Stone Bridge Over the Wissahickon,
George Beck, circa 1800,
gouache on paper.
My internet provider was sluggish this morning. I fumed and fussed and thereby lost any early morning inspiration.
What follows is from Exorcism, the Talahassie Bridge opening scene continuation which got derailed some days ago by a picture.
I leaned over the railing and dumped his evil dust into the moving water. Without ceremony.
Exeat. Sic transit. Finis.
I didn't even speak his name aloud as a last conge. Names have power. At this crucial moment I wanted nothing that might act as a thread, however fine, to keep him from the safety of this final banishment.
Maybe now the dark cloud of quiet dread that moved with me all these months would dissipate. Maybe now my every impulse, every experience and event would not bring with it a memory, a comparison, a fear. Maybe now I would not be tethered to the dead like a puppet.
I banged the box to loosen any remaining grit, and leaned further to watch the last gray specks fan and fall.
I nearly went over the rail after them. I recognized that roar.
I did drop the box. It arched down, troubled the waters momentarily, sailed and sank. I had meant to burn it, and spread those ashes in turn. I would have to trust the waters.
Footfalls pounded on the hollow planks.
I regained my shaky balance and turned at bay, clutching the cold bars of the bridge railing with both hands.
The footsteps slowed -- as if their owner realized that caution might be indicated. Perhaps he thought he had interrupted a suicide bid and was in automatic rescue mode.
I never knew for sure what Johnnie Thresher thought.
And I sure as hell didn't understand why he was here. I expected to see the odd ghost wander past. One or two frail spectres had -- really old ones -- but they weren't the recorder kind that caused complaints from an uneasy public.
The last thing I expected to encounter was psi-crime investigator, Johnnie Thresher, in bold and living flesh.
Precognition was not one of my Talents.
His silhouette loomed ogre-size against the light from the pole lamp at the end of the bridge.
He halted, too close. An intimidating hulk in jeans and leather jacket, his face all angles and iron. The only thing that saved him from ugly was his nice mouth and the beauty of his deep blue eyes.
I sucked in air and fought off vertigo.
The last time he'd worn such a grim, bone-white look, I'd been in deep shit.
"Sergeant, " I squeaked, and slid a trembling step, still clutching the rail for support.