They had names like Snarl and Starver and Freeze, and when they got there—the bridge—they began to deconstruct. Removing first their hammers from their belts—then clippers, then claws—the entire hoard snapped at the girding and pounded the bolts away. They howled at the moonlight and smashed fistfuls of fireflies before rubbing the glow on their teeth, smiling.

They moved with the slow clank of ironworkers, and yet they were not. Just children. Just gnashing and pissing and shit-smearing children. B- boys and C+ boys, and boys who batted clean-up during home games. Boys who invented Bloody Knuckles and purpled their fingers with kite string.

Earlier, they’d slunk through the weeds and the thicket, their legs dripping from the thorny barbs. But still, they reached that dismal shadow. The metal skeleton, looming like a skinned monster, quivered and quaked beneath its own great heft.

The boys eyed the bridge—the enemy—and their hammers grew warm and turned light. Tromping, mashing, crowding on the backs of one another’s shoes, they sloshed through the ivy-rimmed puddles. Past the dead cat corpse and the dead dog corpse, and how had these bodies found their way there?

The guttural murmurs of boys who knew hammers, who knew bolts and how to pry them. How they’d watched their fathers work under car hoods for weeks to piece their task together.

They wanted so little: to watch a bridge fall, to watch a car soar into the river.

So they sang and clapped and their teeth glowed green before fading.

They raised their dirty hands and touched the frozen metal, muscling their way to the edge of the ridgeline, to where the support beams had weakened to rust.

There were questions of why and how could they.
And did they know?
Could they comprehend their destruction?
But they knew.
They always knew what to do when they got there.