I wrote this story about two murders under a bridge that could be haunted?
| WHAT LIES UNDER THE BRIDGE BY JENNIFER M. CROY July 19, 2018
While the four of us growing up never could have imagined what happened that day of the urban legend told what lies under the bridge on Willow Road at Caplan County. Zach, Kimberly, Mason, and I can never remember how the nightmares began, but it always ends the same way. At the bridge. Like swallowing a fistful of thin mud that had been lifted from the bottom of a river. That fateful night when we saw a body lying face down in the river skin blue and eyes wide open. Sea-weed attached to the hair as the body was dragged through the river's current. We're at the end of a dead-end road. I nudge her shoulder. "Come on. "We'll go under the bridge." "I hate this bridge," moaned Kimberly. "You hate this bridge because you believe it's haunted." I waggle my fingers at her for effect. She stares at me like I'm an unimpressive dope. "I'm probably one of the few here who doesn't believe that." It's not haunted. It's structurally unstable." We all laugh. Mason shrugs and starts up the ramp. Zach puts his arm around Kimberly "it's just an urban legend." "We won't go out too far." Come on, what's the deal? We used to run across the bridge all the time." "I didn't--- she stops abruptly, pressing her mouth closed like she's not sure how to explain. "The last time we all were up here, it was a bad night." "You were all here when we saw that body dragged from the river, right?" "Yes." "I don't want to remember that night, I say, but I don't have a hard time believing it. You know, forget it. Let's just go. It's fine." Are you sure?" "I just don't want to go under the bridge." "Cross my heart, I say and then were up the ramp, at the mouth of the bridge. Mostly there's the creak of the ropes, going across the old willow road bridge, and the occasional whine of laughter. Almost sounds like sobbing from up here. Kimberly hesitates, staring first at fishing boats and then the bridge. I point at the long-defunct tracks beside the wooden walkway. "Trains used this bridge, you realize." Of course, there hasn't been a train for years, and the wood between the tracks look rotten. Great hunks of missing timber reveal the dark streak of river below. "All I can think about is falling," Kimberly says, but walks out a few feet anyway. "I'll catch you, smiles Zach bravely. "My hero." I shrug even if the wood planks are warped, I'm pretty sure the frame of black steel crisscrossing in arched beams over our heads; extends underneath us too. One summer ago, all of us walked across this old bridge at Willow road then under the bridge is where we saw that dead body, floating down the river bank. It was a gruesome sight to see. They closed the bridge forbidding anyone to cross or go under when the police were investigating the murder. But I'm not going to bring that up, because Kimberly is inching her way across it for the first time since...
"How long has been since you've been up here?" I ask, still curious about that bad night. "What was the girl thirteen?" "Fourteen." Her tone makes it clear that's all I'm getting out of her on it, so I let it go and stroll on, dragging my hand along the railing. Padlocks, every shape and size, hang from the rungs on the bridge's railing, some even hooked into holes along the support beams. It's a thing. Initials on locks. Locks on the bridge. It's supposed to mean eternal love or something. A little morbid since this bridge is also supposed to be suicide spook central. Too many dead bodies showing up along the river bank. There was another dead body that turned up two summers ago this time a young thirteen years old boy. I fiddle with them, so I won't rush her, but I can tell my feet clunk too hard against the boards for her comfort. I'd fix it, but I don't know how to walk more quietly. In the water below, a fishing boat is coming in for the night, sliding under the bridge with a slow putt-putt-putt. I push off the railing, and it groans so loudly that I jerk. It doesn't stop. There's an awful metal grinding that snakes down the railing like a chain reaction. Kimberly gasps, and the hair on the back of my arms pushes up in goose bumps. Mason and Zach were already across the bridge waiting on us. The noise is getting louder. Above us and below us. It's like the bridge is coming apart, and all I can think, and all I can hear is---
You're going down. Kimberly clamps her hands over her ears, and I grab her arm to run. The awful metal screaming fades. The quiet is sudden and strange, so I laugh, my insides churn like butter with relief. "I thought this thing was going to fall," I say. "Get me off this bridge," Kimberly says, her voice shrieking high tone. No argument here. I know I've had enough of this bridge for one night. What I don't know is that dead bodies were dropping like flies, and the bridge hasn't had nearly enough of me. The fog was thick that night when four friends when on an adventure to explore the bridge on willow road. Two bodies were found along the river bank strangled or mangled something like that. An old train use to go by on the train tracks above the bridge but urban legend told it was spook central and haunted. The police did an investigation and had yellow strips of banners taped across under and top of the bridge don't cross under investigation. But young teens didn't listen and crossed the bridge and under it playing mouse games like nothing was true to the tale. But was it really an urban legend just to scare off teens? No, it was true when that dreadful fog thick night took hold on Kimberly Masterson's arm pulling her under the bridge. The cold icy force was dragging her down under the bridge leaving her strangled or mangled face down in the river bank. But Kimberly snaps to reality when it was only a dream. She wakes up in a cold sweat trying to get a grip on that dreadful horrible two summers ago seeing a fourteen young girl murdered and then a thirteen young boy. The police think it was suicide, but nobody really knew what happened. Kimberly Masterson and her friends didn't know what to think, and the bridge scared her to death.
"Help me! Help me!" The screams continued. Kimberly thought she heard a young girl's cry for help and saw the police's boat going down the river to administer CPR to the young fourteen-year old girl dragging her body from shore. But she was blue and cold. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Then the thirteen-year old young boy came after and wasn't' breathing either. They dragged two young bodies out of the river that morning from under the bridge. When I took Kimberly on that bridge again that night, she felt a cold grip on her arm, and screams in the night yelling out to her "Help me! Help me! Kimberly's eyes went glazed and screamed, "get me off this bridge!" I grabbed her by the arm and ran off the bridge. She was shaking all over at the end of the bridge when Zach ran up to her clenching her in a warm embrace. He was trying to keep her calm and consoling her. "Kimberly, you alright?" He asked somberly. "No! she gravely spoke in a high octave tone. Kimberly closed her eyes and told Zach she felt something cold touch her arm and scream out in the distance warning her in danger.
Kimberly never wanted to think about stepping on the Willow road bridge ever again that night. Someone or something was warning her to not cross that bridge or go under it and face the same fate when she saw those young bodies turned up along the river bank. For a week or so, she just clammed up. The only details she willing to share with her friends had to do with the conduct of the police during the subsequent investigations, the confusion and rage when the train crossed the tracks decades ago until the dead bodies of the young girl and boy turned up along the river bank. Kimberly knew the young fourteen-year old red-headed girl Melinda Bryant. She had lived in her neighborhood and always crossed the willow road bridge everyday before school. But now, she was dead, and the police was still solving her mystery. And more unsolved mysteries were turning up with young boys and young girls missing. Kimberly had nightmares of seeing her own death and a faceless image of who the killer was strangling the life out of her, before she could see who or what made this urban legend come true.
Kimberly's friends wanted to take another night walk up to willow road's bridge. Zach promised her he would protect her from ghosts and evil spirits haunting the train tracks where once the train passed by the bridge. Kimberly looked at her friends smugly, "No nothing you can say will make me go on that bridge again!" "I have had nightmares over those deaths, and I can still remember Melinda Bryant's dead cold eyes lying in fear face down in that river bank." Her friends tried to reassure her that nothing will happen, but she wouldn't believe it. If all four friends could stick together and solve the mystery themselves instead of the police, then they might snare the killer and stop more deaths from happening. But this was dangerous for her four friends to take on themselves and could end in disaster for them all. They were no detectives or John Walsh on unsolved mysteries. But Kimberly's friends were determined to solve the murders themselves. Kimberly didn't want to go back to that willow road bridge and drag up that horrible cold night when she saw Melinda Bryant or the young boy thirteen- year old Charlie Whistler who also went to school with Melinda died that night on that bridge. Kimberly wanted to forget the past and regret digging up old bones that would only bring her fears to reality. Who was this killer? Who took pleasure in killing young victims under the willow road bridge? Why was this faceless image haunting her dreams?
Mason was skeptic but determined to solve this mystery before the police did. Zach was the brave and fearless one determined to keep away evil spirits and ghosts. He wanted to protect his friends and let no one put them in harms way. Kimberly Masterson however wanted to put it behind her and never think about how Charlie or Melinda ended so abruptly with no clue. But Zach and Mason were still determined to solve the case on their own. "You coming? Asked, Mason. I stood on the willow road bridge pulling Kimberly's arm toward the wooden tracks to the end of the bridge. When there was another cry in the wind "Help me! Help me! Turn back! Turn back! Kimberly shook all over froze dead in her tracks.
Somebody tugged at Kimberly's arm with a cold breath upon her neck. Could it be Melinda Bryant's spirit telling her to get off that bridge and face her own demise? She was warning her not to pursue any further. I grabbed her hand and ran again across the willow road bridge. "You see that?" Kimberly said spitting out the words. "See what?" "a cold breath touched the back of my neck." "No, I see nothing." I replied, smugly. Zach ran up to Kimberly and embraced her. Now, her friends were wondering if she was crazy her seeing things that weren't even there. "I'm telling you guys I felt something." We tried to believe her, but the problem was nothing was there. Zach assured Kimberly that another night could probably solve this mystery. A fisherman drove by on his little boat under the willow road bridge. He yelled up at them, "what are you kids doing on the bridge?" Get off the bridge! "I'm calling the police! Mason, Zach, Kimberly, and I ran off the bridge and ran home. Mason and Zach walked Kimberly home and waved goodbye to catch up tomorrow.
The next morning Kimberly didn't sleep a wink that night. She still had that bizarre dream of the faceless image strangling her and floating up along the river bank. Who could be so cruel to hurt innocent young boys and girls? Especially, Charlie Whistler and Melinda Bryant. They were harmless. Charlie and Melinda did great in school never did pranks on anyone and never did a bad thing in their lives. Kimberly was puzzled on why would someone want to hurt them? Kimberly was also concerned on crossing the willow road bridge and maybe Melinda beyond the grave was trying to keep her finding out who the killer was.
Mason and Zach went up to the willow road bridge way after dark around midnight without taking Kimberly to investigate on their own. They crossed the bridge and looked under the river bank but saw no signs of foul play that last summer. Probably, the police did DNA prints still trying to find who it was. Mason found something bobbing on the river bank. "Hey, Zach! Look what I found?" He shrieked in excitement at his first clue. Zach looked in the water as Mason picked it up some sort of wording from when the train used to come down the tracks. Zach looked it over, "some words you can't make out on the piece." It's our first clue but maybe something to do with when the train used to run through here," exclaimed Mason with his eyebrows raised in concern. Zach looked confused but thought it could be a clue. "We need to keep looking, he frowned. "Mason, we need to ease Kimberly's mind in finding out who did this before something happens to her." "I know. This is mind boggling when a friend we care about is so close to these victims that she actually has nightmares of her own." "I don't think she is crazy, I just think she feels something for these two that happened last summer." Mason replied, with sincere. "Yes, I agree. But she feels this faceless killer in her dreams and that my man is scary," replied Zach. Zach and Mason kept looking but still no luck in finding another clue to solve this mystery.
Kimberly was furious the next day that Zach and Mason would even consider going up back to that spooky willow road bridge when they risked their own lives and could've end up dead like Charlie and Melinda. "You guys should've never gone up there!" Kimberly's nose wrinkled up in the air at them. "But Kimberly were trying to ease your mind and we did find one clue, but the words are missing." It could be a ticket to ride the train. "I don't care what you found, you still shouldn't have been up there." Zach and Mason bowed their heads in shame and told her it wouldn't happen again unless Kimberly was with them. They were all friends who stuck together and protected one another.
As the nights got colder and the days shorter the mystery was finally solved. It turned out the police investigated a fisherman Sully Millerson an old lonely seventy- year old man rode his boat along the river bank that summer and murdered Charlie Whistler and Melinda Bryant. He was close to the two living in the same neighborhood of Caplan County took them out on his boat to fish. Kimberly Matterson's dreams came true when she would go out on the bridge at night with her friends and Melinda Bryant was the one guiding her along about who the killer was and keeping her safe along with Zach. Her spirit was keeping Kimberly off the willow road bridge to protect her and not end up like Melinda's fate. They were best friends until the death of Melinda Bryant took her from this world. The police arrested Sully Millerson for the murders of Melinda Bryant and Charlie Whistler. THE END
This is a horror story work of non- fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Dedicated to husband, son, family & friends.