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I started writing a few years ago. Every now and then I get an idea and I'll write a story about it. Feel free to leave a comment :)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Too long at the cliff


Too long at the cliff
Date written: February 2015


-I-




For too long have I been standing here on top of this cliff. Days turn to nights and back. I have asked myself so many times what I’ve been doing here. I told myself I was thinking. Thinking about a lot of things. There have been so many things that have kept my mind occupied for such a long time. My hands are placed firmly on the cold metal railing.

For some reason I can’t let go of the railing, though it’s not that I want to. Down below me stretches an ocean, filling the entire horizon. The sound of the waves hitting the rocks should calm me down, but it doesn’t. The light breeze that blows through my hair should cool me off during the day, but it doesn’t. The same breeze should give me chills during the night, but it doesn’t. I feel nothing.

Nothing but worry and anger.

I feel no need to go back home. I prefer the nights over the days, although it is always calm and quiet here regardless of the time of day. During the time that I’ve been standing here, I’ve only spoken with one person. Well, I didn’t actually speak with him. He spoke to me.

A man approached me earlier this evening. He was walking his dog. It was a young man who needed someone to talk to. Or at least he needed someone to listen to his story. The man told me that he wanted to die. He felt that life had abandoned him and didn’t see the purpose to live anymore. His name was John.

John was a young man in his 20s who grew up with a loving family. He had a longtime girlfriend of the same age. And even though he had always loved them so much, lately he felt nothing anymore. He was on a moral crossroad. So many times had he contemplated taking his own life. But then he reminded himself of what he would leave behind if he carried out what he wanted to do so badly.

I didn’t say much to the man. I nodded at the right moment and looked in his eyes that were tearing while he was talking. His story would’ve been depressing to any person in a normal state of mind. But not to me. I turned my eyes away from him and looked down at the ocean again. He continued talking.

I’m not listening anymore. I used to be a compassionate person before, always ready to help someone who needed it. Now, not so much. I don’t have any idea why he thought I was the right person to talk to about his problems. He keeps talking, he keeps asking me if I’m listening to him, but I don’t respond.

Disappointed, he leaves. From the corner of my eye I watch him turn around, taking his dog with him. I can hear the sound of his footsteps gradually getting further away from me. Until the sound stops.

It’s silent for a moment, save for the sounds of the waves and the wind. Until I hear footsteps return. Footsteps moving at an increasing pace towards me. A dog barking. I close my eyes, sigh and listen to the sound of John jumping over the railing off the cliff.

-II-

It’s late September now. The trees that are spread around each side of the cliff are letting go of their brown leaves. The wind catches the leaves and blows them into my direction, some of them stick to my coat before another gust of wind takes them away, into the ocean that still lies calmly in front of me.

It’s been a short while since I saw this guy John. I’m still not sure what he was thinking. It is a strange feeling. Was he trying to make me feel guilty? He probably came here to end his life, but wasn’t expecting to see anyone. Perhaps I was the final hope that could help him get his life back on track, even if it was just by listening to his story. Maybe he felt that he couldn’t talk to anyone close and dear to him and I was that one person that he thought he could confide in so he could be convinced not to do what he was planning to do in the first place.

Guilt. I still feel none of it.

I look up to the sky and notice that grey clouds have formed above my head. The area is gradually getting darker and the wind stops blowing. I assume there will be rain soon. Maybe a storm. It hasn’t rained in a while. If it’s going to rain, I better find some shelter. Perhaps the trees on the side of the cliff will keep me dry, or at least keep me from becoming completely soaked.

I turn around and slowly walk to one of the bigger trees situated at the start of the cliff. I sit down underneath the big arms and make myself comfortable. From here I can see the railing of the cliff. The clouds in the sky and the slowly lurking darkness in the area resemble the darkness I have in my head. I try to remind myself of the beauty of this place.

It starts raining now. I can hear small drops falling on the deck of leaves above my head. I listen to the sound and close my eyes. The relaxing music of the rain goes on uninterrupted for a few minutes until it mixes with the sound of an engine roaring, tires screeching and a woman talking on the phone.

I open my eyes and look at the source of the noise that suddenly arose in the otherwise calm and relaxing area.
The raindrops reflect the red and blue flashing lights on top of the police car. A woman, shielding her head with a hat exits the car and starts what looks like a search for something or someone. I don’t get up. I merely sit there, watching what is happening. The police officer walks along the railing of the cliff. She doesn’t seem to notice me. At least, not instantly. She’s inspecting the railing, the ground and the ocean below. The way she stands at the railing reminds me of myself not that long ago, when I saw the man.

She turns around and notices me staring at her. The young woman approaches me, she looks pretty for as far as I can see by the flashing lights of the car.

-III-

‘What are you doing here? It’s raining, shouldn’t you go home or something?’

I don’t want to reply to her. I turn my gaze away from her and look back at the railing where she was standing before.

‘Hey? I asked you a question.’

I look back at her and reply with a question of my own.

‘Are you looking for John?’

The young woman, obviously surprised by my sudden question hesitates to answer.

‘Do you know him?’ she replies.

‘No. I don’t.’

‘Alright, I would like you to come with me to the station. I have a few questions that I would like you to answer.’

Once again, I turn my gaze away from her as a sign of unwillingness. Without looking at her, I reply.

‘I told you I don’t know this John. But if you’re looking for him, he’s down there somewhere, in the ocean. He jumped down a little while ago.’

The woman moves away from me and thinks for a while. She then puts her hand on her belt and replies to me.

‘I’m going to have to ask you again to come with me. Either voluntarily or involuntarily, the choice is yours.’

I look at her face for a few seconds.

‘Fine, I’ll go with you. I don’t know what you expect from me, but okay.’

‘Just step in the car please.’

As I step into the back of the car, the woman uses the car’s communication system to call for backup to inspect the cliff and its surroundings for the missing person called John.

-IV-

‘Something tells me that you know more about this missing person than you are telling me,’ she says as she sits down in front of me in the interrogation chamber.

I don’t look at her. I’m sitting in front of her with my hands folded. I don’t want to reply to her. It was a bad idea to reply to her the way I did. If only I didn’t say this guy’s name. John. Fuck you John. If it wasn’t because of you, I wouldn’t be here right now.

‘What do you know about John, a man who went missing not too long ago?’

‘I told you already that I don’t know this John you’re talking about.’

‘Then tell me what you were doing at the place he wrote about in the last communication to his family?’

I sighed.

‘I was just standing there, thinking about things, alright? Then all of a sudden he showed up out of nowhere with his dog and started talking to me. I didn’t respond to him, all I did was look at him.’

‘Okay, and then what happened?’

‘He left.’

‘And…?’

‘He ran towards the railing where I was standing and he jumped off.’

‘You saw him jump?’

‘No. I had my eyes closed. I could just hear his footsteps and the sound of something or someone going over the railing.’

‘And you didn’t think it was something you should report to the police?’

‘I told you, I didn’t see anything. And I wasn’t thinking straight.’

It’s not any of my business anyway. She starts writing in her notebook, writing down everything that I’m saying. I can see her concentrate while she’s flipping through her notes. She can’t keep me here. There’s nothing that links me to this John figure, except my vague story.

‘Can I go now?’

She looks up from her notes and looks into my eyes.

‘Fill in this form with your contact details so I can contact you when I have more questions for you.’
Reluctantly, I take the piece of paper from her and start filling in my details. Name… phone number… I don’t have my phone with me. So there’s no way she can contact me. I hand the paper back to her after filling in all the required fields and get up from my seat. She gets up as well and walks to the door to open it for me. Without thanking her I leave the interrogation room.

She proceeds to escort me to the reception desk.

‘Process this form for me, please. Put it in the John case file,’ she says to the file clerk.

The file clerk looks at the form and back at Sandra, which is her name I picked up from her notebook in the interrogation room. He frowns and puts the paper on his desk.

‘You’re free to go for now,’ she says when she turns towards me.

‘But don’t stray too far away from here. And stay away from that cliff.’

I don’t reply to her and walk away. I’ve had enough interaction for one day. I just want to return to the one place where I can think quietly. The one place where I can focus on myself without getting bothered by other people’s problems.

-V-

I walk along the gloomy forest road. The road that lies in front of me is very familiar. It feels like ages since I first walked here. The sound rising from under my feet is that of cracking sticks and crunchy leaves. The last time I passed through this road was by car. Escorted in a police car for doing what? Nothing is what. Sitting under a tree shielding myself from the rain. Now I can finally walk and think clearly again. Or at least… I try to do so.

The worry that clouded my own mind before the John incident has faded and has taken the form of thoughts about what is going to happen to me in this situation. But it’s not something I want to think about. I walked this road before to clear my head. I want that feeling back.

I remember why I went for a walk here in the first place. At first it was unclear to me. I thought I was going here to commit suicide. But that wasn’t it. I had no reason whatsoever to kill myself.
That place. The cliff, and the forest road heading up to it have been part of my life for a long time. They hold very good memories. During the time that I was standing at the cliff I was attempting to let memories resurface. Memories of my good life.

But I was waiting for something else the last time I was there. Waiting for a revelation or a certain clarity to drive away the worry and the emptiness.

It hadn’t been raining much the evening I got picked up by her. Not enough to make the sand and dust road soggy, but just enough to reinforce the smell of leaves and nature. It was an enjoyable smell. I let the wind blow through my hair and listen to the vague sound of birds singing in the distance. It’s around midday now and I walked straight from the police station back to this place.

My eyes don’t deceive me. There are multiple cars parked in front of the cliff, yellow tape is wrapped around two trees, creating the idea of a blocked path. There are multiple men and women walking around the area. I approach the tape and try to see what’s going on around the cliff area.
I lift the tape and walk underneath. Most of the police offers are distracted with their private conversations, except for one.

‘Didn’t I tell you not to go here anymore?’

Sandra approaches me and grabs me firmly by the arm.

‘What the hell do you think you are doing? This is an official crime scene and you can’t cross the tape.’

‘I just want to go the place I feel comfortable,’ I tell her.

‘And I told you that you should stay away from here. But in any case, I’m glad you came here. I’ve been trying to call you to ask you to come to the police station to answer a few more of my questions, but you haven’t been picking up your phone.’

‘I’m not obliged to have my phone with me. Can’t you just leave me alone? I don’t want to have anything more to do with this situation.’

‘Well that’s a bit too late I’m afraid. Get in the car, we’re going back to the station.’

Damn it! Just leave me the fuck alone already, I’m getting so tired of it! I pull my arm out of her grip and walk away from her, towards the railing of the cliff. Yet I don’t get too far because Sandra grabs both my arms this time and drags me back towards one of the cars.

‘Get in there and shut up,’ she says before she slams the door shut and gets in the front seat. While we drive off down the road, she continues talking to me. I look at her eyes through the rear view mirror. She keeps her eyes focused front.

‘Listen, let’s talk reasonably. I don’t know what’s going on with you, but obviously you’re not in a very good state of mind. However things don’t look too good for you. We just managed to fish our missing person John out of the water a couple of hours ago. Now there aren’t any suspects so far except for you, who happened to know the deceased’s name, his exact location of death and on top of that there’s your appearance on the scene. Twice.’

‘What do you want me to say? I’ve already said everything I wanted to say to you. Do you want me to repeat it again? I don’t know this John. He started talking to me and then one minute after he disappeared from my view. Why do you want to pin this on me so badly?’
She fell silent. She didn’t speak another word during the trip to the police station.

-VI-

The evidence box she put in front of me on the table was almost overflowing with items. Sandra stands next to the box, looking at me for a little while. She opens the box and starts taking out some items, looking for one specific item so it seems.

‘John was carrying a note on him, similar to the one we found at his house. He had it packed in an airtight plastic bag. It was addressed to his girlfriend. Let’s read through it.’

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Linda,

I shouldn’t have done what I did.
I blame the alcohol and the pills.
Never have I felt so bad.
I want to take back the things I said and did.
But it’s too late now.
I want to see you again.
I want to talk to you.

-John

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

‘So?’

‘Come on. We find this note, addressed from John to a certain Linda. And then we find you next to the place where he died. And which name did you write on the contact form? First name: Linda. Coincidence?’

‘What are you implying? That I threw him off the cliff because of something he supposedly did to me?’

‘I’m not implying anything. I simply want you to tell me the truth about John and how you two are connected.’

‘We aren’t connected. He threw himself off the cliff, I keep telling you that.’

‘Very well, next item. What I have here is a picture of him and of someone who looks very similar to you, which we also found in that plastic bag. Take a look.’

I take the picture that she’s holding in front of me and look at it. The picture looks very familiar. It’s one of the memories I tried to resurface during my days and nights at the cliff. One of the good memories that I was hoping would temporarily drive away the anger, coldness and detachment. Something that would keep me patient. But as hard as I tried, I couldn’t resurface it then.

But now, looking at this picture… I remember the day well. It was the day I brought John to the cliff for the first time. I wanted to show it to him, because the place was very valuable to me.

‘What are you not telling me, Linda?’

I sigh.

‘I’ve told you nothing but the truth so far. The John that jumped off the cliff was not the John I knew. The John I knew had his life in order, the one that jumped I didn’t recognize anymore. He turned into an entirely different person, one that I don’t know. I didn’t do anything to him.’

She looks up from her notebook and I see that she’s about to ask another question. But I want to ask her a question of my own. She opens her mouth and I quickly start talking before she can bring out a word.

‘I would like to ask you a question if I may.’

‘Be my guest,’ she replies with a frown.

‘What I’m curious about is: how many bodies did you discover at the cliff?’

Sandra looks at me, suppressing a surprised look caused by my question.

‘We found one. Are you saying that there are more?’

‘What I’m saying is that I’m pretty sure that John is not the only one who found his end on the bottom of the cliff.’

She continues looking at me for a few seconds and hesitates to write in her notebook. She then gets out of her seat and walks out the room. Before she closes the door, she says:

‘You stay right there.’

I don’t respond to what she says. I’m done here.

-VII-

‘Don’t let her leave,’ she says to the guard on the other side of the door.

Sandra walks out of the room with a pace faster than normal. She runs to several co-workers to tell them that they should immediately check out the bottom of the cliff again for more bodies. While she is instructing the group, the file clerk at the registrations desk gets out of his work area. The man started only 2 weeks ago and wasn’t very experienced. He looks a bit nervous as he tries to get Sandra’s attention, who is only focused on rallying some troops to swipe the cliff for more bodies.
He decides to wait until she finishes her short briefing before tapping her on the shoulder to get her attention.

‘What is it?’ she says.

The man hesitates to speak, because he realizes that now might not be the best time to come with something that would seem so insignificant compared to the briefing that Sandra just gave. He speaks up anyway.

‘Yesterday you came to me and asked me to file this contact form for you.’

‘Yes, what of it?’

‘Well the thing is that… well of course I’m new here and you guys know things better than the new guys usually, but uhm…’

‘Come on, what is it?’

‘Yeah, alright. You gave me this empty form and I don’t really know what to do with it. It didn’t make sense to me to put it in a high profile missing person’s case file, but I didn’t want to throw it away either. I mean you filled in your own details and all, but…’

Perplexed she looks at the man. She grabs the form from his hand before he finishes his sentence and looks at it. Empty.

She turns around without replying to the clerk and runs back to the interrogation room, where the guard is still guarding the door. She opens the door and looks around the room where the table and the evidence box are placed. But there’s no girl to be found in the room.

‘Where’s the girl?’

‘What girl?’ the guard replies.

She looks at the man with a confused look on her face.

‘Sandra, you’ve been all alone in that room with your box of evidence. Are you feeling alright?’

‘No… I don’t think I am. But I think I know whose body we are going to find at the bottom of that cliff.’

-VIII-

A man approached me earlier that evening. He was walking his dog. It was a young man who needed someone to talk to. Or at least he needed someone to listen to his story. The man told me that he wanted to die. He felt that life had abandoned him and didn’t see the purpose to live anymore. His name was John.

John was a young man in his 20s who grew up with a loving family. He had a longtime girlfriend of the same age. And even though he had always loved them so much, lately he felt nothing anymore. He was on a moral crossroad. So many times had he contemplated taking his own life. But then he reminded himself of what he would leave behind if he carried out what he wanted to do so badly.

I didn’t say much to the man. I nodded at the right moment and looked in his eyes that were tearing while he was talking. His story would’ve been depressing to any person in a normal state of mind. But not to me. I turned my eyes away from him and looked down at the ocean again. He continued talking.

‘It wasn’t my intention to kill you. It was just the alcohol I think. And the pills. It was an accident. You know I always loved you, right? I don’t know what came over me that night. I… I think I need someone to help me. Help me figure out my problems please.’

I wasn’t listening anymore. I used to be a compassionate person before, always ready to help someone who needed it. Then, not so much. I didn’t have any idea why he thought I was the right person to talk to about his problems. He kept talking, he kept asking me if I was listening to him, but I didn’t respond.

‘Please, Linda. Respond to me. I know you can hear me, what are those pills doing to me? But you can’t be real. I saw you fall off the cliff. I pushed you off. Damn, what have I done?.. Please talk to me. Linda?..

Linda?..

…...Linda…’

Disappointed, he left. From the corner of my eye I watched him turn around, taking his dog with him. I could hear the sound of his footsteps gradually getting further away from me. Until the sound stopped.

It was silent for a moment, save for the sounds of the waves and the wind. Until I heard footsteps return. Footsteps moving at an increasing pace towards me. A dog barking. I closed my eyes, sighed and listened to the sound of John jumping over the railing off the cliff.

Deep down I knew he would eventually come back there.

I had been waiting for him to show up. And I was hoping that he could see me, just so I could be the final one he would see before taking his own life. I suppose that in the end it wasn’t such a bad idea to talk to Sandra either. At least there’s a chance that my own body will be recovered and I can have a proper burial.

Oh that cliff… For too long have I stood on top of that cliff.


2 comments:

  1. Great. Read this at creepypasta. Loved it.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, I saw your comments on creepypasta too. I appreciate it a lot that you read and liked it :)

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