500 Word Short Story
The Jumpers
Scott A. Gese


500 Word Short Story

He inched his way onto the bridge girder. It was a warm summer evening. The full moon cast an eerie shadow over the water below. A young woman stood not more than ten feet away from him.

“Don't try to stop me.” she remarked.

The voice startled the young man whose eyes were focused on the river. He jerked his head up and peered through the dim moonlight. She stood off to his right. Her long blond hair limply dangled in front of her face as she leaned forward as if gauging the distance between her and the water. She looked tall and very frightened.

“Jesus, God. You scared the hell out of me. Who are you? What are you doing here?”

She replied. “I've had enough. If you're here to talk me out of jumping, don't waste your breath.”

“Ha, that's almost laughable. I have no desire to save your ass, lady. And don't you try to save mine.”

“Deal,” she answered.

They both stood in silence.

He spoke first. “It's four hundred and twenty feet to the water.”

“Why do I need to know that...and why do you?”

“Just trivia,” he replied.

“Why?” She asked.

“Why what?”

“Why are you up here?”

“It's like you said, lady. I've had enough. This city beats the life out of a person. I've been beaten. I'm giving up... How about you?”

“Not so much the city. Relationships. I'm cutting my loses. I was getting married...finally.” She pulled off her engagement ring. The diamond momentarily glistened as it caught a ray of moonlight.

“What happened?”

“He changed his mind. Said I was too good for him. Ha.” She laughed. “He told me over the phone. Didn't even have the guts to say it to my face. He actually asked for the ring back.” She tossed it to the water below. It quickly disappeared into the night. “Let him swim for it.”

Another long silence. The wind was getting cold.

He suddenly spoke. “My name is Kelly.”

“Why the hell do I want to know that?” She asked. “Why should I even care who you are?”

“In case I jump first and you decide not to. I just want someone to know who I was.”

“Sounds reasonable, my name's Kate...just in case you chicken out.”

“How long have you been standing here?” He asked.

“Don't know. My legs are getting tired. I'll have to build up my courage soon.”

“If you can build up the courage to jump, do you think you could build up the courage to not jump?

“Why?

“Just curious.”

“Hadn't thought about that,” she replied.

I'm starting to have second thoughts, but I'm not leaving as long as you're still here.”

“You actually care?” She asked.

“Ya, I suppose I do. Would you like a cup of coffee?”

“Seriously?...I think I might like that.

© Copyright 2019 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.