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Life Underground

Chapter Text

It's cold here, standing on the bridge spanning over the river by my house. It's early morning, and the sky is just beginning to streak with red and pink as the sun comes up. When I left home, it was just past three, but it took me at least a half hour to find everything I would need and come here.

As I sit on the edge of the bridge, tying knots in the rope I had been keeping in the garage, I have an opportunity to think about my life. I'm only sixteen, but I feel like it's been long enough. I'm ready to find out what happens on the other side. At least boy scouts taught me something, because these knots are easy, almost therapeutic. Almost.

I think it's around four in the morning when I finish tying everything and tug at the length of rope I secured to the metal rail of the bridge. I've jumped to the water enough as a kid to know that the fall alone won't kill me, but the noose I've been perfecting for the past few minutes will. I also know that the bars will hold my weight; I'm not the first person to hang himself from here, and I know I won't be the last.

A car comes down the road and I stand up, concealing the rope and leaning against the railing nonchalantly. Whoever it is either doesn't notice me or doesn't care; I'm willing to bet it's the latter.

It's time. The sky is getting far too light for me to wait any longer, and I'm not quite sure why I've waited this long. It's not like anything is keeping me here; my parents are far too busy and worried about how we'll make ends meet from month to month, and my sister won't miss me terribly. We don't get along very well and she's better than me at practically everything, even if she's a year younger. They'll all be happier without me getting in the way.

I pull the loop around my neck, securing it behind me and taking a deep breath. I'm not scared of dying; I'm just not looking forward to the pain. I'm allowed to dislike pain, aren't I? I take one more deep breath and climb over the railing, making sure no cars are coming before I stand on the narrow ledge, holding onto the cold metal behind me and making sure the rope isn't tangled. All systems go, I think to myself wryly. I'm about to die, I might as well laugh about it a little.

One more second of hesitation, then I'm falling, and the last thing I see is the water rushing towards me and then...

I wake up. In my bed, in my room, in my house, like nothing ever happened. I guess I was dreaming? I check my phone – or try to, because I can't seem to pick it up. I must still be tired because my fingers seem to be passing straight through it. I shake my head and lay back down.

About an hour later my mom comes in to wake me up. It's weird though, because she opens my door, looks straight at me, and then gasps and turns away, yelling for Dad. I hear them say something about me being missing, which is weird because Mom stared straight at me . I follow their voices to the garage, where they are frantically getting in the car.

"Mom? Dad? I'm right here," I say, but they ignore me. I sigh, and then get into the back seat of the car. I must be half asleep still, because I swear I go right through the door. I probably opened the door and forgot about it.

We spend a pointless ten minutes driving around town. I get alarmed when Dad calls the cops, and even more alarmed when we start racing over to the bridge where I had my dream. They jump out of the car and run to the middle, and I follow. They are still ignoring me, so I start yelling at them.

"MOM! DAD! LISTEN TO ME!"

Don't waste your voice, kid . I hear a voice in my head, swiveling around in confusion as a man walks up to me with a sad smile on his face. Go ahead; try talking without your voice. You'll understand soon.

I... I don't get it. What's going on?

He shakes his head and I look back to where my parents are clutching each other and crying. Sirens are wailing and police cars are here, and everyone is rushing around and looking grim. It's just past seven in the morning and it's a beautiful day, but down here with all the commotion the world looks bleak and gray. There's a group of people crowded around the bridge edge, and I walk over curiously.

To my surprise, there is a rope tied to the railing right where I remember tying it in my dream. I get a bad feeling in my stomach as I lean over to see where the rope goes, and that's when I see it – well, me. What was me. I'm hanging, suspended over the water and looking rather serene, if I do say so myself. My mouth is open, which isn't really flattering, but I'm dead so you've got to cut me some slack.

I'm dead.

I'm dead.