The Covered Bridgepage 2 / 3
"Sorry," Jackie said. "I couldn't resist. You should have seen your face. Come on. I've got to go. Walk me part way."
"Just as far as the bridge," Carol said.
Jackie shrugged and got up. Carol followed her down the road to the bridge.
Twice, Jackie stopped and shouted, "THERE'S ONE!" Both times, Carol jumped. Both times, Jackie giggled. "Well," Jackie asked when they reached the bridge. "You going to walk me any farther?"
Carol shook her head. Going across was bad enough. But if she went over the bridge with Jackie, that meant she'd have to go back across on the way home -- by herself.
Jackie sprinted ahead to the middle of the bridge. She was nearly lost in the shadows. All Carol could see was a vague form. "Look, nothing scary. Come on. Just walk a few steps with me. You'll be glad you did."
Carol took a deep breath. If she walked just a little way with Jackie, she'd be able to keep her in sight when she went back to her own side. "Stay right there," she said, hating how timid she sounded.
She stepped onto the bridge. The wood, built to take the weight of cars and trucks, didn't creak in protest over this light load. "Jackie? You there?" The form didn't seem to be getting any closer. Carol walked, bracing herself, expecting Jackie to jump at her and shout Boo! any moment. "Jackie?" she called again.
There was no answer. Carol froze, unsure whether to go ahead and search for Jackie or to run back. She took another step, and another. Finally, ahead, she saw dim light. The night, dark but brighter than the inside of the bridge, revealed Jackie standing on the ground ahead.
Carol ran forward, pausing at the very edge of the bridge. She was too angry with Carol to join her on the ground. "You didn't wait for me."
"Hey. I did you a favor. You made it. Now you know there's nothing to be scared of."
Carol started to answer. But something caught her eye. On the ground, all around Jackie, small mounds of dirt were pushing up. At first, Carol thought it was a trick of the shadows. She realized it was no trick when she saw hundreds of slimy, wriggling creatures bursting from the holes. Even in the dark, their teeth gleamed bright.