Flash Fiction Challenge: The Bridge

Photo by K.S. Brooks

This is the Stone Creek Bridge on Jackrabbit Road. It’s a little-traveled back route that used to be used by moonshiners during the depression.

Back in October of 1931, a fellow named Jack Keeley was driving a truckload of shine out to Springfield.

He never delivered that shipment. They found his truck the next day, stalled out in the middle of that old wooden bridge. Jack was there too – most of him, anyway. It caused quite a stir at the time, but over the years, I guess people forgot about it, or wrote it off to local legend. The problem is, it wasn’t just a legend. Now it’s happening again…

In 250 words or less, tell us a story incorporating the elements in the picture. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time.

On Wednesday afternoon, we will open voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

On Friday afternoon, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Then, at year end, the winners will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted. See HERE for additional information and terms.

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7 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: The Bridge”

  1. It was time to do some investigating of my own. I was losing one shipment a month; it was costly and my distributors were tired of my excuses. What could I say…that I didn’t have any clues as to what went on in my own territory. It was time to make a run myself to find out.

    Saturday evening, I donned my double holster with twin six shooters, grabbed my Winchester rifle, and rode shotgun. We left the warehouse close to midnight, heading out for Springfield. We were ahead of schedule and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. If nothing happened, I’d have to ride every night until I knew. I just couldn’t let it go or let any more men die.

    As we entered the cursed bridge, I held my breath because Ed wouldn’t let up on the pedal, cruising at over 40 miles per hour. I wanted to tell him to slow down. That if something was going to happen, it would have by now.

    But then we saw her—a woman, glowing in all white, stood at the other end of the bridge, smiling, and there was no time to stop. I wondered if she was a diversion so her cohorts could ambush us. Just as Ed was about to hit her, she rose and floated right through the window.

    My last coherent thought, before I lost consciousness—the rumor was true! She was the apparition they said literally took the last breath you held away.

  2. ‘It was just another ghost story, another legend to scare the locals,’ Andrew had said. ‘It’s not worth the travel costs and five minutes of fame you’ll get for debunking it.’

    Now, with the strange creature – half man, half something else – standing over her, her blood on its face and hooves, Whitney thought he might be right about the costs having been too high. But as for the five minutes of fame?

    With the last of her waning energy, Whitney looked over at where the video camera had fallen when the monster had tackled her. The little red light was still lit, the lens pointed at where her torch lit her attacker.

    ‘I think that’s more than five minutes fame, Drew,’ she breathed.

    Not that she’d be alive to enjoy any of it.

  3. Three bodies in less than two months.

    Seamus Roper flinched when the medical examiner peeled back the sheet that covered the remains of their latest John Doe.

    The ME apologized. “I haven’t found anything since the last time you visited, Detective. Poor slob was alive when the person or creature that committed this atrocity ate the guy’s face and internal organs.”

    Seamus pursed his lips. “It’s been four weeks. Vick and I will watch the bridge tonight. If a serial killer did this, he’s sticking to a schedule. Maybe we’ll catch him trying to dump another body.”

    The two detectives crunched through the frozen underbrush until they found an outcropping with an unobstructed view of the bridge. The October air smelled frosty, hinting at an early snowfall.

    They waited—and shivered.

    A coyote yelped from across the creek. Wind rustled the few fragile leaves still clinging to nearby trees. A noisy car spewed the pungent stink of burning oil as it sputtered over the bridge before dissolving into the darkness. An owl hooted.

    Vick checked his iPhone, and cursed. “No reception here. If anything happens, we’re on our own.”

    Seamus frowned. “My stomach hurts. I must have eaten something for supper that didn’t agree with me.” He leaned toward his partner. “I think—” He inhaled Vick’s intoxicating scent. Prey. Must eat. Now!

    He succumbed to his instinct.

    And his pain disappeared.

    Seamus flexed his bloody claws and stared at the full moon through glowing, yellow eyes—then he yowled.

  4. Sharon Mark was adamant with Patsy and her daughter’s new boyfriend Charlie.
    “Stay away from Stone Creek Bridge. When the party’s over, take the longer way home. OK?”
    Patsy and Charlie nodded. Everyone knew the story. Years ago, two men had disappeared after driving over the Stone Creek Bridge. And then, on Hallowe’en, Jack Keeley had been found dead on the bridge with his eyes missing. The disappearances had stopped.
    Eighteen years later, and in the last month, two young men had vanished.Their trucks had been hidden in the woods near the bridge. The men hadn’t been seen since.
    “Let’s go,” said Patsy when her curfew was near. Once underway, however, Charlie headed for the bridge. Some people found Patsy’s mom scary, but Charlie wasn’t one of them. The situation called for some alone time with Patsy; he wasn’t going to miss it.
    In the middle of the bridge, with the truck lights off and the moonlight creating a haunted house effect through the little windows, Charlie grunted and Patsy cried her protests.
    The noises stopped. Charlie’s face registered surprise at the sight of the knife protruding from his middle. As the life drained from his face, Patsy’s breathing calmed. Her mother was always right. She had left Keeley for others to find because no one seemed to be learning from the disappearances.
    Patsy pulled the knife from Charlie’s middle, decided on a story and began making strategic cuts on her own body.

  5. My name is Lucas Doolin Adkins, and I was named after the most famous moonshine runner of all—at least in the movies. My dad had a premonition I’d be great, so the name came naturally. Now that the problems had started up again, I constantly asked myself, “What would Lucas do?”
    Dad returned from the Korean War, just like Lucas did, and he smuggled a couple of hand grenades home with him. I carried those with me now, resting in the cup holders of the Land Rover, because I didn’t intend to die like Jack Keeley did on the Stone Creek Bridge.
    A car followed me down Jackrabbit Road on the night it happened. I was uneasy, but I knew I could outrun highjackers easily if I had to. It was only when I entered the bridge that I saw a large black SUV in front of me, blocking the way. I grabbed the grenades and jumped out of the Land Rover. Three men from the SUV and two from the car converged on my vehicle. One started firing on me as I pulled a pin, tossed the grenade under the Land Rover, and wiggled through the supports on the side of the bridge.
    I plunged into the river, and when I came up for air downstream, I heard the thunder of the explosion and saw the flames start. Dad would be upset about the Land Rover and the shine, but Lucas would have been proud of me.

  6. They ought to have taken that bridge down back then. They didn’t – some malarkey about it being a heritage site. Now it’s happened again. See, folks don’t like to keep their vices legal. One secret still gets taken down another pops up nearby. Moonshine is a tradition in these parts. Cut out the middle man and tax collectors.

    This time Jeb and his crew must have got too big for their britches, so to speak. That’s the only explanation folks can come up with. Oh, you didn’t hear? Guess you’re too young to remember what happened in ’31. Jack Keeley was found, on that bridge, ripped to pieces. In his truck, and a full load moonshine dumped into the creek. They say the fish were weird for two days, them that lived. Bridge used to be a lovers lane. Not after. It’s haunted, ye know.

    What? Now? I’m gettin to that. Two days ago Jeb Black and Andy Horst went out with a load to deliver. They make good stuff. Had it to a fine art, they did. Anyways, they made two deliveries before takin’ that bridge. Never made it out. Found Jeb’s truck – all that shine dumped. Found Jeb, too, tore apart, just like Jack. Andy’s gone. Cops think they see bones in the creek. Gonna dredge it tomorrow. Lots of dead fish, too. More still feedin under that bridge.

    Yep, they ought to have taken it down then. Maybe they will, now. Be a shame, though. Burp.

  7. “Interesting name, Jackrabbit Road.” said Jim, as he and Pauline walked toward the covered bridge over Stone Creek. “Is it because of all the twists?”

    “Don’t know, but I bet Gramps Paul does. He knows everything about this town, even about how old Jack Keeley got half-eaten by a demon on the bridge in ’31.

    “Demon? Are you serious? More likely he was killed by a cougar, just like that tourist last week. Moonshiners and their delusions are the only legends around here. That old coot must be senile if he thinks there are monsters here.”

    “You’re an outsider, Jim. Go see the bridge on your own if you want. I’m going home while it’s still light. By the way, Old Paul’s as sharp as you or me. Just consider yourself warned.”

    “Dumb yokels,” muttered Jim as Pauline stomped away. He’d put an end to this nonsense. It was near midnight when he reached the halfway mark of the covered bridge.

    Thump.

    “Pauline, that you?”

    Thump. Thump.

    “Ok, nice joke.”

    Thump. Thump. Thump.

    Jim looked toward the noise. A pair of small eyes glowed in the distance, low to the ground.

    Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.

    Was that his heart beating?

    Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.

    A small grey rabbit hopped up to him, ears twitching. Jim burst out laughing. The short lived relief vanished as the rabbit leaped for his throat. No one heard his screams as the demon’s teeth clamped down.

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