Buckle up. My typewriter has gone back to work, and I’m bringing the War on Terror to your hometown.
The Bridge of Woe
The bridge across Tampa Bay is three miles of sun-bleached concrete and steel, a bottleneck of misery for those burdened with the daily commute from one end to the other. Four lanes wide, when full bumper to bumper packs four thousand cars upon it during the peak of rush hour. A daily event of glittering chrome and hot rubber mixed with the mild scent of road rage.
Today is no exception, and the parade of crawling machines is hindered even more by a fender-bender accident partially blocking the left lane. Suzy Bennett is the offender du jour, a ‘must post this now’ Instagram moment of distraction sending her Honda into the trunk of the Ford in front of her. The yellow strobe lights from the tow truck filter through the steam coming from her cracked radiator as she scrolls through her phone looking for that one friend that might actually come pick her up. As she watches the parade of pissed-off commuters pass by, one in particular catches her eye. An older car, a large Cadillac riddled with the cancer of rust, its exhaust choking on its own fumes. The engine knocks and pings, the sound blending in with the odd music coming from within the car. It’s a foreign sound, Suzy recognizing it as the Muslim call to prayer. It peaks in volume as the open window of the Caddy passes by, the heavily bearded man behind the wheel glancing over at her momentarily. They make eye contact, and the discomfort and tension Suzy feels sticks in her throat like a dry pill. Middle aged and Middle Eastern, dirty and disheveled, his momentary stare at Suzy is as emotionless a look as she has ever seen. Yet, there is something else there; something she can feel but can’t quite interpret. Her phone call connects, a friend offers a ride, and the Cadillac drifts away further up the bridge.
The next several minutes are spent asking the tow truck driver to not damage her car and complaining on Facebook about her predicament. She doesn’t notice that the slowly drifting parade of vehicles has come to a complete standstill, nor can she see what is happened a mile further up the bridge.
A hundred yards short of the where the bridge meets land, the Cadillac has taken a sudden swerve from the left lane, parking at a 45 degree angle across two lanes. His partner in a rented Kia has done the same from the right side, together blocking all four lanes of traffic, trapping behind them nearly 3400 cars across three miles of bridge. Several cars begin to beep their horns, angry people wanting to get home, wanting to know what the hell is going on. Almost in unison the two men exit their vehicles, the cranked up sounds of Muslim prayers now escaping through the open doors, drowning out the closest of car horns and echoing across the bay. When the commuters at the front of the line notice the AK47s the men are carrying, it’s too late to react. Across all four lanes bullets tear through windshields as the two men begin their slow march back across the bridge. As people further back begin to realize what’s happening they try to exit their cars and flee, but there is nowhere to go. Bloody glass begins to coat the bridge; red crystals shimmering in the hot sun, intermixing with bullet casings that fall relentlessly and non-stop onto the road.
Suzy stands along the edge of the bridge, looking over the side watching the pelicans in the water sixty feet below. In the distance she can still hear the Middle Eastern music, strangely mixed with the sounds of firecrackers that seem to be slowly coming closer.
Heaven’s Devils Release date info coming soon.