Bridge of Souls
He stared at it everyday. What else was there to do? In the giant night there was only one light. One shining shimmering beacon of life they called the bridge. Most people spend every day avoiding it, living an unremarkable life, barely getting by. As a boy he dreamed of crossing it and exploring the other side. His imagination ran to the farthest corners of conceptualization. What lay beyond. The ultimate curiosity. But he was taught by society at an early age never to venture.
Although the bridge was feared it was never guarded. Anyone at anytime was free to walk. Very few times in his life did he see someone embrace the unknown and not once did he ever see someone return. Was it too good to relent? He wondered. Or was it so dark and disastrous that return was impossible. Was it death?
How long can you go on being tortured by an idea? How long can you fathom inside your own head before the burden of wanting becomes too much to bear? When does the scale tip and consequences outweigh stasis? For him it was this moment. So he made his way for the bridge.
Everyone told him to stay away from it. His whole life was defined by its neglect. He saw what became of the elders, their hollow shells of meaningless existence. Was that better than death? He would find out firsthand. In a world of night, one mere light can hold in it all the stars of the cosmos. The bridge lit their skies. To be walking on it was sheer ecstasy. He felt the rush run through his chest like the blood through his veins. His heart trampled him across the effervescent stretch. From halfway across... the world forward mirrored the world behind.
He did not hesitate one step. He walked on and claimed the bridge as his own. As he came closer and closer to the end excitement turned to reluctance. Something was wrong, pure optimism had dissipated, and an air of question washed over him. He was uneasy, poking and prodding for what was wrong. He could not see it but he could sense it. The bridge was losing its color and he was fading back into night.
Just a bit more and maybe he could soldier through. He was almost across. There had to be something worth the trip, all those years, the other side calling to him. Now that he was nearly there it felt...like nothing. The bridge was beautiful the moment he stepped foot on it. Perhaps it was still beautiful, but because he was in the midst of it he could no longer appreciate it. He placed his hand on the rail and felt something again.
This time it was not good. The soft, whining pain crept into his skin on all sides and brought him to his knees. What first was hardly noticeable now completely absorbed him. He begged to return home. He looked back over the slight bend of the neon bridge and realized he had gone too far. He would not make it back. Was this the same fate that all others before him succumbed to? Is this it?
He imagined what it would feel like to be back home. How long until the allure of the bridge take him again? Even if he returned safely, would he not just think up reasons to try again? If you want to crawl back to the beginning all that will lay in front of you is the path already followed. What would be the point?
No, he must see this through. He must find out what's on the other side.
He got to his feet and endured the pain through remembering the ecstasy. He took one step at a time and welcomed any new obstacle, for he knew his goal, and now in the face of danger, in the eye of calamity he found strength in himself, and there was nothing left that could stop him.
A thin veneer covered the entire exit of the bridge like the cover of a book. When he pushed his hand into it he could reach forward but it did not break. The invisible skin conformed to his fingers, webbing his hand in resistance. He tried a running start but he just bounced back. He moved his hands across every inch of it and there were no holes, no weaknesses. It almost felt good. It took his mind away from the pain and made it nonexistent. He was in limbo, return home through the valley of pain or stay here in the dead end.
He sat on the bridge, his back to the end, resting comfortably on the flexible layer between realities. He had all the time in the world to decide. He had all the time in the world to keep from deciding. It was time to think outside of the box. He peered over the side of the bridge.
What was below him that required such a monumental structure?
It was the endless void.
The space that separates worlds. All he had to do was impregnate an impenetrable field to finish his quest. He pointed one finger out with his right hand and pushed as hard as he possibly could. The loose contour focused tightly on his imposing finger. With his left arm, hand curled into a fist, he punched right beside his finger which was still making the pressure point and the veneer shattered before him.
As the fragmented pieces rain down around him they catch and sprinkle reflections of light from the bridge. Each piece marked a different part of the new world with the light, covering most of the sky. The light mended together and produced something that practically blinded him. he dropped to his knees and wept openly. He had found something. He had made his own personal discovery through the victory of his life's quest. He had finally found the new world and with it came the dawn.