This is my flash fiction for Vamplit. The theme this week is Haunted Attractions. I based my story on a bridge here in Lima. Located on Greely Chapel Road, there are a few stories about the name. I have been there at midnight, though not on Halloween and I didn't see anything unusual. That doesn't mean there isn't something to it. I didn't tell the exact story. I put my own spin on it and combined a few of the stories that are going around about it. To read about the history of Cry Baby Bridge, visit these sites.
Cry Baby Bridge
by Lisa McCourt Hollar
“59 bottles of beer on the wall, 59 bottles of beer, take one down, pass it around 58 bottles of beer on the wall!”
Coach Greely wished he had earplugs, so he could drown out the singing of the football team. They were still high on the fact that they had beaten Spencertucky and he had long since stopped trying to calm them down. Might as well let them get it out of their system.
“Hey coach,” Dean asked, breaking out of the song, “isn’t this cry baby bridge we’re coming to?”
“I believe it is.”
“Hey cool! Quiet everyone. Maybe we can hear the baby.”
“What are you talking about?” Tiffany was new to the area and the young cheerleader hadn’t yet heard of this local legend.
“You don’t know about Cry Baby Bridge,” Britney asked, giving the other cheerleaders a conspiratorial wink. “It is only the most famous bridge in the entire county.”
“Let Matt tell it,” Frankie Long said. “He saw the ghost once. He should be able to tell it.”
“Go on Matt,” someone said. “Tell her what happened.”
Matt cleared his throat. He had repeated this story so many times, he could do it in his sleep. “Well, we better start with the legend. About 30 years ago, a young mother was heading home with her baby. It was Halloween night and she was tired. It was midnight and maybe she was nodding off at the wheel, but she ran off the side of the bridge. Her car was found the next morning, the back end sticking up out of the water. She and her baby drowned. The legend is that if you come to the bridge at midnight, Halloween night, you can hear her baby crying and some have even said they can hear the baby’s rattle.”
“That is so sad,” Tiffany said.
“Oh it gets better,” Frankie said. “Tell her the rest Matt.”
“Two years ago my brother and I decided to play a prank on our girlfriends. We brought them to this bridge. Tammy, Brian’s girl, was new to the area too, so we told her about the legend on the way here. When we got here, we pretended to run out of gas. Brian had recorded our neighbor’s baby crying and shook the rattle too, just for added effect. When she heard the recording, she freaked. She started crying and begging us to take her home. We started laughing and showed her his phone and played the recording again, just to show her it was a joke, but then she turned all pale and was pointing at someone behind us. We turned to look and there was a woman walking down the bridge. She was crying and begging someone to help her baby. When she got closer, we noticed she wasn’t even solid, just a filmy apparition. We all jumped in the car to take off, but it wouldn’t start. Brian kept giving the car gas and turning the key, but I think he flooded the engine. Then she was at the car and she kept walking. She went right through the damn car. I nearly pissed my pants. After that she vanished and the car started. We went home and I have never been back to the bridge since.”
“Really,” Tiffany scoffed. “And you expect me to believe that? I may be new here, but I’m not stupid.”
“I just realized something,” Brittney said. “It’s Halloween. What time is it? Does anyone know?”
“Midnight,” Coach Greely said, looking at his watch. Next to him the driver chuckled.
“And I suppose I’m supposed to be scared now,” Tiffany said. “If it is midnight, then it is no longer Halloween.”
“Wait a minute,” the driver said, slowing down, “there’s something in the road ahead.”
The kids pressed their faces to the window, trying to see what it was.
“What the hell,” coach said, “it looks like a woman.”
“Nice job. Did you set this up ahead of time?” Tiffany wasn’t too surprised the coach was going along with this, but she thought the driver was a little too mature for this behavior.
“Just keep going,” the coach said. “If she’s hitchhiking, it’s against school policy to pick her up. We’ll call the sheriff when we get back to the school.”
The driver began crossing the bridge, going slow so the woman would have time to move out of the way. She didn’t move though, continuing to stand in the middle of the bridge.
“What should I do?”
“You’ll have to stop,” Coach Greely said. “Maybe we should see if she needs help. Maybe she’s broke down.”
“I don’t see a car,” Matt said. He was beginning to feel nervous. This seemed all too familiar to him.
Coming to a stop, the driver opened the door and waited for the woman to approach. When she neared and he saw her face, he screamed. He pulled on the lever to close the door, but it stuck. The woman reached in and pulled herself into the bus. The teenagers inside now saw why the driver was screaming. Her whole body shimmered and you could see through her. Her eyes were clouded and she was covered in what looked like blood. She was also dripping wet.
Looking past the other teens, her eyes fell on Matt’s. “You left. I begged you to save my baby and you left.”
The bus was found the next day, the bodies of the passengers strewn across the bridge. Matt Fowler’s body was found hanging over the stop sign. It was ruled an accident, although no one could explain why it looked like the bus had just stopped in the middle of the road. Matt’s father thought he might know the answer, but no one would believe an old drunk. He’d been drinking ever since that night, 30 years earlier, when he had ran a woman and her baby off the road. He’d only been a kid himself and afraid of getting in trouble, so he had left. But he could still hear the woman calling to him to save her baby. It haunted him until last night. He hadn’t heard her voice last night and now his son was gone too.
Copyright 20ll Lisa McCourt Hollar. All rights reserved.