Sunday, October 24, 2010

Stull #5

"I don't think there is a county in America that doesn't have a story like this," Frank began as he and Katie drove down a gravel road that was heading toward trees surrounding a creek.  "The name it is given is commonly La Llorona.  The original tale began in Mexico and found it's way to America.  These type of bridges are typically called 'crybaby bridges' because sometimes you can hear a baby cry."

"I love how you just start randomly talking as we approach where we're going," Katie smiled.

"Anyway," Frank said forcibly.  "A mother gives birth to a child out of wedlock and throws the baby over the bridge into the creek then feels guilty and goes into the creek to retrieve the child only to drown herself."

"Sounds fun," Katie said.  "And that's the story here?"

"Pretty much.  There's been some variation but essentially it's the same.  You can hear crying in the distance and if you say 'I have your baby' three times while standing against the railing of the bridge then you get pulled into the creek.  I want to explore it during the day and get some pictures.  Plus it's been awhile since I've been in this part of the county."

They were currently in Pacific Township in the northwestern corner of Stanton County.  There were a lot of creeks in this township that caused the roads to meander around.  There was only one community in the township:  Pacific City.  Pacific City was founded in 1860 but with the Civil War, the population dropped and became an unincorporated town.  Only a handful of houses and an abandoned grange were all that were left.

Frank and Katie approached a stone bridge that crossed Little Vawter Creek.  The bridge was made of concrete and slightly worn with some of the clean concrete now a dinghy gray.  Frank pulled over just before the bridge and he and Katie got out.  Frank began taking pictures of the surrounding area, the creek and the bridge.

"So?" Katie began.  "Any more to the story?"

"Huh?  There really is no story.  It's an urban legend.  It's not true.  Everything that's been heard and seen around here can be attributed to wild animals and drunk college students and they aren't all that credible."

"So what are we doing out here?" Katie asked.

"The bridge was built in 1914.  I would like to get it listed on the National Register of Historic Places especially since it is the last bridge built by the Frontenac Bridge Company still standing."

Katie nodded then spoke, "You do realize why you are single, right?"

"The Bridge"
"I have your baby," Frank said as he leaned over the railing. Katie stayed in the middle of the bridge away from both of the edges. "I have your baby," he said again.


"I don't hear anything."

"This didn't work back in high school so I don't know why I thought it would work now," Frank sighed. "Sorry I dragged you back down here in the middle of the night."

"No biggie. You pay well," Katie said.

The next day, Frank went over to Judith Lawrence's house and sat down with her.  "So you went to the Little Vawter Bridge last night?"  Judith asked.

"Yeah and like normal nothing happened," Frank complained.

"Were you expecting something to happen?"

"Yes...and no.  I've heard the stories about what happens to people but it's never happened when I've done it," Frank explained.

"I've seen it happen.  It was terrifying," Judith said.  "Back when I was in high school--and you can just guess how long ago this was.  A group of friends and me went out to the bridge and someone called out from the edge of the bridge.  At first, nothing happened but then we heard a thrashing in the water, my friend went over the rail and into the creek."

"So why didn't anything happen when I did it?" Frank asked.

"Because you were expecting it to happen but thinking it would not."


"Go back out there and don't expect it to happen but think it will."

"Huh?" Frank repeating.

Two nights later, Frank and Katie were back out at the Little Vawter Creek Bridge.  "You want me to do it?"

"Yeah.  Just stand against the edge and tell the dead woman that you have her baby," Frank said.

"What?  Are you serious?" Katie asked.  "Why me?"

"Because Mrs. Lawrence said that I don't believe anything will happen so nothing will.  You do."

"That doesn't make sense," Katie was slightly confused.

"Just do it.  Don't worry.  Nothing will happen."

Katie walked to the edge of the bridge and leaned over slightly.  She cleared her throat and leaned out further.  "I have your baby..." she said.  Nothing happened.  She inhaled again.  "I have your baby."

Still nothing.

"Damn," Frank said.  "Nothing happened."

"Good.  I don't want to be pulled into the creek."

Katie hopped up on the side rail of the bridge and sat down, facing Frank.  "So this story can't be true but Judith said it was."

"Maybe her friend was just playing a joke," Katie said.

"But her friend died, Katie."

"A joke gone bad.  He was the only person to die from these incidents."

"I think they would know if it were a joke," Frank said.  "I don't know.  I need to do more research..."

Suddenly, Katie shrieked and she tumbled over the edge of the bridge and landed on the rocks below and rolled into the creek.  Frank rushed to where she was sitting and looked over the side.  Katie was in the creek, soaking wet, sniffling and holding her left forearm.

"Oh my God!  Katie!  Are you all right?"

"I'm fine," she said, starting to cry.  "Can you help me up?  I think my arm is broken."

Frank and Katie sat in the ER at Stanton County Regional Medical Center.  Katie's arm was in a cast and they were waiting for the doctor to come back and discharge her.

"Do I get worker's comp?" Katie asked.

"You get time off with pay and your medical bills covered.  Didn't you read your employee contract?"

"Of course not."

"How did you fall off the bridge railing?"

"I didn't fall off--I was pulled off."

"What?  No you weren't," Frank lauged.

"I felt something pull on my shirt.  I was pulled in, Frank."  Katie was serious and had a scared look on her face.

"And you didn't see anything or anyone?" Frank asked.

Katie shook her head.  "It all happened fast.  I couldn't see anything but I could feel something."

"Well, you are not going back to the bridge.  When Matt comes back from his leave of absence we will investigate the bridge."

"No, you don't have to do that.  When I heal, we'll all go because now it's personal."

Frank nodded and looked at the floor.  "Really?  It's personal?"

"I was pulled off of a bridge.  Of course it's personal," Katie said.  "And it was the only thing I could think of to say."

Matt meets Virginia Humphrey who mysteriously disappears.