Note: This story was written for my Creative Writing class in about an hour/hour and a half. Constructive Criticism and comments are fantastic.
Something about today is off—maybe it's the surprisingly cold weather in the middle of September, or the eerily silent drive (with the exception of the announcements that came through our walkie-talkies every five seconds or so) to the location of our newest case. Or maybe it's because there's a kid in the police car with us.
Apparently some woman wants to jump off a thirty story apartment complex. She's been "standing on the ledge for hours and looks like she's about to any moment now," eyewitnesses report. Coincidentally, Chief Katashi's son's caretaker fell ill and so his next option was to bring his son to work. Oh, the perks of being a single father with no family nearby.
The vehicle screeches to a halt and the three of us slide out. We're the first ones here. In the middle of the sprint up the stairs, I notice that the little kid's knees are about to give out. I grab him under his arms and carry him the rest of the way through. What else was I supposed to do?
Chief kicks down the door that leads to the flat roof of the fragile building, sending a shock down the back of the woman standing on the edge of the concrete with bare feet. I set down the kid gently. The three of us hunch over, resting our palms on our knees heaving for oxygen. I wonder where my asthma inhaler is.
"Step off of the ledge, Miss," Chief hollers at the pajama-clothed figure. I personally don't think yelling at her is the right thing to do.
"Stay away from me," the woman screams. She sways a bit as she turns around. My heart feels like it's going to pop out of my chest.
"You stay here and keep her calm as I recruit for more help. Keep an eye on my son, too." Before I get to voice my opinion on his plan he makes a mad dash back down the stairs. Right, make the newbie stay and try to save a life without prior training. Make him look after some kid who has barely any understanding of what's going on, you smart bastard. Why didn't you leave him at the office, huh? Couldn't stand the idea of him being in someone else's care? I could have done the same job that you're doing right now but noooo, it had to be the other way around. Smart ploy for him though: if anything happens from now on, it's all on me.
I struggle to make harmless conversation, just to ease her up a bit. "So, what are you doing up here?"
My God, that is the dumbest thing anyone has ever and will ever say.
She stares at me lifelessly, and then turns back around to face the vast space below her. She spreads her arms out in preparation to dive. I've really done it this time.
"Helloooo," chirps the little boy next to me. She freezes for a moment, lets her arms down, and turns her head slightly to behind her. What the fresh hell is this little boy doing?
He pumps his tiny fist slightly to congratulate himself for earning her attention. "My name is Hiro. What is yours?"
No response. A large gust of wind whistles over the three of us, shaking nearby antennas and power lines.
"It's cold out here. Why aren't you wearing more clothes?" Hiro proceeds to take off the plaid scarf wrapped around his neck and hands it to her. When she makes no effort to move, Hiro moves towards her instead.
I say while gritting my teeth. "Stay where you are. Don't move any further." Hiro looks at me with a bewildered face, but obeys.
"Kurami," she answers tersely, but warmly.
Hiro nods in approval. "Why are you standing here? It's dangerous!"
Clearly he has not been exposed to the topic of suicide.
I can swear that she smiles for a split second before she turns back around shakily and stares straight at Hiro. "I feel…" she swallowed hard. "Sad."
What, he gets a proper answer and I don't?
"Hey, that is no reason to play around on the rooftop like this!" Hiro rubbed his chin vigorously and shrugged his eyebrows. "You know, I do a lot of things to cheer me up and they're always successful."
"Like—like what?" Her voice sounds tense, but she's warming up. It might just be me, but there's something unique about her gaze towards Hiro.
"Like smiling in the mirror! I always think that the person smiling back at you in the mirror is you from some other world. So if you're happy in that world, what's stopping you from being happy in this world? Or—or turning up the radio all the way up and dancing your heart out. You have to watch out for people who mind that though—my Dad doesn't like it very much. Also, you can't ever, ever frown when you skip." Hiro continues on this topic for ages, enthusiasm increasing as he jumps from one idea to the next.
Kurami subtly inches closer to us and farther from the brink of the building. She let out a small laugh with tears in her eyes. "If my son was still alive, I would force him to be best friends with you." Hiro beams at the compliment.
The world hushes itself for minutes that feel like hours. Soon, police sirens increase in decibels which signals that more help has arrived.
My capricious side compels me to walk over to the suffering woman in a stagnant fashion. When I am within two feet from her, I stick my hand out for her to reach, leaning forward slightly. Hiro follows suit. There are no more words for me to speak. Hiro has spoken them all and then some. At any moment this woman could decide to tip backwards or bend forward and make a decision between life and death.
She grabs both our hands with desperation and we helped her on her first step on the solid pavement and into the police car.