The Edge Of The Cliff

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Trigger warning: concerns suicidal thoughts.

Cover image: pixabay.com.

Submitted: October 23, 2019

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Submitted: October 23, 2019

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The Edge Of The Cliff.

Sophie sat on the cliff’s edge. She’d disregarded the signs, climbed over the safety barrier and now she perched at the very edge of grassy surface. Below her the waves crashed against the rocks as they broke with such force as to cover her legs with spray.

Her leather boots were ruined, her favorites. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered for she’d not be needing them any longer.

Her hesitation was not from any doubt. She had had enough, both of life in general and of her life in particular. She had tried and tried to change things, to make things right. The most she ever achieved was one day that became slightly more bearable, before it was back to the failure, the blame, the shame and the guilt.

Sophie could not take it any more and there was only one way to escape.

Reaching up with a hand, she wiped her damp hair back from her face. If someone had been there to see her, they could have been forgiven for thinking that she was crying. She wasn’t; those tears had long since run out. The wind whipped straight towards her, making her eyes water. Her face showed no signs of emotion; just resignation to what she had to do.

Still, she sat and watched the gulls wheel and cry, diving down into the far out ocean only to resurface again. She thought for a moment that she glimpsed a seal in the distance. It was possible, for seals had occasionally been spotted in the area.

What was she waiting for? Sophie asked herself that question, and the only answer that she could come up with was that the tide had not yet flowed all the way in. It would be easier for her to jump when she saw water beneath herself rather than jagged rocks. Her only real hope was that death would be instant and not prolonged.

She had not noticed the dog arriving, not until it laid itself down about a foot away from her. It too stared mournfully out to sea. Sophie tried to ignore it’s presence, but she had always had an extreme empathy for animals and this one looked as though it had been neglected for a very long time.

Sophie looked at the dog and the dog turned its head slightly towards her. Making no move, it whimpered, and Sophie could not help but feel moved. She held her hand out gently towards the dog; a German Shepherd but one that was thoroughly malnourished. She could see wounds on its face, it’s side and it’s back; wounds that had scabbed over without being treated.

Somehow she found her voice. “Come here, girl, I won’t hurt you. I promise.”

The dog looked up at her with such sadness but did not move, not until a few minutes had passed. It edged towards her by a couple of inches, then a couple of inches more. Sophie let her hand touch the side of the dog, careful to chose a spot that was uninjured.

The dog trembled under her touch. Clearly it longed for comfort, but at the same time associated contact with pain. Just like herself, Sophie thought, only her scars were internal, invisible. She’d be patient; after all, there were no more demands on her time.

The dog moved closer until she was sitting right beside Sophie, their sides touching, then slowly she rested her paws and head on Sophie’s lap. Clearly exhausted the dog dropped off into a deep slumber, while the woman continued staring out to sea. Had it died? In spite of the gentle stroking, the dog had not moved for a long time.

Suddenly Sophie made a pact. If the dog woke, she would take it home, she would show the dog that there were people in the world that really cared; but if the dog died, she would take it over the cliff’s edge with herself.

The wounds on the dog’s body made her angry. People thought they were so superior, that the lives of other creatures, even other people, simply did not matter. Anger was replaced by grief, and finally tears that she thought had long since dried up began to flow down her face and drip from her chin on to the head of the sleeping dog.

There was a stirring, a movement. Sophie looked down and the German Shepherd looked up with sad, mournful and understanding eyes. She pushed herself up unsteadily and licked Sophie’s tears away.

Weary, battered, but resolute, woman and dog finally got to their feet. Before she had a chance to change her mind, Sophie stepped back over the barrier and the dog walked slowly beside her. There was going to be no escaping the pain, not for either of them, but they would support each other, care for each other, and maybe that would be enough.

 

 


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