Group: Celtic Nation
GHOST ON THE BRIDGE
The air was filled with that hospital smell, a combination of antiseptic, and disease. My cousin Shelby lay on the bed, with a kind of a fixed grimace on her face. She had been there three months. It had started with flu like symptoms, but within weeks, she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. My friend, and her fiancé George sat by her side, holding her hand. There were no words left to say now, we were just waiting for death to steal into the room, and take his toll for the trip, to whatever lay beyond. After visiting hours, George would often come to our house and spend the night. He was very loyal, even thought he, and Shelby had only dated for a few months before she became ill. If he didn't have to work the next day, we would save him a sixty mile drive, by having him stay with us. As the weather was getting colder, and the days of October marched on, we would spend the evenings playing uno, or rummy, on a card table by the fire place.
At the time, I was living in Saginaw and working as a security guard. You might remember, they were building the Zilwaukee bridge, on I 75 to span the Saginaw river. The pilings sank into the silt, and cracked the bridge on the Zilwaukee side of the river. It was quite a media event, since it brought the cost of the project up several million dollars. It was my job to sit in my old pickup truck, from ten at night until seven in the morning, to keep out the curious, and photographers. Someone had made an error in judgment though; because during the four months I worked at the site, the only person I ever saw was bow hunter, that came out of the dark like a phantom in the middle of the night, to warm himself by the crackling bits of two by fours, and plywood chunks in my burn barrel. It was quite a desolate place; I was told that the former swamp was once the burial grounds, for one of the Native American tribes, that dwelt in the area in the past. However they had filled most of it with fill dirt, for the bridge construction
The nights, as quiet as the Indians that were entombed in the mud, would stretch on forever, and I would often have a hard time staying awake. Because of this George would periodically come out for a few hours, and sit with me. Being young, and adventurous, we had decided to climb the scaffolding 150 feet to road surface, on the partially completed bridge. It was fun to walk to where the bridge ended, and look out at the lights from the city. Or watch a freighter creep by in the moonlight, on the river Below. We were far enough out from the city light pollution, that on a clear night the stars would shine brilliantly, in the azure sky.
On this night though, there were few stars, and our hands stung on the icy metal rungs, as we climbed the ladders, to achieve top of the bridge. We had done this climb a half dozen times before, but never on a day this cold. The mercury in the thermometer on my kitchen window had read in the high forties, when I had left the house, but it seemed much colder now. The wind was blowing briskly, and you could see small white caps, on the rivers surface below. The moon hung low in the sky, peeking in and out of the grey clouds, as they scuttled past. Still it was exhilarating to be up there with nothing separating us from the edge, and a hundred and fifty foot plunge to the cold water below.
We stood there for quite awhile admiring the view, and occasionally kicking a chunk of cement off the bridge, listening for the delayed faint splash into the river. I had the collar of my coat turned up against the wind, and George was kind of hopping up and down a bit, with his hands stuffed into his pockets, trying to stay warm. The lights below were mesmerizing, and as we stood there in silence, we fell into an almost meditative state. Suddenly without any warning, George fell to the road surface on his belly, and wouldn't get up. I kept asking what was wrong, but all he would say is “I need to go, I need to go". He literally crawled to the place where we dropped over to the scaffolding, and I followed him slowly down, as he hugged the metal structure as if terrified.
Finally arriving at the bottom, I pleaded with him to tell me what the deal was, because frankly it unnerved me a bit. George had never shown any signs of fear before. If anything, he was the braver of the two of us, and I had often chided him on being a little to caviler, on the edge of the bridge, and the ladders. Now he would not even speak to me, as he made his way back to his car, and drove off into the night, leaving me in a kind of puzzled funk.
As I got in my truck, I went over the climb a few times, and couldn't think of anything that could have happened. So I glanced at the green luminous hands on my watch, and noted that it was shortly after midnight. Then I got out the book I was currently reading, and my flash light, thinking that I would just sort it out, when I saw him in the morning. An hour later found me sitting there, enjoying the prose of Edgar Rice Burroughs, engrossed with John Carter, on one of his many adventures. Suddenly, an Icy hand of terror reached into the truck, and clutched my heart. It was if pure evil was filling the truck like thick smoke. I couldn't move, I couldn't speak, and I could barley even breath. I can literally say, that I have never been that afraid, before or since. I expected something terrible to happen at any moment, even though I couldn't imagine what it would be. If demons would have suddenly ripped off the door of the truck, and pulled me to hell, it would not of surprised me. It seemed like the terror would never let up, but slowly I began to pray, and beg on Christ's power to save me, as I had been taught as a child. Eventually I was able to pull the tattered sleeping bag I kept in the truck over my head, and I pleaded with God to save me. After what seemed like hours, the terror subsided and I spent the rest of the miserable night, cold, and shaking, waiting for my relief to show up at seven.
At last the morning arrived, and I drove somberly home to find that George had not spent the night at all, but had left directly for his house. I also learned that Shelby had passed away, around midnight.
A week or so after the funeral, George and I were sitting around my kitchen table, when without prompting he opened up to me. He said “remember when I became so afraid on the bridge". I told him "of course I did". I would never forget that night. He then explained, that as he stood there watching the clouds and the moon, he heard Shelby's voice crying out to him in the darkness. “JUMP AND COME BE WITH ME”. He said, it was like he was under the voices control, and was about to jump when he just sort of snapped out of it, and feel down. I in turn, related my experience of the night to him.
Since then, I’ve heard lots of ghost stories in the span of my 52 years. Some of them I believe, and some I don't, but mark my words this one is true, and changed my views on the afterlife forever, that cold October night. The night of the ghost on the bridge......