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The Vow: A Halloween Story


Eric Rodriguez

"Jeez!" I exclaimed. "My candy bag is almost full!"

Janet smiled. "We must have a year's supply of candy! Now where do we go? I want this bag full before we get home!"

I nodded in agreement. Looking around, I saw that we were near the river that divided the city. I knew there were more houses across it.

"Over there," I said, pointing across the river.

"But how do we get there?" Janet asked.

"By crossing that bridge."

Janet glanced over at a small bridge in the distance and frowned. "I've heard stories about that bridge, Aaron. It's old and dangerous. The boards could easily snap, and you would fall to your death into the river."

"That won't happen," I insisted.

"I don't know..."

"Please!" I begged. "Do it for the candy!"

Janet sighed. "Fine. But I vow, Aaron, if I die I will come back and take you with me."

I shrugged the joke off as we headed towards the bridge. I mean, it was only a joke, right?

The freezing wind stung my eyes, bringing tears as I let the bouquet of flowers fall into the river. I closed my eyes and let the memories of that Halloween night the year before play in my head. I could see myself laughing as I wandered ahead, ignoring Janet's pleas to wait. Suddenly there was a sharp crack of splintering wood, then a scream. I tried to save her but it was too late. I can still picture Janet's face as she fell into the river, the same look she had when they found her body. Her parents told me that it wasn't my fault and to forget what had happened. But those memories will never go away.

Sobbing, I turned away from the river. The police had restricted the bridge off limits since the accident, and tomorrow it's to be destroyed. But I had to come again. I had to say good-bye.

That's when I saw it. The dark silhouette of a person walking towards me on the bridge. Believing it was a policeman, I quickly stood up and turned to escape down the opposite way. But I stopped when I realized I was heading towards the spot where Janet fell. I knew I couldn't jump over the huge gap where the wood fell. The wood on the other side wouldn't hold the force. Letting out a hopeless sigh, I turned around to face the policeman.

To my surprise, the person was not a policeman but a pale girl wearing a dress.

"What are you doing here?" I asked. "This bridge is dangerous!"

She didn't answer. Instead she came closer and closer towards me. There was something weird about her; the wood didn't creak beneath her, her hair did not move in the wind, and she looked very familiar. It was only when she stopped when I realized who she was. I gasped. Janet!

"Janet?" I asked with a trembling voice. "Is that you?"

At the mention of Janet's name, the girl screamed in a pitch so loud my ears were in pain!

"A year ago I was alive." She said, her voice coming and going with the wind. "But you killed me. Now I shall fulfill my vow, Aaron. Tonight you shall join me in death!"

My blood froze as the words Janet had vowed the night she died filled my mind. She wasn't joking after all.

Janet started towards me, her eyes red with hatred. I had to escape, so I turned to run. Suddenly there was a loud crack as the wood beneath me gave away. I screamed as I began to fall. Instinctively, I stuck out my arm and caught a metal beam beneath the bridge.

I grasped the beam with my other hand before I lost my grip. I could hear the fierce roar of the river beneath me, but I didn't dare look down.

"Now you will suffer the same fate as me," Janet said.

"No!" I cried. "Please, Janet! Don't do this!"

Janet frowned, but showed no compassion. "It's too late now."

I felt my hands slipping off the beam.

"No!" I screamed. Seeing this as my only chance to escape, I did the only thing I could think of. I swung my feet up and kicked the board Janet was standing on. It gave away instantly. Janet gasped.

"No!" She screamed, but it was too late. Janet fell from the bridge and disappeared into the river. Only this time I did not try to save her.

It's been years since the incident at the bridge happened. Even though Janet did not succeed in killing me that night, I do believe she has in a way. Even after the bridge was destroyed, her screams, her face, and her vow remain inside my head, reminding me of my guilt every passing day of my life.

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