All of my recent shorts have been story ideas. This one is no different, except that I came up with it quite some time ago. It’s inspired by a personal event that I previously mentioned in my “Religion” blog. I have undergone a lot of personal and spiritual changes in the past few years. It’s been so dramatic that I am often in awe of it. Whenever I finish the BT series, I think I will probably follow through with this story line. I feel it is different than what you’ve read and I’m hoping to show my versatility when it comes to the different genres of writing.
Of all the places I am damned to roam, this is one of my favorites. For some reason, people flock to the pier in all kinds of different situations. Fishing, first dates, marriage proposals, and sometimes break-ups. I think it has something to do with the energy of the water. The very life source all creatures rely on and the one element they’re drawn to the most.
I like to watch here. It is the easiest place to detect emotion. The very thing I am cursed to feel and these very acts I am no longer allowed to personally experience. For I am a Jumper.
Jumpers are souls who remained heartless in their living life and are now condemned in the After. There is no fire and brimstone, just the torment of emotions never belonging to you. No one will understand the loneliness of that hallow shell. The brief, blissful moment of pure, vibrating joy and the ever daunting realization that it will never, ever be yours. Ever again.
Jumping is involuntary. Imagine being a bird a midst an oncoming rainstorm. Sudden bursts of wind blind siding you into a different direction. I am pushed; stumbling into a living being, hearing their deepest, momentary thoughts and their most heart-felt feelings. My soul becomes one with theirs and for that slight interaction, I am human again. An addictive punishment.
Such gloomy, stormy days like these leave the seagulls screaming as they glide above the pier. Patrons are strolling on their lunch breaks, enjoying their warm drinks and recharging with the surging rough waves. The rain has yet to begin and I wait on the bench beside a sleeping, intoxicated, heavily bearded homeless man. I like to think I protect the homeless now. I feel the most pity for them and they are the easiest to Jump. I was not kind to anything homeless in my Living and I felt the need to repent now in the After
No one can see Jumpers in the After, just like any ghost story will tell you. Not even the most spiritual of people can detect a Jumper. Therein lies another punishment.
My stomach knots suddenly and I feel my soul being suctioned away from the bench. I look toward the beard of the man and close my eyes tightly, only opening to them to be still looking at him from a different angle.
Through my heavily aged eyes, I feel compassion. A sense of familiarity and reminiscent, I have been in this man’s shoes. I look towards the darkening skies and can smell the salt water intensify. It will rain soon. A wrinkled, blood spotted hand reached and heavily shook the man’s shoulder. The burst of whiskey and earth made my compassion grow as I remembered my days under freeway bridges.
“Hello, sir,” the man’s eyes widened at my mannerisms, “So sorry to disturb you. It’s going to rain soon and since it’s extremely chilly, I was hoping you would like to join me for some warm food and good company?”
As lightning flickered off in the distance, I found myself covered in hair and staring back at an older gentleman in an olive raincoat. His pale blue eyes reflected his sincerity and my heart filled with excitement, curiosity, and some skepticism.
A gush of wind caused me to shiver. The old man smiled and said, “We’ll get you some warmer clothes. What do you say?”
I gratefully obliged, taking his helping, feeble hand.
My soul remained there on the once occupied bench and I watched the unpredictable pair wander off the wood slats and up to a nearby diner. If I could release any tears, this would be a beautiful moment. Compassion was my horrendous reminder. Something I lacked in the Living was now my most addictive emotion in the After. I never knew what it felt like to receive it, nor what it meant to give it. I was too stubborn and too ignorant.
The pier was quickly clearing, but I was only waiting for the rain. The cool, variable droplets splashing against my bare skin was a sensation I also missed. It wasn’t long before the darkened spots flushed the weathered wood, hammering like a machine gun to a tin roof.
I closed my eyes and tried to imagine catching a puddle in my…
I can’t keep going on like this. They all think I’m crazy! Maybe I am. Maybe I am just as worthless as they say.
I opened my eyes, peering into my dainty hands. I picked at my fading nail polish and stared intently at the small promise ring. I’ve been spinning it so much that the skin it rested against was an angry red. I crossed my feet under the bench and felt my sun dress become pinned in between a set of slats.
Pure dread was poisoning my chest and I wanted so much to rip out my aching heart. I didn’t want to feel anymore.
I just want to be numb. I want to be empty so that they can’t hurt me anymore. What would the church say? I don’t want to go to hell, but they’ll condemn me there anyway. What about my parents? Oh Lord, I fear their disappointment!
Tears warmed my cheeks from the cold rain I was drowning in. My body shivered and the pier vibrated from the crashing waves below.
My clothes were now sticking to my body, Won’t make a difference anyhow. It will be over soon.
A calming relief fell over me. I stood and adjusted my pink floral skirt while taking a deep breath. My dress shoes filled with tiny puddles as I slowly made my way toward the end of the pier. Adrenaline quivered in my veins and I found myself incredibly conflicted. I could feel my legs pull as my body was resisting. But my heart insisted. It knew it couldn’t survive the torment or the judgement of those people. Fear, hope, sorrow all occupied my mind in an entangled battle. Only one will prevail by the time I reached the splintered rail.
Just as a gush from a wave floated up and sprayed my thighs, I closed my eyes… and I jumped…
“Abigail! Don’t!” I was halfway down the pier, calling after the most amazing girl I had ever known. I was empowered by a deep love and impending fear. The rain pelted against my tan skin as if the sea was trying to push me back.
You can’t do this Abi! Don’t leave me subject to the cruelty to those monsters!
I watched as her stiffened dress allowed her freckled body to turn to me. The frightened look upon her face pierced my entirety and I pushed harder against the slippery wood. My throat grew dry and my heart beat heavily against it.
I reached her just in time to grapple her forearm, “Abi, don’t do this! Don’t leave me! I can’t do this without you!”
A curious glare slipped onto her face and I could feel the familiar suction. I wished it to stop! I wanted to save her.
Don’t let her die!
I saw my own arm separate from my host and I reached for her face. I wanted to caress it and reassure her that this was not what she wanted. She wanted to live, I felt it in her soul . She wants to live, to love and love freely.
Fear and anger wrinkled her forehead as she looked to my hand, “Let go of me… Jumper.”
My soul immediately leaped back into my host. Just then, A strong wave crashed into the edge of the pier, rattling it’s entire stance. It was enough for me to stretch my feet and steady myself, but also enough for the puddles in Abigail’s shoes to release her feet from the rail. Tumbling backward, her grip released and her arm slipped through my fingers.
Abigail didn’t scream and neither did I. I was too fixated on her comforting stare. She saw what I was. She could see me.
So, after her, I jumped.