"Jesus Christ!" Paul bellowed as his hands slammed down on the dashboard. I deathgripped the steering wheel while standing on the brakes and the big Land Rover fishtailed wildly as we screeched to a stop, coming to rest about an inch and a half from the bumper of the car ahead of us. They'd slid to a stop with their tires locked up as well, screeching from about seventy miles and hour to a dead stop in seconds.
We sat motionless in the car for a moment, adrenaline spiking and making us shaky and our hearts lumping heavy in our ears. Paul finally whooshed out a huge breath and I released the steering wheel and reached down and killed the engine. Sherrie and Mike were getting out of the front car so we unbelted and stepped out onto the road.
Any thoughts I had about ripping Mike a new one for almost killing us were blown away when I saw the reason for his sudden decision to use the highway as a parking spot:
The bridge was just...gone.
About twenty feet ahead of Mike's front fender, the road disappeared in a jagged tear, falling off into a gaping muddy chasm; the road continued up the hillside on the other side of the abyss, about two hundred feet opposite. Where the bridge had once stood there was only yawning space over a brown, boiling torrent raging along the bottom of the gully.
"Christ, the whole thing's gone!" Paul observed softly.
Mike was peering over the edge of the chasm and shouted back to us over the noise of the raging creek,
"Looks like the whole hillside's washed out...both sides!"
I stepped cautiously up beside him and peered downstream. Nothing - not a beam, pylon, cable - not a shred of evidence that there had ever been a substantial piece of construction here.
Mike turned to me.
"Ah, crap - what do we do now?"