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Brachiosaurus /ˌbrækiəˈsɔrəs/ is a genus of sauropod dinosaur from the Jurassic Morrison Formation of North America. It was first described by Elmer S. Riggs in 1903 from fossils found in the Grand River Canyon (now Colorado River) of western Colorado, in the United States. Riggs named the dinosaur Brachiosaurus altithorax, declaring it "the largest known dinosaur". Brachiosaurus had a disproportionately long neck, small skull, and large overall size, all of which are typical for sauropods. However, the proportions of Brachiosaurus are unlike most sauropods - the forelimbs were longer than the hindlimbs, which resulted in a steeply inclined trunk, and its tail was shorter in proportion to its neck than other sauropods of the Jurassic.
Brachiosaurus is the namesake genus of the family Brachiosauridae, which includes a handful of other similar sauropods. Much of what is known by laypeople about Brachiosaurus is in fact based on Giraffatitan brancai, a species of brachiosaurid dinosaur from the Tendaguru Formation of Tanzania that was originally described by German paleontologist Werner Janensch as a species of Brachiosaurus. Recent research shows that the differences between the type species of Brachiosaurus and the Tendaguru material are significant enough that the African material should be placed in a separate genus. Several other potential species of Brachiosaurus have been described from Africa and Europe, but none of them are thought to belong to Brachiosaurus at this time.
Brachiosaurus is one of the rarer sauropods of the Morrison Formation. The type specimen of B. altithorax is still the most complete specimen, and only a relative handful of other specimens are thought to belong to the genus. It is regarded as a high browser, probably cropping or nipping vegetation as high as possibly 9 metres (30 ft) off of the ground. Unlike other sauropods, and its depiction in the film Jurassic Park, it was unsuited for rearing on its hindlimbs. It has been used as an example of a dinosaur that was most likely ectothermic due to its large size and the corresponding need for forage, but more recent research finds it to have been warm-blooded.
Like all sauropod dinosaurs, Brachiosaurus was a quadrupedal animal with a small skull, a long neck, a large trunk with a high-ellipsoid cross section, a long, muscular tail and slender, columnar limbs. The skull had a robust, wide muzzle and thick jaw bones, with spoon–shaped teeth. As in Giraffatitan, there was an arch of bone over the snout and in front of the eyes that encircled the nasal opening, although this arch was not as large as in its relative. Large air sacs connected to the lung system were present in the neck and trunk, invading the vertebrae and ribs, greatly reducing the overall density. Unusually for a sauropod, the forelimbs were longer than the hind limbs. The humerus (upper arm bone) of Brachiosaurus was relatively lightly built for its size, measuring 2.04 metres (6.7 ft) in length in the type specimen. The femur (thigh bone) of the type specimen was only 2.03 metres (6.7 ft) long. Unlike other sauropods, Brachiosaurus appears to have been slightly sprawled at the shoulder joint, and the ribcage was unusually deep. This led to the trunk being inclined, with the front much higher than the hips, and the neck exiting the trunk at a steep angle. Overall, this shape resembles a giraffe more than any other living animal.
Because "Brachiosaurus" brancai (Giraffatitan) is known from much more complete material than B. altithorax, most size estimates for Brachiosaurus are actually for the African form. There is an additional element of uncertainty for North American Brachiosaurus because the most complete skeleton appears to have come from a subadult. Over the years, the mass of B. altithorax has been estimated as 35.0 metric tons (38.6 short tons), 43.9 metric tons (48.4 short tons), and, most recently, 28.7 metric tons (31.6 short tons). In the first and last cases, the authors also provided estimates for Giraffatitan, and found that genus to be somewhat lighter (31.5 metric tons (34.7 short tons) for Paul  and 23.3 metric tons (25.7 short tons) for Taylor ). The length of Brachiosaurus has been estimated at 26 metres (85 ft).
Brachiosaurus is the namesake genus of Brachiosauridae. Over the years, a number of sauropods have been assigned to Brachiosauridae, such as Astrodon, Bothriospondylus, Dinodocus, Pelorosaurus, Pleurocoelus, and Ultrasaurus, but most of these are currently regarded as dubious or of uncertain placement. A phylogenetic analysis of sauropods published in the description of Abydosaurus found that genus to form a clade with Brachiosaurus and Giraffatitan (included in Brachiosaurus). A more recent analysis focused on possible Asian brachiosaurid material found a clade including Abydosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Cedarosaurus, Giraffatitan, and Paluxysaurus, but not Qiaowanlong, the putative Asian brachiosaurid. Related genera include Lusotitan and Sauroposeidon. Brachiosauridae is situated at the base of Titanosauriformes, a group of sauropods that also includes the titanosaurs.
According to the revised diagnosis by Taylor, Brachiosaurus altithorax is diagnosed by a plethora of characters, many to be found on the dorsal (back) vertebrae. Among the characters placing it in the family Brachiosauridae are a ratio of humerus length to femur length of at least 0.9 (i.e. the upper arm bone is at least nearly as long as the thigh bone), and a very flattened femur shaft (ratio ≥1.85).
Cladogram of Brachiosauridae after D'Emic (2012)
Separation of Giraffatitan
When describing the brachiosaurid material from Tendaguru in 1914, Janensch listed a number of differences and commonalities between them and B. altithorax. In three further publications in 1929, 1950  and 1961 Janensch compared the two species in more detail, listing 13 putative shared characters. Of these, however, only four appear to be valid, while six pertain to more inclusive groups than Brachiosauridae, and the rest are either difficult to assess or refer to material that is not Brachiosaurus.
In 1988, Gregory Paul published a new reconstruction of the skeleton of "B." brancai, highlighting a number of differences in proportion between it and B. altithorax. Chief among them is a difference in the way the trunk vertebrae vary: they are fairly uniform in B. altithorax, but vary widely in the African material. Paul believed that the limb and girdle elements of both species were very similar, and therefore suggested to separate them not at genus, but only at subgenus level.
Giraffatitan was raised to genus level by Olshevsky without comment. A detailed study of all material, including the limb and girdle bones, by Michael Taylor in 2009 found that there are significant differences between Brachiosaurus altithorax and the Tendaguru material in all elements known from both species. Taylor found 26 distinct osteological (bone-based) characters, a larger difference than that between, e.g., Diplodocus and Barosaurus, and therefore argued that the African material should be placed in its own genus, Giraffatitan, as G. brancai. An important difference between the two genera is the overall body shape, with Brachiosaurus having a 23% longer dorsal (trunk) vertebrate series and a 20 to 25% longer and also taller tail.
Other assigned species
"B." atalaiensis: Originally described by de Lapparent and Zbyszewski, this material's reference to Brachiosaurus was doubted by Upchurch, Barret and Dodson, who listed it as an unnamed brachiosaurid, and placed in its own genus Lusotitan by Antunes and Mateus. De Lapparent and Zbyszewski described a series of remains but did not designate a type specimen. Antunes and Mateus selected a partial postcranial skeleton (MIGM 4978, 4798, 4801–4810, 4938, 4944, 4950, 4952, 4958, 4964–4966, 4981–4982, 4985, 8807, 8793–87934) as a lectotype; this specimen includes 28 vertebrae, chevrons, ribs, a possible shoulder blade, humeri, forearm bones, partial left pelvis, lower leg bones, and part of the right ankle. The low neural spines, the prominent deltopectoral crest of the humerus (a muscle attachment site on the upper arm bone), the elongated humerus (very long and slender), and the long axis of the ilium tilted upward indicate that Lusotitan is a brachiosaurid.
"B." brancai: Janensch based his description on "Skelett S" (skeleton S) from Tendaguru, but later realized that it comprised two partial individuals: S I and S II. He at first did not designate them as a syntype series, nor specify a lectotype, and Taylor in 2009 proposed the larger and more complete S II (MB.R.2181) as the lectotype. It includes, among other bones, several dorsal (trunk) vertebrae, the left scapula, both coracoids, both sternals (breastbones), both humeri, both ulna and radii (lower arm bones), a right hand, a partial left hand, both pubes (a hip bone) and the right femur, tibia and fibula (shank bones). Later Taylor realised that Janensch had in 1935 designated the smaller skeleton S I as the lectotype. A re-assessment of the relation between the African and American brachiosaur material indicates that a separate generic name is warranted for the Tendaguru material, meaning that it is now considered to belong to Giraffatitan.
"B." fraasi: erected by Janensch in 1914, but later synonymized with "B." brancai; this material now belongs to Giraffatitan.
"B." nougaredi: This species is known from fragmentary remains discovered in eastern Algeria, in the Sahara Desert. The present type material consists of a sacrum and some of the left metacarpals and phalanges. Found at the discovery site but not collected were partial bones of the left forearm, wrist bones, a right shin bone, and fragments that may have come from metatarsals. de Lapparent, who described and named the material in 1960, reported the discovery locality as being in the Late Jurassic–age Taouratine Series (he assigned the rocks this age in part because of the presumed presence of Brachiosaurus), but more recent review assigns it to the "Continental intercalaire," which is considered to be of Albian age (late Early Cretaceous, significantly younger). This material was found disjointed over an area of several hundred meters. The material probably does not represent a single species.
What the person above me would look like as a girl
Why other people aren't thinking about it...
How i'm not the only one who is thinking about how ThisNameSucks would look like a girl
What it means to be Ninja'd...
My name is Earl Farloth, and I was born and brought up in Arkham, Massachusetts. Many terrifying journeys have originated in my hometown, but I contest that mine is the wildest. I am a professor of geology for the Miskatonic University, and have gone on many trips for the discovery of long-sought-after minerals. Here I shall record one of the most disturbing of my adventures, in which I traversed to the Himalayas, found a pulsating crystal, and discovered that horrifying monster that sends shivers down my spine still today. It is insane to me, how the ancient people with cyclopean weapons could somehow muster the courage to slay beasts like the one I encountered.
It began on a simple day of lecturing. The students seemed to be in their regular half-caring disposition. I was speaking about limestone and how it could be found anywhere, from Florida to the Himalayas. One student looked up when I stated this and shouted “How is that so? Shouldn’t there be at least one large difference between the minerals of these two places?” I told him that despite what may seem obvious, there were no mentionable differences between the two limestones. He went quiet, but the question humored me and I decided to look up the information on the internet.
I did not expect to find anything that I did not already know; I was a geology professor after all. I did not find any information on the limestone that surprised me, but I did find an old legend from the villagers of a town neighboring some indiscriminate mountains. It spoke of large, luminescent crystals, and of great beasts that lived near them. I had nothing else to do, so I spent the rest of that evening reading the legend. I had no idea what the impact of reading that one myth would have on my life, and if I had, then perhaps I would have stopped right then and there.
The legend had stated that while the largest crystals were to be found in the largest mountain neighboring the village, smaller crystals were often gathered in other mountains surrounding it due to the lesser amount of life roaming those areas. Upon reading this, I recalled with great lucidity an article in the news the other day. It was about odd, luminous rocks being discovered in the Himalayas by a mining expedition sent there. This intensified my curiosity, and my desire to view this area grew very large. I entirely disregarded the part about the blind, pallid beasts that supposedly lived near these wondrous rocks, due to the papers never mentioning them.
The very idea of glowing minerals enthralled me. Were the rocks really glowing themselves, or were there microbes on them that glowed, making it all a hoax? I favored the former idea, because the microbes would have nothing to feed on for all those years. Then again, what would make the rocks glow themselves? A chemical reaction with something in the air? If the rocks really did glow, then that would make them very valuable indeed. And if those rocks happened to be crystals, then perhaps the myths were true, and I could discover some very large minerals in the large mountain of that specific village.
I hadn’t the sufficient funds to buy a trip for myself to the site, so I resolved to beg the university to pay for the expenses for me. After much pleading, the university’s leaders agreed to fund my trip if I gave them all the minerals I discovered, if any, when I returned. I agreed to this quickly, because I knew that I could learn and write down everything I could about the crystals before I returned. As for the possible money that the University would gain from the crystals, I did not care. Money was nowhere near as important to me as the thrill of learning about the minerals. The cost was not too great, and I agreed to hire some miners when I got there with my own money.
So the following week, after the prior preparations had been made, I set off for the Himalayas. It was sometime in November, and my bags were packed with the necessary garments. I was prepared for the freezing weather, and knew that the elevation of the mountains would serve as to make the cold even less bearable. This was not very important to me, because I knew that my blood would be hot with adventure and excitement.
The flight there was quite simple and I will not waste time describing it in detail. The small plane that I had flown in seemed somewhat unreliable for keeping my safety assured, but it got the job done and I landed sometime during the middle of the month. The village I was in was called Kokopo, and when I saw the neighboring mountain I hadn’t the slightest doubt that I had arrived at the correct place.
It was Brobdingnagian in size, measuring around some 6,000 meters. Its apex seemed to be enveloped in the dancing, profound winds that pervaded the region. The snow that slid down its sides was pure ivory, and I felt that I would catch a deadly cold in a matter of moments if I were to walk on it barefoot. I was at first taken aback by its majesty, and winced when I remembered that the highest peak of the Himalayas, Mount Everest, was 2,000 meters higher. I knew that this was nothing, however, when compared to the peaks, those Mountains of Madness, that one exploratory group discovered in Antarctica over 80 years ago. Still, I had never seen any large mountains before this one, and was shocked at its immensity.
The village was adequate. There were around ten small huts that housed its own family, and a large hut in the center that the smaller ones surrounded. This larger hut, which was still quite confining in size, was the chief’s home: a stereotypical, wise, elderly lady. All of the villagers respected her, and she was the only one who spoke English (though not very well) in the small community. It vexed me slightly how she could have learned English, but I did not pay that much mind.
As soon as my men were ready, I told them to get to work at their mining. Without a moment’s hesitation, the miners gathered their tools and asked me where they should begin. I did not want them interfering with my own private expedition into the mountains that I had planned for, so I lead them into a small cave on the side of the mountain up a slope close to the village and told them to commence. They did not question me, and I expected them to find at least a few crystals. That would be enough to ward off any suspicion from me, and after I got my own tools ready, I began my own personal trek into mountain’s heart.
It was surprisingly easy to venture up the mountain, thanks to a rugged path that ran along its side. I followed this path for about an hour, noting several small orifices in the mountain as I ascended. These were far too small for me to fit in, but I wondered what was inside their dark, and perhaps immense, depths. After this, I reached an opening in the mountain that was surprisingly large. It had a height of fifteen feet, and was about twenty feet wide. It was very gloomy and damp on the inside, and shadows flooded the area. I took a flashlight out of my bag, of which I had many more batteries than perhaps necessary, and entered the pit.
I walked without fear for about twenty minutes before noticing the minute shimmering light. I wondered what could be making this light, and quickly assumed that it was some mineral reflecting off the light of my flashlight. I turned it off, but to my amazement the light remained twinkling. Thrilled, I ran toward the light and stumbled on the cave’s rocky floor. Recomposing myself, I took a closer look at the mineral in the wall that was now before me. Oh, how it shined! It seemed as if it was bestowed with luminescence from a divine source. I was compelled to hold it, so after a few smacks on the surrounding rock with my little pickax that I had brought with me, I tugged it free.
It was shaped like any other rock, and did not resemble a heart even in slightest fashion. But there was that beating. It horrifies me now, how entranced I was in that heart of stone. I say “heart”, because it pulsated just like one. It beat in my hands like a mad drum, with a constant, quick rhythm. It enchanted me, and I would have stayed there in the darkness with that pulsating rock for quite some time if it wasn’t for what had happened moments later.
Holding that crazy rock in my hands, I perceived a sudden increase in heat and a slight shuffling noise. Now in a cave, the temperature never naturally changes in correspondence with the outside temperature. I knew this, being a professor of geology, and wondered what could have possibly caused this increase. The stone had been in my hands for a minute now, so I doubted that it was the cause. It took me a few moments to think up an answer, and when I did I nearly froze. What if, I asked myself, a larger creature with its own body heat was nearby? That would explain everything, including the noise. Horrified, I turned around reluctantly.
Sometimes, the human brain takes in so much information that it feels like shutting down. Mine certainly felt like that when I stared into the pale gaping maw of that beast that hung from the ceiling. It was within a few feet from me, and its large body was somehow hanging from the roof of the cave. Its neck was shaped like a capital L, putting its mouth in front of my face. It took me a few moments to realize this after I got over the shock of what I was staring at.
I beheld a round head, with a mouth of about a foot or two in diameter, within a yard of my face. The head, with no visible eyes, was pale and flabby from lack of sun and exertion. Its mouth was lined with rows of pearly teeth, so I felt that if anything should fall into it (perhaps myself!), it would be instantly torn to shreds. The lower part of the mouth, going in to the throat, was red and slimy, and visibly curved upwards towards the rest of the ivory body.
It took me a few moments to gather my wits about what I was staring at. Then I screamed as loud as I could, shoved the rock-heart in to my bag, and ran as fast as possible away from the beast, deeper in to the cave. My flashlight was turned on, and I kept it straight ahead of me as I dashed through the darkness. I heard the thing pursuing me from behind, not bothering to drop from the ceiling. Apparently, it could traverse roofs of caves as well as it could floors, or perhaps better.
I ran like a madman, almost certain that I would not escape the terrible cave alive. After a few minutes of running like this I grew very tired and, not hearing the monster behind me any longer, I resolved to rest for a few moments until I heard it again. So I sat down on the cave floor and, with nothing else to do, pointed my flashlight to the ceiling behind me so I could see the thing when it came.
Oh what terrible things I saw! On the roof, hanging by tails with large suction-cups, were about a dozen of those insane creatures. From this perspective, I got a better look at them. Their bodies were round, with two legs coming from the bottom, two wings coming from their sides, a short tail with a suction cup at the end from the back end, and a long, extendable neck ending in a head coming from the front of their bodies. They had no visible eyes, and their skin was a sickly pallid color, I almost regret seeing those monstrous things on the ceiling behind me, but it is better that I saw them first than the other way around.
After noticing me, probably with an acute sense of smell, one of them screamed in a voice somewhat similar to that of a woman. I was horrified by these creatures yet again, and began to run for the exit once more. After running for several seconds, I grew very tired. I wondered why I was out of breath so fast, and why I felt as if a large weight was tethering me to that cave. I had rested for a decent amount of time before I saw those things in the roof and had begun to run again, so why was I so quickly out of breath? I asked myself this as I pushed onward through the caves. Then suddenly it came to me. The stone!
I was now faced with a choice. Drop the stone, which had to have been the source of my fatigue, and increase my chance of survival, or keep the stone and run a greater risk of death? I could not answer this immediately, and behind me I heard the beasts gaining on me. After several moments, I continued to run with the stone in my hands, undecided as whether to drop it or not. I could only go around thirty seconds without stopping again, out of breath. I still was hesitant to drop the stone, but then one of the creatures dropped to the floor behind me within a few yards away. At that point, my nerves got to me and I turned around and threw the rock right at the sickly thing. It made an aggravated noise, and I turned and ran in response.
Without the stone, I found that I could run much faster and farther. Using this to my advantage, I ran for quite some time until I reached another one of the mountain’s orifices. Excited, and tired from all the running, I dashed out into the frigid Asian landscape. The cave opened up at the top of a downward slope that was somewhat steep. Not wanting to stop or fall, I slightly slowed my steps as I dashed downwards. Thinking I was safe, I turned around to look back at the cave.
The monster was still standing there, except with a dumb, bored expression on its face. Then suddenly it reared back its head, and I perceived sparks to be emitting from its mouth. Finally, it smacked its head against the earth, with its mouth facing me, and three balls of blue energy came rushing in my direction. Horrified, I ran quickly down the slope. I turned around once to see how close they were, and stopped. The three balls were moving parallel to each other, and I was standing in one of the spots that they should never cross. So I stood there as the energy balls zoomed right past me. The monster stopped when he saw this, and after a moment of what seemed to be contemplation, it went back into its dark lair.
I ran back to the village, and told the elder all of what had happened. She only looked at me for a moment before turning and speaking to one of the men of the village who was standing next to her. She said something to him in their language, and then he quietly grabbed a large club from his dwelling and went towards the area where the monster was. I figured out what he was going to do, but it all seemed insane to me. I quickly made my preparations for my return to Arkham, and never went back to the Himalayas again. The University was pleased, and so was I, that the miners I had hired had brought back numerous crystals. None of them glowed or pulsated, which was really a relief to myself. The memory of that horrific adventure stains my mind still today, and I unceasingly give thanks to Divine Providence for sparing me.
I’ve always been a skeptical, logical person—a critical thinker. At a young age my father, a doctor, told me that everything outside the physical realm is a myth after I had a nightmare about demons. “Hocus Pocus”, he said, “An illusion created by errors of the human mind”. By the age of five I didn’t believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy. Nevertheless I loved horror movies and supernatural subjects because I thought they were fascinating, even from a scientific standpoint, and I think on some subconscious level I wanted to discover something so unbelievable as a ghost. That’s probably one of the reasons I decided to visit the North Trestle.
The North Trestle is an old, outdated railroad bridge that towers high over a narrow part of North Lake, a winding river valley flooded by a dam over sixty years ago. The bridge is even older than the lake, and as with all old things people perpetuate rumors about the bridge being haunted by a ghost of some kind. The story goes that Genevieve, a wealthy girl who went to our high school in the 60’s, used to secretly meet her female lover at the bridge on moonlit nights. When her controlling mother found out and wouldn’t let her see the girl anymore, she hung herself from the bridge. Apparently if you walk across the bridge on a full moon, you’ll see her. “Genevieve” was a classic story every freshman at our high school heard, and I thought it was just stupid.
One day I decided it’d be fun to go to that bridge and film it for our school newscast, hopefully to put the dumb story to rest. Chris, our editor, was all for going with me, and our friend Jenna wanted to go just to see something happen firsthand. One week later on a full moon, we grabbed a camera and a two-liter of Mountain Dew and headed for the bridge.
We took the north road farther and farther out of town until only pine trees and cornfields surrounded us. This was the part of Catawba County most people didn’t think about—a dark corner of the map. Thank God for the full moon, I thought to myself; we hadn’t seen a streetlight for miles and I have pretty bad night blindness. Even basic shapes I can’t make out if the sun is down or the lights are dim. After what seemed like forever we finally saw moonlight shimmering on water, and parked in a marina near the bridge. “Ahhh it’s cold!” Jenna shouted as soon as we opened the car door. “Good”, I said. “We need a cold, clear night like this, I don’t even think we need a light for the camera.”
But for some reason the moonlight piercing the cold air was more eerie than total darkness, the way the light trickled through the pine trees to the bare ground. In some odd way it felt like the night wanted to show us something. As we walked along the rusted railroad toward the bridge, Chris spoke up: “So, we walk to the middle of the bridge, Dan you film some there, then walk to the other side of the bridge, then come back. We get at least ten minutes of film, and I’ll edit out the boring parts. Good plan?”
“Good plan, but the whole thing’s gonna be boring parts”, I said.
“You don’t know that, Dan!” Jenna replied.
Walking on the trestle bridge was nerve-wracking in itself; the gaps were easily large enough to step through, and as soon water was below us we were at a dizzying height.
“Could you jump off this thing? Maybe we should come back here in the summer”, Chris noted.
“It’s gotta be pretty deep”, I added.
“Well you two can have fun with that”, Jenna replied. She was usually the voice of reason.
Just before we got to the middle of the bridge, I was paralyzed. A cloud had covered the moon and I might as well have been in a cave. “Hold up guys. I can’t see where to walk.”
They were both shocked. “You can’t even see the bridge?”
“I can’t see my own hand” I clarified. “Just chill out and give me a second”. I felt around for the wood ties and made slow progress.
“Why did we trust you with the camera?” They laughed. “Don’t trip and drop that thing!”
To my relief the cloud passed and the moon came out again. Finally we made it to the bridge’s midpoint and sat down to film some uninteresting material.
“Here we are at the North Trestle, said to be the one an only place to see Genevieve’s ghost! High school students in our area have heard this story for over a decade…” Chris narrated enthusiastically for several minutes until the low battery light came on. “Oh crap”, he said. “Dan, you walk down to the other side of the bridge and come back, that should be enough time for Jenna to go get the spare battery.”
“Yeah right, I’m not going by myself!” Jenna spoke up.
“Fine, fine, I’ll go with you”, he compromised.
They set off back toward the car and I went in the other direction to reach the other side. Only five minutes later I heard a loud, high-pitched scream. “Jenna!” I said out loud. I reasoned she must have tripped or fallen, but when I looked back down the long track I saw they had both already made it off the bridge. The scream also sounded like it came from the other direction—the direction I was headed. I kept walking, though somewhat more reluctantly. For the first time, a cold breeze blew. Some dull, low noise was now humming—I wasn’t sure what it was, or if it was just my heightened hearing detecting some distant disturbance.
A few minutes later I was at the last quarter of the bridge, feeling more confident that the North Trestle was just a bridge and the only trace of “Genevieve” was six feet underground somewhere, dust by now. That confidence was shattered, however, when I looked toward the sky. A cloud was on its way toward the full moon again, and beyond that were a few more clouds. “Damn”, I said aloud. Seconds later I was cloaked in darkness.
“Alright, nothing to panic about”, I tried telling myself, but the sound of that bizarre scream was still in my mind and the low humming noise was getting louder. I shuffled and felt for the right steps, slowly making progress toward the other side of the bridge.
“Daniel”, something ahead of me whispered faintly. I froze. It had to be the wind. At that point I just wished I could see something, even just a shadow, but there was no hint my eyes could give me. I walked forward.
I thought I heard breathing, as I slowly found the right places to step. Suddenly something rushed past me. I turned around and shouted “HEY! WHO IS THIS?!” Now I knew my mind wasn’t playing tricks on me—someone was here. It had to be someone there to play a prank on us, I thought, or some homeless wanderer who wanted to be left alone. I stopped and placed the camera on the track. Having a camera is one more reason for someone to kill me, I reasoned. I’d go back and get it later. For a few minutes I waited, until my phone rang. It was Jenna. “Dan, we have the battery is that you coming towards us? Did you film the other side yet?”
I shouted at first chance “No, it’s not me, go back to the car! I think someone’s here!”
She hung up.
“Okay”, I thought to myself. “How do I get back to the car? This person trapped me.” I thought about going to the other side, but I’d never be able to find my way in those woods. Even if I could I’d be on the other side of the lake, and there wasn’t another bridge for miles. “Damn”, I said aloud again. I would have to confront this person, say I’ll leave and never come back, and get to off this terrible bridge. I shuffled some more in the dark, heading back the way I came.
A minutes later the moon came out again, and I saw it. A figure was coming my way. The bridge was only lit for a few seconds until the moon again disappeared behind a cloud.
I shuffled forward, my shaking leg almost falling through a gap. The moon came out again, and it was much closer—only about 200 yards away, but still it looked like just a shadow. The moon disappeared again and I shuffled forward, now shaking so much I thought I might fall.
When the moon came back out, I stopped cold. The figure was closer now; only about a hundred yards away, and I could make out its unusual features. It was limping forward, it’s arms swinging as if they were sewn on. Greasy black hair hung down to its knees, and its head was tilted to the side. But the face—that’s what made my blood turn cold, made my stomach feel sick. It was off-white with a green hue, and blank—no eyes, nose or mouth, just a wrinkled texture like a pumpkin that had rotted. I prayed that the next cloud wouldn’t cover up my only light again, but my prayer went unanswered—darkness fell again.
“It’s someone in a mask, it’s someone in a mask, it’s someone in a mask” I tried telling myself, but something in me said otherwise. The way it moved was just…unnatural. I tried backing up slowly, almost tripping. “How cold is this water?” I thought. “How high am I? Wait, what am I thinking?! Why is that an option?! What are my other options?!” I looked up and saw the moon, just about to reveal itself. My legs were shaking like Jello, barely holding me up. I had the feeling someone gets just before they bungee jump, though I didn’t have a bungee cord.
Moonlight crept out from behind the cloud one more time and I caught one glance—one terrible glance. It stood ten feet in front of me, head tilted to the side. I was wrong about one thing—it did have a mouth. A hideous smile spread wide across its blank face, it’s wrinkled skin spread to reveal black gums and jagged teeth. “Daniel” the smiling mouth said. It took one step forward.
Instinct took over, like when your hand pulls back after touching a hot pan; my legs threw me sideways, my mind not even calculating how far I needed to jump to avoid the concrete foundation below. My stomach dropped, but I didn’t even look at the water I was headed towards; I didn’t straighten out or prepare for the impact—for all that time, as the cold air rushed past my body, the image of that grotesque smile was imprinted in my mind. Only at the last second did I twist and avoid my back hitting the water first as I narrowly missed the concrete. Even submerged in icy water, all that was on my mind was her smile. Even shivering in my boxers on the car ride home, all I could see was Genevieve’s smile.
Joined: Nov 2013
That I want sleep.
That I hate this fortnightly phase where I go 3+ days without sleep.
That right now I find putting two words together a difficult task
That the fact I actually typed this is a miracle