Whispering a prayer, Jeannie clutched the ornamental cross that hung around her neck while the quiet laughter of children echoed through the darkness of the old covered bridge. She blinked and peered into the gloom, trying to locate the source of the sound. Even with the aid of the sparse light of broken moonbeams, Jeannie saw nothing.
“The laughter…i-it sounds like it’s coming from all around us,” Nat whispered, her voice shuddering. “I thought you said they weren’t real.”
A loud thud shot through the dark, followed by more hideous laughter.
Jeannie and Nat gripped their seats.
“I didn’t think they were. I just wanted to creep you out with the story,” Jeannie said. “I’m so sorry.”
“You succeeded; I’m terrified so let’s go!”
“What? Why the hell not?”
“Because, if you don’t let them get the candy off the roof, they’ll come after you and take something else…something besides candy.”
Nat hissed, “I would ask what that might be but I’m pretty sure I don’t wanna know. And I don’t care either. Let’s go!”
Nat’s emerald eyes, so dark and deep in the gloom, pleaded with her lover to get them out and away, far, far away from the nightmare they’d driven into.
The pitter-patter of small feet sounded from behind the car, followed closely by evil giggles. And then, grimy hands slapping the car’s trunk.
Without a thought, Jeannie turned the key and fired the car to life. She threw it in gear and peeled out across the old, oak boards, leaving children’s shrieks in her wake.
As the car barrelled over the boards, the bridge stretched out before them, going on and on, the other side suddenly swallowed into the black and disappearing completely.
Unable to accept or comprehend what she was seeing, Jeannie floored the gas.
The engine screamed. The rows of beams above dissolved into the darkness. The walls and floor of the bridge became shifting particles.
Jeannie and Nat shrieked. The car flew into a void of the purest, most absolute darkness.
And then, metal and glass grinding and shattering and Jeannie and Nat crashing into each other and bouncing and smashing into the windshield and the front console, their bodies twisting and contorting and breaking under gravity’s strain. Flesh tearing. Bones cracking. Blood spurting and spilling.
A moment later, quiet, soft giggles, and bare footsteps approached the heap and mess of smashed metal and flesh.
The two mutant children leaped into the wreckage. They pulled vital organs from the two dead women and smiled at one another as they ate their morbid meal.
Licking his lips, one of the children muttered, “Mmmm…candy.”
The second child grinned. Blood dripped from rows of dagger-pointed teeth. “Sweets for the babies,” he said in a watery voice, before tearing off another piece of raw flesh.
Detective Lumley gingerly plucked the bloody candy bar wrapper off the boards of the covered bridge and dropped it into a plastic evidence bag.
“Damn kids!” He huffed. “They never listen.”
Shafts of early morning light eked into the bridge through the two small side windows. Lumley’s partner, Detective Schow, approached. In the background, a photographer captured grisly images while other officers milled around.
“It’s just like last time,” Schow said.
“Every generation, they all do this, and no one listens, no one really believes. You can’t try fate; it always ends badly. Damn this waterhead baby legend!”
Schow patted his partner on his shoulder. “Every town’s got their monsters.” He stepped away and began to walk out of the bridge, calling back, “I’ll get us some more coffee.”
Lumley eyed the candy bar wrapper, honing in on the small fingerprints that he knew he’d never find a match to. “Every town…” he whispered under his breath, let out a heavy sigh, then turned and walked away.