A friend gave me this picture as a writing prompt. I had many ideas that were inspired by it, but I will share this one: a short little piece of fiction I wrote up. See what you think.
I wonder where they think I am…
Brian looked at the writing on the bridge rail, his fingers tracing the words carved into the wood. “I wonder where they think I am…” He laughed to himself. Duh, you would be here on the same bridge as me genius, he thought.
He noticed movement in the river below him, but when he looked he saw nothing more than water pouring downstream and foaming around a rock. It must’ve just been the water. He tossed the soda bottle he’d been carrying into the river below.
Just then he heard a noise rustling in the trees behind him and turned to scan the forest. He heard the caw of a raven nearby and watched as the bird hopped out of the branches onto the bridge to stare at him. He laughed.
“Are you stalking me?” he asked the bird. The raven cocked his head to the side and looked at him with one eye. It opened its mouth again, but this time a kaleidoscope of color came out, curling in tendrils into the air between them. The colors crawled and moved towards Brian who stood transfixed in confusion. “What in the—”
The colors touched his skin and snaked up his arms under his t-shirt, they began to burn as they sank in and Brian began to scream. He felt something grab him from behind and spin him around. Standing in front of him was a rock formation in the shape of a man, moss for hair. Brian tried to scream again, but the rock man put a hand over his mouth to silence him. He struggled, but the grip of the rock around his arm was too strong.
The colors continued their burning path up his neck and down his chest while his muffled cries filled the air. Then Brian noticed the colors were also pouring off his fingertips onto the rock man. No, they were sucking the colors off the rock man, and transferring them to him. He saw his skin change to a grey pallor freckled with rocklike specks. Then he saw the rock man begin to change to flesh and saw him tilt his head back as if to scream too, but nothing came out.
For every change Brian saw on his own body, he saw a mirrored change in the rock man until they had swapped places. The man before him let go of his arm and they stood there staring at each other in exhausted silence. The man now wore clothes, and Brian was nothing but rock.
“Now it’s your turn,” the man said and shoved Brian over the bridge railings. As he fell, he realized he couldn’t scream. No sound came out. His weight settled to the bottom of the river, but his head was large enough to rest above the water. He looked back up at the bridge and watched as the man carved something into the top of the bridge with a knife that had come from somewhere and then he understood. He was carving those same words back into the wood of the railing.
Then the man left. He heard the caw of the raven once more and then nothing but the sound of the water rushing around him. He wondered if anyone would miss him. Who knew how long he would have to wait for a replacement.