This feels terribly wrong, she thought to herself. But she didn't mention it to the boy beside her driving the car. He was nervous as it was, and she didn't want to upset him anymore.
They were lost.
They'd been driving through rural western Pennsylvania for hours. She looked at the dashboard clock. It read 2:30 a.m. She leaned back in her seat and sighed, trying not to look at the scenery rolling outside her window. The barren trees, dark sky with tints of eerie light that came from nowhere, as there were no light sources and no moon, were certainly Stephen King worthy. Looking closer, she realized why he set many of his novels in the area she was now passing through: the feel of pure evil emanated from the trees, the sky, the dead grass, and penetrated the steel and glass of the car.
She shivered, and wrapped her coat tighter around herself. It was cold for October, colder than she was used to, but then again, she told herself, I'm not from around here.
"There are railroad tracks up ahead."
His voice broke the cold silence and made her jump. She looked for the sign, and barely saw it as the headlights passed it and on into the darkness.
"So there are." She tried to mask her fear and sound cheery, but her words sounded in a pale squeak. The air seemed thick, and everything around them seemed to have become pitch black. The darkness was closing in.
"Does it seem to be getting darker to you?" She tried not to sound paranoid.
"I don't think it's any darker than it was a moment ago," he mumbled. He had to pay very close attention to the road to see it. "It's always darkest before it gets light." He turned to smile at her, to comfort her, but it was a tired, scared smile, and it only scared her more.
She half smiled, half grimaced back at him, and gulped deeply before hiding further in her coat. They passed over the railroad tracks in silence, almost missing the road as it took a sharp curve to the right. The road seemed to go straight into the woods until the high beams reached the exact part of the curve at which it turned. They continued on a ways in more silence. She hoped that his words would be true, fearing they would not.
He was right, however. There was suddenly light beyond the high beams, the sky seemed to have lightened, and they could see before them a wooden bridge, with steel supports at the front and back, but nothing on the sides, which opened onto a large, black river. Surrounding it was an eerie light, as though the sky were blueish gray instead of black. She found this odd at almost three o'clock in the morning, in that pitch dark woods with no moon.
"That doesn't look too sturdy," he said as they slowed down to observe the bridge before crossing it.
"We don't have a choice," she replied, straining in her seat to see beyond the first few boards and onto the other side. "We've come too far in this direction to turn back now."
"I suppose you're right." He stepped on the gas, and the car suddenly sputtered, and stopped.
She tried to breathe.
"Fucking hell!" Terror rose in both of them.
She tried to stay calm, but breathing was becoming harder and harder for her to do.
"Fuck!" He exclaimed again. He tore the seatbelt off and she could feel her lungs stop working completely.
"Where the hell are you going?" Her eyes were wide with panic, her breathing more shallow every second.
"Whatever happens, stay here, ok? Stay here."
She felt faint. "Don't leave me," was all she could choke out. "Don't go. What if something happens to you?"
"Just stay here, I'm going to get help."
"Help?! Where?!" She was growing hysterical. "We've seen nothing for miles!"
"There has to be something beyond that bridge. I'll just cross it and find out, and then come back. I'll be back, I promise."
He was gone before she could protest anymore. She tried to breathe again, tried to pretend she wasn't in this situation, that he hadn't just run out and left her in the middle of the woods. She couldn't look at the bridge, fearing what she might see there if her eyes adjusted to the dim light. She closed her eyes and breathed in, then out, in then out...
When her eyes fluttered open, there was bright light flooding the car. She had awoken to a tapping at her window, which had fogged over. She rolled it down to see a grim looking policeman staring intensely at her.
"Ma'am, please step out of the car," he said very gently.
"I- I'm waiting for my boyfriend," she stuttered.
"Please, miss." His tone was firm, but still quiet. "You need to step out of the car."
She pondered a minute, then opened the door. "I'm waiting for my boyfriend," she stubbornly repeated.
She began to turn toward the bridge to search, but the cop stopped her. "You really don't want to see that," he almost whispered, as he held her shoulders firmly turned toward the car.
She struggled, her chest tight, breathing hard. "No." She pulled herself away, leaving the officer with helpless, outstretched arms behind her.
"NO!" she screamed. She collapsed into a heap on the dead grass, too horrified and overwhelmed with shock and grief to cry or breathe.
There was the bridge, in front of her, standing as frightening as it had seemed the night before, the black river running underneath it. And there he was, hanging by a thick rope from the highest beam.
This is one of the legends surrounding the bridge on Covert Road in Mt. Jackson, Pennsylvania, known as Covert's Crossing. No one is sure when this actually occurred or if it occurred at all, but it is one variation of the urban legend that has grown up around the bridge. Supposedly, if you drive over the bridge on a specific night, some say Halloween, some say the anniversary of the date it occurred, you can see him hanging from the top of the bridge, not ghostlike, but real, as if he was actually still hanging there.
The other variations are similar. One tells that the couple were in the woods making out when the boy went deeper into the woods to take a leak, and after not returning for a long time, the girl returned to the car, and waited for him there. A short while later she hears a scraping sound on the roof, and freaks out.
At this point, the story has two different endings. The first is that she exits the car to find her boyfriend hanging from the bridge, the scraping coming from his class ring, which scrapes the top of the car as he sways back and forth. The second and much more frightening version is that she hears the scraping but stays in the car, gets in the driver's seat, and drives away. The boy is alive, and the rope that he is hung by is tied to the car, and so as she drives away, he is strangled. In this version, she kills him unknowingly, and in my opinion, this is the most horrifying version.
Fact or fiction? That is anyone's guess.