What Pegman Saw – West Gate Bridge

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is Melbourne, Australia.

WPS - West Gate Bridge 180722

St. Kilda Pier, Melbourne, Australia | ©  Paul Huang Google Maps

West Gate Bridge

Victor shook his head as he listened to the Resident Engineer.

“Listen, mates. After what happened to the bridge in Wales, you’re worried whether it could happen to our West Gate Bridge. Well, it can’t. Our best people say so.”

The Engineer glared at the assembled workmen, daring them to challenge him.

Victor spoke to his mates. Old Jack expressed their opinion best.

“Mate, if yer a pansy, don’t work on bridges.”

But the bridge was speaking. In quiet places away from the growl of motors and the clatter of jack-hammers, failing metal first whispered, then spoke, then shouted.

Before work on 15th October, Victor woke his wife Doris early to reassure her. “I was wrong yesterday,” he said. “We’ll be okay. Tell the kids I’ll be home early.”

He marched onto the bridge, straight-backed.

At 11:50 that morning, fifty metres above the ground, the bridge crashed from under his feet.

Author’s Note

This is a true story that happened in 1970. West Gate bridge was under construction and collapsed, killing 35 workers, among them Victor Gerada. It was Australia’s worst industrial accident.

Friday Fictioneers – The Storm

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - The Storm 180418

PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

The storm

Sunrise gave the distant hills sharp outlines.

Gaffer Lawrence shook his head.

“Gonna rain buckets,” he said.

The heaven was lacquered blue at noon. The pigs lay still in their pen, panting. The farmer tasted the air, whistled up his dogs and brought his stock under cover.

The horizon steamed. Clouds came out of nowhere. The light faded and the darkness was stifling. Sounds were distorted, submarine. The sweet smell of the cattle cloyed.

Then, as flames of pink lightning flickered on the hills, the first heavy drops fell.

By midnight, the bridge down the valley had been swept away.