Microfiction: Jump

This is for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers.

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot


Everywhere there were people: beneath, above, across the hall, across the street, at the other side of the wall, inside her head. The racket of their shouting, drunken, whining, angry voices was unceasing. Even in her dreams they raged at her, feet drummed, music pounded, cars roared.

She watered the plants on the window ledge, looked down into the gulf of the street. She pinched a flower head and dropped it into the emptiness, watched in fall, slow, drifting white and peaceful. She wondered how long before it hit the pavement below. She wondered, put one leg over the sill…


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

65 thoughts on “Microfiction: Jump”

  1. Dark tale, Jane. How many of us have stood on a bridge or the top of a high building and thought – what if? I wonder if she’ll got through with it. A very strong description and a touching end

      1. These awful things stick with you. Here in Bristol, the Clifton Suspension Bridge is a focus for the desperate. The road that runs underneath passes through a tunnel especially built to save cars from people falling from above. Can’t imagine what state your mind has to be in to do that. Tragic

      2. The idea that they have actually built a tunnel because of falling bodies! It happens all the time though, people throwing themselves under trains, trams. It’s awful, but I saw the face of the tram driver who ran over a suicide. He looked like someone who was going to take years to get over the shock of what he had done.

      3. Poor man. I knew of a truck driver who killed a girl who was texting as she drove and swerved onto his side of the road. Nothing he could do to avoid her. Still, he had to give up work, was destroyed by the trauma. Unimaginable

      4. On the reverse side, we knew a family recently moved to France from Guinea where is transpired the father had run over and killed a four year old child. The woman sickened me by constantly harping on about how terrible it was for her husband, and it had happened just as they were leaving, so they’d had to leave in a hurry, left things behind…as if the kid had done it deliberately.

      5. That’s very human, isn’t it, shifting the blame so you don’t have to deal with your own sense of awful shame and guilt? Horrible, but very human

      6. They were the kind of people who thought the world was against them. This was just one more thing to complain about. I kept seeing that child and her mother, and then hearing this woman yapping about how hard it was for her husband…

      7. Hard not to think of the poor, mourning family. Humans are selfish – some more than others it seems – and this lady sounds like she’d got that emotion down

      8. It’s the kind of place where you have to queue up. There is only a certain number of people allowed up at one time, so you’d have to wait your turn, then climb the stairs as part of a group of tourists, one behind the other, and all the time you’d be thinking, I’m going to throw myself off the top. It defies understanding.

  2. Oh, this is dark. I was a volunteer with The Samaritans for a while and it was quite heartbreaking at times (especially when you weren’t successful in talking them out of it.)

    1. It’s astonishing to someone who hasn’t been close to suicides like you have, how unexpected it can be. Despair can be simmering beneath the surface and at a superficial glance, nothing seems wrong.

    1. I don’t see the connection. A girl threw herself off the cathedral spire this morning about half a mile from where I live. That’s what’s behind this story. I don’t know about your snow. I suspect it’s normal for the time of year.

      1. I meant my comment to be tongue-in-cheek. I’m sorry about the suicide near where you live.

        There have been a number of “suicide-themed” stories written in response to this photo prompt, and I surmised that winter tends to inspire melancholy thoughts.

      2. I didn’t mean to sound tetchy either. There’s a limit to understanding when we can’t see the person we’re speaking to. It’s easy to get the wrong end of the stick. You’re probably right about the winter inspiring suicidal thoughts—it certainly does for the Scandinavians.

    1. Thank you! I don’t pretend to know what goes on in the mind of someone attempting suicide, but I think they must appear reasonably calm to an observer, since their act often takes their entourage completely by surprise. Maybe thoughts can be hopelessly disturbed without there being any external sign.

    1. I don’t know what goes through the mind of a suicide when they take the final decision. Sometimes it isn’t the final one because they turn back in time. But I’m not certain it’s always so confused and jumbled. It might be a simple longing for something to stop and to find peace. I hope I never find out, anyway.

    1. Thank you, Rochelle. I imagine that some decisions to end it all come from a moment of calm. It doesn’t always have to be in agitation and turmoil. It’s always sad, whenever it happens.

  3. The voices inside ones head will either make you…or break you.
    I just learned that one of my best friends growing up (who I lost touch with several years ago) took her own life. I too, cannot get it out of my head,

    Thanks for sharing.

    – Lisa

    1. That is a terrible thought to carry around with you. I had a similar experience. A girl I was at school with, a slim, sporty girl who was the centre of any devilment, I ran into a few years after leaving school. I was at university and she was pushing a pushchair and was hugely pregnant. She had ballooned, with fingers like sausages. My mother told me a couple of years later that she had thrown herself off the top floor of her block of flats. They are things that make us realise the fragility of human beings, and a great deal of compassion for the people who live at the bottom of the heap.

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