Dare to be Evil

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The town would not stop pushing until it took his life and i would die to protect him so why did't i die too.

Submitted: March 03, 2010

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Submitted: March 03, 2010

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Reflections:

 It had been a long time, since I had been back to Hawston cliff, But as familiar as things seemed it felt as though I was there yesterday. Some things had changed I told myself as I took several long swigs from a bottle in a crumbled paper bag; they started developing houses, along the west side. There were purple and yellow flowers, growing along the edge of the cliff, they were starting to build a new skateboard park, and before the ‘accident, ‘there wasn’t a fence. Now there were crumbling cement posts half standing and slacken barbed wire strew across, but barely attached. What would become of my sanctuary? The thing that did not changed was the sight; and the smell of the trees, I think it was juniper and that scent that brought back memories, I had put away for many years. These were memories that I had to face. Every memory I had of my childhood was created on, or around Hawston cliff. I had to find out what I could have done to prevent that terrible day..

 I met Jimmy when we were both eleven. Jimmy was shorter than me with brown hair and eyes and dimples that the girls went crazy over.

 I felt invisible in comparison and enjoyed the attention we received when I was in his presence. But, he never seemed to notice the attention he got.

 He was skinny, but he was tough and Hawston cliff was ‘his place’. He was climbing on the face of the cliff the first time I saw him. I stood below in awe, he seemed so brave.

To understand what I mean by brave, it was over 100 Feet up to where he clung to the jagged rock. He often said that one day he would be the only person alive to jump from this cliff and he vowed to do it, maybe not today, but soon, then he would have the respect of the whole town, and especially his brother Dan.

 Dan was Fourteen and he was the most popular kid in the town of Farmington, hell, probably all of Davis County. To us younger kids he was a God. His brown hair was so long that it reached his broad shoulders. Even at fourteen, he actually had developed abs. Everyone wanted to be him, or be seen with him. He was captain of football, basketball, you name it, and everyone in town expected him to be famous one day. Jimmy idolized him. He would steal, kill, or die to have the respect or even the acceptance of his brother, and jumping off Hawston cliff was the only way he felt he would get it.

 Early on, I didn’t realize how Hawston cliff would involve me, but soon it was all I cared about. Warm nights Jimmy and I would camp near the edge and he’d talk about how one day we would jump. That’s right; now that I was involved I would be jumping to. I was scared to death, but there was no way I’d let him do it alone.

 Hawston cliff was what he called “The Big Dare.” Because of the 100 foot drop into the lake, and because the rocks jutted out all the way down, we’d have to jump way out in order to avoid them. From the top of the cliff, it didn’t look that hard, but standing at the bottom we could see that the rocks continued to jut into our path below the surface of the water as far down as twenty feet. But, by the time we realized that, Jimmy had already committed, and he figured that if we ran fast enough and dove out as far as possible we could make it. 

The commotion of kids brought me out of this dream like state I was in. although I wanted to come back in the present and see it changed and Jimmy is ok. I looked wildly about myself. It seemed I could hear Jimmy’s screams below. But looking down I saw the small figures of boys on boards at the new skate park. The echoes of their games surrounded me until in my mind I was back in my youth.

 Jimmy was all about dares. We tossed two routes of newspapers all summer long to buy yellow Yamahas with a shock absorber in the middle of the frames. Early August we spent hours building jumps, and the rest of the day jumping off of them. Jumping came easy to me, but Jimmy always got hurt trying new tricks. He just tried too hard. But he’d shake it off, and try it again and again until he perfected a jump. Often Dan came by with his friends just to taunt him; saying, “So when’s the ‘big dare’, you keep bragging about?” They’d push one of us and walk off laughing and slapping each other’s backs. Sometimes they would talk to each other about it, as though we weren’t there. “So, when is this Big Dare your brother keeps talking about?” They’d ask Dan as they walked by. Dan would let out a snicker and say, “Hah’not these babies.” They didn’t even look in our direction. Every time Jimmy heard that, we’d spend more time on the cliff, until it was the only place he wanted to be. One day he sat staring down with a sick look on his face. He swore to God that he would jump soon. That day I put my arm around his neck in a loose but protective way, and said, “Jimmy we don’t have to do this. Everybody already likes you.” He didn’t respond. He didn’t even move.

I remembered how we prepared for the jump. We climbed the cliff every day and we learned every inch of it. We figured that if we practiced enough and worked out we would be able to make the jump. For a long time I thought it was impossible and I hoped he would forget, but I was starting to believe it could be accomplished, in time. Now I realize that the fact was, that I started believing that I could make it, but I think somehow I suspected Jimmy couldn’t. What’s worse is that I think he knew it too. I would do anything to make him look good, so I’d stuff that fear back down. I remember thinking, ‘I would die for you Jimmy, but you wouldn’t live for me. ‘Years went by and dares went from bicycles to motorcycles and we were now planning to jump over cars.

 Kelly was Jimmy’s girlfriend by then, and in her eyes, Jimmy walked on water. He had nothing to prove to her. She was a petite girl with dark hair, green eyes, and smile that could melt any heart. She also had a figure that no guy could help but take a second look at. Every time Jimmy got hurt or failed at a jump, she was right there. Her eyes were loving and understanding and all she wanted to do was hold him and tell him how brave he was. But, Jimmy would get ashamed, and nothing she could say could take that away.) Every night of the summer, it was back to the cliff. The cliff was the only place he felt worthy of praise. Even though we hadn’t jumped yet he knew no one else in town would even attempt it.

 I went back to the cliff early one the morning several days later. I couldn’t sleep and I had nowhere else to be. I sat in silence, remembering things Jimmy and I had said to each other.

I awoke to the sound of kids in the unfinished skateboard park. They had pulled some scraps of plywood together and built a makeshift a ramp. I smiled. Some things really hadn’t changed. As I left that day. I noticed a half burned log, cigarette butts and a couple of logs set up like seats. It had become someone else’s place.  

 The boys that I had subconsciously been watching for sometime were also jumping cars on motorcycles. Something told me that time was repeating itself. It was as if I was watching my past unfolding. When I saw them out by the cliff, they too were swearing to God, they would soon jump off Hawston cliff.

I heard the sincerity in their voices. I had to stop them, so I went to them and said it is impossible, no one could do it. I tried to pursued them the way I tried to pursued Jimmy, I was sure I had the right answers, to stop them, If they only knew who I was.

 It’s me Joe Dumis, I jumped from that cliff fifteen years ago, and I went on about how Jimmy died. It was weird to say that aloud Jimmy was all I cared about and I said I would die for him. So why didn’t I die, was it just words, I’ll die for you.

 No matter what I said, the boys had all of the right answers. I felt like a king that had no use for his crown. They said you are not us. Then they said something that put a shock through my whole body. When we make this jump, we will have the respect of the whole town.

 I knew at that point that it was going to happen and just like Jimmy, nothing I could say would stop them.

Watching this and realizing there was nothing I could do reminded me why the bottle in my hand was there. It was the way I faced the past and it was the only way i could except anything that i could not control.

A few more days went by, and the older kids would come over and tease them, the signs were there, peer pressure was too strong, the town would not stop until they jumped.

Finally one of them said, there it is Hawston cliff go ahead and jump.

 

We don’t have to jump, we, have nothing to prove, I heard, or did I say it?

I was getting so mixed up in the past and present. This was too real to watch. Every word  I heard brought me back to that day, and yet i was watching it and not living it.

Then the other boy said if you do not jump with me I am jumping alone, and they jumped.

Now all I heard was screaming and crying. I went up to the edge, and all I could see was blood, in the water, and on the rocks. It was all I could take, and I passed out.

I woke up in I pool of red water. I am hurting, but the blood did not come out of me. I see Jimmy and I know he is the one that is bleeding.

 Why, I yell. All I can see is blood not water, Just blood. I start swimming towards him yelling hang on buddy, Jimmy!

 As I came up on him, I was scared he looked like he had been split in two, and blood was coming out of his mouth. I pulled off my pants and swam closer. I used my pants to try to put him back together.

 Why? Jimmy, we had nothing to prove. I yelled to the town and to Danny. Why did you have to push it this far? Wasn’t Jimmy good enough?

 I cried and wrapped him in my arms saying hold on buddy, everyone in town thinks you are the bravest man alive, you made it, stay with me. I hold him close, I say let’s get you safe. I try to stand up to get him out of the water but I have no strength left. I fell back into the water and, Jimmy dies in my arms.

 It is only at that point I realized I was paralyzed.

 I woke up lying at the top of the cliff with people trying to bring me back. I was back in the present; there were police and fire trucks all around. It was bad they were bringing those boys up the hill in plastic bags; it was only at that point I admitted to myself that it was not my fault.

 I could not stop them from jumping, anymore than I could stop Jimmy.

To them I was just a drunken man in a wheel chair.

 This time they built a wall in front of that cliff in order to prevent this from ever happening again, and eventually built houses next to it.

 Danny had been committed he just lost it after the jump and the only solace i found for twenty years was a bottle. I had to admit at this time the town did this and the peer pressure that can come from any town.

Every twenty years ,or so someone will be attempt it again.


© Copyright 2018 Clark Thompson. All rights reserved.

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