The styrofoam coffee cup steamed on the grey metal table. The curls of it rising up like mist. It was fascinating. The policman shifted, clearing
his throat. I wanted to get the coffee cup into my hand. I wanted to drink it, even if it was watery and powdered creamer clung to the edges of the
rim. I just couldn’t make my hands move.
I glanced down at them in confusion. There they were, looking like the hands of a pale stranger, gripping the edge of the table, white knuckled and,
yes, that was the source of the pain I was feeling. I took a breath and concentrated very hard on relaxing my grip.
“Ma’am,” the short-haired woman spoke, “can you answer the question?”
My hands relaxed a little, their color changing. I forced my gaze to move up, past the table and the steam, to where her voice came from. I took a
moment to process the words, rewinding them in my head.
I swallowed dryly. I remembered that I should speak back. I should reply. I found my voice buried in my throat. It felt gritty and unfamiliar.
“What…” I tried again, as the word sounded raspy, like a ghost. I tried to shake the dead. “What question?” There was a pause.
“We want to know what happened, Ma’am. You’re the only witness. You are also the only person we found within a several mile radius of that
bridge. We need you to explain.” The man said this with a tinge of impatience.
My hands clenched.
“Ms. Wallace. May I call you Susan?” The female voice was soothing. I listened. I nodded. “Good. Okay, Susan. Let’s start with why you
and David were in the woods by the Hickory River bridge.”
I searched back to the coffee shop where we met. The several dates that were good but not great — dinner, movies, lunch, a weekend trip, a
“We were on a hike.”
“You and David were dating?”
“A little. Nothing serious. Just…we hung out, mostly.”
“Why were you at the bridge?”
I paused for a moment. “We’d seen it on TV. Goatman's Bridge. Where stuff happens, you know? Ghost-stuff. David was into that. We drove up from
Houston.” My voice was strange to me. Monotone. Impersonal. Flat.
“You were looking for ghosts?”
I stared back at the waning steam over the chalky brown liquid in front of me. “At first it was a mist. A black mist.”
“A black mist?” The man said this incredulously, then shifted like he was uncomfortable. He blew out a sigh.
“What happened with the black mist?” The woman’s voice was gentle.
“It…” My brow crinkled. My chin trembled. “It…picked me up. Like it was going to toss me off the bridge. It’s name is Drew.”
“The mist had a name? It picked you up like it was going to toss you over?”
“How did you get the name?” Notes were being written. There was a recorder. People watched behind a small mirror. I felt their eyes.
“An EVP session.” The woman looked confused. “A ghost session. They talk into a device and it said its name was Drew.”
The man and woman shared some kind of significant look. She pressed her lips into a grim line, her face looking a little pale.
“So you were on the bridge, and this black mist named Drew, picked you up like it was going to throw you over the bridge?”
“Then what happened?”
I remembered someone screaming. “I screamed.” A flash of David yelling and diving to grab me around my thighs, away from the mist. “David
grabbed me and pulled me back down. We fell…“ The room blurred. Wet drops ran down my cheeks. My nose felt drippy. My breathing sounded more
like a wheeze.
The man and woman cops muttered to each other. From somewhere a box of tissues appeared in front of me. I grabbed some and tried to clean my face.
“Then what happened? After you fell?” The woman asked. Her voice was soft.
A vision slammed into my head. David stood up, yelling. Something barreled into him. The dark misty thing. His whole body bent, like he was
punched in the gut. He flew… I swallowed. More tears spilled. I sniffed. The tissue was wet when I tried to wipe everything away.
“He got picked up and…it threw him. Hard. Against the metal of the bridge.” I winced. “There was a…a snapping sound…and he fell. He
struggled to breathe. I couldn’t…I couldn’t…”
Tears kept coming. The woman came around and put her hand on my back. I sobbed into my bloody sweatshirt.
“I s-s-saw it!” I gasped for breath. My face wrenched up like my hands. Words came out, strangled, shaking. My whole body trembled. “It-it
was big. It had a g-goat head. H-h-horns curved around. It was on top of him. Choking him. I-I screamed at it to stop. It…” I gulped air for
a minute, “It looked right at me. It had…y-y-yellow eyes. Like fire.”
There was a heavy pause in the room. No one moved. No one spoke. I found the woman’s pale, grim face. “Then?” she managed to ask, through
“When David stopped moving, he…Drew…he came at me. Scratched me up…He laughed.”
I lifted my shirt. It stuck to me as I pulled. It hurt. Three deep marks slashed across my stomach. Three more lanced down my back - I couldn’t
see them, but I felt them. I knew they were there. They still leaked blood. They burned like acid. Like hot coals.
The woman gasped, her hand went to her mouth. She said something angry to the man, who opened the door and yelled down the hall.
The next few minutes were a blur. More people came in the room.
Photos were taken. A guy with a first aid kit tried to clean the wounds and bandage them. I hissed with pain.
I heard everything with heightened senses. The male cop muttered about an old case…”Just like the other one…”
The female mentioned “…and Drew Marshall, that’s the man who went missing back when my dad was on the force, decades ago. I remember the man
hunt. I was just a kid…”
“Didn’t they find his body?”
“What was left of it…in that ritual circle…”
I put my sweatshirt down and breathed for a moment. I reached out for the coffee cup, and managed to bring it, shaking, to my lips.
Deep inside, I could still feel that laugh. Something besides myself seemed to look out at the cops, the photographer, and drink in that fear like it
was wine. It grew stronger.
I wanted it gone but it had marked me with those claws. I could feel it. It wanted more. My hand clenched. The cup crushed like cartilage. I
almost gasped at the warm liquid spilling down my jeans, like it knew blood would feel - the pleasure and simplicity of it…I ducked my face into the
elbow of my sweatshirt, and something smiled.
NOTE: Goatman's Bridge is a real place, with many reports of strange paranormal activity, possession and disappearances...also the KKK lynched a man
(the Goatman - a well known goat farmer) from that bridge, then later killed his whole family. There's more at the link below if you are interested
and much more on the web. The story above, however, is purely fictional...
The Goatman's Bridge: Texas Ghost Story
Happy Halloween! - AB
edit on 6-10-2017 by AboveBoard because: (no reason given)