FRIDAY Feature: “13 Curves”

Just imagine- it’s late at night. You’re alone in your car. The music is on to keep you company. You’re driving home from a friend’s house and you’re kicking yourself for staying out so late. It’s almost always foggy, but tonight’s fog is like no other. Thick and blinding, your little headlights can barely cut through it, so you rely on the white line to your right just to stay on the road.  With each turn, you find yourself holding your breath and your hands are starting to ache from gripping the wheel. You’re tempted to drive faster, just to get it over with, but the horrific stories you’ve heard are lingering in the back of your head.

Cedervale Road, otherwise known as “13 curves” is infamous for its DEADLY sharp corners. You have heard all the stories. You know that you’re approaching the SIXTH curve where it all happened; where the poor newlyweds lost control. With each jagged breath, your chest gets tighter.

You’ve made it through the fifth curve.

You realize that your heart is racing, but you tell yourself to stop being silly. You’re safe in your car. You check the gas gauge and it’s almost full. It’s not raining, but *just in case* you try your windshield wipers; they’re working just fine. You check your high beams, but quickly click back to low because of the fog. Your eyes are growing tired from having to pierce through the night, but you refuse to let yourself blink because you’re just waiting; WAITING to catch something you really DON’T want to see. You wonder if she will be out tonight, but you instantly scold yourself for letting your mind go there.

With a deep breath you push the accelerator. Only one more curve and you’re home. Why did your parents have to buy a house on this stretch of the road? Why not one of the pretty houses at the beginning of Cedervale? Or a house on a different street? Or in an entirely different town, even? You push all the superstitious, silly, thoughts from your mind; all the spooky stories your friends have told you about your new home; all the “news reports” that are undoubtedly fabricated just to keep people from speeding on this treacherous road. You realize that your high school English teacher is also crazy, I mean she is, so her “encounters” CAN’T be trusted.  And there is absolutely NO reason to be sweating this badly.

With that, you lift your chin, close your eyes (but not for too long, you’re driving), and you continue to cut through the fog with your little Ford Escort. All the while, you’re just kinda hoping that someone, ANYONE, would be driving down the road at the same time. Even if you didn’t know them, at least you wouldn’t be entirely alone.

Suddenly, you catch a light in your review-mirror. Ah, yes, you think to yourself. Someone else is out here with me. We’re taking the 6th curve together! You cut the music because you have to focus. Slow and steady you glance in your mirror to check their distance, but there’s no one back there. Did they run off the road? Should you stop? You immediately decide that is NOT an option.

You continue, until you see the headlights again. You quickly glance in your mirror this time, but instead of headlights… you see her face!

-IN YOUR BACK SEAT!

She’s staring at you. The face of a young woman, all bruised and bloody. She’s wearing a veil, it’s torn and twisted. Your heart has stopped and your spine tingles, but you manage to SLAM ON THE BRAKES! Only to find that when you turn around to confront your unwanted passenger that she and her bloody wedding dress ARE GONE.

Your eyes frantically search your back seat. Did you imagine the whole thing?!

Are YOU crazy?!

You draw in a deep, steady, breath and turn back around in your seat. You immediately find that a large tree is lying across your lane. A wave of panic comes over you as you realize what could have happened had you not stopped.

With a steady stream of tears rolling down your face, and another deep breath,  you maneuver your car around the fallen tree.

Once clear, you slowly proceed down the foggy road, bidding adieu to the 6th curve and the bloody bride who may have just saved your life.

Tonight’s story is inspired by a spooky tale that a friend of mine has shared with me. It is based on a popular folk legend originating in Syracuse, NY, where my friend lived for many years of her childhood. Legend has it, that a young couple on their wedding night were driving on Cedervale Road (otherwise known as “13 Curves” for its 13 sharp turns). Sadly, when approaching the 6th curve, the husband lost control of their vehicle and the newlyweds were killed in a horrific crash. Some locals say that the “bloody bride” can still be spotted, late at night, as she stalks the 6th curve looking for her husband, or perhaps, warning others to slow down, as to not share their same fate.

(c) 2018 Abbie Richey Butler
Inspired by the urban legend, “13 Curves” / “Bloody Bride” Syracuse, NY
Photo by Burak K from Pexels

I’d like to thank L. King for sharing this story with me and inspiring this week’s FRIDAY Feature! Do YOU have a spooky story that you’d like to see featured? Send me an email at growinguphaunted@gmail.com. You can write your story OR send me the spooky details and I’ll take a stab at it!

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