Suicide no. 19: Would You?
–by Derek Alan Wilkinson
I don’t remember when it started. Before he jumped, some twenty years ago, my Grandpa used to say something like “This has been going on for too long now! Fifty years!”
I don’t know how it began, either. People just had some old-timey catchphrase, and someone put it to the test. I do know that it started in Death Valley; people threw themselves into its depths by the thousands. Cults started to form. The next thing you know, there were corpses littering the foothills of the Smokey Mountains, and as far away as Nepal. Then, every skyscraper in every major city had to be blocked off and barricaded to protect the people who roamed the streets below from falling bodies.
Pretty soon, and before you knew it, everyone was “jumping.”
Some did it because everyone close to them started in with it: almost like a fad-gone-wrong kind of thing. People who you’d never think would do something as stupid as acting like sheep to follow the ones they loved would just put an end to their existence—just because “the ones they loved” did it. And some thought that, eventually the world would stop—that people would regain sanity, and order, and that they’d stop throwing themselves off of the edges of high mountains, and falling to their corpse-chasm dooms.
But it never ended.
Eventually, more than four-fifths of the planet’s population during Grandpa’s time had either done it, or died of natural causes; their children would follow suit. As time passed, what people were left were scavengers and dreamers—people who thought that they’d see this through, and, once it was all over, that we’d start over. Maybe we’d flatten the world? Make it impossible for someone to throw themselves off of a high surface? Maybe we’d be the ones who’d bounce back.
And we thought that for awhile, until people kept losing other people. So, those of us left did what anyone would do: we camped out in the White House for a few days. Some of us took over Las Vegas, and spent our time scavenging, robbing, hoarding, and otherwise simply wasting our time because we knew what we were up against—we knew what we’d end up doing.
It was a hell of a time, during those last days. Who could argue that, after the twenty-or-so people who’d vandalized the Oval Office, slept in the bed where President Lincoln had passed, fired missiles at monuments, and ran the world for those last few days…who could argue that any of us were “sane?”
It was fun in that “epoch” of a stitch of time. Yet, we all knew what we’d end up doing because, let’s face it—none of us were in the mood for “bringing us back from the brink” after all we’d seen, and had to do to get by.
And so here I stand, in what used to be called Death Valley—awaiting my turn, and typing what there is left to be said before I jump.
After all, everyone I knew was gone. As the age old question goes: Would you?
Inspired by the Daily Post’s Weekly writing prompt: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/weekly-writing-challenge-cliffhanger/