Monday, 26 July 2010
Fear on the Bridge
We were walking one night along Cheshire street, about to go across the railway footbridge, which cuts through to Pedley Street. It's a very dark and secluded spot. I don't think there's any street lights, maybe there's a little light coming from the windows up above. The railway footbridge cuts through from an alley off Cheshire Street and over the railway. The steps down at the other end of the bridge turn a corner to the left, then turn another corner, leading down into a railway arch. Because of the turn of the stairs you can't see who might be coming round the corner. And as the railway arch is very dark, leading onto a cobbled lane, secluded from any main streets, there's not that many people passing through, sometimes a few during the day. It's also very scummy, dirty, with needles, shit, condoms, all sorts of filthy things. And so I guess, understandably, you imagine there's somebody equally filthy and scary who might be lurking round the corner, just out of sight ready to pounce on you as you go round the corner. So, as we approached the railway footbridge I felt the apprehension of all those things.
It was dark. It must have been about eleven o’ clock maybe. There was nobody really around. But we wanted to go over to the other side because it was on our route. So we tentatively approached the steps up to the bridge. And, we looked at each other, and we went up a bit further, further up the steps…and one of us thought we saw something at the other side, and one of us gasped. And I don't know who, but somebody shrieked, and we all went running back down again, screaming. And got to the bottom, asking each other 'What happened? What happened? ' 'Well, I heard you two getting a bit nervous, and I was getting a bit nervous. Then I screamed. Sort of joking but a bit scared, and kind of trying to make you more scared, but kind of believing it myself… and then we all ran down'… We couldn't believe how scared we'd been. And how stupid it seemed. Because however dangerous it might have seemed to cross the bridge, or whoever might have been lurking, the fear seemed to have nothing really to do with those ordinary fears of being attacked in the street by someone. It had taken on a kind of supernatural quality. Some kind of indefinable fear that was lurking along this bridge.