"Bridge of Fear"

A 2020 October Contest Winner: Cowley Alumni

There were no stars, no moon, and no wind. Becky paced herself, placing her path down the middle of the road, away from the ditches as far as she could.

The lights of town were a mile behind her, and she had a mile to go to reach home. Crossing Hanson’s Bridge was always a challenge. She was afraid of heights, and even though the railing for pedestrians was five feet high, when she looked over, her mind screamed to jump back.

Becky began to whistle a non-sensical tune to distract her thoughts of the bridge coming up. She crossed her arms several times in defiance but uncrossed them to maintain her balance as the gravel in the middle was undermining her feet.

Her ears were pricked for the slightest sound of danger, which caused her to stop whistling, listen and then continue again. The sound of the river reached her ears and she stopped at the edge of the old bridge. Carefully edging close to the railing, she went hand over hand crossing the hundred-foot long bridge.

The wrath of the river was the result of torrential storms in surrounding counties. Out of its banks and roaring downstream, it carried the remains of human trash and huge trees which gave way to sodden earth. One such tree struck the bridge head on, its branches jutting through the railing, creating a tremendous noise of breaking limbs and groaning steel.

Becky’s heart almost stopped upon hearing the noise, but it nearly exploded when the wet leaves of a branch grazed her forearm. It brought bizarre thoughts of what was surely a monster drooling on her, ready to snatch her for some horrid deed. Becky’s mouth opened to scream, but the bridge gave way and she was gone.