The devil’s bridge is at the end of the world. A sledge of rock, it crosses from life into death itself. The water beneath roils and boils, shoots up so hot from geysers that they say if you drop two eggs in, the devil takes one and sends the other back hard boiled.
Those who come to cross the bridge seek release, salvation, peace… an end to this being. There is no crossing back, once you’ve set your foot atop the bridge. The devil will always take his toll; the price: your life.
Only the brave and the foolish dare to tempt fate, stepping across the bridge cocky and surefooted…until they slip into the ever after, scrabbling, grabbing for safety, but never finding purchase on the slippery rocks.
Because the devil always takes what’s his. And eggs are not enough to sate the beast.
They say in days long gone by, slaves would dash themselves against the rocks, fling themselves into the sea to escape a cruel master, a life of agony and servitude. This sea knows only pain and blood…
What better place to take her.
My sweet love, my sun and my moon, my reason for being.
I’ll take you to the edge of the world, I told her, and show you the vastness of my love.
She’d twittered and sighed. Ran across the stony field like a girl, laughing into the wind.
It’s so romantic, she’d said, her long, black hair whipping into her face.
She’d flung her arms wide into the wind. Spun and spun and spun like a whirligig. Then she’d sighed and stared out into the Devil’s maw, her hands clasped at her breast.
I took her hand and led her to the foot of the bridge. She was scared, she’d said, but she trusted me.
Like I’d trusted her. Fool that I was.
I’d stood behind her, my arms wrapped around her waist, the weight of her head on my chest. I leaned down and kissed her ear.
And then I pushed her.
She didn’t make a sound as she slipped from my arms into the devil’s embrace, her body smashing once, twice against the rocks before slipping from view, the sea roiling red.
But maybe I took too long to long let her go. Maybe, at the last, I’d tried to hold on. Because in letting her fall, I’d stumbled, my foot stepping down onto the bridge. And now I owed the devil a toll; the price: my life.
I fell, grabbing the bridge from below, hanging on to the rock, my fingers struggling to find purchase. I felt the rough waves slamming against my feet, pulling me down into the depths below.
I heard the devil laughing. Let go! he bellowed with delight.
I looked below me to my death, into the depth of searing hurt and pain. I looked above me into the light — there was only the same. The promise of an empty life, an un-mendable heart, a dark deed done that could not be undone.
I closed my eyes.
I’m coming, I said.
And I let go.