Friday, April 23, 2010

Chronicles of a Life in Linden: Lacy's Bridge

Lacy was dead, to begin with. That's all I can really tell you because I don't remember the true story behind the ghost that allegedly haunted Lacy's Bridge. Variants of it have something to do with a young girl, a suicide, maybe an unborn kid, maybe a lover scorned -- who can tell?

Rumor had it that if you crossed Lacy's Bridge at night, all manner of things could happen to you. Your car would stall. Your lights would go out. Faces would press up against your window while you stared out into the dark night.

If you wanted to reach the witch's grave, you had to cross Lacy's Bridge, and that's just what we were doing one Halloween night when I was about 15 or 16 years old. The car was stuffed with teenagers dressed as slut-whore bellydancers, slut-whore cheerleaders, and slut-whore nurses. The guys smeared gooey fake blood on white t-shirts, halfheartedly playing along with the charade. We turned the car engine off at Lacy's Bridge to call her out. You don't know quiet until you reach the country in East Texas at night. Bullfrogs turn to vampires. Bellowing cows become the moaning dead. I surreptitiously put a handprint on the humid back window and tapped my friends to show them that Lacy was trying to push the car over the edge into the black water. Someone, undoubtedly Carrie, maybe Lauren, gave me a good smack for pulling my old antics.

Let me pause a second to tell you that smack was entirely justified. One night, at a sleepover, I forced my friends to watch the Exorcist when we were entirely too young to do so, then crept outside and, at the scariest part, raked my fingernails down the dark glass that looked into the livingroom. Thereafter, my friend Steph slept in the bathroom wedged between the toilet and the wall. This was a stunt topped only by the time Melinda & Carrie tried to pull one on me by planning (a little too loudly) a sneak attack on me after I'd fallen asleep. Since I'd overheard the plot, I unscrewed all of the light bulbs in the room and hid, so that when they pounced on my bed, they found it empty. When they went to turn on the lamp, all they heard was CLICK. And then, my favorite part: CLICK CLICK.

So I'm saying I deserved the smack. At any rate, I was about to try something else to elicit a scream when we heard a gunshot. Everyone slipped and stumbled and scraped, a flutter of gauze and sequins and fake wigs and high heeled shoes, trying to cram back into the car and speed away. Lacy must have been preoccupied because the car started -- did it do so weakly? -- and we skidded away on the dirt road back home.

We say, to this day, that somebody's daddy was firing at us for trespassing near his house. In Texas, you don't step on someone else's land uninvited in the middle of the night -- especially Halloween Night -- and expect a glass of sweet tea. Maybe it was Lacy, trying to teach me a little something about fear.

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