizzing, whispers warning of the encroaching darkness.
Now, there is no flash of life as he pulls one final fag drag. The ember burns a smokey tip, burns his fingers, lips, but he holds it there. One final breath comes out, cold, attempting to add one parting message to the night, breathe meaning into his life: this bridge with no destination, no purpose beyond the constant warning ambers.
He lets it falls, watches that last ember burning, tumbling, dying. Slowly. Smoke curls from one red light among many yellow lies, swallowed by the black, disappearing on the road below. It lays there, broken, bleeding smoke, not at road’s end — no destination to be seen — but right there, in the middle, nothing but final darkness to follow.
That ember dies, no purpose left; those ambers die, unheard warnings.
The man jumps, breathing in smoke, breathing in death, breathing ambers and embers, but nothing green. No reason left to fly or crawl along the bridge of life toward… no destination. Some might have a desire to test the yellow, screaming through or crawling to a stop. Some might work for that end that never comes, all their life searching for a purpose beneath those winking lights. This man, has one light left to share. It lies on the pavement with his broken body, seeping, slowly, from worthless veins. Red.