Since I have the warning on day one and Terrible Minds has given an intriguing challenge this week I will start with number four since this is day four of NaBoBloMo and Camp NaNoWriMo. The challenge pick one of ten single word titles and write an approximately 1000 word flash fiction story based upon it.
“I saw you here the other day on the bridge talking to another ghost.” A female voice said as I stepped onto the Troy-Waterford Bridge.
“Who are you?” I asked the disembodied female voice.
“My name is Joan.”
“Where did you die?”
“Down there.” She said.
I couldn’t see her but I could guess where she was pointing. “You are the girl that jumped off the bridge about a month ago?” I asked just to make sure.
“Yes, can you help me with my unfinished business so that I can move on like that kid in that movie?”
“You committed suicide. You chose to take your own life and knew when you were going to do it?” I asked appalled. A spirit had never approached me from a suicide.
“You can see the dead. Will you help me cross over to the other side?”
“I am not a grim reaper or a portal.” I snarled.
“You can see me. You can help me.” She shouted.
“I can hear you. I can’t see you.” I said walking quicker across the bridge.
“Will you at least help me?” She sounded pathetic.
“No.” I snapped.
“Why not?” she demanded.
“Because you planned your death. You should have made sure all your business was complete before you jumped.” I answered over my shoulder as I stepped off the other side of the bridge by Hannaford.
“I am stuck here.” She wailed.
I did not want to tell her that she wasn’t. She would follow me around everwhere until I did help her if I told her that. I thought about what I knew and tried to figure out what to tell her on the way back, after major grocery shopping.
When you jump off a bridge, you die one of two ways, or a combination of both.
One, you hit the water and the impact kills you. Sometimes the jumper is knocked unconscious. Other times, the jumper survives for a time. The person can be seen flailing about in the water, trying to stay afloat, only to succumb to the extensive internal bleeding. Death can take seconds or minutes.
Two, you drown. You hit the water going fast, and your body plunges in deep. Conscious or otherwise, you breathe in water and asphyxiate. This is usually if you go in vertically, feet first.
Adding winter in New York to the mix gives a third option. Ice water. Good to drink in the summer. Deadly to jump into from a bridge. Temperatures can get cold enough for the Hudson River to freeze, not solidly but for at least a good foot of thickness at times, making it hard as solid ground. The Hudson also has a current. You will not come back up where you went under and if you go through the ice, instead of going splat against it, you will be trapped beneath it and drown. Even if the ice is not solid, the water can still cause Hypothermia.
On my way back, with the full folding cart, I crossed the bridge again. Three steps on it and she asked, “Why won’t you help me?”
“You chose this path. You are choosing to stay. All you have to do is let go and you can leave for your next plane of existence.” I said.
“I don’t want to go to hell.” She wailed.
“Listen drama queen.” I snapped at her. “You made the decision to take your own life. The guy from the other day had been murdered. He did not know it was coming. He had no way to prepare for his death. You should have set your affairs in order before ending your life. You keep bothering me and I will…”
“You have no power over me.” She sounded like one of the popular girls from ninth grade.
“You sure about that?” I asked stopping and turning to where her voice was coming from.
“I need your help.” She demanded.
“I don’t want to go to hell. Suicide is a sin.”
“You should have thought of that before you committed.”
“I just wanted to hurt him like he hurt me.”
“My boyfriend. I got pregnant and he wanted me to have an abortion. I couldn’t kill my child.”
I interrupted her. “So you gave birth and then committed suicide?”
“No I was seven months along when I found out he had gotten another girl pregnant. He dumped me after I told him I was pregnant and refused the abortion. She got an engagement ring.” She started sobbing.
“So since he chose another woman he impregnated to marry you killed yourself and your unborn child?”
“Once they got married he could take the child away from me. He could provide him with a father and a mother.”
“What is your unfinished business? What is keeping you here?”
“I don’t want to go to hell.” She sobbed.
“Even if you hadn’t committed suicide you would be sinning by being pregnant and unmarried.” I stated flatly.
“Children are a gift from God.” She snapped.
“And yet you took that gift and destroyed it. You destroyed yourself too. If the baby daddy didn’t care about you when you were alive I doubt he’s caring much now that you’re dead. Move on.” I said as I stepped off the bridge on the Waterford side. “Besides if you froze to death at least hell will be warm.”
“You bitch.” She screeched at me. I felt a breeze pass on my right. “Wait, I am not trapped on the bridge?”
“Nope. Go haunt that baby daddy.” I said with false encouragement.”
“I will.” She said.
I shook my head and kept walking. She didn’t say anything else.