J-Squad

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is my first Short Story about the dream of an officer who works with potential "Jumpers" in New York City. The officer has a dream that is brought on by his experiences with the J-Squad, a division of police officers who are specially trained to talk down Jumpers. Please enjoy!

Submitted: May 29, 2015

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Submitted: May 29, 2015

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As a member of the New York “Jumper Squad” I deal with many cases of what has come to be known as “jumpers”. I have been a “J-Squad” member for over 10 years, and I have dealt with more than 10,000 cases of jumpers, that is over 1,000 cases a year…which is a big number, especially noting that the average J-Squad member lasts on the squad for only 2 years before getting depressed themselves and jumping off of the Manhattan Bridge…a location that J-Squaders hate to go because of its size, and the inability to actually talk someone down without the risk to their own life. Well, the squad has been good to me, and I have had a 50% success rate with the jumpers I come in contact with, I have been married once and have held a small handful of other relationships. My wife died in a car wreck a week before our 15th wedding anniversary.

I experienced something when I was a 2 year veteran of J-Squad that I find really hard to explain, it was a dream. When I started with the squad my wife and I were working on having our first child, we had been married right out of College and we both wanted to wait until we had been far enough into our careers, little did we know that we would be 39 by the time we even began to think about children. My wife died two months before the night I had this dream, and to add to the situation, I also failed to talk someone down on the same day as the dream. It was a kid who was no older than my nephew, who was 16 at the time, he had come from a very abusive family, and the New York City Child Protective service never found a reason to take the kid out of the home, or so they claimed. I was so close to talking that kid down, but somewhere along the line I lost him, he looked me right in the eye, and jumped. I could not believe what just happened, I had a mental break down when I got back to office and was sent home for the day. I could not deal with all the pressure that had been built up for the past few months, I thought about jumping off of the balcony of my 5th floor apartment, but I got piss drunk instead and fell into a deep sleep…this is what I remember. 

 

I was awoken by the sound of men outside of my apartment in New York City. It was early morning, I was amazed that I could even be up this early after last night. The amount of drugs and booze going around was astonishing, but I guess it is a typical night in a New York City nightclub. “What were those men doing outside of my apartment early in the morning?” I asked out loud expecting an answer, but none was given. I forgot that my wife of three years was killed in a car wreck a few months ago, this usually happens after a night of doing nothing but drinking. I got up to go to the bathroom to relieve myself and pop a few Advil before going to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee, that is when I heard the sound.

This sound was like none I have ever heard before, it sounded like a thousand high pitched screams, I blacked out. I came to on the kitchen floor several hours later to darkness, the sun was just coming up before I blacked out and had no explanation for the sudden darkness, how long was I out for? The men were gone and there were no sounds of the city like I have come to know. I started to get up off of the floor and find my way to a flashlight that I keep by my door just in case of a power outage. I walked very carefully to the door, making sure not to hit anything or knock anything over, that is when someone called out my name. It caught me off guard and I screamed, but I was the only one alone in the apartment, or so I thought. “Did I bring someone home from the club last night?” I could not recall, but even if I did why were they still here, and why didn’t they come to my aid, I shook it off and continued to walk to the door.

When I finally got to the front door I grabbed the flashlight from the shelf and turned it on and walked to the living room to open the blinds, but they were still open when I got there. I started to freak out, no lights, and no explanation for the sudden darkness or the dead city, what was going on!? I started to yell and ran to my front door, and threw it open only to come face to face with a dark figure. I did not know what to do, all of a sudden everything came to life. Music, traffic, and sirens, the sounds of the city returned with the light. I felt a sudden urge of uselessness…that is when I jumped.

Falling, the sense of falling is feeling like you are free, until you hit the ground. When I jumped I felt a sense of pure…freedom. But then the ground came up to meet me, I was immediately sprung back to my living room. Bright lights came swarming in through the window. I saw a bright figure that was sitting on my couch get up and walk towards me. The figure stopped in front of me and whispered five words to me, “it’s time to move on” and disappeared.

Just then everything came back to me, pain, agony, depression, the jump. I heard people screaming, I remember the flashing red and blue lights, the police cars, the paramedics tending to me, the zipping sound of the body bag, and then finally darkness. Everything seemed so real, I could actually feel myself lose all control as I drifted over the body bag, and into the NYC morgue.

Eventually I woke up from this dream, I never told anyone about it. I felt so cold when it finally ended, and I really wanted that feeling to go away. But something was present with me, something warm and welcoming, I think it was protecting me from doing something stupid. Ever since that day I have had a newer outlook on life, and I finally developed that no-victims remorse thing that all cops and negotiators develop. It is one hell of a tool to have, it is not like I laugh when someone jumps…I still feel the sadness for them and their families. When I lose people, I never let their deaths affect my own life, it is too short for that. I think the prescience I felt was my wife, telling me to stay alive, to keep helping people, to walk away from the edge. This was my story, I hope I can move on from this, it has been 8 years since this happened, and it still sends shivers down my spine when I think about it. 


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