October 2nd
The Woman on the Bridge
by aileen clark

It is the night.
They are driving through the woods.
As they drive, they reach a clearing. The lush, deep forest opens right onto a cliffside where an old, wooden suspension bridge stands.
Above them, through their car’s sunroof, there is no moon.
No stars.
Outside, it’s pitch black.

They sit in the car.
As they looked out onto the bridge, where merely seconds ago all they saw was darkness, a shape stands.
A young woman.
She stands there with her long, thin arms reaching out.
No movement.
In the dead center on the bridge. Almost floating.
Every limb on her body seems to be broken.
Her skin clings on to her sunken cheekbones and frail body.
Her hair and nightgown seem wet?

Or so it seems to Jake, Steven and Lydia.
“Are you sure this is where Google Maps led you?!”, asks Jake softly from the backseat, his face shining from the ominous glow coming from the bridge.

“Lydia?! Are you sure this is the right way?”, Steven looks around from the passenger seat into the pitch black woods, extremely panicked. A heavy fog engulfs their car and creates odd shapes misleading his rational mind.

“You guys, I did what the GPS said!”, whispers Lydia, eyes locked onto the ominous shape whose long arms reach towards them.
A dark shiver goes down her spine as the shape seems to move closer to the vehicle.

“Something feels wrong”, says Jake hugging his body for warmth in the quickening cold.
“What do we do?” Steven asks.
“Well, we can’t go back”, says Lydia. She would never go back.

Lydia presses her foot softly on the gas. The car lurches forward onto the bridge.
The rickety wood whines under the weight of the car.
Ahead of them, the floating, lifeless shape remains.
When all of a sudden, she moves.
A sprint.
Towards the car.
She’s fast.
Her broken bones flail.
She gains speed.
Her wet nightgown and hair reveal a sickly, emaciated body and yellowing teeth that fall out of her mouth as she runs at them.
A sickening, gurgling cackle emerges from the darkest holes surrounding them.
The air around them grows colder.
Even in the pitch black, they feel the space around them darken. As though she were swallowing them whole. In one deep, chilling and agonizing breath.
Out of nowhere, a quiet sound fills the car.
“YOU MUST…”, it says.
They all look at the woman. She sprints towards them, mouth wide open, screaming, but no sound is coming out.
She’s moves in on them faster.

“What’s going on?!?!” yells Lydia.

“YOU MUST…”, the voice fills the car again, pleading.

“We must, what?!”, Steven demands.

“Dude, just turn around!!”, Jake says filled with panic, “I think we should go back. WE HAVE TO GO BACK!!!”

“YOOOOUUU MUUUUUUSSSSTTTT--” the woman’s screeches fill the car.

Her deep, broken yellow smile is everywhere they look.
The fog engulfs the car.
All three of them scream as a vision of darkness and death encompasses their every being.


Lydia, slams on the break and turns to the ghostly woman who has stopped right outside her driver’s window.

“Oh yeah girl,” says Lydia, “for sure! There’s no way in hell we’re not voting in November! How about that Kavanaugh hearing, right?”

“Don’t you think his mouth looked like a teeny tiny butthole?”, asks the ghoul.

“OMG the TIGHTEST little butthole!”, agree Jake and Steven.

“Totally! Anyways guys, didn’t mean to be a creep on the bridge, just trying to do my civic duty and get people to vote! Have a great weekend!” she says as she waves at them with a long wet sleeve.

Another pair of headlights seem to be coming through the forest.
The woman on the bridge dumps another bucket of water on herself. She shoves a handful of teeth in her mouth and outstretches her arms.

She is ready.

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