A brief glimpse at
The Perilous Plight of Parish Dane
Co-Authors Laura Auria and Dimitri Romanoff.
©2008 All rights reserved. No part of this fiction may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any other information storage and retrieval system, without the express written permission of the co-authors.
Parish Dane stood on the corner of Fourth & Main Street, taking in large gulps of air while he built up the courage to step in front of the bus. His long blond hair blew carelessly in the passing breeze. His otherwise brilliant blue eyes were dull and cold, staring down at the ebony pavement in deep thought. His eyebrows were furrowed in concentration. 'Just one simple, painless step to splendid suicide...' he told himself in his head. 'Just one step...'
He could hear the engines growling as the bus drove up the street, towards the very place he firmly stood; the sounds of tires squeaking against the street rung in his ears over the bustling city around him. He closed his eyes shut, mustering all of the nerve left in him to take that final step onto the blacktop, leaping straight into the path of the speeding bus.
The brakes screeched fiercely, the ground beneath his feet trembling as the bus drew closer with each passing moment. He took a sharp breath and clenched his fists, knowing in seconds it would all be over. The foul scent of burnt rubber and exhaust drifted to his nose, a sudden burst of hot air licking at his face. He stood amidst the heat and smoke, waiting.. And waiting.. But nothing happened. Was death truly so anticlimactic? Had the bus, perhaps, swerved out of the way at the last moment?
Frustrated, Parish opened his eyes to stare at the hood of the bus, smoke billowing out from beneath it. Apparently, the bus had broken down without warning, and came to a halt within inches of him. 'How's that for splendid suicide, Einstein?' Parish thought to himself in bitter sarcasm. He cursed under his breath, disgusted at his luck. What are the chances of running out in front of a quickly moving bus, only to have it blow an engine at the perfect time to avoid hitting you?
A large cloud of smoke had accumulated around the front of the bus as many pedestrians gathered to observe the wreck. Yet nobody seemed to notice the suicidal man who had leapt in front of the bus, hoping to end his misery once and for all.
And as he took a step backwards, clearing a way for the bus driver to look up under the hood, Parish realized escaping this meaningless existence would be more difficult than he had planned. People die every second! Statistics have shown that every second a child is born, and a person dies! Why can't his second come?
Parish began to walk down the street, his body trembling slightly. It had taken all of his courage to leap in front of that bus, even with his longing to escape life. He had to think of an easier way. Something quick, something painless. Perhaps he could stick to the old cliche of leaping into a river with a boulder tied to his legs...
His thoughts were interrupted by surprised cries, coming from the middle of a small crowd. Parish walked closer to the ring of people, peering over their shoulders to see a man lying motionless on the ground, his head bleeding profusely. Parish could make out small snippets of the crowd's murmuring.
"What happened? Did somebody shoot him?"
"Did he shoot himself? I don't see a gun.."
"Maybe he got sniped... He just started bleeding and fell to the ground!"
"But there wasn't a gunshot..."
'Some guys have all the luck..' Parish thought bitterly as he stared at the corpse.
After a few brief moments of eavesdropping, the glint of a shimmering new dime caught his eye. The small coin slammed into the ground, bouncing high into the air as if it were dropped from somewhere far above, before finally coming to rest near the dead man's body. Parish looked up as if seeking the source of the coin. It was then he noticed that fateful hotel building beside him. The setting sun gleamed from the mirrored windows, causing the entire building to miraculously shine. A tear graced his cheek as he smiled upwards. To him, right now, nothing could be more beautiful.
Within a few minutes, Parish was climbing the thirty-first flight of stairs. His lungs ached as much as his legs, and his heart was racing, but that didn't deter him in the slightest. He was even growing rather fond of the sound of his footsteps echoing solemnly throughout the towering stairway. At long last, he reached the door to his destiny. Parish shoved the door open and stepped into the light. A cool gust of wind caressed his sweat-covered brow as he stepped out onto the roof of the building. Parish slowly walked across the roof to stand at the edge, staring down at the passing cars, at the ant-sized people rushing below. He watched an ambulance pull to a stop where he'd been standing mere minutes ago, people moving out of the way for the paramedics. Parish took a deep breath and closed his eyes. This was going to be a lot easier than the bus. He could simply lose his balance and it would all be over without any courage required.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you."
Parish nearly lost his balance already at the surprise of hearing someone near. He opened his eyes and turned around, noticing for the first time that he was not alone.
On the corner of the building sat a woman with moderately short black hair, staring right back at him between her dark eyeliner, her feet dangling over the side of the building.. She wore a long black skirt with a matching shirt, along with a pair of combat boots over her fishnet stockings. Her face looked as cold, sarcastic and devoid of life as his had become.
"Wouldn't do what, kill myself?" Parish said with a smirk.
"No, I wouldn't do it by jumping off of a building." she replied, turning to look down at the streets. "If you're trying to die, you'll probably just hit the ground and break some bones. Or worse, somebody will break your fall and then they'll sue you for breaking their bones."
"Well what are you doing up here on the edge of a building, then?" Parish asked irritably.
This was supposed to be his great escape. Quick, easy... relatively painless... Surely his luck would be better than she implied. The bus incident was one in a billion, after all.
"Flipping coins." the woman answered in a bored, disinterested voice. "They say if a coin falls off the top of a tower, it could kill somebody..."
"You're clearly insane.." Parish said, turning to face the streets once more. He could see some paramedic checking the vital signs of the mysteriously dead man below.
"I'm the insane one?" she said, raising an eyebrow as she looked up at Parish. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and leaned forward, trying to tune her out.
"Suit yourself..." Her voice faded away as a sudden gust of wind finished him off. He yelled in sudden terror as he plunged to the ground. This wasn't as nice as he had imagined it, but at least it would all be over shortly. He heard people shrieking below. The sirens from the ambulance rang in his ears. And before he knew it, everything faded away...
Parish was awakened by a bright light shining through his eyelids. His head felt somewhat groggy, and it felt as if he were lying on a cloud. A pleasant scent filled his nose, and the area around him, wherever he was, felt comfortably warm. "Is this Heaven...?" he asked out loud, mostly to himself.
"Closer to Hell I'd say."
The suicidal man's eyes shot open. He recognized that voice... and if she was here, she was probably right. He sat up quickly in his bed with a cry of "What are you doing here!?," letting out a groan in the same breath as a sharp pain shot through his right ankle. Now that his eyes were open, he clearly was not in Heaven, but rather a small, cheap hospital room. The clouds beneath him proved to be nothing more than a stiff bed, which now felt considerably less comfortable to him, the light in his eyes mere morning sunlight from the window. The odd, yet pleasant scent seemed out of place for a hospital; perhaps it was something she was wearing.
"I had nothing better to do. Thought I'd see if you managed to kill yourself." the woman shrugged. "Imagine my disappointment to see you'd managed to break your fall with the stretcher holding the corpse off the street..."
"Imagine your disappointment?" Parish said in awe. "Imagine my disappointment! I've been trying to kill myself all day!"
"I tried for months before I gave up. You don't see me being a baby about it." the woman said in her usual droll tone. "Maybe it's just not your time to wake up yet."
"I'm already awake.. Unfortunately." Parish grumbled. Clearly this woman was insane.
Parish flung the sheets off of his lap, looking down at the cast hiding his lower leg with a sigh. 'Better luck next time. ~Morgan' was written in thin, cursive letters on the side of it.
Terrific. How was he going to commit suicide with a broken leg? "Oh, and your dad called you
on your cell phone."
"What!?" Parish exclaimed, turning to stare at the apparently-named Morgan, his jaw dropping. "When?! What did you tell him?!"
"Told him you fell and sprained your ankle." Morgan replied. "Didn't want my walking
sideshow to get thrown in an asylum. Life would sink back into dull monotony."
"I'm glad I amuse you.." frowned Parish sarcastically. He turned to drape his legs off the
side of the bed, and made an attempt to stand - only to fall back onto the bed with another groan of agony.
"Probably not smart to stand on a broken ankle." commented Morgan, adding to Parish's annoyance. He looked over at her, noticing a pair of crutches leaned against her chair for the first time.
"Hand me those, then." he demanded, reaching towards her.
"Hand you what?" she asked innocently.
"Those crutches..." he answered, sounding increasingly irritated.
"You could try asking nicer."
"Just toss 'em to me!" he said impatiently.
"Fine, here." she said, carelessly giving the crutches a toss. Parish managed to catch one of them, while the other one hit his broken ankle on the way to the floor. He grunted in pain, suppressing a long stream of curses as best he could while he reached down to grab the fallen crutch. "Considering your brilliant leap off of the building, and your smooth wrists, I take it this is your first suicide attempt?"
"Second..." he answered irritably as he rose to his feet with the aid of his crutches. "Is this your first stalking, or are you a professional?"
"I've had a few restraining orders in my time." Morgan answered, her face showing no signs of humor, much to Parish's concern.. "So I guess you could say I'm a pro stalker. And where do you think you're going, barely able to stand?"
Parish paused to think for a few moments. He couldn't go back to face his family now, and he had always finished anything he started. A smirk crossed his face as a new idea went into his mind. In hindsight, the bus had little chance of succeeding anyway. But this would work for sure... "I'm going to the train station."