The Bridge – Dan Lawrence

“It’s not funny,” scolded Adrianne. “You’re supposed to be asleep,” but Paula’s glee was infectious, her flattery irresistible, and soon they were deep in play, tickling each other beneath the chin and trading cascades of laughter. At moments like that, Adrianne felt that Paula would be OK. But how rare those moments were, and how seemingly unrelated to external events.

Soon Paula settled down again, and Adrianne sang Three Blind Mice to her, stroking her hair until she fell asleep.

When she returned to Melvin’s room. His clothes were all packed and his suitcase was closed on his bed. He was standing by the dresser, looking at her with an expression on his face that was hard to read. She looked back at him and cocked her head to one side. “So where are we going?” he asked, as though he were finally ready to hear the truth.

“What do you mean?” asked Adrianne.

Melvin reflexively looked at the suitcase on the bed.

Adrianne gave a startled laugh. “Home!” she exclaimed. Sentences formed in her head and collapsed of their own weight. She started toward him and was stopped by his look. He looked less like a child, as if he had begun the life-long process of qualifying certainty with doubt, thought with worry, perception with fear.

“We’re going home, silly,” she said. Then she went and hugged him whether he wanted her to or not.


Dan Lawrence received his MFA from Columbia University, where he was a Graduate Fellow and Fiction Editor of Columbia Journal. After a career as a magazine editor with Time Inc. and Reed Elsevier, he recently returned to writing fiction. In the past couple of months, his stories have been published in Stories Through the Ages, littledeathlit, and by the Sci-Fi & Fantasy Writers’ Guild. An excerpt from his novel Perfect Criminals was a finalist in the Summer 2021 Novel Slices Contest, and his novel The Quarry was shortlisted for the 2020 James River Writers Best Unpublished Novel Contest. He lives in Richmond, Virginia, with his wife and three sons.

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