Death on a Bridge

 An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce  (1890)

Tuesday’s Tale of Mystery  August 7, 2018



‘A man stood upon a railroad bridge in northern Alabama, looking down into the swift water twenty feet below. The man’s hands were behind his back, the wrists bound with a cord. A rope closely encircled his neck.’



What greater opening of a story is more compelling than an execution? Not much, and this mystery will hold you all the way through to the last lines. The time is Civil War era. Our character, a young man named Peyton Farquhar is about to be hanged. What goes through a condemned man’s mind in the moments before he knows his life will end? Is it possible Peyton could escape and return to his wife and child?

Author Ambrose Bierce is at his finest writing as this story is rich with symbolism and foreshadowing and not without its twists. The imagery is high quality in a tale well told.


What is your take on the ending? Were you shocked? Please feel free to comment!

Read the short story at

Listen to the audio by Librivox:

Watch the YOUTUBE film (23 minutes):



Ambrose Bierce was an American journalist, satirist, and short story writer, many stories about death. He is famous for his The Devil’s Dictionary.  He disappeared in Mexico in 1914 and his final fate is recorded as “unknown.”


You can find more of his short stories here at Reading Ficiton Blog  in the INDEX under Ambrose Bierce.





Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.

 Follow or sign up to join me in reading two short stories every month. Comments are welcome! Feel free to click “LIKE.”


Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica   NewYorkerFictionOnline

 Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds     Horror Novel Reviews     

Monster Librarian 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed


Filed under classic horror stories, fiction, fiction bloggers, free horror short stories online, free short stories, free short stories online, ghost story blogs, haunted mind, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, literature, mysteries, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short stories online, short story blogs, soft horror, suspense, tales of terror

2 responses to “Death on a Bridge

  1. Jay

    I may have mentioned it before, but there was a great story (titled “Shiloh”) in Ron Rash’s collection “Something Rich and Strange” that offers a great “call-back” to this famous story of Ambrose Bierce. The whole collection is good, but Shiloh in particular really made an impression on me. I included a brief description of it in a blog post once ( )

    On a hopefully humorous note, someone commented on “An Occurrence…” when it was part of our book club’s ‘short story month’ that it was a good story and that “it really keeps you ‘hanging’ until the end..” hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

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