Fiction Friday is a series where I talk about what I’ve been reading. Short Stories (and sometimes Novellas) are featured as in-between posts and the first Friday of the month will feature a new novel review. Today, I review Low Bridge! Or The Dark Obstructions by M. Bennardo
Fiction Friday: Low Bridge! Or The Dark Obstructions
Today’s short story is Low Bridge! Or The Dark Obstructions by M. Bennardo, as featured in Beneath Ceaseless Skies #240. You can find it here. It’s a ghost story that’s simplistic, but a very fun read overall. I felt this would have been a good Halloween story, but I enjoyed it regardless. So, let’s begin.
The story involves a young married couple, Mr. and Mrs. Canning, riding a steamboat through the Erie Canal. Right away, I go a lot of Titanic vibes, but it doesn’t go in that direction. Anyway, the two board the boat and are introduced to Mr. Bunyan, a writer who has a fascination for ghosts and who had a nasty fall but survived.During dinner, he discusses ghosts and strange premonitions. He accuses the wife, Edna, of being this mysterious entity who does supernatural things, one of which could have led to his nasty fall.
The whole story hinges on this mysterious, unknown power that affects Mr. Bunyan and the married couple that could have been involved in this. I like stories that have a supernatural feel to it. It doesn’t take place in some strange fantasy world, nor is it too silly. It’s a ghost tale that is convincing if not entertaining.
While it’s simplistic, it’s a fun read seeing the married couple try to convince this paranormal writer that ghosts don’t exist and that he fell through his own fault. This is one story that I think doesn’t necessarily appeal to Fantasy lovers, so much that mainstream readers will get a kick out of it. It’s not too over the top to turn people off, but it has a sense of mystery and intrigue.
This takes place in our world during what I believe to be the early 1900s. Again, think Titanic, but with ghosts and less brutality. If you’re looking for a fun ghost story, this is one I’d recommend.
There are a few notable characters. The first would be Mr. and Mrs. Canning. The wife, Edna is the main role, while the Mr. is more a narrator and seems to be a little less involved than his wife who is accused of cursing Mr. Bunyan. I love their somewhat chatty relationship where they love each other, but can get into slight arguments and still act like nothing happened.
Then there’s Mr. Bunyan, the writer who’s fascinated with ghosts and is the main antagonist. He’s not evil, but he’s a little high strung and likes to spread wild accusations. He’s a bombastic guy who is hearty but can seem overconfident.
While nothing was particularly wrong with any of them, I felt they could have made the story a little more interesting. It’s hard to say how since it’s simplistic enough to be a good read, but perhaps a little dynamic role would have made the story better. The Mr. could have had a more involved role, maybe to confront Bunyan in private or have these events occur more frequently.
Again, the story itself was fine, but it could have had a little more dynamic and felt a little light on intensity. Nothing too extreme.
The writing is great and adds to the atmosphere. I got a sense of upper-class atmosphere from the passengers and the sense of location was told beautifully. While the story could have had a little more to it, I do feel it’s simplistic. It’s a fun tale you could tell to a friend who’s bored or a nice read at a park. I can see this story being told to a wider audience than spec fic lovers and while the magazine is known for secondary “Tolkien-style” worlds, I feel a little mysteriousness isn’t a bad thing.
I do think this is a good story overall. Not perfect, but a fun read if you’re looking for something different and more old-fashioned. This story isn’t for everyone, but I’d still recommend it looking for a short story to read.
That’s all for today. Take care, and remember, the inn is always open.
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