Categories > Original > Drama > The Orchard

Chapter 1 - The Bridge

by quietecstasy 0 reviews

Holly finds Sara and talks her down from the edge.

Category: Drama - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2010-07-20 - Updated: 2010-07-23 - 1225 words

The river was now just a mess of browns and blacks, like an abstract oil painting before my eyes. Tears always make things look so strange. The wind was strong, making my balance on the railing of the bridge unsteady. I could feel the tatters of my sundress fluttering around me like the beating wings of birds. I have never felt so trapped in my entire life; everything was holding me there. It was the dark, it was the wind, it was the fabric of that dress, it was everything that had happened to me that night and the night before that and the weeks and months and years before that. The choppy, muddy, racing water below me was my only escape. I didn’t have anybody anymore, anyway; nobody would miss me, so why shouldn’t I jump? My feet were bare and the concrete railing that my toes were curled around was pleasantly smooth beneath them, although cold. My entire body was freezing, in fact, but I had grown used to that feeling. I slowly began uncurling my toes.

Somewhere behind me, I heard tires on the bridge, and then an abrupt screech. Without having to turn around, I knew the vehicle had stopped, and I held my breath. Now what? The plan was to jump before anybody saw, and hopefully they would never find my body. Nobody was even looking for me, anyway. I could still jump, but the person in the vehicle would surely call for help, or maybe they’d even go down to the river bank, jump in and try to save me. The thought of that happening made me smile in disgust, and I murmured out loud,
Don’t flatter yourself, Sara.”

I came out of my daze when I heard the vehicle’s door slam, and the driver spoke.
It was a woman. I didn’t reply.
“Listen, I don’t know you or anything about you, but I know that this is a bad idea.”
Again, I didn’t reply.
“If you’d just come down from that railing, maybe I could help you out a bit. Even just give you a ride home, yeah? Nobody ever has to know about any of this if you don’t want them to.”
I could hear the voice coming closer to me. Finally, I decided to speak.
“There would be nobody to tell.”
“Come on, there’s always someone to tell.” Her voice was right behind me now, clearer than ever over the howling wind.
“No, there isn’t. I don’t have a family and I don’t have any friends.”
“That’s probably what my brother was thinking four years ago when he was in the same position. We hadn’t heard from him in over six months, and he figured he was already as good as dead to us. I don’t think he ever imagined the pain it caused us when we heard the news.”
Her words hit me like shards of broken glass, and I instinctively curled my toes around the railing again. Of all the people who could have stopped their cars on that old bridge that night, why did it have to be a woman who’s brother had done the same thing I was about to do? Now I’d just feel bad if I actually jumped. Suddenly I became very, very aware of the way the wind was pushing and pulling me back and forth over the edge ever so slightly, and I was going to lose my balance at any second. Panic filled my lungs.
“What’s your name?” the woman asked.
“...Sara.” I said with hesitance.
“I’m Holly, Sara,” she said softly, “Now, how about you grab my hand and I’ll help you down from there?”
Her question hung in the air over us for a couple of seconds, and then slowly, I reached behind my back and felt her hand. It was much rougher than I expected; women’s hands were normally so soft and delicate, but Holly had strong hands with calloused fingertips. I felt her place her other hand on my upper arm, and she slowly twisted me around.
“Come on, I’ve got you. Jump down.”

I got my first glimpse of the woman who was saving my life. She was average height and well-built. She wore a black tee shirt with the sleeves cut off, showing off her toned arms. She had black hair, styled in a pixie cut. Her features were sharp and slender, and her nose turned up at the end ever so slightly. Her eyes were celery green and bright. There was a smattering of freckles across the bridge of her nose and the apples of her cheeks. Her lips were thin, and there was a tiny silver ring on the left side of the bottom one. She was wearing men’s blue jeans and leather work boots, and sawdust was dusted all over them.

It felt wrong to be standing on the bridge safe and sound. I kept thinking to myself that I should have been in the water by then, I should have been dead. Half an hour ago, I had been running barefoot down the remote dirt road in my tattered sundress, sobbing. I had my mind set on that railing and only that railing. Why was I turning the other way now? Holly smiled sadly at me as she led me by the hand to her navy blue Toyota.
“I don’t know what your story is, kid, and I’m not gonna ask because I bet you don’t wanna talk about it. But whatever happened to you to make you think jumping off this bridge was a good idea must be pretty fuckin’ bad.”
I didn’t reply. She opened the passenger side of the truck for me and I climbed in, my limbs shaking.
“You cold?” she asked.
I nodded. She went around to the driver’s side and pulled the seat forward, rummaging around in the back seat of the cab. She eventually produced a brown leather jacket and threw it at me. I caught it and cautiously draped it around my shoulders.
“That’s Daniel’s, but I’m sure he won’t mind.”
“Who’s Daniel?”
“Daniel’s my buddy. You’ll meet him in a bit.”
“I will...?”
“Well duh. You don’t have anybody else to go home to, right?”
“So I’m takin’ you back to my family, chicky.”
“Your family?”
“Soul brothers and sisters, you know? Daniel, Emilie, Anna and Cam. You’ll like ‘em.”
She climbed into the cab, slammed the door shut and started up the engine. We pulled away from the bridge and started down the dirt road. Soon the lights from the bridge faded away, and all I could see was the gravel and the bottoms of pine trees in the path of Holly’s headlights. We were silent for a while, and then Holly spoke again.
“Somebody always cares, Sara. Maybe you don’t believe that, but somebody somewhere will always care.”
“I have nobody.”
“That’s what my brother said.”
I could detect the bitterness in her voice as she said it and decided to keep my mouth shut for the rest of the ride.
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