In order to be in, you gotta jump.
Getting up there is the hardest part. A wire cable is tied around one of the pillars. The bigger kids do it all the time. Hand over hand, you shimmy up. Hope you’re caught up on tetanus, cause if you slip, you’ll be pulling metal splinters out for a month. Once up on the bridge, you monkey walk up the steel frame. The pads of your bare feet find traction on the bolts that nipple out uniformly along the entire length. Your fingers grip the lips on either side and send a shower of rusty flakes below; feels like dead skin being sloughed off a python.
The beam levels off and you stand up slowly. Try to look down without looking down. From up here, the clay stained river looks solid. If you jump the impact is sure to turn your pecker into a ballistic. It’ll punch through the cranium and lodge in your grey matter. Can you imagine the X-ray?
“Jump, you chicken-shit-muv-fukah.” They cackle and pass around a Pall Mall that you lifted off the old man.
No tellin’ what’s under there. If you could only get a good look at the bottom, but there’s only one way to find out—and only one way down.
Fuck it. One foot in front of the other. You rocket down like a lawn dart, one hand pinches your nose the other cups your crotch.
Just enough time to take a breath, then the water gobbles you up whole.
At first you think it’s the clay bottom holding you down. Your feet are stuck, and you just need to work’em free. It’s when the clay makes ribbons out of flesh and grabs your arms and neck that you panic. You open your eyes wide. Mother Nature doesn’t like voids. She fills your entire six inch visibility with bloated dead people. They unravel barbwire from their spongy necks, like the umbilical cord of an aborted fetus. They wrap it tightly around you, anchoring you down. You send a battalion of bubbles, saturated with agonizing screams, marching to the surface. When they pop, will your voice reverberate through their ranks?