Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Bridge (07/31/08)
TITLE: Johnny's Bridge
By Christopher Dawson
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My voice trembled as I spoke and I had a look on my face that was a mixture of fear and anger in equal parts. My older brother, Johnny, was stomping hard on the old, wooden bridge that crossed Dolan’s Creek and the bridge’s rickety frame creaked and moaned on cue.
“Oh, you old scaredy cat! There ain’t nothing going to happen to you, ‘cept maybe Momma’ll come running when she hears you crying out like an old tomcat.”
“Oh, shut up and come on! The sun’s way up over the hill now. The catfish will be done biting if you don’t stop it let us get across the bridge. That’s what’s not funny. I’m not scared.”
“Sure, little brother!” Johnny winked and held out his hand in a donut shaped “okey dokey.” “I know you’re not scared at all.” He jumped up high and came down on the bridge with a thud one last time.
This time I stumbled and fell, doing my best to keep a good hold on my fishing rod and tackle box. My knuckles crushed into the bridge planks and I found myself peering through a knothole at the foamy current below.
When I looked over my shoulder to shoot a beam at Johnny, I saw something in his face I’d never seen before…fear…raw fear. Our eyes met for an instant. Then, I heard a crack, like a tree limb breaking in quiet woods. Johnny’s jaw dropped and so did he, right through the broken bridge planking. He disappeared into the swollen creek in an instant. I saw his face one last time…white with fear.
That was the last time I saw Johnny. It was the last time any of us saw him. It was hard on us all, Momma the worst. Johnny was a free spirit, with a mean streak that paled only in comparison to the goodness in his heart. When he was swept out of our lives, something dear, something irreplaceable was lost.
I’ll never see a bridge that I don’t think of Johnny and the look on his face. Bridges…damned ol’ bridges!
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