Friday Flash Fics — Burning

Today’s Friday Flash Fic picture struck me as ultimately triumphant. Something in the expression on the young man’s face here struck me the most, and it reminded me of more than a few fellow queerlings I’ve met on similar paths, with similar histories.

Flash Friday

Image from Pixabay.


It wasn’t the smartest way out of town, or even remotely convenient, but Bradley started across the rail bridge, stepping carefully from tie to tie. His hands shook, his fingers colder than the light breeze should have left them.

All in all, it was a nice day, really. He remembered an English class from a year or two back, and struggled for a term.

Pathetic fallacy. If it were a real thing, it should be raining right now. Or maybe a thunderstorm on the horizon.

Or maybe there should be clear skies ahead, and the clouds should stay behind him.

Or maybe…

He swallowed, and a breath exploded out of his chest. How long had he been holding his breath?

Tie to tie, keeping his balance. Some of them were numbered with faded white paint. He tracked that without actually reading them.

At the half-way point, someone in the receding town beeped a car horn. It almost made him stumble, almost missing a step, as he twisted to look behind him just in case.

Bradley stopped, heart hammering in his chest. If he’d fallen, he could have really hurt himself, and then… God. He counted to five, gathering his wits.

The English class came back to the surface again. Gathering wits. Was that a metaphor? He wasn’t sure. As the cool air wafted past him and he got his breathing back under control, he glanced back at the town behind him.

We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, he thought. Not a metaphor. An… what was it called?


They weren’t supposed to be literal. Though he’d crossed quite a few bridges today already.

Emptying his bank account hadn’t been difficult. Neither had selling his car, though making sure the buyer wouldn’t come get it until Friday had been a minor quibble. Still, once he’d handed over the papers and the keys, it was a done deal. He had what he was pretty sure was enough cash to be okay. To find somewhere to start again.

He’d even managed to get his ID, though not much else.

By the time he’d walked his way to the first station on the other side of the bridge and bought a ticket, he’d be—he hoped—someone no one would really remember.

At the very least, he hoped that seeing his car still in the town, still in the same parking spot, and none of his stuff gone—except for his ID, but really, would they check the filing cabinet right away?—would throw them off long enough.

They’d waste a lot of time checking in with his “friends.”

“Is Bradley with you?”

He could almost imagine his father’s voice, at first annoyed. Then, after a few calls, perhaps angry.

Would he ever be worried?

Bradley started walking again. Tie to tie.

He knew they’d find him eventually. But he only had to make it a few more months first. There were ways to hide. Being the son of a sheriff had taught him some of them without him even knowing.

Bradley made it to the other side of the bridge. Stepping off the ties to the dirt beside the rails felt like an accomplishment. He turned around.

He should keep walking. He had more than enough time to get to the station, but it wouldn’t do to waste time. Still.

He eyed the bridge.

Maybe he should have brought a lighter. A small smile played out on his face, there and gone again in a moment, but a chuckle followed it.


Metaphors weren’t supposed to be literal.


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