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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Help (02/20/06)

TITLE: The Bridge
By Robert Bronkhorst
02/26/06


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It was a cold and rainy day; typical weather for late October, but not even the gloom could darken the spirits of Conner MacKenzie. It was his first week on the job as an account executive for a high profile bank, a job that he had prepared his whole life for. He was also deeply in love with Heather, his high school sweetheart he had married five years ago. She had just told him the news that she was pregnant; he couldn’t have been more happier if he had tried.

………………………………………………………………………………………

"Conner, this is Paul…" The line went silent. "There has been an accident."
He felt a lump in his throat. He listened as his friend told him the news. He listened to all the words, yet he didn’t want to hear them.
He wanted it to be a bad dream and one that he could wake up from. He wanted to believe that Heather had made it safely to her destination. He wanted so desperately to think that, but in a blink of an eye, all that had changed.
"If there is anything you need, please feel free to ask. I also want to say how sorry I am." Paul’s voice was soothing to him, just like a friend’s voice should. Conner knew that he would need a friend now.
………………………………………………………………………………..

Harry’s Bar had been closed for several hours but Conner wasn’t in the mood to go home. The thought of returning to an empty house was unappealing to him, as was the thought of going back to a job that he had no stomach for anymore.
Two years ago, he buried his beloved Heather, yet her memory still remained. For two years, he had tried to survive without her and tried to live his life as if nothing happened. Yet it was all an act. Everything had betrayed him, his life became worthless and he was just a small meaningless cog and had no desire to keep going through the motions.
He had become more miserable and distant. He turned down offers of help from Paul and others who had helped him through the tough times. As a result, he no longer stayed in contact. His only solace was in the booze and that became his friend. Booze would never betray him.
Conner turned away from the path that led home. The Front Street Bridge emerged through the early morning haze. It was the perfect place to end it all.

………………………………………………………………………………..

They sounded distant, but Conner could hear voices and as he opened his eyes, he was in an unfamiliar place filled with unrecognizable faces. A man wearing a white coat was looking down at him with a determined look on his face.
"Where am I?" he asked the man.
"County General," came the reply.
Conner focused his eyes and saw that the man’s name was Dr. Thomas Monroe.
"How did I get here?"
The doctor looked at the chart that was hanging on the edge of the bed.
"You were pulled from the river," Dr. Monroe replied.
Conner blinked his eyes clear. "I guess I should be thankful," he said.
"Why were you in the river?" asked the doctor.
Conner turned his head away.
"We’ll talk later," Monroe said. He made a note on the chart, and then walked toward the door and into the crowded lobby.
………………………………………………………………………………………

Dr. Monroe turned in the direction and noticed a blonde woman heading in his direction. He recognized her as the woman that had brought Conner into the hospital and smiled immediately.
"How is he?"
"He’ll be fine," he answered. "All he needs is rest and maybe a few weeks of rehab."
"Great," she answered with a sense of relief.
Dr. Monroe held out his hand. "I guess he owes it all to you and your quick thinking."
"He was in danger, and I was there to help. I guess the rest is up to him now."
He nodded.
She smiled, then headed toward the exit.
"By the way," Dr. Monroe said. "I don’t think I ever got your name."
"Heather," she said, then disappeared into the street.

…………………………………………………………………………………….

A picture of Heather MacKenzie sat undisturbed on the nightstand. Conner MacKenzie glanced at it and wiped a tear away from his eyes.
"Thanks for the help," he said. "Sorry I let you down."
He finished tying his tie, then grabbed his briefcase. "I won’t let it happen again, I promise."


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Member Comments
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Jan Ackerson 03/01/06
If his rescuer was coincidentally named Heather, this is a powerful piece, but if there's an implication that she's his wife's ghost? angel?--there may be some theological issues here. The writing is very good; you captured Conner's despair very convincingly, and with a nice note of hope at the end.