This is a twisting little tale of woe and beyond, sometimes the reasons people do what they do are not clear, sometimes they are if you look hard enough. There is an age old question that asks, Why Me?
The answer could be Why Not, or as in this case… well I will let the story drive the answer. Happy reading ~ David Stevens.
WHY ME, Why?
By David Stevens.
Vaguely he could hear the sound of still distant Emergency Service sirens screeching out their approach call. Glancing down, he looked at the eighty-floor drop straight down to the hard ground; a look that revealed a city sprawling out beneath him, in their usual disorganized, need driven construction. People crawled slowly across the sunlight reflecting tarmac; some of them even stop their hurried motion to watch the arrival of the five Police vehicles. The cops did exactly as they always do in the films, they each drove their car in a different direction cordoning off the area, leaving the space beneath where he stood, clear, just in case he jumped or fell.
Tilting his head slightly upwards, turning his eyes away from the magical pull exerted by the long drop to the waiting ground below. He could feel the rough concrete which made up the buildings outer walls pressing in to his spine. His eyes looked further away they took in the spreading fields of a green and lush looking park land; he could see little dots floating on the dark blue surface of a man-made lake, boats, sail-boats and the odd Jet-Ski was weaving around and between them all. He glanced down, then his attention captured, he watched as the policemen exit from their cars, scattering around, attempting to push back the already gathering crowd. A crowd always turned out to watch the excitement of a jumper, a suicide like him, or so they must presume him to be. How wrong they are, his reason for being on the ledge was not simple suicide it was justice, but they will understand eventually he knew.
A single vision filled his mind, its clarity shocked him; she had been dead! It wasn’t the fact that he had discovered the remains of his wife, but the manner of that discovery and the conclusions drawn from that manner. Two years they had lived as man and wife, two blissfully happy years; during which time he had refrained from telling her about his black outs.
Hours had been passing for him each totally unaccountable; he had too often found himself waking up in a variety of strange and very confusing places. With each return he found that he had no reasonable explanation of what had happened to him or where he had been. This time-loss, the latest had only differed from the many others in slight ways. Normally he was alone, this time he had not been! Normally he didn’t know where he was, this time he did! Normally he had no clue or any idea as to the events that had occurred between his last conscious thoughts, and being once again back in control of his mind. This time he knew; or at least he thought he knew.
She, his wife had died probably in extreme agony, feeling each of her limbs as it was ripped and hacked away from her body. Once separated from her torso they, her limbs, were scattered in all directions. Some had left deep red smears against the decorative wall paper, where they had been thrown and then had collided and fallen to their final resting place. Her torso had been a mass of deep and dreadful cuts, which had allowed her inner organs to spew out, and bubble her remaining seconds of life away. Yes he thought, she had died in agony and fear and utter confusion.
Her remains and the blood splattered room had been the first vision he could remember, in fact he could not forget them, no matter how much he tried to blank out the images. They had played through his mind, much like an old but well worn black and white movie, played to a theme tune of screams. It had been the shock and the extreme horror of what he saw and realised that had lead him to this point in his tormented life. Death! His death, seemed to be the only sure way to end forever the horror of all that he had seen.
The caress of a gentle breeze rocked him as he stood on that inhospitable ledge, threatening to place an early end to his life and its torments, though only slightly earlier than he intended. His fingernails grasped at and strained successfully for a flimsy purchase on the rough concrete wall, thus he stabilised his precarious position, but only a little. Still and despite his nail shattering grip he nearly tumbled when a young black faced copper poked his head out of a window, just a few short feet to his left, and with a cheery smile he had said.
“HI THERE, NICE DAY FOR IT.”
He could hear other people moving around behind the copper and as a precaution he took a few steps to his left, adding a few feet of distance as a safety margin to prevent him from a rescue attempt.
“What do you know of it!” He shouted back, and then he watched in frustration and burgeoning fear as the young policeman only smiled in response to his taunt.
“Go away, leave me alone!” He added.
“Make a nice mess when you hit the concrete, it’s a long way to fall!”
“I don’t give a damn!” By now he was feeling well pissed off with the young copper’s annoyingly blasé attitude.
“Well if you decide to go ahead and jump, please let me know first, so that I can clear a patch of tarmac for you to splatter in to. There is one thing though; I doubt that you will feel much, not any real chance of you being alive after you splat across the ground, not like some I’ve seen. All screaming out their agony before they meet their maker. Not killed you see by the fall. You though, from this height, well it will kill you I should think.”
“Thanks for the concern!”
“I’m not concerned for you, it’s for those idiots down there looking up at you, they don’t realise that there is a good chance that you will land on their damn fool heads and kill them as well as yourself. Now that’s who I am concerned for, so please let me know if you’re going to go off the ledge, if you can of course.”
“Of course I will know if I decided to jump, why wouldn’t I?”
“You might not know, I saw a fell’a, much like you he was, standing out on a ledge, holding on tight or so he thought. I don’t think he really intended to jump, more like wanted to be talked down infront of the cameras, you know five minutes of fame and all that, but then this gust of wind got a hold on him and well off he flew. He landed on a little old lady’s Zimmer frame, the metal split something terrible, some of it went right through him it did. It took him nearly an hour to die, all screaming and squirming like, and the doctors could not do a thing for him, it sure wasn’t pretty, or quick!”
“Cheerful soul aren’t you!”
“What’s there to be cheerful about when a man is standing on a ledge, a long way up, thinking seriously about hurling himself onto the concrete below? You are thinking seriously aren’t you, you’re not just looking to see you face in the papers and on the TV are you, because if you are, and you tell me now then we can all relax a bit can’t we?”
I just shook my head, I didn’t really know what I was thinking right then, all I did know was that my life was haunted by the bloody images I woke up next to and not just my wife’s; for me death, my own death seems to be the only way out for me. I wonder what this copper would think if he could see the pictures that flash and flood through my mind. Would he be quite so bloody interested in my welfare then, or would he encourage me to go right ahead and jump?
Sirens screamed, adding to the fast gathering confusion from below; I watched as a pair of bright red fire engines arrived, disgorging their crews. Smoothly with well practiced perfection the firemen extracted a tightly rolled up tube, which they connected to a compressor. It inflated unraveling, spreading tentacle like across the tarmac beneath me. The creature expanded, opening up, forming in to a large inflated jump-bag designed to catch people falling from heights. If they expected me to land on the bag, to have my life saved by them, then they were very much mistaken. If I jump, no, when I jump, it will be without any intention of living, it will be my final act of self-determination, and an end to this, my living nightmare.
The bag below continued to expand, filling up, looking a little crab like in structure now. The huge balloon expanded even wider forming into a large square, one filled with compressed air fed to it via a series of twisting hoses. What choice did I have? A little voice flowed in to my mind taunting me, pushing aside the vision of my dead wife as I had last seen her, laid dismembered in a pool of her own blood with her limbs scattered around her.
“They will help you, those nice policemen, you don’t need to kill yourself, I won’t let you, I need you to live!”
The voice harried at my thoughts creating doubt but at the same time trying to generate a self belief in me living. It talked of being able to be helped by someone very clever perhaps, but what that would mean to others I asked it.
Death scared me, looking down scarred me as I am also terrified of heights, always have been I tell myself, what a situation to put myself in and yet what other choice did I have?
“They will help you, help you.”
The voice returned trying to tempt me, to convince me that all was well, that I did not need to die. It failed. I know better, sure they will help me, too right they will, that is until they find her body, then they will lock me away, throw away the key and try to forget I ever existed, just one more vicious murder dealt with, I know.
“So what’s wrong with being locked away there will still be people around, we can still live on, we can still have so much fun and there is always escape. They can’t stop us, we will be able to escape anytime we choose, you know that.”
No! I screamed in my head, No I repeated drowning out the voice, driving it away.
Tilting his head upwards Police Chief Richard blown watched the distant drama unfolding high above him, and wondered. Why was it that the jumpers always decided to make their play at the worst time possible? He had been called as the only available Senior Officer. He had been forced to leave a bloody triple subway murder in the hands of his Inspectors, and why? Just to watch this idiot splatter his innards across a strip of tarmac. What did they want a Police Chief here for?
He knew the reason of course, the press would need their story, their quotes and he would have to give them to them, implying that the police appeared caring and even concerned for the victim, hence they needed a police chief to make the force look good. That is why I am here, no other reason, just for the politics, he spat the word out of his thoughts.
One of the firemen gave the thumbs up sign to Chief Blown, indicating the bags readiness to receive an incoming visitor from above. With the height involved, there was still a good margin for error, but the bag was their only option, and besides, thought the chief, it looked good, politics again damn it.
Easing one foot fully over the window ledge the young policeman began to climb out, with the hope of convincing the jumper, that in the end it would be best if he stepped back inside, where they could sit down and discuss his problems, in safety.
Feeling threatened by the unexpected movement by the officer, he took another few steps to his left, halting only when he reached the corner of the building. Glancing down he felt again and more strongly this time, the pull that seemed to be dragging him from the ledge. Resisting, he pushed harder into the wall with his back; he gripped tighter with his fingernails, then raising his head he looked out and beyond, seeing the green grass, the distant trees and the lake.
Taking in the view of the park, feeling desperately fixated, wishing that this would all go away that none of this had ever happened. That he could be in that park, perhaps walking hand in hand with his wife enjoying the time and day, the peace and serenity of it all, but that was just wishing.
Grasping on firmly with one hand the young policeman stepped out through the open window joining the jumper on the eighteen-inch wide balcony; his eyes firmly locked on the man who he was hoping to save. Step by step he inched his way towards the far corner praying as he went that the jumper would already have lost his nerve, and would come in easily. Unfortunately for the police officer the jumper moved away matching each step the officer took. Soon though, the jumper would be at the far end of the ledge with nowhere else to go but down.
Below him the Policeman could see the ant-like Firemen struggled to move the giant airbag, dragging it, trying to match him as he slowly closed in on the man, who had now stopped side stepping and was looking down, realising that he had no where left to go.
“Stay back!” He screamed at the slowly approaching policeman. Desperately he turned to face the copper, lifting a hand palm up as though telling him to stop. Damn him, the copper wants to be a hero, he is still coming forward, reaching out now, looking confident, and whispering something soothing as he approached.
Another glance down, TV crews were clearly visible now, cameras would no doubt be filming at this very moment; would his parents be ringing the corpse occupied home of their son? His father would believe that he was not guilty of his wife’s vicious and apparently deranged murder, and would probably bankroll his defense.
Dad had the money to fight almost anyone in court and brilliant solicitors as well or so he always claimed, there was a chance that he might even get away with her killing, but how long after being cleared would he remain free? How long before another black out and another death, he wondered. He didn’t even know if his wife had been his first victim, after all he had been having these turns since adolescence.
The policeman moved catching the jumper’s eye, his arm now fully outstretched, he had managed to close up the gap between them. There was only a mere three feet that separated them, clearly the jumper realised that he intended to grasp hold of him and if necessary carry them both over the edge and down into the waiting air bag below.
“Come on mate, there’s no way out, either jump or come back in. You don’t have the choice; it can’t be bad enough for you to be doing this, whatever is wrong we can find a way to fix it I’m sure. Come on in, have a cup of coffee and let’s talk, just you and me all friendly like, what do you say?”
As he said the word ‘say’, the young would be hero copper lunged forward, his fingers extended out as he tried to grasp hold of the jumpers arm, intending to pull him to safety. He was surprised by the ease with which the jumper had pulled away from his grip and had leapt out and away from the building. Feeling his right foot slip, and already being off balance the copper felt himself begin to fall, much to the horror of the watching crowd and the delight of the camera crews, who filmed him, not the suicide.
Down he tumbled; his last view of the man he had been trying to save had been of him leaping off the ledge of the building with his arms stretched sky-wards. He had failed to save him but the airbag awaited his entrance, it gathered him in its plastic, cushioned his impact and saved his life, though there was a good chance that the Sergeant might kill him once they were alone. The cause of his fall had completely missed any hope of making a safe landing in the bag.
Two complete floors had passed on his way to an expected quick impacting end and then death would have embraced his body and it would all be over for him, thank God. That was when his arms began to tingle, his shirt ripped from wrist to shoulder and from neck to buttocks. Leathery flaps extended out of his now pliant skin, his face distorted as bones altered and claws materialised from his fingertips all whilst he fell.
His last image of himself was that of a nightmare creature with its leathery wings stretched out, reaching for the sky as it glided effortlessly towards the distant trees. Then with a driving flap of its wings it flew out over the lake, startling the swimming ducks and boaters beneath him, the man within lost once again to the creature without as it fought to survive.
Richard Blown watched the fall of one of his junior officers, he satisfied himself that the officer would indeed impact the airbag; he made a mental note to speak to the fool personally and also see that he was on traffic detail for years to come. Then he turned his attention to the jumper, seeing him in the air, watching him as he drifted over-head to vanish into the park somewhere.
“Bloody publicity stunts!” He cursed, as his radio blared out an incoming call.
“Control to Chief Blown.” Squawked the radios speaker.
“We have another victim, its another female but this time she was found in the underground tunnels. Like the others she has been hacked to bits, this one looks exactly like all of the others we have found, but she had been taken and killed high up in the old rafters of the subway station, we believe, and then carried into the tunnel and discarded. What kind of animal could mutilate a nice young girl like that? He wondered having acknowledged that he would be in attendance shortly.
A single owl like screech tore out across the park as the creature reassured its self of its own control once more. An old tramp looked skywards and then with a little extra haste, he departed the woods, and the park land for somewhere safer.