The Jump

By Thanh Dinh

A vein cracked beneath my skin. I maintained my callous stance, vibrating gently, and with an urge to throw my body forward. A flow of raw winds dusted the flakes from my coat. There I stood, upon a mountain top, at the edge of the escarpment, contemplating on whether to jump.

I reflected on my journey in life, while listening to a gentle patter of raindrops. This was a big decision. Without delay, I took a slight step forward, and the silence suspended when a modicum of small, sharp rocks diverged from the surface of my bearing. Quickly and effortlessly, and assisted by the currents, the rocks plunged 110 meters to the ground and vanished before my eyes.

The dreary sky let out an echo and the stagnant mountain ahead of me shrieked. The wildlife also joined, with birds caroling and wolves howling away. They were all encouraging me to jump, leap to freedom, and let go of the pressure that clutched my heart.

But I wasn't about to give in that easily. Oh no, not without revisiting my past. My wife died a year ago. She drowned in a bloodbath, along with fifty other innocent souls. "Leave the dead, and get the living home," were the words of Officer Ekman. There was nothing I could do, but escape and save my own life and hold an endless grudge thereafter. Fortunately, the murderers were apprehended by the SWAT team and subsequently executed in all its glory. Unfortunately, the pain that dwelled inside my head never seemed to weaken.

The slightest drops of rain became intense, as to indicate tragedy that brewed in the distance. It always rained before something bad happened, I thought. As the precipitation drowned my body, a tarnished cloud enveloped the dying sun. It was the moment of truth. It was the time to let go. I took a deep breath and exhaled, feeling frightened in every sense of the term. Taking, this time, a significant step forward, I shut my eyes. A blurred voice entered my head. "Jump, jump, jump!" it shouted. Stretching my arms and shaking like wildfire, I took another step forward. This one pushed me closer to the edge, and with a single twitch, I would plunge 110 meters into thin air. The voice grew stronger as time elapsed and in that very moment, I jumped.

The sensation of free-falling was exhilarating. I imagined being on the forces of the most powerful psychedelic drug, but only this time, my visions didn't swim. There were no disturbances in my mind, and I finally released the tension that weighed down my fragile heart. The pain was gone, but not forgotten. Rejoicing in the pressure that pressed against my body, I was suddenly snatched back by the cord. I shouted at the top of my lungs and swung my arms in uncounted directions.

"Jack!" a voice shouted from above.

"Are you ready for another try?" the voice continued.

I peered into the sky and just then, the clouds cleared to make opening for the radiant sun. I was ready to start over. Let the cycle of life continue.