The essential elements of a ghost story are Time and Place. Time, because a haunting represents two points upon that continuum (the past and the present) colliding; Place, because the perceptory functions of the human mind are limited by its particular imprisoning body (until the moment of that vessel’s expiration), which necessarily occupies a single location, a point among infinite points in space. The values of these variables, for purposes of this story, are as follows: Time, the 1980s. Place, Sheumakkee Creek.
Bernice Zelewski, a nursing student, crossed Sheumakkee Creek most days of the week by means of a wooden footbridge, erected some decades earlier. Exiting her apartment on the northeast side of town, she crossed the Sheumakkee Creek footbridge, continued some five or six blocks across town, and arrived at the nursing school building, where she studied and socialized for much of the day before walking back through town to the footbridge, which she crossed before continuing to her apartment building. This pattern was interrupted infrequently by holidays, illnesses, and various other occurrences as prosaic and quotidian as the pattern itself, of walking back and forth across a bridge that spanned only fifteen or twenty
feet — an unremarkable interval that served to separate one unremarkable day from the next.