I love this city because this is where I found her.
This was David Leary’s only thought as he stood overlooking Mason city on Old Hill Bridge. He felt a cool rush of midnight air blow through his black hair, which would normally bother him, but not today. David was full of confidence and desire for a special young lady, by the name of Elizabeth O’Conner.
Tonight was a special night for David and Elizabeth because this was going to be their first date. The both agreed to meet on Old Hill Bridge and have a spontaneous night of fun. Most new couples go to a nice restaurant, or maybe to the movies, but David and Elizabeth wanted to do something different and unexpected.
When David first saw Elizabeth working at Coffee Express, he knew without a doubt that he needed to ask her out. She wore her blonde hair up in a bun, and her black eyeglasses brought out her blue eyes. Looking into her eyes was like looking at a deep blue horizon over the sea. Her hair was like bright golden sunlight; painted by God himself. She was a work of art. A masterpiece. The Holy Grail.
“Can I take your order?” she asked.
A great fog was lifted from David’s brown eyes. Coming back to his senses, he said, “Oh...sorry. I’ll have a coffee. Black, no sugar.”
“Coming right up!” she said. “That’s an easy order... Are you sure you don’t want a cappuccino or something?” Elizabeth gave him a friendly smile. “It’s really no problem.” She turned to grab a coffee cup, and pointed at the cappuccino machine that looked like an antique. “I could use the practice, it’s my first day here.”
David lifted his eyes in delight and said, “Ah..yeah...I’ll have one of those!” He tried to contain his enthusiastic smile. Play it cool David. Play it cool, he thought to himself.
“Great!” she said. “I think you made a good choice.”
David watched as she worked the old machine. “So...are you new to this area?” he asked.
“Oh no! I grew up here.” Elizabeth said. She turned her attention to David as the coffee cup started to fill with hot steamy brown liquid.
“Are you new here?” she asked.
“I grew up here too!” he said. David was smiling ear to ear now, and felt a sudden burst of energy. “Here’s a crazy question...Would you like to go out for dinner with me?”
“No!” She reached up to adjust her glasses, and continued. “I mean...no. I’m sorry, I just don’t date customers.”
David’s smile quickly faded like a long lost memory. “I understand. I’m sure you already have a boyfriend anyway,” he said. His face turned to a bright shade of red and he started to shift his weight from side to side.
“Don’t worry about it. I get this all the time!” she said.
Elizabeth turned around, put a lid on his cappuccino, and handed it to David. “Please be careful. It’s really hot, ok.”
As David reached over to grab the cup, he felt a light touch from her finger. It felt like magic, and Elizabeth smiled at him. The touch captivated his senses, and he smiled back.
“Have a good day,” she said.
“You too!” he replied.
He turned to walk away, and noticed some writing on the cup. It read:
Of course I’ll go out with you! Meet me tonight at the Old Hill Bridge.
With great haste David turned around to hear Elizabeth say, “Call me Lizzy! We’ll do something spontaneous!”
At long last, David saw Elizabeth walking across the road wearing blue jeans and an AC/DC shirt. The moonlight glistened around her body, showing her essence like an Angel coming down from Heaven. She was practically glowing. David was wearing a black suit with blue trim.
“What’s with the fancy suit?” she asked.
David raised his eyes up toward the stars and then back down to her. “I wanted to look nice for you,” he said. He held his arms up and let them drop to his sides. “What? You don’t like it?” he asked.
She gently placed her hand on his shoulder and said, “You look very nice, but I wanna have fun, not go to the prom!”
David started laughing. “Ok...what do you like to do?”
Elizabeth bit her lip, and pointed down over the hill just beyond the Old Hill Bridge. David followed her hand and squinted his eyes to see. “What are you pointing at, the park?”
“Look closer!” she yelled. “You don’t see the pair of swings down there?”
David spoke slowly, and rolled his eyes, “You want to go swinging?”
“Damn straight I do!” She bounced up and down in delight, and said, “Come on, it’ll be fun. Plus it’s different.”
She reached out and grabbed David’s hand. David was completely speechless. He expected something fun and entertaining. Playing on swings sounded childish and boring. He felt a tug on his arm as Elizabeth pulled him down the hill towards the park.
As they walked towards the swings, a black silhouette jumped out from the bushes. The shadow stepped into the moonlight, and they saw a man dressed in black. He was holding a gun at them, and spoke in a deep rumbling voice.
“Give me your money now! Right now!” he yelled.
David raised his hands and said, “Take it easy buddy. We don’t want any trouble.”
The man quickly hit David with the butt of his gun. “I said give me your money!”
Elizabeth reached in her back pocket and pulled out four twenty dollar bills. Her hands were trembling as she reached out to give the man the money. “That’s a good Girl!” he said.
At that moment David rose up in anger. He grabbed the gun, and punched the man right in the face. Elizabeth heard a crunching noise like a fist punching through styrofoam. David hit him so hard he broke his nose. The man stumbled back, and ran away, crying in the night. “You broke my fuckin’ nose!”
“Are you alright Elizabeth?” he asked.
“I’m fine. At least he didn’t take our money!” She reached up with her hands and wiped her glassy eyes. “I thought I told you to call me Lizzy.”
“I’m sorry...,” he said, taking her hand. “Should we continue our date, or call the police?” he asked.
She looked at him with an amusing smile. “If you break this date...you won’t get another one.” David smiled, and led her to the swings. Elizabeth reached down wiping the dew from the black leathery seat, and sat down. David stepped behind her and started to push her back and forth.
“Some first date this is turning out to be, huh?” said David.
“Well, it could be worse,” she said. “We could be stuck in a theater watching some boring romance movie.”
David chuckled, and said, “Yeah, your right. Almost getting mugged is way funner.” He took a deep breath and asked, “How come I’ve never seen you around here before?”
Elizabeth put her feet down on the ground to stop swinging. She turned slightly to look up at David. “I go to Mason University. I’m studying biology, so between school and my new job at Coffee Express, I don’t really get out much.”
David’s eyes grew wider. “I go to Mason too!” he said. “I’m in the zoology program.” He pierced his lips into a thin line and raised his eyebrows in amazement. “I can’t believe I haven’t seen you there before!”
Elizabeth twisted back around, and started to swing again. “I guess it’s a small world. My parents divorced when I was a young girl,” she said, lifting her head up to look at the stars. “I can’t believe I’m telling you this, but I think in a small way I’ve always had a fear of getting close to someone.”
David walked over to the empty swing next to Elizabeth and sat down. He gently rocked himself back and forth. “I can understand that,” he said. “I mean, I get your point. The world is full of people who only want a transactional friendship.” David took a deep breath and asked, “Why did you want to go out with me?”
Elizabeth smiled and thought for a moment. After an awkward silence, she replied, “I guess I’m tired of being lonely. I need to move on in my life while I still have one. I’m mean guys ask me out all the time, but I never paid them any attention. I know what guys want, and I’m not that kind of girl.”
She lifted her eyes back up to the stars, and then over to David who was listening intently. “There’s something different about you. I can’t explain it. Earlier today when you grabbed the coffee cup, I felt something... like magic when our fingers met. When I looked into your eyes, I could tell that you were different.” She started laughing. “Plus you're really cute!”
David’s face turned red in the bright glow of moonlight. “I grew up in a rich family. I don’t mean to sound smug or anything, but because of that, my friends always took advantage of me. I fell in love with animals, and the only thing I’ve ever wanted to be was a zoologist.”
Lost in a memory, David smiled, and said, “When it came time for me to go to college I cut ties with my family. I wanted to achieve my dreams on my own.” He chuckled to himself, and continued, “My family didn’t like that much, and I even cut ties with my transactional friends.”
Elizabeth lifted her eyebrows, and nodded her head in agreement. She said, “That’s really cool. I think it’s good that you’re finding your own way. I was raised by my mom after the divorce. We didn’t have much money, but we had plenty of love. I worked my ass off in high school and earned a scholarship. I knew I had to work hard to achieve my dreams.”
“That’s fantastic!” David said.
“Yeah, but it’s hard work...not a lot of time for social activities,” she said.
“ Well...I’m glad you wanted to go out with me,” David said.
“Me too! So...that burglar was scary, huh?” she asked.
David smiled, and said, “I’ve seen worse.” He looked down at his swollen hand, and continued, “Good thing I started lifting weights.”
Elizabeth started laughing. “Oh! My hero!”
“Ha! Ha!” David said. “I think we got lucky.”
Elizabeth stopped swinging, and said, “You know, you're kinda cute when you're aggravated.”
David rolled his eyes and said, “Now you’re picking on me?”
She stood up and walked over to him. She put her arms around his neck and said, “I like picking on you…” She slowly leaned in, and placed her lips on his. The world started spinning like a runaway merry-go-round. It was a ride that neither one of them wanted to get off. They kissed... and kissed... and kissed again. Hours ticked by as they embraced each other.
When they finally decided to come up for air, Elizabeth noticed it was getting late.
“I hate to go, but I have an early morning shift tomorrow, she said.
David still looked like he was in La-La-Land, and nodded his head. Elizabeth grabbed his hand and they walked back up the hill to the bridge. There was no sign of the man who tried to rob them, except for a tiny drop of blood on the ground.
They walked with no fear, hand-in-hand, heart-in-heart, together.
When they got back to the bridge, it was time to say their goodbyes. Elizabeth looked at David and said, “I like you. Can I see you tomorrow?”
David wasted little time with his reply. “Of course! I can pick you up if you’d like.”
She reached in and gave him another kiss. “Why don’t we meet here again?”
David looked around remembering the man who tried to rob them. “Are you sure you wanna come back here after what happened?”
Elizabeth looked deep into his eyes and said, “This is the place where we found love.”
With a final kiss goodbye, Elizabeth started to cross the road to walk back to her home.
David watched as she walked away. “Have a good night Elizabeth!” he shouted.
She stopped dead in her tracks and called out, “I thought I told you to call me Lizzy!”
A flash of light came from out of nowhere. Elizabeth was hit by a speeding car going about eighty five miles an hour. Elizabeth hit the windshield of the car with a force that would claim her life.
David’s screams could be heard throughout every neighborhood in Mason City.
The cops quickly arrived on the scene. They determined that the driver was the man who tried to rob them that night. He was arrested and taken away with only minor injuries.
After hours of questioning David, the police left the scene of the crime. Elizabeth had died on impact, and David was in shock. He stayed on the Old Hill Bridge staring out into Mason City. A cool breeze started to blow his black hair, and he didn’t care. He thought he heard a voice call out to him.
Call me Lizzy.
With the first rays of sunshine peeking through the morning clouds, David wept in despair. The woman he loved was gone. He knew he had to carry on, that’s what you’re supposed to do. Was that even possible now? There was an emptiness inside his heart. A longing to see her again. Just one last time. He felt another cool breeze rush across his teary eyed face. He called out into the wind.
I hate this city because this is where I lost her.
Daniel R. Hayes
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Hey Daniel! I absolutely had to read this story, because you spelled the name right. Everyone always spells it Lizzie (a minor pet peeve of mine) so I was very pleased you spelled it the real way hahaha. I thought the pacing of this was very good, the flow of the story worked very well, and the car-crash came very abruptly (but in a good way--mirroring David's own perception of it). I thought you had some very strong lines in this story, I especially liked the symmetry in "They walked with no fear, hand-in-hand, heart-in-heart, together." ...
Hi Lizzy! Thank you so much for the great feedback. I'm glad I got the name right ;) You bring up some really good points. The word limit was a problem. The first draft was way to long, and I hate to cut things out, but I had to make it fit. I wanted to add everything in that first draft to bring more depth to both characters. It would have made the ending more emotional. You've got some good ideas, and I appreciate you sharing them. Thank you for reading this story. I'm glad you liked it, I'll read more of your stories soon. Thanks agai...
This story feels as if it unraveled on it's own and as if you translated it from wisps of thought, majestic. Happy today.
I think this story wrote itself. I wrote it in one sitting, and it was something different I wanted to write. I'm not big on love at first sight, but I added that here for more emotional weight. :) Thank you!!
Yes, love at first sight sounds absurd sometimes. But it turns out good when it's done so well. It's amazing that you can write in different genres.
Omg i feel like I’m going to cry!!! But... in a good way? Does that even make sense? Sorry if it doesn’t but basically, this was incredible. I felt like I was there. I normally don’t like the whole love at first sight concept but this was actually really enjoyable to read. I liked so many things about this story but most of all the inevitability of it all, of them falling in love, of him losing her and just everything in general. I think this shows how so many people can change our lives in the shortest amount of time and how things can chan...
Hi Tia, thank you so much for your wonderful comments. Yes it totally makes sense, it is a sad story so I can see how it would make you feel like that. I agree with the love at first sight thing. I think it takes some time for people to build up to it. I put that in here because of the word limit and I thought if they loved each other, it would have a greater impact than them just liking each other. ;) I have been trying to branch out with my stories. Writing the supernatural/horror ones are fun, but I have so many more ideas that I want t...
It’s awesome reading your work. I’m sure lots of people love your stories and will continue to do so in future. I’m certain, just like your present works, your future ones will be interesting and enjoyable. Enjoy your evening/ morning/ afternoon/night.
Thank you so much Tia!! You too :)
Hi Daniel, Just wanted to say I really enjoyed your story. It flowed smoothly and made me feel like a fly on the wall watching the story take place (in a good way). I haven't read your other work, but after reading this I will definitely be following you for more cause I think it is really wonderful writing. I did have one question though. Why did you decide to go with "love" instead of "like" for their connection? Personally, I feel like it's hard to reach love in one day (despite any number of movies saying otherwise) so I was just curio...
Hi Alexander, thanks for reading this story. I'm glad you liked it! I decided to go with love because I felt like they were two lonely souls who found each other, and it was kind of love at first sight. The word limit was a struggle but I think I could have built up to them falling in love over time. I thought that "love" would add more to the end. I'm glad you want to read more of my stories. Some of them have a horror/supernatural flair to them, but I try to keep it light and fun. I do have some other love stories, and I'm trying to bra...
Thank you, I appreciate the response, and I get what you were building towards. Thank you.
You're welcome, thank you again for asking those questions, and reading my story. I really appreciate it!
What a fantastic use of the prompt! I didn't know what to expect at the end. Super sad but well written! :)
Thanks Kelly! I'm so glad you liked this story. I don't usually write sad stories, but I had to write this one. Thanks for reading it ;) I'll be reading more of your stories tonight :)
Sometimes you have to get the sad out... :) Thanks! And same ;)
Great job, Daniel! That was a creative take on the prompt - it had sort of Shakespearean feel to it with the tragedy at the end. You write horror really well, but it's also nice to see that you are branching out a bit too. Thought you did a nice job with the descriptions and the dialogue - it all flowed very naturally. Well done!
Thank you so much Kristin, I'm so happy that you liked this story. I wanted to write something different, and I saw this story play out so clearly. I had to write it, and I'm glad it worked out. Thank you for the wonderful feedback! :)
I love it!
Thank you Arwen, I'm so glad you liked it :)
Wow! I may have a new favorite story of yours! The dialogue is so natural. Love the symmetry of the beginning and end. It's a great use of the prompt. A powerful yet tragic romance. Loved it!
Thank you again Michael. I'm glad you liked this story. I wanted to write something different. Horror is fun, but I like to write different things. It was fun to write because all of the points lined up and worked. I didn't plan out this story, so I didn't know how it was going to turn out.
Author's Note: I wanted to flex my creative muscles with this story. It does not contain a horror/supernatural element. I had this vision clear as day, and wanted to write a tragic love story. It's something different, and I hope you all enjoy it.