Beta read by: Caitlin M Finley
Story updated on: - 05/04/2012


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either a product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people living or dead, events are entirely coincidental.

Diversionary Tactic.

By Shane Ward

It was a standard routine for Max, as he got out of bed for his shift at the local precinct. His ongoing case to catch the latest drug lord was almost at and end.

His son, Jonathan Maxwell stared at him from across the table, mimicking his every movement. Max loved his boy; his boyish grin and ginger hair reminded him of himself when he was that age. His wife walked into the room. "He takes after you the older he gets." She began walking around the table, picking up cups and plates to be washed.

"Just like his dad, as handsome as ever."

"Aren't we sure of yourself today, dear." She teased.

The phone ran from the hallway and Max watched his beautiful wife stroll out of the room to answer it. He did not have a sixth sense, but he knew the call was for him and after a few seconds of silence, she walked back and handed him the cordless phone.

"We have a Jumper on 46 Western, we need you there ASAP."

"Can't Roger take over sir? I've still got a few hours before my shift starts."

"No, Roger's already dealing with another jumper of 32 Lexington, seems we have a epidemic of suicides today."

Max exhaled deeply, annoyed. "Okay, I'll be there in ten minutes."

With a frustrated goodbye, Max left his family and went to the site.

It was spring in the city, with calm clear skies and people milling around the city, going to and from their destinations. But on one small street, all had halted due to one man, who could not cope with his gift of life.

Max ascended the elevator to the top floor and thought about the words he would say that could reverse the man's decision to kill himself. He knew nothing about the man other than the details sent him on the way. He was just a businessman who worked in the building even his name was a mystery, as the precinct was unable to obtain his details on short notice.

As the elevator chimed in to the correct floor, Max stepped and walked along the dusty unused corridor to the roof. Once past the threshold of the protection inside the building, the warm breeze washed past him like a cleansing blanket. Max walked over to the jumper's location and he remembered back to his training.

But the moment Max came close, the individual shouted, "Don't come any closer. I swear I'll jump!"

Max raised his hands and tried to open a dialogue with the man, "Okay, I believe you. Listen, my name is Max Lionhard, I'm here to help you resolve this situation."

"Bull shit! You're all the same. You want to lock me in a psychiatric ward for the rest of my life."

Max almost agreed with the man. If he did come off the roof in one piece, without jumping, he would certainly need some evaluation.

"It's my duty to stop you from jumping." Max signalled his interest by gesturing forward, closer to the edge. When the man did not respond, or seem to mind his advance, Max pushed the veil and edged closer.

Sounds of moving traffic and police sirens bellowed below and this only added fuel to the explosive atmosphere. "Tell me, why are you doing this? Why do you want to end your life?"

"Why?" the man on the ledge asked. "I'll tell you why. My family's corrupt, the wife cheats on me and I learn from a friend that the company is downsizing! So how's that for a reason."

Commonthings. Max thought, but he did find it strange that everything happened to this man in one blow. He must have one hell of a bad year.

"What's you name Sir?"

The man slowly turned and faced him, as if he'd been waiting for that question in the whole five minutes.

"I'm Danuel Westwood." Max looked at Danuel. Nothing unusual about the name and he didn't remember any previous arrests that might involve him. But before he could continue to help the besieged man, a call came through his cell phone.

The call was something he did not expect and it made him feel like a criminal for having a phone in a situation like this. His wife was calling him, asking to see him at the site. Surprised, Max watched their Ford pull up and park on the curb beside the local shop. She got out with a cell phone pressed to her ear. "Honey, I am here. Why did you ask me to come here?"

Max looked puzzled. "I never called you…"

A gunshot bellowed out from the forest of skyscrapers and to Max's horror, he watched his wife collapse on the ground, blood coating the pavement in crimson. In a fit of fury he ditched the man on the roof, rushed down to the lobby and to his wife's dead cold body on the pavement. He stared into the heavens, releasing a howl of grief.

His phone rang with an unknown caller ID. He held the phone tentatively to his ear.

"You were warned about your involvement in this case. You were told to back off. Your wife's execution was only a warning. Continue on your course and your son will succumb to the same fate."

The line went dead before Max could utter a word. But it was a voice he recognised, a voice he had heard before. He looked up, but the lone man, who once stood on the ledge, was no longer there. It was all a set-up, a ploy to get him away from his house and to incite his wife to the scene.

Holding his dead wife in his hands, Max contemplated his next move. Would it be wise to exact revenge or heed to the man's warning?

© Shane Ward