silence-1209033_960_720Another early story, written over a decade ago.  It’s a weird one. There was something wrong with me. There still is. There’s been some light editing done, but for the most part all my novice skills have been left to shine.

If Everyone Else Jumped Off a Bridge

By Ron Cypress

In the small town of Mapleton there was one bridge. This bridge was about fifty feet above the rocky land that it ran across, and it connected the east part of town to the west.  Moses Carter lived in Mapleton and drove across the bridge when he left Mapleton to go visit a friend.  It was only a couple of days after he left that the disturbance in Mapleton started.

The first person to jump off the bridge was Bill Palmer.  He jumped the same night that he shot and killed Mark Welles with a shotgun.  The two had been involved in a pool game when an argument broke out between them.  Welles refused to pay Bill the money that Bill felt was owed to him. When he grew tired of arguing Bill stormed out of the bar they were playing pool in, and an hour later Mark Welles was missing a chunk of his head.

Bill had thought about fleeing Mapleton at first, but then he realized that the police were going to catch him eventually.  There had been more than twenty witnesses, and the law was already after him.  He had driven home after the shooting and called his mother to say goodbye.

“Mama, I have to go away for a little while now,” he explained. “I just wanted to call to tell you I love you, and I’ll be thinking about you.

”Bill, is there anything I can do son?”

“I just want you to pray for me, mama. Pray for my soul. Make sure my baby boy is taken care of, mama. Lord knows his mom ain’t doin’ right with him.  And mama, make sure you tell Miss Welles that I’m sorry about what I done did to her son. I have to go now, mama. I gotta get out of here.”

Bill hung up the phone and left the house. Eventually he ended up at the bridge.  He stood there looking down at the rocks for a moment.  It wasn’t until a cop car approached him that he went over the railing and down towards the rocks.

The next person to jump was Mrs. Welles.  She was so distraught over the loss of her only son, that she felt she could no longer live.  She had been a single mother for nearly twenty years. She had given birth to three children. Mark was her baby, and she had already lost one before Mark in a car accident.  Her oldest son had moved away years ago and rarely spoke to his family.

As soon as she heard about Mark’s death, Miss Welles broke down.

“I can’t believe! I can’t believe it! My baby! Billy Palmer? How could he? They were such good friends when they were children.  Why did this happen?

It was after her son’s funeral that she went to the bridge. Two of her friends went with her to keep her company.  She was still in shock.

“The casket was closed. You guys didn’t have to see what I saw when I went to identify him. You wouldn’t even know it was him if he were just going by his face. His face……his face….I think it’s time now. Marky….come here, Marky. It’s mommy, sweety. Come to mommy. I’ll take care of you. Everything is going to be alright now. No one else is going to hurt you.” She had one last message for her friends. “Tell Emma not to touch my vacuum.”

She quickly went over the rail and off of the bridge.

The next person to jump was Miss Welles’s friend. We’ll just refer to her as friend number one.  She watched in horror as Miss Welles fell fifty feet and landed on the rocks below.

“Oh my God!” She screamed out.

Her and friend number two started crying hysterically. After a couple minutes of crying friend number one went off the bridge.

Friend number two stared in disbelief at the bodies of her two friends below. She stared for a few minutes and then joined the other two on the rocks.

Natalie Caulfield was pregnant with an unwanted child at the time. The baby’s father was away in prison, and she was left alone to take care of the child by herself.  She had been contemplating suicide for a while. The day after Mark Welle’s funeral, Natalie was watching the local news when coverage of the death of Miss Welles and her two friends came on.  Natalie was shocked. She had known everyone who had jumped off the bridge so far.

She had thought long and hard about the future of her and her baby.  Finally she came to the decision that there was no future for them. Two hours after seeing the news, Natalie Caulfield went to the bridge and jumped off.

Her parents received the news about their daughter when they got home for work.  They went down to the bridge, but by the time they got there their daughter’s body had already been taken away.  Instead of going to see the body both parents took a flight off of the bridge.

Over the next couple of weeks things got really out of hand.  After the Caulfield’s went off the bridge a whole cult jumped off of it. There were twelve members in the cult. Their leader took them to the bridge and spoke to them about their mission.

“My fellow disciples, the time has come to return to the great master. He is awaiting us.  Remember keep your mind clear and purified.  Do not falter my brothers and sisters.  Remember the words of the great prophet Bakabarah who showed us the way to the flawless light of the great master.  We are now prepared to give our souls to him. Our souls which have been shown the way. Forever we will shine in his power. In his glory!  Akka lamma sheema sheema! The power is ours!

The leader was the first to jump, and then one by one his followers followed.

While the police were cleaning up the bodies of the cult members, three teenage boys approached the bridge. Tyler, Gary, and Scott were riding their bicycles when they came to the bridge.

“Holy shit!” Tyler exclaimed. “Look at all those dead bodies.”

“That makes like twenty people who have died down there,” Scott said “This shit is crazy!”

“People are losing their fucking minds. I would never jump off that bridge. Imagine what it’s like hitting those fucking rocks.”

“What do think its like?” Gary asked.

“Fucking painful,” Tyler said.

“You’re fucking retarded,” Gary said. “You die on impact. They were dead as soon as they hit the rocks.”

‘How the fuck do you know?” Tyler asked “Were you there when they landed. Those motherfuckers could have really suffered before dying.”

“I’m with Ty.” Scott cut in.

“Of course you are, you fucking faggot,” Gary said “But both you and your little girlfriend are wrong.  Even if they didn’t die right away, there’s no way they would be conscious to feel pain. But they all died right away, so there’s nothing more to talk about. Why the fuck do you guys care, anyway? None of you queers would have the nerve to jump off the bridge.”

“It’s not about nerve, it’s about not wanting to die,” Tyler said. “Especially a slow and painful death like I’m sure some of them suffered. Besides you wouldn’t jump either.”

“Oh yeah,” Gary said “Watch me.”

Gary walked farther down the bridge and got on the railing.

“What an asshole,” Scott said. “We all know that he isn’t going to ju—

Gary jumped.

Tyler and Scott could hear the cops screaming below.

“He jumped!” Scott screamed in terror. “He’s gone!”

He started crying.

“Well, if he can do it.”

Tyler followed behind Gary.

Scott was left alone on the bridge.  The cops below started to yell at him.

“Young man, do not jump!”

Scott jumped. Even after Scott landed, Gary was still alive and conscious. His eyes were still open when the cops got to him.  For the last couple of minutes of his life Gary felt pain like he had never felt before.

After the three boys perished, jumping of the bridge became popular among the young people of Mapleton. Everyday the number of kids jumping off went higher and higher.  The cops tried to monitor the bridge to stop people from jumping but the jumpers always found away to get by the cops.  Even when they shut the bridge down for one day people were still breaking through security and jumping. When the kids began to jump, their parents followed.  Some jumped because they didn’t want to live without their kids. Some were jumping after their kids. Others wanted to stay with the newest trend.  Animals were even brought into the jumping.  People would jump off while holding the dog, cat, hamster, or snake. One guy jumped off with a pet bird on his shoulder; he died alone.

For the first time in the history, Mapleton was on the national news.  The bridge and all its victims had caught the attention of the entire country.  People were traveling from all over to watch the spectacle.  They took photos and videos of the residents of Mapleton leaping to their doom.  No one had ever seen anything like it before.  The president even addressed the issue and begged the “wonderful” people of Mapleton to put a stop to the madness.

But there wasn’t a stop. The population of Mapleton got lower every day.  Even the police started to jump after they grew tired of trying to stop people from jumping.  The nurses and other medical workers jumped when they grew tired of seeing the bodies of the jumpers.   The elderly people in the town were taken out of the nursing home and brought to the bridge so that they could jump.  People were coupled up and jumping together while the outsiders would place bets on who would hit the bottom first. There wasn’t a stop to it.

Eventually, Mapleton no longer had any residents. They had all jumped.  The outsiders left the town since there was no longer anything there to entertain them.  At the bottom of the only bridge in Mapleton lay a scattered pile of bodies.

Moses Carter returned to Mapleton a couple of days after all the visitors had left.  While he was visiting with his friend who lived a remote area, far from news of the modern world, Moses did not get any information on the situation in his town. He saw the bodies from the bridge as he drove across it.  He stopped briefly to take a look at the carnage then drove around town for about an hour in search of another living soul.  Moses eventually figured out that he was to only living resident of Mapleton. He went back to the bridge and stared down at his former neighbors and friends.

“Well, if everyone else is doing it.” Moses shrugged.

Then he jumped.