A distance out in the property there was a slight gutter in the ground, no more than a dimple really. It ran narrowly along the lawn to where it sliced between trees on either side and wound into the tangle of undergrowth. It couldn’t properly be called a stream though water gathered at the bottom of it, sour and unmoving. A little bridge had been constructed from one stretch of the lawn to the other, arcing ever so slightly over the indent, a marvel of wooden slats and rough-hewn rails. It was quaint, really. This little barely-useful bridge over nothing much in the middle of the tidy grass.
By day the bridge was picturesque. The long pucker in the lawn was just a water repository. Children splashed down easily and clamored up again quite merrily. Couples posed for photos against the rail.
By night the bridge was swallowed entirely by darkness and nothing set it apart except touch. If the moon was full you could sometimes see, in the inch of water that clung to the bottom, twin points of light. If the moon was new and the night complete, the lights seemed by some trick of reflection to multiply by twos along the winding bed. And if you pressed a knife point or pin into your palm until the blood oozed out and held your hand out over the rail of the bridge, the lights would burn red.
Nobody ever did it, though. It was just rumored, mouth to ear, through the years, that it was so. And every October the bridge required a new rail for one side would be torn down in a night, the posts found split and scattered in the trickle of water along the gutter.
And the house, set back against it’s apron of patio and behind aged oak sentries, ignored the bridge.
- Corinne Simpson